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9/19/2008 8:30:00 AM
Superintendent's Update #273
Superintendent's Update

In This Issue:
  • Sojourner School Wins National Intel Competition
  • Keep Oregon Green
  • Oregon Diploma Talk
  • Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools
  • Susan’s Schedule

Sojourner School Wins National Intel Competition

Phyllis by Su-jin Yim, The Oregonian

MILWAUKIE -- Sojourner School won a national award from Intel Tuesday at a luncheon in Washington, D.C., for its approach to teaching math.

Earlier this year, the magnet school in the North Clackamas School District was one of six schools in the U.S. Intel recognized for math and science instruction. Each school won $10,000 in cash and about $160,000 in assorted technology prizes, curriculum materials and more. On Tuesday, Sojourner took home the top honor, the Star Innovator prize, earning another $15,000 and more products and services.

"We're just walking on clouds right now," said teacher Cassandra Barnes, who submitted the K-6 school's application last year. "It was an extremely intense competition. We were so impressed by the other schools."

Intel sponsors the annual awards as part of its education initiative, a public-private partnership with governments in more than 50 countries. Intel started the Schools of Distinction awards to encourage strong math and science instruction and to try to replicate successful models across the country. Barnes credited Sojourner's commitment to professional development as one reason it succeeds in math. The school's math scores on state assessment tests have risen at the school over the past several years.

Research shows that high-quality teachers are the single biggest factor in student achievement, more than race, poverty or class size. The seven instructors at Sojourner team up to teach lessons, evaluate how effective lessons were and determine what changes to make. That connects directly to how well students learn math and how they view themselves as mathematicians, Barnes said.

"If you ask (our students) what it means to be a great mathematician, they might say it's recognizing when you don't understand something and having the big 'aha' when you do. They won't tell you, 'I can tell you all the multiplication tables,'" Barnes said. Barnes said teachers were especially pleased that Intel viewed their school as a "great school with a great math program, not a mediocre school with a great math program."

The magnet school serves about 180 students and has a waiting list. It started a decade ago, based on a philosophy that embraces teaching geared for eight types of intelligence, including musical, linguistic, physical and intrapersonal.

PHOTO: Trica George (left), director of Sojourner School, and Cheryl Myers, vice chair of the North Clackamas School District board, celebrate the announcement of Sojourner as the Star Innovator school at the Intel Schools of Distinction awards in Washington, D.C.

Keep Oregon Green

Phyllis State law requires that students, grades K-8, receive fire prevention education each month. We know how hard it is for teachers to work this education into their schedules.

The Keep Oregon Green Association has a way to make this requirement easier on your teachers as well as fun and motivating for their students. “Keep Oregon Green Rangers” is a new web-based interactive wildfire prevention program that allows kids, grades K-6, to discover the values of Oregon’s forests, the types of careless human behaviors that cause wildfires, and ways the kids can help prevent them.

Seeing, Doing, Hearing, and Learning
The curriculum was developed by teachers and wildfire prevention educators, put before a focus group, and then piloted by kids and teachers. For more than a year, Scouts, home-schooled kids and individual youths used the curriculum. Now it has been improved! Children not only SEE and DO the activities - they can HEAR the messages as the Ranger and animals now talk with them.

Human-caused wildfires a growing threat
More and more people are moving into the urban/wildland interface, and demand is soaring for forest recreation. This increased human presence in the forest shows up alarmingly in fire statistics: Over 70 percent of Oregon’s wildfires are caused by careless humans. At the same time, wildfire suppression costs continue to climb.

There is an added benefit to the completion of the “Keep Oregon Green Rangers” activities. When the teacher sends in the class registration forms, each student will be sent a t-shirt, a KOG Ranger patch, and a Certificate of Completion. Any school with participation of at least 80 percent of their K-6 students will receive recognition on the our KOG Ranger website, a plaque for the school and a news release for their local newspaper.

Please help us protect Oregon’s resources from wildfires.
Have YOUR students become Keep Oregon Green Rangers

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

Myth: Oregon’s new diploma requirements are among the most challenging in the nation.

Fact: According to Achieve.org, Oregon is one of at least 44 states that report having adopted, or moving toward adoption of, college- and career-ready standards for graduation. Each state has its own timeline and implementation strategy. Click here PDF to learn more about the timeline and phase-in of Oregon’s Diploma requirements.

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

Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools

Mini-Grants Available to educators in Lane, Deschutes, Linn, Benton, Marion and Polk Counties
SELCO Community Credit Union is pleased to offer its annual Mini-Grant Program to K-12 educators in the following six counties: Lane, Deschutes, Linn, Benton, Marion and Polk. Each Fall, SELCO reviews each request submitted and makes funding choices of up to $250 per project. Visit SELCO's website: www.selco.org from September 10th through October 10th to get all the details and apply on-line. Applications must be received electronically. No handwritten, mailed, or faxed forms will be accepted. Award notifications will be announced on SELCO's website on November 3rd. Checks will be mailed to the schools of the winners beginning November 20th.

James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation - MILLER TEACHER AWARDS
Purpose: A major problem facing public high schools is the large number of teachers who drop out of the profession during their first five years of teaching. In Oregon this attrition was 37 percent, according to a 2008 report by the Chalkboard Project. To encourage more teachers to stay in the profession and improve their skills, the Miller Foundation is offering up to 50 awards a year to provide public high school teachers with opportunities for growth and development, with the goal of strengthening their commitment to, interest in, and effectiveness in a long-term classroom teaching career. The ultimate goal is helping teachers pursue activities that will stimulate and nurture student achievement. The awards will range from $1,000 to $5,000, depending upon the nature of the individual projects.

Eligibility: Any public high school principal in Oregon may nominate a teacher who has less than five years in the profession and who develops a promising plan of activities designed to benefit the teacher’s performance and professional satisfaction. Among possible projects are:
1. Focused coursework the teacher believes would be personally valuable;
2. A specific mentoring relationship with an unusually capable and experienced teacher;
3. Planned attendance at conferences or institutes that feature topics that would be helpful to the teacher;
4. Working for National Board Certification;
5. Developing and organizing a local support group for newer teachers; or
6. Designing a personal plan to study student learning differences, diversity of effective teaching methods, or essential subject matter.

Nominating Process: If a school chooses to participate, the principal will notify the Miller Foundation by Friday, October 3, 2008. The principal, using selection methods deemed most suitable, will nominate a teacher who has suggested an effective plan of activities and who would especially benefit from this experience. Then the principal and nominated teacher will each submit a letter to the Foundation. The principal’s letter (not more than two pages) will address who the candidate is and why this teacher is being nominated. The teacher’s letter (not more than three pages) will describe the learning experience she or he wants to pursue and why, along with a proposed budget. The principal’s letter will also state that the school is willing to receive grant funds and oversee their appropriate expenditure without any overhead charges or administrative fees. The proposed projects may take place in the spring, summer, or fall of 2009. The deadline for these letters is Monday, November 3, 2008.

Inquiries and submission of applications should be directed to:
James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation
P.O. Box 8585, Portland, OR 97207
info@millerfound.org eMail

Susan’s Schedule

Week of September 15th – Susan Castillo joined Oregon’s National Teacher of the Year, Michael Geisen, in a presentation to Intel employees, helped host a reception with Intel and OMSI for the National Teacher of the Year, and participated in the monthly State Board of Education meeting.

Week of September 22nd – Susan will speak at the XXIII Bi-national Migrant Education Program Forum, present Community-School Partnership Awards to the Siletz Community-School Partnership and the Lincoln City Backpack Food Program, meet with Senator Devlin, and meet with representatives from the Northwest Evaluation Association.

The September 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
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