Schools Update: State Standards

Each year school districts are required to report to their communities on whether or not their academic programs are meeting state law. Division 22 standards are a part of Oregon Administrative Rules (Chapter 581, Division 22) that dictate areas of compliance with a wide variety of these state standards. A report on the Vernonia School District’s compliance with these standards was shared at its last Board Meeting on Thursday, January 8.

These standards include such areas as providing Career Education, assuring that all coaches have concussion training, having district curriculum that is aligned with Common Core State Standards, reporting on the size of our physical education facilities, and assuring that Equal Educational Opportunities are available for all students.

The Vernonia School District is currently meeting 54 of the 55 required Division 22 Standards. The one standard not being met is the requirement for providing 990 hours of Instructional Time for students in grades 9-12. Vernonia High School students are just shy of that amount at 976 hours of instruction. This deficiency will be reported to the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) in February, along with a plan to eliminate this deficiency. Three extra days of school were added to this year’s instructional calendar to increase instructional time at all schools, and 2-3 more instructional days will be added to next year’s calendar to ensure the district meets this standard.

Review of these standards also revealed a need to revise District Complaint Procedures. While our District policy met state requirements, there were three elements not in place for how administration implemented that policy. The changes included:

•  When a decision is necessary, and made, by the Board in a complaint proceeding that decision becomes the final decision of the District.

•  Any decision made by the Board in a complaint proceeding will be shared with the complainant in writing.

•  The ability to appeal Board decisions on complaint proceedings to the ODE will be shared with all complainants.

Reviewing and reporting on these standards is a district requirement, but is also a good way to help evaluate where we are as a district. There are always areas for improvement, and our staff works on many of those areas every day, but overall we are meeting basic state requirements to help ensure we as a district are meeting the educational needs of our students.