Grand School District 3 board meeting

Grant School District 3 board Chairwoman Chris Cronin and Superintendent Bret Uptmor listent to discussion at the board’s Feb. 20 meeting.

While few 11th-grade students in Grant County said in a 2018 survey they didn’t go to school because of safety concerns, more than half said they skipped school in the past four weeks.

Those are just two results from the anonymous and voluntary Oregon Student Wellness Survey of students in grades 6, 8 and 11 conducted in spring 2018.

The survey is designed to assess a wide range of topics, ranging from school climate, positive youth development, mental health and physical health to substance abuse, problem gambling, fighting, harassment and other social problems.

Results for Grant County were presented to the Grant School District 3 board of directors at their Feb. 20 meeting.

The 113-page tabulation of county-wide survey results also compare results from the state for the reporting years from 2012-2018.

Alcohol use or bingeing by 11th graders in the past 30 days has trended slightly downward for both the county and state. In 2018, nearly a quarter of Grant County 11th graders reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days, while 13 percent said they binge drank over the past 30 days.

While self-reported cigarette use by 11th graders over the past 30 days trended downward for both the state and county since 2012, use reported by Grant County students in 2018 was double the state at 11.6 percent.

The perceived risk of marijuana use by older Grant County students fell significantly from 2016 to 2018, in contrast to the state. The perceived risk by eighth graders in 2018 fell from 83.7 percent to 69, and the perceived risk by 11th graders fell from 53.6 percent to 33.3 percent.

Students who perceive cigarette, alcohol or marijuana use as risky are less likely to engage in use, the survey states.

Self-reporting by eighth and 11th graders on the availability of marijuana hasn’t changed significantly from 2014 to 2018, but while 16.7 percent of Grant County eighth graders reported marijuana was easy to get in 2018, nearly twice as many students statewide reported marijuana was easy to obtain.

The number of Grant County 11th graders reporting marijuana was easy to get in 2018, however, was 60 percent, closer to the statewide 65.1 percent.

Self-reporting by Grant County eighth graders about harassment on social media sites increased at a faster pace than by eighth graders statewide, doubling from 17 percent in 2012 to 35 percent in 2018.

The number of eighth graders reporting harassment on social media sites was significantly higher than by 11th graders for both the county and the state in 2018.

The percentage of Grant County 11th graders saying they received unwanted sexual comments has been lower than the state figures for three of the past four reporting years and was 6.7 percent in 2018 compared to 11.3 percent statewide.

In other school board news:

• The board gave its consensus to include new bleachers in the bid package for this year’s seismic upgrade project at the Grant Union gymnasium.

Superintendent Bret Uptmor said the district had set aside about $120,000 for replacing the bleachers, which could cost about $180,000.

The wood and metal roll-out bleachers pose safety hazards for people moving up and down the narrow steps and have reached the end of their useful life, with higher preventative maintenance costs, Uptmor told the Eagle.

The new plastic and metal bleachers would be ready to use by next fall, he said. The complete seismic upgrade bid package will be presented to the board in April.

• More than 200 students in grades K-6 at Humbolt Elementary School received free dental screenings, and 73 received sealant treatment Oct. 8-10.

• Thanks to the efforts of Marci Judd and Shanna Northway, special education teachers at Humbolt Elementary School, a coffee cart staffed by special ed students was scheduled to begin in March.

Special ed students will employ their social, work and math skills to produce lattes, smoothies and other drinks for Humbolt staff and students. The coffee cart received funding from the Primary Practice grant program of the Oregon Education Association, Northway said.

Richard Hanners is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. He can be contacted at rick@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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