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NEA provides resilience seminar for ESPs

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive shift in the duties and expectations of ESPs,…

NEA provides resilience seminar for ESPs

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive shift in the duties and expectations of ESPs, exacerbating feelings of underappreciation that many ESPs already feel within their working environments.

Many are experiencing anxiety, fear, and frustration with the lack of communication they receive from their district leadership.

In September, NEA partnered with Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence to host a webinar to provide social and emotional learning (SEL) techniques exclusively for Education Support Professionals. Tools and tips, such as developing self-awareness in order to recognize emotions, and nurturing a growth mindset were facilitated by Chris Cipriano, the Director of Yale’s CEI.

Over 1,500 ESPs attended the live webinar, but NEA has made it available as a recorded session. Visit the NEA Resource Library to access this and other great ESP resources!

Beaverton schools set policies for sharing Pride, Black Lives Matter imagery in classrooms

Educators and students alike have become more involved than ever in the socio-political sphere…

Beaverton schools set policies for sharing Pride, Black Lives Matter imagery in classrooms

Educators and students alike have become more involved than ever in the socio-political sphere during the past year. While several districts around the state have prohibited educators from sharing their personal opinions on political and social issues, Beaverton has set a precedent for inclusion and discourse around topics that affect both students and educators. Pride flags and Black Lives Matter signage have been specifically allowed in the district’s summary, released September 30, both in physical and virtual classrooms. As the November Elections draw close, the district has also allowed educators and students to wear clothing or accessories that endorse particular candidates, but political signage is not permitted in classrooms, virtual or otherwise. Any signs, clothing, or accessories that promote exclusion (such as “Build the Wall”) have been expressly prohibited, while other phrases like “All Lives Matter” are discouraged and the district has asked staff not to display things that contradict the inclusive message behind the Black Lives Matter movement.

OEA joins state education leaders in support of Black Lives Matter

A joint letter signed by OEA, Oregon State Board of Education, the Oregon Department of Education…

OEA joins state education leaders in support of Black Lives Matter

A joint letter signed by OEA, Oregon State Board of Education, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA), the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA), the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA), the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), the Oregon Association of Education Service Districts (OAESD), and the Oregon Association of Student Councils (OASC) announcing our shared commitment to racial justice was released on Oct. 15, 2020. OEA’s stance on Black Lives Matter can be characterized by this excerpt from the Oct. 15 letter: “We fully support Black Lives Matter as a civil rights movement that aims to combat racism and support Black individuals. We stand beside Black Lives Matter, as a statement of social justice and an affirmation of the value and worth of Black people. We can acknowledge that many people have misunderstood or been misinformed about the origin and expression that Black Lives Matter. The need to affirm the Black Lives Matter is rooted in the history and current experiences that have intentionally marginalized Black lives and bodies.”

The full letter can be viewed at www.oregoned.org/black-lives-matter.

Oregon launches Oregon Education Support Professional of the Year Award

The Oregon Teacher of the Year program has been recognizing the achievements and contributions of…

Oregon launches Oregon Education Support Professional of the Year Award

The Oregon Teacher of the Year program has been recognizing the achievements and contributions of our state’s greatest teachers for 75 years. With the passing of House Bill 2964 in May 2019, Oregon Education Support Professionals (ESPs) are finally receiving some well-deserved recognition of their own.

Our schools would not function without the support of our instructional assistants, food service workers, transportation providers, clerical and custodial staff. The success of our students depends on their hard work and dedication to public education. At the 2017 OEA Representative Assembly, our members voted in favor of New Business Item 16, which asked that OEA research the necessary steps to create a statewide ESP award, akin to the Teacher of the Year Award. Our Government Relations team spent two years coordinating with state lawmakers to help craft a bill to accomplish this goal, which was passed unanimously by The Oregon House of Representatives last year.

The winner of the award will receive a $5,000 prize, along with opportunities for speaking engagements at statewide events.

On the official nominations launch day, ODE Director Colt Gill expressed a great appreciation for Oregon’s ESPs: “Day in and day out, online or in-person, Oregon students benefit enormously from the support and commitment of Education Support Professionals. From direct support for students to helping teachers prepare materials for lessons, ESP’s fill countless, critical roles that ensure our education systems reach every student.”

Nominations are open until January 3, 2021. To submit a nomination, visit www.oregonteacheroftheyear.org/nominate-esp/.

The Oregon DOC ousts community college-led adult-education programs

Citing cost-cutting as a major factor in the decision, the Oregon Department of Corrections has…

The Oregon DOC ousts community college-led adult-education programs

Citing cost-cutting as a major factor in the decision, the Oregon Department of Corrections has severed ties with six community colleges who have delivered high school-equivalency or GED programs to adult inmates for nearly fifteen years.

The current partnership with Oregon’s community college system has been incredibly successful. Oregon has the fourth highest pass rate in the country for adult inmates who have entered a GED program.

The DOC has tried to take on adult-education programs in-house before, from 2003 – 2006. Completion rates plummeted, costing the state additional resources. During that time period, the Oregon State Penitentiary only completed 14 GEDs total.

OEA President John Larson voiced opposition to this decision in this statement: “The DOC’s recent proposal to end this critical relationship threatens years of progress that have been made at our correctional facilities and will leave adult learners behind.”

Online charter school enrollment is up, but graduation rates remain abysmally low

While a large majority of schools remain closed across the country, many parents are choosing to…

Online charter school enrollment is up, but graduation rates remain abysmally low

While a large majority of schools remain closed across the country, many parents are choosing to enroll their students in full-time online charter schools.

Oregon is no outlier; nearly 30 districts around the state have reached their 3 percent cap on online charter enrollment. But how do these virtual schools stack up against brick-and-mortar public education institutions?

According to a study conducted by Education Week Research Center in 2019, only 37 percent of online charter high schools nationwide had graduation rates above 50 percent. Nationally, there are around 160 virtual charter schools providing education to upwards of 30,000 high school seniors. In some states, not one program has a graduation rate above 50 percent.

Of Oregon’s three largest and most established online charter schools, only one has consistently graduated more than half of its high school seniors over the last five years.

Missing testing data opens dialogue about statewide testing reforms

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released the annual district and school report cards in…

Missing testing data opens dialogue about statewide testing reforms

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released the annual district and school report cards in mid-October, but among the key performance indicators that were absent from the “at-a-glance” reports due to school closures were Smarter Balanced test scores. As schools shuttered abruptly in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many students were unable to sit for statewide exams.

Educators and parents have long criticized Smarter Balanced due to the time and effort spent preparing students for the exam, which many have said would be better spent on engaging students in core curriculum. OEA has also opposed the weight assigned to statewide summative testing, detailed in our report “New Path for Oregon: System of Assessment to Support Student Learning”.

ODE Director Colt Gill says that the emphasis on summative testing has been “quietly reduced” in favor of more individualized assessments that are currently being used by teachers in virtual classrooms. He also points out that state money has gone directly to these kinds of teacher-led assessments rather than on facilitating Smarter Balanced Assessments. “I think this is a tremendous opportunity for that,” Gill says.

Samsung STEM contest offers prizes for innovative student ideas

Classrooms might look a lot different this year, but good ideas can come from anywhere! The Samsung…

Samsung STEM contest offers prizes for innovative student ideas

Classrooms might look a lot different this year, but good ideas can come from anywhere! The Samsung “Solve for Tomorrow” contest asks students to come up with creative solutions for issues or problems in their local communities. The winner of First Place will receive $100,000 in classroom tech and supplies for their school! You don’t have to be a STEM teacher to apply for your students, but the project does need to have a STEM focus and must have a clearly defined impact on the community. The deadline to submit applications is December 13, 2020. Visit https://www.samsung.com/us/sol... for more details and to apply.

2020 OEA/NEA Positions Open for Nomination & Election

The following positions are open for nomination for the 2020 elections:Elected at OEA RA: Region I…

2020 OEA/NEA Positions Open for Nomination & Election

The following positions are open for nomination for the 2020 elections:

Elected at OEA RA:

Region I Vice President: 1 position for a 2- year term
Region II Vice President:
1 position for a 2-year term
Region III Vice President:
1 position for 2-year term
NEA Director:
1 position for a 3-yr term (term begins September 1, 2020)

Elected by Mail Ballot:

State Delegates to the NEA RA: 13 positions:

Region I: 9 positions for a 3-year term;
Region II:
6 positions for a 3-year term;
Region III:
4 positions for a 3-year term.

(The number of delegates per region may be adjusted as the number of members within the region dictates as indicated by the January-February NEA membership report.)

OEA Board of Directors:

13 positions for 3-year terms in Board Districts:

01b (D’Haem, eligible), 02 (Vermeire, eligible), 03a (Glasgow, eligible), 09 (Minson, termed out, not eligible), 10c (Peterson, eligible), 11 (Gorman, eligible), 13 (Marden, termed out, not eligible), 15b (Lowe, eligible), 16 (Shearer, eligible), 24 (Reed, eligible), 26b (Sanchez, eligible), 27 (Wiskow, termed out, not eligible), 30b (Wallace, termed out, not eligible)

2 positions for a 1-year term in Board Districts:

07 (Barclay, eligible), 10a (Watson, eligible)

Confronting White Nationalism in Schools

Americans across the country are consistently reporting rising rates of white nationalism and other…

Confronting White Nationalism in Schools

Americans across the country are consistently reporting rising rates of white nationalism and other bigoted extremism. Because schools are hubs of our communities, they have become battlegrounds for extremist organizing and recruitment sites for white nationalist groups targeting young people. In a new toolkit, the Western States Center shares strategies to counter white nationalist organizing through sample scenarios that schools frequently encounter. The toolkit offers advice for parents, students, teachers, school administrators, and the wider community. Request your copy of the toolkit: www.westernstatescenter.org/schools.