Clarifying Expectations for a Safe and Inclusive School Environment
(A reprint of a January message from Director Colt Gill to superintendents.)
At ODE, we are seeing increased reports of harassment based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexual orientation in our schools and at our school sponsored events. Nationally and internationally we are regularly hearing or seeing reports of attacks on people as well as religious or cultural sites – acts that are centered on people that fall under our protected classes in Oregon. Locally, our children, families, and staff are impacted by these reports. It is our responsibility to create safe, welcoming spaces for all of Oregon’s children so that we can both teach them and foster their resilience so that they may learn and thrive.
While our students and their families regularly experience or witness harassment based on race, gender, or other attributes in our communities, our state and our nation; we have tools to help prevent and address these offenses in our schools.
Many Oregon educators began 2020 by reestablishing and reteaching classroom expectations introduced back in September. In that same spirit, I encourage you to revisit and reteach expectations, policies and procedures aimed at creating a school community that is welcoming and inclusive to all students, families and staff.
Take time to review and communicate your policies and procedures related to bullying, intimidation, harassment, and discrimination.
Oregon law requires school districts to adopt policies on discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying and cyberbullying. Review your policies to ensure you have all of the required policies in place.
Remind staff, students, and parents about the SafeOregon tip line.
SafeOregon gives students, parents, and schools a way to report safety threats or potential acts of violence. Access the SafeOregon tip line:
- Phone: 844-472-3367
- Text: 844-472-3367
- Mobile App for SafeOregon available at the Apple App Store (iPhone) and Google Play (Android)
- On the web
- Student, Parent, and School resources available on the SafeOregon website
Review your district’s behavior and discipline practices.
Oregon, like other states, disproportionately suspends and expels students of color, students navigating poverty and students with disabilities (source: Oregon Statewide Annual Report Card). Further studies on disproportionate discipline in Oregon can be found on the ODE Website. Use this opportunity to review your district’s behavior and discipline practices for racial equity and institutional bias.
Consider providing professional learning opportunities related to ensuring a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all students, families, and staff.
Oregon law establishes what many of us know in our own experience to be true – students need a safe and inclusive environment to do their best learning and we create that environment in part through our own example. ORS 339.353(1) states:
The Legislative Assembly finds that: (a) A safe and civil environment is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. (b) Harassment, intimidation or bullying and cyberbullying, like other disruptive or violent behavior, are conduct that disrupts a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate its students in a safe environment. (c) Students learn by example.
Please contact Winston Cornwall on our civil rights team with any questions.
Thank you for your commitment to creating a school community that is welcoming and inclusive to all students, families, and staff. I’m proud to partner with you in fostering equity and excellence for every learner.
Reviewers Needed for English Language Arts and World Languages Instructional Materials
The Oregon Department of Education is currently accepting applications of teachers, curriculum specialists and other experienced professionals for the 2020 English Language Arts and World Languages Instructional Materials Review. Please obtain approval from your administrator prior to filling out an application. Individuals selected to participate will receive professional development, travel reimbursement and an honorarium. Please visit the survey links to find out more information on what committee member participation will require. Please complete this survey for the English Language Arts review committee and this survey for the World Languages review committee. An application should take between 15-20 minutes to complete and must be completed by April 29, 2020.
Students Encouraged to Apply for 2020-21 OSAC Scholarships by March 2 Deadline
The Higher Education Coordinating Commission's Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) encourages all students planning on enrolling in college during the 2020-21 school year to complete the OSAC Scholarship Application as soon as possible before the March 2nd final deadline. OSAC administers over 600 privately-funded scholarships that Oregon students can apply for through a single application. Scholarships are available to support undergraduates, graduate students, new high school graduates, adult learners, rural residents, GED® graduates, single parents, and more.
OSAC encourages students to begin the application early to give proper time and thought to the application’s essay questions and to avoid the heavy site traffic on the deadline dates. The final deadline is March 2, 2020. If students submit their completed application before the early bird deadline on February 18, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., they will be entered for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship from OSAC.
Students can access the OSAC Scholarship Application via the Student Portal. After creating an account and a profile, students can select from scholarships suggested for them or browse the entire catalog. Scholarships based on financial need will require students to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA) in addition to the OSAC Scholarship Application.
More information, including essay tips and an application walk-through video, is available on the OSAC Scholarship page. Students and families can also learn about college financial aid opportunities through OregonStudentAid.gov and the HECC’s Plan and Pay for College.
Child Abuse Summit Registration
The organizers of the 21st annual Child Abuse Summit are inviting educators to a day of special content geared towards them on Wednesday, April 22. The four day conference starts on April 21 at the Red Lion Hotel on the River in Portland. The Summit is designed to educate professionals on the complex issues associated with child abuse and family violence, to broaden each professional's knowledge base in multiple areas and to increase understanding of the other agencies' roles and responsibilities.
More information on the summit including the agenda, speakers and registration is available online.