Supt.: Past school year challenging

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
Looking back on the school year, Supt. Bo Yates presented an end-of-year update to School Board members at their monthly meeting Thursday, June 10.
It’s been a challenging school year, Yates said.
“The continual controversy of how we should be operating certainly created anxiety and some disappointment due to our reliance on comprehensive distance learning for the majority of the year.”
Daily test-positive rates of COVID guided the district’s operations, the community dealt with the impact of the wildfires, and the district waded through the sorrow of the passing of teacher Anne Williams and coach Kelsey Harris, he added.
This year they implemented common learning platforms for students (Canvas, SeeSaw, Zoom), and all students were provided Chromebooks.
Yates praised the efforts of staff, Linn County Health Authority, and Kris Latimer at the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam.
Despite all obstacles, the district graduated more than 200 students, including 26 from Ralston Academy, he said. That graduation rate will be at 80 percent, and they are still working on “getting students across the line.” There will be another graduation later in the summer for those students.
Also during the meeting, board member Tammy Schilling presented a look at the Student Investment Account funding, which is intended to meet students’ mental or behavioral needs, and increase academic achievement for students.
This year, the school received $1,079,044, from the SIA, and next year will receive $2,744,879. The increase in funding this year will help fund deans of student success at each building, another English Learner teacher, and a CTE teacher at the middle school. It will also help provide 35 assistants for K-3.
“All of the schools will have one per kindergarten class, plus three or four more bodies to help with K-3 literacy,” said Tammy Schilling, board member.
The trained assistants will help the district reach its “Everybody a Reader at Third Grade” goal, she said.
“You can’t just throw bodies at people and get a result,” she said.
It takes planning, training and accountability to make it work, Schilling said.
“This is one of the few things that we can do that we will see very quickly how well it’s working,” said Tom Oliver, board chair.
Schilling added that if this works, it will lead to better graduation rates.
In other business, the board:
♦ Approved the curriculum areas for adoption and summer school plans;
♦ Adopted a resolution to transfer $635,000 in funds so there will not be a negative balance at the end of the month. The district also wanted to transfer $35,000 from the general fund to pay for an updated food service delivery vehicle.