Dena Morosin is a 4th grade teacher at Bohemia Elementary School in the South Lane School District. She is participating in the 2013 Tech Connect project. Check out her classroom blog!
We live in a world surrounded by technology. Information, commerce, communication, and entertainment all rely on computers. But only a tiny fraction of us learn computer science, the basics of how computers work, or how to create software, apps, or web sites. Computer Science provides a foundation for virtually any career and everybody can benefit from learning the basics.
Did you know?
- Software jobs outnumber students 3 to 1. The gap is 1 million jobs over 10 years—and these are some of the highest paying jobs.
- 90% of schools in the US do not teach computer science.
- In many countries, it’s required to teach computer science(China, Vietnam, Estonia. Soon UK, Australia).
- The basics can be learned by anybody, starting in elementary school. But fewer than 10% of students try. Only 2% are women. 1% are students of color.
- Programming literacy is going to be key to your child’s future, and this year we’re joining a massive campaign to prepare students for the 21st century during Computer Science Education Week (Dec 9-15). (more…)
Tim Nesbitt writes on public affairs, has served as an adviser to Govs. Ted Kulongoski and John Kitzhaber, and is past president of the Oregon AFL-CIO. He writes an opinion column for The Oregonian on Wednesdays. This column was originally posted to OregonLive.com on December 3, 2013 and can be found in its entirety here .
With school districts statewide benefiting from the Legislature’s “largest investment ever made” in K-12 education, why are Portland Public Schools and its teachers at loggerheads over a new contract?
Part of the answer can be found in the need to make up for deferred raises, keep up with rising health insurance costs and deal with demands that resurface when years of austerity give way to better budgets. Still, with more money on the table, it is eminently feasible for the teachers to make gains in compensation and for the district to expand educational opportunities for students. (more…)
Jenny Combs, Program Consultant for Online Professional Development at the New Teacher Center, was raised and educated in rural Montana and began her career teaching grades 7-12 English and Math. Because she experienced first hand the ‘sink or swim’ induction program, Jenny is passionate about making sure all new teachers have the support they need and deserve. As a member of the online professional development team, Jenny focuses on providing high quality online professional development with an emphasis on sustainability for communities of practice. NTC serves teachers and mentors in both synchronous and asynchronous environment, and Jenny works with the team to design highly interactive and engaging online experiences.
This month, hundreds of thousands of new teachers will eagerly be counting down the days to the holidays. Unfortunately, many will be reflecting on whether they made the right career choice.
Why? December is the tail end of the Disillusionment Phase of First Year Teaching. At the end of the first semester on the job, new teachers have come to know nonstop work and stress. Things are not going as smoothly as expected, and they are questioning their competence and commitment. It doesn’t have to be this way. (more…)
I was a kindergarten teacher in Minneapolis when my school started transitioning to the new Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.
Based on my experience as a teacher, I’ve highlighted seven steps our school took to help me learn more about Common Core and how to integrate the standards into my classroom.
7 Steps to Successfully Implement Common Core
1. Clear communication about the big transition between school leadership and teaching staff.
In May of the year before the transition, our principal and leadership team (which was made up of two administrators and one teacher from each grade and content area) announced that our school would begin using Common Core during the next school year. They explained why the transition was happening and how we would phase in the new standards.
I really appreciated this level of transparency, and the clear communication on the differences between Common Core and the old standards.
Common Core would give us more opportunities to dive deeper into key concepts and skills so that students had time to master and apply what they learned.
The standards would also help us build on student learning from year to year, just like a staircase. When my kindergarten students went to first grade, they would use what they learned the year before as the foundation for continued learning.
Knowing about our school’s transition to Common Core and how it was going to happen encouraged me to learn more about the standards. (more…)
With the release of the National Assessment of Educational Progress data last week, every state is busy interpreting the “Nation’s report card” and figuring out what it means for its students and its education system.
The Oregon data has some hopeful points and a few clear disappointments. ECONorthwest’s assessment of the new data reveals the following:
- 4th grade math: Oregon’s average score hasn’t changed significantly, but the scores of student who receive Free and Reduced Price Lunch have improved. In addition, Oregon has converged with the nation overall and for a few subgroups (Free and Reduced Price Lunch, Black, and English Language Learner students). Oregon’s rank among states has improved a bit.
- 8th grade math: Oregon’s average score hasn’t changed significantly. Scores for English Language Learners (ELL) have decreased. Also, compared to the nation, Oregon’s Hispanic and ELL subgroups underperformed in 2013 (no statistical difference in 2011). Oregon’s “rank” among states has not changed notably.
- 4th grade reading: There has been no significant change in scores overall or for subgroups. However, Oregon has converged with the nation overall, as has the ELL subgroup. Oregon’s “rank” among states has improved a bit.
- 8th grade reading: Oregon’ average score has increased by 4 points from 2011. Oregon’s Free and Reduced Price Lunch students outperformed the nation’s. ELL students have caught up with national average. ELL and the other subgroups have kept pace. Oregon’s “rank” among states has also improved slightly.
- Unfortunately, overall there has been no statistically significant change in White-Black or White-Hispanic achievement gaps since 2011. (more…)
Today we launched the Teacher Contract Database, an online tool designed to help individuals understand and compare collective bargaining agreements for Oregon’s public school districts. Collective bargaining agreements directly impact teacher working conditions and the learning environment in schools. These contracts shape school district policies and budgeting.
“The more we know about our schools, the more informed our decisions,” said Sue Hildick, Chalkboard Project president. “Parents, educators, community members and advocates all deserve easy-access to the information that impacts Oregon’s classrooms.”
Check out the Teacher Contract Database and learn more about it.
From her decade spent leading the Springfield School District (and named superintendent of the year in ’11) to her current role as Oregon’s Chief Education Officer, Dr. Nancy Golden has had a leading voice in Oregon’s effort to improve our education system. Before Nancy accepted the influential position as CEO, she was helping to lead our TeachOregon Project, an initiative to develop and pilot innovative models of teacher preparation.
We were pleased to see Dr. Golden appointed to the position permanently last month. Her leadership experience and passion for education made her an excellent choice to lead teachers and students to success across the state. At her first public forum at North Eugene High School last month, the Eugene Weekly stated that she “remained vivacious and enthusiastic in the face of difficult questions, and her overall philosophy on education seemed to be one of collaboration between teachers and administration to create a ‘seamless system’ in which transitions between grade levels are smooth and consistent…” Dr. Golden’s style is extremely collaborative and she honors the voices of practitioners. Eugene Weekly transcribes an interview with Golden here. (more…)
I hear often that there is conclusive evidence that teachers are the top “in-house” factor in student achievement, yet since I started following education policy in Oregon in the late 1970s, education reform has been focused on standards, content, assessment—pretty much everything BUT the quality of teaching in our public schools. So it is exciting to see in Oregon today a new focus on supporting and strengthening teaching in Oregon. This summer the Oregon legislature created the Network for Quality Teaching and Learning to engage teachers in strengthening their profession, reform teacher preparation, provide mentor support for new educators, and fund a number of other initiatives designed to elevate teaching. The new Distinguished Educators Council (DEC), a team of award-winning teachers convened and supported by Chalkboard Project, advocated enthusiastically for the network, demonstrating to legislators that teachers care deeply about students and have ideas on how to strengthen teaching to ensure student success.
A few ways to gain teacher voice:
- Bring teachers to you. A year ago Chalkboard convened DEC and gave the teachers on the council one simple task – develop recommendations for supporting and strengthening teaching in Oregon. The council has met for day-long meetings on eight occasions now, and they are fired up! Several have called it the most meaningful professional learning experience of their careers. Part of DEC’s strength has been lessening the isolation teachers sometimes feel, allowing them to meet with colleagues and cross-fertilize good ideas. This has empowered these teachers and strengthened their voices. Chalkboard’s investment has included providing a facilitator, research support, a teacher leader convener, meeting space and materials. (more…)
Ari has a background in legislative research and political science. He is an associate with DHM Research and before that he was a research assistant for the Office of Government Relations at Portland State University. Ari graduated from the University of Oregon and holds a B.A. in English Literature. He is currently attending Portland State University as a Master’s student in Political Science.
DHM Research is proud to have worked with the Chalkboard Project on the 2013 Oregon Student Survey. This study was an effort to learn what Oregon high school students think about public education in our state. Media coverage of the survey can be found here, here, and here. While my previous blog post focused on the findings from the student engagement portion of the survey, I’d like to take this opportunity to focus on the 200+ students who took part in the scientific random sample portion of the study, specifically those findings that have not yet been covered in the media. The survey sample was reflective of the Oregon high school student population as a whole. (more…)
Earlier this month, I attended the Oregon Public Health Association’s annual meeting in Corvallis. I was co-presenting on the links between chronic absenteeism (missing at least 10% of the school year for any reason—using this definition, this is nearly one in four K-12 students in Oregon) and health, of which there are many: poor health and limited access to health care can lead to students missing significant amounts of school. Not surprisingly, missing significant amounts of school also correlates strongly with poor academic and other life outcomes as well.
Missing school hurts students, and schools clearly have a huge role to play in helping students engage more fully in their education. But in truth, both causes and solutions to chronic absenteeism are likely myriad and will not respect occupational or academic boundaries: the education community can’t do it alone and shouldn’t have to. The session in which I presented highlighted and informed about opportunities for public health practitioners to collaborate and engage with other sectors to improve health outcomes, but the benefits of collaboration flow in both directions. If a focus on attendance helps school-based health clinics identify and address health-related barriers to attendance, then health and education outcomes likely improve, presumably leading to the ultimate goal of a better life for the student. (more…)