The beginning of the school year is a rejuvenating time for students and staff in the Astoria School District, and they are eager to work together for what should be a very successful year.
I want to personally welcome returning and new students and their families. The school district has been working diligently this summer filling employment positions throughout the schools. Our community is very fortunate to be located in such a beautiful area where people want to live, work and raise families.
Last November, voters overwhelmingly passed a facility bond that will transform our schools into modern and safe learning environments. The following work has been completed at this time:
• Astor Elementary — School staff and BLRB Architects have spent time this summer, and will continue in the school year, finalizing designs of the new multipurpose room (old gym). They are also working to convert the cafeteria and kitchen into classrooms. The school is also scheduled to have a more secure entrance with a modernized camera system in place. The work is scheduled to begin in the spring.
• Lewis and Clark Elementary — The school entrance has been remodeled to be more secure and the exterior of the school has been repainted. Five local contractors, including Helligso Construction, completed the work.
• Astoria Middle School — School staff and BLRB Architects have worked this summer to complete preliminary design plans, and like all of our buildings, safety and security measures are a priority. The school is scheduled to have the most work done, as the instructional wing will be torn down and rebuilt in its existing place. The rest of the building will be updated and modernized. The work is scheduled to begin next summer.
• Astoria High School — School staff and BLRB Architects are meeting on a regular basis to finalize the designs and work that will be completed. This work includes improvements to the career-technical education classrooms, modernized science classrooms, enhancement in the performing arts area, as well as needed safety and security upgrades, including enclosing the outdoor breezeways throughout the school. The work is scheduled to begin next summer.
Thank you again for your support with the facility bond. The changes that are being made to our schools will have an impact on students for many years to come.
Along with the facility bond, the school district is busy working on other areas to support our students.
The district is finalizing an updated strategic plan that has been developed with input from the community and staff members. The plan is designed to support learning opportunities for all students now and into the future.
In addition, the state Legislature made education a priority in the last session, and for the first time since Measure 5 was enacted in 1990, schools throughout Oregon will be funded appropriately with the Student Success Act. With the combination of the Student Success Act and the newly revised strategic plan, the district is planning for enhanced programs that will positively impact student learning.
The updated strategic plan is scheduled to be completed in the fall and I look forward to sharing with our community the priorities.
For the first time in over 25 years, the school district will not be assessing fees for students participating in extracurricular activities. This was a priority for the school board this past year.
By not assessing participation fees, it is our hope that more students will participate. Participation in school-sponsored extracurricular activities provides students the opportunity to demonstrate confidence, leadership, self-respect and overall school engagement.
The school district staff is eager to get the school year off to a good start. I continue to appreciate the support our schools have received from our community and look forward to a very successful school year.