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Day: February 20, 2014

School board leases new land

480x270-Salem-Keizer School-District-logo

For the Keizertimes

A proposed 10-year lease of an acre of the Central Kitchen Site, at $1,791.67 per month for the first two years, was approved at Tuesday’s Salem-Keizer School Board meeting.

City of Salem approval of a zone change will be necessary for the lease to take effect. A zone change would not affect the district’s current use of the property.

State Investments LLC would maintain and operate the parking lot, with options for two additional five-year extensions if the district and State Investments LLC agree to the extensions.

The board also approved attendance area boundary changes in West Salem. The changes are intended to improve balance in school capacities and educational programs of the elementary and middle schools. Paul Kyllo was the one director who voted against changing the boundaries; he said it would make dual language programs less available.

First reading was held on a request from the city of Salem for approval of the Multiple-Unit Housing Tax Incentive Program, which would involve property tax exemptions for up to 10 years to stimulate housing construction in core areas. Construction would be on the former Boise Cascade site.

The Spotlight on Success portion of the meeting involved McNary High School twice. Uptown Music was honored as Business Partner of the Month for helping the fine arts program at McNary, largely by securing 12 electronic pianos at great discounts. Also, Jim Taylor, McNary music teacher, was recognized for having received the Keizer Chamber of Commerce President’s Award.

The following grant and contract budgets totaling $1,561,618.73 received board approval.

• From the Oregon Department of Education: $495,222 for the Getting Ready for Oregon’s Workforce (G.R.O.W.) programs, for architecture at McKay High School and restaurant management at North Salem High School; $475,618 for the Steps to Oregon and American Revitalization (S.O.A.R.) programs in culinary arts at South Salem High School and emergency medical technician and fire science programs at West Salem High School; $94,180 for services and staff professional development to assist English language learners; $72,630 for programs for migrant children; $20,000 each for instructional improvement strategies at Auburn, Highland and Hoover elementary schools; $8,694.96 for students in the Long Term Care and Treatment Program; $7,663 for services for neglected and delinquent youth; and $1,363.77 for Long Term Care and Treatment supplies.

• From Chalkboard: $153,333 for the Grow Your Own Cadet program for students interested in the teaching field; $109,000 for establishing leadership roles and responsibilities for licensed staff; and $84,481 for Teacher Incentive Fund-related programs.

In other business, the board:

• Proclaimed the week of March 3-7 as Classified Employee Appreciation Week.

• Approved other personnel actions, including the resignation of David E. Lowry as a learning resource center teacher at Claggett Creek Elementary School.

MHS seniors soar past reading goals


McNary teacher Dan Borresen recently led a group of 30 students to meet state reading goals in half the time it was expected to take. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary teacher Dan Borresen recently led a group of 30 students to meet state reading goals in half the time it was expected to take. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

For the Keizertimes

McNary High School’s seniors recently made history. The class of 2014 will be the school’s first in which every student passed the OAKS State Reading Test, a test required to graduate.

If a senior is not able to graduate this year, it is not because of the state reading test.

The difference came down to a single teacher: Dan Borresen.

“Mr. Borresen was a good fit for the job. He is an effective teacher and he is empathetic to students. When he has a goal he reaches it,” said Justin Lieuallen, an assistant principal and Borresen’s direct supervisor.

Borresen led two courses with students still in need of passing grades on the test, and it was his first year taking on the task. The classes were expected to last a year, but everyone passed in half the time. A total of 34 students were enrolled in the Reading Workshop class. Once the test came, 30 passed. The other four did not take the test, two no longer attend McNary and the other two never attended class.

The testing coordinator at McNary, Aubrie VanBuskirk, said, “Mr. Borresen is an incredible teacher. He knew how to motivate the students, and he was the right teacher for the right group of students. Together they made McNary history.”

“It was nothing special that I did,” said Borreson. “I did not want to let them down. The reason they passed is the effort. I gave them the tools. They were motivated to pass. I am very proud.”

Senior Jesse Carreon-Francis said he had his own motivations.

“(I want to go) to college and to get out of high school,” he said, but that wasn’t the whole story. “Mr. Borresen is a loving and fun teacher. He is dedicated to his students. He is calm, honest and open.”

Carreon-Francis now has a chance to graduate. He still has one more test to be able to receive his diploma – but the reading test won’t hold him back.

“Mr. Borresen is a really good teacher. He actually cares about his students. He helped us finish the missing pieces that no one ever taught us,” said Stefania Barragan, another student in the Reading Workshop class.

Barragan is now going to graduate because of the hard working atmosphere produced by the students and the leadership of Borresen. She added that Borreson creates an atmosphere that “always tries to be fun and be serious.”

With both unique, motivated students and an outstanding teacher, 30 students are moving on to better things. Their hard work paid off. Borreson isn’t one to take credit for it, but Barragan put it succintly:

“Borresen is awesome. My best teacher,” she said.