PHOENIX, Ore. — Like other school districts in Jackson County, Phoenix-Talent School District had to reassess plans last week after the state's COVID-19 metrics made in-person instruction — for any students — a practical impossibility for the time being, at least until Jackson County's numbers improve.
As part of the revised plan, Phoenix-Talent students from grades K-3 will be fully online until at least October 12. Grades 4-12 will be online until November 9, after which administrators have planned to begin a hybrid model.
"This decision evokes many emotions for all of us. Ultimately, we all want to get back to in-person learning as soon as possible, but we must put the safety of students, families, and staff first - and we must follow the guidelines set forth by the State of Oregon," the District said in a statement.
On Monday, Phoenix High School released an update with more information on how the school year will start for grade 9-12 students — beginning fully online, with hybrid instruction on the horizon. Principal Toby Walker said that the forthcoming transition between the two models poses the biggest challenge for teachers and staff.
"We are also faced with the maximum cohort size of no more than 100 students once we can go to the Hybrid Model," Walker said. "This means that during the in-person school days, students can’t come into contact with more than 100 different students. With a school of almost 700 and our traditional schedule of seven different class periods, this creates some challenges, but none that we can’t overcome. Our team has done a fantastic job and created a plan that overcomes these challenges and many others."
Walker said that he would have more information for students and families no later than August 19. In the meantime, Phoenix High gave a more detailed description of how classes would work for students when school begins:
This year we will need to transition to a 4x4 block schedule to accommodate the Comprehensive Distance Learning and the Hybrid Model.
- Students will take two (2) core/required classes and two (2) elective classes.
- Students will also have an Advisory Class period that meets on Wednesdays.
- Students can earn .50 credits for each class every 9-weeks--(this is due to the increased time/longer class periods spent on fewer classes). Advisory is .25 per 9-weeks
- Semester courses will be awarded 1.0 credits
- Example-- (1) Semester of English equals 1.0 credits
- Students will change elective courses at the quarter (9 weeks).
- Students will change core/required courses at the semester (18 weeks).
- Due to the cohort size of a maximum of 100 and staffing restrictions, unfortunately, students will not have access to all of our electives.
Soon we will send out a survey to all students and families asking students to select up to (4) electives so we can try and get them (2) that they have requested. From this information, we will be able to rebuild student schedules and share that information.
Student Schedule Example
Due to the need to separate and cohort students, half of the grade level will start the year with English and Science, while others will begin with Math and Social Studies or Health (9th Grade). Students will switch at the semester to earn all required credits in the core/required courses for graduation.
Example — half of the 9th Grade will start the year taking English and Science, and the other half will begin by taking Math and Health. These groups would switch at the semester. Student’s elective options will change every nine (9) weeks.
9th Grade- We have moved the PE requirement for 9th Grade to the next school year or second semester this year at the earliest.
Frequently Asked Questions
- When will we get more details about the Comprehensive Distance Learning Plan?
- We are still in the planning process of the Distance Learning Plan and we are working to finalize details. Our goal is to have this plan communicated to students and families no later than Friday, August 28th.
- What about Registration?
- We will not hold an in-person registration event this year. We will create student schedules based on their requests, cohort requirements, and available staffing.
- All families need to online register ASAP.
- When will students get their schedules?
- Students will need to complete a Google Survey ranking their top elective choices. These surveys will go out soon.
- Students will receive their individual schedules no later than Friday, August 28th.
- How will students be graded this school year?
- We will utilize our traditional grading system of A-F
- If students do not earn an A, B, C, or D, they will not receive credit and will have to make it up.
- What about AP Courses?
- We are committed to offering the full menu of AP courses for our students. Our AP teachers will be working with the colleges to ensure that we are meeting the requirements.
- What about Sports and Other Extra-Curricular Activities?
- Last week the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) released guidance for the 2020-2021 school year. Fall sports have been moved to March and April. Winter sports will begin in late December, followed by the fall season and then spring sports in May and June. We’ll utilize the fall months to help prepare our student-athletes for their upcoming seasons, either through in-person sessions or virtually (based off of state requirements). We’ll also work with our various activities and clubs to have opportunities during the fall and throughout the school year. The OSAA’s press release can be found here