Despite political pressure, US teachers lead complex history lessons on race and slavery

(USA Today exclusive, joint byline)

New laws tell teachers how to discuss the history of slavery and racism. We visited four schools to see what kids are really learning.

Read the full story here.

Zoom fatigue and panic attacks: Online teachers face unique burnout

Educators across the country have faced challenges during COVID-19. Staff and substitute shortages and rising student behavioral problems — not to mention the ongoing worry about the virus — are among numerous factors impacting classrooms.

Online educators are struggling in their own way. 

In the past year and a half, structural changes in how Salem-Keizer’s online school operates have left teachers with less prep time and more work.

Read the full story here.

School boards in the Mid-Valley, nationwide have become political battlegrounds

(En Español: Cómo juntas escolares de Mid-Valley se convirtieron en campos de batalla política)

What curriculum is taught, how schools respond to the ongoing pandemic and where educators stand on issues of race, gender identity and sexuality are increasingly being debated in board rooms across the United States.

Salem-Keizer is no exception, with a new group gaining traction.

Read the full story here.

Hundreds of homeless kids have fallen off the radar in Salem during coronavirus pandemic

In a typical year, Salem-Keizer Public Schools educates about 1,200 students who lack stable housing.

But that number sank at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when it became increasingly challenging for schools that had switched to remote learning to identify and help those in need.

Now, as the pandemic continues to rage, schools and local nonprofits are working to find those still unaccounted for.

Read the full story here.

Salem resident Jacqueline Pawlowski shares stories of living ‘with all my heart,’ memories of D-Day

In her 98 years, Pawlowski has been no stranger to storytelling. 

She’s been published in medical journals for her work as a nurse. She submitted pieces for antique magazines when she and her husband owned their own shop. Her non-fiction writing has been published in national newsletters.

But the newest way she’s shared bits and pieces of her life with readers has been in a writing class at Hidden Lakes retirement community in South Salem. 

Read the full feature here.

Salem-Keizer hires security staff with former school resource officer money

(Joint byline with Dianne Lugo) Salem-Keizer Public Schools is spending $600,000 on nine new security staff positions and a supervisor, using more than half the nearly $1 million saved from ending school resource officer contracts earlier this year.

Read the full story here.

Protesters demand Salem-Keizer board member Danielle Bethell resign after Facebook post

(Joint byline with Dianne Lugo) Activists with Latinos Unidos Siempre are calling for Salem-Keizer school board member Danielle Bethell to resign, following comments she posted on Facebook.

On Nov. 23, Bethell asked her Facebook followers for recommendations of any “middle school/high school homeschool pods in (the) Keizer area” due to the “lack of real education and safety being provided in our schools today.”

She added that the safety she was referring to was “not necessarily the fighting” — which is up in Salem-Keizer Public Schools compared to previous years — but rather the “political environment” that exists in schools that “fosters the pitting of one against the other.”

Read the full story here.

How is Salem-Keizer responding to increased fights in school?

A Statesman Journal analysis of Salem-Keizer discipline data shows that while the number of fights this school year is up across the district compared to prior years — matching national trends of negative behaviors in schools — reports of physical assaults and insubordination are down. So is the use of traditional discipline, including suspensions and expulsions. 

Read the full enterprise here.

Willamette Valley administrators speak up for fired Newberg superintendent

A group of local school district superintendents is speaking up for Joe Morelock, the fired superintendent of Newberg Public Schools. 

The Newberg School Board has gained attention in recent weeks for trying to ban teachers from displaying gay pride and Black Lives Matter symbols, as reported by the Associated Press. It then fired Morelock during a Zoom meeting in November.

He has since been hired by Woodburn School District.

Read the full story here.

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