Welcome to the Office of the Superintendent

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  • Our District continues to improve in providing educational support and opportunities for our students and their families across the pre-K to post-secondary continuum. 2016-2017 was a very busy year with numerous activities, initiatives, projects, and planning. Key to our successes has been the significant effort to align with community partners around the concepts of ‘Self-Healing Communities’ and identify ourselves, Grants Pass School District, as the backbone organization to impact significant and positive change throughout Josephine County. The following represents the District’s effort to continue to “Foster Hope and Engagement for the Community of Grants Pass”.

    In recent years, the District has focused on the best way to overcome the personal challenges faced by many of our students. There are many examples of efforts to build the necessary “growth mindset”. Efforts to promote resiliency can be found across the District. These include the “not yet” assessment at Lincoln Elementary, focus on developing ‘grit’ at Highland, and Growth Mindset Award at GPHS are just a few.

    As the backbone organization of the Josephine County Community Network, Grants Pass School District has convened multiple meetings with nearly 40 community partners to focus on the physical, emotional, and behavioral health of our students and families. Much of this work has had a focus on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and developing resiliency. Expanded partnerships include a focus on homelessness with the opening of Hearts With A Mission shelter and the new relationships with Maslow Project. Our district now has two officially certified ACE Interface trainers and Grants Pass School District became the first school district in Oregon to have trained all staff in the formal ACES training. This led to Three Rivers School District also becoming completely trained, resulting in all public educators in Josephine County receiving official training. Related to these efforts, Lincoln Elementary completed their first year in the CLEAR project in furthering our efforts to be a trauma-informed organization. Next year, five additional schools will be participating.

    Riverside Elementary successfully piloted the implementation of a Community Health Worker through the financial support of Primary Health.

    This year GPSD developed a new and very successful partnership with Southern Oregon Head Start opening their programs at Grants Pass High School in support of our Child Development Program.

    In furthering our partnerships with Grants Pass Public Safety, our school marshals and SRO had a consistent presence on all of our campuses

    The District put forth an intentional effort of reaching out to the community throughout this year. This included presenting strengths, accomplishments, and challenges of Grants Pass School District to the local Rotarians, PTA’s, and other organizations. Additionally, in furthering efforts to connect with local business and industry GPSD made a commitment to join the Board of Directors for the local Chamber of Commerce

    The district has continued our pursuit to engage with our community in an effort to ensure our facilities are capable of providing a 21st century learning experiences with a focus on safety, instructional programming, and conducive learning environments. A second survey was conducted by The Nelson Group, an additional board workshop to review and evaluate options occurred, a digital ThoughtExchange engagement was conducted, a district newsletter was published for the community, and a community information and support meeting has recently taken place.

    In our second year of implementing READY! for Kindergarten we saw 177 families of incoming kindergarteners participate in multiple parent-engagement sessions. Our elementary schools tackled the enormous task of adopting a new reading curriculum. All kindergarten teachers visited local Head Start programs as well as held transition meetings for identified students. And finally, every elementary school identified and trained two teachers to be certified Whole Brain Teaching Coaches, intentional classroom management and instructional strategies for student engagement.

    Both middle schools implemented a new schedule for teachers and students. This new schedule had the capacity to provide additional elective and intervention periods for students as well as provide teachers with support by having preparation periods embedded throughout the school day. Increasing the variety of electives has brought more of the ‘fun-factor’ to our middle schools.

    Grants Pass High School will be providing multiple STEM Academy sessions for middle school students in the areas of manufacturing/design and computer programming during the summer of 2017.

    Grants Pass High School has achieved recognition to the AP Honor Roll for the third consecutive year. We are the only high school in the state of Oregon to ever accomplish this and only one of a few in the nation. To make the AP Honor Roll, school districts in the US and Canada must demonstrate increasing access to AP course work while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams. Implementation of the Nike Sponsored AVID program was tremendously successful and will be expanded next school year.

    Students continue to experience increasing college and career opportunities at GPHS. This year our College and Career Fair was expanded to include all of Josephine County high schools as well as Rogue River. By earning college credit through courses at Grants Pass High School, students saved nearly $500,000 in tuition savings. Additionally, 2016-17 saw a record number of 41 students obtaining their GED which will have a significant impact on our high school completion rate.

    While the state has not officially finalized state school funding levels, as outlined in the 2017-18 proposed budget message, the district will be able to maintain existing programs and staffing while investing strategically in drop-out prevention efforts, increasing access to college credit, and supporting CTE as a result of Measure 98 funds. Additionally the district will be able to maintain or increase an already healthy PERS reserve as well as the Capital Projects Fund.

    Three new building principals were added to an already dynamic and talented administrative team. The addition of Tommy Blanchard (NMS), Rob Henderson (Riverside Elem.), and Christine Mooney (Redwood Elem.) have made our district even stronger as we continue the tradition of developing quality leadership.

    The district has been awarded two additional seismic retrofit grants through the state of Oregon in the amount of $1.5 million for Allen Dale Elementary and Highland Elementary. This is in addition to the two prior awards for Riverside Elementary and South Middle School. Construction is currently underway at Riverside Elementary.

    And finally, in partnership with Evergreen Federal Bank and Grants Pass Booster Club, the district was able to create an additional turf athletic field at Russ Werner Field, resurface the track, and install a turf infield at the George Russell Stadium. These efforts make the new Evergreen Federal Bank Sports Complex combined with our other athletic facilities among the finest in the state of Oregon.

    Kirk Kolb, Superintendent

    Grants Pass School District