School health center receives funds

PORTLAND — Kaiser Permanente Northwest awarded more than $1 million in grants to seven local organizations, to help stem the tide of chronic absenteeism in Washington and Oregon schools that has made them among the states with the highest absenteeism rates in the nation.

One of the grants went to Oregon School-Based Health Alliance in Polk County. OSBHA will leverage existing school-based physical and mental health services in an on-site school-based health center, to develop identification, referral and intervention systems for students who face barriers related to attendance.

Goals of the three-year initiative include:

Reducing individual, family, community and systems barriers to school attendance

Improving community awareness of the importance of being at school (and knowledge about when students should attend school and when they should stay home)

Increasing connections to social and health services for students, teachers and school staff

Identifying policies and systems that will support consistent school attendance

The grant recipients, five nonprofit organizations and two education service districts, will each receive $150,000 over a three-year period.

Lyle teacher named Distinguished Educator

DALLAS — Rachel Orbistondo, third-grade teacher at Lyle Elementary School, is February’s Distinguished Educator.

She was nominated by a former student Zackery Nelson, and his mom, Rita Nelson.

“She makes learning fun,” said Zackery. “She has us get our wiggles out by doing fun brain breaks.”

Rita Nelson added: “Her enthusiasm for learning is contagious,” and “She is concerned not only for the academic growth of each child but also focuses on their social and behavioral growth.”

Not to be left out, Orbistondo’s other students had this to say about her: “She’s the best teacher I’ve ever had,” and “She’s really funny.”

The mission of Dallas School District’s Distinguished Educator program is to recognize excellence in teaching and learning.

DHS acting team earns honors

DALLAS — Members Dallas High School’s regional acting team earned distinctions during the Oregon Thespians Southern Regional Acting Competition at South Eugene High School on Feb. 3.

Emma Bucher performed in the solo acting category and is a state qualifier, meaning she scored in the top 10 percent of in the category.

Landan Anderson earned regional finalist recognition (top 20 percent in the category) in solo acting.

The pair of Cole Richardson and Ashley Ragan were named regional finalists in the duo dramatic category.

State qualifiers are invited to perform on April 5 for a chance to be selected for the State Showcase on April 6. The 2018 Oregon Thespians State Festival will be at the Salem Conference Center and Elsinore Theatre in Salem April 5-7.

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