Cannon Beach gazette. (Cannon Beach, Or.) 1977-current, January 26, 2018, Page 7A, Image 7

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    January 26, 2018 | Cannon Beach Gazette | • 7A
Academy hopes there is no mystery to school’s mission
Cannon Beach
Academy still
building a brand
‘I think we were so
focused on getting
the doors open,
we just assumed
people knew
who we were.’
By Brenna Visser
Cannon Beach Gazette
Nearly halfway through
the first school year, the Can-
non Beach Academy is still a
mystery to many in the com-
“Half think we are an elite
school where you pay tuition.
The other half think we are
only for Spanish-speaking
students. Neither are true,”
said Amy Moore, the bilin-
gual charter school’s execu-
tive director. “We have peo-
ple who still don’t know what
grades we are.”
The academy, which
serves kindergarten through
second grade, is trying to
overcome the sense of confu-
sion and enroll more students
for next school year. In order
to keep a charter with Seaside
School District, the academy
has to eventually grow to
serve up to fifth grade.
Four years after the clo-
sure of Cannon Beach Ele-
mentary School because of
cost concerns and tsunami
danger, the new school is bat-
tling an information gap and
looking to evolve from com-
munity startup into a commu-
nity staple.
Amy Moore,
Cannon Beach Academy
executive director
Students at the Cannon Beach Academy take time away
from the classroom for recess on the playground.
“I think we were so fo-
cused on getting the doors
open, we just assumed people
knew who we were,” Moore
said. “Now we want to push
forward with the message we
are tuition-free public school,
that you don’t have to live in
Cannon Beach to attend, and
that we have small class siz-
schools offer a choice in cur-
riculum or program focus that
a school district isn’t already
providing. Many have special-
ties, like the arts or sciences,
or are driven by the desire to
seek independence from a
centrally-run school system.
But part of the confusion
with Cannon Beach Academy
is the fact it was not intended
to be a charter school at the
beginning, said board member
Phil Simmons. The primary
mission of the original task
force was to keep a tradition-
al public school in Cannon
“This started a year and a
half before the school closed.
Our focus at that point was to
get a school district school in
town. The only problem was
that the school was in this bad
location,” Simmons said. “We
wanted to keep the school and
just move it. People would
propose a charter school to
me as an alternative, and I can
tell you personally had no idea
what a charter school was.
I just knew we had a good
school in Cannon Beach and
wanted to keep it.”
It was only after the final
door was closed that Sim-
mons started researching
charter schools. His research
dispelled his negative con-
notations when he realized
charter schools are still tui-
tion-free public schools, part
of a school district.
“I can understand why
there is some confusion, be-
cause I was similarly without
knowledge,” he said.
supported place’
Due to state requirements,
the academy chose to offer a
different curriculum and a bi-
lingual element to differentiate
from other schools in the school
district. They chose Spanish as
a way to build upon the num-
ber of native Spanish speakers
who already live within the
town, Simmons said.
Out of 22 students, seven
come from Spanish-speaking
families, according to Moore.
Of those, six qualify for En-
glish language learner ser-
vices, which is 27 percent of
the student body. By compar-
ison, 9 percent of students at
Gearhart Elementary School
and 22 percent at Seaside
Heights Elementary School
qualify for the help.
While parents have noted
that the small class sizes and
bilingual aspects add value,
the common motivating factor
for many is still proximity.
Alberto Rodriguez, a parent
of a kindergartner, works at the
Ocean Lodge and Wayfarer
hotels in town and is from one
of the seven Spanish-speak-
ing families the school serves.
While he appreciated Span-
ish being incorporated, being
close to his daughter is what
drove his decision.
“I like it because my job
is here,” Rodriguez said. “It’s
easier to be around and in-
For Colin Woody, a parent
of a first-grader at the acade-
my, having the school close
to his work at the restaurant
Castaways enables him to be
more involved with his child’s
“I think this school has had
to go through so many hoops
that it hasn’t had a chance to
define itself,” Woody said.
“But I see it as a positive
place. A community-support-
ed place.”
Moore said the same rea-
sons that make the charter
school different from others
are also crucial to success.
“Why we’re here is why
we’re here. Choice is a part
of our mission, but this school
is here because we wanted
to bring community back to
Cannon Beach,” Moore said.
“The essence of identity is
tied to knowing our impor-
tance in the community while
also providing choice to those
who may not live in Cannon
‘Information gap’
With the doors open, the
academy now has access to
grant money to help promote
the school in a way that wasn’t
possible before, Moore said.
In the past three months, the
academy has invested in a
new website, marketing cam-
paign and a billboard to get the
word out.
Enrollment must increase
to be more sustainable, and
Moore would like to see 50
students by next school year,
she said.
“Our biggest barrier for
this year I think was people
being nervous about whether
or not we will open and stay
open,” she said. “But we’re
looking to fix that informa-
tion gap, and I think between
demonstrating our academics
is sound and educating why
we are here, we will grow.”
School district provides the first details of new campus designs
District officials
share plans with
By R.J. Marx
Cannon Beach Gazette
SEASIDE — School dis-
trict consultants walked plan-
ning commissioners through
designs for the new school
campus in the in the Southeast
One thing is certain: the
school will have a magnificent
“We’ve talked about the dif-
ficulties of the site, but the ben-
efits are it’s going to have the
best view of any school in Or-
egon,” architect Dan Hess said.
You’re going to see the ocean,
you’re going to see the city.”
Hess, project manager Jim
Henry, land use planner Greg
Winterowd, with input from
City Planner Kevin Cupples
and Public Works Director
Dale McDowell walked the
city’s planning commission-
ers through design plans to
provide information and listen
to suggestions at the Tuesday
work session, Seaside School
District Superintendent Sheila
Roley said.
Some of the plans are dic-
tated by the site itself, located
on land south and east of the
current Heights Elementary
School. “It’s a difficult site,
but it’s not impossible,” Public
Works Director Dale McDow-
ell said.
The shape of the location —
including lane width and park-
ing — is mandated by the fire
“When they pull a truck in,
they’ve got to be able to pull
their hose 175 feet,” McDowell
said. “They’ve got to be able to
get to both sides of the school.
We’re working with the school
district and the fire department
to make sure we get that right.”
Remodeling and additions to
the Heights Elementary School
will house the district’s ele-
mentary school population of
730 students, architect Dan
Hess told commissioners.
A combined middle and
high school building will pro-
vide classrooms in an I-shaped
configuration, with middle
schoolers on one side of the
building and high schoolers on
the other.
A track and football field
with striping for soccer, road
links for two sites, parking and
a stormwater detention basin
were also presented.
Because of slope, the west
side of the campus will stand
three stories and the east two
stories. The upper floor will
house classrooms, the cafe-
teria and the music program.
The cafeteria will be divided to
separate high school and mid-
dle school students. The space
could be also transformed into
a performing arts space, he
A sports field would be the
only athletic outdoor playing
Dan Hess of BRIC Archi-
tecture addresses Seaside’s
Planning Commission.
area, intended for practice and
physical education.
Varsity teams will continue
to compete at Broadway Field.
The site would also be a
collection area for residents in
case of an emergency, includ-
ing an earthquake or tsunami.
The new school will be
hooked to a generator in case
of outages, McDowell said.
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The site is “being built for
growth,” Roley said, who said
the district expects steady,
modest growth in years to
come. The campus, currently
at 1,500 students from K-12,
will be built to accommodate
“Our consultants felt the
meeting went very well,”
Roley said Wednesday. “We
thought it was worthwhile for
us and the city as well. We con-
tinue to have ongoing partner-
ship with the city staff and it
was nice to bring that all to the
table have the commissioners
looped in so they don’t get all
this information in a notebook
and looking at it for the first
School district consultants
and officials shared plans with
the public in Cannon Beach at
the Cannon Beach Chamber of
Commerce on Thursday.
A Spanish presentation
takes place Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m.
at Broadway Middle School,
1120 Broadway.
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Added emergency access
comes from a former logging
road behind the campus.
A “closed campus” may not
please students, Roley said, but
it will help keep traffic down
on roads to school. “This is not
an appropriate site for them to
be leaving midday,” she said.
At the current site, there
are 17 exits and many ways
to access area roadways. At
the new campus, there will be
only one.
Traffic studies detailing
impacts to local roads were de-
signed to be “conservative” in
approach, planner Winterowd
Families of two or three
kids will be able to travel to the
same school, reducing traffic to
the campus, he said.
The district will have about
330 parking spaces in the
new campus, including spac-
es already designated at the
Heights. Overflow parallel
parking will be available along
roadways for special events.
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