By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Willamina, tribe renew education agreement

With that, the board voted to renew the agreement for the 2013-14 school year.

Current district enrollment is about 800. The Native American component is 193, or almost 25 percent.

The agreement gives the tribe involvement in several departments and programs offering educational or preventive services, including pre-school, Head Start, Chinuk Wawa immersion,  kindergarten language immersion, youth education, the main K-12 curriculum, after-school programs at the K-6, 7-8 and 9-12 levels, Native Club (middle and high school), summer enrichment, credit recovery and youth leadership and culture presentation.

The agreement outlines a process to identity and address educational needs for the purpose of improving academic achievement and success for Native American students.

“Like Angie said, it’s a great relationship,” Willamina Elementary Principal Carrie Zimbrick said. “The tribe is so supportive.

“Whenever the district has written a grant through the Spirit Mountain Community fund, it seems like we have gotten it.  The tribe has supported a lot of things we have done.”

The Chinuk Wawa immersion program is a critical component. The tribe provides a staff member to instruct a high school class in Chinuk language, in addition to sponsoring a blended kindergarten-first grade immersion class.

“We fully want to support the tribe’s effort to restore their language,” said Zimbrick, whose youngest daughter speaks Chinuk Wawa fluently. “The tribe is on the right track. They want to do it with the youth because the language is more easily absorbed at a young age than at the adult age.”

As part of the agreement, the tribe gives the district $20,000 each calendar year for items that include but are not limited to updating textbooks, enhancing educational materials and purchasing minor school equipment.

In other business, the board:

n Heard from Superintendent Gus Forster regarding a meeting he had with the assistant state fire marshal, the city’s maintenance staff, Mayor Corey Adams and district staff concerning the level of water pressure required on the Oaken Hills campus.

“We currently do not meet the gallons-per-minute fire code requirement,” Forster said in a report to the board. “We are at approximately 1,000 gallons per minute, and we need 1,500 gallons per minute. We are working with the city to resolve this issue.”

He said the district is planning to develop a new ag and woodworking shop on the site, but can’t unless the water problem is resolved.

n Voted to increase lunch prices by 10 cents for the 2013-14 school year. The new prices are: K-6, $2.35; 7-8, $2.60; 9-12, $2.85; adult, $3.85.

Free and reduced meal pricing is set by the United States Department of Agriculture, so will be unchanged. The district will continue to offer breakfast free of charge through its Breakfast in the Classroom Program.

n Decided to delay a meeting previous slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, until the following Tuesday, April 16. It scheduled a work session on bond planning for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 30.

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