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  • March 22, 2017

    Medford School District Community:

    I am pleased to present to you the district’s Vision 2020 Strategic Plan. This plan is the result of months of collaborative work by district staff, community members, and families. The journey to complete this process began last summer when district leadership incorporated the Board of Education’s goals, the District Improvement Plan, and commonly held beliefs around student affiliation and connections to their peers, coursework and schools. Vision 2020 represents the high expectations and beliefs we have in our students as we strive to become a Premiere school district in Oregon and was created to provide a vision for the future and an overarching road map outlining where we want to go in the next four years. The vision, mission, values, and goals were vetted in multiple forums and formats and I am proud of the meaning behind each of these words as we continue on a path of continuous improvement and a belief in every one of our students.


    I am extremely grateful for your participation in this plan. While ambitious, it is what our students, families and community deserves. I encourage you to read it and discuss it with your colleagues and stakeholder groups.


    I would like to thank the following staff members for their time and effort in imagining, creating, re-creating, and editing this document:


    Mike Dawson

    Sheri Sutliff

    Shelby Moffitt

    Jessica Hamlin

    April Metcalf

    Michaela Baglietto

    Candice Bartholow

    Jackie Beck

    Greg Bryant

    Nora Chavez

    Bryan Cid-Hogan

    Isis Contreras

    Sarah Costa

    Cox Sarah

    Katie Cutsforth

    Kelly Dempsey

    Marie Dudgeon

    Brenda Dufour

    Kayla Durst 

    Doug Dussaq


    Staci Fisher

    September Flock

    Isaiah Gannaway

    Cassie Gannaway

    Heidi Gantz

    Tami George

    Lynn Gervais

    Karin Gieg-Lillesve

    Dianna Gifford

    Robyn Green

    Rosanne Hayes

    Shelly Inman

    Elyssa Jackson

    Andrea Jaime

    Tresa Jarel

    Lori Johnson

    Melissa Johnston

    Kelly Kitchen

    Amanda Klosterman

    Fred Kondziela


    Joannie Laughlin

    Jamie Leach

    Gigi Michaels

    Jeffrey Morejohn

    Margaret Nelson

    Mary Noble

    Brandy Oliva

    Dana Pabst

    Jenalee Piercey

    Eric Pyka

    Dan Smith

    Patricia Soltz

    Roxane Spear

    Jeremy Stahmer

    Michael Torgeson

    Taira Torres

    Piet Voskes

    Cathy Winans

    Erika Wright




    Brian Shumate


    November 14, 2016

    Dear Medford School District Staff and Families,

    In the wake of an election marked by intense emotions, it is important that our schools and community come together to model the qualities we value. We are committed to fostering unity, respect, safety, and hope for the future for all students and staff. Our schools are places where ALL students are welcome and valued, places where each student feels a sense of belonging. On Wednesday and Thursday of last week some students felt unsafe, bullied, or harassed. Bullying, harassment, and intimidation will never be accepted in our schools and community. As with all cases of bullying and harassment, educators and students immediately respond to such incidents as they occur.  We encourage students and families to contact their teachers or principals with any concerns.

    The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) recommends these strategies to support our youth in navigating this post-election period. You may read the full article at the link below.


    • Reassure children that they are safe and will be okay.
    • Reinforce a sense of positive school community.
    • Model and teach desired behaviors.
    • Help children manage strong emotions.
    • Reinforce acceptance and appreciation for diversity as critical American values.
    • Stop any type of harassment or bullying immediately.
    • Help children see other perspectives and value respectful dialogue.
    • Discuss the importance of respecting our democratic process.
    • Encourage children to channel their views and feelings into positive action.

    One vital role for schools is to educate students to participate in a democracy. To that end, we encourage teachers to convene respectful classroom discussions so students can express their opinions, learn from diverse viewpoints, and mediate differences through civil discussions. Whether in schools or at home, we hope you will join us in modelling acceptance and kindness for our students.




    Dr. Brian Shumate                                                                                          Michelle Zundel

    Superintendent                                                                                              Chief Academic Officer


    NASP Article:

    August 10, 2016

    Dear Medford School District Colleagues:

    Welcome back to the 2016-17 school year! As you know, the first day of school will be Tuesday, September 6. It will be here before we know it! After serving two years as your superintendent, I am more excited than ever about the terrific things that are happening in our district and about the future

    of the Medford School District. We have great staff, great traditions, great families and kids, great programs, great facilities and great community support. We possess a heart for the students, spirit of innovation, professional expertise, a sound work ethic and a dedication for the work. The Medford School District is truly poised to become the “Premier School District in Oregon.” It will take all of us to make that happen!

    I first want to thank each and every one of you for your outstanding efforts over the past school year and this summer. I witness daily your commitment to the well-being and development of our students. This spring, I observed many staff members who motivated students to do their very best by finishing the school year strong and pushing our seniors toward graduation. I appreciate the many staff members working with students in summer programs designed to propel, enhance and remediate. I also applaud the many support staff who work diligently to prepare schools for the coming year so that the educational process can begin immediately. Thanks to you all!

    In the past year, due to your hard work and commitment, we have made excellent progress as a district. Our student results are improving and we have improved internal systems in both the educational and business functions of the district.

    • Improved results:
      • Our graduation rate improved to 75%, nearly an 8% increase from the 2013-14 school year to the 2014-15 school year.
      • Our student attendance rate is up nearly 1% as a district.
      • Our Smarter Balanced data from this past spring is looking very promising.
      • Our freshmen on-track data is much improved and we are anticipating another increase in graduation rates.
      • Our expulsions have reduced by 50%.
    • Implemented new educational initiatives:
      • instituted a full-day kindergarten program
      • reduced overall class sizes at the elementary level
      • instituted the Project Lead the Way pre-engineering program at the middle schools
      • implemented the high school Pathways concept
    • Enhanced business functions:
      • improved hiring practices
      • improved substitute systems
      • improved payroll systems
      • improved insurance processing
      • moved all schools into SunGard
      • streamlined accounting systems
      • improved our employee safety program
      • improved our energy usage and carbon footprint
      • improved our building safety and security protocols

    For the coming year, we:

    • adopted new English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum (grades K-6)
    • purchased the new i-Ready diagnostic reading assessment
    • purchased over $800,000 in new Chromebooks to support the ELA (grades 2-6)
    • purchased $500,000 in new musical instruments
    • will continue to improve learning target alignment at all grades and content areas
    • will continue to improve educational equity practices
    • will continue to improve inclusive practices in all facets of the district
    • will launch Freshman Advisory at North and South

    While these systems improvements are vitally important to enhancing the delivery of education services, I will continue to challenge all staff to look at the needs of each student. It is my vision that all students find their ‘place’ in our district where they experience connections, meaning and understanding in their daily school lives. The Medford School District should literally have ‘A Place for Every Kid.’ We must have a district that is coherent and aligned, yet have enough flexibility to create a personalized learning environment to meet each student’s needs. I believe collectively we have the expertise, heart and drive to make those things happen.

    I am extremely excited about the coming school year and look forward to working with each of you to continue on our trajectory to become the “Premier School District in Oregon!”

    I continue to consider it an honor to serve you. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions.


    Brian T. Shumate, Ph.D.



    June 28, 2016

    Medford School District Staff, Families and Community Members:

    As another school year closes, I want to take a moment to thank you for your dedication to our students and school communities. School districts cannot thrive without the continuous and focused commitment of our staff, families, and surrounding community. I truly believe your efforts and support are making a great difference in the success and well-being of our students. From our dedicated teachers and support staff, to our community volunteers, to members of our parent teacher organizations, you are all integral partners in helping our students progress toward graduation.

    On Saturday June 11th, hundreds of students from South Medford High, North Medford High and Central Medford High participated in graduation ceremonies and received high school diplomas. Our students have worked tirelessly, with the leadership and guidance of our teachers and staff, to reach this milestone. While receiving a high school diploma is a great accomplishment, it is not the end of a journey, but is a beginning of what lies ahead in the lives of our students. I believe our graduates are leaving well-equipped to be successful in their future academic and professional lives.

    One of our primary missions in the Medford School District is to create a ‘Place for Every Kid.’ Whether it be band, art, robotics, engineering, technology, math, science, natural resources, outdoor education or culinary arts, we are continuously working to be a place where students want to be and can find affiliation, connections, meaning and understanding in their daily school lives. We will continue to pursue those lofty goals so that all of our students find their ‘place’ in our schools!  

    Thank you for all that you do and I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing summer. I look forward to seeing you in the fall.


    Brian Shumate, Ph.D.





    May 3, 2016

    Dear Medford School District Teachers:

    In this week of expressing thanks to our teachers, I want to truly honor you for all that you do for the young people in our community. As we aspire for the Medford School District to be a major portion of the fabric of Medford, I believe that teachers are the fabric of our District. No one touches more lives on any given day than the collective group of outstanding teachers who give of themselves each day for the betterment of our students. I am reminded of this quote by William A. Ward, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” I am inspired by you every day and truly appreciate and thank you!

    The link below says it all!

    Again thanks!

    Brian Shumate


    April 14, 2016

    Dear Medford School District Community:

    The Medford School Board approved the school calendar for the 2016-17 school year. The process to create the calendar included a committee of 14 teachers and administrators that met three times over the past six weeks. Based on discussions and feedback from the committee and others, I proposed several changes in this year’s calendar.

    They are:

    • Two of the three parent/teacher conference days will be held on consecutive days during Thanksgiving week. The conference days will be held on Monday and Tuesday November 21stand 22nd.
    • There will only be one parent/teacher conference day in the spring on Monday March 13th.
    • The district will acknowledge the statewide professional development day on October 14th. There will be no school for students and it will be a non-paid day for teachers and school based staff (working calendars for all affected employees will be published soon). We hope to host some professional development and pay extra service to participants.
    • There will be no school on Wednesday November 23rd. There will be no school for students and it will be a non-paid day for teachers and school based staff (working calendars for all affected employees will be published soon).
    • The last day of school will be on Wednesday June 14th except for seniors which will be on Friday June 9th.
    • High schools will have early release on Friday June 9thand graduation will be on Saturday June 10th.
    • Elementary and Middle Schools will have early release on the last day of school, June 14th.

    Inservice week has not changed and the first day of school is still after Labor Day weekend. The board meeting dates are not listed yet. They will be added prior to the start of school after the board retreat in August.

    Thank you for your continued support, 

    Brian Shumate

    March 1, 2016

    Medford School District Staff and Community:

    As we enter the budget season, I want to take this opportunity to provide you with timely information regarding our current funding and spending outlook and the budget process. Maintaining a sustainable and balanced budget is critical to our organization as a whole and our ultimate goal of maximizing achievement and opportunities for all of our students.

    On February 7th, the Board adopted the budget calendar for the fiscal year 2016-17. The budget committee will begin meeting in April and will meet regularly until the Board adopts a budget no later than June 30th. A public hearing will be held on May 23rd. This year, we are also hosting a town hall meeting on March 7th to provide information, respond to questions and gather input. Details are posted on our website at

    It’s important to note that in order to build a balanced budget, we have to make several budget assumptions which may change between now and the beginning of the school year. The following are factors to consider:


    1. In the 2015-16 budget, the Board approved, at my request, a deficit spending model to achieve some strategic initiatives: the implementation of full day Kindergarten, elementary class size reduction, additional nurses, the Medford After School (MAS) program and the implementation of Project Lead the Way in the middle schools. Primary funding of these initiatives came from the district reserves.
    2. As you may know, the PERS reform legislation was overturned recently in court and the state will be requiring all public employers, including school districts, to contribute additional funds for a number of years. The intent of this action is to refill an underfunded PERS system. The Medford School District’s contribution will increase by approximately $2.3 million per year beginning in 2017. Earlier this year, the Board chose to move $2.3 million from the general fund into a special reserve account to mitigate some of the impact of this cost increase beginning in July of 2017.
    3. We are entering the 2nd year of a two year biennial budget and have a fairly accurate picture of our funding for the 2016-17 school year assuming we maintain our current enrollment. Funding for schools in Oregon is comprised primarily of income and property tax collection which are pooled and then apportioned to each school district based on enrollment. In some years we receive additional funds in May due to higher than anticipated tax collection or positive net changes in enrollment at our district versus the statewide student count. We do not expect much of an adjustment this May because the state has been reporting on target tax collections and enrollment data that supports our current funding level.

    It is vital that we present a balanced budget as we move toward the 2016-17 school year. Currently, our projection is that we will need to reduce approximately 2.5% or $3 million dollars in spending in the coming year. We are working strategically with staff, principals, district leadership and our Board to find the least disruptive solutions to balance our budget. It is our desire to minimize the impact on the classroom and services that directly impact students. It is important that I emphasize we are considering every possibility as we face these very important decisions. If you would like to learn more or to give us feedback, please do not hesitate to talk to your school’s principal, department administrator or you can contact the district office at 541-842-5002.

    We will keep you updated as this process continues this spring. Thank you for all you do for our students.


    Brian Shumate, Ph.D.



    Feb. 2, 2016

    Dear Parents and Community Members:

    I am proud to announce that the Medford School District graduation rate increased by 9.7% from the 2013-14 school year to the 2014-15 school year. Our new rate is 74.95% which is now ahead of the state average. This is awesome news and is a testament to the great work of the teachers, counselors, principals and support staff at all levels in getting these kids across the stage. It is also a testament to your work at home and within organizations throughout the community that help support our students.

    The district has had programs and efforts in place for a number of years contributing to the gain. We’ve improved programs for our English Language Learner (ELL) students, special education students and economically disadvantaged students. We’ve improved our interventions to keep students on track and increased our use of data to help us reach kids where they are and design programs they need. We are instituting long-term systemic changes such as full-day kindergarten and high school pathways. The latter is a new program that encourages students to take a four-course sequence in an area of their interest that will keep students engaged and connected. We hope these initiatives will pay off in the future.

    However, there is no magic formula to improve graduation rates. We must have a culture that we teach all kids, no matter what their ability levels or circumstances, and that we prescribe educational programs to meet their individual needs and move each of them toward graduation. It really happens one kid at a time!

    Now that we have passed the state average in graduation rate, let’s move ahead of state averages on Smarter Balanced Reading and Math!

    Thank you for your support. It takes a community to do what we do for the kids of Southern Oregon.


    Brian Shumate, Superintendent



    Sept. 24, 2015

    Dear Parents and Community Members:

    As I begin my second year as Superintendent of the Medford School District, I am more excited than ever about the possibilities and potential that are here. While Medford has a strong tradition as a school district, we still have much work to do. I have challenged our staff to ensure that we have 'A Place for Every Kid' which means that our schools should be designed in such a way that every student finds his/her place to find connections, meaning and understanding with their daily school experience, with their teachers, and with their peers. Every student should be affiliated and known for his/her strengths, aptitudes and interests so that the entire school experience is meaningful and has relevance to each student. I have also challenged all staff members to strive for the Medford School District to be 'The Premier School District in the State of Oregon!'  This will require a concerted effort on behalf of all staff, students, families and community partners to improve its academic programs and offerings, its co-curricular opportunities, its community and civic involvement and its student results and outcomes. And lastly, our district has transformed the district logo, brand and mantra that now states 'Medford School District - LIVE. LEARN. LEAD' which emphasizes that the district plays a vital part of the fabric of the community of Medford, Oregon and has a responsibility to ensure that Medford remains a great place to Live, a great place to Learn, and a great place to train our Leaders of tomorrow!

    To accomplish these lofty goals, we have set forth several strategic initiatives and investments for the coming year:

    1. Implement a full day Kindergarten program.
    2. Offer a free extended day program until 6:00 for at-risk students at Howard, Roosevelt and Washington Elementary Schools.
    3. Implement the Medford Prep 8th to 9th grade transition program to improve high school readiness.
    4. Implement the Project Lead The Way Pre-Engineering (PLTW) Program at Central Medford High School and Hedrick McLoughlin Middle Schools.
    5. Embark on a process to create pathways (these are similar to college majors) for high school students in the following four areas:
      1. Academic (Math, English, Science, Social Studies, World Languages)
      2. Visual and Performing Arts (Band, Chorus, Orchestra, Piano, Theatre, Visual Art).
      3. Career and Technical Education (CTE) (automotive, advanced manufacturing (welding, machine tool, CADD), robotics, culinary arts, carpentry, HVAC, electrical, plumbing).
      4. Pre-professional (PLTW pre-engineering, PLTW bio-medical, pre-law, pre-education, business and IT).

    We will also strive to achieve curricular coherence, create a common assessment system by grade/course and by content area, improve our data collection and data analysis systems, and focus on improved teacher collaboration through Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).

    The Medford School District focused on continuous improvement to ensure that our students get an outstanding education and we are excited about the future!


    Brian Shumate, Superintendent