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Statewide School Nurse Shortage Exacerbated by COVID-19 Pandemic

The return to in-person learning across the state has been a challenge for all school employees,…

Statewide School Nurse Shortage Exacerbated by COVID-19 Pandemic

The return to in-person learning across the state has been a challenge for all school employees, but the change has been an almost insurmountable task to Oregon’s school nurse population. Their duty to the health and safety of their students and fellow educators is made next to impossible due to the fact that there are so few of them. As of 2020, there are over 4,500 students for every one school nurse. Last year, the number of Oregon school districts with no nursing staff was 61.

The problem is decades old. In 2009, the Oregon Legislature directed districts to meet a goal of a 1:750 school nurse-to-student ratio by 2020, but without funding, the mandate stalled. It is currently up to individual districts to budget for nursing staff, but as class sizes continue to grow and student mental health needs are increasing rapidly, many districts have had to make the difficult decision to hire more classroom educators, support staff, and mental health specialists.

Tanya Martin, a school nurse in Springfield, says that without dedicated funding to support investment in more school nursing staff, the gap will continue to widen. “I would like to see something mandated that has funding behind it so that districts can do it,” she says, “And it might not be the 1 to 750 (ratio) right away, but even a step in the right direction would be helpful.”

EOU Offers Trauma-Informed Teaching Certification

As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the lives of students and families, causing increased…

EOU Offers Trauma-Informed Teaching Certification

As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the lives of students and families, causing increased mental health crises and financial strain, Eastern Oregon University is offering educators a better way to deliver support through their Trauma in Educational Communities Certificate.

The certification is acknowledged by the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, the only trauma-informed education program in the state to receive this recognition, and teachers who complete the program qualify for a specialization on their teaching license. Educators can take this continuing education program online and complete it in one year. The program is designed to create more equitable classroom environments, helping to decrease disciplinary measures and absenteeism, and increase academic achievement.

To learn more about the program, visit www.eou.edu/bridge-academy.

Biden Administration Issues Title IX Memo Protecting Transgender Student Rights

The Department of Justice (DOJ) under President Biden has reversed course on one of the most…

Biden Administration Issues Title IX Memo Protecting Transgender Student Rights

The Department of Justice (DOJ) under President Biden has reversed course on one of the most controversial decisions of the previous administration. A DOJ memorandum, which was delivered to Civil Rights Directors of all federal agencies on March 26, states that under Title IX, students must be protected from discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity. This is a departure from the guidance issued just two months earlier by the former department leadership, which only allowed protections against discrimination based on “biological sex, male or female”.

The directive was announced just as many states have begun introducing laws to limit the protections of transgender youth this year, such as Arkansas’ ban on gender-affirming medical treatment.

The Biden administration has also taken steps to protect transgender school athletes by withdrawing previously-filed federal court briefs that attacked transgender-inclusive policies in some states’ school sports programs.

REGIONAL EDUCATOR NETWORKS (RENS)

There are many regional opportunities for educators across Oregon as part of the RENs funded by the…

REGIONAL EDUCATOR NETWORKS (RENS)

There are many regional opportunities for educators across Oregon as part of the RENs funded by the Educator Advancement Council. The Educator Advancement Council (EAC) was created as a public-nonprofit partnership through state statute to significantly improve professional supports for Oregon's public educators. The council launched 10 Regional Educator Networks (RENs) across Oregon. The RENs facilitate a process that centers the voices of educators to operationalize meaningful, systemic changes to improve recruitment, retention, and professional learning. To find a REN in your community, go to: oregoned.org/regional-educator-networks.

McMinnville kindergarten readiness program gains national acclaim

Since 2014, McMinnville School district has participated in a nationwide program called Ready! For…

McMinnville kindergarten readiness program gains national acclaim

Since 2014, McMinnville School district has participated in a nationwide program called Ready! For Kindergarten, which provides helpful instruction and high-quality education materials to parents of children from ages 0-5. Three times per year, parents are invited to a seminar, offered in English and Spanish, where they learn how to foster learning through play and interaction with their young children. The district has seen the program pay dividends.

Students whose families participate in the program are able to identify 25-52 percent more letter names and sounds than non-participating students. For Latino students, the numbers grow to 33-59 percent.

These results have earned McMinnville School District a 2021 Magna Award, which honors their commitment to removing barriers to educational equity for their students.

NORTH SALEM HIGH SCHOOL TO OFFER INTERNATIONALLY-RECOGNIZED ENRICHMENT PROGRAM

Next year, students at North Salem High School will be able to take a full schedule of classes that…

NORTH SALEM HIGH SCHOOL TO OFFER INTERNATIONALLY-RECOGNIZED ENRICHMENT PROGRAM

Next year, students at North Salem High School will be able to take a full schedule of classes that will be worth college credit upon completion. The school has become the second in the district to receive International Baccalaureate (IB) program authorization, and is one of only about 1,000 schools to offer the program nationwide. English teacher Mike Simental is excited about the built-in equity aspect of the curriculum. “It’s automatically going to encourage the teacher to bring in diverse perspectives,” he says.

OEA MEMBERS ELECT NEW LEADERS, FOCUS ON EQUITY AT 2021 RA

This year’s Representative Assembly looked much different from previous years, but OEA members…

OEA MEMBERS ELECT NEW LEADERS, FOCUS ON EQUITY AT 2021 RA

This year’s Representative Assembly looked much different from previous years, but OEA members persevered through technical challenges to elect a new President, Vice President, and ESP Director, as well as pass 26 New Business Items.

Reed Scott-Schwalbach, who has served as OEA’s Vice President for the past four years, will replace John Larson as President beginning in July 2021. Enrique Farrera, Academic Advisor at Clackamas Community College and longtime NEA Director, was elected OEA Vice President. Samantha Piers-Vanderploeg, instructor at Mt. Hood Community College, has been tapped to serve as the OEA ESP Director.

"It's an honor to serve Oregon students and educators with the advocacy and support work we do every day as a union," says Scott-Schwalbach.

It was clear that educational equity was a key issue for delegates this year, as two-thirds of all New Business Items passed had a focus on racial equity and social justice. As OEA furthers our commitment as an organization to create sustainable equity in our schools, we welcome the passion and dedication that our members have for this fight. All new NBIs can be found at www.oregoned.org/ra.

TSPC UPDATE!

COVID PDU reductions are currently in place until July 1, 2021. If you are renewing a license…

TSPC UPDATE!

COVID PDU reductions are currently in place until July 1, 2021. If you are renewing a license between March 23, 2020 and July 1, 2021, there is a reduction of the total number of Professional Development Units (PDUs) that must be completed in order to renew your license. If you are renewing a three-year license (Preliminary, Legacy or Limited) AND are renewing within the time range above, you will owe 38 PDUs. If you are renewing a five year license (Professional, Teacher Leader) AND are renewing within the time range above, you will owe 88 PDUs. If you are renewing OUTSIDE of this time range, you will owe the usual amount of PDUs according to your license (3-year license owes 75 PDUs and 5-year license owes 125 PDUs). If you have questions about this or other licensure issues, please contact Teresa Ferrer at teresa.ferrer@oregoned.org.

Oregon Civics Education at the Forefront this Session

OEA and the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators have taken opposition with Senate Bill 513,…

Oregon Civics Education at the Forefront this Session

OEA and the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators have taken opposition with Senate Bill 513, which would require all high school students to take .5 credit of civics education in order to graduate, beginning in 2026. While OEA supports prioritizing civics instruction, this particular Bill would create an unfunded mandate. The OEA Social Studies Task Force believes requiring just a single semester of Civics instruction would lead to a less thorough understanding of the subject. Currently, Civics education is embedded in the Oregon Social Studies Standards in grades K-12. A recent survey by OEA's Task Force finds that 80 percent of social studies teachers believe they do not have enough time to effectively teach the standards.

OEA supports Senate Bill 702, which will create a task force to review Social Studies standards in Oregon schools by enlisting the help of educators with expertise in the subject, who will then propose ideas to fill the gaps in instructional areas.

CDC Reports Vast Majority of Educators, Childcare Providers at Least Partially Vaccinated

On March 8, President Biden directed all states to prioritize vaccination efforts to K-12 educators…

CDC Reports Vast Majority of Educators, Childcare Providers at Least Partially Vaccinated

On March 8, President Biden directed all states to prioritize vaccination efforts to K-12 educators and childcare workers. He also announced that a federal pharmacy program would be immediately available to them. Already, 34 states had extended vaccine eligibility to educators at that time, but the directive opened up appointments for millions more.

According to the CDC tracking data, the pharmacy program has administered over two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to educators and childcare workers. In total, nearly 80 of this group has received at least one shot. As many of the nation’s schools have begun to resume in-person learning, state and federal health officials have been counting on this increased effort to keep schools open. CDC Director Rochelle says it’s working. “Our push to ensure that teachers, school staff, and child care workers were vaccinated during March has paid off and paved the way for safer in-person learning,” she says.