District receives $1.8 million grant to focus on school that needs support


The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the Gresham-Barlow School District a $1.8 million School Improvement Grant for East Gresham Elementary School.

Only schools in Oregon identified as “priority schools” or “focus schools” — schools needing additional support and intervention from the state — were eligible to apply for the grant, agreeing to implement an intervention model.

Gresham-Barlow selected the Turnaround Model, which requires the district to replace the school principal, screen existing school staff and replace no more than half the staff, along with other intervention.

East Gresham Elementary is identified as a focus school. It has 82 percent of students on free lunches and 7 percent on reduced lunches.

The hope is that by revamping and restructuring a school, the district can help close its achievement gap.

District spokeswoman Athena Vadnais said East Gresham Elementary’s current principal, Henry Ramirez, would be assigned another position within the district.

The district has selected Kimberly Miles to serve as the next principal of East Gresham Elementary School. She currently serves as principal of Roosevelt Elementary School in the Medford School District.

“Kimberly Miles has a record of improving student success by leading educators to improve instruction,” Superintendent Jim Schlachter said in a news release. “Her ability to support teachers and eliminate barriers to student success is a match for the work needing to be done at East Gresham Elementary School.”

Before working at Roosevelt Elementary, Miles served as administrator of the Hillsboro School District’s Nike Summer Literacy Academy and the Hillsboro Migrant Summer School. Miles also has worked as an elementary Title 1 teacher and served as an instructional coach and literacy coach.

The district is in the process of determining East Gresham Elementary School’s staffing for next year.

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