News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

School board spotlight —challenges faced and met

The Sisters School Board at their Wednesday, June 2, meeting honored Ethan Hosang as a double state champion following his wins at the 4A cross country meet and in the 3,000 meters at the 4A track and field meet.

The board met at the district office for its regular meeting along with an executive session to review the evaluation of Superintendent Curt Scholl. Members present included Edie Jones, Jeff Smith, Don Hedrick and chair Jay Wilkins who conducted his final meeting as a member of the board. David Thorsett was not able to attend.

• Steve Swisher, chair of the budget committee expressed his strong opinion that the school should not sell the assets, including the current elementary school, the old bus barn and the district office building, that may become available as the new elementary school is built. In response, Wilkins emphasized that no decisions have been made about these assets and that the building oversight committee along with the school board and community members will all be part of an open and transparent decision making process.

• In his remarks, Swisher offered sincere thanks to the budget committee members who helped complete the budget for the 2021-22 school year, including Amy Terebesi, Darek Olsen, and Regan Roberts. Swisher also thanked his wife Novella for her many years of behind-the-scenes work and assistance to him. He went on to

• The revenue/expenditure report from Finance Manager Sherry Joseph indicated finances are in good shape and with the budget approved for 2021-22 and the school bond having passed she is getting to work on next year’s funding management. Deschutes County will actually certify the results of the bond vote within the next week, making its passage official and allowing planning to commence in earnest.

• Elementary Principal Joan Warburg shared data from IReady assessments for grades K-4 with very positive results. In essence, every single grade level showed significant growth, and very few students in any grade K-4 (single digit percentages) fell into the “red zone” of being significantly below grade level.

Warburg noted that the data included only students who had been in attendance throughout the year. First graders came through with tremendous growth after having to be on distance learning the final three months of kindergarten, a situation that was of great concern to Warburg.

• Joe Hosang, in his final board meeting as principal at Sisters High School, reflected on some things he feels most proud of, including the increase over the past six years in graduation rates and the implementation of the Student Success Act which includes “Freshman on Track.” Hosang spent 10 years at Sisters High School and is moving into a new position at the district office working on human resources and other duties.

• Tim Roth represented Sisters Middle School and addressed some of his goals for next year, when he will officially be seated as the principal. Goals include the full implementation of grade-level collaboration in order to continue the data-driven model of student achievement similar to Sisters Elementary School. He announced the eighth-grade promotion scheduled for 5 p.m. on June 14 outdoors at Reed Stadium.

• Curt Scholl began his report with another “thank-you” to all of the staff of the district.

• “It was a full team effort this year to continually do what was best for kids to the best of our ability,” he said.

• Scholl also presented a “heartfelt thank-you” to outgoing board member and chair, Jay Wilkins for his four years of service.

• The board scheduled a meeting for 4 p.m. on June 14 at the district office to officially vote on a resolution to accept the results of the school bond, which should be certified by Deschutes County this week.

• Under board business Jay Wilkins acknowledged the agreement to continue to partner with the group C4C (Citizens for Community) in the planning of how to best deal with the assets of the school district as the new elementary project gets completed. He also reported that members for the Bond Oversight Committee will be solicited through announcements in The Nugget. Applications will be due by July 7. Those interested can also contact superintendent secretary Mel Petterson at [email protected]

• Before announcing the end of the meeting Jay Wilkins gave parting remarks as he leaves the post after notching “48 Wednesdays” with meetings over the past four years. He gave high praise to the school employees, as well as his fellow board members.

“I want to give thanks to all the administrators, to all the teachers, to the entire team of employees that make the district work, especially for what they have accomplished over the past two year,” he said. “By any objective measure you have done better than any other district in the state.” He also offered some “free advice” to the board, which now includes Jenica Cogdill, who will replace Wilkins as the fifth member, reminding them that their job is simply “to set policy, we approve the budget, and we evaluate the superintendent.”

He acknowledged the success the district has with community partners, including the Sisters Folk Festival, the airport, and many businesses and skilled volunteers that help provide differentiated learning opportunities for students, “not to mention the passage of a $33 million dollar bond.” Another success in Wilkins’ mind was the creation of a Mission and Vision that includes the hallmark themes of “Belong, Inspire, and Prepare.”

Wilkins expressed great confidence in the board and Curt Scholl to continue doing important work in all aspects of the school district.

“There is so much to celebrate, so much positive momentum as we get back to normal,” he said. (See Wilkins’ column, link below.)

• The board moved into executive session to discuss the evaluation of superintendent Curt Scholl, who is completing his sixth year with the district.

• The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 7, 2021 at 6 p.m. at the district office.


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