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9/5/2008 8:35:00 AM
Superintendent's Update #271
Superintendent's Update

In This Issue:
  • 2007-08 Test Results for Reading, Writing, Math, and Science
  • Phyllis Guile Joins ODE to Head Up Alternative Education and Charter Schools
  • Oregon Diploma Talk
  • Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools
  • Susan’s Schedule

2007-08 Test Results for Reading, Writing, Math, and Science

SALEM – State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo today announced the results of Oregon student performance on the 2007-08 assessment tests in reading, mathematics, writing and science.

Elementary students did well in both reading and math, but middle and high school students showed no improvement in those subjects. In writing, elementary student scores declined compared to last year, but middle and high school students improved. Science tests were given for the first time in 2007-08, and comparison data will be available next year.

“I continue to be impressed with the overall performance of Oregon’s students,” Castillo said. “Educators in our elementary classrooms are doing an especially good job in giving our youngest students a strong start in both math and reading, and they demonstrate to all of us that our students can reach high levels of achievement.”

OAKS test results (Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) by school and district are online: http://www.ode.state.or.us/data/schoolanddistrict/testresults/reporting/PublicRpt.aspx

“As we continue to implement Oregon’s new high school diploma requirements, students at all grades must make sustained improvement in reading, math, writing, and science in order to be on track to graduate,” Castillo said. “We do an excellent job for most of the students in our schools, but I am concerned about the areas where we continue to fall short, especially in our middle and high schools. The result is that some students may not be prepared to meet the challenges of the new diploma.”

“While our goal is to help all students reach their full potential, this year we must focus extra attention on our incoming 9th graders, the graduating class of 2012. This is the first class that will have to meet more rigorous diploma requirements.” Castillo said. “Most 21st century jobs require education and training beyond high school, and far too many high school graduates have not been fully prepared for the demands of their employers or their colleges. All students must leave high school with knowledge and skills that will enable them to walk through the many doors of opportunity that lie ahead.”

“The good news is that we have better information on student performance than ever before, and school teams across the state are already digging into the data to identify those students who will need extra help to stay on course to graduation. That may mean more instructional time or other support, such as tutoring or afterschool programs. We will need to provide middle school and high school teachers with the support, tools, and strategies they need to help students meet the new requirements,” Castillo said.

“Many of the 43,000 incoming 9th graders will need extra help to master more rigorous coursework in math, science and English and demonstrate they can read, write, speak and apply mathematics,” Castillo said. “When you take a deeper look at last year’s 8th grade scores, you’ll see that minority students, students in poverty, students with disabilities, and students with limited English scored below their counterparts in math and in reading,” Castillo said. “The achievement gap has been a persistent problem in Oregon. We have to make an even stronger commitment to changing that outcome. Unless schools and districts across the state take bold action to address barriers to student success, I am concerned about what may happen to the class of 2012 and beyond,” Castillo said.

“We are asking students to step up to meet the increased requirements, and we must increase our support, too. We are all responsible for student success, and it will take an effort by students and families, classroom teachers, school and district administrators, community leaders, employers, and state officials,” Castillo said.

“At the state level, we are working with school districts to lighten state reporting by streamlining requirements so schools and districts can devote more time and more resources to student achievement,” Castillo said. “I have also directed my staff to provide assistance and guidance to districts about the new graduation requirements, including links to best practices from those schools that have been recognized as Celebrating Student Success awardees and others. The Department will increase support and training to districts on how to analyze and use student data to improve decision making concerning instruction, and we will increase our work with districts on their comprehensive improvement efforts to focus and target their funding to improve student achievement.”

“We have four years to get the class of 2012 ready to meet Oregon’s new diploma requirements. Looking long term, the best solutions are the ones that build more rigor and more student success into each and every grade, from pre-K through graduation,” Castillo said. “There are schools and districts, large and small, that are already doing this, and we should look to them for leadership and inspiration.”

Oregon’s “Celebrating Student Success” schools and best practices are online: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/results/?id=187

“We have set a new vision for students that promises they will be better prepared if they work hard and meet our higher expectations. For our part, we need to back that promise with a renewed purpose to help every student succeed and graduate ready for work, college, and life,” Castillo said.

Under Oregon’s assessment system, reading and math tests are given at grades 3-8 and at grade 10; writing tests are given at grades 4, 7, and 10. Last year, the state delivered over 1.4 million tests through ODE’s computer-based testing system, OAKS Online (OAKS = Oregon Assessment of Knowledge & Skills). The state-of-the-art testing system is unique among the 50 states and has several advantages over other online assessments and old-style pencil-and-paper testing. Students take tests online, and each test is individually adapted to the student taking the test. Students have up to three opportunities to take required tests in reading and mathematics. A major benefit of OAKS Online is that students and teachers receive immediate, detailed feedback and reports when tests are completed.

Phyllis Guile Joins ODE to Head Up Alternative Education and Charter Schools

Phyllis Phyllis Guile has accepted the position of Director of Learning Opportunities, Options, and Supports at the Oregon Department of Education. Phyllis joins ODE after years with the Salem-Keizer School District as a teacher, administrator, and most recently working with federal programs and school and district improvement.

“Phyllis has a rich and varied educational background and will be a huge asset to our office and the agency in general. She has extensive knowledge of charter school law and has worked with sponsors, developers, and operators,” said Salam Noor, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Improvement and Innovation.

Phyllis Guile received both her Bachelor and Master’s degrees at Western Oregon University. Her teaching background includes teaching at the university and community college level.

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

Do you know an outstanding student leader who would like to have a role in state education policy including the implementation of the Oregon diploma requirements?

The Oregon Department of Education is seeking nominations for a student representative to the State Board of Education. In 2006 and 2007 the State Board enacted a pilot program to add a student in an advisory capacity to the State Board, similar to that of the Superintendent, Community College President and faculty advisors. The Board is extending the pilot again this year.

Nominations must be post marked by October 8, 2009. Click here for a full description of application guidelines and eligibility criteria.

For more information please contact Diane Roth eMail (503) 947-5791

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

Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools

Seeking Student Intern
The Department of Education is currently seeking one unpaid intern to work with the Office of Educational Improvement and Innovation as a Publications Writer and Editor. This position requires excellent technical writing and editing skills in creating documents and materials, including but not limited to the new Oregon Diploma requirements. Documents will be used for official policy, communications, and presentations to education groups and the public. Please click here PDF to access the application packet. Contact Diane Roth eMail at 503-947-5791 for more information.

Science Standards Revision- Feedback Requested
ODE is currently seeking input on the development of state science standards at grade level K-8. Several issues are contributing to the move towards developing grade level K-8 science standards. These issues include:
  • The disadvantage to mobile students when instruction in life, physical, and earth and space science is provided exclusively at one grade level and the grade in which each of these science disciplines is taught varies among Oregon schools;
  • The potential that future national legislation will require states to develop grade level standards if science is included in Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP): and
  • Current research recommending that state standards be developed to reflect learning progressions of the “big ideas” in science across grades K-8.
Please visit: http://www.ode.state.or.us/surveys/template.aspx?sid=295 to provide input on this issue. For more information, contact: Cheryl Kleckner eMail
Susan’s Schedule

Week of September 1st - No public events were scheduled

Week of September 8th – Susan will moderate an education panel at the US Senate Democratic Latina Summit in D.C. and participate in the American Diploma Project Leadership Team Meeting in D.C.

The August 2008 issue 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
Please forward this UPDATE to others who might find it of interest.
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