PTS Rising Report

News and happenings from across Phoenix-Talent SD

Superintendent's Message

Dear PTS families,

As you probably have learned by now the Phoenix-Talent School district has seen an increase in the number of students considered “chronically absent,” which is defined as missing 10% or more of school days regardless of whether those absences are excused, unexcused or discipline-related.

These numbers indicate that many of our students are facing a colossal challenge, as regular attendance is as important a metric as any when it comes to academic performance. For that reason, we have taken steps to prioritize attendance at each of our schools. As great as the PTS staff is, however, this #EveryDayMatters campaign can only go so far without your help.

I understand that there are some absences that cannot be avoided, but for the others, I hope that you will do what you can to ensure your child(ren) makes it to school whenever possible. If you’re not sure whether they are healthy enough to attend, please call your school’s front office and check in before deciding to keep them home. Try to schedule medical appointments and vacations for days when school isn’t in session, and if your family is facing obstacles that make school attendance challenging please reach out to our Community Care team. They are here to help.

Lastly, I’d like to recognize the entire PTS staff, the Phoenix High School staff and the Class of 2022 after the Oregon Department of Education’s recent data dump revealed that PHS had the highest on-time graduation rate in the Rogue Valley last school year. According to the numbers, 141 of the 148 students (95.27%) in that adjusted cohort earned their diploma, which marks the second year in a row that PHS topped the 95% mark. Amazing!

Thank you for reading and please scroll down to learn about an incredible honor bestowed upon assistant superintendent Tiffanie Lambert, and to read about an amazing PTS staff member, a hard-working student and very special Orchard Hill family.

Brent Barry, superintendent

What's Happening

Family Focus

The Pariseau family is new to the Orchard Hill Elementary community but they’ve already made a major impact. They – father Kenny, mother Rebecca, kindergartner Acacia and 4-year-old Shanoah – were nominated for this edition’s Family Focus by a staff member who noticed an act of kindness. Specifically, the Pariseaus paid for an ADA-accessible ramp for an OHES family in need, installed Christmas lights on their house and gave them a Christmas tree and gift cards.

Turns out, that was only the latest in a long line of donations for which the Pariseaus are responsible.

After the September 8, 2020 Almeda fire, Kenny and Rebecca decided to start a company called Rogue Relief Renovations whose purpose, said Kenny, is to “help the people who were left behind from the fire.”

How does it do that? RRR’s specialty in the winter is Christmas lights and Christmas decoration installations, and Kenny says business is booming. Instead of keeping the profits, however, the Pariseaus feed that money back into the community – sometimes in the form of special projects, other times in the form of lightscaping, and occasionally both. Often the hardest part, Kenny says, is finding people in need.

One day, Acacia came home from school with a note in her backpack. Apparently, there was a local family that needed a wheelchair ramp.

A bell went off in Kenny’s head as he read the note. “I was like, well, this is exactly the kind of opportunity I’m looking for – somebody to help.”

Everything fell neatly into place over the next few weeks, during which Kenny traded two lightscaping jobs for gift cards, landed enough donated Christmas lights to decorate the family’s entire house, and convinced Lowe’s to sell him a tree for half price. When an OHES staffer explained that buying the wheelchair ramp would take longer than expected due to an unfortunate web of red tape, he quickly came up with a solution. “I said, ‘Just give me the item number and I’ll buy it. So she gave me the item number and I bought it right then and there.”

Not long after that Kenny arrived at the home to install the Christmas lights that the family did not ask for or expect. While there, he noticed that their gutter was falling down. No problem. Kenny has formerly worked as a gutter repairman – a few days later that gutter, he said, was stronger than the house.

In all, Kenny estimates, the donations to the family equaled about $2,000, including $500 in gift cards. Initially, though, the family was unsure how to react. The first time he met the mother and daughter of the family, he noticed that the 9-year-old daughter was a little apprehensive and shy. Kenny had an idea.

“I was like, ‘I got a surprise,’ he said. He then went to his truck to retrieve his two daughters, who were excited to be introduced to a new friend.

“They just played their little hearts out.”

Stellar Student: Kylee Goodman

Phoenix High junior Kylee Goodman is an honor roll student who is carrying a 3.8 GPA, but it's her outstanding effort and attitude that have impressed her teachers the most.

"Kylee Goodman is an extremely motivated and driven student - getting her license right away, a job, while also trying to maintain a high GPA," said one of her teachers. "She comes ready to work on her assignments each day and I am so impressed by her work ethic.”

Another teacher agreed: "Kylee is a hard worker and a team player who focuses on completing the task to the benefit of all in her group. She advocates for herself and her teammates and strives to do the best she can every day.”

Here is a Q&A with Kylee:

A staff member described you as an extremely motivated and driven student. Where do you think you get that from?

I think I get it from my parents always being hard on me and just in general, wanting to have a good job when I’m older.

What are the best places for kids your age to make friends other than school? Why are these good options?

Work is a good option to make friends because you don’t only get to make friends but make money as well.

If a new student joined one of your classes, what could you do or say to help them feel welcome?

Hi, my name is Kylee. Would you like to hang out at lunch with me and my friends?

What is something that makes your family special?

My mom and I have been through a lot but no matter what we always have each other's back.

Pride of PTS: Deni Goodwin

In 2001, Deni Goodwin started volunteering once a week at her son's kindergarten class at Talent Elementary. Within four years that once-a-week commitment had turned into a four-days-a-week gig and in 2007 she was approved by the Phoenix-Talent School District to be a part-time employee to monitor the cafeteria.

Deni worked as a substitute in every classified position (library, office, instructional aide, special education aide) for one year before being hired as an instructional aide/playground aide at Orchard Hill, where she worked for 11 years. She transferred to Phoenix-Talent Rising Academy in 2020 and continued to work as an instructional aide until the start of this school year when she became PTRA's office manager.

In her current role, Deni has earned much respect and admiration from her peers.

As one of her co-workers put it, "Deni Goodwin the reason that the school survives! She has several roles and does such an amazing job! Not only does she run our office, she managed parents, students k-12 and helps our two teachers out. She is our rock!"

PTRA principal Aaron Santi, who is also the PTS administrator of magnet programs, assessment, and evaluation, added that Deni's versatility is something to behold.

"Deni is the beating heart of PTRA," he said. "She handles all of the office and instructional support functions for our school and does an amazing job balancing all of her responsibilities. In addition, she provides personalized assistance to our families whether they need help accessing an online learning platform or social services within the community. Our school would not be the same without her!"

Here's is Deni Goodwin's Q&A:

What are some of the challenges in education related to remote learning that people may not know about?

We were/are creating PTRA from scratch while teaching students, the proverbial 'building the airplane while flying it.'

What would students be surprised to find out about you?

I will read anything when I don't have a book -- back of the cereal box, my car's owner's manual, even a parts catalog once while waiting at the mechanic. My phone has 100s of books on it now so I'm never without a book.

What inspires you?

Brené Brown and her work on vulnerability and authenticity.

What current trends are baffling to you? Why?

I'm not really baffled by trends but I am baffled by a couple we saw driving a convertible with the top down in the snow.

What is your first memory from school since you joined PTS?

When I was volunteering at TES, another volunteer and I were creating the yearbook and we wanted a photo with all 400 students. The principal got a hoist that lifted me as high as the roof of the covered area, the whole school gathered on the field, and I got the photo.

Important Dates

  • February: Black History Month.

  • February 2: PTS School Board meeting (6-8 pm at Orchard Hill Elementary).

  • February 6-10: National School Counseling Week.
  • February 9: Latino Parent Night (6-8 pm at PHS commons).
  • February 15: School Resource Officer Appreciation Day.
  • February 16: PTS School Board meeting (6-8 pm at Orchard Hill Elementary).
  • February 20: Presidents Day (no school).
  • February 22: Career Technical Education Night (6 pm at Phoenix High School).
  • February 26: FFA Winter Auction (5:30 pm at Phoenix High School commons).

Flyers and other dowloadables

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Phoenix-Talent School District

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