School Board members get close look at Cascade improvements


The Lebanon Community School Board was treated to a trip to the playground and a student-made video tour of Cascades School at its Oct. 13 meeting.
Principal Tami Volz talked about the safety issues with the old playground, such as old swings that broke, resulting in a student injury. The area is being improved in phases.
“We’re pretty proud of this project,” Volz said.
She thanked parent teacher organization and community support for getting the school through phase one of the playground renovation.
Volz was unsure of the amount of money that has gone into the project so far. They’re still trying to figure out the value of the gravel and asphalt.
It was big project and they had a significant amount of donations from local businesses, she said.
A walkway that winds through the playground is made up of bricks poured for businesses that donated $200, $500 or more than $1,000 to the playground project.
“The big 12×12 bricks are for those that donated more than $1,000 for the project,” Volz said. “It took a lot of work and it’s a much nicer place.”
The next phase will address access for children who are in wheelchairs.
“We don’t have equipment that accommodates them very well,” Volz said. “We’re really hoping we can raise that money before the end of the year. Then we can install over the summer.”
That phase will cost about $34,000, she said.
They are seeking grants and corporate sponsorships to help fund the project.
Later in her presentation, Volz introduced fifth-grade teacher Ryan McWayne.
McWayne started a news club three years ago during his first year at The Cascades.
Only fifth-graders were in the club and it was during the day.
“It was really hard to find the time and we had kids filming at recesses and their PEs,” McWayne said. “It was kind of a logistical nightmare.”
The solution was to have a news club after school. Members meet for an hour after school on Tuesdays and on Thursday mornings.
“We do a monthly news show of all the things going on at the school,” McWayne said.
This month they are doing a story on AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination).
“Apparently, Star Wars Reads Day is a thing in October, so we’re doing a story about that,” McWayne said.
The club also produces a video for the school’s weekly virtue.
Volz has a virtues book that provides quotes and examples of different virtues, such as helpfulness, commitment, and respect.
“Commitment and perseverance are big ones for us,” Volz said because they don’t want students to give up. “If you have to do a rewrite, it’s not the end of the world.”
“When Tami told me we were going to talk about the news club, we decided we wanted to put together a little video,” McWayne said.
The News Club wanted to give a tour of the school, with a highlight on AVID, he said.
“On the upper corner, you’re going to see WICOR and the letters highlighted in red are what was going on in the classroom when he went to videotape,” McWayne explained to the board.
In AVID, WICOR stands for writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading.
Volz also said Cascades has reduced out-of-school days for students by 75 percent. Referrals have decreased by 14 percent.
“I think what’s significant about that is is we have better options now for kids than sending them home,” Volz said. “We have layers and layers of support. We have behavior plans that actually work.”

By Audrey Caro Gomez
Lebanon Local