Addressing an estimated 75 percent high school completion rate within the district, Roseburg Public Schools will be offering an additional secondary school option in the fall for school district students.
“Approximately seventy-five percent completion rate looks good until you realize the other side of that coin,” said RPS Alternative Education Coordinator Randal Olsen. “Approximately a quarter of our students aren’t completing their education in our area.”
To provide more options for the 25 percent, the district has begun the process for full accreditation of a new stand-alone school that will be known as Rose School. The school will be located at the former Rose Elementary School campus on 948 S.E. Roberts St., Roseburg.
“Every one of those percentage points is an actual student who is a person with a family, not a piece of data,” Olsen said. “So that is something we will be addressing until all students complete their education.”
Alternative education options for students in Roseburg include the Roseburg ACES (Alternative Center for Education Success) program, Phoenix Charter School, the Woolley Center and the supportive ActivED program located within the high school.
“That’s not enough as we look at the amount of students who aren’t graduating or completing at this point,” Olsen said. “We’ll be addressing the needs of those students who aren’t finishing school until 100 percent of our students are graduating or completing.”
Currently the district is looking at data for early warning signs for students struggling and leaving middle school as seen through attendance, behavior and classroom performance with grades. This data will assist the district with identifying students who would benefit from the new school setting.
“The notion of this (alternative) school would be to decrease the breadth of instruction and increase the depth,” Olsen said.
The school plans to expose students to core concepts of math and English early and often, and front loading that content to get students to meet their essential skills and graduation requirements. Youths will be focusing on four courses in larger chunks of time during the day instead of seven courses.
“We’ll be fine-tuning the scope of what the students have to prioritize each day,” Olsen said. In addition, “we’ll try to get some positive momentum going by establishing good relationships with them and trust.”
As these students progress through high school, they’ll ultimately reach out and build a bridge between the classroom seat and the community, either through continuing post-secondary education at colleges like Umpqua Community College or being prepared to enter the workforce.
The ActivED program currently operating within the high school will be brought to Rose School and be expanded. The school will also coordinate its online program with Connections Learning so that students can work at the school in a quiet setting.
“These are kids who need something a little different,” Olsen said. “It’s going to break down barriers for kids who might not otherwise graduate and walk across that stage.”
Online K-12 programs will also be available for younger students who prefer a different educational program.
The school’s curriculum will be based on Oregon law for the standard Oregon diploma, which provides the foundation the school will work from. The new school plans to serve about 75 students next fall in an intimate setting to help students reach their goals.
“Our focus is getting the core content exposed to our kids and preparing them to feel confident going into the state assessments and getting them to graduate,” Olsen said.
To get to Rose School, students will ride their school buses to RHS and then take a hub bus to the Rose School campus. At the end of the day, the students will then ride the hub bus back to RHS to go home from there.
Currently at Rose School, Olsen and ACES staff are working with the GED program in the morning and then serving students who have been expelled in the afternoon. The school also has a drop-in center for students studying online. Those programs will also continue next year. The new school staff will consist of five licensed instructors, two educational assistants and an office assistant.
“The vision is to continue to grow this program, with the school opening next year as the first step,” Olsen said.