Winter 2017 Today's OEA

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CONTENTS / Winter2017 VOLUME 91 : ISSUE NO. 2


Departments President’s Column

05 / our path is not an easy one By Hanna Vaandering, OEA President


06 / Events for OEA Members Newsflash


07 / Portland students protest Devos » 09 / Graduation rates are up ESSA Update

On the Cover

10 / Seizing a historic opportunity

18 / Seeking sanctuary

In the wake of the new administration, Oregon educators look to keep all students, including undocumented ones, safe and sound. By jon bell


Politics & You

12 / A “DeVostating” Month for Public Ed 13 / OEA’s Legislative Priorities Eye on Equity

24 / Keeping the (Heart)Beat

Music education fuels student growth and success — and so much more. By Amy Korst

14 / Posters to Resist Racism and Bigotry Inside OEA

15 / experiences of a retired member Profile

16 / the big picture: Enrique Farrera By Meg Krugel

Sources + Resources

32 / Books and Opportunities Special Section


34 / OEA board & NEA RA DELEGATE candidates On the Web

38 / Lifting every voice online

ON THE COVER: Corvallis School District has taken action to designate itself as a sanctuary district, which provides further protections to immigrant students in Mary Skillings' ESOL class. PhotO by THOMAS Patterson Credits: Thomas Patterson



PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE / Winter2017 Hanna Vaandering OEA President

OEA President Hanna Vaandering opens a Feb. 20 rally on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol. More than 400 OEA and SEIU members spent their President's Day meeting with legislators and advocating for the resources our schools need.


new year often brings with it the hope of new beginnings and an air of hopefulness. The beginning of 2017, however, has reminded us that elections have consequences. The 2016 Presidential Election and the first five weeks of the new administration certainly have had and will continue to have consequences for public education and millions of students and educators across the nation. We have seen incidences of bullying and hate increase in our schools and on our campuses; in fact, Oregon has had the 10th most incidents in the nation. Our students deserve so much better and we are here to help. Often, school is the only place in our students’ lives where they feel safe, and our students need to know that school will continue to be a refuge in the storm. To that end, we have posted updated information on our website on how to support our students as well as draft resolutions for your local school board to consider. We have much work to do to ensure that every student in Oregon has access to the quality education they deserve. Further exacerbating the threat to public education, the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education was a clear sign that the current administration has no intentions of supporting public education. In fact, DeVos’s clear lack of qualifications for this

position demonstrates a total disregard for public education and those students in most need. The confirmation process was just as alarming. Many senators disregarded over a million calls and emails pleading for them to vote 'no' on the nomination of an individual with no experience in public education and a long history of advocating for vouchers and the privatization of public education. The tie-breaking vote by the Vice President was once again a signal that this administration is not interested in listening to educators and parents when it comes to public education policy. With all of this, the new year still brings me hope. Hope that we can build the Schools our Students Deserve and hope that we can grow the strength of our Union to meet the challenges ahead. Our path is not an easy one, but, our path is the one that is lined with the core values our members adopted and in which they believe so strongly. We shall persist in our pursuit of great public schools for all students and continue to resist against forces that would undermine our democracy. Thank you for all you do every day for students across this great state. In Solidarity, Hanna




UPCOMING Winter2017




NEA's Read Across America Day


n WHAT: NEA provides all the resources and tools you’ll need to plan and implement a reading

celebration in your school, classroom or community on March 2. n HOW: For more information and resources, go to March 10-12, 2017

2017 NEA ESP Conference n WHAT: The goal of this conference is to enhance the skills and knowledge of ESP members to

positively impact student achievement, build community relations, organize members, advocate for educators, build stronger locals, and help our members do their jobs better. n WHere: Hyatt Regency Dallas, Dallas, TX n HOW: For more information, go to March 18, 2017

2017 OEA Symposium: Students in the Lead n WHAT: Join the OEA for a day of facilitated learning about how we continue to close the op-

portunity gap by actively engaging students and empowering them to take ownership of their own learning. n WHere: CH2M Hill Alumni Center - Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR n HOW: For more information, go to Mar. 26-28, 2017

Oregon School Employee Wellness Conference n WHAT: During this conference, participants learn to engage school employees in creating health-

ier school environments that support the physical, social, and emotional health and well-being. n WHere: The Riverhouse, Bend, OR n HOW: Go to, or contact Maureen Caldwell at or Inge Aldersebaes at Apr. 4, 2017

National Healthy Schools Day n WHAT: National Healthy Schools Day is an important day for everyone to celebrate and

promote healthy and green school environments for all children through the use of US Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools (TfS) Program. n HOW: For more information, go to SAVE THIS DATE! Apr. 21-22, 2017

OEA Representative Assembly n WHAT: OEA member-delegates from across Oregon gather at OEA's annual Representative

Assembly (RA) to elect new leaders, review OEA programs, reform bylaws and policies, propose new business items, attend caucus meetings, and celebrate member achievements. n WHere: Red Lion Hotel on the River—Jantzen Beach, 909 N Hayden Island Dr., Portland, OR n HOW: Find out more at



OFFICE HEADQUARTERS 6900 SW Atlanta Street Portland, OR 97223 Phone: 503.684.3300 FAX: 503.684.8063 PUBLISHERS Johanna Vaandering, President Jim Fotter, Executive Director EDITOR Meg Krugel PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Janine Leggett CONTRIBUTORS Janine Leggett, Andrea Shunk, Julia Sanders, Thomas Patterson To submit a story idea for publication in Today’s OEA magazine, email editor Meg Krugel at PRINTER Morel Ink, Portland, OR TODAY’S OEA (ISSN #0030-4689) is published four times a year (October, February, April and June) as a benefit of membership ($6.50 of dues) by the Oregon Education Association, 6900 SW Atlanta Street, Portland OR 97223-2513. Non-member subscription rate is $10 per year. Periodicals postage paid at Portland, OR. POSTMASTER Send address corrections to: Oregon Education Association Attn: Sheila Mangan Membership Processing 6900 SW Atlanta Street Portland, OR 97223-2513 DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Francesca Genovese-Finch

Newsflash New School Safety Tip Line


he Oregon State Police recently announced the launch of SafeOregon, a free safety tip line available to all public K-12 schools in Oregon. The tip line requires schools to sign up before students and staff are able to confidentially report potential threats to student safety. The line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “To all Oregon students, I want to encourage you to make courageous decisions to break the code of silence and speak out against harmful behaviors before they turn to tragedy," said State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton. “We can make a difference in our schools and communities and we are committed to creating a safe and respectful culture to support you.”

Dyslexia FAQ


s part of a Bill passed in 2015, the Oregon Department of Education has created a plan to address dyslexia in Oregon schools. As part of the plan, students in kindergarten and first grade will be screened for dyslexia and one teacher in every elementary school will receive specialized training. Kindergarten students will be screened three times during the school year and first graders will be screened in the fall. To learn more about the changes, visit the recently revamped Oregon Department of Education website at

Credits: Meg Krugel

Educators stand against DeVos at a press conference with Sen. Jeff Merkley in February

Portland Students Protest DeVos


bout 100 students gathered at Tom McCall Waterfront Park to participate in a march and rally against Betsy DeVos, Tump’s appointee for Secretary of Education. DeVos, who has never worked in or attended a public school or university, is a billionaire and school choice advocate who supports moving funding from public schools to private institutions. The rally, which was organized by a group of student activists known as the Portland Student Action Network, included several teachers and featured Portland Association of Teachers President Suzanne Cohen as a speaker. The Portland Student Action Network posted their statement on Facebook, which read: "DeVos has never attended or sent her kids to public school and has no experience as an educator. She is a corporate lobbyist who is unqualified to be Secretary of Education. We are urging U.S. Senators to vote against her confirmation and prevent long-term damage to millions of students. We instead call for a massive and equitable federal investment in public education that focuses on closing the opportunity gap and strengthens our public schools." Grant High School student Nika Bartoo-Smith marched carrying a sign that read "Guns In School, Not Cool.” The sign referenced DeVos’ comments that some schools may need to allow guns on campus to defend students from grizzly bears. Additionally, DeVos' background in advocting for voucher systems that disenfranchise poor students and students of color was also of top concern to Bartoo-Smith. "I'm just tremendously proud of the work of the students, many of whom are not 18 and can't vote," said Grant High School teacher Susan Anglada Bartley. TODAY’S OEA | WINTER 2017


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

Improving English Language Acquisition Across 40 Districts


regon is giving $5 million to 40 school districts in an effort to reform English Language Development programs. Each district is required to develop a plan of improvement in order to receive the extra funds. Fifteen districts with large ESL populations have been labeled as “transformation” districts and will get $180,000 every year for the next three years, and 25 districts labeled as “ target” districts will get $90,000. Districts must involve families in the development of improvement plans and the Oregon Department of Education must provide experienced guides to help districts achieve their goals. "I don't think many other states have this level of comprehensive reform and transparency," said Jeanice Chieng, policy manager for the Asian Pacific Network of Oregon. "We are excited about the potential for change."

Students Protest Trump’s Stance on Climate Change


fter the Jan. 20 inauguration of Donald Trump, the White House erased all references to climate change from its website. Concerned by this dismissal of scientific fact, seventh and eighth graders from Kelly Middle School in Eugene planned a two-hour walk-out and march in protest. “I’m passionate about this because I’m part of the generation that will be most affected by the climate change,” said 14-year-old spokeswoman Indira Neomi Rengifo. “It’s our responsibility to protect it for our generation and generations to come.”



Kenwood Elementary School's gymnasium suffered a roof collapse under the weight of the snow this winter in Bend.

Snowpocalypse 2017


chools across Oregon were impacted by record breaking snowfall in January, sending educators and families into a tailspin. Many districts had to cancel school for several days, surpassing the time set aside at the end of the school year for inclement weather and leaving educators scratching their heads on how to make up for lost time. The snow storms, which caused Governor Kate Brown to declare a state of emergency, caused students to miss out on valuable instruction — and Oregon already suffers the shortest school year in the nation. As a result of the unprecedented winter weather, the State Board of Education has approved a waiver of up to 14 hours of missed instructional time. “I have heard from many district officials who say that the flexibility available in previous years would be helpful this year as they cope with a much more severe winter than normal,” said Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Salam Noor. “Ultimately it will be up to each district to come up with a plan best suited to its situation to make up as much lost class time as possible.”

Winter Weather Destroys Bend Gym


fter heavy snowfall, the roof of the beloved gym at Highland Magnet at Kenwood Elementary School in Bend caved in, destroying the building and leading three school districts to cancel school for two days to ensure the stability of other structures in the area. “This [roof] has seen many dozens of snowstorms in its life, and every one of them makes it a tiny bit weaker,” said Dave Howe, Bend’s Fire Battalion Chief. The building, which was built in 1950, has been used for generations. “I remember a lot of good memories with my friends and just learning a lot," said former student Drexell Barres. "I had P.E. and I did assemblies, and it was just so much fun. I miss it still to this day."

Newsflash WILL YOU BE THERE? » OEA's 2017 Education Symposium on March 18 will take a deep look at moving from "culturally responsive teaching principles" to "culturally responsive teaching practices" to help our students become independent learners.

High School Graduation Rates Improve Slightly


raduation rates of Oregon high school students grew by one percent in 2016, despite funding over $2-billion short of the Quality Education Model. The state also saw also saw big improvements in closing the achievement gap for certain

populations, because of the great work of Oregon educators. When looking at the graduation rates of students of color, students with disabilities, low-income students, and students learning English as a second language, Oregon saw record achievement with an improvement exceeding 3 percent. "It starts with who is in front of our kids. I focus on hiring the best people," said Darin Barnard, principal of Tualatin High School, which had a graduation rate of 94 percent. "When we are up there teaching, we're considering all of the kids who are in front of us."

University Leaders Warn About Impacts of Budget Cuts


coalition of 33 representatives from Oregon’s seven public universities signed a letter to Gov. Kate Brown asking for more state funding. They included union leaders, university presidents, and student representatives. "Oregon has shifted the burden of financing a college education away from the state and onto the backs of students and their families," the letter said, "a fact that has many members of our communities rightly

concerned." The coalition warned that the new budget would lead to tuition hikes that would make college unattainable for many Oregon students. Although the Oregon State Legislature increased spending on higher education by 26 percent in 2015, the funding still falls short after years of budget cuts. For a more complete look at Oregon’s school funding picture this legislative session, turn to our Politics & You department, page 12.


“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. Credits: Mike Albright /

Support Safe Schools If you are in need of support in your own classroom or worksite, or feel targeted for any reason, please reach out and contact your UniServ Consultant. Know that your union is here to support you and your students. You may also report bullying on our website: whats-new/report-the-hate.

Bandon School District Receives Arts Grant to Address Invasive Plant Species


he Oregon Arts Commission’s “Arts Build Communities” program provides grant money for projects that address problems within the community. This year Bandon School District will receive $5,400 in grant funds for their efforts to educate the public through art in an effort to combat an invasive plant species that is also a fire hazard and contributed to the 1936 fire that devastated Bandon. “We are thrilled at the opportunity this grant represents," said Bandon High School art teacher Jen Ells. "The connection between science and art creates a rich learning opportunity. We hope to dive into the details of butterflies, birds, bees and their essential plants, and share our learning through art. Knowing that two native butterfly species are endangered because of gorse-induced habitat loss makes learning more about them very important." TODAY’S OEA | WINTER 2017



SEIZING A HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY: SHAPING ESSA FROM AN EDUCATOR LENS BY ANDREA SHUNK / Education Policy & Practice Strategist, OEA Center for Great Public Schools


roceed until apprehended.” NEA President Lily Eskelen Garcia quotes this iconic phrase often as she urges NEA members to move forward in their work to improve the lives of their students. It’s a charge many educators embrace when faced with obstacles to doing what they know is right for their schools, their students, and their colleagues. It’s also a charge we should embrace as we continue to interpret and understand the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the most recent reauthorization of the landmark civil rights legislation, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESSA returns decision making for our nation’s education back where it belongs – in the hands of local educators, families, and communities. In effect, ESSA tells educators to indeed proceed until apprehended. We know ESSA provides educators the opportunity we’ve been asking for – educator voice in local school and district decision-making. Moving from that charge to reality though is hard work, but work we believe is worth doing and that will ultimately benefit our students in immeasurable ways. OEA has been working on a series of tools available at to support members in this important work. This article will look at why it’s vital for educators to seize this historic opportunity and provide ideas for how to get started.

Rekindling the Revolution

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter defeats, so you can know who you are.” — Maya Angelou When President Lyndon B. Johnson 10


signed the ESEA into law in 1965, he said, “And we rekindle the revolution – the revolution of the spirit against the tyranny of ignorance.” “For too long, political acrimony held up our progress. For too long, children suffered while jarring interests caused stalemate in the efforts to improve our schools.” (source: Johnson’s Remarks on Signing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Johnson City, Texas, April 11, 1965) These words, spoken by President Johnson more than 50 years ago as he sat next to his own childhood teacher, continue to ring true today. With the disappointing confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education, educators need to pick up the charge and original intent of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Now more than ever, we must step up to advocate for the schools our students deserve in order to protect them from outside threats.

Taking Bold Action

“A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.” ­— Madonna To realize the opportunities in ESSA and protect public education, educators must claim their power and take bold actions at the local level. There are numerous opportunities where educator voice is enshrined in the new law, meaning school districts and the Oregon Department of Education are obligated to include educators in making key decisions about improving schools, teaching and learning, and implementing and monitoring those improvement actions. Some of the key places where educators are guaranteed a voice include: n Writing school Title I plans and determining how Title I money is spent at the

district and the school level; n Making decisions about professional development and how Title II funds are spent to support the professional growth of educators in a district; n Leading and implementing school improvement plans for schools identified for comprehensive or targeted support and improvement (currently today’s priority and focus schools); n Supporting English learners and their families; and more. Educators have the right to have a voice in these decisions and should be bold in seeking out avenues to not only give input but to collaborate with school and district leaders in a meaningful way. Even more, when avenues don’t exist for input, OEA is here to help educators create the space to raise their voices. Educators have the right to demand a voice in these decisions and should be bold in seeking out avenues not only to give input but to collaborate with school and district leaders in a meaningful way. Even more, when avenues don’t exist for input, educators can create the space to raise their voices.

Get Organized

“If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability and then be tough enough to follow through.” — Rosalynn Carter The first step to seizing the power educators have under the law is to get educated about ESSA. The Oregon Education Association has a website devoted to helping all our members and the rest of the public understand the law. Visit to access a wide variety of informational items, blog posts and other resources to help you,

ESSA your colleagues, and your school leaders learn about the legislation. NEA also has a wide array of resources available at www. The second step to seizing your power is to get organized. In addition to informational resources, OEA has put together a local organizing toolkit to help local associations take steps to learn about ESSA, decide on local priorities, and take action to improve your schools. These tools are designed to assist educators in building the capacity to ensure the implementation of ESSA lifts the voice of educators to build the schools our students deserve. The toolkit includes: n Sample agendas for local ESSA teams; n Tools to conduct opportunity audits; n Action planning templates and examples; n And informational resources. The toolkit is intended to give teams the confidence they need to follow through on accomplishing their goals of taking back local decision making for their schools and classrooms.

Overcoming Obstacles

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” — Alice Walker One major obstacle educators elevate is that their school and district leaders aren’t interested in talking about ESSA. This is an obstacle we must work around. Educators do not need permission from school leaders to talk about improving teaching and learning in their schools. Indeed, this is what teacher leadership is about. Let’s take a lesson from the Measure 97 campaign. Despite the defeat of the measure, educators and other activists around the state succeeded in changing the narrative about school funding and corporate taxes. Oregonians now know our state has the lowest corporate taxes in the nation. That is a fact legislators, other policy makers, the public, and corporations now are forced to address. Educators can change the narrative about who leads improvement efforts,

ESSA RESOURCES n OEA Resources n NEA Resources n ODE ESSA Information

too. Educator voices are strong, loud, and forceful. By forming a local ESSA team, using the tools to identify opportunities or a lack of opportunities, and by engaging your community and families, you can change the narrative in your district. You can let everyone know that it’s up to educators, families and communities to make key decisions about improving our schools. Those decisions can no longer be made in isolation by superintendents, school board members, or state leaders.

Opportunity Knocking

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” — Ayn Rand We know another obstacle educators face this year is funding. The projected shortfall in the education budget makes conversations about improving schools more difficult. But, the hard conversations about how to spend limited resources also presents an opportunity for educators to elevate the spending priorities that will make the biggest difference for students. A local team can start this conversation by conducting an opportunity audit. The Opportunity Dashboard is a list of 25 indicators of student success, quality educators, and quality schools identified by NEA during the push to authorize ESSA. The list of indicators includes : n Access to fully qualified school librarians or media specialists; n Access to high-quality early education

programs; n Appropriate assessment systems; n Access to qualified instructional assistants; n School climate and safe school facilities; and more. The OEA local organizing toolkit includes tools for local teams to conduct an audit using the Opportunity Dashboard and readily available public data about their schools and districts. Through the audit, a local team can identify where their schools or districts are measuring up and where they are falling short. It can also help shape conversations about where to target resources like federal Title money. Remember, because of ESSA, educators have a say in how those federal funds are spent.

Work Worth Doing

“Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.” — J.K. Rowling Educators are charged with a weighty mission. They educate, care for, and prepare all students, regardless of their zip code, background, or challenges. Supporting this mission was the intent of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Unfortunately, for the past 15 years, No Child Left Behind made this mission more difficult by narrowly defining school and student success, focusing on math and reading to the detriment of the whole child, and using one-size-fits-all approaches to school improvement. ESSA swings the pendulum back. It reduces the power of the federal U.S. Department of Education, returning control to states, districts, and schools. Now is the time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and take advantage of the opportunity ESSA provides, the exact opportunity that has eluded educators throughout the reign of NCLB. As Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Far and away, the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” We believe advocating for the schools our students deserve is the work worth doing. TODAY’S OEA | WINTER 2017


Politics & You



n Feb. 7, advocates for public education watched in disbelief as Vice President Pence broke a tie vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, ignoring the voices of millions of Americans who had cried out against her nomination. DeVos, who has been dubbed “dangerously unqualified to run our public schools” and is the primary force behind a failed and underperforming charter school system in Michigan, left even her supporters scratching their heads with her rambling answers at her Senate hearing. She said she was “confused” about the federal law for students with disabilities, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. She could not articulate the difference between student growth and student proficiency. She refused to commit to enforcing the rights of students with disabilities in voucher and charter schools. And she refused to pledge not to cut public school funding in order to fund vouchers. Her confirmation was a bitter blow to the millions of advocates who work in, attend and support public education. While she may be our education secretary, she certainly does not have a mandate, and we’re so proud of the over 1.1 million emails, 80,000+ phone calls, thunderous rallies, and countless creative actions by NEA members across the country to oppose her. No other nominee has garnered the level of bipartisan public opposition as Betsy DeVos, and that's thanks to you.


Here are 6 things you can do right now to fight back in defense of public education. n Support candidates who oppose DeVos and her dangerous agenda. Make a contribution of any amount to OEAPIE, OEA's political action committee, to support candidates who will defend public schools and fight tooth and nail to protect our students from DeVos' disastrous privatization efforts. oeapie n Say 'No' to DeVos-style cuts here in



Oregon. DeVos has a history of gutting public school funding, but she doesn't have to lift a finger to cut education funding here in Oregon. That's because our state faces a major budget crisis. Legislators may pass a budget that slashes education funding, potentially leading to even larger class sizes and teacher layoffs. Tell your Oregon representatives to pass a budget in the 2017 Legislative session without education funding cuts. invest-in-education n Thank Oregon Senators for voting 'No' on DeVos. We have not one, but two public education champions representing our state

in the Senate. Call Senator Wyden (202) 224-5244 and Senator Merkley (202) 2243753 to thank them for spearheading the effort to derail DeVos' confirmation and for voting 'No' on DeVos. n Show up for public education here in Oregon. When we talk in-person with Oregon legislators, they listen. Come to our second 2017 Legislative Engagement Training and Lobby Day on March 27 to advocate on behalf of your students. Sign up at: http:// n Stay informed. Stay Active. Our resistance to the Trump and DeVos education agenda is more powerful when we have strength in numbers. Make sure to follow OEA on Facebook and Twitter. Already follow us? Ask a friend or family member. They might have a few billionaires on their side, but we have 3.1 million educators fighting on behalf of 50 million students nationwide on ours. n Continue the great work you do every day. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has no classroom experience, which means our students are counting on your leadership now more than ever. Oregon has some of the highest quality public schools in the country thanks to you...keep up your incredible work!

“Students, educators, parents, civil rights and special education advocates — along with millions of Americans — are speaking loud and clear: we are here to stay…we will protect public education. Every child — no matter what their zip-code, the color of their skin, or the money in their pockets — deserves a great public school. Please join us in standing up for our students and public education. The 44,000 educator members of the Oregon Education Association believe in the promise of public education and believe that together we can build the schools our students deserve.” — Hanna Vaandering, OEA President In response to the confirmation of Betsy DeVos

Politics & You

OEA’s Legislative Priorities


s of Feb. 1, Oregon’s 2017 Legislative session is officially underway, and as you know, budget cuts are looming here in Oregon. Oregon families are facing massive cuts to schools, health care, and the services we all rely on daily. This is unacceptable. Unfortunately, as long as the world’s largest corporations pay the lowest corporate taxes in the nation, it will remain our reality. Every day, your OEA lobbyists are in Salem advocating for the issues that matter most to you and your students. Here’s a quick rundown of our legislative priorities this session: REVENUE & BUDGET: The current structural deficit of $1.8B for the 2017-19 biennium is a cause of major concern. Budgets released by both Governor Brown and the Co-Chairs of Ways and Means Committee have drastic cuts that will result in the loss of programs and larger class sizes. Our students deserve new revenue that will not only allow us to fill our budget hole, but also allow for real investment in our students. Given budget shortfalls, we believe that our K-12 schools will need at least $8.4B budget to maintain services at their current levels. Funding for Oregon’s community colleges needs to be restored to allow students to take their next steps and become career ready. In order to maintain our community colleges at their current level, an investment of $643M is required. PRODUCTIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS: Educators are experiencing a dramatic rise in behavioral outbursts and struggling with a marked lack of supports to ensure productive learning environments in their classrooms. OEA will pursue a suite of options to begin an ongoing effort to address these challenges. Among the options will be additional support staff, improved reporting and training, clarified rules, and the study and pilot of more modern, effective approaches to student discipline. EDUCATION GOVERNANCE: OEA’s bill to continue the progress on education governance improvements will include three components: re-enfranchising voters by restoring the elected Superintendent of Public Education; creating more educator voice by redesigning the State Board (gubernatorial

appointment of educators for half, elected citizens for the other half); and changing process to enable public input to Board decisions at the time of their policy and administrative rule determinations. 40-40-20 REVISION: OEA's bill to revise the state's education mandate to focus on a student-centered, comprehensive educational opportunity approach, will be sponsored by a bipartisan group of legislators. Our goal is to ensure 100 percent access to education through the post-secondary level. (HB 2587) COMMUNITY COLLEGES: We support securing health care for part-time faculty of community colleges who currently are left without it. OEA will also participate in any conversations regarding suggested performance based funding, dual credit or accelerated learning to ensure a faculty voice in any proposed changes where we have concerns and input. EQUITY COALITION: OEA is a member of the Fair Shot steering committee and we have signed onto the Fair Shot agenda for 2017. This package of proposals seeks to improve access to affordable health care for all children; establish workplace policies that give us time to care for ourselves and our families; make sure every Oregonian is treated fairly under the law by addressing profiling; empower people to make decisions about when and whether to become a parent; and protect reproductive healthcare. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM: OEA will work to keep Oregon’s promise to educators and other public servants by saying no to illegal and unfair attacks on the retirement benefits public employees count on. MAKING CLASS SIZE A MANDATORY SUBJECT OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING: Oregon has among the highest class sizes in the nation, and educators have little say over the class sizes they are given to work with each year. HB 2651 would add class size to the contractual terms subject to mandatory bargaining, giving educators more ability to determine the role class size should play in their contract, and increase the ability of educators to continue fighting for smaller class sizes to better serve Oregon students.

Lifting Your Voice in Salem


e need your help to advocate for the schools and services that Oregon deserves ­— Oregon can be the beacon of hope during these very turbulent times. Becoming an education advocate is easier than you might think. It starts with the simple request of sharing your story. Tell us about your students and what they need to be successful. Share your triumphs — and your challenges — when you walk through the doors of your building each day. OEA has launched a story collection effort called “Lift Every Voice” — and throughout the legislative session, we’ll be sharing a new educator story every day. Find these stories on our Instagram (@oregoneducation), and go to: www. to share your own.

Save This Date


n Feb. 20, a committed group of more than 400 OEA and SEIU members convened at the state capitol to meet with legislators about their priorities for the 2017 session. It was an inspiring display of member activism — so successful, that we’re hosting another opportunity! Join us for our second and final Legislative Engagement and Training Day on March 27:




Eye on Equity



ince the November election, Muslims, immigrants, women, Black communities, and members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community are increasingly becoming targets of hateful intimidation and harassment. These incidents have taken place on public transportation, out in the street, in places of worship—but the majority have taken place in our K-12 schools and college campuses. These attacks are happening to our communities, to our friends, and loved ones. In recent weeks, actions by the new Administration have specifically targeted these same communities with Executive Orders. During his first 11 days in office, President Trump signed 18 Executive Orders, including one to ban the entry of people from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Syria for 90 days, an order to build a wall between the US and Mexico, and an order to increase deportation of undocumented immigrants. In recent national and state surveys of students in school: n 70 percent of students reported witnessing bullying, hate messages or harassment during or since the 2016 election. n One survey found 55 percent of Muslim students reported experiencing some form of bullying related to their religious identity. n 29 percent of girls who wear a hijab—the traditional Muslim head scarf—said they had been offensively touched by another student. Prompted by a desire to create space for discussion in schools, artists Micah Bazant and Kate DeCiccio partnered with American Friends Service Committee, Forward Together, Jewish Voice for Peace, Center for New Community, and Showing Up for Racial Justice to produce the poster insert in this magazine and the graphic above. In addition to the images, a crowdsourced discussion guide was created by volunteers 14


to help educators use the posters to open discussion in the classroom. A few notes for educators: n This material assumes that conversations about our differences and similarities is a normal part of the classroom. As with all conversations in this vein, it's important not to put any student on the spot during discussions to speak for or on behalf of their community. For example, asking Muslim students to answer questions in class about their faith or ways of worship can result in Muslim students and their families feeling even more alienated and under scrutiny. Teachers can create opportunities for every student to learn without placing the burden on individual students because of their race, culture, religious backgrounds or other identities. n Adapt the exercises based on your deep knowledge of what will work in your classroom, with the students you teach. The goal in creating these activities was to provide educators with age-appropriate questions for discussion to accompany the artwork. Your experience in the classroom and understanding of how to tie the activities to content you have already covered are a critical

What’s an Executive Order?

An Executive Order (EO) is an official statement from the president about how the federal agencies function. EOs usually change a current practice or policy. Some famous Executive Orders include the Emancipation Proclamation (Abraham Lincoln), sending federal troops to integrate schools in Little Rock, Arkansas (Dwight Eisenhower), and the internment of Japanese Americans (Franklin Roosevelt).

part of success in these conversations. Adapt the activities to work for your students. To download the discussion guide, go to Forward Together works in Oregon and nationally to change culture and policy so that all families can thrive. They focus on race, sexuality, gender and immigration status, ensuring that all people have the rights, recognition, and resources they need. To get involved, email or sign up for our mailing list at

Inside OEA

EXPERIENCES OF A RETIRED MEMBER Shirley House explores a long list of passions through OEA-Retired BY RAY JOHNSON / OEA-Retired


hat has retirement been like for you—a smooth transition, way too difficult, or a mixture of experiences? For Shirley House, long-time OEARetired member, “Everything has kept me involved and active.” At first, going into retirement in June 1993 was “very stressful and hectic,” she said. “(My husband and I) lost both moms within four days of each other. We moved to Salem to my mom’s house. The first year was a lot of work getting a garden set up; a pole building built. I was able to get involved in my organizations—Delta Kappa Gamma (a professional honor society of women who promote professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education), Oregon Retired Educators Association and OEA-Retired.” In her retirement, House, a “farm girl at heart,” has taken up gardening fresh fruits and vegetables, and has also started RVing with her husband. Another activity that keeps her busy is her scroll saw work. “I have always enjoyed working with wood. My husband had the same interest in working with wood and he taught me how to finish my projects,” she said. The work is complicated and involves copying a pattern onto a piece of wood, drilling holes for the eventual cutting out, sanding and painting. The whole project can take up to 14 hours on a single project. It also requires several tools. At the October OEA-Retired Fall Conference, she displayed and sold her scroll work. She was first introduced to Oregon when she moved to Salem with her family from an eastern Nebraska farm as an eighth grader and stayed there until graduating from college. Her union involvement began with her days at Oregon College of Education, now Western Oregon University, where she joined the Student Oregon Education Association and majored in elementary education (kindergarten-through-eighth grade.) This commitment to OEA continued when she was hired to teach sixth grade at Moro Grade School in Sherman County. She was familiar with rural areas, as she had gone to one-room schools in Nebraska. As an Association member, she held several positions at the local, UniServ and state level. She said she felt her major accomplishments as a union member was being “on the bargaining team and an OEARetired Representative Assembly delegate.” Moro School eventually consolidated with the other two southern county grade schools and she finished her teaching at South Sherman Elementary in Grass Valley after a total of 34 years. For nearly a quarter century since retiring, House has stayed involved in education issues to support our current educators and to make their professional lives better. As an OEA-Retired member, her union involvement enables her “to support seniors,” she added. Credits: Left page: Kate DeCiccio; Above: Dan Domenigoni

Left: A sample of Shirley House's wood carvings; Below: House, right, takes an order for a new project during an OEA-Retired meeting.






cademic advising just picked me. I didn’t pick it,” Enrique Farrera reflects one afternoon in his office at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City. Becoming a community college advisor wasn’t Farrera’s original career goal, but as he made his way through a graduate degree program at Portland State University, he relied on an advisor to see him through to graduation. That advisor convinced Farrera (who laughs as he admits, ‘honestly, I was a bad student’) that he could indeed polish his skills and become competitive in the job market. “He gave me the background to look at my future with a new perspective,” Farrera says. The future right now for Farrera is pretty bright. He’s five years in to his career as Clackamas Community College’s only bilingual academic advisor, and is closing in on his second year as President of the Clackamas Community College’s Association of Classified Employees (CCC-ACE). He’s the type of guy who says yes to a lot of 16


In a quick five years, Clackamas Community College’s Enrique Farrera has ascended the ranks, taking on leadership positions at the local, state and national level By Meg Krugel

asks. “Your weekends are gone, your nights are almost non-existent,” he says of serving as President of CCC-ACE. “But, it’s so worth it for the greater good of the college and association members, and ultimately, the students.” Farrera knows the critical importance of the union as a stalwart advocate. During his

first year as an advisor, Farrera found himself the target of a racial micro-aggression by a colleague in his own department (he was told he could not speak Spanish with another bilingual colleague in the open area of the career center where his office resides). He brought the concern up with CCC’s Human Resources department, but that seemed to result in continued aggressions and even some forms of retaliation. Consequently, he was advised that his probation had been extended from the normal six months to a full year. It wasn’t long after, however, that CCC-ACE's President at the time walked in to his office and informed Farrera that the union had “won his case,” and his probation was no longer extended. He was officially a union employee. “I was not expecting that. I was expecting to defend myself, but little did I know the union was fighting for me behind the scenes. They were doing it because it was the right thing to do,” Farrera says. Representation matters. A month later, he agreed to become a building representative,

and a year later, he was elected to his first term as CCC-ACE President. It came as quite a shock to Farrera when, after his election, he found out he’d immediately be going into bargaining. He’d never bargained a contract before, so the learning curve was steep. He started out by visiting every member of his unit — meeting night shift custodians in the wee hours of the morning, visiting the cafeteria workers after the lunch rush, and making his rounds to every department on campus. “I believe it’s the responsibility of an Association President to represent every member — all of them. If you don’t do that, you’re failing the association,” he says. “I make sure that every decision I make will benefit the most number of people, but you can’t know what that decision is until you actually talk with your members and meet them where they are.” This year, Farrera’s plate is fuller than ever. In June, Gov. Kate Brown appointed Farrera to a position on the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC), a 14-member volunteer commission​that develops and implements policies and programs to ensure that Oregon’s network of colleges, universities, workforce development initiatives and pre-college outreach programs are well coordinated to foster student success. The Commission advises the Oregon Legislature, the Governor, and the Chief Education Office on policy and funding to meet state postsecondary goals. Currently, Farrera serves as a non-voting commissioner (there are nine voting members), though his goal is to become a voting member in the future. He is one of two community college members, the only OEA member, and the only classified employee member on the commission. For Farrera, his appointment to HECC enables him to represent all OEA members in higher education policy-making — K-12 folks and community college members alike. An ongoing issue for the commission is understanding and tackling the barriers that students face in transferring from high school settings to higher education. Farrera can bring the experiences of fellow members from across the education spectrum into that conversation, because of his membership in the OEA. “I’m not a K-12 teacher, but I hear their Credits: Meg Krugel

Farrera helps Spanish-speaking students locate the correct bus route from Clackamas Community College. Even when not in his advising office, his bilingualism has been a huge resource to the campus community.

experiences at OEA events I attend. I listen to them in our meetings together, and I can say, ‘that sounds really familiar to what I’m going through’,” he says. Community college funding has and continues to be the top priority for the HECC, and Farrera says his affiliation with OEA has been helpful in shaping that conversation, as well. “Quality education is a priority for me, and it’s a priority for the OEA. You have to bring that voice in and say, ‘this is how we interpret it and this is what benefits our students.’” For Farrera, it seems, there’s only one direction to move — ­ up. When OEA announced an open vacancy for NEA Director, a position that serves as the link to the National Education Association from the state level, Farrera debated long and hard about putting his name up for consideration. During his interview with the OEA Board, he was honest about his experience. “I don’t have as long a history with the OEA like many others do. But, judge me on my success record thus far,” he urged. Last month, he received word he had been appointed — joining the ranks with two other NEA Directors, Reed Scott-Schwalbach of Centennial and Jennifer Scurlock of Eugene. “I hope to be an advocate for all educators. I represent the OEA, and of course,

community colleges as well,” Farrera says of his national position with the OEA/NEA. Farrera seems resolute in demystifying an “us vs. them” mentality between K-12 and community college members. If we’re not careful, that divisiveness can become a political tool that’s used against educators at all levels, he says. Of community college members, he notes that “yes, we are a small group, but we still have a voice. As long as OEA and NEA continue to show interest in what our issues are, I can’t complain.” For Farrera, his multi-tiered approach to leadership boils down to what he does, day in and out, in his academic advising role. Every day, he engages students in thinking long-term about their passions and career aspirations, and he helps students map out a step-by-step plan for getting to the finish line. He encourages students not to be deterred from the college experience if they encounter a bump in that road. In many ways, Farrera is taking a similar approach to advancing the mission of the Associations — CCC-ACE, OEA and NEA — that he represents. “Let’s look at the holistic, big-picture view,” he says. “What is our end goal? More importantly, what is my part in helping us get there?” n TODAY’S OEA | WINTER 2017


“We are just going to become the safe people that students know they can go to, that they can count on," says Mary Skillings, ESL teacher at Corvallis High School.





ON A NORMAL DAY at Corvallis High School, Mary Skillings' English Language Learner students spend the first few minutes of class chatting in the way bubbly teenagers do. But Nov. 9, 2016, was no normal day. It was, instead, the day after the presidential election, and Donald Trump, whose campaign had promised among other offerings a border wall, a Muslim registry and the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants, had won the Electoral College vote, making him the 45th president-elect of the United States. Needless to say, Skillings' classroom that morning had a much different tone than usual. “It was silent,” said Skillings, who’s taught Spanish and worked with English for Speakers of Other Languages at CHS for 13 years. “They TODAY’S OEA | WINTER 2017

were pretty scared.”


On that same morning, Vincent Adams, a member of the Corvallis School District board, was taking his daughter to school. He, too, noticed a big difference in the tone of the day. “Our community was upset,” he says. “We had children crying and parents who thought they were going to be rounded up and taken away. When I got to my daughter’s school, a teacher came out and greeted me. She had a tear in her eye and said, ‘What am I supposed to tell my kids?’” An hour away in Eugene, two Latina students were in tears at Jennifer Scurlock’s desk at Churchill High School. “Sobbing, and I mean sobbing,” said Scurlock, an English teacher at the school. “One student was not able to talk because she was crying so much. The other one said, “I don’t know what we are going to do. I’m scared.’” Across the state and around the country, similar scenes played out as students, families and educators grappled with how a Trump presidency would impact their lives. The anxiety, which had been on the rise throughout the entire presidential campaign, was even more immediate for minority and immigrant students and families, some of whom may not have been living in the country with the proper documentation. Many feared they or their families might be deported; that they might never see their loved ones again. That fear and trepidation, however, has riled up a response - from local education associations, to school districts, to citites and beyond. Educators have rallied to have their districts pass resolutions declaring them sanctuary districts — places where students and families can feel safe, where schools don’t track immigration status or share private information with federal agents, and where teachers and students can do what they’re there to do: teach, learn and treat every one with the respect they deeply deserve. “People should be able to come to school without fear; school should be a sanctuary from issues at home and elsewhere,” said Jill Golay, an elementary school teacher in Hillsboro and the current president of the Hillsboro Education Association. 20


“They should be able to come here and be among people who care about them and want to see them succeed. Don’t take that away from our immigrant students. They deserve an education. Everyone does. It is a human right.”

ACCORDING TO the Pew Research

Center, there were more than 11 million “unauthorized immigrants” living in the United States in 2014. Oregon was home to an estimated 130,000 of those immigrants, which includes families whose children attend public schools across the state. Since 1987, undocumented immigrants here have had some level of protection from being apprehended or deported by state or local police solely on the basis of their immigration status. ORS 181.850 is current state law that bars the use of any state or local resources for immigration matters when the only violation is being an undocumented immigrant. Cities around Oregon have also passed resolutions or policies at the local level aimed at reinforcing sanctuary measures, including that local law enforcement won’t actively cooperate with federal immigration agents to help identify and deport undocumented immigrants. Colleges and universities around the state, from the University of Oregon and Oregon State to Portland State University, have also declared sanctuary status. The designation doesn’t necessarily have full legal support, as jurisdictions that have enacted such resolutions must still comply with federal law. Even so, officials, often backed by public support, implement sanctuary status as a gesture to let undocumented immigrants know that they may find a measure of safety and be assured that they won’t be detained simply for being undocumented. During the first week of February, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an Executive Order that forbids all state agencies and employees from helping federal immigration officials locate or apprehend undocumented immigrants. According to an Oregonian article, the Governor’s executive order takes state

law one step further, by expanding the state’s sanctuary status to all agencies and making it illegal to discriminate based on immigration status. "We will not retreat," Governor Brown said in the article.

SCURLOCK, the high school English

teacher in Eugene, said she started to notice a change in the atmosphere around

Skillings says there has been an underlying current of unease in her classroom since Trump took office.

school toward the end of last school year, just as the presidential campaign was shifting into high gear. The change manifested in the frequency that students of color were being harassed by others. “I feel like we saw a big push late last school year, not only with (Trump) talking about building a wall, but [with other] things that were happening to our students of color, specifically our Latino students,” she said. “People were telling them they were going to be deported. There were Credits: Thomas Patterson

more blatant racial epithets and a very bold, almost unapologetic racist attitude that was quite surprising.” Devin Hunter, president of Hillsboro Classified United, the classified employees union, said there’s been plenty of talk about a rise in xenophobia and antiimmigrant sentiment in Hillsboro schools, as well. Last spring, a few hundred students at Hillsboro High School staged a walkout to show support for their peers at Forest Grove High School, who had walked out to

protest a racist banner that had been put up by a student (and then quickly removed) at their school. “We have a huge migrant community here, so there is a lot of interest,” Hunter said. “I think there’s a lot of fear about where our nation is going.” That fear prompted one family in Hillsboro to take drastic action, according to Golay. She said the family was so concerned about being deported after Trump’s election that, rather than await TODAY’S OEA | WINTER 2017


deportation, they made arrangements for their eighth-grade son to stay in Hillsboro with a family friend and they returned to Mexico. “Imagine that anxiety,” Golay said. “This is something that no one should have to deal with, let alone a child.”


almost instantly on election night, as soon as it became clear that Trump was going to garner the Electoral College votes he needed to win. Since that day, sanctuary status designations have soared to the top of the priority list for many jurisdictions, including the city of Portland. Within a week of the election, new Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler had reaffirmed the city’s commitment to sanctuary, as had the state’s three major colleges, UO, OSU and PSU. Eight days after the election, the Portland Public Schools (PPS) board voted unanimously on Nov. 16 to adopt a sanctuary resolution that protected undocumented students, while also laying out guidelines for how federal Immigration Control Enforcement officers can conduct activity at schools throughout the district. Specifically, Portland’s resolution requires federal agents to contact the superintendent and general counsel in person before entering school property; they also have to provide written notice and a reason for why they need to go into the building. The resolution also notes that school staff are not to inquire about students’ immigration status, nor are they permitted to share the immigration status of students, something already in place under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The actions of Portland Public Schools are part of what inspired other districts to take up the issue, as well. By early December, the Hillsboro Education Association (HEA) and Hillsboro Classified United (HCU) had drafted a letter to the chair of the school board requesting a meeting to consider a resolution similar to the one passed by PPS. As of late January, that meeting had yet to happen, but Golay and Hunter said the response had been positive and an informational meeting 22


SANCTUARY: WHAT YOU CAN DO An alternative term used to describe sanctuary status is the Safe Zone, which is another way to help districts address student fear about immigration enforcement under the Trump administration. Safe Zone and sanctuary resolutions can contain reassurances for students, procedures for law enforcement, and information for families and staff. But how to go about getting the board in your district to adopt one? The National Education Association’s EDJustice has compiled a helpful FAQ sheet, including a sample resolution, that makes it fairly easy for anyone interested to bring the idea to their school board. The informational sheet explains how to present the resolution to the board and how a Safe Zone works in regard to law enforcement. Find out more at

would likely occur with the board and the superintendent. “I think they just have some more questions about how it would impact the district, whether we’re not already doing some of this, how it might change,” Golay said. The process was fairly similar in Eugene, with members of the Eugene Education Association passing their own resolution and then working to have it considered by the school board. The board did take up a resolution in January, but it was one that leaned more toward reaffirming the policies it already has in place. Members planned to vote on that resolution in mid February. “Some of our members have really stepped up and moved this forward,” said Lisa Fragala, an organizing coordinator for the Oregon Education Association. “It’s a really good example of our members standing up for our most vulnerable students and deciding to take action.” As in Portland, the school board

in Corvallis made quick work of its resolution, adopting it the same night it was introduced in December. Adams, the school board member there, said it was an important step to take, especially considering the demographics of the area. The district itself is 14 percent Latino, and thanks in part to the presence of OSU, more than 50 languages are spoken in the district, the top three being English, Spanish and Arabic. “Our student population is actually very cosmopolitan, and we have lots and lots of kiddos speaking languages from all over the world,” Adams said. “Our board was definitely behind the sentiment of the resolution. We knew we had to send a message to the community to say that we are going to do what we can to make sure we protect your children as far as the law will allow.”

ON THE NIGHT the Corvallis School

Board adopted its resolution, Adams said one parent stood up to voice an opposing view, that perhaps the school board was simply responding to the political climate of the time. Adams said he took that into consideration, but also gave himself a test. If the issue had come up three years ago or at some other time during the Obama administration, would he have supported it? “It was definitely yes,” he said, “yes, I would have still supported it.” Others who have questioned the need for adopting sanctuary resolutions wonder whether they are really necessary or if the current state and federal laws are enough. Golay said some in Hillsboro wondered if it was just being done as an “image thing” or if there really is some substance behind the sanctuary status — and a need for it. “I really think there is a community here in Hillsboro that wants to see these organizations declare sanctuary,” Hunter said. “I think if the Hillsboro School District did it, it could put more pressure on others to do it. It’s our own little corner here, but we could have a big impact.” Although the sanctuary resolutions that have been adopted or are under

Scenes from inside Mary Skillings' ESL classroom.

consideration do overlap with existing state and federal regulations already in place, they do define policies more clearly and, in some cases, beef up what’s there. For example, resolutions adopted in Portland and Corvallis not only lay out what educators there are supposed to do if ICE officials need to come into a school, but they also directed the districts to provide training for teachers and staff on how to interact with and respond to agents, should the situation arise. If that were to happen, teachers and staff would follow the steps outlined in the resolutions while also not sharing immigration status information. “I have never been in that situation,” Scurlock said, “but if I ever was, I would not give them the information. I think we have made it clear that we would not participate and that we would be allowed to do just that.”


continued to make good on some of his campaign promises, including issuing Executive Orders related to the southern border wall and immigration. The latter order, signed in January, banned immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. While that one doesn’t technically impact folks living in the U.S., it does echo the administration’s larger take on immigration and hints at what might be in store for the future. Continued talk of the wall, too, has done little to ease anxiety. Compounding the sanctuary issue was Credits: Thomas Patterson

yet another Executive Order from Trump in January that threatened to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities if they don’t comply with federal immigration authorities. There are concerns that, if the order stands — the city of San Francisco promptly sued Trump over it at the end of January — it might imperil federal funding at the school district level, as well. Adams said he has had several conversations on the matter with colleagues in the Corvallis School District, and while he acknowledged the potential impact, he said it seemed like a long shot — and one that is worth rolling the dice on. “The risk is there, but the way schools get federal funds is that it goes through the state and it’s distributed through the Oregon Department of Education,” he said. He notes that the bulk of Title I federal dollars support special education programs and students in poverty. It could be a perilous decision, politically, to pull Title I money from a district. “See how that flies,” he cautions.


under the new administration, educators must take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to sanctuary status. Though some have already adopted resolutions, how they will hold up in the wake of Trump’s future actions remains to be seen. Other districts that are still working on their own versions and policies may find that they will continue to evolve or need further tweaking based on what comes out of the

White House. In the meantime, however, daily life goes on in public schools across Oregon. Politicians may be issuing orders and making threats to build walls, ban travel and strip funding, but students have concerns that are much more immediate to them in their own lives. “The bottom line in this is that they are high school kids,” said Skillings of her students at CHS. “They’re working on trying to pass their classes, they’re studying for finals. Some of them have to juggle jobs and school. Some play music or sports. And then there’s all the typical teenage stuff on top of that.” After the election, Skillings said one student from Vietnam raised her hand to voice her concerns about what, broadly, might happen. “You would think that she would be concerned about herself,” she said, “but she actually said, ‘I’m concerned for the United States of America.’ Sometimes I think the people who are new here value and appreciate and are more aware about this country than the people who’ve grown up here.” Still, Skillings doesn’t deny that there is an underlying current of unease coursing through the days. Her hope is that schools in Oregon, and the people who work in them with students every day, can help ease that. “I just hope there’s not more fear that’s coming, that there’s not even more of a divide as a result of Trump’s ideas and all that’s going on,” she said. “We are just going to become the safe people that students know they can go to, that they can count on.” Taking the sanctuary approach will likely be a big part of that. Scurlock said she realized as much the day after the election, when her students were in tears. “They were a mess, and I thought to myself, what can I do as an educator to make sure that all of my students are protected and that they are loved and that they know their stories matter to me?,” she asked. “I have made a commitment to do what I can to address this, and it makes me feel good as an educator that we are doing it.” n TODAY’S OEA | WINTER 2017





Keeping the (Heart)Beat Music education fuels student growth and success - and so much more By Amy Korst • Photography by Thomas Patterson


ost educators today beg for smaller class sizes. Not Josh Rist, choir director at McNary High School in Salem. “I want 100 kids in my class,” he says, describing a time when he did indeed have 100 students in his women’s choir class. “For our choral program, we love that,” he says, explaining that, where huge class sizes are a detriment to most programs, this is not the case for music education. He jokes that in an area of education suffering from cost-cutting measures, placing 60 or more kids in a music class is not only desirable, but economical, too. Managing large class loads is just one challenge today’s music teachers face. In an era rife with budget cuts, high-stakes testing and the Common Core, music education across the state has suffered. “It’s the first to go and the last to come back,” says Mary Lou Boderman, coordinator of music and drama for the Salem-Keizer School District. Yet, in the face of adversity such as shrinking budgets and staffing cuts, one would be hard-pressed to find a group of people as passionate about their profession as Oregon’s music teachers. TODAY’S OEA | WINTER 2017


The state of music education in Oregon today varies. Some districts, like SalemKeizer, have thriving programs that successfully educate hundreds of K-12 students each year. Other districts, forced to make hard budget decisions, have slashed funding from music departments, leaving educators to build programs from practically nothing. Considering the vital nature of an arts education, this disparity is concerning. Jennifer Mohr Colett, who teaches general music at Fir Grove Elementary School in Beaverton, has made advocating for equal access to music education her focus over the past several years. During the day, Colett teaches music skills and concepts to elementary students. She also serves as advocacy chair for the Oregon Music Education Association (OMEA), a nonprofit whose purpose is to provide professional development for music educators and music opportunities for students in the state. As advocacy chair, one of Colett’s main roles is to increase student access to music programs across Oregon. When OMEA asked her to step into the position, it had been vacant for a year. She jumped into action by pulling together a meeting of the minds with music coordinators from around the state. Immediately, the ideas began flying, “We started just really bubbling with excitement and connecting and strategizing about how to make sure that all students have access (to a quality music education program),” she says. Out of this meeting, the Oregon Student Music Access Project (OSMAP) was born. Colett explains the project as essentially a census of all music programs in all Oregon schools, both public and private. Volunteers collected data from 2014-2015, and Colett anticipates releasing the OSMAP final report in early 2016. Data collection involved analysis of student enrollment compared to certified music instructor staffing in the areas of general music, band, choir, and orchestra. “It’s pretty easy to compare staffing levels versus enrollment,” she says. “If they’re adequately staffed or if it’s just sort of an onpaper music program that’s not really able to serve very many students. You can say 26


you have a music teacher, but if they’re just somebody with a guitar that comes by every other week and takes whoever wants to stay after school, that’s not a music program.” Once the OSMAP census is complete and data is available, OMEA’s goal is to “offer actionable guidance to stakeholders for remedying inequities where they exist,” according to the OMEA. In other words, data will be presented to school boards, administrators, and state legislators with the hope that more equitable funding can be secured to provide all students with access to a highquality music program. While the data will help to convince stakeholders holding the purse strings, educators in the trenches already know what the report will reveal: music programs across the state have suffered drastic cuts. Some districts, thanks to creative administrators and teachers, have maintained programs in spite of cuts. Some have even prioritized funding music education, choosing instead to cut elsewhere. Other schools, particularly in low-income areas, limp along with music programs that are mere phantoms of what they were before. So, why is music education so important and what does a thriving program look like?

Why it’s important

A concern many music teachers share is that music is viewed by the general public, students, school boards, and even fellow teachers as supplemental. Encore classes, not core classes. Clubs. Specials. Fluff. This could not be further from the truth. The benefits of music education, and arts education in general, have been welldocumented. According to an ever-growing body of studies, sustained involvement in arts education results in increased academic achievement, improved attendance and higher graduation rates. Additionally, involvement in a quality arts program is proven to have positive social outcomes for students, including citizenship and professionalism. What is of great interest to many stakeholders is the fact that these findings are particularly true for students at risk due to poverty. A 2012 National Endowment for the Arts

The more students, the merrier for Josh Rist, choir teacher at McNary High School in Keizer, Ore.

study examined four large-scale, longitudinal studies and came to the following significant conclusions: n Teenagers and young adults of low socioeconomic status who have a history of in-depth arts involvement show better academic outcomes than do low-SES youth who have less arts involvement. n Young adults who had intensive arts experiences in high school are more likely to show civic-minded behavior than young adults who did not. Again, educators don’t really need the

data to observe the truth of this in their own classrooms. They cite a number of reasons why arts involvement makes children better students and, ultimately, better people. “If we’re offering public education to enrich our society, arts has to be at the center,” Rist says. In his advanced ensemble classes, 80 percent of his students have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. “Music requires that they do things over and over again until they get it right. It develops skills that I think are lost in today’s culture of instant gratification.” Credits: Thomas Patterson

Many music teachers note that all students need to find their niche, their place to belong that gives them a reason to return to school day after day. For some, this is sports, for others it is yearbook or student government. For many, it’s music. “Every kid has got to have their thing,” says Dave DeRoest, orchestra director at Waldo Middle School in Salem-Keizer. “Every kid needs a place to belong, a community, a family, a subset of kids that care about them.” DeRoest notes that his students’

attendance rates and test scores beat the school average, which he attributes to their desire to be in school. Music provides a motivation for students to keep coming to school. And, music builds professional skills that students will need in college and the workplace. Ken Graber, choir director at North Bend High School, compares his music program to an extended family. “You don’t get to choose who’s in your family, you just have to learn to live in this TODAY’S OEA | WINTER 2017


According to Jennifer Mohr Colett, the recipe for a successful music program includes both excellent teaching and a robustness in the diversity of classes offered.

family,” he says. “The ability to think outside your own needs to what the needs of the large ensemble are — I think that’s an incredible skill.” Students engaged in music are activating multiple parts of their brains, which is one reason it is so powerful. Musicians in a very real way are “speaking” multiple languages at once: the languages of rhythm, pitch, volume, dynamics, and reading music, to list a few. “It’s also very social,” Colett adds. “Research shows that some of the happiest cultures in the world are some of the most social. Music builds in that social element and it promotes not just the cognitive learning but also the affective and the kinesthetic, so it’s all three cognitive domains that are getting stimulated when students are in their music class. That’s helping them improve their emotional regulation, it’s helping them bond with others, it’s setting them up for success so they can be well-adjusted young adults.”

Inside a thriving music program

The Salem-Keizer School District has what many educators believe to be the gold standard in music programs. 28


“The community supports what we do,” says Boderman, the district’s music and drama coordinator. “It’s a badge of honor for them. The business community sees it as a selling point. It’s not unusual for parents and community members to advocate against cuts. The school board and administration understand what we have here. Multiple generations have gone through a relatively stable music program.” Boderman has been in education for 41 years. She coordinates about 100 music staff for Salem-Keizer and has seen trends in education come and go. Along with Colett, she was instrumental in implementing the OSMAP census. She credits the district’s thriving music program to a number of attributes. An exemplary group of teachers is the real key to a successful program, she says. This involves not only hiring the right staff and placing them in the perfect position but also making sure they receive regular professional development. Boderman takes a unique approach to hiring and staffing her district, an approach she says is enormously successful. She explains that in many districts, the building principal hires a music teacher to fill an open position.

Not so in Salem-Keizer. Boderman and district administrators hire teachers according to specialty area, assigning staff and aligning schedules in vertical format. “It’s an enormous puzzle,” she says. A music teacher’s training is intense, according to Boderman. Music students take classes in music history, music theory, and they must be proficient on all instruments. A vocal specialist still has to demonstrate proficiency with piano and woodwinds, for example. They need conducting and ensemble skills. “It is an enormous challenge for universities to get people to a place where they are remotely competent,” she says. “Music teachers are asked to do two different things at once. We teach individual technique to students on their various instruments but then we also teach ensemble techniques so they can do it together, and that is very, very difficult.” When new teachers start in the district, Boderman says she and other administrators are very aware that it’s going to take three to five years for a teacher to balance those skills with proficiency. In a field where each area is highly specialized, it is entirely possible for a teacher

to be hired into a position having only taken a class or two in that specialty area. This is why, Boderman says, professional development is so important after a music educator’s collegiate training. OMEA can fill some of that role, says Colett, noting that sometimes districts overlook the fact that Title II dollars can be used to fund specialized professional development for music teachers. “Music teachers need their own professional development,” she says. “They shouldn’t just be lumped in with whatever math or reading professional development is happening that week.” Many music educators point out that music education is a serious academic pursuit, though it is often overlooked as “just” an elective. Music teachers base their instruction on standards, just like any other curriculum or subject area. A rigorous music program should be sequential, sustained, and standards-based. Quality administrators who value music

education are not to be overlooked, says DeRoest. He sings the praises of his principal who, he says, has not missed a single evening event since he started at Waldo Middle School. The recipe for a successful music program involves more than just excellent teachers and supportive administrators, however. There must be a robustness in the diversity of classes offered as well as in the classroom. Colett believes that music education should be compulsory in elementary school, when young students soak up music instruction like a sponge, just as they would any other second language. Then, in the secondary level when music becomes an elective, the participation in these programs should look like the population of the schools. Rebecca Nederhiser, previously the band director at Hood River Middle School, was the recipient of a $250,000 grant called Band Together to implement this philosophy into

her own program. “The whole initiative of the grant was that our eighth grade band would be a reflection of the diversity of our school,” she says. Nederhiser, who this enrolled at Central Washington University this year to pursue a college teaching career, started nominating sixth grade students into band, focusing particularly on Latino students. And that’s when the program exploded. “We found that they didn’t feel welcome in the program, even though I was trying,” she says. “They didn’t know band was an option. They looked at it as this thing that was expensive and only for the rich white kids.” Nederhiser offered scholarships for students who couldn’t afford instruments. Suddenly, Latino parents were coming to band concerts. Band friendships were extending beyond the classroom and onto the playground. Self-esteem sky-rocketed. She also started a Latino advisory committee. “We hired a translator who called the families. We offered food and free childcare

Dave DeRoest is proud of the middle school orchestra program, one of the cornerstones of Salem-Keizer's music education program.

Credits: Thomas Patterson



Music education begins at an early age in the Beaverton School District.

because we found out that was a barrier. And they came and we said, ‘We’d like to know your ideas. Here’s our goal, we want to engage your kids in the arts, and especially in band. How can we better serve you?’” One particular difficulty is access to instruments, a common problem for many band programs. Instrument access is an issue of equity. Schools in wealthy areas have families that can afford both instruments and private lessons, whereas students in high-poverty areas don’t have that luxury. Schools solve this equity problem in various ways. For the Beaverton School District, this means making sure every elementary school has the same access to the same instruments and equipment. Other districts may opt to front-load poorer schools with more instruments, understanding that students from high SES areas in the district 30


will bridge the gap by purchasing their own instruments. “The biggest issue for us in terms of equity is having great teachers,” Boderman says. “If I can get a great teacher and put them in our Title schools, that’s most important.”

Music education's future

There are many concrete steps that fellow teachers and community members can take to advocate for strong music programs in Oregon schools. The OMEA hopes to raise awareness about a hopeful sign. The recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that replaced No Child Left Behind specifically enumerates music as an essential component of a well-rounded education. This does not mean that districts suddenly receive more funding for music programs. Rather, it means that districts can use

new Title IV funds to support music programs in their schools if they so choose. This means convincing districts of the importance of music programs – which shouldn’t be a hard sell, given the data that shows how impactful arts education can be. “Our ideal would be to see every school district in Oregon commit to music in a way that Beaverton has, in the way that Salem has,” says Colett. “Ultimately we have to foster community value for music and we have to teach communities how to keep their programs and promote their programs and save their programs should they ever come under threat.” That aside, music educators note that there is something to be said about producing art for its own sake. “There is something about connecting with other people and connecting to the ancient sound of voices in harmony with one


Dues Tax Deduction for OEA Members


embers may be able to deduct their union dues for 2016 income taxes. This includes NEA, OEA and Local dues. The deduction must meet the limitations on miscellaneous itemized deductions (deductible when “Miscellaneous” itemized deductions exceed two percent of adjusted gross income). To claim union dues as a deduction you must use the standard Form 1040. Union dues are reported on line 21 of Schedule A (Form 1040) –Itemized Deductions. The amount of the deduction will be based on the dues paid in 2016. You will likely be able to find this amount on your final 2016 pay stub listed as dues. If your district provides a detailed Form W-2, you may also find the information there. If you are not able to find the amount in either place, a call to your employer’s payroll office should provide the most accurate information. Call your local OEA support staff if you still have questions. Also, the $250 Educator Expenses deduction is available to reduce your taxes without the requirement of itemizing your deductions. The deduction, for K-12 educators (see IRS instructions for those qualified and other limitations), can be found on line 23 of Form 1040 or line 16 of Form 1040A. Each form refers to specific instructions that explain the qualification for the deduction. Expenses beyond the $250 limit may be deducible as a “Miscellaneous” itemized deduction, like union dues, subject to the limitations mentioned above. The simplest tax return, Form 1040EZ, does not provide for this deduction. If you have qualifying expenses, be sure to use one of the other forms to file your 2016 taxes. OEA does not provide tax advice to members, but you can find more information on the official IRS website,, or by contacting your tax consultant. Use this link to find more details on these and other educator tax deductions from NEA Member Benefits:

another that makes you feel really alive and electrified,” Rist says about why he loves teaching choir. “It’s powerful, even transcendent at times. It goes deep to the soul for me.” Classroom teachers outside of the music disciplines can help support their colleagues in this noble pursuit. Music educators battle the perception that they aren’t “real” teachers and that they are “only” teaching electives. Some argue that it’s time to end the divide and band together to ensure students have the wellrounded education they need to succeed. Perhaps Graber says it best. We know conclusively that music helps students succeed in school and in life. "If it’s valuable, then we need to invest in it,” he says. Indeed. And there are many passionate educators working tirelessly in Oregon to see to it that we do. n Credits: Thomas Patterson



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

Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Grants

WHAT: InvenTeams are made up of high school students, educators, and mentors that receive grants up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to realworld problems. Projects are collaborative efforts, driven by the students. The InvenTeam initiative fosters a “learningby-doing” environment fueled by inquirybased thinking. n WHo: STEM educators at high schools who have not received an InvenTeam grant in the past three years are eligible. n WHen: Application deadline is Apr. 10, 2017. n how: To learn more and to apply, go to

how: For more information on eligibility and how to apply, go to n


School Employee Wellness Grant

WHAT: OEA Choice Trust’s School Employee Wellness Grant Program is designed to allow school leaders and employees the flexibility to develop a tailored program to best meet the needs, goals and priorities of the district and school staff. n WHo: Oregon public school districts, community colleges and Education Service Districts. n WHen: Application deadline is Apr. 15, 2017. n how: For more information on this program and how to apply, go to www., or email n

VOYA Unsung Heroes Award

WHAT: The Voya Unsung Heroes™ Awards Program has inspired success in the classroom and impacted countless numbers of students. Each year, 100 educators are selected to receive $2,000 to help fund their innovative class projects. Three of those are chosen to receive the top awards of an additional $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000. n WHo: K-12 Educators n WHen: Application deadline is Apr. 30, 2017. n




IntegratED Conference

WHAT: During this two-day conference focused on technology integration strategies for educators, workshops are offered on a wide variety of relevant topics in small teaching and learning environments. Then bring old problems, current projects and new ideas to a Room to Grow studio and collaborate with mentors and peers to create personalized strategies. Cost: $349 n WHen: Feb. 25–26, 2017 n WHere: Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel, Portland, Oregon n how: To learn more and register, go to n

2017 General & Special Education Conference

WHAT: The 2017 General & Special Education Conference: Brain-Based Science, Learning & Achievement offers twentyfour, full-day courses on a variety of topics, such as learning disabilities, behavior management, childhood anxiety, autism, and more. OSPI Clock Hours or 2 Graduate Level College Credits (WWU) Approved CE Hours Offered: ASHA, AOTA, NASW, NASP, TEA, NBCC, STAR, PT Board of CA and more! n WHo: For PreK-12 teachers in general education, special education, math, ELL, school psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational & physical therapists, behavior therapists, counselors, professional support staff and principals/administrator n WHen: March 8–10, 2017 n WHERE: Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, WA n how: For more information on courses, hotel reservations and to register, go to n

Supreme Court Summer Institute

WHAT: During the Supreme Court Summer Institute, participants will spend six days on Capitol Hill and inside the Supreme Court learning about the Court, its past and current cases, and how to teach about them from top Supreme Court litigators and educators. n WHo: Open to secondary level social studies teachers and supervisors. n WHen: June 15-20 and June 22-27, 2017. Application deadline is Mar. 13, 2017. n WHere: Washington, D.C. n how: For full information and to apply online, go to n

Children’s Clean Water Festival

WHAT: This festival is a free, day-long environmental education event that engages fourth-grade students throughout the Portland, Oregon metro area. Throughout the day, students move from one activity to another to explore a variety of water-related topics including water science, ecology, native fish, water quality, and ways they can protect and conserve natural resources. n WHen: March 14, 2017; 7 am – 2 pm n WHERE: University of Portland n how: To learn more and to register, go to n

The Child Abuse and Family Violence Summit

WHAT: This year’s theme is The Power of One in Collaboration with Others, as participants learn new ways to work together to protect and make each child safe in our communities. Professionals learn about the complex issues associated with child abuse and family violence, broaden their knowledge base in multiple areas, and increase understanding of other agencies’ roles and responsibilities. n WHen: April 11-14, 2017; Registration deadline is April 7, 2017 n WHere: Red Lion Hotel on the River, Portland n how: For more information on cost and to register, go to or contact Julie L. Collinson, n

Sources + Resources Conference Coordinator, 503 557.5827,

Portland Art Museum Educator Membership Discount

WHAT: The Portland Art Museum is offering educators a 15 percent discount for one year and 30 percent discount for two years on all membership levels. Available online only. Enter the discount code EDU15 or EDU30. Proof of educator status may be requested at entry. n how: For more information, go to membership. n


Black History Month Resources

WHAT: To help integrate Black History Month into the classroom, NEA offers a selection of lesson plans that cover a variety subjects and that can be adapted to fit multiple grade levels. n how: For more information, go to n

Free Lesson Plans and Documentaries

WHAT: POV, a production of American Documentary, Inc., offers free resources for educators, including 200+ online film clips connected to 100+ standards-aligned lesson plans, discussion guides and reading lists. Registered educators can use any of 80+ full-length films in the classroom for free through their documentary lending library. n how: For more information, go to www. n


Raising Race Questions: Whiteness and Inquiry in Education By Ali Michael; Foreward by Shaun R. Harper Teachers College Press; 2015; ISBN-13: 9780807755990; $35.95 (List Price); Available at This author explores the use of inquiry as a way to develop sustained engagement with challenging racial questions by laying out a process for getting to questions that lead to growth and change, as well as a vision for where engagement with race questions might lead.

Making Your School Safe: Strategies to Protect Children and Promote Learning By John Devine, Jonathan Cohen Teachers College Press, 2007; ISBN-13: 9780807747834; $48.00 (List Price); Available at This book covers combining traditional crisis management and emergency planning with all of the principles in the field of evidence-based, social emotional learning and character education. Featuring real-life examples and best practices, the authors cover widespread concerns, ranging from student behavioral issues such as bullying and social exclusion to gangrelated violence and other tragic events.

Back to Learning: How Research-Based Classroom Instruction Can Make the Impossible Possible By Les Parsons Publisher: Pembroke Publishers Limited, 2012; ISBN-13: 9781551382814; $29.33 (List Price); Available at Based on the most up-to-date research, the author presents straightforward analysis and practical guidance on confronting bullying, taming the digital universe, and changing the troublesome trend in students' attitudes toward learning and grades.

The Poster Project

WHAT: The Portland Art Museum has created posters featuring works across the permanent collections. Posters are available free of charge to educators in Oregon and Washington. Hang them in classrooms, hallways, and libraries or take them out for specific activities and lessons. n how: To preview posters, access resources, or request a set by mail, visit the Poster Project, http://portlandartmuseum. org/learn/educators/resources/posters/. n

Closing the School Discipline Gap: Equitable Remedies for Excessive Exclusion Edited by: Daniel J. Losen Teachers College Press, 2015; ISBN-13: 9780807756133; $37.95; Available at This book explores how suspensions flow along the lines of race, gender and disability status and examines potential remedies that show great promise, including a district-wide approach in Cleveland aimed at social and emotional learning strategies. TODAY’S OEA | WINTER 2017


OEA BOARD CANDIDATES OEA MEMBERS SEEK ASSOCIATION POSITIONS » Candidates’ statements are printed exactly as submitted and have not been

corrected for spelling, grammar, or punctuation. PLEASE NOTE: Candidate statements that exceeded the 100-word limit were cut off at the

District 02 (3-year term)

District 09 (3-year term)

Joseph Vermeire

Teacher Miller Education Center Hillsboro School District

STATEMENT My fundamental goal as board director will be to become a conduit of information and communication from my members to our state association and vice versa. This connection is important, it is the life vein that keeps our organization alive. It is the only way that we will be able to create, ensure and protect the safe spaces and schools our students deserve. In today's America, it will be challenging to keep going and continue our great work. With my dedication, we will work together to make OEA stronger and benefit the people we care about the most, our students. QUALIFICATIONS Local: Hillsboro Education Association » Building Representative » Powerful Locals Team Member » Bargaining Committee Member » Bond Committee Member » Executive Board — High School-at-large Representative » Secretary » Vice President UniServ: Washington County UniServ Council » Vice President » President State: Oregon Education Association » OEA Representative Assembly Delegate » PIE Convention Delegate » Resolutions Committee Member National: National Education Association » NEA Representative Assembly Delegate » Western Regional Leadership Conference



Joe Minson

Photo Unavailable

OEA Board of Director Canby High School Canby School District

STATEMENT I believe in the principals of unionism. That as a member of the OEA Board of Directors I will fight for the working rights of all educators. We as an Association are stronger together. Teachers, Instructional Assistants, Bus Drivers, Cooks, Secretaries, and Janitors need to know one another's issues and be ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Sisters and Brothers. The work is hard, the climb is steep, and we need to work together to get to the top. QUALIFICATIONS » Member in good standing since 1985 » OEA PIE Board Director for Willamette Falls UniServ » Member of Canby Education Association Bargaining Team » President of the Canby Education Association » Executive Committee Member of the Canby Education Association » Building Representative for Canby High School » OEA Board of Director for Willamette Falls UniServ

District 10c (3-year term) Russell Peterson

Social Studies Teacher Grant High School Portland Public Schools

STATEMENT In my 16 years teaching in Oregon, I have served PAT in a variety of positions, and seek your support as I run for OEA Board member. PAT is the state's largest local, and as such our needs and issues are unique. I look forward to advocating for you and in working with OEA leadership to address the concerns and needs of OEA District 10, and also to working with OEA to help strengthen our union within the state as well. QUALIFICATIONS Local: » PAT Building rep » Head Rep, 8 years » PAT Executive Board » Trustee, Health & Welfare Trust » Co-Chair, IPD / IPC committee » IPC / IPD Committee » Elections & Nominations Committee » Bargaining Committee » PAT Pac member State: » OEA rep » New Members committee » Oregon PIE Personal: » Social studies and English teacher, Grant HS 10 years » Social studies / English teacher, West Sylvan MS 1 year » Social studies teacher, Jefferson HS 5 years » Desert Shield / Storm veteran

100th word. Elections for OEA Board Directors and NEA RA Delegates are determined by mail-in ballots, due to OEA Headquarters received or postmarked by March 10th (Bylaws, Article 7, Section 4, C.1.)

District 11 (3-year term) Benjamin Gorman

Teacher (English/ Language Arts) Central High School Central School District

STATEMENT I believe that the work of the OEA is essential to protecting the quality work environments of the education professionals in Oregon, and that, in turn, provides the best possible learning environments for our students. The Core Values of the OEA mesh with the values that motivate me as an educator; in my classroom, I seek to demonstrate integrity and professionalism, to foster a culture of collaboration built on democracy, collective action and respect for diversity, and to do all this in the service of social justice and lifelong learning. QUALIFICATIONS Local (Central Education Association) » Negotiations Chair » President » Past President » Member of the Executive Committee State: (OEA) » Interim Board Director for District 11 since August of 2016 » Member of the Statewide Organizing Task Force since 2011 » Member of the Committee for the Study of Statewide Work Site Organizing, 2010 » PIE Convention Delegate » Representative Assembly Delegate

District 16 (3-year term)

District 24 (3-year term)

Susan Huffman Local President North Marion High School North Marion School District

STATEMENT As the District 16 Board member for the past three years, I have advocated for all of our medium and small locals to assure that we are represented at the state level. Because of my long-term involvement in OEA, I understand the power of a united, focused union, and I pledge to continue to support our association. QUALIFICATIONS United North Marion Educators » President » Vice President » Bargaining Chair » Grievance Chair » Building Rep » Secretary Oregon Education Association » PIE Board » OEA Board » Student Teacher Committee » 29 year member » Mid Valley Uniserv Vice President » Mid Valley Uniserv Treasurer » Task Force on Dual Credit

Matthew Reed

Photo Unavailable

Custodian II Myers Elementary Salem-Keizer School District

STATEMENT I believe that as an OEA Board Director I can bring new ideas to the board. If elected, I will make sure that the voices of all ESPs are heard. I feel that I have the experience needed to be a board director for our association. QUALIFICATIONS Local: » Custodial Director 2016-present » At-Large Director 2015-2016 » PIE Director 2013-present » Building Rep 2012-present State: » OCESP Vice Chair 2016-present » OCESP North Valley Rep 2015-present » PIE Convention Delegate 2013 and 2016 » OEA RA delegate 2013-present National: » NEA RA Delegate 2014-2016 » NEA ESP Conference Delegate 2015-2016

Personal: » Crystal Apple Award Winner

National: (NEA) » Pacific Regional Leadership Conference » Racial Justice State Leaders Cohort » Member of the Oregon delegation to the 2017 NEA National Leadership Summit Personal: » Father of an Oregon public school student » Novelist (including Corporate High School, a YA dystopia about school reform run amok)




District 27 (3-year term) Deb Wiskow OEA-Retired

Photo Unavailable

District 01b (3-year term)

No Name Submitted – Write-in ballot

District 03a (3-year term)

No Name Submitted – Write-in ballot

District 13 (3-year term)

No Name Submitted – Write-in ballot

STATEMENT As we move forward with the results of the November elections, it is more important than ever to have an OEA retired voice on the Board of Directors. We need to have a conduit for information coming from the board in order to support our active members. We must also be able to provide a historical perspective in discussions and decisions regarding the future of OEA. With my experience at all levels, I believe I can be the voice to represent the OEA retired members on the OEA Board. Thank you for your support the past 3 years. Please vote! QUALIFICATIONS As an active member, I held many positions in my local and at the UniServ level. I was on the Board of Directors for 3 terms and an OEA RA and NEA RA delegate for several years. As a retired member, I have served as an » OEA R Board Member and OEA RA delegate 8 years » Region II Director 6 years » NEA R Annual meeting and NEA R delegate 3 years » OEA Board representing OEA R 3 years



District 15b (3-year term)

No Name Submitted – Write-in ballot

District 20 (2-year term)

No Name Submitted – Write-in ballot

District 30b (3-year term)

No Name Submitted – Write-in ballot

NEA RA STATE DELEGATE CANDIDATES Region I Candidates • 7 Positions (3-year terms)

Photo Unavailable

Keith Ayres

Classroom Teacher Fir Grove Elementary Beaverton School District

Suzanne Cohen

President Portland Association of Teachers

Jennifer Handsaker

Science Teacher Parkrose High School Parkrose School District

Region I Candidates 7 Positions (3-year terms)

Region II Candidates 4 Positions (3-year terms)

Cynthia G. Williams

Laurel Ross

Teacher Oregon City School District

Music Specialist Page Elementary Springfield Schools

Joseph Vermeire

Teacher Miller Education Center Hillsboro School District

Scott Wallace

Instructor Blue Mountain Community College

Region III Candidates 3 Positions (3-year terms)

Kimberly Beggs

5th Grade Teacher Allen Dale Elementary Grants Pass School District

Kelvin Calkins

5th Grade Teacher May Street Elementary Hood River County School District

Region III Candidates • 3 Positions (3-year terms)

Cheri A. Howard

Bookkeeper/Secretary Klamath Union High School Klamath Falls City Schools

Randy King

Teacher Ensworth Elementary Bend-LaPine School District

Kathryn Huerta

Special Education Assistant Riverside Elementary Grants Pass School District

Regina Scarminach

Teacher on Special Assignment (IEP Specialist) Medford School District TODAY’S OEA | WINTER 2017


ON THE WEB / Winter2017 »



here’s something exciting afoot in the State Capitol right now. Every day, OEA lobbyists walk the halls of the Capitol and hand out one-pagers, featuring a photo of a member and their heart-wrenching "I can't stress enough story. These stories highlight what it’s how important language education like to work in the trenches of our public is." — Sara Thornton schools and community colleges each day. “What’s the story of the day?” eager lawmakers ask us, hoping that today’s story might just feature one of their constituents. So far, we’ve passed out more than two dozen stories – and the project has only just begun. These are YOUR stories, and we’ve launched several online tools to help us “lift every voice” this legislative session and bring your stories to the Capitol. The easiest way to follow along with OEA’s story project is on our Instagram @oregoneducation. You can filter through the "The person who will cure cancer might be daily stories using the hashtag in my classroom, but #OREducatorVoices (and if right now, she's having you share your own story on problems learning to read."— Sara Bowman Instagram or Twitter, be sure to use the same hashtag). Instagram features a single quote from a member, but the full stories are published on OEA’s new Medium blog: Hit the “follow” button on this page to get a daily story delivered to your social media feed every day. Make sure you’ve also “liked” the OEA Facebook page: oregoneducation, where we post engaging school programs, and the needs of your stories and calls to action to keep you students can (and do!) shape education informed during the legislative session. policy during legislative session. Share Of course, our daily story project is only your story with us on the OEA website at successful if we have the stories to share. for your Your realities on class size, the loss of vital chance to be featured. n 38


"Real world scientific explanations will inspire students." — April Anderson

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Credits: Freepik

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