$8.2 Billion State School Fund Passes Legislative Hurdle
On June 8, the Oregon State Senate approved Senate Bill 5517
which would put $8.2-billion into the State School Fund for the 2017-19 biennium. If approved by the House and signed by Governor Brown, it would represent an 11 percent increase for the State School Fund from the current budget.
During the June 5 Joint Ways & Means Committee hearing, members expressed hope that more funding could be found before the end of session. Senator Rod Monroe, who co-chairs the Joint Ways & Means Subcommittee on Education, said, “This budget is sound. It’s more than the current service level.”
ODE Legislative Coordinator Jan McComb said the bill is now eligible to be voted on by the full House as soon as early next week.
From the outside, it appeared to be an average second grade math class. The topic was adding two two-digit numbers and one student was explaining one of the ways to get a result. The only difference is that while the class was at Heritage Elementary in Woodburn, Oregon, the language being spoken in the class was Russian. And the student had no problem explaining his results even though three years earlier, he knew no Russian at all.
Woodburn has two dual-language programs; one in Russian, the other Spanish. State Board of Education members and some Oregon Department of Education (ODE) officials had the opportunity to tour Heritage Elementary and Nellie Muir Elementary on May 24, the day before their board meeting in Woodburn to see the programs firsthand.
“It doesn’t matter what language you learn a math concept in,” Woodburn Superintendent Chuck Ransom told board members. “Once a student learns it, they can do math in either language.”
Ransom credits the foresight of his predecessors in administration and on the school board for starting the dual-language program.
State Board members were impressed by their visit. “Brain-based research supports the strength of dual-language learning,” Board member Kimberly Howard said. “Add to that, that language is a cultural asset and teaching culture is a place-based way to reflect the richness of a diverse community, then you have me thinking, how can we scale this, system-wide?”
OSCIM Helps Small and Rural Districts
With the May 16 election results final, the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching (OSCIM) Program is finished with its grants for the current biennium. Seven districts received matching grants by passing bond efforts last month, bringing the total to 30 grants over two years with a combined value of $125 million. Of those, 11 grants went to schools with fewer than 1,000 students and seven grants went to districts with enrollments between 1,000 and 2,000 students.
As the map shows, districts all over the state have received grants. The 30 bond issues combined represent $2.3 billion in construction and an economic impact far beyond that in the communities that approved the bonds.
“The OSCIM Program has been a key factor in contributing to the overall success of local bond campaigns,” Oregon Department of Education Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Administration Rick Crager said. “It has been critical in providing needed funding to improve the quality and safety of our schools, particularly in areas that have traditionally either not been able to pass a local school bond, or have lacked the ability to finance the entire capital need through a school bond.”
The Oregon State Police launched SafeOregon, a school safety tip line program available to all public K-12 schools in Oregon, on January 31, 2017. SafeOregon is a way for students, staff or other members of the public to confidentially report and share information about a risk or a potential risk to student safety. SafeOregon requires schools to complete a sign-up process in order for students to use it. Since SafeOregon was launched, 260 schools have enrolled and are using the tip line. That reaches approximately 110,000 Oregon students. SafeOregon gives students a way to reach out for help.
SafeOregon became Law through House Bill 4075 (2016), as a result of recommendations from the Oregon Task Force on School Safety, which was charged with improving safety and security at schools across the state. The task force was established by House Bill 4087, bringing together representatives from police, fire, school administration, teachers, school boards and service districts, along with the Governor's education and public safety policy advisors, legislators, the Oregon Department of Education and the Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs. The task force is chaired by Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts and Dr. David Novotney, Willamette Education Service District.
SafeOregon is designed to encourage Oregon students to share and respond to anything that poses a risk to their safety or the safety of others, anything that makes a student feel unsafe or if a student knows someone who feels unsafe.
For more information, please visit www.safeoregon.com
. The resource page has more information for students and families, and helpful information for schools to sign up. Students and families are encouraged to talk to their school administration about making SafeOregon available in their school.
It is a violation of ORS 165.570 to improperly use the SafeOregon system.
Rachel Gwaltney, director of policy and partnerships, National Summer Learning Association
The phenomenon of “the summer slide,” also called “summer setback” or “summer learning loss,” is upon us. In fact, educational research suggests that summer learning loss is one of the most significant causes of underachievement in America. Consider that students spend 80 percent of their time outside of the classroom. What they do during that time has a tremendous impact on their educational outcomes.
Each summer, on average, students lose between 1 and 3 months of learning in reading and math. What does that mean to our schools? Here’s one way to think about it: If a student gains nine months of learning during the school year but then loses three months of learning during the summer, it’s as if the school year is just 6 months long. Teachers see it firsthand: sixty-six percent of teachers surveyed by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) reported that it takes them at least three to four weeks to re-teach the previous years' skills.
Within a rapidly shifting education landscape, states have many opportunities to support students during the summer months. NSLA’s analysis of state plans for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) reveals specific strategies for states to combine federal and state investments to help drive student success with targeted summer activities. These include places where summer is explicitly named as a programmatic strategy or allowable use of funds, as well as provisions within ESSA that are a natural fit for summer opportunities.
The Oregon ESSA plan released May 3, 2017 reflects some of the best practices for states to include summer as a strategy for supporting student achievement.
Foremost, Oregon is tapping into one of the most important themes of ESSA: collaboration. The ODE ESSA plan recognizes that “Through expanded learning opportunities, students receive academic enrichment, work-related learning, social-emotional supports and caring relationships through after school and summer programs and community based learning.” ESSA has many elements that require or recommend community and family input, and NSLA sees states tapping these stakeholders with expertise about what kids need outside of school to select the most effective strategies.
ESSA’s focus on a well-rounded education includes both in-school and out-of-school learning opportunities, with emphasis on community partnerships and evidence-based practices. Districts have great flexibility to select activities tailored to the needs of each community. These can range from STEM learning to foreign language to arts education. Research from RAND
shows that voluntary district summer programs have a positive impact on student success. With many of these activities already underway during summer, districts can look to this funding to boost or expand their summer enrichments.
Finally, ESSA targets specific groups of students that particularly benefit from summer supports. Oregon and other state plans include summer reading and math supports for migrant and homeless students, recognizing this time as critical for intensive, targeted instruction for students who may be behind their peers due to factors beyond the school building. States are also putting in place summer bridge programs that help students and families successfully make key school transitions, such as from pre-k to kindergarten, middle school to high school, and high school to college.
Summer learning loss has been described as an epidemic, affecting millions of kids, causing academic and economic harm, and hitting low-income families the hardest. High quality summer learning is a solution to reverse this trend, keep kids on track between grade levels, and ensure students go back to school each year ready to learn.