School districts find it difficult to offer positive news in this economy. But, there is one district and one superintendent quite pleased with the double dose of positive news received last week.
Butte Falls Superintendent Dr. Courtney learned that the Jackson County Board of Commissioners offered a letter of support to the school district regarding use of the defunct Butte Falls Fish Hatchery. The sheriff’s department had also expressed an interest in the facility.
Following that good news, Courtney received word that their request for a K-12 Charter School has been accepted. The school will focus on natural resources. It is the hope and intent to utilize the fish hatchery as part of their educational program. Now comes another waiting process. Fifteen of the acres surrounding the hatchery belong to ODFW and three acres is in the hands of the USFW. Butte Falls needs approval from both bodies. There are three houses on the property in fairly good shape, said Courtney, one is not in good repair and another has been an office.
The school district and Town of Butte Falls have been working together on the vision for the fish hatchery. It is hoped that one of the houses could be used as a home for the town’s police chief.
With partnerships expected to be developed with Oregon State University, BLM, ODFW and USFW, the other facilities could readily be used.
“Working with partners in the field, we can allow students to direct their own education,. Students are more involved in their learning which makes it more relevant,” said Courtney in a proposal for the charter school.
A student survey showed agriculture, music and art to be the most requested courses to be added to the district’s curriculum.
With only 160 students, high unemployment accompanied by a significant poverty level, education has often been a challenge for students and their families. A natural resource program fits not only the surroundings but the way of life for the majority in the school district. It can also open up a potential for students in other districts with an interest in that curriculum to become part of the Butte Falls Charter School.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent