Committee to Study the Mission of CHS

November 4, 2005




Attending:  Anne Freske, Lee Kounovsky, Heather Dorman-Scott, Devan Isenhour, Eileen Brayman, Ken Donner, Shirley Burrus, Mandi Lane, Terrie Chrones, Jan Ophus, Sue Bowers


Anne Freske opened the meeting at 6:45 a.m.   The first order of business was electing a Chair.  Anne was nominated and duly elected.  Sue Bowers agreed to serve as Secretary.


Anne shared that the School Board began discussing the need for a comprehensive look at the high school last spring and they agreed to include that effort as one of the goals for the year that they adopted in August.  She asked Mr. Ophus to describe the purpose of the Committee, which he indicated was to examine the Mission Statement and graduation requirements of CHS, with a look toward the needs of the future.  He began what moved into an open discussion about the questions:  “What was CHS?  What is CHS?  What will be CHS?”  Anne noted that our kids (U.S. education in general, not just CHS) are falling behind in meeting the world’s needs and that we are “missing the boat” somewhere in responding to the changes of the 21st century.  She also reminded the group that funding is a bottom-line issue when it comes to ideas the group may have for changes.  She noted that the committee’s work may be ongoing for a year or more.


Issues, ideas and concerns from the discussion included the following:


·         There needs to be a smooth transition from middle school to high school.

·         The ninth grade class is generally the largest and most-vulnerable group at CHS

·         It is hard to plan for longer term needs when our counselor and principal must spend a large percentage of their time dealing with short-term behavior-related matters.

·         The needs of our transient student population are often different than for the students who have had more of their schooling in Creswell.

·         We have a significant number of students whose home life is difficult.

·         Our “non-needy” students need/deserve to be served by our education system.

·         Students are capable of helping one another in many cases.

·         Our traditional scheduling and bureaucracy raises barriers to meeting individual student needs.

·         We need to offer students more opportunities here on campus.

·         We need to offer students more off-campus possibilities.

·         Can we adopt more of a business model?  How do we “market” our school to students and the community?

·         We need to examine how we look as a school.  Do we have a “class” structure developing on campus?

·         Teachers’ roles are changing.  In many cases they need to be more of a facilitator than a traditional instructor.

·         Should we focus on core subjects in grades 6-10 and let students use grades 11 and 12 for more individualized learning?  (Sounds like the CIM/CAM idea)

·         CMS 8th graders are excited by the idea of more electives once they get to high school.  Are we deceiving these future 9th graders?

·         Maybe “elective” is not the right term these days.  That fosters a “got to do” vs. “get to have” mindset.

·         What can we learn from the research (Gates Foundation, etc.) that is reporting schools of our size are ideal?

·         Students’ perceptions of CHS are very important.  Perhaps a survey done by community volunteers could help suggest improvements.

·         We should talk with the students here as well as those who have chosen to go elsewhere.

·         Students who want to attend school elsewhere are finding (legal or ~illegal) ways to do so.

·         Students are motivated when they have the chance to learn about the things that truly interest them.

·         Are there ways to bring more professionals into school to help explain the relevance of classes to future careers?

·         Lack of transportation limits our students’ access to resources available in Eugene.

·         Teacher retention and support are important issues.  (The Labor-Management Committee is set up to help deal with this topic.)

·         The lack of full-time law enforcement personnel in Creswell is a real concern.


Anne pulled the discussion to a close by referring us to the topics she had included on the agenda and listing several she had added during the course of our conversations.  She asked that at our next meeting we focus on developing a game plan to address these issues and determining their relative priorities.  She also asked everyone to share any reference materials or ideas from elsewhere that pertain to our committee’s effort.  The list of issues includes:


·         Drop out rate, including reasons and behavioral problems

·         Graduation requirements

·         47-minute periods

·         Personalization of Education and Counseling

·         Grade 6-12 Pathways

·         Non-traditional Education Opportunities, including online, VTEL, RTEC and College Now

·         Restructuring from K-12 to K-16.

·         Funding

·         Transient population

·         Marketing

·         Class system

·         6-10 core with 11-12 flexibility

·         Staff training

·         Transportation issues

·         Special Education


The next meeting was scheduled for 6:45 a.m. on Friday, November 18.


Respectfully submitted,

Sue Bowers, Secretary