Michael's Missives

Updates from Douglas ESD Superintendent Michael Lasher

Welcome back!

If you’re like me you can’t wait for the winter break to arrive, then halfway through I can’t wait to get back to work. I hope everyone had the type of break you enjoy and are ready for the big push to the end of the year. It always seems like January to June is like skiing down a hill: it’s challenging (you’ve got to avoid the trees and the rocks), but it’s also exhilarating.

Honoring our colleague

You’ve read by now the tragic news about Deanna Teaven. A group of folks is going to get together on Tuesday after work to discuss how we might honor her. If you would like to get involved with this group, please contact Susan Graham at susan.graham@desd.k12.or.us

I hope to be able to contact the family this week and express to them how much she meant to all of us.

I'm a finalist: Why and what that means for our ESD

You may have seen the article in the paper regarding my being a finalist for a superintendent position in Pasco, WA. Although there are many openings in Washington and Oregon for ESD superintendents, this is the only one I applied for. My wife and I own a home in Walla Walla, which would be nice to live in prior to my retirement. That’s the only reason I applied. I love working here with you and have no plans to look elsewhere should I not be selected. I should know one way or the other by the end of January.

(Psst... ask me about Bill Murray playing for a Walla Walla farm team for the Giants! Double points if you can find the SNL sketch he did about his summer as third-base coach.)

EI/ECSE, Early Learning Hub Update: An equity issue

The State of Oregon continues to look through the “Equity Lens” when evaluating programs like EI/ECSE and the Early Learning Hub. Children and Families of color in particular have been chronically under-served as compared to the overall percentage of the population. I don’t believe this is intentional; rather, it seems that the ways we communicate to minority families isn’t as effective as it could be. At our winter Administrative Retreat we’ll be talking about how we might be more effective in this communication and outreach. If you have ideas, please share them both with your supervisor and me.

Survey says, ....

In the weeks prior to the break, we had a couple of surveys conducted.

One survey was related to the evaluation of the Speech Department by a team of outside consultants who are looking at how we might be even more effective than we already are.

The other survey, related to the local service plan, was directed to all Principals, Superintendents, Asst. Superintendents, and Business Managers in Douglas County to rate our service. I expect to receive the results this week. I’ll certainly pass on the results and it will be included in the local service plan. This survey is something we’ll be doing annually.

College loan forgiveness update

Thanks to everyone who wrote me about College Loan forgiveness. HR, Business and Pat Sublette will be meeting at the end of the week to work out a path forward with this.

It would certainly be a great benefit to some and a wonderful recruiting tool for us.

More information will be coming your way soon.

Revised Board Goals

Finally, our board has revised the ESD’s goals for this coming year. They are:

· Douglas ESD commits to providing leadership and increased capacity in early learning, K12, and post-secondary education to support the region in meeting the 40-40-20 goal.

· Douglas ESD will be recognized as the go-to agency in Douglas County and beyond for contracts and initiatives relating to student achievement and school district support.

· Douglas ESD will support the shared goals of district superintendents, expand service offerings through the Local Service Plan to meet those goals, and continue to provide services to improve school district efficiency.

· Douglas ESD will increase visibility and knowledge of services available throughout the broader regional community.

While similar in scope from previous years, I think it’s good that we’re all reminded of which direction on the horizon we ought to be sailing towards. I can’t imagine a department or position within the ESD that can’t fit some or most of what they do into one of these goals.

Have a great week!

I'm so excited to see 2016 unfold for our agency and our district. Happy New Year!


Douglas ESD

This newsletter is a semi-regular publication to staff from Superintendent Michael Lasher. Got news you think Michael should share with the whole agency? Let him know! Email him, michael.lasher@douglasesd.k12.or.us or, call him, 541-440-4751!