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 HS teacher, students to participate in apprenticeship at OSU
South Albany High School (SAHS) teacher Carla Streng and three students will be participating in the Apprenticeship in Science and Engineering program at Oregon State University. Ms. Streng will serve as one of the Teacher Monitors checking in with and assisting student interns and their mentors during the summer. Tyler Whittaker will be working with Dr. John Simonsen on a biology-based nanotechnology project. Nicole Niskanen will be working with OSU's Dr. Ganti Murthy on his Biochemical Conversion of Grass Straw into Bioethanol project, and Scott Acker will be the intern on Dr. Rajiv Halhotra's research on Machining High-Strength Metal Alloys.
SAHS has never had this many students placed in one summer—just one every now and then in a random year. It's a spectacular example of the District's goal of awakening every student's love of life-long learning.
Spelling Contest Winners
The annual Greater Albany Public School District Spelling Contest was held Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at Calapooia Middle School. Each winner will receive a certificate and be recognized at the May 12, 2014 School Board meeting. The winners were:
Elementary - Division I: Grades 1-5
Middle School - Division II: Grades 6-8
High School - Division III: Grades 9-12
District Off To A Strong Start
Superintendent Maria Delapoer and members of the District Leadership Team spoke to the School Board at its Sept. 8 meeting. She indicated that schools were off to a strong start with teachers and principals excited to begin a new school year. Class sizes are smaller this year and elementary grades are not "blended" at this point.