KVCS director gives update at school board work session

During a joint virtual work session with the Philomath School Board on Monday, Kings Valley Charter School’s Jamon Ellingson reported strong enrollment for the rural campus.

“For elementary, we’re having great attendance, our engagement is good,” said Ellingson, who is the KVCS executive director. “We continue to work with our families that are struggling and coming up with different learning options that work for them and fit their situations.”

Ellingson said attendance and engagement at the middle school is also good but added there have been mixed results in the high school grades.

“We’re working with families to improve in certain areas,” Ellingson said. “We’re having some struggles with some of our high school students getting to class and getting assignments turned in and whatnot, so we’re working to improve there.”

Ellingson reported the school’s enrollment at 203 students. The cap that’s been established is 207 students.

KVCS is serving 25 to 30 K-12 students through limited in-person instruction, he added.

“We’re working closely with the district, with (Philomath superintendent) Susan (Halliday) and the rest of the admin staff and the surrounding schools to prepare, plan, adjust for COVID-19 safety measures — that’s for comprehensive distance learning, limited in-person instruction and hybrid learning,” Ellingson said.

KVCS is following a similar path as Philomath for returning students to in-person learning — currently estimated as Jan. 12, if COVID-19 metrics allow — for K-2 students and then adding other grades over the following two weeks.

However, Kings Valley has a higher hill to climb than Philomath because the charter school also needs to meet reopening requirements based on Polk County metrics. At this time, Polk County’s infection rates are significantly higher than Benton County.

In other news that Ellingson shared on Monday evening:

• KVCS staff participated in training earlier that day to work on improving student engagement, Ellingson said.

• Development of the school’s career technical education program continues to evolve. Ellingson said a new pole building has seen “some setbacks and delays but we’ll be moving forward with that soon.”

• KVCS continues to secure grant funding for a preschool building.

The Philomath and Kings Valley school boards try to meet periodically to keep the lines of communication open. The two entities will try to meet again this spring.

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