Report: Oregon needs more adults, money, training to handle disruptive classrooms

two girls doing school works

Name calling and profanity. Spitting, kicking and hitting. Ripping books. Brandishing scissors.

These are some of the behaviors educators say are increasing in Oregon classrooms.

Teachers have voiced concerns to the Oregon Education Association over the past few years about disruptive behaviors that not only affect the student doing those things, but also have lasting effects on their peers and educators.

The association released a report  detailing what they call “a crisis of disruptive learning.”

Read more about the report and issues here.




Salem teens head to 61st Annual Grammy Awards for songs about addiction, mental health


Andrew “Chowder” McMains, David “Big D.A.Q.” Bond and Caleb “lil Gordito” McDonald are three Salem teens rapping their way into the music industry with songs about addiction and mental health.

They’ve been recognized for songs they submitted to the national Teens Make Music competition, hosted by California charity MusiCares.

McMains’ and Bond’s song won first place and McDonald’s took third. All three will fly to Los Angeles to attend the 61st Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10.

Read about the boys and their journey here.

Oregon graduation rates up across the board, Salem-Keizer sees some drops

accomplishment ceremony education graduation

Oregon is seeing more students graduate high school, with increases across the board regardless of demographics.

More than 78 percent of all eligible high schoolers in Oregon graduated in four years in 2017-18, according data released by the Oregon Department of Education.

This is a 2-percentage-point increase from the previous year and brings Oregon the closest it has been in recent history to having 80 percent of students graduating on time.

Even when looking at individual demographics, Oregon’s numbers have all increased.

Regardless of gender, disability or economic status, race or language background, every single group saw gains this past school year.

And while Salem-Keizer Public Schools saw similar gains, but also had some decreases.

Read the full story here.



Special ed lawsuit against Oregon ed dept., Gov Brown filed by disability rights advocates

brown wooden gavel close up photography

The state of Oregon has denied hundreds of children with disabilities the opportunity to attend the full day of school they are entitled to by federal law.

That’s the claim of a federal class-action lawsuit filed Jan. 22 in the Oregon U.S. District Court.

Officials filed the lawsuit on the first day of the 2019 Legislative session, with Governor Kate Brown, the Oregon Department of Education and its director Colt Gill named as defendants in the complaint.

Read the full story here.

Oregon lawmakers want more school meal options, federal changes may limit them

close up of apple on top of books

Oregon educators, advocates and lawmakers have been trying to make food more accessible in schools for years, from expanding the time of day students can be served breakfast to streamlining the process for parents to pay for reduced-priced meals so a student is never turned away.

For the 2019 legislative session, which starts Jan. 22, several Oregon legislators want to expand options further, with the ultimate goal of ensuring all students have free breakfast and lunch.

But the legislators’ task will become more difficult as federal rollbacks reduce nutritional standards and the cost of providing meals reaches into the millions.

Read more here.

Oregon may require students undergo annual mental health exams

blue and silver stetoscope

The pervasiveness of mental health issues and child suicide rates leads Oregon to rank as the worst state in the country for the prevalence of mental illness.

And the state’s lack of child psychiatrists and school counselors leaves families waiting for months to get help.

Locally, multiple teen suicides have affected both Salem-Keizer Public Schools and the Jefferson School District this year.

Oregon lawmakers want to help with a proposed bill requiring every student in grades 6 through 12 to undergo a mental health wellness check once every school year.

Read the full story here.



Knife threat at elementary school raises discipline questions

internet screen security protection

A third-grade girl at Cummings Elementary School in Keizer, Oregon, recently pulled a pocket knife on another third grader, threatening to kill her.

After the weapon was confiscated by staff, a boy reportedly choked the girl for “snitching.”

Word of the incidents quickly raised concerns across the school’s community and left some parents questioning administrators’ choices on how the victim is being protected and how the others are being disciplined.

Read the full story and the district’s policies here.

Gov. Brown says Oregon has unique chance to add nearly $2 billion for schools

abc books chalk chalkboard

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown wants to tap nearly $2 billion more for schools while the state’s economy is strong and a legislative committee prepares a multi-billion dollar package and education policy road map.

Over the last two decades, the Oregon State Legislature has consistently financed schools at about 21 to 38 percent below what its own research suggested districts needed to be successful.

Brown says this has left districts with large classes, small staffs and outdated buildings and materials, some of the factors contributing to Oregon’s low graduation rate.

She wants to change that for 2019-21, calling on lawmakers to fill the gap.

Read the full story here.

Sparrow Furniture in Oregon gives refugees jobs, help adjusting to American life

brown world map illustration

In the last two and a half years, about 230 refugees have resettled in Salem, fleeing violence and persecution around the world.

Five refugees make up the current workforce of Sparrow Furniture, a new socially conscious business in Salem.

Sparrow employees work about 30 hours a week, with an hour of English classes four days a week. They receive mentorship on resume writing, interview skills and financial literacy, as well as soft skills like understanding American work culture.

The goal is to help refugees in Oregon’s capital be successful sooner.

The Statesman Journal explored how the business came to be and the stories behind the refugees who make it.

Read and watch here.

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