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8/1/2008 8:00:00 AM
Superintendent's Update #266
Superintendent's Update

In This Issue:
  • State Receives $9.5 Million Grant to Help Create Charter Schools
  • Oregon Diploma Talk
  • Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools
  • Susan’s Schedule

State Receives $9.5 Million Grant to Help Create Charter Schools

SEI State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo joined U.S. Department of Education Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Doug Mesecar for a visit to the Self Enhancement Inc., Academy in Portland -- and to receive a $9.5 million Charter School Program grant award for the Oregon Department of Education.

Oregon is one of five states receiving the competitive grants through the Department’s Charter Schools Program (CSP), which supports states’ efforts to plan, design, implement and disseminate information about charter schools. The other states receiving grants are New York, Florida, Utah and Idaho. The long-term objectives of Oregon’s charter school program is to increase the number of high quality charter schools in Oregon that meet the needs of diverse learners and increase student achievement in meeting rigorous academic state standards.

“Supporting the growth of new, high quality charter schools is critical to our efforts to improve the educational opportunities for all children,” Mesecar said. “Oregon has continued to demonstrate strong annual growth in the number of charter schools that school districts are authorizing. “

Oregon currently has 88 charter schools in operation across the state, serving more than 12,000 students. The state has approved more than 150 charter school planning grant applications. These grants help states create more quality charter schools and increase school choices for parents and their children.

In awarding grants, the U.S. Department gives preference to states that have demonstrated progress in increasing the number of high-quality schools, that are held accountable for reaching clear and measurable objectives, and that give public charter schools a high degree of autonomy over budgets and expenditures.

Charter schools are independent public schools designed and operated by parents, educators, community leaders, education entrepreneurs and others with a contract, or charter, from a public agency, such as a local or state education agency or an institution of higher education. Charter schools are operated free-of-charge to parents and are open to all students. The first U.S. charter school opened in 1992. Today over 4,000 charter schools serve more than one million students in 40 states and Washington, D.C.

Photo: Self Enhancement Inc. Academy in Portland where the Charter School Program grant was awarded to the Oregon Department of Education.

Oregon Diploma Talk
This weekly item highlights actions taken, various questions and background relating to the Oregon diploma.

We know that the changes to the diploma requirements often raise questions about how this will affect you, your students, your children and your schools.

Have a question about the Oregon Diploma requirements? Check out our frequently asked questions page or contact us at ODE.diploma@state.or.us eMail

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

Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools

Disney Grants for Youth-Led Service Projects
Do you have an idea for a youth-led service project? The Walt Disney Company and Youth Service America, through Disney Minnie Grants, are supporting youth-led service projects that are planned and implemented in communities. Service can take place between October 15 and November 15, 2008, and projects can address the environment, disaster relief, public health and awareness, community education, hunger, literacy, or any issue that youth identify as a community need. Maximum Award: $500. Eligibility: teachers, older youth (15-25), youth-leaders, and youth-serving organizations that engage younger youth (5-14) in planning and implementation. Deadline: August 30, 2008. Click here for more information:

U.S. Department of Education's Teacher Initiative - FREE
The federal government offers a treasure trove of teaching and learning resources. Where can you find them? FREE: http://www.free.ed.gov. FREE organizes more than 1,500 lesson plans, primary documents, science animations, math challenges, and works of art, literature, and music from the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, National Archives, National Science Foundation, NASA, National Institutes of Health, National Gallery of Art, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other federal agencies. Search resources by subject or by topic

Susan’s Schedule
Week of July 28th – Susan Castillo attended a Joint Boards workgroup, met with Thomas Bruner of the American Red Cross, met with Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, met with Kevin Easton of the Equity Foundation, and met with Susana Ghio about the Future Teachers Academy.

Week of August 4th - Susan will participate in the Superintendent’s Summer Institute and will present a Community School Partnership Award to the Winston Area Community Partnership.

The June/July 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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Oregon Department of Education
Voice: 503-947-5600
Fax: 503-378-5156
255 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97310-0203

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