Superintendent Memo

Connecting with Dr. Joe Morelock

October 15, 2021

Upcoming Events:

Parent/Teacher Conferences (NO SCHOOL): October 21 and 22, 2021

School Board Meeting: October 26, 2021, 7:00 pm

This is what we're about!

This section of the memo highlights good things going on in our district, because THIS is what we're about!
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Have you thought about our kindergartners? Due to COVID, most have never had any kind of group experience—no preschool or any experiences of what it is like to be in a group.

Our kindergarten teachers all over the district are working hard to teach skills, often for the first time: listening, walking in a line, asking questions, being a friend, sharing. And of course, they are teaching the basics of reading, math, and science too. Above, you can see teacher Sophia Lawrence at work.

At Joan Austin Elementary, supports are in place to help small groups of students learn skills, so that they can then join the rest of the class better equipped. Here's Ben Lachman, a special education teacher, working with a few students.

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Hands on learning always sinks in deeper!

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This is what we're about! Finding fun and creative ways to meet the needs of each student where they are.


There is a new state ordinance that all volunteers in Oregon schools must provide proof of COVID vaccination. All old volunteer badges have been voided. Everyone must apply for a new volunteer badge, which requires a criminal background check and proof of COVID vaccination. You may apply for a new badge now in the District Office. (Please be patient, as our volume of applications is large.)

Volunteers with a new badge may begin volunteering October 18, 2021.

Newberg Public Schools welcomes volunteers of all ages. Teaching experience or professional experience is not required. A volunteer’s most important qualification is a genuine interest in helping students succeed.

There are many ways to get involved with your school. To get started:

  • Please contact the individual school to learn how you can help students or teachers in the classroom or school. Volunteer opportunities vary from school to school.
  • All volunteers are required to complete a volunteer screening process which includes a criminal history background check, ID verification, a photo, and providing proof of COVID vaccination. All background checks must be renewed every four years.

All forms are available online or at the District Office (714 E. Sixth St. Newberg OR 97132). Bring in your completed form, photo ID, and proof of COVID vaccination to apply for a new volunteer badge. The District Office is open 8-5 Monday through Friday (volunteer process not available during lunch, usually noon – 1:00 pm each day).

Construction Bond Update

Thanks to voters, we are going to make dramatic improvements to our facilities!

Construction will begin at Edwards Elementary School, Newberg High School, and Catalyst High School next summer for major upgrades. This brings challenges to solve: how will we serve food to Edwards students next year, when the old cafeteria and kitchen are torn down, but the new ones aren't completed?

At the high school, where will Culinary Arts and woodshop, manufacturing and welding meet when old facilities are gone, and new ones not finished yet?

We're grateful for the expertise of Pence Construction (at the high school) and Skanska USA (at Edwards Elementary), as well as Cornerstone Management Group and BRIC Architecture as they help us make plans for these issues. We are excited for our future facilities, and working hard to make sure students have a good experience throughout the construction process.

Joe's thoughts:

In this time of significant tumult, I think it’s important to remember that if you can be anything at all, be kind.

At the beginning of this school year, a significant part of my message to all staff was to “think before you post.” I would extend that to the broader community as we in the school district work through a lot of issues that have brought to the surface existing tensions and disagreements people have had with each other for as long as anyone can remember. I would say this also goes for all of the students, staff, and community members who come to speak at Board meetings to share their thoughts.

Your message will most likely go ignored (or worse yet, attacked) if your approach is to effectively yell or demean or accuse someone. It’s okay to disagree and to speak with passion. It’s something you believe in and wish to let others know.

But when you take the attacking approach each time, your message most likely gets ignored by those you want to hear it (and possibly “liked” by some of your co-believers)… but that message often doesn’t age well over time. I’d like each of us to think before we post or before we speak— the students are learning from us; from both our good actions and our bad ones.

Our student commenters at our Board meetings this year have been incredibly articulate and passionate, but most of all, kind. It’s time for all of us adults to get a lesson from the students. Let’s do this together the best we can— it will be hard and we will not all agree— but let’s also be kind, and show our students we can be grownups when we put our collective minds to it.