School board snapshot
Last updated 12/21/2021 at Noon
The Sisters School board gathered in person and via Zoom at its monthly meeting held December 8. All board members — Don Hedrick, David Thorsett, Jeff Smith, Edie Jones, and Jenica Cogdill — attended.
•?Rodney Cooper, the only citizen to make a community comment, asked the board, “When will children be free from masks? Is there any plan or timeframe for them to be free of their masks?” Superintendent Curt Scholl responded that nothing had changed from the guidance provided by the Oregon Health
•?Business manager Sherry Joseph said that property tax revenues, which are the primary funding source for schools in Oregon, are rolling in, which is typical in November.
•?Administrators delivered information about programs to be celebrated at each of the schools in the district. Sisters High School Principal Steve Stancliff highlighted the Life Skills Transition program and reported that all of the kids in the program are meeting their individual goals. He gave kudos to the many community partners that help support the students in the program.
He also mentioned the success of the Project Unified program, which is associated with the Special Olympics. Sisters has been the one school in Central Oregon that found ways to keep the program active during the pandemic. Sisters will be hosting a Project Unified event in late February, which Stancliff invited the board to attend.
•?Tim Roth was not able to attend the meeting due to his attendance at the national AVID conference, so Sisters Middle School science teacher Mike Geisen, along with three of his eighth-grade students, presented about the ECOS program, which is in its eighth year. ECOS (Earth, Community, Self) is an adventure-based science, art, and discovery program that includes academic standards in
Geisen described it as an “outdoor, place-based science and art experience” that has goals that include building community, developing critical and creative thinking skills and enhancing a sense of being. The students on hand helped guide the board through a slideshow that included photos and texts of some of the adventures the class has taken and plans to take, including a trip to the Strawberry Mountains, a challenge of climbing an old growth fir tree, a coast expedition, and the “NAR” which stands for the November Adventure Race.
The class is for eighth graders only, but includes high school intern helpers. Students are selected for the class based on an application process. ECOS dovetails into the high school IEE program as well as some of the other experiential offerings in the school district.
•?Joan Warburg spoke of the gratitude for Sisters Elementary School’s ability to conduct a Veteran’s Assembly, which took place virtually for the community, under the direction of music teacher Ellie Barbieri. She shared the recorded video of the assembly that was streamed for the community. Warburg spoke of the importance of being able to do such events during pandemic times. She also shared that the entire Elementary School student body would be involved in a holiday assembly/concert that took place on Friday, December?17.
•?Lorna Van Geem updated the board on Special Programs, which includes Special Education, the 504 program, Talented and Gifted (TAG), and counseling services. There are currently 34 students in the school district who are identified as TAG. She reminded the board that all of the counselors in the district will be attending the National School Counselor conference in February. She reported that 46 staff members were trained this fall in crisis prevention and de-escalation
•?Overall enrollment stands at 1,196 according to Superintendent Scholl. He referred to last month’s Citizens4Community (C4C) town hall, which focused on input about what to do with the current elementary school building once the new school is built. There’s not a lot of news on the building project, but Scholl indicated “things are moving forward.”
Scholl expressed gratitude to all school staff for continuing to serve the students so well despite the continued challenges of the pandemic and indicated his concern for their well-being, as well as that of students and families.
The district is still short of bus drivers, but otherwise the district is fully staffed, according to Scholl.
Scholl made brief mention of an upcoming gift to the school district from the Oregon Land Trust of a 160-acre property near Stevens Canyon that can be utilized by the district for outdoor education. He explained the agreement is not final but that he expects it to come through after the first of the year.
•?The board approved regional candidate Courtney Snead for a position on the Oregon School Board Association’s Policy Committee.
•?The next board meeting is scheduled for January 5, 2022 at 6 p.m.