Research Brief Highlights Grad Rate Success Stories
At the same time Oregon’s graduation rate data were released last month, ODE’s Research and Data Analysis team released a report
delving into the numbers and highlighting the successes of ten high schools from around the state. Each school shows increases in overall graduation rates as well as rates for some of our historically underserved student populations.
While each example is unique, there are some common themes running through more than one school such as creating a welcoming atmosphere. Aloha High School in Beaverton partners with local businesses and churches to make sure students have clothing, enough to eat and necessary school supplies. The school also has two social workers on staff. Wilson High School in Portland Public Schools also has a social worker on staff, peer counseling programs and a for-credit class in mindfulness. Milwaukie High School in the North Clackamas School District has a focus on equity and a staff that is culturally competent, both of which create a welcoming environment for students and their families.
Providing a well-rounded education for students is another common bond between the districts in the report. David Douglas High School uses a variety of after-school and summer programs to keep students interested and the school is looking at increasing its career and technical education (CTE) offerings. Canby High School has joined its CTE program with the school’s career center to help students focus on what comes after graduation. The result is the elimination of a 21-percentage point gap between Latino and White student graduation rates in just three years.
Finally, these districts recognize the importance of data collection and analysis. Oakland High School teachers review student data every four to five weeks so they can adjust their instructional goals. Parkrose High School staff tracks course enrollments, college visits and more to identify students who may need more support and encouragement. At Jefferson High School, teachers are provided with time to make sure students are on track so that interventions can be started as soon as possible.
The ODE Research and Data Analysis Team will release another brief soon sharing additional graduation rate success stories; stay tuned for more information, or contact Assistant Superintendent for Research and Data Analysis Brian Reeder
to learn more.
ODE supports Native American curriculum, Educator Advancement Council
February 9 was Tribal Government Day at the State Capitol, which was appropriate since Senate Bill (SB) 13
was heard that day in the Senate Education Committee. Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor and Indian Education Specialists April Campbell and Ramona Halcomb were among the dozens of people testifying in support of the bill, which would create a curriculum relating to the Native American experience in Oregon and also provide professional development for teachers on the subject. The meeting time was almost doubled in order to make sure that everyone who wanted to support the bill could give their testimony to the committee.
Modesta Minthorn, director of education for the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla and also a State Board of Education member, testified that having a Native American curriculum will result in increased academic achievement. “It provides an opportunity to tell Oregonians who we are as a people,” Minthorn said. “Native American students will get a reinforced sense of identity which affects test scores.” Valerie Switzler, Tribal Council Representative for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs told the committee the bill has been a long time coming. “We don't have connection with communities surrounding us anymore,” she said. “They don't know who we are as tribes. Because knowledge of who we are isn't there any more, it's getting lost, even with our children. We need to educate all children to recognize who we are as people.”
State Representative Tawna Sanchez, only the second Native American legislator in Oregon history, testified it’s past time to teach about Native Americans. “The history of Oregon deserves to be told from the perspective of all residents, especially its first residents,” she said. “Every day, non-Native kids see themselves in history. How amazing would it be for our Native students to hear about their culture and contributions?”
After nearly two hours of testimony, Deputy Superintendent Noor thanked the tribal leaders and others who spoke in support of SB 13. “We have heard the clear need for this curriculum in our state,” he said. “From ODE’s perspective, we are excited to work with the tribes in consultation.”
At that same meeting, Deputy Superintendent Noor spoke on behalf of SB 182
which establishes the Educator Advancement Council, created through an executive order by Governor Kate Brown. Noor said he hears from teachers the need for mentoring and culturally relevant professional development which the council recommended. Noor also testified on behalf on SB 183
which would establish an Early Indicator and Intervention System to help students get back on track to graduation before it’s too late. He told the committee “this focuses efforts on what works, it validates what we know and makes the commitment to continue investment in what works.”
On February 8, ODE Legislative Coordinator Emily Nazarov was part of a panel making a presentation to the House Education Committee on Measure 98. The ballot measure approved by voters in November aims to improve graduation rates in the state by boosting career technical programs, dropout prevention and college-level educational opportunities for high school students. Nazarov gave committee members a timeline for the creation and implementation of the rules and answered numerous questions from committee members on the process.
On February 1, ODE staff also testified in support of two bills in the House Education Committee. House Bill (HB) 2257
allows ODE to waive fees in certain circumstances for publishers or suppliers who submit books for review. Publishers of free textbooks were not distributing in Oregon because of the added cost for review. By waiving the fee in these cases, districts will have access to free e-books. HB 2258
adds “statewide nonprofit organizations promoting student leadership in career and technical education” to the list of entities that may receive CTE grant funds. By adding this language, the bill permits the Oregon Department of Education to contract with the Oregon Career Technical Education Student Leadership Foundation for the purpose of distributing CTE grant funds to chartered student organizations in schools across Oregon.
All of those committee meetings were also covered by our Twitter account! Be sure to follow us on Twitter
to keep up to date on what ODE is doing and to see in real time what we are presenting to lawmakers!
Register for the 2017 State English Learners Alliance Conference
The Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) and the Oregon Department of Education are hosting this year’s English Learners (EL) Alliance Conference March 8-10 in Eugene. This year's EL conference will emphasize the continued implementation of our Statewide ELL Strategic Plan as well as our Oregon State Equity Plan. The COSA website has more information
including an agenda and online registration. We hope to see you there!
Youth marijuana use prevention campaign reaching target audiences
Just six months after its debut, an Oregon Health Authority (OHA) media campaign telling students and young adults about the risks associated with marijuana use is working, according to an independent evaluation. RMC Research found that a statistically significant higher proportion of youth and young adults in the pilot areas (Portland Metro and Southern Oregon) correctly identified that only one in five Oregon high school juniors uses marijuana.
It’s an important message to get out there, according to Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Education Specialist Jeremy Wells. “The Oregon Department of Education believes that in order for students to fully access their education, all students need to be free of illegal drugs,” Wells said. “ODE fully supports the Oregon Health Authority’s outreach activities around marijuana abuse prevention. Even though Oregon has legalized marijuana it has not changed the fact that it is still illegal for youth to use. With its legalization comes the need for a strong and unified message from ODE and OHA around educating our youth on marijuana and providing prevention education for all our students.”
For more information on OHA’s efforts to keep young people away from marijuana, visit their website.
Lincoln High Student Group Teaches Citizenship Through State Farm Grant
Congratulations to the student-run “Mission: Citizen” program at Lincoln High School in Portland Public Schools for winning a State Farm Insurance grant of nearly $50,000 to expand the group’s mission of teaching naturalization classes to immigrants. Lincoln High senior Danny Cohen is the executive director of the non-profit group who applied for the grant nearly a year ago.
According to Cohen, Mission: Citizen has helped hundreds of immigrants on their path towards citizenship. “Our eight-week curriculum primarily focuses on historical and current-events information, both necessary to succeed in the civics portion of the naturalization exam,” Cohen said. “If our adult students are able to complete the eight-week course, they are eligible for a $275 scholarship from our organization to help offset the $725 naturalization fee. We are also in the process of implementing a program that will help students complete their complex N-400 naturalization applications and the accompanying form I-912 fee waiver.”
Cohen says the grant money from State Farm’s Youth Advisory Board will be used for:
- 50 iPad-Minis that allow for multilingual presentations to surmount language barriers and interactive quiz apps to increase knowledge retention of clients;
- A TriMet advertising campaign, with advertisements inside 48 city buses and on 20 city benches; and
- An increase in the number of adult student scholarships.
“Watching adult students finally grasp meaningful historical information is unbelievably satisfying, and I enjoy knowing that my work betters democracy,” Cohen said.
Nominations Sought For Oregon Educator Talent Pool
Do you know an educator who models top talent in the teaching profession? The Oregon Department of Education is seeking information on Oregon outstanding educators to strengthen the Oregon Educator Talent Pool
. This talent pool is tapped for awards, advisory positions, committee development, and other recognition opportunities. Talent Pool educators include teachers, specialists, and administrators who are innovative in their demonstrated dedication to education.
Educators with a minimum of five years in education can be nominated and previous recognition is not required. Due to the variety of purposes this educator data can be used for, this process must be kept confidential and the educator should not be aware of his or her recommendation. Please access the form here
and help us identify the incredible educator resources and expertise we have in our state!
Early Learning and Kindergarten Guidelines Released
When schools align pre-kindergarten (PreK) education through the elementary grades, the gains that children make are more likely to persist and build from one year to the next. This is accomplished through the alignment of standards, curriculum, instruction, assessments, family engagement and professional development efforts. Oregon has taken an important step toward creating a seamless pathway though the development of Oregon’s Early Learning and Kindergarten Guidelines, released November 10. The guidelines offer a continuum of learning from age three through kindergarten in social-emotional development, approaches to learning, language & communication, literacy and mathematics.
The guidelines are firmly rooted in the concept that high quality education is most effective when delivered in developmentally appropriate, culturally and linguistically responsive settings that support the learning and development of each and every child. “The guidelines recognize that every child is a unique individual with their own strengths, needs and challenges, and every child is capable,” Oregon Department of Education PreK-3rd Grade Coordinator Kara Williams said. “ “Promoting a culture of high expectations and learning opportunities for all children is a central objective.”