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Read Superintendent Golden’s statement about SAHS Rebels Mascot

Posted on: August 17, 2017

The recent events in Charlottsville have prompted discussion in our community about the South Albany High School mascot. Passionate opinions have been expressed to keep the mascot, and equally passionate opinions advocate for changing it.

There are no current plans to make any changes. The Rebels have evolved since the school opened; the mascot symbol is a flag with SA on it. Superintendent Golden shared this statement today, expressing his support for school-based decisions about the mascot:

I am very proud of the hard work and achievements that our students at South Albany High School have made in my time here as the superintendent. I am also proud of all of the hard work and dedication that staff have done to make big improvements at SAHS, including a graduation rate that is 13% above the State average!

As many of you already know, there has been a large volume of conversation and noise on social media about changing the name and or mascot of the school. This is largely due to the heated debate that is occurring on a national level. I have made it very clear that the district office will not drive a possible name or mascot change at SAHS.  In my opinion, any potential change that might be made, will be driven by the student body with guidance from their outstanding principal Brent Belveal and his talented staff.

In this time of screaming and people expressing their opinions through social media, I want our school district to model what it is to engage in positive and respectful discourse. We are educators and we need to model what community building looks like! We have our Five Pillars for creating great public schools. Producing good citizens who are mentally and physically healthy and who give back to their community through service, is our first pillar.  An “Equity Lens” and continuous improvement principles are two other pillars. We have the framework to begin discussions with our community. We want to be strategic and thoughtful in engaging in any community discussions at this point in time. We want to develop a reputation as a community that is inclusive, respectful and focused on a positive future, where all kids move on to successful post high school outcomes (another Pillar).

Jim Golden

SAHS cafeteria work earns award for local contractors

Posted on: August 16, 2017

Albany-based Mid-Valley Commercial Construction has earned the Project of the Year Award from the Northwest Wall and Ceiling Bureau for its work on the South Albany High School cafeteria project.

The bureau is a coalition of contractors in Oregon and Washington. The award recognizes outstanding interior work during the construction process.

The local company has many ties to the Albany area and to South Albany High School in particular. Principal Brent Belveal, who was a football coach at South Albany High School when recipient Jessie Vigil attended the school said, “From a school perspective, there isn’t anything better than seeing your alumni be successful.”

Superintendent Jim Golden expressed that he was glad the district was able to use a company based in our community.

Also in attendance were representatives from T Gerding Construction Company, gLAs Architects and HMK Company.

Rep. Olson chooses GAPS teachers for civic scholar initiative

Posted on: August 15, 2017

Memorial Middle School teacher Jana Swearingen and West Albany High School teacher Erik Ihde will join teachers from around the state at a statewide civics conference. The two were nominated by Representative Andy Olson to represent civics educators from his house district.

The following announcement came from the conference sponsor, the Classroom Law Project:

Congratulations on two teachers from the Greater Albany School District being named 2017-18 Civic Scholars by Representative Andy Olson for House District 15! They are Jana Swearingen, Memorial MS, and Erik Ihde, West Albany HS. Congratulations!

Every state legislator is naming two teachers from their district to be Civic Scholars. This is part of a statewide initiative to enhance high quality professional development in civic education for teachers.

With the recognition of Civic Scholar, teachers receive:

  •  registration for the Civics Conference for Teachers at the State Capitol, Dec. 1, 2017. The conference will feature workshop presenters from each branch of Oregon government as well as strategies from master teachers.
  •  special recognition at the conference
  •  follow-up classroom assistance

We look forward to seeing Ms. Swearingen and Mr. Ihde the conference. Best wishes and, again, congratulations!


School starts in a few weeks. Lafayette will be ready!

Posted on: August 14, 2017

Construction of the modular classroom building at Lafayette Elementary school is on track and near completion.

  • Roofing and siding are complete minus some trim work at the north end of the building.
  • Sidewalks are in and landscaping of the drainage swale is nearly complete. The swale will be surrounded by fencing. Poles for the fencing have been installed.
  • The campus will have an expanded driveway system. Paving will begin on Wednesday.
  • The classrooms are nearly ready. Walls have been plastered and painted, cabinets, carpeting and lighting have been installed. Sinks have been installed but are not yet connected to water and drains.
  • Work is progressing in the commons room. Some carpeting has been installed and lighting and intercoms systems are being installed.
  • Framing of the covered walkway is ongoing.