Small-school proposals go to students.Byline: Anne Williams The Register-Guard
For the many North Eugene High School North Eugene High School is a public high school of about 1,200 students in Eugene, Oregon, United States. It is located at 200 Silver Lane near the Santa Clara area of Eugene. North Eugene's mascot is the Highlander. students who had managed to tune out all the talk about the school's impending im·pend
intr.v. im·pend·ed, im·pend·ing, im·pends
1. To be about to occur: Her retirement is impending.
2. move toward small schools, this was the week they finally had to listen.
In hopes of addressing fears and collecting feedback on the seven small-school proposals, administrators invited a panel of students from two large Portland-area high schools now in their first year of conversion to small schools to answer questions at two schoolwide assemblies on Tuesday.
And on Thursday and today, freshmen and sophomores - who will be juniors and seniors when North Eugene launches its first small school in fall 2006 - were spending their social studies periods reading and discussing the proposals and completing anonymous feedback forms.
Both endeavors made it abundantly clear that North Eugene has some tough customers on its hands - a fact that comes as no surprise to Principal Peter Tromba or anyone else who knows what's happened at other schools that recently have gone through the same kind of radical change.
"I thought all the negativity and the concern and the booing was great, because the kids haven't had a chance to express themselves - they haven't been engaged," Tromba said, referring to Tuesday's second assembly, during which cheers erupted when one of the student panelists said she'd like it if her school - Roosevelt High - scrapped the small-schools model and went back to its old form.
In Clair Wiles' freshman global studies class on Thursday morning, no one booed or cheered, but skepticism ran high.
"North's going to HATE small schools," declared Allie Malos during a small-group discussion with six other students. "I know small schools won't work here."
"The students here are really stubborn stubborn Vox populi → medtalk Refractory; unresponsive to therapy ," added Holly Roberts, nodding in agreement.
The girls' biggest concern, one shared by many students, is being separated from their friends.
It's a familiar refrain, said Lucinda Welch Welch , William Henry 1850-1934.
American pathologist and bacteriologist who discovered the bacteria that causes gas gangrene. , North Eugene's "small schools coach," whose services are paid for through the school's $900,000 Oregon Small Schools Initiative grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, philanthropic institution founded in 1994 by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, to improve the lives of the poor throughout the world, primarily through grants for projects relating to global health care, and the Meyer Memorial Trust.
"I think for kids it's really difficult to know what it's going to be like," said Welch, who sat in on Wiles' class. "It's hard to imagine - as it is for adults, too. And for the most part, people have a lot of pride in their schools" and don't see the need for an overhaul.
North Eugene is one of 11 Oregon high schools to receive a small-schools grant since last spring; nationwide, dozens more have been recipients of the grants, which in most states have been funded solely by the Gates Foundation Gates Foundation: see Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. .
Drawing on research point- ing to greater student success at small schools, the grants target schools with enrollment of more than 700, and where at least 25 percent are either minorities or from poor families.
Three high schools - Roosevelt and Marshall in Portland and Lebanon High - pulled off quick conversions, opening their doors on small schools last fall.
It's too early to gauge success, although the student panelists from Roosevelt and Marshall gave mixed reviews. The two girls from Roosevelt - juniors Luz Gutierrez and Fatima Falami - said they feel there's more opportunity to develop bonds with teachers, but overall they dislike the change. Patterns of racial segregation Noun 1. racial segregation - segregation by race
petty apartheid - racial segregation enforced primarily in public transportation and hotels and restaurants and other public places have emerged among the schools, they said, and school spirit has dampened, even though students come together for sports, proms and other activities.
But the four students from the Marshall campus, all of whom attend a small school called the Portland Academy of International Studies, said the changes have improved school climate and student performance, and made them happier to be there.
"At first I was really scared and felt all alone, but I made new friends and now it's OK," senior Rocio Taysan told a student who asked whether the transition had created separa- tion.
Asked whether they'd prefer things the way they used to be, the Marshall students said no.
"Before, we were in the same mode as you - we didn't want it," senior April Koopmans said. "But I wouldn't want to go back."
1. A stratagem or trick intended to deceive or ensnare.
2. A disarming or seductive manner, device, or procedure: the wiles of a skilled negotiator.
3. Trickery; cunning. , who also is North Eugene's small-schools coordinator, told her 19 students Thursday that they, too, will adjust, and hopefully even will be excited to walk into their small-school classrooms each morning.
"Can you please put this off until we graduate?" pleaded Malos.
"You'll warm up to it - trust me," Wiles answered.
After breaking into small groups and sharing tepid tep·id
1. Moderately warm; lukewarm.
2. Lacking in emotional warmth or enthusiasm; halfhearted: "the tepid conservatism of the fifties" Irving Howe. summaries of the seven proposals, the students filled out feedback forms, which asked them to circle a smiley See emoticon.
smiley - emoticon face for the school they'd most like to attend, frowny faces for those they'd least like to attend and a thumbs-up or neutral face for those in the middle.
Chris Hardisty circled the smiley face for "SANE," short for School of the Arts School of the Arts is the name of several schools (usually high schools) that are devoted to the fine arts, including:
"For me, it's kind of like I go to school, it's boring, I go home, I wake up and do it all over again," said Hardisty, who loves his acting class and describes his grades as average overall. "From what I hear, maybe this makes you want to come to school more."
Staff members will meet Monday to review the student feedback, as well as input from 22 parents who met three times this week to go over the proposals. Tromba expects they'll at least narrow it down, and possibly select which three or four schools they'll go with. One or more will open in fall 2006, and the rest will follow in 2007.
North Eugene High School parents and students this week had a chance to review seven small-schools proposals. Staff members will meet Monday and may decide on the final three or four schools, which are likely to blend elements of all the proposals.
World Language Academy: A multicultural educational program enabling students to explore language and culture in an enriched college preparatory environment with an international perspective. Advanced level and immersion immersion /im·mer·sion/ (i-mer´zhun)
1. the plunging of a body into a liquid.
2. the use of the microscope with the object and object glass both covered with a liquid. courses would be offered in Japanese, French and Spanish, as well as for English language English language, member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). Spoken by about 470 million people throughout the world, English is the official language of about 45 nations. learner students. "Mini" classes would allow students to explore interests through elective elective
non-urgent; at an elected time, e.g. of surgery.
elective adjective Referring to that which is planned or undertaken by choice and without urgency, as in elective surgery, see there noun Graduate education noun classes such as international cooking or Korean culture.
North School of Industry, Design, Engineering and Science: Interdisciplinary courses focused on science, industry, technology and design. The school would provide project-based learning Project-based learning, or PBL (often "PjBL" to avoid confusion with "Problem-based Learning"), is a constructivist pedagogy that intends to bring about deep learning by allowing learners to use an inquiry based approach to engage with issues and questions that are rich, real and opportunities.
Trans Omnis Vorago (`Across All Chasms'): Would emphasize individualized in·di·vid·u·al·ize
tr.v. in·di·vid·u·al·ized, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·ing, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·es
1. To give individuality to.
2. To consider or treat individually; particularize.
3. learning, teacher collaboration, community service and problem solving problem solving
Process involved in finding a solution to a problem. Many animals routinely solve problems of locomotion, food finding, and shelter through trial and error. skills. Students would be expected to demonstrate subject proficiency pro·fi·cien·cy
n. pl. pro·fi·cien·cies
The state or quality of being proficient; competence.
Noun 1. proficiency - the quality of having great facility and competence by a variety of means and graduate ready for college.
School of the Arts at North Eugene: Students would study and develop skills in a chosen area, such as the visual arts visual arts npl → artes fpl plásticas
visual arts npl → arts mpl plastiques
visual arts npl → , writing, performing arts, humanities, math or science. The schedule would include time for internships, teacher collaboration and small-group advisory periods to focus on college preparation.
International High School: A comprehensive, full-day version of the half-day IHS IHS
(I.H.S.) first three letters of Greek spelling of Jesus; also taken as acronym of Iesus Hominum Salvator ‘Jesus, Savior of Mankind.’ [Christian Symbolism: Brewer Dictionary, 480]
See : Christ
IHS program offered at all four Eugene district high schools. The school would build on its present emphasis on international languages, history and cultures, with the addition of science and mathematics.
North School of Critical Thought and Action: Would train students to look at the world critically and engage in action that is related to, and suggested by, the curriculum such as community service, performance, internships or field work. Students would meet in small, grade-level advisory groups daily, and be expected to commit to regular physical activity.
North Eugene Big Picture School: Would emphasize individual student interests, project-based learning, two-day-a-week community internships and close relationships among and between students and teachers. Enrollment would be capped at 100. The school would follow a successful national model known as "the Met" whose theme is "one student at a time."
- Full descriptions of the proposals may be found on the Internet