Mt. Tabor Middle School teacher Matthew Bacon-Brenes is Oregon’s 2018 Teacher of the Year! At a ceremony September 19, Oregon Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Salam Noor was joined by Mt. Tabor Middle School Principal Sean Keating in honoring Bacon-Brenes for his innovative practices, passion for excellence, and unwavering commitment to student success.
“Matthew is a master teacher who weaves his value for equity into everything he does,” said Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor. “Through Matthew’s multi-perspective approach to instruction, he ensures that his students grow to be globally informed citizens that can cross cultural divides. He truly represents the best and brightest among Oregon educators, and I am honored to name him Oregon’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.”
Matthew Bacon-Brenes has been foundational in helping create and sustain the Japanese immersion K-12 program in Portland Public Schools over the past 20 years, and his vision for the program has continued to shape its success in the community. Bacon-Brenes facilitates an annual, two-week long Japanese Research Residency trip for 8th grade students and chaperones, where students engage in and research themes around Japanese culture, history, and social science using surveys, interviews and other data-gathering techniques. Following this life-changing experience, students produce a capstone research project that captures their findings.
“Matt’s instructional leadership, unwavering work ethic, and deeply held beliefs around serving all children have been pillars of Mt. Tabor Middle School’s success,” said Jennifer Patterson, senior director of Franklin K-8 Schools for Portland Public Schools. “His humility, humor, and easy going demeanor make it easy for colleagues to learn alongside him and he has a magical influence on the effectiveness of his team as a professional learning community.”
In 2010, Bacon-Brenes was asked by his principal to lead a group of Mt. Tabor staff, administrators and counselors in examining the role of race in their work with students, families and the community. Using a program called Courageous Conversations, the newly formed Equity Team engaged in dialogue about race, privilege, and their own implicit and explicit biases. The work encourages educators to reflect and develop a greater sense of awareness of race and the persistent disparities that exist.
Bacon-Brenes said that his engagement with Courageous Conversations has transformed his work with students, parents, colleagues and curriculum. “I invite everyone to be a part of the Courageous Conversations protocol. While it isolates race, its idea of hearing a version of the facts different from the dominant paradigm has opened Mt. Tabor Middle School to embrace a much broader understanding of gender as well,” he added.
“Our world is changing at an ever-increasing clip. Prompting our students to think critically and creatively about how to manage those changes and participate meaningfully in community and in democracy is how we will foster citizens and leaders who can effectively take our world in a more inclusive, safe and peaceful direction,” said Bacon-Brenes.
The Oregon Teacher of the Year program
is sponsored by the Oregon Department of Education in partnership with the Oregon Lottery. The Lottery provides a $5,000 cash award to the Teacher of the Year and a matching $5,000 award to the teacher’s school.
The Oregon Teacher of the Year is selected after an extensive application process. Nominees from schools throughout Oregon submitted packets of information that included testimonials and letters of support from their principals, superintendents, and colleagues. From the written material, applicants were assessed on leadership, instructional expertise, community involvement, understanding of educational issues, professional development, and vision.
As the 2018 Oregon Teacher of the Year, Matthew Bacon-Brenes will serve as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers. He will attend the Washington Recognition Week for Teachers of the Year in Washington, D.C. this spring, where he will meet the President and the U.S. Secretary of Education. Matthew will also be featured in a television commercial produced by the Oregon Lottery.
Apply Now for African American/Black Student Success Plan Grants
The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Oregon Department of Education is providing $650,000 in strategic investment grant funds for the support of projects focused on success indicators from the African American/Black Student Success Plan
. These funds are being distributed through a competitive grant competition and you can find the Request for Applications (RFA) for the African American/Black Student Success Plan on the ODE website
Every eligible applicant is encouraged to apply. A technical assistance webinar was held on Wednesday, September 27 to provide guidance and answer questions about the RFP process. If you could not attend, a recording of the webinar is posted on the ODE YouTube channel
Contact Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Director Dr. Markisha Smith
via email or phone at 503-947-5669 for more information.
Oregon’s State Plan -- What You Need to Know Now
Smarter Balanced Assessments
Streamlined Test Blueprints for 2017-18 at grades 3-8 and high school
- Reduced testing time! New Smarter Balanced tests will reduce testing time by approximately 1 hour for English Language Arts across all tested grades, as well as a slight reduction in math
High School Assessment
- The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) conducted a Request for Information (RFI) to identify potential test options; two vendors responded, including ACT and SAT
- ODE will release a Request for Proposal (RFP) in Winter 2018 to find out more about the assessments’ alignment to Oregon standards and ability to demonstrate accessibility and accommodations necessary to meet the needs of all Oregon’s high school students, including students with disabilities and English learners
Report Card Redesign
We need your input!
Health and PE Instructional Materials Regional Presentations Planned
The Oregon Department of Education is planning up to 5 regional caravan stops for approved health and physical education (PE) instructional materials. A regional caravan is a full day of presentations related to the new health/PE standards, instructional materials adoption criteria, and diversity and equity in health/PE. This opportunity is aimed at providing professional development for K-12 classroom teachers and school district staff. Potential topics to be covered include the new health and physical education standards and the instructional materials adoption criteria. Publishers will give presentations and have samples of their approved materials on site.
Tentative Regional Events November/December 2017
• Date TBD: Multnomah ESD
• Date TBD: Willamette ESD
• Date TBD: Southern Oregon ESD
• Date TBD: High Desert ESD
• Date TBD: Intermountain ESD
*Final sites will be determined based on level of interest from school districts.
Don’t Forget to Sign Your School Up for the SafeOregon Tip Line!
Now is a great time to sign your school up for SafeOregon, a school safety tip line program available to all public K-12 schools. 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. Before students can use it, though, SafeOregon requires schools to complete a sign-up process.
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 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.
Register Today for COSA Annual Principals Conference
The 2017 Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) Annual Principals Conference is coming up next month in Bend! Be sure to register today
for the Lifting School Leaders event October 22-24. Speakers include Jamie Richardson, the National Digital Principal of the Year; Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, founder and director of The Trauma Stewardship Institute; and Ernest Morrell, Macy Professor of Education and director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME), Teachers College, Columbia University. More information on the speakers and the event, including an agenda, can be found on COSA’s events page