Keeping track

School District 9 just hired the seventh person from the Medford School District.
   
What exactly does that mean for Eagle Point? Some are wondering. Does it mean there is a plan afoot to make Eagle Point like Medford? Or does it mean Eagle Point and District 9 is once again being noticed as a place to be, not a place to be away from. Remembering the values and the uniqueness of the communities District 9 serves is all important, and as board member Theresa Erickson noted last week, something community members need to hear and believe.
 

Some of us don’t have to look back too many years to know we were a place to be and then became a place not to be.
   
Education
seems to teeter atop a fragile wheel as it tries to balance state and
local funding with particular interests and community issues. Hire the
right people and that wheel turns amazingly well. Hire the wrong staff
and that wheel seems to get stuck about every quarter turn and almost
comes to a grinding halt.
   
"We’ve been there, done that," say long-time community members when they look back on the good and the bad.
   
So where are we today?
   
There
is a lot of new vitality evident within the district leadership with
the hiring nearly a year ago of Superintendent Cynda Rickert. She is on
a mission, one she describes as a lifelong dream focused on student
learning through effective leadership.
   
Understanding how
her four characteristics are functioning within District 9: effective
leadership, quality teaching and learning, support for system-wide
improvement and clear and collaborative relationships may be a series
of words not readily understood until they are seen in action.
   
But
perhaps at this point, the place where we are seeing the most dynamic
change and that action is at the high school level. "The Energizer
Bunny" is the tag we have placed on principal Allen Barber. (We wonder
if he ever runs down.) This is his first year as a principal and what a
challenge he was presented. Rickert has seen to it that he has had some
mentoring and support. We are hearing few grumblings out of the high
school this year, at nearly any level. And this, in itself, is a major
change.
   
Barber and his team are working on changes as
briefly highlighted in an accompanying high school budget story. And he
says they will be presenting something specifically designed for Eagle
Point to the board of directors in the very near future.
   
For
those concerned over hiring from Medford, Rickert says the process
hires the best and points to 26 applicants for the recent
vice-principal’s position. And one only has to read the newspaper or
watch television to know the Medford School District is going through
some turbulent times. When Eagle Point found itself spinning wildly,
some employees went in search of better opportunities.
   
Right
now, we appear to once again be a "have" district not a "have not"
district. To keep that process going, perhaps there are two areas that
need a bit of watching– we believe there probably needs to be more
communication outside the walls of the schools and perhaps that is
something the community needs to be sure happens. We also would hope
things do not become so compartmentalized that creativity takes a back
seat.
Nancy Leonard
Editor

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