| All schools are open, regular hours.
Todas las escuelas abiertas, horas regulares.
I entitled my 2013-14 budget message "Investing in Student Learning" and that remains my focus. The district must continue to align our time, talents and resources on this critical investment. While the revenue picture at the state level has improved, we cannot be deceived in to thinking that resources can address every need and wish. There will always be the requirement to prioritize what we do to ensure that we get the best return for every dollar spent. Unfortunately, that will include having to say "no" or "not yet" to things that we would really like to fund.
Our investments must continue to be targeted on improving the quality of instruction in the classroom. We must provide professional development and professional learning community time in order to have high quality teachers instructing our students. We must have classes of reasonable sizes where instruction can be differentiated to meet the needs of all students. We must have well-trained administrators who are able to recognize and foster good teaching by being in classrooms as much as possible. We must equip our teachers and students with the tools they need to learn.
To this end, my budget allocates resources to significantly reduce class sizes throughout the district and allows for small group support from our classified staff. We must make sure we are remediating students from day one while it is the most cost effective and will have the longest lasting impact throughout their school careers. Planning for all day kindergarten in 2015 has already begun and will require additional resources to implement. We cannot leave any of our students behind and must have adequate interventions in place for students at all levels who struggle. We must also provide opportunities for students to explore areas of interest and ability, through electives and activities, in order to develop their creativity and their workforce skills in preparation to be successful adults.
For teachers to teach effectively so that students can learn they need proper instructional materials. A textbook augmented with 21st century technology that includes online learning and mobile technology, engages students and expands their learning. We are excited about the classrooms exploring various student devices as learning tools and plan to continue this opportunity across the district over the next several years.
Our facilities, though well maintained, continue to age and require constant upkeep and remodeling to meet the educational needs of students and staff. Our annual operating budget is not sufficient to tackle the number of projects that remain on the deferred maintenance list. In the near future the Board will need to consider reestablishing the District Facilities Advisory Committee to prepare for placing a bond before the community for facilities upgrades and ongoing rehabilitation. Our process for making safety improvements has begun but will need additional funds to complete.
To accomplish all of this, our focus must remain laser-like and our will unwavering. Many of these goals will take more than one year to accomplish and will require incremental progress over multiple budget years. They will also require support from our community partners and parents to provide opportunities and experiences for our students. I believe our school district is up to the task and we are well positioned to make our schools exceptional centers of learning for the next generation of Albany students.
— Superintendent: Maria Delapoer
South Albany Dance Team
The South Albany High School Southern Belles dance team competed in the DDCA championship in Canby on December 6 and earned first place among 5A teams in the Large Jazz event and second place in the Hip Hop event.
LEGO Robotics Team heading to the State Championship
On December 6, The Bacon Bricks, an all-girls robotics team led by teacher Mark Gullickson earned second place at the ORTOP Regional State Qualifying Tournament held in Philomath. They are now heading to the State Championship Tournament which will be held in Hillsboro this coming January.
This year, the research challenge theme is called, “World Class Learning Unleashed" and is centered upon improving the way people learn. Participating teams had to research a topic under this theme. The Bacon Bricks developed an innovative way for students to learn about the Cartesian coordinate graphing system. They have worked collaboratively with educators and professionals in the fields of mathematics and science education, both in the USA and in Europe. They have also been working with a partnership/buddy school in Zelenograd, Russia. To date, they have shared their FLL research project with more than 104,000 students all over the world. The Bacon Bricks were also selected by the national FIRST LEGO robotics organization as the featured research project team in the USA. Teachers and schools in both the USA and Russia - and others in Europe too -have begun using their innovative solution for teaching elementary students how the Cartesian coordinate graphing system works.
Students Tour Local Firms, Career Exploration Opportunities Focus on Manufacturing, Technology
Students at Albany middle schools aren’t quite ready for full-time jobs, but when they are, they may not have to leave Albany to find them. That’s the word from several local businesses acting as tour guides this year in Timber Ridge, Calapooia, Memorial and North Albany Middle Schools. Josephine Fleetwood of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is working with district schools to provide a middle school careers program. The after-school Career Exploration Club meets for an hour on early release Wednesdays for five weeks, spending one Wednesday each at local firms and organizations.
Seven Calapooia students visited Concept Systems which provides factory automation and systems integration services to manufacturers. Ed Diehl, president and co-founder of the company said that labor shortage is a big concern as not enough new employees are entering the field and those who currently have the skills are beginning to retire.
South Albany High School students visited CADD Connection, a company which creates 3D modeling for building designs.
Board Convenes District Facilities Advisory Committee
The Greater Albany School Board has begun the groundwork to determine the need for a school bond in 2016. The Board, at its January 12 meeting, identified the 29 members of the District Facilities Advisory Team who will review district property needs.
Read more from the January 13, 2015 Education Update