Vernonia Schools Update from Dr. Ken Cox

Schools Update: Rural Sustainability Program

Vernonia students work at the wetlands during a rent "Sustainability Day."

Vernonia students work at the wetlands during a rent “Sustainability Day.”

The Vernonia Rural Sustainability Program has been very active this school year, with each and every kindergarten through 12th grade student participating in some way. The program, supported by local timber companies, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), and the Upper Nehalem Watershed Council (UNWC) has completed native landscaping projects, wetland and riparian zone restoration, salmon restoration activities and trail building preparation throughout the 2012-13 school year.

Vernonia School District teachers spent two days prior to the start of the school year planning and developing these projects based on natural resources, sustainability and science curriculum. This work was supported by a grant from the Gray Family Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, and has translated into three separate, district-wide “Sustainability Days” where students are putting their classroom learning into action. Read More

Schools Update: Vernonia School Project Receives Award

Recently I was privileged to accept the 2013 Daily Journal of Commerce Newsmakers Award on behalf of the Vernonia K-12 School Project. In attendance at the luncheon were Chris Linn and Jim Harold from Boora Architects, Steve Anderson, Kevin McCall and others from P&C Construction, Dewayne Cowles of Vernonia representing one of the subcontractors on the project, and John Donovan and Eric Block from The Metropolitan Group. In addition, Tom Kelly, Co-Chair of the Vernonia Catalyst Campaign Committee, which has done so much to help with fundraising for our project and Tony Hyde, Columbia County Commissioner, also a member of the Catalyst Campaign Committee and Co-Chair (along with Tom) of the Vernonia Oregon Solutions project were able to attend. Read More

Schools Update: Summer Lunch Program in Jeopardy!

We need your help! For the past two summers we have been able to provide thousands of meals for our children at no cost to them or their families. As we begin to plan for this summer’s free lunch program we are finding that the number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch may hinder our ability to qualify for this vital service.

The percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch is used as a qualifying statistic to get the funding necessary to run the program. Currently we have 47% of our grade school students, 48% of our middle school students, and 35% of our high school students who have applied and been approved for this money saving program. We need 50% in at least one of our schools to qualify. This means we only need 6 more elementary or 2 more middle school students to help us reach this goal. Read More