Expand search form

Bridging language – Mount Angel schools employees new software

By Melissa Wagoner On average, Mt. Angel School District enrolls three multilingual learners, whose first language is neither English nor Spanish, each year. But during the 2022-2023 school year, the district welcomed 25. “A lot of students in this group are somehow related to each other,” William Holman – the district’s English Language Development Program Teacher on special assignment – […]

Kennedy senior welding student Oscar Gonzalez with teacher Alex Snegirev in the welding room.

Hot start – Kennedy welding room proving huge success

By James Day Six months since its opening on the Kennedy High School campus the new welding room already is producing dividends. Fundraising for the facility, which opened at the beginning of the school year, has reached $145,000, said John Gooley, the Mt. Angel Community Foundation vice-president and Withers Lumber executive who led the campaign. The additional funds (the facility […]

Silver Falls School District

Closure deadline: Middle school planning

By Stephen Floyd Officials in the Silver Falls School District (SFSD) had their first serious talk about the possibility of closing Silverton Middle School as they moved forward with a bond to replace the facility. During the Jan. 29 meeting of the SFSD Board, Superintendent Scott Drue proposed a deadline of June of 2027 to close the campus and sought […]

Moving on – Nielsen departing SFSD for online academy

By Stephen Floyd The Silver Falls School District (SFSD) has announced the departure of Director of Finance & Operations Steve Nielsen after he accepted a position with Oregon Charter Academy. Nielsen is expected to remain with SFSD through mid-March and among other tasks will oversee finalization of a facilities bond proposal for the May 21 election, due to be submitted […]

Silver Falls School District

Silver Falls School District plans budget cuts to restore reserves

The Silver Falls School District (SFSD) hopes to cut this year’s budget by up to $3 million as general fund reserves continued a steep decline that began in 2020. Principals were asked to discuss potential budget scenarios with staff during December. Sarting in January the SFSD Board will receive detailed reports and regular budget updates. The goal is to begin […]

Bond redux – Silver Falls aims to put new bond measure on May ballot

By Stephen Floyd The Silver Falls School District (SFSD) plans to put another facilities bond on the May Primary Election ballot, though the dollar amount and scope of the bond may not be set until February. On Dec. 11, the SFSD Board unanimously passed a resolution authorizing a bond program for the May 21, 2024, election after having discussed the […]

Silverton High FFA adviser Scott Towery, left, and students Jenna Schurter, David Tribbett, Joanne Noordam and Rebecca Noordam are shown at a national competition in Indianapolis. The students took fourth in ag sales team and Rebecca Noordam placed 10th as an individual. Submitted Photo

Silverton FFA team takes 4th at nationals

By James Day Four Silverton High students teamed up to take fourth in ag sales team at the 96th National FFA Convention and Expo held in November in Indianapolis. Silverton’s David Tribbett, Jenna Schurter and sisters Rebecca and Joanne Noordam, who earlier captured the Oregon title, came away with fourth at nationals. Rebecca Noordam finished 10th as an individual.  The […]

Silver Falls School District

Holding steady – No big surprises in SFSD scores

By Stephen Floyd Student data for the Silver Falls School District (SFSD) was mostly status quo in the ’22-’23 school year compared to ’21-’22, as the district works to improve test scores. In the state’s At-A-Glance reports, published in October, the district saw little change in standardized test scores including 3rd grade reading and 8th grade math. The rate of […]

Attendance gap – MASD hopes to close it

The Mount Angel School District sees opportunities to improve student attendance now that the state is tracking regular attendees across all grade levels. According to the state’s At-A-Glance reports, published in October, 62% of all MASD students attended at least 90% of their enrolled classes during the ’22-’23 school year. Specifically regular attendance was at 59% for St. Mary’s Public […]

Guest opinion: A first-hand look at bond oversight

Former Silverton Mayor Kyle Palmer shares his perspectives on a $138 million facilities bond for the Silver Falls School District, to be decided during the Nov. 7 election. Palmer served on the advisory committee that helped formulate the current bond proposal and is also on the committee that would oversee the bond if it is approved by voters. Palmer also […]

Stacey Harker at the Pre-Incan Ruins in Ecuador -- Submitted Photo

Broadening the mind – STEM Europe 2025 tour open for registration

By Melissa Wagoner Travel isn’t just about going somewhere new. It can also be a way of learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics – commonly referred to as STEM – in an entirely new way. “I want students to have the opportunity to engage in hands-on interactive STEM activities at significant locations around the world, where they learn first-hand about topics […]

Oversight – Board appoints bond $ watchdogs

The Silver Falls School District Board has unanimously appointed 17 individuals to serve on a Bond Oversight Committee ahead of a Nov. 7 vote on a $138 million facilities bond. Officials said their goal is to let residents know who would be overseeing implementation of bond projects before casting their ballots. During the board’s Oct. 9 regular meeting, Superintendent Scott […]

Gervais schools talk dissolution into neighboring districts

By Stephen Floyd School officials in Gervais have discussed possibly dissolving their district if a facilities bond fails next year, which could lead to schools in Silverton and Mt. Angel absorbing Gervais students. Bond proposals for the Gervais School District suffered landslide defeats in 2022 and 2023, and the district’s board is considering a third attempt for May of 2024. […]

What if? Board contemplates bond alternatives

By Stephen Floyd The Silver Falls School District Board has started discussing potential outcomes if a $138 million facilities bond does not pass during the Nov. 7 election. At the board’s Oct. 9 meeting, possibilities ranged from a followup bond in May of 2024 to moving middle schoolers to the high school or outlying K-8 schools. The board said there […]

Update: Bid to replace Middle School hopes to aim higher than ‘good enough’

By Stephen Floyd There aren’t a lot of mild opinions about plans to rebuild Silverton Middle School through a proposed facilities bond for the Silver Falls School District. Supporters of the $138 million bond describe the 1938 wing of the middle school as beyond saving and say it could have collapsed in on itself years ago. Opponents argue the $75 […]

Solid ground – Robert Frost Elementary regroups

By Melissa Wagoner After nine administrators in only three years, the staff and students at Robert Frost Elementary School are looking forward to some much-needed stability.  “I’ve never seen a situation like that,” Jamie McCarty – the school’s new principal – said of the unprecedented turnover rate. “The staff is really looking for consistency and normalcy.” But first new policies […]

JFK, St. Mary’s get new principals

By Stephen Floyd Students in the Mt. Angel School District were greeted by new faces at John F. Kennedy High School and St. Mary’s Public School after both received new principals over the summer. Jessica Brenden, formerly with the Oregon Association of Education Service Districts, joins as JFK principal, while former Molalla River School District administrator Kathleen French is now […]

Needs assessment – Prioritizing space, safety for Butte Creek, Scotts Mills

Editor’s note:  Our Town has been providing a school-by-school review of the facility challenges at each building covered by the Silver Falls School District bond proposal on the Nov. 7 ballot. Missed one? Stories are available at ourtownlive.com.  By Stephen Floyd Butte Creek and Scotts Mills schools are in a unique place in the Silver Falls School District’s plan for […]

Oversight SFSD board to announce bond committee prior to vote

By Stephen Floyd The Silver Falls School District Board will appoint a Bond Oversight Committee ahead of the Nov. 7 bond measure vote so participants will be known before votes are cast. The $138 million bond would impact all 11 schools in the district, and the committee would include at least one representative from within each school’s boundaries. There would […]

Korrie Shull, the Kennedy High welding teacher, works with the new welding room’s plasma cutter, which was paid for with a grant from the Marion County Board of Supervisors.  James Day

Up and running – Kennedy opens community-funded welding room

By James Day Kennedy High’s new welding room, an innovative public-private partnership, is open for business and ready to serve. Officials from Mt. Angel Community Foundation, area building trades and the high school were on hand Aug. 31 for an opening ceremony and the production of the first job by the state-of-the-art equipment. Kennedy teacher Korrie Shull fired up a […]

Silver Falls School District

New contract – SFSD reaches agreement with non-teacher union

By Stephen Floyd Non-teacher employees have reached an agreement with the Silver Falls School District (SFSD) after four months of negotiations that largely centered on compensation, discipline and grievance procedures. On July 28, the district reached a tentative agreement with the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA) for a three-year contract that would retroactively go into effect July 1. The contract […]

Silver Falls School District

Bargaining – Non-teacher employees at the table

By Stephen Floyd Bargaining with non-teacher employees in the Silver Falls School District is nearing its third month, well before a 150-day official deadline. The previous contract expired July 1. SFSD began negotiating with the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA) May 18. As of press time, slightly more than half of outstanding articles were resolved. Remaining issues include salaries, discipline, […]

Bond backers – Political action committee forming to support SFSD bond

By Stephen Floyd Supporters of a $138 million facilities bond for the Silver Falls School District are forming a Political Action Committee (PAC) to engage in voter outreach ahead of the Nov. 7 election. While as of the Our Town press deadline the PAC had yet to be registered with the state, former members of the district’s Bond Advisory Committee […]

Principal Jeff Taylor. Submitted Photo.

Taylor named Principal of the Year

By Stephen Floyd Mount Angel Middle School Principal Jeff Taylor has been named Oregon Middle School Principal of the Year for his relationship-building and inspiring approach to academics. The title was awarded June 22 during the annual conference of the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA), in Seaside. In a news release, COSA said Taylor has had a positive impact […]

Thanks for the FBLA support

A school record, six students from Kennedy High School’s  Future Business Leaders of America chapter attended the FBLA National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia this June. Freshmen students, Audrey Brenden, Bella Dodson, Nia Ovchinnikov, Annaliese Schacher, Soliel Sowa and Megan Wagner, as well as parent chaperones Bonnie Dodson, Tanya Chuprov, and Heather Sowa were able to attend the conference thanks […]