February 2, 2024
Dear PTS families,
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the Oregon Department of Education released its updated 2023 graduation data last week and I am proud to say that the Phoenix-Talent SD ranks among the top districts in the state and the top one in Southern Oregon when it comes to on-time graduation rates. At Phoenix High School, 144 out of 154 students in the 2022-23 adjusted cohort graduated on time (93.5%), and the district’s four-year grad rate was 90.1%.
I also want to draw your attention to a few important subgroups – 100% of Phoenix High’s migrant ed students graduated on time (that’s happened three years in a row), as did 94.5% of our economically disadvantaged students and 93.6% of our homeless students. These great numbers are a testament to the entire PTS family, which includes teachers, graduation specialists, administrators, students and of course their families.
While graduation rates are an important indicator of student success, they are hardly the only one. We closely monitor our students’ progress throughout the school year in many different ways, including diagnostic testing, and there is some great news on that front, too. During last night’s school board meeting, Orchard Hill principal Kent Vallier reported that in his school’s most recent reading achievement test, 50% of OES students (144 children) tested at or above grade level. That’s a 21% increase since the last time they were tested, which was only four months ago. That is some incredible progress!
Also at last night’s board meeting, Phoenix Elementary teacher Shawna Schleif revealed that five out of the school’s six grade are testing above average in reading growth, which is another crucial indicator that we keep a close eye on. This is all great news, but we realize that there is still a lot of work to be done to reach our goals. Rest assured, that work is ongoing and is at the forefront of everything our educators do, in every building and every classroom.
Lastly, we will be hosting our first-ever PTS Family Math Night on Tuesday, February 27. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend. This is a unique opportunity, as iReady representatives will be on hand to show families how to access math resources and iReady curriculum, both of which can give your student a major boost. There will also be carnival-style games, pizza, prizes and a raffle, so you’re not going to want to miss it.
Thank you for your time, PTS, and please check out the latest “Loop With the Supt.” for some more details about what’s happening across the district. Have a great February, everybody!
Brent Barry, Superintendent
Loop With the Supt., S2E4
PTS Superintendent Brent Barry discusses the recently released graduation data and what it means, the first-ever PTS Family Math Night and the district's partnership with Rogue Valey Farm to School on a walk around Talent Elementary.
Brent Barry has been Phoenix-Talent’s superintendent since 2017 when he was promoted from the role of assistant superintendent for academics and student programs. He worked his way up through the ranks, teaching health and math in Prineville, Oregon City, and Medford before taking over as vice principal and athletic director of Phoenix High School. Later, he served as principal at Orchard Hill Elementary, one of three elementary schools in the Phoenix-Talent School District, before becoming one of the district’s two assistant superintendents.
Prior to the 2021-22 school year the Oregon Association of School Executives (OASE) and the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) named Barry the 2022 Oregon Superintendent of the Year.
Barry was born and raised in the Rogue Valley, attending McLaughlin Middle School and later South Medford High School before heading to San Diego State University on a baseball scholarship. Barry later attended Southern Oregon University and Linfield College (now Linfield University), where he met his future wife Sara. The Barrys, who were married in 1996, have two daughters: Alex and Lauren.
Phoenix-Talent School District Superintendent
Executive assistant to the superintendent and school board secretary