SILETZ, Ore. – With the help of the online courses developed by the P-12 Outreach division of Oregon State University’s Extended Campus, high school seniors were able to complete the requirements for graduation from Siletz Valley Early College Academy (SVECA), allowing the school in June to hold its first graduation ceremony since 1982.
The charter school, which has partnerships with Oregon State University, Oregon Coast Community College, Lincoln County School District and Antioch University in Seattle, re-opened as an early college academy in September 2006 to serve the community that included The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. OSU K-12 Online, one program within P-12 Outreach Programs and coordinated by Tryna Luton, provided required classes for students to supplement the gaps in local program offerings.
Courses were specifically designed for Native American students. The courses not only help the students meet college enrollment requirements, but also incorporate Native American history and cultural aspects. Not only could students earn high school diploma, they could earn college credit at the same time.
This is important to Gary Graves, senior adviser for the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory who was hired by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide technical assistance to the school. Graves said the Academy helps students continue on the path to higher education.
“As future graduates move through the school and gain college credit while still in high school, they are much more likely to continue their education beyond high school,” Graves said.
Van Peters, administrative director of the academy, agrees and says that recent graduates and the academy will provide an example to the community, as well as other communities that are in need of K-12 curriculum.
“This year’s graduating class has shown the underclassmen that graduating from high school is achievable and that other opportunities including higher education or other career choices are available to them,” Peters said. “Schools are the hub of communities and with the return of the high school, parents have another option for their child’s education.”
With classes returning in the fall, Peters has hopes for upcoming school years.
“The future is to provide pathways for all students to excel in lifelong learning,” he said.
Throughout Oregon and several states, the OSU P-12 Outreach programs focus on filling in the gaps in education caused by budget cutbacks and other program shortcomings. These problems can result in overcrowded classrooms and reduced options in the school curriculum.
For more information on the program, contact OSU P-12 Outreach at (800) 667-1465 or visit http://p12.ecampus.oregonstate.edu/.