A focus on math and the return of music in SSA plan for Vale School District

Vale School District Superintendent Alisha McBride, back left, shows the Board of Directors, the principals of the Vale schools and attendees of Wednesday’s meeting the plan for the Student Investment Account.

VALE — There could be several major changes coming to Vale School District in the upcoming years after the Board of Directors approved the Student Investment Account plan put before them during their Wednesday meeting.

After being added to the action items at the beginning of the meeting, the Vale School District Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve the Student Investment Account plan. The window for school districts to submit their plans is from March 2 to April 15.

Before the action item, Vale School District Superintendent Alicia McBride walked everyone in attendance through what the Student Success Act is and what it could mean for Vale School District.

By using the weighted average daily membership (ADMw) of Vale School District, McBride said the district is estimating that they could be eligible for $813,120 in grant funds through the Student Success Act.

The Student Success Act, signed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on May 20, 2019 as Oregon House Bill 3427, is an investment of $1 billion in Oregon education every year.

This money must be used according to strict guidelines that the state has set in place, namely class sizes, instructional time, health and safety needs, and ensuring a well-rounded education. According to McBride, Vale School District’s class sizes aren’t currently big enough for the district to use the money on that specific item.

McBride said the district has spent a lot of the year reaching out to community members and working with the staff of the district to come to the three biggest areas of improvement that Vale School District could use the SSA money for:

• Increase the number of students meeting or exceeding mathematics benchmarks;

• Increase access to mental health support; and

• Optimize instructional opportunities to students.

The 13 activities that Vale School District plans to conduct with the grant money brought in through the Student Success Act are as follows:

• Hire one full-time school counselor to provide mental health support to students;

• Provide all staff with professional development opportunities related to trauma informed care;

• Purchase and implement a comprehensive social-economical program;

• Hire a 0.75 full-time director of student success to oversee implementation of Student Investment Account activities, monitor progress toward longitudinal performance growth targets, work collaboratively with staff to increase academic achievement and reduce academic disparities for the focal student groups, and facilitate ongoing stakeholder engagement;

• Contract with the Malheur County Sheriff’s Department to provide one 10-month School Resource Officer to support all Vale schools;

• Hire two full-time certified math interventionists to provide mathematics intervention instruction to elementary and middle school students;

• Purchase materials for the two math interventionists to utilize during supplemental instruction;

• Plan and implement ongoing, sustainable mathematics professional development opportunities for instructional staff;

• Hire one full-time certified vocal music instructor to provide instruction for elementary school students;

• Hire a band advisor to facilitate a pep band club for Vale High School;

• Purchase supplies and materials for a comprehensive elementary vocal music program and a high school pep band club;

• Fund artist in residence opportunities for the elementary schools; and

• Purchase equipment and supplies to expand career and technical education opportunities.

After those goals are met, the district has an additional six secondary items that could be completed if there are additional funds available. These include items such as hiring a full-time band instructor for the middle school and high school, hiring a full-time art teacher for the elementary schools, and complete campus facility upgrades to improve campus safety.

Some of the listed items would be major changes for Vale School District. McBride said its been at least 10 years since Vale School District has offered a vocal music program and it’s been a while since they have had a dedicated student resource officer.

Nik Streng is a sports and news reporter at The Argus Observer. He can be reached at (541) 823-4806 or by emailing niklass@argusobserver.com. To comment on this story, go to www.argusobserver.com.

Nik Streng is the sports reporter for the Argus Observer. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a master's degree in journalism, after graduating from Pacific University in 2013 with a degree in creative writing.

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