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5/16/2008 12:00:00 PM
Superintendent's Update #255
Superintendent's Update

In This Issue:
  • State Board Continues Work to Define Diploma Requirements
  • Oregon Supreme Court Calls for Review of Tournament Scheduling
  • Oregon Diploma Talk
  • Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools
  • Susan’s Schedule

State Board of Education Continues Work to Define Diploma Requirements
Oregon Department of Education news release

SALEM -- The State Board of Education members continued their work in defining and clarifying the state’s new high school graduation requirements at their regular meeting in Salem yesterday. Some Board members expressed concern about public misunderstanding that students may be limited to only state assessment tests, known as OAKS, in order to demonstrate proficiency in the essential skills of math, reading, writing, and speaking.

“Because every student is unique, we are committed to providing a variety of testing options for students,” said Jerry Berger, State Board Chair. “Oregon has a long track record of providing personalized education for students, so it makes sense that the state should offer individualized testing options to ensure that students demonstrate proficiency in the way that works best for them. The State Board has never supported a single testing option for graduation.”

Board members continued to express support for the framework described as “multiple pathways and options.” Under that proposal, students could demonstrate proficiency in the initial set of required essential skills -- math, reading, writing, and speaking by:

Achieving a state-determined score on an approved standardized test such as SAT, ACT, PSAT, PLAN, Advanced Placement exam, or other.
-- or --
Achieving a state-determined score on the Oregon Statewide Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) in reading, math, or writing.
-- or --
Completing an approved locally scored assessment, such as a work sample or student project.

“It’s so important for school districts, teachers and parents to have accurate information about State Board discussions,” said State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo. “Next year’s ninth graders will be the first to graduate under the new diploma requirements, and we need to work together to make sure every student meets the requirements and finishes high school ready for the challenges of the 21st century.”

The State Board plans to make final decisions in June, and the first class to graduate under the new requirements would be the graduating class of 2012. The administrative rule used to guide the assessment of essential skills is scheduled for a public hearing on May 28 at 1:00 pm in room 251A, Public Services Building. Public comments will be accepted until 5:00 pm on that day. In addition, people may submit written testimony to the department prior to the hearing date. For information on the draft rule and the hearing, go to http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=1705.

Last year, the State Board voted to increase Oregon’s graduation requirements in order to better prepare students for work and college. All students will be required to take more rigorous coursework and higher levels of math and science in order to receive a diploma, including increased required credits from 22 to 24. In addition, all students will be required to demonstrate that they are proficient in a set of “essential skills,” listed below:
· Read and comprehend a variety of text
· Write clearly and accurately
· Listen actively and speak clearly and coherently
· Apply mathematics in a variety of settings
· Think critically and analytically
· Use technology to learn, live and work
· Demonstrate civic and community engagement
· Demonstrate global literacy
· Demonstrate personal management and teamwork skills

Modified Diploma
Also at Thursday’s meeting, the State Board approved the Administrative Rule for the Oregon Modified Diploma and Alternative Certificate. The new rule (OAR 581-022-1134) establishes diplomas for specifically defined students who do not meet graduation requirements, allowing them to participate in high school graduation ceremonies with his or her class. Currently, about 0.2% of graduates receive a modified diploma – for example, only 929 students in the class of 2007 (37,912) received a modified diploma.

The modified diploma rule would apply to students who “have demonstrated the inability to meet the full set of academic content standards even with reasonable accommodations” but who meet all the other requirements set by local school districts and the State Board of Education. In order to be eligible for a modified diploma, a student must have a “documented history of an inability to maintain grade level achievement due to significant learning and instructional barriers inherent in the student; or a documented history of a medical condition that creates a barrier to achievement.”

"Many students who earn modified diplomas go on to further education and training after high school," said Jackie Burr, Special Education Transition Specialist at the Oregon Department of Education. "We appreciate everyone from across the state who testified in support of the rule, and the Department is working on guidance for schools and school districts to help them understand the new provisions."

Students who could not obtain a regular diploma or modified diploma may earn an Alternate Certificate, as defined by local school district policies.

To read the entire modified diploma rule, go to http://www.ode.state.or.us/stateboard/2008may15alternativecertificate-modifieddiploma.doc MS-Word

Oregon Supreme Court Calls for Review of Tournament Scheduling
Excerpt from a story by Anne M. Peterson (AP)

PORTLAND — The Oregon Supreme Court said the state’s school board must further review whether high school basketball tournament schedules should be adjusted to accommodate a team’s Saturday Sabbath. The Oregon School Activities Association claimed that scheduling around Portland Adventist Academy during the tournament would cause undue hardship for other fans, participants and member schools. OSAA' Portland Adventist players, members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, observe a Sabbath from sundown Friday through sundown Saturday. The state’s high court on Thursday upheld a decision by the state Court of Appeals, which ordered the case sent back to the State Board of Education. The school board has twice sided with the OSAA’s scheduling position, and both of those decisions have been overturned by the appeals court.

Charles F. Hinkle, who argued the case for the ACLU of Oregon, said the ruling was a victory for the religious school because it means that the OSAA will have to present new reasons why an accommodation can’t be made. Portland Adventist, which first asked the OSAA to adjust its schedule in 2000, was allowed to play in the OSAA Class 3A boys state tournament in March after it was granted a petition for temporary relief by a Multnomah County judge. The Cougars lost to eventual state champion Regis in the semifinals at Willamette University in Salem. The third-place game was moved to Saturday evening at South Salem High School. Typically the third-place game would be played during the afternoon because the championship games are played at night.

Portland Adventist had elected not to play in the state tournament for the previous four seasons, even though the team qualified, for religious reasons. Tom Welter, executive director of the OSAA, said the association will need to study the ruling with its legal counsel and executive board, as well as the board of education. “It appears that the Oregon Supreme Court drew a line in the middle of where they (the players) thought the line ought to be and where we thought the line should be,” Welter said.

Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo said, "Accommodating students’ religious beliefs is an issue we take very seriously. We intend to consult with the Oregon Department of Justice in order to understand today’s ruling, and we will certainly follow the direction of the Oregon Supreme Court.”
Oregon Diploma Talk
This weekly item highlights actions taken, various questions and background relating to the new Oregon diploma.

Guidelines, Scenarios, and Resources for Offering Credit in Applied Courses
With adoption of the new Oregon diploma requirements in 2007, the State Board of Education endorsed the option for students to earn academic credit through their Career and Technical Education (CTE) coursework. As a result, many districts are considering various alternatives to the traditional time-based system for students to earn academic math, science, and language arts credits. This document provides guidance for those alternatives consistent with all current Oregon and federal rules.
http://www.ode.state.or.us/teachlearn/certificates/diploma/appliedacademiccredit.pdf PDF

New Science Requirements - 3 credits must be “inquiry-based" and include 2 credits of “lab experiences.”
What are "inquiry-based" courses?
Science courses that are "inquiry-based" provide students the opportunity to apply scientific reasoning and critical thinking to support conclusions or explanations with evidence from their investigations. For more information on "inquiry-based" science in Oregon, please visit the Oregon Department of Education science web page at:

What is meant by "laboratory experiences"?
Laboratory experiences provide opportunities for students to interact directly with the material world (or with data drawn from the material world), using the tools, data collection techniques, models, and theories of science (2005, National Research Council of the National Academies). Lab experiences are not limited to the traditional “science laboratory” but may occur in a variety of settings including field experiences.

Merger of the Career-Related Learning Standards (CRLS) with the Essential Skills (ES)
Due to the overlap of the ES and CRLS and the potential for record keeping burden and confusion over two sets of similar skills, the Essential Skills Task Force recommended merging the skill sets. This document provides background and rationale for the merger.
http://www.ode.state.or.us/teachlearn/certificates/diploma/es-crls-merger.pdf PDF

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

Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools

The Business Education Compact (BEC) is once again providing quality summer internship opportunities for educators in the greater Portland area. Help make learning real for the students of Oregon; infuse your teaching with real-world examples; develop links to local businesses; learn new skills.

Check the BEC website frequently in the coming weeks as new positions will be posted as they are received. Please click here to see current openings and to fill out the short online application. BEC will contact you to schedule an interview when they find a match.

Questions? Contact Greg Kulander eMail, Director Student and Educator Programs, Business Education Compact, 503-646-0242 x23.

Do you know a teacher who deserves a back-to-school wardrobe makeover? Jones New York In the Classroom has launched their 2008 Back to School, Back to Style! contest, allowing teachers the opportunity to win a new wardrobe and personal makeover, as well as classroom enhancements. The contest is open to teachers in Atlanta, Chicago, Tampa, the New York tri-state area, Portland, OR, St. Louis and San Francisco. The winning teachers from each of these cities will go back to school in style with a prize package that includes a Jones New York wardrobe and personal makeover, compliments of Macy’s, a selection of classroom materials from Scholastic and a donation to the classroom through the Adopt-A-Classroom program. To nominate a deserving teacher, visit Jones New York in the Classroom for official rules and entry. The nomination period closes on May 31, 2008, and honorees will be announced in July.

The International Economic Summit (IES) is a world trade simulation that teaches fundamental economic concepts within the context of international trade. The program challenges high school students to think critically about the costs and benefits of trade while exploring the concept of globalization. IES is a standards-based instructional unit that includes 13 individual lesson plans, providing flexible classroom implementation by easily flowing into an existing course of study or as a stand-alone unit. By utilizing an experience-based learning model, it provides students with a solid foundation in economic fundamentals and incorporates a method for active-learning that is fun as well as challenging. All classroom materials, a dedicated website and support are free of charge to classroom teachers. Program assistance includes a 2-day teacher training, classroom curriculum, and dedicated website support. We will be offering training in Portland on June 24 - 25. Spaces are limited. Please visit the IES website for more information.

As part of AT&T Aspire, the company's recently announced $100 million initiative to address high school success and college and workforce readiness, the AT&T Foundation is accepting applications for a $12 million special grants program to help moderately at-risk students in the United States complete high school successfully.

The high school success program offers two types of grants:
1) Project support for existing high school retention programs with a successful track record of achieving effective results. The support may be used to continue programs in their current form, expand them to serve additional students, or add a component to strengthen the program. Grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 each per year for up to four years (2008 to 2011) are available under this category of support. 2) Planning/capacity-building support for efforts that need additional planning time and resources. Applicants for these grants must demonstrate that they will be able to identify the administrative, financial, and programmatic support needed to commence program implementation during the first semester of the 2009-10 school year. Grants ranging from $25,000 to $35,000 each for one year are available under this category of support.

Priority will be given to programs that begin serving students who are either in ninth grade or are making the transition from eight to ninth grade. Funding will also be considered for programs that begin serving students in tenth grade; no funding will be provided to programs that begin serving students after tenth grade. Application deadline is May 19, 2008. For more information go to the AT&T website.
Susan’s Schedule

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

Week of May 19th – Susan will meet with Debra Mumm-Hill, FIRST Pacific NW Regional Director; lead an Executive Leadership Program for Educators (ExEL) Study Team meeting; deliver a presentation to the Nike School Innovation Fund Advisory Board; lead an ExEL team meeting for superintendents; attend a Diploma Task Force meeting in Salem.

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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