School board details plans for going forward in LOSD

The Lake Oswego School Board shared with parent advisory committee representatives plans for the coming months at a meeting Tuesday.

To conform to the new Oregon Education Investment Board initiatives implemented by Gov. John Kitzhaber in his plan to improve educational outcomes for Oregonians, board chairman John Wendland said LOSD administration would undertake three large-scale projects.

First, LOSD will work on instructional alignment of the LOSD curriculum to Common Core Standards, which are derived by “taking the most effective models from across the country and providing appropriate benchmarks and learning expectations for all students, regardless of where they live,” Wendland said.

In addition, the school board will continue the development and implementation of data teams in all LOSD schools, which Wendland said will “help drill down data to the individual grade and student to help guide our instructional strategies,” so as to “identify students that need extra help to learn certain subjects.”

Finally, the board will develop a new teaching and administrative staff observation and evaluation system, which Wendland called “basically a new review system for our licensed staff.”

These efforts are being undertaken amid increasing financial upheaval.

“To sustain our current level of education it’s going to cost us more than we are bringing in right now,” Wendland said, adding that in October the board will start developing a new financial sustainability model.

“In Lake Oswego, we embrace our conditions and continuously strive for improvement,” Wendland said. “We have challenges, but we’re going to figure out solutions.”

One such solution could be the renewal in November 2013 of a local option levy asking voters to approve additional operating funds for Lake Oswego schools at a rate of $1.39 per $1,000 of assessed property value, which board member Linda Brown said has been “critical ... to our students, our schools and our entire community.”

Another future source of capital could be the sale of one of the elementary school properties in the district. But when that sale will occur is not yet known.

Pending results of a real estate study by Portland State University, “We could make a decision as a community this year that this building or that building or maybe two buildings are going to be gone,” said board member Bob Barman, “and not make the determination that we’re going to sell it because of real estate conditions.”

LOSD administration is in a similar period of transition. Superintendent Bill Korach will be concluding his service to the district in June 2014, and board members Patti Zebrowksi and Terry Oelrich are spearheading the search for his replacement. In October, the board will be issuing a request for proposals from superintendent search firms.

For the time being, however, Korach remains. He gave his thoughts at the meeting as well.

“What makes this community a tremendous community ... it’s really about the intangibles,” he said. “Yeah, tangibles like test scores, a lot of success that our kids realize, you can measure that. But the intangibles make a tremendous difference. Our relationships, our working together, our attitude.”

Wendland agreed. “We want to collectively fix issues in this district,” he said. “We’ve got positive people to make it happen.”

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