For busy teenagers, juggling school, friends, jobs and planning for life after high school, it’s all about finding balance.
That’s the key to their success, Oregon High School principal Jim Pliner said at Monday night’s school board meeting.
That point was part of a discussion he and other Oregon School District administrators joined into with the school board on the benefits of students taking more rigorous coursework, such as AP classes to earn college credit.
Administrators answered questions from board members during a follow up discussion to their Nov. 25 student achievement report. Board member Barb Feeney had concerns about high schoolers with too much on their schedules and asked whether the school has support systems to help them.
“I would assume there are students who could challenge themselves more academically, but there are also those who push themselves hard, and there is risk their lives could become unbalanced,” she said.
Pliner said OHS staff are often contacted by parents or students saying they are struggling to keep up with coursework.
“We try to determine if they are accessing the support and resources available to them, or for some reason are they at a spot where they need a schedule change,” he said. “I think we’ve been very responsive when we find there are students who have taken on a lot.”
Pliner referenced last week’s OHS alumni panels, when recent graduates returned to talk with students about life after high school.
“We’ve heard from our alums rigor is really important, because in your next environment you’re going to be seeing new challenges,” he said. “Expectations are very real, and students have to learn a lot about themselves, so it’s good to get those pieces here as well.”
Ultimately, it’s about finding a “sweet spot” for each kid, Pliner said, which can be “very nuanced work.”
“That comes with knowing kids and trying to provide them with as many different perspectives as possible,” he said. “We also want to strive for balance. We want you to find your niche and we want you to push yourself, and sometimes in knowing kids we get a sense for who needs a nudge and who needs a pat on the back.”