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Principals, parents plan meetings of the minds

During recent School Budget Committee and School Board meetings, several parents have expressed frustration that their voices weren’t being heard and that they were in the dark with the district’s decision-making process.

The Estacada principals have come up with a possible solution.

Starting Wednesday, June 12, the principals will hold monthly “Time for Parents” meetings before school board meetings.

The meetings will be an opportunity for parents to discuss school-related topics with the principals in an effort to “keep parents in the loop” and involve them in long-term planning.

The location will rotate between schools. The schedule will be posted on the district website at esd108.org.

Parents of students in kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to attend.

“We just sensed from going to the budget meetings that people wanted a little more transparency,” said Estacada Junior High Principal Tina Rhue. “We were hoping (the ‘Time for Parents’ meetings) will keep people in more of a regular loop and not feel so kept in the dark.”

Rhue explained that principals are somewhat “in the middle” between parents and district administrators and school board members.

Since parents see and interact with principals more frequently, they may feel the principals are more accessible.

“We want to create a culture for ongoing communication between principals and families,” Rhue said. “We want parents to know we’re listening.”

Rhue emphasized that the meetings will “not be a forum to have the principals reamed,” rather an opportunity for constructive planning and discussion.

“Meetings will be solution-oriented and although not binding, suggestions and ideas will be shared with school board members and other district personnel,” Rhue wrote.

Clackamas River Elementary Principal Seth Johnson said the four principals are excited about the meetings.

He explained that while the schools have had opportunities for discussions in smaller group settings such as PTA meetings, a lot of parents’ concerns are districtwide.

He listed the need for a long-term plan for the district, the configuration of the elementary schools and dwindling enrollment as current “hot topics.”

“I think the need for it on a bigger scale was realized at the board meeting,” he said. “It’ll be an opportunity for our entire parent group to ask questions at the same time.”




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