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2/29/2008 11:00:00 AM
Superintendent's Update #244
Superintendent's Update

In This Issue:
  • Castillo Talks Tougher Standards
  • Oregon Diploma Talk
  • Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools
  • Susan’s Schedule

Castillo Talks Tougher Standards

Excerpt from the News Register, by Starla Pointer

Published: February 21, 2008

State School Superintendent Susan Castillo came to McMinnville on Wednesday seeking some ideas about strengthening Oregon graduation requirements and the programs that prepare students to meet those standards. mcminnville

The first people she asked were those who have a critical stake in the issue: eighth-graders, who will be the first students affected as new rules are phased in. "We want to prepare you with the skills and knowledge you'll need to realize your dreams," Castillo told 18 eighth-graders at Duniway Middle School.

That means increasing requirements for math, science and English classes, she said. It means making sure students master critical thinking, technology, communication and teamwork.

Duniway student Dylan Leathers told Castillo that he thinks more rigorous standards are a good idea. However, he said, educators need to start kids working toward those higher standards long before they reach high school. And, he said, they need to offer a lot more support and make it easily accessible if they want everyone to rise to that level.

Again and again, Dylan and his classmates reminded the state superintendent that schools must provide support for all students - including those who try their best, but still struggle, and those who aren't interested.

"Many students just memorize, then forget things after they pass," Francisco Lugo said, explaining that some of his classmates don't see why they will need to do algebra or conjugate verbs when they're adults.

Castillo agreed with all those sentiments.

Planners - who include educators at all levels, business people, state officials and others - know that reaching that goal will take a major effort at every grade level, from preschool through higher ed. It will mean providing extra help to many students and showing them the relevance of what they are learning. And doing that will take an assortment of new resources, she said, from after school programs to full-day kindergarten to larger numbers of teachers and support staff members.

Castillo's conversation at Duniway covered a variety of subjects. However, its main theme was planning for new graduation requirements. It's a discussion the superintendent has been having with people all over Oregon. Many of the college students and high school seniors with whom she has spoken have told her they really want to be held accountable to higher standards, she said. They want to be challenged in high school, so they will feel confident that they can go on to higher education, work and other phases of their lives.

In places where higher standards have been demanded of students, she said, "kids just soar." Castillo said the current effort to raise the bar is the first time there's been a concerted effort to bring rigor to every single student. Earlier efforts, such as the Certificate of Initial Mastery, were optional.

This time, not only will meeting high standards be mandatory for all, but schools will be required to provide students with whatever extra help they need to get there. To make those improvements, she said, it will take additional money, probably both from the state and from foundations. That's one of the reasons she and other supporters are making extensive plans for raising standards - so they can explain how the funds will be used to benefit young people. "People don't have a problem investing in kids' education if we can show them what they're investing in," she said.

Photo Caption: In the Duniway Middle School library, McMinnville Schools Superintendent Maryalice Russell, left, and State Superintendent Susan Castillo talk to eighth-graders Wednesday about the changing requirements for a high school diploma. By Chrissy Ragulsky/News-Register
Oregon Diploma Talk
This weekly item highlights actions taken, various questions and background relating to the new Oregon diploma.

State Releases Report on Class of 2007

State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo announced that a total of 38,520 students completed four years of high school in 2007. The class of 2007 was slightly larger than the class of 2006 (37,912), and of the total, 33,446 students earned a regular diploma last year.

Oregon’s dropout report and graduation rates will be released next month; today’s report shows the number of students who received diplomas upon completing four years of high school.

Today’s report shows:
• 33,446 students earned a regular diploma
o 23,855 students earned a diploma without a CIM (Certificate of Initial Mastery)
o 9,591 students earned a diploma with CIM
• 929 students earned a modified diploma (earned by students in special education programs).
• 481 students earned an honorary diploma (usually given to foreign exchange students).
• 3,664 students completed four years of high school but did not earn a diploma (these students did not drop out -- they generally fell a credit or two short of meeting graduation requirements and planned to finish over the summer or during the following school year).
• The percentage of graduates earning a CIM decreased (from 31% in 2006 to 29% in 2007); schools will no longer be required to offer a CIM at the end of the 2007-08 school year.
• Of students completing four years of high school in 2007: 77% were white, 11% were Hispanic, 5% were Asian/Pacific Islander, 3% were African American, 2% were Native American, 1% were multi-ethnic, and 1% were not reported.

The full report is available online.

“Working with the State Board of Education, we have created a new vision for Oregon that includes credit requirements and essential skills to ensure all students will graduate ready for work or college,” Castillo said. “In order to reach the new requirements, all students must have additional resources and support, and I will work with education and legislative leaders to make sure we give students and teachers, at all grades, the assistance they need to be successful.”

“Beginning with next year’s 9th graders, graduates must successfully complete all credit requirements shown below, demonstrate proficiency in a set of essential skills shown below, meet career-related requirements, and complete an extended application, commonly called a senior project,” Castillo said. “Students are currently required to complete an education plan and profile and that requirement remains in place.”

Credit Requirements (beginning with the class of 2012)
Math (3) – note: in 2014, the math requirement increases to 3 credits, algebra I and above
Science (3)
English (4)
Arts/Second Language/Career & Technical Education (3) any combination
Social Sciences (3)
PE (1)
Health (1)
Electives (6)

Essential Skills
Reading, Writing, Speaking, Apply Math, Critical Thinking, Technology, Civic & Community Engagement, Personal Management and Teamwork, Global Literacy

Career-Related Learning Experiences
Students will participate in experiences that connect classroom learning with real life experiences in the workplace, community, and/or school relevant to their education plan.

Extended Application
Students will apply their knowledge in new and complex situations related to their personal and career interests in a real world context.

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

Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools

The Oregon Department of Education recognizes educators that have made significant contributions to Oregon education. Superintendent Castillo has formed an Oregon Educator Talent Pool to act as a resource for educator recognition opportunities. Although not an award itself, the Educator Talent Pool is a collection of information about some of the top educators in Oregon and is used as a reference for awards, publicity, committee development, and other recognition opportunities.

Talent Pool educators include teachers, specialists, support professionals, and administrators that are outstanding, innovative, and dedicated to education. You can nominate any outstanding educator for the Oregon Educator Talent Pool by filling out the Talent Pool Recommendation form RTF.

At this time, we are trying to strengthen the Talent Pool in the following areas:
• Elementary Teachers
• Any teacher with 5-18 years teaching experience & potential to remain in the profession for at least 15 more years
• Diversity representing our state
• Unsung Heroes

We are always looking to recognize more outstanding educators, so please visit the ODE Education Educator Recognition website and fill out the Talent Pool Recommendation form to add educators to the Oregon Educator Talent Pool. Your Oregon Educator Talent Pool recommendation can also serve as a nomination for the 2008-09 Oregon Teacher of the Year Award.

Join the Coalition for Community Schools for their 10th Annual National Forum, April 30 - May 2nd in Portland, Oregon.
  • Keynotes: Pedro Noguera, Vicki Phillips, Susan Castillo

  • International community schools plenary

  • More than 80 workshops by local and national experts

  • Site visits to community schools

  • Leaders symposium and more

The Coalition for Community Schools believes that strong communities require strong schools and strong schools require strong communities. We envision a future in which schools are centers of thriving communities where everyone belongs, works together, and succeeds.

For more information and to register, visit the 10th Anniversary National Forum website.

Career Aware I and II, produced by the Oregon Employment Department, help elementary children explore careers. The activities in these workbooks are intended to be fun and challenging. Specific objectives of the workbooks include the concept of self-knowledge, the development of a basic understanding of interests, likes and dislikes and how to interact with others. The various activities are also designed to raise awareness of the relationship between work and learning, the awareness of how work relates to the needs and functions of society and the interrelationship of life roles.

To print a copy of Career Aware I and Career Aware II, visit the Oregon Employment Department’s site- click on "Careers" on the left hand side. Then scroll down until you see a red box titled "Career Aware" on the right-hand side. Or you can contact Brenda Turner to request a reproducible hard copy.

Nominations are sought for the 2008 History Teacher of the Year for Oregon. The award is sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Foundation. The winner receives $1,000 and a wealth of materials for his/her school library. Click here for eligibility criteria and other information. If you have questions, contact Andrea Morgan eMail, Social Sciences curriculum specialist.
Susan’s Schedule

Week of February 25th – Susan Castillo spoke to the Delta Kappa Gamma education group in Eugene; visited Vernonia; attended a meeting with Kent Hunsaker of Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, and Jerry Caruthers of Oregon Education Association; attended the Rip City Roast, a Portland Schools Foundation annual fundraiser; attended the Superintendent’s Professional Educators Advisory Team meeting; and spoke at the Eugene City Club.

Week of March 3rd – Susan will meet with Yoshikai Elementary students on their State Capitol visit for Read Across America Day; speak at an Oregon Indian Education Association meeting; speak to the Higher Board of Education on the High School Diploma; and attend the OEA-PIE Convention.

The February 2008 issue of Superintendent's Pipeline is available on the ODE website: http://www.ode.state.or.us/pipeline/february-pipeline-08.pdf PDF

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

o Please forward this UPDATE to others who might find it of interest.

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