The State Board of Education unanimously approved the Oregon Plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) [see related article] at its April 27, 2017 meeting. Governor Kate Brown subsequently signed the Oregon Plan, and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) submitted the plan on May 3. Assistant Superintendent Dawne Huckaby told the Board that post-submission to the U.S. Department of Education, federal regulators have up to 120 days to approve the plan. But the work doesn’t end there.
“We will continue to have tribal consultation and stakeholder engagement with parents, students and educators as we move forward to implement this plan in a way that is going to make a difference for our students,” she said.
In other action, the Board approved a Native American mascot agreement between the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde and the Scappoose School District. However, Board members raised concerns about some other agreements brought to the Board for a first reading that include the continued use of a mascot depicting a person in Native American dress. The two agreements Board members previously approved featured logos changed to something other than a person.
“This is difficult to see; it looks like examples of what made Native American mascots problematic,” Board Chairman Charles Martinez said during discussion of the agreement between the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and Siletz Valley Schools. The school would keep the Warriors mascot as well as its logo of a Native American in headdress. “Those images are so powerful and they don’t bring forth naturally the deep, cultural lens that may be occurring in the school with their curriculum. Instead they conjure a set of stereotypes about cultural appropriation that is incredibly powerful.”
But Siletz Assistant General Manager Bonnie Petersen told the Board that the mascot is an accurate depiction. “I have beaded that image on graduation caps; it’s considered an honor. I can show you the historical photos. There are different kinds of feathered headdresses and there is also the war bonnets being worn by our tribal ancestors.”
Because it was the Board’s first look at the agreements, no action was taken. The agreements will be back before the Board at its May 25 meeting in Woodburn.
The last agenda item for the Board was a report from Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor on the mediation between the Ontario School District and the Four Rivers Charter School. District officials believe the charter school should not be allowed to expand to high school grades because it will take away needed funds from the district. Charter school representatives say both entities can co-exist. Board members asked ODE staff to create an impact study and present it at the May 25 meeting.
High School Graduation and Career Readiness Act/Measure 98 Update
The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) is helping districts navigate the process to apply for funds from the High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness Act of 2016, approved by voters as Measure 98. A series of guidance webinars
is available on the ODE website that covers several important areas such as Equity, College Credit Opportunities and Applying for Funds. The webinars are hosted by ODE staff members who are experts in the topics covered by each video.
The guidance provided is based on the rules adopted by the State Board of Education in April. While there are bills in the Legislature that may change some of those rules, ODE must base its guidance on the law voters approved in November. If any changes are made by the Legislature, ODE will update the guidance accordingly.
The Oregon Department of Education is exploring the possibility of replacing the high school Smarter Balanced assessment with a nationally recognized test such as SAT, ACT or others. This decision comes as a direct result of feedback from stakeholders and policy makers, including legislators, who expressed great interest in Oregon administering a high school assessment other than Smarter Balanced.
It is important you are aware of the following details:
- Should Oregon procure a new high school assessment, it would not be implemented before the 2018-2019 school year.
- Due to budget constraints, Oregon can afford to administer only one high school test (for accountability purposes) at the state level; therefore, only a single test will be utilized.
- ODE is currently engaged with the Legislature to secure funding for the purchase of the high school assessment.
- The current Smarter Balanced assessment will be administered at all tested grades and subjects during the 2017-18 school year.
- Smarter Balanced assessments will continue to be administered in grades 3-8 for the foreseeable future.
Oregon School for the Deaf Earns Five-Year Accreditation
The Oregon School for the Deaf (OSD)
received full accreditation from the Conference of Educators and Administrators of School and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD)
, the culmination of weeks of work by OSD staff. The accreditation process starts with an extensive self-study, delving into every aspect of operating a K-21 residential/day school. That is followed by a four-day visit from a variety of professionals working in the field of Deaf Education from Washington, D.C., Georgia, Texas and Iowa. They conducted many classroom observations and interviewed a myriad of stakeholders that included parents, alumni, staff, students and Oregon Department of Education leadership.
OSD Director, Dr. Sharla Jones, is very pleased with the outcome of the process. “We are already looking forward to implementing the recommendations of the CEASD team as we embark on our next five-year cycle of school improvement,” Jones said. “We are proud to be part of this large organization that ensures excellent quality.”
CEASD is a national organization that adjudicates 92 programs for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing across the United States and Canada, including all of the state schools for the Deaf.
Klein Appointed Assistant Superintendent for Accountability, Research and Information Services
Joshua R. Klein will begin his new role as Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Accountability, Research and Information Services on May 22, 2017. Klein is returning to the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) from Portland Public Schools, where he served as chief information officer. His previous tenure at ODE, from 2002-2013, included stints as chief information officer, director of application development, application support supervisor, network administrator and user support analyst.
Klein is a certified information systems auditor and was a National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Fellow through the NCES Cooperative System Fellowship Program with the United States Department of Education (USDE). Currently, he is a member of the Civil Rights Data Collection Working Group through the NCES Statistics Forum and USDE and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Organization for Educational Technology and Curriculum.
He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in network systems administration from Denver Technical College and his Master of Business Administration degree from the Keller Graduate School of Management.
Oregon Chosen for Expansion of Early Learning Program
Science tells us that the human brain develops most rapidly during the first five years of life and the “Vroom” early learning program helps encourage that development by promoting healthy and fun interactions between parents and their children – what’s known as “serve and return” interaction. Vroom’s free, multilingual, and culturally appropriate early learning tools and activities encourage healthy brain development in children ages 0-5 and Oregon was chosen for a pilot project to expand access to these tools.
The national Vroom team (led by the Bezos Family Foundation) has offered our state the unique opportunity to make the Vroom brain-building activities available via text message. The free Daily Vroom app – which contains more than 1,000 brain-building activities – has already been used more than 95,000 times in Oregon. Expanding to text messages furthers the goal of the Early Learning Division (ELD) to promote kindergarten readiness by building crucial abilities such as math, early literacy and important social-emotional skills.
Please help us spread the word about this texting pilot by sharing the Oregon Vroom opt-in page
or signing up yourself. You can also text the word “CHILD” in English or “HIJO” in Spanish to 48258 to participate.
Vroom’s motto is that all parents “already have what it takes to be a brain builder” and we agree! As Vroom continues to grow in Oregon, we are encouraged by the positive feedback from parents and providers. As one father from central Oregon put it, “Vroom enhances the time I spend with my child.” By positively supporting parents and empowering them to use everyday moments like bath time and mealtime as brain-building moments, Vroom is making a difference in our state.
Portland School Receives USDE Green Ribbon Award
One school in Oregon received a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Award, which “. . . encourage[s] state education agencies, stakeholders and higher education officials to consider matters of facilities, health, and environment comprehensively and in coordination with state health, environment, and energy agency counterparts.”
According to the press release
, Portland Waldorf School, a private school in Milwaukie, received the honor for its commitment “to funding and staffing an innovative environmental education program called the LivingLAB. More than just a garden program, the LivingLAB actively engages the students with a wide variety of sustainability-related projects that are integrated into a long-term site design that is being implemented by students in conjunction with their academic subjects. The school’s intentional work with harvesting the natural water flow on campus, remediating runoff water from its parking lots, promoting biking and public transit, recycling, gardening, composting, and encouraging best practices around reducing waste produced and energy use, including changing all lightbulbs to LED, qualified the school as an Oregon Green School in 2016.”