Green Acres School serves grades kindergarten through fifth.
Boon Setser is the principal.
The school is located at 700 S. 10th St. The school’s number is 541-451-8534.
There will be an open house from noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 3, followed by a Welcome Back barbecue until 7.
Grades first through fifth start school at 7:50 a.m. on Sept. 4.
Kindergarten starts at 7:50 a.m. on Sept. 9 for a half-day week. Full-day kindergarten starts on Sept. 16.
Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Class hours are from 7:50 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. All students arriving after 8 a.m. must go to the office for a tardy slip to take to class with them.
The school’s mascot is the Grizzly. Colors are green and black.
Meet your principal
Setser is in his third year as principal.
Before coming to Green Acres, Setser was a special education teacher in Silverton. He earned a master’s in education, and recently earned administrative credential from Oregon State University.
He was assistant principal in Silverton, and principal at La Grande High School.
Green Acres was targeted as a focus school at the beginning of the school year.
LE: How was last year’s school year?
Setser: Preliminary indicators suggest that Green Acres has made the greatest gains in the entire district. I couldn’t be more proud of my staff. My staff has worked so hard – nose to the grindstone, blood, sweat, tears, the whole nine yards — and they pulled it through.
The really exciting thing is, traditionally, we’ve had the lowest scores in the district. To see the fruits have been yielded from all my staff’s hard work: I couldn’t be more proud. I can’t tell you (exactly) what the state says, but (preliminary reports indicate) we just about doubled are sub-group growth, and ELL is included in that sub-group growth. A big part of that growth was because ELL students were kept in core.
I think we saw a 62 percent reduction in behavioral issues. It’s the global achievement that really excites me, but that academic piece is probably the most important, because that’s what helps create a future for a kid.
LE: What do you attribute that to?
Setser: Alignment. So our special ed teacher is aligning with the classroom teacher. So that when the kids go into core, they get their core, and they’re like, ‘whoa, I need some more help with this.’ when they go to the learning resource center, the special education teacher’s already aligned what they were doing, and that’s what they’re working on.
LE: So you’re not trying to dumb it down for special ed students, you’re trying to get them education like everyone else, correct?
Setser: There is no way . . . I am going to slow down anything to catch them up. Whatever that core says we need to do, that is what you’re getting. Now how we get there might look different for a special ed student.
LE: What do you like about education?
Setser: The best piece is knowing that you’re arming students with tools that will help them create success in the future. It’s exciting and scary at the same time, because when you think about the job we’re tasked with — the seriousness of it — it’s daunting, but when you see those successes like we did last year with our tests scores and achievement, and our growth, it’s like, ‘I can’t believe they pay me to do this.’
LE what are you expecting from this year?
Setser: Greater gains, better achievement growth. We’re testing what’s going to be a success and is it going to work within our culture.
We’re bringing in a new reading program called ‘Ashlock.’ We tried it with a couple of our grade levels and experienced extreme success.
LE: Is that just at Green Acres or is that district wide?
Setser: We started that here, and we experienced awesome success, so Cascades is doing it with us now. If it continues to gain momentum and exhibits the same growth that we did, then there’s talk about it district wide.
LE: How will the focus designation continue to help Green Acres?
Setser: It gave us a lot of resources. It gave us a little bit of money for professional development, and what we’ve had the opportunity to do is bring in specialists.
My staff have received some specialized training, including how to implement the common core. So we’re much more strategic about it, because we’ve had the opportunity to have those grants, and to get people some release time to start mapping that out.
LE: Green Acres has more students transfers into and out of the school than other in the district, what are you doing to address that issue?
Setser: We’ve got about 110 kids moving on around us. It’s a little frustrating because if we get a kid that moves into our school before the OAKS testing, we have to test them, and that reflects on us, even though we haven’t had the opportunity to teach those children.
The other thing is we lose kids as well, so all the work we've been doing and mapping out, and then they move and they take the test somewhere else. That’s just the way it is.
It’s difficult to address that because it’s bigger than just the school. It’s not we’re going to move to Washington because we don’t like Green Acres; that’s not the case, a lot of it has to do with the economy.
It’s a pretty complicated issue. Would I love for the kids to stay here? Absolutely, but families have needs. If it’s the difference between a family going on food stamps and having a job and providing for themselves, then go. Do what you need to do for your family.
LE: How are you addressing the ELL population?
Setser: The achievement gap exists nationwide; it’s not just a Green Acres thing. We house the district ELL program.
One of the things we’re doing, is there are going to be times that are absolutely sacred. We’re not going to interrupt them; we’re not going to schedule an assembly. So we have blocks of time that are just designated for specific areas.
What Green Acres used to have was middle/high school model where kids would switch classes, and one teacher would teach math and science, another would teach history, and the kids would have to move back and forth.
What we’ve found is there was a lot of time lost in those transitions. So we got rid of those, and we’re going to self-contained classrooms. So at this point, one teacher’s going to be teaching all subjects.
If I walked in at 9:11 into the kinder classes, there would be whole group reading instruction going on. We’re just looking at what’s going to be most efficient, what’s going to get the kids the most time, and we’re folding the ELL kids into this.
So they’ll have specialized instruction called ELD, which is english language development, from the ELL teacher. With that they will also be learning the core curriculum. What they’ll get is core, which is always at grade level, then they’ll get small group (instruction), which is going to be at instructional level. So whatever level they need to catch up to this level, they’ll get that as well, and then they’ll also have ELD.
What we’re trying to do is close that achievement gap. So to answer the question for the ELL: it’s fine, for us it’s teaching children. Whatever we have to do to catch them up, that’s what we’re going to do.
It just depends on what the student needs. It’s going to be a lot of work, but it’s going to be worth it because those kids will have made substantial growth.
LE: Are you continuing with the after-school tutoring program that started here last year?
Setser: No, we started off and we did that every day, and the kids were just exhausted. The teachers were missing their meetings. Then we cut it back to a few days a week, and now the hope is with this new schedule, that we’re going to take care of those needs within that schedule.
LE: Anything else you would like to say about the upcoming school year?
Setser: I’m so stinking excited to get the kids in and staff in. Like I said, this job is great, but the only problem is summer time. If I could go to year-round school I would.
I always count down the days. It’s like another Christmas for me. I just can’t wait; I’m chomping at the bit.