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September 2022 Education Update

Oregon Achieves... Together!

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

ODE Director Colt Gill 

ODE Director Colt Gill wrote the following op-ed published in the Oregonian on August 21.

As Oregon’s students return to their classrooms, we must make sure our students are recognized for their strength and resiliency and receive the personalized support they need to succeed.

We know there were students, families and staff in communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. These include members of tribes here in Oregon and Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities, LGBTQ+ students, and those experiencing a disability, navigating poverty and many living in Oregon’s rural communities.

That’s why our state is prioritizing care and connection, safety and localized COVID-19 planning. By ensuring that schools are safe and welcome, we can help all students access their education and reach their potential.

Care and Connection: Building care, connection and community takes time, but a wealth of research shows that it is a worthwhile investment. In addition to providing time to connect with students and families, we ask school administrators to provide staff and educators with time for relationship building with each other and with students each day.

Districts across the state are engaging in numerous activities to build care and connection including creating family resource centers and calm rooms, integrating arts and nature activities into the school day to create more time for connection and hiring staff dedicated to building community with students, families and school personnel.

The Oregon Department of Education webpage also offers Oregon Classroom WISE, a suite of free print and video resources, guided tutorials, role plays, and interviews with youth and school personnel. This self-guided content for adults and youth is filled with tools for enhancing mental health and well-being and covers many important topics such as building safe, healthy relationships and best practices for supporting youth experiencing life challenges and distress.

School Safety: Families deserve to know their students will be safe when they drop them off to learn. Oregon deploys several resources so that every student feels safe and welcome in our schools.

Oregon’s SafeOregon Tip Line works to prevent real-time violence. The line was developed by the Oregon Task Force on School Safety and is administered by the Oregon State Police and free for schools to use. At last count, nearly 1,250 schools utilize the line. People can access the line by calling or texting 844-472-3367, emailing or going to the website to submit a tip.

Funded by the Student Success Act, the School Safety and Prevention System provides school districts with multi-tiered prevention programs and safety-based crisis interventions. The system includes suicide prevention supports, behavioral safety assessments, as well as positive school culture and climate initiatives that work to prevent bullying and to promote mental health and well-being in school districts statewide.

Oregon has also secured federal grant funds to create the Statewide School Safety and Emergency Management plan. The plan includes emergency management consultants, placed in partner Education Service Districts, available across the state to help schools respond to violence or disaster. This program is designed to support the development of emergency operations plans in schools to improve safety and security for students. It also includes the implementation of comprehensive threat assessment systems that can identify threats of violence, organize resources to address those threats, and maintain psychological safety in the school community.

COVID-19 and other communicable diseases: With more than a full year of onsite operations, Oregon schools are now well-practiced at implementing the steps needed to mitigate COVID-19. As our schools plan for the fall, it is important to remember our communities will be experiencing outbreaks of respiratory disease, including COVID-19, now and into the future. COVID-19 continues to change with new variants, and our knowledge of mitigation efforts grows over time.

Right now, the best tools to protect our students and staff are vaccination and boosting when eligible, face coverings, physical distancing, ventilation and airflow, and staying home when you feel sick.

State guidance empowers school districts - in partnership with local public health - to make local decisions about how to implement health and safety protocols that serve each community best. Schools will share the health and safety protocols they will have in place, along with steps they plan to take in response to respiratory disease outbreaks during the school year.

We all know students must feel safe and welcome to flourish in school. By practicing care and connection, following safety protocols, and working together to mitigate COVID-19, we can create the environments that allow Oregon’s students to thrive and focus on unfinished learning brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

ODE Releases Recommendations Report On Making Oregon’s Diploma Requirements More Equitable, Accessible and Inclusive

Following an extensive community engagement process, the Oregon Department of Education has released a report to the Oregon Legislature and State Board of Education titled, “Community-Informed Recommendations for Equitable Graduation Outcomes: Senate Bill 744 Report.”

The report, developed in response to legislative request, contains a summary of the department’s engagement process and feedback, a review of current Oregon diploma requirements, a review of graduation data and essential skills, a scan of nationwide diploma requirements and trends, and determinations and recommendations for the Oregon Legislature and State Board of Education to consider and inform future graduation policy decisions. Oregon’s graduation requirements were last reviewed in 2007 and updated in 2008 and phased in through 2013.

Oregon retains stringent requirements for teaching and assessment of reading, writing, math and all other content areas within high school courses, as the number of high school credits required has not changed and remains as rigorous as any in the nation. To earn a diploma in Oregon, students must earn passing grades in 24 high school credits, including four years of language arts and three years of math. Oregon’s high school diploma credit requirements are among the most demanding in the country; at present, no state requires more credits to graduate (Education Commission of the States, 2019).

Statewide Engagement

To develop the recommendations, ODE coordinated extensive statewide engagement, involving more than 3,500 diverse students, community members, families, educators, and representatives of higher education and workforce and industry. ODE also conducted an in-depth review of Oregon graduation data by investigating inequities and disparities, exploring diploma policies in other states and comparing Oregon diploma policies with national trends.

Statewide, local, and regional engagement was hosted by both ODE and Oregon’s Kitchen Table to gather feedback from a diverse variety of community members. Participants were asked what they value in education and what a diploma means to them, their family, and their community.

“Oregon is fortunate to have so many diverse community members from throughout the state deeply committed to informing future graduation policies,” said Colt Gill, Director of Oregon Department of Education. “Their contributions enabled the Oregon Department of Education to perform a deep, equity-based review of diploma policies to help prepare Oregon’s students for a productive and opportunity-filled future. Thank you to everyone who participated in this necessary review.”

Determinations and Principles

The report includes two determinations in response to questions posed by SB 744, which ODE was entrusted with addressing. The report does not recommend changing diploma requirements in basic academic skills. Determination #1 addresses the question, “of whether the skills and knowledge expected to be attained by persons who earn high school diplomas in this state… align with the requirements for high school diplomas in this state.” Determination #2 addresses the question, “of whether the requirements for high school diplomas in this state have been applied inequitably to different student populations.”

Determination 1: ODE has determined that the skills and knowledge expected by business, industry, and postsecondary education do not fully align with the current requirements for the Oregon Diploma.

Determination 2: ODE has determined that the requirements for Oregon high school diplomas have been applied inequitably to different student populations. ODE developed final recommendations (which can be found in the report) by following the principles listed below when synthesizing the information gathered from the review and engagement process:

  • Center accountability on systems, not students. Place accountability on systems to provide the educational resources needed to make requirements feasible for students.
  • Reflect student and community assets. Equity in graduation requirements demands that Oregon's diploma process honors and recognizes student, family and community diversity, culture, assets and strengths (especially communities who have been historically marginalized such as those experiencing poverty, those experiencing housing instability, those experiencing disabilities, those experiencing mobility, those who are multilingual, and students who identify as Black/African-American, Indigenous or Native, LGBTQ2SIA+ community members.)
  • Prepare students for their futures. Diploma requirements must be designed so students are prepared to thrive in the ever complex and changing world after graduation.
  • Create coherence and clarity. Diploma requirements should be accessible, with clear expectations and steps to achieving a diploma identified.

These recommendations are intended to make Oregon’s diploma requirements more equitable, accessible, and inclusive for all students. The recommendations do not stand alone and should not be implemented independently. If the State Board of Education and/or Legislature consider implementation of any of the recommendations they should be implemented in a coordinated fashion that is further informed by active and robust community engagement.

The final report and supporting appendices can be accessed online. The process and report offer an opportunity for the Legislature and State Board of Education to review Oregon’s diploma requirements and consider updates to better serve all of our youth. This report shows that Oregon has a chance to reimagine and rebuild our education system in a way that more equitably serves Oregon’s students. This report in and of itself does not direct any action on Oregon’s diploma requirements, any action based on these requirements would be signaled by future direction from the Oregon Legislature or State Board of Education. Any questions and comments can be directed to:

School Health Advisory for Continuity of Instruction

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) are partnering to prioritize the health and safety protocols needed to reliably provide full-time, in-person instruction for all students, every school day. We know our students learn best in-person, where they have access to community, critical support and services.

Schools are already using their School-level COVID-19 Management Plan to reduce the spread of communicable disease, including COVID-19 in school settings. Because schools are congregate settings, using layered mitigation strategies every day can help schools remain open and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

ODE and OHA last issued a School Health Advisory on May 13, 2022. That advisory was in effect until August 31, 2022. This advisory is in direct response to the start of the 2022–23 school year and names actions that schools and families can take to reduce the spread of communicable disease throughout the year. This School Health Advisory does not have an expiration date. A new school health advisory may be issued or this advisory may be rescinded in response to increased risk or reduced risk in Oregon.

You can read the full advisory online.

SEL Advisory Group Members Wanted

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) is seeking participants that reflect the diversity of the public K-12 student population for its K-12 Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Framework & Standards Advisory Group. This group will work with ODE to develop a K-12 SEL Framework and Standards for Oregon to be adopted by the State Board of Education by September 2023. The adopted SEL Framework and Standards will be implemented in Oregon schools starting in the fall of 2024.

APPLY NOW (Application window closes on September 18th at 11:59 p.m.)

This Advisory Group will be guided by ODE’s Equity Stance, ODE’s Integrated Model of Mental Health and the beliefs and values articulated in the “Whereas” statements of HB 2166 as we develop Oregon’s K-12 SEL Framework and Standards. We will build from the Phase 1 HB 2166 SEL Advisory Group’s initial recommendations that will be shared with the State Board of Education on September 22, 2022.

Who is eligible to serve on the Advisory Group?

Current building educators and practitioners who have experience with integrating SEL across content areas, grade-levels, and throughout various contexts in the school day. ODE will prioritize participant selection based on educator and regional diversity, educational experience and professional learning, active classroom educators, instructional coaches, and teachers on special assignment.

How will each group member contribute?

Advisory members will commit to participating in regular meetings from October 2022 through June 2023. Every group member will bring important contributions in the following ways:

  • Develop, in collaboration with other Advisory Group members, a Social Emotional Learning Framework and K-12 Social Emotional Learning Standards that build on the recommendations of the HB 2166 Advisory Group.
  • Ensure culturally responsive and anti-oppressive approaches are at the center of the SEL framework and standards.
  • Advocate through the lens of racial equity, trauma-informed principles and practices, and strengths-based models.
  • Attend all required virtual K-12 SEL Framework & Standards Advisory Group Meetings.
  • Complete individual review and research of materials and resources.
  • Provide support for implementation guidance by identifying and sharing best and promising practices, materials, resources and professional learning.

What is the commitment?

We are seeking a nine-month commitment from selected participants from October 14, 2022 through June 8, 2023. Virtual meetings will be held monthly on the second Thursday for three hours either in the mornings (9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.) or afternoons (1:00 - 4:00 p.m.). We will also be organizing into various smaller workgroups to develop the SEL Framework and Standards which may require an additional 1 hour of synchronous/asynchronous work to be determined by the smaller work groups. The total time commitment for this role will be approximately 3-4 hours each month. Selected participants are expected to attend all K-12 SEL Framework & Standards Advisory Group Meetings, so please place a hold on your calendars for the dates and times. ODE will reimburse districts for a half-day substitute, therefore each participant will need to get supervisor approval.

To apply, please complete the SEL Framework & Standards Advisory Group Application by 11:59 PM on Sunday, September 18, 2022.

On October 3rd, we will notify applicants that they have been selected to serve on the Advisory Group and provide more information regarding our Advisory Group launch meeting on October 14th from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Note: If you are an educator or practitioner, you will need your administrator’s approval to apply.

For more information on ODE’s SEL Framework and Standards work, if you have any difficulty accessing the application link, need the application to be in a different language or format, or if you have any questions, please reach out to ODE’s SEL Specialist at

ESSER Expenditure Transparency Dashboard Now Online

The Oregon Department of Education is pleased to announce the launch of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds Expenditure Transparency Dashboard.

As with any significant investment in public education, our community partners have an interest in learning about how school districts and the state are utilizing ESSER funds to best serve students, educators, and communities. To enhance transparency, ODE has created a publicly accessible ESSER Expenditure Dashboard. The dashboard shows the district reimbursement requests that ODE has processed for all three rounds of ESSER funding.

Note that the dashboard does not immediately reflect actual district and ESD expenditures, but rather, requests for and the ODE processing of reimbursement requests. Districts and ESDs may request reimbursements at any time and many make requests monthly, quarterly, or on some other schedule. Therefore, the dashboard will accurately reflect reimbursements made by ODE, but may not accurately reflect expenditures in real time at the district level.

As ODE processes district reimbursement requests for ESSER funds, the ESSER Expenditure Dashboard will continue to be updated to assist the public in understanding when and how the funds are being spent.

To access the dashboard, please visit the ODE ESSER Transparency webpage.

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds are awarded to Oregon through three separate federal acts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act in March 2020 (ESSER I)
  • Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act in December 2020 (ESSER II)
  • American Rescue Plan in March 2021 (ESSER III)

The ESSER funds provide Oregon school districts and the Oregon Department of Education the opportunity to respond to the unique needs of each district and expand efforts already underway, such as:

  • Addressing unfinished learning through asset-based acceleration strategies;
  • Prioritizing health, safety, wellness, and connections for all communities;
  • Increasing access to culturally responsive mental and social/emotional wellbeing supports; and
  • Strengthening high-quality, culturally sustaining and revitalizing instruction, leadership, and pathways to graduation and post-secondary transitions.

For more information, please visit ODE’s Federal COVID-19 Stimulus Resources page.

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact the ODE ESSER team at

September is National Preparedness Month

Story provided by the Oregon Department of Emergency Management

For families, September is all about back to school, but it’s also National Preparedness Month, a great time to talk with kids and teens about how to prepare for an emergency or disaster.

Emergencies and disasters can occur anywhere, anytime. Everyone in your household - especially kids – needs to know what to do when they happen. Talking about this can be scary, and the best way to ease those fears is to empower each other to learn now about potential disasters that could affect them and give them the tools they need to be prepared.

Being ready means being informed and aware of risks, having an emergency plan, and making an emergency kit with at least two weeks' worth of food, water and critical supplies. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to plan for different types of situations. While a wildfire may cause evacuation; an ice storm may cause a short-term power outage; and in the event of a Cascadia earthquake, it may take days or even weeks for responders to reach everyone impacted.

Once you have an emergency plan, practice it with your family until you feel everyone knows it backward and forward. Remind your kids they can always ask questions about the plan and emergency preparedness in general – they may just have ideas and suggestions you haven’t considered! Taking the time to plan and practice that plan can make all the difference if disaster strikes.

For every one person that’s prepared, that’s one less person first responders need to assist, saving precious time and allowing them to prioritize life-threatening situations. Let your kids know that doing their part to be ready for disasters truly helps save the lives of others.

Every Oregonian can be ready for emergencies, and it doesn’t have to be expensive or happen all at once. It’s about doing what you can, where you are, with what you have, to keep yourself and your family safe. There are many effective low-cost and no-cost actions your family can take today to be ready for tomorrow, including making an emergency plan, signing up or updating contact information for local emergency alerts, reviewing community evacuation routes, enabling Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on cell phones, making copies of important documents, watching preparedness videos, learning how to perform first-aid, and getting to know neighbors and community resources.

The website has a number of excellent resources for preparing kids, teens and families, including templates for emergency plans and kits. Additionally, Oregon Emergency Management offers several downloadable equitable and accessible readiness resources to help inform people of their risks and ways to help one another prepare.

2022 Educator Equity Report Released

The Educator Advancement Council, in partnership with the Oregon Educator Equity Advisory Group, Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Teachers Standards and Practices Commission and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, announces the release of the 2022 Educator Equity Report.

This is the eighth Educator Equity Report published by the state education agencies since 2015 on educator workforce diversification efforts in Oregon. Presented in this year’s report are:

  • A summary of the most recent racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity data collected on the educator workforce, including: candidates enrolled in and completing public approved educator preparation programs; candidates receiving Oregon teaching or administrative licenses; newly employed and educators already employed in the public schools.
  • A summary of the public universities’ educator preparation programs plans for recruitment, admission, retention and graduation of diverse educators.
  • A review of best practices in Oregon and other states for recruiting, hiring and retaining diverse educators; additional data is needed to provide a more thorough understanding of how Oregon’s practices and strategies are impacting these areas.

In addition to these requirements, the new changes in statute include a review of the state’s educator diversity goal, including:

  • determination of the need for additional related state goals;
  • progress made by the state toward meeting the goal;
  • and any other additional related state goals;
  • recommendations;
  • a long-term plan for meeting the goal and any other additional related state goals.

The full report can be viewed online.

Project AWARE Grant Award

On August 30th the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) was awarded a $5.4 million, 5-year Project AWARE Grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The Project AWARE award will augment Oregon’s Strengthening Mental Health in Education (SMHiE) Initiative by fortifying state and local project management infrastructure, and extending the existing $5.5 million ESSER III-funded 2-year project period to 5 years.

The Strengthening Mental Health in Education Initiative addresses the considerable need for a robust, community-driven, linguistically, and culturally responsive behavioral health infrastructure in Oregon school communities. The work is guided by ODE’s Integrated Model of Mental Health (IMMH), which roots mental health promotion and suicide and substance use prevention efforts in 4 key pillars of practice:

  1. Strengths-based
  2. Trauma-informed
  3. SEL-focused
  4. Equity-centered

Project AWARE resources will support additional community engagement, co-design, and program development, extend the implementation, iterative evaluation, quality improvement and sustainability phases, and provide additional state and local project management capabilities.

The Initiative will serve roughly 560,917 public school students, 70,198 staff, 2,340 administrators, and CBOs that support Oregon’s 197 school districts, and consist of four primary components:

  1. Increasing mental health literacy via an asynchronous, digital learning educational program and accompanying resources;
  2. Developing and deploying credentialed, behavioral health courses and professional learning communities;
  3. Co-designing and implementing of a Community Care Project (CCP) to enhance behavioral health infrastructure in 4 school districts that represent the racial/ethnic, linguistic, geographic, and socio-demographic diversity of Oregon’s school communities; and
  4. Understanding formative and summative project impact and recommendations for implementation, sustainability, and continuous quality improvement.

For additional information please contact Dr. B Grace Bullock, Senior Mental Health Officer and Oregon Project AWARE Principal Investigator and Project Director.

ODE and OSBA celebrate National School Lunch Week

The week of October 10-14 is National School Lunch Week and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA) are teaming up to raise awareness of the importance of child nutrition programs in schools. We invite school board members and superintendents to eat with students during that week to experience their local school lunches.

We could use your help.

Encourage your board to participate by making plans to have lunch with students that week. All they need to do prior is reach out to school nutrition staff and building administrators before their visit. Then they are encouraged to post to social media about their experience using the #NSLW22inOR hashtag and the ODE (@ORDeptEd) and OSBA (@OSBANews) Twitter handles.

Back to School Notices

School Meal Programs Communications Toolkit Available

Schools and school districts returned to standard school meal programs on July 1, 2022 when federal waivers related to COVID-19 ended. The Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs team has developed a School Meal Programs Communications Toolkit, posted to the COVID 19 webpage, to help assist nutrition staff communicate with students and families about the transition.

Included in the toolkit are:

  • Talking points
  • Social media posts
  • Signage
  • Template letters to families

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your district’s assigned Child Nutrition Specialist.

Become a Bus Driver Flyer Available

The Oregon Department of Education has recently developed a wayfinding resource based on stakeholder feedback to help in recruiting efforts at school districts and their private bus company partners.

Please download, link, or print the resource below to share:

  • Become A Bus Driver, a one-page handy reference for anyone interested in the steps to becoming a school bus driver

As always, please contact our office if we may assist in any way:

Scheduling Your 2022 Statewide In-Service Day

ODE has received many questions about the 2022 Statewide In-Service Day. Please know that each school district determines their own In-Service Days, not ODE.

Schools have traditionally used the second Friday in October. This year that would be October 14. However, there is no statewide date set by ODE. Each school district determines their own In-Service Days and activities.

Capitol Postpones Onsite Guided Tours, Resumes Virtual, Guided Experiences

A third phase of the Capitol Accessibility, Maintenance, and Safety (CAMS) project is underway to make much-needed safety and accessibility improvements to the Capitol. As a result, the central, historic portion of the Capitol, which includes the Rotunda, House and Senate Chambers, Governor’s Ceremonial Office, and Tower Platform, will be closed to the public until January 2025.

With the building’s tour stops and exhibit and event spaces under construction, the Capitol’s Visitor Services department is postponing its indoor programming – including its onsite guided tour program – through 2025.

Visitor Services is committed to sharing their love of the Capitol with Oregon’s schoolchildren throughout the project, and will continue to offer their guided, in-classroom virtual tour experience this year. The experience, which includes a personalized virtual tour with one of the Capitol’s interpretive guides, is available 9:00-9:45 a.m. and 10:00-10:45 a.m. Tuesday - Thursday, September - November and January - June 2. To schedule, contact 503-986-1388 or email

Feedback Needed: Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion Prevention Program Rules

On Sept. 1, the Early Learning Division released a draft of the Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion Prevention Program Rules for public comment. These proposed rules will help the agency set up the new program and guide future design and requirements.

We want to hear from you! Provide feedback on the draft rules:

  • Complete the Feedback Form on the draft rules by Sept. 23, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Register to present verbal testimony at the public hearing Sept. 20 at 5:30 p.m.

To provide feedback and learn more about these rules and the rulemaking process, visit the ELD website.

Questions? Contact Remy Watts, ELD Rules Coordinator: 971-701-1535.

Spread the Word About the Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which is administered by the Federal Communications Commission, gives low-income households a discount on internet services so they don’t have to decide between purchasing broadband or other necessities.

The Affordable Connectivity Program provides:

  • A $30 per month benefit to help households afford access to high-speed internet service.
  • Up to a $75 per month discount if the household is on qualifying tribal lands.
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50).

Some people who may get the discount:

  • Have income at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines
  • Participate in certain assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline
  • Are approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program

How to Participate in ACP

Check your eligibility and enroll in the ACP online. There is no fee to apply.

New: $30 Internet Plans

The federal government has secured 20 leading internet providers to offer ACP-eligible households a high-speed internet plan for no more than $30 per month. Eligible families who pair their ACP benefit with one of these plans can receive high-speed internet at no cost. Visit for more details.

Help Spread the Word

Community groups can use these outreach materials to help spread the word about the benefit. Check and share when the USAC ends the program. Help participants choose a different plan or pay the full cost.

Oregon Kid Governor 2023 Kicks Off!

Oregon’s Kid Governor® (ORKG) is a statewide civics program for 5th graders managed by the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office. It is an affiliate of Kid Governor®, an award-winning civics program created by the Connecticut Democracy Center (CTDC).

Timed to coincide with Election Day in November, ORKG offers each elementary school in Oregon the opportunity to enter one student candidate into a statewide election that other 5th graders vote in. Classes can nominate a classmate to run for office, vote in the election or both. Toolkits of in-class lessons guide teachers and students through the program to learn about civics, including how to vote, the Oregon Legislature, The Oregon Executive Branch, and the Oregon Supreme Court. The program is free and provides teachers with classroom toolkits to help guide their students through the curriculum.

ORKG candidates work with their classmates to create a campaign video outlining:

  • Why they want to be ORKG
  • Their leadership qualities and skills
  • A community issue that they want to address and why it’s important

A 3-point plan that will help 5th graders across Oregon make a difference on that issue.

From the pool of nominees, a selection committee will choose the final seven candidates and the Secretary of State’s Office will post the videos online. During Election Week, registered classes watch and analyze the campaign videos and vote for the platform and candidate they want to support. The candidate with the most votes statewide is then named Oregon Kid Governor.

The winning candidate serves a one-year term with all the benefits and responsibilities of being Kid Governor. These duties include sharing their issue statewide with constituents, writing posts for an official blog, meeting with students and adults across the state, and participating in events with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.

The current kid Governor is Emerie Martin of Pleasant Hill Elementary and her platform is about animal abuse. Past governors include Taneesh Garg of Springfield and Raaga Mandala of Portland.

Each Oregon school that chooses to participate will nominate one 5th grade student. Oregon's Kid Governors are elected by fellow 5th graders from across the state. During the week of November 7-15, all participating 5th graders will view the finalists' campaign videos and will vote for their favorite nominee. The winner will be announced before Thanksgiving. 

During their one-year term, Oregon's Kid Governor will work with the Secretary of State's office on their campaign issue and will meet with Oregon leaders and legislators. In past years, we have had Kid Governors work on anti-bullying efforts, combating racism, and helping animals.

For more information or to register and access the lesson plans, visit the Oregon Kid Governor website. Please contact the Oregon Kid Governor Statewide Coordinator at

Deadline Approaching for Students to Apply to U.S. Senate Youth Program

Every year, two students from Oregon are chosen to participate in the U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP). Qualified high school juniors or seniors must show demonstrated leadership by serving in elected or appointed positions in which they are actively representing a constituency in organizations related to student government, education, public affairs and community service. They must be actively serving in qualified leadership positions, enrolled in high school and living in Oregon for the entire 2022–2023 academic year.

More information is available at the USSYP website.

For Oregon the application is due no later than October 10th 2022. The students selected to represent Oregon receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship and participate in a week-long government and leadership education program. The 61st annual United States Senate Youth Program Washington Week is planned for March 4-11, 2023 in Washington, D.C.

ODE In the News

Student Spotlight