For 15 years, Kids Unlimited has provided high quality youth and community development services to Southern Oregon families. Having recognized the need for an educational option that will more fully meet the needs of children, from working families, who are struggling to meet state standards in the Medford School District, Kids Unlimited will be opening a new charter school in the Medford School District in the fall of 2013. VIBES Public Charter School: Academy of the Arts and Sciences will be an extended day, extended year program that will combine best practice curriculum with a staff dedicated to fully meeting the educational needs of its students. We invite you to read the VIBES Public Charter School application, view our study session presentation to the Medford School Board, and read our responses to the questions, comments, and concerns of the Medford School Board. We know that our program will improve outcomes for students here in the valley and we look forward to serving students in 1st through 3rd grade starting in the fall of 2013! Please check back in the coming days as we will make enrollment materials available to the public.
The Case for Change
There is an educational crisis in Oregon, and in the Rogue Valley, that is impacting the ability of large numbers of young people to graduate from high school, as well as their prospects for meaningful employment.
- As of 2011, 65% of the schools in the Medford School District were on either the Federal NCLB “watch list” or “troubled list” for failure to meet academic targets related to NCLB (Source: Oregon Live, 2011 Federal Ratings Tab)
- As of 2012, only 64% of Medford’s students graduate high school on time. (Source: Oregon Live, 2012 Graduation Rates Tab)
- Of the 12,538 students enrolled in 2012, 50.4% of students were on free and reduced lunch, and 8.3% were English Language Learners. (Source: Oregon Live)
- According to the Oregon Department of Education’s statistics on the performance of Medford School District’s free and reduced lunch students on state assessments, 50.3% of all economically disadvantaged students fail to meet the standards in math, 37.1% of all economically disadvantaged students fail to meet the standard in reading, and 40.9% fail to meet the standards in Science.
- On each of the four subjects tested by state assessments, nearly 75% of all students with a limited english profiency fail to meet the state’s standards. (Source: ODE’s “Student Achievement Data in Education Explorer“)
- A recent “report found that students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma when compared to proficient readers. The number rises when those kids also come from poverty.” (Source: Huffington Post)
- According to the research of Dr. Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins: “If a sixth grader in a high poverty school attends school less than 80 percent of the time, fails math or English, or receives an unsatisfactory behavior grade in a core course, there is a 75 percent chance he or she will drop out of high school.” (Source: Huffington Post)
- Oregon currently has the 4th lowest graduation rate in the nation, and only 10 states have higher unemployment rates nationally ( Sources: Oregon Live, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
What Is a Charter School?
“Charter schools are independent public schools allowed freedom to be more innovative, while being held accountable for improved student achievement. They foster a partnership between parents, teachers and students to create an environment in which parents can be more involved, teachers are given the freedom to innovate and students are provided the structure they need to learn, with all three held accountable for improved student achievement.” – National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
What Makes VIBES Public Charter School Unique?
- Extended Learning Time (Longer School Day and School Year. Approximately 30% instructional time per school year than the Medford School District. Students will be in school for 186 school days per year, which is an additional two weeks, and will be in school from 7:30 until 5:30 pm daily)
- Success for All comprehensive, research-based school reform model that has been proven to close the achievement gap, proven to support English Language Learners in their language acquisition. On state exams, Success For All schools in Oregon outperform schools who use other curricula.
- Singapore Math curriculum, which was used in the development of the US Common Core Standards and lead Singapore’s math students to achieve at highest levels in the world by age 15.
- Focus on S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)
- Relentless focus on providing tailored instruction and interventions to ensure all students are reading at grade level
- Organizational belief that all students are capable of achieving at high levels, graduating from high school, and attending college or receiving post-secondary training
- Smaller Class Sizes (limited to 25 per class)
- Commitment to continual program improvement through ongoing data analysis
- Tutoring available before and after school
- Diverse, high quality enrichment programs (arts, music, dance, theater, sports)
- Supplemental academic and enrichment programming provided during breaks
- Strong Parent Engagement component: Parents as Child’s First Teacher
- Efficiency of Services due to existing Kids Unlimited infrastructure
- Daily common planning time for teachers, and extensive ongoing professional development
- Minimal bureaucracy that allows for more direct focus on teaching and learning
- Curriculum Diversity that takes into account learning styles
- Seamless programming from early childhood (Family Nurturing Center) through middle school
- Child-Centered focus
- English Language Learner support with SIOP and Rosetta Stone software
- Focused Case Management of all students to ensure well rounded students
- Project-based/Integrated Studies at the 6th-8th grade levels
- Technology Infused learning that is mobile and worldwide in nature
- School to Work & Service Learning linkages connecting student learning with the world of work.
The Medford School District has the responsibility to identify, locate, and evaluate to determine a student’s needs for special education and related services and to provide those special education services at the charter school. The Medford School District holds this responsibility for all students enrolled in a district-sponsored charter school, regardless of where the student resides.
If you have questions about special education evaluations and services, please contact the Medford School District’s Special Education and Student Services Office at 541.842.3628.