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Estacadas schools serve students well

In the Sept. 20 issue of The Estacada News I read a couple of articles that expressed concern about the performance of the Estacada School District.

One of the articles quoted Pat Watkins, candidate for mayor, as stating our district is “the worst school district in the state, it really is.”

This statement stood alone and was not supported by any data or examples of poor performance, therefore, it is difficult to refute such a poor argument.

The second writer, Richard Scott, in a letter to the editor, presented a much clearer argument, with data, indicating the poor performance of our district.

In addition, Scott discussed the critical role of family and the community in educating our youths.

I appreciate Scott’s concern and interest in improving the educational experiences of our students and I do not disagree with his comments and concerns.

In fact, I encourage him and anyone else interested to come in and visit with us to further discuss what we can do for our students.

However, I would like to present a different perspective of the state of our schools in Estacada.

First, I am writing this letter as the parent of a student who attended River Mill Elementary, a past member of our city’s planning commission, and one of the founding members of the Estacada Community Foundation.

I not only work in Estacada, but I have been committed to improving the greater Estacada community for the past 18 years, and I believe our community and local schools are outstanding.

When I talk about our local schools, I refer to our traditional schools; Eagle Creek Elementary, Clackamas River Elementary, Estacada Junior High School and Estacada High School.

In addition to these fine schools, I am proud that our district has taken on the task to provide alternatives and choice to our community and to students from outside our boundaries in the form of our charter schools and alternative high school.

These schools welcome students, primarily from outside our community, and are populated with students that many other systems had turned away or who were unsuccessful in meeting these students’ needs.

The data that Scott refers to is cumulative data that includes all of our schools — local, charter and alternative school combined.

I will not try and refute any of his information, but I would like to separate Estacada High School and share some valuable data and information regarding our students in order for our community to better understand what is happening at 355 N.E. Sixth Ave. (See the accompanying graphic).

Our scores for the 2011/12 year were all at, or well above, the state average in their respective subject areas.

As you can see, these scores are far above what was reported for our district and listed in the letter to the editor and nowhere near the “bottom” of school districts.

I am very proud of our students and staff for the hard work and dedication they have put into increasing our students’ levels of proficiency in these core subject areas. In addition, we want our community to know that we are not satisfied with these results and will continue to strive for higher levels of learning for all students.

However, I am not just proud of our school’s work and focus on student learning because I strongly believe that school should be about a lot more than test results.

I am extremely proud of what our students have gone on to do after they finished their time here in Estacada. I am honored to share that our students have put on the uniforms of our armed services and have sacrificed so much to protect OUR way of life.

I am proud to know that a number of our students have gone off to higher education and have become doctors, attorneys, engineers, Peace Corps volunteers, police and sheriff deputies, fireman, business owners, teachers, heads of major corporations, clergy members, musicians, film and TV actors and producers, and writers.

They have become quality parents, committed community members, and they are the role models that we hope for.

The students who I have come to know over the past 18 years have made a difference in my life, my family’s life, and most importantly in the lives of our future generations.

To all Estacada High School alumni, I salute all that you do.

Scott Sullivan

Estacada



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