Skip to main content Homepage

July 2017

2017 Legislative Session Report

CapitolinsummerThe recently concluded 2017 Legislative Session focused on a significant array of education issues. We have compiled a summary of all of the education bills passed this year, including votes and effective dates. There is also a list of work groups, task forces and reports created by legislation this year. We hope you will find this to be a very informative resource for the upcoming school year.

English Learner Report Receives Attention 

ELReportCoverThe Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently released a report that provides an in-depth look at English Learner students in Oregon. 

Among the findings in the report:
  • The five-year graduation rate for students who exited English Learner programs is 80 percent, above the statewide average of 78 percent.
  • The freshman on-track-to-graduate rate is 67 percent for current English Learners, compared to 82 percent for former EL students.
  • Statewide, an average of 39 percent of current English Learners who graduate high school in four years go on to college. For former EL students, that rate is 49 percent.
  • English Learners make up about 10 percent of the student body statewide, but that number varies from less than five percent in some districts to more than 35 percent in others.
  • Spanish is the most common home language of English Learner students, but there were more than 50 other languages spoken in districts around the state.

In a news release announcing the report, Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor said, “If we are going to reduce the opportunity and achievement gaps our English Learners face, it is important to identify and act on the areas where we can do better. The report shows that students exiting the English Learner program graduate at a higher rate than the state average, so focusing on helping them achieve this milestone ultimately benefits them and strengthens our state’s economic future.” 

The economic benefits result from the higher earning power that accompanies a more educated populace. According to College Board, high school graduates earn 40 percent more than those without a diploma. 

The release resulted in local media coverage of the issue, including articles in the Salem Statesman-Journal and the Coos Bay World.

StateBoardAt its final meeting of the 2016-17 school year, the State Board of Education adopted a document designed to reflect the foundation for every decision it makes. The Mission, Vision and Values reflect the Board’s fundamental beliefs that will drive the work they do to improve education in Oregon. They are:
Mission: Provide leadership and vision for Oregon’s public schools and districts by enacting equitable policies and promoting educational practices that lead directly to the educational and life success of every student.
Vision: The Oregon State Board of Education will work collaboratively and inclusively with stakeholders to develop and sustain a public education system that empowers every student to reach their full potential.
  • EQUITY:  We will ensure in words and actions that every student has access to the resources and supports they need to thrive in school. We will explicitly work toward an education system that is culturally responsive, sustaining, eliminates barriers, and is relevant to Oregon’s diverse communities.  
  • INTEGRITY:  We will act with honesty and transparency in everything we do.
  • INNOVATION:  We will promote creativity, challenge the status quo, and work to improve Oregon’s education system.
  • EMPOWERMENT:  We will value, respect, and listen to multiple perspectives, and empower students, education professionals, families, and community members to take a leading role in ensuring student success.
  • INCLUSION: We will ensure that every student has access to the opportunities and benefits of Oregon’s education system.
  • EXCELLENCE: We will take actions to ensure the Oregon education system prepares every student for college, career, and life. 
  • ADAPTABILITY:  We will modify and adopt policies and practices to respond to changing social, demographic, operational, or financial conditions in order to do what is best for students and schools.
  • STUDENT CENTERED: We will ensure that all discussion, decisions, and action are centered on the best interest of every student.
“It is conveying very strongly what this Board is about to the state and our stakeholders,” Board Chair Charles Martinez said. “I really appreciate and have been very inspired by our conversations.”

The conversations started at last year’s Board retreat in August and culminated in the Mission, Vision and Values that are now prominently displayed on the State Board’s webpage.

SummerFoodProgramStudents enrolled in a summer food program in Portland received a visit last month from a member of the Portland Timbers and U.S. Men’s National Soccer team. Midfielder Darlington Nagbe stopped by to the Human Solutions Family Center to meet with 85 children who were receiving a free, healthy summer lunch. 

As an athlete and father of two young kids, Nagbe understands the importance of good nutrition. “No kid should skip a meal during the summertime just because school is out,” he said in a statement.

“Summer should be about playing, staying active and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and protein!”

Summer meal programs are underutilized in Oregon; Nagbe’s appearance highlighted the need to sign more children up for free meals while school is out. Oregon is holding steady in the number of children receiving free meals in the summer, at roughly 34,500 a day for both 2015 and 2016. However, only 16 percent of children who received a free school lunch during the school year also received free meals through last summer’s nutrition programs.  For more information, contact Child Nutrition Outreach Coordinator Cathy Brock.

studentwithbackpackAs the school year approaches, the Oregon Chiropractic Association (OCA) is sharing information about safer ways for children to use backpacks. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are more than 7,000 Emergency Room visits due to backpack injuries every year. The OCA adds that the vast majority of students carry backpacks that weigh a quarter or more of their body weight. This has the potential to lead to problems, so OCA offers the following advice:
  • Always wear both straps
  • Choose backpacks with wide, padded straps
  • The weight of the backpack should not exceed 10% of the student’s body weight
  • Backpacks should not hang more than 4 inches below the waist
  • Leave what you do not need in lockers
  • Consider alternatives, such as rolling bags

Calderon Appointed to Lead Early Learning Division

On July 17, Governor Brown announced Miriam Calderon as director of the Early Learning Division (ELD). Formed in 2013, ELD is responsible for directing learning initiatives and creating positive outcomes for Oregon’s youngest children and their families. Programs range from home visiting and relief nurseries to Early Head Start and Preschool Promise.

“We know that the first five years of a child’s life are the most critical to preparing for a bright and successful future," Governor Brown said. "I am delighted that Miriam is returning to Oregon with the leadership and experience that will help us prepare every child, particularly those from historically underserved communities, for kindergarten. Her focus on equity will help Oregon close the opportunity gap and ensure children arrive at school ready for success in the classroom and beyond. I would like to thank David Mandell for serving as acting director and his work to ensure affordable, high quality opportunities for Oregon’s families.” 

Calderon has more than 15 years of experience in early childhood education, including appointments as a senior policy advisor for the Department of Health and Human Services and the Domestic Policy Council under the Obama Administration. While at the District of Columbia Public Schools, Calderon led the reform of the district’s education programming across more than 80 schools. Since 2016, Calderon has served as a senior policy advisor for the Bainum Family Foundation.

Calderon began her early education career as a mental health consultant in Head Start programs in Portland. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Delaware and completed a Master’s Degree in Social Work at Portland State University.

Assessment Update – What you Need to Know 

  • 2017-18 Statewide Assessments: The 2017-18 statewide test schedule is currently posted to the ODE Website. ODE will publish the final 2017-18 Test Administration Manual to the ODE Website by October 2, 2017. As a reminder, districts must designate a District Test Coordinator (DTC) for the 2017-18 school year by August 1, 2017 using the DTC Designation Form located on the ODE Website. Required Test Administration and Security Training for all DTCs is scheduled for November 7, 8, and 9, 2017. 

  • Streamlined Smarter Balanced Blueprints: ODE is currently working with its test vendor, American Institutes for Research (AIR) to implement a streamlined Smarter Balanced test blueprint at grades 3 – 8 and high school in 2017-18. At this time, ODE anticipates a reduction in testing time of approximately 1 hour for ELA across all tested grades, as well as a slight reduction in testing time for Math.  ODE will provide more specific information about the impact on testing time and test scheduling in the final 2017-18 Test Administration Manual to be published by October 2, 2017.

  • Next Generation Science Standards Field Testing: ODE will be field testing new items aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) embedded in the 2017-18 OAKS Online Science tests at grades 5, 8, and high school. To support educators in preparing students for the new item types that will be field tested this spring, ODE is working with AIR to make an NGSS Training Test available through the OAKS Portal in the coming weeks.

COSA logoThe Confederation of Oregon School Administrators’ (COSA) 2017 Summer Teaching, Learning and Assessment Institute & Summer Academy starts August 3! 
Experts from the Oregon Department of Education, Chief Education Office, Oregon Education Association, COSA and more will be on hand to lead breakout sessions on important topics such as Strategic Planning, Dyslexia Screening, Reducing Suspensions and Increasing Student Achievement. 
There are also pre-conference sessions August 1-2 on Maximizing Federal Funds, Title IX Training and a variety of other topics!
You can find more information at the links below, including one for registering for the event, which will be held at the Hilton Eugene.
The Oregon Department of Education is currently accepting applications from teachers, curriculum specialists and other experienced professionals for the 2017 Social Sciences Instructional Materials criteria development. Please obtain approval from your administrator prior to filling out the application. Individuals selected to participate will receive professional development, travel reimbursement, and an honorarium.

Please visit this link for more information on what committee member participation will require. The survey should take between 20-30 minutes to complete.

For more information or questions, contact Jeremy A. Wartz, Instructional Materials Coordinator: (503) 947-5736


Every fall, the Oregon Department of Education and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators partner to deliver an annual conference that focuses on special education topics and training for the field. This conference is attended by more than 500 practitioners who come as part of a team or on their own to network with their colleagues from across the state. Keynoters, networking opportunities, exhibitors and 65 different sessions offer valuable information to participants.

The 2017 conference will be held October 4-6 and is designed to provide an environment of inclusiveness, research, and effective practices. The aim is to enable educators to maximize student potential. Keynoter Thomas Anderson will make a provocative case for reorienting special education around a stronger appreciation of neurodiversity; that is, the full range in which human intelligence expresses itself as opposed to the deficit-based approach that currently predominates. Friday Keynoter Christian Moore will tell his compelling story of growing up as a special education-identified student and what he suggests for today’s educators to improve student success. Breakout sessions by both keynoters will provide additional opportunities to present and discuss practical classroom strategies as well as models for system-wide improvement.

This year, three strands will be offered as part of the programming: legal issues, health issues, or English Language Learners. Strands are scheduled to allow participants to dedicate an entire day to attending sessions that address a specific topic area. For instance, the English Language Learners strand consists of four presentations that will address significant cognitive disabilities, developing quality IEPs, modified diploma decisions, and promising instructional practices.

More information and a link to register can be found on the COSA website.

Your browser is out-of-date! It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how