On the afternoon of Monday, March 11 Carbon School District Superintendent Lance Hatch announced that starting in the 2019-20 school year, the Lighthouse High School’s offerings and structure are going to be absorbed into Carbon High’s schedule and curriculum.
“The services that have been provided by the Lighthouse High School and the 11 educators that are working there to improve students lives, will now be available to more than the 70 students they have been working within the present facility,” said Hatch in an interview. “There are more students than just that 70 that need that kind of help and dedication. What we are doing with this move is to bring the services to the location where all the students that could use that help can access it.”
He went on to say that not all the students currently being served by the Lighthouse need the kind of intervention that is presently provided in all subjects, while at the high school there are students that could use some of that aid.
“Basically we are taking the services to where more students will benefit from them,” he stated.
The vision the administration and educators have for all high school students in the district is that they either earn an associate degree (or close to it) from USU Eastern through concurrent enrollment or they graduate from Carbon High with an industry recognized certificate to help them get the best employment opportunities they can.
“That is what we envision, and it has a way to go before it happens, but that is where we want to be as soon as possible,” stated Hatch.
The plan to bring the Lighthouse into Carbon was preceded by a little less than two year effort by the district to understand and consider what the Lighthouse does for students, and how that can benefit all those that attend the district’s schools. After many conversations, studies done on other alternative schools around Utah and input from staff, the clear path of what would work best emerged. Hatch said that rather than try to duplicate programs that currently exist at Carbon High School at Lighthouse High, the district ought to bring the students to the programs. The facilities and programs at the high school will serve needs that have been desired at the Lighthouse facility without having to add to or remodel the present Lighthouse building.
The biggest question that came out of the entire process was “Shouldn’t all students have access to Tier III intervention services when they need them?” The answer was yes and the present system could not do that, so a change needed to be made.
“We need our high school system to own each student and to be committed to provide the services and environment that will allow students to succeed,” said Hatch.
Presently the Lighthouse has 8.5 teachers, one administrator, one counselor and four aides working with students. The school also employs other staff as well, and Hatch made it clear that no one at the school will lose their job. They will all be reassigned.
The staff at Lighthouse is uniquely trained to help students in credit recovery, remediation for students that are lacking some basic skills, as well as social/emotional support for students that may need those services.
“The fact is that some students really need access to a different way of learning and support. With this change that will not go away,” explained Hatch. “And now it will be available to all students at Carbon High.”
Next year the new administration at Carbon High, with Principal Bruce Bean moving to the district office and Assistant Principal Robyn Hussey retiring, will include three people. Chris Winfree will be the Principal of the school while Jarad Hardy and Karen Bedont, the present Principal at Lighthouse High will be assigned as Assistant Principals.
“This change will let the system at the high school grab onto every student that gets a failing grade in a quarter and help them into a channel that will require them to make that credit up,” stated Hatch. “If that is not done it will change a students entire life. As for the remediation of basic skills we also need a way to help them with the building blocks they may be missing. This will help us to pull those students in and get them the basic skills they need. This will provide a plan to find out why students are struggling and help them to achieve the ends of that plan. Basically we want to make it easier for students to do the work, rather than not do the work, and that requires a fundamental structural change.”
Having more faculty and more administration at the high school will make that possible. It will also provide many avenues with which to work with students.
“When we are looking for good quality intervention for students that need it, we ought to be able to choose from all the teachers and administrators we have, “ said Hatch. “If a student has a deficiency or needs help, we ought to be able to choose the best instructor we have and the one that fits with that students needs the best. With this move all the services provided at Lighthouse will be available to all high school students in the district.”
Hatch said the charge that has been given to the administration of the district is to make decisions that will positively affect the most students.
“To expect Carbon High School to implement Tier III interventions with the present faculty, administrative and counseling support is beyond what could be done and it needs to be done. That is exactly why we are doing this,” concluded Hatch.