Committee to Study the Mission of CHS
March 22, 2007
Attending: Anne Freske, Lee Kounovsky, Ellen Adler, David Case, Sharon Heater, Shirley Burrus, Ken Donner, Terrie Chrones, Bill Martin, Jan Ophus, Sue Bowers
Anne Freske opened the meeting at 6:45 a.m. The minutes of the February meeting were approved after noting that “December” in the first paragraph should be replaced with “January.” The proposed agenda was distributed, which included four topics: Diploma Options/Meeting all students’ needs; Counseling (Career)/Parent Volunteers; Pathways; and Update on Extended Options. Mr. Ophus plans to discuss some additional K-12 counseling ideas under the Counseling topic.
Mr. Ophus distributed an information sheet that included a list of the three current types of diplomas offered at CHS, the various types of unique credit earning opportunities available here and the different off-campus placements being used for students who need another kind of learning environment. He noted that CHS does not currently offer an “Honors Diploma,” but that the staff committee was recommending that as an addition. The “Alternative Diploma” requires 22 credits rather than the standard 25 and is recommended to a student and their parent in situations where they have fallen behind their class cohort—for a variety of reasons—and will not be able to meet the Regular Diploma requirements. The “Modified Diploma” is an option generally used for special education students in conjunction with their IEP. Mr. Case asked how the “outside world” views these other diplomas. Mr. Ophus expects that many employers do not notice a difference and indicated that students can enter Oregon community colleges with an Alternative Diploma. He handed out a sheet summarizing the number of students currently headed toward the different diplomas and in district-sponsored alternative placements.
In further discussion of alternative placements, Mr. Ophus shared a magazine article on “Horizontal Transitions.” We are small enough that there has not been a need felt for a formal, bureaucratic process to determine these placements. They generally result after a meeting between the SST, Dr. Adler and Mr. Ophus. Dr. Adler noted that the various schools on the list are visited and reviewed annually by an educator team sponsored by Lane ESD. This means that she does not have to personally visit each one to assess whether its program is adequate.
Mr. Ophus’ next handout was two pages from the ODE website discussing the new Oregon graduation requirements that were adopted in January and will be required for the graduating class of 2012. Dr. Adler also had a summary of The Oregon Diploma to share. The requirement for three years of math at or above Algebra I will affect both CMS and CHS. There was general agreement that students taking Algebra I (or higher) while at CMS should be able to receive high school credit for its completion. Mr. Donner expressed concern that every student in the system will not be likely to master Algebra II concepts, leading to concerns about “lowering the bar” in math class content. There are similar concerns about the federal AYP standards, with all students expected to achieve passing scores on state tests by 2014.
Mr. Kounovsky shared handouts and information about the 4J district’s diplomas. Their Modified Diploma is specific to International High School student, in that their PE requirement is waived due to other course requirements. The Honors Diploma is available, upon application, to students with a 3.5 grade average, who have earned one credit beyond the standard number and who complete 120 hours of community service. In reviewing candidates for this diploma, Mr. Kounovsky said that the caliber of credits is evaluated as well as the number. Depending on their entire transcript, an extra credit earned as a TA, as an example, might not qualify a student for an Honors Diploma. 4J schools also have separate programs for accelerated students, including both International High School and International Baccalaureate offerings.
In discussing our programs, it was noted that with implementation of the CRLS requirements, we no longer have asked our seniors to complete community service. Mrs. Chrones expressed regret about this change, feeling that community service can be very valuable for many students. Student here can now earn up to 6 credits, nearly ¼ of their graduation requirement, through TA, work release and peer tutor activities. Should that continue? Our Honors English classes tend to be quite large, with not all students totally ready for Honors work. Mr. Martin mentioned the value of mixed groups of students and would not be in favor of solid tracking by ability at CHS. He expressed concern about whether the community would buy-in to more rigorous expectations, noting the number of students given parent permission to miss school for vacations and other non-academic activities. Mrs. Chrones echoed that, saying that few parents whose students are failing her required senior class have expressed concerns to her.
Mr. Case is troubled that the community culture does not include parent involvement with the schools. There is not a PTA or similar organization to encourage parents to participate in school matters. Societal changes such as both parents holding jobs have made the old “Room Mother” model obsolete. Yet parent involvement is known to correlate strongly with student success.
Mr. Ophus suggested forming a sub-committee to flesh out requirements for a new Honors Diploma to be used at CHS. Another task would be to insure all diploma options are well described and communicated. Mrs. Zacharias would need to be a member of this sub-committee. Mr. Martin and Mrs. Chrones both agreed to participate and hoped Mr. Moran would be interested as well. Students and parents should also be represented. The group concurred with this approach and Mrs. Freske asked that Mr. Ophus and the CHS staff proceed accordingly.
Mr. Ophus reported that he and Mrs. Weber had met earlier this week with Mr. Donner, Mrs. Robertson and Amber-Dawn Krupicka, Creslane’s Counselor, to learn about a new K-12 Framework for Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling Programs. They are suggesting that district personnel attend a workshop this summer to learn more about and work on such a plan for our district. Mr. Ophus read from a portion of the sample philosophy statement, highlighting that many of the topics this committee has been discussing are included in the concepts. He shared an example prepared by the Forest Grove School District. In order to successfully personalize education, counseling efforts need to have a K-12 focus and to be consistent. Relying on grant funding to maintain counseling positions does not meet this test. Mrs. Freske expressed interest in attending the workshop, should her schedule allow.
At this point, many committee members had excused themselves due to other commitments. Those remaining discussed a variety of quick topics, including:
· More parent involvement is needed throughout the K-12 years
· Community members need to better understand all the issues that schools must deal with
· Oregon law calls for a personalized 7-12 education plan for all student
The next meeting date was set for 6:45 a.m. on Thursday, April 26. The agenda will include a report from the subcommittee about CHS diplomas, discussion of a possible homeroom at CHS, counseling issues and a report from Mr. Kounovsky about the Pathways Academy. The meeting was adjourned at about 8:05.
Sue Bowers, Secretary
Handouts distributed at the meeting included:
· Summary of CHS Education Opportunities
· Numbers of students on various alternative paths
· Horizontal Transitions article
· High School Diploma Background and FAQs from ODE
· The Oregon Diploma from the State Board of Education
· LCC’s High School Connections brochure
· District 4J Honors Diploma and Application
· Sample Philosophy Statement from Oregon’s Framework for Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling Programs
· Forest Grove School District Counseling Framework example