Sisters School Board spotlight
Last updated 11/9/2021 at Noon
The Sisters School District (SSD) Board of Directors met on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 via Zoom. All board members including Edie Jones, Don Hedrick, David Thorsett, Jeff Smith, and Jenica Cogdill were in attendance.
•?Steve Swisher, the budget committee chair and former SSD superintendent, spoke during the community comments, once again sharing his position that the school district proceed thoughtfully when it comes to the use of the current elementary school and district office after the new elementary is completed in 2023. The gist of his message included that population predictions over the next 20 years will likely result in the need for more space for students, particularly in the younger grades and that the current elementary facility could be brought back online to house the added students (see related story, page 1).
•?Peyton Petterson was introduced as the student representative to the school board.
•?Sisters High School Principal Steve Stancliff reported on the many community connections that contribute to student learning at the high school.
“Our students get experiential learning opportunities, often with the help of community volunteers, that help them apply their learning to real world settings,” he said.
He mentioned the IEE program, in-the field science studies, and a new science program that connects with NASA scientists, as examples. The high school continues to work on the theme of “Belong” with focus on identifying student/adult connections, rebooting the Sources of Strength program, and the ongoing efforts regarding culturally responsive teaching practices.
•?Sisters Middle School Principal Tim Roth celebrated the fact that during the COVID pandemic the middle school had only one student club operating, but thanks to the efforts of both staff and students 26 different clubs are now active, most of which are held on early-release Fridays. These changes are part of the school’s work on the “Belong” theme. Sisters Middle School is also emphasizing participation in after-school athletics, which had dwindled during COVID.
•?Sisters Elementary School Principal Joan Warburg reported on the progress of the “Leader in Me” program. In addition she spoke about how excited the students felt to be able to have assemblies again.
•?In the area of “Prepare,” the school has been analyzing data in math and reading to find areas that need improvement. One-on-one assessments are being completed with students.
•?The summer learning program showed significant gains in the students who took part. The STEAM program (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) involves all age groups including kindergarten. The greenhouse at the school has been refurbished and is being used.
•?Lorna Van Geem reported on special programs that include special education and counseling. Counselors from the district will attend the national school leadership conference in February. She mentioned the “reboot” of the Sources of Strength program, as well. Paraprofessionals in the district got training centered on coping with students regarding related to FAT (frustration, anxiety, and tension).
•?Enrollment is flat at this time according to Superintendent Curt Scholl, but many districts in the state have actually lost enrollment since COVID. Bend-La Pine is down over 1,000 students, according to Scholl.
•?Regarding the elementary school building project the bond oversight committee will meet at 5 p.m. on November 17, at the district office. The same night at 6 p.m. at the elementary school will be a community meeting about the project.
•?The Citizens for Community (C4C) monthly “Let’s Talk” will take place on Monday, November 15, via Zoom and explore the topic of the future use of the current elementary school property. Sign up at www.
citizens4community.com/events (see story, page 3).
•?The board discussed using a construction manager general contractor (CMGC) for the elementary building project as the District did for the high school when it was built.
•?The next board meeting will be Wednesday, December 8, at 6 p.m.