The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Superintendent outlines progress, plans for local schools

 

January 3, 2018



As we head into the new year, I want to highlight the district’s strides toward continuous facility and program improvement as well as opportunities for staff and community to provide input.

Junior High Renovation

’Tis the season to say thanks again to the overwhelming generous spirit of our Sweet Home community in passing the $4 million bond which was matched by a state grant. The bond passage was a tremendous coming together of our schools and community!

To date, after many meetings and site visits to look at modernized learning environments, we are in the home stretch of the junior high schematic design phase, which includes:

- Preliminary layout for bus, parent drop-off loops, fire lane access, garden location and a possible recreation area;

- Soil analysis and surveying of the property;

- Finalizing building layouts for programs, exterior elevations and building sections;

- Finalizing structural, mechanical, plumbing and electrical designs; and

- Refining total project cost estimates.

Thanks to everyone who gave input during this phase, including our Business and Facilities Department, the Junior High staff, our Board, members of the city, gLAs Architect, and the design core team. In the last few weeks, we have met with Junior High staff, coaches, our special education team, our transportation and technology departments, Sweet Home’s Police and Fire departments, and the city for feedback.

On Jan. 9 and 11 we will host community forums at the Junior High for more input. We are committed to placing a schematic design before the board at a special Jan. 20 board meeting.

Looking ahead, by April we will finalize all building design plans for a full rendering of the facility for public display. Our 2018 summer target for demolition is on track.

In addition, we are absolutely committed to facilities improvement projects lists at our other schools as promised to the voters.

Running simultaneously to the Junior High renovation project, Hawthorne Elementary will receive a safety vestibule, a door safety locking system, and a new office flow configuration complete with a student health room, parent and staff mini conference room, and student and parent reception area. This project coincides with the nearly $1.5 million for improvements from the seismic safety grant.

Other school projects are in the works and will be outlined later!

5-year Strategic Plan (2018 -23)

Regarding Sweet Home program and departmental improvement, after attending to many immediate fundamental structural needs last year, as well as seeking our bond matching and seismic grants, we are now kicking off a Five-Year Strategic Planning process.

The purpose of our five-year plan is to understand where we want to be in 2023. We want everyone in the organization to have an investment and stake in the five-year plan and know how they can and do contribute to our success. We will focus on continuing to effectively:

- Increase student academic improvement

- Increase extra / co-curricular and citizenship opportunities

- Strengthen our school and local community cultures

- Improve district facilities.

Our bottom line is that we want to give every student every chance to thrive and achieve his or her potential. In addition, we want our strategic plan product to be simple – a one- to two-page document we all can speak to and understand. This document will be the basis for performance plans and measurements whereby the School Board will hold our organization and me accountable.

We will kick off the strategic planning process after the Christmas break by gathering feedback from the community and our staff.

From Mid-February to March, we will have a core team analyze and summarize priorities. By May, the goal is to present the plan to the School Board for feedback and approval with a final School Board goal alignment work session held in June.

For our 2018-23 Strategic Plan, I look forward to continuing conversations to capture Sweet Home’s core values and understand where we have been in relation to where we want to be. I am a believer in asking what we want to start doing, stop doing, and keep doing with the absolute goal focused on our students. They are our most valuable resource. Investing in our students is investing in the future of our community, state, and nation. I want every student to have a chance at the America dream and achieve his or her potential!

In the coming months please look for opportunities to get involved face to face and through surveys. If you’d like to talk to me in person, give me a ring or come on in to see me. Together we can build and improve great programs and facilities for our students.

Much has been accomplished in 2017 and here’s looking to 2018 and a Happy New Year.

Go Sweet Home!

– Tom Yahraes is superintendent of Sweet Home School District #55.

 
 

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