Partnering to Make a Difference for Students | August 2023 Education Update

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Education Update: Oregon Department of Education

August 2023

Oregon Achieves... Together!
A Message from the Director of the Oregon Department of Education Dr. Charlene Williams

Dr. Charlene Williams

The start of a school year signifies new beginnings for students in all of Oregon’s 36 counties – an opportunity to start fresh with renewed energy and excitement. This is true for me as I reflect on how public education has shaped me as a learner, teacher, and administrator as I arrive as the Director of the Oregon Department of Education.

The last few years have deeply challenged students, educators and families. Suddenly classrooms became virtual, highlighting disparities in broadband connection around the state. Stress and uncertainty about living through a global pandemic reinforced the need for better mental health for students and staff in our schools. The impacts of the pandemic continue to echo through our schools, reshaping the way our system must serve our students. 

The Anchors That Help Us Serve Students

It was a pleasure to meet with so many dedicated leaders at the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators conference in Eugene earlier this month. As I said in my address, here are the anchors that I believe make all the difference in a public education setting, to help set a tone of care and connection for every student in every school:

  1. Centering students and supporting them – not just as learners, but as leaders.
  2. Consciousness and care as we work to improve our education system.  
  3. Community and coalition building to bring people together and  design solutions that work.
  4. Confidence and conviction to accomplish great things together.

Read More 

Early Literacy Success Initiative Launches

Early Literacy Success

One of the core investments of the newly passed Early Literacy Success Initiative is the Early Literacy Success School District Grants. These grants will provide $90 million for school districts and eligible public charter schools. 

A strong, shared understanding of the content in Oregon’s Early Literacy Framework is an important first step in planning for this grant. The framework serves as a primary resource for strengthening student belonging and literacy instruction. 

ODE created an overview of the new legislation as it pertains to applying and reporting for the Early Literacy Success School District Grants as well as an accompanying FAQ. These resources were developed with language directly from the legislation and will be updated as additional interpretation and guidance is developed.

More about the Early Literacy Success Initiative...

Starting a New School Year With Care & Connection

Care & Connection

Care, connection and community are the heart of education. Since the launch of ODE’s Care and Connection effort in 2021, school and district leaders have prioritized creating welcoming, safe and inclusive school communities where students, families, and staff can thrive. 

We encourage you to take the time and space you and your staff need to grow and sustain safe, inclusive, invitational spaces that allow each person to be where they are at any given moment and offer creative opportunities for self exploration. 

More about Care & Connection...

Prepare Now for National School Lunch Week!

National School Lunch Week 2023

The week of October 9-13 is National School Lunch Week. The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA) are teaming up to raise awareness of the importance of child nutrition programs in schools.

Research shows that students who are adequately nourished at school:

  • perform better academically
  • behave better in the classroom

We invite school board members and superintendents to eat with students during that week to experience their local school lunches.

Encourage your board to participate by planning lunch with students that week. All they need to do is reach out to school nutrition staff and building administrators before their visit. Then they are encouraged to post to social media about their experience using the #NSLW23inOR hashtag and the ODE (@ORDeptEd) and OSBA (@OSBANews) handle.

Guiding Principles and Best Practices in School Discipline

USED logo

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) and its Safe and Supportive Schools' technical assistance centers have recently released a series of informative fact sheets available in both English and Spanish. These fact sheets are designed to provide valuable guidance to school leaders and communities on supporting students' social, emotional, behavioral and academic well-being and success. Additionally, the technical assistance centers will be hosting a miniseries of webinars to further explore the resources and delve deeper into their practical implementation.

More about the webinars...

Guest Column: CISA Helps Schools Reinforce Mental & Physical Safety

CISA Security Guide

By: Patrick Massey, CISA Region 10 Regional Director,

K-12 school communities increasingly contend with an evolving and unique set of threats, hazards, and security challenges, oftentimes with limited resources. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is dedicated to working alongside school districts to improve the physical security of our nation’s schools. 

CISA is focused on helping schools build resiliency to outside threats. The K-12 School Security Guide Suite developed by CISA assists schools in conducting more robust vulnerability assessments and implementing layered physical security elements across K–12 districts and campuses.

More about the resources...

Twitter logo

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!

Early Indicator and Intervention Systems Professional Learning

ODE is pleased to announce registration for two learning opportunities to support schools and districts with implementation and enhancement of their Early Indicator and Intervention Systems (EIIS). Two different learning series will be offered during the 2023-24 school year - Early Indicator and Intervention Systems: Foundations for Student Success and EIIS at Middle and High School. Each of these learning series will be offered at no cost to Oregon public schools and districts. 

More about these opportunities...

ODE In the News

A program at Oregon Children’s Theater funded through ODE’s LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Plan was featured on

You can get to know Dr. Charlene Williams, Director of Oregon Department of Education, a little better through recent interviews with the Oregonian, Oregon Capital Chronicle and Oregon Public Broadcasting (both a news story and a segment on Think Out Loud).

The Argus Observer covered Dr. Williams’ extensive visit to Malheur County.

Student Spotlight

KOBI featured a team of students from four central Oregon high schools that finished in second place nationally in the annual Solar Car Challenge.

The Valley Times talked with a recent Tigard HS graduate whose Girl Scout Gold Award project focuses on acceptance of those with Down syndrome.

The Beaverton Valley Times highlighted the work of some students at Westview HS who set up a non-profit to provide dental hygiene kits to students.