The Klamath County School District is joining 196 school districts throughout Oregon to celebrate its school board members in January during School Board Recognition Month.
In the past two years, the five-member KCSD Board of Directors faced the challenge of operating a school district in the midst of a pandemic head on, and this month is a chance to recognize their hard work and continued efforts to keep students in the classrooms and learning, said KCSD Superintendent Glen Szymoniak.
“Our school board members are volunteers who spend countless hours working to provide the best possible education for our students,” he said. “Even though we are making a special effort during January to show appreciation, we recognize their contributions reflect a year-round volunteer effort on their part. They are dedicated individuals who are committed to improving student achievement and success.”
KCSD’s Board of Directors are John Rademacher, who represents the Chiloquin/Gilchrist area; Jill O’Donnell, who represents the Peterson/Stearns area; Steve Lowell, who represents the Shasta/Ferguson area; Laura Blair, who represents the Henley/Keno area; and Marc Staunton, who represents the Bonanza/ Malin/Merrill areas.
Throughout the pandemic, the school board supported health and safety protocols and the purchase of needed equipment such as Chromebooks and hotspots while keeping schools open to in-person learning as much as possible. The board also approved and sent resolutions to the state requesting the district and local public health officials have local control over the response to COVID-19 in the schools. The board is expected to approve a third resolution pushing for local control at its Jan. 20 board meeting.
In addition to the challenges brought on by the virus, the board moved forward with strategic planning, implementing new student programs, building new additions, and partnering with community organizations and The Klamath Tribes to improve existing facilities and provide more resources to students.
“The board helped the district take problems and turn them into opportunities,” Szymoniak said. “For example, we were able to turn our experience with distance learning into a valuable new program and now offer Falcon Online for all grade levels, providing parents and students an alternative to traditional classroom settings.”
School board members this year green-lighted facility improvements, including a new turf field and track at Chiloquin Junior/Senior High School, updated air systems at various schools, and a classroom addition at Shasta Elementary School. They also supported expansion of the district’s CTE (career and technical education) program to middle school students and an increase in CTE pathways opportunities with Klamath Community College and Oregon Tech for high school students.
School board members represent their fellow citizens’ views and priorities in the complex enterprise of maintaining and running the community’s public schools, Szymoniak said.
The school board’s main goal is to support student achievement. To achieve that goal, the board focuses on the following needs:
- Creating a vision for what parents and citizens want their school district to become and how to make student achievement the top priority
- Setting standards for what students must learn and be able to do
- Assessing whether schools achieve their goals, and whether students are learning
- Accounting for the outcomes of decisions by tracking progress and reporting results
- Aligning the use of the district’s human and financial resources
- Creating a safe and orderly climate where students can learn and teachers can teach
- Collaborating to solve common problems and to support common successes
- Focusing on continuous improvement by questioning, examining, revising, refining and revisiting issues related to student achievement