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September 2017 Education Update

Title: September 2017 Education Update
The latest education news from the Oregon Department of Education.
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September 2017

Oregon Achieves... Together!

A Message from Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor

September is an exciting month for education! In Oregon, we welcomed students back for another school year. And across the country, state and local educational leaders have joined together to recognize Attendance Awareness Month. As educators, we know just how critical it is that every student come to school so that each may ultimately graduate high school and move on to achieve his or her dreams. When we establish a positive school culture, prioritize and celebrate attendance, and encourage inquiry and creativity in our classrooms, students are more likely to come to school and stay engaged. Generating awareness about attendance means engaging parents and families, who are essential partners when it comes to attendance. Together, families, educators and community members comprise the circle of caring adults who help ensure that each one of our students attends school, ready to learn with support and encouragement.

Chronic absenteeism – defined as a student missing 10 percent or more of school days, including excused, unexcused and discipline-related absences-- is a concern for students in every grade, with higher rates in kindergarten and 1st grade and then again across all high school grades. These high absenteeism rates lead to devastating outcomes, such as students dropping out, low graduation rates and even juvenile justice contacts. Chronic absenteeism is a complex issue that requires a thoughtful and complex response. Schools and students cannot fix this problem alone. Cross-sector partnerships with local and state health agencies, community-based organizations, community and business members and families must be leveraged to provide essential wraparound support to address the root causes of chronic absenteeism for all students. Creating these partnerships and welcoming school environments can impact absenteeism rates, high school graduation rates, school discipline and academic performance. Best and promising practices are most successful when they are systematically applied with knowledge of the local context.  Our shared role of support starts in children’s earliest years, by focusing on the importance of regular attendance with students, families and communities. As a state, we must work together improve these numbers.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to kick off the school year by visiting two schools on the southern Oregon coast that have programs designed to boost attendance. Madison Elementary in Coos Bay and North Bay Elementary in North Bend both participate in the Tribal Attendance Pilot Project (TAPP), a collaboration between the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes that focuses on efforts to break down barriers that can lead to chronic absenteeism. Each school, in collaboration with tribal leaders, hired a family advocate with deep local connections to create a school-wide initiative to reduce chronic absenteeism. In 2016-17, each school created and implemented their own plan to best address the needs of their students and community.  Madison and North Bay Elementary Schools demonstrate that to make a significant change, it takes a team, with all members working toward the same goal of improving student attendance.

The Oregon Department of Education is working with its partners to share key strategies for improving attendance and reducing chronic absenteeism; learn more about them here.  Together, we can help ensure our children attend school so that they have the opportunity to achieve their dreams.

Portland Public Schools Middle School Educator Named 2018 Oregon Teacher of the Year

Mt. Tabor Middle School teacher Matthew Bacon-Brenes is Oregon’s 2018 Teacher of the Year! At a ceremony September 19, Oregon Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Salam Noor was joined by Mt. Tabor Middle School Principal Sean Keating in honoring Bacon-Brenes for his innovative practices, passion for excellence, and unwavering commitment to student success.

Click here to read more.
Oregon’s Tribal Attendance Pilot Project Highlighted in National Webinar

September is Attendance Awareness Month and the non-profit group Attendance Works held a webinar on September 12 highlighting its recent report on chronic absenteeism. The report and webinar included a closer look at Oregon’s Tribal Attendance Pilot Project (TAPP), a collaboration between the Oregon Department of Education, the state’s nine federally recognized tribes and nine school districts around the state. You can watch the webinar on the Attendance Works website. There is more about TAPP on the ODE website including details of each district’s plan and resources any school can use. The budget passed by lawmakers this year and signed into law by Governor Brown includes funding for TAPP for two more school years.

Click here to read more.
Oregon Assessment Results Released
The results are in for two assessment reports on Oregon students. The Smarter Balanced Assessments given to students in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school were made public September 14. You can read our news release on the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) website and also find the results from your district or school.

The College Board released SAT and Advanced Placement results September 26. ODE also issued a news release on those results. The College Board does not post district level data on its website, but you can look at Oregon’s overall results there.
Wildfire and Smoke Resources for Schools and Districts

While some much-needed rain has come to Oregon, there are still multiple large fires burning and producing smoke in the state. On September 8, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) distributed resources for schools and districts to help them make decisions on whether students should have activities outdoors, such as recess or sporting events.

Click here to read more.
Apply Now for African American/Black Student Success Plan Grants

The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Oregon Department of Education is providing $650,000 in strategic investment grant funds for the support of projects focused on success indicators from the African American/Black Student Success Plan. These funds are being distributed through a competitive grant competition and you can find the Request for Applications (RFA) for the African American/Black Student Success Plan on the ODE website.

Click here to read more.
Oregon’s State Plan -- What You Need to Know Now

Streamlined Smarter Balanced Test Blueprints for 2017-18 at grades 3-8 and high school
  • Reduced testing time! New Smarter Balanced tests will reduce testing time by approximately 1 hour for English Language Arts across all tested grades, as well as a slight reduction in math
High School Assessment
  • The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) conducted a Request for Information (RFI) to identify potential test options; two vendors responded, including ACT and SAT
  • ODE will release a Request for Proposal (RFP) in Winter 2018 to find out more about the assessments’ alignment to Oregon standards and ability to demonstrate accessibility and accommodations necessary to meet the needs of all Oregon’s high school students, including students with disabilities and English learners
Report Card Redesign: We need your input!     
Don’t Forget to Sign Your School Up for the SafeOregon Tip Line!

Now is a great time to sign your school up for SafeOregon, a school safety tip line program available to all public K-12 schools. SafeOregon is a way for students, staff or other members of the public to confidentially report and share information about a risk or a potential risk to student safety. Before students can use it, though, SafeOregon requires schools to complete a sign-up process.

Click here to read more.
ODE Leadership Updates

Theresa Richards is the new Interim Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Teaching, Learning and Assessment (OTLA). 

Johnna Timmes is the new Interim Assessment Director while also continuing to lead the Data, Operations and Grant Support Team.

Laura Foley is the new Director of Secondary/Post-Secondary Transitions and Career and Technical Education (CTE).

Click here to read more.
Health and PE Instructional Materials Regional Presentations Planned

The Oregon Department of Education is planning up to 5 regional caravan stops for approved health and physical education (PE) instructional materials. A regional caravan is a full day of presentations related to the new health/PE standards, instructional materials adoption criteria, and diversity and equity in health/PE. This opportunity is aimed at providing professional development for K-12 classroom teachers and school district staff. Potential topics to be covered include the new health and physical education standards and the instructional materials adoption criteria. Publishers will give presentations and have samples of their approved materials on site. 

Click here to read more.
Financial Aid Webinars coming up

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission, Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC) is pleased to announce the several upcoming webinars to help Oregon students and educators better understand financial aid options. OSAC administers student financial aid programs for the State of Oregon, including the Oregon Opportunity Grant, Oregon Promise and over 500 privately funded scholarships.

Click here to read more.
Register Today for COSA Annual Principals Conference

The 2017 Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) Annual Principals Conference is coming up next month in Bend! Be sure to register today for the Lifting School Leaders event October 22-24.

Click here to read more.
2017 Social Studies Instructional Materials

Criteria Development Committee Recruitment
The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) is currently accepting applications from teachers, curriculum specialists, and other experienced professionals for the 2017 Social Sciences Instructional Materials Criteria Development Committee.

Click here to read more.
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