|Superintendent's Update #318|
Superintendent Castillo's bi-weekly updates showcases the efforts and achievements of Oregon schools. Through these regular updates, the Superintendent hopes to increase communications regarding important initiatives for Oregon's students. Click here to access archived issues of Superintendent’s Update.
In This Issue:
Education Plan & Profile: A Student Playbook for SuccessBy Susan Castillo
Way back when he was a Colton Middle School student, Tanner Conner's teachers and advisers helped him to start thinking about his college and career goals. He began making a plan to achieve them in 7th grade.
"At 13, a lot of people, including me, aren't sure what they want to do, so it really is an opportunity to think about what's out there," says Tanner, a senior at Colton High who will graduate this spring with a 3.8 GPA. Throughout high school, Tanner returned to his personal plan again and again, revising and updating as he considered careers in firefighting, forestry, and health care. "(The education plan and profile) helps you keep your goals in mind and what classes you need to take," says Tanner, who took chemistry and psychology classes to prepare him for college next year, where he plans to study nursing.
A key component of the new Oregon Diploma is the "education plan and profile," a personalized process designed to ensure students are on track for graduating and achieving their academic and career goals.
The plan and profile, developed by students in partnership with teachers and guidance counselors, maps out students' academic progress and helps keep them on track to achieve their goals. At the same time, they get ongoing direction so that they stay on the academic path to their goals, even if those aspirations change over time. The idea is to make education relevant, and to keep kids engaged so that they stay in school and succeed.
"Education shouldn't be something that happens to students," says Diane Parham, careers coordinator in the Colton School District. Colton is a school district which has done an outstanding job in this area. "We want our students to own what they do in school."
Implementation of the education plan and profile is mixed across our state. The schools and districts that have chosen to embrace the education plan and profile are seeing great results. If we are going to commit to doing our best job "every day, with every child," then this is the type of individualized approach that is going to make a difference.
Practically speaking, the education plan and profile is relatively straightforward. In many ways, it simply serves as a framework for the type of advising that we ought to be doing with every one of our students. The plan and profile has been in place statewide since 2002 and required for graduation since 2007. When we developed the new Oregon Diploma, we incorporated the plan and profile as a key component.
Here's how it works. Students, starting in middle school, sit down with a teacher or advisor to describe their personal, academic and career interests and goals, both short- and long-term. The students then lay out next steps aimed at achieving those goals, planning courses, and learning experiences that support them on the way. As the years progress, the students document their progress and accomplishments, reflecting on their goals and adjusting them accordingly. Beyond these basic guidelines (you can visit http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=2759 to access the guidelines), the details are left up to the schools and districts to develop.
At Nyssa High School, to take another example, students participate in a weekly advisory period, where they work on their academic and career goals through a variety of activities and assignments with a faculty advisor. The dedicated time means the students get to think deeply about their futures, all the way through a community-based senior project that serves as the capstone of their high school education.
"We made this a priority because we felt it was in the best interests of our kids," says Rollie Marshall, a former teacher and administrator at the high school and now vice principal at the middle school.
Ultimately, the aim is to empower the students to take charge of their schooling. As Marshall says, "We tell them early on, 'This is all about you.' "
Honoring Oregon's Classified EmployeesBy Susan Castillo
There is excellent work going on in schools across Oregon, work that would not be possible without our thousands of classified employees. "Schools work and students learn with classified employees on the job" is this year's theme for Oregon Classified Employees Week, which is March 1st - 5th.
That's exactly right. Without our classified employees, our schools couldn't even open, much less operate. They are the backbone of our system, creating the conditions that help students to achieve their very best.
The Oregon School Employees Association represents more than 20,000 classified staff across our state --- educational assistants, office staffers, bus drivers, janitors, accountants and nurses, just to name a few of the jobs. The Oregon Education Association represents over 6,300 Educational Support Professionals (ESPs) covering paraeducators, instructional assistants, transportation, administrative assistants, secretaries, food service, school nurses, technicians, and custodians.
These are the people who greet students and visitors at the office, who work as assistants in classrooms to make sure that every child's needs are met, who bandage knees scraped on the playground, who prepare and serve nutritious meals to keep kids healthy and growing, who make sure that the school building and grounds reflect a school community's sense of pride.
Often, they are the first to arrive at school and the last to leave. Most of all, they care. They care about kids and they take pride in their schools. They are vital partners in our shared educational mission.
Classified employees are the unsung heroes of our school system. This coming week, I hope all of us -- parents, students, teachers, administrators -- take the time to show our appreciation to the classified staff at our schools. I hope that sense of respect and gratitude for the work they do every day can extend throughout the year. They have certainly earned the recognition.
On behalf of Oregon's education community, I want to thank all our classified employees for the work they do every day to make sure our schools run smoothly. We couldn't get the job done without you.
Who will be the 2010-11 Oregon Teacher of the Year?The Oregon Department of Education is now accepting nominations for the 2010-2011 Oregon Teacher of the Year. Anyone may nominate a candidate for the Oregon Teacher of the Year. However, a candidate cannot nominate him/herself. To nominate a teacher, go to the ODE website and fill out the “Talent Pool Recommendation” form at www.ode.state.or.us/go/TOY. At the end of the talent pool recommendation, click the box to nominate the individual for the Oregon Teacher of the Year.
“The Oregon Teacher of the Year award honors a representative of all the great teachers in Oregon,” Castillo said. “Candidates for Oregon Teacher of the Year are exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled educators. They inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn. They have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues. Candidates play an active role in the community as well as in school, and they are poised and articulate representatives of all Oregon classroom teachers.”
The selected teacher will continue to teach in his/her classroom and will have many opportunities to share their teaching strategies, best practices, and education experiences and expertise with audiences at the state level. The teacher will attend the National Teacher of the Year conference in Dallas, TX; the National Teacher of the Year Recognition Week in Washington, DC where they will meet the President at the White House; and International Space Camp at the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. The Oregon Teacher of the Year also becomes a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year award.
A Blue Ribbon Panel consisting of legislators, former Teachers of the Year, business leaders, and key education organization leaders will select the finalists. The finalists will be interviewed by representatives of the State Superintendent’s office. State Superintendent Susan Castillo will select the Oregon Teacher of the Year. The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2010. The 2010-11 Oregon Teacher of the Year will be announced at the beginning of October.
Superintendent Castillo is especially proud that the Oregon Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by Intel Corporation, the state’s largest private employer and a consistent supporter of education programs, particularly in math and science. Intel provides generous support to Oregon's 2009-10 Teacher of the Year, Donna DuBois.
Photo Caption: 2010 Oregon Teacher of the Year Donna DuBois (left), ODE program coordinator Diane Roth (center), and 2008 Oregon & National Teacher of the Year Mike Geisen (right) attend the 2010 Teacher of the Year Conference in Dallas.
Oregon Diploma Talk
This bi-weekly item highlights actions taken, various questions, and background relating to the Oregon diploma.
The new diploma requires additional credits in core academic subjects and districts have some latitude on how to implement those requirements. Many students will continue to benefit from traditional course offerings while others will need new approaches that maintain rigorous standards while increasing engagement. Districts have been investigating applied academic options to meet those needs. To support the district work in this area, ODE will be publishing common questions and answers related to applied academics. If you have questions that you would like to contribute, please contact Tom Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Q. Can students in our agricultural science class receive science credit that meets the new diploma requirements?
Yes, if the class addresses the science standards and is inquiry-based, students may be able to meet graduation requirements by taking the class. At least two of the required science credits must also have laboratory experiences. It is likely that an agricultural science class could meet both of those requirements. More specific information can be found at: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=1791.
When offering this option, you should make sure that students have opportunities to meet all science standards within the three credits of required science. You should also make sure that the science content in the agriculture class is taught explicitly and assessed so that students can demonstrate that they have met the science standards.
Q. Doesn’t a course that meets graduation requirements for science have to be taught by a teacher that is identified as highly qualified?
As long as a course is identified properly as an applied course such as agricultural science, it can be taught by a licensed agriculture teacher. Oregon has identified specific courses that require a highly qualified teacher. Applied courses generally do not fall under this requirement. Districts decide which courses address the standards that meet diploma requirements. The current set of course code descriptions can be found at: https://district.ode.state.or.us/apps/info/docs/nces-descriptions.pdf .
Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools
Interagency Council on Hunger & Homelessness helping Oregonians get money back on their taxes
The Oregon Department of Education is a member of the Oregon Interagency Council on Hunger and Homelessness (ICHH). This interdepartmental workgroup was created in 2009 to coordinate state agencies' activities and strategies to reduce hunger and homelessness in our state.
ICHH hopes to contribute to the financial stability of Oregon families by expanding the number of eligible taxpayers who claim the earned income tax credit.
Working families and persons with low or moderate income may qualify for various tax credits worth up to several thousand dollars. Even people who owe no taxes may qualify for a refundable credit. Click here for more information.
Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) certification trainings opportunities for school district personnel
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a new rule, called the "Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule." Beginning April 2010, any time painted surfaces are disturbed in “Child-Occupied Facilities” (where children under age 6 regularly spend time and built before 1978) the work must be done by a trained and certified “renovator.” See MEMORANDUM NO. 009-2009-10 – Renovation Repair and Painting in Schools Rule for more information.
Oregon Schools Employees Association (OSEA) will facilitate several trainings this spring for school district personnel to receive their certification. EPA Certified Trainer Ed Gay will present the day-long RRP training at the following dates and locations:
The deadline for training is April 22, 2010.
Cost for the class is $240.00 and lunch is provided. There is a minimum of 12 and maximum of 15 per class. Districts are asked to contact their risk management office and/or insurance carrier to see if they will help fund the class. To register, call OSEA at 1-800-252-6732 or email email@example.com .
National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest
You’re invited to participate in the 2010 OPTA Poster Contest, which focuses on school bus safety, and is linked with the National School Bus Safety Week. This year's theme is "Be Aware – Know the Danger Zone!"
The poster contest starts at the local level, with the help of the Oregon Department of Education notifying elementary school principals across the state. But school transportation operations across the state can also help promote this contest to our schools we service by downloading the poster provided at http://www.optaschoolbus.org/.
All Entries Must Be Postmarked By: April 16, 2010. For a complete set of rules visit: http://www.optaschoolbus.org.
Oregon Education Association Launches Video Contest
The Oregon Education Association (OEA) has launched its third annual “Working Wonders Video Contest,” as part of OEA’s continued effort to highlight the great work of Oregon educators and encourage school employees, students and community members to learn about and use multimedia tools to support public education.
This year, the contest will be divided into three categories:
Oregon is experiencing challenging economic realities. How are you making ends meet in your classroom or school building?
Our state’s student demographics are shifting. How are you broadening student horizons or addressing the achievement gap?
Each category will be awarded a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner, determined by popular vote from OEA members and the general public. Prize money ($3,000/First place; $1,500/Honorable Mention for each category) will be divided between the video creator, featured educator, and featured school or college. Deadline for submissions is April 2, 2010.
For full contest rules, entry form, and helpful resources, go to: www.oregoned.org/workingwonders.
Week of February 22 – Superintendent Castillo met with US Representative Kurt Schrader regarding proposed changes to the No Child Left Behind Act; met with Sue Levin of Stand for Children; and will speak at the Annual Charter School Conference in Salem.
Week of March 1 – Susan has no public events scheduled at the time of this publication.
Week of March 8 – Susan is scheduled to meet with the Statewide Elected Officials for lunch; and participate in the State Board of Education meeting.
For scheduling inquires, please visit our website at: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=848
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