OHS first Washington high school to receive CLER endorsement

Will aid students who want to enter the local workforce

OROVILLE – Oroville High School has been chosen as the first high school in the state to receive the Career Launch Endorsement Review, or CLER, which will provide funding for the school’s projects to help train students seeking to join the local workforce.

OHS Principal Leoni Johnson

“This isn’t a grant, rather they refer to it as an Endorsement. It is more along the lines of an application for approval to access a different funding model for FTE,” said OHS Principal Leoni Johnson. “Money (additional .2 FTE) is granted per student who completes the program that we got approved in order to support our efforts to run the program.”

Johnson said she understands that prior to Oroville High School becoming eligible for the funding, the CLER only went to colleges through Career Connect Washington. Career Connect Washington is a public-private partnership with the goal of connecting 100,000 young people with employer internships, registered apprenticeships, career exploration programs and other learning opportunities.

“This is true! Oroville High School is the first high school in Washington State to be awarded the CLER Grant. My understanding is that only colleges have been awarded the grant in the past,” she said.

Oroville High School is offering specialized programs that will be able to use the extra funding based on the number of students enrolled, according to the principal.

“We are offering what we are calling Programs of Study for students at OHS. These Programs of Study are aligned with local industry workforce needs and will help students be prepared to enter into the workforce upon graduation,” said Johnson. “The Programs of Study are Natural Resources, Health and Public Safety and Manufacturing. In these Programs of Study we are offering a variety of courses in school and are providing opportunities for students to gain certifications that will meet pre-employment qualifications.”

Marcus Alden, is the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Advisor Committee Chairman for the Oroville High School District credits Principal Johnson with securing the endorcement from Career Connect Washington.

“Can you imagine in a small town in North Central Washington being the first out of all high schools in the state to be awarded such a grant?” asked Alden, adding, “Oroville High School is going to start the 2020/2021 school year with specialized programs of study that will set the standard for our county and maybe the rest of the state in the future.”

Alden also credits Johnson and Oroville School District Superintendent Jeff Hardesty for their work in moving the high school to remote learning.

“Our new high school principal in her first year, managed a shift from classroom curriculum to on-line classes in under 10 days while still supporting teachers and students during a very trying and confusing time,” he said. “The amount of risk management planning and risk assessment planning that she and the district superintendent had to accomplish to be ready for an unplanned event like a pandemic ranks up there with military precision and planning. As a retired military veteran, I can attest that they have shifted the paradigm for our school district.”

He went on to describe Johnson as a leader/teacher unlike any he has seen in the last 20 years working with high schools.

“Her vision, with the support of the district superintendent is actually creating a “New Future” of possibilities for our High School students,” he said.

In addition to being retired from the U.S. Coast Guard, Alden worked for Washington State Worksource and currently works as the Human Resources Manager for Oroville Reman and Reload, a local wood products manufacturer.