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12/12/2008 9:00:00 AM
Superintendent's Update #285
Superintendent's Update

In This Issue:
  • Portland Teacher Wins National Award
  • Oregon Schools Making Strong Gains in Closing the Achievement Gap
  • Oregon Diploma Talk
  • Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools
  • Susan’s Schedule

Portland Teacher Wins National Award and $25,000
By Kimberly Melton, Oregonian


First-grade teacher Bonnie Robb stared at the stage in disbelief when her name was called.

A teacher at Southeast Portland's Clark K-8@ Binnsmead, Robb was surprised to learn she won the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. The honor comes with a $25,000 cash prize.

More than 700 students and teachers stood and cheered the 13-year veteran as she made her way to the front of the overflowing auditorium.

"Wow, you can't do this job without a team, without a principal who supports you," said Robb, 35. She asked all the students she taught in first grade to raise their hands. More than a hundred arms shot into the air. "You are the reason I am here," she said.

The Milken foundation created the awards more than 20 years ago -- the largest teacher recognition program in the nation. Often called the gold medals or Oscars of teaching, the awards are given annually to one or two outstanding educators in each state. Seventy have been awarded in Oregon.

State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo, Portland Superintendent Carole Smith and Milken representatives were among those who attended the announcement. Since she began teaching in 1995, Robb has mostly worked with students in poverty and students whose native language isn't English. Growing up in poverty herself in North Portland, Robb said it never occurred to her to work with any other group of students.

She credited the support of her family for helping her become the first in her family to attend a four-year college and receive a diploma. "I remember going to the downtown library, getting piles of books and riding the bus home," Robb said. "When parents put learning first, great things can happen that go beyond poverty and language."

Although 40 percent of Robb's students speak a language other than English at home and about 80 percent receive free or reduced price lunches, more than 80 percent of her students meet or exceed benchmarks in reading, writing and math each year in later grades.

To read the entire story please visit:

Photo: Bonnie Robb with Superintendent Susan Castillo, Dr. Jane Foley, and Veteran Milken Educators

Castillo Names Oregon Schools Making Strong Gains in Closing the Achievement Gap

State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo named nineteen Oregon public schools that have made significant progress in closing the achievement gap. The announcement was made Wednesday at a press conference at Lane Middle School in Portland.

Each school named for the award has demonstrated significant improvement in student achievement for minority and/or low income students. This is the fifth year that Castillo has recognized schools for the Celebrating Student Success Awards. This year there are seven Champion Schools, six Rising Star Schools, and six Continuing Success Schools. The Champion Schools will each receive a $3,000 award and the Continuing Success Schools will each receive a $1,000 award. School awards are sponsored by Oregon businesses. All nineteen schools will receive trophies and recognition at the Celebrating Student Success Banquet on May 1st at the Oregon Convention Center.

“These schools all demonstrate the incredible power of strong leadership, quality instruction, and high expectations for all students,” Castillo said. “These schools all face the challenges of poverty, changing demographics, and students who enter their schools from a range of cultural and language backgrounds – and yet, all of these schools are showing that progress can be made. We can and will close the achievement gap in Oregon. If we keep focused on that goal, we can ensure that all of our students can achieve success at school.”

Castillo initiated the Celebrating Student Success Award in 2005 to recognize leadership within Oregon’s K-12 public school system and highlight schools that have made significant progress toward closing the academic achievement gap. Special thanks go to the Portland Schools Foundation, whose work inspired these awards.

Selected schools made it through a data screen that identified schools where student subpopulations (minority groups, students with limited English, special education students, etc.) made significant progress compared to the comparison groups (white students, English speaking students, non-special education, etc.). Student cohorts were analyzed using data from 2004-05 through 2007-08. A team reviewed the data and examined both school to state comparisons and within school comparisons. Statewide report card and AYP data was also analyzed. Schools demonstrating the strongest subpopulation growth (and hence the most progress in closing the achievement gap) were invited to submit an application for further review. A Blue Ribbon Panel composed of educators, business leaders, and community members reviewed the data and the applications and made recommendations to Superintendent Castillo.

The following nineteen schools will be honored at an awards event on May 1st at the Oregon Convention Center.

The 2009 Celebrating Student Success Champion Schools are:
* Bridgeport Elementary, Tigard-Tualatin School District
* Davis Elementary, Reynolds School District
* Fern Ridge Middle School, Fern Ridge School District
* Fleming Middle School, Three Rivers School District
* Lane Middle School, Portland Public Schools
* R. E. Jewel Elementary, Bend-La Pine School District
* Swegle Elementary, Salem-Keizer School District

The 2009 Celebrating Student Success Rising Star Schools are:
* Barnes Elementary, Beaverton School District
* Independence Elementary, Central School District
* Lincoln Park Elementary, David Douglas School District
* Talent Elementary, Phoenix-Talent School District
* Vern Patrick Elementary, Redmond School District
* Whitman Elementary, Portland Public Schools

The 2009 Continuing Success Schools are:
* Boise-Eliot School, Portland Public Schools
* Forest Grove High School, Forest Grove School District
* Gilbert Park Elementary, David Douglas School District
* Grant Community School, Salem-Keizer School District
* Merrill Elementary, Klamath County School District
* Metzger Elementary, Tigard-Tualatin School District

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

Did You Know:

More than two-thirds of new jobs require at least some postsecondary education or training.

The knowledge and skills that high school gradates need to be successful in college are the same as those they will need to be successful in a job.

Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools

Job Opportunity:

(Communications Director)

There is currently one permanent, full-time position available with the Superintendent’s Office in the Communications Unit at the Oregon Department of Education in Salem.

The Communications Unit provides information to educators, the media and the general public about education in Oregon through the media, written materials and articles for publication and public presentations. This position directs the Communications Unit, develops an overall communications strategy, cultivates media relationships, and plans communications activities and public information approaches. This position is the principal contact with outside organizations and partners involved in communicating about school improvement.

The close date is December 31, 2008

For the entire job announcement and for application materials please visit: http://egov.oregon.gov//ODE/jobs/LEED8108.shtml

C-SPAN Classroom’s StudentCam 2009

C-SPAN Classroom has launched StudentCam 2009! Students can get information on the following website: http://www.studentcam.org/. The deadline for the competition is Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009. Videos must be between 5 and 8 minutes in duration. The theme is "A message to the New President." Entry submission information will be posted at a later date. A total of $50,000 in prizes will be awarded. The competition is open to students in grades 6 through 12. Students are required to include C-SPAN video and more than one point of view.

For questions about StudentCam 2009, C-SPAN staff can be reached through the toll free Educators' Hotline, 800.523-7586. The regular C-SPAN Classroom website is: www.c-spanclassroom.org.

Susan’s Schedule

Week of December 8th- Susan met with her Professional Educators Advisory Team, met with Representative Phyllis Gutierrez-Kenney regarding early childhood education, met with Representative Mary Nolan, announced the 2009 Celebrating Student Success Schools, participated in the Oregon Business Plan Summit, participated in the Oregon State Board of Education meeting; and met with her Youth Advisory Team.

Week of December 15th - Susan will speak to the Roseburg Chamber about the Oregon Diploma, meet with Roseburg ESD staff, meet with Planned Parenthood, meet with the Arts Commission, and speak at the Eugene Education Leadership meeting.

The December 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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