Principal's Message

Oaklea May 2023
Dear JCSD School Board and Oaklea Families,
We are enjoying a fun and eventful close to the 2022-23 school year at Oaklea.  I want to let everyone know it has been a rewarding couple of years returning to the middle school as principal.  Next school year, I will be heading back to JCHS to be principal there, and I will look forward to working with our students as they get a bit older.  Love Maroon, Live Gold will be a mantra we will carry into the high school.  We want to ensure our students are learning how to take tremendous pride in our school and JC community (Love Maroon), while holding themselves with positive core values and the utmost character and integrity (Live Gold).  
This past week, our OMS track team hosted the district track & field meet and our varsity girls' team came away with the District Championship trophy.  The boys took 3rd place overall.  It was another outstanding track season, as over 90 5th-8th graders participate in track & field.  That is 1/5th of our student body!  Special thanks to Head Coach Jeff Starr, Assistant Melissa Kegel, and all of the volunteer coaches who invested time and energy into the program.  
Spring spirit week concluded last Friday, with a special assembly where SEAL teams were able to showcase their best dance moves to a song of their choice.  We were impressed by the choreography, costumes and props.  The student body was able to come together between the two grade level assemblies, and it was the first time the entire student body has been in the gym in large group in 4 years.  This special moment was highlighted by a staff dance (flash mob), and students enjoyed watching their teachers and support staff put themselves out there.  
This month, we celebrated our teachers during Appreciation Week.  We are truly thankful for such a remarkable teaching team at Oaklea who puts students first and goes above and beyond to meet needs and care for our kids.  We have been busy creating the master schedule for next year, and there will be a couple of noteworthy changes.  SEAL will become Connect/SEAL, and will now be a time for homeroom activities as well as academic intervention and enrichment during the week.  The class period will move to after 2nd period in the schedule.  We have also adjusted our schedule to accommodate the 150 minutes of required PE time for students (weekly for 5th graders, and on average yearlong for the 6th-8th graders).  State testing is continuing, as most students take math assessments during the months of May and early June.  We encourage students to get good rest the night prior, and do the very best they can on the exams.  
This week, our 5th Graders go to Goss Stadium on the campus of Oregon State for a science field trip.  6th graders will take part in Outdoor School to conclude the month, and also travel to Newport for their annual field trip before school ends.  Our 7th graders will have a field trip to Oaks Park on June 6th, and 8th graders will travel to Camp Harlow June 8th.  The last day for 8th graders will be June 9th, with our annual Recognition Ceremony at Peden Field (JCHS) that evening at 6pm, and a non-district sponsored after party to follow.  All other students will conclude the school year on June 15th.  
The Oaklea Talent Show will be on May 25th at 5pm in the main gym, and we will welcome new students (current 4th graders from Laurel, and 5th graders from Territorial) along with their families for our Welcome Night on May 31st at 6pm in the gym as well.  The spring OMS band concert will be Wednesday, June 7th at 7pm in the gym.  
Here's to a wonderful last few weeks of the school year, and an excellent summer season.  Go Tigers!
Brian Young
OMS Principal
As we close out the month of April, we celebrate our secretarial staff for Administrative Professionals Week.  At Oaklea, we would like to thank Bev Smucker, Sheila Allred, Susie Freeman, and Karen Nielsen for all they do to support our staff, students, and families.  They care for students each day, and help keep our building functions running smoothly at the same time.  We appreciate all you do!

The Oaklea Parent Group planned and organized the Oaklea Family Bingo Night at the Moose Lodge this past Friday night, raising $3,327 for Oaklea students programs and support.  Special thanks to Kristen Myers, Megan Fields and all of the volunteers for running this event and helping to fund raise for future students field trips, activities, and resources.  The volunteers are mostly in their first year of service at Oaklea, and we truly appreciate all they are providing for our kids and staff.

State Testing is well underway, with 5th and 8th graders now finished with science, and all students completing the Language Arts and Math Smarter Balanced assessments.  It will be good to get a read on how students are performing academically.  We have also been using MAPS testing for our 8th graders, as a way to align with the formative assessment work at JCHS.  High School staff will now have a better way to identify where students are at coming in next fall. 

Oaklea is in the middle of another leadership transition, with Principal Brian Young moving to the high school next year to serve as JCHS Principal, and Vice Principal Megan Sullivan deciding to take on another leadership position.  We have been interviewing Vice Principal candidates, as well as gathering student and staff feedback with meet & greet opportunities.  We also continue to look at our master schedule for ways to best meet student needs.  Next year, the new PE mandate at the state level will require an annual weekly average of 150 minutes of PE.  We are working to prepare and to make sure our kids have this opportunity to meet the requirement.  

We are starting an Oaklea Student Advisory council to give students more voice and an opportunity to provide feedback to our leadership team on improvement ideas for our school.  We will be working with Daniel & Angela from our Lane ESD SEL team on planning and facilitating this group.  Teachers nominated a wide range of students based on interest as well as leadership qualities.  This will run separate from our Leadership class, although we will share ideas and plan together with that team of students.

Oaklea Track & Field continues their season this spring with close to 90 students participating.  Oregon Battle of the Books is wrapped up for the year, along with Cyberpatriots, Oaklea Cheer and Lego Robotics.  The National Junior Art Honors Society recently painted our exit door in the fitness room with an updated and "fit" Tiger, and has also added some beautification to some of our restrooms and the music room.  We love seeing the student leadership happening in our building!  

Love Maroon, Live Gold, and Go Tigers!

Brian Young
Principal - Oaklea Middle School
The staff and students at Oaklea Middle School enjoyed celebrating our classified staff during the opening of the month of march for Classified Appreciation Week.  We appreciate the work our cooks, custodians, instructional assistants, secretaries and other classified staff members do to support our school systems and students each day.  We are honored to work with all of you and appreciate you so much.
The annual 8th grade Boys vs Girls basketball game took place on March 8th with the 8th grade players raising just around $2000 for class recognition celebration activities in June and to carry with them to JCHS.  Spectators were able to donate funds to increase the score for either side, and the game was full of fun and positive energy.  The Oaklea cheerleaders helped bring a ton of school spirit to the event and students and guests enjoyed Pop-A-Shot and Heads or Tails games at halftime.  Our volunteers accidentally triggered a fire alarm by popping corn under the smoke detector, but even with the full gym evacuation, everyone remained positive and helped make this a wonderful event.  
Teachers are focusing on student data in PLCs: examining academic, behavioral, SEL, and attendance performance thus far.  Students who need additional supports and targeted interventions will be identified.  We are working on our SST systems, which provide much needed support for students needing extra assistance and interventions from our team.  
Several Oaklea staff members enjoyed visiting Parkrose Middle School in Portland this month and learning more about how they have implemented schoolwide AVID systems.  We will take some of the ideas we gathered to incorporate at Oaklea.
Spring sports are underway highlighted by Oaklea Track & Field.  We have over 100 OMS student-athletes participating, representing one-fifth of our whole student body!  Thanks to Head Coach Jeff Starr, Assistant Melissa Kegel, and all of our volunteers helping to make track & field a great experience for our kids.  
Finally, state testing is underway with 5th & 8th graders taking the Science test this month.  Following spring break, 5th-8th graders will all be working on the Smarter Balanced Language Arts exam, followed by SBAC Math.
Oaklea January 2023
Happy School Board Appreciation Month! The staff and students at Oaklea Middle School are thankful for our volunteer board members who devote time and energy toward making our schools the best they can be for our students.  
January has been a busy month at Oaklea, as staff and students start the new year.  Boys Basketball season is underway with games beginning last week for 7th grade and this week for 8th.  Our wrestling team wrapped up their season with a 3rd Place finish at Districts.  Trayson Truesdell and Landon Van Hecke were individual District Champions!  Our cheerleading team finished in 3rd place at a recent competition in Springfield and they continue to support our athletes cheering at basketball games.  This winter, the OMS Leadership team is sponsoring theme nights for the student section, getting kids ready for exciting years to come in the JCHS student section.  
The Leadership team is also busy planning spirit week activities in February, as well as a dance and an assembly.  They continue to help spearhead campus beautification projects and support programs for new students, as well as partnerships with our 5th grade classes.  It is exciting to see the positive energy in the building, driven by student leadership.  
Our PLC teams will be analyzing easyCBM and iReady math data this month, as our formative assessments have concluded for the winter season.  We continue to appreciate the time to collaborate both in content and grade level teams.  Our IAs have also appreciated the professional development time together twice a month on early release Wednesdays.  
On Friday, January 27th, our teachers will have a Professional Activity day and we will be focusing on the following: (1) Presentation from the JC Options team on the program and offerings for students, (2) Reviewing expectations for grading students on IEPs and providing accommodations, (3) Having teachers create a "What Works For Me" list for IAs to help support in the classroom, (4) Focusing on the development of common behavior expectations and consistency this winter and spring, (5) Grade level team meeting time and data review.  We appreciate the time to plan and work together.
This month, our safety team has planned a fire drill during a passing time (unique opportunity to practice during a less structured time), as well as a Lockdown drill.  We continue to meet monthly to review safety procedures, and the district safety team works with the JCPD to plan and coordinate emergency preparedness drills.  
We are in the process of getting staff ready for state testing facilitation this coming spring.  We also have IA and test proctor positions posted, as well as a Health Secretary opening.  
This coming month, we will build on the Inflexion Student Voice survey and have small groups of students meet with facilitators to get more specific feedback relating to student sense of belonging, connection, and engagement at Oaklea.  We look forward to reviewing the data from the focal groups and survey to help make improvements at Oaklea for our students.
Love Maroon, Live Gold, and Go Tigers!
Principal: Brian Young
Assistant Principal: Megan Sullivan
The staff and students at Oaklea are thankful for the opportunity to give back to our community this month of Thanksgiving.  Our Oaklea Parent Group helped us raise funds for the 1st Annual Oaklea Community Turkey Dinner on Sunday, November 20th.  We had many of our students and families come through for a full turkey dinner, and there was even a pie eating contest for students.  The fund raising and food donations went so well this month that we were also able to provide about a dozen additional full Thanksgiving dinners to some of our families the following week.  This was a tremendous example of Oaklea staff and students connecting with our Junction City community.  This is also one of our 4 C's in the Oaklea shared vision: "We Connect".
This month, we honored our military veterans with SEAL classes participating in the annual Veterans Day Door Decorating contest.  We had several veterans in the building on November 10th to judge the doors.  Family Fun Night took place at the beginning of the week, and gave families a chance to connect with our school and enjoy time together.  We had bingo, a cake walk, dodgeball, the Scholastic Book Fair, and the traditional "How Well Do You Know Your Family?" game show hosted by Mr. Young (in polyester suit of course).  Spirit Week kicked off the month, and we continue to be very thankful for the return of our student leadership class, as our student leaders have been instrumental in setting a positive tone this school year.  They have also been completing service projects throughout the school, like painting and sprucing up restrooms, litter cleanup, planning and running our assemblies, and welcoming new students. 
We have officially opened up the "Tiger Grab & Go" center located by the seminar room in our school.  This is a student and family resource center with personal hygiene items, school supplies, clothing items and shoes, as well as snacks for students.  Special thanks to our district nurse, Damaris Bishop, and health assistant, Becca Larsen, for seeing this project through.  It will be an important resource center for our students and families.
Our PLC time continues to be very helpful in allowing our teachers to work together both in grade level teams and in content areas.  Grade level teams have been planning SEAL activities and also receiving AVID instructional strategies from our Team Leads and Admin.  We are also working with the Lane ESD on full staff professional development on Social-Emotional Learning and strategies to implement in classrooms.  Several staff members have shared that this time has been some of the most helpful PD they have received.  
There have been so many engaging lessons happening in our building: In Ms. Henry's 8th grade science classroom, students created paper moths and had them blend and adapt into their environment to attempt to be safe from predatory birds.  Teacher guests came into the room as the imaginary predators to try and identify as many moths as possible that were camouflaged in the room. the PE department put on their annual Turkey Olympics with different themed games, 6th graders learned the concepts of weathering and erosion and tried to test whether their constructed buildings could withstand water and erosion on a sand foundation.  5th graders in math class competed in a Connect Four game with coaches instructing Mathletes on challenge problems as they worked together against other groups.  We continue to focus on increasing student engagement in all of our classes, as that was a primary need based on student feedback on the Student Voice Inflexion survey.  
We are also thankful to our volunteers: Joe Polito, Dave Kaufman, and Officer Janet Deckard continue to help us with additional supervision during lunch times.  Sarah Zehner continues to go above and beyond in the Assistant Athletic Director position, and does a great job helping to coordinate with groups such as JCA.  Our Oaklea Parent Group, now led by President Kristen Sanguins and VP Megan Fields deserve a huge shout out for their work on projects such as Family Fun Night, the Scholastic Book Fair, the Oaklea Turkey Drive and Dinner, and the upcoming Winter Giving Store.
Brian Young
The Oaklea staff and student body has enjoyed an outstanding start to the school year.  The positive changes at the middle school are noticeable.  Our staff has focused on building in the themes of care and connection with our students, while being consistent with everything from common area expectations to cell phone guidelines to hall passes.  As part of Love Maroon, we have emphasized the concept of "Leave it Better Than You Found It" and students have especially bought into this concept in areas such as the cafeteria and restrooms.  We are integrating the "Love Maroon, Live Gold" along with our 4 C's of "Care, Connect, Communicate, and Critically Think" with our PBIS program.  Students have appreciated the new opportunities to be honored for positive behavior, and they really like the new incentives and weekly prizes and awards we have implemented.
An in-person Open House returned on September 20th, and families enjoyed a welcome BBQ with the OMS cheerleaders bringing energy out front of the building.  Then, students had an opportunity to walk their parents through the building and visit with teachers for brief class periods.  It was wonderful to have many families in our building, some for the first time.  Special thanks to Stacy Johnson who presented information on Schoology to families, and provided many parents with login information to check student grades.
We have a new Leadership class at Oaklea, and students are also excited to have Spanish as an elective course for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.  The Leadership students have focused on developing programs like a welcome & orientation plan for new students, campus beautification, community service learning, spirit weeks and assemblies, filming videos to demonstrate positive behavior in given areas in the building, and providing more opportunities for student voice.  Ms. Jennifer Henry is doing a great job developing and teaching the class.  We are using the Character Strong leadership software as a base for lessons and activities.
We are planning a targeted academic intervention program to take place after school on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  Staff will be reviewing data to determine students who may benefit from the program and invites will be sent to families in early October.  The program will include two teachers and a classified staff member, and will focus on math and literacy/reading support.  
New students appreciated the soft start on September 6th, and we appreciated this addition to the school calendar this year.  It really gave our 5th graders and new 6th-8th students a chance to get to know staff and the building before everyone arrived the following day.  Grade level assemblies for 5th and 6th gave us an opportunity to teach expectations and have some fun with our students during the first week.  
Fall sports are well underway with cross country, volleyball (7th/8th), football (7th/8th) and cheerleading in full swing.  Shout out to our Athletic Director Assistant, Sarah Zehner, who continues to do an outstanding job facilitating our programs and meeting needs to support our teams and coaches.  
We continue to be short handed when it comes to Instructional Assistants and Substitute Teachers, but our staff continues to rise to the challenge and works together to address daily needs.  
Finally, we are already planning for parent-teacher conferences on October 19th and 20th, and look forward to giving families the option of in-person or Zoom format conferences.  As we say at Oaklea, "Love Maroon, Live Gold" and Go Tigers!