Stakeholder Engagement Summary
Forest Grove School District Stakeholder Engagement Summary
WHAT’S GOING WELL? WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?
Staff Commitment and Stability
Description: Forest Grove School District values its committed and stable staff, recognizing the longevity of many team members and the positive impact of both experienced and new personnel. Positive sentiments toward teachers, staff, and the district's commitment to teacher needs, consistency, and support. Appreciation for staff support, competitive wages, and benefits. Recognition of teacher-led curriculum planning and ongoing support.
Description: Forest Grove School District's board functions effectively, collaborating well with the superintendent and exhibiting strong respect and teamwork, even with occasional differences. Student focused with deep roots in education.
Strategic Planning and Implementation:
Description: The district has a well-crafted strategic plan with a focus on instruction, clear action steps, and engagement from stakeholders, creating a cohesive vision for the future. The district acknowledges its commitment to innovation, embracing the science of reading and literacy, adopting new curricula. This includes the Portrait of a Graduate work.
Financial Stability and Management:
Description: Forest Grove School District maintains a strong financial position with a healthy ending fund balance, and a conservative approach to budgeting that has helped avoid staffing cuts. Support of bond and the facility improvements associated with the Bond were called out.
Commitment to Equity and Inclusion:
Description: Pride in the district’s strong commitment to equity and inclusion, and ongoing initiatives for a more equitable learning environment. Recognition of diverse opportunities, bilingual programs, and efforts towards equity and inclusion. Emphasis on academic rigor and diverse educational paths. This includes pride in the focus on inclusion in special education. It will be important for the new Superintendent to continue to focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion, and specifically to focus on efforts to diversify the workforce and provide a supportive environment for all students - including support for students from underrepresented communities and the LGBTQ+ youth.
Community Engagement and Support and a “Small Community Advantage”.
Description: Being situated in a small community is viewed as an advantage Forest Grove School District take pride in its strong sense of community where “everyone knows each other”; a single high school district with strong community support; strong sense of belonging; active parent engagement, and a commitment to value schools. Forest Grove School District has a positive relationship with the community, and collaborative partnerships for student well-being.
Description: Positive feedback regarding communication – appreciation for the superintendent’s newsletter; responsiveness to incidents, Consistent and easy-to-understand district communication.
Educational Programs and Opportunities:
Description: The district offers diverse educational programs and opportunities, including CTE pathways, robust music and arts programs, AP and honors classes, robust electives at the high school, and dual language programs.
Student Safety and Well-being; Mental Health & Wellness:
Description: Focus on ensuring student safety and well-being, both physically and emotionally. Recognition of the district's efforts in providing mental health services, inclusive resources, and support for diverse learners. Recognition of efforts to maintain a safe environment and ongoing facilities improvements.
WHAT CHALLENGES DOES THE DISTRICT FACE?
Academic Rigor and Participation:
Description: Without question, the topic called out with the greatest frequency was improving instruction and academic performance. Comments expressed challenges related to improving academic rigor and student engagement; a need for an improved focus on academic performance, preparing students for the future, and addressing the educational needs of all students. There were also many who expressed concern about improving attendance rates to improve learning. There are varying perspectives on the balance between educational fundamentals and social issues, with some advocating for a return to basics and others emphasizing a focus on social and cultural awareness.
Student Well-being, Discipline and Safety:
Description: While the focus on social emotional learning is appreciated and was a prevalent mention in the “what’s great about FGSD”, ensuring the well-being and safety of the district, including addressing student behavior issues, bullying, and drug use was a theme in “challenges”. Maintaining a safe and disciplined learning environment is seen as a significant challenge facing the district, particularly at the middle and high schools. A need for a balance between restorative justice and discipline, accountability for student behavior, and creating a safe learning environment.
Community Engagement and Communication:
Description: There is an expectation that the new superintendent to continue to foster community engagement. Specifically, the Latinx participants expressed a clear need for the Superintendent to improve visibility and engagement with the Latinx community, including improved regular communication. Building community across schools, balancing/aligning expectations across all buildings (disparate implementation policies, curriculum, etc), and maintaining the trust of the community are important challenges. “Forest Grove School District” encompasses Forest Grove, Cornelius, Dilley & Gales Creek and concern was expressed about equity of community engagement.
Teacher Retention and Support:
Description: While the staff and community expressed pride in the longevity of staff, there were still worries about current and future challenges related to teacher recruitment and retention and avoiding staff burnout; an expressed need to provide ongoing professional development at ALL stages of the teacher employment cycle (not just new teachers); and concerns about building an adequate substitute teacher pool, and providing competitive wages for Instructional Assistants (IAs).
Infrastructure, Facility Management, and Growth:
Description: The district faces challenges related to school infrastructure, population growth, crowded schools, and the potential need for new facilities and maintaining safety and environment in existing schools. There were many comments regarding concern about the size of the high school and crowded schools with significant population growth on the way.