ANOTHER VOICE: Tell the schools what you think

Over these first weeks of the new school year, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in each of our schools.

Interacting in the classrooms with students and teachers, talking with our principals and specialists, and visiting with parents and community members gives me a great sense of optimism about our schools and for the upcoming year.

On the first day with students, I was struck by how quickly our teaching staff had engaged students both personally and academically. With our staff I’ve been discussing how students, like all people, know that relationships worth committing to are characterized by trust, mutual caring, and high expectations. Only with these components in our schools and classrooms, will students take the necessary academic risks required for high levels of learning.

In these first weeks of the new school year, I’ve been struck by how deeply and openly our staff members care about our children — and how quickly our classrooms have been transformed into safe havens of learning.

Now with our school year off to a strong start, we are beginning to work in earnest on a number of pressing initiatives we must fulfill over the next year and beyond. Our school board has set rigorous goals in four overarching areas: 1) increasing academic growth and success; 2) improving and maintaining the public’s trust; 3) supporting excellent staff; and 4) ensuring a positive, safe and inclusive learning environment.

After meeting with over 350 community and staff members, both individually and small groups since April, I believe these are the right goals for our school district.

The first goal, increasing our students’ success, is the ultimate mission of our school district — everything we do must directly support each student’s progress toward graduating from our schools ready to fully participate in the world around us; a world characterized by information exchange, change, technological advances, and working collaboratively with people from all corners of the world.

If our children are to have the opportunities we’ve dreamed for them, they must be solid readers and writers; they need to apply math and scientific thinking in solving problems; they need to be critical thinkers and persuasive debaters; and they need to develop the necessary interpersonal and multicultural skills required to work with teams of diverse people.

I invite you to review the board’s goals and my related goals posted on our website and to provide feedback as we set out to ensure each child’s success. With shrinking statewide funding for K-12 education, we must choose our strategies wisely and prioritize our efforts to achieve the demanding targets set forth by our school board.

To make giving feedback easier and less formal, I invite our community to have a cup of coffee and a snack with me on the following dates:

n Oct. 14, 6:30 p.m. at Parkdale Elementary School

n Oct. 15, 6:30 p.m. at Cascade Locks Elementary School

n Oct. 21, 6:30 p.m. at Hood River Middle School

n Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m. at Mid Valley Elementary School

I genuinely believe that schools are the ultimate reflection of a community’s priorities — how we collectively raise a child says so much about who we are and who we want to be. With a shared vision and shared goals, and with mutual trust and high expectations, I know we can amplify the success of each student and build a bright future together.

n

Dan Goldman joined Hood River County School District as superintendent July 1.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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