Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
September 11, 2012
DALLAS -- Two unexpected things happened in Dallas schools during the first week of classes: a visit from Oregon's education chief and unexpectedly high enrollment.
On the first day of school last week, Oregon's Chief Education Officer Rudy Crew toured Whitworth Elementary School and LaCreole Middle School. Crew is Oregon's first appointed education chief.
Dallas Superintendent Christy Perry said she invited Crew to visit Dallas a couple of weeks ago at an education seminar they both attended.
"I just said we are 20 minutes away (from Salem) and can be pretty flexible," Perry said.
The fact that Perry invited him didn't stop her from being surprised when Crew decided to stop by on the first day of school.
"It was a good visit and compliment to us," she said.
Dallas School Board member Lu Ann Meyer, who helped host the tour Sept. 4, said Crew quizzed teachers in both buildings and seemed impressed with the work being done.
"I think he was very satisfied and pleased with the answers that he received," she said. "We were able to answer every question very well."
Perry said in the process of leaving Crew with a good impression, the visit may have opened the door for Dallas to have input in future changes in Oregon's education system.
"That's what we gained the most, is that we potentially have a voice at the table," she said. "I believe that there will be a lot that happens in the next nine months."
Another pleasant surprise came in the form of higher-than-expected enrollment numbers.
"This is really early to get this information," Dallas Business Manager Tami Montague said. "But we've been in contact with the schools last week and today (Monday) checking on the accuracy of the numbers. Right now, I'm feeling really optimistic about where enrollment is."
While final enrollment figures won't be available until October, Montague is nonetheless encouraged about the emerging trends.
"We are really close to where we were last year, if not a little bit higher," she said. "This is a lot higher than where the state projected us to end last year, which is very, very good."
The September enrollment report has the total district enrollment at 3,018 compared to May 2012-13 enrollment of 2,988. So far the trend has enrollment increasing at Lyle and Oakdale elementary schools and Dallas High School, while decreasing at Whitworth Elementary School and LaCreole Middle School.
"If these numbers hold steady, that's really good for us," Montague said.