HR School Board schedules three community meetings

Hood River superintindent search

A sense of deja vu clung to the discussion in Wednesday’s special session of the Hood River County School Board.

The topic was finding a new superintendent — a task most members of the board went through just two years ago.

One change from the process two years ago, when current superintendent Jerry Sessions was hired, is that more meetings for the community will be scheduled.

They will be Dec. 2-3 in Hood River, Odell and Cascade Locks. (Please see schedule below.) One of the meetings will have translation in Spanish.

“I heard loud and clear you want more community involvement,” consultant Jer Pratton told the board Wednesday. The special meeting was the board’s first formal conversation with Pratton about the procedures and timeline for the superintendent search, since hiring Pratton last week. He represents Oregon School Boards Association.

In his presentation to the board earlier this month, Pratton said he could go to work on the search as soon as the board wanted him to start.

“We are on a tight schedule,” board chairwoman Jan Veldhuisen Virk said Wednesday.

“Time is important,” Pratton said. “The next step is to collect information from people, and ask, ‘what is important?’ (in a new superintendent.)” Meetings will also be scheduled with district staff.

The plan the board and Pratton worked out Wednesday starts with community meetings in the first week of December to determine the qualifications the community wants in the new superintendent.

“You want a Cecil B. DeMille type of production rather than one or two people,” Pratton said, referring to “casts of thousands” film director. “You want people to believe they were part of the process,” Pratton said.

Board member Sue McCarthy said, “I want this to be an open process.” Board members agreed that citizens should be encouraged to attend any of the community meetings, no matter their place of residence.

“The meetings are interchangeable,” Pratton said. “The information is more important than the particular groups.”

Pratton will keep track of all that is said in the staff and community meetings and report it to the board.

“I’ll tell you which group each comment came from and how many times, whether it came up one time or 25 times,” he said.

The district will formally advertise the position in mid-December; applicants will be due by Jan. 27, 2003. Screening, by what the board is terming an “advisory committee” that will include citizens, would happen Feb. 5-7. Interviews would take place Feb. 24-28, and the board would make its choice by March 21.

About 20 people, including teachers, administrators, other staff, and parents, will serve on the advisory committee. The committee, which will be chosen by Jan. 8, will work with Pratton, who will present a recommendation for approximately six finalists to invite for interviews.

“I am a strong advocate of having a screening committee,” Pratton said. “You involve them, you educate them, and give them an understanding of what kind of candidates are available.”

That will lead to a new round of meetings in which the community will meet and talk with the candidates, just as the district did in 2001.

“We’re in this together,” Pratton said. “We want the best possible person for the job. You don’t want a suit off the rack. Only you will know about the district — the board and its community know.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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