Committee to Study the Mission of CHS

April 14, 2006




Attending:  Anne Freske, Lee Kounovsky, Sharon Heater, Shirley Burrus, Ken Donner, Terrie Chrones, John Moran, Jan Ophus, Sue Bowers


Guests:  Jara Baak, Monami Kondo, Mika Ogiwara (arrived about 7:15)


Anne Freske opened the meeting at 6:45 a.m.   The group approved the proposed agenda and the minutes of the March 9 meeting.


Anne shared that Dr. Stuber had reported the UofO/Ed Weeks effort on the Creswell Community had reported some data about the schools that did not match Department of Ed. numbers and had not produced any other reports that would be helpful to our effort.


Hugh Turnbull has written a Chronicle article about the Committee’s work, which should be in the paper next week.


Lee reported on a recent OACTE (Oregon Assoc. of Career/Technical Educators???) workshop he attended.  Its focus was connecting middle school to high school and demonstrating for students why high school is relevant.  He shared several resources, including game modules from the Oregon Employment Department and a PTE Pathways CD.  He mentioned hearing the success the Tillamook School District has had acquiring funding for special programs since they hired a grant writer.


Both CMS and CHS have some students using at least parts of CIS, the UofO’s Career Information System program.  While Class Advisors at CHS have been working with students on their Career-Related Learning Standards (CRLS), a recent review of their portfolios has shown that actual progress has been inconsistent.  Mr. Ophus is now considering a semester class for seniors to focus on CRLS, SAT preparation, scholarship applications, and related matters.  Three staff members at CHS are planning a visit to the Riverdale School in Lake Oswego to review some of their programs.  That school’s mission is “Schooling is life, not preparation for life.”


Studies have shown that if students recognize a purpose from their schooling and have a defined pathway, the dropout rate goes down.  There was general agreement that focusing on individual students who need considerable “handling” is very difficult with class sizes approaching 30 students.  John Moran shared an insight from his son, who had challenges during high school.  He warned John that for every four difficult students, he could probably help two, the third was a “maybe” and one would likely never come around.  John’s son cautioned against spending too much time on the fourth.


Three of CHS’s foreign exchange students arrived at the meeting.  Following introductions, they were asked to describe their schools at home and how they contrast with their experiences here.  Comments included:

  • Students take tests around Grade 6 to determine which high school they will go to.  Those who don’t do well on the tests receive a “lower level” on instruction and/or go to high school for fewer years.
  • There is a weekly rather than daily schedule.
  • Students wear uniforms and have very strict rules concerning hair, jewelry, etc.
  • Students stay in the same “homeroom” and teachers rotate between the groups.
  • There is much memorization.  Class discussions here are appreciated.
  • Class size is 40-50 in their schools.
  • In Japan, students rarely talk with teachers.  The relationship is very formal.  Fellow students are more likely to be asked for help if something is not understood.  All three girls enjoy having their teachers more involved, as they have experienced here.
  • Sports are not part of the schools, but are handled through clubs.
  • CHS is not nearly as demanding as their home schools (other than some challenges with improving their English).
  • In Japan, the school day is 7:30-3:30, six days a week, typically with 3 hours of additional homework each evening.
  • Schools are more year-round, with a one-month summer vacation and 2-3 weeks off between other school terms.


After hearing from the students, committee members revisited the question, How can we   “raise the bar” here at CHS and help more students be successful?  The Skills for Success program at CMS has been helpful there.  Struggling students have more of a homeroom format with a skilled teacher and extra help from Mr. Donner.  This uses teaching resources, but also eases the burden on the other teachers, helping their classes go smoother.  Working with these students is a K-12 issue, not just one for the high school.  Anne will talk with Ellen Adler about joining this discussion.


In order to have more time for discussion, the next meeting of the Committee was set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16.  The group needs to develop ideas and begin to focus on implementation.  Anyone interested in joining the conversation about the future of CHS is welcome to attend.


Lee was congratulated on his recent “Teacher of the Year” award.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:00.



Respectfully submitted, Sue Bowers, Secretary