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School Board Meeting Summary: Sept. 11, 2019

September 11, 2019
School Board Listening Session and Work Sessions

On Wednesday, September 11, 2019, the school board held a listening session followed by a work session. All board members were present.

Listening Session

The first 30 minutes of the listening session was spent in small groups or one-on-one conversations between community members and board members.

The second 30 minutes of the session was spent listening to public testimony from community members.  There were eight speakers and the topics presented to the board included:

  • the value of diversity
  • capturing community feedback for the use of Student Success Act funds
  • class size and keeping parents informed on staffing additions to address class size
  • testing in elementary schools
  • informing parents of testing and testing results
  • concern for Howard Elementary enrollment and superboundary
  • concern that students with disabilities are steered away from immersion schools
  • restorative justice as a means to address bullying and diversity
  • school resource officers
  • schools versus education

Work Session

After the listening session, the board held a work session and training on public meeting requirements.  

The board also held a work session to continue development of board working agreements.


NOTE:  This is a quick summary of the topics and actions at a meeting of the school board. This document is NOT the official minutes of the school board. Official minutes are posted after they are drafted, reviewed and approved by the board. Recordings of meetings are posted within two days after the meeting. 


School Board Meeting Schedule & Information  

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Gustavo Balderas Named Oregon Superintendent of the Year

4J leader is state’s 2020 Superintendent of the Year

Dr. Gustavo Balderas has been named the 2020 Oregon Superintendent of the Year by the Oregon Association of School Executives (OASE) and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA).

Dr. Balderas was selected among superintendents of Oregon’s 197 school districts for the top state award, which seeks to publicly recognize the outstanding leadership of active, front-line superintendents in Oregon and honor them at the national level.

“Gustavo Balderas is a model for student-centered leadership in public education. He is respected by educators across the state not just because he works tirelessly for kids, but because he does so with unmatched integrity, humility, and professionalism. OASE is excited to have Gus represent all superintendents across the state as the 2020 Oregon Superintendent of the Year,” said Candy Armstrong, North Wasco County School District Superintendent and president of OASE.

Dr. Balderas is a product of Oregon’s public school system. He was raised as the child of migrant farm workers in eastern Oregon near the Idaho border, attending public schools in Nyssa, Oregon. He followed his K–12 education by earning his bachelor’s degree from Western Oregon University, his master’s degree from Portland State University, and his doctoral degree in education leadership from the University of Oregon. Dr. Balderas has been an educator for nearly 30 years, mostly in Oregon after teaching briefly in Texas; he began as a high school teacher and counselor and in the Hillsboro School District . He served as superintendent of two school districts in California before becoming superintendent of Eugene School District 4J in 2015.

“Dr. Balderas’ recognition as the Oregon Superintendent of the Year should come as no surprise to our board, our district and community,” said Anne Marie Levis, 4J school board chair. “Dr. Balderas has been an exceptional leader for our schools and has transformed the way we look at education for our kids. He is laser-focused on results for our students, insightful in the work that he does and knowledgeable about what makes a difference for our students and their achievement. Our district is thrilled that he is being honored with this award.”

Balderas is known as a statewide leader in educational equity and has made significant progress on equity issues in Eugene. For example, “Nearly 40% of school principals and 30% of all administrators in 4J are people of color—a far higher percentage than any other district in Oregon and on track with the state’s priority for employing staff who look like the students they serve,” said 4J human resources administrator Dr. Rob Hess. Balderas is a co-founder and past president of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators (OALA), and currently serves as a board member and treasurer for the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.

“Gus is a listener, collaborator, and strategic problem solver. He is a constant source of counsel and information for myself and other educators throughout the state of Oregon and beyond,” said Hillsboro School District Superintendent and OASE Board Member Mike Scott, a longtime colleague of Balderas. “His ability to build relationships, see issues from a variety of perspectives, and maintain focus on a larger vision for student achievement makes him an excellent choice for Superintendent of the Year.”

In addition to his work as superintendent of the Eugene School District, Balderas serves in other local and statewide positions. He is the Superintendent Advisor to the Oregon State Board of Education, a member of the Executive Board of the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), a member of the COSA Equity Advisory Board, and a board member of the Oregon Department of Education English Learner Advisory Group. Locally in Eugene, he serves on the boards of United Way of Lane County, the Eugene Chamber of Commerce, Trillium Community Health Plan, Connected Lane County, the Lane Early Learning Alliance, and PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center Community Health Board.

Balderas will be honored with a formal presentation at the 2019 Oregon School Boards Association annual conference November 14–17 in Portland, Oregon; at the 2020 OASE Winter Conference in Gleneden Beach in January, at the AASA National Conference on Education in San Diego in February, and at the 2020 COSA Annual Conference in Seaside in June. Balderas’ selection for this award automatically places him in the running for the National Superintendent of the Year Award from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).

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School Board Listening Session

Board holds forum for community conversation and public testimony

Be heard: The Eugene School Board wants to hear from you. Community members are invited to a listening session on Wednesday, September 11, 5–6 p.m., at the 4J Education Center, 200 N. Monroe St. in Eugene.

The listening session will provide opportunities for both informal conversation with board members from 5–5:30 p.m., and formal public testimony from 5:30–6 p.m. All community members are welcome.

About the Eugene School Board
School Board Meeting Information

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Superintendent’s Welcome Message to Families

Read the Superintendent’s Message to Families

Welcome to the 2019–20 school year! We hope students had a wonderful summer and are ready for a busy and exciting year.

The start of the school year is always exciting. This fall, there’s a particular feeling of hope and anticipation in the air as Oregon looks forward to reinvesting in public education. Read more…

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Welcome Back to School

Welcome to the 2019–20 school year! Students return to school this week.

– Tuesday, September 3 is the high school orientation and transition day for ninth grade students.
– Wednesday, September 4 is the first day of classes for all students except seventh and eighth grade.
– Thursday, September 5 is the first day for seventh and eighth grade students.

Are you ready for your student’s first day? Here are links to some key back-to-school information:

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Get on the Bus: Students Ride Free on LTD

Lane Transit District offering free bus transportation to students

Kids ride free! That’s the message Lane Transit District (LTD) is sharing, as they launch a new ridership program for local students.

Starting September 1, all students in kindergarten through 12th grade can ride LTD buses for free. K–12 students will have access to ride anywhere, anytime, not only to and from school but also to after-school activities and jobs in the Eugene–Springfield metro area.

In September, students can ride for free by showing the bus operator their school identification card or simply telling the operator that they are a student. Parents and guardians of K–12 students can also ride LTD buses with their student for free during the month of September (if dropping off at school, request a day pass from the driver to make the return trip).

Starting in October students will be required to have a current school identification card or other device to show when boarding in order to ride for free. LTD is working with 4J and other school districts to determine these details; more information will follow this fall.

LTD notes, “A student transit pass can make it easier for families to get around town by reducing their transportation costs and the demands on parents to transport their children to school and activities. An additional goal is to create life-long transit users to decrease transportation impacts on our environment.”

The free student transit fares are made available through a grant to LTD from the State of Oregon’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF) approved through House Bill 2017.

LTD Student Pass Program 
LTD Information Flyer (English / Spanish / Mandarin / Cantonese)


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What Do Our Schools Need? Weigh In on Student Success Act

Community input will help develop $12–13 million investment plan

Share Your Voice: Online Survey

New funding is coming to Oregon schools, and we want to hear from you about how to best support student success.

This spring the Oregon Legislature and Governor approved the Student Success Act (HB 3427). This is a historic and much needed investment in K–12 schools. Eugene School District 4J is expected to receive about $12–13 million per year starting with the 2020–21 school year—about 5% of the district’s general fund budget—to increase academic achievement for all students, reduce disparities among student groups, and meet students’ behavioral and mental health needs.

Eugene School District 4J is seeking community input to inform the plan to invest these new funds. Student Success Act funds may be spent in four broad categories: increasing learning time, addressing student health and safety needs, reducing class size / increasing classroom staffing, and expanding well-rounded learning opportunities.

First, in September, the district is seeking input on what is working well and what improvements are needed in our schools. In a second phase, in November, the district will seek input on potential investments to support student success.

Please join us to talk about what student success looks like in our schools. What is going well in 4J schools? What are the challenges you’ve experienced? What areas, services and programs could we improve? Students, families, staff and community members are invited to take 10–15 minutes to complete the 4J Needs Assessment Survey, and/or take an hour to join a community conversation. Your voice matters!

4J Needs Assessment Survey 
August 29–September 27
Available online in English and Spanish

Community Conversations
Childcare, light refreshments, and Spanish interpretation will be provided.
• Wednesday, September 25, 7–8 p.m., at Arts & Technology Academy
• Thursday, September 26, 5:30–6:30 p.m., at North Eugene High School
Spanish/Español: Thursday, September 26, 7–8 p.m., at North Eugene High School

Staff Forums
• Thursday, September 12, 4:15 p.m., at North Eugene High School
• Tuesday, September 17, 4:15 p.m., at Arts & Technology Academy
Special Education Staff: Thursday, September 19, 4:15 p.m., Howard Elementary School

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Architect Teams Chosen to Design New Schools

Designers will shape new Edison Elementary and North Eugene High School buildings   

Architect teams have been selected to design the first two new school buildings to be built using 2018 school bond measure funds.

Three of the district’s aging school buildings will be rebuilt in the next few years, thanks to voters’ approval of the school bond measure in November 2018. These teams will provide architectural, engineering and other consulting services for the design of the first two new buildings to be constructed.

The selected teams are highly qualified and experienced architects who are passionate about school design for 21st century learning and the opportunity to contribute to our community. Their proposals were ranked highest by the selection committee that reviewed the proposals from several firms and interviewed top candidates. The school board voted on August 28 to approve the selections and award the design services contracts to the selected architect teams.

  • North Eugene High School 
    Rowell Brokaw Architects (Eugene) / Opsis Architecture (Portland)
  • Edison Elementary School
    Mahlum Architects (Portland) / Robertson Sherwood Architects (Eugene)

Architects for the new Camas Ridge Elementary School building will be selected at a later point.


About the architectural services RFQs
North Eugene High School
Edison Elementary School 

About the school bond measure

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Eugene Online Academy: Learn Anywhere

4J’s online learning program is enrolling new students

Is online learning the right fit for your student? The Eugene Online Academy is enrolling students for the 2019–20 school year. The program opened for high school students earlier in 2019 and is now available to students in grades 6–12.

The Eugene Online Academy combines technology and in-person support from licensed teachers to offer students an alternative to a traditional classroom setting. Students learn in a self-paced manner that is flexible and customized to their individual needs, interests, and schedules. 

The academy offers core classes and a wide variety of other courses including career and technical education (CTE) courses and electives that allow students to explore and concentrate on individual career pathways. 

Most online coursework is completed off-campus, but students seeking additional support can also drop in to the computer lab, located at the district office at 200 N. Monroe Street, for personalized help. Students who enroll are required to test on-site and check in with academy leadership at least twice a week. 

Interested in enrolling? Students who are already enrolled in Eugene School District 4J should contact their school counselor to apply to the program. Students interested in the program who are not currently enrolled in 4J can email eugeneonline@4j.lane.edu or contact the online learning coordinator, Steve Grossberg, at 541-790-7789, or academy administrator Justin Huntley at 541-790-7587.

About the Eugene Online Academy
Printable Information Sheet  

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Parent Checklist: 12 Things to Do Before Back-to-School

Get ready for back-to-school with school schedules, bus routes, meals, and more 

The start of school is just around the corner—we can hardly wait!
• Tues., Sept. 3: Grade 9: High school orientation & transition day (part-day)
• Wed., Sept. 4: Grades K–6 and 9–12: First day of classes
• Thu., Sept. 5: Grades 7–8: First day of classes

While kids are packing their backpacks, planning first-day outfits and enjoying the last few days of summer, here are some quick, easy and important things parents can do to get ready for your student’s first day.

Enroll Your New Student: If you have a child who will be new to a 4J school this year and is not yet enrolled, please contact your school as soon as possible!
How to enroll  

Mark Your Calendar: School begins just after Labor Day and ends in mid-June. Get dates on your calendar now for winter break, spring break and other days when students will be out of school. 
2019–20 school calendar  

Shop for School Supplies: Most elementary and middle schools provide a list of supplies that students at each grade level should bring at the beginning of the school year. Check your school’s supply list online before you start your back-to-school shopping.
School supply lists 

NEW: Share Your Mobile Number for Texts: New this year, your school may send you occasional text messages with important information, such as safety alerts, attendance notifications, or other school information. Be sure your student’s school records include your phone number designated as a mobile phone, so that you will receive these periodic messages. Texts will come from the short code 67587. Standard message and data rates apply. To stop receiving these messages, reply STOP at any time.
Check your contact information

Update Emergency Contact Info: If your contact information has changed, please be sure that your school has your current phone numbers and email addresses so we can reach you quickly during an emergency and keep you up-to-date about what is happening at school. If you have a Twitter account, you can sign up to receive text messages for weather-related school closures, delays or snow bus routes.
Check contact info in ParentVUE / Sign up for snow day text alerts 

Make Your Bus Plan: School bus routes and times may change every year, and you’ll want to review your bus stop and pickup and dropoff times before the first day of school. Go to the Find My Bus Stop web app, enter your home address and student’s grade, and find your route number, closest bus stop and times. Some school bus routes also have alternate “snow routes” that may be used when announced on days with severe weather. Questions? Call 541-790-7474 and select option 4.
NEW: Students also can ride for free on LTD buses starting this school year.
Students ride free on LTD
School bus stops & times
Snow route information 

Review School Start & Dismissal Times: 4J schools have consistent calendars, schedules and early release days, so that students get enough and equal learning time, families experience consistent school schedules, and staff have coordinated collaboration time. Find your school on the list of 4J schools, click on your school name and check the start and dismissal times.
School schedules

Apply for Free School Meals: Your child may qualify to eat a healthy, nutritious school breakfast and lunch for free each school day and save hundreds of dollars a year. It’s quick and easy to apply online, and about half of 4J families qualify. You must reapply at the start of each school year. Breakfast is free for students at all 4J elementary schools, with no application required. To pay for school meals, add money to your student’s account online or at your school.
Online applicationSchool meal information 

Get Ready for Kindergarten: We’re excited to welcome our new kindergarteners to school on September 4! Kindergarten is a full-day program in 4J. All elementary schools start the first week of school with “Kinderzone,” a child-centered and welcoming introduction to set our new students up for school success. For some suggested steps to help your child get ready for kindergarten, 4J’s Kindergarten Handbook is available online or at your school.
Kindergarten Handbook (y en español) / Kinderzone information 

Check Up on Student Health: Make sure you’re on track with required immunizations and medical examinations (including sports physicals)—both available from 4J’s school-based health centers. If your child has any special health issues, be in contact with your school well before classes begin. Contact your child’s school nurse if you have questions.
Student health information / School-based health center appointments  

Download the ParentVUE App: If you have a student enrolled in middle school or high school, you can use ParentVUE in your web browser or mobile app to securely access their grades, check attendance, review class schedules, communicate with teachers, and more. Your school will provide an activation key to set up an account if you do not already have one.
Synergy ParentVUE /  Apple iOS app / Android app  

Be Safe, Feel Safe, Bookmark SafeOregon: To help students feel safe and be safe, 4J schools are offering the SafeOregon tip line as another way to report any student or school safety concern. The tip line is always open. Learn more: www.safeoregon.com
Submit a tip: Online / Email / Text or call / Apple iOS app / Android app  

BONUS: Follow 4J on Social Media: Stay connected with 4J. Learn what’s happening in the school district and see great photos and news from our schools.
Like 4J on Facebook / Follow 4J on Twitter / Subscribe to 4J e-news (one or two emails a month)

Other Questions:
Contact us

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