Let's keep momentum going for LO schools
As I have walked door-to-door around Lake Oswego over the past few weeks meeting all of you, the overwhelming sentiment I hear about our school district is pride. There is great pride that our district is recognized for its commitment to education, the success of its students, and the excitement of rebuilding and rehabilitating our school buildings.
When I was elected to the board in 2015, I came in sharing in that pride, but also recognizing we could do even more to better serve all our students.
Using data-driven decision making and a commitment to students, the past four years have resulted in huge positive change for our students.
— I spearheaded the effort to move start times for secondary students an hour later to align with scientific research on adolescent health.
— We added non-voting student representatives to our board to ensure student voice is always present in our decision making.
— After continuing to hear from underrepresented students about issues of racism and exclusion, in my term as chair, the board created a community-based committee on diversity, equity and inclusion.
— By focusing on individual student data and adding academic and social-emotional supports to help every student graduate, we have seen graduation rates rise from 85% to 95%.
— We have added more opportunities for students to accelerate in math, continued our successful and effective language immersion program, and other data-positive programs.
— As chair, I pushed forward the effort to charter the first state- and grant-funded recovery high school in Oregon to open next year within our district boundaries, giving students in drug and alcohol recovery an opportunity to come to school and focus on learning in a supportive environment.
All of these changes are cost neutral or funded via supplemental funding streams such as Measure 98, but they have a huge effect on the lives of our children and again show that in Lake Oswego, we are a committed and caring community.
This board's efforts are paying off to make Lake Oswego a leader on the national scene. As co-chair of our superintendent search committee, the director of our search firm reported to me that he had never seen so many superintendent applications: more than 1,200 candidates from 47 states expressed interest, and 75 candidates completed the application. Our commitment to data-based decision making and strong values of equity allowed us to hire a nationally sought-after leader, Dr. Lora de la Cruz.
I continue to look to the future in finding ways to improve student health and safety both in the short and long term. With our recent school bond, we are rebuilding schools to be more safe and secure, while adhering to sustainable practices of heating and cooling that save money and protect our planet's resources for our children's future. We have added STEM and STEAM curriculum and technology specialists and will soon have STEM labs in every elementary school.
We have also seen the results of an externally — conducted, board-initiated special education audit and know that we have work to do to be more inclusive of our special needs students and ensure their academic success continues to grow.
I share the pride in this great district and I want to continue being part of the movement forward. Your ballot will arrive soon. I ask for your vote by May 21.
John Wallin is running for reelection to the Lake Oswego School Board.
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