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Greenville High School to be reinvented

By Debra Moore

[email protected]

Greenville Junior-Senior High School has had its challenges in recent years: declining enrollment, poor Internet access, COVID and then the Dixie Fire. Now, just 30 students attend the school which offers classes for grades 7-12. But Plumas Unified School District has a plan that it thinks will breathe new life into the campus, and the community.

“We are retooling Greenville High School and it’s exciting,” said Superintendent Bill Roderick. “GHS will become a center for Career Technical Education based on agriculture.”

The curriculum, which will meet all standards and college entrance requirements, will be agriculture based: science, social science, business, horticulture, and mechanics — to name some of the classes.

But what about students who might not be interested the agriculture? “Even though the classes are ag-based, they are all education driven and meet all college requirements,” Roderick said.

“We have a tremendous opportunity here,” Roderick said. “We can make a top-notch ag-ed program out there.”

School board president Dave Keller, who is also the trustee who represents the Indian Valley area, thinks it’s a great fit. “It’s an agricultural-based community,” he said. “Just about every kid has some connection to agriculture.”

Keller said he knew that changes had to occur at Greenville High School for some time, and had discussed ideas with former superintendent, Terry Oestreich. “Terry and I used to talk about it quite a bit,” he said. “What do we need to do to improve the school?”

While Keller would like to offer the full high school experience that other communities do, he said that’s not the reality. There are too few students.

He and Roderick are both hopeful that this new approach will draw students to the school. Could students attend from other communities? “Yes,” Roderick said. “Plumas Unified School District is open enrollment so any student could attend. A lot of students could benefit from the hands-on education.”

When the transition is complete, Greenville High School will be for grades 9-12 only, while Greenville Elementary School will become a K-8 campus. The goal is to open the new model in Fall of 2024 to give the district time to hire staff and develop curriculum, but Roderick said it’s possible it could happen in the Fall of 2023, if the process moves faster than anticipated.

Roderick said that this was the perfect moment to reshape Greenville High School since the enrollment is so low. “We want to rebuild the Greenville High School program as the community rebuilds,” he said.

While there will be opportunities for students such as FFA, there won’t be athletics — at least initially. If students want the full high school experience, then they have the option of attending another high school.

But the retooled Greenvilled High School will be able to offer programs the other schools might not: woodshop, metal shop, horticulture, floriculture, a culinary farm to table program. There’s also an opportunity to collaborate with Feather River College, which now offers two ag-oriented bachelor’s degrees — one in equine and ranch management and the new one in ecosystem restoration and applied fire management. Students would also have the opportunity to obtain a welding certificate through the college. Both Roderick and Keller think that the ag-based education offered at Greenville High will be a natural fit with opportunities at Feather River College.

What happens to the staff? They will be offered positions within the district. There are currently five teachers, a couple of aides and an office staff member who will be meeting with district officials to discuss their relocations. But those change won’t happen until the end of this school year.

As for what happens between the end of this school year and the opening of the retooled Greenville High School, Roderick said that a virtual learning program will be offered to students.

A community meeting is planned for Wednesday, March 29, at 6 p.m. at the high school, so the public can ask questions about the plan.

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