Committee to Study the Mission of CHS

Sept. 28, 2006




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



Anne Freske opened the meeting at 6:50 a.m.   The group approved the proposed agenda and the minutes of the May and June meetings.  Anne was re-elected Chair for the year and Sue was asked to continue as Secretary. 


Mrs. Freske asked Mr. Ophus to report on status of the Freshman Academy and Study Hall.  He first noted that the school year has gotten off to a good start, with good class groups and positive leadership from the senior class.  The painting and other physical improvements over the summer have helped improve the overall climate as well.  Mr. Kramer (hired after Mr. Risen’s departure) is teaching four sections of Freshman Academy.  The curriculum, which was developed over the summer by Mr. Risen, focuses on teaching the needed skills to be successful in high school.  Mrs. Freske asked for a copy of the curriculum.  Mr. Kramer works closely with Ms. Hisey, the Study Hall Supervisor, to identify and meet individual student needs.  Mr. Ophus had just been discussing the progress of several specific students with them who had been identified as “at-risk” by CMS.  Mr. Kramer, Ms. Hisey and Mr. Douglas, who is handling the “Connections” class, will be giving a report at the October School Board meeting.


Mrs. Freske was reminded that Ellen Adler should be invited to attend this group’s meetings, as the Special Education programs involve a significant number of at-risk students as well as a large and increasing share of the District’s budget.  Mr. Ophus reported that teachers are getting better data from the Special Education department than had previously been the case.  Several Committee members shared their concern that there has been little emphasis on special programs for TAG students, which can lead to their dropping out of school.


Mr. Ophus stressed that many of the changes at the high school have been working toward increased personalization for students.  The additional .5 FTE of teaching staff in both English and Science have enabled smaller class sizes in these areas.  The Senior Seminar class is providing the needed guidance for seniors in completing their CRLS requirements.


Mr. Ophus commented on the Northwest Association Report, a self-evaluation due each fall to maintain our accreditation with that group.  The Association’s criteria have a heavy focus on personalization of education.


Mrs. Freske next asked the group to review the list of possible discussion topics included on the agenda (Drop out rate; graduation requirements; 47-minute period; personalization of education and counseling; grades 6-12 pathways; non-traditional educational opportunities; restructuring from K-12 to K-16; funding; transient population; marketing; class system). 


Mrs. Chrones shared some history about the high school’s schedule, with the 47-minute, 7 period day being adopted by the School Board the year that budget reductions caused a significant staff reduction.  It was noted that teachers’ interests and skills help define personalization.  As an example, when Mrs. Chrones decides to retire, it is unlikely that someone else qualified to teach English/art/culinary classes will be out there as a replacement.


Looking at non-traditional education opportunities, it was noted that several of our teachers are part of the College Now program.  Students who receive a “B” or higher in their classes will receive LCC college credit.  This year, LCC is suggesting that all students register and obtain their “L” number to facilitate continued work at LCC (somewhat of a marketing tactic!).  We do not have any participants in the R-TEC program this fall.  There are 40 students taking online classes.


Mr. Donner asked that Special Education, TAG and a unified K-12 system be added to the list of discussion items.


Mr. Ophus highlighted the need for Creswell to define expectations for its high school and institutionalize through the budget what will be needed to make those happen.  He shared his concern that Assistant Coaches are not yet included in the General Fund budget, but rely on community fundraising for the $75,000 it takes to have them in place.  Mr. Kramer will go back to teaching Global Issues and Global Perspectives next year, which leaves a question about how the Freshman Academy classes will be taught/funded.  We may have to go back to offering fewer electives.  Whatever the decisions are, we need to start being proactive rather than reactive.


Mrs. Freske summed up the discussion by highlighting three topics for the group to focus on next, those being institutional expectations, special education and TAG, and the need to “market” the high school to the community as a good place to send their students.  Discussing this last topic, there continues to be a sense, for some community members, that the academic offerings and/or social environment at CHS are not what they could be.  The community needs to know more about the positive progress that has been made.


The meeting was adjourned shortly before 8:00, with plans to meet next at 6:45 a.m. on Wednesday, October 25.




Respectfully submitted, Sue Bowers, Secretary