I’ve been saddened by the recent letters to the editor regarding the Oroville School District and its employees. I am not interested in a back and forth in the newspaper, but I will address some insights about school systems in general, and Oroville, in particular.
First of all, teachers, staff and administrators are just people. Though we strive to be professional in all situations, I can imagine a time when we fall short: we have bad days, don’t feel well, misunderstand, and even get cranky and defensive occasionally. When a parent or student has a problem with how a school district member behaves, the parent should first go to that person and check out their side of the story. I’ve found that when this is followed, disputes and misunderstandings can be resolved in nearly 90 percent of the cases. Next, the principal of the employee should be contacted, through an appointment, to resolve the other 10 percent of problems. Please remember that because this is a small town, school district employees have children who often attend school in the same building. Please be considerate of these relationships and the pain that is caused when writers choose to include names in their complaints to the newspaper. There are more appropriate forums to get your problems resolved.
Communication with parents is always a challenge in school. Since Mr. Quick has become Superintendent he has done an outstanding job updating the Oroville School District website (Oroville.wednet.edu). All of the district policies and procedures are listed there along with calendars of events, teacher contact emails, curriculum plans, assessment information and a myriad of other details that might resolve some of your questions. Through Family Access on the district website parents can now check their student’s assignments and grades. You must have an access code which can be obtained from any building secretary. The electronic reader board is also a new feature providing up-to-date event information. As a member of the secondary school staff who watched students go out in the wind, rain and snow to try to keep the old reader board updated using missing/damaged letters; we are eternally grateful to the generosity of the Booster Club and Kinross for donating our new electronic board. Getting the right information to parents at the right time will always be a challenge, but an important one we will continue to try to conquer.
I’ve worked for Oroville School District for 12 years and love my job. I have six children of my own, and it has been my serendipitous delight to discover I could love teenagers who I had never given birth to. Since Oroville was my first teaching job, I can still remember being a parent and being baffled by how schools worked and even intimidated by the people and processes of school. During the last 12 years, I’ve worked with five different principals, and I have found redeeming qualities in each of them and worked the longest with Steve Quick, who is now our superintendent. I trust him. I believe he is an outstanding leader. I would remind those who would criticize that when a leader is really doing his job, at least 25 percent of the people will be mad at any given time. Mr. Quick must juggle the wants and needs of parents, students, teachers and the community, and I have been in hundreds of meetings with him over the years where all parties have walked away with a smile on their face; other times some left disappointed. I know from first-hand experience that his first interest is the student. He invests in teachers, staff and community members who have positive ideas and solutions to make school a better place for students.
We have some wonderful accomplishments to celebrate at Oroville. Eight of our students sat for the AP Calculus exam this spring, and we are anxiously awaiting their results. In the previous six years, only one student took the test. This is important progress for such a small school. We just received our reading and writing HSPE (formerly the WASL) scores back, and nearly 95 percent of our sophomores met standard! Best in the valley again this year, I’m sure! All of our graduating 2012 seniors have made post secondary application and have been accepted to college, university, military or employment! Oroville High School students have donated thousands of hours in community service over the last year. As you drive through town, you will see just a few of the 2012 senior projects in the form of landscaping, signage, seating and other projects. Next year juniors and seniors will be able to take College in the High School courses right here at Oroville High School for free! This will save parents and students thousands of dollars in college credits. All of these accomplishments, and many more not listed, are a result of the hard work of teachers, parents, students and administrators who are focusing their positive energy to assist our kids in becoming College and Career Ready. I invite all to join us in this effort.