A PUBLICATION FOR MEMBERS OF THE OREGON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
Special INSERT IP 28 Signature Sheet SPRING 2016 VOLUME 90 : NUMBER 3
Safe, Sound + Special Oregon educators juggle safety, success and much more along the special ed trail
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
» GREENING UP » LESSONS FROM THE MALHEUR OCCUPATION » POLICIES, BYLAWS, CANDIDATES
Ways You Can Support THE OEA FOUNDATION with everyday items you use and purchase!
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon. com, Amazon will donate .5% of the purchase price to the OEA Foundation. Here’s how: Go to: smile.amazon.com Sign in to your amazon.com account In the field “pick your own charitable organization,” type in: “Oregon Education Association Foundation”
CLOTHES FOR THE CAUSE We all have unwanted textiles that are either worn out, or no longer fit. Instead of throwing these items into the trash, give your clothes a second life by participating in our textile collection drive! OEA Foundation will earn funds for every pound of clothing donated! Bring your items to the OEA-RA, or for special pick-up and drop-off, conact: John Larson, OEA Vice President 503-495-2124 (office) firstname.lastname@example.org
FRED MEYER REWARDS Fred Meyer is donating $2.5 million per year to non-profits in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, based on where their customers tell them to give. Here’s how the program works: Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to the OEA Foundation at www.fredmeyer.com/communityrewards. You can search for us by our name or by our non-profit number 85681. Then, every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you are helping the OEA Foundation provide children with clothing, shoes, and other basic needs!
CONTENTS / Spring2016 VOLUME 90 : ISSUE NO.3
05 / united by purpose
By Hanna Vaandering, OEA President
06 / Events for OEA Members Newsflash
07 / victory for eagle point 09 / pendleton teacher on ellen show » Teaching & Learning
10 / minding the gap On the Cover
34 / Safe, Sound and Special
13 / student oea revs the engine
Oregon educators juggle safety, success and much more along the special ed trail By Jon Bell
26 / greening up
From seeking out earth-friendly cleaning supplies to sowing seeds in classroom gardens, Oregon schools are improving sustainability practices, and seeing great results By Julia Sanders
30 / an Inextinguishable Force of Optimism First-year teacher Kelly Cowgill is building trust at every level By Laila Hirschfeld
Politics & You
14 / Oregon’s February Session Adjourns Organizer's Toolbox
16 / better oregon's Volunteer all stars Event Highlight
19 / NEA's Leadership Summit Inspires Perspective
20 / Honoring Hood River's Minoru Yasui 22 / a teachable Moment in Our Backyard Special Section
41 / candidates, Bylaws and policies Sources + Resources
44 / Books and Opportunities On the Web
46 / better oregon's final push
ON THE COVER: A Cottage Grove student participates in a sensory excercise to make sure she feels ready to learn. PhotO by chris becerra Credits: Top: Chris Becerra; Bottom: Thomas Patterson; Right: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE / Spring2016 Hanna Vaandering OEA President
Joined by NEA Directors Judy Harris and Reed Scott-Schwalbach, OEA President Hanna Vaandering holds the pen used by President Obama to sign the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law.
.S. Lewis, author of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, took great care to remind us that “the future is something that everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour.” As an educator, I’m not convinced. Time seems to work differently for us—our hours pass way more quickly, and we squeeze much more time into a day than most. So when I hear of the incredible educators throughout the state (like the ones featured in our Better Oregon Super Stars section on page 16) who are taking their personal time to gather signatures for the campaign, I am in awe. But, I’m not surprised! That’s because we know that the Better Oregon campaign is more than a campaign, it’s a moral imperative. I meet with educators from around the state, and I hear stories that break my heart. In Salem, more than 50 children rely on a single nurse to administer life-sustaining insulin; in Umatilla, children no longer have art or PE; in far too many districts, libraries languish without librarians. And class size? I've met with so many teachers as they fight back tears, and through gritted teeth talk about how frustrating it is to try to build personal connections with their students when they have more than 40 of them in their classroom! I mean, what other profession would require you to crowd-source for photo-copy paper?
Despite these stories—despite the growing frustrations—here we all are, giving our time, and just generally being fierce! What really unites us, I believe, is our shared purpose. Malala Yousafzai—the young girl who was hunted by the Taliban, and who has since become one of the world’s leading voices for social justice and education, sums our shared purpose eloquently: she says, “There are many problems, but I think there is a solution to all these problems; it's just one, and it's education.” Exactly. So, whether it’s building greener schools (page 26), or creating curriculum around current events (page 22), or gathering signatures for the Better Oregon campaign, as educators, we are articulating our deep, passionate commitment to solving the world’s problems and for supporting our students, their families and our communities. I am excited to see what more we can accomplish. And I am so proud of all the work that is being done by educators across our great state. We have enclosed a petition with this magazine. I know you’ll sign it (if you haven't already) and get it back to us, because together, we will defend public education and continue to offer solutions to the world’s problems. — Hanna
WE KNOW THAT THE BETTER OREGON CAMPAIGN IS MORE THAN A CAMPAIGN, IT’S A MORAL IMPERATIVE. Credit: Hanna Vaandering
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE OREGON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION Apr. 5, 2016
Healthy Schools Day
SPRING 2016 VOLUME 90 : ISSUE NO. 3
n WHAT: National Healthy Schools Day is an important day for everyone to celebrate and
promote healthy and green school environments for all children through the use of US Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools (TfS) Program. n HOW: For more information, go to www.nationalhealthyschoolsday.org. April 15-16, 2016
OEA Representative Assembly n What: OEA member-delegates gather to elect new leaders, reform bylaws and policies, pro-
pose new business items, attend caucus meetings, and celebrate member achievements. n WHERE: Red Lion Hotel on the River—Jantzen Beach, Portland, Ore. n HOW: Go to: www.oregoned.org/ra. May 2-6, 2016
National Teacher Appreciation Week n WHAT: On National Teacher Day, thousands of communities take time to honor their local
educators and acknowledge the crucial role teachers play in making sure every student receives a quality education. n HOW: For more information, go to www.nea.org/teacherday. SAVE THIS DATE! Jul 1-7, 2016
NEA Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly n WHAT: NEA Representative Assembly delegates will gather from around the country to elect
leaders, review bylaws and policies and set the direction for the NEA in the coming year. n WHERE: Washington, D.C. n HOW: Go to www.nea.org/grants/1357.htm SAVE THE DATE! JUL. 26-28, 2016
OEA Summer Leadership Conference n WHAT: The Summer Leadership Conference provides in-depth training on both professional
and union advocacy issues. n HOW: Keep your eyes on www.oregoned.org — information will be posted soon.
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 Laila Hirschfeld, Janine Leggett, Andrea Shunk, Erin Whitlock, Jared Mason-Gere, Julia Sanders, Jon Bell, Chris Becerra, Thomas Patterson To submit a story idea for publication in Today’s OEA magazine, email editor Meg Krugel at email@example.com PRINTER Morel Ink, Portland, OR TODAY’S OEA (ISSN #0030-4689) is published four times a year (October, February, March 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
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Francesca Genovese-Finch
Newsflash STEM Hub Created in East Multnomah County
recently created STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) hub in East Multnomah County has received $124,882 in grant funds to improve student access to science education. The hub is one of many similar programs located throughout the state. The hub was created through the work of about 60 organizations and individuals, including Mt. Hood Community College, the Reynolds School District, David Douglas School District, the city of Gresham, Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce, MHCC Small Business Development Center, Microchip Technology Inc., Techolicy, LLC, iUrban Teen, Impact Northwest and Home Forward. “Our focus is much broader than the K-12 education piece. But also we want to engage adults in the community too,” said Mark Wreath, dean of applied technologies and high school services at Mt. Hood Community College. The funds will allow the hub to hire a director and to improve career opportunities in science and math for students. It will be located at Mt. Hood Community College.
From the archives: Eagle Point EA members strike for a fair contract back in 2012.
Victory For Eagle Point Education Association
he Eagle Point Education Association received a favorable court ruling regarding free speech violations by the school district that occurred in 2012 during a heated teachers strike. At the time, picketing teachers were forbidden from setting foot on school property, even if they were parents of children attending the school. In addition, signs were banned from school grounds without the approval of the superintendent, and students who demonstrated support for their teachers by posting on Facebook and by hanging signs in a student’s car were not allowed to attend school.
In response to these actions, the Association filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court, arguing that the District’s resolutions were in violation of the free speech rights of Association members and supporters. Last April the court ruled in favor of EPEA, and wrote, “In this case, what could have been an incredible opportunity for students to witness the function of the Bill of Rights in their very own lives and learn first-hand that the important principles of our government are not mere platitudes instead became a situation of reactionary, fear-based policies designed to suppress any opposition or unpopular viewpoint.”
University Day at the Capitol
epresentatives from Oregon’s seven public universities rallied at the State Capitol on Feb. 11 in an effort to urge lawmakers to continue to invest in higher education. It was the first time that all seven institutions combined their lobbying efforts on one single day in the hopes that their
Credits: OEA Communications
voices would be heard. “In the spirit of collaboration and coordination, we wanted to hold a joint advocacy day for all seven universities to come into the building and talk to legislators about our united agenda,” said Libby Batlan, the UO’s Senior Director for State Relations.
“Lawmakers like to see us work together. From a policy standpoint and a leverage standpoint, seven voices are louder than one.” Nearly 300 students, faculty, and alumni attended the event, which included one-onone meetings with lawmakers. TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oregon’s Spending on Education vs. Corrections
hile Oregon puts more money into education than any other expense, the growth-rate of spending on corrections is alarming when compared to the slow increases in post-secondary and K-12 education. According to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, titled "Changing Priorities: State Criminal Justice Reforms and Investments in Education," Oregon was among a group of 12 states that increased its corrections spending by more than four times between 1986 and 2013 (adjusted for inflation). Perhaps even more alarming is that Oregon is the only state in the country that spent twice as much on its prisoners as it did on its college students in 2013.
Non-Profits Offer Arts Education in Every Oregon County
study released by the Oregon Community Foundation highlights the strengths and weaknesses of arts education provided by non-profit organizations throughout the state. The study, called "Oregon Arts Education Snapshot,” found that while there is a higher concentration of non-profit organizations providing art-focused educational services in the Portland-metro area and I-5 corridor, there is more non-profit arts outreach per capita in rural areas of Oregon. Only one third of the organizations reported offering instruction in schools and just 40 percent said that they held performances at schools. Preschool children were the least-served group, receiving about half of the number of services as K-12 students.
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
In 2013, Oregon spent TWICE as much on prisoners as it did on college students.
Nominations Open for 2017 Oregon Teacher of the Year
o you know an outstanding educator you believe deserves recognition? Every year, the Oregon Department of Education honors teachers and their impact on students’ lives through the Oregon Teacher of the Year award. The award recognizes an outstanding teacher as a representative of all of the amazing educators in our state who are making a difference in their communities. Once selected, the Teacher of the Year and his or her school are each awarded a $5,000 cash prize. Two runners up also each receive an award of $2,000. To learn more about the Teacher of the Year program or to make a nomination today, go to: http://oregonteacheroftheyear.org. Nomination deadline: May 13, 2016.
Benson Polytechnic Unveils Health Clinic
ortland’s Benson Polytechnic High School opened its doors in February to a 1,400 square foot health clinic that will provide medical and mental health care to students. As a magnet school, Benson’s student body comes from all over the city, making it difficult to attend appointments without impacting school attendance. With the new on-site clinic, students will have access to the care they need while at school, allowing them to spend less time away from class. The clinic will be staffed by residents at Oregon Health and Sciences University as well as faculty from the Family Medicine Department. On top of providing health
care, the clinic will offer mentorship opportunities for high school students who want careers in medicine. In addition to the OHSU residents, the school nurse from Multnomah Education Service District will work out of the clinic along with mental health professionals from the Multnomah County Health Department and Western Psychological & Counseling Services. “Without an on-site health clinic, you cannot get county mental health services, and that puts a ghastly burden on the school counselors,” says Portland Public Schools board member Paul Anthony. In the future, Anthony hopes to add dental services to the clinic as well.
Newsflash HAVE YOU SIGNED? » April 15 is the date OEA is hoping to meet its goal of 60,000 signatures for IP 28. Haven't signed yet? You're in luck! Tear out the single-signer sheet, found in the centerfold of this magazine, sign it, and mail it back to OEA!
Pendleton Teacher Appears on “The Ellen Show”
endleton High School Spanish teacher Kathryn Youngman got the experience of a lifetime, thanks to a group of adoring students who helped get her onto “The Ellen Show.” Youngman, who is battling cancer for a third time, is a big fan of Ellen DeGeneres and her show’s dedication to spreading positivity and kindness. Wanting to do something special for their teacher during a time of hardship, the students launched the #YoungmanOnEllen campaign on Twitter and Facebook. The effort went viral, inspiring photos, videos, and messages of hope from people all over the nation, including Governor Kate Brown and Senator Ron Wyden. It wasn’t long before producers at “The Ellen Show” took notice
and invited Youngman to come on the show. Near the end of the episode, DeGeneres sat down with Youngman for a brief interview. “I think it’s totally about attitude and I also think it’s totally about being kind to one another,” Youngman said. “Kindness and spreading that to other people is a great message and it helps you get through these times.” “It’s stories like yours that I actually go home and think about when I go home at night,” replied DeGeneres. “I hope this inspires other people and this is really about staying positive.” Pendleton High School students have also helped raise funds to cover Youngman’s medical expenses that are not covered by insurance.
Oregon’s Interim Chief Education Officer Made Permanent
fter a strong performance as Oregon’s interim Chief Education Officer, as of March 8, Lindsey Capps will permanently fill the position, said Gov. Kate Brown. Capps is skilled in lobbying and politics and spent seven years working for the Oregon Education Association, most recently filling the role of Director of the OEA's Center for Great Public Schools. The role of Chief Education Officer was created by Gov. John Kitzhaber to control education funding and the shaping of policies within early childhood education, K-12 schools, state financial aid, community colleges and public universities. "Lindsey is especially adept at bringing people together around a common purpose, so that we can all focus on what's best for students," said OEA President Hanna Vaandering.
Oregon’s Science Education Gets a Boost From NASAFunded Consortium
Kathryn Youngman, who is battling cancer for the third time, meets a personal hero: Ellen Degeneres.
Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros
he new Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) recently launched a $10 million cooperative agreement with NASA that will mobilize new efforts and expand existing programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics throughout Oregon, Washington and Montana over the next five years. The NESSP will focus on improving access for underserved and underrepresented communities. The program will help build a network of organizations aimed at improving STEM education and will increase student access to services and experiences that can help them enter fast-growing job markets in the Northwest. The NESSP will work with K-12 teachers and educational institutions to inspire the next generation of innovators. TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
Teaching & Learning
MINDING THE GAP BY ANDREA SHUNK / Policy and Professional Practice Consultant, OEA Center for Great Public Schools
ducators have to pay attention to a lot of gaps these days. There’s the achievement gap, the opportunity gap, the income gap, the technology gap. But no gap might be nearly as important as the knowing-doing gap, the gap between what educators learn and know about quality instructional practices and implementing those in their classrooms. It was with this gap in mind that OEA’s Center for Great Public Schools (CGPS) launched a new approach to professional learning this Fall centered on assessment literacy. The new approach brings together a core group of educators over a significant amount of time to learn and put into practice their learning in a statewide professional learning community. Or, put another way, an approach that minds the knowing-doing gap.
Quality Assessment Professional Practice Cadre
Posters from the four-day camp illustrate participants' depth of learning around quality assessment.
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
The Quality Assessment Professional Practice Cadre, or the QAPP, is a new approach to professional learning for our union, but one that recognizes that ensuring the quality of teaching and learning and promoting teacher leadership is a central function of our organization. The QAPP is also a new approach to collaboration. The cadre consists of six educators from around the state, and a collaborative team of 12 from the St. Helens Education Association and the St. Helens School District. Together, these 14 educators and four administrators are learning, collaborating, and conducting action research in their classrooms and schools. This Cadre grew out of the recommendations of the assessment workgroup convened in 2014 by the Office of the Governor, OEA, the Oregon Education Investment Board, and the Oregon Department of Education to propose an ideal system of assessment in Oregon.
Their work, A New Path Forward: System of Assessment for Meaningful Student Learning (find it online: oregoned.org/assessment) recommends that Oregon education partners, including OEA, develop and implement aligned and differentiated professional learning that leads to high quality classroom assessment practices. The QAPP Cadre helps fulfill this recommendation.
Learning about Quality Assessment Practices
The Cadre began their work in January at a four-day professional learning led by both Center for Great Public School’s staff and instructional strategies expert (and Oregonian) Jan Chappuis, co-author of Classroom Assessment for Student Learning. Over the course of the four days, the Cadre members increased their knowledge of the five guiding principles of quality assessment and planned to incorporate those principles in their own classroom practices. Had the learning ended there, OEA would have perpetuated the knowing-doing gap. Cadre members would hold knowledge about quality classroom assessment and its vital alignment to instructional strategies, but would it make a difference for their students? Probably not. Instead, the Cadre continues to meet in a professional learning community both as a whole and in smaller grade-level groups to continue to dive deeper into the principles of quality assessment, support each other as they implement new practices, and to learn from each other’s successes and failures. The team meets monthly on Saturdays for full days of continued learning, and checks in regularly with each other in between meetings — both electronically and in person — where they share successes, ideas, and their questions. “The infrastructure to support implementation is something that is rare in
Teaching & Learning
The Cadre's professional development camp provided rich opportunities to engage with colleagues across Oregon on fine-tuning assessment practices.
professional learning,” said Cadre member Erin Beard, a teacher and instructional coach from South Medford High School. Through the PLC of the Cadre, members are working smarter, not harder and learning from a diverse group of educators, across levels, across cities, and across content areas. “Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel at the local level all across Oregon, the PLC allows us to hear what is going on elsewhere,” Beard said. Each month, Cadre members try out different instructional and assessment strategies in their classroom. So far, they have: n Completed self-assessments on their assessment practices, including how they align with their instruction; n Audited their own assessments to check for a balance between formative and summative uses; n Deconstructed content standards and written student friendly learning targets; n Created test blueprints; Credits: Andrea Shunk
n Practiced writing a variety of
assessment items aligned to clear targets and their instruction; n And evaluated their assessments against quality criteria checklists. “The greatest value so far is in realizing just how deep assessment literacy goes,” said Cadre member Leah Starkovich, an instructional coach at Ventura Park Elementary School in the David Douglas School District.
Leading the Learning in Oregon
Cadre members are not just learning for themselves, though. They are simultaneously preparing to share their learning more broadly across the state in 2016-17, acting as lead learners for a variety of professional learning activities. This includes helping to lead learning opportunities at the 2016 OEA Summer Leadership Conference. Additionally, the St. Helens Education Association and St. Helens School District are working on a professional learning
plan for St. Helens teachers in the 2016-17 school year. The members of the QAPP Cadre will lead the work in their schools working directly to provide peer-to-peer support. The administrators will work to support optimal professional learning conditions, such as preserving the collaborative time St. Helens already has built into its schedule. As the Cadre continues in its learning, members will, in conjunction with CGPS staff members, identify other learning opportunities they can help lead for teachers, including starting a second Cadre in the summer of 2016 and bringing on additional local education associations and districts willing to collaborate via this teacher leadership opportunity. Starkovich said her hope is that the Cadre can be instrumental in spreading best practices across Oregon and supporting educators. “There is a lot to learn, but we can take pieces to support teachers in their daily practice,” she added. TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
Teaching & Learning > TAX TIME
Dues Tax Deduction for OEA Members
embers may be able to deduct their union dues for 2015 income taxes. This includes NEA, OEA and Local dues. The deduction must meet the limitations on miscellaneous itemized deductions (deductible when “Miscellaneous” itemized deductions exceed two percent of adjusted gross income). To claim union dues as a deduction you must use the standard Form 1040. Union dues are reported on line 21 of Schedule A (Form 1040) — Itemized Deductions. The amount of the deduction will be based on the actual dues paid in 2015. You will likely be able to find this amount on your final 2015 pay stub listed as dues. If your district provides a detailed Form W-2, you may also find the information there. If you are not able to find the amount in either place, a call to your employer’s payroll office should provide the most accurate information. Call your local OEA support staff if you still have questions. The $250 Educator Expenses deduction was extended through 2015. The deduction for K-12 educators can be found on line 23 of Form 1040 and line 16 of Form 1040A. Each form refers to specific instructions that explain the qualification for the deduction. The simplest tax return, Form 1040EZ, does not provide for this deduction. If you have qualifying expenses, be sure to use one of the other forms to file your 2015 taxes. OEA does not provide tax advice to members, but you can find more information on the official IRS website, www.irs.gov, or by contacting your tax consultant.
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
OEA member, teacher, and instructional coach Erin Beard learns from instructional strategies expert Jan Chapuis.
A New Era of Assessment
This new approach to professional learning by OEA comes at an optimal time in education, particularly with the recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The new legislation replacing No Child Left Behind ushers in a significant return to local and state control over education and places an emphasis on teacher leadership. For many educators in the state, this represents the first time they will have taught in a post-NCLB era and with that comes challenges and opportunities. Cadre member Alyssa Nestler, 2nd grade teacher at Centennial Elementary School in Springfield, not only has only taught under NCLB, but also attended high school when the first wave of standardized tests hit schools. After Nestler graduated, completed her academic preparation, and began teaching, the unintended consequences of the NCLB test-and-punish framework came into stark focus. “We have all this research on what is best practice and what is right for students and it just did not align with the NCLB assessment system.” But with the passage of ESSA and her work on the Cadre, Nestler feels much more positive and hopeful for the future
of education in Oregon. “My specific hope is to develop a more comprehensive assessment system that really gives an accurate profile of what students know and what they have learned through this work,” she said.
A New Path for Oregon
This time of possibilities and opportunities for educators is the opportunity we have been waiting for to take the lead in improving teaching and learning conditions in our classrooms and for our students. And that means we can’t rely on approaches from the past, approaches that only perpetuated the knowing-doing gap and didn’t lead to meaningful learning for students. The Quality Assessment Professional Practice Cadre is part of the new path toward a better, more balanced, and more humane system of assessment in Oregon. By putting teachers in the lead, and supporting ongoing learning through the professional learning community, the Cadre can become a model for professional learning for OEA and the state. Keep an eye out for opportunities to take part in assessment literacy professional learning in Summer 2016 and beyond.
Inside OEA Bucket List
OEA-GPS staff Rebecca Konefal and Erin Whitlock join early career educator Chaney Sannan at WOU's Conference "Beginning Your Journey in Education."
STUDENT OEA REVS THE ENGINE
EA is re-energizing a new membership body within its ranks this Spring. OEA leaders and staff have been hard at work giving the Student OEA Chapter new momentum. The chapter is open to students at Oregon’s colleges and universities interested in the field of education. Student OEA is an affiliate of the successful Student NEA program, which represents 55,000 members attending 1,100 colleges nationwide. Student NEA is critical to building the pipeline for active membership within NEA — the organization reports that one out of three NEA Student Program members becomes an NEA leader. Last month, more than 200 newly
engaged members of Student OEA attended a conference at Western Oregon University — “Beginning Your Journey in Education” — hosted by OEA, the Oregon Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (OASCD) and the Confederation of School Administrators (COSA). As a nod to OEA’s leadership around building and using effective educator evaluation, OEA staff presented a workshop on “How to Rock your First Evaluations,” to look at how to both keep your job and actually use the evaluation tools to grow professionally. At the conference, more than 45 attendees expressed interest in starting a Student OEA Chapter on their own college campus.
Notes from OCESP The Oregon Council for Education Support Professionals is proud to announce that its Council Secretary, Laura Warren, has won Lebanon ESP Educator of the Year. n
Diana Garcia, the 2015 Willie Juhola winner represented OEA as ESP of the Year at the NEA ESP Conference in Orlando, FL. n
n Read Across America on March 2, 2016 ESPs stepped up to the plate. There were Sneetches running loose in Lebanon. Several Cat in the Hats were seen at schools and on a bus in Salem.
Credits: Andrea Shunk; Rebecca Konefal
UPCOMING EVENTS: n April 2, 2016 Pre-RA Meeting and OCESP RA 2815 Coburg Rd. Eugene Oregon. PRAM will start at 8 a.m. n April 2, 2016
OEA-RA All ESP Delegates are invited to join OCESP for lunch. Please RSVP to the OCESP Chair Doris Jared no later than March 28, 2016. In subject line, please indicate OEA RA lunch.
f it weren’t for Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, quite a number of folk wouldn’t know what a bucket list was. But everybody has one. If not on paper, it is manifested every time we say, "I always wondered about doing that or seeing that. " Many of us put up road blocks such as “I don't now how to set up a trip like that” or “I have no one to travel with.” OEA-Retired can fix that, through a Travel Program with deals to places you may have never thought possible — and a group to travel with. OEA-Retired has sponsored trips abroad to South Africa, China, Turkey, Spain and Portugal, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Closer to home, there have been sponsored trips to Canada's Winter Wonderland, Colors of New England, American Music Cities, Heritage of America, and the list goes on. "Southern Charm" and "Discover Croatia" are scheduled for April of 2016, and "Canyon Country" in Arizona and Utah, with "Legendary Waterways of Europe" in September of 2016. If you have any other ideas about where you would like to travel, let us know. You don’t have to be a member of OEA-Retired to take advantage of this service. If this appeals to you, contact our OEA-Retired travel specialists, Nancy Lewis at email@example.com and Greg Abbott at firstname.lastname@example.org. — Dan Domenigoni, OEA-Retired
OCESP Chair Doris Jared • email@example.com Vice Chair Michael Coleman • firstname.lastname@example.org Secretary Laura Warren • email@example.com Treasurer Kathryn Huerta Kathryn.firstname.lastname@example.org OEA ESP Director Kathy Coon • email@example.com
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
Politics & You
IT’S A WRAP! FEBRUARY SESSION ADJOURNS
EA is your voice in Salem, working toward stronger policies for students and working families across Oregon. This session, which ran Feb. 1 through March 3, the Legislature had the opportunity to support students and public education, to establish a living wage, to strengthen protections for workers, and to defend against a bevy of harmful and ill-considered schemes that would hurt students, weaken schools, and make the jobs of professional educators more difficult. Here’s a rundown of how some of OEA’s top priorities fared this session:
FENDING OFF MORE ATTACKS ON WORKER RETIREMENTS
A small group of senators joined with the state’s corporate elite and other perpetual opponents of strong retirement benefits for workers in introducing yet another attack on PERS. The bill, SB 1519 threw nearly every remaining possible cut a variety of attacks on active employees’ retirements. This includes a prospective redirect of the 6 percent contribution to the Individual Account Plan (IAP) and the establishment of a “Tier 4,” which would essentially function as a 401K, with no defined benefit retirement component. OEA was able to work with our allies representing firefighters, nurses, law enforcement and other hard-working public servants, to shut this bill down early in session. However, we anticipate this conversation will re-emerge over the coming months, and we
must remain vigilant to protect the retirements educators have earned.
SMALL ADVANCES FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE
The 2016 Legislative Session had limited conversations around higher education, but there were some positive steps forward for students and faculty. Legislators moved forward to address some of the top concerns with the new “Oregon Promise” program of increased funding for community college tuition. HB 4076 would provide and expand wrap-around student supports for a student’s first year at community college, to help reduce drop-outs and increase student success. With expanding numbers of firstgeneration students, these additional supports will be important to the ability of community colleges to carry out their mission.
The Legislature also allocated some much-needed funds for safety upgrades and facility renovations at Umpqua Community College. $4.25 million was designated for reconstruction of Snyder Hall, where the tragic shooting at UCC occurred, in addition to other upgrades to reduce the odds of such an event reoccurring. OEA and other education advocates had pressed for additional capital construction funds for the other 16 Oregon community colleges, but were unsuccessful. We will return in the 2017 Legislature to try again.
BAD IDEAS... MORE BAD IDEAS
As always, we were forced to defend against a smorgasbord of terrible policies harmful to students, teachers, and working families. OEA fought off attempts to increase charter school funding (SB 1536), create a merit pay scheme (HB 4112), and expand open enrollment (SB 1566). We helped ensure an effort to dissolve public employee insurance pools (OEBB and PEBB) was stopped in its tracks (HB 4029). Finally, we joined in coalition efforts to block rollback of the landmark paid sick leave legislation (SB 1581/HB4139).
It’s Official! Oregon is Getting a Raise
regonians need a raise. The cost of living has surged in Oregon, while wages for the lowest income earners have remained low. The tides are turning, however. On March 2, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown was joined by OEA Vice President John Larson and other “Raise the Wage” Coalition members to sign Senate Bill 1532 into law, which will ratchet up Oregon’s minimum wage bit by bit over the next six years. Gov. Brown called the measure her “top priority for this year’s legislative session,” according to OPB. The bill will tier minimum wages for three geographic areas: one for the Portland metro-area, a lower one for mid-size communities, and the lowest for rural parts of
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
Oregon. By 2022, the minimum wage will top out at $14.75 per hour in Portland and $13.50 to $12.50 in the other areas outside of the Portland metro area. The unique tiered system is what sets this minimum wage legislation apart from other states, and will give Oregon the highest statewide minimum wage rates in the nation by the completion of the six-year phase in. The passage of this legislation is an important victory for educators and the students we serve. Following the vote, OEA President Hanna Vaandering, said: "The members of the Oregon Education Association applaud the brave steps taken by the Oregon Legislature to ensure the
success of Oregon's working families and their students in our public schools and community colleges. The passage of SB 1532 will help ensure all Oregonian families can afford life’s basic necessities — school clothes and supplies, food, and better access to housing — and bring more students and their families out of poverty. While raising the minimum wage will not eliminate hardships for low-wage working families, it’s a step in the right direction to building stronger local communities and a better Oregon."
Politics & You
Oregon Governor Kate Brown takes the stage at OEA-PIE Convention to roaring applause.
Who Can Say No to PIE?
fter listening to a host of speeches, participating in rigorous debate and caucusing with fellow members, the OEA-PIE assembly made candidate recommendations for several offices, including President of the United States. The hall spoke, and made it clear: We’re With Her. Not only did the assembly recommend Hillary Clinton for US President, but there was an abundance of support for a host of other female candidates including Suzanne Bonamici for US House of Representatives; Kate Brown for Governor, and Ellen Rosenblum for Attorney General. The body also voted to recommend Ron Wyden for US Senator; Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader for US House of Representatives, Brad Avakian for Credit: Meg Krugel
Secretary of State, and Tobias Read for State Treasurer. A highlight of the convention—other than the delicious mini-pies provided by the Governor—were the candidate hospitality suites, where OEA-PIE members had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with candidates to discuss the issues. The talk got real—educators used the time to tell candidates like Governor Brown and Commissioner Avakian about what they were experiencing in their classes and at their work sites: school secretaries spoke of having to administer medication to students because of the lack of school nurses; kindergarten teachers talked about what it’s like to teach in a class with 52 (yes, 52) students; community college faculty spoke about their
students’ fear of accumulating debt. Several dozen retired educators also attended the convention, and are among some of the top signature gatherers for the Better Oregon Campaign, an issue which took center stage. Ray Johnson, who retired nearly two decades ago, has gathered 256 signatures to date. He said, “I want to keep going until I get at least 300!” Indeed, every candidate seeking recommendation was asked if she or he endorsed the Better Oregon Campaign (see page 16), and PIE members succeeded in gathering signatures from US Representatives Bonamici and DeFazio; Commissioner Avakian; State Sen. Richard Devlin and State House Representatives Hoyle and Read. TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
BETTER / OREGON ALL / STARS A s we reach the pinnacle of the signature-gathering phase of the Better Oregon Campaign, we want to celebrate a handful of incredible members who are helping OEA reach its lofty signature goal. What motivates these members? What are their tips for success? Find out, get inspired, and join them in their efforts! Profiles by Laila Hirschfeld
ALWAYS AN EDUCATOR
WHO: Ray Johnson Retired Math Teacher Forest Grove SIGNATURES TO DATE: 256
INSPIRING COLLEAGUES WHO: Jennifer Mohr Colett Music Teacher Fir Grove Elementary, Beaverton SIGNATURES TO DATE: 379
WHY IS THIS CAMPAIGN IMPORTANT? “I don’t think folks really understand what a budget crisis does to a school system—our music program was slashed by more than fifty percent. For a student, that means their music education is reduced from up to 90 minutes a week, down to, in some cases, just 15 minutes a week. It’s hard to recover from something like that—and that’s just music. There are many schools, right here in Beaverton, that don’t even have a librarian, and if we don’t win this campaign, they may never again.” WHY SHOULD EDUCATORS SIGN ON? “Look, I grew up in Oregon and attended
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
public schools here. I received a great education, with highly developed programs and that’s because our schools were funded— public education was a priority. I think we all want the same thing. We want Oregon to be a place where the most talented educators choose to live and practice, to grow roots. Imagine what we could do for our students, and our communities, if we’re able to pass this ballot measure? We truly will be able to build a Better Oregon.” TOP TIP: I think you’ve got to commit to being the hero for your building. Make a list, go door-to-door, and make the time to have those one-on-one conversations with your colleagues. Promise to follow-up and then keep your promise. Oh, and recruit your friends! Sixty percent of the members in our building are also circulators!
WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW? When I look back at my career, I have to say, we never, ever experienced the class loads today’s educators are facing. I mean, it wasn’t a Golden Age, but I don’t think I ever had more than 27 students in a class. I talk to teachers who have 40 students, and I just can’t imagine how they’re doing it. WHAT TROUBLES YOU MOST ABOUT CURRENT CONDITIONS? I don’t think we’re giving Oregon’s students our best. All the best teaching practices tell you that smaller classes make a huge difference. Kids need one-on-one attention, they are individuals and you have to meet them where they are—but we just keep cutting and cutting. How can kids learn like that? WHY DOES THIS MATTER IF YOU’RE RETIRED? C’mon, that’s an obvious answer. When you retire, you don’t stop caring. I’m still a voter; I’m still a citizen. You don’t just walk out the door and stop being an educator.
WHO: The whole team! Holcomb Elementary School Oregon City CIRCULATOR PERCENTAGE: 60 percent of staff have circulated petitions WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT HOLCOMB ES? “This is just a truly welcoming school. The staff is friendly and embracing—many would describe it as kind-of like a family. We work well together, and it feels like we’re all on the same team. We have high expectations of both our students and ourselves.”
WHO IS CIRCULATING? “Here at Holcomb it’s been an all-school effort. Teachers have signed, ESPs have signed, our Principal has signed. A few of us began to pass out the petitions, and it caught on. I think the majority of us are motivated because we see the impact financial instability has had on our students—we don’t have a librarian, we lost our reading specialist, there are no dedicated PE teachers. Cut days mean our students aren’t in school learning. We’re under a lot of pressure for children to be college and career ready, but those are false priorities because there is always a general
lack of resources. It’s time to make a change, and we’re all ready for that change. ” TEAMWORK: “The facetime totally makes a difference. You can’t just call one meeting and think you’re going to get everyone—you have to take that extra time to actually meet with people. We started small, approaching a few colleagues in the morning, and a few after school. It was no pressure—we were friendly, and we were prepared with information. We used the tools that were made available to us, and then folks just wanted to pitch in and be a part of this.”
"I think we all want the same thing. We want Oregon to be a place where the most talented educators choose to live and practice, to grow roots. Imagine what we could do for our students, and our communities, if we’re able to pass this ballot measure? We truly will be able to build a Better Oregon.” — Jennifer Mohr Colett, Music Teacher at Fir Grove Elementary Credits: Robert Parish; Laila Hirschfeld
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
Organizer's Toolbox THE EXTRA SPECIAL POWER OF ESPS
WHO: Wally Franko School Security Grants Pass High School, Grants Pass
family life. We live in the same communities as many of our students, and we just want them to have opportunity. We want them to have the schools they deserve, we want them to be healthy, we care about their families, and especially their older relatives. If we want to build a Better Oregon, then our communities are the foundation for that building, just like support professionals are the foundation of any school.”
SIGNATURES TO DATE: 30 and counting! WHEN DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THIS CAMPAIGN? “I was just recently approached. I learned more about a Better Oregon, and becoming a part of this campaign felt natural. Someone got me a few sheets and I had 30 signatures in a weekend. Folks are fired up—it doesn’t take much coaxing to know that it’s time to do right by our students and our schools. ARE ESPs A BIG PART OF THIS CAMPAIGN? “If they’re not, they should be. The support
staff where I work has just as much, if not more, contact with students than teachers and administrators combined. My colleagues and I think a lot about the whole child—their nutrition, their safety, their transportation, their
WHAT’S YOUR SUPER POWER?: “Haha, I don’t have a super power. I think I just care a lot about what happens to my community and our students, and that comes through. You have to have passion; you have to believe you’re going to make that difference. And if you do, then you really can change things. I know that’s what I’m going to do—I’m going to change things.”
"Folks are fired up—it doesn’t take much coaxing to know that it’s time to do right by our students and our schools.”
— Wally Franko, School Security at Grants Pass High School
ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY
WHO: Greg Burrill Substitute Teacher Portland Public Schools and Multnomah County SIGNATURES TO DATE: 546 WHAT MOTIVATES YOU I’m a substitute teacher, so I’m not overworked like my colleagues. What I would really like to see for my students, colleagues and community is a school system that is adequately funded: right now we’re operating with a $2 billion dollar hole, and my hope is that this ballot measure will help us fill that hole. HOW DO YOU SEE THINGS CHANGING? Right now, my colleagues are doing the best they can. But because of the huge class sizes, it’s hard to develop personal relationships with every student. You have to make priorities, and that means someone is not getting your attention. That’s just not right. It will be interesting to see what our educators can do when we’re not cutting budgets.
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
IMPORTANT SIGNATURES It’s important to me that we get everyone on board—I have principals, elected leaders, former mayoral candidates and prominent activists, among others. I have also had
a lot of success with people lining up for music or theater events—people who love music just get it, they know what’s missing from schools and they want things to change.
Unite, Inspire, Lead A
ctivist members and leaders across the NEA spectrum descended on Dallas, TX last month, Feb. 26-28, for the 2016 NEA Leadership Summit. The Summit aims to develop activists within the union and prepare them with the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to lead a relevant and thriving association. OEA members who attended (sporting their ‘TEAM OEA” Better Oregon shirts!) returned to Oregon fueled with the desire to make change – both for our union, and the students we serve. Read about some of their most enlightening moments!
"The conference was inspiring and rejuvenating. I have not seen anything else like it; thousands of educators from across the country banding together with a common purpose: to make our schools better."
NEA Leadership Summit Empowers Educators for Success
"I enjoyed the discussion that we had about institutional racism. I'm truly grateful for NEA starting this hard conversation in such a thoughtful way. It was enlightening to hear from students about how the institutional racism affected them. Jennifer Gilliand
Centennial Education Association
Salem-Keizer Education Association
Aubrey Stenger, Woodburn Education Association After attending the NEA National Leadership Summit in Dallas, Texas, this year I am filled with a greater sense of purpose and drive. As educators, we must advocate for a quality educational system which is fair, equitable, and benefits all children. Son Burns,
Burns-Hines Education Association
The NEA Leadership Summit gave us a chance to step back and evaluate the work we do and ask, "what else can WE do together?" As educators, we have the responsibility to do what we know is best for our students and as union members we have the power to work for change. The Summit was energizing and we brought back lots of fresh ideas to implement with our colleagues in Oregon.
I am grateful for the opportunity to get acquainted with fellow Oregonians and to connect with colleagues from around the country. President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia opened the NEA Leadership Summit by reminding us that "Your playing small does not help the world." The summit focused on providing us with a clear path to defend our profession and our students. We were challenged to stay vigilant as ESSA takes hold, and inspired to step to the forefront in the battle to defeat institutional racism. The final morning, NEA Treasurer Princess Moss reminded us of the lesson of NCLB. If we do not lead, others will lead for us. ¡Muchas Gracias!
The collective power of educators dedicated to improving their students' and colleagues' experiences in public education was overwhelming at the NEA Leadership Summit. I share the sentiment I heard from other Oregon participants, and have come back rejuvenated, with a sharpened skill set, and inspired by knowing that what we do in our schools and worksites is supported by 3.2 million other NEA educators. reed Scott-Schwalbach, Spanish Teacher, Centennial Education Association
Sara Schmitt, Vice President,
Beaverton Education Association
"When you are with purpose, you collide with destiny." — Bertice Berry We are all in education for a reason. Each and every one one of us make a difference in children's lives. We educate kids; we inspire kids; we accept kids without judgement; we are there when they need someone the most. We matter to kids, all of us! We can and do change lives every day. It's our duty and responsibility to make that change a positive one! Ginny Ward, Educational Assistant, Bethel Education Association
Team OEA arrives at the NEA Leadership Summit in full force.
Credits: Top left: Charles Haas, NEA; Bottom left: Laila Hirschfeld; Right: Reed Scott-Schwalbach
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
Sarah Segal's students send a video letter to President Obama, urging that Minoru Yasui be honored as an Unsung Hero.
A LOCAL HERO, A CLASSROOM LESSON, A NEW STATE LAW Students Testify to Name March 28 after Hood River’s Minoru Yasui BY SARAH SEGAL / 6th Grade Teacher, Hood River Middle School
very community holds a complex history; sometimes there is greatness, and sometimes darkness. In the end, it is the actions of individuals and groups of people that ultimately define history. In Hood River there is knowledge of the town's treatment of its own Japanese American neighbors during WWII, and until recently little was taught in local schools about this chapter of our community’s history. For years I have taught an Oregon History elective course, where 6th-8th grade Hood River Middle School students explore Oregon through environmental changes and a social justice lens. In the Fall of 2014, interviews with local community members and analyzing historical documents led to a unique opportunity.
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
Students learned that in the Spring of 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which essentially led to the removal of all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast. While on a walking tour of Hood River landmarks, we carried with us historical images to connect these places with past events. Standing at the Mount Hood Railroad Station, the same depot many students excitedly visited as young children to board the Polar Express and Thomas the Train excursions, we analyzed July 1942 photographs of the Japanese American deportation, and realized this site also marks a place of sadness and loss in Hood River’s history. One individual, Hood River-born Minoru ‘Min' Yasuim, continued to surface in our learning and discussions. The first Japanese American to graduate from the University of Oregon School of Law
Perspective STANDING AT THE MOUNT HOOD RAILROAD STATION, THE SAME DEPOT MANY STUDENTS EXCITEDLY VISITED AS YOUNG CHILDREN TO BOARD THE POLAR EXPRESS AND THOMAS THE TRAIN EXCURSIONS, WE ANALYZED JULY 1942 PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE JAPANESE AMERICAN DEPORTATION, AND REALIZED THIS SITE ALSO MARKS A PLACE OF SADNESS AND LOSS IN HOOD RIVER’S HISTORY. had attended high school at what is now Hood River Middle School. On March 28, 1942, Minoru Yasui began testing the constitutionality of EO 9066. He intentionally defied the race-based curfew against Japanese Americans by walking the streets of Portland in order to be arrested. As he wandered, his secretary repeatedly called the police to find and take him into custody. Approaching an officer on the streets, Min produced his birth certificate and the Public Proclamation establishing the curfew, and demanded to be arrested. The officer told him to go home. Min then walked to the Portland Police station, where he was finally arrested. Min’s case went to the Supreme Court, where the ruling delivered stated that the curfew was constitutional as a “wartime necessity.” Inspired by Minoru Yasui’s actions, and astonished that this civil rights leader once walked the same halls and sat in the same classrooms we inhabit every day, students decided to take civic action and write a letter in support of celebrating this Unsung Hero. In collaboration with the Minoru Yasui Tribute Project and Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, these Oregon History Elective students wrote a letter to President Obama, which was turned into a video-letter asking that Minoru Yasui be honored as a Hero. In early November 2015, a White House press release announced “Minoru Yasui was a civil and human rights leader known for his continuous defense of the ideals of democracy embodied in our Constitution” and would posthumously be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday, November 24th, 2015. In February 2016, continuing to bring their learning to action, Hood River Middle School students testified at the Oregon Credits: Sarah Segal; Nikkei Legacy Center
Legislature in support of House Bill 4009. Passing both the House of Representatives and Senate unanimously, when Governor Brown signs HB 4009 into law, March 28 Minoru Yasui Day will have permanent designation in the State of Oregon. The year 2016 marks Minoru Yasui’s 100th birthday. Educators can learn more about how Minoru Yasui dedicated his life to social justice through the upcoming documentary release, “Never Give Up! Minor Yasui and the Fight for Justice” narrated by George Takei and “Minoru Yasui: From Roots to Results” curriculum educator workshops presented in collaboration with the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center and Minoru Yasui Tribute Project.
All Oregon educators, students, and community members are invited to the March 28 Minoru Yasui Day “March for Justice” to take place at 4:30pm, gathering at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center (121 NW 2nd Avenue) and walking 6 blocks to SW 2nd Avenue and Oak Street (the historic location of the Portland Police Department where Minoru Yasui was arrested).
Sarah Segal was a 2014-2015 Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes Fellow. The program encourages teachers to guide their students in uncovering and celebrating local heroes.
Selfie time! Sarah Segal and her class of middle school students get a snap with the Governor, following their testimony at the State Capitol.
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
A Teachable Moment in Our Backyard
How a national standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge became central to my classroom curriculum, in more ways than one
By Jake Thompson / Social Studies Teacher, Burns High School
“Let me tell you one more thing about the negro” — Cliven Bundy, April 2014 I was driving home from school that Spring evening, listening to National Public Radio, when I heard those words spoken by the perceived heroic figure fighting for the rights of ranchers and farmers across the Western United States. Although I had briefly before considered the situation in Nevada concerning the rights of ranchers and farmers when dealing with the federal Bureau of Land Management, and had opened my mind to the prospect that these landowners were being unfairly treated by the power of the Federal Government, that
all changed with Bundy’s commentary. Immediately, I thought about the attitudes in my own community considering the rights of Americans that have not historically had the opportunity to be in positions of power: non-whites, women, and the LGBTQ community. As educators, those concerns often became objects of debate in the classroom or our staff rooms. For most of us, they were simply hypothetical abstractions from our everyday lives. That all changed for the community of Burns, Oregon, in January 2016.
“This refuge has been
Students in Jake Thompson's social studies class were encouraged to debate the resolution to the Malheur Occupation - half the class supporting the affirmative, and half supporting the negative.
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
destructive to the people of the county and to the people of the area” — Ammon Bundy January 2016 I passed Safeway supermarket on the way to John Day to officiate a high school basketball game and looked at the gathering protest march over the arrest and prosecution of local ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond with mild interest — but mostly indifference. The patriotism expressed in flags both American and Confederate, and cries of tyranny through the use of the Gadsden Flag, seemed overkill to me. I was quite familiar with the issues surrounding the contested violation of the Hammond’s rights on arson charges that carried a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison. I did not believe that their rights were being abused; after all, they had legally been found guilty by a federal jury and with it, accepted the penalty of violating the law. It was an outgoing judge who had made the decision to violate the rule of law. If there was any controversy, it seemed to fall on the shoulders of United States District Judge Michael Hogan. Even if one agreed with Hogan, he was superseding his authority it seemed to me. As I reached John Day, my son, Dylan, sent me a text message claiming that militia groups had taken control of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and had issued a set of demands for the federal government concerning the Hammonds, land usage, and government overreach. Thus began a nearly two-month standoff
The Malheur Occupation put Burns, Ore., a town of just under 3,000 people, on the national map.
ending in the death of one occupier, Lavoy Finicum, and the arrests of several of his supporting cast, including Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy and the selfproclaimed leader of the protest. Suddenly, the abstraction of the Bunkerville standoff became a reality that would directly affect our small town, our local law enforcement and government, and especially our school. The most significant teachable moment since 9-11-2001 would now begin for me and my students. This moment was in our backyard.
“Truth: An Eternal Conversation About Things That Matter” — Parker Palmer The first step for me was to realize my own biases concerning the issues surrounding the occupation and the Hammond family. I have always challenged Credits: Chris Becerra
my students to open their eyes to various sides of all issues. I had to open mine in order to bring this moment to the classroom. I used the week that our school was shut down to consider how to bring truth and insight to my courses. It seemed to me the journey had to start with the history of mandatory minimum sentences nationally, but especially as they related to Dwight and Steven Hammond. Since the modern implementation of mandatory minimum sentences intensified during the war on drugs in the 1980’s, I decided to use a drug crime to initiate student inquiry. The exercise took the formation of a jigsaw cooperative simulation. The students would roleplay a grand jury, jury, and judge in a case involving a mandatory minimum sentence. I had the students consider the evidence in the case of Weldon Angelos, a drug offender, sentenced to 55 years in prison for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. The sentence became
extreme because Angelos was in possession of a firearm when he was arrested. Groups of students acted as members of a grand jury and were presented with evidence from the case. After deliberation, they switched groups and offered their perspectives to additional groups of students. We then held a discussion on whether the evidence was substantial enough to bring an indictment against Angelos. The classes all agreed that there was ample evidence that a crime had been committed. They then had to consider the responsibility of a trial jury. What evidence did the defense present as compared to the prosecution? We used the same process, and the classes found Angelos guilty of drug possession with the intent to distribute. I assumed that the students would be in agreement to this point in the lesson. The connection to the occupation situation and the Hammond’s case would TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
When Burns High School re-opened after a week closure due to the occupation, Jake Thompson knew his social studies class would need to talk about the historic and alarming local event. “I knew that they would be upset if we just came into class, and I was like, ‘Well, listen, we’re going to talk about Federalism today',” Thompson said.
come during the sentencing exercise. Each group deliberated for 15 minutes considering a sentence for Weldon Angelos. The most extreme sentence delivered by any class was one year in prison. Students were shocked to find out the actual sentence given to Angelos and were interested to debate whether this was a violation of his 8th amendment rights. This argument had been considered in the case of Dwight Hammond who is in his 70s. More importantly, it began a healthy discussion on the purpose and consequence of mandatory minimum sentences in America. What were the pros and cons of this issue?
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of 24
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. — 2nd Amendment The issue of the legality of the Malheur occupation had much to do with legal interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. The students in my classes had already covered the Bill of Rights and they had a solid understanding of the amendment. The problem was how it was being used to form an armed protest. The lesson I used was implementing mini-debates of four students per group. Students were able to use iPads to research case law concerning the current interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, more specifically, District of Columbia v. Heller 2008 and McDonald v. Chicago 2010.
I then presented each group with a resolution connected to the Malheur occupation and assigned two students the affirmative and two students the negative. They had 15 minutes to make arguments with each other. The only rules were that students were not allowed to talk over each other. I did not care who won or lost; I was only concerned with creating a dialogue not based on misinformation that both sides of the controversy propagated via social media. I worked this into a unit covering the American Civil Rights Movement in my Civics course. We were then able to compare and contrast civil disobedience in the form of passive resistance (SCLC and SNCC) with armed resistance (Black Panthers and the Malheur occupation), and determine the historical outcomes of both situations.
Perspective I wonder how much we will love our economy when Common Core is brainwashing our children into brownshirts, the State supports the seizure of our guns and the warrantless searches of our property. Perhaps BLM can come here too and take the land from our farmers and ranchers? — KrisAnne Hall, 2015 “Ladies and Gentlemen, we will be bringing a world renowned constitutional scholar to Harney County. This will be a wonderful opportunity to learn about the constitution and how it pertains to the issues of land management in Harney county.” This announcement was delivered at halftime of a game I was officiating at Crane High School. I decided to research the scholar and found her to be KrisAnne Hall, a former prosecutor from the state of Florida. I knew that my students and their parents would likely attend her presentation and would have opinions that would be expressed in my classroom. Instead of providing my opinion on her points of view, I decided to conduct our own inquiry into the constitutional clauses and case laws that were specific to the Malheur occupation. It was a simple question: does the Federal Government have the legal right to own land in America? KrisAnne Hall and the majority of the occupational protesters were predominantly using Article 1 Section 8 Clause 17 to justify their argument that the Federal Government was overreaching their legal authority. This clause is known as the “Enclave Clause.” I asked the students to consider a number of other sections of the Constitution. For instance, the “Property Clause”, the “Necessary and Proper Clause” (which ironically directly followed Article 1 Section 8 Clause 17), the concept of “eminent domain” and the “Supremacy Clause” were all considered. This was to become the final examination of our two-week unit on the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Students would be provided a writing prompt specific to the right of the Federal Credits: Chris Becerra
Thompson believes Harney County citizens have a sophisticated understanding of the conflict between grazing rights and environmental concern — the root of the issue behind the Malheur Occupation.
Government to own land in America. They were required to defend their thesis statements with specific evidence from the Constitution or from actual case law that served as precedent for the debate over land ownership and management. Not surprisingly, this active ongoing situation led to another teaching moment.
“I have no intention of spending my days in a concrete box” — Lavoy Finicum, January 2016 Clearly, the most difficult day in class was the Monday after the death of Lavoy Finicum. The situation surrounding his shooting had inflamed the emotions of the community and certainly those of the students in my classroom. Significant divisions arose. Students who were sympathetic to the plight of the Hammonds were now battling students who had formerly been their allies. Instead of creating a lesson, I simply tried to defuse some of the emotion by discussing what we had already covered in past units. What are the rights of the accused? What should one do when faced with the prospect of being arrested? As a result, emotions became tempered. Regardless of how students felt about Lavoy Finicum, and many supported his views, they agreed that his actions were not wise when faced with arrest by state and federal law enforcement. Had he followed directions, Lavoy Finicum would most likely be alive.
God’s Country I cannot count the number of times that I have heard that sentiment from citizens of Harney County. This is God’s country. I have learned to accept it and relish in it. I love Burns, I love this high school, and I love my students. They have motivated me for 27 years to continue to seek truth and help young citizens find their unique paths in life. The occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge threatened to tear at the fabric of a community and school woven together by rural experiences. What the protesters failed to realize is that the citizens of Harney County, whether private business owners, government employees, or leaders in local government, had already begun work to solve their own issues with land management and water rights. Citizens of Harney County have a sophisticated understanding of the conflict between grazing rights and environmental concerns, and are currently well on their way to finding common ground over those issues. At the end of the day, these hearty, wonderful, intelligent citizens just wanted their community back. It was that desire of the majority of Harney County that inspired law enforcement to act on the behalf of those they serve directly. Thankfully, the protest has ended, and our healing process has become part of the life lesson we are all now a part of. TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
From seeking out earth-friendly cleaning supplies to sowing seeds in classroom gardens, Oregon schools are improving sustainability practices, and seeing great results
By Julia Sanders
Photos by Thomas Patterson
y improving waste management, conserving water and electricity, growing gardens, and adopting green cleaning practices, more than 300 schools across Oregon are providing rich, real-world learning experiences for students — while cutting costs and doing the Earth a big favor. As an added bonus, most of these schools have received certification as a “Green School” by the nonprofit organization, Oregon Green Schools. “This is a very important step for public schools to take,” said Jay Reed, custodian and President of the Association of SalemKeiser Educational Support Professionals (ASKESP). Reed helped implement programs at Claggett Creek and Whiteaker Middle Schools while working as a custodian. Reed credits the program’s success at those schools to the counselors and students. “The kids did most of the work,” he said. “The peer helpers in the school, who are student leaders, helped with all of the recycling. I didn’t have to do any of the recycling myself. They would take one day every week and recycle the cardboard and paper products in the school and take it all out to the dumpsters.” The Salem-Keiser School District has taken an aggressive approach to cutting down on waste and instilling the importance of sustainability in their students. “We have Green Teams for energy conservation, we have a very robust recycling process in our school district, and then there are also the environmentally-friendly chemicals that we clean with,” said Jim Jenney, Custodial Services Director for SalemKeiser. “We are in Marion County, which is one of the premiere recycling counties. We have a very good relationship with Marion County Environmental Services, and they have a full-time staff person that just deals with the recycling in our public schools.” Community partnerships have also played a big role in helping schools get their certification. “We have a good relationship with the Marion County Garbage Haulers Association. We have mixed recycling, so we can put all of it in one container. It doesn’t cost us anything, and it goes elsewhere to be sorted out,” said Jenney. The district helped to leverage these partnerships, allowing for
Jay Reed, ASK-ESP President, shows the recycling process at Claggett Creek Middle School in Keizer.
a robust program. “It was a team effort the way we did it here in Salem-Keiser, and it brought the kids into the process, showing them what recycling is all about,” said Reed. For two Portland area teachers, Maranda Bish and Allyson Casey, the push to apply for Green School certification was led mostly by the community and by staff. “I feel like what might make the difference is both principal and parent advocacy. Parents had been asking why we didn't do more waste management — more recycling and more composting,” said Bish, who is the Green Team coordinator at Sitton School in North Portland. “The custodians were sometimes resistant to it. It required that they take more steps in what they order and might even change their job description. These sorts of issues can stop you dead in your tracks. If we had more of a plan and it was coming from the leadership, like they are doing in Salem, the program would have more buyin and would be less piecemeal in Portland.” Though it took dedication to the cause, getting certified was not as hard as it sounds,
according to Allyson Casey, who has helped three Portland schools become certified during her career. “It wasn’t a whole lot of work. It was taking the time to fill out the application,” said Casey. “Portland has an Americorp Volunteer who holds your hand and walks you through the process. We got a lot of help from the district’s Americorp volunteer and also from Nancy Bond, the Resource Conservation Specialist at PPS, who has been fighting for a long time to get these things in place.” Salem-Keiser School District has taken a more top-down approach, which has led to an organized effort to reduce waste. “This past school year, our district recycled 100 metric tons of mixed recycling— which is all of the paper, cardboard, metal, plastics 1 through 5, and milk cartons,” said Jenney. “It is something that we are very proud of. We have significantly reduced our garbage bill by reducing the size of the dumpsters and reducing the frequency of how often they get dumped.” In addition to a strong recycling program, Salem-Keiser’s Green Schools are able to manage food waste effectively through a TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
Mandee Bish's Green Team students plant and tend to seeds that will be grown in the classroom at Sitton Elementary in Portland.
“We have significantly reduced our garbage bill by reducing the size of the dumpsters and reducing the frequency of how often they get dumped.” Jim Jenney, Custodial Services Director for Salem-Keiser
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
composting partnership. “Five years ago we started food waste collection. In all of our 40 elementary schools, we have a separate bin at the recycling station in all of the cafeterias just for food waste, so we are keeping it out of the garbage stream, too,” said Jenney. “This year we are adding our 11 middle schools. We have eight of them on board already. All of our food waste goes to an industrial composting facility in Tigard. They turn it into compost, so it is reused and we keep it out of our garbage stream, which not only reduces our cost, but eliminates a lot of the odor problems that come from dumpsters and compactors.” Along with the financial benefits, the program has improved students’ understanding of sustainable waste management. “Because we were charged by weight for our garbage, this actually lowered our costs. It saves the district money, and it shows the kids that this isn’t all waste — that it can be used again,” said Reed.
In 2014, an Oregon Executive Order was adopted that directed public agencies to purchase earth-friendly cleaning supplies whenever possible, reducing the use of toxic chemicals and building market pressure for improved offerings. As a result of this Executive Order, a tremendous effort was also made to improve the types of chemicals used in Green Schools across Salem-Keizer School District. “Green cleaning for us started with an inventory of every closet and every hidey hole in every one of our buildings, and getting rid of all of the stuff that we don’t think should be in there. Then, with a team of workers, we decided on three chemicals that they are restricted to use,” said Jenney. “Now we only select chemicals that are effective, safe for our staff, and healthy for the environment.” Student participation in the Green Teams has led to a tremendous amount of engagement and learning opportunities.
Jon Scott rides the autoscrubber at Four Corners Elementary School in Salem, which uses less chemicals than mopping and immediately pulls the chemicals off the floor.
“We have an after school Green Team class,” said Bish. “When we connect it to inschool or after-school programming, it gets the kids involved and there is a high level of interest.” To become certified, each school must participate in a waste audit. “The students were pulled from class to help go through the trash and figure out what is in it. The district provided us with our water and electricity usage data, and we made a plan for how we would make improvements,” said Casey. Both Bish and Casey expressed the underlying equity issues that can arise when trying to get an energized program off the ground. “I am now working at a Southwest Portland school, where they can raise tens of thousands of dollars in one night. They can hire contractors to come in and create amazing garden spaces,” said Casey. “At lowincome schools, it is the staff and the families that have to do that work themselves.” Credits: Thomas Patterson, Flux Zanidou/FreeImages.com
For more information on how to become a certified Green School, visit oregongreenschools.org. For tips on selecting green cleaning products for your school or classroom, check out: healthyschools campaign.org/ programs/national/green-cleanschools.
A big piece of the work that Casey and Bish have done includes a school garden that is not only used for education, but also supplies the school and neighborhood families with food. “We plant, harvest, and find ways to work in cross-curricular lessons that connect to cultural heritage and academic areas,” said Bish. “They are able to eat a lot of the greens that we have grown ourselves. We have a goal of trying to get students to eat what
they plant, so we’ve made an effort to ask kids what they are interested in growing. One student is very passionate about cauliflower — unfortunately, it won’t be ready by spring, however.” Getting this garden-to-plate program off the ground took a lot of initiative. “We contacted PPS nutrition services and told them that we want to plan on growing things for use in the cafeteria. We met with them, and they had specific rules about what you can grow, where it can be prepared and who prepares it. We’ve had greens and radishes in the salad bar, which was very exciting,” said Bish. The experiences provided to students through their work with Oregon Green Schools is not only hands-on, but authentic. “It has helped the kids learn that there are things they can do now to save the environment for later,” said Reed, of the efforts underway in Salem-Keizer schools. “This is going to be their world for the next 70 years.” n TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
E L B A H S I U G N I T X E FORCE IN
OF OP TIM IS M
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
First-year Teacher Kelly Cowgill Is Building Trust at Every Level By Laila Hirschfeld • Photos by Meg Krugel
Kelly Cowgill’s class is seated in a circle at the front of the room, with their legs crossed and their hands in their laps. Cowgill’s big eyes are welcoming, but her eyebrows speak volumes: it’s time to quiet down. This first-year educator, it seems, has perfected her “teacher look.”
EDITO R’S NO TE This is t he
third in a four-p Kelly Co art serie wgill, a s about first-ye Beavert ar teach on. Kell e r fr o m y has gr help do aciously cument allowed h er first us to with all year of its high teachin s and low g—alon installm s. To re g ent, ple ad the la a s e st see “Th on page e Tough 22 of th est Cha e Winte llenge,” r Issue of Toda y’s OEA .
The children are participating in a community circle, and they each clamor for the glitter filled acrylic wand — the tool that gives you permission to speak. They pass the “talking stick” around the circle, telling their classmates how they’re feeling. Most are happy:
Kelly Cowgill's class takes part in an afternoon "Community Circle," where they open up about feelings and get to know each other on a more personal level.
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
Kelly Cowgill takes her class on an outdoor excursion to Barnes' school garden, where they spend time identifying how the garden has evolved from its lush state last September.
they’re happy because they will be seeing their newborn baby brother after school, or because they’re sitting next to their friend, or just because they’re “happy.” One student is excited. “I’m excited because after school my cousin is going to lend me his drone so I can prank my brother,” he tells the circle, before relinquishing the talking stick. The circle rewards him with a collective giggle. “I find these community circles to be so valuable,” says Cowgill. “I want so badly to create an environment where they feel confident, and the circle opens a space that allows me to meet them where they’re 32
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
at—we’ve truly built trust.” Community Circles are part of the culture in Beaverton’s Barnes Elementary School: staff met in a circle themselves at the beginning of the year, 80 adults seated in a circle in the library. “My first reaction was, ‘are you kidding me?',’’ says Cowgill, who had experienced a similar group experience at what she calls her “kind-of hippie” alma mater, The Evergreen State College. “I wouldn’t say I loved ‘em,” she says, a bit sarcastically. “But, I was surprised at how wonderful our circle ended up being — I could feel the love and patience between
the seasoned teachers, the newer ones and those of us who were brand, brand new.” Staff used the circle as an opportunity to share their vulnerabilities and to make promises to each other and the community, which they wrote on ceramic hearts and placed in jar in the front office. “I promised to be an inextinguishable force of optimism,” says Cowgill. “I wanted my colleagues to know that if they came to me with a problem, I would always face it with a sense of optimism.” Barnes’ Principal, Veronica Jones and Assistant Principal, Laurie Huntwork, established the community circle model to
encourage communication and build trust. “At the end of the day, it’s about the people — teaching is a human endeavor, and part of the work I need to do, particularly with our newer teachers, is to build trust,” says Jones. “I want them to feel comfortable taking risks and pushing themselves, and the only way that can happen is if there is trust on both sides.” The practice of community circles is a hallmark of restorative justice programs, which have become more popular as educators across the country confront troubling and well-documented statistics that reveal huge racial disparities in the use of school discipline. Edgar Solares, Barnes’ Social and Emotional Support Specialist, helped bring the idea of Community Circles to Barnes after learning about the model during a summer seminar. “I was really interested in figuring out the social dynamics in the classroom,” says Solares. “What I learned is that we have to proactively create communities of trust, where students can better understand each other and where we can all talk openly about our feelings. We want our students to be able to name the problem and then work together to find a creative solution.” “Of course,” he continues,” the more comfort and trust we feel as adults, the more effective it becomes in practice.” For first year teachers especially, a strong community is key, says Cowgill. “If you have a strong community, individuals can thrive,” Cowgill says. “For me, there are so many layers of community—my own classroom, our school, my students’ parents and the larger neighborhood community. And at the center of it all is trust. That’s what we’re building, so that everything else is possible.” She pauses. “Yeah, I spend a lot of time cultivating trust with my students.” Trust is also a driving force with Jones, who says she wants the staff to feel supported in times of both triumph and trial. “With any learning, you know, the learning is in the mistakes that you make,” says Jones. “Without trust, or a sense of Credits: Meg Krugel
Following the garden jaunt, students work on an art project to design "work party posters," identifying what needs to be done in their classroom plot.
community, I just don’t see how you could really grow. We all need permission to make mistakes.”
Cowgill agrees, “We all make mistakes. I want my students to know that’s okay. I want them to know I am human.” n
KELLY’S DIARY During a transition, my student Parker approached me as I closed my laptop. "Maestra, can we listen to Whip and Nae Nae?!" I raised my right eyebrow. "Parker, I don't think so. Nice try." "Come on!" he insisted, "You said you would play it for us!" "If I recall, I said we would listen to it only once this year in this room. Once and only once—on your birthday." His body language told me he didn't want to give up, but his eyes caught mine and we both knew I wouldn't budge. He exhaled, groaned sonorously, and turned to his next activity. His friend Hayden popped up and asked, “Maestra Cowgill, you don’t like the Whip and Nae Nae?” The Whip and Nae Nae is this year’s chosen anthem, to the chagrin of many students (and teachers) who much prefer last year’s choice of Uptown Funk. I assented with a nod, “That song drives me bonkers.” “I don’t like it either, “he revealed, but didn’t miss a beat to ask, "Maestra Cowgill, can we listen to Taylor Swift?" "I don't know that her music is school appropriate," I answered. "Aw, please?" Hayden pressed. "I have her cd in my pocket!" As he pulled the CD from his coat pocket, I couldn’t help but laugh—he is clearly infatuated with Miss Swift, carrying her latest album with him everywhere he goes, just in case an opportunity presents itself! And so it begins…
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
Safe, Sound + Special Oregon educators juggle safety, success and much more along the special ed trail
he very thought of it still brings tears to Carolyn Jenkins’ eyes. That the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce and her own school district, the South Lane School District, would name her, out of all the teachers in the eight-school district, Teacher of the Year for the 2014-15 school, still makes her well up even now, more than a year later. But Jenkins’ tears are not of sadness; they are of joy, and not for herself, but for who the honor really was meant for — her students. A teacher for nearly 20 years now, Jenkins has served the last four years as the teacher for the Owls’ Nest at Harrison Elementary School in Cottage Grove, a classroom geared solely for students with autism. When the program started four years ago, there were three students in the class. Now there are 12. “I really have a lot of support in the district, and when they gave me Teacher of the Year, it was really kind of unique, even just to award it to someone in special ed,” Jenkins says. “But it was more than that. I think it really recognized the importance of my kids, the real value of my students in the room. That still makes me cry when I think about it.” The honor recognized the best of what Jenkins and her students — and the four educational assistants (EAs) who are in the room — accomplish and make happen every day. But it also served as a nod to the challenges they all face and endure as well: 34
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
the scattered attention spans, the sensory needs and communication breakdowns, the “room clears” when a student loses control, the hitting and kicking and biting (a student once bit Jenkins hard enough to leave a mark), even the broken ankle of an EA clipped by a rambunctious student who dove head-first into the bean bags in the room’s quiet corner. Though Jenkins’ classroom is unique in that it is designated for students with autism, it nonetheless serves as a fair illustration of what many educators in the field of special education can be faced with in this day and age. It is a world where teachers at one time find themselves advocating for their students and helping them achieve academic success, while simultaneously guarding the safety and wellbeing of other students — and their own personal safety, as well. It is a world where the perennial funding shortfalls of education test the bounds of what special ed teachers are expected to accomplish, where more and more kids are coming to school unprepared and with greater needs than ever, and where governmental mandates require that all students get individualized education in as mainstream an environment possible. There are equity and diversity and economic factors at play, as well, not to mention the tensions that can arise between teachers, both special ed and general education, on top of all that. An overall solution remains elusive,
» Story by Jon Bell » Photos by Chris Becerra naturally, but the challenges and achievements that surround special ed have evolved to a point where they need extra consideration and attention to ensure that teachers and students are thriving as they should be in safe, nurturing, positive learning environments. “I think things have kind of hit a critical mass and forced us to have these conversations,” Jenkins says. “What’s good is that we are having these conversations, though. Everybody is starting to see the impact of fewer resources and higher needs, and we are all going to have to work together to get those met.”
The Special Ed Backstory
Special education has evolved over the past three decades or so in large part as a result of federal mandates that are included in legislation known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). That legislation, a new name implemented in 1990 for former legislation that had first been enacted in the 1970s, in short provided that all children with disabilities should have access to free and appropriate public education. States are required by law to educate students with disabilities. Under IDEA, educators who suspect that a child has a disability that impacts
Bob Gray works with students one-on-one in a therapeutic classroom at Gilbert Park Elementary.
learning ability or behavior can request an evaluation to confirm that disability. Students with disabilities then also must have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) created for them that outlines the actions and steps required to help that student achieve educational goals. Those actions or steps, under IDEA, are to be offered as much as possible in the “least restrictive environment” – in other words, in mainstream classrooms as much as possible. What it really boils down to is just how much of a day can a student be in a setting with non-disabled peers, and how and when does that student need
A student in the "Owl's Nest" takes a sensory break with the classroom pet guinea pig.
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
specialized instruction that might be delivered in a different setting. The benefits of more inclusive education, whereby students of all make and manner are brought together in a single setting as much as possible, are many. They include everything from access to more friendships and greater acceptance of individual differences, to increased achievement of IEP goals for students with identified disabilities. Because special ed services are expensive, and because funding at the federal and other levels has not kept up with the needs of special education in
general, some districts have, over the years, been forced to put students in mainstream classrooms when more specialized settings might have been a better option. That kind of situation can work for students who can thrive in a mainstream classroom with some supplemental services. For example, there are some students who actually do better receiving specialized instruction in a mainstream setting with minor accommodations. Students with disabilities can be very successful in those settings if they get supplemental instruction or are part of a system that has, for example, co-teaching. Faced with tighter resources, and increasingly more students who have extra needs, some districts have leaned too far toward the mainstream over the years. The result has been that many students whose IEP teams are trying to build an individualized program to meet that student’s needs may have felt pressure to mainstream the student too early and/or before they are ready. That can be detrimental for the students, who miss out on the specialized instruction and services that would likely help them succeed at higher levels. In fact, research has shown that one of the primary areas where schools have not been able to close the achievement gap is for kids with disabilities. On top of the academic and educational challenges, however, mainstreaming students who aren’t ready yet has many other impacts, as well. Many of those stem from students who have emotional or behavioral disabilities, behavior issues or mental health issues. Such factors can be disruptive to the overall learning environment and to other students. Even more concerning is how students with behavioral or mental health issues — those who might act out violently or uncontrollably — can endanger the safety of their classmates, themselves and educators in the room. “What is being reported in some districts are incidences of safety issues,” says Erin Whitlock, a consultant for the OEA’s Center for Great Public Schools. “In some cases, where kids are being mainstreamed too early, particularly in
Shelley Watson sees a variety of students, many of whom are enrolled in some form of special education, in her day-to-day work as a Speech Language Pathologist.
settings where students and staff do not have the resources or skill set that they need to support a more impacted student, people are getting hurt. It becomes a safety issue.”
Bigger numbers, bigger needs
Bob Gray taught high school French in the David Douglas School District for 20 years. He also served as President of the David Douglas Education Association. In his time in both roles, he saw the increasing impacts that the demands of special education — as well as the growing number of students requiring services and the dwindling resources devoted to them — were having on educators and students. Even though he taught at the high school level, Gray also recognized how important it was to address needs early on in a student’s educational career so that, by they time they reached middle or high school, students were on as solid a path as they could be. Recently, Gray was asked to step in as Credits: Chris Becerra
a student behavior specialist at Gilbert Park Elementary School in the DDSD. At the school, where Gray works one-on-one with students in a therapeutic classroom, he’s seen firsthand the impact of severe student outbursts in classrooms and how their impact can travel far beyond a single class. Gray believes it’s happening more frequently these days than he’s ever seen before. “We see kids coming into kindergarten with more trauma than ever before,” he says. “They’re blowing out, throwing chairs, biting, kicking. And if you have a kid who walks out of your classroom calling you a fathead, trying to kick you, screaming, it sends ripples through a whole school. That kind of behavior can really trigger kids.” Though she works with a range of kids, many who have safe classroom behaviors, Shelley Watson, a speech language pathologist in the Eugene School District 4J, herself sees issues with some students that are disruptive and that can endanger safety. It varies from year to year, she
says, and she hesitates to generalize about student behavior. “It can be low-level stuff, like they’re constantly talking out or getting up and walking around the room,” she says. “But it can also get as severe as needing to clear the room. When that happens, that student is having some kind of an episode that is making it dangerous for other children.” According to the National Education Association, in the last 10 years, the number of students in the U.S. enrolled in special education has risen by at least 30 percent. Three out of four students with disabilities are in a general classroom for all or part of their day, which means, according to NEA, that nearly every general education classroom in the country includes students with disabilities. Anecdotally, many teachers have seen an increase in the number of students who are in need of special ed services and who have behavior issues that disrupt and endanger student and educator safety. “I think there’s just a bigger number of kids with bigger needs,” Jenkins says. “It’s TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
a little bit worrisome, to see so many kids who come in unready.” The reasons behind this increase are wide-ranging. To Jenkins, part of it is socioeconomic. Cottage Grove is a fairly low-income community. Census Bureau data shows that, in 2013, nearly 20 percent of the population had income below the poverty level, compared with about 11 percent in the entire state. Mental health issues, parental support, and home life in general can also be key factors. Gray says he knows one student who lives in a house with 21 other people at the moment; another was home when the police came
to arrest his brother for stealing beer. In addition, there are also race and equity issues at play. Gray says in many cases, the behavior issues — at his school and in general — are often linked to students of color, young Latino and African American boys in particular. According to NEA, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse students are disproportionately represented in many of the 13 categories of learning disabilities that are identified in the IDEA legislation, including specific learning ability, speech/language impairment and mental retardation. Additionally, 55 percent of
white students with disabilities spend 80 percent of their school day in general education classrooms; only one-third of African American students do. It can also take an incredibly long time — and a lot of testing and paperwork — to get a student assessed to see if an IEP is in order. “Part of the problem is that a lot of the kids who should be in special education aren’t yet because the paperwork and process is so cumbersome to get them qualified,” Gray says. As in many areas of education, funding shortages and a lack of resources have big impacts on special education, too. A few years ago, the David Douglas School District cut 89 teachers in a single year, reductions that hit one-on-one assistance and other areas hard. “We took away so many supports at the elementary school level,” Gray says. “While they have decided to embrace this, that we’re going to be more inclusive, they’ve failed to provide the support and training to make that happen." Watson says the same of her district, which has seen class sizes rise in recent years. Although only conjecture, she says it feels like a lot of necessary funding has been diverted to focus on Common Core instruction and new curriculum initiatives. “I know those are important,” she says,” but we still need training on how to deal with students with challenging behaviors. I don’t feel like that’s a focus right now.”
On Task for Improvements
Ensuring the safety of students and teachers while also meeting all the needs of every special education student — or any student with extra needs — is not an easy or cut-and-dry task. It will likely take years of work, creativity, new ways of thinking, a continued refinement of best practices and, of course, ample funding. To at least start the ball rolling, the OEA fired up its Special Education Task Force last year. Comprised of members from across the state, the task force has a monumental challenge before it to come up with recommended changes that could be made in policy, programs, and practice Gray's therapeutic classroom includes spaces for yoga, art, trampoline use, and other ways to relax and recharge.
Carolyn Jenkins has designed her classroom top to bottom around the needs of students with autism.
at the state, district, and educator level. That’s why the group’s early work has focused on the relatively manageable topics of defining caseload and addressing paperwork. Since its formation in April of last year, the task force convened for at least one formal meeting and a webinar. “(Special education) is such a complicated topic, so we wanted to start these conversations with some topics that were a little more manageable,” Whitlock says. “It allows us to start the conversation and build a problem-solving process in a very meaningful way.” That said, the task force will inevitably take up safety in the not-too-distant future. “I think safety is the number one issue — keeping kids safe and keeping adults safe, too,” says Watson, who chairs the task force. “It’s not just about special ed students, but it just happens that a lot of them can have behavior issues, which is why it’s such a hot topic. What we’re doing is looking at these areas and figuring out ways we can come up with action plans on how best to deal with them. Then we’ll Credits: Chris Becerra
share those with the state and school districts and teachers so they can better serve those students.” One strategy that Watson says has worked well in her district is the widespread use of positive behavioral intervention and support (PBIS), which is a strategy for creating school environments that are made safe and successful through encouraging and recognizing positive behavior. The approach is one that has gained momentum and acceptance in recent years. “I see a lot of things in terms of positive behavior support and positive feedback that are making a real difference,” Watson says. “We have a lot of teachers who are very skilled along those lines.” Gray says PBIS has been adopted in his school, as well, and it has proven effective. He believes a big part of the solution will be to begin addressing the equity issue in school districts across the state. Being sensitive to differing cultures and different standards of behavior, understanding privilege, and being compassionate can
go a long way. He holds up the North Clackamas School District as one that has made equity a priority in everything it does, from hiring new teachers to helping students stay on track for graduation. “Behavior is a big part of the equity conversation. You can’t work in isolation of that,” he says. “If African Americans are getting more referrals than whites, why is that?” Streamlining and expediting the diagnosis process would be helpful, as well. “A student who is diagnosed (with a disability) has access to so many more resources than we currently provide,” Gray says. “What it does is it opens up interventions and support that are not offered to kids in general education, and that can be huge.” Funding-wise, Gray and others are hopeful that the “Better Oregon” campaign proves successful this November. That campaign is aiming to put an initiative on the November ballot that would increase taxes on corporations with sales of more than $25 million in Oregon. The measure TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
The Inclusional Classroom Checklist
Learn how to be inclusional in your practice. Are you setting your students up for success? Try this checklist to see where your areas of strengths and weaknesses are.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Are students able to cope with the assigned tasks? Do you give instructions/directions at his/her level of need?
Have you considered the individual's learning style?
Are your objectives, routines and rules clearly understood by the students?
Drawing out feelings often works well for Jenkins' students in the "Owl's Nest."
Are your activities engaging and motivating for your students? Are your rules/routines posted clearly and stated positively?
Do you have a variety of rewards/consequences that are well known by your students? Do you have smooth transitions from one subject to another and when students return from recess/lunch? Do you promote self-esteem and confidence?
Do you ensure you have your student's attention before starting? Do you pause when somebody interrupts?
Do you always demonstrate respect for your students and value their contributions? Do you remember to have fun with your students and provide humor when the opportunity presents itself? If you can answer yes to these questions, your discipline plan will be one of success. If you answered no to items on this list — look toward improving that specific area. Contact OEA’s Center for Great Public Schools for support, resources and information on inclusional best practices: oea-gps@ oregoned.org.
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
could add close to $5.2 billion for the next two-year budget and would be used to boost funding for education and other vital social services. Another piece of the solution is to provide additional training for educators. Whitlock says that could be as straightforward as adding some more behavioral and special education training into the college curriculum for tomorrow’s teachers, even those who aren’t pursuing a special ed degree. The idea makes sense, considering just how many classrooms these days have at least some special education students in them. “I know that it’s an area where general education teachers desperately feel like they would like to have more training and resources,” Watson says. That said, though, Watson also notes that many of the educators she works with today are already more prepared for dealing with behavior and safety issues than they were 10 years ago. That’s because they now have 10 or more years of experience working on such issues, just by sheer necessity of their jobs. “You can’t really work with students if you don’t have some kind of formal training, but also some hands-on experience as well,” she says. “Because of that, I feel like we’re in a better position
than we were 10 years ago.” Other components of the improvement could likely include more involvement with families and community partners, universal preschool, which would better prepare students for the transition to life at school, and increasing the number of placement options that schools offer so more students with special ed needs can have them met. Perhaps the most important approach for Jenkins, though, is making sure the 12 students in the Owl’s Nest at Harrison Elementary feel like they’re just as much a part of the school as the other classrooms. Keeping the students involved and engaged with the rest of the school, even though the Owl’s Nest is a fairly self-contained classroom, reaps huge rewards for Jenkins and her kids. They have recess with other classes, interact with schoolmates in the hallways, work with the custodian on the school’s recycling and even loan their 10 ukuleles out to any other class that wants to use them. “I work really hard to make sure that we are involved and remembered, that my face and my kids’ names are always present,” she says. “We’re just another classroom. I’ve worked hard to make it so, and because of that, we have been welcomed beautifully.” n
2016 P R O PO S E D P O L I CY A M E N DME N TS
Revisions: new language is underlined, deleted language is struck through. POLICY AMENDMENT A Board of Directors Forwards Policy Amendment A with a Do Pass Recommendation. 3400 I. ACHIEVEMENT OF ORGANIZATIONAL EXCELLENCE D. Unit Incentive Subsidy for Statewide Conferences/ Training
3. A mileage incentive subsidy, not necessarily intended to cover the full cost of the travel, will be allowed.
Rationale: To lessen the financial burden carried by attendees, due to travel costs; to encourage attendance.
Units with 100 or fewer members — 1/3 1/2 the IRS rate rounded to the nearest cent per mile for the driver, plus 2 cents per mile for each additional participant riding in the car.
Submitted by: Doris Jared, OCESP Chair Contact: Doris Jared
Units with more than 100 members— 1/3 1/2 the IRS rate rounded to the nearest cent per mile for the driver, plus 2 cents per mile for each additional participant riding in the car, traveling 50 miles (one way) or more to the conference/training site.
2016 PR O PO S E D BY LAWS A M E N DME N TS Revisions: new language is underlined, deleted language is struck through. BYLAWS AMENDMENT A Board of Directors forwards Bylaws Amendment A with a Do Pass Recommendation. ARTICLE VII. ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS
NEA Bylaws and Policies. Rationale: Clarify process for filling vacancy in NEA “interim” Director position so that neither the President nor the Vice President hold dual offices and responsibilities for extended periods of time.
year terms allow for rotation of student leaders from different campuses. Submitted by: Chair, Student Membership Committee and 20 signatures Contact: Chaney SannanB
Submitted by: Chair, Credentials Committee and 10 signatures Contact: Jo Cooper
Section 5. Vacancies 4) When a vacancy is declared in the office of an NEA Director the President shall serve as the first alternate NEA Director. and shall serve as interim Director until a new NEA Director is elected at the next OEA Representative Assembly. The Vice President shall serve as the second alternate NEA Director. and shall serve as interim Director until a new NEA Director is elected at the next OEA Representative Assembly. The newly elected NEA Director shall begin the term on the date established by the NEA. An “alternate” director is intended to fill such a vacancy on a short term temporary basis. When an additional a vacancy is declared for the purpose of filling an “interim” NEA Director position, the OEA Board shall appoint an additional interim Director who will serve until another a new NEA Director is elected by the OEA membership at the next regularly scheduled election. The term of the newly elected NEA Director shall begin immediately following the election or on the date consistent with
BYLAWS AMENDMENT B Board of Directors forwards Bylaws Amendment B with a Do Pass Recommendation. ARTICLE VII. ELECTION OF OFFICERS, DIRECTORS AND DELEGATES Section 2. G. Nominations for Student Leadership Conference/ NEA Delegate shall be made by the direct vote of the members of the Student Oregon Education Association. The Student Membership Committee of OEA shall report the names of the nominees postmarked or received on or before January 15. The report shall be in writing with a statement of qualifications to the OEA President. The term for Student Leadership conference NEA Delegate shall be for (one) 1 year. Rationale: Student members will learn how to incorporate NEA programs on their campus. One TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
OEA MEMBERS SEEK AS S O C I AT I O N P O SIT IO N S
Candidates’ statements are printed exactly as submitted, and have not been corrected for spelling, grammar, or punctuation.
Candidate for OEA Region I Vice President 1 Position (2-year Term)
Candidate for OEA Region III Vice President 1 Position (2-year Term)
Candidate for OEA Region II Vice President 1 Position (2-year Term)
KEITH AYRES STATEMENT Connecting people, building relationships and encouraging new leaders. These traits underlie and support our Strategic Action Plan and Core Values. They are the strengths I bring to my fourth-grade classroom, and to the OEA Board. As is the case across the state, we are a diverse group of members in Region I. While each local has a unique history and relationship with their district, there are many issues we have in common, if we share talents, use our experience and work together for "win-win" solutions, we will nurture newer members and withstand whatever comes our way. I believe that creating the best working conditions for educators maximizes student learning. I would like your vote to work more closely towards that goal with the members and locals of Region I. QUALIFICATIONS
Kaunakakai, Hawaii » Building Rep and State RA Delegate, 1997-1999 Beaverton EA » Building Rep at Fir Grove Elementary, 2001-2014 » Review Committee » Executive Board OEA » State Rep Assembly Delegate since 2002 » PIE Conventions Delegate » Board Director 15b, 2013-present » Summer Conferences (Social Justice, Local Leaders, Organizing) NEA » National Rep Assembly Delegate since 2003 » Committees include: Constitution and Bylaws, Photography, Walking (Chair), Mentoring, and Hospitality » Leadership Summits Delegate
FORREST COOPER STATEMENT As a regional leader, I will work to unify and strengthen the OEA membership through communication and by uniting in vital causes important to our profession and shared values. Powerful and enduring organizations are characterized by leadership that listens, asks questions and derives a decision-making process from the grassroots voices of their constituents. Leadership also has a responsibility to communicate, by multiple modalities, immediate and long-term organizational goals. I am dedicated to providing an excellent, world-class education opportunity to every child in Oregon, by developing and supporting excellent teachers and educational service professionals to work with our children every day. QUALIFICATIONS Local: Fern Ridge Education Association » Grievance Chairperson (2015-2016) » President (2002-2005, 2014-2015) » Powerful Locals program chairperson (2014-2015) » Bargaining Chairperson (2010-2015) » Building Representative (2009-2010) » Bargaining Team (2007) » Founder/Treasurer, Responsible Schools PAC (2002-2005) » Vice-president (1999-2002) » Building Strike Captain (1999) » Secretary (Vernonia EA-1994-95) » Building Rep (Vernonia EA-1993-94) State: OEA » OEA-PIE Director, 404 (2008-2014) » Legislative Contact, 404 (2009-2014) » Legislative Advisory Council (2012) » Better Oregon Cadre, 404 (2015-16) » Cabinet for Advocacy and Affiliate Services (2015-16) » OEA Bargaining Cadre (2010-2011) » OEA Rep Assembly Delegate (various) » Legislative Interview Committees (various) » Legislative Training (various) » Lobby Day Participant (various) » Advocacy Conference Attendee (various) » OEA Summer Conference (various) Personal: » Service on multiple boards of directors (church, school,
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
MICHAEL ENDICOTT STATEMENT Hello again Region III, We live in times that afford us the opportunity to take more control of our profession than we have had since the passage of NCLB. We can choose to come together as never before and win on the major issues of our time. From taking back assessment, to fully funding education, to the potential fight against right to freeload, and any other issue we choose to exert our power on, we will make the difference for our students that no other group in the state can. With collective action and common purpose we can take back our profession. We can lower class sizes/ caseloads. We can support every student so they can take advantage of every educational opportunity from K-12 and beyond. We can do it! Rise to the challenge! Elect Michael Endicott Thank you Give to the OEA Foundation and OEA PIE. QUALIFICATIONS My experiences in service to the members of OEA include: Local Experience » Building Rep » President Elect » President » Currently serving as past president » Bargaining teams » Organizing chair » Representative to our Bargaining/UniServ Councils Statewide/National Experience » 3yr Board Director serving on various cabinets, committees, and task forces » OEA Foundation Board member » 2 term PIE Delegate » Multi-year delegate to OEA RA » 3rd year NEA/RA delegate » 1 term OEA Region III VP chairing and serving on various cabinets, committees, and task forces Give to the OEA Foundation and OEA PIE — a little from everyone adds up to a lot.
Please Note: Candidate statements that exceed the word limit stated for each particular opening (Region I, II, and III Vice President, Ethnic Minority Director and NEA Director) is cut off at the stated word limit. The following candidates will be determined by a vote at the OEA Representative Assembly, April 15-16, 2016.
Candidate for OEA Ethnic Minority Director 1 Position (3-year Term)
ALEJANDRA BARRAGÁN STATEMENT With your support two years ago I was elected Ethnic Minority Director. Once again I ask for your support to continue the work of creating avenues of communication, outreach, and increase the involvement of our self-identified members. We must support social justice and equity training throughout OEA. I look forward to moving forward with the work of the Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee, Human and Civil Rights Committee, and the Center for Great Public Schools to develop opportunities for our membership to grow as social justice educators. We must be the voice and support our underrepresented youth. QUALIFICATIONS Local: Reynolds Education Association » Building Representative » Executive Board State: Oregon Education Association » Ethnic Minority Director » OEA RA Delegate National: National Education Association » Minority Leadership Training Conference
Candidate for NEA Director
1 Position (1-year Term, beginning Sept. 1)
Candidate for NEA Director 1 Position (1-year Term)
JUDY HARRIS STATEMENT Our voices, all 42,000 of them, are the strongest voices for public education in Oregon. I am committed to making sure those voices, and the stories they tell, are heard, both across the state and in our nation's capital. No one knows, better than the educators on the front lines of our schools, what is right for our students and our schools. I am dedicated to making sure the educator voice is at the table any, and every, time decisions are being made that impact our students and our schools. QUALIFICATIONS
Local » Building Rep » Secretary » Vice President » President » Grievance Chair » Political Action Chair » Bargaining Support Team » Bargaining Team » Uniserv President OEA » Executive Committee » Budget Committee » Board Director » Member – Assessment Task Force that built The Better Path for Oregon » Political Cadre » Powerful Locals Cadre Facilitator » Summer Conference Presenter » PIE Convention Delegate » Congressional Advocacy Team » Legislative Advisory Committee » President's Award 2015 NEA » NEA Director » National Implementation Team for Every Student Succeeds Act 2015 » Committee on Membership Services and Affiliate Relationships » Leadership Summit Team » Women's Leadership Training Leader
STATEMENT NEA’s mission is to advocate for education professionals and unite our members to prepare every student to succeed. I can fulfill this mission because I am a leader. As a full-time high school English instructor, I am aware of what teachers need to achieve results. With the new ESSA authorization, work will need to be done on a state and national level to ensure that teachers get what they need to help students. I want to provide that voice for OEA. As a rural educator, it is my goal to ensure that policies NEA embraces will work for all teachers. QUALIFICATIONS
Local: Klamath County Education Association » President (2010-present) » Vice-President Klamath Lake Uniserv Council (2014-present) » Secretary Klamath Lake Uniserv Council (1987-1988) » KCEA Bargaining Team Chair (2 contracts) » Building Representative (1993-present) State: OEA/State » Representative Assembly Delegate (2008-present) » SB83 – Cooperating Teacher/Clinical Practices Workgroup (current) » Chair Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (2005-6) » TSPC Commissioner (2001-2006) » TSPC College Site Visit Teams (2005-2014) National » Nationally Board Certified Teacher (2001-2010) » NBCT Hill Day (2008) » NCATE Site Visit Team (2013) » NCTE member (1986-present) Personal » Department Chair (2005-2015) » Adjunct professor Klamath Community College (2010-present) » USA Swim Referee (2008-present) » Judge of Miss Bandon Cranberry Festival 2014
Political/Legislative » Campaign Team Member for multiple campaigns from mayor to U.S. Senate
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
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
WHERE: Portland Art Museum HOW: To learn more and register, go to www.childinst.org/miyb. n n
Speed Stacks Sport Pack Grant Program
WHAT : Speed Stacks will award one free Sport Pack per month to deserving grant applicants (one Sport Pack/organization). The grant will equip instructors with everything needed to provide students with a Sport Stacking experience that promotes the development of motor skills, patterning, sequencing, focus and concentration, as well as hand-eye coordination and ambidexterity. n WHEN: Applications must be submitted by the 15th of the month and winners will be notified by the first of the following month. n HOW: To apply, go to www.speedstacks. com/instructors/grant-program/. n
“Game on” Grants
WHAT: School Grants for Healthy Kids “Game On” grant opportunities for the 2016-2017 school year are accepting grant applications. Grants range from $500 to $2,500 to support physical activity and nutrition initiatives that support schools in becoming recognized as a healthpromoting school. n WHEN: Application Deadline: April 1, 2016 n HOW: For more information and to apply, go to www.actionforhealthykids.org/toolsfor-schools/apply-for-grants. n
Make It Your Business: Growing Healthy Minds
WHAT: During this event, feature speaker Dr. Dana Suskind, author of Thirty Million Words and professor of surgery and pediatrics at the University of Chicago Medicine, will talk about our challenge: by their fourth birthdays disadvantaged children hear 30 million fewer words than their peers. n WHEN: April 12, 2016, 11:00 - 1:00 n
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
The Oregon Council of Teachers of English (OCTE) Spring Conference
WHAT: During the OCTE Spring Conference, there will be multiple concurrent sessions to choose from. Keynote Speaker is author Ellen Howard, who has written more than a dozen books for young readers. Academic credits and PDUs are available. n WHEN: Apr. 30, 2016 n WHERE: Silverton High School, Silverton, Ore. n HOW: For more information on cost and how to register, go to www.octe.org/ conferences.html.
due Apr 4, 2016. n WHERE: Washington, D.C. n HOW: For more information and to apply, visit: http://www.fords.org/home/ education/teacher-programs/seat-warand-peace.
Classroom Law Project Summer Institute
WHAT : This year’s Summer Institute will focus on The Political Classroom and We the People. Dr. Paula McAvoy will discuss how to address controversial issues within the classroom, and the week will finish up with a focus on the James Madison Legacy Project and We the People curriculum. n WHEN: Jun 27-30, 2016 n WHERE: Portland State University, Ore. n HOW: For more information and details about the James Madison Legacy Project, go to www.classroomlaw.org/professionaldevelopment/ and scroll down to Summer Institute. n
The Lincoln Assassination and its Legacy in the Nation’s Capital
WHAT: Join up to 25 teachers to explore the Lincoln assassination, the conspirator’s trial, primary sources detailing personal responses to the event, Reconstruction and Lincoln’s legacy where these important events took place. This event is Free, including shared hotel room and air travel, for qualifying teachers. All participants are eligible to obtain 3 graduate credit hours through Trinity University for $375. n WHEN: Jul 24-29, 2016. Applications are n
Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Peace Process
WHAT: The Institute for Curriculum Services, in collaboration with the Library of Congress and Portland State University, is offering a fully funded 3-day summer workshop, called Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Peace Process, that emphasizes inquiry based learning using Teaching with Primary Sources strategies and lectures from university scholars. n WHO: For middle and high school social studies teachers. n HOW: Registration opens March 15. For more information, contact Jacqueline Regev, firstname.lastname@example.org. To access The Institute for Curriculum Services (ICS)’s free curricular resources, go to www.icsresources.org. n
The Oregon Writing Festival
WHAT: The Oregon Writing Festival, sponsored by the Oregon Council of Teachers of English (OCTE), accents writing as an art, craft, and basic skill for Oregon students, grades 4 to 12; Honors outstanding student writers; Recognizes writing teachers for high level student achievement in writing; and so much more. n WHO: For students, grades 4-12 n WHEN: May 7, 2016. n WHERE: Portland State University n HOW: For more information, go to www. octe.org/oregon-writing-festival.html, or contact: Barbara Wiegele bjwiegele@aol. com, 503-723-6275. n
Grants for Student Trips
WHAT: The Oregon Archaeological Society (OAS) School Field Trip grant program seeks to expose public n
Sources + Resources BOOKS
elementary, middle school, and high school students to archaeologically important locations, resources, knowledge and experiences in the Pacific Northwest. There is no deadline, but early applications are encouraged. n HOW: For more information and to apply for this grant, go to www. oregonarchaeological.org/school-fieldtrips-grant-program/. FOR THE CLASSROOM
Growing Independent Learners: From Literacy Standards to Stations, K-3 By Debbie Diller Stenhouse Publishers, 2016; ISBN: 978-1-57110-912-5; $39.00 (List Price); Available at www.stenhouse.com This is a comprehensive guide to help plan instruction focused on literacy standards, organize the classroom for maximum benefit, and lead students to independence through wholegroup lessons, small-group focus, and partner learning at literacy stations.
Resource for New Books
WHAT: Are you looking for good, new books to use in your middle and high school classroom? Librarians from the Multnomah County Library School Corps use videos to introduce recently-published titles to use in the curriculum. n HOW: For more information and to view these videos, go to https://multcolib.org/ gotta-read n
Arts Integration and STEAM Toolkit WHAT: Download this free toolkit of 65+ strategies, resources and websites for arts integration & STEAM. n HOW: Go to http://educationcloset.com/.
Civic Education in the Elementary Grades By Dana Mitra and Stephanie C. Serriere Teachers College Press, 2015; ISBN: 0807756342; $34.95 (List Price); Available at www.tcpress.com Through classroom activities and lessons for practice, this book shows how civic engagement encourages young people to examine their environment, to notice and question injustices, and to take action to make a difference in their communities and school.
The Oregon School Library Information System
WHAT: The Oregon School Library Information System (OSLIS) is a K-12 website designed to provide information literacy curriculum for Oregon students, teachers, librarians, and other educators. n HOW: For more information, go to http:// oslis.org/. n
WHAT: This website offers resource roundups, themed blogs, guest articles, book reviews, interviews, and a free e-newsletter specializing in Grades 4-8 news and resources—with a sharp focus on teaching and learning. n WHO: Educators of grades 4-8. HOW: Check out the resources at www. middleweb.com. n
Holler If You Hear Me: The Education of a Teacher and His Students By Gregory Michie Teachers College Press, 2009; ISBN-10: 0807749583; $15.12 (List Price, paperback); available at www.amazon.com In this updated edition, the author writes about teaching on Chicago's South Side—about his awakening as a teacher and the first-person stories of his students. The book features a new introduction and a new afterword that includes updates on several of his students.
Special Education for All Teachers By Ronald P Colarusso, Colleen M O’Rourke, Melissa Leontovich Kendall Hunt Publishing, 6 edition, 2013; ISBN-13: 9781465215291; $105.00 (List Price); Available at www.kendallhunt.com/colarusso/ This book provides practical information, presents the philosophy of inclusion, and the application and implementation of laws related to the education of students with special needs, and discusses the identifying characteristics of students with special needs. TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
ON THE WEB / Spring2016 » www.oregoned.org
BETTER OREGON’S FINAL PUSH
pril 15. Most people know this as the ever-dreaded Tax Day. But for OEA members across the state, April 15 brings another pressing deadline. It’s the day OEA is hoping to reach its goal of 60,000 signatures, thereby putting IP 28 on the November 2016 ballot. As we near the end of our union’s historic efforts to inform, educate, and inspire members to support the Better Oregon campaign, we want to equip you with the latest and greatest tools you can use to make sure OEA meets, and exceeds, our goal of 60,000 signatures by mid-April.
leaders and organizations, have come together to make sure we get the schools and services we need by making large and out-of-state corporations pay their fair share in taxes. There are two places where you can find out all you need to know about the Better Oregon campaign to make an informed choice this November. Check out the handy FAQ on the Better Oregon Campaign website: abetteroregon.org/faq Or, find out more about OEA’s Better Oregon plan here: www.oregoned.org/betteroregon.
Haven’t signed? You’re in Luck! In this issue of the magazine, you’ll find a tear-out single signature sheet, which you can sign and mail back to OEA with your name and info. This is especially key to members in more rural areas, who may not have had a chance to sign the petition in person or at their local UniServ office. Sign the Campaign Petition Online! We pay our taxes. It’s time for large and out-of-state corporations to pay theirs. Sign to make sure IP 28 gets on the 2016 ballot! Need to Know More, Before You Sign? The Better Oregon campaign, a coalition of parents, teachers, small businesses,
ESSA Implementation Begins
or the last year, educators across the nation joined together to make phone calls, sign petitions, send emails and social media messages urging Congress to bring the joy of teaching and learning back to the classroom. The hard work has finally paid off. President Obama has signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and it’s a victory for students, parents and educators. The new law will: n Work to give every child access to a quality education, regardless of ZIP code. n Empower educators to make decisions that affect their classrooms. n End the test and punish culture, making more time for students to learn. Do you have great ideas for your school? We know you do! Now is the time to make those dreams a reality for your students. Join us as we work to implement the new ESSA law. Sign up to receive the latest updates and resources to make this happen. education votes.nea.org/essa
TODAY’S OEA | SPRING 2016
Who Will Be the Next Supreme Court Nominee? You Decide.
ou're powerful — because you live and vote in your legislator's district. And it's the job of your lawmakers to represent you. But they can't effectively represent your interests unless you communicate with them around the issues you care about. Right now, the NEA Action Center has a number of pressing issues that need your voice. First up – who will replace Judge Antonin Scalia on the US Supreme Court? Make sure the next nominee represents your interests as an education professional and union member; urge your lawmakers to support hearings and hold a vote when the President announces his nominee to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court. The Action Center also gives you the chance to tell your legislators about the importance of being able to refinance student loans when interest rates drop, or to encourage lawmakers to follow Oregon's lead in raising the minimum wage at the federal level. Find these issues and more: capwiz.com/nea/issues
TAKE ACTION NOW
Calling all RA Delegates! Let’s face it: there’s a lot of info that goes in to making informed choices as a delegate at OEA’s annual Representative Assembly. If you’re a delegate, the abundance of reading materials and handouts can sometimes feel out of control. On the OEA website, you’ll find a one-stop-shop for all things RA-related, including the illustrious RA Handbook, the RA agenda, OEA budget documents, awards information, and more. Don’t miss it! www.oregoned.org/ra
The Official Publication of Oregon Education Association
OEA â&#x20AC;˘ 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
TEAM OEA BUILDING A BETTER OREGON 2016 OEA Representative Assembly