Families and students at Fern Ridge Middle School,
We want to let you know of a concerning event that occurred at our school today and the actions we have taken so far to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and community.
This afternoon, Fern Ridge Middle School staff were made aware of a note found in a school restroom indicating that someone heard someone else say they were going to shoot up the school. The Lane County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and we have cooperated with their investigation.
It has been determined that a student wrote the note after reportedly hearing part of a conversation, mainly the words “school” and “shooting”, which alarmed the student.
Investigation by the Sheriff’s Office has not found any evidence indicating a real threat. As always, we encourage students, families, and the community to report any information they have about this incident, or any school threat, to school staff so we can make local law enforcement aware.
Out of an abundance of caution, deputies may be present at the school tomorrow.
Over the past few months we have been working on identifying a mission statement. The district has a vision statement:”Provide excellence for every student so that each will reach their greatest potential.”
A vision statement outlines WHERE an organization wants to be, the “end-goal.” A mission statement identifies HOW we will get there.
Our process for creating our mission statement has included research and brainstorming by a group of administrators who looked at data and identified a couple of different mission statement options. Those two options were forwarded to the four buildings in our district and reviewed by each ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) team. These teams include staff and parents who were asked to provide feedback. In recent days we have taken that feedback and identified a proposed draft mission statement.
We are now looking for community, parent, and student input on this mission statement before we come out with a final adopted version. You can provide that by clicking here to take the short survey. Thanks in advance for your participation!
A big thank you to all of the Fern Ridge School District Secretaries! At VES, Lorie Haffner and Jessica Alansky, at FRMS Tammy Eutsler and Casey Anderson, at EES Dawn Northey and Brie Scriber, at EHS Tammy Boren, at the District Office Michelle Cook and in Special Education Mary Griswold. We all appreciate everything you do for the students, parents and staff in the Fern Ridge School District.
Today is national custodians day! https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-custodial-workers…/
Thanks to all the custodians in the Fern Ridge School District that work hard daily in our schools! Greg Baker, Victoria Thoms, Robert Gordon, Pete Mazzei, Ron Wagner, Michael K. McLaws, Michael D. McLaws, Chris Rice and Heidi Kinch.
The next principal of Elmira High School will be Mr. Rick Gardner! Please join the EHS staff and students in welcoming Mr. Gardner who will take over beginning in the 18-19 School year.
On July 1, 2018 Mr. Gardner will bring his 22 years of educational experience to EHS. He comes to us after having most recently worked at Marist High School in Eugene, Oregon. The last 3 years he has served as the Director of Athletics and Facilities, and the 7 years prior to that as an Assistant Principal. Prior to arriving at Marist, Mr. Gardner worked in the Mckenzie School District as both a teacher and the High School Principal.
Over the past several weeks a committee of 10 have screened applicants, interviewed candidates and conducted reference checks. Finally, our committee organized and participated in a “community forum” with two outstanding finalists, to help us make this important decision. It is without question I can say that we had multiple qualified candidates who would have done an outstanding job for us. Having said that, Rick stood out to the committee as someone that is a great fit for our community. While we know Mr. Gardner will appreciate the great things we have at Elmira, it will be his charge to assist EHS in reaching new heights in the years to come. I know he welcomes the challenge.
Again, join me in welcoming Rick, his wife, and his three daughters to the Fern Ridge School District! Congratulations!
Gary Carpenter, Principal EHS, Superintendent/FRSD
“This week in the Fern Ridge School District we celebrate Classified Employee Appreciation Week. The Classified Employees in our District are critical to our mission and an invaluable resource to our community. They are the Secretaries, Instructional Assistants, Custodians, and Bookkeepers just to name a few. They work directly with students, educators, parents and volunteers. They support the smooth operation of our offices, the safety and maintenance of our buildings and property, and the instruction of our students. The Fern Ridge Community depends on our Classified Employees to serve our students in a wide variety of ways. The diverse talents and true dedication of these employees is greatly appreciated. Thank you to all the Classified Employees that work throughout the Fern Ridge School District.” Gary Carpenter, Superintendent, FRSD
At the school board meeting last evening, Craig Soderberg resigned his school board position after serving 10 years on the Fern Ridge School District School Board. Thank you Craig for your years of dedication, commitment, kindness, knowledge, and work in helping make the Fern Ridge School District a great place for students to learn. Craig will be greatly missed!
The District is looking for parent/community feedback regarding a problem that needs to be addressed. The problem is that out of our approximately 600 Elementary students in the District K-5, approximately 380 live within the current VES designated boundary, and 220 live within the current EES designated boundary. The problem will continue to grow in the coming years, due to the vast majority of expected housing growth taking place within the VES boundary, as well as the fact that of our current 148 enrolled Kinders and 1st graders, only 46 live within the EES boundary. This problem manifests itself in different ways: transportation issues, unbalanced class sizes, loss of significant class time for students being bused and arriving too late to eat breakfast or are being pulled out of school early, additional costs and much more. To not address the problem would not be in the best interest of our students. For the past year, a District committee has met to discuss possible solutions. They are:
- Go to a K-2/3-5 model. Meaning one school would house all of the District’s K-2nd grade students, and one would serve the District’s 3rd -5th grade students. There are significant “pros” and “cons” to this model. A significant “pro” is that it would allow the District to have balanced class loads across a grade level. A significant “con” would be the difficulties and disruptions created for families with multiple elementary age students in different buildings.
- Re-drawing the District boundaries. This means taking the area that is currently identified as the VES attendance area and making it smaller. A significant “pro” of this model is that it would be much easier to accomplish this (vs. going to a K-2/3-5 model), and many people would not be effected at all. A significant “con” of this model is the tremendous disruption to families that would no longer be bused to their non-resident school, and that some families/areas that have always been “VES families” would now be “EES families.”
There are no easy solutions, but it is a problem that can be solved. And hopefully, once solved, will result in better services and educational experiences for our students. In the coming months the district will be communicating this problem in different ways, ending with a parent/community informational night, and survey to take place in late January or early February. Please share this information with your friends and family, and join the District in addressing this issue for the betterment of our students in the years to come.
Gary Carpenter-Supt., FRSD
Throughout the school year, State Testing information will be posted under the “Resources” category on the left hand side of the main page. Please visit this location for general information. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact the respective school directly.
With the 2016-17 school year well under way, I wanted to take a moment to provide some important information about this year’s state tests.
Last spring, students in Fern Ridge School District and around Oregon took state tests in English Language Arts and Math, called Smarter Balanced. The tests move away from previous fill-in-the bubble exams that focused on rote memorization, to a format which asks students to explain their reasoning and write out their answers. These new tests measure more complex, real-world skills such as critical-thinking, writing, and problem solving so that your child can successfully transition from grade to grade and be prepared for his or her next steps after high school.
Fern Ridge School District will give Smarter Balanced tests this spring. The tests are not timed so your child can take as long as he or she needs to fully demonstrate what he or she knows and can do. At the High School level, successfully passing these tests is a requirement for an Oregon diploma. The practice our students get in grades 3-8 by taking these exams, helps prepare them for the H.S. exam they will take in the Spring of their 11th grade year.
We know that an end-of-the-year test cannot possibly tell us everything about your child’s academic progress. However, the results do act as a snapshot of your child’s strengths and areas for improvement and can be used as a way to ensure he or she is getting the supports he or she needs. Additionally, the tests help Fern Ridge School District’s efforts to equitably distribute resources and support student learning. When fewer students take the test, we are left with an incomplete and inaccurate picture of how our students are performing, and this limits our ability to address issues, better serve students, and continue to improve our educational system. The participation of your student is greatly appreciated.
While we discourage opting-out of the exams for several reasons (a few of them mentioned above), included with this letter is a form that allows you to opt your child out of testing for the 2016-17 school year. The form is also posted online on our district website. Should you wish to opt your child out, please submit the form to your child’s school’s main office. You can read more about your rights to opt-out here: http://tinyurl.com/OR-HB2655.
In Fern Ridge School District, we are deeply committed to ensuring each and every student in our schools has the supports he or she needs to achieve at high levels and graduate prepared for his or her next steps. Our ultimate goal is to make sure that all students are set up to be successful from grade to grade and that will remain the focus of our district throughout the rest of the school year.
If you have general questions or want more information about the end-of-year tests, please see the attached factsheet. I encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher(s) with any questions you may have about your student’s progress.
Gary Carpenter, Superintendent
Elmira Elementary School and Veneta Elementary School will hold their Parent/Teacher Conferences on Monday, November 21st from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and Tuesday, November 22nd from 8:00 am to noon. More information will be sent home with students. This is a great opportunity for parents to learn about the progress their child has made. The Scholastic Book Fair will also be taking place in each of the schools libraries. Families are encouraged to stop by and check it out. Thank you to all of the volunteers helping with the Book Fairs.