MORE TOGETHER: Board-Approved Plan for Highland High School Involves Use of Century High School to Finish Out the School Year
Plans to share Century High School’s facilities provide a continuation of educational services for Highland High School learners and staff, recently disrupted by a fire that rendered much of the building inhabitable for now.
In a unanimous vote, the Pocatello /Chubbuck School District 25 Board of Trustees approved a plan to return to in-person instruction for Highland High School using Century High School’s facilities to finish out the 2022-2023 school year. Century High School learners will attend school in-person on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with remote learning days scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Highland High School learners will attend school in-person at Century High School on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with remote learning schedules on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Highland learners will have access to in-person support on a voluntary basis at the district’s Portneuf Valley Technical Education and Career Campus on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
After meeting with PCSD 25 administration to define parameters, Highland High School administration met with their building leadership team to formulate options for Highland High School staff and learners. The team came up with three options for the Board to review and consider at a special meeting held on Wednesday, April 26 at 4:15 p.m.
The Board ultimately voted on a motion to approve Option 1 with an amendment to include an emergency closure day for Century High School on Friday, April 28. The other two options were based on full remote learning schedules.
When Highland’s principal, Brad Wallace, first pitched the idea over the phone to Century and Pocatello high schools’ principals, he said, “You could hear a pin drop and then, immediately, they both said, ‘yes, of course…we are all in this together.’”
“We are more than a school district. We are a community,” said Sheryl Brockett, Principal of Century High School. “Highland learners and staff have been displaced by the fire, but this impacts the entire community and our CHS family is prepared to welcome Highland to our school with open arms.”
Highland’s team also discussed the potential to share facilities with Pocatello High School. With PCSD 25’s hundreds of transportation routes scheduled to the minute, the final decision boiled down to the district’s ability to provide transportation services to Century five days a week without disrupting other school schedules.
Lisa Delonas, Principal of Pocatello High School added, “It’s important for us all to come together to support Highland in any way that we can. Whether it’s shared instructional or athletic facilities, there are spaces we can all share to minimize Highland’s loss as much as possible.”
Other organizations and members of the community have stepped up to the plate to ensure that the school district can fulfill its educational promise to all 12,500 learners it serves. Effective Thursday, April 27, 2023, Highland High School’s Developmental Learning Program and Extended Resource Room learners will resume an in-person schedule at Idaho State University’s Albion Hall, which currently houses the PCSD 25’s ARCHES program.
Superintendent Douglas Howell explained how imperative it is to approach this from a districtwide point-of -view versus an individual school.
Dr. Howell said, “From the onset of this tragedy, we’ve pulled everyone together from board members and staff members to student leaders and organizations like Idaho State University. Each of these groups have provided input and shared their suggestions to maintain learning and personal interactions for the Highland High School learning community. Our overarching goal is to proceed with learning with as little disruption as possible, but ultimately, this process is going to have districtwide impact for both the short and long term. It’s up to our entire community to direct this effort in the most positive way possible.”
Finalized schedules and additional information will be posted to each school’s website, which can be located at highland.sd25.us and century.sd25.us
Details about food service and transportation will be provided in a separate communication by the end of the week.
Jim Facer, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “The Board appreciates the thoughtful approach the district has taken to come together to address the immediacy of this issue. This situation presents us with a rare opportunity for the community to see another level of the district’s MORE TOGETHER mission in action and it makes me proud.”