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Rural Schools Get Creative To Serve Students


Fundamental changes to K-12 eduction the past few weeks have caused Oregon schools to repeatedly adapt. We found one rural district that’s especially resourceful. 

The St. Paul School District north of Salem serves about 320 kids in two schools. Superintendent Joe Wehrli says their requests for free and reduced lunch doubled in the past couple weeks.

“Food service staff has done a great job," says Wehrli. "They’ve had to make some runs to Costco, because we’re not getting everything we need through our delivery service.”


St. Paul has laptops for most students, but they lacked connectivity, so Wehrli called St. Paul Telephone, who stepped up. 


“They are actively out there installing free internet service to our families in their service area,” he says. 


Wehrli welcomes ideas from the community. He thinks of communication as a two-way street, noting, “We’re all under a lot of stress right now. We’re looking for creative ways to solve problems that we’ve never faced before.”


He says everyone is in this, and will get through it, together.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.
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