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Good evening and Welcome!


Tonight’s program:

• State of the District Address

• Audience response (clickers)

• What’s on your mind? Open mic

The state of the district is strong

• We need to celebrate that strength

• Student achievement is increasing

• We have earned many honors and awards

But we need to begin a tough conversation

• State Funding is not expected to rebound quickly

• Still, we need to deliver for the students

• The community needs to talk about how we are going to do this

More out our challenges later—first, let’s celebrate

• Very successful summer construction program

• Began construction on 2 new schools to open fall of 2011

• Repair and renovation at many existing schools (17 were shut down
completely and ready for school when the year began)

• Two more schools will open Fall of 2012

• Reminder: Bond money not available for other purposes

Last year our students and staff from all across the district earned local, state and
national recognition for excellence. The following are just a few examples of the
honors our people have received. Each of these honors represents not only the
person or the school named, but a whole team of people supporting these

• The Sprague High School String Camerata, was the only Oregon group to
receive an award at the Mark of Excellence National Orchestra Honors. Last
year 155 of the finest musical ensembles in the nation entered the
competition. The Sprague Camerata was the only group from Oregon
receiving this honor.

• Bruce Lathers, Construction Services manager, was awarded the Jim

Grossnicklaus Leadership Award by the Oregon School Facilities Management

• McKay High School senior, Mariela Cisneros, was named a 2010 Gates
Millennium Scholar. She will receive a full scholarship to attend any college of
her choice. Out of 20,500 applicants, she was one of only 1,000 students

• The West Salem High School Math Team took top honors in the 2010
Regional High School Math Contest for area high school students.

• Principal Joe Grant was notified that Clear Lake Elementary was selected
as the winner of last year’s Exemplary Reading Program Award presented by
the Oregon Reading Association.

• Our business functions were ISO 9001 certified, which means they passed a
series of rigorous audits and evaluations for efficiency and effectiveness.

• We received a tremendous boost from the state when we received the School
Improvement Grants for three of our schools.
• Just this month, The National Council for Geographic Education granted its
Distinguished Teaching Award for K-12 to Caryn Connolly. Ms. Connolly
teaches geography right here at Sprague.

• We have received a number of grants: These grants signify two things--First, we are
aggressively pursuing all funding opportunities that align with our initiatives. And
second, that we are being recognized for the work we are already doing. We hope
these grants will help us develop long-term programs and approaches that will
benefit our district in the years to come.

The Graduation for All grant will help us increase our graduation rate
through.....focused and intentional strategies aimed at dropout prevention and
recapturing students through the CSOCs efforts in the community working with
students and families that may have dropped out.

The Class Project Grant from the Chalkboard Project is helping us with professional
development and....expanded career paths for staff and effective performance
evaluations to help us improve our practice as professionals.

School improvement grants will make improvements in teaching and learning at

Hallman Elementary, and McKay, Early College and Roberts high schools. One of the
key elements of this grant is the extension of learning time. This is becoming a big
discussion nationwide—kids need to spend more time in school. I am not sure how we
will extend learning time in other schools, but I know it will pay off in increased
student achievement because it has in so many places. This is a topic we need to
address long-term here in our district.

I could go on all night with example after example of students and district staff
doing amazing things. But I’d like to talk now about the biggest of the big-ticket
items—student achievement.


Our district has been working hard the last 4 years to change teaching and learning

• Strategic initiatives at all levels of organization

• Hard work, emotional work

• We have strengthened our people, programs and curriculum

Now, we are beginning to see the results of that hard work

• It’s not getting easier, but it is getting more joyful because of the results


What do these results tell us?

• We are making a difference for students

• We are getting closer to our vision

• You may ask “What do you mean—our vision?”

Vision versus Mission

• Picture (envision) your ideal vacation

• What is the perfect day like?

• Close your eyes, see the palm trees, the blue water, the tropical birds

• Mission is calling the travel agent, packing etc….

• But the motivator is not the to-do list, it is the vision of you in the hammock
on the white sand

Org Assessment said high on mission, low on articulating the vision

• Our employees know their mission—their jobs affect student achievement

• But they could not articulate our “perfect world” scenario

• So we asked our own employees to help us craft that vision

• Our Vision
• All students graduate and are prepared for a successful life.

• Our Mission

• In partnership with the community, we ensure that each student will have the
essential knowledge, skills and attitudes to be a lifelong learner, a
contributing citizen and a productive worker in a changing and increasingly
diverse world.

Core Values

• We work together in a collaborative manner that is in the best interest of all students.
• We set high achievement goals for every child and provide pathways to success.
• We respect our differences and recognize them as our strength.
• We act responsibly and efficiently with our resources; and continuously evaluate our
work, make improvements and push ourselves to do better.
• We treat each other with respect, dignity and fairness.

Vision is Powerful

• It came from our employees

• It explains why we do our mission every day

• It will help guide us through the tough decisions and challenging days ahead


We are a people business

• Our biggest cost is for people

• Purchases are a relatively small part of our expenditures

• We do buy some things: textbooks, computers.. but we have already cut

those things back

• Our ability to weather future storms by cutting purchases is very limited

We have cut about $50 million in the last two years

• We spent down reserves and they do not replenish themselves

• It is like spending your savings account

• We had federal stimulus money to help

• We had state rainy day revenue to help the state school fund


Next year will be different

• We believe the shortfall will be at least as bad as last year

• This time we may not have stimulus dollars

• We may not have state rainy day fund

• We will not have our own reserves

• There are few major purchases we could cut

We believe the district will have to reduce programs or reduce our workforce

• We hope not, but it is possible

• Administration and infrastructure will be reduced, but the problem is too big
to stop there


• In a few minutes we will do the immediate response (clickers) portion

• Will we need to make reductions?

• If so, how should we do it?

• What values should guide us?

• This is the tough conversation I mentioned at the beginning.

We still have a lot to offer our young people

• Thousands of employees

• Hundreds of millions of dollars

• A community that cares and believes

• Our vision will remain

• Our commitment will remain

• Our time and energy (precious resources) will be focused on students

Our district will not operate the same way it has for so many years\

• Please think about how we can move forward with less money

• We will ask you during the clicker exercise

• We will be gathering input online and in written form