Kalapuya High School serves Bethel students who have experienced barriers in other educational settings but are intent on earning a diploma. Kalapuya’s work to reimagine and revamp the curriculum, structure, and approach to learning has led to graduation rates nearly tripling.
Kalapuya programs create meaningful, relevant, and rigorous educational opportunities for all students, to both increase graduation rates and prepare every student for college or a career. The school’s educational programs are rooted in local, issue-centered curriculum relevant to the challenges we face as a society. Students learn in ‘cohorts’ that rotate through six distinct interdisciplinary, thematic courses before matriculating to the ‘senior cohort’ where students focus on their individual career pathway. In the senior cohort, students identify and work through internships and college classes as they complete their final year of high school.
The cohort model facilitates a high level of support for students as they work with agency and community partners to become part of the solution to the challenges they investigate. Our sustainable agriculture cohort helps to run the Bethel Farm which provides food to low-income families; our ecology cohort does contracted work with McKenzie River Trust, Lane County, and the Army Corps of Engineers on local environmental restoration projects; our social justice cohorts grant $5,000 every year to local non-profits that support our community. In all our work, students are charged with becoming active citizens in their own community.
Kalapuya strives to empower students with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a livable wage career of their choice – and we work to expose students to the wide variety of careers and post-secondary options that are available. Graduation is seen as a midpoint -not an endpoint- in every student’s trajectory toward a meaningful career. To that end, in order to receive a Kalapuya diploma, every student must enroll in a Lane Community College course and complete a high-skill, high-wage internship. Students have completed intensive internships with a myriad of program partners, including EWEB, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Riverbend Hospital, WorkSource Lane, Bring Recycling, Habitat for Humanity, and many other local businesses.