Hatfield Marine Science Day is almost upon us – and we’re talking exhibits featuring more than two dozen Hatfield-based scientists; behind-the-scenes tours; hands-on, interactive activities and more. Oh, and the cost, totally free.
Slated for 10 am to 4 pm. Saturday, April 8. It’s worth getting there a bit early if you can, because there’s a few onetime limited occupancy tours – but even if you don’t get in on those, kids always-always-always love this event.
The theme this year is “One Community: Above and Below.” For more information, click here.
Local Summer Camps Filling Faster Than Usual: Naturally, summer camp slots start filling at some point – but here in Corvallis, that has started to happen earlier than usual this year. The good news, however, we did some legwork, and we’ve found you some pretty sweet options.
Corvallis Parks & Rec Department: Because the parks department is the go-to for so many of us, some of their camps have already filled, but when we checked with them on Wednesday, April 5, they still had openings in some wide open spaces.
Forest Gang explores themes of art, survival, awareness and adventure while learning about relationships and the natural world. Based on theories and practices associated with the Forest School movement to books like “Last Child in the Woods,” we refer to our group euphemistically as “gang” in order to emphasize interdependence and promote an environment of socialization. Pick one day weekly, this program runs from mid June to mid August. Cost is $385 for Corvallis residents, $481 for non-residents.
Bushcrafter Camp participants build something new every day, and then they get to take it home too. Projects are generally themed for camping and outdoors. Possible projects may include crafting wooden spoons, paracord survival bracelets or belts, feathersticks, leather work, gourd water bottle, etc. From August 21 to 25, cost is $418 for Corvallis residents, $522 for non-residents.
Nature RX encourages children to use their imagination to explore, and engage with and connect to the forest and river. This program follows a forest free play model/approach. Each day is a new adventure in exploring the details of the natural environment, plants, animals and geology. Meets weekdays between 9 am and 1 pm, July 10 to 14. $312 for Corvallis residents, $390 for non-residents.
Girls’ Earth Skills participants practice an array of wilderness skills such as shelter construction, fire building, tool and knife use, knots and ropes, navigation and plant identification. Creative team scenarios that challenge small groups to problem-solve is part of the skill building approach. $400 for Corvallis residents, $500 for non-residents. 9 am to 4 pm, Jul. 31 to Aug. 4. If those dates don’t work, they offer this camp a second time, Aug. 14 to 18.
Horse Camps: Most of these camps run between four and five days, for somewhere between three and five hours. Inavale Farm Stables has been an area staple for years, and at $260 for a five-day, three-hour a day camp, they’re a good value too. The beginners class at Sunflower Farms is already full, but they have a variety of other summer offerings at rates from $200 to $350 – we’re not gonna lie, the Circus Arts With Horses class sounds amazing. Riverbottom Stables doesn’t offer a website, but you can reach them on Facebook, and hey, five-day camps at $320 and three-day camps at $190. See what we did there with the ‘hey’ thing? Okay, moving right along.
B’Nai B’Rith BB Camps: Daily activities include arts and crafts, sports and games, water play, cooking and baking, Jewish enrichment, gymnastics, science, dance, and drama. This weeklong camp is $380, but scholarships are offered. There’s a choice of three different weeks in August, runs 9 to 3:30 pm Monday to Friday. These are K-6th. Click here for more information and to register.
There is a separate one week program for grades 7 and 8, and click here for that info.
Corvallis Environmental Center: Camps include bike camps called Flutter & Float, Planet Pedal; a Sage Camp called Sprouting Seeds, and an Adventure Camp Mini Session, featuring Earth Keepers, and Tent & Travel. Most of these CEC camps are in the $300 range, and there are some scholarship opportunities if needed. They have too many offerings to list, click here to learn more and register.
STAGES Theater Camps: For kids grade 1 to 8, these camps are offered by CSD Theaters and Corvallis High School. The goal is a positive and fun environment where campers get an education in theater performing and technical skills, while raising the student’s appreciation of the arts. Two week camps are $400, one week camps are $200, but you save 10% if you pay by May 15. Some partial scholarships are available if you apply before May 1. Click here to learn more or register.
And now, the story of an historic education bill, and it’s bipartisan support…
A New Way to Teach Reading in Oregon: A $120 million initiative to boost literacy would be one of the single largest investments of its type in Oregon history if it passes.
But during a public hearing for the proposal at the House Committee on Education on Monday, critics said it doesn’t go far enough and risks wasting money without stricter spending rules.
At the end of the hearing, the committee unanimously approved the initiative, moving it to the budget-writing Joint Ways & Means Committee. It would be the seventh major initiative attempting to raise reading proficiency for Oregon youth by the state or federal government since the late 1990s.
The Early Literacy Success Initiative, House Bill 3198, is sponsored by Gov. Tina Kotek and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Democratic Reps. Jason Kropf of Bend and Ricki Ruiz of Gresham, and Republican Reps. Bobby Levy of Echo and Mark Owens of Crane.
The bill would create three new grant programs to help school districts pay for K-3 reading tutors, teacher training in reading instruction, new reading curricula and summer reading programs.
It would make Oregon part of a nationwide movement promoting the “science of reading.” The movement promotes reading instruction methods rooted in phonics to change persistently low student reading proficiency.
Since 1998, just over a third of Oregon fourth graders have shown proficiency in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, the nation’s report card. Yet decades of research shows more than 90% of kids can learn to read if they are taught with methods rooted in research about how the brain learns to decode written language. This research is based on decades of evidence that shows most people need to be taught the 44 sounds in the English language and how to map those sounds to letters and letter combinations to decode words. In essence, that means learning to “sound it out” and to recognize sound and letter patterns in words.
Yet literacy teaching in Oregon and in many other states has been largely based on the belief that reading comes naturally to the human brain and that children can learn to read if they’re surrounded by good books and given techniques beyond sounding out words, including guessing or using pictures.
Under the proposal, districts would need to comply with a rule that all materials, curricula and instruction be rooted in the “science of reading” to receive grant funding. The Oregon Department of Education and the State Board of Education would be responsible for determining whether districts were in compliance.
More than 100 people submitted written testimony on the proposal, and almost all expressed support, including the state’s first Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Rob Saxton, who had pushed a similar proposal in 2015 that didn’t make it to a vote.
“Show me third-grade reading data in any Oregon school district and I can tell you how they teach reading,” Saxton said in his testimony. “High achievement –they are using the science of reading. Poor outcomes –they teach whole language or utilize no model at all. We can fix this!”
Those opposed to the proposal include members of the nonprofit advocacy group Decoding Dyslexia. Members expressed concern that the proposal gives districts too much latitude to choose reading programs. They want the education department to detail approved materials.
“This legislation allows for the continuation of the burden and inefficiency of having 197 superintendents and school boards be responsible for vetting curricula, high-dosage tutoring options and professional development,” Lisa Lyon, Decoding Dyslexia’s founder, wrote in her testimony. “In reading instruction, nothing can be left to chance. I believe the same must be true with legislation.”
Sarah Pope, executive director of STAND for Children, a nonprofit education advocacy group, said the bill will force schools to buy material based on the “science of reading” and that its focus on professional development above mandating curriculum by name is necessary.
“We have not seen in the states that have done this before, that one curricular shift makes the difference,” Pope said. “That’s why we’re excited to see the investment in professional development of teachers.”
Pope said $300 million is needed to make a maximum impact statewide. With just a third of that, the state should target the highest needs districts, she said.
Pooja Bhatt, education initiative director for Kotek’s new policy initiatives team, said at the hearing that the proposal and $120 million is just the beginning of a sea change in how reading is taught to Oregon kids and how future teachers are trained to teach reading.
“This is a first step, not the only step,” she said.
Bhatt also said the governor is preparing to create a group via executive order that will investigate the state’s educator preparation programs and “reset” instructional strategies so graduates of Oregon teacher colleges enter classrooms with knowledge that “reflects decades of research and science behind reading and writing.”
By Corvallis Advocate staff, with statehouse reporting on House Bill 3198 by Alex Baumhardt of Oregon Capital Chronicle