SIA Update in Response to Impact of COVID-19

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SIA Update in Response to Impact of COVID-19

Starting with what is most important

Each day brings an opportunity to remember what is most important and precious. And when sailing in uncharted waters one of the most helpful resources is having a compass or knowing how to be guided by the stars and listening to the conditions around you to navigate through the unknown. The team at ODE supporting the work on the Student Investment Account has been grappling, right alongside districts and communities, with how our work, plans, and focus needs to change to align with the needs of students and families while continuing to carry our work responsibilities forward as wisely as possible. 

This email explains the decisions we’ve reached and how we are evolving our approach to implementing the Student Investment Account over the next few months. We invite your questions to and will also be responding to SIA questions put forward to the email as well.

Essential Updates

  • The deadline to submit an SIA Grant Application by April 15th remains unchanged while our rationale and orientation to supporting district’s in application development has shifted. 
  • The Quality Assurance and Learning Panels are cancelled for this year. 
  • The SIA team will redirect energy into providing tools, guidance, and support for school districts to hold effective virtual school board meetings that meaningfully allow for public comment and engagement in approving SIA applications and plans, meeting the requirements in the law.
  • SIA applications do not need to be complete in order to be submitted by April 15th, but districts must submit at least a partial application by April 15th.

Rationale for Keeping the Application Deadline to April 15th

By having applicants submit their SIA Grant Application without board approval it meets two aims: 

1) It allows applicants to stay on track to execute grant agreements with ODE to ensure funding by the 2020-21 school year; 

2) It mobilizes ODE’s SIA support team and ESDs to more effectively organize our efforts to help districts and eligible charter schools move through the steps to complete SIA application requirements. 

The ODE review process will continue as detailed in the SIA guidance released in December 2019 to ensure that applications meet the requirements outlined in Section 10 of the law with noted exception of our releasing of the Quality Assurance and Learning panels for this year.

Releasing Quality Assurance and Learning Panels

All Quality Assurance and Learning Panels planned between March 23 - May 9, 2020 are cancelled and will not be rescheduled this year. This was an especially difficult decision given ODE received an overwhelming response to the request for panelists and we can’t say enough how much we appreciate the appetite for this kind of public engagement. 

That said, our aims in holding the panels were to support public understanding and grow public confidence in the implementation of the SIA and to create conditions conducive for learning across districts and communities. We came to the conclusion that we could best meet those aims by adjusting our supports to districts and focus on public engagement around the board approval process

Supporting Virtual Public Engagement & Board Approval 

The Student Success Act names that all school districts and eligible charter schools are required to obtain board approval of their SIA Grant Application after they 1) present their SIA Plan at an open public forum; 2) allow opportunity for public comment; and 3) make their SIA Application available to the public by posting it on their district webpage. In the application form, applicants are required to show evidence of board approval and include a website link where their SIA Grant Application is posted and available for the public. 

ODE will be providing districts and eligible charter schools with some additional flexibility and increased support to meet these requirements.


  1. Virtual Public Meetings - Applicants are permitted to hold a virtual public meeting to meet the requirements for obtaining board approval. With more guidance forthcoming, it is important that these meetings contain meaningful ways for public comment to be heard and considered and SIA approval cannot be determined by consent agenda or through executive session.
  2. Submission of an SIA Grant Application Prior to Board Approval -- While technically true before, it seems more likely and more important to name that ODE can and will accept SIA Grant Applications during the submission window while applicants have not completed getting board approval. Submitting in this form will help the SIA team provide additional support to meet this target. Applicants will still be required to complete this step before the plan is considered “complete” and moves forward for ODE review. 


The SIA support team is developing tools and guidance for how districts can hold effective board meetings with quality public engagement even while not meeting in person. 

ODE will also be working with ESD liaisons to collaboratively help districts who’d like help running the kind of online meetings that would meet the requirements of the law. 

Gratitude and Recognition

We believe these decisions are not only in the best interest of our state, but more importantly allow ODE to redirect time and resources to support school districts and eligible charter schools in completing their SIA Grant Applications. We want to acknowledge and celebrate the important work that’s been done across the state in the last six months. Even as we adjust and our plans must change, it’s worth naming the value of all that hard work even as more lies ahead.


  • As of today ODE has received 45 applications.
  • ODE received and reviewed 326 applications from Oregonians across the state interested in serving on a Quality Assurance and Learning Panel. Panelists would have come from 28 of Oregon’s 36 counties and over 50 percent would have been students, educators, families, and leaders of color.

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