With spring break behind us, Astoria School District staff and students are turning the corner and heading towards the end of the school year. Students and staff appear to be refreshed and ready to finish the school year strong. I continue to be grateful to our staff, parents, families and community for their participation in helping our children to grow and prosper in and out of the classroom.
This has been a busy year for the school district. We are absorbed in student, staff and district success on all levels. In the past few months, we have had many successes that I would like to share with you.
Our school board has recently been working to refine our strategic plan, which is designed to provide quality learning and program opportunities for all students. There will be further opportunities for staff and community input. This spring, the district will host listening sessions to find out from school staff and the community their thoughts as to what is important in the education of our children.
ue educational opportunities
We are celebrating our students in Future Farmers of America and Astoria Robotics for their amazing successes. Additionally, we have been fostering partnerships with local employers and building out our career and vocational education programs through the Clatsop WORKS student internship program. Many of our students are participating in these and other unique educational opportunities.
Following the passage of the facilities bond last fall, we have been actively working to set the stage for improvements to every school this upcoming year. With our improved bond rating, we will be able to keep our district on track to deliver on building improvements on time and on budget, while lowering the estimated property tax rate to our local citizens.
With a commitment to transparency and accountability for every dollar spent in our schools, we have recently appointed a citizen-lead bond oversight committee to review budgets and keep our project team on track. This committee will begin meeting in May.
We have hired project managers and architects and are involving our community stakeholders to share in their assessment of what our schools need. We are prioritizing that list consistent with the goals outlined in our bond project framework. During this process, we are supporting the community by reaching out to local contractors, many of whom have graduated from our schools or have children in our schools, in an effort to contract locally.
Finally, we will begin the first phases of bond improvements this summer at every school. Knowing that kids cannot learn if they don’t feel safe in schools, we are prioritizing safety and seismic improvements. For example, this summer we will install a secure vestibule at the entry of Lewis and Clark Elementary. We will also make building improvements to extend the life cycle of our oldest buildings, which will save money by cutting our energy bills, as well as provide well-lit environments to improve academic success.
We couldn’t do any of this work for our students without our amazing community. Please let us know your thoughts on what we can do to partner in your efforts to support our students. Please contact us with opportunities to come meet and talk about what is happening in our schools — we are excited to share all of our news.
Our students and staff are eager to complete the school year in a positive manner. We continue to appreciate the support our school district has received from our community.
Craig Hoppes is superintendent of the Astoria School District.