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Welches Schools return to normalcy posted on 09/01/2022

Just one year ago, Welches Schools Principal Kendra Payne had to plan for a school year with a great deal of uncertainty, not knowing how in-person classes would pan out and what kinds of restrictions might happen or not due to coronavirus. This year, however, the focus of Payne and her staff is on how best to educate their students, rather than a pandemic.


“It’s just so nice to be able to plan and not have to worry about those things,” Payne said.

The first day for Welches Schools will be Tuesday, Sept. 6, doors opening at 8:50 a.m. and class starting at 9:05 a.m., while dismissal will be at 3:55 p.m.

Wednesdays during the school year, except for the first Wednesday (Sept. 7), will be an early dismissal at 2:55 p.m.

Payne noted that events canceled during the past two years will return this year, including the Rainbow Run, the Harvest Festival, monthly awards assemblies and an open house that will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1. The open house will offer a chance for students and families to meet teachers, see classrooms, sign up for activities like volleyball, get middle school locker assignments, learn about volunteer opportunities and more.

Payne added that the middle school students will continue the new electives model this year, which includes high interest offerings such as art, music, creative science, leadership and more. Previously, the school used an intervention model for electives, which meant students who were below grade level received academic support instead of electives.

Meanwhile, the Welches Parent Teacher Community Organization (WPTCO) will get a chance to regain momentum lost from the pandemic. Payne noted that a number of established parents from the organization no longer have children at the school and parents of younger students are needed to help rebuild its membership, as well as establish a new vision and priorities.

Payne added that the pandemic’s impact on the support that the WPTCO has offered the schools in the past was evident.

“We’ve felt it in all the small ways: teacher appreciation, back to school events, fun nights and (other) events,” she said. “We’re ready to get them back again.”

Payne also noted that the school building will be open to volunteers this year. Volunteers will need to fill out an application, go through a background check, attend an orientation session and either be vaccinated or have an exemption form.

The Welches Schools is located at 24901 E. Salmon River Road in Welches and can be reached at 503-622-3166. For more information, please visit https://www.oregontrailschools.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT





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