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Superintendent's Update #319
Superintendent's Update

Superintendent Castillo's bi-weekly updates showcase the efforts and achievements of Oregon schools. Through these regular updates, the Superintendent hopes to increase communications regarding important initiatives for Oregon's students. Click here to access archived issues of Superintendent’s Update.

In This Issue:
  • Castillo Names Oregon Schools Making Strong Gains in Closing the Achievement Gap
  • National School Breakfast Week
  • The Oregon Department of Education Closed on Friday, March 19, 2010
  • Oregon Diploma Talk
  • Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools
  • Susan’s Schedule

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

On Monday, March 8, State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo named fifteen Oregon public schools that have made significant progress in closing the achievement gap. The announcement was made at a press conference at River Road/El Camino del Rio Elementary School in Eugene.

“These schools all demonstrate the incredible power of strong leadership, quality instruction, and high expectations for all students,” Castillo said. “They prove that it can be done – students can overcome poverty, cultural differences, and other challenges and succeed. My goal is to highlight examples of what is being accomplished in our public schools and send a very important message to all of Oregon about helping all children achieve.”
The successful schools have certain common elements. A shared mission, vision and curriculum; a sharp focus on reading and math supported by opportunities for students to get the extra help they need; and a staff that believes their students are capable of success.

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.

Each school named for the award has demonstrated significant improvement in student achievement for minority and/or low income students. This is the sixth year that Castillo has recognized schools for the Celebrating Student Success Awards. This year there are ten Champion Schools and five 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.

Congratulations to the following 2010 Celebrating Student Success Schools:

2010 Celebrating Student Success Champion Schools:
*Claggett Creek Middle School, Salem-Keizer School District
*East Elementary, Tillamook School District
*Lent Elementary School, Portland Public Schools
*Menlo Park Elementary School, David Douglas School District
*Molalla High School, Molalla River School District
*River Road/El Camino del Rio Elementary School, Eugene School District
*Talent Elementary School, Phoenix-Talent School District
*Vale Middle School, Vale School District
*Valor Middle School, Woodburn School District
*William Walker Elementary School, Beaverton School District

2010 Continuing Success Schools:
*Boise-Eliot Elementary School, Portland Public Schools
*Bridgeport Elementary School, Tigard-Tualatin School District
*Davis Elementary, Reynolds School District
*Fleming Middle School, Three Rivers/Josephine County School District
*Merrill Elementary School, Klamath County School District

Thanks to the generous support of AIR, title sponsor for the 2010 Celebrating Student Success Awards. Founded in 1946 as a not-for-profit organization, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is one of the world’s largest educational research and assessment development firms.

The Celebrating Student Success Award recognition program could not be possible without the support of all 2010 Celebrating Student Success sponsors:

*Chambers Productions
*College Board
*Fred Meyer
*Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA)
*The Oregonian
*Oregon Education Association (OEA)
*Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA)

For more information on our award-winning schools go to: www.ode.state.or.us/go/ctag.

PHOTO CAPTION: Students from River Road/El Camino del Rio Elementary School in Eugene receive 2010 Celebrating Student Success Award.
National School Breakfast Week
By Susan Castillo

We've all heard the saying that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." For children getting their minds and bodies geared up in the morning, starting out with a nutritious breakfast is absolutely essential to their health and well-being.

This year's theme for National School Breakfast Week, which runs from March 8-12, is "Ready Set Go." I like that theme -- just consider all the thinking and playing our children do every single day in school.
Oregon schools serve 132,000 breakfasts to students every day. Too often, students show up to school hungry, often because they don't get a chance to eat in the morning rush to school. They're not being set up for success. I am so grateful that our schools are able to provide nutritious breakfasts for our students, especially those who may come from disadvantaged families that cannot afford to put a decent meal on the table in the morning.

The research ties breakfast to student achievement. If you think about it, when we wake up, we've been fasting for eight hours. A growing child who doesn't eat breakfast just isn't going to have the energy to get going, much less make it to lunch. We know that when students eat a nutritious breakfast every day, their attendance goes up. They are better able to concentrate on their schoolwork and less likely to misbehave in class.

Schools are working hard and being innovative when it comes to making sure kids eat a good breakfast. For example, the Yamhill-Carlton School District delivers breakfast every day to kids in the classroom. The students get to enjoy a good meal as class activities start. A number of schools across the state that participate in the "Breakfast in the Classroom" program find that providing kids breakfast closer to class time isn't distracting or messy, and actually helps students get ready for the day.

A key to a successful school breakfast program is making the food not only nutritious, but also yummy, so that students will actually eat. In the McMinnville School District, schools make breakfast enticing by offering fun Banana Split Bars. The students are served yogurt or oatmeal over a banana and get to add their own toppings, such as granola, fresh, canned or dried fruits, or nuts.

So please lift a glass of orange juice and join me in celebrating National School Breakfast Week. Remember that every great day starts with a great breakfast.

The Oregon Department of Education Closed on Friday, March 19, 2010

Due to state budget reductions, the Oregon Department of Education will be closed for a state furlough day on Friday, March 19, 2009. The offices will re-open on Monday, March 22. Thank you for your patience. Click here for a complete list of agency closures.

Recognizing Classified Employees: Part Two

In the last Superintendent’s Update, Superintendent Castillo recognized classified employees as part of Oregon Classified Employees Week (March 1st – 5th). She forgot to recognize the 2,500 American Federation of Teachers, Oregon members who are on the front lines everyday making sure our students have the support they need to succeed. These cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, secretaries and educational assistants are critical to the learning taking place in schools across Oregon--learning that would not be possible without our thousands of classified employees. Thank you American Federation of Teachers, Oregon for all you do to support our students!

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

Student Leadership and Civic Engagement through Philanthropy: A Service-Learning Tool for Teachers

Community 101: Essential Skills Program

Does your school’s teaching and learning environment promote development of the Essential Skills that will help your students be ready for life after high school? Community 101, a student philanthropy program that is aligned with Essential Skills, provides a tool for teachers that is not content-specific and can be applied across academic disciplines. Through Community 101, students demonstrate Essential Skills as they connect the classroom curriculum to current issues in their communities. Their learning becomes relevant as they award $5,000 to nonprofit organizations from their school.

For the 2010-2011 year, The Oregon Community Foundation and the PGE Foundation are offering this unique program to 75 high schools. Applications must be submitted by March 31, 2010. The brief application involves school/teacher information, program information, a Letter of Interest, and recommendation from a principal or superintendent. To download the application, please visit: http://www.oregoncf.org/connect/developing-leaders/community-101

Applicants will be notified in June 2010 and a program orientation will be given in September.

For further information on the Community 101 alignment with Essential Skills and to download an application, please visit: www.oregoncf.org/c101. To view the Community 101 workbook, please visit: http://www.oregoncf.org/connect/developing-leaders/community-101/C101-forms. If you need further assistance, please contact Jennesa Datema eMail, Youth Philanthropy Coordinator, 503-552-3509 or Carol Reed eMail, Community 101 Director, 503-464-7614.

Opportunities and Financial Resources for Schools

College Tax Credit Offers Bigger and Better Benefit

Oregon Student Assistance Commission provides a Tip Sheet on the American Opportunity Tax Credit and how to file for the credit and refund

A new federal education benefit, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, offers families and students more help offsetting the cost of higher education expenses such as tuition, fees, course-related books, supplies, and equipment. With the passage of President Obama’s stimulus bill in 2009 (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), the American Opportunity Tax Credit enables a parent(s) or student to claim the tax credit and receive a refund check from the IRS, even if no income tax is owed. The amount of the credit can be up to $2,500 per eligible student and up to 40% or $1,000 may be refundable.

The Oregon Student Assistance Commission (OSAC) has prepared a tip sheet on the American Tax Credit and how to claim it. The tip sheet is available on the OSAC website at: www.GetCollegeFunds.org/tipsheets.html.

USDOE Funds Oregon’s Test Fee Program Grant

The Oregon Department of Education has received notice that the Test Fee Program grant for 2009-2010 AP and IB examinations for low-income students has been funded by the USDOE. Students that meet the eligibility criteria are qualified to have their exam fees paid in full. For more information about the Test Fee Program, go to: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=884, or contact Andrea Morgan eMail, ODE’s program coordinator, (503) 947-5772.

The College Board Offers Pre-AP Workshop for Middle and High School Teachers

Where: Northwest Regional Laboratory, 5825 NE Ray Circle, Hillsboro, OR 97124-6436
When: Friday, April 23, 2010, 8:30am to 3:30pm.
Registration: $175 for College Board member schools, $200 for others (All workshop materials, continuing education credits, breakfast, and lunch included)
• Pre-AP Strategies in Science: Inquiry-Based Labs
• Pre-AP: Strategies in English /Composition
• Pre-AP Strategies: AP Vertical Teams in History and the Social Sciences
• Pre-AP Strategies: AP Vertical Teams in World Languages and Cultures
• Pre-AP: Interdisciplinary Strategies for English and the Social Sciences

Register at https://apps2.collegeboard.com/olrWebApp/find_meeting.jsp. For more information, contact Andrea Morgan eMail, Education Specialist, (503) 947-5772.

New DHS website on Foster Care and Adoption

Foster or Adopt? The new DHS recruitment website is part of a partnership with Oregon DHS and Boys & Girls Aid that provides statewide information, support, recruitment and community contact for foster care and adoption in Oregon.

Visit http://www.fosterORadopt.com to make a difference to a child that needs help.

The Way I See it - Youth Photo Contest

Community Health Priorities, a project of the Northwest Health Foundation and the Oregon Public Health Division, invite Oregon youth to reveal their perspective on public health during the second annual “The Way I See It” youth photo contest.

Oregon youth between the ages of 12 and 18 are eligible to submit photos illustrating how the environments in which Oregonians live, work, and play can help or hinder their ability to make healthy choices. Contest winners will be announced during National Public Health Week, April 5-11, and will receive cash prizes ($300 for first place, $200 for second, and $100 for third). Entries can be submitted until midnight on March 15, 2010. Complete contest rules and submission instructions can be found at www.communityhealthpriorities.org. Please share this information with your teachers and/or students if applicable.

State 4-H Office Taking Applications for Scholarships to Middle-School Summer Science Camp

The State 4-H Office is inviting Oregon middle school students entering grades 6, 7, and 8 to apply to attend the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp (EMBHSSC) this summer at Oregon State University. All selected campers will be fully funded by scholarships. 54 students will be selected to attend this program, scheduled for August 2- 13, 2010. The EMBHSSC particularly hopes to receive applications from youth who live in rural and/or underserved areas, and members of populations traditionally underrepresented in science and technology fields.

The deadline for application submissions is Friday, April 16. The application process involves completing an application form, writing a 250 word student essay, and recommendations from Science and Math teachers. Information is available online at: http://oregon.4h.oregonstate.edu/summer-science-camp. You can request a printed copy from Camp Coordinator Andy Hoffmann by calling 541-737-4081, or email fourhscicamp@proaxis.com eMail.

The two-week residential camp offers youth innovative ways to enhance their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Leadership and citizenship are primary themes, and students are encouraged to stay in school.

The full cost of the camp’s education program, field trips, food and lodging is covered by a grant from the ExxonMobil Foundation and The Bernard Harris Foundation.

State National Center for Safe Routes to School opens submission period for applications for 35 $1,000 mini-grants

The National Center for Safe Routes to School is offering 35 $1,000 mini-grants for Safe Routes programs. Their goal is to use student creativity and leadership skills to increase safe walking and bicycling to school. The link to the grant information is: http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/news_room/minigrants/index.cfm. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, April 7, 2010.

Safe Routes to School programs encourage children grades K-8 to walk and bike safely to school. In Oregon, elementary-age children living within a mile of school and middle school-age children living within 1.5 miles of school typically are not eligible to receive bus service. Safe Routes to School program efforts are directed to these students and are built around 5 E's: Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering and Evaluation. Safe Routes to School proponents promote walking and biking for the health/wellness and physical activity benefits; potential to lower traffic congestion around schools and potential to increase air quality around schools. Information about the Safe Routes to School efforts in Oregon can be found at www.oregon.gov/saferoutes and at the national level, www.saferoutesinfo.org.

Susan's Schedule

Week of March 8 – Superintendent Castillo announced the 2010 Celebrating Student Success Award recipients in Eugene, and participated in the State Board of Education meeting where the two Oregon Milken Educator Award recipients were awarded their obelisks.

Week of March 15 – Susan will visit Bridgeport Elementary in Tualatin, a 2009 Celebrating Student Success Champion and a 2010 Continuing Student Success recipient.

Week of March 22 – No public events available at time of publication.

The February 2010 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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