Brent Barry: 2022 Oregon Superintendent of the Year
June 13, 2022
Dear PTS families,
Despite all the challenges they have faced over the past two years, 147 Phoenix High School seniors walked across the stage at Phoenix-Talent Rising Field on Saturday to receive their diplomas and I could not be more proud of them.
They made it through a pandemic and the remote and hybrid learning that came with it, and 43 of them lost homes in the Almeda fire. Yet, each of them still somehow managed to complete the work required to earn their high school diploma, and many went far beyond that. About 1,400 spectators showed up on what turned out to be a perfect night for a celebration and I could go on and on about the valedictorian speeches and the wisdom they imparted - suffice to say it was a perfect send-off for a uniquely resilient class that I’m sure will do great things.
I have a few other important pieces of information to share today that you should be aware of:
- According to the latest update to the COVID-19 community levels, Jackson County is considered to be in high transmission, which means we must continue to be diligent in our layered prevention strategies to help slow the spread. We will not be re-implementing a masking requirement for the last day-and-a-half of school, but I want to emphasize that if your child is feeling under the weather, they should stay home.
- Today was a special day for our elementary students, as Talent Elementary, Phoenix Elementary and Orchard Hill Elementary each held their annual field day celebrations, complete with bounce houses, shaved ice, jog-a-thons and games galore. So if you’re wondering why your kids may seem a little extra tired tonight, now you know.
- Wednesday is the last day of school, but don’t forget that it’s also an early-release day. That means that at our elementary schools, students will be released between 10:45 a.m. and 11 a.m., depending on whether they ride the bus; at Talent Middle School, they’re out at 11:35 a.m.; and at Phoenix High, students will be released at 12:03 p.m.
Lastly, I just want to say that it’s been an honor to serve as your superintendent this school year. I mentioned it during my short speech Saturday and I’ll say it again: the support the Phoenix-Talent School District has received from this community is overwhelming, and it’s even more evident when we’re able to hold large events at our incredible facilities. Thank you for helping to make PTS the special place that it is.
Brent Barry, Superintendent
Brent Barry, Superintendent
Hello, my name is Brent Barry and I am very excited to be starting my fifth year as Superintendent of this fantastic school district. The 2021-22 school year marks my 18th year with Phoenix-Talent Schools. There is no question this particular beginning of the school year comes with some anxiety and uncertainty. With the pandemic and many of our students/families navigating through the devastation of the Almeda fire, we understand there are real emotions as we start this year. We are prepared to continue to provide the support necessary for academic success, as well as meeting the emotional health needs of our kids. I know and trust we can overcome the circumstances that we face today by supporting each other, having compassion for all and remaining focused on doing our part to minimize the impact of COVID-19.
We understand that you may be feeling anxious or uncertain about the start of the 2021-22 school year, but please know that our commitment to safely opening up our schools to full-time, in-person learning has not wavered. For this reason, we will consult with our local health authority, with which we meet weekly, and make decisions accordingly. Following the recommendations is the best way to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep our schools open.
As COVID-19 continues to change with new variants, mitigation guidance is also likely to change, and we will be reviewing protocols regularly and partnering with our local health officials to keep our schools safely open. Parents and guardians will be notified of any major changes.
Please read through our COVID-19 informational guide for details about what we’re doing to limit the impact of the virus and keep our doors open to in-person learning. It includes information about our face-covering policy, a free testing program, quarantine procedures and other COVID safety practices that we’ll be implementing.
Lastly, following a very successful Summer School program, the Phoenix-Talent team is working hard behind the scenes to get ready for the 2021-22 school year and, though the delta variant presents some challenges, we are very excited about what’s to come. We look forward to a great school year!
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent