The school district is considering a slug of new curricula, – the comment period for parents was announced on April 19, and ends on April 26.
You can review it all online. The subject matter includes curricula for the K-12 newcomer, middle and high school Math, middle and high school English language Arts, and middle school Spanish language arts. Click here to see the materials, and if you would like, to let them know what you think.
And then, we have another couple of School District related tidbits…
Civil Debate Between School Board Candidates: Of the four races for School Board this year, only one is contested. Chris Hawkins and Steven Castellano are vying for Tina Baker’s seat. Baker has declined to seek reelection.
So Hawkins and Castellano met for debate on April 17, and we have to say, they were downright civil. They have different priorities, for instance, Hawkins says, that if elected, she will prioritize, “All students, including those with unique physical, emotional and social needs.” She also believes the district should expand its vocational programs.
Conversely, Castellano states, “Oregon schools rank 48th in the nation and Corvallis schools should lead the way in improving that number.” He contends schools need more funding and that teacher salaries should be increased.
Essentially, the two candidates look at the role they’re vying for differently than one another, and they want to concentrate on different things. Most insiders see Hawkins as favored for the win, she’s had children at Corvallis schools, and been a district staffer for many years, so the sorts of folks that vote in these races know who she is. Castellano is a relative newcomer.
The town hall was presented by The Corvallis Advocate and City Club of Corvallis. It was about an hour long, and you can access the video here.
Special Education Credential Shemozzle: The good news first, Corvallis schools are staffed with about 400 teachers, and according to School District Communications Coordinator Kelly Locey, only 10 are teaching with emergency licenses. And the really good news, all the special education teachers in our district are fully licensed.
However, fortunes are not so great statewide, here’s an excerpt from Oregon Capital Chronicle that we’re hoping you’ll read:
“More than 130 emergency licensed teachers are filling in as special education instructors in Oregon this year, shortchanging thousands of students and potentially violating a federal law.
That law, the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, ensures that children with disabilities are given an appropriate public education equal to that of their peers without disabilities, including equal class time and access to qualified teachers.
But an emergency teacher in Oregon doesn’t have to meet the high standards required by federal law for special education teachers, who must have a bachelor’s degree and full state certification to teach special education, or be in the process of receiving certification while enrolled in a special education degree program.
The state is responsible for ensuring the law is followed. But Oregon education officials appear to be shirking that responsibility.”
Click here for the full report from Alex Baumhardt at Oregon Capital Chronicle – it’s both a good read, and excellent reporting.
Arts Camp for Summer: Given how camps have filled so quickly this year, maybe it’s a good thing that The Arts Center hadn’t opened their registration until now. They’re offering half and full day slots, Tuesday to Friday, through July.
Offerings include drawing, clay, and fiber arts, and among the classes, Koa Tom, who we’ve profiled in the past, will be teaching Light Drawing.
Expect to pay about $180 a week for half day classes, with some add-ons for early drop-off or late pick-up, and lunches. Click here for more information and to register.
Childbirth Classes: This four-week childbirth education class is designed to prepare you to walk into your birth and new parent experience confidently. This class will help you view birth as a normal, healthy event and to help you build that confidence in your own body and its capability to birth. All the information is evidence-based and includes recommendations from major health organizations such as CDC, ACOG, and WHO.
Topics covered include
- Anatomy of the pregnant person, end of pregnancy, signs, and stages of labor
- How to handle discomfort during labor, medicated & non medicated comfort measures
- Positions for pushing, how support people can help, ways to increase the probability of a safe and healthy birth
- What to expect when you get to your birthing location, hospital facilities & procedures
- Care of the birthing person and the baby in the first hours, days, and weeks
- Hospital procedures for the infant
- Breastfeeding and other methods of feeding baby
- Behavior of the infant; crying, calming
- Car seat safety
- Postpartum mood disorders
Classes are at the Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, weekly on Tuesday evenings 6:00 – 8:15pm, May 2-23, 2023. A virtual option is also available.
Cost: $110* per pregnant person (partner included). If you have Oregon Health Plan insurance (IHN or Pacific Source), your plan will cover this class at no cost to you. Please contact Maternity Coordinator Mary Jackson at 541-768-6908 for details. Click here for more information or to register,
These classes are supported by the Center of Women and Families at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center.
Advocates Hone State School Fund Case: On April 5, Mitzi Bauer, a school board member from Clackamas, sent a letter to Oregon House Ways and Means Co-Chair Rep. Tawna Sanchez.
She said her message was simple: Schools must serve all children, and a $9.9 billion State School Fund is not enough.
“How can we do that when we are never given an adequate amount?” said the North Clackamas board member.
Education advocates are laying the groundwork now for crunch time on the State School Fund. They have a better idea of how legislators want to divvy up the state budget, and they are targeting their arguments for why the State School Fund needs to be at least $10.3 billion.
“Be ready to advocate,” said OSBA Legislative Services Director Lori Sattenspiel. “Now that we know what we are up against, it’s your time.”
The State School Fund bill, House Bill 5015, allocates $9.9 billion for the State School Fund. School business officials, using current contracts and spending, calculate Oregon needs at least a $10.3 billion State School Fund for most districts to avoid cuts to staff, programs or days.
HB 5015 is unlikely to face a vote for at least a month, giving education advocates time to make their case. Legislative Highlights is offering weekly articles, “Funding Oregon’s Future,” to help school board members understand the state process.
Sattenspiel said OSBA is gathering information for what have long been called the “bus posters.” The one-page documents will show what a $9.9 billion State School Fund means for individual districts. For most districts, it means significant cuts to staff, programs or days or tapping into reserves at a time districts should be preparing for a possible recession.
OSBA will share those documents with school board members and administrators to put before their communities and legislators.
Sattenspiel said board members can be particularly effective legislative advocates because they are fellow elected officials. School board members know what legislators’ constituencies are talking about and what they want, and they can get direct access to legislators.
Even legislators who are not entrenched in education issues need to hear about schools’ needs, Sattenspiel said. Bills for seemingly unrelated issues can affect both school spending and funding.
Sattenspiel and her team keep a sharp eye out for bills that add to schools’ costs, such as construction regulations or early literacy efforts.
“It’s all great, but these bills need to be paid for either with money added to the State School Fund or new funding sources,” she said.
Work on HB 5015 likely won’t start again until after the Joint Ways and Means Committee’s public hearing tour. The committee, which votes on all bills that involve spending, is taking testimony on the state budget from around Oregon. The committee has hearings April 21 at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, April 28 at Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario and May 3 virtually.
Sattenspiel expects the committee to wait on HB 5015 until it gets this session’s final state economic report May 17. The committee can change HB 5015’s allotment, but once the bill moves to the House floor, it’s unlikely to change. After that, advocates can still try to get additional funding through other bills.
School districts are planning their budgets now. Bauer is frustrated that districts are again waiting to see if the Legislature will come through with at least current service level funding.
“Every two years since the 1990s there has been a budget that’s been unpredictable,” she said. “It hasn’t been stable, and it hasn’t been adequate.”
By Advocate staff, with State School Fund reporting from Jake Arnold of the Oregon School Boards Association