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Mediation salvages part of Creslane's family plan.

Byline: MARK BAKER The Register-Guard

CRESWELL - With a new school year starting in less than two weeks, some students at Creslane Elementary School will return to somewhat familiar surroundings, and others will not.

Although Creslane's "school-within-a-school" has been disbanded, some aspects of the Family School program have been retained through a summerlong mediation process.

In a process known as "looping," last year's first- and second-graders will still be allowed to stay with the same teacher this year as they move up a grade.

Students entering the first grade can join the looping process, as well, but whether they'll have the opportunity to stay with the same teacher next year remains uncertain.

Principal Jacque Robertson decided to eliminate the 6-year-old Family School program last spring, citing a combination of budget cuts and dissension over the program that some teachers and parents thought was elitist.

The program had been located in a separate wing of the school but Robertson said students who are still looping will now be located within the regular school.

In addition to staying with the same teacher during their first three years of grade school, students in the Family School program were blended together in a mix of fourth- and fifth-grade students during their final two years.

Proponents of the program say children become better adjusted socially when they have a longer-term relationship with one teacher.

Family School parents were outraged last spring when Robertson made her announcement to eliminate the program. They filled the high school library during a June school board meeting in which the board voted to let a volunteer mediator attempt to work out the dispute over the remainder of the summer.

Parent and teacher representatives and school officials met three times with the mediator, Cynthia Moore of Roseburg.

Ken Leatherman, a parent of three Creslane students, said the best thing to come out of the mediation process was a decision to form a task force to establish an alternative school policy for the entire Creswell School District.

"We believe there'll be a stronger program out of the process, and ultimately a stronger alternative program for the district," Leatherman said.

Robertson agreed. "We need a policy so we don't have the same fiasco we had with the Family School program," she said.
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Title Annotation:Schools: District retains "looping" for some students and forms a task force to create an alternative education policy.; Schools
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Aug 22, 2002
Previous Article:For the Record.
Next Article:Enjoying a milkshake between two floats.

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