Gun safety class for Oregon first graders expected to return next Legislature

arms blur close up firing

Oregon first graders could attend gun safety classes at their schools under legislation pushed this year and expected to return next session.

While the bill outlining this program had solid support from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, it’s unlikely to advance beyond it’s initial public hearing after a deadline for committee work sessions recently expired.

Regardless, supporters were encouraged with its progress and promise to return.

If passed, Senate Bill 801 would have enabled school districts and public charter schools to offer an annual, 30-minute firearm safety and accident prevention class to first-grade students.

The class is not allowed to encourage or discourage gun ownership, or use live ammunition.

Read more here.


Why Oregon teachers are talking about a possible May 8 strike

people rallying carrying on strike signage

Educators across Oregon are planning to walk out of class Wednesday, May 8 should the Oregon Legislature not add an additional $2 billion per biennium needed to maintain and improve K-12 schools.

Over the last two decades, the state has financed schools at 21 to 38 percent below what its own research suggests districts need to be successful.

Many educators argue the lack of funding has resulted in teachers having to do more with less. They say this is reflected in the state’s low graduation rates, high dropout and absenteeism rates, as well as rising issues with disruptive behaviors, mental health needs and large class sizes.

May 8 is the only scheduled day of action, but more could be expected as conversations continue. Unless lawmakers pass the full K-12 base budget and new revenue before then, actions in May will likely still take place.

Read more from education leaders here.

Special ed report cards show improvements, set backs in Salem-Keizer schools

close up of woman working

More special education students in Salem-Keizer Public Schools are graduating with regular diplomas, learning alongside their peers and pursuing higher education or work after high school, according to new data released by the Oregon Department of Education Wednesday.

But while the district saw many gains this year, there have also been a handful of setbacks, and some of Salem-Keizer’s improved numbers are still far below state targets and comparable districts.

Read about the latest data and their implications here.


Salem-Keizer teachers file labor complaint over involuntary transfer, restricted visits

woman writing on dry erase board

The Salem Keizer Education Association has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Salem-Keizer Public Schools for allegedly discriminating against and unfairly transferring an elementary school teacher, and restricting the union’s access to its members.

The complaint was filed with the Oregon Employment Relations Board in early March, but Lillian Govus, director of communications for the school district, said they have not been served and, as a result, have not issued a formal response.

Once served, district officials have 10 days to respond to the complaint.

Read about the complaint and the district’s response here.



Meet your 2019 Salem-Keizer School Board candidates

i voted sticker lot

Three seats on the Salem-Keizer School Board are up for election May 21, with six candidates in the running after meeting the recent filing deadline.

Mental health support, school funding and expanded opportunities for students were among the priorities cited by the candidates in a Statesman Journal survey. School safety and improving graduation rates were other common goals.

Board members are elected to serve four-year terms without pay. Though they each represent specific zones, the board is responsible for working together to serve all 42,200-plus students in Salem-Keizer Public Schools.

Read the full story here to learn about each candidate.

South Salem High School pairs special needs students with peers in unified program

brown basketball on grey floor

South Salem High School was recently recognized at its Choose to Include assembly as a Unified Champion School by Special Olympics Oregon. They are the 15th school in the state to earn the distinction, and the only one in Salem-Keizer Public Schools.

South Salem is part of the growing movement to make schools more inclusive for  students with special needs and different abilities, not just by offering classes and activities, but by creating a school environment in which bullying is not tolerated, stereotypes aren’t perpetuated and hurtful language isn’t used.

Read the full story here.

McKay High School students in Salem receive $10,000 in MIT invention program


A team of McKay High School students are determined to make life easier for adults with the life-altering condition of dysphagia.

And their solution has proved so successful, McKay’s team was selected as one of 15 teams nationwide to receive a grant of up to $10,000 from the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams program through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

They’re the only team from Oregon.

If they’re able to raise enough money, they’ll fly to MIT in June for the 2019 EurekaFest and present their invention.

Read the full story here.

Salem-Keizer community ‘not ready for integration’ to reach equity in schools

back bus education school

Under a proposed boundary plan for Salem-Keizer Public Schools, older, more racially and economically diverse and overcrowded schools will continue as such, despite improvements under the district’s $620 million capital-construction bond program.

The newer, more white and affluent schools also will receive building and classroom improvements, but no additional students.

That has some patrons from Salem’s and Keizer’s lower-income neighborhoods venting their frustration and disappointment to school administrators and board members, especially since more than half of the district’s 42,200 students identify with a race or ethnicity other than white.

Read more here.

Follow-up: Salem-Keizer School Board OKs boundary changes 5-2

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