Philomath Express: Melissa Goff column logo

Welcome to the 2017-18 school year! Your Philomath schools have been preparing for these first few days throughout the summer and are thrilled that students are now occupying our halls, gyms and fields. Each school has hit the ground running in a slightly different manner, and we want to share the details with our community.

Clemens Primary School: New Clemens Principal Abby Couture has been working with our staff and community partners to rearrange learning space locations to be even more student-centered.

For example, this year our students will be studying music in a classroom rather than the library. This allows for both learning spaces to be used throughout the day as needed by our children. Clemens staff is pleased to be greeting all of the new kindergarten and new first-grade students and families, as well as delighted to welcome back our returning first graders!

Walking through the halls, families will notice the bright, newly painted walls and the added decorated bulletin boards — just two ways to show our excitement.

Blodgett Elementary and Philomath Elementary schools: There are a few new adult faces in Blodgett this year, as we have staff filling in for short periods of time during leaves or taking on new roles. Blodgett students can look forward to maintenance work scheduled for September, including residing the gym wall to upgrade the play space.

At PES, the playground spaces have a few weeks of a head start with updated exterior paint. In addition, a new set of bleachers were installed for safety as the former bleachers had reached their age limit.

Instructionally, a group of fifth-grade teachers and other staff attended professional learning together with sixth-grade staff this summer. They were learning together about specific evidence-based strategies to set all students on the path to college.

Philomath Middle School: In addition to participating in summer learning, Philomath Middle School staff are welcoming a few new faces. The first whom kids and parents are likely to see is Chelsea Van Der Zwan, who will greet everyone in the main office. Parents and guardians of our 121 new sixth-graders have likely already connected with Ms. Van Der Zwan in one way or another. She and the rest of the staff are excited to welcome everyone to a fantastic team focused on the success of all students.

Kings Valley Charter School: Kings Valley is excited to announce the posting for a counselor position. (A new math and environmental science teacher was hired earlier in the summer.) Part of getting prepared for students meant painting several KV buildings, including the gymnasium.

One of the teachers used the opportunity of summer to rearrange classroom furniture and integrate stand-up tables to offer students different kinesthetic learning options. An exterior fence will be getting replaced soon, so keep your eye out for the improved look on the property.

Philomath High School: PHS hosted the district welcome back and professional learning for all staff the week of Aug. 21. Teachers generously donated their rooms to adult learning about self-regulation strategies, specific learning needs of students, the writing process and the history and culture of the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz.

The high school team trained up our Link Crew Leaders who are helping successfully transition our 127 new ninth-graders in to high school. Equally important, staff are celebrating the 111 students kicking off their senior year of high school.

Every staff member is focused on the success of every student in Philomath schools. If you should happen to run into anyone serving our schools, please take a moment to thank them for all they have done and will continue to do to ensure the achievement of our community’s children.

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Melissa Goff is superintendent of Philomath School District 17J. She can be reached at PHILOMATH SCHOOLS: LEADING IN LEARNING