National Career Development Month
November is National Career Development Month and signals a time for schools, families and communities to support students as they focus on their future career choices. No matter their age, students in every classroom have an opportunity to explore careers. Navigating the uncertainty of the formative years takes courage, curiosity, and outside support. A single conversation can spark a passion that leads to a lifetime of reward. I encourage every teacher and every classroom in North Bend to look for opportunities to discuss and explore career opportunities throughout the month. There are some great resources available including the Career Journeys video series (This is a one page flier) https://www.careerjourneys.org/ (Website) - a project that seeks to educate middle and high school students from across the state of Oregon (and beyond) about career pathways through “near-peer mentoring”. The profiles tell the stories of Oregonians in the early stages of their careers who navigated the public school system - and ultimately found fulfilling careers in high-wage, high-demand fields. As we regain our footing from the pandemic I invite our community to reconnect with our schools and share your own career and pathway.
North Bay Waterfall Health Clinic - FREE Flu Shots
Last week I sent an update to the board regarding the tentative plan for the North Bay Waterfall School-Based Health Clinic to conduct an opportunity for students to receive flu shots on November 18th from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. The school has not yet announced this opportunity, but plans to send communication to North bay families only. All students would need parent permission to receive a flu shot, no proof of insurance is required and they are free of charge. If the parent permission slip is not signed, the clinic will not and can not administer the immunization. (A copy of the parent permission was in the board update and will be provided at tonight’s meeting)
Maintenance of Effort
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), each district receiving IDEA funds is required to budget and spend at least the same amount of local, or state and local, funds for the education of children with disabilities as it did in the previous year (34 CFR §300.203). This requirement is called maintenance of effort (also referred to as MOE). The required MOE levels for budgeting and spending are referred to, respectively, as the “eligibility standard” and the “compliance standard.” Based on data submitted by the district the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) determines annually whether we have met.
Last week the district was notified that for the 2021-22 school year, ODE has determined that based on the data submitted, North Bend has met MOE requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Special Education tracking and compliance are a significant responsibility of the district and I want to thank our Special Education team (Korrinne Ross and Beverly Webb) and our Business Services team (Tim Crider, Maureena Wright, and Anna Burgmeir) for their work and attention to detail. Maintaining compliance requires both departments to work together as they examine staffing and special education expenditure.
Oregon Virtual Academy
As a follow up to previous updates from ORVA, I wanted to let you know that they have added three additional board members, bringing their current board enrollment up to six. Yesterday ORVA sent a communication out to families announcing some significant changes including updating their school name. Jamie Stiles, Executive Director stated, “To reflect the growing and unwavering spirit of our school community. We will now be known as Evergreen Virtual Academy. Although we are leaving the letters ORVA behind, you will still have the teachers, instruction and school you love, with improved tools and support.”
In addition, Evergreen Academy is transitioning away from their long-time learning platform and curriculum provider, K12/Stride. The school is in the process of making the switch to StrongMind Courseware and the Canvas learning platform. Canvas and StrongMind are both reputable companies and ORVA is positively optimistic about this transition and expect to see improved curriculum, enhanced learning experiences, smoother transitions, easily manageable parent and student views, engaging live classes, and expanded enrichment opportunities. To assist in the transition Evergreen Virtual Academy hosted an information session yesterday and is also holding sessions tonight and tomorrow night. Their first day with this new platform and curriculum will be November 14th. They are also hosting an Open House event at OMSI on November 16th to celebrate Evergreen Virtual and provide more support to students and families. Executive Director Stiles closed her message to staff and families stating, “We are confident that this transition to Evergreen Academy is the greatest path forward for us all. Our top priority has always been and will continue to be to do what is best for students. This opportunity allows us to continue the pursuit of offering the best virtual school options for students all over the state.”
High School Safety Incident
On October 28th after receiving information that a student was planning to bring a weapon to campus, the high school immediately contacted law enforcement and briefly initiated two of our standard response protocols. The first standard response protocol was a non-emergency HOLD. This protocol is used to keep students in the classroom, instruction continues, and students and staff are expected to remain in the classroom until an “All Clear” announcement is made. To limit access to from anyone outside the building, the school also decided to secure the perimeter of the building, which entails ensuring that all exterior doors are locked. Within a few minutes the school identified the student, brought the person to a safe location and proceeded with an investigation. A quick investigation noted that there was not a threat to the safety of any students or staff and the Hold and Secure the Perimeter were lifted within 20 minutes. While these incidents can create a level of concern throughout the school community, I want to commend the high school staff, our School Resource Officer, Officer Parkhurst and the school administration for their rapid and decisive response. It is important that the school receives clear and complete information so that they can immediately begin to investigate and take appropriate actions. It is important for everyone to remain calm in these situations and allow for an investigation to take place and determine the risk level, instead of immediately escalating misinformation into full-scale panic and evacuation. Please know that if there is any question regarding the immediate safety of students or staff, a school-wide lockdown would have been initiated, creating a situation where one of two things occur. 1. Law enforcement and/or school officials will go from room-to-room in the entire school to lift the lockdown, which would take some time and always create a high level of concern for students, staff, and parents. 2. The school would evacuate the building under the guidance of law enforcement to a secure location where a parent reunification process would take place. Again, I appreciate how this situation was handled and I’m glad that it was a non-event. We are continuing with plans to install electronic access controls at all building entrances. A timeline for that has not been created. In addition, we continue to plan and review parent/student reunification plans as well as conduct regular staff and training of the standard response protocols.