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Community Link

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Ideas in Action — Service to Our Community

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Welcome to our Community Link newsletter! As we approach the end of the school year, we want to take this opportunity to reflect on all the incredible accomplishments of our students, teachers, and staff. We are also pleased to share several updates, including an introduction to our new strategic plan, and hope you will have a better understanding of the work being done in our schools.  

The strategic plan, which was launched at the beginning of the school year, will serve as the road map for our organization through 2027. Our Mission has evolved slightly, yet significantly from the previous plan. It still centers on inspiring and empowering graduates to strengthen local and global communities but also to act with courage in life. 

We have maintained Equity, Care, and Integrity as Core Values in our district while adding Relationships and Empowerment. The plan also lays out 23 specific goals, which are grouped into four broad categories. In a nod to the NCSD compass, we refer to these focus areas as our Strategic Points. Everything NCSD does is aligned with one or more of these points.

You will also find important information about our local option levy on pages 4-5. This critical funding, eligible for renewal by voters this fall, allowed NCSD to retain approximately 180 teachers district-wide this school year. NCSD also launched several communications initiatives, including a podcast and streaming TV app, making it easier than ever to follow along with the amazing students and staff in our schools. We look forward to expanding our North Star Awards program to include community members and volunteers, as well, next school year.  

On behalf of everyone in North Clackamas Schools, thank you for your continued partnership and support. We are grateful and proud to work together with you in service of our community. 

Dr. Shay James, Superintendent

Renew Your Investment In NCSD Teachers And Students 

In 2018, North Clackamas School District voters approved a Local Option Levy (Teachers Levy) to help supplement state funding for our NCSD schools. The Teachers Levy has funded approximately 180 teaching positions yearly at every school in our district. The Teachers Levy has become a critically important part of our school district and allows NCSD schools to fund one of our most important resources: our amazing teaching staff, which includes the 2022 Oregon Teacher of the Year, the 2023 Oregon Regional Teacher of the Year, and most recently, the 2023 Oregon PTA Teacher of the Year!  

When the current levy ends in June, 2024, it would also end approximately $23 million in funds that pay for each of these 180 vital teaching positions. Without these teachers, each of our schools would face the devastating dilemma of how to continue empowering, inspiring, and growing our students with fewer teachers and larger class sizes.

The North Clackamas School Board is planning to place a Levy renewal on the November 2023 ballot and hopes you'll continue to invest in our children the same way you did in 2018. Please note that this is a levy renewal-- not a new or additional tax burden for any North Clackamas resident, who would continue to pay the same property tax rate for the next five years.  Thanks to you, a renewed Teachers Levy would give our students the opportunity to achieve their highest dreams inspired by each of their NCSD teachers.

How many teachers at each NCSD school does this levy currently fund? 

Answer: 180 teachers 

32 Schools • 18 Elementary Schools • 4 Middle Schools • 6 High Schools • 4 Public Charters • 16,700 students 

*Note: Numbers presented here are estimates based on school enrollment and average teacher costs. 

Have We Got News For You!

After shifting from the principal’s office to the district office this year as NCSD’s Community Relations Director, I now brag districtwide! It’s been my privilege to make sure members of every school community across our school district…from Ardenwald to View Acres, and the 30 other schools listed alphabetically in between…feel proud of where their children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews go to school. Because there are SO MANY POSITIVE stories taking place on each school campus, our district Communications Team has launched these new projects to make it easy for community members like you see and hear them: 

students with FFA jackets at county fair

NCSD NEWS – each episode of this magazine-style video news program contains three uplifting stories about students, staff, or community members in NCSD who are making a positive impact on others. Episodes are shared monthly via district email, YouTube, and social media. Want to see and hear, for example, about the high school agricultural students showing off prize-winning sheep at the county fair…or the four-year-old thriving in our district’s first-ever preschool…or even our Superintendent trying to outpace students at a local school’s annual jog-a-thon? 

Watch now

man and woman talking during podcast around a table with microphones

“Proud To Be NCSD” Podcast – these polished 20-30 minute weekly episodes are quickly becoming a “must listen” for many NCSD staff and community members. Subscribe now to hear weekly in-depth interviews with “high profile” district guests like the Superintendent…to lesser known stories like our conversation with the group of teachers who have now been teaching in our district in five different decades! 

Listen now!

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NCSD “North Star” Awards – this program allows NCSD staff members, regardless of school or department, to nominate colleagues for going above and beyond in one of NCSD’s five Core Values: Equity, Relationships, Integrity, Empowerment, and Care. In each episode, nominees are surprised with an unannounced visit to their classroom or workspace, and presented with a special certificate and district keepsake. 

smart television

NCSD-TV APP– missed any of the above NCSD NEWS programs or “North Star” Award programs? Want to see the latest edition of a student-produced NCSD middle school news program? How about a recent student performance at a school assembly? If an NCSD school makes a video, this is the app where you’ll find it…all on-demand! It works on all mobile devices and smart TVs. Search for NCSD-TV and download it today! 

Roku® TVAmazon® Fire TVApple® App StoreGoogle® Play Store

apple computer

New NCSD Website – The North Clackamas School District launch a new website this year! NCSD took the opportunity to make the transition after it was announced that our former vendor would no longer host school districts. The new website has improved navigation features, better accessibility, and is available in multiple languages. 

Every school now has a Google Calendar as well. Families can sync these calendars to their own digital calendars to stay up-to-date on important school events, holidays, and activities. NCSD is excited to continue to make updates to the new website so that families and the community can stay connected to North Clackamas.

Hi-Five! NCSD’s Five High-Impact Instructional Practices

NCSD already boasts some of the top educators statewide (including the Oregon Regional Teacher of the Year the past two years), but we’re committed to training teachers in the most effective teaching strategies available. We’ve consolidated the leading research into five High Impact Instructional Practices or NCSD’s “HI-5.”  By steadily training every NCSD teacher in all five, our goal is to ensure ALL students…regardless of grade level, teacher, subject area, or school…receive consistent, top-tier, research-based instruction.  

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1)  Collaborative Learning – Students participate in meaningful, focused, and productive discussions as partners and in small groups.

2)  Feedback – Teachers provide meaningful feedback so that students understand their level of learning and know where they need to improve.  

3)  Metacognitive Strategies – Students consider their own thinking and develop self-questioning skills, while teachers model and embed these strategies in different routines.

4)  Setting Goals – Teachers provide clear learning goals, and adjust them based on progress, so that students understand what they need to know and what they must be able to do to achieve a specific learning standard. 

5)  Student Expectations – In partnership with teachers, students evaluate their own understanding, self-identify ways to improve, and plan next steps to foster continuous growth.

Rivals Unified When It Comes To Inclusion

An after-school basketball game played this past season between Milwaukie and Rex Putnam high schools must’ve been a “rivalry” game, right?  Not even close. 

Although the two crosstown schools have been squaring off in all sports for nearly 60 years, this was no ordinary mid-season matchup.  In fact, the friendly February tip-off marked the most “unified” the two schools have ever been on the court.

basketball players giving "high-fives"

The game featured all the dribbling, passing, and scoring of a varsity basketball contest…but this matchup was between each school’s Special Olympics Unified team.  In Unified basketball, each team plays with a combination of players with and without intellectual disabilities.  And the smiles on the faces of players and coaches count a lot more than any points on the scoreboard.

At halftime, Milwaukie High was recognized as a National Banner Unified Special Olympics Champion School.  MHS is one of less than 700 schools recognized nationwide as a Champion School for having an inclusive atmosphere fostering collaboration, engagement, and respect for everyone within the school community.  

student basketball players holding up champion banner

“As a school community that always emphasizes opportunity and inclusion for all students, I am so proud that MHS is being recognized as a National Banner Special Olympics Unified Champion School,” MHS principal Kim Kellogg said.  “It’s great to know that along with Putnam, we are allowing many more student athletes to shine on the court or on the field.”

Kindergarten Blast Off!!

photo montage of kindergarten kids and their parents

Imagine bringing big smiles to future NCSD kindergarten students before they even enter an NCSD classroom! It’s not hard to picture ear-to-ear grins as they enjoy treats, color with crayons, receive goodie bags, and even take the driver’s seat to honk the horn on the big bus! 

This spring, North Clackamas Schools invited families with students who will be five years old on or before September 1st to do just that at a series of outreach events across the district. It was a chance for future kindy kids to meet teachers and principals, ride on a bus, greet the driver, and ensure a fun first school experience - while caregivers could ask questions and register students right on the spot. These popular events are part of a broader strategy of early kindergarten registration, which allows schools to better project facility and staff needs. 

“My son was up at 6 a.m. this morning asking when he could ride the bus,” one parent said. “He’s been waiting all week for this!” 

Keep an eye open for our outreach events popping up throughout the spring and summer. Staff will be on hand to answer questions, register students, and provide hiring information about jobs with NCSD.

For More Info or to register

kindergarten kids getting on bus
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young girl with parent registering for school on computer
young girl smiling
child in driver seat of school bus
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school bus with balloons tied to mirrors
girl smiling playing with clay
table covered with goodies and refreshments
young kids looking out window of bus
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kids getting on bus
boy playing with clay
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brothers eating donuts