Oregon Legislators Tour OCA; Achieving Student Success Through Youth Re-engagement HB 2019

Roblan State

Thank you!


Senator Arnie Roblan, Representative David Gomberg and the Oregon Coast Aquarium staff extend a warm thank you to all who attended their Legislative Day on March 29 in Newport. Nearly 40 people, including Oregon legislators and their staff members, took advantage of the opportunity to learn about some of our ocean critters and the people who study and care for them within the Aquarium.

After attendees toured the world-class facility in small groups, a reception was held to discuss the history, mission and future of the Aquarium. Senator Roblan commented on the monumental work that the Aquarium has put forth since its opening in 1992. The institution’s multi-faceted relationship with the coast has enriched the region biologically, culturally and economically. With its plans to expand the facility and its work, the Aquarium is seeking financial support from the state for the first time in its history.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a popular destination, bringing in more than 500,000 youngsters each year to enjoy the facility and learn about the ocean through the Aquarium’s activities and programs. The Aquarium also serves as a rescue and rehabilitation center for stranded, injured and endangered marine wildlife whose survival depends on the care and attention provided by staff. Since 1992, it has helped attract more than 15 million visitors to the Oregon Coast, contributing nearly $100 million each year in economic value to our local communities and the state.


Achieving Student Success Through Youth Re-engagement

Creating a system that serves youth who have left school prior to high school graduation or completion

Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek created the Joint Committee on Student Success - a bipartisan, bicameral committee -- to explore the best practices employed in Oregon’s most successful schools and address the gaps that are limiting student success.

The 14-member Joint Committee on Student Success spent eight months traveling the state and met with several students in 55 communities who had dropped out and returned to school via a re-engagement program. Following up on work completed by a related legislative work group, the College and Career Readiness work group recommended creating a statewide re-engagement program to encourage more school districts to begin offering re-engagement programs in cooperation with community partners. 

Oregon law established the Youth Development Division within the Department of Education to provide services to school-age children and youth up to 24 years of age to support educational success, focus on crime prevention and reduce high-risk behaviors.  According to the Youth Development Division, 17,506 Oregon youths age 16 to 21 do not have a high school diploma or GED and are not enrolled in school.

Unfortunately, factors entirely outside of a young person’s control too often determine their access to a high-quality education. Oregon’s students deserve a public education system that sets them up for success. A student’s achievement should be a result of their own efforts, not their parents’ income, race, ethnicity or zip code.

Senate Bill 692 would direct the Youth Development Division to establish a statewide youth re-engagement system that will allow students who have dropped out of high school receive mentorship and earn credits toward graduation or career readiness. The bill also requires Oregon Department of Education to adjust school accountability systems to remove disincentives to offering engagement programs.