We Are Here With You
Public service announcements (PSA) welcoming students back to school and reminding students and families of the network of educators in place to support them are now airing.
The pair of 30 second PSAs let students know that even if they are starting the school year with distance learning, their school support systems are still accessible to them.
“Schools are an important resource for families and we want to make sure our students and families know that although the school year may be starting with distance learning, their school’s resources are still available to them,” said ODE Deputy Director Carmen Xiomara Urbina. “Whether it’s school meals, or physical or mental health services, their schools will still be there for them. The learning conditions may be different, but the commitment to meeting the needs of our students hasn’t changed.”
Urbina and Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill are featured in the PSAs that
can be found on the ODE website. One announcement focuses on supporting students as they rise to the challenge of learning during this time and the other announcement touches on the network of education professionals devoted to serving Oregon’s students. Both are broadcast in English and Spanish with Gill featured in the English versions and Urbina featured in the Spanish versions.
The announcements were produced with KATU in Portland and will air on KATU and NATU (MeTV) in English and Univision Portland in Spanish, starting in early September and running through late October. The announcements will also reach students and families statewide through online promotion.
ODE, OHA and Lines for Life Launch Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program for School Districts
The Oregon Department of Education (ODE), Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Lines for Life launched the Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program for school districts earlier this month.
This program, part of the new statewide School Safety and Prevention System, is designed to support school districts in implementing and sustaining solid, evidence-based and racial equity centered suicide prevention policies and plans.
In 2019 the Oregon Legislature passed Adi’s Act (Senate Bill 52) and the Student Success Act (Section 36). They required each school district in Oregon to have a suicide prevention, intervention and postvention response policy and plan, and established a statewide School Safety and Prevention System.
Adi’s Act was named after Adi Staub, a young transgender woman in Oregon who died by suicide in 2017. Basic Rights Oregon, the statewide LGBTQ advocacy group, worked with Adi’s family to develop and introduce Adi’s Act in the Legislature, and, after it passed, were also engaged in planning.
"This program is being designed and implemented by a very special group of leaders, staff, and volunteers across many organizations," said Lon Staub, Adi’s father. "Their collective passion, commitment and expertise gives me confidence that we can provide hope, health and healing to at-risk youth and their families."
"It’s so powerful to see this legislation become a reality for kids throughout the state," said Nancy Haque, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon. "The purpose of Adi’s Act is to ensure that, no matter who students love or how they identify, they are protected, supported, and see a future for themselves in Oregon."
Oregon Department of Education is responsible for coordinating implementation of the legislation, and OHA and Lines for Life work to support this critical piece of the statewide School Safety and Prevention System.
The Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program for school districts established by Adi’s Act includes the following projects:
- Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program positions.
- Mini grants and additional training opportunities.
"All of our students deserve to feel safe, welcome and secure," said ODE Director Colt Gill. "Through the Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program, we’re one step closer to making schools the welcoming safe haven our students need and deserve."
"While we know that suicide is a preventable cause of death, we also know that we must continue to do as much as we can to create and maintain safety nets for all of our students, not just some," said OHA Director Pat Allen.
Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program positions
As part of the Adi’s Act implementation, Lines for Life will hire four regional school suicide prevention and wellness coordinators across the state who will be supported by the School Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program manager at Lines for Life.
In spring 2020, prior to the creation of the School Suicide Prevention and Wellness Program, OHA began funding one position at Lines for Life dedicated to supporting school districts with Adi’s Act implementation and some mini-grant funding for school districts.
The four new positions will collaborate with local suicide prevention coordinators, school districts, educational service districts (ESDs) and other local organizations to help connect the dots in suicide prevention policy to best serve students and their families. Each coordinator will be cross-trained in behavioral safety assessments, suicide prevention, equity and racial diversity, and social emotional learning. Each coordinator will be assigned to and located in one region: the Willamette Valley, Central Oregon, Southwest Oregon and Eastern Oregon.
"This is going to save lives," said Dwight Holton, executive director of Lines for Life. "It’s bringing together schools, public health, and, most importantly, community to do the work Adi’s Act envisioned – connecting young people to help, equipping folks to respond to crisis, empowering young people to help each other. This work is going to build hope every day."
These positions are currently posted and will begin work in the 2020-2021 school year.
Position descriptions are available online.
Mini grants and additional training
In partnership with OHA, Lines for Life is offering district-level grants of up to $1,500. Approved grants can be applied to costs of staff and student training and curriculum, as well as other costs associated with implementation of school suicide prevention plans.
School districts can apply online.
In addition, funding from OHA is available for school districts or local suicide prevention leaders to offer various trainings to students, staff, school counselors, parents and other adults. The Big Six suicide prevention training initiative includes Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA), Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), safeTALK, Question Persuade Refer (QPR), Sources of Strength, and Connect: Postvention. These trainings are offered at low to no cost. OHA has more information on its website.
School districts can
learn more about the grants and training opportunities online.
For more information:
- If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please know that help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
run by Lines For Life at 800-273-8255 or text '273TALK' to 839863. En español: 888-628-9454. TTY: 800-799-4TTY (4889).Youthline is a teen-to-teen crisis and help line. Teens are available to help daily, 4 to 10 p.m. Pacific Time (off-hour calls answered by Lines for Life). Call 877-968-8491 or text teen2teen to 839863
or chat online.
Crisis Services by Oregon County and a list of crisis lines on OHA’s website.
2020 Oregon Teacher of the Year Mercedes Muñoz Reflects on the Past Year
I have always thought teaching to be one of the most important and sacred actions in a society. Beyond the technical aspects of teaching; teachers are entrusted with the responsibility to encourage, challenge, uplift, and listen to students from all walks of life, with various ethnic, racial, religious, and even political backgrounds. I still believe in the magic of this exchange.
2020 has only heightened my learning and awareness. When I accepted the 2020 Teacher of the Year Award, I never thought we would collectively be faced with a Global Pandemic, social and racial unrest, and Comprehensive Distance Learning.
As a person who thrived working consistently and fervently in the background, it was unnerving to suddenly be placed in the forefront of local educational issues. Over and over again, I was reassured by my students, families, and colleagues that I had earned their trust and that they were counting on my elevated voice to share the things they have taught me.
I came into the year on the heels of Oregon's Red for Ed movement. Teachers who work tirelessly and with excellence, were advocating for their students and classrooms with robust energy--they too believe in the magic and sacredness of teaching. As teachers we know the complexities of this job and what we need to do it well. It was in seeing and hearing this power, that I felt led to champion their efforts. Behind the scenes, I worked to elevate teacher voice and collaboration, particularly during the pandemic. Teachers needed a seat at the table.
During this year, I have met teachers from each of the 56 U.S. States and territories. We gathered together in San Francisco and experienced professional development in a room with so many like minds and hearts. To say this was a powerful experience is an understatement. I can say that standing with teachers who show such unwavering support and commitment to students and families every day, is the true prize.
Not only am I humbled by the work of my colleagues throughout the state of Oregon, I am also truly honored to be a part of this profession. Teachers are creative, passionate, innovative, vibrant, and critical thinkers. Together, we both reflect and mirror the same qualities, which are found in our students.
I am looking forward to learning more about technology this year. I am committed to teaching for change and social justice. I am keenly aware that 2020 is a year that can change us for better or for worse. In this year, I see opportunities to continue growing and to listen to the voices of our historically resilient people groups. My pre-service experience taught me to listen, learn, and serve. It is part of my life´s work to continue walking along these pathways of learning, serving, and listening. It is my belief that these are time-honored skills passed on by my ancestors and it is with pride that I recognize so many shoulders upon which I stand.
This year has provided opportunities to listen to the voices from communities all over this state that I would not have had the opportunity to hear from otherwise. I have had the chance to speak and share parts of my experience as a teacher, mother, learner, and as a State Teacher of the Year.
Over the next year, I look forward to bringing my memoir into production and publication. I will be taking on a new role at Franklin High School, where I am so glad to be. Additionally, I look forward to volunteering and providing resources to families in support of Distance Learning, connection, and community; and advocating for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. To ensure equitable outcomes for all students we need more representation of Teachers of Color in our workforce. It is an area of passion to support the work of matching the diversity of our students. This makes us stronger together.
It is both an incredible honor and humbling to be recognized as the 2020 Oregon State Teacher of the Year. My sincere appreciation goes to the Oregon Department of Education, Council of Chief School State Officers, Oregon Lottery and former Oregon Teachers of the Year who support, sponsor, and create this almost unbelievable opportunity for growth in leadership, advocacy, and service. I can still remember filling out my application and daring to dream, ¨You can do this.¨ It is my hope that other teacher-leaders will dare to dream and model for their students and communities that anything is possible with time, care, and attention. As my year comes to a close, I am looking forward to new beginnings. I will continue to champion the work of educators, who deserve the right tools and time, to answer the calling of this profession. It is a call that requires us to be prepared to serve at all times. I hope we will each continue to be dreams still dreaming, exploring the unfolding possibilities with love and grace.
Thank you again and again. It is and has been my pleasure to uplift our work in this great state!
Governor Kate Brown Names Brian Detman as Youth Development Director
On August 13, Governor Kate Brown announced that she has named Brian Detman as Youth Development Director for the Youth Development Council. The council helps Oregon youth overcome barriers to education and workforce success, with a focus on youth ages 16 to 24 who are either not enrolled in school or employed, or who are at risk for leaving school or being unable to transition to the workforce.
“With his years of experience in juvenile justice and youth development program leadership, public policy, and community engagement, Brian Detman will further the work of the Youth Development Council to help Oregon high school students stay on track to graduate with a plan for their future,” said Governor Brown. “Too often, the students in our school system who face the highest barriers to success are disproportionately from communities of color––and, during a pandemic, those students can face even more challenges. The work of the Youth Development Council is critical to centering equity and inclusion in helping Oregon’s most vulnerable youth.”
Most recently, Detman was the Executive Director of Caldera, a non-profit organization that provides year-round arts and environmental programming to youth from underserved schools in Central Oregon and the Portland Metro area. Prior to that, he worked in various leadership roles within the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice and it’s Juvenile Services Division, and was a senior policy advisor in the Multnomah County Chair's Office.
Throughout his career, Detman has served in governance, advisory, and support capacities for a number of community-based initiatives and non-profit organizations focused on equity and social justice, including the Portland Black Male Achievement Initiative, Black Resilience Fund, The Emerson School, Sightline Institute, and the Metropolitan Portland Leadership Council of the Oregon Community Foundation.
His professional background includes work with national, statewide, and local businesses and organizations––Executive Vice President at Metropolitan Group, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Enhabit (formerly Clean Energy Works), and Program Director for Greater Than (formerly the I Have a Dream Foundation). He is a graduate of Whitman College.
Detman started in his new role as Youth Development Director on Tuesday, August 11. Outgoing Youth Development Director Serena Stoudamire Wesley has taken a new position as the state’s Chief Cultural Change Officer at the Department of Administrative Services.