Pursuing even higher learning goals at Oroville High School

Oroville School Board supports high schools awarding AA degrees

OROVILLE – Oroville High School is continuing a program of offering more college level classes and looks forward to a time where high schools can award two-year Associates of Arts degrees.

High School Principal Kristin Sarmiento discussed some of the new advanced classes being offered through Central Washington University at the school board’s Monday, Aug. 25 meeting.

“I also got a voicemail from a representative of Wenatchee Valley College on offering a Criminal Justice class at Oroville. She talked to the department and they are really excited about the potential… we would be the first in the state, ” said Sarmiento.

“I’m so excited because the field is so broad and there is so much interest in the area,” she added.

The principal explained at a previous board meeting that there was a lot of local interest, perhaps due to the number of different law enforcement agencies, including local police and sheriff’s deputies, as well as Customs and Border Patrol. Several students from Oroville are members of the U.S. Border Patrol Explorer Scouts here.

Sarmiento also let the board know that while most four-year colleges accept credits earned in the Running Start Program, the University of Washington is balking at accepting them.

“UW does not think they have to take any Running Start credits… that’s not legal. They think their credits are better than any one else’s.”

There was also some discussion about continuing to support a change in the state rules to where a high school could offer a state-approved two-year Associates degree.

“We want to make it so by the time a student leaves Oroville High School he has an AA degree,” said Rocky DeVon, chairman of the school board.

“Right now schools will only accept 48… typically they need 90 for an AA degree,” said Sarmiento. “We’re trying to keep as close to that max as we can.”

DeVon asked for language to take to the Washington School Director’s Association (WASDA) to lobby the legislature to make changes so an state-approved AA degree could be offered at the high school level.

“WASDA should take the position that there should be rules that govern earning a state AA degree for Running Start students just like for high school graduation,” said Sarmiento.

“We’re going to a conference in three weeks so if it is not in as a resolution we can’t do it. We need to get this in there,” said DeVon.

The suggested resolution supporting an AA degree was added to the board agenda and approved.

Reports

In addition to Sarmiento’s report the board also heard reports from elementary principal Joanne Hoehn, Superintendent Steve Quick and Stassia Feltes with Upward Bound.

Upward Bound’s main goal is to resource college and career preparation for lower income and or first generation students who want to go to college, according to Feltes. Students eligible for the program are in grades 9-12.

She talked about how students last year did Job Shadowing at North Valley Hospital. There were ten students, a mix of kids from Oroville and Tonasket high schools.

“We also designed a marketing and communications internship opportunity. Kylee Davis launched a Facebook page for Upward Bound,” Feltes said.

There are 35 Upward Bound students from Tonasket and 25 from Oroville. The two groups often work together. For Science Week they went to Ellensburg to the wind project and to Wells Dam, she said.

Among the group’s goals are to continue the Job Shadowing program at North Valley Hospital, ACT and Compass Prep, Field Trips, Communications Service opportunities, FAFSA and Senior/Parent information night, a semester newsletter and newspaper updates, as well as updates to the school board.

Elementary principal Hoehn reported that her building was having a new teacher day on Wednesday, Aug. 27. School starts on Sept. 3 and preschool starts on Sept. 8.

“The fifth graders will have two field trips this fall. The first will be World of Flight up at the airport and the next is the Pioneer Walk. Because of the fires and horses the Pioneer Walk has been moved to the fall,” she said. “The first assemble will be Book It Theater – a play in Spanish and English about a migrant farmer.”

Hoehn answered questions about the Leader in Me program and whether parents could get information to understand the program better. She said that more information would become available after one of the teachers received more training.

“I would think if it begins in October parents would know something before then,” said Dara McCoy, an interested parent.

The principal said that the program is implemented over five years.

“I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens and I think Steven Covey has done a good job, I’m not knocking the program but am not sure I’m all the way on board,” said McCoy.

“When we went down to Waterville what really impressed us was how well students took personal ownership for their own education,” said Chairman DeVon. “A couple of students that presented to us didn’t come from homes that were very supportive. Those students benefited too.”

Hoehn was asked what happened to students that don’t get on board with the program and whether they “fall through the cracks.”

DeVon and fellow board member Todd Hill seemed sold on the program and were vocal in their support. They felt that what has worked in Waterville can work in Oroville too without anyone getting left behind.

“Kids have daily, weekly, quarterly and yearly goals and the teachers go through those goals with the students,” said DeVon, adding that the program works hard to build the student’s self esteem.

Consent Agenda

The board approved a consent agenda of several items, including hiring three teachers – Shelly Martin, Cyley Wytko and Carla Kerns and Daphne Booker as a high school secretary. They also hired Billy Monroe as Cross Country coach and Brad Scott as assistant high school football coach, depending on student participation and Tony Kindred as head girls high school soccer coach and Nicole Hogus as head high school volleyball coach. Whitney Massart was hired as a long-term substitute for the first semester of 2014-15.

They approved a Classified Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Classified Salary Schedule and approved a fuel bi from Coleman Fuel.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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