Small Schools

Several smaller learning academies are used to help students gain the advantage of being part of a more intimate school group. Although most of a student’s day is spent within their small school, some courses are available to all students including choir, acting, metal and wood shops, all athletic programs, and more. Click on a school below for more information.

What are small schools?

Several smaller learning academies are used to help students gain the advantage of being part of a more intimate school group:

  • North International High School
  • The School of IDEAS
  • Academy of Arts

Although most of a student’s day in spent within their small school, some courses are available to all students including choir, acting, metal and wood shops, all athletic programs, and more.

The Small Schools Project

Frequently Asked Questions and Some Answers

Click here to download the 2011 preview booklet

Why did NEHS convert to small schools?

Research shows that small schools experience:

  1. Higher student achievement
  2. Higher graduation rates
  3. Higher college acceptance rates
  4. Better support for students
  5. More flexible scheduling
  6. Fewer behavioral problems

High achievement springs from rigorous curriculum for all students, rich and sustaining relationships, and relevant, integrated learning. Although this mission can be accomplished in schools of any size, research and common sense points to smaller schools with smaller staffs.

Also, school creation can have a catalytic effect on staff, students and community opening up new approaches to old problems. This is evident not only in the small schools research, but also in the experiences from the 20+ alternative schools in our district.

In today’s economy – where college graduates earn 70 percent more than high school graduates, and dropouts are four times more likely than college graduates to be unemployed – Oregon can’t afford to let its high schools fail so many students.

How many students are enrolled in each small school?

One of the provisions of the grant is that no school will exceed an enrollment of 400 students.

Are class sizes smaller?

No. The student-teacher ratio is not reduced, but some of the benefits of smaller class size can be achieved. Students are better known by their teachers, allowing teachers to more easily identify individual talents and unique needs. For example, in a school of 300 students, there are only about 80 new freshmen each year for everyone to get to know.

How do students pick their school?

Students and parents must fill out a School Choice Ballot and turn it into the North Eugene High School office by the first Friday in March to be in the lottery for the next school year. Forms turned in after that date will be put on a waiting list and a second lottery will be held. Schools will be demographically balanced during the lotteries.

After having the opportunity to hear about and read about the schools, students make their choices in rank order and will weight them as to how strongly they feel about these rankings. A computerized lottery system will balance student preferences with equity issues. For example, we want to make surety an one school does not have all the special education students, or all the asian students, etc. Each school needs to be an equitable reflection of the entire student body at NEHS.

Some students will be automatically accepted into particular schools based on the programs they are currently enrolled in. This is particularly relative to the IHS program at North. For example, a student who is already enrolled in IHS and wants to stay there will be able to do so. Similarly, if a student has been involved in the YG Japanese Immersion program for the last 8 years and wants to continue, they too would be enrolled in IHS, as that is where the YG program will be housed.

Can students switch between schools? What is the process?

In order for students to be placed into a small school outside of their lottery assignment, he/she must work with their counselor and comlete a “SmallSchool Intent to Change Form.” The student will then be placed on a waiting list. Once space is available, the student will be contacted and directed to fill out additional paperwork. The transfer process must be authorized by administrators of both schools and may also involve conferences with the
student, parents, and teachers.

How much of a student’s schedule can be outside of the home school?

Each small school will offer ALL the classes required for graduation. We plan to offer core academic classes, music, art, wood and metal shop, family and consumer studies, business, world languages, and PE for students from all four schools. While the ultimate goal is to have each school be as independent as possible, there are benefits to having some courses open to students from all four schools.

From what school are kids graduating? The super school or the small school?

Students participate in two graduation ceremonies.

Has the school been physically divided?

The school has been divided into zones so that every school has a degree of physical autonomy, but some spaces are shared. The obvious common spaces (ex. science labs, the gym, the auditorium, the cafeteria) are shared.

Do the schools share a common schedule and bell system?

Yes, because there are many programs which draw from the entire student body. For example, the band and theater programs.

What about the Highlanders?

We remain North Eugene High School. We will keep the name North Eugene High School and we will continue to honor traditions together as a school (Mr. North, Homecoming, dances, athletics, etc.) and celebrate our accomplishments together.

What about student leadership?

This happens at two different levels. Each school has it’s own student leadership, who will then report to a school-wide ASB for major projects and activities. One of the benefits of the school-within-a-school concept is that many more students will have the opportunity to serve as leaders.

What about electives?

What exactly is an elective? Anything beyond basic graduation requirements is considered an elective. There will still be elective choices. Band and choir will be available to all students. A few electives, however, will be available only in individual schools.

How do you keep Advanced Placement (AP) classes intact when only a few students from every school are interested in the classes?

The small schools have agreed on a way to share their AP teachers.

What about English Language Learners and Specialized Education students?

Each school must be in compliance with applicable laws and policies.

What about the school library?

Information literacy is an important facet in our Portrait of a Graduate. We continue to maintain a central library and literacy center that offers services to all the small schools.