Tag Archives: Vernonia Schools

Vernonia School Board Report

At the August 14, 2014 Vernonia School Board Meeting:


Board Hears Questions About K-2 Blended Classes-Over twenty people were in attendance, most   were there to ask questions about the District’s plan to group all kindergarten through second grade students together for instruction this coming school year.  Superintendent Aaron Miller addressed the audience concerns for over an hour.


Security Cameras Being Installed- Superintendent Miller told the Board that installation of a security camera system is being completed with cameras in strategic locations to deter vandalism.


Miller Gives Construction Updates-Superintendent Miller told the Board that Spencer Park construction is continuing with all the new dirt in place and that the backstop at the new softball/baseball field is being installed.  The project is on schedule to be completely constructed by the September 1st deadline.  The SHPO (State Historical Preservation Office)  monument that is a requirement of FEMA should also be installed by September 1.  Permits for the new shop were approved and construction should begin shortly.  The new softball field at the new school is on hold.   Read More

Superintendent Explains K-2 Blended Classes to Concerned Parents

Over twenty people attended the August 14, 2014 Vernonia School Board meeting, most of them there to express concerns about the District’s plan to group all kindergarten through second grade students together for instruction this coming school year.

After hearing the concerns of one parent, School Board Chair Bill Langmaid asked Superintendent Aaron Miller to explain the rational for the decision to place students in five K-2 blended classrooms this school year.

Other parents raised questions and expressed their own personal concerns throughout the rest of the discussion, which lasted for over an hour.  The parents were mostly focused on how individual student’s needs would be addressed in a blended classroom setting.

Miller told the audience that the initial impetus for the move was the breakdown of numbers of registered students in each of the three grade levels.  “As we were looking at those numbers and trying to figure out  how to put them into equitable class sizes between the four teachers, there were no good options,” explained Miller.  Miller said that even by adding a fifth teacher there were still big disparities in class sizes and went on to explain that the solution to blend all three grades came from the teachers themselves along with Miller.  Miller noted that by adding a fifth teacher class sizes have been reduced from thirty-one students to twenty-three students.  “That is a significant difference and played heavily into our decision making,” said Miller.  Read More

Congresswoman Bonamici to Hold Town Hall In Vernonia This Weekend

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici will hold a Town Hall meeting on Saturday June 7, from 2:30  to 3:30 PM at the Vernonia School.

Bonamici will provide an update on her work in Congress and take questions from residents.

“Town halls are an excellent opportunity to hear directly from my constituents about the issues that they value most,” Bonamici said. “I encourage all my constituents to attend and participate.”

Bonamici staff members will be available at the town halls to assist anyone experiencing problems with federal agencies.

Junior Salmon Auction, May 22

On May 22th, at 7:00 PM, Vernonia Hands-On Art Center, the local non-profit arts and heritage support group, presents the fifth annual Jr. Salmon Auction at Vernonia’s new school on Missouri Avenue.

A fundraiser for the Vernonia Schools arts programs, the auction features the amazing salmon creations of Vernonia art students. The students are supplied with blank pressboard salmon on which to craft their own unique visions. In addition to salmon, students have worked their magic on small furniture items that will also be included in the auction.

JuniorSalmonAuctionBeginning at 7:00 PM the salmon will be auctioned off with a minimum starting bid of  $10.00. Profits go to support Vernonia School Arts, Scholarship, and Hands-On Art programs.

Doors open at 6:30. Enjoy live music performed by students under the direction of Andy Morrow, visit the Band Boosters for a bite to eat, and chat up Vernonia’s talented young artists while you browse their creations. Be sure to sign up at the bidder’s table and be ready to go at 7:00!

Watch for previews of artwork and reminders on Facebook. For more information contact Diana Peach at peachlee123@gmail.com.

Schools Update: Attendance

The topic of attendance in our schools has come up quite a bit recently. We are addressing the issue, and we’re beginning to see changes for the better.

Mr. Miller presented data at the board meeting last month that shows significant improvement in our Kindergarten attendance. We are continuing our research into our middle and high school attendance data, which we will be reporting on at our next board meeting on March 13.

Parents were notified earlier this year of our new attendance policy. We have made it a practice to have teachers, counselors, and, if necessary, the principal contact parents about their student’s attendance. We have made adjustments to that policy and will be placing it on the Attendance page on our district website.

In other news, we had a successful town hall meeting last Tuesday, February 25th. With over 60 in attendance a number of different topics were covered. The two main items of discussion were future opportunities for our career and technical education programs and the establishment of a task force to research the feasibility, advantages, and disadvantages of a four day school week. If you are interested in participating or have ideas about either of these topics, please contact the district office.

How to Get Information About School Weather Closures

The Vernonia School District uses FlashAlert to notify the TV stations about school closures.  You can get the same information as soon as it is posted. Here’s how:

You may self-register and manage up to three home or office email and/or cell phone text message addresses and receive emergency information just minutes after we post it, at no cost to you.

To get started, go to www.FlashAlert.net and click on the Portland button on the map. Choose Columbia County Schools and then choose Vernonia School District. You may enter one or two more email or cell text addresses. After entering them, the system will launch a validation message to each address. Obtain the two-letter code in the message and post it back into your account to validate that address (or click on the provided link). This is done to make sure that your messages will reach you.

Please be aware that with the proliferation of spam and the resulting spam filters, it is impossible to guarantee message delivery. And remember that message delivery is dependent on cell companies accepting in a timely fashion the messages we send to them to send to you. Messages not accepted by cell phone companies after one hour will be deleted from the system to avoid the confusion that may be created by a late-arriving message. Read More

Sustainability Work to Continue This Fall

Last school year several middle school students expressed interest in continuing some of the work that was begun during Sustainability Days.  The School District has announced plans to create an opportunity for this work to continue after school through the fall season.  Starting on Wednesday, October 9 from 3:30-4:30 PM  students and community members will be working on weeding, planting and the greenhouse when possible.

The  group will meet at the front doors of the school building at 3:30 PM on the following Wednesdays: October 9 and 23, November 6 and 20, and December 4. Times and dates for further work will be set after talking with volunteers.

Please contact Aaron Miller at amiller@vernonia.k12.or.us if you are interested or have any questions.

Can You Give a Helping Hand?

A work day is being planned on August 17th to help with sprucing up the landscaping at the new Vernonia School.

We have only one employee, Mark Brown, that is in charge of maintenance and grounds. It is impossible for one person to keep up with all the weeding and other work.

Many of you are supporting the school through your tax dollars, but your help is also needed in keeping the grounds looking nice.

A lot of you have disagreed with the new school―how it is run and other issues and concerns- but the fact is, it is a reality. Please put those feelings aside and for our kids sake come out and help keep their new school looking nice.

We will be working from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Please bring hand tools for weeding, trimming bushes and more, as well as containers for debris.

Schools Update: Volunteer Needs

While our new school building is gorgeous and incredible, there were a number of projects that weren’t included in the original construction budget. We are looking for volunteer help in order to complete these projects.

The Vernonia School District is looking for volunteers to help with several projects this summer, including constructing a greenhouse, installing a set of playground swings, landscape maintenance and work at “The Old Mill Marsh” wetlands area. Those people interested in helping should leave a message for Aaron Miller at the school district, 503-429-1345 or 503-429-5891. Once a list of volunteers is developed, work parties will be planned to try and best fit into volunteers’ schedules.

A brief description of each volunteer project follows.

Funds from the Bureau of Land Management have provided the district with a 1400 square foot greenhouse that will be used to propagate native plant material for use by the District, the Upper Nehalem Watershed Council and other agencies that perform native plant restoration projects. The main support poles and trusses are in place, but continued work to piece together the metal frame, and install the double wall plastic siding still needs to be completed. Any willing volunteers with construction experience would be greatly appreciated. Read More

Schools Update: Making It Better, Together

I don’t do Facebook much, but once in a while I check out what is being said on the Vernonia Community Page and to see what others are saying in ‘cyberspace.’ On occasion I see a posting expressing concern over our lack of playground equipment, the condition of the fields, or similar issues. I was encouraged during the last week of school when I visited a meeting where a community member  took action about their concern about playground equipment. She actually came in and met with an administrator and a board member to discuss what could be done. It is refreshing to know that there are so many community members who are committed to finding ways to improve our new schools. Read More