Improving graduation rates, one student at a time

Working in partnership with the Corvallis School District, the goal of the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation is to make it possible for all students to participate fully in school and to succeed academically. Data indicates that students who are not meeting grade level proficiencies in primary grades will continue to lag as they advance to high school. Additionally, students with disabilities and students who are economically disadvantaged score significantly lower than average at all grade levels.  Additional resources provided through private donations are making the difference for these students.

In early 2013, principals at both high schools identified the need for more time for some students to build skills in math and writing in order to graduate.  Since that time, with funding from the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation, more than 400 have students attended summer school, earned credits, and gained academic confidence in a small class setting. This is the type of targeted approach that is possible with private donations. Our vision is to continue to fund targeted interventions for students during the summer months and to work with school district leadership to explore other programs that will help students stay on course to high school graduation.

Linus Pauling Math Lab adds up for students

Linus Pauling Middle School students received extra math support from a program funded by the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation. The Linus Pauling Math Lab opened in September 2013 and was available to students before school to build their math skills and self-confidence, without interrupting their regular class schedule. “This type of support is effective for students and the school district as it leverages existing resources for maximum impact,” said Corvallis Public Schools Foundation Executive Director Brenda VanDevelder.

Individual tutoring is a big shift for students, said Linus Pauling Principal Eric Beasley. The Math Lab provides opportunities for better student assessment and instructional enrichment. It also has had a ripple effect as best practices are now being replicated in other math lab classrooms. Students are entering middle school with skill gaps and 30% are entering 6th grade without the skills needed for math classes. Linus Pauling provides individualized math support during four “extended learning” periods during the school day, but some students don’t have that “extra” period and the before school option is a critical offering. In its first year, the Math Lab served 76 students, with 13 students participating in the before school option.

The Linus Pauling Math Lab was made possible through the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation with a $10,000 grant funded last fall by the CH2M HILL Foundation. CH2M HILL is a global engineering employer and is committed to developing greater diversity in engineering candidates. Mastery of math and science in middle and high school is a critical step on that path.

For many students, math is a hurdle to overcome. Math lab teachers work to creatively motivate students with incentives to complete mini-goals using Khan Academy and other on-line resources on their tablet devices. These practices have carried over to the other math intervention classes within the school, impacting four additional math classes.

According to Principal Beasley, “One of our Math Lab students came in at a fourth grade level in math. She has diligently attended the Math Lab and set a goal to be proficient for her grade level by the end of the year. In only two months, she has gained nearly two grade levels in her math skills.” This demonstrates how a targeted approach can make a significant impact on student achievement. “This tiered approach is keeping kids in core instruction and providing additional intervention to fill identified skill gaps, build number fluency and gives students practice with their current math coursework. This is making a difference for our kids.”

 

Spring for Kids- growing each year!

Thanks to the sponsors, participants, and volunteers for your support of the Spring for Kids Run/Walk and Healthy Moves Expo! 325 runners and walkers crossed the finish line, raising more than $11,000 for Corvallis students. Thank you to local businesses including founding sponsor Woodstock’s Pizza, PacificSource Health Plans, Corvallis Radiology, The Corvallis Clinic, Pacific Power, Samaritan Health Services, Barker Uerlings Insurance, Benton County Schools Credit Union, Heresco Chiropractic, CH2M Hill, The Barbers,
WINCO, and Les Schwab Tires. A special thank you to community volunteer Cathy Peters who founded the race eleven years ago and continues to volunteer and provide leadership for this event.  This year, students from OSU athletics joined the 2k k-5 age participants as course buddies. Complete race results are here.

OSU athletes and Malachi Trimmer 4 yrs

 

509J Student Art Exhibit at OSU

It is a beautiful sight to see art work from students k-12 in one big exhibit! Thank you to the LaSells Stewart Center staff for helping us showcase student art work.

The 509J District-Wide Student Art Exhibit opened at the Guistina Gallery, in OSU’s LaSells Stewart Center on January 28 and runs through February 8. This exhibit was made possible by the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation and was funded in part by a grant from the Benton County Cultural Coaltion, with funds provided through the Oregon Cultural Trust.

Art education in our schools matters. For some students, art is the place where they make connections to deeper learning, where they find a true place of expression, and where they see their talents come to life. The arts are a critical pathway to learning. There is plenty of data that shows us that students respond to a learning environment that includes a strong arts component.

Thank you to our arts specialists in Corvallis public schools and the artist-in-residence instructors. Special thanks to The Arts Center, for the art education opportunities provided at Garfield and Lincoln Elementary Schools and College Hill High School.  Art educators are the people who work at the intersection of learning and creating, who provide students with the 21st century skills of critical thinking, problem solving, and innovating solutions.  And a final thank you to the students of the Corvallis public schools. Thanks for sharing more than 400 pieces of art with the community in this annual exhibit!

2013 Innovation Grants announced

The annual Innovation Grants are an opportunity for all educators in the Corvallis public schools to apply to the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation for funds up to $1,000 for pilot programs, equipment, or supplies for classroom or school programs.

Applicants are asked to demonstrate the importance of the project and how the requested funding will have a positive impact on student learning. Priority is given to projects that will impact the greatest number of students and that can be shared with other teaching professionals.  The Corvallis Public Schools Foundation approved funding of 23 Innovation Grants for a total of $14,919. Congratulations to this year’s recipients!

The CPSF Innovation Grants grants are supported by proceeds from the annual Spring for Kids Run and CPSF endowed funds including the Barbara E. Fry Fund, the Doris L. Myers Fund, and the Zel Brook Art Project Fund.

Back to school, with thanks to our business community!

The Corvallis business community steps up in so many ways to support students in our public schools! We would like to give a big thank you to businesses that donate to specific campaigns run by the CPSF, to local businesses that participate in the Scrip gift card program, local businesses offering ‘dine out’ fundraisers and sharing a percentage of sales, and also to businesses that provide for employees to participate during the work day as school volunteers for literacy and mentoring programs.

We are grateful to the supporters of the Foundation’s Spring 2013 campaign to fund high school summer programs. Business donors include: Hewlett Packard, CH2M Hill, Citizens Bank, Corvallis Radiology, First Tech Credit Union, Stover, Neyhart & Co., OSU Federal, Your Community Credit Union, Samaritan Health Services, Korvis Automation, Sprick Roofing, and Coelo Company of Design.  Foundation donors included the Mario and Alma Pastega Family Foundation and the Simple Actions Family Foundation. We are grateful for this investment in high school students.

Thanks to restaurant businesses that participate enthusastically in the popular “dine out” fundraising nights.  Last year, more than 13 local restaurants provided this fundraising opportunity to multiple schools and programs.  We also appreciate the business participants in the Scrip program, which generates hundreds of dollars for schools and supports many enhanced learning opportunities for students.

Umpqua Bank, a top 100 employer in Oregon, provides paid time off for Corvallis staff to volunteer in the classroom. Last year, multiple staff volunteered each week at Mt. View Elementary school, serving as reading mentors. The Corvallis branch also held a book drive to collect funds and new books for Mt. View, resulting in $600 in literacy materials for Mt. View students.

One of the most consistent business supporters of Corvallis public schools is Carol Lee Woodstock, owner of Woodstock’s Pizza.  Every day is a “dine out” day at Woodstocks. Customers simply ask their cashier to note which school or non-profit they support on the back of their sales receipt and Carol Lee and staff tally those receipts one time annually. 5% of their annual sales are donated to schools and non-profit organizations through this program. Woodstocks also is the founding sponsor of the annual Spring for Kids Run, a benefit for the programs of the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation.

We thank our local businesses and encourage our parents and families to give these businesses your support and your business!

2013 Golden Apple Awards announced

This marks the 18th year of the Mario and Alma Pastega Golden Apple Awards, presented by the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation. The awards recognize outstanding achievements by teachers and staff and are made possible by an endowed fund created by Mario Pastega. This year’s recipients are: Gerhard Behrens, a 2/3 grade teacher from Adams Elementary School, Aaron McKee, a physical education/health teacher from Linus Pauling Middle School, Greg Hyde, a science teacher from Corvallis High School, and Denna Melton, a special ed educational assistant from Lincoln Elementary.  Each recipient was presented with a golden apple and monetary award. Portraits are provided by The Ball Studio and displayed in the Corvallis School District Board room.  Congratulations to this year’s Golden Apple recipients!

Scholarships awarded to 2013 graduates

The Schools Foundation administers scholarships for graduating seniors from both high schools and announced $4,250 in college scholarships at each school’s Honors Assembly in June. Congratulations to this year’s recipients!

Brenna Murphy, CVHS, Susan Small-Hall Scholarship
Jasmine Vidana, CHS, Apron Strings Scholarship
Jazmin Schneider, CHS, Clinton F. Stoddard Memorial Scholarship
Jazmin Schneider, CHS, Olaf Hedstrom Memorial Scholarship
Matherin Langley, CHS, Don Todorovich Memorial Scholarship
Areli Arredondo, CHS, Somos El Futuro Scholarship
Nick Gremmels, CVHS Clinton F. Stoddard Memorial Scholarship

Math Academy II coming this summer

Building on the success of the 2012 summer Math Academy, Corvallis High School will again offer the program to students who need extra assistance to make up math credits. With funding from the Schools Foundation Innovation Grants, CHS students will have the opportunity to earn math credits this summer, rather than having to wait until the fall to work on their math skills and make up lost credits. Last year’s program had 32 student participants earning a total of 18 math credits. A certified teaching position was funded by the Innovation Grant, saving the Corvallis Public Schools the equivalent of .17 FTE, a payroll equivalent of nearly $10,000. See the story in the Corvallis Gazette Times.

Improving graduation rates in Corvallis

Principals at Corvallis High School and Crescent Valley High School have identified the need for additional interventions for high school students that are not on track to graduate.  The Corvallis Public Schools Foundation has launched a fundraising campaign this spring to raise $40,000 by May 15, to enhance summer learning opportunities for these students. To support this campaign, simply designate your donation to the “Spring Campaign.”

gradsNew programs will include a math class for incoming 9th graders, literacy instruction for high school students who are not on track with their reading and writing skills, and additional funding for the summer credit recovery program, so students can make up course work in classes where they have struggled or been unable to complete the class.  With these donations, high school students will be better prepared for classes in the fall of 2013 and will be on the academic path to success and to high school graduation.