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A new year means new opportunities for improvements in the North Lincoln County Schools.

The 2019-20 school year officially got underway last week, Sept. 3, for Lincoln County. However, the Lincoln County School District (LCSD) hasn’t been taking the summer off. The North Area Schools specifically have brought in several new teachers and administrators; they’ve upgraded facilities and are installing new programs for students.

New Staff

In the North Area Schools, 17 new licensed staff members were hired prior to the year and although it might seem like quite a few a first glance, LCSD Communications Specialist Kristin Bigler said it’s a pretty standard number.

“This is a typical number of hires,” Bigler said. “All of our newly hired teachers had a full week of professional development and introduction to the area the week prior to school starting. Please make them feel welcome to our community!”

In addition to the new staff, Taft has also added several new administrators and a newly elected board representative. Maddy Anderson has stepped into the role of Assistant Principal at Taft 7-12 along with Matt Hilgers, who will also be the new Athletic Director. Additionally, Dr. Mary Pitcher is the new Assistant Principal at Oceanlake Elementary.

Also, former Taft graduate Megan Cawley was named the LCSD elected Board of Director for Zone 1, which serves Lincoln City and Otis.

“They are all great additions to the schools,” Bigler said.

New Programs

In addition to new staff members, the North Area Schools are also adding new curriculum and programs such as the reading program called ‘Reach for Reading.’ The program is through National Geographic Learning and will be taught to grades K-10.

The North Area Schools will also be offering several other programs this year.

“We have so many wonderful educational offerings for next year: implementation of a new reading program grades K-10, our continuing work with Positive Behavior Intervention/Instruction and Support (PBIS) and our implementation of K-12 Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID),” LCSD Superintendent Dr. Karen Gray said.

Taft Elementary Principal, Becca Bostick, was recently invited by the AVID Institute to learn how to become a trainer of AVID herself.

“It will be tremendously useful for the District to have another local trainer to share best practices with new and existing staff,” Bigler said.

Through PBIS, students will learn teaching expectations for behavior, through AVID, students will be taught valuable study habits and a new program called Understanding Trauma-Informed Care where students may come to school having experienced trauma and educators are helping get them to a place of being ready to learn while sensitive to their varying states of their emotional well-being.

“LCSD has also kicked off a District-wide Attendance Awareness Campaign called Every Day Matters, following the outline from the Oregon Department of Education to address chronic absenteeism,” Bigler said.

LCSD also announced earlier this summer that they are moving to EveryOne: 1 technology and are distributing chrome books to students this year.

Upgrades to Facilities

Summer vacation is a busy time for facility improvements for schools and in the North Area Schools, there were numerous projects in the works.

“There have been a great many upgrades to the North Area schools of Taft Elementary and Taft 7-12,” Bigler said. “Primarily facelifts to the Taft 7-12 media center and front office and the entryway (new doors and planter boxes) of Taft Elementary. Oceanlake also had new windows installed.”

Staff will continue ‘sprucing up’ and fixing buildings as needed but Bigler said there are no major projects planned at this time.

Overall, the LCSD is excited to see what’s next for the future of the district, including the North Area Schools.

"As we begin the 2019-20 school year, I am filled with excitement, anticipation and hope,” Gray said. “Our schools look shipshape, our classrooms are warm and professional and we have made nice improvements to our facilities this summer. I am so proud of our school district staff.”

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