Next week (March 6-10) we celebrate and appreciate the hard work of our classified staff across the district for Classified Employee Appreciation Week. We are proud to recognize and celebrate the hardworking, dedicated classified school employees who help make our schools successful! Thank you for your tireless efforts and commitment to our students and their education. On behalf of the North Bend School District, our board, students, and parents I want to thank each and every one of our dedicated classified staff members!
Early Learning Partnership
On February 14th a group of regional educators and community early learning partners met to discuss the needs and desires to expand Pre-K options in North Bend/Coos Bay. Access to preschool is challenging in the Bay area, even with the recent expansion of options in Coos Bay. Currently Coos Bay has 72 Pre-K slots and has an additional 28 children on their wait list. Coos Bay added Pre-K taking advantage of the state’s Preschool Promise program which offers free. high-quality preschool to Oregon families who are living at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level in Oregon. Sadly, the program is not taking additional grant applications until 2024. It was exciting to bring a group of driven preschool and public school advocates and there is hope and optimism to expand offerings in the area and explore mixed-delivery options, which essentially means different entities working together to serve children and families. Our next steps are to identify some possible space options, reach out to the Governor and Senator Merkley for state and federal funding, and we will be gathering again in the coming months to continue the work.
Women’s History Month
This week we are celebrating our classified employees and it is also the beginning of Women’s History Month. Women's History Month is an annual event that began in 1981 and is celebrated throughout the month of March in the United States. It is a celebration of the contributions that women have made to history, culture and society. The event originated in the United States in 1981 and has since spread to other countries. The aim of Women's History Month is to recognize the achievements of women in fields such as politics, science, literature, and the arts. It is also a time to reflect on the struggles that women have faced in the past and the challenges that still remain. Each year the Women’s History Alliance selects a theme and this year’s theme is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Stories,” which recognizes women past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, news, and social media. Women have had a profound impact on K-12 education and continue to do so. You might have heard of Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name, Montessori. The now-famous Montessori approach is a system for teaching young children in which the fundamental aim is self-motivation education by the children themselves. This past June was the 50th anniversary of Title IX, one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in American history. That legislation was coauthored by Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to the U.S. Congress. What kind of impact did she have? Prior to the passing of the 1974 Title IX legislation, just 300,000 girls nationwide participated in high school sports every year. Today, 3.5 million girls participate in high school athletics. Thank you Patsy Mink!
During the past two weeks we have all been keeping close tabs on our local weather. As winter hits the region bringing cold temps and plenty of precipitation I have been having far too many 4 a.m. wake up calls. We begin our assessment of roads at 4 a.m. knowing that we have food service and custodial/maintenance staff who start their day by 5 a.m. Occasionally the decision to cancel is fairly easy - I would put last Thursday into that category when we woke up to a few inches of snow already on the ground and then it kept snowing throughout the day. More challenging is a day like Wednesday where cold temps created some slick patches, but the overall assessment was that it was safe for our busses to run regular routes and we deemed it safe for children to walk to school or wait on the side of the road for their bus. Student safety is our number one driving factor in making this decision and I am in contact with superintendents throughout the region as we each discuss road conditions with our transportation directors and facility staff. On days like Wednesday I want to remind everyone that just because we are running a normal school day, doesn’t mean that there aren’t hazards and some potentially dangerous conditions - possibly leaving your driveway or heading down the many steep hills in the region. On these particular days we make our best overall assessment and do a little hoping and praying for the best - no crashes or incidents. A huge thank you to Tracy Lang, our Family Engagement Specialist who helps get the word out to families and also a huge thank you to Tammy Heikes and Mark Koechel who are also up at 4 a.m. to drive roads and offer guidance and feedback to me as I work to make a decision by 5 a.m. each day. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for warmer temperatures and the gentle tropical ocean breeze of North Bend in the coming weeks.
Every two years we gather a group of school representatives from both unions and our administration team to review and make recommendations to the annual school calendar. Recently we have been adopting three-years of calendars to assist staff and families in long-term planning. This year we will be making a slight change to the 2023-2024 calendar when we bring that to the board in April. This year we will not be bringing calendars for 24-25 and 25-26 to allow more time for the committee to study a district wide semester or trimester calendar. Currently our high school and middle school follow a trimester calendar and our elementary schools follow a semester calendar. Regionally, Coos Bay and Southwest Community College follow a semester calendar. The committee will be meeting a number of times in the next year and will bring a calendar recommendation to the board by January, 2024.