By Mary Owen
For continuing to be a cornerstone of the community, the North Santiam School District receives the 2016 Large Business excellence award from the Stayton/Sublimity Chamber of Commerce. The award is presented to a business with more than 15 employees.
“We strongly believe that we can improve our high school outcomes and be the greatest assistance to our communities by transforming the way our schools work,” Superintendent Andy Gardner said. “This work will continue; we have more improvements to make.”
Nominator Elaina Turpin said the North Santiam School District has and continues to foster relationships with area businesses, non-profits and other schools.
“Their focus on educating and supporting the future of the community extends past the classroom,” Turpin said. “Their partnership with area businesses such Stayton Wood Windows and NORPAC brings another dimension to the student experience by providing practical skills in a real world environment.”
Turpin said the relationship between the North Santiam School District and Regis and St. Mary schools has been one of support and cooperation.
“This mutually beneficial relationship continues to support what’s best for the students of both schools,” Turpin said. “They are truly focused on doing what is necessary to raise the next generation of community leaders.”
The district reaches out to other schools to help ensure all areas have access to education, reaches out to local businesses to teach students trade skills, gives students a hands-on experience building a house, and encourage students to give back to the community through food drives and required volunteer hours, according to the supporting narrative.
“The vast majority of our communities’ young people attend NSSD schools, and our mission is to make our schools the best they can be,” Gardner said. “Our intent is to make great citizens and a great workforce.”
About receiving the reward, he added, “We appreciate the recognition, but from our standpoint, we have much remaining to be done. The programs that have been started need to continue to be improved. So, we appreciate it but know that much work is yet to be done.”
Gardner said a great rule in education is that the person who does the work does the learning.
“Most community service opportunities that we have our kids do create a great feeling, and a sense of pride,” he said. “We need to continue to emphasize that with our students, through clubs, etc., and provide opportunities for them to experience the feeling.”
Gardner thanked the chamber, community, businesses and parents for supporting the district.
“We want to stress many of our current programs simply could not be done without the support and help from our local businesses, and we deeply appreciate their generosity.”