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A PUBLICATION FOR MEMBERS OF THE OREGON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION

JUNE 2013 VOLUME 87 : NUMBER 4

TODAY’S

OEA Truly special education

enges — The bigger chall s —  and bigger reward on of special educati in Oregon

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

» NEW APPROACHES TO PROFICIENCY » 2013 LEGISLATIVE SESSION HIGHLIGHTS » SAYING GOODBYE TO GAIL

CONTENTS / 06.13 VOLUME 87 . ISSUE NO. 4

Features

Departments President’s Column

05 / saying goodbye By Gail Rasmussen, OEA President

Upcoming

06 / Events for OEA Members

14 On the Cover

14 / Truly special education

The bigger challenges — and bigger rewards —  of special education in Oregon By Jon Bell

Author Review

22 / Lessons from the Heartland: Public Education in Peril By Mary Meredith Drew

In-Depth

24 / Beyond the grade

Educators are leading the way in transforming student learning By Matt Werbach

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Newsflash

07 / students rally for higher education 09 / ride for schools » Politics & You

10 / OEA Fights for Retirement Security 11 / Labor Candidates Take Center Stage Licensure

12 / BYE-BYE PAPER LICENSES Eye on Equity

13 / schools tighten anti-bullying policies OEA Choice Trust

21 / summary Annual report Association in Action

30 / OEA-RA 2013 Highlights Sources + Resources

32 / Books and Opportunities On the Web

34 / Take a Break, but Don’t Lose Touch!

ON THE COVER: Michelle Riley, a special education teacher in the Beaverton School District. PhotO by THOMAS Patterson

Credits: Thomas Patterson; iStockphoto.com

TODAY’S OEA | JUNE 2013

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE / 06.13 Gail Rasmussen OEA President

Gail Rasmussen leads her member delegates through her final Representative Assembly as OEA President, April 19-20, 2013.

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have been deeply honored and very proud to stand as President of this union for the past four years. When I look back at all of the incredible work done by members, leaders, and staff, and the commitment to working to better our public schools and our OEA, I feel such a sense of pride. It has been a busy year! In April, we had a successful Representative Assembly where our delegates validated the work that the Board and other members have been engaged in around the Strategic Action Plan. The RA approved funding for the Strategic Action Plan, which means thoughtful and deliberate planning to build our strength as a union can continue to take place. As we look toward the beginning of another school year next fall, we should be mindful of the challenges we face and continue to remain vigilant as we advocate for members and our union. We can look back with pride at all that has been accomplished, because despite the challenges, we do have cause to celebrate. Completing my term as OEA President has been a rewarding

experience. I am appreciative of the support you have shown, and recognize how privileged I am to work with incredible leaders and members around the state in our quest to raise OEA to a place of greatness. This has definitely been a journey. Those of you who are retiring after long and illustrious careers — thank you for your passion for and service to public education and the students we serve. You can be proud of the work you have done. I hope you will pursue activities that will not require regulation by a clock or reporting to others! And to those of you who will continue on the front lines doing the important work of lifting up our students and colleagues to higher levels of achievement, I offer my sincerest gratitude and appreciation as well. Though I won’t be here to share the next adventures in your journey, please know you will not be far from my thoughts. I only ask that you take care of yourselves so you are ready for whatever may be coming your way. Thank you, again, for allowing me to serve in this role, and happy trails to you, until we meet again… n

I RECOGNIZE HOW PRIVILEGED I AM TO WORK WITH INCREDIBLE LEADERS AND MEMBERS AROUND THE STATE IN OUR QUEST TO RAISE OEA TO A PLACE OF GREATNESS. Credit: Adam Bacher

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UPCOMING / O6.13 Jul. 30-Aug. 1, 2013

OEA’s Summer Conference: Leading the Way n What: Hosted by the OEA Union School, our Summer Leadership Conference (formerly

Summer Academy) will be held at the Riverhouse Hotel and Convention Center in Bend, Ore. You’re invited to attend in a team from your local association! Contact your local UniServ office for more information. n how: For more information and to register, go to www.oregoned.org/summerconferece Aug. 9-11, 2013

2013 Oregon AFL-CIO Summer School

During this summer school, participants will share insights and ideas through educational core courses, workshops and small group discussions, as well as connect with union members from around the state. n WHo: Offered by Labor Education and Research Center, University of Oregon n WHERE: UO Global Scholars Hall, Eugene, Ore. nhow: Go to http://lerc.uoregon.edu/pdfs/afl-cio2013brochure.pdf n What:

Aug. 26, 2013

Welcoming Schools Training n What: Welcoming Schools training offers a comprehensive approach to embracing family

diversity, avoiding gender role stereotyping and ending bullying. n WHo: Designed for pre-school and elementary-level educators, school staff and childserving agencies. n WHERE: Portland State University Graduate School of Education, Portland, Ore. n how: For more information and to register, go to www.welcomingschools.org/Oregon, or email Tracy Flynn at tracy@tracyflynnconsulting.com. Oct. 11-12, 2013

Teaching with Purpose Conference n What: During this conference, participants will discuss, share and celebrate culturally

effective methods for teaching all students, and provide information, tools and materials. The conference also addresses legislation relating to culturally responsive education in Oregon and around the country. n WHo: Open to educators, community stakeholders, parents and students. n WHERE: Roosevelt High School, Portland, Ore. n how: For more information and to register, go to: teachingwithpurposeconference.com.

TODAY’S

OEA

OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE OREGON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION JUNE 2013 VOLUME 87 : ISSUE NO. 4 OFFICE HEADQUARTERS 6900 SW Atlanta Street Portland, OR 97223 Phone: 503.684.3300 FAX: 503.684.8063 www.oregoned.org PUBLISHERS Gail Rasmussen, President Richard Sanders, Executive Director EDITOR Meg Krugel PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Janine Leggett CONTRIBUTORS Janine Leggett, Becca Uherbelau, Colleen Mileham, Teresa Ferrer, Julia Sanders, Thomas Patterson To submit a story idea for publication in Today’s OEA magazine, email editor Meg Krugel at meg.krugel@oregoned.org 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

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Newsflash >> EDUCATION SPENDING

How Much Influence Does the Buck Have Over the Bang?

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n 2011, for the first time in decades, the amount the U.S. spent per student began to drop. In a recent release on education spending, the U.S. Census Bureau broke down the spending state by state. New York, which spent more than $19,000 per student, paid more than any other state. Utah on the other hand spent only $6,212 and paid the least. Generally, the states that put more money into schools received better test scores, had higher high school graduation rates, and students were more likely to complete college. Most of the top-spending states rank in the top 15 on math and reading tests as well.  The states that spent the most tended to have a higher median income. High spending does not always lead to high achievement, however. New York’s performance on state testing, for example, was mediocre. Oregon spends $9,558 per student, falling below the national average of $10,259.

Higher Ed students gather at the Oregon State Capitol to advocate for college affordability, April 25.

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Oregon Students Rally for Higher Education

ver 600 Oregon students took a stance on the rising costs of higher education on April 25 by participating in a rally organized by the Oregon Student Association, a group that advocates for the interests of college and university students.  “The purpose of the day is to send a message to the legislators that they need to open the door to Oregon’s future by funding financial aid and our college budgets now,” OSA Executive Director Emily McLain said. House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland

spoke at the rally, emphasizing the difficult choices in front of the legislature. “We have to fund essential services and all of them are important and those are the sorts of challenges we have here, but among all these difficult choices and concerns and needs, the one thing we’re doing this session is prioritizing education.” As they took their voices to the steps of the capitol, Oregon’s post-secondary students’ message was loud and clear. As one sign in the crowd aptly put it: “Education is not a debt sentence.”

>> KUDOS

It Pays to be Teacher of the Year in More Ways Than One

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ifth-grade teacher and OEA member Barbara Nasewytewa of Brookwood Elementary School was named "K-8 Teacher of the Year" by OnPoint Community Credit Union. “Barb creates a respectful and productive environment where students feel safe

Credit: Gwen Cluskey

and valued,” said Principal Ken McCoy. The impressive title carries financial perks with it as well. Brookwood Elementary will receive $1,000 and Nasewytewa will be gifted one year of mortgage payments. Teachers can be nominated for the award by anyone.

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Newsflash DID YOU KNOW? » Today’s OEA’s best story ideas come from you, our readers! Is your school working on a cutting edge concept, or do you know an educator who should be featured? Email your suggestions for articles to webadmin@oregoned.org.

Out With OAKS, In With “Smarter Balanced”

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Oregon’s Full-Service Public Preschools Come at a High Cost

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ccording to a recent report released by the National Institute for Early Education Research, Oregon is running the secondmost-expensive public preschools in the U.S. While the program may be costly, (more than $8,500 per child for a half-day), Oregon is also the only state that models all of its public preschools after Head Start. The services provided by Head Start often include home visits by the teacher, parenting classes, and a free lunch provided by the school. While the Head Start

model is a well-rounded approach to early childhood education, it is currently only serving about 10 percent of Oregon’s three and four-year-olds. Oregon’s new early learning director, Jada Rupley, suggests that adding less-expensive preschools to the system would allow more students to be reached who may not require all of the services that Head Start provides. “The governor is so committed to overhauling the early learning system so we can reach more kids and get better results,” Rupley said.

he State Board of Education has approved replacing the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) with a new test that is more closely aligned with Common Core Standards called “Smarter Balanced.” Over the past few months 12 districts were allowed to take Smarter Balanced for a test drive. The consensus from both teachers and students is that the test is more challenging and that the change in format can be distracting to students. Gaston Language Arts teacher Maddy Anderson describes a reader response portion of the test that requires students to navigate through menus. “[Students] were given 26 sentences and they had to choose the seven or eight sentences that best summarized the article. Granted those seven or eight didn’t necessarily need to go in any specific order, but the sheer quantity of choices, I think can be overwhelming to students.” In two years students will take the first Smarter Balanced tests that count.

> QUOTABLE

Fourth Graders Experience Pioneer Days at the Tualatin Heritage Center

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he life of a typical modern student is full of electronics, convenience, and comfort, which is why fourth graders from Bridgeport, Tualatin and Edward Byrom elementary schools left their usual school settings for a taste of life as a pioneer. Pioneer Days is organized by the Tualatin Heritage Center. Through activities such as weaving and making butter, students learn about life in early Oregon. “Coming here is a way for children to experience what pioneer lives would have been like,” said Bridgeport teacher and OEA member Alana Ollerenshaw. The students participated in Pioneer Days as part of their unit of the Oregon Trail.

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"Teaching is like trying to hold 35 corks underwater at once."

– mark Twain

Credit: Thomas Patterson

Newsflash WILL YOU BE THERE? » Take advantage of OEA's Summer Conference, July 30 - Aug. 1, 2013! This event is a benefit of membership, and provides in-depth training on both professional and union advocacy issues. You won't want to miss it! www.oregoned.org/summerconference

Film Recommendation: A Touch of Greatness

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etween 1956 and 1966, when most students in the U.S. were reading books about Dick and Jane, Albert Cullum’s elementaryaged students were performing Shakespeare. A Touch of Greatness is a documentary film released in 2004 that follows the inspirational career of Albert Cullum. Cullum’s philosophy was that teaching is a performance art and that great teachers speak directly to children’s hearts by building their selfesteem, creativity, and motivation in the classroom. The film is a mix of footage of Cullum teaching through the use of purposeful play and the arts to interviews with his former students and Cullum himself. Thoughout the film, Cullum teaches by harnessing his students’ enthusiasm for emotion and experience. In one scene Cullum explains his belief that “children who get early exposure to great art, great music, great literature, don’t run away from it ever in their lifetime. It’s what you feed on as a child that stays with you forever.“ The teaching moments in this film are a perfect example of what can happen when a teacher makes his or her own decisions about how a classroom is run. Stay inspired over the summer and check out this inspirational and uplifiting film, A Touch of Greatness.

Credit: iStockphoto.com

RIDE FOR SCHOOLS

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hen Beaverton parent Steve Lechleiter heard about the recent $37 million in cuts to Oregon’s Schools, it put him over the edge. “The condition the schools are in bothers me a lot,” he said. As an avid cyclist and an active community member, Lechleiter saw an opportunity to make a difference, which led him to start Ride for Schools, an organized fundraising bike ride that raises money for local schools. “We have a struggling school system and a thriving cycling community. It just made sense,” said Lechleiter. Ride for Schools is organizing two rides, 25 and 40 miles in length, on June 29. Both of the rides will be in Washington County, and the proceeds from this year's rides will go to the Beaverton, Tualatin-Tigard, Hillsboro, Forest Grove and Sherwood school districts. Lechleiter hopes to include more districts next year. Riders in the event can choose which district they want to donate to and they must have $35 in pledges to participate. For more information on the event, visit rideforschools.com.

Is 97229 Oregon’s “Smartest” Zip Code?

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very year the National Merit Corporation awards $2,500 scholarships to high school seniors who perform well on the PSAT and SAT exams, receive top grades in challenging classes, are involved in their communities, and write a compelling essay. This year 27 of Oregon’s best and brightest students were awarded the distinguished scholarship. Surprisingly, more than one-third of the scholars were from the same zip code, 97229. The area, which is north of Highway 26 in the Cedar Mill and

Bethany neighborhoods in Beaverton, is largely made up of subdivisions and is a zone that nearly 2,800 Intel employees call home. The median income of the area is $119,000, a stark difference from the state average of $61,000. Mike Chamberlain, principal of Westview High School, said “we have a lot of Intel parents, a lot of engineers and parents with a lot of math and science background, and they model the hard work and the value of education for their kids.” Most of the winners in the zone are children of immigrants or immigrants themselves, mainly from China.

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Politics & You

OEA Fights for Retirement Security for Everyone

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oday, nearly half of Oregonians aged 25-64 are not covered by a retirement plan at work. As a result, many are at risk of living in poverty when they retire — unable to cover basic living and medical expenses. Unless we address this problem proactively, we face insecurity for our growing senior population and a looming crisis for Oregon’s social safety net and the state budget. In addition to working to protect the hard-earned retirement of Oregon educators, OEA has joined a coalition to help ensure all Oregonians have options for retirement.  With almost half of Oregon’s current workforce having no access to employment-based retirement plans, the coalition has been urging legislators to explore solutions for the retirement crisis. Joined by Governor Kitzhaber, OEA and other partners are urging lawmakers to approve House Bill 3436. The bill would establish a Board to study the issue of retirement security, develop responsible solutions and prepare

School Funding Approved

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a retirement option for Oregonians that does not incur any liability to the state or employers. The bill remains in committee.

While women constitute just over 57 percent of all Oregon retirees, they make up nearly 83 percent of retirees in the bottom income group.

s of press time, the 2013 Legislature is in its final stretch. Lawmakers are expected to approve the State School Funding bill. The bill — Senate Bill 5519 — currently appropriates approximately $6.5 billion for Oregon’s K-12 schools. Additionally, legislators approved reductions in benefits to current and future PERS recipients, which is expected to provide an additional $200 million to school districts. While there has been universal agreement on the school budget, there are last minute attempts to hold up approval of the budget by legislators who want more reductions to PERS.   For most school districts, next year will bring some stability — meaning that for many it’s likely to stave off new cuts, but it won’t allow school districts to add back what they’ve lost. And for some school districts, a $6.55 billion budget will still mean layoffs and lost programs. Please take minute to call your legislator TODAY at 1-800-332-2313 and tell them to approve the schools budget NOW! To keep updated on the school budget, visit our website at: www.oregoned.org

PERS Board Adjusts Rates by 2.5 percent

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ecently, the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) Board directed their actuaries to reduce the 2013-2015 employer rates by 2.5 percent of payroll for all employers. Additionally, further reductions were made to all employers' base rates by up to an additional 1.9 percent of payroll, with the limitation that no employer's adjusted 2013-2015 base rates will be less than its 20112013 base rates. In other words, all employer contribution rates will go down 4.4

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percent unless it would reduce their rates to a level lower than 20112013. This is expected to free up approximately $200 million for K-12 schools.  The rate adjustments were made in response to Senate Bill 822 approved by the Oregon Legislature. The bill reduced the Cost of Living Adjustment for all future and current Oregon PERS retirees. PERS anticipates being able to provide individual employers with their new rates in the second week of June.

Politics & You Last Minute Push for Community College Funding

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s the legislature wraps up its work, OEA and advocates launched a push to increase the budget for Oregon’s 17 community colleges. The number being contemplated by the Joint Ways & Means Committee falls considerably short and will result in increased tuition for students, cuts to programs and more layoffs. Investment in Oregon’s community colleges has not kept pace with student demand. Enrollment at Oregon’s community colleges has skyrocketed in the midst of the state’s economic recession — jumping over 30 percent while state funding has dropped over 20 percent. Earlier this spring, state economists predicted the state will have more revenue to invest in education and other vital services, providing an opportunity to increase investment in community colleges. OEA has asked legislators to redirect the Corporate Kicker to the Community College Support Fund. The goal would be to invest $510 million in Oregon’s Community Colleges so we can maintain valuable programs for students, minimize tuition increases and ensure that Oregonians have the skills, training and education needed to positively contribute to our local economies and communities.

Credits: Left: iStockphoto.com; Right: Thomas Patterson

Labor Candidates Take Center Stage in May Primary

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n 2012, Oregon unions welcomed the first class of union members to the Oregon Labor Candidate School, which supports union members interested in running for elected office. One graduate of the first class was elected to office in 2012.  Five more ran for office this election. This Oregon Labor Candidate School offers participants a wealth of experience to prepare them for the ballot — from leadership within their own unions to volunteer roles in a variety of nonprofit organizations. The School’s current cohort began classes in April and will graduate in early fall. Classes focus on skills and information that will help candidates when they run for public office. Classes are led by experts from around the state and include topics such as messaging, public speaking, community organizing, campaign strategy, campaign staffing, and much more.  As more union members complete this course, the School expects to see a growing number of union members running for local offices and applying to serve on nonelected leadership positions within their communities, bringing with them a strong commitment to advocate for their neighbors and find ways to strengthen Oregon’s economy and grow our Eric Flores middle class.

Congratulations to the following union candidates who won their races in the May 18 election: n Eric Flores, OEA, Parkrose School District, Position 5 (OLCS participant) n Paul Kyllo, OEA-Retired, Salem Keizer School Board n Sam Aley, OEA, Coos Bay School Board n Austin Folnagy, SEIU 503, Community College Board in Klamath Falls n Francisco Acosta, AFT-Oregon, MSED Position 4 n Nancy MacMorris-Adix, ONA, Salem Keizer School Board

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Licensure

BYE-BYE PAPER LICENSES… And your little application, too! BY TERESA FERRER / Consultant, OEA Center for Great Public Schools

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SPC has announced that due to budgetary cutbacks, paper printed licenses will no longer be mailed to licensees. The C-1 application packets will also no longer be mailed to districts and individuals for renewal or upgrade. That means two very important things for those with Oregon licenses: You must download our own C-1 application form (and instructions) from the TSPC website (www.oregon.gov/tspc) and submit them by mail (TSPC: 250 Division St. NE Salem OR 97301) at least 30-60 days before expiration.

contractually employed with a district or ESD then you must complete your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) log and submit it to the district so that they can complete the PEER (Professional Educator Experience Form) needed for your renewal or upgrade. DO THIS BEFORE OR AT THE SAME TIME AS YOUR RENEWAL. Keep your verification documents of completed CPD activities in your files for at least three renewal cycles. n If you hold a Basic, Standard, Initial

calendar tools to alert you when your expiration date is within 90 days.

II or Continuing License and are NOT contractually employed with a district or ESD then you must complete the CPD log and submit it with your application to TSPC. Keep your verification documents of completed CPD activities in your files for at least three renewal cycles.

n If necessary, click on “Renewal and

n If you hold an Initial or Initial I License

TIPS TO FOLLOW n Use the electronic and old-fashioned

Upgrade Instructions”. Click on type of license (Teacher, School Counselor, etc.). Click on the specific license you hold (Basic, Standard, Initial, Initial I, Initial II, Continuing, etc.). Click on “Renewal Instructions”. n If you forgot what type of license you

have, click on “Educator Look-Up”. If you enter your birthdate and last four digits of your social security number you will be able to access all correspondence sent to you by TSPC (which should include a detailed instructions that came with your license that is now expiring). Your license type will be displayed at the top of the page, under your name. A banner at the top of the page will indicate when TSPC has received any materials (from you, the district, a program, etc.) and if an application is in process. n If you hold a Basic, Standard, Initial

II or Continuing License and are 12

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you must complete all requirements stated in our letter that came with those licenses. If you have lost that letter you can download it on the TSPC website by accessing “Educator Look-Up.” Emergency Extensions are NOT automatic and must be sponsored by an employing district. You cannot have a lapse in your licensure because of incomplete requirements. n TSPC does not yet accept electronic

payment for your licensure application. Submit a check or money order payable to “TSPC” or by credit card (no American Express) by calling 503-378-3586. You must watch for an email from TSPC indicating that your license has been issued. (MORE) TIPS TO FOLLOW n If you do not receive an email or

mailing from TSPC within 60 days of your application for renewal or upgrade, call

or visit TSPC right away to inquire. Your fee is valid for 90 days only. The danger is that TSPC may have informed you of something missing and if you do not respond within that timeline you might have to pay all over again. n Do NOT count on the 120 day grace

period. It is not automatic on all licenses and under all circumstances. YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR LICENSE TO BECOME INVALID. Check your license on the TSPC website on your expiration date to see if your license was issued or was placed in a grace period. n Once your license is issued, make two

copies of it: one for your personal file and another to submit to the district if you are contractually employed or on a sub list. You can also forward the email attachment of your license to the district directly. Find out from your building rep on whom to direct this email to in your district. n If you have a Basic, Standard, Initial

II or Continuing License, then begin immediately documenting and logging any professional development activities on a new CPD log. Create a new active CPD file. Remember, most of all, that you need to complete all requirements early instead of later and be on top of your timelines. Develop a new mindset that is not dependent upon the arrival of paper applications and licenses to get yourself in gear. You must also be sure to be very clear about who deals with licensure in your district. Questions about this process? Contact me at any time: teresa.ferrer@oregoned.org if you need licensure assistance.

Eye on Equity

SCHOOLS TIGHTEN ANTI-BULLYING POLICIES One in three Oregon school districts still does not comply with state law SUBMITTED BY OREGON SAFE SCHOOLS & COMMUNITIES COALITION

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ver 70 Oregon school districts changed their anti-bullying policies last year to better protect students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, but nearly one in three school districts still does not comply with state law, a new report has found. With support from a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Public Health Law Research program awarded to the Oregon Public Health Division, the Oregon Safe Schools & Communities Coalition (OSSCC) in partnership with the Oregon Public Health Division, Q Center and OGALLA: The LGBT Bar Association of Oregon collected and examined school district policy information from nearly all of Oregon’s 197 school districts. School districts were evaluated based on how well the district policies complied with the amended Oregon Safe Schools Act. The state law, established in 2009 and amended in 2012, strengthened protections for students who are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay,

bisexual or transgender or are targeted because of their gender identity. The evaluation process gave school districts gold, silver, or bronze stars, based on how well they met the legal requirements and recommendations of the amended Oregon Safe Schools Act. Compared to last year, the number of school districts recognized with a gold or silver star more than doubled: n 67 school districts received gold stars be-

cause they were compliant with the law and expressly referenced gender identity and expression as a protected class. Last year, 43 school districts got a gold star.

n 60 school districts received silver stars

because they were compliant with state law but do not expressly reference gender identity as a protected class as recommended by the revised safe school

BULLYING AFFECTS US, TOO An educator’s perspective BY RAY JOHNSON / OEA-Retired, OSSCC Board Member

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hen students are bullied by their peers, the entire school community is affected and that continues into the greater community. Bullying fractures the community, and both bullies and the bullied require guidance from teachers to learn how they can curb the social aggression. When children are distracted or worried about their safety, it is clear that they are markedly less likely to thrive as students. There still continues to be a strikingly high number of students who report being a victim of bullying in their school, and many of these students drop out of school for this reason. While bullying most directly affects those who are targeted,

model policy. Last year, 12 school districts got a silver star. n 55 school districts

need to update or modify their anti-bullying policies to comply with Oregon law. n 15 school districts

do not have policies or did not respond to requests to provide them and do not provide them online. Other research, referenced in the report, has shown that one in five lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer youth in Oregon have attempted suicide in the last year and that more than half were harassed at school in the last 30 days. For more information, including a list of how your local school district fared in 2013, go to: www.oregonsafeschools.org/ 2013-state-of-safe-schools-report-released.

it is detrimental to educators as well. A teacher’s charge is to ensure that her or his students are growing academically and emotionally. In order to properly attend to situations of social aggression, teachers have less time and energy to help their students grow academically. That has become a serious problem with the staffing cutbacks in schools due to reduced funding over the past few years. Although this Safe Schools Report (highlighted above) shows the improved consciousness of school districts to bullying in their schools and that they have developed processes for handling it, teachers and other school staff have less time to anticipate, ward off and even change bullying situations now than ever before. As we know, teenagers need much guidance as they struggle to reach their potential. The best guidance that adults can provide is to honor their differences and support them in their reach for adulthood.

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Special education teacher Audrey Stepp provides extra support to students in a general ed classroom at Agnes Stewart Middle School.

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Truly special education The bigger challenges — and bigger rewards —  of special education in Oregon BY JON BELL

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PHOTOS BY THOMAS PATTERSON

pecial education came to Kate Gillow-Wiles almost completely by accident. Now a special education teacher at Junction City High School, Gillow-Wiles earned her Bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology. Realizing that she didn’t really want to pursue a Master’s program in the same field, she heeded a friend’s advice to give teaching a try and got certified in life sciences. When she moved to Oregon more than 20 years ago, however, she couldn’t find a fulltime job. Instead, she subbed for a while in a resource room for special education students in the Bethel School District. “And I fell in love with it,” Willow-Giles said. “I came to it in a roundabout way, but once I got exposed to it, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

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It's been five years since Agnes Stewart Middle School transitioned from a model of separate special education classrooms into a more collaborative approach.

Gillow-Wiles is one of more than 3,000 special ed teachers — and thousands more specialists and classified staff — across Oregon who work with the state’s roughly 74,800 special ed students in K-12 schools. Those students, who make up about 13 percent of the total student population, all have Individualized Education Programs (or IEPs), which designate the level of services they receive based on their disabilities and educational goals. The number of all children in Oregon in special education programs, aged 0 through 21, topped 85,400 for the 2012-13 school year. That’s a number that’s been on a slight but consecutive rise over the past 12 years, according to the Oregon Department of Education. Sarah Drinkwater, interim Assistant Superintendent for the state’s Office of Student Learning and Partnerships, said that the increase is based on a number of factors, including an overall increase in student population some years and a new focus on younger children. “There’s nothing that really speaks specifically to that increase, and it is slight,” she said, “but the state and all of

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us are really starting to look at helping the younger kids at a much earlier timeframe.” The state also issues annual special education report cards that show how school districts are doing in terms of meeting special ed goals. The results, across districts and the state, are varied. In the Junction City School District, for example, 52 percent of students with IEPs graduated with a regular diploma in four years in 201011, short of the state’s 67 percent target; in Portland, only 31 percent of special ed students graduated with a regular diploma in four years. But in the Sherwood School District, nearly 77 percent of students with IEPs graduated in four years with a regular diploma. “Some of those rates are lower than we’d like to see,” said Laura Petschauer, general supervision coordinator for ODE. “We want to improve graduation rates and increase the results for special education students because our goal is for all kids to graduate and have those foundational skills that are so important.” The discrepancies between school districts don’t necessarily illustrate

shortcomings, but instead shed a little light not only on the challenges facing special ed, but also on the strides made every day by educators and students around the state. Funding and staffing continue to be the primary obstacles hindering special education programs, which thrive best when more focused, individualized instruction is available. But dedicated staff, who enjoy helping their students progress, make a huge difference. And with the state embarking on an ambitious path of educational reform that looks to raise standards while ensuring that all students, including those in special ed, are educated and prepared for the future, the horizon ahead is a bright one. The following profiles take a look at four different special education programs across the state: their approach, their results and the differences they’re making.

Stephenson Elementary School, Portland

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ack when Paula Fahey first started as a special education teacher in

Teacher Michelle Riley works with her students over lunch at the Community Transition Program at Capital Center High School in Beaverton.

Portland in 1985, she mainly spent her time focusing on pretty straightforward issues: reading, writing and math. “You pretty much ran those all day long,” said Fahey, who currently works in special education as a resource room teacher at Stephenson Elementary School in southwest Portland. “But the kids have really changed.” Nowadays, rather than spending most of her time helping students sharpen up their basics, Fahey also teaches lessons on self-regulation and behavior. There are more students with behavioral issues and medical conditions, anxiety, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. So in addition to reading and writing, Fahey is also teaching some of her students how to appropriately interact with and respond to the world around them. “Every day is different,” she said. “There are lots of new challenges, new curriculum to learn — and no money to buy the stuff you learn about at conferences.” Over her years in the field, Fahey has worked in both self-contained special education classrooms and in learning center

setups like the one at Stephenson. Under that system, students with IEPs are in the general education setting for some classes but then head to the learning center for special education instruction and services. Fahey consults with each student’s teacher to determine what areas are in need of attention and how the goals and objectives of the IEP can be met. This school year, Fahey ended up with close to 30 students with IEPs who came to the learning center. That’s about normal, she said, as is the fact that she’s the only full-time special education teacher in a school of close to 330 kids. There’s also a school psychologist who comes in one day a week, a half-time speech pathologist and an occupational therapist who works with students a couple days each month. On top of interacting with all of her students, teachers, administrators and specialists, Fahey also works pretty closely with parents. “That puts a lot of stress on the job,” she said. “Plus there’s a lack of resources. So you know a kid needs something but you can’t get it. That’s one of the frustrating pieces, too, knowing that it can be so

much better. You do the best you can, but that gets frustrating when you want to do exceptionally.” Despite the workload and the stresses associated with special ed teaching, Fahey said she enjoys her work. While every day brings challenges, each one also brings something new and interesting. Add all those days up, and Fahey said she’s seen how the work of she and others in special education have impacted students. “I get to work with kids over multiple years,” she said. “When a child is first eligible (for special ed services), they are usually really struggling. But it’s a journey, and to work with them over time is just really rewarding. You see kids grow and change.”

Agnes Stewart Middle School, Springfield

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special education teacher could be forgiven for expressing a little envy over the program that’s in place at Agnes Stewart Middle School in Springfield. Five or six years ago, the school transitioned from a model of separate special

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Audrey Stepp carves out time to work with student Dane Herrman in his general education class — ensuring he gets the support he needs.

education classrooms into a more collaborative approach that finds specialists, general education teachers and classified assistants working together in the same classroom. For example, Audrey Stepp, a seventh-grade instructional specialist at Agnes Stewart, works in one classroom with the general education teacher and two classified assistants. She and the teacher develop plans and curriculum for core subject areas that meet the needs of students, including those with IEPs. “It allows the general education teacher to use their area of expertise in curriculum,” Stepp said, “and lets the specialist, like me, work with the teacher on how to break down the concepts into a more taskoriented process so it’s more achievable for the students.” There are two such classrooms per grade level, which together cover language arts, social studies, math and science. The approach also lets the classroom split up into smaller groups for more individualized instruction and attention. Stepp said the model is used at Agnes Stewart to primarily help students with learning disabilities

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in reading, math and writing, though the school also serves students with more challenging disabilities. Additionally, each teacher also has three classes to provide extra reading instruction to students who need it most. Because the program is integrated into a general education classroom, some students who are low skilled but have not been identified with IEPs benefit from the additional attention, too. One of the driving factors behind the switch to the current model, Stepp said, was that students who were taken out of the general education setting and put into resource rooms weren’t making academic progress. The reason: they were being taught a special ed curriculum, not the general curriculum. “They were never taught the general education curriculum, but they had to take the same state tests and weren’t performing well,” Stepp said. Switching to the current program means the special education students (about 18 percent of the entire school population has an IEP of some sort)  are being taught the general curriculum. Because

they have more focused instruction and because it’s delivered in a more digestible fashion, they are showing improvement. “The first year, we really saw amazing growth with the kids,” Stepp said, adding that about 90 percent of students have met their language arts growth goal since the switch. “They are learning things now that, five years ago, we would not have even been teaching them.” The improvement also stems in part from the fact that, where special ed teachers like Stepp used to be separated off into their own rooms, now they’re working directly with the general education teachers. “We were always so isolated before as special ed teachers. People didn’t know what I did,” Stepp said. “Now, working with the general education staff, we all know what’s happening in the classrooms.” They’re also all communicating better than ever. “My partner teachers know what they’re talking about and what the students need, so they can help me get the kids where they need to be,” Stepp said. “The communication level and understanding of everyone’s

strengths has made a huge difference.” In fact, the staff can now meet for between 45 and 50 minutes every day to talk about aligning curriculum, problems they’re experiencing or data they can share to help drive instruction. Other buildings may have something similar in place where, say, math teachers can meet each day to chat, but Stepp said the allinclusive nature of the set-aside time at Agnes Stewart seems pretty unique. “We are all on board,” she said, “and that has made as much of an impact as anything.” Though the special ed program at Agnes Stewart may seem dreamy to other teachers around the state who have fewer resources or bigger caseloads, the program is not without its challenges. Funding and staffing are always an issue — in early June there were still some questions about staffing levels for the coming school year — and Stepp said being with the same students all day can be trying for both parties. There are also the raised eyebrows that come from those who question that level of staffing in a single classroom. “People look at our classroom and go, 'Wow, that’s four staff in one room. Is that the most cost-effective way to do this?'” Step said. “Our administrators have been very supportive, though, and we all see the benefits.” There is still some incongruity in the curriculum, as well. Iron out that and the other challenges, Stepp said, and more students might just migrate back into the general ed population, no longer in need of what special ed has to offer. “If we all used the same core curriculum and kept working together, then there are a number of kids who could make it without that much support,” Stepp said. “That’s the goal.”

Junction City High School, Junction City

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ate Gillow-Wiles, the special ed teacher who’s been in Junction City for 20 years, hasn’t worked at too many

Kate Gillow-Wiles also teaches a transitions class, which she conjured up herself to teach students how to do everything from basic shopping to riding the bus, cooking and getting a job.

schools —but she’s aware that the special ed program at JCHS has a bit of a reputation. “I’ve heard that people move to Junction City just for us,” she said. Anecdotal, possibly, but it’s also very likely true for a couple different reasons. “It’s a combination of what we’ve worked really hard in the high school to create as a way to meet the needs of our kids, plus an amazingly good general education staff,” said Gillow-Wiles, the former president of the Junction City Education Association. “Our staff bends over backwards to help them.” At JCHS, special education is tended to in two adjacent resource rooms where students with IEPs come throughout the day for help with math and language arts. Gillow-Wiles teaches math and her coteacher, Leslie Lucir, provides language art and Spanish instruction. Gillow-Wiles also teaches a transitions class, which she conjured up herself to teach students how to do everything from basic shopping to riding the bus, cooking and getting a job. As long as Gillow-Wiles has worked at

JCHS, the special ed program has almost always followed the resource center model, where students leave the general education population for specialized instruction. There was a time when the school tried teaching students with IEPs in the general setting — utilizing a roving special education teacher as a supplemental tool — but Gillow-Wiles said that arrangement just never worked. “It absolutely was not working for the kids who needed special attention,” she said. “They just got lost.” The resource center model seems to work well for the 60 or so special ed students at JCHS, which had a population of close to 530 for the 2012-13 school year. Gillow-Wiles said she’s able to slow down and break up math lessons so that students truly learn the material and understand it before moving on. One example: freshman algebra students will spread the first trimester of general education algebra out over the entire year. Some students are then able to move into geometry and eventually algebra 2. Others who never get the algebra instead receive help with numbers as they relate to things like time and money. Gillow-Wiles tries to keep it interesting for those students so they don’t get bogged down. “I tell them to take a term off from math and go do some electives that are fun,” she said. “We really try to build some flexibility into it.” Gillow-Wiles still sees plenty of challenges facing special ed students at the high school. A few years ago, the school went from four full-time special ed positions to 2.5 as a result of budget cuts. Funding has also fallen off for a transition program that helps students migrate into more education or a career after high school. She said it’s also been tough for the school to deal with kids whose IEPs are related to behavioral problems. “Those can be hard to set up in high school because they stop buying into it by then,” she said. “And a lot of them have

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Michelle Riley, teacher in the Community Transition Program at Capital Center High School, bids farewell to a student during the program's " aging-out ceremony" at Sunset High School at the end of the school year.

family issues that have never been resolved, so some special ed issues are really the result of a family problem, not a learning problem.” There’s also a concern that state assessments come up short for special ed students and steer them toward modified diplomas. That can be an obstacle for students who want to pursue higher education at the community college or four-year university level. Not only do many four-year colleges not accept modified diplomas, but students who earn them aren’t eligible to apply for state or federal financial aid without passing other assessment tests. “Most of these kids would really benefit from it,” Gillow-Wiles said. “And the ones not going on to school, it used to be they got jobs. That’s not happening now because of the job market. A lot of them are sitting at home.” There are also a lot who are not sitting at home, but who have gone on to college or jobs thanks to their special ed instructors at JCHS. Gillow-Wiles said students will occasionally come back to school to thank her for leading them in the right direction.

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Those experiences, and the ones she has on a daily basis with her students in the classroom, are why Gillow-Wiles does what she does. “It’s so exciting when you see them start to pull their lives together and get it,” she said. “That’s what keeps me going every day.”

Community Transition Program, Beaverton

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or students in the Beaverton School District’s Community Transition Program, the best learning doesn’t happen anywhere near a normal classroom. “The community is the best classroom for our students,” said Steven Baer, a transition teacher with the program. “We want them out there as much as possible.” Now in its ninth year, the CTP serves students aged 18 to 21 who have IEPs and who qualify for public education services through federal and state laws that protect students with disabilities. Through the program, students learn valuable skills, from money management and food preparation to employment,

public transportation and personal safety, all geared toward increasing their independence and their contributions to the community. “The greatest thing as an educator is to see the student become more independent,” said Dylan Lee, another transition teacher with the CTP. “That’s our overall objective, and you can really see that growth.” Lee, Baer and teacher Michelle Riley each manage a caseload of between 12 and 14 students with a range of developmental or intellectual disabilities. A team of 12 program assistants also works with the students out in the field. Students start their day at 7:15 a.m. at the program’s headquarters in the Capital Center, an office building in Beaverton. “We purposely chose something other than the school setting,” Lee said. “We wanted to simulate as much as possible a work environment.” After breakfast, they head out to their worksites, which range from health clubs and retirement homes to pet and grocery stores. Though much of the work is often

Students learn valuable skills, from money management and food preparation to employment, public transportation and personal safety, all geared toward increasing their independence and their contributions to the community.

janitorial in nature, the students are also learning valuable lessons about proper work attire, showing up on time, interacting with co-workers and the public and so forth. “They are all transferable skills,” Lee said. They return to CTP for lunch and then have a different activity each afternoon: Monday is devoted to social skills; Tuesday focuses on IEPs; Wednesday is early release; Thursday is for crafting; and Friday is a community outing. “We’ve gone to the auto show, the boat show, museums, movies, all kinds of things that they’ve never experienced before,” Riley said. Tight funding has forced the CTP to get creative, but it’s also led the program to form relationships with more than 20 community partners. Riley is hopeful that the program will continue to grow and be able to serve even more students who are making their way beyond public education. “It’s successful,” she said, “because you participate in helping them set up what’s next for the quality of their life.” n

Your Rights To Additional Information

SUMMARY ANNUAL REPORT FOR OEA CHOICE TRUST This is a summary of the annual report of the OEA CHOICE TRUST, EIN 930243443, Plan No. 501, for period July 01, 2011 through June 30, 2012. The annual report has been filed with the Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, as required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

Insurance Information The plan has a contract with Unum Life Insurance Company Of America to pay Group long term care claims incurred under the terms of the plan. The total premiums paid for the plan year ending June 30, 2012 were $11,245.

Basic Financial Statement

The value of plan assets, after subtracting liabilities of the plan, was $55,846,472 as of June 30, 2012, compared to $55,960,880 as of July 01, 2011. During the plan year the plan experienced a decrease in its net assets of $114,408. This decrease includes unrealized appreciation and depreciation in the value of plan assets; that is, the difference between the value of the plan's assets at the end of the year and the value of the assets at the beginning of the year or the cost of assets acquired during the year. During the plan year, the plan had total income of $1,915,250, including employer contributions of $46,268, earnings from investments of $70,577, and other income of $1,798,405. Plan expenses were $2,029,658. These expenses included $1,493,690 in administrative expenses, and $535,968 in benefits paid to participants and beneficiaries.

You have the right to receive a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, on request. The items listed below are included in that report: • an accountant's report; • financial information; • assets held for investment; • insurance information, including sales commissions paid by insurance carriers; To obtain a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, write or call the office of OEA CHOICE TRUST at 6900 SW ATLANTA STREET, BLDG 2, TIGARD, OR 97223, or by telephone at (503) 620-3822. The charge to cover copying costs will be $0.00 for the full annual report, or $0.00 per page for any part thereof. You also have the right to receive from the plan administrator, on request and at no charge, a statement of the assets and liabilities of the plan and accompanying notes, or a statement of income and expenses of the plan and accompanying notes, or both. If you request a copy of the full annual report from the plan administrator, these two statements and accompanying notes will be included as part of that report. The charge to cover copying costs given above does not include a charge for the copying of these portions of the report because these portions are furnished without charge. You also have the legally protected right to examine the annual report at the main office of the plan (OEA CHOICE TRUST, 6900 SW ATLANTA STREET, BLDG 2, TIGARD, OR 97223) and at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., or to obtain a copy from the U.S. Department of Labor upon payment of copying costs. Requests to the Department should be addressed to: Public Disclosure Room, Room N1513, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. TODAY’S OEA | JUNE 2013

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Lessons from the B Heartland: Public Education in Peril

BY MARY MEREDITH DREW

arbara Miner is convinced that the school voucher movement is undermining not only public schools, but democracy itself. On her blog, “View from the Heartland,” she writes: “If you don’t believe that (Scott) Walker’s agenda is a threat to your local schools, learn from Milwaukee.” A longtime journalist whose two children graduated from Milwaukee’s public schools, Barbara Miner is the author of Lessons from the Heartland: A Turbulent HalfCentury of Public Education in an Iconic American City. Sponsored by Rethinking Schools, Miner spoke and read from her book in Portland on May 10. “An unabashed abandonment of public education, Milwaukee’s voucher program has funneled more than $1 billion in public money into private and religious schools since 1990,” Miner writes in the book’s introduction.

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Miner says Milwaukee has the country’s oldest and largest voucher program, under which public tax dollars are taken from public school funding and used to pay tuition at private schools. She calls it “the marketplace approach to educational reform,” and claims that the marketplace approach now dominates the education reform movement. “Milwaukee’s story is Wisconsin’s story is the nation’s story,” Miner says. “What does this tell us about the future of public education in the United States, and about our vision of democracy in a multicultural society?” Miner’s book gives an extensive background on the history of education in Milwaukee, along with quite a bit of the social history, including segregation and deindustrialization, that accompanied it. Why study history when dealing with today’s issues? Miner answers with a quote from William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” In 1990, Milwaukee became the first city in the country with a voucher program. It was presented as an experiment, affecting 350 students. Supporters of vouchers claimed it provided disadvantaged children with a good education, but in the meantime, it was depriving many more children of a good public education. Today 25,000 children in Milwaukee attend voucher schools. Eighty-five percent of those students attend religious schools. Religious education is being supported by public tax dollars. Why should advocates for education in Oregon be concerned? Miner says Milwaukee is not just Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It’s Everywhere, USA. “It’s clear that we need to start connecting the dots, city by city,” she said. “We need to learn from each other and

understand that caring for our children, caring for our community, caring for our schools, and caring for our democracy is all part of a single vision, all part of protecting the rights of the 99%.” While Miner was in Philadelphia on her book tour, they announced the planned closing of 23 neighborhood public schools. When she was in Chicago, she heard about the closing of more than 50. Seventeen states now have some sort of direct voucher program or tuition tax credits. Five voucher legislation bills are currently being promoted by ALEC. Miner described the difference between vouchers and charter schools. Vouchers are used to supplement student tuition at private schools. Charter schools are public schools, but are increasingly controlled by private interests. Charter schools used to be seen as public, and were often supported by groups of parents who wanted an alternative for their children. They were used to improve education at a local level. However, this has changed. Charter schools are now often started and run by venture capitalists interested in profits. Miner encouraged the audience to talk to one another and compare Milwaukee’s situation to the current state of education in Oregon. People spoke among themselves, and then made comments. One member of the audience, Kristy Aserlind, grew up in Madison, Wisc. She said people like to think it can’t happen here, but for it to happen in the birthplace of the labor movement, where public education was the jewel in Wisconsin’s crown, scared her. She said if it could happen in Wisconsin, it could happen anywhere. A teacher in the audience said it doesn’t matter whether the Governor is a Democrat or a Republican. Chicago has a Democratic governor who is shutting

Credits: Map Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

down schools. We are all under attack. We can’t be complacent because we have a Democratic governor. Portland teacher Linda Christensen pointed out the series of closures in schools serving a majority of students of color, but no closures in white or privileged areas. She said charter schools are increasing in Portland, and more students are attending private schools. Miner said it’s hard to always be perceived as being against something. In Milwaukee, efforts are being made to talk about not what we are against, but what we are for. Having a positive vision of what education should be is essential. The rhetoric of “choice” and “failing schools” is being used to undermine public education, Miner says. As common as apple pie, the concept of individual choice has long been considered a component of liberty. In education it can be used to ensure that public schools are sensitive to the needs of students, families and communities. But that is not how the term “choice” is being used today. The emphasis on individual choice has undermined the collective choice of public schools that serve all children. Before the 1990’s, the term “failing schools” did not exist, she said. It was certainly never applied to Jim Crow schools in the South that couldn’t even afford desks. But since the passage of NCLB, the term is applied to both schools and districts, and has become part of the established educational lexicon. Miner says we need a positive vision of what we want our schools to be. Kids learn what they do everyday. If they practice testing every day, they become good little test takers. Is that what we want for our kids? There is one essential lesson from Milwaukee that is not at all complicated, she said. That is the need to defend the institution of public education, an institution so fundamental to our democracy that it is enshrined in every state constitution in the country. And our children’s right to a public education is now under attack. n TODAY’S OEA | JUNE 2013

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Teachers at South Medford High School have implemented a proficiency-based system to great effect this past school year.

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BEYOND THE GRADE

OREGON EDUCATORS ARE LEADING THE WAY IN TRANSFORMING STUDENT LEARNING BY MATT WERBACH PHOTOS BY THOMAS PATTERSON

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ason Palmer teaches junior and senior high school science in rural Morrow County. An early adopter of proficiency-based teaching and learning practices, he feels strongly about his students having a deep connection to their learning. Palmer has created consistent standards-focused frameworks in his classroom, which has led to deeper understanding among his students of their learning. He sees his students developing knowledge and skills instead of going through the motions. “The philosophy starts with the standards,” Palmer said. Using the standards to develop a consistent building-block approach, he brings themes from past lessons back into future lessons so that students begin to recognize the importance of becoming proficient at each step along the way. “Kids, when they learn something, they tend to focus on learning it just for the test and then forget about it,” he said. “We’re going to see some of the same material again. It’s building something so that it all ties together as a whole.” Palmer said that the 2012-13 school year was one of his most successful ever in using proficiency practices. Over time he has used the state’s standards to develop what he calls an umbrella approach, so that each lesson (or piece of the umbrella) ties to the next until the circle is complete. “I’ve developed a system so that kids have a guide, and that same system is moved through all the units,” he said. This way, Palmer’s students understand that a math lesson in October is going to be carried through until May, so their proficiency at the beginning is essential to their grade and their understanding at the end of the year. “I want this umbrella approach where everything I’m teaching ties back to one unit,” he said. As advice for those who are entering fully into proficiency-based teaching for the first time, Palmer underscores the importance of doing the front-end groundwork by “taking the time to lay it out,” and “building a strong foundation.” 26

TODAY’S OEA | JUNE 2013

A cornerstone of PBTL includes time for collaboration. Here, teachers at South Medford High School gather for a proficiency meeting to swap ideas on teaching practices.

Palmer starts with the standards as his keystone and then creates a vocabulary, or language, around those standards, which he uses consistently throughout the year. Still, it took some time for him to feel as confident as he does in his proficiency-centered approach. “It hasn’t stayed the same,” Palmer said of his methods, but flexibility and constant refinement have helped him achieve his most successful year to date.

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t Timber Ridge Middle School in Albany, Cindy Drouhard is appreciative of the opportunities afforded her students by the focus on proficiency in her science classroom. She is seeing early benefits of the work they have been put-

ting-in for a few years now. “Our school opened up four years ago, and we opened as a proficiency-based school,” Drouhard said. She was in the district before Timber Ridge opened, and “started dabbling in it the year before,” she said. “I was on the core team to help open up Timber Ridge.” Like many who have adopted proficiency practices, she experienced the difficulties as the shift began. “I think that’s a big change. Students don’t get an overall grade. Grades are broken down by these strands,” she said. That led to a lot of extra educating of parents and students. Despite the bumps, Drouhard is seeing early benefits to the proficiency approach.

“Students have multiple opportunities to show me that they have learned the material,” she said. As students attempt to achieve each strand, or standard, they’re forced to focus on each step and can no longer simply wait for a unit to end. Drouhard’s lower performing students are now able to understand the specific areas in which they are struggling, and they are also able to see that they might not be completely failing, because they can identify the standards they are meeting. It goes some distance in alleviating the frustration of struggling students. And because a student has to become proficient in each standard, they are not being left behind in the interest of moving the class

along as a whole. “Parents of kids who struggle in school really appreciate the fact that their kid doesn’t have one chance and then we give up on them.” Talented and gifted learners and highachieving students have the opportunity to meet standards quickly, and it allows Drouhard the time to drive them toward exceeding a standard and broadening the lesson’s impact. “I can push them a little bit higher so they can earn ‘exceeds,’” she said. If the results of the approach both help those who are struggling and further push those who are succeeding, it makes it easier for parents, teachers and students to see the benefits of the proficiency approach.

“It helps identify strengths and challenges for each of the students,” Drouhard said. It wasn’t easy for Drouhard or the rest of the Timber Ridge teachers to get to where they stand today. Parents were used to the traditional A through F scale, and their understanding didn’t come overnight. “When we opened we put a lot of time and energy into parent education,” Drouhard said. As the standards were made clear, and as parents began to see the ways in which the new style of reporting and grading would benefit their children, the anxiety over the changes ebbed. “That first year we had a lot of resistance,” Drouhard said. “We don’t get that anymore.” One of the other complications Drouhard came across was the district’s lack of an enrichment period when they first began the shift, and she was forced to spend her own time or extra time to make the new approach work. “I think the most important thing is that the [school] schedule support that [need],” she said. For teachers to make the necessary adjustments and best help the successful and struggling students alike, Drouhard said it is essential for the school to allow for enough time to implement proficiency methods during the regular work day. She credits a shifting in her focus and efforts with helping to ease the time constraints inherent in the process. A teacher can’t just add all these standards to their current lesson plan and carry on as usual because there simply isn’t enough time. “It could be a lot more work if you don’t just shift,” Drouhard said.

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eginning four years ago, the Medford School District decided to develop a new report card and to adopt a proficiency-focused model in teaching and grading at several of their schools. Their transition is taking hold now. “It’s not a fun process, but it did help our district,” Carla Dahlin said. Dahlin was teaching math when she started to integrate the standards into her classroom. Initially resistant to the changes

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in practice, Dahlin is now on special assignment as a teacher leader to help educators throughout the district with the new model. Dahlin has worked closely with Debbie Connolly, the curriculum and assessment supervisor for the district. Connolly was quick to point out that it took years to adjust the understanding of parents, teachers and students as the district made their transition. “Because grades have been done this way for 100 years, being able to change the mindset has been challenging,” Connolly said. As many teachers pointed out, the issues seemed to arise early on, but collaboration, communication and experimentation helped create positive outcomes after the new system was implemented and calibrated. “It’s a lot of work,” Connolly said. “It’s a lot of curriculum work that really has never been at the teacher level. It’s labor intensive at the beginning of the process. Once that’s done, it’s just fine tuning.” As Medford rolled-out its new grading and assessment program, Dahlin was as concerned as any teacher would be. “Jumping to proficiency-based teaching and learning is such a philosophical shift,” she said. Dahlin credits two major factors in making the transition possible. The first was clearly communicating with parents and students throughout the process. That work began with parents’ nights at the schools, where there was a preview of the new report card and plenty of time to try to explain the significant changes in how students would be evaluated going forward. Parents were able to see the way grades were broken down into sections and began to grasp the basics of the model. The other best-practice Dahlin credited was old fashioned hard work. “Teachers always work hard, this is just different work,” she said. “The more you want to be prepared, the more work you are going to put into things.” Any major change is going to require work. What was routine and comfortable in the past instantly becomes cumbersome and sometimes frustrating. Dahlin said that front-loading — making the curricu28

TODAY’S OEA | JUNE 2013

Scott Raedeke teaches a digital media class at South Medford High School using a proficiency-based system.

lum alterations, preparing in advance for how to message changes to students, trying to identify potential issues before they become insurmountable—is the key to making the adjustments as smoothly as possible. After a good deal of preparation and overcoming the first hurdles of implementation, Dahlin began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. “I actually felt like my day to day work went down, but there was a lot of front-loading,” she said. Though she works outside the classroom, Connolly also credits what she refers to as the “groundwork” as essential to a teacher’s successful implementation of the standards-based approach. She also said that collaboration among the staff is essential to making proficiency-based teaching a success. Medford benefitted from the research and technology that was put in place, but Connolly said that, “doing some reading, finding out what the best practices are, getting staff involved,” and ensuring that parents and students understand the impending changes is essential to the transition, even if a district is just beginning the process. As of July 1, 2013, all Oregon educators will be required to adhere to a new reporting model set forth in House Bill 2220 enacted into law in 2011. HB 2220 does not require school districts to move to a proficiency-based teaching and learning system. The purpose of HB 2220 is to measure and

report on a student’s knowledge and skills separate from attendance, behavior, or other factors such as turning in assignments on time or extra-credit. The law requires school districts to report on each student’s progress in meeting or exceeding academic standards — what a student knows and can do. The law also stipulates that parents and students must be informed at least once a year as to the student’s progress toward meeting or exceeding these standards. To facilitate this reporting, the law requires school districts to implement a grading system that distinguishes between academic knowledge and skills, and behavior. Behavior can and will be graded separately, distinct from the academic assessment of a student’s progress toward proficiency in a given subject. Although HB 2220 does not require proficiency-based teaching and learning systems to be in place within school districts, it does align with and enrich proficiency practices. Under a standards-based grading system, students and their parents have a clearer objective and simpler method of assessing progress. This fits with a proficiency-based teaching and learning system.

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eggy Cowens is an instructional coach in the Three Rivers Schools District. She has observed that when teachers use proficiency practices, students actually

articulate what they are learning and are able to self-assess better. “I work side by side with classroom teachers, pretty much focusing in on instructional methods and how to figure out what kids know and are able to do,” Cowens said. “It has become very clear to us in the classroom that when we are clear, the kids are clear on what they are going to learn.” Cowens helps her district assess the best professional development methods for teachers. She sees communication and sharing between teachers as imperative to making proficiency-based approaches successful. “People who are doing proficiency-based teaching are well connected to their colleagues, and they are reflective about what did or didn’t work,” Cowens said. Collaboration provides a way to learn from others' mistakes, and supports teachers in exploring and transforming their practice. “To do the best practice, we can’t be teaching in isolation anymore,” she said. The common experiences of early adopters from around the state demonstrate that educators need time to collaborate and plan curriculum and instructional changes. The opportunity for teachers to work together as a unified front to educate parents and students on the benefits and differences in proficiency-based learning is critical for a seamless transition to these practices. Early adopters of the new reporting system required under HB 2220 have already experienced some of the bumps and bruises inherent in implementation. These same early adopters who have been working with proficiency practices also point out the benefits to students of all achievement levels. There are many admirable examples of both how to navigate the process and how to reap the rewards of proficiency-based education. While there is no blueprint or road map to get teachers seamlessly through the transition, there is a wealth of experience, advice and knowledge already emanating from those who have begun the work. “What’s most important to know about proficiency-based [education] is that this is a process that is ongoing,” Cowen said. n

ELEMENTS OF STANDARDS-BASED TEACHING & LEARNING THROUGH PROFICIENCY PRACTICES BY COLLEEN MILEHAM / OEA Center for Great Public Schools

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roficiency means a student can show evidence that they know and can use information that is defined through state and national standards and at a specified level of performance. From a student perspective, they know what they need to learn, they know the level of performance they must demonstrate, and they know the type of evidence necessary to demonstrate they are ready to move on to the next learning target or advance to the next course. Proficiency-based teaching and learning is not just about awarding credit or changing the grading system (although these changes may occur). Proficiencybased teaching and learning focuses on the heart of learning, the critical work of instructional practice that engages each and every student in achieving high expectations. PBTL is a collection of effective instructional practices and assessment techniques focused on well-defined standards and student engagement in and ownership of learning. PBTL is characterized by a set of interdependent elements. n Standards: PBTL is based on explicit learning targets that come from welldefined standards which clearly communicate what a student must know and be able to do. Teachers use state and national standards to develop units of study and lessons that help students reach learning outcomes and ultimately achieve the standards. Oregon’s content standards in science, social science, the arts, world languages, health, physical education and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in mathematics and English Language Arts provide a basis for determining the student learning targets. n Student centered instruction and student engagement: PBTL is equity-based and

begins with the belief that each and every student will achieve proficiency in a content area given necessary supports. In a PBTL environment, students are active learners. They understand the learning targets, level of proficiency and evidence necessary to achieve the targets. They take responsibility and own their own learning. Although direct instruction remains a part of the learning environment, instruction is flexible, more personalized to meet individual needs and often project-based. Learning outcomes emphasize critical thinking skills and the application of knowledge whether in the classroom or beyond in community-based careerrelated learning experiences. n Student progress is monitored: Meaningful ongoing assessment is embedded in the instructional process as a positive learning experience for students. Assessments are used to monitor student progress and growth, provide feedback on learning targets, adjust instruction and indicate whether additional supports are needed. Students develop the skill to monitor their own progress and help determine when they are ready to assess their own learning. n Student evaluation is based on performance: Students have different rates of learning and progress at their own pace which often requires multiple opportunities to demonstrate learning. Students are allowed additional time if needed, to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Seat time is no longer the sole measure of learning. Grades reflect a student’s level of knowledge, skill and performance in achieving the standards. In a proficiency-based system, poor performance or failure in gaining the knowledge and skills is part of a student’s learning process, but not the outcome.

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Association in Action

OEA MEMBERS GOVERN AT 2013 REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY The 2013 OEA representative Assembly (RA) was held at the Red Lion Jantzen Beach Hotel, Portland. At this year’s, RA over 600 delegates gathered to adopt changes to OEA’s bylaws, policies, resolutions and legislative objectives. Delegates also proposed, debated and acted on new business, and elected officers to serve as OEA President, Vice President, Region I Vice President and Ethnic Minority Director. Refer to 2013 OEA RA Minutes for full details on debate.

ELECTIONS RESULTS Serving a two-year term beginning July 10, 2013 n Johanna Vaandering, OEA President n Tony Crawford, OEA Vice President Serving a one-year term beginning July 10, 2013 n Deborah Barnes, Region I Vice President Serving a three-year term beginning July 1, 2013 n Tami Miller, Ethnic Minority Director

ELECTED BY MAIL-IN BALLOTS 2013 OEA Board of Directors n District 01a: Judy Christensen n District 03a: Eric E. Miller n District 05: Tina Leaton n District 06: Samuel H. Aley n District 08: Jill Conant n District 10b: Shannon Baker n District 11: Marsha Lincoln n District 12: Gary Humphries APPROVED BY DELEGATES OEA member delegates approved revisions to OEA’s Legislative Objectives, Resolutions, Bylaws and Policies. They also approved: * A. That the Governance Structures Task Force term be extended one more year to review the Cabinet and Committee structures of OEA. The Governance Structures Task Force will bring forward a report to the 2014 Representative Assembly. 1. That the Judicial Panel investigates the decision to eliminate the Statewide Organizing Committee. This shall be thoroughly investigated and the findings of the Judicial Panel will be brought to the Board with recommendations. The findings and the recommendations will also be shared with the 2014 Representative Assembly.

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n District 15a: Geoffrey Hunnicutt n District 17a: Melody L. Antons n District 19: Renée Criss n District 21: Lynn Hill n District 26b: Brian Haliski n District 30a: Gary DeRoest

2013 NEA RA DELEGATES Region I — 4 Positions (3 year terms) n Tony Crawford n Jill Golay n Paula Fahey n Tamera Davis Region II — 4 Positions (3 year terms) n Colleen K. Hunter n Carolyn Smith-Evans n Stephen Travis n Sandee Aldama Region III — 3 Positions (3 year terms) n Judy Christensen n Lynda Sanders n Trish Leighton

• Since the Statewide Organizing Committee was created based upon a recommendation made by the Statewide Organizing Task Force, itself a product of a vote by the RA in 2010. The report was accepted and the committee was formed, and • Since the committee was disbanded without any announcement or warning, and • Since no official action by the Board or the RA was taken to eliminate the committee, and • Since the recent attempts to reconstitute the committee center around replacing the original members and changing the committee’s charge, retaining only the name, and • Since, despite claims that the work of the committee is now part of the Statewide Action Plan, none of the recommendations of the Statewide Organizing Committee or its predecessor, the Statewide Organizing Task

Force, have been implemented through the Statewide Action Plan, The Judicial Panel shall fully investigate the elimination of the Statewide Organizing Committee. 2. That OEA Leadership request OEBB to present a comprehensive list of medical procedures, diagnostic imaging services, and types of medical office visits that are subject to “cost sharing” with our insurance company (ODS), complete with rationalizations. The list of different medical claim items subject to additional co-pays is to be presented at the 2014 Representative Assembly. 3. That the OEA examine the investment portfolio of our strike fund and determine the feasibility of divesting this money from the top 200 fossil fuel companies and associated mutual funds. The OEA should then report back to members. The goal is to divest from these stocks within five years and to purchase no more stocks in these companies. * 4. That the OEA draft a letter to PERS requesting an examination of the feasibility of divesting PERS funds from the top 200 fossil fuel companies and associated mutual funds. The letter would also request an examination of the feasibility of ceasing all future investments immediately. The OEA will then report back to members. 5. That OEA Center for Advocacy and Affiliate Services review and revise the UniServ Evaluation tool which includes the standards for UniServs. The tool should be available to all UniServs for use at their 2013 planning sessions and/or retreats. 6. That OEA create and implement UniServ Council Leadership training which includes general council training and specific training for specific roles. Such training should include a year-long mentorship component. In addition, such training should include UniServ budget review and development and use of the revised UniServ evaluation tool. 7. That OEA develop a means to make trainings accessible statewide. This would include the implementation and maintenance of a training calendar and a usable registration system. 8. That funding be provided to send at least one member of each of our four ethnic categories to attend their annual respective National Education Association caucus meetings. * 9. That the Board instruct the Executive Director to develop and implement a policy regarding exit interviews. * Shown as amended

Kudos

OEA HONORS OUTSTANDING MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION OUTSTANDING MEMBER AWARDS MAJOR AWARDS

Bahrs/Wohlers Member Rights Award n KIM BIRGE,

North Wasco Education Support Professionals

Robert G. Crumpton Organizational Excellence Award n JUDY SVOBODA,

Springfield Education Association

Excellence in Education Award n CATHERINE HAMPTON,

Coos Bay Education Association

Political Action Award n ASSOCIATION OF SALEM KEIZER EDUCATION SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS

Kevin Forney Education Support Professional Award n DORIS JARED,

Association of Salem Keizer Education Support Professionals

Ruth E. Greiner Award n HELEN JACOBS,

Greater Albany Association of Classified Employees

Willie Juhola Award n GAYANNE JACKSON,

Lebanon Education Support Professionals

Deanna Conner Award n DEE MONTGOMERY-SMITH,

PRESIDENTIAL CITATIONS

n KAREN WATTERS,

OEA President Gail Rasmussen recognized the following OEA members with Presidential Citations at the 2013 Representative Assembly:

Sutherlin Education Association

Leadership n CHUCK ALBRIGHT,

Newsletter Award

n SHARON BUEHLER,

n EDITOR: DEBORAH BARNES,

McMinnville Education Association n KAREN LAURENCE,

“NCEA”, North Clackamas Education Association

Elgin Education Association

n EDITOR: ALISON WHITWORTH,

n STEPHANIE MYHRE,

“Glide Bargaining”, Glide Education Association

David Douglas Education Association

n DANA MITCHELL AND SABRINA GORDON,

n ESTHER GROVES,

Eugene Education Association (www.eugea.org)

Ed Elliott Human Rights Award

Political Action

Education Citizen of the Year n SHANNON KMETIC,

non-member

News Media Award n DANIEL ROBERTSON,

non-member

Credits: Adam Bacher

Website

Advocacy

Chemeketa Community College

Portland Association of Teachers

Dallas Education Association n JUDY CHRISTENSEN, Grants Pass Education Support Professionals

Seaside Education Association

Association of Salem Keizer Education Support Professionals

n KATHARINE JOHNSON,

n STEPHEN TRAVIS,

n TIM FARNESS,

Association of Salem Keizer Education Support Professionals n MARY LYNN MARDEN,

Neah-Kah-Nie Teachers Association

Bargaining n NYSSA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION

OEA PIE AWARDS: OEA-Retired: Highest average contribution per OEA-PIE member for 2012-2013. Beaverton EA: Highest percentage of OEA members who are OEA-PIE contributors this school year. Southern Oregon UniServ Council: Largest percentage increase in OEA-PIE contributions in 2012-2013.

Lifetime Achievement TODAY’S OEA | JUNE 2013

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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

OCSS Awards

WHAT: The Oregon Council for the Social Studies (OCSS) is accepting nominations for the 2013 OCSS Oregon Outstanding Social Studies Educator of the Year Awards. n WHen: Application deadline is Aug. 16, 2013 n how: For more information and online nomination form, go to www.oregonsocialstudies.org/awards n

The Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program

WHAT: The Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program provides opportunities for teachers to participate in direct exchanges of positions with colleagues from other countries for a semester or academic year and gain an understanding and appreciation of the similarities and differences in national cultures and education systems. n who: Eligibility: full-time U.S. teachers. n WHen: The application deadline is Oct. 15, 2013 for the 2014–2015 program. n how: For more information, go to www. fulbrightteacherexchange.org/programoverview-cte n

Making a Difference Award

WHAT: This award recognizes middle school science teachers who have developed a science program that influences students to explore and investigate science and its application to global problems. Maximum award includes $2,500 to be used to enhance or expand the winning science program, and more. n WHen: Application deadline is Nov. 30, 2013. n who: Innovative science programs for grades 6–8 are eligible. n how: For more information, go to www. nsta.org/about/awards.aspx n

FOR THE CLASSROOM

Win Backpacks with School Supplies

WHAT: To kick off the upcoming 2013–2014 school year, Dollar Item Direct will have a drawing for Backpack giveaways. First place will be 50 Value Pack Backpack Packages, 2nd and 3rd place will receive 25. n WHen: Drawing will be held on Aug. 15, 2013. n how: To register, go to www.dollaritem direct.com, and click on the ‘Register for Backpack Giveaway’ button located on the right-hand bottom corner of the homepage. n

Peacebuilding Toolkit for Educators WHAT: This toolkit can help teachers develop an understanding of key concepts and skills to enhance teaching about global peacebuilding themes and issues. n how: For more information and to download, go to www.buildingpeace.org/ toolkit. n

SUMMER INSTITUTES AND WORKSHOPS

Classroom Law Project: Protecting Oregon, Protecting the Earth

WHAT: This institute will examine cases and bills that look at environmental issues in Oregon. This year's Institute is about offering strategies to engage students with the knowledge, skills and dispositions they need to be active citizens. Registration: $300 (includes lodging, meals, and materials). n who: Upper Elementary, Middle and High School Teachers n WHere: Bend, Ore. n WHen: July 8–11, 2013 n how: For more information and to register, go to www.classroomlaw.org/ programs/summer-institute. n

PSU: The Arab Uprisings n

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WHAT: This workshop offers teachers

with a context and framework for teaching about the Arab Uprisings that began in December 2010, by exploring what led to this moment, why these events occurred, and how they have and will continue to impact the region. Optional credits are available through the PSU Continuing Education Department in the Graduate School of Education. 21 Professional Development Units available. n WHere: Portland State University n WHen: July 12–14, 2013 n how: This workshop is free and is open to the public. For more information, go to www.middleeastpdx.org/resources/workshops/summer-institute-arab-uprising

ESEA Odyssey 2013

WHAT: The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) is offering workshops around a variety of ESEA topics and programs for Priority and Focus Schools such as planning and monitoring, and components of each district’s new teacher evaluation system. Participants should bring copies of their district’s rubric for teacher evaluation for the 2013–14 school year and their district implementation plan. n WHen: Aug. 6–8, 2013 (Bend); Aug. 13–15, 2013 (Portland). Registration deadline: July 28, 2013. n WHere: The Riverhouse Hotel & Convention Center, Bend, Ore. (Aug 6–8); The Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel, Portland, Ore. (Aug. 13–15) n how: For more information, go to www. ode.state.or.us/news/events/eventDesc. aspx?eID=3863. n

Awakening the Writer in Every Child WHAT: Learn research-based strategies for engaging students to find their voices as they learn to write with a sense of purpose, elaborate on ideas, explore interesting language in their writing, and meet or exceed the Common Core State Standards. One continuing education credit available from Portland State University. n who: K-8 Educators n

Sources + Resources WHen: Aug. 21, 2013 WHere: McMenamin’s Old Church, Wilsonville, Ore. n how: www.pcira.wordpress.com or contact pennyplavala@gmail.com, 503319-3127 n n

WEBSITES

Susie’s Current Events

WHAT: Classroom Law Project offers weekly current events with links to articles, questions to consider, pre-teaching & extensions, and connections to Oregon State Standards. n how: Go to: www.classroomlaw.org/ resources/susies-current-events. n

Math Forum: Year Games

WHAT: Students join mathematicians in a yearlong game to see whether it's possible to write expressions for all the numbers from 1 to 100 using only the digits in the current year. Even if they can't find expressions for every number, students will enjoy seeing how far they can get— and how others solve the problem. n how: http://mathforum.org/yeargames n

BOOKS

Connecting Teachers, Students, and Standards: Strategies for Success in Diverse and Inclusive Classrooms By Deborah L. Voltz, Betty Nelson, Michele Jean Sims Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2010; ISBN-13: 9781416610243; $23.95 (List Price); Available online at shop.ascd.org. The authors provide a comprehensive framework for reaching and teaching English language learners, students from culturally diverse backgrounds, and students with disabilities. This is a go-to guide for any teacher facing the complexities of helping diverse learners flourish at school and beyond.

Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Reading Achievement Gap By Richard L. Allington, Anne McGill-Franzen Teachers College Press, 2012; ISBN-13: 9780807753743; $27.95 (List Price); Available at www.tcpress.com. This book offers not only a comprehensive review of what is known about summer reading loss, but also provides reliable interventions and guidance by acknowledged experts and researchers on reading, remedial reading, and special education.

Pre-Reader Brochure

WHAT: An information brochure offers tips to help young children (for 4-5 yearolds/preschoolers) get ready for reading and writing before they can actually read and write. n how: Go to www.earlylit.net/readytoread/English2004/parguidebrochPRbw.pdf n

STEM Careers Resource

WHAT: STEMCareer.com offers many resources on STEM initiatives, student access, and career readiness. n how: Go to http://stemcareer.com.

Being Visual: Raising a Generation of Innovative Thinkers By Bette Fetter Grape Lot Press, 2012; ISBN-13: 9780982209493; $13.50 (List Price); Available online at www.barnesandnoble.com In Being Visual, Bette Fetter discusses strategies to increase your visual learner’s success in school, identifying: three key learning styles, visual study techniques, effective writing strategies and visual needs of students with autism, ADD and dyslexia.

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EdTech Teacher

WHAT: Find resources that offer creative lessons that use multimedia in the classroom— from engaging in digital storytelling to creating virtual tours technology n how: Go to www.edtechteacher.org, under Tools for Teachers, click on Presentation and Multimedia. n

Butterfly Magic [Kindle Edition] By Steve Carboni Steve Carboni 2013; ISBN: 9781301920303; $5.99 (List Price); Available at www.amazon.com The author takes us on an adventure with Gianni and his friends as they race through space in a ship powered by a magical butterfly. Gianni learns he must travel back in time to change the past in order to save their friends from destruction. Along the way, they learn get along and work with others to accomplish a goal.

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ON THE WEB / 06.13 » www.oregoned.org

TAKE A BREAK, BUT DON’T LOSE TOUCH! ONLINE RESOURCES TO EXPLORE THIS SUMMER

S

chool is out for the summer and it’s time to kick up your feet and enjoy a little reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the school year. But, as you know, the work to improve public education — from lowering class sizes to arming educators with the latest education research — never goes on hiatus. As an OEA member, you have great education resources at your fingertips that will keep you connected for the next couple of months. Check out some of these (easy!) opportunities to keep you in the loop:

Facebook

Be sure to ‘Like’ Oregon Education Association on Facebook. We won’t clutter your newsfeed but we will keep you updated with interesting articles impacting the work you do with students, highlight event opportunities for educators and share a few laughs. Throughout the summer, Facebook is also a great way to stay connected with your colleagues and fellow union members. Many of our local associations are gearing up (or currently in the process) for important contract negotiations that will kick into high gear this summer. Your fellow members from these locals are going to need all the support they can muster, and Facebook provides an easy outlet for you to show your solidarity. We’ll post updates to Facebook on these contract negotiations and highlight opportunities for you to help out, online and in person.

Keeping Up With Class Size By now, you’ve likely heard about the work to “share your number” through OEA’s class size campaign. Thank you to the thousands of educators, parents and students who have shared not only their class size number, but their incredible stories detailing the impacts large and 34

TODAY’S OEA | JUNE 2013

growing class sizes have had on students around Oregon. This fall, we’ll transition our campaign to become more action-oriented (think making changes at the legislative level to permanently lower class sizes in Oregon) and we need you on board! Keep watch on the Action Center on OEA’s website at www.oregoned.org/ action to learn more about next steps. You can also share the Class Size campaign site with family and friends: www.oregonclasssize.com.

oregoned.org

Remember to check in frequently on OEA’s homepage at www.oregoned.org. You’ll have quick access to important news updates, campaigns recently launched, videos to share, and more! We keep the homepage fresh with new content each week – and while you deserve a mental break from too much education news, OEA’s website does provide a good space to check in and make sure you’re not missing out on anything too important.

E-Newsletters

Keep an eye out this summer for the unveiling of OEA’s freshly designed email newsletters! We’re currently in the process of making sure our email system provides you an easy way to keep informed on a regular basis, with top news stories, resources, and action opportunities. Stay tuned in – a new OEA email newsletter should be headed to your inbox before the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. Not sure if you’re signed up for OEA’s email communications? Go to: www.oregoned. org/publications and enter your current email address to receive our email newsletters.

Member Benefits

Before you head out on your summer roadtrip or family vacation, take a peek at www.neamb.com to ensure you’re not missing out on special travel deals and discounts, especially for OEA and NEA members. From discounts on rental cars, to hotel deals – NEA Member Benefits has you in mind this summer! NEA Member Benefits shares information with NEA members about special deals, discounts, and limited-time offers several times a week through our Facebook page and Twitter. Connect to NEA MB’s Facebook page at facebook.com/NEADeals and follow them on Twitter at twitter.com/ NEADeals. Have a resource you want to share with fellow members? Email us at webadmin@ oregoned.org and we’ll help get the word out. Have a great summer!

A FRESH PAIR OF EYEGLASSES. NEW SCHOOL CLOTHES. A WORKING HEARING AID. WARM WINTER COATS. AN INCREDIBLE EDUCATION. ALL BECAUSE OF YOU. OEA members impact the lives of Oregon students in profound ways – in the classroom, on school grounds, and at home. Through the OEA Foundation, you can contribute to the wellbeing of students whose basic needs – like clothing and medical expenses – are unmet by our state’s social service programs. This year, and particularly in this economy, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the OEA Foundation to ensure all public education students have the resources they need to succeed in school. The Foundation is unique in that 100 percent of all donations go directly back to our students – no overhead cost involved. Make an online donation today (or sign up for monthly payroll deductions if you’re able) at www.oregoned.org/oeafoundation. In their own unique way – Oregon’s students thank you.

DO YOU KNOW A STUDENT IN NEED? Apply for a grant from the OEA Foundation. Call 800.858.5505 to request an application, or download one at www.oregoned.org.

The Official Publication of Oregon Education Association

OEA • NEA 6900 S.W. Atlanta Street Portland, OR 97223 tel: (503) 684-3300 fax: (503) 684-8063 www.oregoned.org

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Today's OEA - June 2013