September 4 , 2012
TO: MESD staff
FR: Barbara Jorgensen
As always in late August and early September, there’s excitement in the air. I felt it when I attended the Instructional Services and Functional Living Skills back-to-school events. I saw it in the faces of staff as they were preparing to welcome students. I had the chance to say hello to many old and new friends at our “Fall Fling” last Wednesday. Thank you for your enthusiasm and energy. Let’s keep it going as we tackle this year’s challenges and opportunities.
“MESD All Access” is a great way for me to provide an update on what’s been happening over the past few weeks. I will use this as a regular means of keeping everyone informed about what I am working on with our Board, our leadership and our partners. Here’s some news:
Building relationships, trust and partnership with our districts
Both the substance and tone of these meetings has been very positive. Engaging major partners in our strategic plan will ensure that we are moving ahead with a collective vision. This is a great first step. I also attended the monthly Superintendent’s Council on August 24th. One of our topics was the MESD business model and I outlined our timeline and plan for gaining their input. Rudy Crew, Oregon’s new Chief Education Officer, met with us for about an hour and a half.
Board of Directors looking at goals
Good News: MESD’s DHS Contract expands
Due to outstanding work by our Technology Services staff, the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) has expanded their In-Home Safety and Reunification Services contract with us. MESD administers billing and monitors contractors who carry out services for the program. Through this contract, MESD is funding all or part of four positions in Technology Services. Thanks goes to Ruth Welch, Eric Gustafson, Curtis Hanson and new employee Jennifer Keating who are doing a great job on this project.
Training on Senate Bill 290; filling the Business Director vacancy
HR Director Heyke Nickerson and I attended a training on a new law, Senate Bill 290, which changes teacher and administrator evaluation requirements as of July 1, 2013. We are just now grasping the ways in which this law will affect MESD staff. I will have more news on this as we learn the details of implementation.
We continue to seek a permanent director of Business Services. We have interviewed a few candidates and continue those interviews this week. While our need for the position is important, we want to make sure of a quality hiring. Much thanks to Rick Larson, director of Business Service at Centennial School District, for serving on the interview committee.
Fall Fling and Spruce Up-Alooza
Thanks to all those who made a success of our very first “Fall Fling” last Wednesday. I know it was planned after the inservice schedule was set, but those who did have time to attend gave us great feedback. It was just an hour or two of good old fashioned fun with silly games and treats. Thanks also to the Board members who attended: Jean Haliski, Gary Hollands and Sean Schafer. We’ve already set the date to do this again next year - August 28th . We will work our department meetings around this so everyone at the agency can attend.
Don’t forget to visit our web page and signup for our third annual Spruce Up-Alooza on September 22nd. Public Information Officer Mark Skolnick is working with Alpha School Principal Peter Kane on the preparations. Join me as we “spruce up” the school garden and adjoining areas.
In the coming weeks…