Committee to Study the Mission of CHS

December 7, 2006




Attending:  Anne Freske, Lee Kounovsky, Ellen Adler, David Case, Sharon Heater, Shirley Burrus, Ken Donner, Terrie Chrones, Bill Martin, John Moran, Jan Ophus, Sue Bowers


Anne Freske opened the meeting at 6:50 a.m.   Career Planning from the middle through high school years and a review of the Freshman Academy class were added to the agenda that already included sharing information from Mrs. Freske’s experience at a recent school board training session, review of student withdrawals from CHS, Special Education, Marketing CHS and a TAG discussion.


The group approved the minutes of the October 25 meeting.


Information Items


Mrs. Freske gave Mr. Ophus a packet of career planning materials that she obtained from McMinnville HS during a session at the November Oregon School Board Association convention.  She shared that the LCC/High School Connections group has expressed major concerns with the proposed new state graduation requirements and will be preparing a letter to share them with the State Board of Education


At the OSBA meeting, Mrs. Freske also heard a presentation from an Albany high school about its “Flash” mentoring program.  There, seniors apply and are selected to work with freshmen students from September through December.  A paid staff member coordinates the program.  According to the school, the relationships developed through this program help reduce the dropout rate and have virtually eliminated bullying/harassment issues.  Mr. Kounovsky noted that Churchhill has a similar program, with the Leadership students acting as mentors.


Mrs. Chrones recalled that various similar types of programs had been used here in the past.  She would oppose any program that pulled seniors from her English classes or otherwise reduced teaching time.  It was suggested that Study Hall is a time that freshmen would have potentially available for being mentored.  Perhaps some of the process should begin with 8th graders.  Mr. Ophus reminded the group that the Freshman Academy class was set up here to meet the need for orientation and transition into high school.  It was suggested that the committee review that class at a March meeting, giving time to get feedback from both students and teachers.  Another part of a good evaluation will take more time, as we eventually learn whether this year’s freshmen have better results when they are juniors and seniors.


Discussion Items


Mrs. Freske directed the group’s attention to the next agenda topic, a look at student withdrawals from CHS.  Mr. Ophus shared a three-page record of students’ comings and goings so far for this school year (names removed) along with a code sheet for the explanations.  (See attached document for a quick summary of this data.)  He described six student situations where the outcome was leaving CHS to attend 4J’s Network Charter School or the Al Kennedy Alternative School in Cottage Grove.  Schools today were described as “a competitive business,” with lots of options open to students and their families.  It was clarified that students can attend any charter school in the state without the need for prior approval from their “home” district.


There was extensive discussion about how schools in general and CHS in particular can provide more support for students who are not finding success here.  Ideas included:


·         Having Creslane’s counselor help with certain cases at CHS

·         Conducting “exit interviews” with students who leave

·         Reverse that question and ask students why they chose to stay at CHS

·         Set up a parent resource group to seek information from other parents

·         Consider something like Sheldon’s ER (Emergency Room)


Mr. Ophus expressed his position that new programs are not as likely to provide better results as giving our teachers more planning and training time would be.  With additional funding, two preparation periods for teachers, smaller class sizes, a school nurse, additional training opportunities for staff and someone in a campus supervisor role would all help address the issues under discussion.


After the question “Why are we here?” was raised, the discussion moved to a review of this Committee’s charge.  Mrs. Freske reminded the group of the Committee’s name—Committee to Study the Mission of CHS.   Issues addressed have included reviewing the offerings here, asking students about their experiences here and elsewhere, transitions into and out of high school and changing graduation requirements.  There was some general frustration about whether the group’s discussions were leading to well-defined actions and outcomes.


As time grew short before the beginning of the school day, Mrs. Freske suggested that the next meeting’s agenda focus on Career Planning throughout middle school, high school and beyond and the Marketing of CHS.  A School Board Committee and the administrative team are currently addressing the TAG issue, so this group can defer that topic for now.  Mr. Ophus would also like to consider how to combine Special Education and other resources to be able to help struggling but non-special ed. students with something like a “Personal Education Plan.”


The next meeting was set for Thursday, January 18 at 6:45.


Respectfully submitted,


Sue Bowers, Secretary   

Quick analysis of raw student transfer data shared at the 12-7-06 HS Committee Meeting:


·         Data included 129 transactions involving 124 different students.


·         Student numbers per class


2 students involved from the Class of 2006 (one early and one late graduation)

26 from Class of 2007

35 from Class of 2008

27 from Class of 2009

34 from Class of 2010


·         Of the 40 “Expected” students who did not arrive at the beginning of the year:


15 are at other Lane County traditional high schools

7 are at other Oregon traditional high schools

5 are at local alternative programs

4 are at out-of-state high schools

3 are at local private schools

3 are home schooling

2 are exchange students who returned home

1 is attending LCC


·         Of the 44 Entries at the beginning of the year:


9 transferred in from out-of-state

9 transferred in from other Lane County schools

6 transferred in from local private schools (4 CCS, 1 Marist, 1 Lifegate)

5 are new exhange students

4 are returning from dropped status last year

4 transferred in from other Oregon schools (other than Lane County)

3 came from Canada or Mexico

2 transferred in from local alternative programs

1 is planning early graduation so was entered for change of class status

1 entered (part time) from home school


·         The remainder of the 129 entries include:


15 that were prior year(s) transactions

5 entries from other Oregon schools since the first of the year

5 10-day drops from this year

5 transfers to alternative or charter schools this year

3 who have moved out of the district/state since the first of the year

2 who have entered from out of state since the first of the year

2 who have transferred to LCC to pursue a GED

2 who have been withdrawn for medical reasons

1 who has entered from a local private school since the first of the year

1 who has transferred to a local private school since the first of the year

1 who has returned from a previous medical withdrawal

1 who was a no-show after supposedly transferring here

1 late Class of 2006 graduate who completed course work in the summer

1 Class of 2007/06 member who completed early graduation requirements in the    summer