Legislative Update: ODE Provides Comprehensive Agency Information at Budget Hearings
Budget hearings are underway at the State Capitol and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) presented the governor’s proposal for education investment during nine separate meetings of the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education
. Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor, joined each day by the leaders of various ODE offices, laid out the investment plan in the Governor’s recommended budget, which calls for an overall increase in funding of about $900 million for the 2017-19 biennium compared to the legislatively approved budget currently in place. That would mean a total of $10.67 billion over the two-year budget cycle.
Dr. Noor told the committee that an increase in the State School Fund, which gives money directly to districts, is the major source of the budget’s growth. The biggest driver for the State School Fund increase comes from the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). He said there is also a growing caseload in areas like child nutrition and students with disabilities that requires the state to increase funding. Oregon is also seeing a change in student demographics where more than 36 percent of students are non-white, 10 percent are English learners and 13 percent receive special education services. “We have to be responsive to their needs,” Dr. Noor said.
In a message to ODE staff, Dr. Noor wrote, “It is still very early in the legislative process and at this point there are still many unknowns. We anticipate many of the budget decisions will not be made until after the May 2017 revenue forecast.” View all of the testimony on the legislature’s website
. ODE also live tweeted the hearings to help those who could not attend. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@ORDeptEd
) to stay up to date on other important hearings at the Capitol and the latest news from ODE!
Tribal Attendance Pilot Projects Support Student Success
Family advocates working as part of ODE’s Tribal Attendance Pilot Projects (TAPP) around the state met in Salem February 16. Each had stories of success to share about their program, aimed at reducing the rates of chronic absenteeism among the American Indian/Alaska Native population in the state. Since improved attendance rates reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates, supporting students in attending class regularly has significant, long-term benefits.
All agree that making school a welcoming environment is key. “Connections are important,” said Scott Smyth, who works with families in the Burns Paiute Tribe in the Harney County School District. “Families can trust us and it feeds into the feeling that school is OK.”
“Attendance is more than just saying ‘Here,’” Felicia McNair said. She works with the Klamath Tribes in the Klamath County School District. She added that by recognizing positive actions and letting families see how missed days add up have raised overall attendance by over seven percent.
Jason Moore, North Bend School District family advocate who works with the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw Indians, said home visits can reveal problems that lead to poor attendance. Sometimes it’s as simple as providing an alarm clock for a family. He also helped a mother create a chore chart for her children so that they would be up and out of the house on time.
Nearly every program had examples of increased attendance rates not only among American Indian/Alaska Native students, but for all students in the schools they serve. That’s important because on assessments, chronically absent students perform far below their peers with better attendance and graduate at a far lower rate as well. They have to be in class in order to learn and there may even be side benefits: Mary Mueller who works with the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians as a family advocate for the Lincoln County School District, said the best part was seeing one of her students win an attendance award and then say, “I think I like school now!”
For more information about TAPP, contact Indian Education Specialist Ramona Halcomb
Oregon School for the Deaf Teams Score Basketball Victories
Congratulations Oregon School for the Deaf Panthers! The last weekend in January was a successful one for the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams at the Oregon School for the Deaf. The Panthers boys team won the Western States Basketball Classic Tournament, a competition involving six deaf schools in the region. The girls team took third place. Congratulations to both!
Oregon Response to Intervention Conference to focus on Serving Oregon's Diverse Learners
Oregon Response to Instruction and Intervention (ORTIi) is holding its annual conference April 27-28 in Eugene. According to ORTIi Director Dr. David Putnam, the purpose of the conference is twofold: share evidence-based practices in a way that is pragmatic and applicable to solving real-world problems; and bring together educators from across the state to facilitate connections, networking, and a structure of mutual support for moving these practices forward and educating all learners, especially historically underserved populations.
Oregon Department of Education (ODE) staff will be among those presenting at the 90 breakout sessions members can access. Topics include dyslexia legislation, Early Learning and Kindergarten guidelines and the future of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support in Oregon. Visit the conference webpage for more information on registration.
The keynote speaker is Dr. Anthony Muhammad, whose presentation will be on closing the achievement gap. There will also be a pre-conference titled “Actions to Equity” on April 26 which will feature members of ODE’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team. Organizers are expecting hundreds of participants, so be sure to register soon!
Oregon’s Next Teacher of the Year Sought
Do you know an outstanding teacher who exemplifies the very best in the profession? Please nominate your choice for the 2018 Oregon Teacher of the Year! Each year, the Oregon Department of Education, in partnership with the Oregon Lottery, honors teachers and their impact on students’ lives through the Oregon Teacher of the Year award. The award recognizes an outstanding teacher as a representative of all of the educators in our state and gives Oregonians an opportunity to share information on teachers who are making a difference in their communities. Nominating is an easy, four-step online form. To nominate an educator for 2018 Oregon Teacher of the Year, click here
. The deadline for nominations is Friday, May 12, 2017 and the award will be announced later this fall.
Educators Invited to Apply for Deputy Superintendent’s Advisory Council Membership
Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Salam Noor is inviting Oregon educators to apply for the Deputy Superintendent's Advisory Council
. This council is responsible for advising Dr. Noor on education initiatives and policies and providing feedback on how the state can best support Oregon students, educators, and schools. Individuals from all content areas and grade levels, including classroom teachers, counselors, and TOSA's, are encouraged to apply for the next two-year cycle. Applicants need only complete this short application
by close of business on Friday, April 28, 2017.