Investing in student learning continues to be our focus in the Greater Albany School District. The
2014-2015 budget allowed us to move forward in impacting the quality of instruction by:
In order to put This year’s improvements in place we will need to spend down some of our Fund Balance this fiscal year. This is not sustainable over many years so additions to this year’s budget are limited. The Legislature has established a State School Fund that is inadequate to fund Full-Day Kindergarten and maintain current program levels. Most available resources will be needed to pick up services and staff that have been possible through grant funds, such as the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF), which end this year. These include some administrative duties, digital learning coordinator and technology teacher on special assignment (TOSA), the Oregon Department of Education mentoring program and classroom management professional development and support. The Advanced Diploma program appears to be in place for next year and over 200 students are planning on these funds to attend their first year of college at Linn Benton Community College.
Additions to the budget will allow for expanding the GED program at Albany Options School to meet the need in the district. Expelled students will have a longer day so that they do not fall behind and jeopardize their ability to graduate. In conjunction with new grant funds, the AVID program will be developed at West Albany High School and our four middle schools, and increased at South Albany High School. The Workforce Development efforts, in partnership with local industry, will focus on recruiting more students into the “pipeline” for training and future good paying jobs. Maybe most exciting is the plan to have each elementary school with dedicated specialist time in Music and PE, however, a few schools will continue with an instructional specialist instead, for another year. Elementary schools are also focusing on reading and math through two grants that provide training and data collection. We will participate in the Early Learning Hub work group to align Pre K programs with K-12 expectations.
As I mentioned, state school funding will be tight for the coming biennium. In addition, the legislature took the unusual tact of providing funding equally between the two years of the biennium. This artificially inflates the amount of money available in year one as there will be very little additional funding in the second year to address annual cost increases. In my proposed budget estimated expenditures equal anticipated revenues. What this means is that, if additional funds do not become available from the Legislature, necessary increases in the second year of the biennium will need to come from our Fund Balance.
On the horizon for next fall are recommendations from District Facilities Advisory Committee (DFAC) regarding upgrading and expanding our educational facilities and equipment. The reconstruction of the South Albany High School building that burned down will be completed next fall and will meet the current needs of the school and its programs. Both of these efforts have shown us once again that our community supports and values their schools and wants the best for students.
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.
Fir Grove School
Fir Grove Elementary School has reopened and is serving children in kindergarten and first grade. To celebrate the school’s fabulous building remodel, the staff will host a community Open House from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21 at the school. Alumni, friends, families, students, staff, community members and school board directors are all welcome to visit, socialize, and share stories of this wonderful school. Fir Grove School is located at 5355 Scenic Drive NW near the intersection of Springhill Road.
Read more from the September 29, 2015 Education Update
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