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MailTribune.com
  • Medford School Board renews Madrone Trail, Logos charters

    But the approvals come with some conditions
  • The Medford School Board Monday voted to renew charters for Madrone Trail Public Charter School and Logos Public Charter School.
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  • The Medford School Board Monday voted to renew charters for Madrone Trail Public Charter School and Logos Public Charter School.
    Madrone Trail received a five-year renewal and Logos received a three-year renewal.
    Superintendent Phil Long recommended that the school board approve each requested renewal, but suggested conditions for each renewal.
    Long suggested that a contract be created that resolves friction between parents and the Madrone Trail board and that also would require the Madrone Trail board to work in closer alignment with the school's original Waldorf-inspired charter.
    Over the past year, parents from Madrone Trail have publicly scrutinized the charter school's board governance, alleging that board members were moving the school away from its Waldorf-inspired curriculum and failing to implement a solid capital fundraising campaign for school improvements.
    "I still have a problem with their governance," said Medford School Board member Sally Killen, who was the single vote against renewing Madrone Trail's charter. "I do not intend to support this."
    Long acknowledged that parent support of the school was overwhelming, and that the potential for three new parent board members on Madrone Trail's board might be able to resolve issues between parents and the board that have come up in the past year.
    Since test scores at the school are on a par with the rest of the Medford School District, and the school has up-to-date policies and procedures, Long said he felt he had to recommend that the board renew the school's charter.
    "I'm making this recommendation because I don't think you have a basis for not renewing this," said Long. "What we have here is kids being successful."
    The School Board said that during annual reviews of the school over the next five years, it hopes to see proof that the school has continued to improve the relationship between parents and the Madrone Trail board.
    Charter school law required that Madrone Trail's renewal be for a period of five years, and the School Board will not have an opportunity to terminate the school's charter until after that time is up.
    The School Board also unanimously approved the continuation of Logos Public Charter School for three years, despite the number of dropouts at the school.
    According to Long, the district had asked Logos to enroll some of Medford's expelled high school students as an alternative to Central Medford High School, a practice that may have increased the school's dropout rate.
    The district didn't realize that without the strong parent involvement that other Logos students have, many of the expelled students would drop out.
    "This has not been a successful endeavor," said Long in his written renewal recommendation to the board. "The Logos model requires active, ongoing involvement of parents in the instruction of the student."
    Long said Logos is now pursuing a more stringent intake process that would ensure parents are committed and willing to become more involved in student instruction before their children are admitted to the school.
    As part of the three-year renewal, the School Board put in place a requirement that it review of the school's graduation rate annually.
    Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or tristow@mailtribune.com.
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