Archive for the ‘
community involvement ’ Category
Lois Cohen is President of Lois D. Cohen Associates, a full-service communications firm. In 2005, she developed the School-based Outreach Program, a program that educates students—our future civic, community and business leaders—about the importance of projects being initiated in their communities and having project team members participate in age appropriate, hands-on educational activities. The School-based Outreach Program introduces students to the importance of civic responsibility, the complexity of public projects, and it builds community awareness and goodwill for these projects.
I have always had an interest in working with children. I often tell people that, when I eventually retire, I want to spend the majority of my time reading to and/or teaching children to read. When I started the unique School-based Outreach Program in 2005, initially for the Oregon Department of Transportation, we focused on increasing public awareness of important projects or initiatives by connecting with our future leaders and future members of the workforce—students. Since that time, we have worked with more than 3,500 students throughout the state of Oregon to impart an awareness of public and private projects, inculcate a sense of civic awareness and civic responsibility among students, develop an awareness of the various careers and associated educational paths aligned with each project, and introduce a fun, age-appropriate hands on activity to extend the students’ learning experience.
I strongly believe that students are ambassadors to their families and communities. Much of what students learn in school goes home to their parents. Connecting with students via public involvement or outreach creates a linear line of communication that will connect information from classes students attend to their families at home. Students represent an important segment of the community, as they are the ones who will grow up to ultimately lead their families, our communities, our civic institutions, and businesses. (more…)
Darcy Bedortha is an Oregon IDEA Sr. Organizing Fellow, a high school English teacher and long time advocate for youth and social justice. She lives and works in Prineville, Oregon.
My personal and educational path wanders from deeply rural Central Oregon to the urban streets of Portland, from a brush with homelessness to completion of a second Masters degree. I have worked in public education, in mental health facilities, with homeless youth and with privileged families. Each of these experiences is part of who I am today, and each voice informs my work as a community organizer and educator.
It’s with great pleasure that I write to inform the Chalkboard community about two upcoming events in the Eugene/Springfield area that are worthy of your attention.
The Oregon Innovation Tour provides participants an opportunity to observe four programs doing meaningful work with young people. May 1-3 in Eugene, the tour highlights the Ganas program at Kelly Middle School, the Coop Family Center, Edison Elementary School and the Academy of Arts and Academics.
Running alongside the tour is a free public forum on “The Future of Education in Oregon.” This is a dynamic opportunity for a conversation that needs to be had across our state and I hope you’ll consider attending. (more…)
We were quite saddened to hear about the death of a good friend of ours, Lynn Lundquist. Lynn was a great statesman—a former house speaker, a cattle rancher and an economics professor. Lynn died unexpectedly on Tuesday at his Crook County ranch.
When Chalkboard was first starting off, I developed a very strong relationship with Lynn. He was like a godfather to me and the other members of the Foundations for a Better Oregon team. Lynn was always a strong advocate for education and he helped me truly understand what the Quality Education Model was intended to accomplish. Lynn’s drive to continue growing his knowledge about QEM was inspiring. He truly cared about improving outcomes for all children.
Thanks for all of your hard work, Lynn. You were a true gentleman with a huge heart. We all appreciated your efforts and eagerness to make an impact and we will miss you.
The Oregonian wrote a beautiful piece remembering Lynn. Take a look.
Dr. Andy Hargreaves, a name familiar to many in education policy and practice, spoke to a group of Oregon educators, academics, and business and nonprofit leaders in downtown Portland on February 4th of this year. As is often the case with education policy, the room had its fair share of curiosities, some preconceptions, and a mixture of confidence, humility, conviction, and reserve.
Dr. Hargreaves, the Thomas More Brennan Chair in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, has attracted significant support from across the globe. This is due, in no small part, to the fact that he considers educational philosophy and practice of countless countries and communities around the world to be absolutely significant. He brings with him both anecdotes and concrete data from his research and experiences. This is beneficial not just because it’s inherently valuable to pay attention to the world around us, but because this approach encourages us to look at education not by itself, but as one component of many. This is at the heart of Dr. Hargreaves’ particular rendition of “social capital.” (more…)
It can be very powerful to follow an inspirational and effective leader in carrying out his or her day. Last month as a part of the “Principal for Almost a Day” program, I had the honor of spending (almost) a day shadowing Ericka Guynes, Principal of Earl Boyles Elementary School in the David Douglas School District.
Ericka Guynes looks at student achievement goals set by her team at Earl Boyles Elementary. (more…)
Jen Barth, preschool parent, co-founder of “Books Make it Better,” and blogger, shares what she is doing to make education better in Oregon.
I’m writing this post on the final stretch of a plane ride back to Portland from Washington, DC, returning from a UN Foundation conference, where I was invited to speak on a panel about Books Make It Better, a grassroots early literacy program I started last Fall. As our plane heads home towards Portland, it strikes me what a difference just one year can make in the realm of personal activism.
Let me back up and introduce myself. I’m not an educator. I’m not a policy maker. I haven’t even been to Salem (yet). I’m simply a preschool parent, and relative Oregon newcomer, who decided last year to choose action over apathy as I began learning more about the many challenges facing Oregon’s schools.
On Wednesday, January 11, Chalkboard Project successfully held its first virtual brown bag as a part of a series of webinars that will focus on relevant news about education issues in Oregon. It was titled, “Educator Evaluation: How it drives student achievement,” and it featured talks from local, state and national policy experts and educators.
In 2005, I taught 2nd grade in East Oakland, California. I had enthusiastically accepted a teaching position at a school with a predominately African American and Latino community, where most families were living under the poverty line. As a young, white, middle class, female, I had little knowledge of the experiences of the families at the school, but I wanted to learn.
There was coursework in my credential program designed to teach me how to work with families. I learned that family members who were involved behaved a certain way – they would come into the classroom and help me staple papers, attend field trips with the class, and bring food to class parties. I was also told to expect that most parents wouldn’t return my phone calls or come to school-wide events. At the time, I didn’t realize that this style of family engagement wasn’t inclusive of all families.
I still think back to one student named Rachel. Rachel’s mother was raising seven children as a single, working parent. I had met her on the first day of school and was so excited to get to know her and her daughter. Throughout the school year, I did everything “right.” I called her to let her know how Rachel was doing in school, I sent personalized invitations home to school family events, and I made sure to offer plenty of time slots for parent-teacher conferences so she could attend. She never came. I was really disappointed and felt that Rachel’s mother just didn’t care about her education.
Last week, Dan Jamison and I were invited to help facilitate the Mid-Valley Boys and Girls Club staff retreat in Lincoln City. This Boys and Girls Club serves kids in the Mid-Willamette Valley area within the Albany, Sweet Home and Lebanon school districts and provides a fun, safe and supervised environment for recreational and educational activities. Dan and I were particularly excited about this retreat because Albany and Lebanon happen to be two of our 18 CLASS districts.
Chalkboard was invited to this retreat to provide the Boys and Girls Club with an introduction to the CLASS Project, share current state and federal education policy issues, and also provide a snapshot of some of Oregon’s student data. And we were happy to join, always wanting to build our outreach and share important education-related information with communities throughout the state. This was also a great opportunity for the Boys and Girls Club staff to gain a better understanding of what’s going on with the students and teachers within their school districts—particularly those involved in CLASS.
It also wasn’t hard to say yes to a day at the coast, in Lincoln City where the retreat was held. The day promised to be full of hard work, creative thinking, and a bit of an ocean breeze. And after teaching for 32 years in Albany and serving as a principal at all three levels in the Greater Albany School District, Dan was excited to engage with the club. He even ran into some of his former students!
It’s the middle of summer (OK, not quite the middle, but it feels that way) and I feel tired, a bit cranky, and frankly, lacking inspiration. Witnessing the never-ending and farcical tragi-comedy being performed in DC, I feel more than ever that we are a nation—and state—of silos.
Many of us hide in our narrow ideological bunkers, and peek out only long enough to lob disdain on our neighbor in their own tidy little world. “You said this, so you must be anti-teacher”; “Oh, you said that, so you’re one of those who want to stick with the status quo”; “You’re rich and want to support schools? You must be trying to corporatize and do away with public schools”; “You’re a parent advocate? Well, you’re just being a pain in my butt”; “Raise taxes in this economy—are you kidding?”
I have spent a little more than a year sharing on this blog what I think and believe in. Hopefully I’ve challenged some of you and made you think—it certainly has caused me to think more deeply. Now, I want a thought experiment from you, those reading this blog. What do you believe in? What do you want to talk about? What inspires you? What are you passionate about? Frankly, I don’t want to hear what you’re against, I want to hear what you want and what you’re for. What do you want for your kids, and for all of our kids? What gets you excited and keeps you up at night?
Tell me. Respond. Help me as I struggle not to stay cozy in my own silo.