June 1st Virtual Meeting With K-12 Superintendents Highlights & Summary

NEXT ZOOM Session June 15th 1:00-2:30pm with Regional Domestic Violence Shelter Leadership

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” 


ZOOM Summary Notes
Jefferson e Funders Forum
June 1st 2020

Jefferson Funders Forum brings together public and private philanthropic leadership to share information, perspectives and experiences; cooperatively explore and leverage resources to positively impact communities in southern Oregon and northern California.

Levels of Engagement: I. Communication and Information Sharing; II. Learning Together; III. Planning for Collective & Collaborative Action IV. Action

ZOOM Facilitator – Nancy McKinnis, Jackson Care Connect 

  • Communication & Information Sharing: There were 39 participants 
  • Participants Included: Bill Thorndike, NW Health Foundation; Anne Golden, Threshold Foundation & United Way of Jackson County; Amy Drake, Patrick Hosfield and John Moriarty, Oregon Community Foundation; Marie Simonds and Paula Thompson, Wild Rivers Coast Alliance; Judy Basker & Paul Kingery, Rogue Community College; Kathy Bryon, Lilia Caballero,  Larry Nicholson & Jennifer Staton, Gordon Elwood Foundation; Sam Engel & Deborah  Ameen, AllCare;  Nancy Mc Kinnis, Jackson Care Connect; Jen Shafer, United Way of SW Oregon; Alice Cushman, Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation; Carrie Hanson, Chaney, West and Dubs Family Foundations; Katie Hutchinson, Dutch Bros; Peter Salant, GAG Charitable Trust & Medford Schools Foundation; Matt Epstein, Epstein Family Foundation; Sara Stephens, South Coast Early Learning Hub; Angela Warren, Jefferson Regional Health Alliance; Dee Anne Everson, United Way of Jackson County; Levi Williams, The Ford Family Foundation;  Amy Belkin, Anna May Foundation; Angela  Durant, City of Medford; & Guest Superintendents, Scott Beveridge, Southern Oregon Educational District; Michael Lasher, Douglas County Educational District; Paul Kingery, Rogue Community College; Alex Campbell, Office of Governor, Regional Solutions;  Bret Champion, Medford 549c; Brent Barry and Javier del Rio, Phoenix/Talent School District; Tenneal  Wetherell, South Coast Educational District; Paul Hillyer, Klamath Falls School District; Gillian Wesenburg, South Central Early Learning HUB Douglas ESD

*guests in red

  • Check-in:Everyone shared a word that comes to mind or heart when they think about their elementary school days. The words shared included – Curious, Joy, Expanding, Love, Nuns, Play & Alphabet, Outside, Recess, Special, Storm, Adventure, Playground, Cross-County, Innocence, Four square, Music, 1 Mile, Active, Reading, Teeter Totter, Big fun, Absolute fun, Discovery, Learning, Basketball, Inquiry, Reading, Precious, Friendship, Discovery, Marbles, Confusing, Tether ball, Yoyo Champion, Fun.
  • Learning Together and Dialogue: K-12 Education Response, Reframe, Retooling and Reshaping in the time of COVID-19. 

Guests shared their experience & perspectives:

Scott Beveridge, Superintendent, Southern Oregon Educational Service District (Josephine/Jackson/Klamath Counties)

  • It’s definitely a shifted landscape now for K-12, with everyone feeling the change, Families, Students, Teachers and Administrators, community partners. 
  • Schools addressed meal delivery immediately. Then established set up for the social emotional needs of students. Teachers adapted along with the districts to working remotely. Focus was to maintain credits for graduating seniors and grade transitioning students using online learning.
  • The future will be different than our past: online learning is here to stay for those who thrive in that modality, while providing modifications to campus activities for hands on learning, sports and extra-curricular activities. 

Michael Lasher, Superintendent, Douglas County Educational Service District

  • At Douglas County ESD we are not quite yet sure about the “new normal.”Districts transitioned to a hybrid learning model where some students did well and others did not. 
  • Geography, poverty and other social issues were challenges to the hybrid model and online focus. These issues will continue to be challenging going into the future. 
  • Educators adapted quickly, but there is also the fatigue that comes for both families and teachers from adapting so quickly. 
  • The district and schools will have to work very hard and differently to reach 20% of the student population. We will no doubt continue the hybrid model of education going forward.
  • Looking at the next year, questions have been raised if families will feel comfortable sending children to school.  Some families may choose to keep their children home and continue with distance supports. Other families will need to send children to school as they go back to work. 
  • We are carrying out a Parent Survey to figure out what works and what doesn’t and what could work best for families. Using Qual Trex that links to each district. 

Tenneal Wetherell, Superintendent, South Coast Educational Service District (Coos/Curry Counties)

  • South Coast looks very similar to what others are reporting. They are responding to staff and student needs and analyzing where the gaps are and how to fill those gaps moving forward.
  • Moving forward they will use hybrid model which will require to skill up staff. They are also seeing staff and family fatigue and challenges with what families can support and provide.  The trajectory of underrepresented populations weighs heavily on them. 
  • The hybrid model required increased rigor, which even for her family with two educators was fatiguing. Families with gaps in their basic needs will struggle be even more. How do we implement education using the hybrid model knowing what we know is a challenge to the most secure of families? 
  • They have shared concern with the social emotional learning of children, and those who may be experiencing more traumas during this time. They are discussing needs for teachers to scale up to address the needs of students who need these additional supports.
  • Moving forward they are thinking about how they will identify and build the missing pieces for families, what we can provide homeless and incarcerated youth, and youth with special needs and making sure to identify those with needs? 

Bret Champion, Superintendent, Medford 549c:

  • Medford district is providing Anywhere Learning and Facebook Live with teachers. Working with Logs Charter School was helpful in using what they have already learned about online learning. 
  • District has taken this opportunity to become more agile and learn to pivot. 
  • We don’t know what is required as yet from OED, but we don’t want to waste an opportunity to change to something that will work for more students
  • We are preparing/planning bookend approaches: Brick and Click. “Brick” is in school buildings with possible modifications. “Click” refers to online, remote teaching. We will have to be somewhere in between the two. 
  • Equity is at the center of the conversation, how we meet the highest challenged students. 
  • We know that 98% of our students were reached after the March 13th State sheltering in place requirements. 80% of students were active daily with their schools.  We know that 1 in 5 were not reached regularly, so we need to outline our next steps to reach them.
  • An earlier survey with parents indicated that some families prefer to be back in school, Brick-others prefer online remote learning Click, and some would like the option to choose both. 

Paul Hillyer, Klamath Falls School District:

  • Klamath Falls following much of what Medford is doing, providing options for families. We are expecting that in the fall families will want to have options.  
  • Four options for consideration include:  traditional in school, online at home, remote distance model and hybrid of split day (am/pm) in school. Surveys are being sent out to parents.
  • We are reaching out to families to find their preference; the response has been mixed so far. 
  • Parents are nervous about sending children back to school without a vaccine to help mitigate the virus spread and impact. 
  • Over the summer teachers are being trained on the homeschool model. Each student who needed has received a Chromebook. 
  • The district is taking opportunity to declutter their curriculum, hitting on what are important and prioritizing standards. They do not want to waste the “boots on the ground” training they are experiencing. 
  • 10% student families have no internet access hindering remote learning. Several families received paper packets due to lack of internet access along with Chrome Books to do the homework. But there has to be a hybrid for these families. 
  • Teachers are being asked to do formative assessments vs just a review. 
  • Klamath County has huge equity issues due to geography, poverty and social isolation.  

Brent Barry – Phoenix/Talent School District:

  • Phoenix/Talent District first response was with family’s basic needs; food and shelter. Many children rely on two meals a day at school. They are working with First Student and Sodexo to deliver food supplies to twenty locations daily. They have been doing this for the last three months. 
  • The second response was also immediate and focused on distance learning. 
  • District is working in collaboration with outside partners for resource sharing, districts, classified staff, Medford TV education channel, and district focused on providing distance learning for students. 
  • Due to comfort level, staff are utilizing Google platform. They are providing training to staff and connecting to families. Teachers have been diligent and creative in assuring a connection with each of their students and families and have connected with all but a few. Teachers are reporting they feel the know their students and families better than they ever have.
  • The district differentiates between training in technology and then connecting all students & families. This has been fatiguing, recognizing an increase in anxiety. 
  • In response we are as a District holding listening sessions with students, families and classified staff, teachers. They are receiving good feedback and are waiting for more direction from ODE next week when more guidance is expected.  
  • The information from these sessions will be part of the July Retreat to create a fall plan. ODE will be sharing its plan, so these will be worked in together. 
  • The “opportunity gap” has been magnified during this time, we have seen how some of our students are living and families are living. 
  • District building repairs and update projects are all on time due to the buildings being empty during this time. 
  • Javier del Rio confirmed Superintendent Barry’s comments and had no additions. 

Open Dialogue and Inquiry:

Can you speak to any collective planning of a hybrid learning model? 

  • Medford district is working with Logos Charter to understand the homeschool model better. 549c is in the process of hiring someone to spearhead integrate Learning Anywhere into a virtual/hybrid environment. 
  • District would then have ability to use the online format during snow day closures, eliminating the need to have make up days added to the school year. 
  • The hybrid model for elementary school will look different than high school. 
  • Douglas County Superintendents meet weekly to share ideas and challenges. 
  • ODE will provide guidance on June 8th to guide the next steps more clearly. Once ODE provides guidance it will be up to each school district to decide. 
  • Districts are in the pre-planning phase to implement a hybrid model. 

What online systems are being used?

  • Currently the Google Classroom is the most used online connection, it is free, although not the most robust. We are hoping to balance the Local-State requirements and control. 

District-School Staffing issues?

  • Employees, educators are another issue across districts due to age, pre-existing conditions and diabetes. 
  • Staff with pre-existing health conditions are exempt from coming to work. Questions have been raised if there will be enough substitutes to cover. 
  • We may shift staff with health issues to become the online teachers within a hybrid model. 
  • How do we conduct school with these risk factors and what are the realities of who is available to do this work in certain communities?
  • Douglas County was expecting to hire 45 new positions with the Student Success Act funding, now they are needing to reduce current staff by 10. 

Social Determinants of Health, Adverse Childhood Experience Study & Trauma Informed work: 

  • South Coast ESD is working with University of Oregon around trauma informed care, providing three-day intensive workshops to district staff. 
  • The district focus is on How to best engage with families and students in crisis and working with families. They are identifying the “Red Zone” kids, (Green Yellow and Red continuum) 
  • District has goal to work with local providers and the CCO’s to help identify children with trauma and needs. 
  • Due to Covid-19 they have had to refocus and come together as a team to fill the gap. 
  • Districts are offering more mental health in homes, but are finding it difficult to provide therapy in this situation since it may be the home situation that requires help for the student.
  • Everyone has concerns regarding the decline in State funding. Before March 15th districts were primed to receive large amounts of funding through the Student Success Act, much of which would support mental and behavioral health services. 
  • Nancy McKinnis asked that Angela Warren with Jefferson Regional Health Alliance outline the important intersection between the public education and the Jackson & Josephine County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) underway that brings together efforts of community, insurers, and healthcare providers to improve community and individual health.  The Community Health Assessment was carried out in 2018 and the Overarching Plan & Goals was outlined in 2019 as the CHIP. The implementation planning phase is underway, and includes three main performance areas/visions: 
  • Housing for All
  • Behavioral health
  • Parent Support & Life Skills

Each area has a multi sector “Workgroup” charged with outlining strategies and activities to forward each area and the goals within. They are also charged with initiating creative partnerships, and developing an action plan. 

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has only deepened the focus on the three issue areas for our two-county region and beyond.

Child abuse/neglect: Teachers and schools are the number one reporter of child abuse/neglect, as teachers moved to online this has all but stopped? 

  • Medford District is working with Children’s Advocacy Center, providing more support to parents and bringing more community awareness. Summertime is particularly difficult.
  • Phoenix-Talent District is working with La Clinica, providing monthly trainings. Teachers are creating better relationships with students. 
  • Other community partners are doing phone contact to check on each family’s status as well as “drive by” visits outside the house when possible (in the early learning age group).    La Clinica is surveying all their patients personally over a 4 month period.

What do the funders or Superintendents see as Opportunities for support beyond just funding?

  • Superintendent Barry offered that school staff can support students and will be continuing what they started in Mid-March. The Challenge is how to support the Whole Family, with all kinds of different challenges. These are not the expertise of the schools and school staff, yet we know that this is what will make the biggest difference overall for students-families safe and secure. 
  • Superintendent Lasher offered that once the ODE comes out with the requirements of the school and education, connecting with community partners would be helpful since everyone is experiencing a decrease in resources and needs are already higher. How do we leverage what we do have appropriately to continue our positive direction? The Ford Family Foundation initiated this kind of effort in Douglas County before and it was very productive. 
  • Scott Beverage concurred that the level of collaboration that has been underway between the community sector, healthcare and education since 2012 and COVID-19 offers a strong platform for meeting and working together to redesign supports for students and families. 
  • Superintendent Champion offered the reality that 549c provided 100 hot spots for internet connectivity, but satellite connection in rural areas is not perfect yet. They are also a monthly cost to the district. Every family needs broadband connection. Access to internet is an equity issue. The southern Oregon legislature is bringing this forward in Salem.

In closing: 

  • A take away from today 
  • Guests shared appreciation for this opportunity and the relationships among many of the people and organizations in today’s meeting. 
  • Appreciation that the funders reach out and are reachable by educators. 
  • Appreciate the advocacy on behalf of public education. 
  • Appreciate the willingness to listen to the issues in these areas and the complexity of the needs. 
  • Matt Epstein shared his appreciation for the very strong and caring leadership shown by each of the superintendents during this crisis and today. He also felt we may have missed an opportunity of inviting legislators to attend and listen to this dialogue for their own learning. 
  • Lilia Caballero suggested that inviting the legislators could happen at a future meeting and that today was an excellent learning opportunity of what is happening around the region. 

Nancy closed the meeting sharing her appreciation for the time and thoughtfulness of the Superintendents that will help all of us be of greater support into the future.

Contact information for guests:

Scott Beveridge, Superintendent, Southern Oregon Educational Service District (Josephine/Jackson/Klamath Counties)

Email: scott_beveridge@soesd.k12.or.us

Michael Lasher, Superintendent, Douglas County Educational Service District

Email: Michael.Lasher@douglasesd.k12.or.us

Tenneal Wetherell, Superintendent, South Coast Educational Service District (Coos/Curry Counties)

Email: Tennealw@scesd.k12.or.us

Bret Champion, Superintendent, Medford 549c

Email: bret.champion@medford.k12.or.us

Paul Hillyer, Klamath Falls School District

Email: HillyerP@kfalls.k12.or.us

Brent Barry, Superintendent, Phoenix-Talent School District

Email: brent.barry@phoenix.k12.or.us

Javier del Rio, Assistant Superintendent, Phoenix-Talent School District

Email: javier.delrio@phoenix.k12.or.us

Notes respectfully provided by 
Jennifer Staton & Kathy Bryon
Gordon Elwood Foundation