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Heather Villa

The school system in Days Creek has evolved since 1853 when classes were first held in a teacher’s small log cabin. The current schoolhouse built in 1927 is anchored alongside the South Umpqua River and serves 220 students in grades K-12 within Days Creek Charter School. The single campus setting allows for meaningful interactions between primary and secondary students.

Steve Woods, the district’s superintendent, executive director and principal, accepted the positions in August, 2018 and relocated from Texas with his wife Terri Woods. The couple can see the school from their home. The daily commute is picturesque and an easy few hundred steps.

The success of the district’s strong enrollment, along with integrative academic, career and technical education (CTE), Future Farmers of America (FFA) and athletic programs is a result of dedicated staff, board members, community partners and students who work together to develop learners, thinkers and leaders, while embracing the rich agricultural heritage. “We have a great team,” says Steve Woods, “and a lot to celebrate.”

This past August the Back-to-School Bash included a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the grand reopening of the school’s library. The library received a vibrant and welcoming makeover thanks to a grant from The Ford Family Foundation. The grant’s funding was used to purchase comfortable seating such as sitting mats, cushioned chairs, beanbags and a rug. Additionally, items were purchased for the Makerspace area, a STEAM-related learning center and the ever-so-popular bubble tube. All students have access to hands-on and literacy activities, as well as books shelved on bookcases sponsored by community members. The new books were made possible from a Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries grant. The space will also be used after school hours to host reading nights, book clubs and other events open to the public.

Other recent facility improvements include the expansion of the agriculture and metal shop building. The addition will help provide room for the new tractor and small engines available for students to learn machinery repair.

Additionally, the upgraded science lab is the perfect setting for high school students to take dual credit science classes in conjunction with Southern Oregon University.

A new program that has been introduced is esports, which is organized video gaming and promotes problem solving and teamwork in a competitive environment. “This program has captured the attention of more than a dozen students,” says Woods.

The social, emotional and physical health of staff and students are important. Students in grades 7-12 continue to experience DiscoverU each Wednesday afternoon during school hours. Staff and community members teach skills such as culinary arts and career exploration to introduce students to opportunities typically not found in the classroom. “DiscoverU is designed to enhance college and career opportunities and enrich social and emotional growth for our students by building community connections and by offering a wide-range of activities,” says Woods.

A wellness program for the staff known as DC Fit was made possible thanks to staff and community involvement, monetary donations and an OEA Choice grant. The staff participate in healthy challenges, wellness seminars and also have access to outdoor fitness equipment made possible by an OEA Choice grant. The equipment includes resistance training options such as an exercise bike and rowing machine. The shop class and other students installed the equipment, which included pouring concrete. C&D Lumber provided bark chips. The area is enjoyed by staff, students, athletes and the community.

“It’s exciting to utilize these blessings,” says Woods.

The district continues looking forward, making plans. This past week, the school recently partnered with Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT), the nation’s largest touring children’s theater, and presented a public performance that included students from the school and community in grades K-12.

It’s apparent why Days Creek Charter School is known as the community’s gathering place. To learn more, visit www.dayscreek.k12.or.us or visit their Facebook page (@DC.Charter) for details about athletic events, activities and more!

Heather Villa is a communications specialist for the Douglas Education Service District, which offers collaborative, high-quality and locally responsive educational services to the community.

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