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The May 9 School Accountability Committee meeting gave parents a chance to learn more about the district

PMG PHOTO: CLAIRE HOLLEY - School board chair Bob Barman thanks Superintendent Michael Musick at the School Accountability Committee meeting.With the 2018-19 school year coming to a close, the Lake Oswego School District held a district-wide School Accountability Committee (SAC) meeting at Lakeridge High School Thursday, May 9 to give parents the chance the learn about the current state of district's goals and the local option levy, to hear from LOSD principals and to say farewell to Superintendent Michael Musick.

Each school in the district has a SAC that provides an important communication link between the school board, the school and the community. SAC members work to facilitate citizen involvement in the decision-making process of the school. SAC members from each school and their principals, the school board and district staff all came together at the district-wide meeting.

At the May 9 meeting, school board chair Bob Barman, who will also be ending his tenure this June, thanked Musick for his five years of service to the Lake Oswego School District.

"'It's all about our kiddos,' — How many times did you say that to us?," Barman said, addressing Musick. "It's because he believes it. He is a relentlessly positive leader. He gives the people who work with him the credit they deserve. That speaks highly of (his) integrity."

During Musick's time with the district, first as Assistant Superintendent and then as interim Superintendent, graduation rates have increased from 85 to 95%.

The district also changed start times to better serve students. "The result is, we don't have kids skipping first period or coming late to first period," Barman said. "We have kids in seats not falling asleep."

Barman also credited Musick with initiating the October 2018 Special Education Audit, which was commissioned to identify ways to improve the district's treatment and programming for students with special needs. The audit found that while the LOSD has made strides in supporting students with special needs, there is major room for improvement.

"The effects of that audit are rippling through the district now," Barman said. "We will feel the benefits of that for decades to come."

Barman thanked Musick for his role in successfully implementing the school facilities bond, passed by voters in May 2017.

"We owe a great debt of gratitude for that," he said. "You will always be a part of our district. You will always be loved here."

Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Schiele has worked closely alongside Musick, and likened his leadership style to Yoda from "Star Wars." "It's hard work, but he's always next to us supporting us," she said. "He doesn't make you do it on your own — he stands next to you. We can do this work together when we stand right next to (the district's) children."

The school board presented Musick with a few parting gifts, but Musick said the real gift was his experiences with the district. "This is my gift: the opportunity to work with these folks every day," Musick said. "I deeply appreciate the time you give."

The School Accountability Committee meeting also provided the school board a chance to recognize the service of student school board representatives Anna-Marie Guenther and Penelope Spurr.

Next, school board members discussed the local option levy, which citizens of Lake Oswego are currently considering. The vote will be tallied on May 21.

The levy was first passed in 2000 and increased 2004. The 2019 Local Option Levy would maintain existing funding while levying homeowners an additional 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for a total of $1.64 per $1000 assessed value.

Board member Liz Hartman told parents that it's really important to get the levy passed. It would fund mental health and social-emotional learning counselors (three at the elementary level and four at the secondary), eight teachers specializing in STEM/STEAM innovation, three elementary learning specialists in reading, additional PE support for elementary schools and a second school resource officer.

"The work in support of the levy is actually in support of the strategic plan, which is our guide to knowing what we want to achieve, how to do the work and how to measure our success," Hartman said. "That is why we highlight the progress being made on the strategic plan at each SAC meeting."

The first goal, or "Ends 1" of the strategic plan is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (often referred to as DEI); school board member Rob Wagner spoke about the district's progress toward that goal. "The work we're doing in this district through that (DEI) lens has been transformational this year. It comes from people rolling up their sleeves and being willing to do the work," Wagner said. "We've had challenging, robust and sometimes tearful conversations."

Many of these conversations have been at the district's DEI committee meetings, led by Director of Equity and Strategic Initiatives David Salerno Owens. They have spent the last year drafting an equity policy that will soon be adopted by the school board. "Thanks to David pulling the group together to lay a framework — which I honestly believe is the best policy possible," Wagner said. "We are going to have the best policy that guides our decision making for years to come."

Also at the meeting, principals from each level shared updates about life at their school.

Oak Creek principal Lillian Sarlos shared what her students thought about their elementary school.

"Everyone who works here puts so much into including everyone and to making sure everyone is safe," wrote a student. "That's the best thing about my school."

Sarlos shared that about the school's equity work, which "aims to reduce the predictability of who succeeds and who fails in our system," she said. "Teachers statewide have gone out into the street, not to ask for more salary for themselves, but to ask for more counselors and behaviorists in our schools. The need for inclusion work is so, so clear."

Lake Oswego Junior High principal Kevin Mills told parents that he strives to prepare his students for life outside LO. "It's about teaching our children how to grow," he said. "How do we continue to show them a world outside our own bubble, so that when they become that global citizens, they have the skills to grow and succeed outside of Lake Oswego?"

Mills said that through initiatives like "Extraordinary Abilities Week" and "Better Together Day," LOJ is actively working to promote inclusivity. "We work hard on identifying the needs of every child," he said.PMG PHOTO: CLAIRE HOLLEY - Superintendent Michael Musick addresses the attendees at the SAC meeting.

Desiree Fisher, the principal of Lakeridge High School, concurred, and said that in order to understand the path that is right for a student, school staff must actually know the student. "What I love about (working with) this level is that the students are finding their voice and finding opportunities to become the change. They are the activists now," Fisher said. "We have students now that are going out in the community and in the state at large. That's a nice part of being at this level: watching their abilities develop and grow."

For more information on School Advisory Committees, visit www.losdschools.org/Page/2078.

Construction update

At the May 9 School Accountability Committee meeting, district officials also provided updates of bond-funded construction which will ramp up significantly this summer.

"Just wait for the summer. There's going to be quite a lot of work," said Tony Vandenberg, the district's executive director of project management. "We're going to be touching almost every school."

Uplands/Oak Creek

—Uplands is currently under renovation, including new roofing, major seismic upgrades (the gym will be a level 4 seismic rating which will allow immediate occupancy after an earthquake), a secure vestibule, interior modifications, technology upgrades, a new heating system, restroom fixtures and electrical upgrades. Uplands will also receive four modular classrooms in late May to provide additional space.

—Once Uplands is completed, Oak Creek students and staff will relocate there for the 2019-20 school year. Oak Creek renovations will begin this summer. Because of longstanding water intrusion issues, the entire exterior skin of the building will be replaced, along with new windows and roof. The renovation will also include the addition of a Makerspace to support STEM learning, a secure vestibule and technology upgrades throughout every classroom.

Westridge

—Major interior and exterior renovations will begin in June and are anticipated to be completed by the end of the summer.

—Vandenberg said they are working closely with their contractor and staff to complete the "incredible amount of work" ahead of them in only nine weeks.

—Part of the renovation, a small addition to the building, may not be completed by the start of the school year and may continue through September and possibly into October. Vandenberg said that Westridge staff have identified temporary locations for programs that will eventually be housed in the new addition. Any work during the school year will be done on off-hours and non-school days.

Hallinan

—Currently in the design phase, but will have a similar scope as Westridge construction.

—This summer the district will be installing a STEM lab.

—The majority of renovation work is scheduled to begin construction summer 2020.

Forest Hills

—Currently in early planning and scheduled for construction summer 2020.

—STEM lab to be installed at an undetermined time.

—Future renovations will include deferred maintenance work, including mechanical and electrical improvements, and technology upgrades.

Lake Grove

—Renovation planned for summer 2020.

—Will install a STEM lab this summer.

—Future renovations will include deferred maintenance work, including mechanical and electrical improvements, and technology upgrades.

River Grove

—Renovations planned to begin this summer.

—Renovations will include deferred maintenance work, including mechanical and electrical improvements, and technology upgrades.

—Makerspace for STEM learning to be installed this summer.

Lakeridge Middle School

—Currently under construction, scheduled to be completed summer 2020.

—This summer the district will be making improvements on Jean Road including the undergrounding of utilities and new sidewalks, according to Vandenberg. This work is expected to have some traffic impacts.

Lake Oswego Junior High

—Renovations planned for this summer, including deferred maintenance work, technology upgrades and installation of a STEM lab.

—The work will reconfigure the office area to allow the new secure vestibule to function.

Lakeridge and Lake Oswego High School

—Secure vestibules to be installed at both schools this summer.

—Additional security improvements will be completed during summer 2021, along with other renovations.


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