Launched in early 2004, Chalkboard’s first two years were spent conducting extensive public opinion polling as well as town halls and focus groups. The organization also engaged in extensive research about the state of Oregon’s public schools and national and international best practices. By combining what Oregonians said they wanted for their schools with what research had shown to be successful, Chalkboard developed a 15-point action plan that addressed issues of funding, quality and accountability.
Since the first action plan was developed, Chalkboard has championed bills in the legislature, funded pilot projects, ran grant programs and continued to help create a more informed and engaged public who understand and address the tough choices and trade-offs required to build strong schools.
Research shows that, of classroom factors, an effective teacher has the most significant impact on a student’s success. While continuing to address issues of accountability and finance Chalkboard believes it can make the biggest impact on education in Oregon by focusing on sustainable policies and programs that support teachers to do their best work in the classroom and ensure that all students have access to great teaching.
The CLASS Project provides teachers the opportunity to collaborate on plans for teacher growth and success tailored to local needs. With funding, coaching and research support from Chalkboard, educators in CLASS districts address the following components: expanded career paths, meaningful performance evaluation, relevant professional development and new compensation models. As of 2012, about 30% of all Oregon students are in a CLASS district.