A PUBLICATION FOR MEMBERS OF THE OREGON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
OCTOBER 2013 | VOLUME 88: NUMBER 1
OEA E G E L L O C O T H ON THE PAT NEXT STEP E H T R FO S T EN D U ST S LATINO ACADEMIA LATINA PREP
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE » GET ENGAGED IN THE CLASS SIZE CAMPAIGN! » CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE TEACHING
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.
CONTENTS / 10.13 VOLUME 88 . ISSUE NO. 1
04 / Events for OEA Members President’s Column
05 / Building a better future
By Johanna Vaandering, OEA President
22 On the Cover
22 / on the path to college
A Southern Oregon college-prep program for Latino students has the community buzzing By Sam Wheeler
18 / running another lap for students
Hanna Vaandering, a Beaverton P.E. teacher, turns her passion for teaching into a presidency By Meg Krugel
07 / Social emotional education 08 / be a leader for tomorrow Politics & You
10 / class size moves into campaign mode 11 / Oregon's new Chief education officer » Teaching & Learning
12 / hb 2220 requirements Licensure
14 / a team approach to licensure redesign Advocacy Corner
15 / PPS and Medford Bargaining Crises Updates Classroom Tools
28 / Lessons for life
16 / implementing common core standards
Culturally responsive teaching practices help broaden minds and tighten communities By Jon Bell
Sources + Resources
36 / Books and Opportunities Opportunities
38 / civic engagement from the classroom On Up
ON THE COVER: Phoenix High School College Counselor Jennifer Corona, front, and her Academia Latina students. PhotO by THOMAS Patterson
Credits: Thomas Patterson, Mike Davis and Chris Becerra
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
UPCOMING / 10.13 NOV. 18-22, 2013
American Education Week: n WHAT: NEA promotes a weeklong calendar of activities to celebrate education, including
Parents Day (Nov. 19), Education Support Professionals Day (Nov. 20), Educator for a Day (Nov. 21), and Substitute Educators Day (Nov. 22). n HOW: Go to www.nea.org/aew for a complete schedule and ideas to incorporate American Education Week in the Classroom and on school grounds. DEC. 6, 2013
Oregon Civics Conference for Teachers n WHAT: Classroom Law Project invites teachers of grades 5-12 to the State Capitol for an
insider’s view of Oregon government. Participants will return to schools knowing more about the Oregon Constitution and initiative system, key landmark cases from Oregon courts, and our elected officials and what they do. n WHERE: State Capitol Building, Salem, Ore. n HOW: Learn more at www.classroomlaw.org/programs/oregon-civics-conference SAVE the DATE! MAR. 7-8, 2014
OEA PIE Convention n WHAT: More than 300 member-delegates will gather to recommend candidates for state-
wide and federal offices. The convention is filled with activities, candidate speeches, question and answer sessions, caucuses, and floor debates. n WHERE: Salem Conference Center, Salem, Ore. n HOW: Details will be posted soon at www.oregoned.org. SAVE THE DATE! MAR. 24, 2014
OEA Symposium on Transformation in Education n WHAT: Join educators and policy-makers from around Oregon for thought-provoking
conversations about the critical challenges facing students and educators in a time of rising demands and declining resources in our public schools. Explore professional practices, institutional resources and community assets that serve as the foundation for better outcomes for our students. n HOW: Details will be posted soon at www.oregoned.org. SAVE THE DATE! MAR. 23-24, 2014
Oregon School Employee Wellness/Education Conference n WHAT: During this conference, participants will learn how to build personal skills to improve
overall health, create a culture of wellness at schools, develop a plan of action for employee wellness and access state and national resources to support school employee wellness. n WHERE: Bend, Ore. n HOW: For more information, contact Inge Aldersebeas, OEA Choice Trust, 800-452-0914, ext 101, or email: Inge@oeachoice.com.
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE OREGON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION OCTOBER 2013 VOLUME 88 : ISSUE NO.1 OFFICE HEADQUARTERS 6900 SW Atlanta Street Portland, OR 97223 Phone: 503.684.3300 FAX: 503.684.8063 www.oregoned.org PUBLISHERS Johanna Vaandering, President Richard Sanders, Executive Director EDITOR Meg Krugel PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Janine Leggett CONTRIBUTORS Janine Leggett, Colleen Mileham, Becca Uherbelau, Mike Morrison, Teresa Ferrer, Julia Sanders, Thomas Patterson To submit a story idea for publication in Today’s OEA magazine, email editor Meg Krugel at firstname.lastname@example.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
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE / 10.13 Johanna Vaandering OEA President
t is my great pleasure to represent you and every one of our 42,000 members. As I enter my first year as President I want to thank each one of you for the work you do every day to make a difference in the lives of our students. Being an educator and having the opportunity to be a part of creating a better future for Oregon is an amazing gift. For those of you who I have not had the fortune of meeting, here is a little about my career and what has lead me to my new role as your OEA President. For my first 17 years in public education, I had the privilege of working with the staff and students as the physical education specialist at Ridgewood Elementary in Beaverton. I would not trade those years for anything. During this time I served in the most important role of our union — building representative. Building relationships with our members and making sure they are engaged in the work of our union is key to our success and happens at the building level. The next four years I spent representing 3,000 members of both Beaverton Education Association (BEA) and BEA substitutes. The work we did together helped me learn what an effective team can do to support the work we do every day. The last four years I was honored to serve as OEA Vice President. Adopting our Mission, Vision, Core Values and Goals and the adoption of our Strategic Action Plan were important steps to bringing us together and solidifying our focus. All of these opportunities in our union have prepared me for my new role as OEA President. Together we are facing some of the most vicious and unfounded attacks in our history. The reform movement has set their sights on privatizing our profession and will stop at nothing to get their hands on what they see as a “cash cow” — public education. Initiatives that do not help our students are being pushed by outside forces and in some cases have been supported by those who profess to be friends of public education. OEA members across the state are faced with more mandates and expectations that are not only unrealistic, but set us up for failure. Despite all of this, 42,000 members go to work every day to improve the future of their students. We need your help to change the dynamics of public education
and set us on the path to reach OEA's vision “to improve the future of all Oregonians through quality public education.” We launched our Class Size campaign last year to begin the process. At the Sept. 21 OEA Board meeting, your Board of Directors passed a motion to “proceed with a statewide organizing campaign built around member commitment in order to achieve revenue reform." This is our path to the quality learning conditions our students need to succeed. Every Oregonian must pay their fair share and our legislators must be accountable for funding a quality public education for EVERY student in Oregon. While our challenges are great, at the end of the day we will all be able to stand together and know that we did everything we could to build a better future for every student who walks through our doors. Thank you for all you do every day!
WHILE OUR CHALLENGES ARE GREAT, AT THE END OF THE DAY WE WILL ALL BE ABLE TO STAND TOGETHER AND KNOW THAT WE DID EVERYTHING WE COULD TO BUILD A BETTER FUTURE FOR EVERY STUDENT WHO WALKS THROUGH OUR DOORS. Credit: Michael Endicott
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
Celebrate American Education Week November 18-22, 2013
Join NEA and Raise Your Hand for Student Success For AEW artwork and more, go to www.nea.org/aew
Education Support Professionals Day
Educator for a Day
Substitute Educators Day
Newsflash PPS to Unroll New Dual Language Immersion Programs in 2014
ortland Public School District has big plans for dual language immersion within the district. The expansion would include programs in Mandarin, Vietnamese and Spanish. The district hopes to release the specifics for their expansion of the dual language immersion programs within the district in October. The district is involved in a study of the effects of dual language immersion on student achievement with RAND Corporation. PPS currently serves 4,000 students with their dual language immersion programs, a number that will likely rise in the fall of 2014 when the new programs begin. “The Vietnamese development is very positive … not only for the Vietnamese community, but all of Portland,” said Joseph Santos-Lyons, the executive director of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon. Schools that could possibly be affected by this change are the North Portland Schools of James John and Sitton, or there is a possibility of expanding the program already in place at Cesar Chavez. Other changes would take place in the Madison and Franklin Clusters, either at Woodmere or Lee, and also at Harrison Park. Woodstock’s program may expand as an alternate option. The district is also considering opening a K-5 dual immersion program at Kellogg that would include programs for Russian, Vietnamese, and Mandarin.
Credits: Melissa Olsen
Lori Evans introduces her students to the concept of emotionally intelligent teaching in her Eagle Point classroom.
Giving Creed to Social-Emotional Education
he importance of social-emotional learning in the classroom is certainly no news to educators, but research in the area is giving traction to the idea that how you feel effects your ability to learn. In a recent New York Times article entitled, “Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?” Jennifer Kahn focuses on the work of several researchers including Marc Brackett of Yale, Richard Davidson of University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Stephanie Jones of Harvard. “Davidson notes that because socialemotional training develops the prefrontal cortex, it can also enhance academically important skills like impulse control, abstract reasoning, long-term planning and working memory.” Kahn also draws attention to a 2011 met-analysis, which found that k-12 students receiving a social-emotional education performed 11 percentile points higher on achievement tests and reduced violent or delinquent behavior by 20 percent. The article includes the perspective of a number of teachers using social-emotional strategies and curriculum. One teacher
from Leataata Floyd Elementary School in Sacramento described her students’ transformation when she began teaching social and emotional skills. “They may still blow up, but they take responsibility. That’s a new thing: they always used to blame somebody else. For them to take responsibility — it’s huge.” In many of Oregon’s schools there is little time available for educating the whole child. There are, however, opportunities to make connections and build relationships that may be more important than we ever realized.
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
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 email@example.com.
> ESP OPPORTUNITY
Apply to be a Leader for Tomorrow!
EA/NEA Leaders for Tomorrow program will train both current and future ESP leaders in leadership attitudes, skills and knowledge that will enhance their ability to be a visible, vocal advocate at the local, state and national levels of the OEA and NEA. The program is a three-session training process held over a nine-month period that is open to dues paying OEA ESP members who meet the program’s eligibility requirements. Candidates must be nominated for the program and have their application acknowledged and signed by the Oregon Education Association President. NEA ESP Leaders for Tomorrow Eligibility Requirements n Must be a current NEA ESP member n Must have been an NEA member in
good standing for the past three years n Must complete an application form
and submit by the deadline n Must commit to participate fully in
all three sessions n Must commit to utilize the new skills
in the Association
BEAVERTON SCHOOL DISTRICT CONNECTS TO PARENTS WITH MOBILE TECHNOLOGY
eaverton School District, as well as a few schools in Portland, are communicating using modern technology through a program called ParentVue. Through the use of a computer or mobile devices, parents are able to view news, receive alerts, and in some cases monitor their student’s academic and behavioral progress. By modernizing communication systems, schools are able to make it easier for parents to connect with their children’s education, and can ultimately help teachers make more of an impact.
Stirring New TED Talks on Education: “How To Escape Education’s Death Valley” Sir Ken Robinson
ooking for ways to keep yourself inspired as an educator? The release of several new TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) talks has the internet brimming with innovative ideas and philosophies around education that will shape the way we teach. In his latest talk, “How to Escape Education’s Death Valley,” Sir Ken Robinson details a shift that must take place in order for America’s education system to succeed. The importance of individuality is at the heart of Robinson’s talk. In a system where we are scripting, standardizing, and conforming, there is little room for the individuality of teachers and students to flourish.
> COMMUNITY COLLEGES
When comparing high-performing education systems to America’s system, Robinson gets to the heart of the matter. “They individualize teaching and learning. They recognize that its students who are learning and the system has to engage them – their curiosity, their individuality, and their creativity. That’s how you get them to learn.” Sir Ken Robinson is one of nine speakers in this TED series on education, which was filmed in May 2013. The other talks are equally as insightful, research-based, and leave any educator with a newfound sense of hope. The nine TED talks on education are available online at www.ted.com/promos/ TEDTalksEducation.
Linn Benton Community College Wins Grant
inn Benton Community College in Albany will be able to develop online courses aimed at putting America back to work thanks to a $2.7 million grant from the federal government. The courses will provide training in health and
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
office-related work. Linn Benton Community College is the only college in Oregon to receive the grant, which is offered through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program.
“The ability to learn is not fixed. It can change with your effort.” – Angela Lee Duckworth
Newsflash COMMIT TO THE CAMPAIGN! » OEA's Class Size Campaign is kicking into high gear this fall. Take the pledge to share your class size or case load story and collect signatures from colleagues and friends. Go to www.oregonclasssize.com to learn more.
Anna Meunier Selected Oregon’s History Teacher of the Year
nna Meunier, a Medford School District teacher at Jacksonville Elementary School in Jacksonville has been named the 2013 Oregon History Teacher of the Year. The award is co-sponsored by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, HISTORY® and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation on behalf of its Preserve America program. Meunier has been teaching in the Medford School District for 21 years, 12 of those at Jacksonville Elementary School. She is the author of an Oregon History curriculum that has been adopted by many schools throughout the state. She was recognized by the Oregon Council for the Social Studies in 2012 as Social Science Teacher of the Year for Elementary Education. Meunier, a Central Point resident, will receive a $1,000 honorarium.
Forest Grove School District Receives $2 Million Grant
n July Forest Grove School District was awarded a grant of two million dollars from the federal government. With the extra funding, the district is planning to open its 21st Century Community Learning Center, which will be an extended-day program serving Tom McCall Upper Elementary School and Forest Grove High School. The money will be distributed over five years and will allow the district to provide before and after school programs that will include snacks, transportation, academic support, drug and alcohol counseling, career and technical training, extracurricular activities, and the arts.
> IN SOLIDARITY
Tentative Deal Reached Between UO Faculty and Administration
he University of Oregon’s administration has reached a tentative agreement with the United Academics, the faculty union. The deal will only go through if it is ratified in October by the union. The new contract would give faculty members raises of six percent on average for this year as well as the next.
An Inspiring Back to School Night at Chehalem Elementary
s little as two years ago Chehalem Elementary in Beaverton had trouble pulling in 25 percent of their families for back to school night. This year, they had 65 percent attend and teachers plan to do home-visits for those families who do not show up. The school has beefed up its communications with the community, developing a school-wide homework plan, alerting families about the Common Core,
and going out of their way to make families know that they are welcome and that school is important. The more involved our families are, the more students and teachers can grow. "It sends a strong message to students that 'My parents care,'" said fifth grade teacher Wendy Gould, "they value school." This is a great example of teachers doing whatever they have to do to get their students to be curious, grow and learn.
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
Politics & You
CLASS SIZE MOVES INTO CAMPAIGN MODE OEA Board of Directors Votes to Pursue Campaign to Raise Revenue for Public Schools
We’re “All In!”
Beaverton EA’s Campaign Journey (So Far) BY KAREN HOFFMAN / BEA President ast spring, Beaverton voters passed a $15 million local option levy that helped us shoulder the burden of a devastating districtwide shortfall, bringing back 150 of the 344 positions cut last year. While I’m grateful for the support of Beaverton voters in that election, I know that true systemic change is going to take more than passing a levy every few years. And that’s where OEA’s Class Size campaign comes into play. Even after the levy’s passage, our educators and members continue to face class sizes that are often insurmountable and our students are being severely short-changed. Our district is in a more fortunate state than many others around Oregon – but class size is not an issue we can fix at a local level. This is a statewide concern and we need to band together as a state organization and work collectively to support OEA’s class size campaign to raise stable revenue for public education in Oregon. Since the beginning of the school year, my leadership team and local UniServ office staff have worked hard to prepare our members for the difficult work that lies ahead. In midOctober, we hosted a “Rep Academy” for 62 building representatives and together built a plan for collecting signed commitment cards from BEA members in their own buildings. Our goal as a local is to have at least 50 percent of our members commit to collecting signatures for the Class Size campaign by January 2014. Collecting 160,000 signatures to move forward with a campaign is going to take hard work in each of our communities and it’s going to take every member saying “I’m In.” BEA is committed to doing everything we can to support this important effort because it’s time we secure the stable and adequate funding our students deserve.
OEA kicked off the Class Size Campaign last spring, and since then, thousands of OEA members have told their story about how systemic underfunding is negatively affecting public education. Heart-wrenching stories about ballooning class size, increasing workload, and cut programs continue to be the most powerful tool in describing the real effect of Oregon’s failure to adequately fund public schools. Unfortunately, Oregon’s elected leaders have proven, session after special session, that they are unprepared to confront the funding crisis that is robbing our students of the education they deserve and Oregonians expect. It is clear that we, Oregon’s educators, are going to have to go directly to the voters in order to demand the revenue to fund the schools our students deserve. During their Sept. 21 meeting, the OEA Board of Directors voted overwhelmingly to build a campaign that will allow Oregon voters to demand new revenue through a ballot initiative. With their action, “The OEA will proceed with a statewide organizing campaign built around member commitment in order to
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
achieve revenue reform,” OEA’s Board of Directors will be working with you, your colleagues, and your local association for commitment to move this campaign forward. In the weeks following the board’s meeting, dozens of locals have already formally committed to this campaign and have taken responsibility for gathering some of the 160,000 signatures that will be required to put a revenue initiative on the ballot. Specific ballot language will be decided soon and signature gathering is expected to begin in the spring of 2014. But, members across the state aren’t losing any time in beginning to have talks with colleagues about the importance, and challenge, of running this campaign. Through worksite meetings and oneon-one chats, building reps and local organizers will ask their fellow members to sign cards (see above) showing their commitment to winning the funding our schools so desperately need. How many signatures would you gather to reduce class size or bring back art, P.E. or music in your school? For more on your local's class size campaign, contact your local UniServ office or go to www.oregonclasssize.com.
Politics & You
OUTCOMES OF A SHORT SPECIAL SESSION The So-Called "Grand Bargain" will Impact Educators, Seniors and Middle Class Families
n early October, the 2013 Legislative Special Session concluded after just three days, but the impact on Oregon educators, seniors and middle class families will be permanent. Governor Kitzhaber called the Legislature back into session on Sept. 30 to consider a package of bills, otherwise known as the Grand Bargain. OEA opposed the package because it lets corporations and the wealthy off the hook and places the burden almost entirely on the backs of educators, seniors and middle class families. The Legislature approved the entire set of bills proposed during the Special Session. They include:
Senate Bill 861: COLA Changes and Supplemental Payments
enate Bill 861 supersedes the 2014 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) that was previously approved in Senate Bill 822 (2013). Senate Bill 822 capped the COLA payable at 1.5 percent for all benefit recipients. Under SB 822, the COLA payable August 1, 2014 (and beyond) would vary based on the amount of the yearly benefit. Senate Bill 861 does not affect the August 1, 2013 COLA, but modifies the yearly COLAs for all PERS benefit recipients. Effective with the Aug. 1, 2014 benefit payment, a COLA will be limited to 1.25 percent on the first $60,000 of a yearly benefit payment
and 0.15 percent on amounts above $60,000. Additionally, SB 861 provides a supplemental, one-time payment of 0.25 percent of the yearly benefit to all benefit recipients, not to exceed $150. Those who have a PERS benefit of less than $20,000 per year will receive a second supplemental, one-time payment of 0.25 percent of their yearly benefit. These supplemental payments will not be compounded into the member's yearly benefit and will be in effect for six years (first payable after July 1, 2014 and ending after July 1, 2019)
PERS - Senate Bill 861: This bill includes another cut to cost-of-living adjustments for current and future retirees - including low wage workers and low income seniors. It's important to remember that Oregon educators, front-line workers and retirees have already been forced to sacrifice $800 million of their hard-earned retirement. The bill, which passed with a one-vote margin in the House, deepens the impact. See more in sidebar to the right. n
Revenue – House Bill 3601: The bill limits medical deductions for some seniors, raises taxes on cigarettes, personal income, and increases the corporate excise tax rate. The money raised in new revenue is a fraction of what educators, seniors and middle class families are being asked to sacrifice. It certainly did not require everyone to pay their fair share. The so-called Grand Bargain also included a bill that would ban local governments from making their own choices regarding certain food and farming policies. n
Credit: Mike Davis
Oregon has a New Chief Education Officer
ov. Kitzhaber recently announced that the Oregon Education Investment Board has unanimously selected Dr. Nancy Golden as Oregon's Chief Education Officer. Dr. Golden has served as the interim director since Aug. 1, 2013. “In her more than 30 years of education experience, Nancy has shown both passion and results in improving student outcomes,"
said Governor Kitzhaber. "Nancy is absolutely the right person to help ensure we meet our ambitious 40-40-20 goals, and Oregon is lucky to have her." Dr. Golden brings more than 30 years of experience in the education sector. She recently retired as Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools before serving as the Interim Chief Education Officer.
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
Teaching & Learning
ROLE OF HB 2220 REQUIREMENTS IN STANDARDS-BASED EDUCATION BY COLLEEN MILEHAM / School & System Transformation Strategist, OEA Center for Great Public School
n 2011, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 2220. The legislation requires school districts to annually report student progress in meeting Oregon’s academic content standards. As school districts begin to implement the law, there has been considerable confusion about what the law does and does not require of Oregon school districts. The purpose of HB 2220 is to provide students and families a more accurate picture of a students’ progress toward meeting the K-12 content standards. Since 1995, Oregon teachers have been aligning curriculum and instruction to state adopted academic content standards in English language arts, mathematics, science, social science, the arts, world languages, health, and physical education. Besides the typical report card, some teachers have routinely communicated student progress in meeting grade level content standards through conversations and written communication with families. HB 2220 now requires all school districts to formalize the communication on each student’s progress toward meeting grade level academic standards.
HB 2220 requires school districts to do two things: n At least once each year, school districts
must provide students’ and their families a report indicating the student’s progress toward achieving the academic content standards at each K-12 grade level. n The above mentioned report must be
based solely on the student’s academic performance and cannot be influenced by student behavior. The intent of the annual report is to give students and families at every grade level a clearer picture of what students 12
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
know and can do as defined in the content standards. The report can be truly formative in nature; that is, it can identify and report a student’s success in meeting standards at a particular grade level, but it can also help the teacher and student identify areas needing improvement and strategies for student success.
Why the Confusion?
There are at least two significant reasons for the confusion. First, some believe the law requires a complete overhaul of the grading and reporting system in a school district. No part of the law requires school districts to change their existing grading and reporting processes. For the purpose of meeting the annual reporting requirement, the law does require school districts to sort out what constitutes academic learning from behavior. In other words, how well is a student performing in relation to content knowledge and skills as defined by the standards? Defining behavior and separating it from academic learning is a school district responsibility. A school district determines the role behavior plays in the learning environment and in assigning grades. The most successful approach in accomplishing this task is through the collaboration of students, teachers, administrators and families. The law does not restrict combining academic learning and behavior in final grades. A second factor contributing to the confusion in implementing the requirements of HB 2220 is Oregon’s “permissive” policy that allows school districts to implement a proficiency-based teaching and learning system. Initially, some thought HB 2220 required all Oregon school districts to adopt a proficiency model. Nowhere in HB 2220 is a proficiency system required. However, based on Oregon’s permissive policy, some districts through
collaborative hard work between teachers, students, administrators and families are transitioning to proficiency based teaching and learning. This transition reflects a thoughtful, carefully designed and agreed upon approach to student learning.. These districts are also collaboratively tackling how to shift their grading system to a standards-based focus and exploring the best way to communicate the transition to students, families, community members and postsecondary institutions. HB 2220 supports Oregon’s focus on a standards-based teaching and learning system. The challenges of implementing this policy are a reminder to policy makers, educators and community members that annually reporting student progress on the academic content standards requires ongoing support from the overall education system and local community to ensure success. Critical conditions for developing, strengthening and sustaining standards-based teaching, learning and reporting must include: n Stability in content standards over a
longer period of time. The review and revision cycles that have governed changes to standards-based education often limit a teacher’s ability to monitor and report student growth and achievement. Commitment to a longer implementation timeline allows for more accurate monitoring of student growth, achievement, and postsecondary performance. n Support for educator engagement in
strengthening the implementation and reporting process of a standards-based system. Time for teacher and administrator engagement in exploring implementation and reporting processes and procedures provides opportunity for critical examination of factors necessary for monitoring student growth. Educators
Teaching & Learning need opportunities to work with their colleagues and technical assistance providers to develop a deep understanding of the standards, experience successful instructional practices and explore ways of reporting student achievement. Professional learning opportunities need to be regular and sustained long term to develop successful standards-based instruction, assessment and reporting. n Additional time for the learning pro-
cess both for students and teachers. Flexible school schedules that allow teachers time to collaborate on common curriculum, review of student assessment results and the design of instructional interventions help strengthen the implementation process. In addition, flexible school schedules that allow time for teachers to work with students who require additional support in meeting standards-based
learning targets is important for student success. n Grading and reporting systems based
on achievement of learning targets and content standards. Such reporting systems may communicate more accurately learning expectations and performance for students. Effective tools for reporting student progress in meeting the identified standards are critical in the success of strong teaching and learning environments. n Community engagement early and
often in strengthening a standards-based teaching and learning environment. Schools and districts who engage the community in understanding the reasons, goals and elements of a standards-based approach to teaching, learning and reporting help alleviate misunderstandings about the work.
n Alignment of higher education
with the K-12 standards-based effort. Engaging postsecondary institutions in understanding the learning expectations in a standards-based K-12 system assists with successful student transition to postsecondary education. HB 2220 is generating lots of discussion among students, teachers, administrators and community around what a standards-based education system means for monitoring and reporting student progress. It is stimulating conversations and real debate on what should be included in grades. This critical examination is providing the opportunity to focus on how we accurately communicate a studentâ€™s progress in gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully transition to their next steps.
TODAYâ€™S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
A TEAM APPROACH TO LICENSURE REDESIGN All Oregon Licenses will Soon be United Under the Same Names BY TERESA FERRER / Consultant, Center for Great Public Schools
regon will be undergoing radical changes in our teacher licensure structure within the next year or two. At this point, these changes apply only to teachers, not personnel service or administrative licenses yet. Currently, a large and inclusive group of stakeholders (including TSPC, OEA, Higher Education, OSPA and ODE) have been meeting for almost a year to research what other states are doing, what federal law is likely to require, what our schools, teachers and students are being asked to do and what would make sense for our state. There are approximately 20 people in this workgroup and six are licensed Oregon teachers. But before you panic about your current license, relax and know that the workgroup is already working to ensure current licensed teachers move seamlessly into the new licenses. Many of these changes are not completely fleshed out yet, and as this workgroup begins to grapple with the details, some of the broad stroke concepts may need some adjustments. And, more importantly, these major changes, big and small, are just in the proposal stages now and will need to be formally approved by the TSPC Commission, subject to at least two full public hearings, and reviewed for statutory changes and subsequent legislative approval. Every teacher can and should pay attention to the final licensure redesign proposal when it is fully developed for rule change in the near future. Rest assured of three things: #1. OEA is present and actively engaged in each and every licensure redesign meeting. #2. OEA will keep you posted along the way with updates and possible surveys to inform the conversation, direction of the workgroup, and any subsequent rule making. #3. OEA will be reaching out to members for input into the public hearing process and will
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
CHART ONE: FOR NEWLY LICENSED OREGON TEACHERS Tier One
Tier Three (Optional)
Oregon Teaching License
Distinguished Professional License
• Three Year License
• Five Year License
• Five Year License
• Can renew one time only if employed
• Continuously renewable with CPD
• Unlimited renewal with CPD if not employed
• MA/MS or equivalency plus 10 sem./15 quarter hours of graduate credit.
• Non-renewable (Complete advanced renewal requirements, or go back to Professional License)
• No experience needed • Complete teacher education program & required exams • BA/BS Degree
• Five years experience • Met requirements for Oregon Teaching License
• Meet requirements of Tier Two, Master's degree AND ONE of the following: Continuing Teaching License Program, NBPTS Certification, Doctorate, Teacher Leadership Specialization, Other TSPC Approved Gateway Options
CHART TWO: FOR CURRENT LICENSED OREGON TEACHERS Tier One
Oregon Teaching License
Distinguished Professional License
• Initial I Licenses (when you complete the requirements for the Initial II AND your have five years teaching experience, you can move to the Tier Two).
• Initial II Licenses (You can remain at Tier Two and renew continuously, or you could meet the new requirements for Tier Three).
• Initial II Licenses with less than five years teaching experience (When you can verify five years experience you can move to Tier Two.)
• Standard License with Basic or Standard endorsements (you can remain at Tier Two and renew continuously. Or you could meet the new requirements for Tier Three.)
• Continuing License (you immediately move to this license but must complete one advanced renewal requirements for this license OR you could apply for the Professional License).
• Basic License with Basic Endorsement (You can remain at Tier One and renew continuously here. Or you can submit evidence that you have completed a Master’s degree or equivalency and can move to Tier Two). • Basic License with Standard Endorsement without five years experience (when you can verify five years experience you can move to Tier Two).
• Advanced renewal requirements (for those who have already met one of the Gateway Options for Tier Three) have not been fully developed but MAY include having to submit an application to show your professional leadership and recognition to a state panel of peers.
Advocacy Corner advocate strongly. But why change our teacher licensure system in Oregon in the first place? The following are just a few of the many reasons: Oregon is the only state in the country with four levels of authorization that continue to confuse and frustrate both teachers and schools that assign them. Full, seamless reciprocity with other states is problematic. We currently have three generations of licensure, each with their own separate set of licenses and rules that provide a never-ending source of problems. Under the current multi-generational structure, there are more exceptions than there are rules. Intuitive alignment to what is required for licensure and the work place does NOT currently exist. There is no recognition or acknowledgement of licensed teachers unable to secure a full time teaching position or experienced teacher leaders who are actively contributing to their students' learning, the school or the profession. This workgroup was not only asked to brainstorm and develop a teacher licensure system for Oregon that would be a solution to all of the above problems, but were tasked with research into licensure systems across the country and the world. We looked at systems that held promising elements that would work in Oregon, had a heavy research-based approach or were developed in a similarly collaborative way. The models we explored came from: Massachusetts, Colorado, Connecticut, Ohio, New Mexico, California, Washington, Finland, Singapore and Alberta, Canada. In the upcoming months, I will update you on this work and how it has progressed … and may also ask you to participate in a survey via the OEA website along the way. For now, the workgroup is looking at a three tiered system for everyone, where the third tier is optional (current licensed teachers: please pay extra attention to the second chart to the left). It is important to note that these charts are still under review and changes may also occur around how we currently add endorsements. OEA wants everyone to have a thumbnail picture of where each of our current licensed teachers fit and what the new incoming requirements will be. Stay tuned to the next article where I will be mapping out what our new K-12 authorization landscape may look like, and what it means to YOU! In wrapping your head around these broad concepts, I will continue to help you navigate the current system and welcome your questions and comments about the licensure redesign process as I travel to your area. If you do NOT see me scheduled, ask your local association President and UniServ Consultant to work on that. They will be more than happy to get me to YOU! Questions? Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Portland Public School Board and District Pushing Toward a Dangerous Showdown
ecent decisions by the Portland School Board have pushed negotiations with Portland’s teachers into dangerous new territory. The School Board describes their approach (directed by a $15,000 per month private strategist paid with tax dollars) as “aggressive.” The district has closed the door on public bargaining sessions and triggered a countdown that could force teachers to choose by the end of the calendar year between an unacceptable contract or going on strike. Portland teachers have clearly stated that they want a more collaborative approach that will prevent disruptions to classrooms and students. The 3,000 members of the Portland Association of Teachers have been advocating to retain current contact language and add in new language that addresses critical issues emerging in their classrooms and provides the time and tools teachers need to help their students succeed. Instead, the District’s proposal strips the teachers’ contract of all language protecting teachers from unmanageable class sizes and workloads, increases the cost of health care for teachers’ families, reduces teachers’ rights to have a say in where they work, and makes dozens of other changes that harm students. The two sides began mediation on Oct. 14, 2013. To learn more, visit www.pdxteachers.org.
Hundreds Gather to Support Medford Teachers
n late September, hundreds of educators, parents, and students gathered in Medford to show their support for their teachers. OEA Vice President Tony Crawford joined State Representative Peter Buckley during a community rally held in front of Central High School. Medford teachers have been in contract negotiations with their district since last spring. The 587 members of the Medford Education Association are urging the district to rebuild the trust with educators and settle a contract that is fair, attracts and retains quality teachers, and allows teachers to have a voice in what happens in their classrooms. In a move that seems all too common across the state these days, the Medford School District walked away from face-to-face negotiations with teachers and called in a state mediator on Sept. 24. With the budget picture improving, the district refuses to recognize and restore past sacrifices made by the teachers. The district wants to be able to unilaterally require teachers to stay on their job site beyond their 40 hour work week without any additional compensation. The next mediation session is scheduled for Oct. 17.
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
"AH-HA MOMENTS" FOR IMPLEMENTING THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS BY COLLEEN MILEHAM / School & System Transformation Strategist, OEA Center for Great Public Schools
n the journey to implement the Common Core Standards (CCS), we are challenged as educators to help each other address the uncertainty that exists in the implementation process. As teachers across Oregon engage in developing a deep understanding of the Standards, there are some “Ah-Ha” moments that may help bring clarity to the implementation. These realizations, the “Ah-Ha” moments, remind us that learning together with our colleagues is imperative in finding direction and regaining stability and confidence in the teaching and learning process. Sharing a few of the “Ah-Ha” learnings may help you better understand the purpose of the Common Core Standards. “Common” standards does not mean common curriculum. The common core standards are an agreed set of knowledge and skills our students will need to succeed. Common standards help create more equal access to an excellent education for each and every student. The standards do not dictate curriculum or how teachers should teach. Teachers are free to develop the curriculum, instructional strategies and determine what resources will help their students gain the knowledge and skills identified in the standards. Teachers do not have to change everything they are currently teaching. Teachers do need help in regaining their sense of stability and confidence of what they are already teaching in the classroom. They need time for consistent, collaborative planning and adaptation of instruction based on the standards and
their students’ needs. Many teachers have already compared the alignment of their existing curriculum units and lessons to the increased rigor of the CCS. They are examining units and lessons against the key shifts in knowledge required in math and English Language Arts and using assessment strategies to see if their students are mastering the standards. Resources to help with implementation are available. Since 46 states have adopted the CCS, resources are being developed and shared between states and across school districts. These publically available resources support various levels of teaching, provide examples of assessment items and professional development content. The key factor in utilizing the resources is specific time for teachers to collaborate on how other teachers are using the resources. Empowerment to implement the CCS means knowing what to keep and what to let go. In order to implement the CCS with success, teachers realize they not only need to make sense of the standards, but they need to empower themselves to determine what they let go of in their current curriculum. In making purposeful choices teachers are finding ways to connect the CCS within their classroom. Assessment of learning is the priority in helping students meet the CCS. Rather than overemphasize state level tests (assessments of learning), educators must be relentless in focusing on assessment data that truly informs classroom instruction. Teachers in partnership with their principals have been using formative and interim
Oregon Department of Education Website: www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=2860 NEA Common Core State Standards Toolkit: www.nea.org/home/ccss-toolkit.htm Quality Review Rubrics for Math & ELA: http://et.nwresd.org/node/280
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
assessment data (assessments for learning) as instructional tools, but more time is needed for educators to find or develop good assessments and develop routines for using the date to inform instruction. Long-term, consistent support for teachers’ professional learning is critical in helping students succeed and meet the CCS learning expectations. There is an increasing amount of content and guidance to support the transition to the Common Core Standards, but teacher and principal knowledge, understanding and actual implementation is varied across Oregon school districts. Providing sustained, differentiated support will be crucial in helping educators achieve full implementation of the standards and meet the unique needs of our students. As an example, the most immediate professional learning needs for 2013-14 include, but are not limited to: n Deep understanding of the key shifts in ELA and mathematics and the learning progressions across the K-12 continuum n Practice using the EQUIP “Quality Review Rubric” to assess existing units and lessons; allocate and support teacher release time to modify or develop new units and lessons n Explore and modify assessments that reflect the content of CCS and inform instruction and student learning n Become familiar with the Smarter Balanced Assessment practice tests n Create and support opportunity to observe other teachers in CCS implementation and classroom practice n Support teacher access to the array of resources emerging across school districts, states and national associations and organizations. n Create greater coherence between Common Core State Standards, teacher evaluation, and professional learning.
Building Your Common Core Standards Toolbox
he goal of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is to provide a clear, consistent understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that young people need for success in college and careers. Check out the following resources as you build a CCSS Toolbox for your classroom:
NEA’s Common Core Standards Toolkit
A (CCSS) App for That!
Access the Standards anytime, anywhere. MasteryConnect’s new Common Core app could become your best friend in helping implement the new standards. Download the app from the App Store (iPhone and Android compatible) to access these great features: n MASTERY TRACKING Assess and track mastery of state and Common Core standards. Know what your students need to
know in real-time. n RESOURCE PINS Pin and upload resources aligned to standards. Share resources in a curriculum map and in student playlists. n ASSESSMENT SHARING Share and discover common assessments in a global professional learning community. n TIME-SAVING GRADING TOOLS Save time with instant grading tools: tablet, mobile device, web browser, and GradeCam™ bubblesheet scanning.
This toolkit is intended to be a fully dynamic resource of information on Common Core State Standards and contains six critical areas for understanding and preparing for implementation of the Common Core State Standards: n Common Core State Standards Overview; n Curriculum and Instruction; n Professional Development; n Assessment and Reflection; n English Language Learners; and, n Students with Disabilities. Reviewed in its entirety, the toolkit provides general background and links to pertinent information about the CCSS, as well as practical assistance and planning. Users can download editable materials and presentations in smaller chunks that may be used in a variety of settings. Video resources have been included for individual use as well as for sharing in larger settings. www.nea.org/home/ccss-toolkit.htm
Connect with Colleagues about Common Core
Join the Common Core group on NEA’s Great Public Schools Network to collaborate and find resources on the new standards. www.gpsnetwork.org
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
Running Another Lap for Students A Beaverton P.E. Teacher Turns her Passion for Teaching into a Presidency By Meg Krugel
ong before Hanna Vaandering exchanged her tennis shoes and whistle for a career traversing the state meeting and advocating for educators across Oregon, she experienced one of those pivotal moments in education where she knew she'd made a difference. On a sunny day in Beaverton many years ago, Vaandering, an elementary physical education teacher at Ridgewood Elementary, took her class outside to have some fun and run the track. Not a big deal for most of the students — but for “Jamie,” this was a new adventure. "Jamie" was blind and had not experienced running the track before. “I was always working to find ways to differentiate our activities so that “Jamie” could experience everything we did,” Vaandering said. So, the enthusiastic teacher tied a belt around her own waist and had the young student hold on to the end of the belt while running behind her. As Vaandering looked behind her back, she remembers the sight as vividly as if it just happened yesterday. “There was this smile on her face… if I close my eyes today, I can still see that same smile. She was running for the very first time in her life,” Vaandering said. “That’s what keeps me motivated — finding a way to 18
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help every student be a part of what I think is such an important component to education.” From the get-go, Vaandering has carried that sentiment as a personal mantra. Since her own days as an elementary school student, Vaandering has known exactly what she was called to do in life. “I was a chubby little elementary student and was not athletic at all. But I can remember my elementary P.E. teacher telling me, ‘You can do this. You can make it around this track’ even though I thought I was going to die,” Vaandering remembered with a small laugh. “He took the time
Hanna Vaandering, joined by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, spends a day visiting with students and educators at Roberts High School in Salem.
and energy to reach out and help me and (because of him) I knew in elementary school exactly what I wanted to be… I wanted to be a P.E. teacher and help students be successful. I wanted everybody to have that love of learning.” And Vaandering really hasn’t stopped running since. Following her graduation as a three-sport athlete from Hillsboro High School, she went on to pursue a degree in physical education and business at Pacific University in Forest Grove, where she continued to play softball and soccer at the collegiate level. As the sixth of seven children in her family, she credits her parents and siblings for their support of both her athletic and teaching pursuits. “They never missed a tournament or game. They were always there,” she said. After graduating with her teaching degree in 1987, Vaandering spent about six months substitute teaching around the Portland area. “It was a really difficult time — you never know if you’re going to get work for the day, or if you’ll be able to pay your bills. But, I wouldn’t give that time back for anything,” Vaandering said. During those six months subbing, she had the opportunity to walk in the shoes of a high school, middle school, and elementary classroom teacher. When she landed her own full-time teaching position in 1988, she’d already gained a deep appreciation for the work of Credits: Adam Bacher
educators at every other level in our public schools. That was the genesis for Vaandering’s career path — one that not only taught students the value of movement and teamwork, but that advocated for educators and the quality learning environments Vaandering knew her students deserved. Early in her leadership at Beaverton Education Association (BEA), while serving as a building representative, Vaandering was encouraged by then-BEA President Marleen Payne to dive into the contentious world of bargaining on behalf of her BEA colleagues. After speaking out at a school board meeting about the unfair issue of salary inequities, Vaandering went on to serve on her local’s negotiations team, then BEA’s executive board, and later as Beaverton’s Vice President. And, when the Washington County native decided to run for fulltime release President of BEA nine years ago, she did it not because she was tired of teaching, but because she felt she had skills that could be put to use at the next level, beyond the doors of Ridgewood Elementary school. “It’s hard to decide to walk away from what you know you’ve wanted to do your whole life,” Vaandering said of her decision to leave the classroom in exchange for the role of BEA President. “But, I believed I’d be able to make a difference in another way.” TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
Her time as a BEA leader was full of both professional growth and challenge. She helped lead her colleagues through some of the most bitter contract negotiations Beaverton educators had ever experienced, but ultimately helped foster a better working relationship between the local and the district. During her last year as President, Vaandering faced the devastating reality that Beaverton was looking to cut 350 educators due to budget shortfall. “I met with the HR department and we looked at every one of those individuals; knowing the impact it would have on their lives was incredibly difficult,” she said. Thankfully, Beaverton was spared from having to make such significant cuts that year — though Vaandering acknowledges that the reality today is even more difficult to bear (during the 201213 school year, Beaverton made the heartbreaking decision to cut 344 teaching positions from its rolls). Now, she hears the stories of her Beaverton colleagues from a new perspective — as President of a union that represents 42,000 members from every corner of the state. And while there are more stories to process and members to meet than she ever experienced at the local level, Vaandering still holds her time serving as a local president close to her heart. “The work that is done within our union is done at the local level. We have to build trust in the organization (from a statewide level) and recognize that we’re all on the same team,” Vaandering said. Vaandering, who served as OEA Vice President and Chair of the OEA Foundation for four years before her election to President last April, counts the adoption of OEA’s mission, vision and core values in 2011 as one of the major statewide successes that will impact all OEA locals in the near future. “Having the organization really look at who we are and what we do helped me understand more about our union and what, as a larger organization, we want the future to be,” she said. “We’re criticized all the time that (OEA) is only about lining our pockets and protecting our benefits — but that’s not who we are or what we stand for. We’re about our core values, like social justice — that whether a student comes from poverty or has all the opportunities that are traditionally afforded to just a few — they are deserving of a quality public education,” Vaandering said. Already this school year, Vaandering is invigorated by the work of OEA members and staff around educator-led innovation through the Center for Great Public Schools. “The work we’re doing right now to lead our profession is a direction that allows us to make no apologies for our advocacy of our students and what they need to be successful,” she said. The work will create opportunities for OEA members to “put ourselves out there” and empower educators to carry their passion for their students into public conversations. “The shackles of No Child Left Behind — of telling us what we’re supposed to do to help our students pass tests through canned 20
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curriculum — that is the path to failure for our students,” Vaandering said. “We have got to take our profession back, and we don’t need to apologize for sharing what we believe is right and advocating for that at the highest possible level.” If we fail to do that, Vaandering noted, “our students are being short-changed.” In 2011, in the middle of her term as OEA Vice President, Vaandering was one of two educators appointed to Governor Kitzhaber’s Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB), a committee created to ensure all public school students reach the 40-40-20 goals set by the 2011 Oregon Legislature. Last spring, the OEIB conducted a series of forums across Oregon about the state of our public schools. Vaandering says the message from the 1,000-plus parents, students and educators who attended those forums was loud and clear: standardized tests and soaring tuition costs are getting in the way of quality learning, class size matters, and students deserve a well-rounded education replete with opportunities like music, art, and P.E. Vaandering believes educators are ready to move the conversation away from what’s not working to what does work — and in doing that, OEA will grow its base of active and engaged members. Sharing the organization’s mission, vision and core values in a meaningful way will help lay this pathway. “We need to be out in front sharing our positive message. It is hard. But the negativity (around our profession) really gets in the way of the majority of educators engaging in what we do.” Vaandering knows it’s time to create venues where educators can become more involved and bring forward their best thinking on how to improve our public schools. As OEA President, her long-range vision is a lofty one, but not unattainable. “My hope and dream for our union is to have 42,000 educators across the state who are proud to be OEA members... That all educators would be willing to engage in helping us build a public education system that we believe our students deserve. OEA members will be out in front, leading the way and sharing the message that it’s not acceptable to have a classroom of 32 first graders, that tuition needs to be affordable and a well-rounded student is more important than a test score,” she said. For Vaandering, the work of the OEA over the next few years could not be mobilized by a more caring, informed and empowered set of people than the educators she meets day in and day out. Quite simply, “educators are caring doers, who want to make a positive difference,” she said. If OEA can create opportunities for members to step in, engage, and make a difference in the important work we face moving forward — "they won’t back down from any challenge where effort will make us stronger.” “We need to help our members become the best advocates they can be — to help them use their passion for the work that they do every day," she said. "That’s what we’re built on.” n
Meet Your OEA Executive Team
C. JOHN LARSON
OEA Vice President Middle School Geography Teacher Canby School District Favorite OEA Core Value: Social Justice Why? We must think globally, but act locally, to create world peace. Peace, however, cannot exist where justice does not prevail. Our students, and members, deserve to live in peace.
Region 3 Vice President Kindergarten Teacher Sutherlin School District Favorite OEA Core Value: Professionalism Why? I believe that professionalism is the core value I relate to most as I believe as an educator I am a professional. I know the standards that students need to be successful!
Credits: Left page: Adam Bacher; Right page: Michael Endicott
Region 1 Vice President Broadcasting and Social MediaTeacher North Clackamas School District Favorite OEA Core Value: Collective Action Why? Because a “collective” without “action” is less effective. We will continue to engage our members and the public!
NEA Director High School Special Education Teacher Portland Public Schools Favorite OEA Core Value: Social Justice Why? I believe education is the “leveler” for society. We must be inclusive in our practices to provide every student the opportunity to aspire to their goals.
Region 2 Vice President High School Social Studies Teacher Salem-Keizer School District Favorite OEA Core Value: Lifelong Learning Why? I became a teacher because of my desire to continue learning and I knew teaching would enable me to do that. I can continue to learn and pass that along to my students.
NEA Director High School English Teacher Hermiston School District Favorite OEA Core Value: Professionalism Why? It is through the quality of instruction that our students will benefit. All of the core values boil down to professionalism, and OEA must lead the profession through our collective expertise.
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
Talent Middle School Teachers (in back, from left) Marianne Robison, Bettye Hitchko, and Juanita Gomez-Ephraim spent the summer with these students during the Academia Latina college-prep program.
TODAYâ€™S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
E G E L L O C O T H T A P E H T N O
A SOUTHERN OREGON COLLEGE-PREP PROGRAM FOR LATINO STUDENTS HAS THE COMMUNITY BUZZING By Sam Wheeler Photos by Thomas Patterson
hen a handful of Southern Oregon educators sat down in early 2000 to have a conversation about what it would take to begin a summer youth program that provided local Latino students with an early taste of college education, there was an adequate — perhaps more alarming — reason for the discussion to take place. For instance, according to the Oregon Department of Education in 2001, South Medford High School’s Latino student dropout rate percentage was 16.9 compared to 11.3 percent of Latino students who dropped out across the state. And at North Medford High School that year, 13.7 percent of Latino students dropped out. For comparison, the dropout rate for white, non-Hispanic, high school students in Oregon during 2001 was 4.5 percent, according to the same data. Pair that with Southern Oregon’s then and still rapidly rising Latino population, and "alarming" seems like an understatement. According to U.S. Census data, Jackson County’s recorded Latino population grew almost 80 percent, from 12,126 in 2000 to 21,745 in 2010, while the total county population grew by 12 percent from 181,269 in 2000 to 203,206 in 2010. “There was a serious problem here and it wasn’t fixing itself,” said Juanita GomezEphraim, a Talent Middle School teacher who was a part of the initial talks that led to the foundation of Academia Latina at Southern Oregon University. In an effort to keep those students invested in their educations, the week-long program began in 2001 to allow Latino middle- and high-school age students the opportunity to experience higher education first hand, said Gomez-Ephraim, the program’s director. “During the first year, we were beating the bushes for 25 kids,” she said. “Now we can barely keep up ... every year we turn down students who want to come.” In 2000, organizers planned a symposium in Spanish for the region’s Latino parents and students at SOU, and was able to secure three-years worth of funding through community support and federal and state grants to get the program off the ground, she said. It’s taken all of the program’s 13 years to gain the exceptional reputation it has among Latino community members, she said, and it’s starting to pay off in the form 24
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of massive interest. In order to quell some of the outcry for more space this year, for the first time, Academia Latina accepted a handful of high school sophomore and junior students into the program under a new student leadership role, but they were required to complete a more stringent application process. In the past, the program only accepted seventh through ninth-grade students. Sixth grade students were allowed for the first few years, but were dropped after organizers decided that the group was too young for the week away from home, Gomez-Ephraim said.
ACCORDING TO U.S. CENSUS DATA, JACKSON COUNTY’S RECORDED LATINO POPULATION GREW ALMOST 80 PERCENT, FROM 12,126 IN 2000 TO 21,745 IN 2010, WHILE THE TOTAL COUNTY POPULATION GREW BY 12 PERCENT FROM 181,269 IN 2000 TO 203,206 IN 2010.
Courses at the academy consist of elementary to college-level math classes, creative writing, dance, video production, forensic science, foreign language, nursing, mural art and, among several others, a culture class titled "Aztecs, Mayans and Ipads," taught for the first time this year by Talent Middle School social studies teacher, Gary Laipply. Laipply taught a version of the class the last time he volunteered to teach at Academia Latina, but modified the course this year in order to utilize a classroom set of iPads. Having taught at the academy for three summers, Laipply said any teacher would be hard-pressed to find a more driven group of students to instruct. “From a teaching standpoint it’s just an amazing experience. ... They made me nervous the first time I stood in front of them. You can feel that they are charged up and ready to see what you can bring to the table,” said Laipply, who has taught at Talent Middle School for over 20 years. “I love feeling the comradery of it. It’s just a fun atmosphere ... it really bumps up the learning to an entirely new level.”
Coming off its 13th-straight summer, Academia Latina has a clear case of growing pains. This year, 155 students applied, but only 98 were accepted, some as instructors and counselors. In 2012, 135 applied and about 80 were accepted. The program has been coping with a trend of expanding popularity since its inception and it’s clear why, said Jonathan ChavezBaez, Academia Latina instructor and senior admissions counselor for minority outreach at SOU. “The connection that you’re able to make with the students is incredible. You see them begin to change over the course of the week; they begin to share their goals, their fears and ambitions. They are completely invested in the program. ... they are passionate about it,” he said. “Once I joined Academia Latina and experienced it, I knew that this is what I had to be doing. It changed my life.”
Aside from Academia Latina, Juanita Ephraim teaches ELD and Social Studies at Talent Middle School.
Chavez-Baez first learned of the program as a student at Phoenix High School. His mom signed him up to be a counselor, a leader for the younger students to look up and relate to in the program. Chavez-Baez’s life changing experience at Academia Latina isn’t unique among those who’ve attended. Handfuls of the program’s students excitedly tell local media outlets every year about how Academia Latina has changed their lives. “It is life changing. These kids come back and they are different. They have an expanded view of who they are and who they can be,” said Charlie Bauer, coordinator of Southern Oregon Education Service District’s Migrant Education program. “Students go there and they realize college is possible for them and that they have the desire to go. And they start hearing about the mechanics of what it takes to go.” Bauer’s predecessor, Pam Lucas, helped Gomez-Ephraim initiate the program in 2000, as did Carol Jensen, director of precollege programs at SOU for the past 20 years. Jenson, Lucas, Gomez-Ephraim and others had programs to model Academia Latina after, most notably the Konaway Nika Tillicum college preparation
academy for Native American youth hosted at SOU since 1994; as well as Oregon Migrant Student Leadership Institute, a long-standing state-wide version of Academia Latina, which was hosted at universities around the state, including SOU, for several years before settling in on the campus of Oregon State University. “We were reading down the road, looking at demographics and realized that this population really needed a program like this,” Jenson said. “We knew we had a successful model with Konaway, but we needed input from the community we were planning to serve. They helped create it and design it, and I think that’s been key to the program’s success,” Jensen said. Building a sense of trust between the program and the region’s Latino community hasn’t been easy, the organizers said, but that was expected. “There is a saying in Latino culture ‘la familia pasa la noche en la casa,’ or the family spends the night in the house,” Bauer said. And program leaders still see the uneasiness in Latino parents, many of whom do not speak English, as they allow their seventh-through-ninth-grade children, to stay for a week away from home at SOU, GomezEphraim said.
Students who want to attend the program for their first time must have a grade point average of at least 2.75. Returning students must have at least a 3.0 and a higher GPA than they had the previous year upon attending the program. Jennifer Corona, a 22-year-old college counselor at Phoenix High School, volunteered as a counselor at Academia Latina while she was in high school, and said the program’s popularity among students at her school is through-the-roof compared to five years ago. “Everyone knows about it now. ... I see some kids who maybe didn’t get in for some reason and they are so sad,” she said. “Everyone knows what a great opportunity it is.” Like Corona, Erika Ochoa, educational assistant for English language learners at North Medford High School, who also served as a counselor at Academia Latina in 2004, said she has no trouble generating student interest for the program at NMHS. Over 20 percent of the students in the Medford School District are Latino, according to state education reports. Jackson County's census figures from the last decade reflected similar growth statewide. Overall, Latinos made up 11.7 percent of the state population in 2010, growing by a whopping 63.5 percent since 2000. “I’ve been an advocate of the program ever since I saw what a positive impact it can have on these students,” Ochoa said. “You would think I would have to push and shove to get the applications in, but every year once one kid finds out, they all find out. And they are bummed out when they don’t get in.” Organizers have considered expanding the program, but that will never happen without more funding, Gomez-Ephraim said. If the program were to expand, it would more than likely be broken up into a pair of one-week sessions, hosting two groups of students, similar to Oregon Migrant Student Leadership Institute, she said, TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
ACCORDING TO 2010 STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION STATISTICS, THE DROPOUT RATE AMONG LATINO STUDENTS IN OREGON WAS STILL TWICE AS HIGH AS WHITE, NON-HISPANICS — 7.6 PERCENT COMPARED TO 3.5 PERCENT.
“but we don’t want to take too many kids at once. 100 is enough ... we’re afraid of losing our community feel.” Each year by way of a federal grant program, Bauer’s migrant education program offers Academia Latina a $25,000 grant to help foot a portion of its $75,000 to $100,000 annual bill. Additionally, the program is funded through support from The Reed and Carolee Walker Fund and Fields Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, Joe and Frances Naumes Family Foundation, Inc., GEAR UP, which is a U.S. Department of Education grant program designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education, Oregon Education Association, a long-standing partnership with The Carpenter Foundation, and other local businesses and individual sponsors. Oregon Shakespeare Festival also gives the academy reduced prices for tickets to its plays, which the students attend each year. Southern Oregon University, in addition to hosting Academia Latina students in its residential and dining halls and classrooms, has also donated $20,000 to the program the last few years, Jensen said. Because the staff is volunteer only, all of that funding goes toward feeding and housing the students, and making sure none of them get slapped with the program’s $695 tuition fee, said GomezEphraim, adding most students only pay a required $50 registration fee unless the 26
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
Phoenix High School College Counselor Jennifer Corona, who served as a counselor at Academia Latina, supports students on their journey toward college.
family opts to pay more. “We’re fueled by grants, community support and SOU. If, for some reason, those grants fell through, we would be faced with cancelling the program,” Chavez-Baez said. Organizers have an endowment fund
setup for Academia Latina though the SOU Foundation, Jensen said, but it’s several hundred thousand dollars away from where it needs to be. According to 2010 state department of education statistics, the dropout rate among Latino students in Oregon was still
twice as high as white, non-Hispanics — 7.6 percent compared to 3.5 percent. Though not ideal, the same statistic nearly 10 years prior, when Academia Latina first started, was considerably higher, and it has been declining at a slow but steady rate ever since — helping that
decline along is why Academia Latina was founded, organizers said. Another benchmark for the program came in 2011, when SOU saw a 25 percent increase in Latino student enrollment, much of which Jensen and Chavez-Baez attribute to Academia Latina.
Considering the growing Latino population and the seeming pay-off SOU has seen in its investment in the program, the question Academia Latina organizers are beginning to ask themselves is: why aren’t more institutions around the state and nation playing host to similar programs? n TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
Lessons for Life
Culturally responsive teaching practices help broaden minds and tighten communities By Jon Bell â€˘ Photos by Chris Becerra
Over 300 educators and community members attended the Teaching with Purpose Conference Oct. 10-11 to learn about culturally responsive teaching strategies.
HEN HE WAS PRINCIPAL at Reynolds Middle School, Chris Russo regularly, if informally, met with one of the students at the school. The boy, who Russo described as a “young man of color,” would show up for casual chats on late afternoons or early evenings when Russo was working late. Though the two seemed to have a solid rapport, Russo noticed that something was off during one of their visits. The student wasn’t talking much, and Russo could tell that something was on his mind. Finally, the boy spoke up. Mr. Russo? I don’t like the way you look at me. Stunned, Russo looked up from his work and locked eyes with the student. The first response that came to his mind was something defensive, along the lines of Who are you talking to? But Russo paused long enough to realize that the boy was talking about something much bigger. He wasn’t singling out Russo in particular, but instead pointing out the fact that he didn’t feel comfortable in the school, didn’t like the way other, predominately white teachers and administrators and even some students made him feel. The boy was essentially saying he didn’t feel welcome or at home in his own school in his own community, and that took Russo by surprise. “All these times he had been visiting me, he had been working up the courage to say that to me,” said Russo, who’s now chief academic officer for the Reynolds School District. “I think about that all the time. It was a moment of disequilibrium for me. It rocked my world.” The moment mattered so much to Russo because up until that 30
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point, he thought the school had been doing at least an OK job at accommodating its culturally diverse populations. It hadn’t been enough. Russo compared the scenario to a dinner party where the hosts have invited guests into their home for what they think is an evening of nice food and drink. “It all looks good,” Russo said, “but they’re not feeling comfortable in our home.” Russo’s story was one of many shared at the fourth annual “Teaching with Purpose Conference” at Roosevelt High School in October, and one of many that helps to paint a picture of just how far education in Oregon has come from a cultural standpoint — and how very far it still has to go. And one of the ways it’s going to get there is through culturally responsive teaching practices and teachers who not only highlight cultural diversity, but who weave it into their day-to-day classrooms, as well. “Children need images and a curriculum that honors their heritage,” said Doris McEwen, deputy director of curriculum and instruction for the Oregon Education Investment Board, “and not just African Americans, but Hispanics and Asians and our white children. Children need to be immersed in their culture because that is what makes us stronger as a people.”
IVERSITY AND CULTURAL INCLUSIVENESS have long been a challenge in education in Oregon, in part because the state as a whole has never been incredibly diverse. The education system here mirrors that, as well. According to the Oregon Department of Education, just over 16 percent of public education students in Oregon in 1997 were students of color. Fifteen years later,
In true "culturally responsive" teaching form, educator Joyce Harris presents on using African centered literature to empower students academically.
close to 35 percent of the state’s nearly 561,000 students were minorities, including Hispanics (28 percent), African Americans (2.5 percent) Asians (4 percent) and American Indians (5 percent.) The student population may have diversified some, but there are still relatively few minority teachers in Oregon. In 1996, about 4 percent of teachers were people of color; in 2012, that percentage had climbed to just over 8 percent. “Most teachers in the classroom, particularly in Oregon, are white, middle class, and that doesn’t reflect the kids they’re teaching in many ways,” said Linda Smart, a social studies teacher at Monroe Middle School in Eugene. The state has over the years set some ambitious goals for diversifying its teaching force. In 1991, the Legislature passed HB 3565, the Oregon Education Act for the 21st Century, which among other reforms stipulated that the state’s teaching workforce should be proportionate in diversity to the student population by 2001. “We didn’t do very well,” said Patrick Burk, an associate professor at Portland State University’s Graduate School of Education and the former chief policy officer for ODE. Yet despite a lack of widespread diversity among its teaching and, to a lesser extent, student ranks, there is no denying the importance that cultural awareness and responsiveness can play in students’ education. Not only does it create a more inclusive learning environment while at the same time expanding learners’ horizons, but there is also evidence that a more culturally responsive approach can actually improve academic achievement and, as a result, help narrow the achievement gap. “The truth is that schools are a great common ground for Credits: Chris Becerra
everybody to come together and have a better understanding of each other,” said Merri Steele, a retired speech and language pathologist from the Eugene School District who now works as a consultant and conducts culturally responsive training programs for educators. “Some kids don’t get exposed to ideas about cultural identity or gender or anything like that. Schools are the ones that can help provide that broader opportunity.”
ULTURALLY RESPONSIVE TEACHING PRACTICES are nothing entirely new in Oregon, though they haven’t always been called that. Joyce Harris, director of the Region X Equity Assistance Center at Education Northwest, co-founded the Black Educational Center in 1970 in part because there simply wasn’t any African American history or curriculum offered in Portland’s public schools. “Back in the day, we didn’t call it culturally responsive,” said Harris, who also spoke at the “Teaching with Purpose” conference. “We used cultural content to teach academic skills.” Nowadays, however, culturally responsive teaching practices have become more formalized, at least in the way teachers and other educators can learn about them. The Oregon Center for Educational Equity (CFEE) has for years offered workshops and trainings for educators on everything from equity and racial inequality to poverty and building cross-cultural communities. The center, comprised of diverse facilitators and professional development leaders, also helps schools and communities address systemic issues of inequality and improve the classroom environment to TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
Colleen Young uses tools gleaned from the CFEE program to engage her students at Kelly Middle School - about 37 percent of who are students of color.
better serve all students. Colleen Young teaches seventh- and eighth-grade social studies at Kelly Middle School in Eugene, a school where about 70 percent of students are on free or reduced lunch and 37 percent are students of color, largely Latino. She attended a weeklong CFFE training that focused on issues of cultural identity and what it means to be a person of color. Young said it was one of the most useful professional development experiences she’s had. “It’s really helped me to take risks and have talks about race and identity with my students,” she said. “As a white person, I have been hesitant to talk about those things because it’s kind of outside of my comfort zone. So that training was really rewarding for that.” Karanja Crews, who taught in both the Beaverton School District and Portland Public Schools for 10 years before taking time off to pursue a doctorate in education, said making connections is key when it comes to culturally responsive teaching. He experienced this firsthand when he first started teaching in an affluent white community in Beaverton, a stark contrast to the northeast Portland neighborhood he’d grown up in. 32
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“I didn’t know how I’d be accepted,” he said, “but they welcomed me with open arms. That really opened my eyes. Culturally responsive teaching is not about race or looks. It’s about relationships and how you can relate to all kinds of kids.” The same held true when Crews moved to the now-closed Young Men’s Academy at Jefferson High School in Portland. “Education is really all about building strong relationships wherever you are,” he said.
ACK IN 2006, the Oregon Education Association began offering culturally responsive training to educators through the National Education Association’s “Education for All” program. While beneficial, the training took a long time, so the association embarked on a more localized effort in partnership with the NEA about three years later. Through that effort, the NEA’s Department of Human and Civil Rights developed a curriculum and helped train 22 OEA members and staff to deliver it across the state. Called “C.A.R.E.: Strategies for Closing the Achievement Gap,” the curriculum focuses on four different student-centered
Gresham High School teacher Sarabeth Leitch has devised new teaching strategies to reach her students of diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.
themes — culture, ability, resilience and effort — and aims to help educators address educational disparities and student achievement. “These are strategies that provide opportunities for teachers to learn about the different cultures in their classrooms, while also allowing students to feel proud and honored about their own culture,” said Paul Duchin, a retired math and general education teacher in Eugene who, along with Merri Steele, conducts C.A.R.E. training workshops for educators in Oregon. “It’s a pretty powerful message.” The culture part of the training encourages teachers to be especially mindful of the different cultural backgrounds of the students they’re teaching, including differences in language and economic status. Teachers are encouraged to lock in on students’ different abilities and learning styles while also recognizing and building on the resilience they bring to the classroom. And lastly, the training helps educators find unique ways to engage students so that they put forth the effort needed to do well academically. One way to do that, said Steele, is for teachers to include a range of different Credits: Chris Becerra
cultural subjects and ideas in their instruction. “With so much of the emphasis being on test taking and making the grade, you can sometimes overlook the important cultural pieces,” she said. “If you don’t engage in that, sometimes it’s harder to keep students drawn in.” Steele said one of the main strategies of the C.A.R.E. training is to get people to understand not only the differences between them, but what they have in common, as well. One activity has participants writing a poem about where they are from and then sharing that with others if they so choose. That exercise alone helps people learn a little bit about themselves and establish common connections with others. It’s also the kind of mindset that teachers can then take back into the classroom with them and pass on to their students. Both Steele and Duchin said the feedback they get from educators who have taken the training is positive, particularly in helping them become more comfortable in talking about different cultural, gender and socioeconomic issues in their classrooms. “Most people feel they have a better understanding of students,” TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
Avel Gordly, former Oregon State Senator who sponsored the original SB 103 legislation, takes part in a panel at Teaching With Purpose.
SB 103: The (nearly) lost legislation
ORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO, Avel Gordly, then a member of the Oregon House of Representatives, first began an effort to inject multicultural curricula into Oregon’s public schools, an effort that would fall short three times between 1993 and 1997. But in 1999, as an Oregon Senator, Gordly finally saw her bill — SB 103 — make its way through the legislative process and become law. It essentially required the Department of Education to beef up its efforts to integrate more multicultural education in Oregon. Nearly 15 years later, however, SB 103 has practically faded from all daylight. Asked to speak about the legislation at the “Teaching with Purpose Conference” in October, Doris McEwen, deputy director of curriculum and instruction for the Oregon Education Investment Board, had trouble even finding a copy of the law. “I could not find it,” she said. “That’s a statement to how buried this legislation is.” There is a movement afoot, however, to reinvigorate SB 103 and ensure that its original intent is implemented and carried out. It’s not going to be easy, but it is possible. “If we are going to move this bill into something that’s tangible, we have to have processes that include parents, students, educators, principals — everyone,” McEwen said. “When you don’t know your history, you don’t have anything to root you.” Rob Saxton, Oregon’s deputy state superintendent of public instruction, said he, too, was frustrated by how elusive SB 103 has become. He also voiced disappointment in the fact that, of the 150 new employees the ODE has hired in the last 18 months, less than 20 percent are people of color. In addition, for Oregon’s 198,000 students of color, the ODE has less than three people on staff who focus on equity. Saxton said the time has come to truly embrace the multicultural scope of SB 103 and stop putting it on the backburner in the name of everything from staff shortages and funding shortfalls to economic recessions. “That kind of excuse-making has got to stop,” he said. “I do not care what the budget is, I do not care what the economy is. We are going to have staff in the department of education who are committed to closing the achievement gap.” 34
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Steele said. “They’re really feeling more connected and like they’re able to have success with students who are hard to reach.” Similarly, the training can help teachers and school staff better connect with families who, for one reason or another, may not have forged a very strong bond with their child’s school. “I think it does help them relate to parents or family members,” Steele said. “It’s a real challenge when you have parents from a certain cultural or economic background that may make them reluctant to come to the school. It’s not that the parents don’t care — they do — but maybe they’re not around because of the jobs they work or they don’t speak the language enough to feel welcome in school.”
EYOND TRAINING PROGRAMS LIKE C.A.R.E. and those offered by the CFEE, individual teachers and educators around the state have found other ways to integrate cultural ideas and equity into the classroom. Karanja Crews started before he even began his teaching career. In 2001, while he was getting ready for grad school at PSU, Crews followed a brewing controversy around the achievement gap that saw community leaders protesting at PPS school board meetings, basically shutting them down. “I wanted to come up with a solution rather than protesting,” Crews said. His move was to organize the first “Teaching with Purpose Conference” in 2001, which brought together more than 150 teachers and national speakers, including civil rights leader Bob Moses. This year’s two-day conference topped 300 attendees, offered more than 30 workshops and featured notable local, state and national speakers, including Gloria Ladson-Billings, an educator renowned for her work in culturally relevant education. “The goal of the conference is to discuss culturally relevant teaching and to celebrate it,” Crews said. “If we can understand who we are ourselves, then we are much more able to relate to other people. There are a lot of teachers who already understand that and are practicing it in their classrooms.” Sarabeth Leitch, a language arts and journalism teacher at Gresham High School, started focusing on cultural inclusiveness almost unwittingly when she was assigned to a cohort that just so happened to be working on equity in the classroom. Even before that, however, Leitch had been headed down that path while earning a psychology degree from the University of Oregon, originally thinking she wanted to get into youth counseling. “Through that work, you have to do a lot of interpersonal work and study around your own family and culture,” she said. “That was an awakening for me.” Leitch has attended different conferences and workshops to broaden her own cultural competency, including the Hip Hop in the Heartland Institute at the University of Wisconsin and a fellowship at Cal Poly studying the life and journeys of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. She has students write personal essays about where they are from, which then get posted around the school, along with a photograph of each student.
OEA member and monroe Middle School teacher Linda Smart engages her students in a discussion of Christopher Columbus using readings from a book by Howard Zinn.
Leitch also brings in popular culture and has students look at hip hop music, its founding and its lyrics. “People usually see the flash and the gold and the MTV moments,” she said, “but we look at the roots of it.” She said she sees the big-picture benefit in exposing her students to lots of different cultures while also having them explore their own, as well. “When we talk about culture and identity, it allows us to go out into the world and be more comfortable with who we are while also being more respectful of the people we interact with,” Leitch said. In addition to her school social studies classes in Eugene, Linda Smart also teaches a unique class founded on some of the principles of cultural awareness. Called PeaceJam, the class is based on an international curriculum of social justice that connects students with Nobel laureates and focuses on issues such as racism, violence and the proliferation of weapons. “They start looking at these issues globally,” Smart said, “but then they bring it back down to the microcosm we live in every day. It empowers kids.” One of the teachers who make up the C.A.R.E. cadre trained by the NEA, Smart said she thinks it’s always important to showcase Credits: Chris Becerra
different cultures in her room, whether that be posters on the wall that include Native American quotes or books on the shelves that feature women as the main characters. She also uses different textbooks than many teachers do, such as Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” as a way to introduce students to other historical perspectives. “I want them to stop and think, I want to put them in someone else’s shoes,” Smart said. A white woman who married a black man, Smart said part of the reason she makes cultural awareness such an integral part of her teaching is that she wants all children to feel empowered and respected for who they are, something she found lacking for her own two children in school. Like other teachers who employ culturally responsive teaching in their classrooms, Smart sees a bigger picture, as well. “I teach because I feel like we are the ones helping the next generation see things in whatever way they are going to see them,” she said. “Sometimes you feel like you’re the only one out there doing it, but someone has to have the voice. And the more who stand up and use it, the more there are who will start looking more broadly at what’s going on in schools and in society as a whole.” n TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
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
School Wellness Award
WHAT: Oregon Department of Education, Nutrition Council of Oregon, and Oregon Dairy Council are accepting applications for the 2013-2014 School Wellness Award to recognize three schools for their efforts in creating and sustaining a culture of wellness. Each selected school is awarded $2,500 to use to further their culture of wellness. n WHen: Application deadline is Jan. 31, 2014 n how: For more information and the application, go to www.surveymonkey. com/s/H52JHGF. n
Barbara Lotze Scholarships for Future Teachers
WHAT: The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Barbara Lotze Scholarships offer funds for future high school physics teachers. Maximum award: $2,000. n WHo: U.S. citizens attending U.S. schools as undergraduates enrolled, or planning to enroll, in physics teacher preparation curricula, and U.S. high school seniors entering such programs are eligible. n WHen: Application deadline is Dec. 1, 2013. n how: For more information and to apply, go to www.aapt.org/Programs/grants/ lotze.cfm. n
WHAT: This video documentary competition encourages students to think critically about issues affecting our communities and nation. Maximum award: $5,000, plus $750 to spend on digital video equipment for student’s school. n WHo: Students in grades 6-12, individually or in teams are eligible. n WHen: Submission Deadline is Jan. 20, 2014. n how: For more information about the theme for this competition and how to submit, go to www.studentcam.org. n
Toshiba/NSTA: ExploraVision Awards
WHAT: The Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Awards Program encourages kids to create and explore a vision of future technology by combining their imaginations with the tools of science. Maximum award: $10,000 bond per student on winning team. n WHo: K-12 students are eligible. n WHen: Deadline is Jan. 30, 2014. n how: For more information and to register, go to www.exploravision.org/about. n
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
History Teacher of the Year
WHAT: This award honors elementary school teachers, K-6, based on several criteria. From the state winners, one is recognized as the National History Teacher of the Year and is honored in a Fall ceremony. n WHen: To be considered for the 2014 award, elementary teachers must be nominated by Feb. 1, 2014. n how For more information about the nomination process, visit www.gilderlehrman.org/programs-exhibitions/national-history-teacher-year-faq. n
Bonnie Plants: 3rd-Grade Cabbage Program
WHAT: This program offers students a hands-on gardening experience through growing colossal cabbages. Submit your class’s winning cabbage entry, it will be entered for a chance to win $1,000 from Bonnie Plants for your state’s competition. n WHo: Third grade teachers in all states except Alaska and Hawaii. n WHen: Deadline: Feb. 1, 2014. n how: For more information and to register your class, visit http://bonniecabbageprogram.com/teachers. n
Innovation Generation: Christopher Columbus Awards n
WHAT: The Christopher Columbus
Awards is a national, community-based STEM competition for middle school students and teachers looking to make a difference in their community. Working in teams, students identify a problem in the community and apply the scientific method to create an innovative solution. Maximum award: $25,000 grant. n WHo: Eligibility: schools (grades 6-8) and community groups. n WHen: Application Deadline is Feb. 3, 2014. n how: For more information, go to www.christophercolumbusawards.com. OPPORTUNITIES
Oregon Civics Conference for Teachers
WHAT: Law Project invites educators to this conference for an insider’s view of the Oregon government. Participants will return to schools knowing more about the Oregon Constitution and initiative system, key landmark cases from Oregon courts, and our elected officials and what they do. Teachers will also receive an armload of lessons, materials, and ideas that can be put right to work in classrooms. n WHere: State Capitol Building, Salem n WHen: Dec. 6, 2013, 8:30am-3:45pm, n WHo: Grades 5-12 educators n how: Learn more at www.classroomlaw. org/programs/oregon-civics-conference. n
Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Program
WHAT: This program seeks to improve mutual understanding among teachers, their schools and communities in the U.S. and abroad by providing teachers with international professional development opportunities for three or four months. n WHo: U.S. K-12 educators are eligible. n WHen: Application deadline is Dec. 15, 2013. n how: For more information, go to http://fulbrightteacherexchange.org/ us-teachers. n
Sources + Resources FOR THE CLASSROOM
n WHAT: This web site offers over 266,736
free K-12 learning materials for use in the classroom, including a resource bank of Common Core State Standards, covering all aspects of the standards, from advice and guides that support the standards. n how: Go to www.sharemylesson.com.
National Geographic (NG) and the Common Core
n WHAT: This web site offers resources
that support the pedagogical shifts outlined by the Common Core State Standards with links to informational, grade-appropriate texts and supporting information for educators. n how: Go to NG’s Common Core portal at http://education.nationalgeographic.com. WEBSITES
Sight for Students
WHAT: Sight for Students is a VSP charity that provides free vision exams and glasses to low-income, uninsured children. n how: For more information on eligibility and how to access this program, go to www.sightforstudents.org. n
WHAT: This website offers professional development, classroom videos, and great tasks organized by standard and grade level. Try their Number and Operations in Base Ten page. n how: Go to http://insidemathematics. org/index.php/number-and-operationsin-base-ten-nbt. n
Read to Feed Kit
WHAT: This free kit is available to educators and classroom leaders via mail order or download; and offers easy-to-use program resources and lesson plans, videos, certificates, donation forms and other information n how: For more information, go to www. readtofeed.org. n
Planning to Change the World: A Plan Book for Social Justice Teachers 2013-2014 Edited by Tara Mack and Bree Picower Rethinking Schools Ltd, 2013; ISBN: 9780942961966; $18.00 (Spiral Bound) / $9.50 (PDF); Available online at www.rethinkingschools.org/publication/index.shtml This is a plan book for educators who believe their students can and will change the world. It is designed to help teachers translate their vision of a just education into concrete classroom activities.
When Writing with Technology Matters By Carol Bedard and Charles Fuhrken Stenhouse Publishers, 2013; ISBN-13: 9781571109378; $20.00 (List Price); Available online at www.stenhouse.com This book demonstrates how to take advantage of the digital generation's affinity for technology in order to change and improve the writing process, empowering students to become better, more nuanced readers, writers, and thinkers who are well prepared for the challenges of a digital world.
Small Steps, Big Changes By Chris Confer and Marco Ramirez Stenhouse Publishers, 2012; ISBN-13: 9781571108135; $21.00 (List Price); Available at www.stenhouse.com When teachers make sense of math, students learn to make sense of math, and that can profoundly change the entire culture of a school. Discover eight key ways to change your school's math culture in Small Steps, Big Changes.
Attention-Grabbing Tools: Involving Parents in Their Children's Learning By Jane Baskwill Pembroke Publishers Limited, 2013; ISBN: 978-155138-283-8; $22.00 (List Price); Available at www.stenhouse.com This book offers an array of communication strategies—takehome information and materials, parent conferences, learning nights, and digital and social media—to help establish and maintain a solid parent-teacher relationship.
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT FROM THE CLASSROOM ON UP Classroom Law Project Helps Students Become Civically Minded BY BETZY FRYE / Development Director, Classroom Law Project
he Oregon Education Association partners with many community organizations and Classroom Law Project (CLP) is one of them. If you don’t know about CLP, let this be your introduction. But don’t let it be the conclusion – the folks at CLP have a lot to offer. Professional development for social studies teachers like Scott Nelson from Willamina High is a CLP mainstay. With workshops sprinkled throughout the year in places like La Grande, Bend, Portland and Medford, teachers have choices. Whether the focus is the Constitution, elections, mock trials, the environment or any from a host of other civic or government related topics, teachers know they can expect a blend of content and strategy. CLP workshops are known as hands-on events that strive to put the “active” in active learning. You may be familiar with the high school mock trial competition, We the People program, or Project Citizen. Or, your students may have toured the Multnomah County Courthouse, attended the Law Day conference or youth summit
at Portland State University. Perhaps you attended the Oregon Civics Conference for Teachers at the State Capitol where you met high-level elected officials. If so, then you know Classroom Law Project. This statewide non-profit organization does great civic education for teachers and K-12 students. “When I started teaching fifth grade 10 years ago, I went to CLP's We the People training and received a free classroom set of textbooks, ,” said Karen Stratton, Sexton Mountain Elementary teacher and former OEA Board member. Stratton then organized mock Congressional hearings in her classroom and took students to the State Capitol to participate in CLP's We the People Days. “The students were thrilled to testify in real legislative hearing rooms,” she added, “and I appreciated the coordination and support from CLP, including money for buses to get to Salem." As you plunge ahead into the school year, keep CLP in mind. Staff there can help you with your classroom Constitution – a great way to get students on the same page at the start of the year.
When you cover current events, use CLP’s weekly post; it is complete with state standards, common core and connections to the Constitution. Later in the year, when free speech issues arise (don’t they always?) CLP has materials to help deconstruct controversial issues. Ask Karen Rouse. Last year’s Civic Educator of the Year and teacher at West Sylvan Middle School, Rouse is a walking billboard for the organization. A veteran of mock trial, We the People, Youth Summit, and many professional development offerings, Rouse also serves as a mentorteacher and discussion leader at CLP workshops. “They have so many ideas and they are great sounding boards for mine,” describes Rouse, “so I continue to learn and grow as both an educator and citizen.” John Dewey reminds us that “democracy has to be born anew in every generation.” We think he would like the OEA-CLP partnership because we agree on the value of civic education. To learn more about Classroom Law Project and how it can help your classroom, or about any of the programs mentioned, go to www.classroomlaw.org.
I AM STILL AMAZED AND EXCITED ABOUT ALL THE TOPICS THAT WERE COVERED AND THE INTERESTING IDEAS THAT I WILL TAKE BACK TO MY CLASSROOM. … ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS IS THAT EVERY INTERACTION WAS MET WITH ENTHUSIASM FOR EXPANDING STUDENTS’ KNOWLEDGE AND OFFERING INNOVATIVE AND EXCITING WAYS TO COVER TEACHING ABOUT OUR GOVERNMENT. I HAVE A RENEWED VIGOR FOR TEACHING AND FOR THAT I AM TRULY GRATEFUL. n TEACHER SCOTT NELSON, Willamina High School, after attending Classroom Law Project Summer Institute 2013
TODAY’S OEA | OCTOBER 2013
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
Periodicals POSTAGE PAID at Portland OR
Raise Your Hand for Student Success! SUNDAY
Education Support Professionals Day
Educator for a Day Encourage elected
Substitute Educators Day
Organize a kickoff event to get the week started!
Invite parents and family members to school for a first-hand look at a typical school day.
Recognize bus drivers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, maintenance staff, and others who provide invaluable services for their outstanding work.
officials and community leaders to serve as “educators for a day” for a hands-on school experience.
Honor and celebrate educators who are called on to substitute for regular classroom teachers in their absence for their services.
October 2013 edition of Today's OEA magazine.