Schedules for EPHS still undecided

By Tim Rupp

Principal EPHS

(Editor’s note-This article is in response to a letter to the editor in the May 29 issue of the Upper Rogue Independent signed by Tyler McFall.)

There is a lot of information out there about the number of credits available to students at EPHS in the upcoming year based on the number of classes available to them. I want to take a few minutes of your time to share with you the facts about the decisions that are being made and where we currently stand as we are planning for next school year. As you are probably well aware, school districts in Oregon are in a time of decreasing funding. In JCSD 9 over the past 5 years our budget has decreased in excess of $5 million. Obviously with this amount of reduction, our staffing level has been significantly decreased. This forces us to look at different possible schedules for providing the best service to our students.

In addition to state funding reductions, the state of Oregon has recently increased the rigor in obtaining a high school diploma. In addition to significant changes in the credit requirements, students must now demonstrate that they have proficiency in the essential skills of reading, writing, and math. There are a variety of ways that students can meet these proficiencies, however the majority of our students meet these requirements through the Oregon Assessment on Let me share with you some facts about the discussion that has taken place to help assure that our students have many opportunities to earn credits. The issue at hand really comes down to two factors: 1) the number of teachers teaching during any given period and 2) class size. Based on a projected enrollment of thirteen hundred and our current number of teachers, a seven period school day would have class sizes around 37 students per class. Teachers currently have six classes and a preparation period during the seven period day. (This means fewer teachers teaching during a given period and therefore we would see an increase in class sizes.) So during any given period not all teachers are teaching.

Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) test. Let me share with you some facts about the discussion that has taken place to help assure that our students have many opportunities to earn credits. The issue at hand really comes down to two factors: 1) the number of teachers teaching during any given period and 2) class size. Based on a projected enrollment of thirteen hundred and our current number of teachers, a seven period school day would have class sizes around 37 students per class. Teachers currently have six classes and a preparation period during the seven period day. (This means fewer teachers teaching during a given period and therefore we would see an increase in class sizes.) So during any given period not all teachers are teaching.

The discussion of a six-period high school day then came about because if all of our teachers are teaching during all six periods, the class size is reduced to around 32 students per class. This is significantly lower and within our current reality. The obvious disadvantage here is that students only taking six classes limits the number of elective classes and leaves very little room for failure on the part of students.

This investigation into different possibilities, including input from our staff, led us to a model that we believe will be best for students under our current circumstances. We are moving forward with a schedule that does have seven periods and allows all freshman and sophomore students to be enrolled in seven classes. The impact on students is that our juniors and seniors will be enrolled in six classes. While this will have an effect on some students, I will share with you that currently 75% of our seniors and 25% of our juniors currently have less than seven classes. What has yet to be determined is the availability of seven classes for some of our upperclassmen based on their need for credits. This determination will be based on the actual enrollment in the fall along with our students’ needs.

Let me assure you, as the high school principal, we do have a schedule that allows a student coming in at grade level to achieve all the credits they need to graduate in four years. For the upcoming school year, we have not cut any elective positions. We are looking at student data on a regular basis to determine the need for additional support in order to help students meet their essential skill requirements. I would also assure you that we will continue to have opportunities available to retrieve credits that have been lost due to non-passing grades. It is our intention to continue to look at effective ways to meet the needs of our students to obtain a high school diploma as well as be successful after they leave EPHS and I have personally challenged our staff to continue researching best practices – including a more effective daily schedule – to assure the greatest student success possible.

 

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