PTS Rising Report

News and happenings from across Phoenix-Talent SD

Superintendent's Message

Dear Families,

As we head into Thanksgiving week, it brings a wide range of emotions for many of us, our kids, and our families. Sometimes the holidays are marked mostly by feelings of love and happiness, but we also know that this time of year can be very tough on our mental health. Some of us have lost loved ones; others feel the pressure to provide for our family with limited resources. Then there’s the disconnect many have felt over the last two years.

Recently, I listened to a keynote speaker, Brandon Fleming, who was simply amazing. The short Youtube video and his website will give you a sense of what he shared. He spoke at the annual School Board Association conference last weekend and it moved our local boards so much that we hope to partner and bring him to our region next fall.

Mr. Fleming left us with this: Is it as easy as “Love and Compassion?” Specifically, if we lead with love and compassion, will that foster understanding and empathy for those we work with, for those we serve, and for those we live near?

Well, a teacher changed his life and path by demonstrating authentic love and compassion. Think of a time when someone did that for you...that is something to be thankful for this season.

I hope you have experienced love and compassion that made a difference in who you are and I hope you share that with others. I know I will be intentional about leading with that from now on.

With that, I hope you enjoy some time with loved ones next week. We truly have a special community! Take care of yourself, your family, your friends, and each other.

Brent Barry, Superintendent

What's Happening

Family Focus

When the Krause family lost its home in the Almeda fire in 2020, dad Mark Krause said finding a way back to Talent and the Talent Elementary community became a top priority.

“We wanted to be back here and it took a little time to realize that,” he said. “It was very difficult to drive through town for a long time but once we started to feel homesick for the area, we definitely wanted to come back. The sense of community felt solid here before the fire but there’s nothing like that experience to bring people closer together.”

The Krause family – Mark, mom Andrea, fourth-grader Finn, and Skyler, who will start kindergarten there in 2023 – has been an integral part of the TES community for years, and recently Mark, who teaches a class on neuroscience and animal behavior at Southern Oregon University, was elected Parent-Teacher Association president.

Well, maybe not exactly elected.

“I could see it coming slowly crawling toward me, the role as president,” he said, “because eventually everyone else has served and it becomes your turn. It’s a well-known story.”

Mark said it’s a big responsibility, especially for two working parents – Andrea is a program manager for communicable diseases at Jackson County Health and Human Services – but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I really enjoy interacting with other parents,” he said, “and I enjoy being able to work directly with teachers. And also, our students really appreciate having events that give them a sense of school community so I really enjoy helping with putting those things together.”

As for what TES has meant to Finn, Mark says fourth-grade Two-Way Bilingual Immersion teacher Kathleen Lemcke has made a huge impact. Kathleen was Finn’s first-grade teacher and just happened to switch to fourth grade in time to get Finn again. Finn couldn’t be happier about being reunited with his former teacher, and Mark has been blown away by Finn’s progress, particularly when it comes to speaking Spanish.

“There have been families and other students in Finn’s class that we’ve really liked getting to know so it’s been fantastic,” he said. “And I took a few years (of Spanish) and tried to hang on to it as much as possible, but clearly I’m rusty because Finn is correcting me on my pronunciations all the time.”

Stellar Student

Going into the Class 4A state championship cross country race, Phoenix High senior Kyla Potratz knew her championship aspirations depended upon her ability to execute a daunting strategy: she would need to find a way to hang with La Grande's Emily Tubbs, a notoriously fast starter, for a grueling first 1,000 to 3,000 meters. Then, she would need to find an extra gear, assuming it would still be available, and bury the field.

The plan, concocted in part by PHS cross country coach John Cornet, looked risky as Potratz and Tubbs flew through the first 2,500 meters in lockstep, but Potratz left Tubbs in the dust over the final mile of the 5,000-meter race and was all alone as she hit the track at Lane Community College for the last 300 meters. She ended up winning the school's first girls' state cross country title in 18 minutes, 47.5 seconds, her first-ever sub-19-minute 5K on a cross country course.

"It's, honestly, a bit hard to wrap my head around and it's pretty overwhelming," Potratz told the Mail Tribune after the win. "It's been a goal of mine for a really long time."

Besides being extremely fast, Potratz is also a three-sport athlete and a 4.0 student who's a part of Club Rush, PHS Student Leadership, and the PHS Scavenger Hunt team.

Here's a Q&A that Kyla filled out for us:

What was going through your mind during the state championship race?

Well, it’s kinda hard. Most of my thoughts were about where I was in the race and who I was around, but I remember one distinct time before the second mile I thought about how much I wanted to win and that really helped me stay up with (Tubbs), who led most of the race.

What is your favorite thing to do over the weekend?

My favorite thing to do over the weekend would be maybe movie marathons or hanging out with my friends.

What advice would you give to the freshman version of yourself?

I would tell my freshman self to just relax and have more fun with friends and school.

Who is an adult at school that you know you can count on and why?

There are a lot of adults at the school that I trust. One that comes to mind is Mr. Rodman because he always makes time to talk if I need it.

Pride of PTS

Longtime Talent Middle School teacher Sandra Tringolo has been a teacher for 24 years, including 19 with the Phoenix-Talent School District - all at TMS. Besides being an outstanding language arts teacher, she serves as the advisor for the TMS scavenger hunt team and the yearbook team, both of which struck gold recently. The yearbook team was honored as one of only five "Gold level" recipients of the Jostens National Yearbook Program of Excellence award a few weeks ago, and the scavenger hunt team won the SOU Youth Programs Scavenger Hunt last year (the team will be defending its title soon).

Want to know more about the amazing Sandra Tringolo? Here's a Q&A:

What would students be surprised to find out about you?

My favorite subject in high school was math…loved it so much I took a double-period calculus class my senior year! If not for a few key choices in college, I could be my students' math teacher right now!

What is your definition of a “good day” at school?

A good day is one where we spend the day smiling, whether it’s the excitement over spirit day, simple daily connections, or students having fun sharing stories they wrote. And Scavenger Hunt kick-off, that’s always a good day and the day I probably look forward to the most each year (countdown to Nov 29!).

If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would it be?

No matter what, be yourself. Love who you are, be proud of who you are, and move through life knowing you deserve all the wonderful things life has to offer.

Important Dates

  • Nov. 23: Thanksgiving break begins, no school.
  • Nov. 24: Thanksgiving Day.
  • Dec. 1: Latino Parent Night at Phoenix High School.
  • Dec. 8: School Board meeting (6-8 PM).
  • Dec. 10: Flea Market Craft Fair at Phoenix High School (9 AM-4PM).
  • Dec. 13: Winter Music Showcase at Talent Middle School, 6:30 PM.

Flyers and other dowloadables

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Phoenix-Talent School District

Together, we shall meet the challenges of preparing responsible, creative, lifelong learners