Aiming for higher state rating, Oregon Schools announce plan to change middle schools

OREGON, OH (Toledo News Now) - Oregon City Schools has received and "effective" rating from the state of Ohio for the past several years.  Parents and administrators agree the district could do better.

"There's really no reason for them not to be excellent. We have a great teaching staff and good administrators," said parent Jamie Campbell.

"Clay High school has been an 'excellent' high school for the last ten years. We've been very solid in our early elementary grades, K-4. We struggle in the middle schools," said Superintendent Mike Zalar.

As a result, the district unveiled a plan to change the way it teaches middle school students Monday.  If adopted, the plan would create one fifth and sixth grade building, and one seventh and eighth grade building rather than two middle schools.  Administrators say that would let them hire for three or four more teachers, allowing them to focus on low scoring areas like math and science.

The plan was developed after a series of community forums, which drew about 300 people interested in improving the district.  Parents say they like the idea.

"It's a good idea to get all the kids in the district on the same page educationally, so they're all learning the same things. So that way when they do go into high school, they are all on the same page," said Campbell.

Oregon City School Board will discuss the plan at a meeting on Tuesday.  The measure is expected to be voted on in December, and could be implemented as early as next school year.