A Bit of Reflection | January 2023 Education Update

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Education Update: Oregon Department of Education

January 2023

Oregon Achieves... Together!
A Message from the Director of the Oregon Department of Education Colt Gill

ODE Director Colt Gill

On January 6, Governor Tina Kotek (who was Governor-Elect at the time) shared that I plan to retire later this year after the Legislative Session.

Even though our state will continue to face challenges, I truly believe this is a good time for children in Oregon. Governor Kotek is focusing on three priorities: Housing, behavioral health, and education. This focus and her long track record of accomplishment bodes well for our kids. Although I very much look forward to retirement after 34 years in education in Oregon, I know I will miss this work, I will miss working with all of you in our districts and communities, and I will miss working under the Governor’s leadership. This work has been a privileged opportunity, an opportunity of a lifetime, and one that I strived to assign deep responsibility to and treat as such.

Although my time in this capacity of service to our educators, students, families, and communities is coming to an end, I will work hard over the next several months to support Governor Kotek and her goals for Oregon’s children. Our efforts over the last several years are closely aligned with the Governor’s goals. I will be working with legislators to focus on these priorities. And, I’ll be supporting the incoming leadership throughout the transition. My efforts will be on ensuring a planful, informed and smooth transition that allows the team at ODE to continue building on our partnership with schools and community. 

Read More 

ODE Releases Supporting Gender Expansive Students: Guidance for Schools 

hands holding inclusive flags with text supporting gender expansive students guidance for schools

On January 5, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) proudly published Supporting Gender Expansive Students: Guidance for Schools. This guidance is grounded in the recognition, respect, affirmation, friendship, joy, belonging, and safety every human deserves - including the students, staff, and families that make-up our school communities.  

“Gender expansive students are protected under federal and Oregon civil rights laws. School districts have a responsibility to provide a safe and affirming educational environment for all students, including gender expansive students,” Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill said. “Affirming and supportive educators, schools, families, friends, and communities are shown to increase academic success, feelings of belonging, and reduce negative mental health outcomes.”

More about the guidance...

Coming February 2023: The Oregon Statewide Educator Survey

Statewide Educator Survey logo

The Educator Advancement Council is pleased to re-introduce the Oregon Statewide Educator Survey (OSES), formerly known as the TELL Oregon Survey. This online, anonymous school survey is for all school-based, licensed educators and instructional staff, including administrators. 

The survey offers educators an opportunity to provide input on conditions that can be used to inform state, district and school improvements. The redesigned survey will take place in February of 2023. 

A printable version of the Save the Date is available to share with educators in your network. Additional information about the survey date, materials, and rollout coming soon! For FAQs and to learn more, please visit the Educator Advancement Council’s OSES page.

U.S. Senate Youth Delegates Announced

US Senate Youth Program

Congratulations to Beaverton School District seniors Caleb Bello and Daniel Hadi for being selected to the U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP)! The pair will join U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley in representing Oregon during the 61st annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 4 - 11, 2023. In addition to the Washington Week experience, each delegate will also receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.

Bello is a senior at the International School of Beaverton and serves as the vice president of the National English Honor Society. He also serves as senior class officer for Student Council and served this year as student representative of the Beaverton School District World Language Project team. Hadi is a senior at Mountainside High School and serves as the Beaverton Mayor's Cabinet youth representative. He is also a youth ambassador to the United Nations and a U.S. State Department Arabic Studies youth ambassador.

More about the USSYP program...

OSBA’s “Get on Board” campaign encourages candidates for school board

Get On Board

With Oregon school board elections fast approaching this May 16, the Oregon School Boards Association is encouraging individuals to run for these important volunteer positions.

OSBA is providing resources and training through its “Get on Board” campaign, and especially encourages candidates of color to run for local seats. A free, Jan. 25 webinar (the power of diversity) for the campaign is available via www.getonboardoregon.org. There you will find background information and registration links.

In addition, a short video outlines what school board members do.

The filing period for school board seats opens Feb. 4 and closes March 16. School board elections in Oregon are held every two years.

New Coaching Competencies Guidance for Early Learning Educators in Oregon

How do instructional coaches help preschool teachers improve? The Early Learning Division asked colleagues at the Oregon State University’s Early Learning System Initiative (ELSI) to help answer that question. The result was new guidance on what coaches do to effectively support quality teaching and learning, as shared in the Oregon Coaching Competencies.

The ELD is committed to providing high-quality public preschool programs. By developing Coaching Competencies, the agency has clearly defined how coaches support early childhood educators. Coaches will receive training that empowers them to be even greater support for early educators in public programs like Preschool Promise, Head Start and Oregon Prenatal to Kindergarten (OPK). 

More about the role coaches play...

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Be sure to check out our Twitter page and follow us to stay up-to-date on everything that's happening in education in Oregon!

Award Opportunities From the State Treasurer’s Office

Extra support for Oregon students

The Oregon College Savings Plan’s annual Diversity in Leadership Scholarship is now open and accepting applications. This multiyear scholarship (up to $25,000) was created to make higher education more accessible to underrepresented Oregon students pursuing a degree in-state. The scholarship can be used for trade school, university, community college, apprenticeships, and beyond. Applications are due March 1, 2023, so help us spread the word to the students in your life and encourage them to chase their dreams.

Financial Empowerment Awards

The Oregon College Savings Plan (OCSP) is an official sponsor of Treasury’s Financial Empowerment Awards, which celebrate standout educators and community organizations who champion financial literacy. The 2023 awards are fast approaching, so it’s time to nominate candidates from your local Oregon community. If you know someone who promotes financial education, submit their name, and they may become a 2023 award winner. We love to have your help to find the next financial literacy superstar here in Oregon, nominations are due March 1, 2023.

ODE In the News

Former Governor Kate Brown and ODE Director Colt Gill published an op-ed in the Portland Tribune about the need for schools to be open and welcoming to all students, including the LGBTQ2SIA+ community.

OSBA shared ODE’s call for districts to send in their ESSER stories so that we can spread the word about how this historic investment is helping communities.

KTVZ in Bend reported on the grants ODE is offering for new Summer Food Program sponsors.

Student Spotlight

The Salem Reporter talked with a Four Corners Elementary 4th grader who has published his own horror story.

The Bulletin highlighted a CTE program where students are building homes for the houseless.

Oregon Capital Chronicle talked with a McKenzie River Community School sophomore who is advocating for a lowering of the voting age, and getting lawmakers to listen.