Principal's Message

 
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!