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5/30/2008 12:30:00 PM
Superintendent's Update #257
Superintendent's Update

In This Issue:
  • School Safety and Seismic Readiness
  • Oregon Diploma Talk
  • Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools
  • Susan’s Schedule

School Safety and Seismic Readiness
By Ed Dennis, Deputy Superintendent

The recent earthquake in China is a heartbreaking reminder that there is still much work to be done to make Oregon's schools structurally safe. China’s tragedy fell almost one year to the day after an assessment of public buildings in Oregon revealed that 1,018 K-12 schools would not withstand a significant seismic event like the one in Sichuan.

China’s tragedy reminds us all that awareness is only the first step in risk reduction. Oregon's school leaders are taking every precaution to limit the risk to children and staff associated with earthquakes, but they need the resources to make building upgrades. In the case of ten K-12 schools in the tsunami inundation zone, they need the resources to relocate altogether.

Last year’s Department of Oregon Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) report revealed that of the public schools at risk, 274 are in greatest peril. Those schools represent 14.5% of the student enrollment statewide. DOGAMI' Today, all schools are required to instruct and drill students on emergency procedures so that students are ready to respond to an emergency without confusion or panic. The emergency procedures include drills and instruction on fires and earthquakes. There are also tsunami evacuation drills in the coastal inundation zones. Awareness of the threat of earthquake has been heightened for many years, and districts have complied with state laws that mandate regular earthquake drills for students.

We are taking action to prepare our students for earthquake emergencies. However, schools can only go so far to make their students safe in the event of a catastrophe. The median age of Oregon school buildings is 46 years old. Many school districts have made seismic upgrades or other accommodations to school buildings -- but much retrofitting and rehabilitation is left to be done.

The Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC) is poised to ask the Governor for $200 million for school districts to make necessary upgrades to their buildings. Schools districts will be required to match these funds but it is an important first step.

According to OSSPAC, fixing our schools so they can meet the challenge of a Sichuan-type disaster will take time. There is no quick fix. Oregon is working toward a long-term grant program that would give school districts the tools they need to mitigate their most at-risk schools. The safety of our students deserves the support of our state in this long term solution.

Click here to read a New York Times interview with Yumei Wang, the geohazards team leader for the state of Oregon.
Oregon Diploma Talk
This weekly item highlights actions taken, various questions and background relating to the new Oregon diploma.

Videostreaming: State Board Meetings Carried Live Online

All meetings of the State Board of Education are carried live on the Internet.

The next meeting of the State Board of Education is scheduled for June 19 -20, 2008. The rules for Oregon's new diploma requirements are scheduled for State Board action at that meeting. Complete schedules and agendas are posted on the web about one week prior to the meetings at http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/results/?id=144.

To view the monthly live and archived videos of the State Board of Education meeting please visit our website at http://www.ode.state.or.us and click on "State Board" or access the videostream directly by going to: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=184 .

State Board members are Jerry Berger, Chair (Salem), Duncan Wyse, Vice-Chair (Portland), Brenda Frank, Second Vice-Chair (Klamath Falls), Lew Frederick (Portland), Nikki Squire (Bend), Steve Bogart (Baker City), and Art Paz (Springfield). The Oregon Legislature created the State Board of Education in 1951 to oversee grades K-12 and all community colleges. Members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate for up to two four-year terms. Seven members are selected to represent the five congressional districts with two at-large members. In June, the Board will elect officers who serve one-year terms beginning on July 1.

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

Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools
Engineering for All High School Students
Contributed by Cary Sneider, Boston Museum of Science
As states revise their science standards for all students, many have explicitly included technology and engineering so that all students can learn about the designed world, develop practical problem-solving skills, and expand their career horizons. Engineering the Future (EtF): Science, Technology, and the Design Process is a new laboratory course for the first year of high school science, created to help a broad spectrum of students meet these standards.

EtF is a full-year lab course organized around four projects, each of which is divided into several tasks. In the first project, students design solutions to problems that they find interesting. In the second, they design energy-efficient buildings to counter the problems associated with urban sprawl. In the third unit, they learn about thermal-fluid engines as they design and build toy putt-putt boats, and write patent applications for their innovations. The fourth project challenges the students to design electric circuits. Units two, three, and four illustrate how the same fundamental concepts of energy flow apply to thermal, fluid, and electrical systems. Kits are available for projects 3 and 4 and the entire course can be implemented on a modest budget.

After four years of development, including two years of field-testing by more than 160 teachers, EtF has been published by Key Curriculum Press. Interested teachers can click here to request a free review copy.

Mentoring Available for High School Journalism Advisors
Are you interested in a mentoring opportunity for your high school journalism advisor that will cost your district nothing? The Journalism Education Association (JEA) is sponsoring a journalism mentoring program in Oregon. This program can provide an ongoing support system to improve the retention rate of new journalism teachers and advisors while strengthening journalism programs across the state.

Responsible journalism, support for diversity, and freedom of expression are JEA’s goals. Training for the journalism mentors, funded by JEA, is based at the New Teacher Center at UC Santa Cruz. The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association is sponsoring the journalism mentors in Oregon. Districts that would like additional information and an application, please contact Bill Flechtner eMail or Carla Harris eMail.

Announcing the Blue Book Cover Photo Contest
Secretary of State Bill Bradbury is excited to announce the Oregon Blue Book Cover Photo Contest. The State Archives, which publishes the Oregon Blue Book, is seeking color photos that represent some aspect of Oregon to grace the cover of the 2009-2010 edition. The contest is open to all amateur photographers who are residents of Oregon, and photographs must be taken in Oregon.

Previous front covers have displayed cattails at sunset over Teal Lake in Terrebonne, Central Oregon, fireworks lighting the night sky over downtown Portland, leaves changing colors at the Japanese Garden, and the Rocking OK Ranch north of Joseph at sunrise on a stormy morning. Previous back covers have included a young Native American grass dancer performing at Portland's Delta Park powwow, the North Falls at Silver Falls State Park, a young bobcat in a Malheur County tree, and driftwood at Cape Kiwanda.

Entries must be original prints and must not have been previously published. All entries become part of the Archives permanent collection of Oregon photographs, and those not selected for the cover may be used elsewhere in the Blue Book with full credit to the photographer. Entries must be postmarked by October 6, 2008. A committee chosen by Secretary Bradbury will select the winner by December 31, 2008. Entry forms are available online.

Questions should be directed to Blue Book Editor eMail at 503-378-5199.
Susan’s Schedule
Week of May 26th – Susan Castillo spoke to the Bend Rotary on the Oregon Diploma; attended a Prineville community celebration for Michael Geisen, National Teacher of the Year; met with the Bend Bulletin editorial team and shared updates on the Oregon Diploma; visited the Bend-LaPine School District with Superintendent Doug Nelson where she viewed the construction site of a new elementary school; visited with the Principal of High Lakes Elementary; met with educators at a POWER Standards Training; and met with the local principals of the Bend-LaPine School District to share updates on the Oregon Diploma.

Week of June 2nd – Susan will visit Franklin Elementary in Corvallis to celebrate their 2008 ODE Wellness Award; attend an Education Townhall in Springfield with Representative Terry Beyer and Superintendent Nancy Golden; meet with Portland State University representatives Tom Greene, Sister Maria, and Drew Harrington; meet with Representative Brian Clem; tour the Junior Achievement Biztown in Portland; attend an Education Townhall in Tigard with Representative Larry Galizio; and speak at Public Health Advisory Board Luncheon.

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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