RPA had the opportunity to advocate the benefits of charter schools to the Oregon legislature by hosting the Joint Interim Committee for Student Success (JCSS) Thursday, Sept. 13 and providing testimony at a public hearing later that day.

The legislators arrived at 12:30 to RPA and first met with Dr. John Bullock in the McClay performing arts center. After a half-hour presentation, the legislators individually met with RPA ambassadors to tour the school.

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“[The Senators] are pretty high up there so you don't want to mess up because you really want to give a good name for RPA,” said sophomore and ambassador, Spencer Brakebill. “I thought me and the other two ambassadors I was with did a really good job showing off RPA. I’d say they left with a pretty good impression of RPA.”

The ambassadors took the legislators to see a variety of classes including AP Biology, Ceramics and Advanced ASL. Additionally, they visited staples of the RPA community: the career center and study lab.

“[Senator] Deboer (the senator Brakebill gave a tour to) seemed to be pretty interested in our sports and how those work,” said Brakebill. “Since RPA does not have sports he wanted to know how other school districts thought about having our kids playing sports for them and if it [cost] us anything [or] if it [cost] them anything.”

Later that day the JCSS hosted a public hearing in which three RPA staff members (Sandy Cloud, George Hegarty and Troy Longstroth) provided testimony. The three discussed the effect of proficiency grading on their children as well as commenting on the importance of charter options.

“I'm glad our legislators are hearing from so many constituents from so many places across the state,” said Cloud. “I was pleased for the opportunity to join in the conversation as well."

The JCSS has been touring Ore. for the past year in an effort to explore some of the issues facing schools. Redmond was their 8th stop. The final two tours will be to Portland and Coos Bay.