Brookings-Harbor School District 17C
Key Communicators eNews
April 2016 | Volume 1 | Issue 3
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New math curriculum approved for high school

Above: Math equations fill the whiteboards in Wendy Ross' classroom at Brookings-Harbor High School.


Math educators at Brookings-Harbor High School are leading a transformation of the math curriculum to create a pivotal shift in teaching and learning styles. The goal is to break students out of rote memorization and mindless completion of worksheets into a new realm of deep understanding, proactive problem solving and real-life application.

BHHS math teacher Wendy Ross believes that making the shift is in the best interest of students. “Every decision that we make is data-driven. There’s a reason behind what we are doing  — It’s about doing what’s right for our students to make sure they are learning the essential skills necessary to graduate.”

During the 2014-2015 school year, juniors at Brookings-Harbor High School took the state’s new Smarter Balanced mathematics assessment that measures college and career readiness.
In the first year of administering the new assessment, only 18.6 percent of Level 2 math students at BHHS passed, compared with 26.5 percent of students statewide.

When Ross examined the results and her own classroom experiences, she found that Bruin students were lacking in one area in particular -- reflection and metacognition.

“Where they were missing was in their reflecting and evaluating,” she said. “They can’t tell me why they did what they did, so they don’t know why they are right.”

Ross worked together with all the full and part-time math teachers at the high school to research and approve a new curriculum in better alignment with the state’s Common Core standards and with a focus on problem-based learning; improved classroom environment; reasoning; and reflection. The team included Susan Hanscam, Ibrahim Mesanovic, Michelle Mitchell-Foust, Robin Stepanek and JoHelen Whitaker.

This March, the Brookings-Harbor School District Board of Directors approved a $55,000 proposal to update math curriculum to Common Core standards and bring a focus on conceptual understand for long-term student success. The total cost includes new textbooks, tables, chairs and graphing calculators. The majority of the new learning materials have already been ordered and are on the way.

Student scores will improve over time as students gain practice with the new style of assessment. But a large part of that success will come by changing the style of discourse in the classroom, according to Ross.

“What it used to look like was very teacher centered. A teacher teaches in front of a classroom with students sitting in rows. The teacher asks a question and students raise their hands,” Ross said. “What we are moving to is a question is posed, then students ask and answer the question to each other … the students are engaged.”

Ross has already been piloting the new style in her classroom for several years.

Her Calculus Concepts class has been doing the conceptual work the longest. Now in their second year together, they are the most comfortable using mathematical lingo and having open class conversations about solving problems with math. Ross models making mistakes and then figuring them out, showing them that failure is OK and that understanding is the key to working out a difficult problem.

“They are very much a math family, much more than a math class,” Ross said.

The curriculum combines aspects of the old procedural math (Pearson textbook)  with conceptual math (Core Plus textbook). The new curriculum is endorsed by the National Science Foundation, so many problems in the book are math and science-orientated.

“The problem-based nature of each lesson provides guided, purposeful work that supports deep conceptual understanding of the mathematical objective,” Ross said. “A person is less likely to forget concepts than procedures,” Ross said.

Textbook publisher McGraw-Hill will provide a regional training for math educators this August. The training will be at no cost to the district, and there is also a recorded and self-paced version of the training that can be done at any time.

Students who advance to college, should not have to take remedial courses. Having a stronger sense of the math concepts will help them show their skills on placement exams and save valuable time and money in college pursuing their degrees.

“It’s about doing what’s right for the students to help them have the skills necessary to graduate,” Ross said.

Nancy Raskauskas-Coons



Oregon Rising: Share your vision for Oregon's schools

Videos: Learn about Oregon Rising

We know Oregon’s kids are just as bright as kids anywhere in the nation. Yet they’re consistently ranking at the bottom of the pack when it comes to knowledge. Oregon’s educators have a solid plan for how to address this gap. But we also want to hear from you. What matters most to you? Oregon’s students are our future leaders, neighbors and citizens. What should their education encompass?

Oregon Rising is a public outreach effort about what Oregonians want for their children and their schools. At the heart of our work is the prompt to dream big. In the first phase, we ask that you describe the education Oregon students would receive, if it were up to you.

Don’t get this mixed up with funding. For too long, we’ve defined Oregon’s education system by what we can afford. We’re asking that you dream bigger. Imagine no limits. What would you have benefited from as a student? What do you wish for today’s kids?

We hope you will attend one of two Oregon Rising community sessions in the upcoming weeks:

  • 6 p.m. Thursday, May 19, Kalmiopsis Elementary Gym
  • 6 p.m. Thursday, May 26, Brookings-Harbor High School Commons

Please RSVP online.

This is a state-wide conversation made possible by the memberships of the state's organizations for teachers and educations, superintendents, administrators and elected school board members: COSA, OSBA and OEA.

Consider these statistics:

  • 1 in 5 Oregon Kids live in Poverty. Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation, Oregon Kids Count Profile 2015
  • Oregon students are ranked #38 in the nation for performance, which is not at all surprising given our investment in schools ranks at #39 Source: OregonLive US School Performance Rankings, June 2015
  • Funding is about 25% below what an expert, non-partisan committee on quality education in Oregon says it would take to help 90% of Oregon students graduate. Source: Oregon Quality Education Commission 2014
  • 1 in 4 Oregon students – that’s 10,000 kids – fails to graduate from high school on time. Source: Oregon Department of Education, 2014-5 four-year cohort rates for students entering HS in 2011-12


Early release day for elementary on May 2

Kalmiopsis Elementary School students will have a half day of classes on Monday, May 2, with school starting at the usual time and ending early at 12:15 p.m. after all grades eat lunch.

The early end of the day is to facilitate an in-service training afternoon for Kalmiopsis teachers and staff, according to Principal Helena Chirinian. The elementary educators will receive further training in Response to Intervention (RTI), an approach used in the Brookings-Harbor School District to improving literacy with individual learning plans and progress checks for each student.

All elementary school afternoon bus routes will run two hours earlier than usual, said Transportation Director Bryan Winchester. Buses for the middle school and high school will run at the regular time.


District announces 2016-17 school calendar

The Brookings-Harbor School District 17C Board of Directors approved the dates for the 2016-17 school calendar at its March 16 meeting.

After receiving feedback from teachers and community members on two options, the board opted for the most popular choice, with students starting the day after Labor Day, over an option that would start earlier in the summer.

The 2016-17 school year will commence on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and end on Thursday, June 15.

Days of note:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016: First day of classes
  • Friday, Nov. 11, 2016: Veteran’s Day - no school
  • Monday, Nov. 21-Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 : Thanksgiving Week - no school
  • Monday, Dec. 19, 2016-Monday, Jan. 2, 2017: Winter Break - no school
  • Monday, Jan. 16, 2017: Martin Luther King Jr. Day - no school
  • Monday, Feb. 20, 2017: Presidents Day - no school
  • Monday, March 20-Friday, March 24, 2017: Spring Break - no school
  • Monday, May 29, 2017: Memorial Day - no school
  • Saturday, June 10: Graduation Day
  • Thursday, June 15: Last day of classes

2016-17 Academic Calendar


Upcoming Events

Regular Board Meeting:
6 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, Kalmiopsis Elementary School Library.

School Board information.

Recent News

Here's a brief list of available coverage of Brookings-Harbor schools people and programs. Inclusion of any item constitutes neither endorsement nor critique, but is intended only to make the BHSD community aware of significant items in the media. Shared when links are available.

Curry Coastal Pilot: County’s best compete in South Coast All-Star Game (March 15)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Bruin golf coach impressed by team's first meet (March 19)
Curry Coastal Pilot: Community awesomeness (March 22)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Lady Bruins go 1-3 at Spring Break Classic (March 25)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Music for food (March 25)

Press Release: School Board files unfair labor practice complaint against teacher's union (March 28, 2016)
Curry Coastal Pilot: Birds of the same feather (March 31)

Curry Coastal Pilot: King’s blast sparks Bruins in sweep (April 1)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Darger, Lira lead Bruins at Grants Pass (April 5)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Bruins make a statement (April 5)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Collins wins shot put, Schreiber takes pole vault at HDN No. 2 meet (April 8)
Curry Coastal Pilot: Lady Bruins swept by Douglas Trojans (April 8)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Testa dominates Siuslaw in 3-0 shutout win (April 12)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Bruins deal with heat at Eagle Point (April 14)

Curry Coastal Pilot: Bruins getting balance from varsity golfers
(April 15)

Job Postings

Now hiring:
  • BHHS Cheerleading Coach
  • Azalea Middle School Assistant Track Coach
  • Elementary Classroom Teacher
  • Elementary Resource Teacher
  • Temporary .5 BHHS Early Childhood Education Teacher (15-16 School Year)
  • High School Social Studies
  • Temporary Special Education Teacher Grades 6-8 (15-16 School Year)
  • Food Service @
  • School Psychologist
  • Instructional Assistant
  • Transportation/Bus Driver
  • Temporary High School Manufacturing Engineering/Stem CTE Teacher
  • High School Manufacturing Engineering/Stem CTE Teacher
Information and online application.
Copyright © 2016 Brookings-Harbor School District, All rights reserved.

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