One size does not fit all

August 29, 2008 03:49 pm

The start of any school year brings with it a fair amount of emotion. Believe me, it’s not just the students who wake up on that first day of school to a mixture of excitement and apprehension. 

For me, the honor of beginning the new school year as superintendent of La Grande Public Schools is especially rewarding. This community has been my home for a long time and the challenges and opportunities in our school system are well known to me. That’s where the excitement and challenge come together.

One of those challenges is the ongoing need to respond to individual student needs while working within the constraints of a public school system. That’s not a new challenge.

We have always known that when it comes to education, “one size does not fit all.” Today’s schools must be able address the needs of those students who struggle to succeed in the traditional classroom setting, as well as those who seek additional academic challenges outside of the standard curriculum.

This year your school district will provide a wider range of options to accommodate student needs and increase their rate of success.

We will reopen our own La Grande Alternative School and connect its programs to those of the middle school and high school. This will be a full-day program, located at the Annex, which will allow students to attend there part-time and still take elective or other classes at the high school.

Classes directly taught will include physical education, health education, life planning, science, math, English and social studies. Many classes will be offered online through the OdysseyWare program with a variety of classes available including Spanish and Chemistry.

The OdysseyWare online curriculum will also be available at the Learning Opportunity Center to be located within the high school. This option is designed for students who are having difficulty due to lack of attendance, behavior issues or other special circumstances. These students will also have the option of taking other classes part-time outside the Learning Opportunity Center. Program inquiries may be directed to Principal Doug Potter at 663-3303.

We have used the OdysseyWare program at La Grande High School for the past two years. It has received high marks from both local users and the Oregon Department of Education. We plan to expand the availability of this learning tool to students at all levels throughout the district with 50 grade level courses available.

Additional opportunities — both online and on-site — will be made available within a few months and I will be pleased to report to the community on them at that time.

In the meantime, you can contact me at 663-3202 or by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Larry Glaze is superintendent of La Grande Public Schools.