FOSTERING RECREATION, EDUCATION, CULTURE AND THE ARTS

Jefferson County Middle School

The Bean Foundation has a Strong base of “stewardship,” placing service to/with the community above the Foundation’s self-interests. The Foundation leadership is entrepreneurial, a means for supporting the Foundation’s commitment of stewardship into perpetuity.

Case Studies > Jefferson County Middle School

LEADING WTIH PURPOSE

Community In Action

Until 1994, many Jefferson County (509 J District) junior high students, spent their days in an increasingly crowded old building and temporary spaces that were often hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

This uncomfortable environment made teaching and learning extremely difficult. In addition, even though the students came from three separate racial groups with distinct cultures—Caucasians, Native Americans, and Hispanics—teachers used the same traditional one-size-fits-all approach to education.

There was only modest consideration of their respective cultures, which made it difficult for non-white students to understand the context of their lessons. As a result, many experienced daily failure in the classroom. Confused, frustrated, and fearful, some stopped attending school regularly and others dropped out entirely. State test results showed that Jefferson County students were some of the most ill equipped children in the state.

The school district’s solution was to create a middle school that would serve grades 6 through 8 (upon startup) and use a new case management approach based on each student’s skill level and cultural identity.

The problem came down to how to fund a new school; like most school districts, 509J lacked the money to pay for land and construction costs. As a steward of the community, the Bean Foundation joined with the school district and the City of Madras to come up with a workable plan. It agreed to donate 29.56 acres for the proposed school building site IF within one year the district could pass a bond issue to fund the construction costs. The following year, the school district successfully passed a bond issue with the support of a strong multi-ethnic committee, and the land transfer was made. The Foundation then gave the City of Madras an additional seven acres to allow for the construction of a service road (City View Street), which would be needed by the school.

With more space, the new teaching environment and a focus on cultural sensitivity had an instant positive impact on the students. Soon, their State test results began to improve.

An interesting supplemental benefit of the Middle School and Juniper Hills projects was the development of a more collaborative project development process. This process has been applied in several subsequent projects which have been successful for the Schools, the County, the City and the Foundation.

THE NEED

Until 1994, many Jefferson County (509 J District) junior high students, spent their days in an increasingly crowded old building and temporary spaces that were often hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

This uncomfortable environment made teaching and learning difficult. In addition, even though the students came from three separate racial groups with distinct cultures—Caucasians, Native Americans, and Hispanics—the dominate curriculum used was the same traditional one-size-fits-all approach to education.

As in many schools at that time, there was only modest consideration of respective cultures and learning styles, which made it difficult for non-white students to understand the context of their lessons. Many experienced failure in the classroom. Confused, frustrated, and fearful, the dropout rate was high. State test results showed that Jefferson County students were some of the most ill-equipped children in the state.

SOLUTION

The school district needed more space, the solution was to create a middle school that would serve grades 6 through 8, and with smaller class sizes, they could implement a new case management approach based on each student’s skill level and cultural identity.

The problem came down to how to fund a new school; like most school districts, 509J lacked the money to pay for land and construction costs. As a steward of the community, the Bean Foundation joined with the school district and the City of Madras to come up with a workable plan. It agreed to donate about 29 acres for the proposed school building site IF within a year the district could pass a bond to fund the construction costs. The following year, the school district successfully passed a bond with the support of a strong multiethnic citizen committee, and the land transfer was made. The Foundation also gave the City of Madras an additional 7 acres to allow for the construction of service roads needed.

IMPACT

With more space, the new teaching environment and a focus on cultural sensitivity had an instant positive impact on the students. Soon, their State test results began to improve.

An interesting supplemental benefit of the Middle School and Juniper Hills projects was the development of a more collaborative project development process. This process has been applied in several subsequent projects which have been successful for the Schools, the County, the City and the Foundation.

FROM THE COMMUNITY

The Bean Foundation is and has been an integral part of making our community a better place. They promote, support and help build other organizations that, in turn, promote a greater good for our communities. My wish would be that every town has an advocate, like The Bean Foundation, to make their community a better place.

Rick Molitor, Former School/ESD Superintendent, Current Business Owner and 12 Year Resident of Madras