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Inclement Weather
Everyone should receive a phone call or a text message from the district office if there is going to be no school or a delayed start due to inclement weather. If you feel your child’s school may not have a good contact number for you, please get in touch with your child’s building secretary.

It is our goal to have a decision made by 5:30 a.m. as to starting school on time, have a two hour late start, or canceling school. You should receive a phone call or text by 6:00-6:10 informing you of a late start or cancellation. If you do not receive anything we are having school on time. Delayed start or cancellation of school will also be posted on the district web page and the district Facebook page.

Remember we are making up all days that are missed this year. We have two days built into the calendar for snow days, February 14 and May 8. If we miss school prior to those days, you will be expected to go to school on those days. If we have not missed any school days, those are non-school days where school will be closed. Two hour late starts will not be made up. It is up to the buildings how they treat their work day as far as classes go (i.e. shorter periods, no recess, etc.). There will be no breakfast or Pre-School on Late Start days. We will not have a late start on a Friday.

After School Activities:
There will be no elementary or middle school after-school activities on days that are cancelled.
The decision to have high school after-school activities will be made by the principal and superintendent. The goal will be to have that decision by noon.

Sometimes the weather will turn nasty in the morning after we start school. Unless it is extremely severe we will stay in school the full day. We may have an early (5-10 minutes) release to allow the busses adequate time to drive in the daylight.

Decisions on after school activities will be made before the students get on the bus.
The intention of this memo is to answer most parent questions regarding inclement weather situations. Please know that any decision we make is in the interest of children’s safety. We will use the collective judgment of many people when the decisions are made.

Please know if you don’t feel it is safe for your child to get on the bus or drive to school, you have every right to keep them home. Your child will not be punished for that decision.

Please call Aaron Duff or Janet Millar at the district office (541-938-3551) if you have any questions.

Todos recibirán una llamada telefónica o un mensaje de texto de la oficina del distrito si no va a haber clases o si iniciaremos tarde debido al mal tiempo. Si usted cree que la escuela de su hijo(a) no tiene el número de contacto actualizado para comunicarse con usted, por favor comuníquese con la secretaria de la escuela de su de su hijo(a).
Nuestra meta es tomar una decisión antes de las 5:30 a.m. sobre si habrá un cambio en el horario de clases. Usted recibirá una llamada telefónica o un mensaje de texto antes de las 6: 00-6: 10 con la información correcta. Si no recibe una llamada o texto esto quiere decir que estaremos funcionando en el horario normal. Inicio de las dos horas tarde o la cancelación de clases también se publicarán en la página web y en la página de Facebook del distrito.
Recuerde que, si faltamos días a clase debido al mal tiempo, recuperaremos todos los días que faltemos este año. Tenemos dos días integrados en el calendario para los días de nieve, el 14 de febrero y el 8 de mayo. Si faltamos a la escuela antes de esos días debido al mal tiempo, se espera que los estudiantes asistan a clases en esos días. Si no hemos perdido ningún día escolar, esos son días que no hay clases y las escuelas estarán cerradas. No tendremos que recuperar las 2 horas de inicio tarde. Depende de los edificios cómo tratan su día de trabajo en lo que respecta a las clases (es decir, períodos más cortos, sin recreo, etc.). No habrá desayuno ni clases preescolares en los días de entrada 2 horas tarde. No tendremos 2 horas de retraso ningún viernes.
Actividades después de clases
No habrá actividades extraescolares de primaria o secundaria en los días que se cancelen las clases debido al mal tiempo. El director y el superintendente tomarán la decisión sobre las actividades de la preparatoria. El objetivo será tener esa decisión antes del mediodía.
A veces el clima se pondrá desagradable en la mañana después de que empecemos la escuela. A menos que sea extremadamente severo, nos quedaremos en la escuela todo el día. Es posible que tengamos una salida temprana (5-10 minutos) para que los autobuses tengan el tiempo adecuado para conducir a la luz del día.
Las decisiones sobre las actividades después de clases se tomarán antes de que los estudiantes suban al autobús. La intención de este memorándum es responder a la mayoría de las preguntas de los padres con respecto a las inclemencias del tiempo. Tenga en cuenta que cualquier decisión que tomemos es en interés de la seguridad de los estudiantes. Usaremos el juicio colectivo de muchas personas cuando se tomen las decisiones.
Tenga en cuenta que si no cree que es seguro para su hijo(a) subir al autobús o conducir a la escuela, tiene todo el derecho de mantenerlos en casa. Su hijo(a) no será castigado por esa decisión.

Si tiene alguna pregunta, llame a Aaron Duff o Janet Millar a la oficina del distrito (541-938-3551).

Strategic 5-year Plan
Strategic 5-year Plan
The Milton Freewater School District is working with community partners to develop a strategic 5-year plan. Partners have met twice with Inter Mountain Educational Service staff to develop value statements, a mission statement, and a vision statement. The next steps will be to finalize these documents and make goals that follow these statements. The community partner group is using data from the survey the district collected last month to guide this process. As one community partner said, “It is exciting to be included in the districts planning and to see the direction the district and community are going”.
District & YMCA Partner on New Afterschool Program
District & YMCA Partner on New Afterschool Program
The Milton-Freewater School District and the the Walla Walla YMCA are teaming up to provide a new afterschool program in Milton-Freewater. The program, called the “Milton-Freewater YMCA Afterschool Program” will be based at Freewater School and will serve community youth from Kindergarten to Fifth Grade. Final details are under review with the goal of starting the program April 6. The program will align its dates of operation with the school district and will be open from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Fridays from 1:00 – 6:00 p.m.

The school district will provide bus transportation to bring students to the afterschool program and will contract the program’s operations with the YMCA’s experienced early childhood education team, led by Katie Svilich.

Aaron Duff, Milton-Freewater School District superintendent said,” We have long held the vison of offering a school district-coordinated, quality-based afterschool program. We look for ways to advance our commitment to providing children with a science, technology, engineering, math and arts curriculum, while also providing children with a structured and fun environment. The YMCA was the perfect partner to help support our goals given its commitment to youth development and the Milton-Freewater community.”

Another key goal of this collaboration is the development of a sustainable community-staffed afterschool program in Milton-Freewater. To that end, the YMCA is actively recruiting a local program coordinator and four to five counselors. For information about these positions, candidates are encouraged to contact the YMCA’s HR Director, Cassie Siegal.

“The YMCA has been pleased to coordinate an 8-week summer camp with the the Milton- Freewater School District for several years,” said Karen Hedine, Walla Walla YMCA CEO. ”The planned afterschool program is a natural extension of our efforts to provide youth development programs in Milton-Freewater, and we are honored to have been asked to be the school district’s partner.”

This 2020 program is made possible in large part thanks to a grant that the school district received from the Blue Mountain Community Foundation.
Crystal Apple Nominations OPEN
Crystal Apple Nominations OPEN
Nominations for the 2020 Crystal Apple "Excellence in Education" Awards are now open. These annual awards recognize outstanding educators and school staff in eastern Oregon school districts.

Those eligible to be nominated are full-time or part-time employees who have worked in the district for one year. Crystal Apple Awards can be given to principals, assistant principals, teachers, paraeducators, office staff, maintenance staff and other district staff. They can be nominated by administrators, teachers, paraeducators, school staff, students, parents or community members.

Deadline for nominations is April 1, 2020.

Crystal Apple Nomination Form
Crystal Apple Information Page

Crystal Apple award winners will be honored in May.
District Appoints New Director to Administrative Team
District Appoints New Director to Administrative Team
The Milton-Freewater Unified School District is pleased to announce the appointment of Ami Muilenburg as its new Director of Student Services, effective next school year. Muilenburg is currently the principal at Gib Olinger Elementary.

The Director of Student Services will oversee Student Success Act (SSA) programs in the district, such as mental health, teacher and classified staff mentoring, curriculum adoption, before- and after-school programs, curriculum adoptions and state reporting requirements for the SSA. The position will be funded by the SSA and the district’s general fund.

“We are excited that Ami will be assuming this role for the district, as her district experience and her dedication to Milton-Freewater students are exemplary. This position will help ensure that our students receive more resources, and she will be a strong advocate for students and staff,” said Duff.

Muilenburg has worked in education for 23 years. She spent 12 years working for InterMountain ESD in various roles, primarily with the Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education program in five counties. Muilenburg has also worked as a family advocate for Umatilla-Morrow County Head Start, OHSU Healthy Start Program and CTUIR Even Start Program, all home-visiting programs that support education, social services, mental and medical healthcare in Umatilla and Union Counties. She has worked for the Milton-Freewater Unified School District since August 2013, serving as principal at Ferndale, Grove and Gib Olinger elementary schools.

Muilenburg’s new job will start July 1, 2020, for the 2020-21 school year. The Gib Olinger principal position will be opened internally in the district.
District Fills New Positions
The Milton-Freewater Unified School District has hired two new staff members for the 2020-21 school year. Maia Fastabend will be the new principal at Gib Olinger Elementary. She has been the vice-principal at the school for two years and is filling the position because current principal Ami Muilenburg is becoming the district’s new Director of Student Services.

Fastabend taught math at Central Point School District before she came to MFUSD in 2018. She is interested in Girls in STEM, the use of manipulatives in Instruction and Curriculum, low-level learners/achievers and K- 8 mathematics.

Aaron Duff, district superintendent, said that Fastabend’s extensive curriculum background and experience from other districts have already benefitted MFUSD. “Maia has become an important part of the administrative team in Milton-Freewater. She held a key role in the beginning of Gib Olinger, and the district is happy to see her increase that role to grow the building,” Duff said.

Amanda Noirot has been hired as the new Director of Title 1, ELL, Migrant and Dual Language Programs. This new position is in direct response to serving underserved students in district. The new director will oversee several state and federal programs to ensure student success and manage the district’s current Dual Language program. It is funded by the Student Success Act and federal grants. Noirot has been the ELD (English Language Development) teacher at Gib Olinger for two years and employed by the district for 11 years.

Noirot said English Language Learner students are an important part of the school district and the community. Her grandparents and father were migrant farm laborers who settled in the area in the 1950s, and Noirot said she has a deep appreciation for ELL students and their families. “My roots run deep here in Milton-Freewater. It is extremely important that in my new role I provide opportunities for English learners, our migrant population and bilingual education students to be successful and impactful,” Noirot said.

Aaron Duff, district superintendent, said the deep knowledge of Milton-Freewater students and families Noirot brings to her new job is positive, in addition to the ability to effectively use data to help staff make adjustments to increase student performance. “We are excited to have a person who is respected in our community, region and state take this role. She will work to make sure that all of our students succeed,” Duff said.

Fastaband and Noirot will both start their new jobs on July 1, 2020.
District Responds to Graduation Rates Released by ODE
District Responds to Graduation Rates Released by ODE
On Thursday, January 23rd, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released graduation rates for school districts in Oregon. These are 2018-19 graduation rates.

Milton-Freewater’s 4-year Cohort rate is 79.85%, down slightly from last year’s rate of 82.79%. Aaron Duff, district superintendent, said when the district looks at percentages in a district of their size, they don’t worry too much about an increase or decrease in the percentage points, because that equates to about one to two students per percent. Duff said he looks closely at the 5-year Cohort Completer Rate, students who earned their diploma in five years. Milton-Freewater’s 5-year rate went from 81.75% last year to 84.43% this year.

“If our true mission is to educate students, we are in it for the long haul with them. If it takes five years for some of our students, that is fine,” Duff said. Completer information also includes those who earn GEDs and can continue to college or a trade school.

The district is pleased with their Career and Technical Education (CTE) completers, who are at a 93% graduation rate. MFUSD has added funding and programs to its CTE slate in an effort to engage more students.

Duff said one area MFUSD is focusing on is Special Education, which has lower rates for graduation. In June 2019, the district had already identified this as a target, adding teaching and classified staff to those areas. The district also received an ODE grant for a jobs program that allows students with special needs to work in local businesses.

Duff said he wants his community to know that the district is analyzing numbers all the time and made changes in the last year. However, the traditional four-year rate does not show a student who may need an extra year to succeed nor does it show how many students are graduating with college credit and more.

“We are always looking at how we can use our resources to serve students like adding the GED testing center in our district to serve students’ needs because we found they had to drive to Pendleton to take that test,” Duff said.