INDEPENDENCE — Roseanna Larson has some strong ties to Central High School.
She graduated from CHS in 1990, has taught there for 14 years, and will soon start as assistant principal.
Jason Clark is moving from that position to one in the district office.
“In smaller areas like we live in, those opportunities don’t always come along,” Larson said. “When that came up, I thought I’m going to make sure I pursue this because I don’t want to leave this community.”
Larson has been thinking about shifting to administration for a couple of years, she said.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in humanities and her master’s degree in teaching from Western Oregon University.
She is currently earning her administrator’s license from Portland State University.
“This is where I want to continue and finish out my career here,” Larson said.
Larson teaches English, the Power Peers student leadership class, and is the AVID site coordinator.
“I have worked in a lot of leadership positions and I have served on many of the teams we’ve had — PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports), the trauma-informed cohort, building leadership and English chair,” Larson said.
“I was torn because I really love being in the classroom. I love the students, but I also see that we have a need, in education in general, for leadership that really wants to honor and recognize the student voice.”
As assistant principal, Larson hopes to do more student surveys.
“I think they have so many great ideas,” Larson said. “Through the Power Peers class, I’ve been able to hear the student voice in a different way other than just as a content teacher.”
One recent suggestion about communication came from a Power Peers retreat.
The suggestion would let teachers and students coordinate test dates through a shared document.
“I could look and say, ‘Oh, I’m going to give a quiz on Wednesday, actually no, my freshman kids all have physical science and they’re having a quiz in there.’”
Larson is also part a trauma-informed group at the high school.
“We are one of two schools in the state of Oregon that received a three-year grant to bring a trauma-informed approach to school, so that you are recognizing the fact that most of our students have experienced trauma,” Larson said.
That trauma includes a range of experiences including divorce and poverty, she said.
Thinking about a child’s experiences can help teachers to help them.
This year, teachers taught students breathing techniques to use in stressful situations as well as lessons in recognizing things that may trigger them and how to cope with that.
“As we become more aware, I think it helps us to form better relationships with our students,” Larson said.
One of Larson’s goals is to connect all CHS students in the way those in Powers Peers have connected.
“Some of our students in Power Peers who are graduating this year have talked about what an influence that class had on them,” Larson said. “They became leaders when they didn’t feel they were leaders prior to that.”
Students felt like they had a family in that class, she said.
Larson wants to find “ways for all of our students to feel that there’s a place where they belong, whatever that looks like, because I think that that’s important for humans,” she said.