Superintendent Messages

January 2018

Today is the first school day of the new year, and in four short weeks, we will be half way through the 2017-2018 school year. We have had a big focus this year on attendance, and it shows. Regular attendance rates at all of our schools are on the rise. Our efforts are paying off. Regular attendance is defined as coming to school at least 90% of the school days. Students who miss no more than one day of school per month are regular attenders. Research and experience teaches us that when a student attends school regularly, their chance of passing all of their classes and being successful for the next grade is much greater than students who do not attend regularly. Believe it or not, regular attendance is a greater predictor of school success than test scores or just about any other factor.

We should not be surprised that just “showing up” is so important, but it is. Turns out that showing up is something all of us can and should do. Woody Allen even said, “Showing up is 80% of life.” I think he is 100% right.

At the high school this year we have leveraged Measure 98 dollars to implement an attendance team. The “A Team” is comprised of one teacher and four assistants. Their goal is to provide support, accountability, and incentives to help students “show up” every day and help families to know how important attendance is to their child’s success. The regular attendance rate last year at LHS was 63%—one of the lowest among high schools in the state. The rate is up this year close to 70%, and we are hopeful the rate will keep improving as we continue to focus on the importance of showing up every day and put in place meaningful accountability measures, supports, and incentives that will make a difference.

As we wind around the corner for the final push to the end of the first semester, we hope to finish strong and make January 2018 our best attendance month so far this year.

December 2017

December 4, 2017

You hear a lot about bullying in media (especially social media) these days. Lebanon even has a Facebook group (Lebanon Stands Against Bullying) dedicated to surfacing and helping prevent bullying in our schools.

In order to prevent bullying and keep our students safe at school and in the community, it is important to understand the difference between mean behavior, rude behavior and bullying behavior. I was recently sent a great article that really defines the difference between the three behaviors. I took out an excerpt from the article below where the author defines bullying:

Bullying = Intentionally aggressive behavior, repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power.
Experts agree that bullying entails three key elements: an intent to harm, a power imbalance and repeated acts or threats of aggressive behavior. Kids who bully say or do something intentionally hurtful to others and they keep doing it, with no sense of regret or remorse — even when targets of bullying show or express their hurt or tell the aggressors to stop.

When a student is rude, they inadvertently say or do something that hurts someone. A mean action is intentional and may be repeated. However, bullying is repeated over time, is intentionally aggressive, and involves a power imbalance.

Social media and smart phones make it easier than ever to be rude, mean, and bully other people. It is everyone’s job (parents, schools, community, and students themselves) to prevent bullying through education, exposure, and acts of kindness. Our kids deserve nothing less.

To read more about this article and learn ways to help, check out this link.

Together we can make a positive difference.

November 2017

November 15, 2017

This week is American Education Week, a long-standing celebration of public education and the individuals who are making a difference in ensuring every child receives a quality education.

During American Education Week, November 15th is known as Education Support Professionals Day. We want to take a moment to thank all of our classified school employees who are everyday heroes playing crucial roles in our schools. From transporting and feeding students, to teaching them vital skills and ensuring that schools are operating smoothly, classified employees are essential to public education.

From the time students board a school bus to the time they head home at the end of the day, every aspect of a student’s educational experience is impacted by a classified school employee. From the classroom to the playground, the school cafeteria to the library, to the school office, special education rooms, and everywhere in between, classified employees are making a huge difference in the daily lives of our students.

So, we want to send a big THANK YOU out to all of our classified staff for the tireless and important work you do.

November 6, 2017

Great Fall Season for Lebanon Athletes
Our Lebanon Lady Warriors had a great fall sports season! Our girls cross country team finished 10th in state, our volleyball team finished 5th, and our girls soccer team made it to the state tournament for the first time in history! In addition to the great accomplishments of our girls this year, our Warrior football team is making another deep run in the state tournament. They will be playing a rematch of last year’s state final in Wilsonville this Friday night. Should be a great event!

Welcome Center Coming Soon
We are working on creating a Welcome Center at the District Office to serve as a central hub to support families new to the District and to connect any student or family in need with services and community resources. Currently, about one third of our population is mobile, and sometimes these mobile students have significant behavioral, attendance, and social/emotional needs. Based on the ever increasing needs of our students we want to be more purposeful and efficient with our services. The Welcome Center will be staffed with two community liaisons and also supported by our Human Resources team. We anticipate building strong school and community partnerships and recruiting volunteers as well. We hope to get started with additional services for families and students as soon as we can – look out for more details from us as this develops!

October 2017

October 23, 2017

State Report Cards
The 2017 District and state report cards were released earlier this month, and are available on our website for each school. We also saw a 10% jump in our 4 year graduation rate (from 62% to 72%) for the class of 2016. We are currently in the process of reviewing the data from the class of 2017. The graduation rate of this class will be released by the state in January. The Oregonian created a website for the public to compare how schools and districts performed in the key outcome areas. The site also has ways to compare school and district input factors such as free and reduced lunch, special education, ELL, free and reduced lunch, and special education. Through this interactive webpage, you can review key Lebanon school outcomes (grad rate, growth, assessment score, and dropouts) and compare those to other schools and districts.

Employability Grades
This year we are implementing employability grades in all schools, grades 6-12. Employability grades are given out once each semester and give each student a score (1 through 5) based upon their attendance, tardies, behavior, cooperation, and ability to complete assigned work. The majority of the grade (70%) is taken straight from the student information system based upon attendance, tardies, and behavior. The rest of the grade (cooperation and work ethic) is based on input from each of the student’s teachers. South Albany High has successfully been using employability grades to motivate students for a few years now. Local employers have been very supportive of our willingness to teach and grade these core workplace skills. Though the grade will not be on a student’s transcript, parents and students will receive a report twice a year, and schools will be able to use these scores as a tool in the response to intervention (RTI) process to help provide interventions to students and information to parents. Teachers will have an opportunity to share information with parents about the employability grade during conferences next week. More details on the employability grade can be found here.

Upcoming Events:
No School on Friday, October 27th (teacher prep day).
No School on Monday, October 30th or Tuesday, October 31 (parent-teacher conferences).

October 16, 2017

AVID Night
Tuesday, October 17th will be the District-wide AVID family night at LHS. Dinner will be served from 5 pm to 6 pm, followed by an informational session in the auditorium and choice sessions for parents to learn more about AVID and how to help their children succeed in school.

Last Wednesday, all of the students at LHS were involved in an assessment day. The 9th graders took the 8/9 version of PSAT, while the 10th and 11th graders took the PSAT. The 12th graders took the SAT. We had 82% of the freshmen take their assessment, 73% of the sophomores, 71% of the juniors, and 63% of the seniors take the SAT. This is the highest participation we have had on these assessments since we started the school wide assessment day.

Budget Committee Vacancies
We are accepting applications for 2 open budget committee positions – one 2-year position and one 3-year position. Applications can be found here and should be turned in to Business Office by 4:00 PM on November 3.

October 9, 2017

Foundation Grants
LCSD staff completed 39 foundation mini-grants last week. The Lebanon Schools Foundation supports classroom and school grants. This is the highest number of grants completed since we began this project several years ago. Foundation board members are in the process of reviewing the grants, and we will fund as many as possible within our budget of $10,000. The Foundation will contribute $5,000 to the projects, and the district will match that amount. If you would like to learn more about the Lebanon Schools Foundation and how you can be involved with their work, please contact me or visit the Foundation web page.

Bud and Dorothy Page LHS Hall of Fame
Nominations are now open for the 2018 Bud and Dorothy Page LHS Hall of Fame. If you know of a LHS alumni who has achieved excellence in any field, please take some time to fill out an application for the committee to review. Applications can be downloaded from the Hall of Fame web page.

Board Meeting – new location and ONLINE!
This Thursday evening LCSD will conduct its board meeting at the Santiam Travel Station here in Lebanon. The travel station has technology available that will enable us to record the meeting live and post it to the web. Be on the lookout for the link!

No School Friday
Just a reminder that there is no school on Friday, October 13th due to the statewide in-service day.

October 2, 2017

Suicide Awareness Night
I was completely impressed by the first annual Suicide Awareness Night last Monday. The event was well attended (around 300 people came to support the event) by community members and local organizations dedicated to the mental health and support of our young people. It was great to see so many people coming together to share ideas about ways we can further protect and help our most precious resource—children and young people in our community. Several ideas and suggestions for further support came from the event, and these ideas will be processed and implemented by our Regional Suicide Awareness task force that meets on a regular basis. The task force includes staff, students, parents, community members, and representatives of several partner organizations.

Classroom to Career Expo:
The Classroom to Career Expo was another first annual event happened last week. This event was sponsored by over 30 local industries and attended by over 1,000 students from Lebanon and Sweet Home. The focus of the event was to show students the vast number of CTE (Career and Technical) jobs that are available in our community with a high school diploma and some specialized training. At the expo students had an opportunity to weld, learn about concrete, see a race car, sit in big machines (and operate them), and even use simulators. The hands-on approach is one of the best ways we can help students learn about these potential careers and help inform their career planning. A big thanks goes to the industries that showed up, the schools that adjusted their day to get the students to the event, and Kris Latimer from the Boys and Girls Club who and got us all in the room together and provided the inspiration to pull it off.

August/September 2017

September 25, 2017

We have several important community events that are happening this upcoming week. On Monday at 6:30pm, there is a suicide awareness night at Lebanon High School. Several organizations from around the community are helping with this student-led event. The mental health of our students is a growing concern for our district, and it is good to see so many members of our community rally to support our kids. We also have Open House and curriculum events at LHS on Wednesday evening and at 7 Oak on Thursday evening. The week will end with the Classroom to Career event on Friday the 29th. Over 30 industries are coming together to host a hands on event for students from Sweet Home and Lebanon school districts. Our goal is to expose 1,000 students to local, living wage careers with local industries. The Boys and Girls Club and Rick Franklin are the chief sponsors of this event, and it has been thrilling to see so many people come together in support of our students. The Expo will take place all day on Friday near the Santiam Travel Station.

September 19, 2017

Friday Night Lights

Last Friday night was a perfect night for high school football. We must have had 60 to 70 students in the band, 50 to 60 on the football field, 40 to 50 cheerleaders, and 30 to 40 dance team members. The crowd was one of the largest I have seen in my 20 years associated with Friday Night Warrior football. What a spectacular event! Fans were cheering, students (lots and lots of students) were participating in activities they enjoy, and the weather was perfect—not too hot, not too cold, and not too smoky! The defending state champion Warriors battled back from a 17-0 deficit to take an 18-17 lead in the 4th quarter and made it 24-17 with two minutes to go. A final desperation drive by Crescent Valley made it 24-23, and the whole game came down to a final 2 point conversion. Even though our Warriors came up short on that last play and lost 25-24, it was still a great evening for our community. I am so proud to see the pride, engagement, and involvement of our Warrior students, families, and friends. The best news of all is we get to do it all over again this Friday night at home against Silverton. If you want to experience the best of small town Americana Friday night football, come out and support your Warriors this Friday night. You won’t be disappointed.

September 12, 2017

Oregon Report Card Survey:
ODE is requesting feedback on the design and purpose of the Oregon Report Card for schools. I took this survey and thought it asked some really good questions about what kind of data should be reported annually to stakeholders. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete, and you can answer the questions as a parent or community member. Oregon’s ESSA plan was recently approved by the Federal government, and the report card redesign is a part of the new law. This is an opportunity to have your voice heard and make a difference.

After the 10th day of regular school, it looks like enrollment numbers are finally starting to settle down, and we are currently 178 students over our projection from last December. Predicting enrollment is more art and luck than science. With a mobility rate of over 25%, unstable funding from Salem, and the escalating cost of doing business, we try to be conservative in our enrollment projections. Budgets are built off of enrollment projections, and those projections drive the number of staff assigned to each building. This summer we had an unprecedented number of families new to the area moving into Lebanon. This is a trend we hope continues. As a result of the increased numbers and enrollment shifts across the district, we had to transfer staff and added some new staff to accommodate the needs with the priority being elementary class size at the primary level.

September 6, 2017

Student health and safety is a top priority. We are monitoring air quality in our area and our building principals and athletic coaches will be advised if local conditions require changes in recess, physical education or sports practice/game locations for students. Children with conditions such as asthma, respiratory infection, or lung/heart disease are at greater risk. If your child has sensitivity to air pollution and you haven’t yet done so, please contact your school office.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is the EPA’s scale for rating air quality. It is a color coded tool that categorizes air quality. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) maintains air quality ratings that are updated hourly and can be accessed online at In addition, the AirNow website ( offers daily AQI forecasts as well as real-time AQI conditions.

The Oregon School Activities Association recommends all contests or practices be moved inside when air quality is in the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” or worse range. OSAA is telling schools to check air quality before activities and suggests that schools can also use the 5-3-1 Visibility Index ( to make decisions. If objects 5 miles away cannot be seen, air quality is “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.”

Thank you for your ongoing concern. Based on the most recent weather & smoke predictions, an air quality alert has been issued for our area until Friday at noon. However, conditions can change rapidly so the best way to know the current condition is to check the AirNow Website.

September 4, 2017

A heat advisory and air quality alert have been issued from Portland to Ashland until Tuesday evening. Temperatures will be near 100 degrees on Monday and Tuesday, and winds from the East could blow smoke from the Cascades into the valley. It is supposed to be in the high 80s on Wednesday and then cooler on Thursday and Friday.

Please encourage your student to drink lots of water at school. If it becomes smoky, outdoor recesses may be restricted. We know that some classrooms in the District do not handle the heat very well. We will be monitoring classrooms with extreme heat and also be monitoring the weather and air quality conditions, so we can make arrangements to move students to cooler areas of the building if necessary.

August 28, 2017

School is Starting! All of our schools are having some sort of Open House today – Monday, August 28th. Starting school with an Open House allows parents the opportunity to meet their child’s teacher, bring in school supplies, and start building that all important home-to-school relationship. At Seven Oak and LHS, we will have only the 6th and 9th grader students attending school. This enables these new students the opportunity to learn where their classes are and navigate the school prior to other students being on campus. Please visit your child’s school website if you need more information about Open Houses, bus routes, etc.

From June to August, we processed over 150 new Open Enrollment requests. We were able to support about 80% of those requests. The ongoing school funding crisis in Oregon and over-crowded classrooms make it impossible to grant every open enrollment request. An early start (before Labor Day) means there is more scrambling to get rooms and classroom rosters ready before the start of school than a typical after Labor Day start. However, it also means we will get out of school earlier in June and have more flexibility when it comes to having to make up potential snow days.

Thank you for supporting Lebanon Schools! We look forward to a great school year serving Lebanon students!

-Dr. Rob Hess, Superintendent