Connecting JCSD 509J

May Family Newsletter

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509J Feature Stories

MHS Theatre Presents "Bye Bye Birdie"

We take you behind the scenes of Madras High School's Spring Play, "Bye Bye Birdie."

This is an upbeat musical focusing on rock star Conrad Birdie in 1958 who has recently been drafted into the army. This news is devastating for his fans and follows his publicity team's efforts to keep him famous while navigating this image breaking news. You will be rolling out of your seats with laughter in this whimsical comedy as you experience each character's journey into a new age filled with Rock and Roll, jukeboxes and the jive. It will certainly take you back to the "good old days."

Ticket prices for students/Veterans- $10 and for adults- $15. The show will be running for 2 weeks at the Madras Performing Arts Center. The official dates and times are:

Thursday, May 4 - 7pm

Friday, May 5 - 7pm

Sunday, May 7 - 2pm

Thursday, May 11 - 7pm

Friday, May 12 - 7pm

Saturday, May 13 - 2pm & 7pm

Tickets are available to purchase at the door at this link:

Madras High School Presents "Bye Bye Birdie"

509J Vision Clinic

More than 150 students in Jefferson County School District 509J went through the 509J Vision Clinic at Warm Springs K-8 Academy and the Madras Performing Arts Center in late April. The OneSight Essilor Luxottica Foundation and another anonymous nonprofit foundation, made the clinic possible. Their mobile clinic and eyeglass manufacturer unit provides comprehensive eye exams and prescription eyeglasses. Their mission is to help eliminate uncorrected poor vision in a generation.

The clinic set up shop in Warm Springs on Thursday, April 27 and Madras Performing Arts Center on Friday, April 28. In those two days, they sent glasses and a new prescription home with 143 students in the Jefferson County School District. Buses transported students on “vision field trips” from JCMS, Metolius and Bridges. While students walked from Buff Elementary, Madras Elementary and Madras High School.

Madras High School Junior Keith Charley III was one of 81 students who went through theVision Clinic at Warm Springs K-8 Academy.

Charley is now one of the students whose life is improved because OneSight provided eyeglasses free of cost.

“I’ve known I needed glasses since the third grade,” he said. “They put me in the back of the class and I couldn’t see the board. I told my teacher and she called my parents and I got my eyes checked and it turned out I needed glasses.”

He had two pairs of glasses that he used, but he lost both of them unfortunately and has been without a pair since.

Charley will have an easier time learning in class with a new pair of glasses. While waiting for his the team to assemble his new pair of glasses, he was looking forward to being able to see clearer.

“Hopefully, I can read better without squinting,” he said. “I don’t like squinting, and honestly, I just like glasses and I think they look cool.”

Jefferson County School District Nurse Christina Kelley was instrumental in setting up the clinic and bringing the nonprofit organization to Jefferson County. It all started after the Lions Club performed their annual vision screenings in the Fall of 2022. Approximately 20 percent of students screened were flagged because they needed to see an eye doctor.

“We recognized a basic need that was not being met.” Kelley said.

The clinic walked students through a number of tests to determine what prescription would best fit their needs.

“We have visual acuities, we have color and depth perception,” Clinic Manager Steve Stockton said. “We do NCT which is glaucoma testing, and we have health checks.”

Once the students completed those exams, they went onto the mobile clinic where the optometrists conducted their exams. It is a two-lane mobile clinic and the eye doctors are able to do about 100 eye exams per day. There were three doctors seeing patients in the mobile clinic.

Also, on the mobile clinic are more than 100 pairs of lenses. There is a laboratory where the lenses are cut and matched with a brand new frame the student choose earlier in the process.

“Kids actually leave with glasses the same day,” Stockton said.

The student pictured below, Gerardo, is a kindergarten student at Warm Springs K-8 Academy. He also received a new pair of glasses and when first putting them on, he exclaimed to the room.

"I can see!"


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We Care for Each Other at Buff Elementary

In our District, we strive to make this a place where staff cares for each other. One school that exemplifies that core value is Buff Elementary. Staff describes the school as a place that values relationships, is collaborative, joyful, caring, family-like atmosphere.

Buff Elementary is a place that demonstrates how we care for each other in our District. Watch the video to hear directly from teachers and Principal Billie White about working at Buff.

We Care for Each Other at Buff Elementary

MHS ELA Teacher named Oregon's only 'Super Coach' for e-Sports

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Madras High English Language Arts Teacher Beau Herman is representing Jefferson County School District 509J on a national level. He is the first eSports coach from the state of Oregon to be named a PlayVS Super Coach.

PlayVS is one of the leagues the MHS eSports team plays in. Super Coaches are some of the most passionate and committed individuals to ensuring eSports programs are successful. Their role, in addition to coaching their own school’s team, is to help other schools and coaches who are thinking of starting their own eSports team.

“They would get in contact with me and I would help them write their proposal,” Herman said. “I could talk to their school board, help set up funding, and find resources for them.”

Herman was nominated by an anonymous colleague.

“It’s pretty special to me because I’ve always coached everything else,” Herman said. “To be acknowledged for starting this club here and it’s done really well in the two years that we’ve had it and people are seeing that and recognizing it, it’s a huge honor.”

The eSports team at Madras High has seen tremendous success in a short amount of time. They average around 22 players and they play a multitude of games.


Around 509J

Register for ParentSquare Today

This school year, JCSD 509J adopted a new form of school-to-home communication called ParentSquare. This unified communications platform is designed to keep parents and guardians informed and encourage greater engagement and connection with 509J. It provides a safe way for district administrators, school principals, teachers, staff, and parents to:

  • Send and receive school and class information
  • Share pictures and files
  • See calendar items
  • Sign up to volunteer
  • Schedule parent-teacher conferences
  • and much more . . . all in one centralized place!

23-24 School Year Calendar Now Available

Metolius Elementary Recognizes Child Abuse Awareness Month

Students and staff at Metolius Elementary School partnered with Madras Police, Jefferson County Oregon Sheriff, and Jefferson County Fire District #1 to place pinwheels for Prevention of Child Abuse in front of the school at the beginning of April.

Pinwheel Gardens represent our efforts to focus on preventing child abuse and neglect. Pinwheels are used to help educate communities about the importance of supporting children and families.

Shining in the sun, the pinwheel is reflective of the bright future all children deserve. Children who are raised with safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments are more academically and financially successful and grow up to be productive, contributing members of their communities. Pinwheels are a reminder that we all play a role in children’s lives.

MHS & JCMS FFA Students Compete in Tractor Driving Competition

Madras FFA hosted the 2023 Central Oregon District Tractor Driving Career Development Event Contest at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. There was an advanced team and a beginning team competing.

The Advanced team consisted of:

Wade Simmelink- Senior

Taft Rice- Junior

James Smith- Sophomore

Jake Lawrence- Sophomore

Beginning Team:

Payton O'connor- Sophomore

Dorothy Toomey- JCMS 8th

Elisabeth Bozarth- JCMS 8th

Lucas Hurd- JCMS 8th

Congrats to our Advanced team who took 3rd place overall! Congrats to Wade Simmelink who was 6th overall individual!

Members participated in various activities including written safety and tractor knowledge test, tractor parts ID test, Beginning and Advanced Tractor Driving, 3 point hook up, and they also had to load a tractor on a tilt bed trailer.

FFA had a huge amount of supporters this year that helped make this event a success. Thank you to Holt Ag Solutions, Papé and N&S Tractor who donated new tractors for the event. Thank you to John Campbell, Travis Ralls, Mike Feigner and Westin Fowler who served as judges and thank you to Nita Bozarth who helped road tractors.

All of the support for Madras FFA helps make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success!

Bridges High Students Tour Keith Manufacturing

Thanks to a partnership with Youth CareerConnect, some of our students at Bridges High School got to tour Keith Manufacturing this past month!

These students gained valuable insight into what a manufacturing career could look like in Madras.

Youth CareerConnect (YCC) provides internship opportunities for our high school students offering real-world work experience from local employers.

Thank you to their Jefferson County Internship Coordinator, Debbie Taylor, for her work in connecting our students to these opportunities!

Buff Elementary Celebrates Earth Day with Seeds for all Students

Students at Buff Elementary School celebrated Earth Day! In honor of our planet, they got a chance to plant their very own seeds of their choice! This activity aligns with our District’s curriculum across grade levels that our teachers have worked on with the kids.

There were a lot of options! Sunflowers, squash, pumpkin, tomatoes, and more! Counselor Tracey Sklenar and ELD Teacher Charity Gillihan walked the kids through the process of planting! From getting soil in their pot, picking their seeds, and then stressing the importance of making sure their seeds get enough water and sunlight to grow!

“My favorite part is teaching kids that Earth Day is every day. It's their job to take good care of our Earth to make it a better place for all who live here,” Sklenar said. “It's also pretty cool to see their faces when they have completed all the steps to planting, and end up with their very own planter with seeds they can nurture at home!”

Thank you to the OSU Food Hero program for providing the seed-starting kits for our students!

MHS Counselor receives recognition from Oregon Senator

Senator Jeff Merkley recently held a town hall in Madras at the Performing Arts Center. At the town hall, he recognized and honored MHS Counselor Stacey Bruce for her work in organizing the Holiday Food Box Program.

A few years ago, a student returned to MHS after the two-week winter break. This student was severely malnourished and needed to be life-flighted for medical care. This is what started the program at MHS.

Staff from MHS, WSK8, and JCMS stepped up to fulfill a need by packing 150 food boxes to get families through the two-week winter break. 100 of the boxes were for MHS, Bridges, and 509J Online students. 25 were for JCMS families and 25 for WSK8 families.

Way to go Stacey!

WSK8 holds College & Career Week

In mid April, WSK8 held a college and career week. It culminated with Career Day where more than a dozen guest speakers talked to our students about their experiences and careers. We had a wide variety of careers on display for our students. From business owner, healthcare, law enforcement, radio broadcasting, and so much more!

The school also brought in more than a dozen local and regional organizations and colleges to talk to our students about opportunities that are right here in our communities!

Our elementary students also had a chance to hear from Warm Springs Fire and Safety about their careers.

Thank you to all the organizers of the event and thank you to all the guest speakers who took time out of their busy schedule to share their expertise with our students!

509J recognizes one of our Certified and Classified employees every month. These employees are nominated by their colleagues for the work they do to ensure that Students Flourish in our District.

March's recipients were:

Scott Shannon, Health/Careers Teacher at Bridges High School

Karrie Walters, Educational Assistant at Metolius Elementary

Watch the videos below to learn more about them and their work!

Employee Spotlight: Scott Shannon, Bridges High School Health/Careers Teacher
Employee Spotlight: Karrie Walters, Educational Assistant at Metolius Elementary

JCSD 509J In the News

Event Calendar

Happening at the Madras Performing Arts Center

For a full list of events at the PAC, follow the link below!

PAC Events

Central Oregon Officials Job Fair

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JCSD 509J School Board Work Session & Regular Meeting

Monday, May 8th, 5:30pm

445 Southeast Buff Street

Madras, OR