Weekly Superintendent Message

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 http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi. In addition, the AirNow website (http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_state&stateid=38&mapcenter=0&tabs=0) 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 (http://www.osaa.org/docs/committees/sportsmed/smokememo.pdf) 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