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Logos charter school gives students head start toward RCC

Instead of heading into his senior year at a public high school like most students his age, 17-year-old Job Houy is finishing up summer classes at Rogue Community College in preparation for his first full year of college.

Houy, who lives in a rural area outside Eagle Point, is taking advantage of Pathfinders, a new Logos Public Charter School program that is sending 20 students to RCC this year and footing the bill.

At capacity this year, Pathfinders is open to Logos students trying to get a jump-start on college while simultaneously finishing high school.

"Our families need help getting into college, and paying for it," said Joe VonDoloski, administrator of Logos.

"Pathfinders partners beautifully by helping students gain an accredited high school diploma along with a one- or two-year degree or certificate from RCC at no cost to the student."

Houy said that Logos is helping him apply for scholarships, as well as covering any remaining costs, including textbooks.

"Logos gave me the options I wanted, without having to pay," said Houk, who transferred to Logos last fall after attending private school.

Logos is spending roughly $120,000 on the Pathfinders program in its first year, said VonDoloski, adding that the program was just one way the school was showing its commitment to homeschool families.

"We really have a passion to help homeschoolers," VonDoloski said.

First opened in 2010 as a way to offer resources to homeschool students in the region, Logos has drawn in hundreds of students from Medford and beyond to its programs.

Students typically meet with a teacher once a week to make sure they are on track with their homeschool assignments, and most supplement their home learning with a few on-campus classes.

After breaking free from a first-year enrollment cap from the Medford School District, which sponsors the Logos charter, the school grew to nearly 600 students last year.

VonDoloski hopes enrollment will hit 850 students this year, and said twice-weekly summer orientations are packed.

The Pathfinders program is a way that Logos is going above and beyond to help homeschool families, even losing a bit of money on the deal, according to VonDoloski.

The cost to attend RCC full-time for each student is almost the equivalent of the state per-pupil funds the students bring with them to Logos.

"We're still losing money," said VonDoloski. "It's a costly project for us."

To attend RCC, Logos students must take a placement test that shows they are on track for regular college courses, not remedial level classes.

"If they need pre-algebra at the college level, we keep them here," VonDoloski said. "They have to be at a high-performing level."

A Pathfinders-Prep program is available to those students, who are able to take one course at RCC while continuing to attend Logos.

Houy, who hopes to become a paramedic, said he is currently taking some pre-requisite courses during the summer to prepare for a full load of classes this fall.

"This gives me a whole year head start," said Houy, who has liked first aid since he was young and volunteers with Mercy Flights. "I've spent time on campus now, and they have a great program."

Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or tristow@mailtribune.com.