Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Day: March 7, 2018

McNary named AVID Schoolwide Site of Distinction

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary took a giant step in becoming the first AVID National Demonstration High School in Oregon.

On Feb. 23, Keizer’s high school was informed it was being named an AVID Schoolwide Site of Distinction, putting it in select company with only three other high schools in the state.

“We tell our kids that getting a diploma from McNary High School means more because of the experiences that you get here that you are not going to get at any other 6A high school,” principal Erik Jespersen said. “We are going to be the first national demonstration school at the high school level and as a result of that the things that kids are going to get as an experience of going through McNary is going to be unbelievable.”

MHS submitted metrics from the 2016-17 school year to document school-wide growth and performance in order to become an AVID site of distinction.

Sixty percent of teachers must be AVID-trained. At McNary, that number is 61 and doesn’t count the 19 teachers that went to the AVID summer institute last year to bring the total to over 70 percent. Another summer at the institute and McNary could be at 80 percent.

Three years ago I told our staff in a meeting in the choir room, if you have not ever been to a summer institute and you desire to go, we will find a way, and we have,” Jespersen said. “We haven’t turned away anyone. We’ve had a great partnership with Nike. They’ve been tremendous. They’ve helped pay for a lot of these trainings.”

Seventy percent of teachers must routinely use WICOR (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization and Reading) in their classroom instruction. McNary has nearly 83 percent who use WICOR.

While 100 percent of McNary’s leadership team is on the AVID site team, the benchmark is 50 percent. Nearly 85 percent of McNary juniors and seniors enrolled in at least one course of rigor—AP or dual enrollment. Seventy-two percent of students took pre-collegiate exams and more than 73 percent of seniors applied to college.

This is something that shows you’re above the average school that has AVID are clearly we are,” said Jespersen, who is even more proud of other numbers that have come from McNary using AVID strategies. The school’s graduation rate went up 4 percent last year and McNary seniors received $6 million in scholarships, up from $1.9 million the year before.

“We are producing a product in a McNary High School graduate that is exemplary,” Jespersen said. “That doesn’t just happen on it’s own. That hard work is a result of us having systems in place that are giving kids experiential learning in classrooms in context that are helping create a competitive advantage. That’s really what we’re trying to do is give our graduates a competitive advantage when they apply to college, when they apply for scholarships, when they’re out in the work place, they have all the skills needed.”

Past students are also returning to get help with scholarships.

“The students are coming back because they feel loved and supported and they know that we’re here for them,” McNary AVID Coordinator Heidi Tavares said.

Jespersen has heard that McNary just feels different than other schools in the area.

“There’s a vibe that we’re trying to create and it’s a vibe of excellence and it’s a vibe where we care about our kids and the kids have a really distinct pride in coming to school here and that’s a very real thing and we’ve been very intentional about creating that here,” Jefferson said. “Culture is extremely important. It’s really hard to get but it’s something that you must have if you’re going to have a great high school.”

McNary has set a goal of becoming an AVID National Demonstration School by 2020 as part of the process of being a world class high school.

A textbook and film based on AVID’s new curriculum on focused note-taking, featuring McNary students, is set to be released in April.

“We also want our students to be noticed and recognized,” Jespersen said. “When you go into a classroom with some visitors, I see it, kids have that pride.”

Jones voted GVC Defensive Player of the Year

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

The Greater Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year award is staying with McNary.

Senior Andrew Jones was voted the top defender by the league’s coaches.

“That’s a pretty special award because there’s only one guy in the league out of nine teams and there’s a lot of good players in our league,” Jones said. “It wasn’t really my goal to win defensive player of the year. It was just my goal to play the best defense I could play every game. Just really having a commitment to defense helps because not a lot of guys want to play defense and if you can play defense it helps your team a lot more.”

Matthew Ismay, a 2017 McNary graduate, had won the previous three defensive player of the year awards.

“When you have a guy like Matt in your program and you can just see how hard he works on defense and how much better he makes the team on defense, I always admired him for that and I always wanted to be the best defender on the team because I knew that if I could play really good defense and I could shut down the best player on the other team it would give us a better opportunity to win more games,” Jones said.

McNary has prided itself on playing tough defense. The Celtics allowed 53.5 points per game this season, fourth best in the state at the 6A level.

“It means a lot to me because we base our program on defending and rebounding and it’s hard to get a lot of guys to commit to that these days,” McNary head coach Ryan Kirch said. “We hold our hat on that. We spend a lot of time. Guys take a lot of pride in that. Whether the shots are going in or not, you can always guard. It’s an effort thing. It’s a toughness thing. Competitiveness and toughness are the top two things we value and we see that in defending and rebounding.”

McNary senior Chandler Cavell was unanimously selected to the All-GVC First Team. He led the Celtics in four categories—16.5 points per game, 6.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.6 steals.

“He’s matured so much as a person and as a player,” Kirch said of Cavell. “He’s been a great passer, a great teammate, a great leader, a great rebounder. He just does everything on the floor. He’s a guy you can’t take off the floor. He can hurt you in so many different ways. I can have him handling the ball. I can post him up. I can put him on the wing. You can ask him to run an offense. He’s just been invaluable and his attitude has just been outstanding all year long and he’s really led by example.”

Lucas Garvey, who averaged 12.9 points per game, was also voted to the First Team. Jones and Boston Smith were selected to the Second Team. Riccardo Gardelli was honorable mention.

“I was so happy to see so many of our guys being recognized by other coaches,” Kirch said. “I can sit here and talk until I’m blue in the face about my players but when other coaches recognize them. It’s an impressive group. It’s been an impressive year.”

Kirch and Jordan Graneto were voted head coach and assistant coach of the year.

“That’s a staff award,” Kirch said. “As the head of the staff, that puts my name on it but really it’s a staff award. Our coaches have done a great job. If there’s one thing I’ve done right, it’s hire good coaches around me. Coach Graneto has done a great job. Coaches are doing so many different things that fans don’t see.”

Doutt voted GVC Player of the Year

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Kailey Doutt’s coaches, teammates and parents have told her to shoot more for years.

This season she finally did and the result was the league’s biggest individual prize as Doutt was voted Greater Valley Conference Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

“Last year I never took my outside shots and everyone yelled at me to shoot,” Doutt said. “This year we worked a lot more on our shooting and individual moves. I felt a lot more confident shooting from the outside. It opens up the rest of my game because people know I want to drive and post up.”

Doutt, who averaged 18.4 points and 6.9 rebounds this season, thought she had a chance at winning the award.

“It was one of my goals, in the back of my head, all season,” Doutt said. “I knew it was possible. I was super excited and I feel super blessed to be able to get it and the other coaches recognize I was playing well. I was just super happy. It shows that all of my hard work has paid off over the past four years. I’ve worked on basketball a lot my whole life. It’s paid off.”

Doutt showed she was in the running for the league’s best player early on, making 15 of 17 shots for 32 points and eight rebounds against Tualatin on Dec. 2.

Playing in the Nike Shootout at Lake Oswego, Doutt then posted a double-double of 33 points and 15 rebounds against West Albany on Dec. 29.

“A lot of our offense went through her,” McNary head coach Elizabeth Doran said. “She just did a really good job inside for us and was more aggressive shooting the basketball. I’m really happy for her. She deserved it and worked really hard all season. It’s a cool award and it’s nice that it fell to one of our players.”

Doutt’s biggest shot came in the final seconds off a 30-29 win at Forest Grove on Jan. 30.

“The adrenaline rush after that shot was crazy,” Doutt said. “I was super hyped up the rest of the day and the next day. That was a big game for us.”

Her younger sister, Leah, a freshman on the team, had the assist on the play.

“Playing with my sister was a lot of fun,” Doutt said. “We get along super well and we’re best friends. We’re super close. There wasn’t a lot of arguing. She’s a great player. She added a lot to the team so it was tons of fun. All of the freshmen are super close with my family. It was great getting to play with them and getting to practice with them and just being around them all of the time. I consider them my little sisters.”

McNary finished the season 17-8 overall and 11-5 in league play.

“My teammates worked together and got me the ball,” Doutt said. “It wouldn’t have happened without them.”

Senior Paige Downer and junior Abbie Hawley were voted to the All-GVC Second Team. Junior Sabella Alfaro was an honorable mention pick.

Mandatory Reporting: Bill stumbling over age of consent

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

An Oregon Senate bill submitted to the 79th Oregon Legislative Assembly that would modify Oregon’s mandatory reporting rules was garnering lots of input, but no vote has yet been called.

“The current interpretation of the law in some parts of our state, instructing teachers and staff to report consensual sexual activity, reduces the likelihood that youth will access a trusted adult when they need them, while simultaneously straining an already burdened system,” wrote Michele Roland-Schwartz, executive director of the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force.

The bill, SB 1540, amends the state’s rules to define reportable offenses as sexual contact or intercourse as those in which lacked consent – or the victim had the inability to provide consent  – for teens and young adults between the ages of 14 and 21, if one of the parties is more than three years older, or if there is reasonable cause to believe the relationship was the result of force, intimidation or coercion.

Sponsored by Sen. Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis) and Rep. Bill Post (R-Keizer), the bill seeks to address the underlying law that prompted the Salem-Keizer School District to issue new mandatory reporting guidelines in October 2017.

Much of the testimony submitted to the committees on human services has been supportive of the base changes, but an amendment submitted by Gelser has drawn stern rebuke from some sectors. Amendment -2, if approved for inclusion, would lower the age of consent to 12.

Brendan Murphy, a deputy district attorney for Marion County, wrote lowering of the age of consent broadens potential harm from a public safety perspective.

“We do know that evidence of sexual activity such as promiscuity or hyper sexualized behavior in young children may be an indicator of abuse. That is why (the Oregon District Attorneys Association) is especially concerned with the -2 amendments, expanding a reasonable, narrow ‘clarification’ to children who are 12 and 13 engaged in sexual intercourse,” Murphy wrote.

Patty Terzian, executive director of the Oregon Network of Child Abuse Intervention Centers urged the committee to “slow down” and take up the issue of lowering the age of consent at a later date.

“We respectfully recommend not accepting that amendment at this current time until the consequences – intended or unintended – can be discussed more thoroughly by all those who have an interest in our children and youth being safe, healthy and successful,” Terzian wrote.

Allison Kelley of Salem’s Liberty House offered the most full-throated opposition to the amendment.

“12-year-olds as a matter of general physical and psychological development are ill-equipped to withstand the powerful influence of someone wanting to have sex with them. Reducing the age to 12 lays an indescribably heavy burden on the children of this state to recognize situations of unfair influence or manipulation,” Kelley wrote.

Prior to the policy changes in October 2017, Salem-Keizer School District (SKSD) teachers were required to report incidences of suspected neglect or any type of abuse to the Department of Human Services. The new guidelines expand reporting to most sex-related issues. New instances that would require reporting include: a student inquiring about birth control options after admitting to sex with a partner; reports of a pregnancy; and a student confiding in a teacher after being kicked out of his home for divulging a sexually active, same-sex relationship.

Mindy Merritt, president of the Salem-Keizer Education Association, wrote that the change to SKSD policy pose the potential of adding to the problems associated with teen sex.

“If students believe that their doctors, counselors and educators must report any instance of sexual contact, the likely outcome is a reduction in safe places for students who are most at risk and in need of support,” Merritt wrote.