News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters School Board snapshot

The Sisters School District Board held its regular monthly meeting in person at Sisters Middle School (SMS) on Wednesday, February 3.

• In honor of National School Counselor Week, community member Charlie Kanzig acknowledged the hard work and dedication of the school district’s four counselors, Kate Kuitert, Brook Jackson, Rick Kroytz, and Lindy Weddel Gilbert.

• Steve Swisher, the budget committee chair, spoke during community comments and explained that the groups Citizens for Community and the Vision/Action team would like to have a meeting with Superintendent Curt Scholl and School Board Chair Jay Wilkins, about their desire to support the passage of the local bond measure this spring (which will continue the current rate for local taxpayers). The bond will focus on the building of a new elementary school.

Swisher’s second comment related to the bond as well, in that he believes that future members of the budget committee would benefit from learning more about the bond measure in order to serve as “ambassadors” in the efforts to pass the bond.

• The school district’s auditor made a yearly wrap-up of the books, with no outstanding issues to report. Business Manager Sherry Joseph reported that finances are on target.

• Paul Andrews from High Desert Education Service District (HDESD) reported on the services available to, as well as those purchased by, SSD. High Desert Education Service District provides support to schools in the tri-county area in four specific areas including special education, technology support, administrative support, and school improvement support.

• Sisters Elementary School (SES) Principal Joan Warburg shared data focused on student performance in reading and math, including news that showed that, overall, the students have closed any gaps that may have occurred from being out of school last spring. Warburg indicated that in her opinion, SES students are likely to be state leaders in their performance based on the assessment results, and expressed her thanks to the board and Superintendent Curt Scholl for their work in ensuring the school opened this fall for in-person learning.

• Sisters Middle School Principal Alison Haney focused her report on the joy she is experiencing in having students back in the building over the past two weeks.

“It’s just been awesome with all the energy and enthusiasm of having students back,” she said.

She said that students and staff are adjusting well to all the safety protocols and operations are running smoothly.

• In similar fashion, Sisters High School (SHS) Principal Joe Hosang shared some photos of students’ return to school and read comments from a volunteer observer indicating how grateful students are to be back in the building.

The observer said, “These kids are connected, they have a voice, they felt welcome and it’s clear the staff has worked so hard to build relationships, and the fruit of that rang so when I visited on Wednesday.”

Hosang also acknowledged what a great job the student leadership group did to welcome everyone back.

• In his superintendent report, Scholl reported that other school districts have been in contact with him after hearing of the success SSD is having. He has heard many community comments showing gratitude about schools being open. Scholl touched on the need to begin work on the 2021-22 school calendar, which is obviously going to be a challenge given all of the unknowns of the pandemic.

• Enrollment has risen slightly again overall since December: SES (349 - plus 3); SMS (382 - plus 9); and SHS (396 - no change).

• Three positions are open on the SSD Budget Committee (See related story). Information for those interested in applying can also be found on the district’s website, http://www.ssd6.org.

• Second readings of board policies regarding the guidance program, graduation exercises, equal educational opportunity, and threats of violence were approved.

• The next regular school board meeting is set for Wednesday, March 3, at 6 p.m. and will be in-person at SMS if possible.

 

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