"God must love the common man, He made so many of them..." Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

September 22nd Meeting

Last night’s board meeting was good, just every bit as good as the last one, and I’m duty-bound to share the highlights. Please remember this is coming through the Jana filter, so look for the okey-dokey official minutes on the district’s web site.

Item 2.0: Agenda Approval was unanimous. I love it when that happens.

Item 3.0: Public Comment on Non-Agenda Items. None offered. But later on…

Item 4.0: Consent Agenda. Unanimous approval and more love.

Item 5.0: Congratulations Mr. Patterson, Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year! Thanks for all you do! Keep up the good work!

Item 6.0: Reports and Discussions and there was plenty of good stuff.
6.1: The board was introduced to this year’s student leadership at the high school. What a great bunch of hard-working Lion Pride students! Who-hoo!
6.2: The WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) Program for the middle school was presented by Mr. Robitz and Ms. Krabenhoft. This program is designed to help facilitate a smooth transition for 7th graders and provide leadership training/opportunities for 8th graders. This is WEB’s second year and from all the anecdotal evidence, it’s a great success. As students transition to the high school, the LINK program takes WEB’s place.
6.3: The Arthur Academy provided updates on attendance, expansion, and test scores. Mr. Arthur and Mr. Liljegren shared concerns about lead contamination both in the building and in the drinking water.
6.4: The bond report was to highlight the new media DVD available to the campaign. However, techincolor glitches prevented it from being shown in its entirety. It will be posted on the district’s web page today – without the funky special effects. I’m in it and will be happy to autograph something for you. :o)
6.5: Middle school textbook adoption will be handled at another meeting.
6.6: Board communication plan and goals are coming along nicely and any revisions, changes, suggestions needed to be e-mailed to Mrs. Wallace by Friday.
6.7: The first reading of board policy revisions, mostly due to legislative changes and new laws. Revised policies are Board Member Ethics & Conflicts of Interest, Student Transportation Services, School Bus Safety Program, Student Transportation in Private Vehicles, Staff Ethics, Family Medical Leave, Service Learning, Academic Achievement, Graduation Requirements, Assessment Program, and Public Records. NEW POLICY first reading was Board Member Ethics and Nepotism. POLICY DELETIONS are CIM Proficiency Standards, District Standards, and Juried Assessments. Whew!

Item 7.0: Approval of the Superintendent’s Evaluation and Contract was unanimous.

Item 8.0: Public Comment on Agenda Items. One parent of an Arthur Academy student shared her concerns that 1) the level of contamination was very high, 2) school officials were too casual about the problem, 3) true abatement may not have been done, and 4) parents weren’t notified in a timely manner about the problem.

Item 9.0: Communication and Correspondence to the board and superintendent were noted.

Item 10.0: Suggestions for future board meeting presentations?

Item 11.0: Meeting Adjourned!!

Join us again on Monday, October 13!

Straight Line? Shortest Distance?

Haven’t you always heard that the shortest distance between Point A and Point B is a straight line? From ancient seafarers to westward pioneers, this was commonsense knowledge. Modern-day airline pilots and my teenaged kids know this. On-line direction providers claim to know this – but I believe my experience is proof to the contrary.

This last Saturday, the Lady Lions varsity volleyball team was scheduled to play at a tournament in Dallas, a town that I had not yet had the pleasure of visiting. Before I go any further, let me just say it – I always get lost. I have directional disability. Maps for me are worse than story problems what with all their little hieroglyphics and origami-ness. So in the interests of self-preservation and timeliness, I placed all my straight line trust in an on-line direction provider, which I will call M.Q. I entered Point A, St. Helens, and Point B, Dallas, and waited with baited breath for my easy-to-follow step-by-step driving directions to spit out of the printer.

So once the car was loaded with snacks, the dog, and the directions, it was down (or up?) and over Cornelius Pass – gotcha. Take a left onto the Tualatin Valley highway – fine. Next turn right onto a 2-lane country road – unexpected but okay… And then the adventure began. Over the river, through the woods, past the orchards, and around the cyclists we went. We drove past vineyards, fields, and farmers markets. We drove up some small town main streets and down others. 11 left turns, 13 right turns, 4 straight aheads, and 2 ½ hours later, Dallas appeared on the horizon.

Never once did I deviate from the route suggested and no matter how rural or gravelly the road, the M.Q. directions were spot on. All of those twists and turns though… What happened to the straight line approach? Coming back, following other volleyball families, it was a quick trip back along I-5 to Highway 30 to home. Yep, we came straight home.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September 8th Board Meeting

Monday night’s meeting was a good one as meetings go. There was plenty of good discussion and more than one opinion around the table. And I must say the vice-chair did a lovely gaveling job in the chair’s absence.

So does every school board in the universe have to constantly talk about bond measures and cut scores? Yes. Sigh. It’s not that those aren’t extremely important but… I’d much rather talk with the students themselves and celebrate their accomplishments – like a good test score in a challenging class or a surprisingly successful fund raiser. But again, a sound infrastructure is essential to building individual success. Sigh again.

The board communication plan, the transportation contract, and the safety of student hearing (as in ears) were all topics of conversation. Two bangs of the gavel, one potty break and one stubborn projector later, the meeting adjourned. Check out the district’s website for the full meeting minutes minus the Jana filter…