I am the parent of a fourth grader in the Port Townsend School District’s OCEAN program. I am also an educator and former public school administrator. I have great appreciation for the many efforts the school district has made to support families during recent weeks (breakfast and lunch provided for all students, availability of Chromebooks for home use and more). For families in OCEAN, however, the school district has created destabilization and frustration in these already challenging times.
Last week the district announced plans to phase out the OCEAN high school program and cut OCEAN’s staff. The OCEAN program is the only alternative learning option within the district for high school students. The reduction in staffing will also severely impact the K-8 program that remains, just as new families were joining and momentum was building.
No consultation or even communication occurred with OCEAN parents leading up to this decision. To announce this now, with no forum for discussion, demonstrates deep disrespect for families in this district who depend on and care about alternative learning options.
We are a creative community. It should not come as a surprise that not all students learn the same way or need the same environment to thrive. If we care about our young people, we need to provide them with options. I call on the school board to retract this decision and commit to supporting, rather than undermining, alternative learning in the district.