Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon » Homepage

October 2020 Education Update

Oregon Achieves... Together!

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

ODE Director Colt Gill 

The last month has challenged students, families and educators all over the state. With COVID-19 still endangering our health and putting routine life on hold, the turmoil of a country coming to terms with its historic and current racism, and one of our state’s largest natural disasters - the widespread wildfires upending life and destroying communities, it can seem overwhelming.

My heart goes out to everyone impacted by these multiples crises.

I’m reminded of the words of Fred Rogers when he said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

Sure enough, there are plenty of stories of people who are helping. These have been some of my favorite over the last month and I hope they are as encouraging for you as they have been for me that there are always people helping.

Congratulations 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year

Irving Elementary School second grade educator Nicole Butler-Hooton is Oregon’s 2021 Teacher of the Year! During a surprise meeting last month over Zoom, Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill virtually joined Bethel School District Superintendent Chris Parra and Irving Elementary Principal Nathan Bridgens in honoring Butler-Hooton for her transformational rapport with students, families and the school community at large.

“Every day, Nicole demonstrates how inclusive and culturally competent education has the power to shape our future for generations to come,” said Governor Brown. “Her seamless incorporation of equity into the classroom sets an example for us all, as we work to make Oregon a welcoming place that sets every student up for success from cradle to career.”

Nicole Butler-Hooton is a Siletz and Apache tribal member committed to the values of family, friendships, community and growth, both in and outside of her classroom. Butler-Hooton was raised in a small coastal town, earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a minor in Ethnic Studies from the University of Oregon, and was awarded the Sapsik-wala grant provided to high-performing Native American students striving to earn a Master’s Degree in Education. After completing her Master’s, Butler-Hooton starting teaching second grade at Irving Elementary in Bethel which has been her work home for 14 years. Her vibrant, inclusive and culturally competent teaching style is highly respected and supported by the school community. She is Eugene/Springfield’s local representative for the Oregon Indian Educator Association and is also a local expert in Bethel, mentoring and coaching student teachers and colleagues.

“I’m always looking for ways to show my students and families that we are a village,” said Butler-Hooton. “My hope is that these offerings, these sentiments, these actions, this TIME is a way to transcend learning and love beyond the classroom. Home to school connection is beyond valuable and it is imperative to my practice as an educator.”

The Oregon Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the Oregon Department of Education in partnership with the Oregon Lottery. Butler-Hooton was awarded 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year in May, and receives a $5,000 cash award as 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year. A matching $5,000 is also awarded to Irving Elementary.

As the 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year, Butler-Hooton will serve as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers. She will also receive year-long professional development and networking with other state Teachers of the Year through the Chief Council of State School Officer’s (CCSSO) National Teacher of the Year program.

Do you know an outstanding teacher? You can nominate them for the 2022 Oregon Teacher of the year by visiting the Oregon Teacher of the Year website.

New Study Addresses Child Care Supply and Demand in Oregon

Early Learning Division logoA new study commissioned by the Early Learning Division and conducted by Oregon State University examines what role a family’s demographics, characteristics, and geography are associated with child care supply. The report titled “Supply and Demand in Oregon: How Equitable is Child Care Access?” was requested by the Oregon Legislature in 2019. The findings from this report will be used to help make recommendations at the end of this year on how to improve access to high-quality affordable child care for all of Oregon’s families.

The characteristics considered in the study include four areas identified by the legislature and two additional factors researchers found to be associated with access (the last two listed below):

  • Geography (rural versus urban)
  • A child’s age
  • A child’s race/ethnicity
  • Language spoken in the home
  • Household income
  • Marital status (single employed parent)

Findings from the study show a majority of Oregon communities lack adequate supply regardless of demographics. As of 2018, almost three-quarters of Oregon communities are child care deserts, meaning there is less than one available space of child care for every three children. Additionally, all of the identified characteristics for this study act as access barriers: 23% of Oregon young children live in rural communities, 40% live in low-income households, 36% are children of color, and 36% of children with employed parents live in single employed parent families.

Another key take-away from the study found public investment in child care can improve child care access for the individual child and benefits the community as a whole. Some of the findings include:

  • 18% of child care slots for children 0 to 5 years are publicly funded by contracts (Oregon Head Start Pre-kindergarten, Federal Early/Head Start, Preschool Promise programs)
  • 66% of communities with young children do not have any slots that are publicly funded by contracts
Emerging evidence also suggests that child care programs that receive public funding are weathering the COVID-19 emergency better than those that rely solely on parent tuition.

As part of the larger study, researchers looked at child care for school-aged children in a companion report titled “School-age Supply and Demand: Child Care Access and Equity.”

ODE In the News

State Capitol Tours Going Virtual

Oregon State Capitol buildingEvery year, the Oregon State Capitol welcomes tens of thousands of school children on interpretive building tours to inspire them to get involved in the democratic process. With the Capitol closed to the public until further notice, and schools across Oregon engaged in remote and hybrid-learning, the Capitol Visitor Services team has sought new ways to deliver its programming and engage Oregon's distance-learners.

The Capitol is excited to announce that it is now on Flip Grid! If your classroom is using this free, accessible, learning platform, you can find topics in the Discovery Library on State Seal Symbolism, the Oregon Pioneer Statue, also known as the "Gold Man," How a Bill Becomes a Law, Oregon's Beach Bill, and more! Click here to access the Capitol’s library.

The Capitol also hosted its first online, virtual community event, "Multicultural Day Reimagined" on August 15. The event featured roughly 30 educational videos, from dozens of partners, celebrating the cultural diversity of Oregon. Videos will stream online until November 15. They hope you will consider using them as you craft your lesson plans.

As always, feel free to explore the Capitol’s online virtual tourlesson plans and YouTube channel. To submit comments or questions, call 503-986-1388 or send an email.

Education Support Professional of the Year Program

Oregon Education Service Professional of the YearThe Oregon Department of Education (ODE), in partnership with the Oregon State Lottery, is launching a new program recognizing the outstanding contributions of Oregon’s Education Support Professionals (ESP)!

The Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2964 in May of 2019 which directed the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon State Lottery to collaborate in designing and implementing this program to honor an education support professional serving students in any grade from prekindergarten through grade 12. ESP’s work together with teachers and administrators in Oregon public schools to perform a variety of jobs promoting quality education, fostering positive learning environments, offering nutritious meals, providing reliable transportation, maintaining safe and clean schools for all students and much more.

Nominations for the 2021 Oregon Education Support Professional of the Year are open now through January 3, 2021. The winner will be surprised with a special announcement in April 2021. Educators nominated for Education Support Professional of the Year must be currently employed by an Oregon public K-12 school or school district and meet the definition of an ESP in Oregon.

Thanks to ODE’s partnership with the Oregon Lottery, the Oregon Education Support Professional of the Year will receive a gift award of $5,000. They will also receive a plaque and banner to commemorate this significant achievement.

New Evidence Links Oregon CTE to Higher Graduation Rates, Earnings

(provided by REL Northwest)

Over the past decade, Oregon has significantly expanded its career and technical education (CTE) programming to ensure students graduate high school with the skills they need to pursue postsecondary education and obtain a family-wage job. A new report from Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northwest shows this investment is paying off—in 2018, nearly half of the state’s secondary students had completed a full year of coursework in a CTE program. Oregon’s investment pays off for students, too: Evidence from the study shows that secondary CTE credit is positively related to on-time high school graduation and higher annual earnings. However, the study also identifies gaps in participation among underrepresented student groups that need to be addressed to guarantee that all students can benefit from CTE programs.

REL Northwest conducted the study at the request of the Oregon Department of Education and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to provide a clear understanding of the state’s evolving CTE landscape. Using data from 2007/08 through 2017/18, the study describes the CTE programs offered at public high schools during this period, the students who participated and persisted in these programs, and the postsecondary educational and workforce outcomes CTE graduates achieved.

The study found that the number of secondary CTE program offerings increased since 2015, with the steepest increase in urban schools. The number of students participating in CTE programs also increased, but gaps were evident among student groups (as defined by race/ethnicity, gender, economic disadvantage, special education status, and English learner status).

“This report will serve as a baseline as we launch Oregon’s new CTE State Plan. It provides valuable information on where we need to focus our attention to remove barriers to access and increase opportunity to participate in quality CTE. It also reinforces the positive strides Oregon has made in growing CTE through legislative, community, and educational support over the past decade,” says Jennell Ives, who leads Perkins coordination and CTE investments at the Oregon Department of Education.

Researchers also found that secondary CTE participation was positively related to on-time high school graduation; specifically, students who concentrated in a CTE program of study were 25 percent more likely to graduate high school in four years than those who did not. Earning a secondary CTE credit in Oregon was also positively related to higher annual earnings (a finding that parallels national research).

“Given the educational and workforce benefits that CTE confers, school leaders may wish to identify and close opportunity gaps for students who are not enrolling or persisting in CTE programs,” says Steve Klein, CTE expert and report coauthor. “After assessing rates of engagement across student groups, leaders can take steps to increase access and participation to improve outcomes for all students.”

In 2021, REL Northwest will provide districts with a series of trainings to review their own CTE participation and concentration rates by career area and student groups. The trainings will also include discussions on how to address equity gaps. For more information about the study and REL Northwest’s partnership work in Oregon to improve graduation and postsecondary success, contact Michelle Hodara.

Student Spotlight

Come Learn More About Canvas

logos for ODE and CanvasThe Oregon Canvas User Group (OCUG) is coming to you this fall! OCUG will be held virtually on Tuesday, November 10, with sessions throughout the day.

This event is supported by Oregon Canvas users across the state who come together to share their knowledge, experience, and Canvas experiments with other educators. OCUG is for everyone from first-time Canvas users to experts. Want Canvas to do more for you? Join the group!

We need you to share your Canvas knowledge with OCUG. If you have an idea for a 30 or 50 minute session to present, please submit a session proposal. (The session proposal form will also serve as your registration.)

Register or propose a session now and save the date!

How has COVID-19 impacted your child care needs? Take the survey.

The Early Learning Division wants to hear from families and caregivers about your family’s experience searching for and using child care during the pandemic. Take the survey and help make a difference! Your input will help the state understand family needs and increase support for child care providers.

All parents and caregivers who complete the 15-minute survey will receive a $20 Amazon gift card. The survey closes October 31, 2020.

Questions? Contact Denise Ford with ODI at (916) 205-6851 (English) or Laura Wilson with ODI at (541) 606-8350 (Spanish).