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About Vernonia's voice. (Vernonia, OR) 2007-current | View Entire Issue (June 17, 2021)
Schools Update: Looking Toward the 2021-22 School Year
By Superintendent Aaron Miller
As staff and students have
reached the end of this year of Distance
and Hybrid learning, plans are being
developed to continue a return to nor-
malcy in the Vernonia School District
(VSD) for the 2021-22 school year.
While plans are being made, we
also know that change and flexibility are
constants in the process of dealing with
this COVID pandemic.
The District plans to continue to
provide K-12 education in our brick and
mortar classrooms, online schooling op-
tions for students in grades 3-12, and
K-12 home-schooling support through
the Vernonia Family Academy (VFA).
Plans for our regular schedule
and school calendar are to have stu-
dents’ first day of school on Tuesday,
September 7, 2021 with the last day
of school slated for Monday, June 13,
2022. Students will attend school Mon-
day through Friday, with their full daily
schedule starting at 8:00 am, and finish-
ing around 3:00 pm. Staff are very ex-
cited to return our schedules back to a
full, regular school day!
In addition to providing these
regular options for instruction, all
schools in the District will be putting
together options for Summer School to
help students make up for any learning
losses incurred during Distance Learn-
ing. Summer School will likely begin in
late June, and will be targeted to help
students who are behind on their course-
work for any reason. There will also be
opportunities for enrichment learning
activities, which are meant to be fun and
engaging, yet still educational. Fund-
ing to support summer learning is made
possible through special grants from the
Oregon Department of Education.
Specific information on these ex-
tra learning opportunities will be shared
with students and parents through
school communication channels.
For any questions regarding
schedules and options in Vernonia
Schools, questions regarding Summer
School, or anything else related to edu-
cation in Vernonia, please call Superin-
tendent Aaron Miller at (503) 429-5891.
School Board Report
At the June 10, 2021 School Board Meeting:
Board Approves Budget – After a public hearing at
which there was no public comment, the Board voted
to adopt Resolution 2021-04, approving the budget for
fiscal year 2021-22.
Mist School to Include K-5 Students Next Year –
Elementary Principal Michelle Eagleson reported that
the Mist School will continue to serve its K-5 resident
population. The District is confirming with parents
interested in sending their students to Mist for the
2021-22 school year to ensure there will be enough
students enrolled for both a K-2 and 3-5 classroom.
Board Approves Voting Abstract – The Board voted
to approve the abstract report for the Vernonia School
District School Board election on May 18, 2021 and
certifying the election of Susan Wagner, Amy Cieloha,
Stacey Pelster, Joanie Jones, JaVoss McGuire, and
Board Approves Out of State Travel – The Board
approved Out of State Travel for the 8 th Grade Close-
Up Washington, DC trip, the Senior trip to California,
and the HS student trip to Germany, all occurring in
the Spring of 2022.
Board Accepts Teacher Resignations and
Retirements – The Board accepted the resignations
from teachers Kendra Berryman and Laura Blacker,
and the retirements of Byron Brown and Matt Blair.
Board Approves OSAA Cooperative Agreement
with Banks – The Board approved an agreement with
the Banks School District that would allow a student
transferring from Banks to the Vernonia School
District to continue to play soccer with the Banks
team; Superintendent Aaron Miller clarified that other
VSD students could potentially play girls soccer at
Banks under this agreement.
PBL Grants and Reader Board – Jim Krahn updated
the Board on the activities of his Project Based
Learning (PBL) class and their Community 101 Grant
Program, which receives funding through the Oregon
Community Foundation. Each year the class receives
$5,000 to distribute in the community, which they do
through grants. Last year during COVID they gave
all $5,000 to Vernonia Cares. This year grants went to
the Vernonia Education Foundation, Vernonia Cares,
and Vernonia Public Library for the Summer Reading
Program. Krahn also told the Board his class made
the original suggestion for a community reader board
seven years ago, which will be installed this summer
at Spencer Park and will be a collaboration between
the City of Vernonia, the Vernonia School District,
the Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District, and the
Vernonia Boosters to provide information for the
District Recognizes Outgoing Board Member –
Superintendent Aaron Miller recognized outgoing
Board member Brittanie Roberts for her six years of
service on the Board.
Public Comment – Laura Blacker, an elementary
teacher who has submitted her resignation, said the
reason she is leaving is because of recent changes in
administration and she no longer feels heard, respected,
appreciated, or valued as a teacher. Blacker said she
took a position with the Vernonia Family Academy
last year because of the change in administration, but
misses working in the classroom with students, but
doesn’t feel she can do that effectively at Vernonia
Thomas Jones thanked Superintendent Aaron
Miller and the rest of the administration for their work
to reverse the decision to only teach K-2 students next
school year at the Mist School, and instead continue to
teach K-5 students.
Janice McGuire thanked the administration
for providing the opportunity for students to attend
the Vernonia Family Academy. She also said she
thinks the District needs to do more to reach out and
connect with the community when making policies
Superintendent Report – Superintendent Aaron
Miller told the Board enrollment is up from about 530
at the beginning of the school year, to 556.
Miller had teaching assistant Richard Traver
give a presentation from the Equity Team. Traver
said the goals of the group are to give each student
what they need to reach their full academic potential
in a safe, welcoming, and inclusive school community,
while also providing access, representation, and
meaningful participation for all students, including
underrepresented groups. Members of the Equity
Team include Michelle Eagleson, Aaron Miller, Jamie
Hamsa, Kendra Schlegel, Suzanne Meyers, and Ashley
Principal Reports – Elementary School Principal
Michelle Eagleson said 30 families participated in
Eagleson said students in K-5 participated
in video art lessons with Artist in Residence Jessica
Graff, who taught basic drawing skills, focused on
animals in the natural world.
High School/Middle School Principal Nate
Underwood told the Board it was a busy spring with
a prom, basketball and wrestling seasons, principal
and academic awards, and promotion and graduation
VFA Report – Debbie Taylor told the Board the
Vernonia Family Academy (VFA) has completed a
successful year with 88 families and a total of 144
students in grades K-12.
Opportunity for Graduating Seniors Next Year –
High school instructor Juliet Safier told the Board that
graduating seniors next year who are a first generation
college student will receive an opportunity through
the Willamette Promise to attend workshops in Salem
that will focus on scholarship preparation, financial
literacy, and other life skills.
Vernonia School Board Meetings are held
on the second Thursday of each month.
The next meeting is scheduled for
Thursday, July 8, at 6:00 pm.
Please check the District’s website for
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