A PUBLICATION FOR MEMBERS OF THE OREGON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
SUMMER 2016 VOLUME 90 : NUMBER 4
OEA Washington County UniServ hosts 5K race to raise awareness and funds for needy schools
TEAMING UP FOR STUDENTS ALSO IN THIS ISSUE » BETTER OREGON: WE DID IT! » FROM CLASSROOM TO CAPITOL » MAKING SENSE OF ESSA
CONTENTS / Summer2016 VOLUME 90 . ISSUE NO. 4
05 / it's our time
By Hanna Vaandering, OEA President
06 / Events for OEA Members Newsflash
On the Cover
08 /improving earthquake safety » 09 / protecting transgender students
18 / RUN LIKE YOU NEED IT
Better Oregon Update
Washington County UniServ hosts 5K race to raise awareness and funds for needy schools By Amy Korst
24 / A field trip to Powells + BOOK EXCERPT By Matt Love
10 / We did it! ESSA
11 / re-claiming education in oregon Teaching & Learning
12 / building an improvement community
Association in Action
28 / saying goodbye
Third grade teacher Kelly Cowgill reflects on her first year By Laila Hirschfeld
32 / from classroom to capitol
14 / team oea UNITES + RA OUTCOMES Eye on Equity
16 / Getting creative with summer food
Two OEA members take on bids for the Oregon House By Julia Sanders
OEA Choice Trust
26/ summary Annual report Sources + Resources
36 / Books and Opportunities
On the Web
38 / making sense of essa
ON THE COVER: The Team Up! for Students race took place May 14, 2016 and brought students, parents and community members together for a common cause: better schools in Washington County. PhotO by THOMAS Patterson Credits: Thomas Patterson
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE / Summer2016 Hanna Vaandering OEA President
want to personally thank each and every one of you who volunteered your time so far for the most important campaign OEA has ever been a part of — the Better Oregon Campaign. This ballot measure is a game changer for Oregon’s students and schools and YOU are directly responsible for getting it on November’s ballot. Nov. 8, 2016 will be our day, our students’ day — the day Oregon says to them: your hopes and dreams are our top priority. I truly believe we are part of the greatest profession: education. No bonus or junket is more meaningful than positively impacting the lives of students every day. Yes, the macaroni necklaces are a definite plus. But when you see the lights go on, or the smile crack at the edges, cultivated by the love of learning, that’s when you’re reminded why you made the decision to be an educator. Unfortunately, public education and educators have been under attack. My entire career, like many of yours, has been challenged with lack of funding (Ballot Measure 5 in 1990), an infatuation with testing (No Child Left Behind 2001), and textbook companies who want to make millions off of scripted curriculum that are harmful to our students. We are about to turn this upside down. Dream big! We are looking at game changing funding that will allow us to build the schools our students deserve! Oregon will no longer be home to the third highest class sizes in the nation. All our students will have access to art, PE, music, libraries, career and technical offerings, counselors, nurses, full-time support professionals, affordable tuition and everything that makes our public schools great. And yes, you will have the professional discretion that will allow you to teach, and will allow our students to learn. If we stay focused, if we stay united, we can make this happen for our students.
OEA President Hanna Vaandering and Vice President John Larson deliver over 61,000 signatures OEA members collected (nearly 130,000 signatures in total) to the Secretary of State's office, to qualify IP 28 for the November ballot.
The attacks have already started, and misinformation is already spreading. The most powerful corporations in America do not believe the needs of students in Oregon are more important than their profits. Corporate taxes are the lowest in the nation, which has forced Oregon to disinvest in education. We’ve all seen the consequences: chronic absenteeism; low graduation rates; the loss of critical wrap-around services; the extinction of libraries; crowded classrooms — this list seems endless. And even so, our opponents lie about this measure — they say that funding doesn’t make a difference, that asking large, out-of-state corporations to pay their fair share will somehow chase business away, even though Oregon would still remain one of the friendliest places to do business. But more importantly, this is a moral imperative. I am willing to sit down with any CEO to tell them exactly what it’s like to look in to the eyes of a kindergartener who shares her teacher with 57 other students; to talk to a third grader who is crying because the upcoming three-day weekend means he’ll have to go hungry; to comfort a community college student, who has to drop out of school because there’s no money for tuition. This is our day-to-day life. I have been there, you have been there, and now is the time to say enough. Let’s build a Better Oregon and be proud as we do it!
WHEN YOU SEE THE LIGHTS GO ON, OR THE SMILE CRACK AT THE EDGES, CULTIVATED BY THE LOVE OF LEARNING, THAT’S WHEN YOU’RE REMINDED WHY YOU MADE THE DECISION TO BE AN EDUCATOR. Credit: Better Oregon Campaign
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE OREGON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION Jul. 2-7, 2016
NEA Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly
SUMMER 2016 VOLUME 90 : ISSUE NO. 4
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, DC n HOW: www.nea.org/grants/1357.htm Jul. 26-28, 2016
OEA’s Summer Leadership Conference n What: Whether you have recently become involved with OEA, serve on your local bargaining
team, have just been elected President, or want to help change the political landscape — there’s a training for you at this year’s Summer Leadership Conference. Our time together will be jammed packed with learning and we will all come away with a shared vision for success this Fall as we move forward with our Better Oregon Campaign. n WHERE: Sunriver Resort, Sunriver n HOW: For more information go to www.oregoned.org/summerconference. Registration is at capacity, but a wait list is available for interested members. July 29-31, 2016
2016 Oregon AFL-CIO Summer School n What: The Summer School program is designed for labor union members and members of
organizations working to promote a strong organized labor and worker justice movement. The 2016 AFL-CIO Summer School will focus on how we build strong unions and a strong movement for social change. n WHERE: University of Oregon Campus, Eugene n HOW: For more information and to register, visit http://lerc.uoregon.edu/events/summerschool Oct. 7-8, 2016
Statewide Bargaining and Advocacy Conference n What: Learn from seasoned negotiators about bargaining and advocacy best practices for
your local association bargaining team. n WHERE: Salem Convention Center, Salem n HOW: More information will be posted at: www.oregoned.org/action-center/events Oct. 14-15, 2016
Teaching with Purpose Conference n What: This conference has three goals: 1) Activate equity-focused policy, 2) Support and
inspire leadership for culturally responsive pedagogical and institutional practices; and 3) Develop a network of educators committed to extending culturally responsive pedagogies and leadership practices around the country. n WHERE: Parkrose Middle School, Portland n HOW: For more information and to register, go to http://conference.teachtoempower.com/
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
OFFICE HEADQUARTERS 6900 SW Atlanta Street Portland, OR 97223 Phone: 503.684.3300 FAX: 503.684.8063 www.oregoned.org PUBLISHERS Johanna Vaandering, President Dick Terry, Interim Executive Director EDITOR Meg Krugel PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Janine Leggett CONTRIBUTORS Janine Leggett, Laila Hirschfeld, Andrea Shunk, Julia Sanders, Chris Becerra, Thomas Patterson To submit a story idea for publication in Today’s OEA magazine, email editor Meg Krugel at firstname.lastname@example.org PRINTER Morel Ink, Portland, OR TODAY’S OEA (ISSN #0030-4689) is published four times a year (October, February, April and June) as a benefit of membership ($6.50 of dues) by the Oregon Education Association, 6900 SW Atlanta Street, Portland OR 97223-2513. Non-member subscription rate is $10 per year. Periodicals postage paid at Portland, OR. POSTMASTER Send address corrections to: Oregon Education Association Attn: Becky Nelson Membership Processing 6900 SW Atlanta Street Portland, OR 97223-2513 DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Francesca Genovese-Finch
Newsflash > KUDOS
Ashland High School Theater Teacher Wins National Award
etsy Bishop, theater teacher at Ashland High School, will be inducted into the Educational Theater Association Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Las Vegas and will receive the Inspirational Theatre Educator Award at the same ceremony. This will be one of many awards and accolades that Bishop has earned during her 28-year teaching career. “I know people would laugh at me, but even after all these shows I see every single show," Bishop said. "... I still feel that I’m vicariously on stage with them, and I get excited. When the show starts, I’m like, ‘OK, it’s going to happen,’ watching every moment. I love it. It’s a fun addiction, let’s put it that way.”
TELL Oregon Survey Tells All
he Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Oregon survey is an anonymous tool used to assess the teaching and learning conditions in Oregon’s public schools. Teachers from around the state were asked to participate. Results from the survey, which are available at www.telloregon.org, compare data from specific schools with the rest of the state and the school district to which the school belongs. It is a tool that can be used to address the needs and challenges within a school.
University of Oregon’s Plan to Increase Diversity of Public School Teachers
n an effort to diversify Oregon’s teacher workforce, the Oregon State Legislature passed a bill last year that requires the state to hire more minorities for K-12 public school teaching positions. As part of this effort, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission has asked all seven of Oregon’s universities with teacher education programs to increase minority enrollment. University of Oregon announced on April 13 its plan to do just that. While student diversity in K-12 schools has continually increased over the past few decades, teacher diversity has lagged behind. The hope is that this change will lead to a teacher workforce that is a more accurate representation of Oregon students.
Oregon Rising’s Dream for Education
regon Rising, a statewide public outreach effort, aims to get input from community members about their vision for Oregon’s public schools. The campaign is organized through a collaboration beween Oregon Education Association, Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, and the Oregon School Boards Association and
hopes to hear from at least 10,000 individuals from around the state before 2017. "If you look at the statistics, you know — 38th in terms of overall performance, 39th in terms of funding... I think our students deserve a lot better, and we can do a lot better," said Travis Overley, social studies teacher at Summit High School in Bend at an Oregon Rising meeting. TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
Newsflash CHECKING IN » Have you asked your students where they'll be eating lunch during the summer months? Check out options for summer meal sites in your community at www.summerfoodoregon.org. Try to ensure parents and caregivers know about this vital resource for keeping kids fed.
Improving Earthquake Safety for Oregon’s Schools
hanks to a recent bond sale, Oregon will be investing $50 million toward improving earthquake safety for public schools. "Studies have found that schools are at risk, which means schoolchildren are at risk, and I applaud the Legislature for approving this use of our limited bonding capacity," said State Treasurer Ted Wheeler. The bond money is the first part of a $175 million package devoted to retrofitting schools, which was approved last year and will go toward improving 41 different schools. "It will make hundreds of our children safer, but we're not finished," said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney. "We're not even close. Too many schools remain unsafe. Too many children remain at risk."
Washington County Students Learn the Power of Protest
tudents from multiple Washington County high schools walked out of class on May 19 after racial tensions at Forest Grove High School reached a boiling point when two students hung a banner reading “build a wall” in the hallway. The banner, which covered posters for Unity Week, made many students at the school feel unwelcome and unsafe. The Forest Grove School District has the highest percentage of Latino students in the Portland area. "There's a lot of hate going on in our school right now and it's not OK," said student body president Hugo Salmeron. "Some people might think this is a First Amendment right, freedom of speech, but there's a difference between spreading awareness and just being hateful.” Students at Forest Grove, Glencoe, Hillsboro, Tigard, Liberty, and Beaverton High Schools walked out in droves, marching in solidarity with their Latino classmates. "This is bigger than us and this is bigger than the 'build the wall sign' that came up," said Hillsboro High senior Paulina Castro. "I felt like it was one of those things where it made you angry, and as soon as you heard people were doing something about it, it made you happy. We're so inspired by what they're doing that we decided to join." An apology was issued the same day by one of the two students involved in hanging the banner. "I now understand that I chose a really bad place and way of expressing my belief on free speech,” said the student. “I will work to learn about other cultures and how different people perceive different messages. I am going to learn much more about the issues of immigrants in the USA, especially Forest Grove, and learn about why they have come, what their life is like, the challenges they face and how they improve this community.”
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
Students Learn About the Contributions of Women in WWII
orth Eugene High School students learned about an important piece of World War II history in listening to the stories of 15 Rosie the Riveters during a special assembly. 16-year-old student Kierstan Sparks was happy to learn about the contributions of the Riveters. “I just want to say thank you for your time and for all you’ve done for this country,” she said to 93-yearold Riveter, Opal Nelson. “It truly is amazing.”
Newsflash WILL YOU BE THERE? » Take advantage of OEA's upcoming Summer Conference on July 26-28, 2016! You'll find in-depth training on both professional and union advocacy issues. You won't want to miss it! www.oregoned.org/summerconference
Portland Plans to Teach Non-White History by 2018
student-led effort (that began back in October) to include ethnic studies in every Portland public high school concluded in a unanimous school board vote on May 3 to include more people and communities of color in PPS history lessons. "I wasn’t very successful in school because I didn’t like it,” said Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) Lead Organizer Karn Saetang. "Part of the reason I didn't like it was ... the lens we learned it from was very Euro-centric.” The change, which will take place by 2018, will happen thanks to the efforts of students who organized to push for a more inclusive curriculum that better represents Portland students. Their work seemed to impress the school board. “2032 is going to be the first election when all of you are going to be eligible to run for governor,” said School Board Director Paul Anthony. “I want a button. I want a lawn sign. And I want to put you in Mahonia Hall.”
A Message from Our NEA President
ry child has the right very student matters, and eve ed in our schools. to feel safe, welcomed, and valu ible for our students’ As educators, we are respons g transgender students. We education and safety, includin safe, likely to learn and succeed in know that students are more play n see e hav ortunately, as we supportive environments. Unf es a, politicians are playing gam olin Car th out in places like Nor nt ere diff as n teens who are see with the lives of children and . tity iden because of their gender the port the guidance issued by sup and e “Educators welcom l era fed the by joint letter, issued Obama administration. The Justice is not only timely and and on cati Departments of Edu that everyone – regardless of right but necessary to ensure . ortunity to thrive and achieve gender identity — has the opp l ona cati edu al the right to equ “Transgender students have t trea st l institutions mu opportunities, and educationa with their gender identity in ent sist con s transgender student nder ong other things, that transge all respects. This means, am at tity iden ress their gender students have the right to exp to sex-segregated facilities and ess acc to school and the right ir gender identity. programs consistent with the , coupled with the Obama “The guidance issued by NEA t s our fundamental belief tha Administration’s, underscore from free – t of every student a great public school is a righ uding and safe for all students, incl nt, me ass intimidation and har nder. those who identify as transge ard r students, and we look forw nde sge tran “We support our to s lder eho stak and other key to working with our members and of all students are protected ts righ l civi make sure that the srooms.” respected in our nation’s clas
Oregon’s New Protections for Transgender Students
15-page document released by the Oregon Department of Education has granted sweeping protections for transgender students across the state. Students will now be able to use the genderspecific bathroom, pronoun, and name to which they identify. In addition, transgender students will be given other protections, such Credits: Travis Loose
as being allowed to play on sports teams that match their gender identity. "A student who says she is a girl and wishes to be regarded that way throughout the school day should be respected and treated like any other girl," the document says. "So too with a student who says he is a boy." Oregon is one of a handful of states who
have released similar guidelines. "This is a wonderful first step for the Oregon Department of Education to really give guidance to these school districts to ensure that all transgender students have access to safe and affirming environments," said Andrea Zekis, a policy director for the LGBTQ advocacy group Basic Rights Oregon. TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
Better Oregon Update
WE DID IT! 60,000 STRONG Oregon Educators Gather Enough Signatures to Qualify a Historic Ballot Measure BY LAILA HIRSCHFELD / Communications Consultant, OEA
he sun was shining, and the smiles were abundant on Friday, May 20, when more than a dozen Better Oregon volunteers and campaign staff dropped off the final batch of petitions to qualify for November’s ballot. In all, a volunteer army made mostly of Oregon educators gathered 130,000 signatures for the measure, which seeks to raise the corporate minimum tax on C Corporations with more than $25 million in Oregon sales to fund the state’s critically underfunded schools, health care, and senior services. The turn-in was preceded by a large gathering of volunteers and press, where OEA President Hanna Vaandering spoke about why so many educators have become involved in the campaign. “We've looked into the eyes of our students. And that is why we are here today, because educators have made a decision,” said Vaandering. “We have decided: NO MORE. Fifty-eight kindergartners in a classroom is NOT okay. Fifteen minutes of music education a week is NOT enough. Schools without libraries are NOT complete. And college? Well, as one student I
Above: The boxes containing 130,000 signatures are delivered by OEA members to the Oregon Secretary of State's office on May 20. At left: OEA President Hanna Vaandering, Vice President John Larson, and Eugene EA members Lisa Fragala and Tibor Bessko inside the Secretary of State's office.
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
The press conference was published on NEA’s Facebook page, so if you’d like to watch, you can find the video at Facebook.com/OregonEA. If you’re ready to volunteer and let people know about this important measure, please join our OEA Activist Facebook group by searching OEA Activist—Better Oregon Campaign, and ask to be added to the group. Also, make sure you’re signed up for Better Oregon updates by visiting www.abetteroregon.org.
met once told me, it’s too dang expensive!” More than 5,000 educators have volunteered over the last several months, speaking to their colleagues, their families, the families of their students and their community to get the message out about the measure, and to circulate petitions. In Eugene, second grade teacher Lisa Fragala and her husband, Tibor Bessko, also an OEA member, together collected
more than 1,000 signatures. "The services that have been cut have long ago reached a critical point," said Fragala. "They [large corporations] get a lot of benefits, including educated citizens and good infrastructure in our state, and should pay their fair share so we have the schools that our community needs and deserves." Educators are part of a large coalition which includes home healthcare workers, social workers, community groups, small businesses and the PTA. The groups are united in their desire to create a more equitable system where corporations pay their fair share, and Oregonians no longer have to make due with cuts to services. “It's way past time that our schools, our health care, and our senior services get the funding they need,” said Khalil Edwards, co-director of PFLAG Portland Black Chapter. “Decades of underfunding has taken a toll on residents young and old. Parents are frustrated by overcrowded classrooms, and seniors are wary of what their retirement might look like. That's what has fueled me— a Better Oregon that values kids, seniors and every Oregonian.”
RE-CLAIMING EDUCATION IN OREGON BY ANDREA SHUNK / Consultant, OEA Center for Great Public Schools
resident John F. Kennedy said, in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in 1961, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” He was speaking about the Cold War, but his words ring true today as education says goodbye to No Child Left Behind and welcomes the Every Student Succeeds Act. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) asked for conformity from the nation’s education system. Through Adequate Yearly Progress, prescribed intervention programs and flexibility waivers often flexible in name only, the U.S. Department of Education tried to fit all schools into the same round hole, no matter the size or shape of that school. We saw the devastating effects on schools, students, educators and communities forced to conform. As schools began to focus more and more on math and reading test scores and test participation rates as the sole indicators of success, Oregon schools lost some of their individuality and the ability to address their communities’ needs. Growth in areas like the arts, science, and career and technical education was stymied, according to a 2014 article in NEA Today. The Every Student Succeeds Act, while not perfect, allows enough flexibility to allow schools to stop trying to conform to a narrow set of rules, and to start growing the schools our students deserve.
Legislation as a Recipe, Not a Prescription
Many educators in Oregon have spent their entire careers under NCLB — not just early career teachers, but mid-career as well. Considering that NCLB was enacted in 2002, a teacher who started that year is now 14 years into his or her career — all under the federal conformity framework of NCLB. In that era, NCLB was like a prescription. Follow the instructions as written and you will end up with a healthy school system. Only, it didn’t work out quite like that for everyone. The prescription didn’t heal schools across the country because it didn’t allow for local conditions and contexts. ESSA is more like a recipe. Yes, you can follow it as written but you can also adjust for local conditions, just as you would when cooking. Out of kale? Substitute chard. Don’t like raisins or nuts? Try cranberries or seeds. High elevation? Decrease the baking time. Adjusting to this new landscape will take time, particularly since the legislation is still new enough that states and districts are still figuring out what education will look like in 2017-18 when the law goes fully into effect.
May vs. Shall
Digging into some of the language of the new legislation can help us to start sorting out where schools and districts can break free from conformity and adjust the recipe, so to speak. One of the first places to start looking for flexibility is with the verbs.
It may seem like a semantic difference, but a subtle shift happened between ESSA and NCLB. Areas that were once mandates suddenly became areas where schools, districts and states could make choices. “Shall” means states and districts have to comply with a piece of legislation. “May” means possibility. For example, ESSA says states “shall” administer annual tests, but that they “may” include measures of student growth and be delivered in the form of portfolios, projects, or extended performance tasks. States “shall” develop an accountability system that includes student achievement scores, but also indicators of school quality and success that “may” include indicators chosen at the state’s discretion. States also get to decide the weight of each indicator in the overall system. These subtle shifts in language open the conformity door enough for states and districts to stick their foot in and push it open the rest of the way. No law — state, local or otherwise — will ever be perfect or make all parties happy. ESSA certainly has room for improvement and has its own detractors. But there is enough in ESSA that is different from NCLB to celebrate. This summer and into the fall, we will begin to see how Oregon will take advantage of the opportunities in ESSA to shrug off years of conformity and re-think and re-claim education in Oregon. Look for opportunities this Fall to make your voice heard and to lead the way in building the schools our students deserve.
AS SCHOOLS BEGAN TO FOCUS MORE AND MORE ON MATH AND READING TEST SCORES AND TEST PARTICIPATION RATES AS THE SOLE INDICATORS OF SUCCESS, OREGON SCHOOLS LOST SOME OF THEIR INDIVIDUALITY AND THE ABILITY TO ADDRESS THEIR COMMUNITIES’ NEEDS. GROWTH IN AREAS LIKE THE ARTS, SCIENCE, AND CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION WAS STYMIED. Credits: Our Oregon Campaign
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
Teaching & Learning
BUILDING AN IMPROVEMENT COMMUNITY Educators are working together to find solutions to common problems BY ANDREA SHUNK / Consultant, OEA Center for Great Public Schools
hat would it look like if we were able to break down barriers between school districts across Oregon and bring all educators together to work on finding solutions to our most common problems? It might look a little like a trip a team of St. Helens School District teachers recently took to Ron Russell Middle School in the David Douglas School District.
the power of building a networked improvement community, a diverse community focused on a common goal and a common approach. For OEA and St. Helens, the common goal is to improve quality classroom assessment practices using the guiding principles for quality assessment outlined in A New Path for Oregon: System of Assessment for Meaningful Student Learning.
Learning from Peers
Following the morning visit to RRMS, the team from St. Helens, a district working on plans to start a teacher-led focus on quality classroom assessment practices in 2016-17, spent three hours planning for their local implementation with OEA Center for Great Public Schools staff and applying what they learned from RRMS. But they didn’t talk about how to replicate the success they saw at RRMS. They didn’t plan for how to make learning target posters that matched those in the classrooms they visited. They didn’t decide to use choral response, a student engagement strategy RRMS teachers focus on. Instead, they focused on the journey RRMS took, a journey that started with a handful of teachers five years ago who agreed to complete a book study. “It’s easy to just pick up programs from other schools,” said Kathleen Alexander, a third grade teacher at Lewis and Clark Elementary School in St. Helens. “But that isn’t very effective. As we plan for change, we have to focus on our educators, our learners, and what we need at our school.” Danielle Speiser, a seventh grade teacher from St. Helens Middle School, said one of her biggest takeaways from visiting RRMS was that it’s okay, and ultimately will lead to greater success, to start slowly, build momentum, and bring your peers along. “You can’t just have a couple of ideas,
On a sunny Monday morning in early May, about 20 teachers, principals and district leaders from a variety of schools in Oregon sat at desks in a consumer studies classroom at Ron Russell Middle School (RRMS) listening to Principal Andy Long’s morning announcements. They were there at the school to learn about the journey of RRMS teachers who had created and led professional learning on school-wide instructional practices for the past five years. Belle Koskela, a former RRMS teacher and current David Douglas School District language coach, gave a short presentation about why the school started this effort, the lessons learned along the way, how the school overcame obstacles, and the school’s plans for the 2016-17 school year and beyond. Then, participants split into groups and rotated through three classrooms to see the instructional strategies the school had focused on for five years — student engagement, academic language, and learning targets — in action. Observers were then able to debrief with the teachers about what they saw and questions they had about the school’s journey. The visit to RRMS is a perfect example of how districts can learn from each other and by doing so, improve faster than if they were to go it alone. It also illustrates 12
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
It’s the Journey, Not the Destination
share them at a staff meeting, and magically fix everything,” Speiser said. “You have to address things slowly and intentionally. Changes don’t happen overnight.” The visitors weren’t the only ones learning, either. Koskela, the David Douglas School District coach, said that the RRMS teachers took a lot away from the visit as well. They liked receiving feedback from teachers outside the district and their context, and the affirmation that they’re on the right path. “It also helps us maintain our dedication to getting better and going further,” Koskela said. “We will never arrive, but we are on the right track.”
Getting Better at Getting Better
Speiser and Alexander both articulate one of the basic tenets of improvement science. Innovation and improvement is not just about what works. It’s about what works, for whom and in what context. Networked improvement communities are communities focused on achieving a common goal. For RRMS, St. Helens, and OEA, that common goal is improving quality classroom assessment practices. The idea for networked improvement communities, or NICs, is a concept other people-centered industries, such as healthcare, have used for decades. Education has recently embraced NICs because of the work of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, their director Anthony Bryk, and their mission to apply improvement science to education. By working collectively, NICs can find better solutions to the biggest problems. The Center for Great Public Schools at OEA has embraced this notion, and seized upon the opportunity to cross school district boundaries and to learn from and with other educators embracing
Teaching & Learning
Teachers from the Springfield, David Douglas, and St. Helens school districts share student learning logs they created and tried out in their classrooms as part of a statewide cadre of educators focused on classroom assessment practices.
teacher-led professional learning.
The St. Helens team has broken down barriers between their schools with a cross-school team. But Rosalie Sumsion, an instructional coach at McBride Elementary School in St. Helens, articulated the value of seeing success outside of your district. When you only see the students and teachers in your own district, you often develop a sense that your situation is unique, she said. But as she talked with RRMS students, she found similar stories to those of the students she taught. She also saw teachers embracing leadership. “Seeing real teachers lead programs is so powerful,” Sumsion said. The feedback participants gave also supported how seeing change in action can support change in a different setting. For example, one participant noted that "Hearing the story of RRMS was helpful in planning for implementing institutional changes." Credits: Andrea Shunk
St. Helens High School science teacher, Andrew Coffin, also jumped at the chance to see teachers outside of his district, subject level and grade band together. “In my experience, watching other teachers teach (especially really good ones) has been the single biggest source of learning for my own teaching practice. Getting out of your own school and your own district can really open you up to new potentials in terms of spreading positive culture and standards of success,” Coffin said.
Growing the Community
The Center for Great Public Schools at OEA wants to continue to grow this community focused on increasing quality classroom assessment practices. The need for change is great, as outlined in A New Path for Oregon: System of Assessment to Empower Meaningful Student Learning. And the time is now. The recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the successor to No Child Left Behind, opens
the door for states to develop new ways to measure student learning beyond a single, summative test. Education partners, including the Oregon Department of Education and the Confederation of School Administrators, are also working with districts in Oregon to increase assessment literacy. Additionally, the Center for Great Public Schools will continue to support St. Helens teachers next year as they begin to lead professional learning across their four schools, and at the same time, bring on additional teams of teachers to start the deep learning process. By collaborating with school districts, local associations, and other education partners, we can begin to figure out how best to support educators across the state to increase quality classroom assessment practices. As Sumsion, the instructional coach from McBride Elementary School said, “Learning together is just a better way to learn.” TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
Association in Action
WE ARE TEAM OEA Uniting — and Celebrating — a Better Oregon at the 2016 OEA Representative Assembly
re you ready? 1… 2… 3…. We did it!” With that, over 700 miniature poppers exploded in the air — tiny streams of confetti falling down on the tables lining the hall of the 2016 OEA Representative Assembly. It was a moment of pure celebration, marking a historic achievement by OEA members. OEA members had nearly completed their goal of 60,000 signatures for the Better Oregon campaign (at the time of the OEA-RA, members had gathered 56,600 signatures and counting — and would reach 60,000 in the weeks to follow). Never before had OEA members organized in such impressive numbers, and the 2016 Representative Assembly was the perfect time to celebrate the success of “Team OEA.” In addition to the celebratory fanfare, other vital work was accomplished. OEA members demonstrated their passion for social justice with a New Business Item that urged OEA to take the “lead in addressing institutionalized racism” through a series of actions, including: n spotlighting systemic patterns of inequity - racism and educational injustice — that impact our students; and n taking action to enhance access and opportunity for all Oregon students. An important component to this NBI is the work to gather personal stories from Oregon educators about institutional racism and its impact on their educational opportunities during the 2016-2017 school year. If you have a story to share, please email it to: email@example.com. Delegates took another important stand through NBI 22, which asks OEA to conduct a study of student access to a fully qualified school librarian/media specialist and wellresourced libraries/learning commons. If you have data to share about the impacts of the loss of library/media specialists in your school or district, contact OEA to take part in the upcoming study. Read the full text of OEA-RA outcomes to the right.
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
OEA MEMBERS GOVERN AT THE 2016 OEA-RA The 2016 OEA representative Assembly (RA) was held at the Red Lion Jantzen Beach Hotel, Portland. At this year’s, RA over 700 delegates gathered to adopt changes to OEA’s bylaws, policies, resolutions and legislative objectives. Delegates also proposed, debated and acted on new business, and elected officers to serve as OEA Region Vice Presidents, NEA Director, and OEA Ethnic Minority Director. Refer to 2016 OEA RA Minutes for full details on debate.
Serving a 2-year term beginning July 10, 2016 n Keith Ayres,
Region I Vice President n Forrest Cooper, Region II Vice President n Michael Endicott, Region III Vice President
Serving a 3-year term, beginning July 10, 2016 n Alejandra Barragán,
OEA Ethnic Minority Director
Serving a 1-year term beginning April 16, 2016 n Judy Harris, NEA Director
ELECTED BY MAIL-IN BALLOTS 2016 OEA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
District 01a: Janet Yakopatz District 01b: Judy Christensen District 06: Lynda Sanders District 08: Karen Laurence District 10b: Al Rabchuk District 12: John Scanlan District 15a: Geoff Hunnicutt District 19: Cori Swan District 20a: Lily Wagner District 20b: Pam Cunningham District 21: Beth Yarborough District 30a: Traci Hodgson
2016 NEA RA STATE DELEGATES
Region I – 4 Positions (3-year term) n Sarah Coyle n Ric Oleksak n Jennifer Underhill n Barbara Wickham Region II – 4 positions (3-year term) n Melody Antons n Tina Leaton n Stephen Travis n Janelle Wagner Region III – 3 positions (3-year term) n Daylee Lathim n Yvonne Mitchell n Cori Swan
OEA HONORS OUTSTANDING MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION MAJOR AWARDS
Barss/Wohlers Member Rights Award
CYNDY HOLDER Grants Pass Education Association
Robert G. Crumpton Organizational Excellence
KELVIN CALKINS Hood River County Education Association MARSHA LINCOLN Corvallis Education Association
Willie Juhola Award
YVONNE MITCHELL Klamath Falls Association of Classified Employees
Ed Elliott Human Rights Award
MARGARETT PEOPLES Portland Association of Teachers
Education Citizen of the Year DR. RICK STIGGINS Consultant
Excellence in Education
News Media Award
Political Action Award
JEAN KINYON Grants Pass Education Association DISTRICT 6 POLITICAL ACTION TEAM District 6 Education Association
Kevin Forney ESP Award LAURA WARREN Lebanon Education Support Professional Association
Ruth E. Greiner Membership Award
MARCIA COMACHO Forest Grove Education Association
Deanna Conner Award DEAN BERGEN Lane Community College EA
OEA President Hanna Vaandering recognized the following OEA members with Presidential Citations at the 2016 Representative Assembly:
2016 Friends of the Foundation
GRANTS PASS EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
2016 Teacher of Year Award HEATHER ANDERSON Bend Education Association
GINNY WARD Bethel Association of Classified Employees SENA NORTON Wy’East Education Association
Lifetime Achievement Award JEAN MACKIE OEA-Retired JERRY WILKINS OEA-Retired PAM MORRIS OEA-Retired
Member Advocacy Award
AL SPENCER Tigard-Tualatin Education Association PAUL WANNER Clackamas Community College Faculty Association
Political Action Award
POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE Portland Association of Teachers
Digital Media Award
MEDFORD EDUCATION ASSOCIATION COMMUNICATIONS TEAM
Print Media Award
MT HOOD COMMUNITY COLLEGE PART-TIME FACULTY & TUTOR ASSOCIATION
Association in Action APPROVED BY DELEGATES OEA member delegates approved revisions to OEA’s legislative Objectives, Resolutions, Bylaws and Policies. They also approved the following New Business Items (NBIs): NBI 1: that the OEA, at the 2017 Representative Assembly Banquet and thereafter, honor an individual member of the OEA Retired Organization for long term advocacy and commitment to both the OEA and the OEA Retired. NBI 2: that Oregon Education Association endorse and support the Save Our Schools Coalition March in Washington, DC (July 8) by informing members, especially those attending NEA RA about the march and other planned coalition events. NBI 3: that OEA endorse and support the Save Our Schools Coalition March in Washington, DC by informing members, especially those attending NEA RA, about the March and other planned coalition events and by contributing $1,000 towards expenses associated with the March, such as permitting and facilities. Estimated Cost $1,000.00 NBI 4: to have OEA recognize the grouping of EI/ECSE (Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education) on all appropriate forms, groups and committees. NBI 5: that the Center for Great Public Schools and/or the Center for Advocacy and Affiliate Services explore current practices and barriers to fairly compensating supervising educators who currently volunteer their time, energy and expertise to train tomorrow’s educators. NBI 6: I move OEA request a public audit of PERS to investigate exactly what our current losses have been over the past one, three and five years in our fossil fuel investments. And that this information be available to members. NBI 7: that OEA work with its coalition partners (including 350.org and other environmental groups) to lobby the Oregon Investment Council and the State Treasurer to divest the Public Employee Retirement system from stocks and funds that are in fossil fuels. They should pay particular attention to the 200 largest companies and do this in accordance with their fiduciary responsibility. NBI 8: that OEA provide release time for up to four OEA Members to attend State Board of Education meetings. The members released shall have expertise that reflects the agenda topics. These members will be chosen by State governance, through consultation with local councils, to attend each State Board of Education meeting until such time as the board is reconstituted to include educators on the board. These attendees will communicate their experience to the OEA Board of Directors in a manner to be determined by the OEA President. And also actively pursue a reconstituted State Board of Education educator advisor with voting rights. NBI 9: that OEA create a toolkit to support Local associations and leaders who wish to educate parents with OEA approved information about their rights to refuse assessments used for federal accountability purposes (high stakes standardized tests). Results of analysis already conducted by OEA of these assessments as well as information about the implementation of the assessments (e.g. devices used, bandwidth needed, time spent) will be included in the toolkit. Components of the toolkit will be translated into home languages of Oregon families, as possible and applicable, at a minimum translated into Spanish. Any of this information may also be posted on OEA website as determined by OEA governance. NBI 10: I move that all elected OEA Directors as voted for by this assembly be seated at the dais table along with all elected Directors. This would add 2 elected Directors to the dais. NBI 11: that OEA ESP Board member be required to include a written report of the activities and actions taken by the Oregon Council of Educational Support
Credits: Meg Krugel
OEA members celebrate nearly completing their goal of 60,000 signatures for the Better Oregon campaign.
Professionals (OCESP) to be included in OEA RA handbook. NBI 12: that OEA coordinate a review of restraint protocols, trainings, and practices, including ODE approved programs, such as Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) and Oregon Intervention System (OIS). Based upon that review, OEA work with ODE and other partners as appropriate to advocate for district adoption of best practices. This can be done using existing resources including the Special Ed Task Force. NBI 14: that OEA shall create a task force to examine the impact of the recent legislative action SB553 to prohibit/ reduce the number of K-5 suspensions without providing adequate funding and alternative options and support services for these students. This task force will then recommend an action plan including resources for K-12 students, parents, and educators who have or encounter chronic dangerous, unsafe, bullying, and or destructive behavior including options for intensive alternative educational settings, and or programs such as behavioral therapy groups which could include families. NBI 15: that OEA endorse and support the Driscoll’s/Sakuma Bro’s Berries Boycott movement until the company negotiates a union contract for better working conditions and wages, by promoting boycott events/marches and writing an article and publishing it on the OEA website. Also writing a letter in support of the boycott, because an injury to one is an injury to all. NBI 18: that OEA work with groups such as ENLACE and the Private Prison Divestment Campaign, to lobby the Oregon Investment Council and the State Treasurer to divest the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) from stocks, including those from major investors in prisons, that are related to any and all private prison operations. NBI 20: that OEA shall lead in addressing institutional racism by: 1) spotlighting systemic patterns of inequity — racism and educational injustice — that impact our students; and 2) taking action to enhance access and opportunity for all Oregon students, consistent with the NEA Institutional Racism, NBI. OEA will use our collective voice to bring to light the ongoing institutional racism and initiate change to policies, programs, and practices that condone or ignore unequal treatment and hinder student success by taking the following actions: • Using NEA technical assistance as well as already developed NEA diversity and race awareness toolkits to conduct a dialogue in at least three regional OEA events; • Identify up to 5 community partners and/or allies who are addressing institutional racism to develop
and implement a plan of awareness; • Actively partnering with communities and encouraging member participation within Oregon social justice groups on local campaigns and actions on critical social justice issues impacting students; • Conduct a survey of members through our existing OEA list serve to collect data on which social justice groups our members are already involved in. Use the data to strategically select groups around the state for additional support that may include sponsorship of events. Survey to be completed no later than September 30, 2016; • During the 2016-2017 school year, host 3 to 5 Regional Town halls throughout Oregon with students and educators as panelists to answer the following question: How does racism impact educational opportunity? • OEA will gather notes and information from the field to inform our interactions and guide our policies to move OEA forward in this work. • Request the board to task the OEA, Human and Civil Rights, and Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee Members to gather up to 10 personal stories about institutional racism and its impact on their own educational opportunities, from students and educators, during the 2016-2017 school year from each OEA region. These stories will be shared out through existing OEA communications to educate our members, leaders, staff and partners. NBI 21: I move that the board of directors consider at the May board meeting, moving $400,000.00 from the stabilization fund for the purpose of re-opening offices that were closed as a result of the budget crisis. NBI 22: that using existing resources OEA will conduct a study of student access to a fully qualified school librarian/media specialist and well-resourced libraries/ learning commons throughout OEA. This study shall be published through digital channels and include: 1. Current state laws regarding school libraries and staffing; 2. Staffing patterns in our school libraries by grade level; 3. Ratio of professionally certified school librarians to students; 4. The number and grade levels of professionally qualified school librarian positions that have been eliminated by using the last 10 most recent years of available data; 5. Number and grade levels of schools that have closed their libraries entirely. 6. A breakdown of access to certified school library media specialists and school libraries by income and demographic data.
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
Eye on Equity
JUST ONE MORE Heeding the Challenge to Feed Kids During the Summer Months BY MEG KRUGEL / Editor, Today's OEA
hen the Oregon Department of Education issued the “Just One More” challenge earlier this year, Kyle Micken took the charge seriously. ODE’s hope, he explained, was to have each district focus on broadening the availability of summer food programs by adding one more day, or one more site, or one more meal to its current offerings. Micken, who is the Nutrition Services Director for Roseburg Public Schools and a dad to young kids, began brainstorming ways to meet the challenge head-on and ensure that Douglas County youth had more access to summer food than ever before. This summer, two Lunchbox Expresses — retrofitted special-needs school busses — will pop into parking lots around the Roseburg area each day to serve healthy and hot meals to kids in town and the neighboring community of Winston-Dillard. From fresh sliced melon and strawberries to burritos and panini sandwiches — area youth will be able to fill their bellies with nutritious food, no matter where they live in the community. In its first year in operation last year, the original Lunchbox Express (coupled with a handful of stationary sites around the district) managed to feed 250 kids every day. Micken is in the final stages of wrapping up the retrofitting project for the second bus - no small (or inexpensive) task — all told, the job runs about $7,000 and requires Micken to get creative on how to stretch his dollars in the most effective way. He’s hopeful that the addition of one more bus gets more meals to more kids, keeping them healthy and enriched through the summer. A mobile feeding program like the Lunchbox Express is helping solve the dilemma of feeding kids in harder-to-reach pockets in Douglas County. Nationwide, the vast majority (80 percent) of children 16
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What Can Teachers and Educators Do?
n Talk to kids about their summer plans. Ask if they participate in a local summer meals program, if there are fun activities, what their favorite summer lunches are. n Find out where programs are located in your community, and let students and families know about them. www. summerfoodOregon.org. For info about outreach materials, visit: oregonhunger.org/summer-outreachmaterials. n Get involved! Summer meal programs are best when the community is involved. To find out more, contact your local program using www. summerfoodOregon.org or contact Marcella Miller at Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon at Marcella@ oregonhunger.org. n For information about starting a summer meal program, contact Cathy Brock at Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit: www.ode.state.or.us/search/ results/?id=208.
from low-income backgrounds spend their summer days at home, not in organized programs that offer meals. Many of these
meal sites operate miles away from where children live. Caregivers are often at work, and with school buses out of service in the summer, it can be difficult for many kids to find transportation to summer meal sites. (This adds a substantial financial burden on their families, who can see their grocery bills grow $300 each month during the summer in order to replace the meals children were receiving at school). Statewide, one in four Oregon children face food insecurity or hunger, and summer can be the hungriest time of year for many of these children from low-income families. The hunger experienced during these months can have far-reaching consequences that last well beyond the end of the season, affecting a child’s academic achievement, brain development and overall health. In its efforts to curb hunger during the summer months, Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon awards grants through its Summer Meals Support Fund – this year, 16 communities will receive a financial boost to help lift new, innovative programs off the ground. Since 2009, Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon has distributed over $610,000 in small grants to schools and other organizations in nearly every county in the state. In particular, explains Marcella Miller, Partner for a Hunger Free Oregon’s Child Hunger Prevention Manager, they focus their efforts on: n Rural, hard-to-reach areas with lower concentrations of kids n Mobile routes, or programs that use innovated transportation solutions to reach more kids n Programs that focus on teens n Partnerships with affordable housing communities and libraries Given how uniquely the district meets these criteria, Roseburg School District has been selected to receive one of the Summer Meals Support Fund grants this
Eye on Equity
The Lunchbox Express, a retrofitted school bus, offers more than the typical PB&J lunch to kids in the Roseburg area during the summer months. In an effort to draw more people to the summer meal sites, "we've really gotten away from doing brown bag lunches," says Kyle Micken, Nutrition Services Director for Roseburg School Distict.
year. Micken is using the funds to start up a two-month free summer camp at Sunnyslope Elementary School, one of the more walkable neighborhood schools in the community. “Last year, we served breakfast and lunch at Sunnyslope, but the enrollment or participation in those meals served was very low,” says Micken. “My focus was: kids aren’t utilizing their full potential during the summer months. We came up with the idea of the summer camp that will offer breakfast, lunch, and an activity in between.” Each week has different themes, and the camp will run June 13 through July 29 and is open to any child in the district, regardless of where they live. “If we can have an activity at the school, Credits: Karen Kennedy
and our parents know it’s put on by the school district, it’s better. They trust them during the school year, and now they can trust them during the summer. It just takes one more burden off the parents,” Micken says. Traditional summer school is what Miller calls the “low-hanging fruit” of the summer meal programs — a dedicated four weeks where students know they’ll get a healthy meal during the day. “When those four weeks end, though, you have close to two months where they’re not getting meals, not getting activities,” says Miller. A program like Micken has launched at Sunnyslope Elementary is helping close that gap, in a way that fits the community best. Grants from Partners for a Hunger Free
Oregon are used in creative ways like this all across the state. But the foundation that underlies them is the same: “Our biggest belief is that the community knows what’s best. We always start by listening to what they’ve been doing and what their needs are,” Miller says. As the school year draws to a close, Miller encourages educators to learn more about the available summer meal sites in their communities. "Ask your kids what they're doing over the summer - teachers know better than anyone what their students are up to," Miller says. "It can be as simple as asking, 'Do you go to the skate park? Do you like the food there?' Just try to hype it up a little for them." TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
E K I L T N I ROUU NEED Y
n un ru ls f K 5 ts oo rv hos needy sch e S i n r unty Ud funds fo tterson o C n Pa ingto ss an omas Wash e awarene t • Photos by Th s y Kors to rai y Am B
he dreary Oregon weather doesn’t dampen the spirits of participants in the second annual Team Up for Students! 5K as they mill around the bus drop-off area of Cornelius’ Echo Shaw Elementary School, waiting for the race to begin. Inside the cheery elementary cafeteria, volunteers (including teachers and teens from local high schools) coordinate race packet pickup, help runners pin numbered bibs to rain-resistant jackets, sell t-shirts, and answer questions. Free childcare is offered, but race coordinator Marcia Camacho says she’s unsure anyone’s ever used it, because the kids want to run, too. Outside, a pep band called Something Wicked, composed of high school students from the Hillsboro and Forest Grove school districts, plays. Serious runners stretch and jockey for position at the starting line. One 18
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gentleman, not so serious, queues up wearing a plush dolphin hat. It’s a typical scene that unfolds at any number of fun runs across the state, except this isn’t your typical fun run. This particular 5K is organized by members of the Washington County UniServ (WaCo), and proceeds each year benefit a disadvantaged Washington County school. In other words, the event is organized by teachers, for students. “This is the second year in a row teachers have successfully hosted this grassroots campaign to spotlight the plight of WaCo’s neediest schools and to reach out to families and the community in partnership,” says Camacho’s fellow organizer, Sarah Coyle. Volunteers stroll through the crowd wearing race bibs, but instead of numbers, these bibs contain powerful messages written in black sharpie. Printed on the bibs are
the words “Team Up! 5K. Our students deserve….” Volunteers and runners have completed the sentence with their own wish lists: “More teaching, less testing,” says one. “Smaller classes,” reads another. “Orchestra and band during the school day at Tom McCall,” says a third, surrounded by hand-drawn music notes. “What is it you think your kids deserve? I wanted to make sure they understood it was not just for fun, but also to get the message out and just to see what people say,” Camacho explains about the bibs. “It’s part of that whole activist piece. We’ve got work to do here in Oregon.” As with any 5K, vendor booths dot the race area, but again, today’s booths have a special focus — making schools a better place for students. One booth, sponsored by the Hillsboro Education Association,
is filled with books people can “swap or adopt.” Sylvan Learning Center occupies another booth, and a third contains information from a neighborhood health center. The start time approaches, and a motley crew arranges itself on the street in front of Echo Shaw Elementary: moms with strollers blanketed against the drizzle, teachers and their students, an administrator or two, the dolphin hat. Serious runners mixed with participants who will walk. The old and the young. The MC shouts into the microphone, “Look around you! If you are in that front line you are telling me you are going to run under five-minute miles!” Naturally, every elementary-aged child in the crowd pushes to the front. “On your mark, get set, go!” The band strikes up “Born To Be Wild” and the runners are off. Behind the scenes, volunteers, many from Hillsboro’s W.L. Henry Elementary School, prepare the finish line. W.L. Henry students are to be the recipients of this year’s Team Up! for Kids 5K fundraiser. Fifth grade teacher Benjamin Fong did not run in the 5K but volunteered at the event. He describes W.L. Henry, a duallanguage school, as a place with “amazing teachers and amazing kids. We’re a rightbrained school,” he says, “with a lot of art, a lot of project-based learning.” Another W.L Henry teacher, Angela Vargas, teaches third grade. Vargas contributed a key element to the race by bringing awareness to a critical equity issue, says Coyle. According to Coyle, Oregon state statute right now states that if a family lives within a mile from their school, they are expected to provide transportation for their children to and from school. Families living more than a mile away from their school are provided bussing. “So for these poor families, that might mean they’re not taking jobs that they need, because they don’t have someone to get that kid to school or back. It could mean that they’re paying other people to provide transportation for their children, it could mean their kids are just having to walk despite the weather in the winter when it’s dark, etc. To add insult to injury, there aren’t great roads. There aren’t even 20
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sidewalks most of the way,” Coyle explains. She sees potential micro-aggressions surface, too —neighbors confronting kids, a majority of whom are students of color, about walking on the edge of their lawn as they make the journey to school each day. Last year, concerned teachers at W.L.
Henry challenged their superintendent to walk this mile to school, and Coyle is happy to report that shortly thereafter, sidewalks were installed along some of the routes to school. But, she says, “it still doesn’t solve the larger issue. It’s an equity issue, especially
Students from W.L Henry Elementary School will be the recipients of this year's Team Up! 5K race fundraiser.
for these Title I schools.” Given that the immediate problem was addressed but the larger problem remains — the negative impact on already poor families when bussing isn’t provided, Coyle felt the 5K was a perfect moment to highlight this important issue through what she Credits: Thomas Patterson
dubbed the “Mean Mile.” As race participants started their run, they encountered a sign explaining that some K-6 students have to walk a mile to school every day. “At the first mile, there was a sign that said, ‘Whew! You finally made it to school.’
And so then they turned around and on the way back it said, ‘Okay, now your school day’s over, you still have to walk a mile home.’ The last sign said, ‘You made it. Your homework is now to let your legislators know this is too far for elementary students to have to walk every day',” says Coyle. TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
Marcia Camacho, co-organizer of the Team Up For Students! 5k run, and Jeff Matsumoto of Forest Grove EA, power through to the finish line for Washington County kids.
The first runner crosses the finish line just seconds over the 17-minute mark. The atmosphere is celebratory. James Dean, a young boy wearing a Spiderman backpack and a backwards ball cap, declares himself the race’s official water boy, and he runs back and forth sloshing water from plastic cups. Fresh fruit is provided for hungry runners, donated by a local produce market. “We were going to hand out water, but you got water all along the race!” quips the loudspeaker as more and more participants crowd the finish line, dripping from the rain. The man in the dolphin hat turns out to be Patrick Birkle, a Kindergarten teacher from Minter Bridge Elementary School in Hillsboro. Minter Bridge’s mascot is — you guessed it — the dolphins. “It’s beautiful,” he says with a nod to the overcast skies, “just fun being here with other staff.” Birkle explains that he and other staff members from Minter Bridge participated in the race because they know how much the fundraising will help the community at W.L. Henry. 22
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This is exactly what Camacho and Coyle, both teachers themselves, had in mind when they, and other members of their local UniServ sat down and dreamed up the Team Up For Students! 5K. Both organizers cite the OEA’s Quality Education Fair in the Fall of 2014 as the inspiration for their event. “What I loved about it was the community and the teachers were all talking about school in a way that we don’t usually get to. It just seemed like a very important energy, but we didn’t want to keep it as a one-time event,” Camacho, a social studies teacher at Neil Armstrong Middle School in Forest Grove, says. Neither Coyle or Camacho had any experience organizing a 5K, but they dove into the project headfirst, setting up a website, opening a bank account as a nonprofit, finding sponsors, getting a race permit, advertising the event, and so on. Coyle, who teaches social studies at the Hillsboro Online Academy, is on the opposite side of the district from Camacho, and she says working together with the other
organizers had an unexpected benefit. “It really gave us an opportunity to cross that county boundary and bring us together. It really helped to unify our UniServ,” she says. They didn’t know what to expect the first year, but, Camacho says it went better than they could have hoped for. In 2015, 210 runners crossed the finish line, and the race raised $3,600 for the first recipient school, Cornelius Elementary School. According to both organizers, Cornelius Elementary was an obvious recipient the first year because the school was in dire straits. WaCo UniServ members attended a meeting in the Cornelius Elementary School teacher workroom, and Coyle remembers it as “a sad state of affairs.” “Any other teacher work room I’ve been in has paper and rulers and scissors and paper cutters, things you can make stuff out of, especially in an elementary. They had nothing. It was heartbreaking,” she says. Camacho, who worked at Cornelius Elementary for 13 years before moving on to Neil Armstrong, was able to paint a picture of a school that was in great need of
Along the race course, a sign reminds racers of the negative impact when bussing isn’t provided to and from school.
financial help. Cornelius, in the poorest area of the county, had virtually no supplies and a serious problem with overcrowding. This resulted in low staff morale, so the Team Up For Students! committee decided to fundraise for this needy school. Melissa Timm, an English language development facilitator at Cornelius Elementary, heard about the 5K and started a lunchtime running club with her students. They called themselves the Cornelius Cruisers. “Last year, when the run was going to benefit our school…I knew that I wanted our kids to be aware of the run and to be able to do it. And you can’t just go out and run 3.2 miles successfully if you haven’t trained for it,” she says. This year, Timm continued her running club with teachers, students, and instructional assistants. Together, they counted the laps they ran at lunch, which added up to running a distance equivalent to running to the Mexican border. Timm confirmed Coyle’s initial impression of Cornelius Elementary, saying that in 2015, class size at the school was “bursting at Credits: Thomas Patterson
the seams.” Teachers were holding class in the hallways, library, and cafeteria. Teachers lacked supplies, and the library lacked books, especially high-quality books written in Spanish for native language literacy. Thanks to the 5K fundraising, each teacher at Cornelius received $200 to spend as they saw fit for their students. Teachers bought a wide variety of supplies and independent reading materials. ELD teacher Sara Lawson spent her money a bit differently. Faced with a broken CD player and no money to replace it, she had resorted to using an old tape deck for language fluency practice. The trouble was, the tape deck was also partially broken, so in order to use it, a student had to constantly hold down the play button. “To replace it (the CD player) would cost over $600, so my money is going toward fixing the machine at a repair shop. It’s kind of tricky to put in a request for reimbursement for this kind of thing, so having money without restriction will help save over $500 in replacement costs,” she says. Today, Timm says Cornelius Elementary
is facing a bit less strain, thanks to some district re-boundary work and new administration. “Staff morale has improved, as has our voice in the district,” she says. “All along it’s been an amazing place to work. Without a doubt, the teachers here are just amazing.” This year, Camacho reports that 276 runners finished the 5K. While final numbers aren’t in, she estimates that W.L. Henry teachers will receive a check for about $4,000 to spend as they see fit. In two short years, the event has grown in ways Camacho and Coyle never expected. It’s truly grassroots organizing at its finest, pulling together local businesses, state legislators, teachers and their union, students, and administrators to work collectively for the betterment of some of the neediest schools in Washington County. “There’s a lot riding on this to be successful,” says Coyle. “We take a lot of pride in WaCo and our schools. We’re really invested in this. It’s only going to do well if we ensure it does well. We can’t leave it to others.” n TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
A field trip to
BY MATT LOVE / English Teacher, Astoria High School
n March 10, my 52nd birthday, I sat on a bench in the event space of Powell’s City of Books in downtown Portland. A few feet away, a couple hundred empty chairs seemed to stare at me. In 90 minutes, my presentation of my debut novel, The Great Birthright would commence. The Great Birthright is a parody of the detective novel genre. The book’s premise is a Los Angeles developer is trying overturn Oregon's famous 1967 Beach Bill and privatize the state’s publicly-owned beaches, the vaunted “great birthright,” as former Governor Oswald West memorably 24
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described it. A washed up detective named Tom West and teacher/writer named Matt Love team up to stop the developer. My Powell’s performance was the last event of a tour that took me to 13 different Oregon cities talking about the sacrosanct notion of publicly-owned beaches. The last show of a book tour is always special to me because it marks the end of a long creative journey. But I wasn’t thinking about the final show. Rather, I wondered what 32 of my students from Astoria High School were doing inside the biggest and greatest bookstore in the country. They had joined me on the trip from the Oregon Coast and we
Matt Love brings more than 30 of his Astoria High School students to Powell's City of Books in Portland for a reading of his new book.
rode a magic school bus together. Most had never been inside Powell’s. Many had never bought a book before. This field trip to Powell’s marked the sixth time in my teaching career I had students accompany me to a presentation in support of one of my books. Moments
from these excursions had become some of my finest teaching experiences. I even invented the phrase the “Powell’s Look” to describe the stunned appearance on students’ faces when they saw the store for the first time — a four-story building that occupies an entire city block! Credits: Thomas Patterson
Over the years, I had perfected a routine for the Powell’s field trips: give students a brief orientation near the entrance, hand them a map, and tell them to rendezvous at the venue space 15 minutes before the show. The students scattered into the corridors of the store and I went off by myself
to rehearse my presentation. They are on their own. I always bring along a few chaperones for assistance but they want to shop for books, too. Sometimes I wonder why I bring them along. I never really enjoy myself at one of these events because my first TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
Perspective Your Rights To Additional Information
SUMMARY ANNUAL REPORT FOR OEA CHOICE TRUST This is a summary of the annual report of the OEA CHOICE TRUST, EIN 930243443, Plan No. 501, for period July 01, 2014 through June 30, 2015. The annual report has been filed with the Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, as required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
Insurance Information The plan has a contract with Unum Life Insurance Company Of America to pay Group Long Term Care claims incurred under the terms of the plan. The total premiums paid for the plan year ending June 30, 2015 were $11,502.
Basic Financial Statement The value of plan assets, after subtracting liabilities of the plan, was $65,489,648 as of June 30, 2015, compared to $65,069,428 as of July 01, 2014. During the plan year the plan experienced an increase in its net assets of $420,220. This increase includes unrealized appreciation and depreciation in the value of plan assets; that is, the difference between the value of the plan's assets at the end of the year and the value of the assets at the beginning of the year or the cost of assets acquired during the year. During the plan year, the plan had total income of $2,334,933, including earnings from investments of $1,881,108, and other income of $453,825. Plan expenses were $1,914,713. These expenses included $623,846 attributed to general administration, $935,770 in wellness program services, and $355,096 in benefits paid to participants and beneficiaries. 26
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
You have the right to receive a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, on request. The items listed below are included in that report: • an accountant's report; • financial information; • assets held for investment; • insurance information, including sales commissions paid by insurance carriers; To obtain a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, write or call the office of OREGON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION in care of HOLLY SPRUANCE who is Plan Administrator at 6900 SW ATLANTA STREET, BLDG 2, TIGARD, OR 97223, or by telephone at (503) 684-3300. The charge to cover copying costs will be $0.00 for the full annual report, or $0.00 per page for any part thereof. You also have the right to receive from the plan administrator, on request and at no charge, a statement of the assets and liabilities of the plan and accompanying notes, or a statement of income and expenses of the plan and accompanying notes, or both. If you request a copy of the full annual report from the plan administrator, these two statements and accompanying notes will be included as part of that report. The charge to cover copying costs given above does not include a charge for the copying of these portions of the report because these portions are furnished without charge. You also have the legally protected right to examine the annual report at the main office of the plan ( OREGON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, 6900 SW ATLANTA STREET, BLDG 2, TIGARD, OR 97223) and at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., or to obtain a copy from the U.S. Department of Labor upon payment of copying costs. Requests to the Department should be addressed to: Public Disclosure Room, Room N1513, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20210.
responsibility is to the teaching job. It would be wonderful to go out with friends and family after the event, but I feel a professional obligation to somehow get these students inside Powell’s and see this literary shrine. I do derive one substantial benefit from them, however: 30 more bodies in the audience really fills out the room. Yes, the prospect of 32 teenagers roaming around a four-story bookstore made me slightly nervous. But all you can do as a teacher in these unscripted scenarios is place trust and keep the faith in young people. I’ve never grown as an educator unless I put myself in these precarious positions, and yes, I’ve sometimes been burned. Nevertheless, when I finally start to feel safe with my teaching, I am done. I need the unscripted scenarios as well. At the appointed time, all 32 students rallied back to the event space. They were eager to show me all the books they’d purchased. Some of them had really loaded up! We had spirited conservations about books and the sheer awesomeness of this store. I always get the feeling that every one of the students will return some day. I did the show and we walked out into the big city night and boarded the bus. After I made the last head count and all 32 were safely into the fold, I breathed a sigh of relief and then passed out the birthday cupcakes my mom had brought to the event. A cupcake never tasted so good. On the way home, some of the students requested the bus driver leave the lights on. They wanted to read their new books. I sort of fell asleep on the bus ride home. We made it back to campus by midnight and several students thanked me for sharing my birthday with them in such a unique way. One boy said, “Hey, Mr. Love, can we go next year?” “I’ve got to write a new book first,” I said. “Well, get on it!” I told him I would. But first, I had to teach the next day. Matt Love teaches English and creative writing at Astoria High School and is the author/editor of 14 books, including The Great Birthright and The Gigging Life. His books are available through independent book stores or his web site, nestuccaspitpress.com
Excerpt from The Great Birthright By Matt Love
everal days went by before Love made his way out to the Mad Dog Tavern outside of Newport. It was a Saturday afternoon and Love drove the bay road in a slashing rain while Sonny the old husky snoozed beside him. Love had pulled off a great week in the classroom and naturally it had something to do with the beach. A new student had appeared in Creative Writing and Love had asked him where he had moved from. The boy, a senior named Steve, said, “Nebraska.” “Nebraska!” Love had roared, the class roaring even louder. There had also been a few mumbled insults about corn. Love had calmed them down and learned that Steve’s mother had taken a new job as
a nurse at Newport’s hospital. Love asked him what he thought of the beaches. It was his stock question to every transfer. “I haven’t been yet. I’ve actually never seen the ocean. We just got in a few days ago and found our apartment,” said Steve. “You’re joking,” said Love. “No. I’ll probably go see it this weekend.” “You’re going right now.” “Now? During class?” “Call it a field trip.” “What about a permission slip?” “The ocean doesn’t care.” Steve had had no response to that. He’d appeared sort of frightened and seemed to suddenly miss boring cornfields and worksheets. Love had announced to the class Steve’s
obvious sickness and immediate remedy. His students nodded silently. They knew the drill. They were a trained army. In ten minutes they would rally at Nye Beach and execute Operation Great Birthright, as they had so many times before. Love also told them to bring wood and oil, guitars and a hackey sack. He’d round up Sonny for the indoctrination. Steve was going to see the ocean for the first time and experience his first beach bonfire—at nine in the morning—and it wouldn’t cost a cent because this was Oregon.
Matt Love reads from his new book The Great Birthtight at Powell's City of Books in Portland.
Credits: Thomas Patterson
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
SAY ING GOODBYE
Third-grade teacher Kelly Cowgill reflects on her first year By Laila Hirschfeld • Photos by Thomas Patterson
t’s been nearly a year since Kelly Cowgill stood with a globe clutched under her arm, searching through Beaverton Education Association’s enormous ‘new teacher give-away’ to find gently used goodies for her new third grade classroom at Barnes Elementary in Beaverton. At the time she admitted to being nervous, but was mostly excited and ready to take on her first year of teaching. Now, 10 months later, with almost an entire year behind her, she talks about a different emotion: dread.
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Kelly Cowgill hosts a fun "read-in" with her students, where they build forts under tables and spend the afternoon enjoying the simple joy of opening up a good book.
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
Kelly Cowgill is nearing the end of her first year as a teacher at Barnes Elementary School in Beaverton.
“When I think about the last day of school? Wow,” she sucks air in and exhales as though she is trying to regain composure. “I feel dread—I’m just not ready to say goodbye.” She continues, “You have to understand, I’m always with my kids. I’ve built this beautiful little community, and I think about them ALL THE TIME, not just during the school day. Now this community I’ve worked so hard to grow will have to say goodbye.” It’s a familiar sentiment: a Pinterest search for “saying goodbye to your students” reveals thousands of ideas for 30
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letters and gifts, along with comments from both new and more experienced teachers commiserating about the “end-ofyear-blues.” “I’d like to write individual notes to each of my students,” says Cowgill. “I want them to know what this year has meant for me, what my hopes are for them and their future. These are my kids!” The end of the year has not come without its challenges, chief among them the administration of the state’s Smarter Balanced Assessment. In third grade classrooms across Oregon, educators are required to carve
out significant time to prepare for and to administer the standardized test—an issue that has galvanized parents and teachers alike. “The test requires a lot of time and a lot of emotion,” reports Cowgill. “There are the logistics, and the time it takes just to teach them how to take the test. But the worst part has been the emotional toll. Some of my kids were physically ill or would start sobbing. I’d heard about my students having anxiety attacks in thinking about the testing to come later that morning. It had a real impact on our community here.”
In fact, in a recent national survey by the Center on Education Policy an overwhelming majority of teachers (81 percent) believe students spend too much time taking district- and/or statemandated tests. The other major finding: almost all surveyed teachers said their opinions are not often factored into state or national decisions, and 77 percent said their voices are not often considered in district-level decisions. “Looking at these results, it’s not all that surprising that enrollments for teacher prep programs are dropping,” says Maria Ferguson, CEP’s executive director. “It’s becoming a tougher sell as a career.” At least 10 percent of new teachers do not return after their first year. So, does Cowgill feel she made the right career choice? “Oh, absolutely this is the right job,” she says. “I feel really grateful for the support I have received over the year. I know it could have been much more difficult.” Cowgill says her mentor has been instrumental in helping her get through the year. “It’s been trial and error, reflection and growth. It’s been hard work, but I feel accomplished.” She also offers her own advice to new educators: n You’re not super human. “By the time you get to October, you’ll realize that you can’t finish everything in a workday, that you can’t take it all home, and that you have to get yourself out of the building by a certain time to preserve your sanity. That’s okay. Everyone is in the same situation.” n Don’t lose yourself. “You have to commit to doing at least one thing you love outside of school, no matter what. Keep it sacred. This helps to remind you who you are, at your core.” n Forgive yourself and your students. “You have to give your students as much grace as they give you—failure is a part of learning. For everyone. A student may make poor choices, but every child deserves a fresh start in the morning. Our students always forgive us our mistakes, and so we must do the same—it’s cyclical.” n Finally, ask for help. “I have learned that it’s an invaluable asset to be able to think on your feet. But sometimes, you need help. It’s important to ask for help.” Credits: Thomas Patterson
Comfy and cozy in a reading fort, Cowgill's students celebrate nearing the end of their year in third grade.
Cowgill is already preparing for the upcoming year. Her biggest struggle this year, she admits, was finding balance—for her students and their language skills, for the classroom and its tone, and for her and her personal life. “I don’t know how I’m going to tackle
that—achieving real balance—but I am definitely going to spend some time over the summer reflecting on that,” she says. Also on the agenda for the coming months? Cowgill says there is no big vacation planned, but “I may teach summer school. Oh, and reading for pleasure! SO many books!” n
KELLY’S DIARY The most engaging moment of the day was during math. We were using our stretching arms to imitate the angles of triángulos obtusángulos, triángulos acutángulos, y triángulos rectángulos (obtuse, acute, and right triangles). Some kids were struggling to keep up with the pronunciation of all of the syllables for each triangle. I chunked the vocabulary into manageable syllables and asked students to repeat after me while simultaneously forming the angles with their arms. "Repiten," I told students, "Obtus... (they parroted obtus...) án... (án...) gulo... (...)." The students stared at me in disbelief. Some guffawed, others slapped their hands over their grins. I understood the miscommunication instantly. "¡NO!" I retorted, "¡No dije lo que están pensando! ¡GU-lo, GU-LO! ¡Dije GULO!" Their selective hearing had not caught gulo but a similar, far less appropriate word. Ay de mí. I had already lost the battle.
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
M O M RO RO L rra ece B s ri Ch by maks o t Pho ing our ers lives and our stuand S dents’ lives so difficult.” ulia J By Around the same time, Reynolds became involved with the Occupy the Gorge movement, which further allowed him to become involved in issues he High School cared about. “It brought out a lot of people and then at Hood who were concerned with income dispariRiver Valley High School, ties and unequal access, who were interwhere he taught for 10 years. ested in equity for all people. Through During his career, Reynolds taught lanthe Occupy movement I have continued guage arts, social studies, ESL, and Spanish. to work on issues such as challenging the Reynolds’ involvement in politics began expansion of Wal-Mart in Hood River and with his work as a building representative sharing the power of grassroots involveand local organizer with the Hood River ment.” Education Association at a time when the When Reynolds began to consider runOEA Strategic Action Plan was implementning for office, he went to OEA for support ed by his union about five years ago. and advice. “It seemed that we were all on the same “Through OEA I went to some training page,” said Reynolds. “It felt like teachers, sessions with LERC (Labor Education [through] the union were being reactivated Resource Center) and eventually enrolled as members and recognizing the value of with the Oregon Labor Candidate School, organizing again.” Reynolds began to see which was a very valuable community of that through his union involvement, he people to meet and taught me more about could impact policy — at long last. “We the political process,” Reynolds said. were recognizing that policy is what was His experiences using the resources available to politically active OEA members were eye-opening. “This is a real strength that we have going for us at OEA. We have the Labor Candidate School, we have Emerge Oregon for young Democratic women… [these programs are] all to get people ready to run for office. I think without that kind of training and help it would be really daunting, but with the support of the Labor Candidate School… it felt like this was something that I could do and that we could really win.” Reynold’s work with the Oregon Labor Candidate School centered around anticipating the timeline for the election and learning best practices for communications and voter outreach. “The best way to win an election is to go out and talk to voters so that they know who you are and what your values are. I learned a lot about how to do that through my work there,” said Reynolds. “Early on I was able to do a lot of the scheduling and reaching out to people for help. As things sped up a bit we hired a campaign manMARK REYNOLDS ager, which was critical to our campaign
F ASS ITO P L C CA O T EA O o Tw
use o nH o g Ore e r th o f ids B on e k Ta s r e mb e M
Born into a family of farmers in the Columbia Gorge, Mark Reynolds knew from an early age that his own life path would lead somewhere different than the generations that had preceded him. He had a deep drive to positively impact his community, and it was what eventually led him to get a degree in teaching English as a second language from Portland State University, and also to his employment as an instructional assistant in the Migrant Education program in The Dalles. Today, Mark Reynolds is a Democratic candidate for District 52 of the Oregon House of Representatives. Though this is his first time running for office, Reynolds, a former teacher who’s now retired, has always been drawn toward working for the greater good. “I think that my interest in politics was very integral to my teaching experience, and vice versa,” said Reynolds. “What clicked for me was seeing this wonderful way to work with children that gave me more than just a job; it was really a profession. It was a place where people appreciate you, they are positive and the central focus is the welfare and wellbeing of children. I felt like this was exactly what I wanted to do.” His passion for improving the lives of young people led Reynolds to eventually become the Coordinator of the Migrant Education Program and later to become a high school teacher, first at Cascade Locks 32
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
USED TO SPEAKING TO LARGE GROUPS, SO THAT IS A BIG ADVANTAGE FOR TEACHERS WHO RUN FOR OFFICE. THEY ARE USED TO SYNTHESIZING INFORMATION AND DEVELOPING THEIR INSTRUCTION, SO THAT IS A TRANSFERRABLE SKILL THAT COMES IN HANDY.”
Mark Reynolds, candidate for House District 52, meets with community members in Hood River. Recently retired from his profession as a teacher, Reynolds is now highly involved in community groups where he shares his passion for improving the environment, income inequality, and education.
because you get to a point where there is more than the candidate can do.” Reynolds also found out early on in his campaign that his teaching experience had prepared him well for running for office. “Teachers are used to speaking to large groups, so that is a big advantage for teachers who run for office. They are used to synthesizing information and developing their instruction, so that is a transferrable skill that comes in handy,” Reynolds said. “As teachers we build relationships with students, with parents, with our colleagues, and that is in many ways, how I understand our political process to work. For people who like interactions with a lot of people,
running for office is very energizing. You’re all pulling in the same direction and working as a team.” Throughout the election Reynolds has placed education reform and advocacy for students and teachers at the forefront of his campaign. His belief that the best way to improve our state is by bettering the lives of our youngest residents and their families is what inspired him to get into politics in the first place. “I think the two interconnected issues that we need to address are public education funding and poverty. Poverty has a huge impact on children and whether or
not they are ready to learn or ready to do school. We have a 20 percent poverty rate among children in Oregon, and families are struggling,” Reynolds said. “There’s often not enough time for children in our society. When people are under stress from poverty, children are the ones who miss out the most. When working families are under stress and in poverty,
dren are negatively affected. If we are going to address our graduation rate and academic success, we also have to address economic success.” After winning over 77 percent of the votes in the primary election on May 17, Mark Reynolds is running against Republican incumbent Mark Johnson for the November election.
With over 20 years of teaching experience primarily in Title 1 schools, veteran language arts and social studies teacher Tom Kane is well-versed in the challenges that Oregon’s neediest families and students face on a daily basis. After three years of bouncing from Jefferson High School, Lane Middle School, and Franklin High School, Kane found himself at what was then called Vocational Village, which is now Alliance High School, an alternative education program. At first he wasn’t sure that it would be the right fit. “I was placed into the alternative setting; I
did not seek it out, but I ended up loving it. In some ways I was doubtful about teaching there at first, but I have never left,” said Kane. His passion for working with students living in deep poverty was ultimately what informed Kane’s decision to run for office. Last month, he ran unopposed in the Democratic primary for Oregon House District 18, and will now face off against Republican Incumbent Victor Gilliam for the House seat in November. “Teaching about social justice and about climate change to Title 1 underserved kids and looking at just how underserved they are and the lack of wraparound services, it became increasingly difficult to just teach. I felt like I needed to do more. I started seriously thinking about running for office last year. This winter I decided to give it a shot,” says Kane. In some ways it felt like a natural progression for him. “I am a social studies teacher and I teach government, so I have had a long standing interest in government. For me this is just the next stage in learning about government.” Even before deciding to throw his name in the ring, Kane was working to build up an in-depth understanding of what was required to run a successful campaign. “I went to the Oregon Labor Candidate School two and half years ago. Originally
Politically-fueled art decorates the walls of Tom Kane's classroom at Alliance High School in Portland
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
I did it just because I am a political junkie, but after going there, I learned a lot not just about running a campaign, but about other labor issues in general,” he said. “I learned how to budget for an election and the different parts of a campaign, about crafting a message, and I learned that it is possible to fundraise with a clean conscience. The main thing I learned was that it is possible — that this is a doable thing. It might be a bit crazy, but it’s doable.” One of the key issues in Kane’s campaign is Measure 97, known to the public as the Better Oregon campaign. The ballot measure aims to increase taxes for corporations with more than $25 million in Oregon sales to help fund public education and improve infrastructure. Oregon currently has the lowest corporate tax rate in the country. “I want to bring Better Oregon [M 97] door-to-door to everybody in my district so that we can communicate why we need to invest in our schools and in our state and to explain that there is a reason that our roads are falling apart and our students have some of the largest class sizes in the nation, and that is because we haven’t been investing in our basic infrastructure because we have refused to tax large corporations,” said Kane, who can’t underscore the value of the measure enough. “It is the most important thing to happen in this state since I’ve been an adult. We lost Measure 5 and that was a huge event. This is the counter-move to that event 25 years later, and it is the biggest opportunity for us to repair a lot of neglect.” His decades of work in Title 1 schools has been a driving force behind Kane’s desire to create a more equitable future for students and their families. He feels that the trauma that he has seen his students face is difficult for those with legislative power to fully understand. “Traumatized kids are barely able to do their work. They have little to no vision of their future. We need more wraparound services, and the only way we are going to do that is to push hard, and the best place to do that is from the inside,” said Kane. It is precisely the reason he hopes more educators will involve themselves with local politics. “I think that teachers and working people in general have experiences that a
Portland Association of Teachers' member Tom Kane, candidate for HD 18, is motivated to bring the realities his students in alternative education face to public office.
lot of legislators and people who work for the Department of Education have either forgotten or never knew. They are the people who are crafting the decisions that are impacting our students’ lives and our professional lives, but they really lack some of the experiences and information,” Kane said. “One of the problems is that there is an army of lobbyists on the business end, versus our one or two for public schools, so even when they are trying to do the right thing, they don’t always understand the nature of the workload or the nature of the traumatized students we are getting. It is shocking how traumatized these kids are, Credits: Chris Becerra
and there is no way you could understand that if you aren’t in a classroom.” Rather than looking at public schools as the place where societal problems are fixed, Kane believes they should be viewed as the place there the problems are made visible. “Children are like canaries in the coal mine, and right now our children are telling us that our culture is not doing well,” he said. “As teachers, we live ordinary lives, but we end up with a lot of experience learning about the lives of a lot of different people. I feel that I understand a lot about the kinds of lives that people are living and what kind of world we need to be
creating.” n Find out more about candidates (and fellow OEA members!) Mark Reynolds and Tom Kane on their respective Facebook pages: www.facebook.com/ Reynoldsfor52 and www.facebook.com/ TomKaneforHouseDistrict18.
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
ASCD Teacher Impact Grants
WHAT: These grants provide funding and support directly to teachers for promising teacher-led, administrator-supported ideas, programs, or initiatives to improve education. The program provides flexibility, funding, and evaluation support necessary to meet the unique needs of promising teacher-led projects. n WHEN: The application deadline is June 16, 2016. n WHO: Active classroom teachers. n HOW: For more information and to apply by deadline: go to www.ascd.org/programs/teacher-impact-grants.aspx n
The NEA Foundation Learning & Leadership Grants
WHAT: Grants are awarded to educators in the amounts of either $2,000 for individuals or $5,000. Funds are intended to support students in their critical thinking capacities, which is often supported by advanced technologies. n WHO: Public pre-K-12 or secondary education educators and education support professionals are eligible. n WHEN: Next application deadline is Oct. 15, 2016. n HOW: For more information and to apply, go to www.neafoundation.org/pages/ learning-leadership-grants/ n
Summer Literacy Camp Reading Specialist Endorsement n WHAT: During this summer literacy
program, educators learn about authentic literacy assessment and intervention practices; experience collaborative relationships with experts and colleagues in the field of literacy; and receive hands-on literacy instruction for working with struggling readers. n WHEN: Jun 27-Jul 22, 2016, 9 a.m. - noon n WHERE: Pacific University, Forest Grove Campus 36
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
HOW: For more information, go to www. pacificu.edu/about-us/events/summerliteracy-camp, or contact Dr. Eurvine Williams, email@example.com. n
Summer Institute: Engaging Diverse Student Writers
WHAT: This full-day institute provides classroom-ready strategies to support diverse students as they develop the skills of writing on topic, with a clear purpose, and for a specific audience: one session geared for Grades 2-5 and one session geared for Grades 6-12. Registration fees range from $75 - $125. Graduate credit offered. PDU certificates provided. n WHEN: Aug. 23, 2016 n WHERE: Monarch Hotel, Clackamas n HOW: For more information and to register, go to www.portlandreadingcouncil.org. Questions? Contact Penny Plavala 503319-3127, firstname.lastname@example.org n
World Peace Game Camp and Master Class for Educators
WHAT: Master Class participants observe John Hunter playing the World Peace Game with students each morning. During the afternoon sessions, educators analyze and design learning that is inspired by the principles and spirit of the game. Upon completion, participants will be qualified to teach the World Peace Game in their classroom. Participants will also receive all World Peace Game materials and the World Peace Game Training Manual. n WHO: Educators of all grade levels and subject areas. n WHEN: Aug. 1-5, 2016 n WHERE: Linus Pauling M.S., Corvallis, Ore. n HOW : For more information and to register visit http://worldpeacegame.org/. n
The Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Problem Youth and Children
WHAT: This conference offers hundreds of innovative strategies to prevent or manage student behavioral, social, emotional, and academic problems, including bullying, n
cyberbullying, disrespect, poor academic performance, school failure, truancy, work refusal, school violence, poor motivation, delinquency, and more. Distance learning options and financial aid are available. n WHEN: Oct. 13-14, 2016 n WHERE: Courtyard Marriott, Tigard, OR n HOW: For more information and to register, go to www.youthchg.com/teacherworkshops. OPPORTUNITIES
Join the Teacher Advisory Council
WHAT: The Portland Art Museum, The Education Department is currently accepting applications to join the Teacher Advisory Council for 2016–2018. Council members collaborate with Education staff to promote meaningful student and teacher engagement with the Museum and to support arts integration across the curriculum. n WHEN: Application deadline is June 24, 2016. n WHO: Educators across disciplines and grade levels. n HOW: For information on how to apply to join the Teacher Advisory Council, go to http://portlandartmuseum.org/learn/ educators/programs/. n
ASCD SmartBrief E-Newsletters
WHAT: Subscribe to these e-newsletters for a daily snapshot of the education community with news from Education Week, The Washington Post and other leading sources. ASCD membership is not required for this free service. n HOW: Go to www.smartbrief.com/index. php, and click on the ‘Get Newsletters’ button at the top of the page. n
Oregon Blue Book Student Essay Contest
WHAT: This year’s student essay contest is focused on Oregon’s outdoor recreational activities. The contest is open n
Sources + Resources to Elementary, Middle and High School students. Selected essay winners will be included in the Oregon Blue Book and will be invited to the Capitol for the Blue Book release and celebration. n WHEN: Submission deadline is Oct. 12, 2016. n HOW: For more information, go to http:// bluebook.state.or.us/misc/news/bluebook-submissions.pdf.
Summer Reading List
WHAT: Scholastic.com offers a summer reading lists for all ages. The list of books are divided into five different lists but don’t feel bound to one list or another. The lists are: Great Books to Read — and Even Use in Your Classroom; Books for the Youngest Readers; Fantastic Chapter Books for the Preteen/Teen Readers; Just Great Books for Older Readers; My Summer Reading List n HOW: Go to www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2016/05/summer-reading-list-everyone n
WHAT: This news site, hosted by the Smithsonian, provides students with articles selected by professional journalists on current events and topics. n HOW: Go to http://tweentribune.com/.
Motivating Struggling Learners: 10 Ways to Build Student Success By Barbara R. Blackburn Routledge, 2015; ISBN 9781138792432; $29.95 (List Price), Available at www.routledge.com/products/9781138792432 In this book, the author offers practical strategies to motivate struggling learners and make the classroom a place where all students want to succeed. Each chapter is filled with a variety of examples and tools that can be use immediately. Bonus: Many of the tools are also available as free downloadable eResources at the Routledge’s website.
Story: Still the Heart of Literacy Learning By: Katie Egan Cunningham Stenhouse Publishers, 2015; ISBN: 978-1-62531-024-8; $21.00 (List Price); Available at www.Stenhouse.com The author shows how to create classrooms of caring and inquisitive readers, writers, and storytellers. The book explains specific ways to build a classroom library that reflects our diverse society through rich, purposeful, and varied texts and offers a practical toolkit at the end of each chapter that demonstrates how to make stories come alive in any classroom.
WHAT: This website offers Real world public radio stories that span the curriculum and Lessons that support all learners. n HOW : Go to https://listencurrent.com/. n
Resource Page for Teaching the Civil Rights Movement
WHAT: This page offers a wealth of materials to support rich instruction about the Civil Rights Movement, both from national and Oregon perspectives. n WHERE: Go to www.ode.state.or.us/ search/page/?id=5514 n
Portland Art Museum Educator Resources
WHAT: The Portland Art Museum offers educator resources such as projects for the classroom, educator workshops and more. n HOW: Go to http://portlandartmuseum. org/learn/educators/ n
Well Played, 6-8 Building Mathematical Thinking Through Number and Algebraic Games and Puzzles By Linda Dacey, Karen Gartland, & Jayne Bamford Lynch Stenhouse Publishers, 2016; ISBN: 978-1-62531-033-0; $25.00 (List Price); Available at www.Stenhouse.com The authors show how to make games and puzzles an integral learning component that engages students in grades 6–8 in discussions of mathematical ideas and deepens their conceptual understanding, with a separate chapter on how to effectively manage games and puzzles in diverse classrooms.
Vocabularians Integrated Word Study in the Middle Grades By Brenda Overturf, Leslie Montgomery, and Margot Holmes Smith Stenhouse Publishers, 2015; ISBN: 978-162531-016-3; $21.00 (List Price); Available at www.Stenhouse.com This book offers the blending of current research with real classroom experience and application, with an easy-to-implement, customized-to-middle-school resource that will improve instruction and assessment though building word networks, flooding the classroom environment with academic vocabulary, and teaching students how to use context. TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
ON THE WEB / Summer2016 » www.oregoned.org
MAKING SENSE OF THE ESSA ACT
he Every Student Succeeds Act weighs in at nearly 1,100 pages of dense federal legislation. Since its passage in December 2015, there has also been a non-stop news coverage, analysis, and discussion about how ESSA will affect our students, classrooms, and schools when it goes into full effect in the 2017-18 school year. To help you make sense of it all, OEA has launched an ESSA website, accessible at www.oregoned.org/essa. Here is what you will find when you navigate there.
ESSA Newsletter & Email List
On the website, you can sign up for the monthly ESSA newsletter. This newsletter will highlight the latest news about ESSA in Oregon. These short reads include links to partner resources, ways to get involved at the state and local level, and what you need to know about how ESSA will impact you.
and share them with your colleagues, your principal, or your school community in person or electronically. We will update these resources as legislation changes. The resources include information on: n Assessment and testing; n Educator evaluations; n Highly qualified teacher status; n School and district improvement; n And more. Don’t see something you need? Let us know.
Each week, we’ll take a closer look at different components of ESSA, digging deeper into the law to really understand how the new legislation can support re-claiming and re-thinking education in Oregon. So far, we’ve looked at how assessment could change under ESSA, how ESSA changes the way we hold schools accountable, and how ESSA frees states from evaluation mandates.
One Page Information Sheets
The website features a series of one page informational sheets about various aspects of the new legislation. You can view these online to access the embedded hyperlinks that take you to state and federal policy pages, or other resources within the OEA website, such as evaluation tools. You can also download these resources 38
TODAY’S OEA | SUMMER 2016
Want to get involved? Make your voice heard? Take action to re-think education in Oregon? Just learn more? Our events page features information about various events in Oregon including those sponsored by OEA but also our partners like the Oregon Department of Education.
Tell us what else you need! You can send questions about ESSA to oea-gps@oregoned. org to let us know what you, your colleagues and your community need to know.
You can help the OEA Foundation earn donations just by shopping with your Fred Meyer Rewards Card!
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! • You still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates, just as you do today. • If you do not have a Rewards Card, they are available at the Customer Service desk of any Fred Meyer store. • For more information, please visit www.fredmeyer.com/ communityrewards.
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