District Hosts Parent Information Dyslexia NightPosted by West Linn-Wilsonville on 11/2/2018 12:00:00 PM
The West Linn-Wilsonville School District hosted a Dyslexia Parent Information Night on Monday, Oct. 29. Interested families and members of the community learned about recent changes in which WLWV schools screen for dyslexia and provide resources for all students.
Starting last year and taking full effect this year, all West Linn-Wilsonville kindergartners (and first-graders who have entered public education for the first time) will undergo dyslexia screening in the fall and then again in the spring.
Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Barb Soisson, Assistant Superintendent of Primary Schools David Pryor, and Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Jennifer Spencer-Iiams explained the extensive training WLWV teachers engaged in over the summer. Parents also learned about the screening process, and how it helps identify risk factors for students, reading growth over the year, and strategies and resources that provide the necessary support for students who have been diagnosed with dyslexia.
While the State of Oregon requires one teacher at every primary and middle school to complete dyslexia training, West Linn-Wilsonville requires a minimum of four teachers at the primary level, two at the middle level, and one at the high school level to undergo training. The district intentionally invited the University of Oregon in June, following the completion of the school year, to get as many teachers trained as possible. Dr. Pryor shared with families that even more than the district-required number of teachers attended the extensive three-day training, which has proven to be a substantial benefit for students.
“The gym at Athey Creek Middle School was packed with educators from across our district,” he said. “We really had some hard-working educators who are committed to providing all of our students with quality learning.”
Dr. Soisson explained that students with dyslexia are often extremely skilled in their understanding of reading concepts, but the learning disability provides a roadblock in their recognition of shapes and letters. When dyslexia is properly diagnosed and high-leverage strategies are implemented, however, students routinely thrive. Students are often adept at using workaround methods to read and comprehend literature, but when diagnosed students can receive supports that help propel their reading even further.
Part of the district’s commitment to providing necessary curriculum and instruction for students with dyslexia is in the form of AimsWeb, which is a specially-designed teaching tool used throughout West Linn-Wilsonville.
Another shift for the district is parent education and parent screening, given to families of all incoming kindergarteners and first-graders who are new to public education. That screening provides a family history check-list for schools, which helps identify potential risks or factors for dyslexia in students. The district has also developed a system to inform and regularly communicate with families during and after the screening process, ensuring students receive full wrap-around support throughout their K-12 education.
For more information about dyslexia resources in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, visit the district website.
Long Range Planning Committee Talks Learning Space Capacity, District Enrollment NumbersPosted by West Linn-Wilsonville on 10/26/2018 11:00:00 AM
The West Linn-Wilsonville Long Range Planning Committee held a regular meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 24, discussing the Third Quarter Bond Report, the re-calibration of school capacities, recent demographic reports from Flo Analytics, and a review of last year’s Superintendent’s High School Study Report.
Operations Director Tim Woodley and Project Manager Remo Douglas shared the Third Quarter Bond Report with Long Range Planning Committee Members. The Third Quarter Report shows that 92 percent of current funding has been committed, with more than $6.25 million of the Capital Bond having been spent during the third quarter. Projects included new secure building entries at West Linn High School, Bolton Primary, and Boeckman Primary, as well as a district-wide emergency radio system, select security camera installation, and new turf at Wood Middle School, Wilsonville High School, and West Linn High School.
The Long Range Planning Committee then took a closer look at re-calibrated learning space capacities at each of West Linn-Wilsonville’s schools. Calculated with help from DOWA-IBI Group, Woodley explained the district derived a formula for projecting school capacities following extensive research that included talking with surrounding school districts and digging into capacity practices across the nation.
The capacity analysis is based on the size of teaching spaces and the number of students those spaces can support. This square foot-per-student ratio is derived through an analysis of national and regional standards, preferred class size, class schedules, academic programs, and district planning priorities. Floor plans of each building were used to identify each space and assign the current use. The area of those spaces was calculated and the square-foot-per-student ratio was applied to determine the overall building capacity.
Woodley noted that the results show building capacities that accurately reflect the district’s feel of what true learning space capacities are for each building. Capacity numbers at the primary and middle level raised just slightly, while capacities at the district’s high schools came in slightly below previous capacity numbers. Members of the LRPC agreed that "Learning Space Capacity" was the best term for new school capacity calculations, emphasizing the importance of explaining the purpose and meaning associated with each number to community members as the Board contemplates a future Bond.
Members noted that the newly calculated capacities will be important for the district long-term as the LRPC analyzes demographic projects and enrollment growth in the school district. The LRPC looked at the most recent Flo Analytics report, providing a 10-year enrollment projection starting with the 2017-18 school year. Woodley said the district will have updated demographic projections, starting with the 2018-19 school year, by November, which will aid the LRPC and School Board as they consider going out for a bond in 2019.
The LRPC also spent time reviewing the Superintendent’s High School Study Report, which was presented to the Board in early October. Superintendent Dr. Kathy Ludwig noted that the report is a focus on high school programming and the future of student learning. The report was not a review or recommendation of potential future high school learning spaces, but instead a deep dive into the future of learning needs for future high school students.
The Long Range Planning Committee will meet again in November to review recommendations from the Board Safety Advisory Committee Report, a review of proposed capital projects, and a review of the Long Range Plan among other agenda items.
District, School Board Engage in Powerful Learning and Assessment ReviewPosted by West Linn-Wilsonville on 10/25/2018 9:00:00 AM
Every fall, West Linn-Wilsonville School Board members meet with principals to learn about WLWV schools and the important work taking place in the classroom. Principals share detailed work plans for the school year, highlighting specific areas where building leaders and classroom teachers are striving to make positive growth for all West Linn-Wilsonville students.
While principals have traditionally shared detailed reports during School Board meetings, the WLWV Board of Directors unanimously decided to bring this important learning to the school level, embarking on learning walks during the months of October and November. The WLWV School Board selected 3-4 WLWV schools each, engaging in in-depth learning during the school day. Board members have spent time observing and learning alongside building principals and district administrators, examining classroom learning and discerning the student experience first-hand.
Following learning walks and school visits, Board members will share their observations, discoveries, and impressions with the rest of the School Board later this year, providing an opportunity for deeper understanding of the school district’s 16 schools. This powerful research allows the School Board to better integrate the district mission and goals into what is taking place in classrooms every day.
Part of School Board learning and subsequent reports is directly tied to assessment data and student achievement. The Oregon Department of Education released preliminary State Report Card data on Wednesday, Oct. 24. While incomplete, the report card data provides a small snapshot of student achievement in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District during the 2017-18 school year.
The Report Card showed on-time graduation of high school seniors was measured at 93 percent for the school district compared to 86 percent of high school freshmen who are on-track to graduate. The 2017-18 preliminary report card showed students in grades 3-8 are above-average in terms of individual student progress, and 79 percent of students with disabilities are on track to graduate.
While complete report cards are expected sometime in November, much of the reported student achievement data has already been captured in West Linn-Wilsonville’s Measure of Academic Process (MAPS) assessment data. WLWV schools collect MAPS assessment data throughout the school year, which principals and teachers routinely use to raise rigor as well as improve and increase student learning.
Board members are analyzing that MAPS assessment data alongside principals and district administrators, using the recently released data for comparison and further assessment. Preliminary Report Card results can be found at the ODE website. To learn more about student assessment in West Linn-Wilsonville, please visit the district website.
WLWV School Board Talks Safety At Oct. 22 Work SessionPosted by West Linn-Wilsonville on 10/23/2018 3:30:00 PM
The West Linn-Wilsonville School Board held a public work session on Monday, Oct. 22 to talk about safety and security as well as the continued increase of Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) costs expected in the coming biennium.
Superintendent Dr. Kathy Ludwig gave an update on the school district’s continued safety and security upgrades, touching on areas of Student Support Systems, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Environmental Safety and Health, Digital Safety, and Operational Safety.
Operations Director Tim Woodley shared some basic information about the district’s Emergency Operations Plan as well as recently completed Safety Guides. He also updated the Board on the district’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan. He highlighted that the district plans to experiment with alternate methods for weed removal, including steam treatment of weeds that pose risks to facility degradation — weeds in cracks of sidewalks and asphalt — as well as new technology that can be used to prevent weeds across fence lines.
The district is particularly interested in the prevention of fence line weeds, which make up roughly half of the targeted spraying that currently occurs every school year. West Linn-Wilsonville has utilized targeted spraying techniques, using Oregon State University-approved pesticides since implementing its IPM Plan in 2012. The district has reduced pesticide use by more than 80 percent since that time, and the district hopes to continue reducing that number in the future.
The Board also discussed findings presented by the School Board's two Safety Advisory Committees — a group of parents, teachers, and students who spent the summer reviewing the district's safety strengths and weaknesses while prioritizing areas for improvement. Of note, the two advisory committees recommended entryway security at all 16 WLWV schools, enhanced door locks, and improved communication among other asks.
Chief Financial Officer Son Le Hughes also presented information about PERS in the coming 2019-21 biennium in relation to the school district. With continued rate increases for employer contribution rates, the district projects an increase of more than $3 million for the first year of the 2019-21 biennium. The district currently has a PERS Reserve fund of nearly $3.9 million, which can be used to cover future PERS obligation. Hughes told the Board the district will know more about PERS and other budgetary information following the Governor’s Budget proposal expected in November. The Board will discuss PERS further at future meetings.
To watch video from the Oct. 22 work session please visit the district website. The Board will reconvene for a regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 5 beginning at 6 p.m. at the District Office; 22210 SW Stafford Road, Tualatin.
Safety Spotlight — Integrated Pest Management (IPM)Posted by West Linn-Wilsonville on 10/15/2018 12:00:00 PM
The West Linn-Wilsonville School District utilizes an IPM to remediate risks posed by pests such as mice, cockroaches, yellow jackets, and pest-causing factors such as weeds. The district’s IPM was first implemented in 2012, relying on an adopted and approved list of herbicides that are compliant with Oregon law for use on public school grounds and developed and published by Oregon State University.
The West Linn-Wilsonville School District has reduced chemical use of herbicides and pesticides by approximately 80 percent since 2012, administering one or fewer applications per year at each school. The district also utilizes targeted spraying, making sure to use minimal amounts of herbicide only where it is absolutely necessary.
The district might use targeting spraying to tackle problem areas in cracks in district asphalt, along fence lines where it is difficult to hand weed, and when overgrown areas create large bee populations that endanger students. The district does NOT engage in any applications for aesthetic purposes. The district also does NOT engage in preventative spraying, only using herbicides when absolutely necessary.
Additionally, West Linn-Wilsonville is currently exploring alternative options to pesticide and herbicide spraying. Specifically, the district is experimenting with weed management through steaming application as well as preventative measures that don’t require chemical application.
To view the full Integrated Pest Management Plan, please visit the district website.
WLWV Business Office Hires First Student InternPosted by West Linn-Wilsonville on 10/5/2018 2:00:00 PM
The West Linn-Wilsonville Business Office will welcome a new addition to its ranks on Monday, Oct. 8.
The department has hired the first of two student interns in West Linn High School junior Tommy Abboud, who will learn alongside district staff after school. Tommy has aspirations of pursuing a career in finance and business, with a particular interest in math. He is currently enrolled in a business class at Clackamas Community College and wanted to join West Linn-Wilsonville to gain real-world experience in the business world.
"I have always been interested in business," he said. "I want to find ways to learn more and be prepared for college and my career. I think this internship will help me a lot."
Tommy will have the opportunity to perform a variety of duties for the business department, also learning to build professional relationships and work in a business setting. He will have the opportunity to study under Business Office staff for the next two years.
Interested high school students from Arts and Technology High School, Wilsonville High School, or West Linn High School can contact Chief Financial Officer Son Le Hughes if they're interested in applying for an internship position.
WLWV Practices High School Athletic Event Safety With Local PartnersPosted by West Linn-Wilsonville on 10/4/2018 12:00:00 PM
The West Linn-Wilsonville School District regularly partners with local leaders in school safety, meeting multiple times every school year to discuss safety and security measures for students and the larger community. Providing a safe and welcoming school environment for our students, staff, volunteers, and community members is a top priority for each of us, which is why our organizations routinely practice emergency safety situations that could arise within the West Linn-Wilsonville School District.
On Oct. 3, the group took a moment to walk through potential incidents that could take place during High School Athletic Events. First Responders, local law enforcement, TVF&R, and district officials worked through scenarios, lending their perspectives and experiences. While every situation and incident brings its own unique challenges, Wednesday's Table Top exercises helped officials think about incident priorities, solidify communication channels and better prepare for potential emergency events. [LEARN MORE ABOUT WEDNESDAY'S SAFETY MEETING]
Nutrition Services Partners with Local FarmersPosted by West Linn-Wilsonville on 10/1/2018 4:00:00 PM
Nutrition Services is proud to partner with local farmers to bring fresh produce to our schools! A few of those highlighted foods include kiwi berries, grapes, and cherry tomatoes all coming to school cafeterias soon. [FIND OUT MORE]
Wilsonville School Leaders Earn Doctorates With Powerful ResearchPosted by West Linn-Wilsonville on 9/28/2018 11:00:00 AM
This coming December, George Fox University graduate students will walk across the stage to accept doctorates of education (Ed.D.). The moment will be particularly noteworthy for the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, as not one but two WLWV staff members will be among those receiving degrees.
Boones Ferry Principal Angela Freeman and Wood Middle School Band Director Allison Bonn-Savage will both enjoy the experience together after three years of hard work and important research.
Dr. Freeman focused on self-efficacy in mathematics, looking for differences in subgroups of students in particular. She surveyed high school students throughout the school district regarding self-efficacy, comparing responses to Smarter Balanced test results. She looked for trends and comparisons between students of color with low socioeconomic status and white students with low socioeconomic status as well as white females and females of color.
“I was and am interested in exploring achievement and opportunity gaps for students of color,” she said. “We’re always striving to close those gaps and increase equity for students who might face barriers, and it’s a topic that has always been especially important to me.”
Dr. Freeman didn’t find a clear difference in self-efficacy among students but did find lower scores for students of color in Smarter Balanced testing. Her dissertation, which she successfully defended in early September recommends further research take a closer look at those tends.
Dr. Bonn-Savage, meanwhile, conducted a phenomenological study of professional learning experiences for music educators. She was curious as to how music educators across Oregon experience professional learning, and what lengths they go to in order to grow as educators. Dr. Bonn-Savage interviewed teachers all over Oregon, discovering that music educators often pursue their own professional learning even outside of what would be provided or expected from their school district.
She also found that music educators have a strong interest in helping create professional learning opportunities for themselves and peers, recommending through her dissertation that teachers and school leaders collaborate on professional learning opportunities. Bonn-Savage successfully defended her dissertation in August, fulfilling an accomplishment she hopes serves as inspiration and motivation for her students and her own children.
Both Dr. Freeman and Dr. Bonn-Savage said their desire to pursue Doctor of Education degrees came from wanting to better themselves as learners and educators as well as providing important research for the future.
“I learned a lot and am better off for this experience,” Dr. Bonn-Savage said. “I’ve grown as a leader but I’m also a better teacher. The students at Wood have benefited from my growth.”
Safety SpotlightPosted by West Linn-Wilsonville on 9/24/2018 4:30:00 PM
This week we take a look at the difference between a Lock OUT and a Lock DOWN. A Lock Down secures students, staff, and volunteers within classrooms while leaving entrances open for emergency personnel and law enforcement to clear the building. A Lock Out secures and locks the building's entryways while safely sheltering all students, staff, and visitors inside the school building. This drill allows the school day to continue within the building. Please watch this video to learn more about the two protocols.