By Superintendent Chuck Ransom
As many of you may have heard, I am retiring as Superintendent of Woodburn schools on July 31, 2019. I wanted my final editorial to be one of thanks to the Woodburn community, our students and their families.
I’ve spent almost 20 years at the Woodburn School District. Some people build careers with multiple employers in that amount of time. Like many employed by Woodburn schools, I’ve been satisfied to stay here because of the challenge and vision of our school district.
I have served as your superintendent, a curriculum director and principal, but you may not know that I started as a Spanish teacher and a soccer coach in 2000. At that time, the school district had implemented a dual language program that was somewhat controversial. The idea was to expand the program to teach students in two languages, not just in the early years, but kindergarten through 12th grade. Ultimately, they become proficient in two languages (Spanish or Russian and English) by the time they graduate. (Some students graduate speaking and writing in all three.)
Our dual language program is actively duplicated by other school districts in the country. Locally in Oregon, parents want to send their children to Woodburn schools so they will have the advantage of knowing two or three languages by graduation. The most important benefit is that our students are graduating in record numbers and testing higher than their monolingual peers.
There are two other accomplishments I would like to share that we achieved during my time at Woodburn schools. The first would be the voter-approved bond to renovate and construct school facilities in 2015.
It is never easy to convince taxpayers that facilities are just as important to student learning as teachers, curriculum, and books. School districts across the country struggle repeatedly to get approval to build or renovate facilities because of the high cost of construction and materials. The truth is that school facilities are a direct reflection of how a community values itself. We are so grateful for taxpayer support of the 2015 bond. Projects are on schedule to be completed as we promised by the end of 2020.
A final accomplishment is the state fully funding K-12 education. In May of this year, Governor Kate Brown signed a historic bill for school funding over the next biennium. Parents, teachers, staff, students, administrators, school boards, and community members all did their part to advocate for this outcome. As a result, Woodburn and other school districts can hire additional staff, reduce class sizes, and expand programs and services that contribute to student success.
The mission of our school district is to provide every child with a world class education. We are well on our way to doing that thanks to the support of our community. As someone who has made a career in Woodburn schools, I want to say thank you for making this mission a reality. And thank you on behalf of our students.