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See the latest school bond project designs

Posted on: February 28, 2018

The prep work is nearly done for the major bond-funded construction projects. Planning has included seeking permits, planning for logistics for each site, creating a work timeline and, of course, designing the projects.

Construction work will start as soon as school is out at South Albany High School, West Albany High School, the new elementary school near Timber Ridge, the replacement of Oak Grove Elementary and the middle school vocational/CTE classrooms.

It is an exciting time. We will share more details as the work progresses. Here are design concept videos for each project:

South Albany High School
West Albany High School
New elementary school near Timber Ridge
Oak Grove Elementary School replacement

Questions about the bond? Check out our new Frequently Asked Questions page.

Schools celebrate reading with Read Across America events

Posted on: February 28, 2018

Annual Read Across America events are celebrated in schools around the country in March. Officially on March 2, it is in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday and a way to encourage and celebrate reading, especially among younger students.

The event is in its 21st year. Typically, it includes Dr. Seuss-themed hats, clothing, guest readers and special lunch menus.

GAPS students will enjoy a special menu on March 2, including Green Eggs and Ham for breakfast and Poodle’s Noodles Macaroni and Cheese for lunch.

Guest readers will host storytime at GAPS elementary schools. This week, Albany firefighters read to GAPS elementary students and OSU student athletes read books to Liberty Elementary students.

Adults wearing Dr. Seuss-themed hats. OSU student athletes. OSU student athletes with elementary students. OSU student athlete reading a Dr. Seuss book to elementary students.

School Board approves plan for Oak Grove relocation

Posted on: February 26, 2018

At its Feb. 26 meeting, the GAPS School Board unanimously approved a plan for the one-year relocation of Oak Grove students during the reconstruction of Oak Grove Elementary School.

The Board approved what was known as Option 1.

 

Kinder 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Total Classrooms
Fir Grove 3 Fir Grove 3 Fir Grove 6 of 7
NAES 1 NAES 1 NAES 1 NAES 3 OG 2 NAES 2 OG 2 NAES 3 OG 15 of 16
NAMS 2 NAES 2 OG 4

Project manager David McKay estimated that two modular buildings and a separate modular restroom facility would cost $230,000 for the 14-month period.Before the Board voted, they discussed costs and educational priorities for all options under consideration, including bringing in temporary modular classrooms, which were likely not feasible due to cost and city permit approval timelines and building separate, temporary restrooms either in the school or as separate structures. This, too, was cost prohibitive and faced challenges seeking permits in time for school to start in the fall.

Superintendent Jim Golden said he believes that this plan is the least disruptive plan for students and allows the district to manage costs efficiently. He said the district may face a budget shortfall next year due to anticipated inadequate state funding levels and he couldn’t recommend a plan with unnecessarily high costs.

Parents and staff have had several opportunities to hear about the options under consideration. Two community forums were held and a survey collected input about preferred plans. The survey, according to Assistant Tonja Everest, showed a fairly even split from parents and staff. “Faculty at both schools have indicated that they can work with either option. They are just waiting for direction from the board so they can plan,” she said.

She also said that the parent input included helpful comments from parents about activities and tactics to ease the transition for students.

Before voting, Board members shared that they had spoken extensively to parents and understood their concerns, but they believe this is the best educational option. To ease concerns about fifth-grade students entering North Albany Middle School a year early, they referred to the successful program at Timber Ridge, which has operated since opening as a grades 3-8 school.

“We need to think of North Albany as a complex and think of the students in North Albany as all of our kids — not Oak Grove kids or NAES kids,” said Board Chair Micah Smith.

Director Frank Bricker added that he believes the students will manage the transition well. “Kids are resilient. I believe they will be fine,” he said. “The priority is for a decision that supports the best education for them.”

WAHS junior wins trophies at Stanford speech competition

Posted on: February 26, 2018

Megan Cox has had a remarkable school year so far. The West Albany High School junior won honors earlier this month at the Stanford National Speech and Debate Invitational on Feb. 10-11.

More than one thousand students from 268 schools around the country and Canada, competed in speech and debate categories. Megan won third place in Original Oratory, third place in Humorous Interpretation, and eighth place in Program Oral Interpretation.

Megan plans to study business and hopes to attend Stanford. She is building her resume with other speaking opportunities. In December, she was selected through an application process to speak at the 2017 TEDxYouth@Portland conference where she spoke of the effects of humor on society to an audience of 245.

Read more about Megan’s TEDx talk in the Democrat-Herald.

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