Wolverine News!

February 2023

K through 12 news isn't the only good thing we have to talk about at Alsea School. This month's newsletter puts a spotlight on post-secondary activities and options at Alsea School District. Read about technology access upgrades and a hearty thank you from the Forestry Class. Scroll to the bottom to find out how you can help out at Alsea School, and to read the first installment of the "Alsea School-Then and Now" series, which features Interim Alsea School Board Member Soren Rounds.

Alsea College and Career Happenings!

New Alsea school counselor Haylie Rose has been busy maximizing student exposure to post-secondary pathways. Follow links in the article if you want more detailed information on any of the programs Ms. Rose has been bringing to Alsea students.

First and foremost, Alsea is bringing back Senior Graduation Requirements post- Covid to help meet personalized learning requirements per Oregon Diploma Requirements. To help students get started on post secondary plans, Alsea School has implemented OverGrad, College and Career Readiness Program (7th-12th grade). This program is offered in small, breakout groups with school counselor guidance.

Alsea School participated in College Application Week in November, an event put on by Oregon Goes to College. Sixteen of 20 seniors participated, 12 students applied to LBCC, five students applied to more than one college. Class of 2023 interests include: music, engineering, veterinary science, welding, nutrition, education, criminology, diesel mechanics, forestry, construction, chemistry, logging, and lineman careers.

Alsea Juniors took the ASVAB test earlier this month and will have the opportunity to use their test in a career exploration activity in early March. Haylie Rose took 18 students to the University of Oregon February 16th for a tour. Students will continue to participate in college campus tours throughout the school year. She also took a few students to Entek in Lebanon to explore the potential of CTE careers.

Right now, we are in the midst of talking about paying for college and post secondary education. Seniors can help pay for college with scholarships (OSAC, Benton Community Foundation, Ford Family Foundation, university specific and more!), FAFSA, and grant money, such as the Clemens grant and the Oregon Promise, that is available to them. We were fortunate to have a representative of Benton Community Foundation come out and speak with our senior advisory class about local scholarships and the application process.

Here at Alsea, we believe in providing students with the opportunity to take college-level courses at LBCC through our High School Partnership program at no additional cost to the student. We had six students in the Fall complete an LBCC course and we continue to have students utilizing this program throughout the year.

Another in-school partnership is with Ms. Schulze, Alsea’s High School English teacher. Her junior and senior students are accessing the OSAC workbook (Oregon Student Office of Access and Completion) in her classroom this month with a focus on OSAC’s four personal statements. Ms. Rose was asked to come into the classroom and help 11th and 12th grade students prepare, develop, and edit their personal statements, which are a part of the OSAC scholarship application. During J Term, Ms. Schulze also helped students to work on job applications, interview skills, and resume creation.

Another partnership that Alsea School hopes to continue is the Workforce Education Development Program through the Corvallis Services Consortium. This exciting program has students gain work experience doing volunteer labor at non-profits around the Alsea valley while doing credit recovery towards graduation. The program also helps students learn all kinds of skills around job seeking and job retention, from resumes to filing taxes. To learn more about how Alsea alum Angela Turpen is helping to bring this program to Asea School, follow this link http://alsea.k12.or.us/2022/10/19/amazing-summers-at-alsea-school/

Other upcoming college and career related activities:

  • Optional ACT test in spring for juniors/seniors

  • Mock interviews for seniors

  • Career fair

  • College and career visits

  • Decision Day, another Oregon Goes to College event, will be held May 1st. Note: this event will not only recognize a college “decision," but will acknowledge all senior “decisions” after high school (trade school, technical program, workplace, military decision, etc).

And meanwhile, Alsea dreams of CTE…What programs could we offer in a new CTE building with a CTE coordinator?

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Alsea School District Gets Tech Upgrades

Alsea School worked with Linn Benton Lane Education Service District to improve technology access at the school building. In January, the building had a Wi-Fi upgrade and increase of wireless access points (APs) that allow wireless devices to connect to the Alsea School network and internet. The school went from 10 APs to 24 AP,s and now has coverage in every room.

This improvement will end up saving the school district about $13,000 per year. Students report that the school Chromebooks are much faster and easier to use. “Even when everyone is using their Google ChromeBook, it is still pretty fast,” said one student.

Alsea Sports got a tech upgrade as well. Alsea games can now be watched online. Mr. Rothenberger worked with the National Federations of State High School Associations to implement the program and cameras in the gym. Hardware and installation were free to Alsea School District. All Alsea School had to buy and set up was $100 worth of network cables!

There is a banner on the Alsea School homepage with a button linking to the broadcast site. In order to access the game camera, viewers need to create an account and pay a subscription. fee.

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Thumbs Up and Thanks from Mr. Crowe, Alsea Forestry Program, and Alsea Leadership Class

Submitted by Mr. Crowe on February 9th: This is meant to be a school and community wide "thumbs up". Boy do we ever need it. Let's face it; we've all been through the wringer over the past few years, yet there are still glints and glimmers of hope from the flames of kindness that I know are rooted deep in this place.

About a week ago, I launched a Donors Choose project to raise funds for a new chainsaw and a chainsaw chain sharpener for our Forestry and Leadership classes. I've never done a Donors Choose before and frankly, I was very apprehensive about "the ask." It's often difficult to ask for help. Well, the project went live on Donors Choose on Wednesday, and two days later it was fully funded at just over $1000. The majority of support came from our local community that believed in what we are capable of and what our students can do...they believe in the light that can still shine bright around this place.

Then, two days ago, during my 6th period Leadership class, a community member walked through my classroom door with a stoic but wide grin on their face and said "I heard you needed a saw." nI their hand was a BRAND NEW chain saw that just happens to be the exact saw we need to participate in the Forestry competitions that we aspire to attend. This saw was nearly $1000 on its own. Needless to say I was speechless (hard to believe, yes I know), elated, humbled, tearful and overwhelmed. You see, we've all struggled, battled, felt low and lost a bit of hope through all the fire which we've walked through recently BUT.....HOPE remains.

Kindness perseveres and love conquers darkness every time. It was just an inanimate piece of metal and plastic that was delivered, but it is the LOVE in the heart of those who step forward to answer the call when the bell tolls that stand for the best of what we are, what we are capable of.

I am honored to be in this place that has been battered by the storms of life but still refuses to sink and stands fast in the eye of struggle and strife. "Thumbs up" to you, Alsea. You are strong. I, too, believe in what we capable of. Time to rise again with gratitude, a little smirk and determination in our eyes.

Miss Faherty's Kindergarteners were a little excited to win the Golden Shoe for January! Congratulations! We know you worked extra hard to be the quietest class in the halls!

Overheard in the Hallways...

From Mrs. Pearson: I have been enjoying the reasons for being tardy from one of our youngest learners. The reasons include: "I just didn't want to get up" (standard, right?), "I just didn't wanna wear pants," "I had a lot to pack." And, today: "I had a problem with my unicorn."

From Mrs. Mason: In 5th grade, we just started working on our Gallery Night project. Each student researches a famous person, writes a report, makes a poster and gives a speech. It has been fun to hear them talking about it. "Did you know Helen Keller was the first blind and deaf person to graduate from college?" ”Isn't that amazing?” "Did you know Albert Einstein had two wives?" I am glad they are excited about learning about these figures of history!

How You Can Help

Mr. Crowe's Forestry and Leadership Classes: You know those awesome saws mentioned earlier? Forestry students will practice saw work while cutting up logs for firewood. Mr. Crowe is also teaching Leadership this spring. Leadership students have set the goal of getting firewood to local community members who could use some help getting their wood in. For this collaborative project to succeed, Alsea School needs large quantities of pulp wood to cut up and deliver. Nearby logging sites would work. A logging truck load delivered to the school would be even more awesomeness from the Alsea community. Thank you in advance, Alsea community, because you always come through for us!

From Mrs. Harris: I would love to get one or two bales of straw for the garden. The Middle School Leadership class is going to be updating the memorial and would like some bulbs and spring flowers. The bulbs obviously won't grow this year, which is why we would like to get some annuals and possibly some perennials. Thank you for your help.

Mrs. Harris could also use a three-tiered bookshelf for her classroom.

Sign up to run for the one of the three open positions on the Alsea School Board. Elections are this May. For more information, visit http://alsea.k12.or.us/2023/01/11/school-board-elections/

Attend Alsea School Board meetings virtually or in person. The regular monthly meeting is held on the second Thursday of each month at 6 or 7 pm in the school library. To speak during the public comment portion of the meeting, please sign up, prior to the meeting, at http://alsea.k12.or.us/media/2022/04/ASB_Intent-to-Speak-form.pdf or contact the Interim Executive and Board Secretary at mailto:lora.nickle@alsea.k12.or.us For an explanation of procedures about presenting to the board, please visit http://alsea.k12.or.us/media/2022/04/Procedures-for-Addressing-ASB.pdf

Serve on the Bond Oversight Committee for the Alsea Bond Project. To learn more, visit http://alsea.k12.or.us/2023/02/21/alsea-bond-project-update-february-21-2023/ If you are interested in volunteering for a position, please submit a brief letter of interest to the Interim Executive Secretary at lora.nickle@alsea.k12.or.us All applicants must be approved by the Alsea School Board.

Contact carmen.martin@alsea.k12.or.us to find out more if you would like to be a bus driver for Alsea School.

Donate blood at the next Alsea Community Blood Drive on Wednesday, April 5th from 1-6 pm in the Alsea School gymnasium. There are a few ways to sign up. Go to the Red Cross website at https://www.redcross.org/give-blood.html or call Mary Ann Carr at 541-487-7364. It is best to schedule appointments after 2:30 so that Alsea students can donate before going home on the bus.

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Alsea School Then and Now: Interim Board Member Soren Rounds

When Soren Rounds rolled out of Alsea headed to the University of Oregon right after graduation in 1992, he didn’t think he would ever be back. But Soren is back in Alsea dropping his son off at Alsea Pups Preschool, driving his father-in-law’s 1966 Caddy in the 2022 Homecoming Parade, and volunteering to fill an empty seat on the Alsea School Board. There is a lot of story between Then and Now.

Soren moved to town at age three with his mother, Mary Rounds, who was the beloved Alsea librarian for many years. He remembers attending a co-op preschool in an old church west of town and attending Alsea School K-12, except for when he was in Japan as an exchange student his junior year. When he was little, he would beg his mother to take him with her to work at the library when it used to be across from the Merc in the old bank building. He says he would read until his eyes got too tired to focus on the words anymore. And then he would take more books home with him!

After one year at U of O and some years working at the Buick dealership in Eugene, Soren decided to get back to school to become a pharmacist. After “jumping through many hoops,” he received a Bachelor’s of Applied Sciences from U of O and a Doctor of Pharmacy from Oregon State when he was about 30. He progressed into positions at Eugene hospitals, including as Interim Director at McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center and Clinical Pharmacist at Sacred Heart Medical Center. He and wife Aimee Hart made several trips to isolated rural communities in the highlands of Guatemala with HELPS International’s Cascade Medical Team. He also built and raced cars.

Then around age 40, he had a stroke.

After getting off the feeding tube and out of the wheelchair, learning to walk again and feed himself again, and returning to work for a few years, he and Aimee decided it was time for a simpler life in the country. “I didn’t have to think about coming back to Alsea,” he said, “It was just home. When I thought of life in the country and connecting with the land, all that is Alsea to me.”

Soren credits Alsea School with helping shape his career path in a few ways, including how to be a self-starter and how to not be a quitter. The teachers who had the biggest impact on his life were Bonnie Hill and Ron Nicholson. He sees the ongoing relationship with teachers who lived in and were active members of the Alsea community as the reason they had such an impact on him. “Not having to get to know every student at the beginning of every year meant that they knew me, and could meet me where I was as a learner,” he explained.

Because of these beloved former teachers who were also community members, teacher recruitment and retention is one of the areas he would like to direct his attention to as an Alsea School Board member. He said he was happy to volunteer for the open board seat because there is so much work that needs to be done to see the school through this time of transitions like the budget crunch, the bond project, and the superintendent search. “I have the time to do it. And it is time to give back to make sure the kids of today get what they need from the school,” he said.

A memory Soren has from Alsea school days is best told in his own words: “One time in 6th grade, I got an F in math. I turned in no homework; it was pages and pages of long division with 5-6 digits being divided by 2-4 digits, answers often containing decimals. I always got A scores on tests. It was my understanding that homework was intended to help a student learn, and if you knew the subject matter you didn't need homework. A winter break spent completing all of the homework resulted in the grade being changed to an A.

“The moral of this story is my mother telling me, as I was frustrated with the idea that I needed to do all of this useless work, that "you often have to jump through the system's hoops. It may seem like a waste of time to you, but they require it to get to the result you want." This really did stick with me, from required college classes ("Lifetime Health and Fitness" required for a 28 year old pursuing a second career in a health science and ten years of intensive martial arts experience? Ok, I guess I'll take that class if I have to) to motor sports rules (fire extinguisher must have only metal-to metal connections all the way to the final attachment point to the frame or roll cage, even though nobody in recent history has used an in-car extinguisher at that race course in decades because safety workers are staged everywhere outside with larger extinguishers).

“Long story short, a harsh lesson about jumping through hoops in middle school made me able to visualize those hoops in life and plan ahead to make them as painless as possible…I really do recall that conversation with my mom in 6th grade and have recounted it many times to explain how I get where I want to be.”

Exactly, Mom.

Alsea School District 7J

For questions or corrections for this newsletter, please contact the Public Information Officer for Alsea School District at sara.cash@alsea.k12.or.us