Archive for the ‘ Chalkboard Project ’ Category

Aimee Craig January 16th, 2014 | Aimee Craig


After over six years with the Chalkboard Project, I’ll be leaving my office and signing out of my email for the last time. It has been an honor to work for this organization and towards the mission of strengthening education in Oregon. I am so grateful for the amazing people I’ve had the opportunity to work with and for during my time here.

As I’ve reflected on my work at Chalkboard, there have been a number of lessons learned and insights that have come up for me. I want to share a few with all of you in acrostic form—just to keep it interesting.


  • It takes courage to take action knowing full well that people might not agree with you and they might be loud about it. I used to think I needed tougher skin so that I wouldn’t worry about what others thought, but now I believe that courage is standing up for what you believe in, feeling the pushback, and continuing to move forward regardless.


Recently I made the announcement that I will be stepping back from my day-to-day work with Chalkboard. This change is driven largely by healthy family considerations, a time that I hope will be devoted more to being a husband, father, and grandfather. What you have heard is true…being a grandparent really does change one’s priorities in life! Although I will no longer be in an active daily role as an educational leader, I will continue to serve our staff and Board in an advisory capacity. We have an amazing team in place, with talented leaders like Deborah Sommer who will step in and capably move the work forward with skill and grace. I love the work of Chalkboard and the difference we have made. This journey has been a joy on so many levels.

I did not always feel this way. Almost four years ago, I co-authored an op-ed piece in the Oregonian with two respected colleagues and friends, Vickie Fleming and Sue Levin. At the invitation of then Governor Kulongoski and State Superintendent Susan Castillo, we had attempted to lead a comprehensive state effort to apply for a federal Race to the Top Grant. In our published article we offered candid acknowledgement that the effort had failed, and we issued a call to action for our state to step up. (more…)

Chalkboard’s goal since its inception has been and continues to be helping to make Oregon’s public schools among the nation’s best. Looking back on 2013, I am pleased to say that real steps have been taken to move Oregon closer to a top 10 education system. Innovative educators, strong education leaders, bold legislators and a focused Governor all helped to make 2013 a year of moving in the right direction. If you haven’t read our legislative re-cap or our holiday message, please do. There is much left to be done to ensure every student in Oregon gets a great education, but we are making progress.

Chalkboard’s strong staff makes this forward momentum possible as well. 2014 will bring with it new, strong leaders to the organization and a few others will be moving on to their next adventures. (more…)

ariwubboldAri has a background in legislative research and political science. He supports DHM Research principals and associates with report writing, website maintenance, and project management. He was until recently a research assistant for the Office of Government Relations at Portland State University. Before that he served on the staff of the Center for Public Service, specializing in social media assistance and website development.

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 and excited to be working with the Chalkboard Project on the 2013 Oregon Student Survey. This study is an effort to learn what Oregon high school students think about public education in our state. To date, as part of the non-scientific, student engagement portion of the project, 300 students have shared their thoughts with us. I’d like to take this opportunity to provide a teaser of what we’ve learned so far. Final results, including the results of a scientific random sample survey, will be shared with the public shortly before the start of the coming school year. (more…)

Today, John Wilson of Education Week’s John Wilson Unleashed blog wrote a great piece about Chalkboard’s TeachOregon initiative. “TeachOregon: Growing Great Teachers” can be found here in its entirety. 

“No one questions that the next generation of teachers will play different roles, will have some of the most high tech tools to support their teaching, will teach the most diverse group of American children, and will need a great deal of professional support to assure a high quality of teaching. But that next generation is being stifled in its growth by politicians who want less preparation, less dedication to teaching as a career, and less investment in teacher quality. Bridging that divide has required bold leaders to step up and show what can and must be done to support teacher development in the 21st century. You can find that leadership in Oregon.

Oregon has been blessed to have an independent education 501(c)3 called the Chalkboard Project, an entity devoted to making Oregon’s public schools the best in the nation. It would be great if every state had a similar advocate with no agenda other than the creation of great public schools. The Chalkboard Project offers high quality research and partners with educators and experts to pilot innovative reforms. It also provides citizens, educators, and policy-makers with legitimate, transparent, and honest information. In addition, this group respects teachers and their unions. It understands that reform is done with teachers and not to teachers, and it acts on that understanding.”

Read more.

Today the Chalkboard Project published a report that provides a snapshot of Oregon’s education system and highlights school districts that are making progress. Take a look.

Schools are letting out for the summer, but the Chalkboard Project’s new report is clear: there is work to be done. The report outlines the current situation: Oregon’s graduation rate and its performance on national assessments have improved little since 2003; Oregon’s classrooms are becoming more diverse than ever; in the next seven years a full third of the teacher workforce will be new; and other states have made quicker progress, leaving Oregon in the bottom third.

Read the report, “Better Schools, Better Oregon: The Conditions of K-12 Education.”

See highlights from the report.

The spring of 1978 proved to be a pivotal time shaping my career. These were the ten weeks I completed my student teaching at a small rural high school in Colton, Washington.

Fortunately, I was taught and mentored by a marvelous master language arts teacher, Diana Carlson. Our first meeting was memorable. “Mr. Jamison, I have good news for you. In the coming weeks you will become the Language Arts Department at Colton High School.”

With thirty-five years of distance and perspective since that spring, and wonderful experiences along the way, I am deeply grateful for the high expectations and rigorous regime framed by this fine educator. Diana required me to teach four different grade levels of high school English, business communication, a social studies class, and to assist in directing the high school play after hours. Working fifty to sixty hours a week, I planned, created, delivered, evaluated…breathed, ate, laughed, fretted and lived… with these students and classrooms consuming my life.

We all know the importance of strong induction and mentorship supports for our newest professionals. While I benefitted the following year from an equally strong teacher who mentored me in my first full-time teaching job in Independence, lately I have looked back on that experience in Colton for an entirely different reason. Increasingly, I am concerned we are not adequately serving and supporting Oregon’s rural schools.  (more…)

What does my day look like at Tillamook Options Program School (TOPS)?  Well, it is mind boggling—in a good way!

  • It starts with teaching the expelled students in“0” Period  on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 – 8:30 and mentoring meetings with a new teacher on Fridays 7:30 – 8:30. Tutoring students claims the rest of the week from 7:30 – 8:30.
  • My day moves quickly to Home Room—I have home room of 10- 12 students (number varies) everyday for 45 minutes from 8:30 – 9:15. HIGHLIGHTS: I mentor and advise both academically and personally and teach leadership and teamwork.
  • I teach Language Arts (grades 9-12), which I call the “Writing Club,” first and second periods Monday through Thursday. HIGHLIGHTS: I teach students who are emerging writers to write on a level where they can pass the state test, score high on the Compass test, and go to college.
  • I teach Social Studies (government and world history this trimester) 3rd and 4th periods. HIGHLIGHTS: The class is completely differentiated and proficiency-based! While we have whole class lessons, each student is working at their own knowledge and ability level and pace. This takes tremendous planning time, and I am still learning and growing with it. (more…)

This post originally appeared on Huff Post’s IMPACT blog and can be read in its entirety here.

The recent passing of Margaret Thatcher signals the true end of an era — Thatcher, Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan all were powerful leaders in the 1980s. While Reagan is now known largely for his international agenda, his domestic policies remain a part of our national fabric.

The end of April will mark the 30th anniversary of the groundbreaking “A Nation at Risk” education report issued during the Reagan Administration. No matter how one feels about Reagan’s viewpoints, there is no doubt the report’s stark introductory language is memorable:
“If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”

Thirty years on we are still struggling with those words and how we are failing students especially those who live in low-income neighborhoods.

The 1983 report kicked off a national education reform effort that picked up steam in many states. Massachusetts and Maryland in particular made great strides and now are considered to be the states with the highest education standards in the country.

Meanwhile, I must admit my state of Oregon has many great features but a strong K-12 reform agenda has not been one of them. On state report cards, we get an A for being bike friendly and an A+ for hazelnut production. But Education Week gives us a C on its report card and ranks us 43rd in the nation for education based on numerous factors including how we treat teachers. We received a D in the subcategories of accountability for quality and incentives and allocations.

Read more.

Allan Bruner April 8th, 2013 | Allan Bruner

I Love Statistics!

I love statistics. As a former teacher of AP Statistics and a PhD candidate, I have had the privilege of using (and abusing) statistical analysis with the best of them. As a practicing classroom science teacher, I have had the privilege of introducing a great number of students to the fine arts of backing up an argument or an experiment with adequate data and statistical analysis. Used as a mathematical tool, statistics can be enlightening, even empowering; as a weapon, they are deadly and, as the old joke goes, half of the statistics ever collected are incorrect and the other two-thirds out-and-out lie! (My profound apologies to those readers who live and die by statistics; you know who you are!)

Of all the statistics I have processed in my role as professional educator and advocate for the education profession, the ones I have appreciated the most are derived from instruments like the MetLife Survey of the American teacher. I highly recommend this data set and subsequent analysis to anyone truly interested in an impartial examination of the state of education here in our nation. Much can be learned and inferred from the two-decade plus examination of data collected from teachers and principals throughout the United States. Indeed, twenty-nine years of non-partisan and non-political data has been collected from a “scientific” sampling of educators and administrations. I particularly enjoy executive summaries; they have a tendency to “cut to the chase” and distill out the highlights. This past year, 2012, is certainly no exception, with the primary issues associated with education and educational leadership being concerns that are totally beyond the control of any teacher or principal in her or his academic setting. (more…)