Sisters School Board snapshot
Last updated 2/8/2022 at Noon
The Sisters School Board monthly meeting took place Wednesday, February 2, at the school district office. Community members who were not involved with the content of the meeting attended via Zoom. Edie Jones, David Thorsett, Jeff Smith, and Chair Don Hedrick were in attendance. Jenica Cogdill was absent.
•?Paul Andrews of the High Desert Education Service District (HDESD) made the annual presentation regarding the services offered to Sisters School District, which include such things as administrative support, legal support, support to students with disabilities, technology, and much more. Andrews also informed the board of some new services that include enhancements to the Culture of Care, Career/Technical Education, and Family Engagement Support (through programs such as Better Together).
Concluding his presentation, Andrews requested that the board approve the HDESD proposal, which they did on a 4-0 vote.
Andrews went on to explain that HDESD Board Member Carol Moorehead of Sisters, who has been on the board for over a decade, will be stepping down in June after two years in her latest four-year term and that the school board would be in a position to approve her replacement. School Board Member Edie Jones expressed interest in the position. A decision will be made at a later date.
•?A group of five freshmen from Rima Givot’s high school biology class gave the annual update of the Trout Creek Conservation Area (TCCA), a 160-acre protected forest, which sits due north of the rest of the Sisters High School property. Enhancing protection of the protected property in light of the encroachment of housing development near the area was one recommendation made by the group.
•?Jeff Schiedler, Sisters Middle School (SMS) leadership class teacher, along with three students, informed the board about the variety of ways the leadership class is working to positively engage the student body, which they said was especially important coming out of the isolation of the pandemic.
•?Jocelyn Blevins, Sisters Elementary School (SES) STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) teacher, presented on the K-4 program started under her guidance this year. All students get weekly instruction on topics including native plants (greenhouse and garden), robotics, and environmental science.
•?Amy Johnson gave an overview of the last year of the Youth Transition Program (YTP) that serves students 18-21 with identified barriers to regular employment training and opportunities (IEP, 504, other). The YTP offers eight weeks of training and work during the summer and last year served sixteen students through jobs with Laird Superfood and the Sisters School District. The program has been active for 21 years in the Sisters School District and has served over 200 students. Learning opportunities are available to students during the school year as well.
•?Enrollment in the district is stable.
•?The elementary school building project is on schedule for a fall of 2023 opening. Some community members toured the current Sisters Elementary building as part of the Citizens4Community work being done to help determine the community’s ideas for use of the building in the future.
•?Work on the 2022-23 school year calendar has begun. The middle and high schools are looking at adjustments to the daily schedule from changes that were made during the pandemic.
•?Up to $2 billion from unallocated stimulus money may be made available in Oregon for continued support of students related to the pandemic and its aftermath.
•?Superintendent Curt Scholl asked the board to permit him to formally accept the gift of the 160-acre parcel of land known as the Wildhaven Preserve currently held by the Nature Conservancy (see related story, page 1), to which the board voted 4-0 in favor.
•?The board voted 4-0 to re-adopt 16 policies up for review and approved the first readings 4-0 of 12 other policies.
•?The board approved 4-0 the consent agenda, which included the resignations of high school Spanish teacher Rebekah Dunkle (effective at year’s end) and middle school counselor Brook Jackson (effective the end of March). The hiring of Kurtis Bower (SMS physical education) and Jennifer Morris (SES nurse) were also approved.
The board meeting was suspended for approximately 10 minutes at the outset due to citizen Rodney Cooper’s refusal to wear a mask. He ultimately left the building of his own volition and the meeting reconvened.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 2, following an executive session to complete the evaluation of the superintendent, which will begin at 6 p.m. At that time, the meeting is expected to be conducted via Zoom with the exception of board members and individuals or groups on the agenda. Community comments will be handled via Zoom.