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December 2020 Education Update

Oregon Achieves... Together!

A Message from the Director of the Oregon Department of Education, Colt Gill

ODE Director Colt Gill 

This year has been a learning experience for all of us, but I think one of the most important messages is that when people come together around a specific purpose, they can bring about immense change. Nowhere is that more clear than in some of the recent actions taken at State Board of Education meetings.

In September, the board approved a temporary rule to ensure all our students are welcome and have full access to their education in Oregon’s schools. The All Students Belong rule prohibits hate symbols, specifically three of the most recognizable symbols of hate — the swastika, the Confederate flag, and the noose - except where used in teaching curricula that are aligned with the Oregon State Standards. It requires districts to adopt and implement policies and procedures for prohibiting symbols of hate and addressing bias incidents by January 1, 2021. We are pleased to see that many districts have already implemented such a policy.

What should not be lost, though, is that the rule is a direct result of actions by a student. In a letter to Governor Brown, the student said, “Banning the Confederate flag is far more than just an act to please some people. It shows students and educators that the State of Oregon sees them in their struggles to be considered equal and aiding in the fight against racism…Right now is a great time for Oregon to be a leader for its own citizens and throughout the United States and install this overdue policy.”

I’m so very proud of the courage that student showed, speaking up to right a wrong. ODE recognizes that student health and safety are at the cornerstone of education and that all students are entitled to a high-quality educational experience, free from discrimination or harassment based on perceived race, skin color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin, and without fear or hatred, racism or violence. All school staff and leaders are also entitled to work in environments that are free from discrimination or harassment, and visitors, family members, and community members should be able to participate in school activities without fear for their safety. Thanks to the activism of a single student, Oregon schools are taking a big step in the right direction against hatred and towards equality.

In October, the State Board continued to raise awareness of inequality with a resolution supporting Black Lives Matter. ODE was joined in support of the resolution by the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA), the Oregon Education Association (OEA), the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA), the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA), the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), the Oregon Association of Education Service Districts (OAESD) and the Oregon Association of Student Councils (OASC). This show of solidarity for a racially just future is a statement of our collective values and comes after reports of educators being harassed for displaying Black Lives Matter symbols.

ODE will continue to look for ways we can counter bigotry, discrimination and harassment. If you experience it, please speak out. And if you hear someone speak out, please listen. Ignoring or dismissing concerns about racism is just as hurtful as the racism itself. We cannot be silent in response to the racism that students and staff experience in Oregon’s schools. Black Lives Matter is a statement of love and justice. And love and justice are the side of history we all need to be on.

2020 Educator Equity Report Released

2020 Oregon Educator Equity ReportThe Oregon Educator Equity Advisory Group and the Educator Advancement Council, in partnership and collaboration with the Oregon Department of Education, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, and the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission, are pleased to release the 2020 Oregon Educator Equity Report. Since 2015, the Educator Equity Report has provided local and state agencies comprehensive statewide data to track progress towards the legislative goals to recruit, retain, and sustain the number of racially, ethnically, and/or linguistically diverse teachers and administrators for Oregon’s public schools.

This year’s report includes an updated review of the current research on recruitment and retention for educator diversity, recent data on Oregon’s educator workforce diversity, evidence of initiatives to create racially affirming and culturally sustaining environments among educator preparation and K-12 programs, and recommendations for Oregon policymakers and practitioners engaged in the continuous development towards an educator workforce that better reflects Oregon’s diverse K-12 student demographics.

SB 13 Tribal History/Shared History Online Professional Development

tribal History/Shared HistoryThe Oregon Department of Education Office of Indian Education is pleased to announce our SB 13 Tribal History/Shared History online professional development courses as part of our virtual asynchronous learning series. These interactive online courses are designed to support educators in building a foundation for teaching, training, and serving as a source of support, knowledge and advocacy on the Senate Bill 13 Tribal History/Shared History curriculum within their school, district or organization. There are currently four online courses available and more will be released throughout the month. All courses are free and available for on-demand access.

Completion of the courses can occur individually or in a group/team setting for engagement and reflection. Current Courses:

SB 13 Tribal History/Shared History Inservice Course (4 Professional Development Hours)
This is a storyboard project of short videos including presentations on the background of Senate Bill (SB) 13 Tribal History/Shared History, The Essential Understandings of Native Americans in Oregon development process, The 6 P’s (Critical Orientations for Indigenous Studies Curriculum): Place, Presence, Perspectives, Political Nationhood, Power, and Partnerships, Tribal place-based curricula as well as lesson modeling demonstrations.
SB 13 Tribal History/Shared History Module 1 Online Course (2 Professional Development hours)
This course is an overview of Essential Understanding 1: Since Time Immemorial and Essential Understanding 2: Sovereignty of the nine Essential Understandings of Native Americans in Oregon.
SB 13 Tribal History/Shared History Module 2 Online Course (2 Professional Development Hours)
This course is an overview of Essential Understanding 3: History and Essential Understanding 4: Tribal Government of the nine Essential Understandings of Native Americans in Oregon.
SB 13 Tribal History/Shared History Module 3 Online Course (2 Professional Development Hours)
This course is an overview of Essential Understanding 5: Identity and Essential Understanding 6: Lifeways of the nine Essential Understandings of Native Americans in Oregon.

All online courses can be accessed by going to the SB 13 Tribal History/Shared History Professional Development web page. Our sincere gratitude to all of the Oregon Department of Education staff, Tribal representatives and other educators that dedicated their time and expertise in the development of these SB 13 Tribal History/Shared History Online Professional Development Courses and for the vision of countless Indigenous educators over the years and their tireless advocacy efforts of this work.

OSCIM Program Continues to Help Districts with Construction Projects

Last month, 10 school districts around the state passed bond measures that got a boost from the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching (OSCIM) Program. Commitments are made to districts ahead of the election so districts can inform their communities of the potential for additional funds from the state if the local bond passes. Before submitting an application for the OSCIM Program, districts must also submit a Facilities Assessment and Long-Range Facility Plan. Districts are awarded grants based on their position on the Priority List or First in Time List.

Since the first round of grants in 2016, the OSCIM program has awarded $305,131,631 in matching funds that added to $5.8-billion in bonds approved by voters. Here are the 10 districts receiving matching funds following successful bond elections last month:

District Local Bond
Newberg SD 29J $130,000,000 $5,026,044
Perrydale SD 21 $4,059,185 $4,000,000
Pilot Rock SD 2 $8,000,000 $4,000,000
Alsea SD 7J $1,740,000 $4,000,000
Bandon SD 54 $5,000,000$4,000,000
Bethel SD 52 $90,000,000 $6,065,898
Corbett SD 39 $4,000,000 $4,000,000
Enterprise SD 21 $6,000,000 $4,000,000
Redmond SD 2J $55,000,000 $7,605,501
South Wasco County SD 1 $8,000,000 $4,000,000

Oregon Awarded CTE Data Quality Grant

Oregon is one of five states awarded a grant to participate in a cohort focused on improving postsecondary Career Technical Education (CTE) data quality. The Advancing Postsecondary CTE Data Quality Initiative is a competitive grant program to enhance equity, access and program quality for postsecondary CTE learners by building state capacity to improve postsecondary data systems, collection and sharing. Quality data is a critical component for informed decision making about CTE programming and discerning the needs of underrepresented populations in postsecondary CTE.

The Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission will serve as the state’s designated agency to design and implement a two-year data quality action plan. As part of the cohort they will receive planning and implementation grants, technical assistance and a peer support network from Advance CTE. Oregon plans to focus on one of its key metrics for achieving its 40-40-20 education goal - closing equity gaps by improving data collection and analysis on pathways to postsecondary credential attainment for adult learners. In doing so, the state aims to increase the four-year and two-year credential attainment rate to 40 percent each by 2025. Through this initiative, Oregon will identify specific postsecondary CTE pathways and program quality indicators most likely to result in positive completion times and employment outcomes, and use that data to increase access for underrepresented populations.

“Quality data is critical for states to develop relevant, equitable, and effective CTE programs that meet the unique and dynamic needs of postsecondary learners”, said Kimberly Green, Executive Director, Advance CTE. “The five grantees represent a snapshot of the diverse challenges facing data quality, and we are excited about the potential of this cohort to foster innovation and develop foundational systems for quality data that can be scaled nationally in the years to come.”

“We’re delighted for the opportunity to join other states in this innovative collaborative initiative to improve the data systems that help us steer and improve CTE initiatives and investments. Quality CTE data is important in order to help us understand what CTE strategies work best and for whom, so that ultimately we can scale up the most promising student success strategies, better serve adult learners seeking short term credentials, and improve equitable CTE educational opportunity for Oregon’s most underserved and underrepresented communities,” said Ben Cannon, Executive Director, Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

ODE Announces First Director of the Office of Indian Education

Office of Indian Education Director April CampbellOver the last three years, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) has been making attempts to highlight the importance of our relationship with the sovereign nations that exist here in Oregon and predate the Governments of Oregon and the United States. We included our agency’s Indian Education Advisor on the Executive Leadership Team (E-Team) to help inform our decision-making with awareness and alignment to the nine tribes, we established the agency’s Office of Indian Education, we have since doubled our staffing in the Office, and the team has done incredible work with Tribal Attendance Promising Practices (TAPP), the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Student Success Plan, and the state’s first required curriculum for all students: Tribal History/Shared History (SB 13) among other meaningful work. Many across the agency have worked with the Director’s Office to develop a deeper understanding of the tribes, lean into our obligation to consultation, better illuminate the data on our Native American students, or create pathways for Native educators.

The next step in our efforts is the appointment this month of April Campbell as Oregon Department of Education’s first ever Director of the Office of Indian Education. April will be the first person to occupy this newly created position. April is a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and an incredibly humble and accomplished leader. April has over 20 years of experience working in Indian Education in Oregon and prior to coming to ODE in 2013, worked as the Education Director for her tribe. Since 2013, April has served as the Oregon Department of Education Indian Education Advisor to the Director.

April works closely with the incredible team at the Office of Indian Education, the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon, several state agencies, the Governor’s Office, school districts and ESDs, and native communities and organizations in an effort to close the opportunity gap for Native American students. As a first generation high-school graduate, April has a passion for learning and helping others on their educational journey. April led the revision efforts for the ODE’s AI/AN Student Success Plan and currently is leading efforts for Senate Bill 13 – Tribal History/Shared History curriculum; the implementation of Native American curriculum in classrooms across the state.

In her new position April will lead ODE’s wonderful OIE team and continue to focus on our commitment to honor tribal sovereignty, build authentic relationships, and serve to elevate Native American’s voices across the state.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as ODE’s Office of Indian Education’s Director and am blessed to be working with such a wonderful team,” Campbell said. “Much appreciation and gratitude.”

Governor Kate Brown Releases 2021-23 Budget Plan

Governor Kate BrownGovernor Kate Brown released her recommended budget and policy agenda for the 2021-23 biennium, which focuses on the key challenges facing Oregonians: the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery from the devastating 2020 wildfire season, and taking steps to end systemic racism and address racial disparities in Oregon.

“2020 has challenged Oregon in unimaginable ways. We have been tested to the core, and the most vital needs of Oregon families — health, safety, education, housing, and the ability to earn a living — have all been challenged in new ways,” said Governor Brown. “I have been awe-inspired by Oregonians who have stepped up at every turn to protect their friends, families and neighbors. The compassionate spirit of our state has shined through. Oregon has proven to be a port in the storm.”

You can read Governor Kate Brown’s full press release with links to the budget documents online.

Two Oregon Schools Receive 2020 School Wellness Award

Congratulations to Gervais Elementary (Gervais School District) and Robert Frost Elementary (Silver Falls School District), winners of the 2020 Oregon School Wellness Award! This award recognizes schools for outstanding local wellness policies, practices and programs that promote healthy behaviors in students and staff.

Local Wellness Policies guide district and school efforts to establish an environment that creates a healthy workplace for staff, a healthy learning environment for students, and reinforces messages about nutrition, physical activity, and life-long wellness habits that students are learning in the classroom.

The Nutrition Council of Oregon, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, and OregonASK, join the Oregon Department of Education in recognizing these schools. Each award recipient receives a $2,500 cash prize, a banner, and a certificate of recognition.

Visit the Wellness page on the ODE website to learn more about local wellness policies and to see past School Wellness Award winning schools.

The 2021 School Wellness Award Application is now open! Visit the Wellness Award page on the ODE website for more information. Applications are due February 1, 2021.

Thank You, Child Nutrition Sponsors!

video screenshotODE's Child Nutrition staff created a video to thank all those who helped make sure Oregon students continued to get important meal services during the pandemic. Watch the video here.

ODE In the News

Student Spotlight

  • The West Linn Tidings wrote about the robotics team in Wilsonville that used their skills to make more than 1,000 face shields, 300 of them going to teachers at their schools.
  • KOBI in Medford reported on the lasting legacy Grants Pass High School’s welding students will have on the campus.
  • State Board of Education student advisor Mahina Novoa shared some of her inspiring story in a feature for KGW News.