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5/23/2008 8:00:00 AM
Superintendent's Update #256
Superintendent's Update

In This Issue:
  • Oregon Students Complete a Record 1.4 Million Tests With New Online Testing System
  • Brookings-Harbor High School Student Wins $10,000 Scholarship at National Poetry Competition
  • Oregon Diploma Talk
  • Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools
  • Susan’s Schedule

Oregon Students Complete a Record 1.4 Million Tests With New Online Testing System

The Oregon Department of Education announced today that 1.4 million tests have been completed in the new OAKS Online testing system this year (OAKS is Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills; OAKS Online is the new name for TESA). Last year, Oregon online testing was disrupted, and more than 500,000 paper-and-pencil tests had to be administered by schools across the state. This year, only 13,000 paper-and-pencil tests were used. TESA'

“Having OAKS back online has meant better, faster results for our students and teachers,” said Superintendent Susan Castillo. “OAKS Online is a benefit to Oregon because it quickly delivers the information classroom teachers need to help them improve instruction.”

OAKS Online was designed as the centerpiece of the Oregon Department of Education’s assessment structure. The state-of-the-art testing system is unique among the 50 states and has several advantages over pencil-and-paper testing. The test is delivered to students online and is individually adapted to each student who takes the tests. Oregon students have up to three opportunities each year to take each required test in reading/literature, mathematics, and science. A major benefit from taking the online test is that students and teachers receive immediate feedback about their achievement when each test is completed. Teachers are better able to target instruction for improvement with this system. In addition, school districts have more flexibility to determine when students are tested.

This year, twenty percent of Oregon students completed the test three times, the maximum amount allowed in our multiple testing system. Fifty percent of students took the test twice and thirty percent took the test once. Only about 30 out of 1200 schools submitted formal requests to opt out of OAKS Online.

“Thanks to the commitment and partnership of superintendents, administrators, teachers and students, Oregon was able to implement the new and improved OAKS Online testing system,’ said Doug Kosty, Assistant Superintendent of Assessment and Information Services. “Their partnership was critical to our ultimate success.”

New in 2007-08:
· OAKS Online offered an enhanced online reporting site for teachers and administrators.
· Students were able to review and correct their answers prior to finishing their tests
· Students were able to answer questions regarding the text as they read passages.
Brookings-Harbor High School Student Wins $10,000 Scholarship at National Poetry Competition

Sophia Soberon, 17, of Brookings-Harbor High School, placed second in the 2008 National Finals of the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. As runner up of the national contest, Sophia receives a $10,000 scholarship prize. She recited “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold, “Bilingual Bilingüe” by Rhina P. Espailat and “The Meaning of the Shovel” by Martín Espada. POL'

Sophia represented Oregon against 51 other contestants. Shawntay A. Henry, a 16-year-old representing the Virgin Islands was awarded the title of national champion. “We knew Sophia had a good chance, but there was strong competition,” said Jody Soberon, Sophia’s mother. “We’re exhausted and excited.”

On April 28 and 29, 52 high school students from every state, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands gathered at George Washington University Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC, to match their skills. The competitors were among more than 150,000 students nationwide who took part in this year’s contest at the classroom level, progressing through school and state contests en route to becoming their state’s champion.

Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. “Through Poetry Out Loud, thousands of students have discovered the rewards of memorizing a favorite poem and the thrill of connecting with an audience,” said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia.

More than 200,000 students across the country are expected to take part in Poetry Out Loud in 2009. Click here for more information. For more information about Poetry Out Loud in Oregon, contact Deb Vaughn eMail, arts education coordinator, Oregon Arts Commission, 503-986-0085.

Photo: From left: John Barr, President of the Poetry Foundation, second-place winner Sophia Elena Soberon, National Champion Shawntay A. Henry, third-place winner Madison Niermeyer, and Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Oregon Diploma Talk
This weekly item highlights actions taken, various questions and background relating to the new Oregon diploma.

Chamber previews new graduation standards
Excerpt from The Hillsboro Argus, by Susan Gordanier

Whether as parents or as employers of future applicants, Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce members had a stake in Tuesday's presentation at the May Forum Business Luncheon.

The featured topic was "Raising the Bar: Education in a Global Economy," as presented by Ed Dennis, deputy superintendent for the Oregon Department of Education, and Jeremy Lyon, superintendent of Hillsboro School District. Together they described new requirements that will affect future high school graduating classes, coupled with changes planned at the local level.

The increased state standards, described at www.GetReadyOregon.org, will be implemented in phases:
Beginning with the class of 2010, to graduate, high school seniors must earn 24 total credits (increased from 22 in the current state standard), four English or language arts credits (up from three) and three mathematics credits (from two). In 2012, graduates will also have to fulfill three science credits (from the current two). The class of 2014 will have to master specific mathematics curricula, with all credits earned at algebra I level or above.

In 2012, students will also have to demonstrate aptitude in "essential skills:" public speaking, critical thinking and use of technology. Other requirements, grouped under the label "Personalization of the Diploma," cover career and post-high school planning and goals. A more creative change will grant credit for knowledge obtained outside of conventional class structure. Such "credit for proficiency" will allow students to move on to higher level learning. The method to measure such mastery is still under consideration by a state task force.

Dennis explained the state board of education's goal is to ensure every student is ready for the future economy. The diploma changes resulted from about 300 statewide meetings, Dennis said, where the consensus was "you have to do this." "People say not every kid needs a college degree," he said, "but they do need a similar skill set." In his introduction, Dennis had cited how all professions now use sophisticated technology, whether in medicine, auto repair or agriculture.

Due to policy adopted by the Hillsboro School District, local seniors must already meet standards on a par with the state's proposals. As Lyon told the chamber, "Hillsboro is ready." Where the district plans changes, he said, is in the use of data on student testing. Lyon said what the public sees when scores appear in the media are "autopsy reports." The district's target is to "use student results to shape and reshape the structure," he said, and examine what students actually learn. He also said the district plans to create a hierarchy of standards, to identify the most powerful.
Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools
2008 Elementary State Fair Science Competition
• Who: Elementary grade students (4th, 5th or 6th grade level)
• What:New Science & Technology Competition
• When:During participating county fairs and at Oregon State Fair 08/22/08 – 09/01/08
• Where: Various statewide county fairgrounds and at Oregon State Fairgrounds
• Why: To foster Science & Technology education and innovation

Summary: A new statewide Science and Technology competition will begin in 2008 with elementary school students. The competition will grow to include other academia levels and entrepreneurial endeavors in subsequent years. The elementary grade competition will be a derivative of the current competition guidelines developed by Intel Northwest Science Expo (NWSE). The guidelines set forth by Intel NWSE were selected due to the familiarity and program awareness by the Oregon Science Teachers Association (OSTA). A few of the categories were removed from the Middle School Rule Booklet to accommodate a younger audience.

Participation at the county level is encouraged, please contact your local 4-H extension office or click here for county contact information. Entering directly through the Oregon State Fair under Youth Open - Elementary is only an option for those students who reside in a non-participating county.

Go to the Oregon State Fair website for guidelines, entry and project forms. Questions? Contact Jeff Trejo eMail, Science

Diversity Training Workshop for Educators
Providence Health Systems is offering a diversity training workshop for educators on June 18, 2008 at the Providence Portland Medical Center titled "A Day for Educators - Improving Outcomes for Diversity in the Classroom and the Workplace". The day is designed for community K-16 educators, school counselors and administrators. Dr. James Mason, Manager of Diversity Education at Providence Health Services is the guest speaker. For more information and to register go to Providence website. Questions? Contact Julanne Sandoz eMail, School Outreach, Providence Health System, 503-215-7672.

Nature of Learning Grants Program
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation gives grants to organizations to start or expand Nature of Learning programs in their communities. Grants support start-up expenses associated with new programs and offer continued support to existing Nature of Learning programs. Nature of Learning is the National Wildlife Refuge System's community-based environmental education initiative that seeks to use National Wildlife Refuges as outdoor classrooms to promote greater understanding of local conservation issues; encourage interdisciplinary approaches to learning that enhance student academic achievement; use field experiences and student-led stewardship projects to connect classroom lessons to real world issues; and, partner local schools, community groups, natural resource professionals and local businesses. Maximum Award: varies. Eligibility: Programs involving a partnership among a local school(s), community group (e.g., Refuge Support Group), and National Wildlife Refuge. Deadline: June 16, 2008. Click here for more information.
Susan’s Schedule

Week of May 19th – Susan Castillo met with Debra Mumm-Hill, FIRST Pacific NW Regional Director; led an Executive Leadership Program for Educators (ExEL) Study Team meeting; delivered a presentation to the Nike School of Innovation Fund Board; and participated in a Diploma Task Force meeting in Salem .

Week of May 26th – Susan will speak to the Bend Rotary on the Oregon Diploma; attend a Prineville community celebration for Michael Geisen, National Teacher of the Year; meet with the Bend Bulletin editorial team and share updates on the Oregon Diploma; and visit the Bend-LaPine School District.

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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