Southern Oregon University officials say they will begin processing advanced placement college credits for students at North and South Medford high schools sometime next week, as teachers have promised to make up class time lost during the 11-work-day strike.
"Almost all the instructors have added hours — some during spring break, some on Saturdays and some will be working after school," said Jeanne Stallman, executive director of outreach and engagement programs at SOU. "Everything is looking great."
SOU awards college credit for advanced high school classes that align with its college-level classes. Before an advanced placement class can be approved for credit at SOU, professors at the university must approve the high school teacher's syllabus and teaching credentials. This quarter, 15 AP classes at North and 16 AP classes at South qualified for the credit opportunity.
When teachers went on strike Feb. 6, SOU officials put a hold on crediting Medford high school students until the strike was over and teachers could demonstrate that they would still be able to complete the material covered in their syllabuses before the end of the spring semester.
Teachers recently submitted their individual plans to Todd Bloomquist, Medford School District's director of secondary education, who turned them over to Stallman.
Most of the teachers agreed to add six to eight "focused" hours outside of their regularly scheduled classes, Stallman said.
"We knew they were fully committed, but we needed that confirmation from them, saying 'Yes, here's how we're going to get all the information delivered,' " she said.
Stallman said she is waiting for two North Medford teachers to provide additional information before she can sign off on their classes.
SOU department heads will need to approve the amended schedules of classes that fall under their respective academic fields before SOU can begin processing the student registration. Stallman said she did not expect there to be any problems.
Bloomquist said the teachers have "bent over backwards" to make sure all the promised content is covered and the students get what they needed for their SOU credits.
Every student in the class — not just the ones registering for college credit — will be asked to attend the supplementary AP sessions.
"It's open to the entire class, but the students getting the SOU credits are the ones that really need that time with the content and the instructor to be eligible for the credit," Bloomquist said.
SOU extended the deadline for Medford students registering for credits to March 5 because many parents didn't want to pay for the credits until the contract dispute between the Medford School District and its teachers union had resolved.
As of Feb. 27, SOU had received 239 class registrations from North students and 70 class registrations from South students. Many students register for more than one class so the numbers represent a "duplicate head count," Stallman said.