News, Springfield

School board discusses student investment, success

SPRINGFIELD – So what does a “life-ready” student look like?
That was one of the questions addressed when the Springfield Public School Board met on Oct. 28 to discuss aspects of student success.
A timeline by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) for implementing the $1 billion, 28-program Student Success Act focuses heavily on the Student Investment Account, which is earmarked for at least half of those funds.
Since September, the community engagement portion of that process has been used to gather input on what a “life-ready” student looks like. This has been done by engaging families, students and community groups in that conversation through various meetings and an email “thought exchange.”
Close to $500 million from the Student Investment Account is designated for two purposes: to meet students’ mental and behavioral health needs; and to reduce academic disparity and increase achievement for students of color, students with disabilities, and non-native English speakers – also referred to as “emerging English learners” – and students living in poverty.
Assistant Superintendent David Collins and Springfield School District Superintendent Todd Hamilton also presented four areas identified by the Oregon Department of Education as key indicators for success that should be targeted. These include: K-2 attendance, third grade literacy, ninth-graders being on track for graduation, and addressing chronic absenteeism affecting the dropout/graduation rate.
Information was also presented to the board about the Continuous Improvement Process for self-evaluations, due Dec. 6. This is a requirement for receiving federal funds. The CIP has 15 components regarding the missions, goals and priorities for the school district in various areas.
Most discussion, however, revolved around refining documents that govern the interactions and duties between board members and the superintendent.
Hamilton advocated for a streamlined proposed agreement which lists five main points versus the current 16-point document that spells out the job duties of the board and guides board-superintendent relations. However, the board felt that all the points of the longer document were necessary.
“Maybe they should not be the same document,” said Springfield Public School Board Vice Chair Naomi Raven. She suggested one as a job description and the other as a policy document. More revisions are planned as the board moves toward reaching consensus on this governing document.
Additionally, Raven asserted herself on behalf of the district in requesting district-specific assessments be made available to the board, rather than just a general assessment overview, despite Hamilton’s concerns that such a request would require additional staff time.