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5/9/2008 8:00:00 AM
Superintendent's Update #254
Superintendent's Update


In This Issue:
  • New Clout for an Oregon Diploma
  • White House Awards Gresham Physics Teacher with Top Science Honor
  • Oregon Diploma Talk
  • Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools
  • Susan’s Schedule

New clout for an Oregon diploma
May 1, 2008 Oregonian Editorial (excerpt)

Today, Oregon students can sail through school almost as if the last two decades of education reform never happened. The state will soon change that -- and not a moment too soon.

graduates' The state Board of Education will require students to pass state standardized tests in reading, writing and math to graduate, starting with next year's freshmen, as The Oregonian's Betsy Hammond reported last month. These students also will need to demonstrate their skills in public speaking and applied math to teachers at their schools, following a state-approved grading system. This is not high-stakes testing by any stretch of the imagination. Oregon students who can't pass the standardized tests will have the opportunity to prove their knowledge in other ways.

Three factors will help determine whether the balancing act works.

First, the state Board of Education needs to refine the rules for students who don't pass the standardized test, to keep the alternative assessment from becoming a cheap backdoor diploma. Schools should have to submit these students' work to the state or other outside evaluator, or at least be subject to regular audits, rather than merely evaluate these students informally and locally.

Second, schools should be required to publish a breakdown of their graduation data, and share how many students passed the standardized tests versus how many needed special dispensation. A high failure rate on the standardized tests should be a red flag, regardless of the eventual graduation rate.

Third, state lawmakers and the public will need to get reinvigorated about K-12 schools. If state leaders help schools lower class sizes, save money, hire counselors, add music and art, improve vocational education and cover full-day kindergarten, those schools will be better equipped to get more students across the finish line.

To read the entire piece, go to Oregonian Editorial.


The White House Awards Gresham Physics Teacher with Top Science Honor

Stephen Scannell, a physics and integrated science teacher at Gresham High School is the Oregon 2007 Presidential Awardee in Science. The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching honors the nation's best seventh through twelfth grade teachers. Awardees are selected from mathematics and science teachers in all 50 States and the District of Columbia, with the competition alternating each year between kindergarten through sixth grade teachers and seventh through twelfth grade teachers.Each award recipient receives a $10,000 educational grant to be used at his or her discretion over a three-year period.

Stephen Scannell is known as a teacher who inspires and encourages his students. He ensures that his classes are targeted to higher-achieving students as well as those who have not been previously exposed to the concepts. He is an adjunct professor of astronomy at Lewis & Clark College. He serves as a resource to teachers by mentoring teachers new to the profession and supervising student teachers.

In addition to this prestigious honor, Stephen Scannell has been selected to be an Einstein Fellow for the 2008-2009 school year. Selected teachers can spend a school year in a Congressional Office, the Department of Energy (DOE) or a federal agency such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or the National Science Foundation (NSF). Scannell will spend next year working at the National Science Foundation.

PHOTO: Stephen Scannell, 2007 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Winner
Oregon Diploma Talk
This weekly item highlights actions taken, various questions and background relating to the new Oregon diploma.

Local educators like Oregon's diploma standards
Excerpt from Mail Tribune, by Paris Achen

Some Southern Oregon educators are happy with the state's decision to provide an array of choices for showing that students have met new high school diploma standards effective in 2012. A state education board vote April 18 to allow high schools to use the 10th-grade state assessment to demonstrate math, reading and writing skills garnered headlines because it suggested that graduation would hinge on passing the test.

But under the board's plan, students also can earn a diploma by achieving a to-be-determined score on an ACT, PSAT, SAT or other approved standardized test or by work samples, said officials with the Oregon Department of Education.

"What we know from research is that students learn in all types of modalities," said Michelle Zundel, Ashland schools education director. "To have a system that requires a single exam for graduation would be an error that disregards research."

The number of credits for a diploma will increase from 22 to 24 credits in 2010, and the required math credits will jump from two to three. "We agree with the idea of raising diploma standards because we've done that in our district," said Teresa Sayre, instructional services director.

In 2012, the number of credits students must earn to graduate will increase from two to three in science and from one to three in a choice of second language, arts and career and technical education. The math credits must be at Algebra I and above beginning in 2014.

Click here to read entire article.

Detailed information regarding the Oregon Diploma can be found at
Get Ready Oregon

Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools

Oregon Liquor Control Commission underage drinking video
Nearly one-third of youth under 21 killed in traffic crashes, died in alcohol-related crashes during April, May, and June - prom season. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission in conjunction with The Century Council, has produced an "Awesomely Bad Prom Choices through the Years" video to remind teens about the dangers of underage drinking. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission would like to share this video with as many teens and parents they can. You can direct link to the video at: http://www.centurycouncil.org/promtips/ecard/.

Tamástslikt Teacher Workshop
The Tamástslikt Cultural Institute is accepting registrations for their June 23-35, 2008 teacher workshop on Teaching about Columbia River Tribes Using Films & Websites in Pendleton, OR. The 14-hour workshop will provide tools for teachers to develop inquiry-based webquest research bases for their students’ discovery of Plateau Tribal history. Resources such as film and websites will be provided as virtual primary source materials about Plateau Tribes. The workshop will benefit elementary and secondary teachers who wish to effectively utilize the museum learning environment for teaching objectives. Clickhere to register. There is no registration fee.

Nominate a School for a $250,000 Eco-friendly Makeover
Ford and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition are providing up to $250,000 in eco-friendly improvements to one lucky school. Complete the brief online registration form by May 18th to nominate a school of your choice – your child's school, a school in your neighborhood, your alma mater – for a chance to win. You could help make your school a cleaner, safer place.

SOLV Requests Citizenship Award Nominations
Each year, SOLV highlights Oregon’s amazing volunteer spirit by honoring individuals and organizations at the SOLV Citizenship Awards Banquet, which will be held on October 30th at the Portland Art Museum. The SOLV Citizenship Awards recognize outstanding businesses, community groups, educators and individuals from all corners of the state whose volunteer and community work reflects SOLV’s mission of preserving this treasure called Oregon.

Now is the time to nominate a person or group that exemplifies Oregon’s dedication to volunteerism. Nominations are due by June 1, 2008. The nominees should act as a positive force and provide leadership for volunteer and community efforts in their community, business or school environment. The emphasis is on environmental efforts, although other connections will be considered by the independent committee that makes the final selections. The nominees’ volunteerism need not be for SOLV.

Please fill out the form on SOLV’s website or fax to Bonnie Gretz at 503-844-9575, or mail to SOLV, Attn: Nominations, 5193 NE Elam Young Parkway, Ste. B, Hillsboro, OR 97124.
Susan’s Schedule

Week of May 5th – Susan met with Tony Biglan of Oregon Research Institute; met with Lennie Bjornsen of Oregon Commission on Families and Children; visited Gilbert Heights Elementary in Portland, a 2007 Celebrating Student Success Champion School; led a Business Advisory Team meeting; attended a Scaling Up project meeting; met with Susan Nielsen of the Oregonian editorial board; met with Doug Stamm, executive director of Meyer Memorial Trust; met with Barbara Curtin of the Statesman Journal editorial board; hosted an Oregon Educators Network forum on the Oregon Diploma; attended a Teacher’s Standards and Practice Commission forum on teacher preparation; attended National Teacher of the Year press conference; and hosted the 2008 Celebrating Student Success Banquet at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.

Week of May 12th – Susan will attend a monthly lunch with statewide elected officials; lead a Professional Educator Advisory Team meeting in Salem; lead the Youth Advisory Team meeting in Salem; and attend the State Board of Education monthly meeting.

The May 2008 issue PDF of Superintendent's Pipeline is available on the ODE website.


For scheduling inquires, please visit our website at: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=848
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