Hour of Code

Many district students participated “national “Hour of Code” projects last week. A group of Rome Corners Intermediate School sixth-graders kept busy Dec. 12 with coding assignments that blended fun and learning. 


Investigation clears coach

An independent investigation of Oregon High School basketball coach Jon Nedelcoff has concluded after school board members decided last week he did not violate district policy. 

Nedelcoff had been accused earlier this fall of past bullying behavior by two parents of a former player, allegations that were repeated during the public comment period of an Oct. 12 school board meeting and brought up at the next meeting, Oct. 26, with around 150 of Nedelcoff’s supporters in attendance.

Board members made their decision at a closed session meeting Dec. 4 after receiving an oral report from independent investigator Malina Piontek, a Madison-based attorney who specializes in public education, employment and labor law. She is now putting together an official written report for district officials, said school board president Dan Krause.  


Shell casing found at RCI

In what was likely a remnant of a recent hunting trip forgotten in a student’s pocket, Rome Corners Intermediate School was checked by Oregon police Monday morning after a student found a .22 caliber shell in the boys’ locker room. 

According to a letter emailed to parents Monday morning by district superintendent Brian Busler, a student found the shell around 8:30 that morning on the locker room floor and reported it to a teacher, who contacted police. 

An ensuing investigation and sweep of the building resulted in no other items of concern, and police said classes could continue.

Busler said it’s likely the shell was accidentally in a student’s coat or pants pocket and fell out in the locker room, which hosted players from a basketball tournament over the weekend. 


OHS students earn National Merit honors

Three Oregon High School students have been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for their outstanding scores on the 2013 Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT).

About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

James Skiles has been named as a semifinalist in the NMSC competition. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.


Teacher compensation ballot measure would revise pay scale to recruit, retain best educators

When Oregon School District residents went to the polls on Nov. 4, they approved by more than a 60-40 margin two referendums designed to improve the district’s buildings and facilities. 

Now, a committee of teachers, district officials and school board members is working on another referendum planned for April to improve teacher compensation and opportunities, with hopes to keep teachers in the district. 

Under the current salary schedule, teachers receive pay increases only through years of service and by obtaining additional credits. Progression is relatively automatic, and it takes 25 years to reach the top of the pay scale. 


More than a Game

Photos by Scott De Laruelle. Oregon High School students Cameron Telfer and Tyler Hale talk about a project Tuesday during the video game development class.

Every year, a group of Oregon High School students is learning sophisticated skills to work in a rapidly growing, multi-billion dollar industry where high-paying jobs are the standard. 

They make use of a wide variety of subject areas, including math, science, art and even history.

Oh, and it’s all based around video games.

Oregon High School teacher Erik Haakenson has been teaching the Video Game Development course since the 2012-13 school year. Developed to “address the needs and interests of 21st century students,” he said it provides an introduction to the many different aspects of the gaming industry such as teamwork, logic statements and design. 


‘Kiss’ and tell

Photos submitted. Oregon High School students involved in the drama’s club one-act play are, front row, from left: Rose Tusler, Zack Bonno and Rebekkah Schultz; middle row, from left: John Unertl, Julie Gulling, and Julia Taenzer; back row, from left: Nicole Hall, Alexa Uselmann, Beryl Miess, Chris Foster, Alex Cook and Sarah Olson; not pictured: Michael Lucas (tech) and Sam Miess (understudy).

When it comes to that much anticipated (or feared?) first kiss, there is plenty of drama involved. So perhaps it’s appropriate that the Oregon High School drama club’s first appearance at a state competition covers exactly that memorable (or forgettable?) topic.

Club members will perform the play, “How to Kiss a Girl” in the state festival competition at Viterbo University in La Crosse on Friday, Nov. 21, after making it through district and sectional recent Wisconsin High School Forensic Association (WHSFA) competitions.

Drama advisor Kathleen Tissot said this is just the third time the club has participated in the one-act festival, and the first time it has qualified for state competition. She said students did a “fantastic job” in district and sectional competitions after working hard on the project since school started, with auditions held back in spring.


Referendum a big success

After the last Oregon School District referendum vote went down in flames in April 2012, it was a bit of a surprise that the latest attempt – two separate votes at nearly twice the cost – passed by such a comfortable margin (around 60-40 percent). 

But with years of work put in by district officials to better understand residents’ wishes, as well as communicate their own needs, they said the public’s positive reaction indicates the two sides have made significant progress toward understanding each other. 

In a letter last week to district residents from Oregon School Board president Dan Krause and district superintendent Brian Busler, the two thanked voters for “their consideration of the solutions” the district presented to voters on Nov. 4.


Opposite Sides

Photos submitted. OHS and German students collaborated earlier this year during the students’ trip to Germany on posters for a World War I exhibition that opened in Langen, Germany on Oct. 18.

Nearly a century ago, they could have been bombing, shooting and stabbing the futures out of one another in the muddy trenches of Western Europe.

Today, teenagers from Germany and the United States are instead learning together about the great common tragedy of World War I from their respective points of view, strengthening bonds between peoples who were once bitter enemies.

Because of a longstanding relationship between “sister cities” of Langen and Oregon, high school students from both sides of the Atlantic have been learning a lot about one another – and themselves – through frequent travel exchanges. 


Voters approve both referendums

The Oregon School District is in line for an upgrade.

Two-and-a-half years after voters rejected a $33 million district referendum, voters handily approved two referendums totaling $55 million Tuesday.

District administrator Brian Busler credited the success to continuous efforts of district officials, board members and others to communicate the district’s needs with the public.

“We’ve been working on this for almost seven years, and we have spoken to literally hundreds, if not well over a thousand community members,” he told the Observer on Tuesday night.

Citing a survey sent out after the failed 2012 referendums that garnered around 1,700 responses, Busler said “eight out of 10” people wanted the school board to “keep looking for solutions.”