It’s hard to believe the first third of the school year is almost over, the holiday season is already upon us, and we will soon ring in a New Year. Growing up in the Midwest my family had a tradition every New Year of sitting around our fireplace eating oyster stew, reflecting on the past year, and looking to the future and the possibilities of the New Year. Recently, although without the oyster stew, I spent time reflecting on the history of our great school district, and I couldn’t help but think about the important responsibility we have to preserve and honor the great legacy gifted to us by past educators, school boards, parents, patrons, community, and business leaders. Because they all cared deeply about education, we are the beneficiaries of an exceptional school system. Their vision, commitment and hard work shaped what we have today.
In a recent poll, 84% of community members gave the district a grade of A or B—the highest percentage we’ve ever seen. A major factor for those high marks and the reason our schools and students have been so successful is that our community believes education is a shared responsibility. Education is valued in the Camas community as evidenced by the consistent levy and bond support seen for decades.
Community support is absolutely crucial to quality schools, and, in turn, quality schools are essential for strong communities. That support has provided our students with the staff, facilities, technology and learning opportunities for a world-class education in learning environments that are safe and secure. Word is out about our great schools, and, as a result, our community continues to grow by leaps and bounds. As part of a recent community-wide survey completed to get input for our upcoming bond, we found that over 70% of families that moved to Camas in the last ten years did so because of our schools.
In order to maintain the excellence in education that our community expects, we need to keep pace with the growth in student enrollment. This past March, the Camas School Board commissioned a Facilities Advisory of Citizens, Teachers, Students and Staff (FACTSS). FACTSS, made up of a diverse group including patrons, parents, staff and students, researched and studied the capital project needs of our district. In June, this committee unanimously passed and presented a recommendation for a future bond to the School Board. In addition to gathering insight through the community survey, the School Board held several listening posts open to community members to discuss the bond recommendation and to garner additional input.
We don’t know exactly what the world will look like when tomorrow’s students enter the workforce. I recently came across a saying “The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating.” Fortunately, we see the future clearly emerging with challenges and opportunities related to a growing and prosperous community. Our children deserve no less than our best efforts in equipping them with the skills and abilities, tools and facilities to compete and collaborate in a continually changing global economy. In February, you will have the opportunity to vote on an important bond measure that will have an impact on the future of our students, schools and our community. The 2016 Bond Brochure should answer in detail the questions you might have about the measure. I urge you to read the materials, visit our schools, and visit our website or call to ask us any additional questions you might have.
Camas is a unique community and very special school district. I am honored to serve as your Superintendent and take great pride in what the Camas School District represents. On February 9, 2016, please take time to consider the bond proposal and exercise your right to vote.
Mike Nerland, Superintendent