Astoria School Board accepts sales agreement; mathematics curriculum 'must be relevant'The Astoria School Board accepted a sales agreement for Olney School during its meeting Thursday.

Coastline Christian Fellowship is purchasing the school, which is located on 111/2 acres along Oregon Highway 202, for $350,000. The church's original offer was $325,000.

The deal will be closed on or before Jan. 1, 2005, barring problems with the church securing financing and getting the septic system approved, among other contingencies.

The Astoria School District closed Olney in 2002 because of budget cuts and declining enrollment.

During the public comment period, Judy Fisher, co-president of the teachers' union, suggested the board use the money from the Olney sale to create an endowment for the district, especially because another deficit is on the horizon.

"If we're going to rely on the state and federal government to get funding, we just aren't going to get there," she said.

The meeting also included a presentation on the mathematics curriculum audit from Patty Adams, director of instructional services at the Northwest Regional Education Service District. The audit is a component of the district's improvement efforts.

Adams said the district's strengths included the ongoing math curriculum alignment, professional development for teachers that builds on previous learning, and systems - such as the math curriculum council, a data system, and grade level configuration - that will help move the district forward.

"The greatest strength was the relationship with students, the emphasis on students and community," Adams said.

Some of the weaknesses were the district's class sizes. While 18 students in a room is optimal, and 22 reasonable, 27 and 29 students in a room is too many, Adams said. However, she recognized the tight financial fix many districts are in.

She also said that teachers need to make math more relevant to students, and more engaging. Teachers need to know what students aren't meeting standards, and how to enhance learning for different groups of students, she said.

Also during the meeting, the board approved a1/2 day of inservice for the K-6 schools. Carol Folk, teachers' union co-president, said with all the other information teachers needed to receive at the beginning of the year, an earlier inservice didn't provide enough time to work out some of the issues with restructuring.

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