This will be the fourth and final year of Rose School.

The plan is to include the move the alternative school students into Roseburg High School when the 2021-2022 school year starts, although not all of the details have been worked out yet.

Superintendent Jared Cordon said, “It is imperative that every high school student we serve has access to the full array of courses and programs we offer. I am confident that braiding the resources and talents of both Rose Alternative School and Roseburg High School will lead to a more aligned, productive, and complete experience for all high school students. As part of the RPS Strategic Plan, both schools have prioritized relationships and ensuring that every student is seen, heard, and feels connected and respected.”

The alternative school, which was located downtown in the building that used to house Rose Elementary School, was started in 2017 to address the district’s 75% graduation rate.

Roseburg High School Principal Jill Weber said, “Since Rose opened, RHS has also focused on building a system for all students to succeed, especially those who need more support to maintain a path toward graduation. In particular, our focus on keeping freshmen on track to graduate has gone a long way toward ensuring we identify early on the students who need additional help.”

Roseburg High School’s on-time graduation rate in 2020 was 77%. In 2019, the school district graduated 76% of students on time, 77% in 2018.

The graduation rate at Rose School was 33% last year, compared to 14% in 2019. There is no data on graduation rates for the school year that ended in 2018, as there were not enough students at the time.

“Our graduation coach, smaller learning communities, summer school, support classes, and Freshmen Success Team are all examples of the programs we have put in place over the past few years to ensure students stay on the path toward completing high school,” Weber said. “These robust supports, along with the diverse opportunities we offer to engage students and get them excited about their futures — from career and technical education classes to student clubs — is what we want to offer all students in our district. Our goal is to provide the best of both worlds to students who have been attending Rose.”

Cordon said Roseburg High School has more career technical education courses, more electives and additional extra-curricular programs.

Weber added that equity is at the center of the decision for combining the two schools.

“At the heart of this transition is the desire to create equitable student experiences, which is the goal of our district’s Strategic Plan,” she said. “Students at Rose have benefited from the school’s efforts to offer more individualized services. These students; however, have had to make a trade-off in that they do not have access to the many electives and extracurricular activities available at RHS.”

The plan to integrate Rose School into the high school will ramp up in the winter and spring, according to Weber and Cordon.

Rose School Principal Randal Olsen did not reply to an email from The News-Review.

Rose School became an accredited school in July 2019.

“A lot of the work they’ve done with relationships I want to see that work happening and continuing,” Cordon said. “I think a union of those two makes a lot more sense.”

One of the things that made Rose School unique was more intimate class settings and more individualized attention.

“I don’t think that’s always about the square footage,” Cordon said. “I think for some kids, sometimes it just maybe feels big. I think the intimacy is more relational, it’s more of that showing students that they’re seen and understood. I think that can be replicated. I actually think the space probably could be replicated to some extent as well. But I think it’s I think we’ll have to be really thoughtful about how it doesn’t feel so different that it’s uncomfortable.”

Horizon, an education program for foster students housed in Douglas County facilities, is also using part of the Rose School building for its operation. Bryan Hinson, Douglas Education Service District’s assistant superintendent for special education, said the program would likely be moving, but no decisions about a new location had been made yet.

Roseburg Public Schools’ board of directors is still weighing its options regarding the use of the building on Southeast Roberts Avenue. One option that was discussed in September was reopening it as an elementary school.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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