HRCSD Quarterly

News from Hood River County School District | Winter 2019

At the start of the school year, we surveyed 500 of you to better understand your communication preferences. An overwhelming preference for receiving email updates has led me to launch this quarterly newsletter. I am excited for the opportunity to celebrate recent successes and keep you abreast of exciting school initiatives. So much credit goes to you and our supportive community for our many successes in serving our diverse student body.

With quarterly news, I assure you I will not clog your inbox, but if this schedule won’t satisfy your appetite for district updates, you can always follow me on Twitter, look for semi-regular stories on our website, follow the district and your schools on Facebook, or reach out directly to our committed staff.

I also suggest following the “Recognition and Good News” portion of our twice-monthly board meetings where we celebrate the extraordinary efforts of our students, staff and committed community members. So far this year, we’ve recognized:

  • 50 years of school board volunteerism

  • Coach Brandon Bertram and the 5A Girls’ Cross Country State Champions.

  • Mark Thomas, Paul Lindberg and Tom Moline of Providence Hospital for their work bringing Playworks - a nonprofit helping children develop social and emotional skills during recess - to all our elementary schools.

  • Parkdale Fire Department for a very involved partnership that keeps our kids and staff safe.

  • Vickie Schmidt and Amy McConnell for running an outstanding summer school program that keeps students active and learning, and Bridget Hinton (OSU Extension) for bringing invaluable nutrition education to our summer school students.

  • Kathryn Davis (HRVHS), Eric Cohn (Hood River Middle School), and Patrick Getchis (Wy'East Middle School) were recognized as finalists for the Gorge Technology Alliance STEM Education Leader of the Year Award.

As always, we welcome your feedback. Your engagement in our schools makes us all better!

My best,

Dan Goldman

Superintendent, Hood River County School District


Everywhere you look, innovation happens in HRCSD classrooms. Creative educational leadership from teachers David Scharfenberg and Patrick Getchis will soon bring design engineering instruction to middle school students through the construction of ukuleles.

“Student teams will experiment with tensiometers to inquire about the relationships between string length, string density, tension, and pitch,” explains Mr. Scharfenberg and Mr. Getchis. “These principles are hallmarks of how ukuleles work, and class activities nicely connect real world math with engineering. Students get to apply the data they generate to design and build a musical instrument.”

Students will get hands-on experience with numerous tools: tape measure, miter saw, clamps, sand paper, rasps, planes, chisels, bandsaw, router, compound miter saw, laser cutter, and 3d printer. They’ll also walk away with fully functional musical instruments and some skills to play them, thanks to Mr. Scharfenberg’s and Mr. Getchis’s shared passion for music!

At the high school, Michael Glane has similarly designed rigorous, hands-on curriculum enabling students to explore careers in healthcare. Next month, for the first time, high school students will have the option to select their preference for college-credit bearing courses related to the medical field! Mr. Glane's program kicks off in 2019-2020.


We are excited to announce that 100% of seniors in our AVID class, many of whom will be first in their family to attend college, have been accepted to multiple 4-year universities. As a class, the 22 seniors have earned over $100,000 in scholarships so far! We spoke with AVID Senior Ulises to get a better perspective of what that means to our students:
If you're interested in supporting AVID students' college ambitions, you can give to their scholarship fund. Make checks payable to ”HRCEF - AVID scholarship” and mail to or drop off at Hood River Valley High School: AVID scholarship c/o Doug Beardsley 1220 Indian Creek Rd Hood River, OR 97031.


The district’s business and operations rely on transparency and community understanding to function well. Here are a couple highlights to watch out for:

  • In November, we announced an upcoming process to review attendance areas in an effort to relieve overcrowded schools and ensure equitable programming for all our students. This process will be community driven! Thanks to everyone who answered our phone calls as we attempted to collect your feedback. You can follow the process at our recently launched “Boundary Review Process” landing page.

  • The Oregon Legislature convened on January 22. We expect opportunities to advocate for increased investments in preschool, K-12 and student mental health. Stay tuned for opportunities to speak up!

  • The voter-supported bond has improved conditions across county schools, making building entrances safer for our students and staff, protecting buildings against earthquake danger, and more. One exciting improvement was to the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math (STEAM) wing at Wy'east Middle School. Inspired by the Stanford Design Thinking Studio, flexible classroom spaces emphasize collaboration and idea making. Teachers can easily move outside for labs and experiments and students frequently gather around whiteboard walls. View the results:


Intention, hard work, and commitment have led to excellent results for HRCSD students! Below are snapshots of steady growth in focus areas highlighted in our strategic plan. Student attendance and graduation rates are both key indicators of our system’s success on behalf of children. (Note: comparable attendance data is not available as far back as graduation data.)
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Hood River County School District encompasses Pine Grove Early Learning Center, five elementary schools, two middle schools, Hood River Valley High School and Hood River Options Academy. Outstanding community support has boosted us into the top 10 school districts in Oregon (out of 197) and into the top four for student athletes. It has also helped us recruit excellent teachers and retain smaller-than-average class sizes. Thank you!