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August 2017 Education Update

Oregon Achieves... Together!

A Message from Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor

Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor
Welcome back! I hope you found time to relax and enjoy another beautiful Oregon summer. For most students, families, and educators, August represents a time of transition and change, and one of excitement and forward momentum as we make plans and prepare for another productive, successful school year. 

In this back-to-school message, I want to share with you how the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) will provide greater support, guidance, and resources to schools, districts, and education service districts over the coming year. We have learned a great deal about education systems under No Child Left Behind’s sanctions-based approach; moving forward under the Every Student Succeeds Act, our priority as a state department is to play an active role in collaborating with local districts to design and employ systems aimed at continuous growth and improvement. As an agency, we acknowledge that one-size-does-not-fit-all – not for students and not for school districts and communities. To that end, we will tailor our approach to provide better service and differentiated supports to districts. 

One critical component to improving our practices at ODE depends on better understanding the experiences of school districts. As a state agency, we are pivoting our work to forge productive partnerships that eliminate and break down barriers. Together, we are invested in and responsible for Oregon’s students, and it is paramount that we strive to align our efforts to improve outcomes for all, particularly those students who are historically underserved.

I want to underscore ODE’s commitment to educational equity. Staff and agency leadership have worked diligently over the summer to review and update ODE’s strategic plan, which has identified and prioritized systems-level changes – aimed at advancing equity – and designed to initiate and enhance supportive and solutions-oriented practices, programs, and policies. 

In light of the violent acts of racism and hatred that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, I am reminded of our call as educators to ensure our classrooms and schools are safe, welcoming, and free of discrimination. We all play a vital role in creating an inclusive environment for students and staff, regardless of gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability. It is equally imperative that families feel safe and welcome in our schools, especially as they support students in navigating such challenges in schools and the community.

As you embark on the 2017-18 school year, I encourage you to use ODE as a resource, and reach out by sharing your experiences and thinking. Your leadership matters greatly to the future of our students and the success of our education system.

Thank you for your commitment to supporting all of our students. 

ODE Launches Graduation Improvement Resources

The ODE is pleased to announce the launch of new resources for school districts around graduation improvement. A new section of the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) website highlights critical elements and strategies shown to improve graduation rates in Oregon schools. The elements and strategies come from a report, now available on the website, which examined what was working in Oregon, research about these strategies and suggestions for how these best practices could be implemented elsewhere.

The report and website list eight critical elements to graduation: Leadership, Start Strong, Whole Child Approach, Inclusive School Culture, Quality Data Systems, P-20 Seamless Education System, Clear Education Pathways and Effective Instructional Practices. Each of these elements has a number of strategies being used around the state. The website provides details about the strategies with specific examples of Oregon districts that are implementing them. The goal is to provide a resource so districts can learn from each other and implement successful strategies to support students in their paths to graduation.

“The report and website resources derive from collaboration between ODE, school districts, education service districts and other partners to help boost Oregon’s graduation rate,” ODE Education Specialist Jennell Ives said. “Our role at the department is to bring together expertise, research and best practices so districts have additional, easily accessible resources to support them in serving students.” 

The web pages are constantly being updated with new strategy reports, and schools and districts can submit their own stories on graduation improvement that could be used in a future report. While schools and districts may gain the most from the site, there are resources for families as well.

In each issue of our newsletter, we will share timely and relevant information and resources about the implementation of Oregon’s Plan under ESSA. 

Take the Survey:  Oregon’s Report Card Redesign

ODE needs your input on the redesign of school and district report cards! Please share and take our online survey, which is also available in Spanish here.

The redesigned report cards will be released in October 2018 and will include two primary products:

  1. An at-a-glance report card. This full-color printable communication tool is designed specifically for families and community members.
  2. An online, multiple measures dashboard. This web-based tool will contain detailed information about Oregon schools and districts.

Why the Redesign?

During the development of the Oregon State Plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), ODE conducted extensive outreach and tribal consultation, much of which will inform the report card redesign. In particular, citizens advised ODE to: 

  • Use multiple measures of student success including academic performance, attendance, graduation rate, student engagement, proficiency in relevant skills, or the percentage of students entering and succeeding in postsecondary education and career. 
  • Focus on individual student growth and achievement toward students’ personal goals. 
  • Measure school quality beyond academic achievement including school climate, staff absenteeism, extracurricular activities, family engagement, number and quality of clubs and sports, and academic support to struggling students. 

In tandem with this community-based stakeholder outreach, ODE convened an accountability work group comprised of educators, administrators, families, and other key stakeholders who produced three main recommendations: 

  • Develop a multiple-measures dashboard to report school success. 
  • Do not provide overall ratings for schools. 
  • Include Chronic Absenteeism, Freshman-On-Track, and Five-year Completion Rates in the state’s accountability system. 

Please visit our website to view an FAQ and more information. 

Well-Rounded Education

Title IV-A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Program is intended to increase the capacity to provide all students with access to a well-rounded education; improve school conditions for student learning, and improve the use of technology. Please check out these new resources:

For more information contact Theresa Richards at 503-947-5922.

OHA Expands Youth Marijuana Use Prevention Campaign

StayTruetoYouCampaignA campaign aimed at preventing youth marijuana use is now being spread statewide following a successful pilot program. The Oregon Health Authority’s Stay True to You campaign builds upon extensive audience research and focus groups that showed youth and young adults are eager for more information on the effects of marijuana use.  

“Research shows that our audience was receptive to the Stay True to You campaign,” said Kati Moseley, policy specialist at OHA’s Public Health Division. “With this expansion, youth and young adults statewide will hear the message that marijuana use should be delayed until adulthood or avoided entirely.”

The statewide campaign will advertise across a variety of media, but the bulk of advertising will take place on digital and streaming video to most effectively reach the youth audience. Other campaign elements include a social media presence (#StayTrueOregon), a website and promotions and outreach to organizations where youth gather. 

56th United States Senate Youth Program United States Senate  Youth Program

Applications are open for qualifying high school juniors and seniors to apply for the 2017-18 United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP). The U.S. Senate Youth Program is an annual scholarship competition funded by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and endorsed by the U.S. Senate. It is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service. This year, two Oregon delegates will each receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate studies and attend a one-week, all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. on March 3-10, 2018.

All high school juniors and seniors must be nominated to apply by their high school principal or designated school official in order to be considered for the program. School officials must develop a process for selection of a nominee(s) from the school, publicize the process and opportunity to all qualifying juniors and seniors, and identify a student(s) to apply. Nominated students must show demonstrated leadership through public service in elected or appointed positions in organizations that relate to government, public affairs, history, and/or community service. They must be actively serving in qualified leadership positions for the entire 2017-18 academic year.

Applications are due to the Oregon Department of Education on Friday, October 13, 2017. Please view the process requirements on the department’s USSYP webpage for additional details, or contact Jenni Knaus at 503-947-5860. 

COSA Teaching, Learning & Assessment Institute Successful; Resources Available

ConfederationofOregonSchoolAdministratorsIf you weren’t able to attend this year’s Summer Institute hosted by the Confederation of Oregon School administrators (COSA) and sponsored in part by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), you can still benefit from some of the information presented there. Many of the dozens of presenters have uploaded their materials so they can be viewed by attendees and by those who couldn’t make it. Check out the events page on the COSA website for information about upcoming seminars and workshops!

Oregon's English Learner Program Receives National Recognition 

PioneeringChangereportA report titled Pioneering Change: Leveraging Data to Reform English Learner Education in Oregon is bringing attention to Oregon’s policies aimed at improving outcomes for this group of students. The report was prepared by New America, a Washington, D.C. think tank. It gives an overview of House Bill 3499, which created the English Learner (EL) Advisory Group and paved the way for the EL Strategic Plan. The report on Oregon’s system is part of a larger effort by New America to highlight successes in EL education.
For more information on the EL Advisory Group and EL Strategic Plan, contact Taffy Carlisle or Victoria Garcia.

September is Attendance Awareness Month!

Tribal Attendance Pilot ProjectStudents are heading back to school, and ODE is joining with its national, state and local partners to support students in getting to school. One partner, Attendance Works, is “a national and state initiative that promotes better policy and practice around school attendance.” Attendance Works is helping coordinate activities focused on improving attendance, and will offer a free webinar on Tuesday, September 12, at 11:00 a.m. that will feature ODE Chronic Absenteeism  Specialist Robin Shobe, Indian Education Specialist Ramona Halcomb and Willamina Schools Superintendent Carrie Zimbrick to talk about the Tribal Attendance Pilot Project (TAPP). You can register for the webinar by clicking here!

If your school is not already signed up for SafeOregon, a school safety tip line program available to all public K-12 schools, now is a great time to do so! 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. 

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 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.

College Savings Plan Rolls Out Statewide

BeCollegeReadyThe Oregon 529 Savings Network launched the Be College Ready program in 2015-16 as a pilot program in five school districts, who implemented it in their elementary schools. The simple goal of Be College Ready was to help young families learn the value of saving for higher education early in a child’s life, using the Oregon College Savings Plan. With results showing an increase in Oregon College Savings Plan accounts among participating school districts and communities, the Network expanded Be College Ready from five school districts to 15 school districts for the 2016-2017 school year and saw similar results. 

Based on the success of the Be College Ready program these past two school years, the Network is proud to announce that Be College Ready will be a statewide program for the 2017-2018 school year. The program will now be open to all public elementary schools, private elementary schools and homeschooled children of elementary school age across Oregon.

Be College Ready was uniquely designed to be easy for elementary schools to incorporate. Here is how the program works:
  • Participating schools will receive free homework folders, pencils and bookmarks for every student.
  • 100 families (20 per each of the five congressional school districts) will be eligible to win a $100 Oregon College Savings Plan account.
  • Schools will simply be asked to distribute information to parents and provide opportunities for parents and families to learn more about funding higher education expenses and how the Oregon College Savings Plan can help.
Schools/school districts can visit  to order free supplies for their elementary school students. Elementary school supplies can either be ordered directly by the elementary school or ordered by the school district and then distributed to elementary schools by the district office.   It is up to each district or school how they would like to place orders for their elementary school-aged students.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding Be College Ready and/or would be interested in having staff come to your community to inform the public about Be College Ready and/or other programs, please contact the Oregon 529 Savings Network Outreach Director John Valley at 503-432-1618.

In 2007, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2574, which authorized the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to establish a beginning teacher and administrator mentoring program.  In 2013, the mentoring program became part of the Network of Quality Teaching and Learning.  The Oregon Mentoring Program was started to provide support to beginning teachers, principals, and superintendents through an evidence-based mentorship program.  A priority of Oregon’s educational system is to recruit and retain teachers and administrators of the highest quality.  As part of this goal, the Oregon Department of Education provided grants to support beginning teacher or administrator mentoring programs as part of a larger induction strategy.  The grants fund individual school districts or consortia comprised of school districts, ESDs, and universities.  Grant-in-aid has been allocated yearly from 2008-current school year.  An estimated total of 1,304 beginning teachers will receive support and 82 beginning principals/superintendents will have a mentor as a result of the 2017-2018 Oregon Mentoring Grants.  

The Oregon Department of Education has awarded the following entities Oregon’s 2017-2019 Mentoring Grants for Beginning Teachers and Administrators:
  • Douglas ESD Region Supports New Educators      
  • East Columbia Collaborative
  • High Desert Mentor Consortium
  • Lincoln County SD New Teacher Induction Project  
  • Mentoring for Excellence: Portland Public Schools 
  • Mid-Willamette Valley Consortium Mentor Project
  • North Coast Mentoring Consortium 
  • Roseburg New Teacher Mentoring Program       Southern Oregon Mentoring Consortium 
  • St. Beaver Mentoring Collaborative     
Contact Tanya Frisendahl, ODE Education Specialist for more information: 503-947-5754.

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