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Greater Albany Public Schools implemented the first Virtual Career Day / Las Escuelas Públicas de Greater Albany implementaron el primer Día Virtual de Profesiones

Posted on: March 2, 2022

On February 24, Greater Albany Public Schools implemented the first Virtual Career Day, combining all high schools into one event. This allowed all high school students the opportunity to listen to a multitude of career representatives, ask questions, and engage in discussion around a career after high school. 

“The collaborative approach to holding a district-wide Career Day provided a stream-lined way for business people to simultaneously engage with all three high schools,” said Albany Public Schools Foundations Executive Director Aimee Addison.

To put this event together, a GAPS Planning Committee was organized to reconstruct bell schedules, prepare teachers for career day instruction, and attract presenters from diverse professional careers. This planning committee also included representatives from Albany Public Schools Foundation and Mid Valley STEM-CTE Hub.

“There was a great variety of guest speakers from our community, so students were able to participate in relevant presentations in areas they were interested in learning more about,” said Secondary Lead Counselor Anna Harryman.

With a total of 45 virtual presenters, GAPS welcomed many community partners such as Jackson Street Youth Services, Linn-Benton Community College, Calapooia Watershed Council, and the Albany Fire Department. Each presenter had a different occupation to speak about including carpentry, biology, prevention, music studies, culinary arts, and many others. 

The planning committee also created and distributed evaluation forms for both students and staff to learn what worked best in each school and how to improve efforts for future collaborated events, virtual or in-person. 

“It was really great having the three high schools and the community come together to come up with a creative alternative to our traditional in-person career day,” Harryman said. “Thank you to the community partners who volunteered their day to share their expertise with our students, and for the teachers and staff who worked to make it all happen. I really appreciated how the students took the opportunity so seriously. It was a great day.”

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Spanish

SP Career Day

El 24 de febrero, las Escuelas Públicas de Greater Albany implementaron el primer Día Virtual de Profesiones, combinando todas las escuelas preparatorias en un solo evento. Esto permitió a todos los estudiantes de preparatoria la oportunidad de escuchar a una multitud de representantes profesionales, hacer preguntas y participar en debates sobre una profesión después de la preparatoria.

“El enfoque de colaboración para celebrar un Día de Profesiones en todo el distrito, proporcionó una forma simplificada para que los empresarios se comprometieran simultáneamente con las tres escuelas preparatorias”, dijo la Sra. Aimee Addison, Directora Ejecutiva de las Fundaciones de las Escuelas Públicas de Albany.

Para organizar este evento, se organizó un Comité de Planificación de GAPS, para reorganizar los horarios, preparar a los maestros para la instrucción en el día del evento y atraer presentadores de diversas profesionales. Este comité de planificación, también incluyó representantes de las organizaciones como la Fundación de las Escuelas Públicas de Albany y Mid Valley STEM-CTE Hub.

“Hubo una gran variedad de oradores invitados de nuestra comunidad, por lo que los estudiantes pudieron participar en presentaciones relevantes en áreas sobre las que estaban interesados ​​en aprender más”, dijo la consejera principal de preparatoria Sra. Anna Harryman. 

Con un total de 45 presentadores virtuales, GAPS dio la bienvenida a muchos socios de la comunidad, como Jackson Street Youth Services, Linn-Benton Community College, Calapooia Watershed Council y el Departamento de Bomberos de Albany. Cada presentador tenía una ocupación diferente de la que hablar, incluyendo carpintería, biología, prevención, estudios musicales, artes culinarias y muchas otras.

El comité de planificación también creó y distribuyó formularios de evaluación, para que tanto los estudiantes, como el personal aprendan qué funcionó mejor en cada escuela y cómo mejorar los esfuerzos para futuros eventos colaborativos, virtuales o en persona.

“Fue realmente genial que las tres escuelas preparatorias y la comunidad, se unieran para idear una alternativa creativa a nuestro tradicional día de profesiones en persona”, dijo la Sra. Harryman. “Gracias a los socios de la comunidad que ofrecieron su día como voluntarios para compartir su experiencia con nuestros estudiantes, y a los maestros y al personal que trabajaron para que todo sucediera. Realmente aprecié cómo los estudiantes tomaron la oportunidad tan seriamente. Fue un gran día.” 

Gardner named next GAPS superintendent / Sr. Gardner nombrado como el próximo Superintendente de GAPS

Posted on: February 4, 2022

Gardner named next GAPS superintendent

The Greater Albany Public Schools Board of Directors has selected Andy Gardner as the district’s next Superintendent effective July 1, 2022. Current Interim Superintendent Rob Saxton will be complete his contract through June 30, 2022, and the pair will work together during the coming months for a smooth leadership transition.

“The board greatly appreciates the support we received from the community leading to the decision to hire Andy Gardner as superintendent,” said Board Chair Eric Aguinaga. “We are looking forward to Andy’s leadership and direction he will bring to GAPS. We would also like to thank Rob Saxton for leading GAPS and dedication to our community.”

Andy Gardner

Andy Gardner

Since 2010, Gardner has served as the Superintendent of North Santiam School District, which encompasses Stayton, Sublimity, Lyons, and Mehama. Prior to his current position, he was the Principal of Stayton Middle School (2007-2010) and of Sublimity School (2002-2007). He is a distinguished education leader who has spent his career with North Santiam School District.

Additionally, Gardner has served on several state-level workgroups including with the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) Vision and Policy Committee (2012-2017); COSA Superintendent Executive Council Member (2018-2021); Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) Executive Board Member (2012-2018); and several other committees.

I am honored and humbled that the GAPS community has selected me to serve,” said Gardner. “The process gave me the chance to meet many community members, and I am certain that the community and its schools are full of dedicated and talented people who want the best for the young people in Albany. I’m excited, and look forward to the work.”

The announcement of Gardner comes after the Board’s six-month search process with coordination and feedback from staff, parents and the community through the Superintendent Search Team, Stakeholder Survey, Stakeholder Meetings, Community Interview Team and the Final Interview process including stakeholder groups, candidate video and survey. 

“I have participated in a number of search processes over the course of my career and in my consulting work, and I’ve never seen a process that involved more community input and purposeful transparency on the part of the Board than this one,” said Interim Superintendent Rob Saxton. “In the end, the Board had two great candidates to choose from and decided on Andy Gardner. I am confident he will do a terrific job for the district.”


Sr. Gardner nombrado como el próximo Superintendente de GAPS

La Mesa Directiva de las Escuelas Públicas de Greater Albany ha seleccionado al Sr. Andy Gardner como el próximo Superintendente del distrito a partir del 1º de julio del 2022. El Superintendente Inte

rino actual, Sr. Rob Saxton, completará su contrato hasta el 30 de junio del 2022, y ambos trabajarán juntos durante los próximos meses para lograr una transición de liderazgo tranquila.

“La Mesa Directiva agradece enormemente el apoyo que recibimos de la comunidad que llevó a la decisión de contratar al Sr. Andy Gardner como Superintendente”, dijo el presidente de la Mesa Directiva, Sr. Eric Aguinaga. “Esperamos ansiosamente el liderazgo y la dirección que Andy traerá a GAPS. También nos gustaría agradecer al Sr. Rob Saxton por liderar a GAPS y su dedicación a nuestra comunidad”.

Desde 2010, el Sr. Gardner se ha desempeñado como Superintendente del Distrito Escolar North Santiam, que abarca los pueblos de Stayton, Sublimity, Lyons y Mehama. Antes de ocupar su cargo actual, fue director de la Escuela Secundaria Stayton (2007-2010) y de la Escuela Sublimity (2002-2007). Es un distinguido líder educativo que ha pasado su carrera en el Distrito Escolar North Santiam.

Además, Gardner se ha desempeñado en varios grupos de trabajo a nivel estatal, incluyendo el Comité de Políticas y Visión de la Confederación de Administradores Escolares de Oregón (COSA por sus siglas en inglés) (2012-2017); Miembro del Consejo Ejecutivo del Superintendente de COSA (2018-2021); Miembro de la Mesa Directiva Ejecutiva de la Asociación de Actividades Escolares de Oregón (OSAA por sus siglas en inglés) (2012-2018); y varios otros comités.

“Me siento honrado y humildemente agradecido de que la comunidad de GAPS me haya seleccionado para servirle”, dijo el Sr. Gardner. “El proceso me dio la oportunidad de conocer a muchos miembros de la comunidad y estoy seguro de que la comunidad y sus escuelas están llenas de personas dedicadas y talentosas que quieren lo mejor para los jóvenes de Albany. Estoy emocionado y espero ansiosamente el trabajo”.

El anuncio del Sr. Gardner se presenta después del proceso de búsqueda de seis meses de la Mesa Directiva, con la coordinación y los comentarios del personal, los padres y la comunidad a través del equipo de búsqueda del Superintendente, la encuesta de partes interesadas, las reuniones de partes interesadas, el equipo de entrevistas comunitarias y el proceso de entrevista final, incluyendo los grupos de partes interesadas, video de los candidatos y la encuesta.

“He participado en una serie de procesos de búsqueda a lo largo de mi carrera y en mi trabajo de consultoría, y nunca he visto un proceso que involucre tantos aportes de la comunidad y significativa transparencia por parte de una Mesa Directiva como esta”, dijo el Superintendente Interino Saxton. “Al final, la Mesa Directiva tuvo dos grandes candidatos para elegir y se decidió por el Sr. Andy Gardner. Confío en que hará un excelente trabajo para el distrito”.

Journalism Students Share Perspectives on AOS

Posted on: November 2, 2021

The following are opinion pieces written by some of the Ms. Bellando’s Journalism class on their experiences at AOS.

When people think of AOS, they think of the alternative school for “bad kids.” The students that go to AOS and the staff know that it is not. AOS has a wide variety of students with different strengths and weaknesses, but one thing that is common here is all the staff at AOS sees the potential in every student. Every staff member has faith in kids and helps them succeed.

Before I attended Albany Options, I was very pessimistic about my future after high school. I come from a low income household that can’t pay for college, but AOS has many opportunities to help students get to college. AOS has helped me realize that I am capable of much more than I think.

Tori TeemGoing to AOS is a clean slate; teachers at AOS don’t let your past determine who you are as a person. I was actually expelled from my old school for being in a fight, even though it was my first time getting in trouble. I was told I was “a danger at my school and to society.” I know that the one mistake I made did not determine who I was as a person. When I first came to AOS they were very welcoming and let me decide who I am and want to be.

Tori Teem is a Senior

 

Albany Options School is not one of your standard public schools. People have always stereotyped AOS as a school for “bad kids” or “delinquents.” Yes, there are kids who have been expelled that come to the school, but rather than it being a punishment, it’s a new step forward in the right direction, and to start a successful future.

At my old school I had a bad experience with my teachers. They only tried to help the kids who were well known or did sports. After trying to put in effort and getting none back, I got to the point where I didn’t see or care about my future, I had no friends, and I didn’t trust a single teacher.

Now that I’m at AOS I have improved drastically. I left my old school with a GPA no higher than a 2.0. Now that I’ve been at AOS working hard everyday, my GPA is a 3.83. Since the first day I was here I’ve always been accepted and understood for any emotions or frustrations I deal with in everyday life. Teachers and staff here at AOS are very flexible with different ways of learning and teaching.

Isabella RutlandIf I didn’t get the chance to come to AOS, I would still have under a 2.0 GPA and not be succeeding, but now I’m graduating a year early with a 3.83 GPA. Now I’m  looking forward to three years completely paid for from scholarships and being able to put in the effort to graduate early. I appreciate this school everyday for us all being a family and helping each other out.

Isabella Rutland is a Junior

 

Before coming to AOS, my high school experience was very bad. It was bad because I dropped out the first week of my freshman year. I actually got zero credits and had no motivation to stay on track, go to school, or even graduate. In addition, my anxiety was a big factor in me dropping out. My old school was absolutely no help with that. After dropping out, I gave up on myself  and had no hope. Then I came across the opportunity to come to AOS, not only because of the fact that I had no credits, but also because honestly it was a life changing decision for myself and my future. AOS has changed my life extremely, the way I look at myself, my grades, my outlook on my future, my motivation.

Before AOS, I was really depressed and would not come out of my room. I didn’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone because I knew I had let my parents down and didn’t know how to change that feeling. Then when I got accepted into AOS I was so excited to finally Corina Spencebe back in school and have my parents look at me with hope again. Now, with help and support from friends and teachers, I am doing way better and on track to graduate.

If it wasn’t for AOS, I would not be where I am right now. I can’t thank the teachers and staff here at AOS enough for their time, support, and devotion to the students at this school.

Corina Spence is a  Junior

 

My high school experience before I came to AOS wasn’t exactly positive. I truly hated waking up everyday and going to school. I would always get behind in piles upon piles of unfinished work. I felt as if no teacher truly cared, and when I tried asking for help, I was either laughed off or not acknowledged at all. Because of this, I completely lost interest in school. I went through a point in my life where I just didn’t care. If no one was going to help me or acknowledge that I was struggling, why should I put in the effort?
That point in time where I refused to do any work, feeling awful about myself, and flat out not attending class was definitely a low point in my life. I failed almost every class during the time of online school, I was severely behind in credits. And after realizing that, I promised to better myself and that first step was attending AOS.

My first impressions at this new school were nothing like any other. Every teacher and student around me was super friendly and inclusive. I finally felt like I had a voice in my education. No teacher left me in the dust, they all appreciate my participation and always offer to help on anything I get stuck on. Gone are the days of loathing the feeling of waking up and going to school. At AOS, every student gets that second chance they deserve at education.

I used to hardly raise my hand and speak my freshman year, and my sophomore was even worse. I never talked in class unless I absolutely had to. Now at AOS, I participate in every class, Trying to be the first one to always raise my hand. And my attitude towards school has never been better.

Avery ReynoldsThis school has given me, and every other student a chance at redemption for education. This school is truly a blessing for everyone attending. No student is left out, Left behind, or forgotten here at AOS and I am truly grateful and forever in favor of the wonderful staff here.

Avery Reynolds is a Junior

 

AOS Parent-Teacher Conferences

Posted on: October 26, 2021

Dear AOS Parents and Guardians,

Next month we will be holding conferences and would like to invite you to come meet with your student’s teachers.  We always look forward to the opportunity to discuss your student’s progress and accomplishments, and collaborate to find ways to help your student be more successful as needed.

In-person conferences (drop-in): 
Wednesday, November 10th
3:30-5:00, 5:30-8:30

Virtual conferences (call to schedule):
Friday, November 12th
7:30-12:00, 12:30-4:30

If you would like to attend virtually, we ask that you call our front desk ahead of time to schedule at: (541) 967-4563. The in-person conferences are drop-in and do not require scheduling ahead of time.

If you would like an interpreter for conferences, please call us at (541) 967-4563.

If you have any questions, please contact us (541) 967-4563 or at anna.harryman@albany.k12.or.us.

_____________

Estimados padres y tutores de AOS:

El próximo mes tendremos conferencias y nos gustaría invitarlo a que se reúna con los maestros de su estudiante. Siempre esperamos la oportunidad de discutir el progreso y los logros de su estudiante, y colaborar para encontrar formas de ayudar a su estudiante a tener más éxito según sea necesario.

Conferencias en persona (sin cita previa)
Miércoles 10 de noviembre
3:30 a 5:00pm y 5:30 a 8:30 pm

Conferencias virtuales (llame para programar)
Viernes 12 de noviembre
7:30 a 12:00 pm y 12:30 a 4:30 pm

Si desea asistir virtualmente, le pedimos que llame a nuestra oficina con anticipación para programar una cita al: (541) 967-4563. Las conferencias en persona son sin cita previa y no es necesario programarlas con anticipación.

Si desea un intérprete para su conferencia, llámenos al (541) 967-4563.

Si tiene alguna pregunta, comuníquese con nosotros al (541) 967-4563 o a anna.harryman@albany.k12.or.us.

AOS Welcomes New Staff

Posted on: October 1, 2021

AOS welcomed several new teachers and staff this year. Below are the staff welcomes, some of which were written by students in Ms. Bellando’s Journalism English class.

Jesse AitkenJesse Aitken joins AOS as the Math and Science teacher for Options Academy. A graduate of Western Oregon University with a Bachelors in math and a Masters in teaching, Mr. Aitken also teaches the photography elective. He fell in love with Alt Ed while student teaching at College Hill High School in Corvallis. In his free time he enjoys sports, photography, reading and gaming. When asked to share a piece of advice he lives by, he responded, “You never know what is going on in someone else’s life, so if they have a reaction to something that does not seem to make sense, understand that their anger [or] frustration may be directed elsewhere.” Students are sure to find patience and understanding in any class with Mr. Aitken.

– by Karyssa Negrete

Dari LawrieDari Lawrie is a new English and Social Studies teacher. Ms. Lawrie chose to teach at AOS because she loves her subjects and people. She believes in the alternative school model because she believes that everyone deserves a chance. In her free time Ms. Lawrie writes plays, short stories and poetry, and she also runs a chainsaw in the woods sometimes for various causes. For her, “the most important human quality is curiosity.” Students in her class learn to ask questions and participate in project-based learning.

 

Laura HekmanLaura Hekman is Options Academy’s new Language Arts teacher. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Mrs. Hekman states. As a child she would spend all day after school pretending to be a teacher, using her piano as her desk and assigning worksheets to her grandfather. In her free time, Mrs. Hekman enjoys physical activity such as yoga, gardening and rock climbing. She also enjoys creative hobbies like cooking with the food she grows in her garden. She even enjoys playing casual games like Stardew Valley and Battle Block Theater with her husband. “When a lot of things are going on in life… I find it comforting to know that I just need to take one day at a time.”

– by Avery Reynolds

Gabe DiazGabe Diaz joins the teaching staff this year from his previous position here as Bilingual Liaison. Now he is the CTE teacher, offering two different construction classes. Before getting into education, Mr. Diaz had never worked with students before, but he saw it as an opportunity to grow professionally and took it. He works at AOS specifically now because he was the type of kid in high school who would have benefited from a school like AOS, which did not exist when he was growing up in Puerto Rico. Mr. Diaz relates to the students here. “AOS lets you be you,” he said. “Trust yourself. You are more than what you think.” In his classes, Mr. Diaz gently pushes his students to be their best. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing music and building things.

Reymundo “Benny” Benavidez

Reymundo “Benny” Benavidez is the new Special Education teacher. He got into education because he had a hard time in school and wanted to make life better for the students he serves. He started his career with youth outreach, crisis, and secure facilities, but he always wanted to be a teacher. Mr. Benny enjoys watching movies with family, BBQ, Dallas Cowboys, Ford and the holidays. His message to students is “be proud of who you are, what you’ve been through and where you came from… Diversity is beautiful and part of what makes our home at AOS such a beautiful place.”

Blake LooneyBlake Looney is the new Science teacher in the high school program. As someone who struggled in high school, he didn’t always know he wanted to be a teacher, but Mr. Looney has the gift of encouragement; he sees himself as a person to spur others on to meet their full potential. He chose to work at AOS because he believes in the alternative school format and wanted to be somewhere that he could get to know students on a genuine level. A person of various interests, Mr. Looney enjoys growing carnivorous plants, being a part of his gym community, and watching good movies and TV. His advice for students even comes from the popular cartoon Adventure Time: “Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.” Mr. Looney passes this advice on to students as a reminder that it takes time and a lot of failure to become truly great at something, so it’s always worth that first step.

Lori HalloranLori Halloran is a new special education assistant and SPED secretary. Before working at AOS, Mrs. Halloran volunteered at her children’s schools and enjoyed helping students. She chose to work at AOS because there are fewer students, meaning she could provide more individualized support for them. In her free time, Mrs. Halloran spends time with her two dogs and two cats, her husband and her two children going to their sports, choir, and band events. When asked for a piece of advice to relay to students, Mrs. Halloran responded emphatically: “Take notes! The amount of information we get in a typical day is a lot to retain… I still make notes and lists to remind me of what needs to be done in my day.”

– by Kaitlyn Hayner

Candace Caswell “Mrs. C”Candace Caswell “Mrs. C” joins the AOS staff as a Special Education Assistant and Food Services Assistant. She was guided into the field of education by Eunice Shriver in the early 1970s. Mrs.C lives on a ranch and loves to care for it. Students at AOS already love Mrs. C’s energy, excitement, and helpfulness as she floats around their classes to help them with school work or bring them breakfast. Some of them even refer to her as the AOS grandmother. “Accept no ‘should’ or ‘ought’ but your own,” Mrs. C said when asked about advice to live by, adding, “therefore, I judge no one.”

-by Kevin Bumgardner & Tori Teem

Anna WinnAnna Winn joins the AOS staff as a Special Education Assistant and the Food Services Assistant. She is excited to work at AOS because it is important to her to be in a position where she can help and make an impact on others, as well as still have time to be a parent. In her free time, Ms. Winn is an all-around creative person. A few of her hobbies include sewing, knitting and crocheting, along with active hobbies like biking and hiking. “I try to leave everything I touch better than I found it,” she said when asked for advice to live by.  “As humans we are responsible to be better and make all things better. It is possible, trying is key! You would be amazed at the difference you can make one day at a time.”

– by Cailan Hale