Retirement lurks around the Corner
It has been an honor to serve as Superintendent for the
North Marion School District for the past six years. During that time I have come to appreciate
the close knit supportive atmosphere that makes our District feel more like
family than an institution. Our staff, students and families genuinely care for
each other and feel pride in being a part of “Husky Nation”. As I move into retirement at the end of this
school year, I will take with me many warm memories of Back-to School nights,
May Day celebrations, music concerts, plays, ballgames, exciting classrooms, graduations,
staff get togethers and much more.
I will also leave with great pride in the work we have
accomplished together during my time here.
A mission and vision statement that drives our work; a late-start
Wednesday that allows our staff to become learners with time to perfect their
craft; safety preparation that is second to none; District Leadership Academy
allowing teachers to shape our district in so many ways; infusion of technology
for both teachers and learners; improvements in student behavior and academic
performance; a proud as a peacock graduation rate; a closing of the achievement
gap that saw Hispanic and white students graduate at the same rate last year;
technology driven updates to all sectors of our operation- finance, human resources, maintenance,
library services, food services, student records and communications; expansion
of our Career and Technical Education programs; acquisition of new property to
expand our campus; a long-range facilities plan to guide our growth for the
next twenty years and so much more.
The last five and a half years have gone by in a flash and I
am sure the last few months will go just as swiftly. I want to thank all of you for your efforts
to help make North Marion a great place to live and learn. I wish you well and Go Huskies!
2015-16 should be a Banner Year for
The grass is mowed, hallways painted, floors waxed and new
hires made. Everything is set for another year at North Marion School District
and all indications are it will be a good one.
This year brings our first ever all-day kindergarten. Our kinder team has been busy planning for
the big switch from half-day to full-day and we are expecting some big gains as
a result of the change. While we all
appreciate and support the idea that five year olds still need plenty of
playtime and hometime, the evidence is clear that kids who enter the first
grade with basic language and numeric literacy have a far better chance of finding
academic and social success than those who enter with deficiencies. We believe our all day program will find just
the right balance and ensure our students get a great start to their
Our new English Language Arts materials provide us another
point for optimism. Because of budget
restrictions, a K-12 adoption of new instructional materials has not happened
for some time so the presence of new textbooks, readers and digital support
material is cause for great excitement. Teachers
have been engaged in professional development on the new texts and are anxious
to implement the new common-core aligned materials. Access through our grades
3-8 one-to-one digital devices means our students and parents have the ability
to interact with the lessons anytime and nearly any place. The ability to view
the materials in multiple languages is also a great benefit to our increasingly
diverse student population.
North Marion has become a leader in the state in technology
assisted teaching and learning and this year offers an expansion of our TEC
(Technology Enhanced Classroom) project.
All language arts classrooms in the high school will have laptops for
their students. The new Chromebooks will
allow students greater research capabilities, increased opportunities for
collaboration and expanded options for writing and presentation projects. Next
year a similar expansion is planned for our math classrooms with science and social
studies to follow closely behind.
Of course, the most important resource in our District is
not our textbooks, or our technology, it is our people and this year brings a
whole new crop of professional educators who bring a wide range of skills and
experiences to our team. Below is a
list of our new teachers for the 2015-16 School Year.
We believe 2015-16 will be a year to remember as we bring
together the right people , the right tools and the right programs to serve our
kids and our parents.
MS Basic Skills
HS Opp Ctr
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Will an Armed
Security Officer help Create Safer Schools?
On Monday October 27th at 6:00 pm in the Middle
School Commons, the North Marion School Board will have a work session open to
the public to discuss the arming of its security staff. The question has come before the Board several
times and administrative staff has been working on developing a plan that would
facilitate the move to arm our security staff should the Board wish to take
this step. With the shooting at Reynolds
High School this past June, a sense of urgency has developed around answering
We know the most important piece of the safety puzzle for
schools is the establishment of positive relationships between students and
adults in the school. Creating an
environment where kids feel cared for and respected and where they feel
comfortable sharing important information with adults is paramount to keeping
Currently, our Director of Security is unarmed and has, along
with the other adults on our campus, done a fantastic job building
relationships with kids. This has helped establish the kind of trust
that makes it very easy for students to share information about potential problem
areas at school like bullying and threats to school safety. As a result, we have continued to experience
a very safe and secure campus without the fights, vandalism, gang issues and
threats that plague many other schools.
But we are concerned about one area that we have little
control over – an armed intruder intent on doing harm to our students. Being a rural school, we don’t have police
available on a moment’s notice to respond to an emergency. This lag in response time puts us at risk and
we have no way to “defeat” an armed intruder.
The School Board is currently looking to rectify that situation by
arming our security staff. After a year
of intensive training and certification for our security officer, the Board is
prepared to vote on this issue, but before they do they want the public’s
We encourage you to attend the meeting and share your opinions
on this subject, or just to come and hear what others have to say. If you can’t make the meeting please feel free
to email your thoughts to School Board Chair Julie Miller at email@example.com
New Year brings many Changes
The opening of
the 2014-15 school year brings with it many changes to the North Marion School
District. A redesigned organizational
model, new staff, a rollout of one-to-one technology devices in our middle
grades and a new student information system are just a few of the items that
look different for this year. All of
these changes are designed to improve how we operate and provide greater service
to our students and parents.
of our management team, while adding no additional staffing, changed several
people’s titles and responsibilities.
Desiree Kiesel is the new Director of Teaching and Learning for
Secondary Schools in charge of implementation of the new Common Core State
Standards, Smarter Balanced Assessments, proficiency-based grading, student-led
conferences, design of instructional units using our new SchoolNet software and
many other associated tasks. Julie
Jackson, as Director of Teaching and Learning for Elementary Schools is her counterpart at the elementary level with similar duties.
moves from MS Principal to Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning with a
focus on major projects like the technology rollout at the Middle School, our
transition to the new student information system called PowerSchool and the
design and implementation of a new teacher and administrator evaluation system. DeAnn Jenness remains as HS Principal but
shifts her focus to operations including student activities and services, safety,
communications, facilities, supervision and discipline.
New to the team
is David Sheldon, MS Principal of Operations whose role is parallel to the one Ms.
Jenness serves at the high school. Also
new to the Team is Brandon Fricke, serving as the Athletic Director and Assistant
Principal at the high school. Assistant
Principals Andy Kronser at the Primary School and Cory Gaub at the Intermediate
School fill new positions focusing on operations as the principal roles were eliminated
in these buildings.
New Teaching Staff
to the new staff at the admin level, there are seventeen new teachers occupying
positions across the District this year.
NMHS New Staff for 2014-15
Nicole Livesay Language Arts
Mark Valentine Math
Alexa Powell Physical Education
Tricia Stoddard Agricultural Science
Julaine Furduy Counselor
NMMS New Staff for 2014-15
Heather Feinberg Science
Trevor Bailey Math
Scott McGuyer Math /Science
Sue Romas Special Education
New Staff for NMIS 2014-15
Brenna Smith 3rd Grade
Jessica Bee 5th Grade
Karli Gingerich 5th Grade
M. Elizabeth McKee Special Education
Adiar Rowinski Special Education
Cheryl Hauser (.2) 5th Grade
DeAnna McCarthy 3rd Grade
New Staff for NMPS 2014-15
Sadie Johnston Physical Education
Tami Esmay Kindergarten
This fall all students, grades 3-8 in
the North Marion School District, will be issued individual computing
devices. At the Intermediate School, the
3rd through 5th graders will have iPads; while at the Middle School,
6th through 8th graders will sport hybrid tablet
laptops. Parents and students have been
attending training sessions on proper use and care of the computers and by the
end of September we should see devices starting to be used both at school and
This investment in our student’s
education pushes the North Marion School District to the front of the pack among
Oregon schools. When added to our
expanded college credit opportunities at the high school and our on-line
courses available through the Opportunity Center, we feel North Marion offers one
of the most advanced and progressive learning opportunities around.
New Student Information System
Moving to a new information database
for all of our school records is a daunting task. This past spring we made the decision to go
to the new system for several reasons:
parents better access to student information and progress.
teachers better tools for planning and preparing for the new Common Core
a better tool for grading using a proficiency-based system.
greater access to data and report creations so we can more effectively monitor
student and school performance.
Over the next few weeks students and
parents will be issued log-in information and passwords that will provide them
access to their student’s progress and put them in direct communication with
the teacher. The ability for parents to constantly monitor attendance and
academic performance will be a major
tool in assisting parents in their role as academic counselor. The District has created a tutorial for
parents on the distric’s main page for using the new “Parent Portal” any concerns or questions should be sent to
to project director Barb Keeton firstname.lastname@example.org