Schools

Tue
24
Mar

PTO Science Fair photos

The Oregon PTO Science Fair “Pi Day of the Century” was held at Prairie View Elementary School on Saturday, March 14. Students showed off their projects and had the chance to watch demonstrations by University of Wisconsin students and professors.

Sun
22
Mar

Referendum projects get set to begin


Renderings courtesy Bray Architects. This design shows the planned changes to the space between Prairie View and Netherwood Knoll elementary schools, slated for completion by Sept. 1 of this year.

With another cold winter rolling into the rear-view mirror, Oregon School District officials are looking forward to getting started on several referendum building projects. 

The first set of projects from the $55 million referendum voters passed in November has been designed and is almost ready to begin. Those include adding to and modernizing Brooklyn’s space and its front entrance and revamping the pickup and parking areas in front of Prairie View and Netherwood Knoll, as well as upgrading the heating and air conditioning systems. Oregon Middle School will also get a new, more secure entrance. 

Those are just the beginning, with the full set of projects not expected to start until at least next year, including around $36.8 million worth of upgrades at the high school and $7.8 million at the middle school.

Fri
20
Mar

State budget would cut aid, change tests

Public school officials around the state are speaking out against Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial State Education 2015-17 budget proposal.

That includes Oregon School District administrators and school board members, who drafted a letter to Walker and other legislators outlining their problems with some proposals, including a large cut to state funding and new limits on revenue caps that local school boards can set. 

While a cut to the expected increase in per-student funding and revenue caps would likely have the greatest effect on the day-to-day operations of the district and on residents’ property taxes, that’s not the only major change possibly ahead. 

Mon
16
Mar

Trying to make amends


File photo by Seth Jovaag Kelly Meyers gives directions at a church during a gas leak evacuation in 2011.

It was there in black and white on the police reports, but it was still difficult to fathom.

Kelly Meyers, one of the brightest lights in the Oregon School District and a beloved and well-respected educator, was arrested three times in December, all for drunken driving. She resigned last month from a job she held dear to her heart and resigned herself to the reality that she would likely never get another chance to be a school administrator.

The dashing of a dream, and an exemplary 30-year career in education, was sudden and severe. Now, three months after a depression-fueled alcohol relapse that had friends worried about her very survival, she is trying to put her life back together, hoping to use her experiences to help prevent others from going down a similarly destructive path.

Mon
16
Mar

School board considers eliminating committees

Addressing concerns about committees “going rogue” and creating problems for district administrators in recent months, Oregon School Board members discussed an overhaul of the committee system Monday night. 

Board members spent considerable time talking about the pros and cons of such a change, and by the end of the meeting they seemed to reach a consensus: They’ll search for a compromise that might eliminate some committees but try to avoid scrapping the current system altogether.

The proposal, put forward by district administrators, would replace five standing committees (policy, human assets, physical assets, financial assets and vision steering) with a “committee of the whole” that would be attended by all board members once a month, followed by a board meeting in which members could vote on items. 

Sun
15
Mar

Teaching Tolerance in Oregon


Photos by Scott Girard Oregon Middle School literature teacher Amy Vatne-Bintliff, center, holds a “talking piece” during a recent “restorative justice circle” with students in her classroom last week to help students communicate respectfully with each other.

Oregon has a growing reputation as a great place to live and raise a family, but it’s not necessarily racially diverse.

As students prepare to enter a global workforce and outside world teeming with diversity, the Oregon School District has a nationally recognized expert to show them how to learn about others who are different from them.

Oregon Middle School literature teacher Amy Vatne-Bintliff was among five teachers honored last July with the national 2014 Teacher of Excellence Award from “Teaching Tolerance,” a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Dr. June C. Christian, a teaching and learning specialist at the center, called Vatne-Bintliff a “special person and an expert social justice educator.”

Fri
13
Mar

School board might add citizens to compensation task force

With progress slow on a proposed teacher compensation referendum, Oregon School Board members discussed adding up to 10 “community representatives” to a task force that’s been studying the issue. 

The board took no action Monday night, wanting more input from task force members on the idea.

According to the proposal, which was recommended by the policy committee, district superintendent Brian Busler and school board president Dan Krause would appoint the new members.

The committee has four staff members who were appointed by the Oregon Education Association (OEA), three administrators appointed by Busler and one board member appointed by Krause.

Fri
13
Mar

OHS sophomore is top attorney at state mock trial


Photo submitted OHS sophomore Kim Gehrmann won “Best Attorney” at the state Mock Trial competition on Saturday.

Kim Gehrmann may be a fresh-faced high school sophomore, but put her in a mock trial courtroom and she is a ruthless competitor with a knack for pummeling opposing attorneys into submission.

A rising star in last year’s competition as an Oregon High School freshman, Gehrmann has risen to the top of the ranks, winning the prestigious “Best Attorney” honor at Saturday’s state Mock Trial competition in Madison

OHS mock trial advisor Brian Towns said the honor, voted on by professional judges and attorneys and given to only one student a year, is similar to a “most outstanding player” award in a state athletic competition. 

“It’s a rare and noteworthy achievement,” he said. “This award is a big honor and doesn’t come along very often for any school.”

Mon
02
Mar

Letter: State cuts would hurt

Concerned about the negative effects Gov. Walker’s recently proposed budget would have on education in Oregon, the school board is drafting a letter to send to district parents and guardians. 

The idea is to get their help bringing the district’s case to state lawmakers, who will finalize the 2015-16 biennial budget later this spring.

At Monday night’s board meeting, Oregon School District superintendent Brian Busler said district officials had been considering sending a letter to Gov. Walker and the state Legislature. He noted, however, that in recent years, “that approach hasn’t been super-successful.”

So instead, he proposed communicating with voters.

Mon
02
Mar

Residents help with flu study

The more that’s known about the flu, the better the chances of fighting back.

That’s the idea behind the current medical research study going on with significant assistance from Oregon School District students. The project is headed by Dr. Jon Temte, a long-time Oregon resident and professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

His research team was recently awarded a $1.5 million three-year grant by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to better determine what role influenza plays in student absenteeism and correlate that to influenza data in clinics to see what patterns emerge.

“If the project is successful, the new system may serve as an early predictor of flu outbreaks in communities,” Temte said.

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