Fall Term Accomplishments
The new bike shop is up and running. Eric and Paul (a community volunteer) did most of the painting on Community Service Day. The bike fixing group has already begun using the space and the tools. They can open the shop or get it opened any time they want to use it. We are in the market for a bike mechanic to lead a class afterschool for an hour once a week so that those who don't already know how to fix bikes can learn. It's a paid position.
The new culinary classes are churning out two meals a day, following the new healthy nutrition guidelines the state requires. We miss the rich foods of yesteryear, but the students are getting good at creating savory dishes that are also good for us. The professional baking class is torturing us with amazing aromas every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. Sometimes if they have leftovers they share with admin.
We just got word of a small grant to help us out with a happy math crisis: students were crowding in the high level math courses. We still need to take our time with students in the fundamentals and Algebra 1 courses, where a lot of kids get stuck. But once they master those topics, they race right through the higher levels, and we had an overload of students in Algebra 2, Geometry, and college math. Thanks to the grant, we now have an extra section of higher math at a new time. Hurray!
On Community Service Day, hard working crews won friends at 9 sites. Sites included YaPoAh Terrace, FOOD for Lane County, the Youth Farm, Walama Restoration, the REACH Center, Ridgeline Montessori School, Tree House Daycare, Friends of Trees, and HIV Alliance.
We completed our charter renewal review. This is our 10th year of operation. We assembled evidence to demonstrate to our sponsoring district, Eugene 4J, that we are making good use of the public funds that support us. We expect an answer from them sometime this spring.
Special thanks to the team from the University of Oregon that conducted an evaluation of our program, focusing on the non-test outcomes of interest to any community. They conducted surveys of staff and students, convened focus group discussions, and examined data about academic progress, credit accrual, and attendance. They found that students feel very connected with NCS, value what they learn and how they are treated here, and make better than average progress in collecting credits toward graduation. Their recommendations included exploring more deeply the things that we do that create the strong connection, especially for students who did not feel connected to school before coming to NCS.