Welcome Back to School

Dallas' new teachers this year are: (not in order) Jennifer Westendorf, Kristi Curtis, Brittney Main, Lindsey Hughes, Katelyn Castro, Cody Heally, Amelia Wulf, Breanna Webb. Not pictured: Nolan Bradley.

Photo by Jolene Guzman
Dallas' new teachers this year are: (not in order) Jennifer Westendorf, Kristi Curtis, Brittney Main, Lindsey Hughes, Katelyn Castro, Cody Heally, Amelia Wulf, Breanna Webb. Not pictured: Nolan Bradley.

We are excited to start the school year with new plans in place to increase student success. Our district mission has changed to reflect our purpose; “Our mission is to provide the highest quality education, ensuring every student develops the academic, functional, professional-technical, and social-emotional skills necessary to succeed in life.” Our mission is now backed with our promise; “Every student in Dallas Public School District is known by name, strength and need, and graduates ready for career, college, and community.” Last year we began the collaborative process through our Every Student Succeeds Committee to address a well-rounded education for our students. This year the work continues as we have three teams working to identify skills K-12; academic, professional-technical, and social-emotional. More information and feedback will be gathered from our community and business partners as we move forward. I believe our team has the gifts and talents to help every student realize individual success.

Our Career and Technical Education program that increased to six pathways last year is showing success. We are very thankful for Chemeketa Community College partnering with us to expand our programs. We are maximizing the funding provided under Measure 98. We had 143% increase in student participation. This means 575 of our high school students participated in CTE programming. Upon graduation, students will have the opportunity to enter the workforce, finish their program through Chemeketa, and/ or transfer to another college program. Thank you to Tim Ray, District CTE Coordinator and our Business and Industry Advisory Committee for directing our plan. I believe our partnership with Chemeketa, business and industry, and staff will lead to success for our students as we look beyond K-12 education.

As we closed the school year there were many concerns shared about student behavior needs. We have a support plan in place for this year. We are beginning the year with a slow start for our kindergarten students. Kinder classes have been divided in half, with half attending the morning session through lunch, and half attending the afternoon session beginning with lunch through the end of the day. This allows our kindergarten teams to get to know students and set students up for success from the beginning. Our Polk County team this year is focused full time on counseling support for students and families district-wide. Each building has a full time person. We will also be working collaboratively with Polk County Community Outreach to provide parenting classes and support. Thank you community partners for your support. I believe we have a dedicated team to support our students and families.

Lastly, many are aware of the concerns raised around special education in our district. We have completed two listening sessions and will be surveying parents to gather feedback. In September we will have a new team, Superintendents Special Education Advisory Committee, that will review the feedback gathered and design a plan to support the needs of our students. We are appreciative of the feedback we are receiving; we can’t improve practice unless we know there is a problem. Thank you for speaking up, there is more information to come. I believe we have an amazing team of educators who are working hard to meet student needs every day.

Please mark your calendar for our first home football game on the new turf field October 5th. Thank you Booster Club and our amazing volunteers and community for the hard work on the turf field.

Welcome back, it is going to be a great year.

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