Presidential holidays may have delayed the date for the February Oakdale Joint Unified School Board meeting, yet the evening proved to be informative and exciting for board members as they learned about the Oakdale High School Career Center.
Called to order promptly at 6:30 p.m. Monday evening, the board and audience was first addressed by Ted Thome of Oakdale Educational Foundation during the Public Comments portion of the meeting. Thome addressed the group on behalf of the Eighth Annual SOS (Support Oakdale Schools) Fun Run. The event will be hosted Saturday, March 11 beginning at 8:30 a.m.
According to Thome the event earned a total of $13,000 in 2016, which went directly back to teachers and the schools.
“That money was given to OEF and passed on to the teachers,” he said. “We gave out over $140,000 from the OEF. It was a pretty good year.”
At the conclusion of Thome’s presentation he was thanked by board president Barbara Shook for the detailed information on where the money goes.
“It’s a good event and it’s nice to see whole families out there participating,” Shook said. “I’m amazed by how many families run at this event.”
OHS Teacher/Work Experience Coordinator Marty Fauria, complete in red graduation cap and gown, then addressed the board to report on the changes with the OHS Career Center.
Fauria shared that each time he addresses the student body, he does so in a cap and gown with a countdown of days until they receive their diploma and his commitment to their readiness.
“When that moment happens,” Fauria said of graduation, “when that diploma passes from your hand to their hand, that they will in fact have a plan.
“It may not be perfect or go according to, but there will be a plan,” he continued. “On the OHS campus there is a renewed commitment that each student will have a plan for life after high school.”
Fauria noted that the ‘plan’ idea was formulated last year.
“When Mr. Malone, Mr. Moore and I sat down last spring we kind of made a commitment,” he said. “Well, you don’t ‘kind of’ make a commitment; we made a commitment that we were not going to ask any board member to award a diploma without that student having a plan.”
Fauria shared with the board the importance of stating the words ‘College and Career’ ready, in varying order and always including the word and versus or. He noted that research has shown today’s job market, regardless of field, may include: college, advanced training or internships.
For the 2016-17 school year, the OHS Career Center has been revamped and staff member Lisa Jones was noted as an addition, which has played as a significant part in that. Fauria stated that adding Jones to the staff has been instrumental with connecting with students.
“We’re trying to make it more efficient,” Jones said of the Career Center. “I’ve tried to figure out efficient ways we can work together. We have a nice work center, I truly enjoy having students come in and take the time to work through lunch.
“They have busy schedules or maybe they don’t have a computer at home, maybe they couldn’t print that assignment. They’re welcome to come in at any time.”
Following the presentation Fauria and his team were thanked by the board for their thorough and informative report.
“We’ve made tremendous strides this single year much to the credit of Martin Fauria,” Superintendent Marc Malone said. “It’s because of his equity with his staff and his equity with the community that we’ve been able to make the connections. And we’ve been able to make the connection as accurately and an impactful as we have for our kids.”
Other items tended to during the meeting included a $5,000 contribution from Oakdale Rotary Club to be put towards Oakdale Schools Arts Programs. The contribution will be made annually to the district by the service club.
“In Oakdale we support all different types of student activities,” Malone said, “and Oakdale Rotary is particularly fond of our arts program and as a board they wanted to have an impact on an annual basis.”
The board also approved moving forward with Jon Isom, Isom Advisors, for refinance of general obligation bonds from the 2002 election year. An action which once finalized will save the taxpayers upwards of one million dollars from reduction in cost.
As customary the meeting was begun with local students leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Magnolia Elementary students Luke Machado, Olivia Ellis, Jacques Melo and Mykayla Kilifi were given the honors.
The next meeting will be conducted on Monday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Oakdale City Council Chambers, 277 N. Second Ave., Oakdale.