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A publication for members Of the oregon education association



ALSO IN THIS ISSUE » The Power of Resiliency » Election 2012 Central! » Let's talk about PERS PLUS

egic strattion ac an pl nsert li Specia

rise again

how v ern on ia got i ts gr o ov e bac k

October 2012 | Volume 87 : Number 1

Contents / 10.12 Volume 87 . Issue No. 1


Departments President’s Column

05 / Finding our resiliency

By Gail Rasmussen, OEA President


06 / Events for OEA Members Newsflash

34 On the Cover

34 / rising up

Five years after severe floods ravaged a community, Vernonia opens its doors to a new school and a new start. By Matt Werbach

Special Section

21 / your union is evolving

Everything you need to know about OEA's new Strategic Action Plan, and how it impacts you.


26 / reaching boiling point Managing stress and becoming resilient are key to educator — and student — success. By Jon Bell

08 / The Truth about won't back down 09 / importance of a healthy breakfast » Politics & You

10 / Election 2012 recommendations Teaching & Learning

12 / When teaching gets tough 13 / 2013 OEA/NEA Positions Open for Election Licensure

14 / Continued saga of CPD requirements Eye on Equity

16 / The Buffalo Writers' Diaries PERS Update

18 / Pre-Retirees: Know Your Rights! Legal Matters

20 / New Mandatory reporting laws Perspectives

32 / How I screwed up my 1st year of teaching Sources + Resources

40 / Books and Opportunities ON THE COVER: Tall trees set the tone inside the main of hall of Vernonia's new school. PhotO by THOMAS Patterson

Credits: Top: Thomas Patterson; Middle: Annette Gulick/stock.xchng; Bottom: Eric Hanson

On the Web

43 / New OEA Website Survey Today’s OEA | october 2012


President’s Message / 10.12 Gail Rasmussen OEA President

OEA President (and DNC Super Delegate) Gail Rasmussen teams up with NEA President Dennis VanRoekel and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina this fall.


chool is open and classes are in session. To my disbelief, my youngest granddaughter entered kindergarten and is excited to be going to "real school" finally. I know that many of you are still looking for chairs so your students are not sitting on the floor due to overcrowded classrooms. But, the good news is that both educators and students are making the best of these situations and learning is taking place. Five years ago, I remember hearing the heartbreaking news that schools in the rural community of Vernonia had suffered severe damage due to winter floods. I remember the educators, who refused to let the education of their students suffer, even when their schools were in ruins. Over the past five years, I've watched from afar as those educators and their community have rebuilt Vernonia's school. I am amazed and inspired (and know you will be, too) by their incredible efforts, which we chronicle on page 34 in our cover story "Rising Up." Educators are facing incredibly tough times still. Larger class sizes, fewer teachers, and more cut days makes the three R's of education even more important: respect, responsibility and resiliency. Respect for our profession, responsibility for students and

their learning, and resiliency because we are passionate and tough. Like the educators in our feature story “Reaching Boiling Point” (page 26), we persevere through the hard days because we believe we can and will make a difference for students. And every day, we will continue to be committed to our vision to improve the future of all Oregonians through quality education. As you’ll find in our Special Insert on the OEA Strategic Action Plan (page 21), we are moving forward on some incredible new opportunities for OEA members to engage in the work of their union. Currently, we have members and staff working together to review our structures and processes with a focus on organizing, engaging and empowering members to build a stronger OEA. As of this week, we have new staff members in place throughout the organization who will be working to strengthen our members to become effective advocates for their profession and their union. You can expect these new staff to make an appearance in your local area soon! We are in an era of change. Thank you for being part of the solution for change and ensuring educators in the classroom have a voice at every decision making table. You are the best. Thank you for your good work. •

Larger class sizes, fewer teachers, and more cut days makes the three R's of education even more important: respect, responsibility and resiliency. Credit: BethAnne Darby

Today’s OEA | OCTOBER 2012


UpComing / 10.12 Oct. 30, 2012

Mix It Up at Lunch Day n WHAT: Plan now to participate in Mix It Up at Lunch Day, the national event that breaks down

social barriers in schools. n HOW: For more information and to register your school on the Mix It Up map, go to Nov. 6, 2012

General Election Day n How: Don't miss your chance to vote in this historic election day! Go to www.oregonvotes.

org to find your nearest ballot drop-off site, and check out OEA-PIE recommendations on candidates and ballot measures on page 10. Nov. 11-17, 2012

American Education Week n WHAT: NEA promotes a weeklong calendar of activities to celebrate education, including

Parents Day (Nov. 13), Education Support Professionals Day (Nov. 14), Educator for a Day (Nov. 15), and Substitute Educators Day (Nov. 16). Tip: Invite policymakers to your classroom or worksite to celebrate American Education Week! n HOW: Go to for a complete schedule and ideas to incorporate American Education Week in the classroom and on school grounds. Dec. 7, 2012

Oregon Civics Conference for Teachers n WHAT: Classroom Law Project invites teachers of grades 5-12 to the State Capitol for an

insider’s view of Oregon government. Participants will return to schools knowing more about the Oregon Constitution and initiative system, key landmark cases from Oregon courts, and elected officials and what they do. n WHERE: State Capitol Building, Salem, Ore. n HOW: Learn more at SAVE THE DATE! March 16, 2013

3rd Annual OEA Symposium on Transformation in Public Education n WHAT: Join OEA members and leaders for a critical conversation on how we can best ad-

dress the challenges facing our public schools, students and educators. n WHERE: OSU-CH2M Alumni Conference Center, Corvallis, Ore. n HOW: Details will be posted soon at:

SAVE THE DATE! Mar. 24-26, 2013

Oregon School Employee Wellness/Education Conference n WHAT: During this conference, participants will learn how to build personal skills to improve

overall health, create a culture of wellness at schools, develop a plan of action for employee wellness and access state and national resources to support school employee wellness. n WHERE: The Riverhouse, Bend, Ore. n HOW: For more information, contact Inge Aldersebaes, OEA Choice Trust, 800-452-0914, ext 101, or email:


Today’s OEA | October 2012



Official Publication of the Oregon Education Association October 2012 Volume 87 : Issue No. 1 Office Headquarters 6900 SW Atlanta Street Portland, OR 97223 Phone: 503.684.3300 FAX: 503.684.8063 Publishers Gail Rasmussen, President Richard Sanders, Executive Director Editor Meg Krugel Production Assistant Janine Leggett Contributors Janine Leggett, Erin Whitlock, Becca Uherbelau, Andrea Cooper, Teresa Ferrer, Julia Sanders, Thomas Patterson To submit a story idea for publication in Today’s OEA magazine, email editor Meg Krugel at Printer Morel Ink, Portland, OR TODAY’S OEA (ISSN #0030-4689) is published four times a year (October, February, April and June) as a benefit of membership ($6.50 of dues) by the Oregon Education Association, 6900 SW Atlanta Street, Portland OR 97223-2513. Non-member subscription rate is $10 per year. Periodicals postage paid at Portland, OR. Postmaster Send address corrections to: Oregon Education Association Attn: Becky Nelson Membership Processing 6900 SW Atlanta Street Portland, OR 97223-2513 Design and Production Francesca Genovese-Finch

Newsflash Oregon City Selected to Join National Network of UnionDistrict Leaders


he NEA Foundation has selected an Oregon City team led by the local teacher union president and superintendent to join the second cohort of the NEA Foundation Institute for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, a national effort to address challenges facing public education. Oregon City Public Schools was selected for its clear commitment to professional practice as well as a high level of transparency in their uniondistrict work. They jointly developed their teacher evaluation system and will now use state grant funds to jointly implement that work at the grassroots level. Their Institute work will focus on building buy-in for the development of an authentic and comprehensive professional growth system for educators. Oregon City is one of just five new teams invited to participate in the Institute’s two-year program, becoming part of a network of teams tackling some of the most pressing issues in public education, such as the creation of strategic compensation plans and engaging and motivating teachers to be the drivers of their individual and collective professional growth through the design of comprehensive development systems—including career ladders. Other second cohort members hail from: San Juan United, CA; Jefferson County Public Schools, CO; Escambia County Public Schools, FL; and Fayette County Public Schools, KY.

Credits: Meg Krugel

Governor Kitzhaber addresses students at Metzger Elementary on the first day of school.

State Leaders Express High Hopes For the Class of 2025


Outside Metzger Elementary in Tigard, Gov. Kitzhaber and Chief Education Officer Rudy Crew tout their vision for Oregon's public schools this year.

n the first day of the 2012-2013 school year, Gov. John Kitzhaber and Chief Education Officer Rudy Crew visited Metzger Elementary School in Tigard to express their goal of having all of this year’s Kindergartners graduate high school. In addition, Crew expects to see more Oregon students reading before the third grade, a time when students should begin reading to learn, rather than learning to read. Crew says parents should do what they can at home to get students ready to enter school. “What they know about what they can do should be completely obvious to them, and things that we as a state could actually provide for them in the way of help and support — the menu of offerings of things that parents can do to get their kids to be, frankly, not just ready to read, but reading, as they leave home and are going into kindergarten and first grade,” Crew told The Oregonian.

Today’s OEA | October 2012


Newsflash Did you know? » Today’s OEA’s best story ideas come from you, our readers! Do you know an educator who should be featured? Email your suggestions for articles to

Won’t Back Down: A Misleading Account of Public Education


ou want to take over the school with me?” Maggie Gyllenhall’s character asks in the trailer for Won’t Back Down, an emotional movie fueled by parent passion for education reform, which opened on Sept. 28. The Walden Media movie starring Maggie Gyllenhall, Viola Davis, and Holly Hunter paints a picture of teachers and public schools that is bound to anger parents and drive a wedge between schools and the communities they serve. While the plotline may be attentiongrabbing and interesting, fictionalized accounts of public schools that pit parents against school employees do not reflect the on-the-ground reality and may in fact be detrimental to creating the positive change that both parents and teachers are striving for. In a Hollywood Reporter film

When Doing More With Less Just Doesn’t Cut It


ccording to recent state data on student achievement and graduation rates, Oregon’s schools appear to be doing fine. However, in a time when performance expectations are rising and budgets (and educators) are being cut left and right, Oregon school chiefs are telling Salem that enough is enough. “We are dialed in, we’re committed” said Bob Stewart, Superintendent of Gladstone, “but I have 15 percent fewer teachers than I need to do my job in my school district.” Even schools that are considered to be successful are struggling to make up the difference between demands that are continuously on the rise and plummeting budgets that leave schools unable to properly function.


Today’s OEA | october 2012

review, David Rooney aptly writes, “this lumbering movie pushes obvious buttons and manipulates the audience’s emotional investment while conveniently skimming the issues.” The fact is, we are all accountable for student success. For educators, that means reaching and motivating every student. For parents, that means instilling values of respect, responsibility, and a love of learning. For our elected officials, it means providing students and teachers with the resources they require to get the job done. There is no silver bullet solution to fixing our schools and if we don’t work together, finding a sustainable solution will be all the more difficult. Demonizing teachers is not the solution. Washington Post opinion writer Eugene Robinson writes, “Portraying teachers as

villains doesn’t help a single child. Ignoring the reasons for the education gap in this country is no way to close it.” Our students cannot afford to lose ground over a divisive argument that focuses on differences of opinion rather than collaborative approaches to creating positive change. Both parents and teachers have a vital role to play in each child’s education, and we rely on one another to achieve success.

A Better Oregon? There's an App for That!


lways up-to-date and relevant, the Our Oregon Mobile Voter Guide gives you the information and news you need to make informed choices this election season. This application combines geolocation and rich push technology to connect you with the organizations who are working to protect Oregon’s future. This is the app for Oregon voters who want to learn more and take action on issues that impact the future of our state. With the Our Oregon App you can: n Browse by organization to learn more about how each group stands on ballot measures. n Browse by ballot measures to see where groups stand: for and against.

n n n

Enter your location (or any location) to see ballot items for that area. Receive push notifications based on location Take action by tweeting, sharing on facebook, emailing or calling, right from the app

Find the Our Oregon Mobile Voter Guide online at:

Newsflash Know a student in need? » The winter months will be upon us soon. Are you worried that some of your students might not have warm coats to wear to school? Apply for a grant from the OEA Foundation to help your students succeed.

Oregon Pilots Kindergarten Readiness Screening System


his fall, 16 Oregon schools are piloting a new kindergarten readiness screening system, which will give teachers a well-rounded assessment of their students’ skills. Every September, Kindergarten teachers across the state test their students using a wide range of assessment tools. What the new screening system offers is a more holistic approach to assessing a student’s readiness for school. In addition to providing data on letter knowledge and basic counting skills, the screening system tests behavioral and social skills. The system uses a series of tests and checklists, some of which are conducted after a few weeks in the classroom, to give teachers and researchers an accurate representation of every student’s capabilities. Not only does this benefit classroom teachers by giving them a better picture of their students, it gives researchers the ability to study the connection between the skills Oregon students have upon entering school with their performance in later grades. Read more about the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment in the June 2012 issue of Today’s OEA! Find the article online: www. todaysoea/ archives.

Credits: Annette Gulick/stock.xchng

The Facts About Student Hunger


s students across Oregon headed back to school last month, many families continue to feel the sting of unemployment, rising food and fuel prices and a sluggish economic recovery. Teachers are first-­hand witnesses to the toll hunger takes on our students. According to a new national survey by Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, teachers worry that hunger is stunting the learning process. They point to a healthy school breakfast as key to a good education. Key findings of the study include:

n Childhood Hunger Remains A Serious Issue. Three out of five teachers say kids in their classrooms regularly come to school hungry. Among those teachers, 80 percent say these kids come to school hungry at least once a week. Three out of four teachers say addressing childhood hunger must be a national priority. n The Problem Is Growing.

Fifty-six percent of teachers who witness childhood hunger say the problem is getting worse.

n School Meals Are A Critical Safety

Net. In the survey, a majority of teachers (56 percent) say “a lot” or “most” of their students rely on school meals as their primary source of nutrition. n Teachers Are Taking Action. Most com-

monly, teachers assist families in enrolling in school meal programs, refer families to resources in the school, and 53 percent of teachers spend money out of their own pockets to buy food for hungry students. On average, teachers who buy food for hungry kids in their classrooms spend on average $26 a month. Teachers Say: Breakfast Works. Nine out of 10 teachers say breakfast is very important for academic achievement. Teachers credit breakfast with increased concentration, better academic performance and better behavior in the classroom. Health is also a major factor, with eight in 10 saying breakfast prevents head and stomachaches, leading to healthier students. Teachers also say that, thanks to breakfast, students are less likely to be tardy or absent.


Big Class Sizes: Oregon’s Big News


ore than 500,000 students returned to Oregon schools this fall. With fewer classroom teachers, districts wonder, how big is too big? Research suggests that class size plays an important role in student success. The more attention individual students receive from their teacher, the more likely they are to access and understand the curriculum. Beaverton Education Association President Karen Hoffman finds it heartbreaking. “Teachers say, I can’t do the things I’ve always done. I can’t teach the way I want to teach. It fills you with guilt, because you know what these kids need. They need to trust you and love you, and once they do, you can get them to do anything,” Hoffman said. In a time when teachers are demanding so much of their students, relationships within the classroom are both more important and more difficult to build than ever before.

Today’s OEA | October 2012





Politics & You

Help Elect an Educator!


ow many times have you wished Oregon’s elected officials knew what it felt like to stand up in front of a classroom? Now is your chance to help elect a fellow educator and OEA member to the Oregon Legislature! Chris Gorsek has been teaching geography and criminal justice at Mt. Hood Community College for more than 15 years. He’s been a longtime advocate for a quality education for his students and for middle class families in East Multnomah County. As a community college instructor, Chris Gorsek sees firsthand how critical it is to make college education and advanced training affordable and accessible to more Oregonians. Chris knows that we have to invest in Oregon’s community college and state university system to ensure students

from all walks of life have the ability to study, train and update their skills so they can compete for good-paying jobs today and be ready for the high-tech jobs of Oregon’s next economy. Now he wants to take his commitment and passion for public education to the state Capitol. Here’s how you can help: n Join your colleagues and hit the doorstep for Chris! Contact Ken Volante in OEA Government Relations Department (ken. for upcoming opportunities. n If you’re on Facebook, “Like” the Teachers for Chris Gorsek page. n Volunteer! Get on the phones, help in the campaign office, whatever you can do. For opportunities, contact OEA Government Relations.

rn! o H e h t n G et o

on? this electi ifference d a uled a e d k e a h has sc ant to m A OE ! e n fellow e pho and your Pick up th u o y r fo s nk members phone ba oters and v h it series of w t c ort public to conne and supp d e educators lv o v in Office m to get al UniServ c lo to ask the r u to o y tails. Go . Contact r more de fo education rg .o d oregone dates. or oea-gr@ pcoming .org for u ie p a e .o www



Today’s OEA | October 2012

Who’s on Your Side?


his November, Oregonians will have the opportunity to move Oregon forward and support candidates who stand up for the principles we value. Our OEA-PIE recommended statewide candidates measure-up as long-time champions for both public education and for the rights of workers!  Oregon Supreme Court Recommendation: Judge Richard Baldwin. Judge Baldwin began his career as a public interest lawyer and has spent his career as a lawyer standing up for working people like us, including representing employees in employment discrimination claims. He is deeply committed to public education and public service. Judge Baldwin is the only candidate who has the critical experience of being a full-time judge. Secretary of State Recommendation: Kate Brown. Kate Brown has spent more than 20 years serving the people of Oregon. Throughout her service in both the Oregon House and Senate, Kate has put education funding and the rights of educators first. As Secretary of State, Kate Brown has cracked down on initiative fraud by banning felons from gathering initiative signatures. Labor Commissioner Recommendation: Brad Avakian. Brad has been a long-time champion of public education and working people. He is committed to restoring career education in public schools and strengthening workforce training and has fought to restore shop and vocational education programs to Oregon schools. For a full list of OEA-PIE candidate recommendations, go to: www.oregoned. org/election2012.




Politics & You Ballot Measures: The Good and the Bad YES on MEASURE 85 What does Measure 85 do? Measure 85 will reform the corporate kicker by putting money into Oregon K-12 classrooms, rather than back into the pockets of large, out-of-state corporations. That would mean lowering class sizes and restoring important school programs. How much money will Measure 85 raise for K-12 schools? In the past two decades, corporate kicker refunds have ranged from $18 million to $344 million. It’s important to note that in many budget years, there is no kicker refund. The corporate kicker is only triggered when tax revenues exceed the revenue predictions for that budget cycle. If the state economists’ guess is off by more than 2 percent, corporations get money back (on taxes they actually owe).

Why this ballot measure? Our schools have been forced to lay off thousands of teachers, students are being crammed into overcrowded classrooms, and we’re leaving the next generation less prepared to compete in the global economy. Most of the corporate kicker checks go to large, out-of-state corporations. Oregon business leaders agree with parents, teachers, and school advocates that we should eliminate the corporate kicker and spend those funds on our schools.

NO on MEASURE 84 How much would this measure cost our schools and health care services? Eliminating Oregon’s Estate Tax would cost our schools, senior care, public safety, and other priority services more than $240 million every two years. That’s the equiva-

lent of laying off 1,200 K-12 teachers. Measure 84 contains an additional new tax break that would allow wealthy households to avoid paying capital gains taxes entirely. Who would benefit? This is a massive tax break that only benefits the heirs of millionaires. Oregon’s Estate Tax only applies to estates worth more than $1 million. This tax break would apply to less than 750 of the richest estates each year, while forcing cuts to schools and services that middle-class families depend on. OEA BALLOT MEASURE RECOMMENDATIONS  No on Measure 79  No on Measure 84  Yes on Measure 85

oea-pie Candidate Recommendations O

EA members who belong to our political action committee People for the Improvement of Education (OEA-PIE) have recommended the following candidates for the November 6, 2012 election, based on pro-education criteria and extensive candidate interviews. Learn more about OEA-PIE at

SENATE RACES SD 01 SD 21 SD 02 SD 22 SD 05

Jeff Kruse (R) Diane Rosenbaum (D) Jim Diefenderfer (D) Chip Shields (D) Arnie Roblan (D)

SD 23 Jackie Dingfelder (D) SD 09 TO BE DETERMINED Laurie Monns SD 25 Anderson (D) SD 12 NO RECOMMENDATION

SD 27 Tim Knopp (R) SD 14 Mark Hass (D) SD 28 Doug Whitsett (R) Elizabeth Steiner SD 17 Hayward (D)

SD 29 Bill Hansell (R) SD 18 NO RECOMMENDATION

HD 16 Sara Gelser (D) HD 17 NO RECOMMENDATION HD 18 NO RECOMMENDATION HD 19 Claudia Kyle (D) HD 20 NO RECOMMENDATION HD 21 Brian Clem (D) HD 22 Betty Komp (D) HD 23 Ross Swartzendruber (D) HD 24 NO RECOMMENDATION HD 25 NO RECOMMENDATION HD 26 Wynne Wakkila (D) HD 27 Tobias Read (D) HD 28 Jeff Barker (D) HD 29 Ben Unger (D) HD 30 Joe Gallegos (D)

HD 31 Brad Witt (D) HD 32 NO RECOMMENDATION HD 33 Mitch Greenlick (D) HD 34 NO RECOMMENDATION HD 35 Margaret Doherty (D) HD 36 Jennifer Williamson (D) HD 37 Carl Hosticka (D) HD 38 Chris Garrett (D) HD 39 Chris Bangs (D) HD 40 Brent Barton (D) HD 41 Carolyn Tomei (D) HD 42 Jules Bailey (D) HD 43 Lew Frederick (D) HD 44 Tina Kotek (D) HD 45 Michael Dembrow (D)

HD 46 Alisa Keny Guyer (D) HD 47 Jessica Vega Peterson (D) HD 48 Jeff Reardon (D) HD 49 Chris Gorsek (D) HD 50 Greg Matthews (D) HD 51 Shemia Fagan (D) HD 52 Peter Nordbye (D) HD 53 Gene Whisnant (R) HD 54 NO RECOMMENDATION HD 55 Mike McLane (R) HD 56 Gail Whitsett (R) HD 57 Greg Smith (R) HD 58 Bob Jenson (R) HD 59 John Huffman (R) HD 60 NO RECOMMENDATION

SD 30


HOUSE RACES HD 01 NO RECOMMENDATION HD 02 NO RECOMMENDATION HD 03 Wally Hicks (R) HD 04 NO RECOMMENDATION HD 05 Peter Buckley (D) HD 06 NO RECOMMENDATION HD 07 NO RECOMMENDATION HD 08 Paul Holvey (D) HD 09 Caddy McKeown (D) HD 10 David Gomberg (D) HD 11 Phil Barnhart (D) HD 12 John Lively (D HD 13 Nancy Nathanson (D) HD 14 Val Hoyle (D) HD 15 Andy Olson (R)

Today’s OEA | October 2012


Teaching & Learning

Working Successfully with People on a Different Page How to Thrive When Teaching Gets Tough BY Erin Whitlock / Consultant, Center for Great Public Schools


n the famous words of Mark Twain, “I can live two months on a good compliment.” Kind words have a way of nourishing the soul, giving us the moral rewards we need to keep going: a student saying “thank you” for helping them get to that “aha moment,” a colleague recognizing all your hard work organizing the Annual Math Night, or a parent writing you a letter extolling how your extra work with their student was responsible for their better grade, better test score, or even their better future. For educators, who many times do not have other extrinsic reward systems to keep them going — like rock-star salaries, short and painless hours, or an endless budget for the supplies we need to do a job well — verbal and moral rewards carry a lot of emphasis when we think about why we chose to stay in the profession. So what happens when the moral rewards are not present? When there is such a substantive change in the way we do our work, or the resources to do our work, that the people with whom we used to be on the same page are no longer on board, or even more than that, we have colleagues who pedagogically disagree with what we are doing, parents who complain and blame, or administrators who are unsupportive? According to Allen Mendler, author of When Teaching Gets Tough, there is an intricate balance that must be struck between seeking support from others and providing your own self-nourishment regardless of the environment around you. And ironically, just as within a system 12

Today’s OEA | October 2012

of Positive Behavior Supports for our students, it starts with paying attention to the positive behaviors of our colleagues and ourselves. As Mendler says, “Virtually nobody pays attention when they flip the switch and the lights go on, but everybody notices when the lights go out.” Very literally, his point being that someone took effort, took care, even took pride to make sure that everyone had light by which to learn and work, and yet no one is acknowledged for that effort. More symbolically, this effort to “turn on the lights” represents day in and out the hard work and effort put forth by all educators to make sure the teaching and learning environments are setting students up for success. This includes the physical spaces of the classrooms and school environments, and also incorporates the environments in which teachers, paraprofessionals, and faculty are meeting the social, emotional, and developmental needs unique to each student with whom they work. This is all a lot of work that takes time, skill, and

THINK Take a few deep breaths Hold your tongue Initiate positive conversation Nosiness gets you nowhere Know what to say or do to make the situation better, or get out of there!

passion to maintain, and yet almost every day, this work goes unnoticed. So this is where we must start, by acknowledging ourselves (and our colleagues) and all the important work we all do, day in and day out, to make schools work. So let’s start with ourselves. The first step Mendler speaks to is keeping things in perspective. When you hear a complaint, or when it feels like none of your colleagues are listening to your point of view, it’s important to take the time and space you need to analyze the situation. Are these isolated incidents? If they are, are there still “lessons” that can be learned? If you take the time and space you need to analyze the situation, you may realize that it is not as big of a deal as originally perceived. However, if a pattern seems to be developing, then maybe there is a trend that deserves your attention. “Don’t ignore the feedback or give up, but keep doing essentially what you have been doing and don’t make yourself crazy. Let it sting a bit because the hurt can provide motivation to get better. Then let it go,” Mendler recommends. One thing you should not let go of is learning how to gracefully blow your own horn. Essentially, if you are not getting the recognition you need, one method is to make your students’ or your accomplishments more visual. Mendler recommends looking for opportunities to publically praise your students in the presence of staff and parents from whom you seek recognition. More than anything, in life and following the “rules” of human behavior, you get more of what you pay attention to. So be generous in giving recognition to your peers, your students, and families with whom you work. There is more to appreciate than you may

Teaching & Learning “Perspective on the disagreement is also important – when you are disagreeing with someone, try to see the issue as a temporary lapse rather than a permanent quality. Similarly, you could make the issue about the idea, not the person or personality.” realize, and while you do not want to appear as if you are ingratiating yourself to your peers, simply making a goal of one compliment per person per period of time is a great way to support your own work. This also will go along way to make yourself visible — your school is a community, a family even, and while we all have our preferences of who we spend our school time with, it is important to expand your horizons and make sure you are not inadvertently becoming a member of a small clique. Head over to another department. Eat lunch at a different table. Offer assistance to a colleague or parent you overhear discussing something that is frustrating them. Again, you get what you give. But what if you need to dive more deeply to work with difficult colleagues, parents or administrators? What can you do then? Start by listening respectfully and intensely, even when you disagree. Refrain from offering your opinion, or tuning out to plan what you will say in response. Instead, opt to respond later after you have thoroughly listened to their thoughts. Before you respond, take time to consider how you will hear the message. It is important to hear their concern (or blame), and then embark on a path of empathy. You can do this in a variety of ways, two of which Mendler mentions: 1) By hearing their worry and listening to your needs and feelings (this is best encapsulated in an “I-Statement”); and 2) By hearing their anxiety but listening to the other person’s needs and feelings. The latter is an active listening strategy that will show you are truly hearing what they

are saying: “You must feel very strongly about this and I recognize the courage it took to talk to me. Tell me more about what is going on.” This shows the person that you are willing to hear their concerns and are prioritizing their feelings. It is also important to THINK prior to any response to a colleague, parent, or administrator. THINK is an acronym that stands for: Take a few deep breaths; Hold your tongue; Initiate positive conversation; Nosiness gets you nowhere (no gossip); and Know what to say or do to make the situation better, or get out of there! Perspective on the disagreement is also important – when you are disagreeing with someone, try to see the issue as a temporary lapse rather than a permanent quality. Similarly, you could make the issue about the idea, not the person or personality. If you are really cruising while using these strategies, you could further try on your rosy lenses and reframe the problem into an asset. Essentially, you have more control over how you view something than you do over what you are viewing. Our viewpoint of an issue or person has a great influence in how we react. So, ask yourself the question, “Are your challenging colleagues oppositional or independent-minded?” Staying on top of our game as educators means we will have to find ways to remain resilient in the face of adversity, even as it is sometimes presented by our peers, parents, and administrators. Ultimately, for educators to continue to bring their best efforts even when teaching gets tough, we need the tools and resources at both the individual and system level to help work through these obstacles. •

2013 OEA/NEA POSITIONS OPEN FOR NOMINATION & ELECTION The following positions are open for nomination for the 2013 elections:

Elected at OEA RA:

OEA President: 1 position for a 2- year term OEA Vice President: 1 position for a 2-year term Region I Vice President: 1 position for 1 -year term Ethnic Minority Director: 1 position for a 3-year term

Elected by Mail Ballot:

State Delegates to the NEA RA: 12 positions: Region I: 4 positions for a 3-year term; Region II: 4 positions for a 3-year term; Region III: 4 positions for a 3-year term. (The number of delegates per region may be adjusted as the number of members dictates as indicated by the JanuaryFebruary NEA membership report.)

OEA Board of Directors:

11 positions for 3-year terms in Board Districts: 01a, 06, 08, 10b, 12, 15a, 19, 20a, 21, 26b, 30a 3 positions for a 2-year term in Board DistrictS: 05, 17a, 20b 2 positions for 1-year term in Board Districts; 03a, 11

Today’s OEA | October 2012



The Continued Saga of CPD Requirements Poll your teaching colleagues to see if they all know what to do under the NEW RULES! By Teresa Ferrer / Consultant, Center for Great Public Schools /


ince our April 2012 edition of Today’s OEA (in which we published an article on the new CPD rules), the emails and phone calls from around the state have been flooding our office! We applaud your commitment to get your licensure requirements met and are your partner in “getting it right” with TSPC (Teacher Standards and Practices Commission). As a result of the volume of questions that we received, here are more NEED TO KNOW facts about how to complete your CPD requirements. All teachers except those holding a Restricted Transitional, Initial, Initial I or Emergency license must complete CPD in order to renew their license.


• This requirement applies to all holders of these licenses regardless of whether or not they are employed as educators. • All three-year licenses must complete 75 Professional Development Hours (PDUs) in order to renew. • All five year licenses must complete 125 PDUs in order to renew. • All PDUs must have taken place during the life of the license being renewed. • You will continue to report your CPD to the district rather than TSPC on a new form and will no longer continue to develop CPD goals, meet with and get a supervisor’s signature or write a reflection. Holders of Substitute and Restricted Substitute licenses must also complete CPD.


These licensees must complete only 30 PDUs in order to renew.


You must report your CPD directly to TSPC when you renew via the new approved CPD log.



Today’s OEA | October 2012

For those educators “who have not previously been required to complete CPD” (that means those of you who have not been contractually employed in a district or ESD and working on a CPD plan in the past), this requirement will be phased in over the next three years:


• Educators whose license expires in 2012 do not have to complete CPD to renew. • Educators whose licenses expire in 2013 will have to complete 25 PDUs total, except for Substitute and Restricted Substitute Teaching Licenses. • Substitute and Restricted Substitute Teaching Licenses that expire in 2013 will have to complete 10 PDUs total. • Educators whose licenses expire in 2014 will have to complete 50 PDUs total. (Substitutes and Restricted Substitutes will have to complete 20 PDUs total.) • Educators whose licenses expire in 2015 or later will have to complete the full 75 PDUs for a three-year license, and 125 PDUs for a five-year license. (Substitutes and Restricted Substitutes will have to complete 30 PDUs total.) The previous CPD plan is history and replaced with a new CPD Log. The reporting obligation for educators is to track the required completed amount of PDUs, enter them on a log and ensure that the PDUs fit within one of the seven adopted professional development “standards”.


• TSPC will conduct a random audit of CPD logs. Keep copies of all your logs and verification documents for at least six years in your professional file. Now that you have the basics of the new

requirements, here are a few of the nuts and bolts to “getting it right.” PDUs are counted in the following way:


• One clock hour of a professional development activity is one PDU. Academic credit is NOT a requirement for CPD, but if you choose to use it, it counts in the following way:


• One quarter hour equals 20 PDUs • Once semester hour equals 30 PDUs • Academic credit that can be counted for CPD can be both undergraduate and graduate from a college, university or community college. • Official transcripts can be used for documentation of these credits. Some approved CPD activities are limited and cannot make up the entirety of their completed units (see list on next page).


• Documentation to verify and report CPD depends upon whether or not you are contractually employed with a school district or ESD. • If you are contractually employed you will continue to report your CPD to your employer who will report it to TSPC via the PEER form. You will use the new CPD log instead of the old plan and will continue to collect verification documentation for activities that are not linked directly to the district and kept on district records. • If you are not contractually employed, retired or working as a substitute teacher, then you will submit the new CPD log directly to TSPC when you renew. You will need to carefully collect documentation verifying each activity on your log and keep it for your records

Licensure for at least six years in case you are audited. DO NOT submit your verification documents to TSPC with your log when you renew. The following seven standards of professional development are aligned with the national standards developed and adopted by Learning Forward in 2011. All CPD activities must be connected to one or more of the these standards: (1) Learning Communities: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment.  (2) Leadership: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires skillful leaders who: develop capacity, advocate and create support systems for professional learning.  (3) Resources: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resources for educator learning.  (4) Data: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning.  (5) Learning Designs: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students integrates theories, research, and models of human learning to achieve its intended outcomes.  (6) Implementation: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students applies research on change and sustains support for implementation of professional learning for long term change.  (7) Outcomes: Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students aligns its outcomes with educator performance and student curriculum standards.

The following is a list (NOT exhaustive) of allowable PDU activities. Email to request using a specific activity that is not on this list. Also email to let us know what you are getting permission to list and what you are NOT.

Allowable activities Activities

How to count PDUs for this activity

Professional workshop and conference

Number of hours spent attending

University, college, and community college classes

20 PDUs for each quarter credit; 30 PDUs for each semester credit

20 PDUs for each quarter credit; 30 PDUs for Auditing university, college, or community college each semester credit; transcript needs to be classes obtained Trainings listed on ODE’s web site

Number of credits as specified for individual activities

Online education-related classes and webinars

Number of hours spent listening/participating

CPR training*

Number of hours spent attending

First aid training*

Number of hours spent attending

Blood-borne pathogen training*

Number of hours spent attending

Curriculum training

Number of hours spent in training

Inservice meetings

Number of hours spent in meetings

Activities listed on ESD or school district websites

Number of hours spent in training; these opportunities may be limited to educators within the same district

Mentoring student teachers in classroom

Number of hours spent mentoring student teachers

Presentation at conference or inservice

Number of hours spent preparing and attending

Serving on board of professional association

Number of hours spent in board meetings

Serving on school board or other school district committee or board

Number of hours spent in board meetings

Attendance at district board meetings or site council meetings*

Number of hours spent in meetings

Technology training (whether hands on training or online training)*

Number of hours spent in training

Writing article that is then published in a professional journal or newsletter*

Number of hours spent researching and writing

* It is recommended that these activities not be used as the only source of PDUs for a year.

Activities that are NOT allowed Activities

Reasons these activities not allowed

Days spent substitute teaching

Looks like “recency.” Also, would not be fair to allow substitute teaching, since other teachers cannot use teaching

Days/hours spent volunteering in a school

How would this be evaluated? Although while some volunteering might be worthy of PDUs credit, much of it would not

Time spent developing instructional materials or games

How would this work be evaluated?

Coaching sports events

How would this time be evaluated? Also, is similar to “recency.”

Mentoring students in classroom

How would this be evaluated? Although some volunteering might be worthy of PDUs credit, much of it would not

Today’s OEA | October 2012


Eye on Equity

Putting Pen to Paper, and Changing Lives Madras High School Students Publish Book Chronicling Hardships and Triumphs By Becky Dudney / Madras High School Teacher


uring the summer of 2008, upon returning from an intense teacher-training at the Freedom Writers Institute in Long Beach, California, I began the often heart-wrenching, but inspiring work of leading my students on a consciencebuilding, transformational journey through reading and writing. Along with my colleagues Foster J. Kalama, Irene Smith, Marsha Schulz, Tille Ocker, Guy Chittenden, Garrett Apland, and Angela Blake, we worked long hours with our students at Madras High School to publish two hard-hitting books featuring the reallife struggles and triumphs of the at-risk populations in our public schools in the Central Oregon region.

The Freedom Writers Curriculum Project was inspired by the work of Erin Gruwell, who in her first year as a teacher in Long Beach, California, was assigned a classroom of students who were considered to be “unteachable.” Her success with students is told in the book The Freedom Writers Dairy and in the 2007 film “Freedom Writers,” directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Hilary Swank as Erin Gruwell. After returning from the Freedom Writers Institute, my colleagues and I focused on teaching our students to see the parallels of their own lives in the writings of others by looking at the excerpts published in Gruwell’s Freedom Writers Diary. Through this process, our students began to take action through the written word in fight-

Buffalo Writers’ Student Excerpts Anonymous Buffalo Writer: “When You Left” When you left me, it felt like you took a part of me with you. You left a part of yourself behind also. I was hurt when you left. For days I could not think clearly. I used to ask myself what I did or said wrong to make you leave. It’s a cold and lonely world. I felt unwanted, down, and sad. Now that I am older, I realize you had no choice but to go. You didn’t leave because of me. You left because it was your time to go. God needed you. I know you would have stayed longer if you could have. I know you didn’t want to leave me, but everything happens for a reason. Only God knows the reason. When I told you that I don’t like school, you told me that “school is what’s best for you.” When I told you I wanted


Today’s OEA | October 2012

ing for justice in their own lives, and in the lives of others in a non-violent manner. Our first publication was released in May of 2010, and we titled it The Buffalo Writers Diary of Madras High School 2008-2009: Reflections on The Freedom Writers Diary with Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers; A Companion Text. Using this text as a jumping-off point, our students recorded their thoughts and feelings in the form of anonymous reflections, producing life-changing results for everyone who participated. Many students could not even produce a sentence at the beginning of both projects, and in the end became published writers. The second publication, released in June of 2012 titled The White Buffaloes Write Again: A Hero’s

Courtesy of Becky Dudney

to be a writer, you told me “Baby, you can be anything you want to be. Just put your mind to it.” Rest in Peace, Dad. Anonymous Buffalo Writer: “Untitled” Growing up was fun. I had a great childhood. But when my dad passed away I felt pain, loneliness, heartbroken. I felt like I couldn’t be myself anymore, like I wasn’t here for any reason. When I got older, I started to think about killing myself. I had it all planned out in my head. I was going to wait until everybody went to sleep. Then I was going to walk down to the cliff and jump off. But I started to think about my family. What would they do without me? I don’t know why I wanted to die. I just wasn’t thinking clearly. I wanted to be with my

dad. But I know he’s always with me in my heart. I guess I thought that if I killed myself I’d be happier. But I thought about how I would cause pain and sadness for others like my family and my friends. So, now when I want to be with my dad, I lay a picture of him down beside me and I talk to it as if he is really there with me. I have never again thought of killing myself because I have everything I have ever wanted— my mom, sister, brothers, and my dad (in my heart). Rest in Peace, Dad 1962-2002 Anonymous Buffalo Writer: "Senior Year" This is my senior year in high school and it’s supposed to by the best year yet. But so far, it’s the worst year ever. Everyday I wake up, I never know if it’s

Eye on Equity that they are not alone in what they feel or Journey, explores how each and every one experience, thus motivating them to read of us is a hero and that we all can be heroic, more, write, and speak. in small and big ways, to make our world In addition to the writing/reading of the way we want it to be. Students realize anonymous work, I invited their potential and that members of our commuthey have a responsibilnity into my classroom to ity to self and others. address tough issues that How does the Freeare rampant in the region. dom Writer CurricuJefferson County District lum work to persuade Attorney Steven Leriche, at-risk students to along with BestCare Preread, write, and speak? vention Services, Warm Many students, who Springs Suicide Prevenare inhibited to write tion team, Confederated about their own lives, Tribes of Warm Springs or to share personal members, elders from the problems, are able to do Hispanic community, and so by submitting their A Buffalo Writer poses with her new vocabulary word she will place on the many others came towork anonymously. As word wall inside Dudney's classroom. gether to provide students their teacher, I would with hands-on, real-life read student work applications for learning how to cope and aloud to the rest of the class without giving make change in their own lives and in the up the identity of the writers. This process lives of others. allowed my students to hear the plights of The Buffalo Writers Diaries would not others and to merge their own experiences have been possible without support from with those of peers, helping them realize

going to be a good or bad day. I wonder if I’m going to get more bad news about both of my grandpas. One of my grandpas has lung cancer and brain cancer. He is getting radiation and chemotherapy treatment but it is just making him worse. My other grandpa has lung cancer and dementia. He has little strokes all the time and he sleeps all the time. He has heart problems. The doctors don’t give either of my grandpas much longer to live. I’m hoping that they will at least live long enough to see me walk across the stage and get my diploma. I’m on track to graduate. I even have more credits than I need. I’m trying to have fun, but it’s just not working. I’m always depressed, even if I seem like I’m in a good mood. Anonymous Buffalo Writer: "0:00 A.M." Raping me was fun for him.

Credit: Becky Dudney

After, he asked me how I liked it. Perhaps he already lived in a cell, Excommunicated, soul-deaf. I told him and he laughed, stroking me. So? He was boss. On top. A woman wanted that, no? Crying, crying, I said nothing. Rape was a wound across my sky. I saw blackness beyond the blue. My life was twisted, like those girders Earthquakes throw brutally to the ground. After such helplessness, what hope? Going on with my life in blackness, Nothing within me but blackness. I screamed at the boy no longer there. The screams like walls I took with me, The walls of screams protecting me. How could I love without seeing? Even so, the light pierced me, Shattering the cell of fury, Opening my heart again

Jefferson County Cultural Coalition, our publishers Andrena and her son David Paladini of “One More Chapter Publishing” in Modesto California, and our benefactors; “Our Brothers’ Keepers (OBK).” OBK is a fraternity class from Oregon State University that founded their own charitable 501 (c)(3) organization. The purpose of OBK is to focus on the development and welfare of children, young adults, and in some cases adults in need by supporting their education, welfare, and providing life-expanding experiences. I know I speak for all of my students when I say we are eternally grateful for OBK’s continued support in our endeavors beyond Madras High School, as we have begun to instate our own non-profit organization. The Buffalo Writers Diaries are our nonviolent protests against all forms of abuse, addictions, and social injustices. It is my hope that all teachers can implement their own brand of education reform in their classrooms in order to better serve our students across curricula, in a manner that transcends race and socioeconomic status.

Under a new sun, once more Laughing in the chill of fear. Anonymous Buffalo Writer: I Am Poem I am a DHS kid. I wonder if I will ever be free. I hear freedom. I see freedom and I see happiness. I am a DHS kid. I feel like there is no hope. I touch no life. I worry that there is no happiness. I cry because I’m in DHS care. I am no one. I understand I will never be the same. I say nothing. I dream I will be free. I try to be a kid. I hope I will be free and a kid. I am in DHS care.

Today’s OEA | October 2012


PERS Update

Attention Pre-Retirees: Know Your Rights! By Andrea Cooper / Consultant, OEA Government Relations /


As PERS continues its transition from a primary dependence on employee accounts in calculating benefits (money match) to a more traditional years-ofservice plan, service credit issues are going to become more important. Protect your retirement benefits by ensuring your credit services are properly reported by your employer.

Know the rules

In short, you must perform at least 600 hours of service in a qualifying position each calendar year to earn creditable service for that year; this is also known as the 600-hour rule. Why does creditable service matter? For an OPSRP members (a person who started working for a PERS-participating

employer after August 28, 2003), for example, PERS will calculate their monthly benefit using the following formula: 1.5 percent X years of retirement credit X final average salary. Creditable service is a key part of this calculation and as such a key piece of ensuring retirees get their full benefit. Here’s where it gets tricky: the 600 -hour rule also provides that this presumption can be rebutted by the employer, who must then provide records showing that an individual employee did not work at least 50 hours in any particular month.  Because employees' creditable service has not typically been a factor in calculating retirement benefits, record-keeping procedures by employers may not be up to snuff. Challenges by employers to the 600-hour presumption

Did you know? n

Nearly half of all workers in Oregon age 25–64 are not covered by a retirement plan at work


Without a decent retirement, Oregon seniors will be forced to rely on food stamps, housing assistance, taxpayer-funded health care and in-home care

Source: Economic Policy Institute Briefing, 2012 n


The average monthly retirement benefit: $2,672 per month, or about $32,064 annually The average salary replacement ratio based on final salary: 50% for all retirees and 74% for retirees with 30 or more years of service

Source: PERS By the Numbers

In 2010, Oregon PERS dollars supported: n

29,124 jobs that paid $881 million in wages and salaries


$125 million in federal, state, and local tax revenues to support schools, health care and public safety services.


Retired Oregonians who are financially secure help invest in and strengthen local communities. Source: PERS by the Numbers


Today’s OEA | October 2012

have been uncommon but it's safe to assume that in the future, as PERS transitions to a years-of-service plan, we will see more of those challenges. It's important that members are prepared with accurate information to refute any false claims.

Injury or illness while working

The major reason that individual employees do not accrue service during their career is due to injury or illness. Any individual who is injured on the job and receives worker's comp disability benefits is entitled to credited service during the period of time those benefits are being paid.  Alternatively, any individual who receives disability benefits from PERS for an on-the-job injury is also entitled to credit for the period of disability.  In both cases a return to employment is required in order to receive service credit for the period of disability.  For those who are injured off the job, or alternatively have illnesses which are not work-related, the creditable service provisions are somewhat less generous.  The law provides that an individual member who receives PERS disability payments for an off-the-job injury or illness and who returns to employment may purchase the missed service credits at full cost at the time of retirement.  This option is available only if the individual member has asked for and received PERS disability retirement benefits. 

Protecting your rights: Don’t wait until it’s time to retire to ensure you are protecting your benefits. 1. If you have had a period of disability and you received either worker’s comp or PERS disability benefits for an onthe-job injury or illness, then be certain to monitor your online records as they become available to make Credit: Colin Klotzbach/iStock

PERS Update certain that your service was properly calculated. 2. If you have an off-the-job injury or illness and you will be off work for more than 90 days, apply for PERS disability benefits.  This is the only way that you can preserve your right to purchase that disability time which may be important when you reach retirement.  3. Remember that if your collective bargaining agreement provides for long-term disability benefits which are funded through an outside insurance contract, payment of those benefits will not be considered income from your employer, which is necessary to accrue creditable service. 4. If you have an illness or injury for which you will not likely receive PERS retirement credit, and you have a bank of sick leave or vacation hours

which can be utilized, try to make certain that you receive at least 50 hours of payment in each of the months that you are off work so as to maximize your service credit. 5. Remember the data verification process*.  If a member is close to retirement, verification is the only way to lock down these benefits and avoid an aggressive employer looking for ways to lower creditable service. 

*Have You Verified Your PERS Data?

If you are a PERS or OPSRP member who is considering or planning on retiring within the next two years, you should take advantage of the “PERS data verification” process that is now available. This process will allow you to confirm in advance of your retirement date that PERS has accurate records of your creditable service, salary, and

other information that will affect your retirement benefits. You can initiate the verification process by following the instructions that you will find on the PERS website (www.cms. after you click on the “Data Verification” link in the left-hand column of the home page. You will need to submit a request form, then PERS will send you a “data verification” letter, with instructions as to how to dispute any information that you believe is inaccurate. Once the data is verified, PERS guarantees that it will calculate your benefits using data that is no less than the amounts provided in the verification (amounts will be adjusted upward for subsequent service and earnings). The first data verification is free; any additional verification costs $100. PERS recommends waiting until the final year prior to retirement so that the information is as recent as possible.

Today’s OEA | October 2012


Legal Matters

Do Mandatory Reporting Laws Apply to You? Community College Employees Now Face Legal Obligations to Report Child Abuse


eginning January 1, 2013, all Oregon community college employees are mandatory child abuse reporters and have a legal obligation to report suspected child abuse or abusers under Oregon law. If someone is being hurt or is in danger right now, call 911 immediately. Who is a mandatory reporter? All “public and private officials” as defined by state statute (ORS 419B.005). Effective January 1, 2013, employees of Oregon community colleges and universities are included in the law as mandatory reporters Who is a “child” under this law? Are community college students included in the definition of “child”? A “child” is any “unmarried person who is under 18 years of age.” Some community college students qualify under this definition and are covered by the mandatory reporting law. What is “abuse” under the mandatory reporting law? • Any assault of a child and any physical injury to a child caused by other than accidental means; • Any mental injury to a child, which shall include only observable and substantial impairment of the child’s mental or psychological ability to function caused by cruelty to the child, with due regard to the culture of the child; • Rape of a child, which includes but is not limited to rape, sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration and incest; • Sexual abuse; and • Sexual exploitation, including: • Contribution to the sexual delinquency of a minor; • Allowing, permitting, encouraging or hiring a child to engage in prostitution or patronize a prostitute; • Negligent treatment or maltreatment


Today’s OEA | October 2012

of a child; • Threatened harm to a child, which means subject a child to a substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare; and • Buying or selling a child. Who do I contact if I suspect child abuse? Does notifying my supervisor or a college administrator satisfy my duty to report? You must immediately report to your local Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) or law enforcement if you have “reasonable cause to believe” that any child with whom you come into contact has suffered abuse, or that any person with whom you come into contact has abused a child. The law requires an “oral” report, so reports are typically made by phone. You do not need to report to both DHS and local law enforcement. A report to one agency will be communicated to the other. College policy may require you to report to your supervisor, however, this does not substitute for your duty to report to DHS or law enforcement. How do I respond to a child who reports abuse to me? If the child provides information that gives you reasonable cause to believe that abuse has occurred, tell the child that you believe them and that you are going to contact people who can help. Respect the privacy of the child. The child will need to tell their story in detail later, so don’t press the child for details. Don’t display horror, shock, or disapproval of parents, child, or the situation. What information do I need to report? If possible, provide the following: • Names, addresses of the child, parent; • Child’s age; • Type and extent of abuse; • The explanation given for the abuse; • Any other information that will help

establish the cause of abuse or identify the abuser. Do I have to prove that abuse occurred? No. You are asking DHS or law enforcement to make an assessment of the situation, and you must report any time you have “reasonable cause” to believe a child was abused. Do I have to report if I suspect abuse outside of my normal work hours? Yes. The duty to report is a 24-hour-aday, 7 day-a-week responsibility, no matter where you are. This means that if you encounter suspected child abuse or an abuser when you are not at work, you still have a duty to report immediately to DHS or law enforcement. What if I learn of abuse from a long time ago? If you reasonably believe that another person with whom you come in contact abused a child in the past, your reporting obligation has no time limit and you are to contact DHS or law enforcement. Your reporting obligation regarding abuse inflicted on a person is only triggered when the person whom you think may have been abused is still a “child” at the time you have the reasonable suspicion of abuse. Can I be sued if I report? Oregon law (ORS 419.025) provides that anyone participating in good faith in making a report of child abuse and who has reasonable grounds for making the report will have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that might occur with respect to the making or content of such report. What if I don’t report? A mandatory reporter who fails to report is subject to prosecution of a Class A criminal violation of the law, which carries a maximum penalty of $2,000.

speci al

i nsert

Everything You Need to Know About OEA's Strategic Action Plan


vision, values and goals. Last April, RA delegates approved a comprehensive Strategic Action Plan that will move us down this new road: where educators and our allies will, once again, lead the way in re-building a great public education system for the students of Oregon. Everything we do – at every level – will be driven by a shared commitment to increase member participation and activism; capture our members’ passions, commitments and dreams; and develop the programs, policies and structures that help organize and activate our members to achieve the power to control their professional practice and transform public education. We sincerely look forward to sharing in the work detailed on the following pages with you. Richard Sanders OEA Executive Director

hroughout our history, OEA has demonstrated a remarkable ability to meet great and diverse challenges, because we have not been afraid to change. The OEA formula for doing this has been consistent. We have turned to our members — you. We have assessed the internal and external challenges and evaluated our programs, policies and structures. We have highlighted and embraced those things that work and have been able to change and discard those things that impeded the roads to success. Underlying it all have always been our shared, core values — the dreams that drive and inspire our members and bring us together in the Oregon Education Association. OEA’s Strategic Action Plan is a new way of approaching how we do our work as a union. This plan started over four years ago when the OEA began defining its core mission,

TIMELINE TO LAUNCH OEA's Strategic Action Plan


OCTober 2012 Fall 2012 • Council Meetings plan for 2013 SAP work

• Union School: Leadership Academy catalogue developed/published • Powerful Pilot Locals announced • OEA-GPS and OEA members drive collaboratively-designed evaluations


Nov. & Dec. 2012 Election Day: Nov. 6, 2012 • Kicker for K-12 on the ballot. Get out the vote! End of 2012 • Results of Technology audit complete and available for review/implementation

January 2013

Beginning of 2013 • Design of achievement compacts, driven by OEA members, will be completed with support from OEA's Center for Great Public Schools • Selected Pilot Locals begin identifying, recruiting and training members in core union areas

• Statewide Education Canvass Day


›› Credits: Name here

OrganizationWIDE Processes



And Beyond...

APRIL 2013 SPRING 2013 • Engage members around local campaigns

Legislative Session • Grassroots Politics program launches in 2013 session

OEA-RA 2013 • Members review work of Strategic Action Plan and decide whether to continue work moving forward

• Achievement Compacts submitted to school boards

Grassroots politics

Powerful Locals

BEGINNING OF SPRING • Plan reviewed at Pre-RA Meetings

Communication & Technology

Educator-Led Innovation

Today’s OEA | October 2012 Today’s OEA | October 2012 21

Powerful Pilot Locals Take Flight!

T The Union School offers training for and by OEA Members.

OEA's New Union School


EA’s new Union School is a cornerstone of the OEA Strategic Action Plan’s (SAP) ‘Building Powerful Locals’ priority. The School will provide a comprehensive continuum of member education and training to support and grow strong union leaders and memberactivists at every level of the organization.  The Union School will have primary responsibility to build off of existing effective OEA trainings, as well as to develop new curriculum and training tools based on best-practice and emerging technologies. 

Welcome Helen Lee, OEA’s New Union School Director!


elen Lee, new director of OEA’s Union School, comes to OEA with over 30 years experience in the labor movement as a union organizer and labor educator, including directing Evergreen State College’s Labor Education and Research Center for 15 years. At Evergreen she worked extensively with the Washington Education Association focusing on teacher’s response to the disinvestment of public schools.  She also worked for the California Nurses Associations as their Education Director.  More recently she directed the organizing campaign of 3,000 nurses for the  Oregon Federation of Nurse and Health Professionals. Helen has a Master’s degree in public policy and political economy from New York University.  She has a great deal of passion for the efforts of OEA to transform public education in the state.


Today’s OEA | October 2012

hese are challenging times for educators and our local associations, with fewer resources for our public schools and community colleges, attacks on unions and the labor movement, and members who feel stretched too thin. OEA’s Pilot Locals Program is an education, training and organizing initiative that will develop the skills and strategies for local leadership teams to transform their locals into more strategic, memberdriven and powerful unions. OEA’s Powerful Pilot Locals Program is a one-year program designed to bring together a crosssection of OEA local associations to develop and execute plans that will launch our union on a new path, and provide models for other OEA locals to do the same. The first round of selected locals to participate in the Powerful Pilot Locals program will be announced this month. Locals who participate in the program will plan to: n Effectively assess and respond to changes and

challenges in internal and external environments n Recruit and engage new leaders n Better communicate with and engage members n Create a local strategic action plan n Become actively involved in politics and have

substantial membership base involved in political actions n Develop strong, mutually valuable relationships with

parents, community organizations and other public education stakeholders

Contact the OEA Union School Phone: 541.743.4145 Email: training@

New Name and New Priorities


t’s official: OEA’s Center for Teaching and Learning is now the OEA Center for Great Public Schools (GPS). The Center will support the leadership of OEA members as the driving force for innovation, professional excellence and quality teaching and learning at every level of public education in Oregon. GPS will focus on support for educator leadership in local quality education initiatives.  In the coming school year, this means helping teacher leaders shape evaluation systems to support professional growth and instruction.  GPS has kicked off its work by developing training tools for local leaders to colOEA-GPS works to develop collaborative laboratively develop evaluation systems around Oregon. local achievement compacts with their school districts that strengthen public schools, while supporting student and educator success. The Center for Great Public Schools will also serve as a resource for professional development.  This includes tools, resources, and direct training to support members in their professional practice.  Areas of support include school-wide collaborative professional learning; mentorship and peer assistance; educator evaluation; equity and diversity; special education and more. The Center continues to provide direct support for educators on licensure and advanced certification. 

New GPS Evaluation Tools Coming!


n September, the Center for Great Public Schools premiered its Teacher Evaluation and Support System Guidebook, developed with the goal of providing local education association and school district leaders a comprehensive resource to utilize in working collaboratively together in designing a teacher evaluation and support system. The Guidebook provides information and best practices around: n State and federal requirements for educator

evaluations n Model core teaching standards n Measures and evidence of effective teaching n Research and resources to ensure evaluation systems

are valid, reliable and fair n Tools to guide you in the design process, including

models for collaboration and consensus-driven decisionmaking n Critical questions to keep in mind as you design, pilot

and implement your new teacher evaluation and support system. Request a hard copy by emailing

Need a Training on Professional Skills & Practice? Contact the Center for Great Public Schools at Provide your name, contact information, local and UniServ council and your preferred dates for training.

OEA-GPS welcomes Dr. Colleen Mileham

Two New Institutes to Support Your Work n Institute for Professional Skill and Practice will sup-

port members in their professional and leadership development through expanded training and support, at the local level and statewide. n Institute for Education Innovation will

Contact the Center for Great Public Schools

be the hub for education policy, practice and research and will actively promote quality education initiatives at the local and state levels.


r. Colleen Mileham has been hired to serve as the School and System Transformation Strategist in the Center for Great Public Schools, where she will provide guidance and research on education policy and practice issues, including assisting leaders and staff with districtlevel design processes around achievement compacts and federal grant programs. Mileham is a teacher and teacher educator with a distinguished career working with educators and districts locally and statewide on school improvement. 503.684.3300 ext. 2135

Today’s OEA | October 2012


Oregon Labor Candidate School


Center for Public Affairs seeks to bring more educator stories to Salem.

Taking Our Political Show on the Road


EA’s Public Affairs Team has worked with members across the state at UniServ Council retreats over the past month, rolling out options and planning guidance for moving forward with the political organizing components of OEA’s Strategic Action Plan. Each UniServ Council was given copies of the “Growing Our Power” toolkit for planning activities and structural improvements with an eye toward the fall election season and the 2013 session, as well as OEA-PIE fund raising and creation of political committees at the local level.  Our strategic goal is to support local organizing to build on and strengthen OEA’s current statewide political program, as well as to expand member engagement in local political activities. Through OEA-PIE and LAC, the Public Affairs Team is also continuing the work of creating political action teams in each UniServ Council.  The OEA-PIE passed a resolution to include this as a part of their responsibilities at the local level.  To assist in the creation of these Political Teams, Public Affairs is holding regular conference calls with OEA-PIE Board Members to exchange ideas and provide shared support.  Please be sure and ask your OEA-PIE Board member how YOU can be involved!


Today’s OEA | October 2012

he Oregon Labor Candidate School (OLCS) is an important element of OEA’s strategic goal to reshape politics!  The first class of the school will include 12 participants from unions around the state.  Participants will spend their weekend at a Happy Hour with elected officials and labor leaders from around the state, drafting their “why I’m running” speech and engaging in an extensive Leadership Development training, and much more. OEA congratulates Sena Norton (Wy’East EA) and Erick Flores (David Douglas EA)  on their acceptance into the Oregon Labor Candidate School!  Be on the lookout for their insider’s perspective on the Oregon Labor Candidate School in upcoming issues of Today's OEA and other OEA publications. For questions or more information, please email! 

Engaging OEA Members Online!


hile on-the-ground organizing is always best, OEA recognizes the impact a strong online presence can have on our members — particularly those in remote areas — as well as on the communities we serve. To this end, we’ve begun the important work of redesigning our OEA website to ensure it meets your needs as a union member and educator. At the back of this magazine, you’ll find a survey about what you’d like to see in a new website. Now’s the time to share your thoughts! Our new website is set to launch in January 2013.

Mark Your Calendar for These Upcoming Political Events n Nov. 6, 2012: Election Day, ballots due n Dec. 8, 2012: OEA-PIE Board meeting n Feb. 1, 2013: Oregon Legislative Session

Begins n March 16, 2013: OEA Symposium on

Transformation in Public Education n March 25, 2013: OEA Lobby Day in Salem

Contact the Center for Public Affairs 503.684.3300 ext. 2165

Organizing Coordinator Joins the Ranks at OEA


Getting active around bargaining campaigns will become key.

Moving Toward an Organizing Culture


ver its history, the Center for Advocacy and Affiliate Services has made significant gains on behalf of OEA members across Oregon — bargaining strong contracts in tough times, organizing OEA members to form and strengthen their own local associations, including new units of Community College faculty and staff, and advocating for member’s individual rights in their classrooms and workplaces. This work will continue — but plans are in place to shift the way the work is done, moving from a service model to an organizing model, and empowering our members to take charge of their own profession and union through the process. Through the Strategic Action Plan, the Center for Advocacy & Affiliate Services will look to build on its community action program — working alongside community groups and other labor unions in different areas across the state to engage in solidarity actions that support members, their rights, and the communities in which they live. The Center will also grow its ability to organize members in their own bargaining campaigns, ensuring contract negotiations speak to the issues members face in their own communities. Finally, the Contact Center will be teaming up with the newly Center for formed OEA Union School to develop Advocacy training that supports members in & Affiliate their roles as union activists.


his month, the Center for Advocacy and Affiliate Services welcomed Mike Morrison to its team as OEA’s new Organizing Coordinator. Morrison, who previously worked in political and community organizing for SEIU and other labor unions, will help spearhead community engagement and actions, and work with members and UniServ Councils to grow their collective power.


New Faces in Different Places

t’s been a time of change and transition at OEA. You may have noticed new faces at an OEA office or heard a familiar but unexpected voice on the phone when calling one of our Centers. In addition to welcoming the Helen Lee as the Director of OEA’s new Union School, OEA has also brought on new and transitioned veteran staff to different places in the organization. Daryl Hemenway, formerly working with Washington County locals, is the new Union School Training Coordinator. Ken Volante joins OEA’’s Public Affairs team as their Statewide Political Organizer.   Ken worked most recently in Klamath Falls as a UniServ Consultant. In the Center for Great Public Schools, Rebecca Konefal, a former OEA member-leader and UniServ staff in Cascade, is now working as the Educator Leadership Organizer in OEA’s Center for Great Public Schools.

Being Accountable to you Culture of Accountability The Strategic Action Planning process will create an organizational culture of continuous reflection, renewal and accountability. OEA is committed to setting goals and benchmarks, assessing and evaluating everything we do and making the changes that ensure we are achieving our goals and living our Core values. 503.684.3300 ext. 2174 Today’s OEA | October 2012



Today’s OEA | October 2012

It’s probably safe to say that Melissa Reid has plenty on her plate.

Managing stress and becoming resilient are key to teacher — and student — success By Jon Bell • Illustrations by Eric Hanson

She’s married and has two children under the age of four. Her husband travels frequently for business, so Reid often finds herself a single parent. Every summer, Reid relocates her family to Warrenton out on the Oregon Coast, where she acts as director for the Camp Kiwanilong summer camp. A former Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras, Reid is also a 5th grade teacher in the bilingual program at Canby’s Trost Elementary School, where more than half of her students are enrolled in English as a Second Language programs and nearly 70 percent qualify for free and reduced lunch. Topping it off, she is both secretary for the Canby Education Association and a member of its negotiations team. “You can say it’s a little stressful,” said Reid, who started teaching at Trost in 2001.

Today’s OEA | October 2012


Yet Reid, who comes off as energetic and matter-offact, practically unfazed by a schedule and daily life that might overwhelm others, is really just half-joking when she talks about her classroom life as stressful. Instead, she chooses a different term to truly describe the hectic days of teaching at Trost, where on top of student achievement, behavior and other standard concerns, educators also work with a large population of migrant families and students who may be homeless one week and not have enough to eat the next. “I don’t see this as stressful,” Reid said. “I see it as challenging.” Call it stressful, challenging, hectic, even overwhelming — the teaching profession demands a great deal of its practitioners. And the more that’s asked of them, whether it be giving up school improvement funds for new books or sticking around after hours to offer extra help to a struggling student, the thinner teachers find themselves stretched. “People feel greater pressure than ever before, and yet they have fewer resources to do what they need to do,” said Nora Howley, manager of programs for the National Education Association’s Health Information Network. Pulled too far and in too many directions, some educators end up mired in stress that not only detracts from their performance, but that ultimately — and negatively — impacts the ability of their students to learn and succeed. Yet with the right mix of peer and administrative support, physical and mental well-being, creative problem solving and a few hearty laughs here and there among coworkers, friends and family, teachers can achieve the sweet spot known these days as resiliency; a state where teachers are able to face the challenges of the modern-day classroom, work through them and remain on the path that led them into education in the first place. “The original motivation for most educators is to make a difference and be involved in meaningful ways,” said John Lenssen, an educational consultant with 28

Today’s OEA | October 2012

"for teachers to be resilient, they have to have support, opportunities to participate . . . and time to develop relationships with families and students and colleagues." John Lenssen educational consultant

John Lenssen and Associates who specializes in cultural competency, violence prevention and education. Lenssen, who also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Oregon, Lewis & Clark College and Pacific University, says “for teachers to be resilient, they have to have support, opportunities to participate . . . and time to develop relationships with families and students and colleagues.”

While educators don’t necessarily have an exclusive hold on workplace stress, they often have a much deeper well of causes to contend with. The most common include disruptive students, a lack of resources, large class sizes, a limited (and often shrinking) amount of time for planning and preparation, and a feeling of isolation because there’s so much focus on high-stakes testing and often little time for connecting with colleagues.

In reflecting on collaboration in her own school building, “For the most part, we never really have enough time,” said Erin Beard, an English teacher at North Medford High School. “We all go into our classrooms and close our doors behind us.” Back when Beard started at North Medford seven years ago, the school still had access to school improvement funds for certain supplies or new classes. Budget tightening has since done away with that money, just one sign of reduced resources constraining teachers. Another sign that times are tough: several double-endorsed teachers in Beard’s department have been asked to teach multiple subjects to make up for a shortage. “We are stretched, but we make it work the best we can,” said Beard, whose freshman English classes all average around 35 students. In addition, North Medford and other Oregon schools have stepped up graduation requirements and have begun to implement proficiency grading and new Common Core State Standards in English language arts and math. While teachers like Beard acknowledge the benefits of such initiatives, the transition period can be a stressful one. Throw in a slim amount of prep time and in-service days — North Medford staff got just three days to get ready for the 2011 school year last year — a few disruptive students here and there, and Beard said that there’s enough to stress about. “There are definitely moments of being overwhelmed,” she said. But the list of stress factors goes on. Reid, at Trost, said that because every student brings his or her own home issues to school, every teacher becomes, in essence, a “mini social worker.” For Reid, that sometimes means trying to focus on achievement while also being concerned about whether a student is getting enough to eat. “It’s hard to frame a test as more important than what a child might have to eat over the weekend,” she said. “You can’t solve every kid’s

problems, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t all trying all the time.” Beard and others worry that young teachers today aren’t being prepared well enough for these non-academic aspects of the modern classroom. As a result, they may be easily overwhelmed when they finally do get into the classroom and find that their responsibilities are much greater than they’d expected. A 2011 report from the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future found that more than 1/3 of the nation's new teachers quit within five years, and in urban schools, it's almost 50 percent — due in no small part to the inability to become resilient. Reid, who’s lived in Canby for as long as she’s taught there, also said teachers who aren’t able to live where they teach have the added stress of commuting and not being as connected to the community as those who live nearby. “I think it’s more stressful for people who can’t live in the community,” she said. Language barriers can also create stress for teachers and students as well, as can technological changes. Wendy Simmons, employee wellness coordinator at Lane Community College, said that in addition to instructors facing larger classes and being asked to do more with less, the increase in online learning opportunities has added another layer for teachers and students to learn. Technology such as email has also made teachers much more accessible to students, who may think nothing of emailing their instructor at 10 p.m. — and expecting an immediate response. “We have seen a lot of stress with transitioning to the online environment,” Simmons said. On top of all these issues, teachers also must wade through normal workplace personality issues, labor and association concerns and, of course, their own personal lives and the stress present there. It’s no surprise then, according to Jeffrey Sprague, a professor of special education at the University of Oregon and co-director of the Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior, that at least one study has shown that teacher stress and distress levels are higher than those of the general Credits: Eric Hanson

while 20 percent of the general population will likely experience a bout of major depression at some time in their lives, among teachers the proportion is 30 percent. population. Similarly, while 20 percent of the general population will likely experience a bout of major depression at some time in their lives, among teachers the proportion is 30 percent. “All of those factors can make any of us feel like we’re not in control,” said Sprague. “And if a teacher feels stressed and negative, you’re much more likely to see the negative in the classroom.”

While there hasn’t been much formal research to date on the link between educator stress and resiliency and their impacts on student achievement and success, it makes sense that the two would be directly correlated. A teacher who must constantly react to a disruptive student not only diverts valuable instructional time but also, in his repeated responses, may actually increase his own stress levels in the process. “It’s of course better for kids to be academically engaged as opposed to having teachers who are always doing reactive behavior management,” Sprague said. Educators who are stressed and lack resiliency may often find themselves tired — they’re likely not getting enough sleep — unmotivated and low on energy and enthusiasm. Improper coping mechanisms, such as working too many hours, eating too much or not exercising regularly, can have detrimental physical consequences

and increase teacher absences. It can also lead to “presenteeism,” meaning that they come to work feeling sick and, as a result, aren’t as effective in their teaching. Educators not up to physical par can also have bigger impacts on schools, from increased use of sick days to higher health insurance and substitute teacher costs. “Presenteeism, when teachers are not totally on their game as a result of some of these stress factors, can also be a real cost drain on resources for schools,” said Holly Spruance, Executive Director of OEA Choice Trust, which awards grants to qualified schools for employee wellness programs. Although there is a paucity of formal research linking educator resiliency and student success, that is about to change. In May 2011, Teresa McIntyre, a research professor at the Texas Institute for Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics at the University of Houston, kicked off a threeyear study of middle school teachers and students. The study, which is following 200 teachers and thousands of students, will look at teacher stress and its links to student achievement. “Teacher stress affects various aspects of teacher health and may influence how effective teachers are in the classroom, with potential consequences for their students’ behavior and learning,” McIntyre said in a release at the start of the study. Closer to home, Sprague and his colleagues have been involved in a grantfunded program called “Reducing Teacher Stress and Building a More Effective School Culture,” which is studying the wellbeing of middle school teachers and various training methods that can reduce stress and increase cooperation among staff. “The point of the study,” Sprague said, “is to see if we can make a difference.”

Although there are times

when Beard feels a little overwhelmed, as a role model for her students and as leader of her department, she tends to wear a poker face. But that doesn’t mean she keeps her stresses bottled up inside. Instead, while Today’s OEA | October 2012


she may remain strong and stoic at school, she makes sure to let off a little steam by talking with her family after hours. She also schedules time with a trusted administrator every other week for sessions that are part constructive venting, part problem solving. Sprague said airing concerns in just such a constructive way is one of the many keys to resiliency. “Complaining just for the sake of complaining is not good,” he said, “but it’s OK to make your frustrations public, because we also want people to know that it’s normal.” Reid shifted to half-time at Trost this year, which she said helped her out immensely. And another factor that has helped her stay resilient? “My best friends are teachers,” she said, “people who are right here in the building who I can talk to.” Reid also said Trost's principal Angie Navarro is “amazing” in her support for teachers. “That’s such a huge stress release by itself,” Reid said.


Today’s OEA | October 2012

"I was amazed when I started getting reports back about people losing 10 pounds or 30 pounds. We had been focusing on stress, but we were losing a lot of weight as a result." Wendy Simmons Employee Wellness Coordinator

Having such buy-in from administrators can be a big factor in setting up teachers for resiliency, according to Lenssen. He said principals who are caring, who take the time to get to know their staff and connect with them are doing everyone at the school a favor. Same with those administrators who carve out time for collaboration and preparation. A prime example of that came this year at North Medford, where Beard said administrators added two extra days before the start of the school year and two additional days in October for collaboration with colleagues. Another major approach to managing

stress and promoting resiliency among educators is physical and mental wellness, which can mean anything from a 10-minute walk at lunch to a school-wide weight-loss program. “Physical activity, eating right, getting enough sleep… all of those are such an important part of managing stress,” said Howley of the NEA. OEA Choice Trust grants are designed specifically to seed wellness programs at schools across Oregon. To date, the Trust has given out nearly $1.25 million to 26 Oregon public school employee groups. The grants have been used for everything from converting a classroom into a gym in Port Orford to exercise classes, fitness challenges and workout stations in the Jefferson County School District. At Lane Community College, Simmons used a grant from the Trust for an “Undress the Stress” campaign, which offers regular tips for employees to reduce their stress levels. Combined with the college’s other wellness offerings — on-site workout facilities, exercise classes, fitness challenges and more —  the stress-relieving campaign helped keep staff members on a healthier track and even lead to better eating habits and significant weight loss for some. “I was amazed when I started getting reports back about people losing 10 pounds or 30 pounds,” Simmons said. “We had been focusing on stress, but we were losing a lot of weight as a result.” Inge Aldersebaes, employee wellness program manager at OEA Choice Trust, said the Trust is looking to take school employee wellness to a new level to help educators address wellness, stress and resiliency through a more holistic approach. It is just in the initial stages of mapping out a program development plan, convening a group of experts and laying the early groundwork. “It’s really about how do we not only help the individual cope, but how we can create an entire culture that recognizes and honors this whole theme around resiliency,” she said. “And right now, it is so much the right time to do that.” Combined, support from colleagues,

Keeping your — and bouncing back administration and the community, ample resources and time, and healthy exercise and eating habits can help educators manage stress and become more resilient. It is a tricky balance to achieve, especially in this day and age of tightened budgets, increased responsibilities and the challenges of self-discipline. Resiliency can be achieved, however, at least to a certain degree by most educators. It helps, Reid said, if you can be a master multi-tasker, one who can juggle all the separate pieces of public education at once while still always being able to see the bigger picture. Over her 11-year career, Reid has also found one or two other pearls that have helped make — and keep — teaching something that she loves to do. “Laughter,” she said, “and joy. You’ve got to have joy in the job or the stress is going to overwhelm you one way or the other. Chocolate helps, too.” •

Eight ways teachers can reduce stress and build resiliency

— Many school employee health insurance plans include offerings, such as health coaching, tobacco cessation and weight management programs, that can help you achieve wellness. Check your plan and get started.

take charge — Don’t hesitate to work with counselors and other teachers to find the right class schedule for the right students. When one particular student kept disrupting Erin Beard’s English class at North Medford High School, she took note. After observing that the student didn’t do well in this core class at the very end of the school day, Beard switched him to an earlier class — and calmness ensued.

take it personally — Nobody can be 100 percent resilient and entirely immune from schoolhouse stress. When the days get overwhelming, consider taking a personal day to unplug, recharge and set aside some time for yourself.

talk about it — It can be

just say no — Sure, being involved

change your approach

find your fans — “Make sure you spend time with people who support you, whether it’s family, teachers, students or a mentor” said educational consultant John Lenssen. “You have to prioritize time with people who lift you up and support you. And if you are in a challenging school with a lot of stress and they are not organized to support that, you have to do it yourself. That’s where OEA can be helpful. If it’s not coming from school, it can come from the union and its members.”

frustrating to work with colleagues who may not be as committed to the work as you are. Talk to them about it. “Teachers need to be clear about their values with their colleagues,” said Jeffrey Sprague, professor of special education at the University of Oregon. “You may even reconnect them with the original reason they got into teaching to begin with.”

— Rather than just saying you’re angry with a misbehaving student, think about what you need to do to help change that student’s behavior. Is it getting the family involved? Bringing in administration? “Fuse those ideas together and then take action,” Sprague said.

get well

— Physical and mental wellbeing are key to stress management and resiliency. Make time for exercise, eat right and get enough rest. If teaming up helps, consider starting a schoolwide wellness program or fitness challenge. OEA Choice Trust provides grants for just such programs. www.oeachoice. com. Credits: Eric Hanson

benefit from your benefits

in your school and sitting on committees shows that you’re playing an active role. But don’t spread yourself too thin. “Say no to another committee or a student that wants to email you late at night,” said Wendy Simmons, employee wellness coordinator at Lane Community College. “You have to have some of your own time.”

dig in — The following web sites offer

more information on teacher stress, resiliency and wellness: n — OEA Choice Trust. n — A research program on teacher wellbeing. n — NEA’s Health Information Network. Navigate to Mental Health and Wellness for tips on managing stress. n — The Resiliency Wheel. Today’s OEA | October 2012



How I Screwed Up My First Year of Teaching — And What You Can Learn From my mistakes By Katrina Ayres / OEA Member

Editor’s Note: In this excerpt from her book "All the Ways I Screwed Up My First Year of Teaching and How You Can Avoid Doing It, Too" (avaliable in print and e-book formats), veteran teacher Katrina Ayres showcases her disastrous first year of teaching in rural Hawaii. She eventually learned to deal with the realities of teaching, such as The Monster Copier, Matthew the Plane-Hurler and The Student Who Finishes Everything Early. Through books, audio programs, and live trainings, Ayres now shares what she learned with teachers all over the United States. Contact her at PositiveTeachingStrategies@ or visit her website at

Mistake #1 – I Spent More Time Decorating Than I Did Planning

Before I even bought my one-way tickets to Hawaii, I had packed boxes of classroom supplies and mailed them ahead to the school so they would arrive before I did. When I stumbled into the school office the day after I arrived onisland, jet-lagged and culture-shocked, a pile of dented, bedraggled boxes awaited me in the office. The secretary smiles one of those “if it wasn’t my job to be nice to you, I’d probably kill you” smiles and lets me know my classroom is filled with “quite a few” more boxes. Out of the 50 boxes I sent over, about 30 contain clothes, kitchen supplies, bedding, and other household goods. I stuffed the rest with bulletin board borders, books, posters, maps, photographs, stick-on lettering systems, a Venn diagram board I had designed, calendars, pocket charts, and all the other teacher stuff I felt I just had to have to be a good teacher. There were a few books of worksheets 32

Today’s OEA | October 2012

to photocopy, textbooks from teacher college with all their great ideas, and my final work sample project – a unit on insects. (What was the purpose of doing the work sample project with all its lesson plans and materials lists, if I wasn’t going to use it in the classroom my first year?) Mostly, though, it was stuff for setting up my room. The teacher supply store in Oregon loved me! (For those who don’t know, a teacher supply store is an irresistible combination of office supply store, book store, and gift shop for teachers. It stocks every conceivable cutesy prize, poster, game, book, or manual a teacher could ever want. Don’t go there! It’s dangerous, and highly addictive). The very next day, I started getting ready for the kids. What “setting up the classroom” meant to me was making my classroom – my classroom! - look perfect. Counters were scrubbed. Bulletin boards were put up. There wasn’t a wall space that wasn’t covered with a poster or banner declaring that this was a learning zone, and that there was no “I” in team, and that you only lose when you give up. And of course, there was the obligatory alphabet chart over the chalk board. Here is a secret, boys and girls. None of that was necessary. None of it! Sure, cute little pillows for the reading area are nice, and it’s fun to have some color

in the room, but beyond some place for the students to sit and a place for their supplies, none of it is important for learning. In my later years of teaching, I would have empty bulletin boards (covered with paper, of course), which I would later fill with student work. The most important thing to do in the weeks before school is plan what you will teach. And whatever you do, don’t “plan” the way I did. I filled the first two weeks of squares in my new teacher plan book (another $12.95 dropped at the teacher supply store) with getting-to-know-you activities and games. I figured the rest of it would fall into place after that. (After all, I had my insect unit, remember?) If I could travel back in time and have a little talk with my new-teacher self, I would first give her a big hug and a year’s supply of margarita mix, and then I would tell her these things: 1. Forget about the decorating. Get the student textbook (Gasp! The textbook! How old fashioned!) for the subjects you are going to teach. Flip to the table of contents and look at the topics and the order they come in. Make a list. 2. Make an appointment with your teaching partner. Show her the list or textbook, and ask her which of these

Perspectives “You don’t have to be perfect or know everything, nor does your room have to be a work of art. Spend your best effort on learning the most effective ways to teach your content, and later it WILL all fall into place for you.” topics she teaches and which she leaves out. Ask her what month she usually teaches each topic. Write this down! She may even have a schedule. If she does, by all means, steal it! 3. Get that new teacher plan book out. Fill in all the dates. Mark out the holidays and vacations. Then put a sticky note with a list of the topics for each month on the page for that month to remind you what you will be covering. 4. Outline the first month’s lessons. You don’t have to have every handout and activity done, but know the main projects the students will be working on. Include room procedure lessons and team building activities, but intersperse them with subject area content. 5. Plan the heck out of the first two weeks, including handouts, activities, and worksheets. (Get these from your teaching partner, if you can). If you need to adapt, adjust, or re-teach, you can always do that later. Having too much planned is a huge advantage. Above all, I would tell her to take it easy on herself. You don’t have to be perfect or know everything, nor does your room have to be a work of art. Spend your best effort on learning the most effective ways to teach your content, and later it WILL all fall into place for you. (And don’t forget to use that margarita mix from time to time).

Mistake # 2 – In Which I refuse to Listen to Ms. Iaea

The door to my neighboring classroom

is open! I’ve been waiting two weeks for this moment, wondering what the other 3rd grade teacher will be like. I peek in the door. A vaguely mildewy scent permeates the air. Desks, tables, and piles of books crowd every available horizontal surface. Gravity-defying posters, calendars, and memos hang five to seven layers deep on the walls. I don’t see the teacher anywhere, so I turn to go. “Aloha!” I turn back and see movement in the far corner of the room. A short solid woman with straight black hair, a round Hawaiian face, and dark crinkly eyes greets me. I pick my way across the room to meet her, bumping into several desks and tables as I go. Miss Iaea (her name strangely lacking in consonants) introduces herself and gives me an inventory list. Apparently I am expected to count and log every single book, globe, map, and piece of furniture in my room. My stomach drops. She “helps” me more by showing me her yellowing, brittle teacher books and offering to let me borrow her beginning-of-the-year worksheet masters which were “run off” on a mimeograph machine back in the 1960s. (For those of you too young to know, “mimeographing” was the way teachers made copies a million years ago before the invention of the copy machine. The bluish-purple ink had a distinctive smell that faded over time. As a student, I loved it when my teacher waited until the last minute to mimeograph because the worksheet would be warm, fresh, and strong. I would press the paper up to my face and inhale deeply. Oh yeah!) I escape Miss Iaea’s room as soon as I politely can, back to my perfect bulletin boards and Teacher Supply Store Heaven.

On the phone that evening, my college friends and I laugh at her outdated methods and scorn her authoritarian style. I sure wish I could go back and change all that, because I could have saved myself a ton of time and effort if I had listened to her. Miss Iaea may have been old-fashioned, but she had 30 years of teaching experience. As I now know, if you can last 30 years in the classroom, you probably have at least a few survival skills under your belt (or in the case of Miss Iaea, under your muumuu.) She knew (and told me) that students don’t really need to go to the bathroom whenever they want. She had a gigantic store of age-appropriate educational activities I could have adapted from their dusty mimeographed format instead of making everything up. She knew the rhythm of the school year and where her curriculum fit in with the rest of the school. Most importantly, she knew the community. She knew where the kids lived; in fact, she had taught some of their parents. She knew which families would be supportive and which would not, and she knew the best way to approach each family. Miss Iaea was a treasure trove of information, and I sure wish I had listened to her. If I could give my New Teacher Self some advice, here’s what I would tell her: "New Teacher Self, take the brittle books and mimeographed materials Miss Iaea is so generously offering you. Make enough copies of them for both of your classes (thus ridding the world of the mimeographs and expanding your own resources.) Implement her activities in your own fun updated style, take notes on how to improve each lesson, and make the necessary changes the following year. If you decide not to use some of her materials or teach some of her units, don’t tell her. If you find something works really well, be sure to let her know. Master teachers are a valuable resource, and they are also human. Be humble, be nice, and above all listen! You’ll be glad you did." •

Today’s OEA | October 2012


Kade Morrison, second grader, raises his hand in the soundproof area of the new library at Vernonia school.


Today’s OEA | October 2012

Rising Up

Five years after severe floods ravaged a community, Vernonia opens its doors to a new school and a new start By Matt Werbach Photography by Thomas Patterson

During the first weeks of the year, teacher Juliet Safier helps welcome students to their new school building.


he first day it really rains, it’s going to be quite distracting,” said Juliet Safier, pointing out over a covered outdoor play area of shrieking kids to the rolling green land beyond. Given the colossal flood that ravaged Safier’s small town of Vernonia in 2007, heavy rain would seem an obvious disturbance. But, this Vernonia High School English teacher isn’t talking about the haunting memories of water rising over empty desks. She is not talking about the muddy, wet students crammed into modular buildings instead of classrooms. She is not talking about the past at all. She and this tiny-but-resilient town are focused on the future. “Our roof is slanted, so it’s all going to come off to a waterfall,” she adds with a smile. “We have bioswales all over the campus where runoff water will go.” In the winter of 2007, water was the enemy when torrential floods claimed hundreds of homes in the community — as well as Vernonia’s schools. Less than five years later, the district’s new K through 12 school, which was built to LEED-Platinum


Today’s OEA | October 2012

standards, harnesses the power of water. “Under that patch of grass is a gigantic water tank,” Safier said. “We have water underneath all the floors that heats and cools.” It is a story of tragedy turned success that could easily not have been. In this community of just over 2,000 people, where a tough economy was already steering residents elsewhere, building a new school meant raising taxes and asking more of citizens who had already lost so much. Yet, the alternative—losing the schools for good—was too harsh a notion for many in the community. “In Vernonia, our schools are—it sounds so corny—but our schools are the heart of our community,” said Teri Willard, who teaches Spanish and leadership. Without a school, the town would be missing a vital connector. Students could have been bussed elsewhere, perhaps to Banks or Scappoose, but that would have meant the end of Vernonia as a self-contained town. “I think (our school) is the thing that keeps it all together,” Byron Brown said. He teaches government, forestry and

several other subjects and coaches the track and cross country teams. “(In 2009), they passed the school bond in a horrible economy,” Brown remembered. “They still went out there and taxed themselves more.” Passing the bond was just one in a slew of moves that showed the compassionate heart beating beneath this former logging community’s gritty, tough facade. It is the privacy, independence and self-reliance of small-town life that draws people to Vernonia. But when the floods hit the town in 2007, the community rallied together. “This town definitely has strong wills. They are very family oriented and community cognizant. (And) this isn’t the first tragedy,” Safier said, referring to a flood that hit the community hard a decade earlier in 1996. “They knew something had to be done.” “These 2,000 people are it for 25 miles in any direction, so we really depend on each other,” Willard added. “That’s a challenge for us, being so isolated.” Passing the bond meant maintaining the tight-knit community connection that had come to be a way of life in Vernonia, but it meant

much more than that. It meant hope — and a goal. “Within the seeds of disaster was a real opportunity for us,” Brown said, looking around the cavernous space connecting the school’s new red and green wings, outside the main office of the new building. “We’re going to take advantage of it.” Brown’s optimism is ubiquitous among the dedicated staff of this K-12 school. Though the job market for teachers in Oregon over the past few years was not exactly enticing, staying in Vernonia meant tackling hardships that other teachers in the state didn’t have to face. Modular buildings (mods) and ad hoc spaces served as classrooms with little-to-no physical connection between classes. It was school without a schoolhouse.


ynn Shaw was in the middle of her 22nd year with Vernonia Schools as an elementary teacher when the waters claimed Washington Grade School. Now in her 27th year, she is not surprised by the actions and support of her neighbors and fellow teachers. “I know Vernonia. We are secluded enough that nobody is here to help us for a while,” the fifth grade teacher said. She feels that “Vernonians” are particularly well suited to persevering. She also knows that without outside aid, the town might not have been able to overcome the situation. “The support was awesome, too. I’m not saying we did it all by ourselves. Volunteers came from everywhere,” Shaw added. “The OEA Foundation was really helpful to us in replacing a lot of the kids’ personal possessions that were in the school.” “I think it probably taught our kids something in the long run — to live with adversity and carry on,” said Shaw. And carry on they did. The graduating class of 2012 never knew a real high school. Students spent their years in temporary buildings without lockers or access to clean water in school drinking fountains. Many homes in the town were razed as recently as the summer of 2012. Teachers faced wet, cold, crowded teaching conditions, only to go home to flooded-out houses at the end of the day. Following

Credits: Thomas Patterson

the flood, many educators lost everything that wasn’t taped or tacked high up on the classroom walls. And yet, they did not let their heads drop. The students and faculty looked forward. Given what they were facing, it was a heroic reaction, but they won’t say that. To the people of Vernonia, it was what needed to be done. It was one more assignment to be completed. There was a lot to learn along the way. “The year after the flood we actually lost no teachers and no staff,” Safier said. “Everyone stayed. It’s one of the things that made us really special.” The only educators to have departed the district since the flood were let go due to budget cuts. The town and school dropped in population due to both the flood and a floundering economy (falling from 700 to about 560 students between 2007 and 2012) but teachers stuck it out under circumstances that far exceeded difficult. “No one is going to give up on the students. The town didn’t give up on itself—the students certainly didn’t,” said Safier. “We hope that with the new campus and the new building and everything that we’re doing, that will come back up.” “Who am I to change jobs when these kids can’t?” Willard asked, echoing much

the same sentiment felt among other faculty and staff. Each educator had their own reason for staying, though many of them would have you believe they never considered departing. The teachers, staff, administrators, parents and community members of Vernonia took a disaster and found a way to turn it into a lesson. They did not aim to get back what they lost. Instead, they pushed further ahead, learning from the flood, teaching their students about the value and experience gained when difficult odds are overcome with hard work and commitment. “Vernonia kids are great. They are resilient. People that come and visit—new staff, new coaches—see something different about them, and I think it is that they know what it is to be without something,” Willard said. “It’s that long suffering. It’s that patience and perseverance. It just makes you appreciate things.” Willard had one student who interned with the new school’s construction company because of her passion for architecture. “I always told my students, ‘This is a once in a lifetime experience,’” Willard said. “‘How often will you be able to say you were part of a 40-million-dollar building project?’”

The work isn't over yet: Tyler Dougherty of Trails End Demolition works outside the dilapidated high school.

Today’s OEA | October 2012


Above, what's left of Vernonia's washed out school. The community's new school has been built above the flood zone.

In 2011, Brown debuted the forestry program he designed. Students are now planning the process of removing invasive species from the old school campus while growing new native species to put in their place. The kids, not the circumstances, are deciding the fate of their old school site. “That is a program we started last year. I developed it myself,” Brown explained. He is a former logger with 20 years experience in the woods, before he turned to teaching when the logging market shifted for the worse in the mid-1990s. “I studied forestry programs from around the state and then last year, I tried to get the bugs worked out of it.” He forged partnerships with local timber companies and the Department of Environmental Quality. The students, under his direction, perform tasks, experiments and measurements that aid these organizations while they learn. “We’re pretty uniquely located for that,” Brown said. “It’s like we’re in the middle of a great outdoor lab here.”


he new school is located where a park once stood. Tall pines envelope the sprawling grounds. The Nehalem River, Rock Creek and Bear


Today’s OEA | October 2012

Creek cannot reach the walls of the building. The land was essentially swapped, and the old campus will soon become a park. Brown and other teachers and administrators have utilized the transition as another teaching opportunity. Students in forestry and science classes are playing a key role in turning the old school site into that community park. “We have to exchange the land,” Safier said. As they work, they are learning to be good stewards of the land while providing a valuable service to the community and the environment. The site could have been razed and simply left as an open space, but that provided little teaching opportunity and would not have been much of a “Thank You” to the citizens who supported the construction of the new school. There is a not-so-subtle irony to the fact that a school torn apart by the brute power of nature now works so hard to protect and embrace the environment around them. Just as the flood meant a chance to teach composure and perseverance, Vernonia’s new school provides an opportunity to educate students on the values of conservation, protection, efficiency and the town’s place in the natural world that cloisters

them. Judy Gingerich has been a teacher in the district for over 20 years, and she notes that a focus on natural, outdoor education and forestry meant a chance for grants and additional financial support. “My understanding is that when we were looking for funding for the building, people said, ‘Why don’t we use what we’ve got here?’” Like the other teachers, Gingerich pushes her second and third graders to explore the campus around them. “There’s a big encouragement to get the kids out. Let them get dirty.” “We are really striving toward teaching about sustainability,” Safier said. “A lot of our professional development focuses on sustainability within our region.” Thanks to the features utilized inside the building, the structure surrounding the teachers and students is as valuable a tool as any book. “We are learning so much just from this building,” Willard said. “The engineering class was just (outside) the other day getting schooled on the biomass boiler, and now they are sharing what they learned with the little kids.” The idea of utilizing the building as a tangible lesson makes sense for this community in particular, partly because of their remote location, and because of their proclivity for

All aboard the "leader-ship" — teacher Teri Willard works with students inside her new leadership classroom.

doing things their own way with their own hands. The school and the campus provide a chance for applied learning. Students at all levels are putting classroom lessons to work outside the front door. “If what they’re learning in the classroom is something they’re actually going to go out and use in the same day or the next day, it’s a whole different thing,” Brown said of his forestry students. “These guys turned out to be a pretty good work crew and a pretty good science crew. Once they figured out what was going on, they were like little pros.”


he town has conquered challenges that would have buried other cities, and yet there are more to come. The opening of the school in September is not the equivalent of crossing the finish line. It is more of a pivot point, providing a chance to get on track and to get things moving in a healthy, proactive direction. “There are still a lot of things coming. We have not arrived yet. We have an 1,800 square foot greenhouse coming in. We have a natural resource center coming,” Willard said, buzzing with anticipation. “We’ve connected with so many partners

Credits: Thomas Patterson

across the state to create some really exciting programs.” Willard is not alone in understanding that the new school is a launching point, not a landing point. The teachers and community of Vernonia still face many uphill battles. The majority of the community supported the new school bond, but it was by no means unanimous. Making the new operation a sterling success would go a long way in reuniting the community behind its school. The flood forced a triage approach to rebuilding and moving on. Now many preexisting problems must be dealt with. “A lot of our kids live in poverty. The flood and the construction has been the focus, and rightly so, but our kids need a lot of help,” Willard said. “A lot of the kids became homeless from the flood. We’ve got a great facility and we’ve got a great place to make good things happen, so I’m anxious to get settled so we can do the important things.” “I think it’s going to be a real turning point for us,” Brown said of the school opening. “I think it has launched the beginning of a whole new era for us.” He was reticent to hope for too much after the shock of the flood. He narrowly escaped his home before rescuers would have to

have been deployed. Brown is far more concerned with the quality of the experience than with the beauty of the building. “Hopefully we will create the kind of school here that will be just as good on the inside as it is on the outside.” If there is any district that should feel confident in its ability to push through the mounting challenges facing rural education in difficult economic times, it is Vernonia. It takes a special community to embrace Mother Nature after the havoc she wreaked — to utilize her timeless lessons and gifts for the betterment of the student experience. It also takes great commitment and pride to handle a devastating financial blow by raising your own taxes. “It will only get better,” Safier said with confidence. “We’ve done the flood. We are at higher ground. We have fixed it. We have moved on. Now the education continues in this fabulous building.” Her attitude and outlook are perfectly in line with the community’s unique ability to see tragedy as opportunity. “It was one of the best life lessons of working together, communication and pulling through,” she added. “We’re the little town that could—the little district that could—and we made it.” • Today’s OEA | October 2012


Sources + Resources The following information is provided as a resource to members of the Oregon Education Association. Their publication within Today’s OEA is not to be construed as a recommendation or endorsement of the products or services by the Oregon Education Association, its Board of Directors or staff. AWARDS, GRANTS, SCholarships

Freedom Foundation: Leavey Awards

WHAT: This award honors outstanding educators at the elementary, junior high school, high school and college level who encourage their students to unleash their entrepreneurial skills. Maximum award: $15,000. n WHO: Open to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are full-time educators at an accredited American school (grades K-12), college or university. n WHEN: Application deadline is: Nov. 1, 2012. n HOW: For more information, go to www. cfm n

NCTM: Professional Development Grants for Grades PreK-5 Teachers

WHAT: These grants support professional development to improve the competence in the teaching of mathematics of one or more PreK-5 classroom teachers. Maximum award: $3,000. n WHEN: Application deadline is Nov. 9, 2012. n HOW: For more information on eligibility and how to apply, go to aspx?id=1312 n

High School Physics Teachers Grants

WHAT: This grant enables high school physics teachers to compete for small grants that will support innovative physics programs or activities that help increase student enrollment or enhance student achievement in physics. Maximum award: $500. n WHO: Open to High School Physics Teachers who are American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) members. n WHEN: Application deadline is Dec. 1, 2012. n HOW: For more information, go to www. n

NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards Program

WHAT: This awards program honors individuals who have expanded educational opportunities for minority students and educators and improved intergroup relations in the public schools. n WHEN: Deadline for submission is Dec. 10, 2012 n HOW: For more information or nomination forms, contact Sabrina Tines at 202-822-7709 / or go to n

Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards

WHAT: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is seeking nominations for inspirational teachers for their outstanding influence on students and to recognize them publicly for their significant role in society. n WHEN: Nomination deadline is Dec. 16, 2012. n HOW: sondheimteacherawards. n

Vernier/NSTA: Technology Awards

WHAT: The Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards promote the innovative use of data-collection technology using a computer, graphing calculator, or other handheld device in the science classroom. n WHO: Current teachers of science in grades K-College are eligible. n WHEN: Application deadline is Nov. 30, 2012. n HOW: For more information on this award and how to apply, go to www. n


Today’s OEA | October 2012

The California Casualty Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant Program WHAT: This program grants to select public high school athletics programs to be used to help subsidize school sports


programs, such as purchasing new equipment or paying for competition travel costs. n WHO: Public high school athletics programs will be considered. n WHEN: Application deadline is no later than Jan. 15, 2013. n HOW: For more information and to apply, please visit www. Opportunities

Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision

WHAT: Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision, a science and technology competition, is accepting entries for 2013. The program encourages excellence and motivates students in STEM disciplines through research of scientific principles and current technologies as the basis for designing inventions that could exist in 20 years. n WHEN: The deadline is Jan. 31, 2013. n HOW: Applications are available online at n

Oregon History Bee and Bowl

WHAT: Students will compete in the regional and state level bees, with the top students qualifying for the National Championships in Washington, DC. n WHO: Open to middle school students n WHEN: Held on Mar. 2, 2013. Registration Deadline: February 28, 2013. n Where: Rainier Jr/Sr High School, 28170 Old Rainier Rd, Rainier, OR n HOW: For more information, contact Oregon’s Coordinator, Greg Bossick at, or go to www. n

2012-2013 Workshop Series

WHAT: The Lewis & Clark College: Center for Community Engagement offers workshops covering a range of topics including wellness, sustainability, social justice, classroom and curriculum issues, and writing. PDUs or CEUs


Sources + Resources for all workshops, as well as purchase of continuing education credit upon completion of selected workshops, are available. Cost is $30. n HOW: Visit https://graduate.lclark. edu/programs/continuing_education/ workshop_series.

Oregon Historical Society Free Field Trips

WHAT: Oregon Historical Society in Portland is offering free tours for ALL school groups throughout Oregon with 10 or more students, and one free chaperone per 6 students. A bus grant is available to schools with over 55% free and reduced lunch student population. n HOW: classroom-group-visits.cfm n


Explore Civil Engineering

WHAT: offers an online village that teaches kids about civil engineering and how civil engineers use math, science and ingenuity to overcome the forces of nature and the laws of physics. n HOW: Go to n

The Oregon Encyclopedia

WHAT: This website is an authoritative and free resource on all things Oregon. There is a section especially for educators with lesson plans, research tools and more. n HOW: n


Afterschool Evaluation 101 By Erin Harris Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project, 2011; Free; Available for download (PDF) at Afterschool Evaluation 101 is a how-to guide for conducting an evaluation, from developing an evaluation strategy, walking through the early planning stages, selecting the evaluation design and data collection methods best suited to the program, and analyzing the data and presenting the results.

1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s By Ellen Notbohm, Temple Grandin Future Horizons Inc., 2010; ISBN-13: 9781935274063 $24.95 (List Price); Available at This book offers over 1800 ideas, try-it-now tips, eye-opening advice, and grassroots strategies, including modifications for older kids, honing in on Asperger’s challenges, and enhancing already-effective ways to help children with autism or Asperger’s succeed at home, in school, and in the community.

World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students By Yong Zhao Corwin, 2012; ISBN-13: 9781452203980 $29.95 (List Price); Available online at The author unlocks secrets to cultivating independent thinkers who can create jobs and contribute positively to the globalized society.

WHAT: This website offers information about teaching reading comprehension to students of all age, with details on Lexile scores, teaching strategies, and more. n HOW: Go to n

Free Learning Tools for Teachers and Students

WHAT: This website, Quizlet, offers free flashcard and study games on many different subjects for students of all ages. n HOW: Go to n

Sexual Harassment and Bullying: A Guide to Keeping Kids Safe and Holding Schools Accountable By Susan Strauss Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2011; ISBN-13: 9781442201620 $34.95 (List Price); Available online at www. This book provides a framework comparing and contrasting sexual harassment and bullying as they relate to the behavior, laws, and impact on children. The author describes the responsibility of the school district and how parents and other adults can navigate the schools’ policies, barriers, and responsibilities.

Today’s OEA | October 2012


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Changes coming to OEA Online It’s no secret that your life as an educator is a busy one. After your classroom has cleared, or at the end of a long day, you need to be able to find up-to-date information pertaining to you, your union and your profession with ease. To this end, OEA is currently revamping our website at to better meet your needs as an educator and union member. We need to hear from you! Do you have 3-4 minutes to tell us about your habits and interests? We’ve put together a quick, 7-question survey on the next page. Your answers will be totally anonymous, and will help us improve our emails, website, and other online communications. Here’s what to do: n Think about your online habits, and how you prefer to receive OEA info n Share your feedback with us in the survey

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 News updates about OEA  News updates about issues affecting education in Oregon  Reminders and suggestions for how to get involved  Notifications about upcoming events  Tips, tools, and resources for educators  Real stories about educators in Oregon  Information about member benefits  Information about bargaining and contract negotiation updates Which, if any, social networks do you use at least once a month?

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Today's OEA - October 2012  

The October 2012 edition of Today's OEA magazine.

Today's OEA - October 2012  

The October 2012 edition of Today's OEA magazine.