September 17 , 2012
TO: MESD staff
FR: Barbara Jorgensen
I hope the beginning of the school year has started smoothly for everyone and things are settling in to a normal routine. Please take a few minutes to read through my update. I encourage you to give me feedback on the information I am sharing. Your input and advice will help guide us as we navigate the many opportunities we have this year. Feel free to get in touch with me through email or phone, or just stop by my office if you have a chance.
ESDs respond to call for regional delivery system changes
On September 4th I forwarded to all staff (via email) a letter to the Oregon Association of ESDs from Chief Education Officer Rudy Crew and Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction Ron Saxton. As you may recall, the letter directed OAESD to prepare a “proposal for the redesign and improvement of the Regional Service Delivery system in Oregon.”
They also asked that the proposal be completed quickly - by September 21st (we have since had the deadline moved back to October 1st).
This directive demonstrates the rapid and inexorable pace of change facing ESDs and public education in our state. It also affects how we plan for MESD’s future role in regional service delivery.
To respond quickly, 17 of the 19 ESD superintendents met on Thursday, September 6th to begin putting together elements of the proposal.
During the morning we brainstormed general ideas and models, stressing urgency and the imperative of ESD unity. In the afternoon we broke into groups focused on the four areas in which ESDs are legislatively mandated to provide services: special education, school improvement, technology and administrative efficiencies.
We then debriefed with the entire group and handed our work off to Jim Mabbott (OAESD executive director), Mark Mulvihill (superintendent of Intermountain ESD) and Brian Talbot (former CEO of the Association of Education Service Agencies).
Jim, Mark and Brian will synthesize our ideas into a proposal that OAESD superintendents will review on September 20th. The draft proposal will be then given to Rudy Crew and Ron Saxton for their consideration. Their version of the plan will then be circulated for public comment in preparation for the upcoming 2013 Oregon Legislative session.
I will make sure to keep everyone informed as to when the final plan becomes available for review and input.
Early childhood hubs: what we know and don’t know
Oregon passed a major early childhood bill in March, 2012 to improve coordination among early childhood programs, increase access for families most in need of services, and establish accountability measures.
House Bill 4165 eliminated the Oregon Commission on Children and Families and the Oregon Commission on Childcare, transferring the programs and responsibilities to the new Early Learning Council (ELC). Regional hubs will replace the existing county-level commissions on children and families to convene and coordinate early learning services locally.
In August, I represented MESD at a planning meeting on hubs convened by Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack. Also attending the meeting were State Representative Tina Kotek and Multnomah County Chief Operating Officer Joanne Fuller. We had a lot of discussion about how our region will respond to the implementation of hubs and I indicated that MESD is willing to apply to be a hub.
I wish that I had more concrete news to report at this time but we are waiting for Commissioner Shiprack to call us together again.
The ELC will establish a request for proposals process to select entities to serve as hubs. Nonprofits, education service districts, county agencies, faith-based organizations, tribes, and community colleges are eligible to apply. Each hub will receive an financial appropriation to complete their work (85% of which must be used to provide direct services). We expect the RFP to come out in December.
Business Services director
I am pleased announce that MESD has made an offer to fill the vacant position of Business Services director. When our Board has officially accepted the candidate I will have more information about this important position. One of the first tasks we will undertake is a complete review of the department staffing and workload. I want to thank the four staff members who have done such outstanding work during this interim period: Jocelyn Forral, Dana MacFarlane, Brian Altman and Maureen Phelps.
On a related note, MESD’s annual fiscal audit is almost completed and will be presented to the Board at their November meeting.
Visiting our schools and sites; upcoming calendar
Over the past two weeks I dropped in for visits at Arata Creek, Alpha and Pathways schools. At each stop, I was impressed with how well staff and students work together. Our teachers, educational assistants, specialists and support staff are really focused on the needs of our students and the best ways to help them succeed in their education. I appreciate all their work and am committed to supporting their efforts from the administrative end of things.
Here are some of things I will be working on in the coming weeks:
Join me at “SpruceUp-Alooza”
Two years ago we started a new fall tradition with SpruceUp-Alooza - a morning of camaraderie and service at our schools. This year we’ll take on the student garden at Alpha which is in need of some TLC. Join me and our colleagues for a few hours on Saturday morning, Sept. 22nd. We will build some new raised beds, do a lot of weeding and transplanting, and then eat a hearty picnic lunch. Go to the MESD home page to sign up.
Well…that’s enough for now. I know this is a lot of information to digest but all of these issues are extremely important for our collective future and the students, families, schools and partners we serve. I look forward to hearing from you with your ideas, concerns and suggestions.