Superintendent's Blue Devil Blog: 9/10/21
Hello, Blue Devils! I am trying something new this year on Fridays. I will be giving you some insight into the Superintendent's job, my personal Blue Devil experience, and a Covid-19 update.
Forever Remembered - We learned over the long weekend that we lost a 7th grader. What a tragic loss and what I learned was he was a kind friend to so many here at Corvallis Middle School. Richie Borden, and the counseling staff at CMS, went to work over the weekend getting support ready as well as working with the family. I learned how fast this community comes together to support each other. We want to send our condolences to the family.
Board Agenda Rough Draft Finalized - The week before the regular school board meeting, I meet with one-two board members who help finalize the board agenda for the upcoming week. Getting the board packet together takes several people and is started immediately after the previous board meeting. Many times getting legal advice on policy, researching the budgetary impact items, and getting other people involved in the decision-making process occur. Then the board agenda is published on Thursdays before the meeting on the upcoming second Tuesday of every month.
Montana School Board Association (MTSBA) - Webinars and Zoom sessions occur periodically as public education is changing weekly, if not daily. During the pandemic, these changes seem exacerbated. The next three Tuesday afternoons I will be virtually attending a Legal Primer put on by MTSBA. They review new legislation, change in laws, and give advice on the interpretation of these changes. Everything seems like it is evolving daily in the national, state, and local arenas.
Middle School Volleyball - I was able to attend the 7th-grade girl's middle school volleyball game at the end of the day. Corvallis girls beat the Hamilton girls.
After School Programming - We are so fortunate to have Jenell Semple working for the district. Did you know she has almost 20 years of experience with afterschool programming here in our district? We have a partnership with the Heman Foundation to support our after-school program. We love this connection and what it affords us with valuable learning and fun opportunities for our students. We met and discussed further expansion of this program at the middle school and even talked about how we could bring the program to the 3rd and 4th graders. We will have some exciting announcements soon. If you see Jenell, please give her a high five!
Medical Concern - Met with staff associated with a student who is in need of ongoing specialized support. We have a process in our district for what this looks like: data collection, show the need, and then implement interventions that support this need. All interventions are based on relationships with the student and family, as well as best practices. The family is a part of this journey all along the way. In my 14 months here at Corvallis, I have found this process to be strong and it is amazing to see how staff wrap around a student for academic success.
Transition Meeting - We are both celebrating and having sadness that our Business Manager/Clerk, Nicole Ulibarri, has accepted the CFO position at Ravalli Electric Cooperative. Please help me in celebrating this move, as well as her hard work here at Corvallis over the past two years. I met with the Central Office staff to start working on a transition plan and timeline. This opening is posted in several locations and can be accessed here<https://www.applitrack.com/corvallisschools/onlineapp/> if you are interested in the position. Again, congratulations, Nicole!
Ongoing PIR with Stacy York - Throughout the school year we will be having Stacy York meet with a small group of employees through a Zoom session to work on social and emotional learning. We started with understanding ourselves in this first session. Here is the main question that drove our discussion, "What experiences in our own lives have helped form how we teach now?" For me personally, the time I spent volunteering in my mom's second-grade classroom as a high school-aged student gave me the inspiration and idea that I wanted to teach and serve as an elementary teacher!
Bus Route Support - I gave support to a family where the Victor and Corvallis bus stops intersect.
Cabinet Meeting: Covid Update - We called a meeting for our cabinet members to discuss procedures, protocols, and a review of our reporting systems. We reviewed how we are tracking covid cases, the words we use with families and staff, the changes from the legislature and County Health Department in our ability to contact trace and quarantine, and more.
Covid Memos Drafted - Draft memo's to the staff were reviewed, as well as a memo to families explaining our procedures to mitigate the spread of Covid. with County Health Department and Corvallis School Nurse to draft a letter for our staff and our families on Covid protocols. Staff Memo went out on Thursday and Family Memo went out Friday.
School Administrators of Montana (SAM) - The SAM organization has a mentoring program available to all administrators in Montana. This mentoring program gives me access to professionals not only across the state but across the nation as well. I am lucky to have a mentor that supports me and I am thankful for his past experience as a superintendent in Montana.
Board Agenda - School Board agenda posted on Facebook and on the Central Office Door.
Soccer - I attended the soccer games after school for a while and cheered them on versus Frenchtown. The boys won and the girls tied. The smoke was thick, but still playable according to MHSA standards.
Worked on Communication Plan - We are continually working on improving communication. We have heard from many community members that they don't have Facebook and are not receiving information. We have been trying to increase our reach and celebrate the many great things going on in our school district. We are now on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We also want to highlight two things that you can take advantage of that are new: web site, and our new App. The website is more user-friendly and has a format with scrolling information. The new App can be downloaded in your app store by searching "Corvallis Blue Devils." This app will push out notifications when we have news coming from our district. We are continuing to work on procedures that match our current social media and communication policies, as well as educating our staff and community on how they can get engaged.
Worked with Classified Leaders - Worked with classified leaders and the business manager on ideas for recruitment of new employees. We have started the year down several employees in multiple areas and we have advertisements in several media platforms for weeks: paraprofessionals, food service, bus drivers, and janitorial and maintenance. We understand we are not only competing with other schools, but we are also competing with a tough job market that is unable to fill positions everywhere in our community. If you are interested in a position please visit our website accessed here<https://www.applitrack.com/corvallisschools/onlineapp/>.
Early Outs on Fridays - Every Friday this year we will be getting out around 2:15 PM depending on what school your child attends. The time is used by teachers to plan and work on instruction, curriculum, and assessments. There is a staggered release time between the primary and middle/high schools to support the bussing and traffic. Today, I watched the release along Eastside Highway, visited the Primary for dismissal, and timed the busses. This Friday went better than last Friday for everyone, but the traffic is definitely increased at this time of day. We will continue to work on this release.
Friday Night Football - I supervised and helped cover the administrative duties for the Athletic Director tonight as he helped coach the varsity football game. I love how all the administrators help support our district by doing multiple tasks. The smoke was thick and the air quality continued to get better according to the air quality index.
COVID UPDATE: 9/10/21
Total Active Cases as of Today: 17 -- Total Active Cases Last Friday: 2
Total in Quarantine as of Today: 21 -- Total in Quarantine Last Friday: 13
Our next regularly scheduled school board meeting will be on September 14th. We will start with a facilities tour of the high school at 5:00 PM, followed by a facilities update from SMA at 6:00 PM in the High School Library, and lastly, the regular board meeting starting at 7:00 PM.
I have an open-door policy, please come visit me at the Central Office.
Jon Konen, Superintendent
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” -- Peter Drucker
CORVALLIS SCHOOL DISTRICT #1
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