Vernonia School Board Report

At the April 9, 2015 Vernonia School Board Meeting


Board Sets Date for Charter School Decision – The Board set a date of Tuesday, April 21 at 6:30 PM to hold a special meeting to make a decision on whether to submit a Charter School application to the State Department of Education.


Board Tables Calendar Decision – The Board tabled a decision on the 2015-16 Instructional Calendar after being presented with five options.  High School principal Nate Underwood told the board that the committee was proposing several options that provided 160 student days, 184 contact days and the required 990 hours.  The District has been unable to provide these numbers for several years.  The Board chose to table a decision until April 21 because of concerns about the state education budget which has not yet been determined and how much funding the District will receive from the state next year, as well as the pending decision about whether the District will submit an application to become a Charter School.


Board Appoints Handegard to Budget Committee – The Board appointed Angie Handegard to serve a three year term on the Budget Committee.


Board Approves Out of State Trips – The Board approved the Senior Trip to Disneyland and the 8th grade Close-up trip to Washington DC.


Board Approves Superintendent Contract – The Board approved a single contract for Superintendent Aaron Miller which was described as a full time superintendent contract which will have Miller serving as “acting elementary school principal.” 


Superintendent’s Report – Superintendent Aaron Miller told the Board the District will hold a ceremony on Saturday, May 9 at 10:30 AM to celebrate the school being awarded LEED Platinum and Three Green Globes status.  The Vernonia School is the first K-12 school in the nation to receive LEED Platinum status.  Miller also updated the Board on the budget process and said if the state funds schools at the currently proposed $7.325 billion it will mean $8 less per student for the District, which will be difficult.  Miller also gave updates on the completion of the Spencer Park, shop building and green house construction projects.  He noted that the Sierra Service Project did several projects around the school campus and community. He also informed the Board that plans are moving forward to move the District Office into the main school building and converting the current District Office into a high school Life Skills facility.

Student Reports – Alexis Baska and Summer Snow, representing the High School leadership class, updated the Board on events.  They reported that it’s a busy time as seniors are working on scholarships, getting ready for the Senior Trip to Disneyland and beginning to prepare for graduation.  Leadership students are preparing for Dylan Taylor’s Presidential Challenge – a Doernbecher Week of fundraising events and activities. Students just completed a Sustainability Day.  A blood drive will be held at the end of the month.


Building Reports – High School principal Nate Underwood provided a calendar of upcoming events.

Elementary Principal Aaron Miller updated the Board on preparations for state testing for 3rd, 4th  and 5th graders, informed the Board about the upcoming Special Education Night on April 21 and the Kindergarten Roundup on April 30, and told the Board about the Run for the Arts event held that day.


Maintenance Report – The Maintenance Report included several acts of vandalism.  School District staff spent three hours of labor and had to borrow the City boom truck in order to clean up toilet paper on school grounds.  Principal Nate Underwood said the culprits had been caught and both spent a vacation day doing clean up around the campus.  In addition there was vandalism to several door knobs, the lock on the boy’s locker room had to be replaced again, there was damage to the fire strobes in the boy’s locker room again, there was food smeared on the boy’s locker room wall, and damage to some lockers. “This shows a lack of respect for everyone in this community when students do things like this,” commented School Board Chair Bill Langmaid.


Title One Report – Deb Stahlnecker provided an annual report on Title One activities.  Title One is a federal grant program.  Because Vernonia is a Focus School, Title One funds can be used school wide at the Elementary level and allows teachers and aids to work one-on-one with students who are below level on reading or math.  Stahlnecker reported that the District has been using assessment testing to gather the information needed to focus instruction in better ways.  Stahlnecker said the District has recently been targeting phonics, comprehension, and fluency in reading.


Winter Sports Report – Athletic Director Gordon Jarman gave the Board a report on what he called “one of the most successful winter sports seasons overall,”  in several years.  Jarman reported that the wrestling team finished the season with nine wrestlers, of which five qualified for the state tournament.  The boys’ basketball team battled back from a very rough start to take second place in the District Tournament before losing in the first round of the state playoff to number one ranked Irigon.  Freshman Clay Sullivan was named First Team All-League, sophomore Brett Elliot was named Second Team and sophomore Tristan Adams was named Honorable Mention.  The girls’ basketball team had the most successful season making their first ever trip to Pendleton and finishing fourth in the state tournament.  The Lady Loggers finished their season with a 24-4 record and went undefeated in league play.  Meghan Sullivan was First Team All-League and the League Player of the Year.  Julia Fletcher was also First Team All-League, Player of the Game in two of the State Tournament games, and the second leading scorer overall at the State Tournament.  Máca Veselkova was named Second Team All-League and Lisa Paje was Honorable Mention.  Jarman also updated the Board on Middle School boys’ basketball.  The 8th grade team ended their season with a 3-7 record; the most outstanding player on the team was Jakob Handegard.  The 7th grade team had a 6-4 record and had three standout players: Josh Rice, Gunner Harrall and Kale Sullivan.