Oregon Student Voice
In Summer 2016, a group of high school students met to address Oregon’s most pressing education challenges and examine students’ role in learning. What emerged was Oregon Student Voice (OSV), an initiative that strives to uncover systemic inequities present in schools and empower students to be active agents in shaping their K-12 experience. Today, OSV is led by high school students from schools across Oregon. Their charge is to increase student leadership skills so they can become:
- Civic leaders
- Effective communicators
- Innovative thinkers
- Change agents, and
- Equity advocates
In January 2019, after operating as an initiative of Chalkboard Project for two years, Oregon Student Voice made decision to become an independent youth-led nonprofit. You can learn more about their work and progress by visiting their website.
School Board Governance and Equity
School board members and superintendents have shared responsibility to create high-performing schools. The challenges they face in today’s educational environment are immense: prepare all students for success during their school years and beyond, especially those from historically underserved communities. This requires adept leaders, innovative designs, supportive teamwork, and bold leadership.
Chalkboard Project’s on-year pilot seeked to test evidence-based practices that would help build and sustain highly effective boards. The pilot aimed to help school boards:
- Receive training around governance and leadership to leverage their impact on student success.
- Implement equitable practices and policies to be better impact the success of students of color.
- Increase the diversity of school board members.
Participating district leaders and school board members co-designed a customized model and framework for effective board governance with guidance from expert governance trainers and an equity coach. Working side by side, participants received coaching and consulting during the year-long pilot as they learned to use multiple data measures for decision making, established a clear vision and strategic focus, transformed their districts into high-performing systems, and seeked deep transformation to meet the needs of the children and communities they serve.
Teacher Incentive Fund
The Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) began in 2010 when Chalkboard Project and five Oregon districts–Greater Albany, Bend-La Pine, Crook County, Redmond, and Salem-Keizer–were awarded $24.4 million to collaboratively design teacher and principal evaluation and compensation systems. Embedded in the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) were the following principles of design:
- Teachers are included at the table to create, design, and implement meaningful reform
- Ideas and solutions should come from within our schools and districts
- We need to support stronger evaluation processes
- Look for more ways to measure student growth
- There should be more flexibility in rewarding teachers who excel
The district leaders and principals that participated in TIF have received effective training on evaluation systems and conducting accurate observations. The evaluation training and the use of a common language for observations and ratings have helped teachers receive consistent and specific feedback.
Teachers received additional training and supports, such as mentors for new teachers, high quality feedback from evaluators, and access to additional professional development. Participating teachers reported a better understanding of concepts that will help grow their careers such as expectations and teacher career development opportunities.
Open Books Project
Open Books Project was created to provide information about Oregon's public school system so that parents can make informed decisions and feel confident in the K-12 education system. The Open Books Project website is available in both English and Spanish and provides the following data:
- School and district report cards
- School progress and outcomes
- Curriculum and learning environments
- Student demographics
- How K-12 dollars are spent
The website will sunset after 2017 as the Oregon Department of Education is working on creating a new resource that provides longitudinal data regarding Oregon's K-12 schools.
Launched in 2012, TeachOregon was created to help universities, community colleges, and school districts collaboratively redesign teacher preparation practices in Oregon by improving the following practices:
- Clinical practice
- Hiring strategies
After 3.5 years of pilot work, TeachOregon's biggest success was the ability to bring together diverse stakeholders to design new models of collaborative and needs-driven teacher preparation programs. The pilot represented 13 districts and 11 higher education institutions—licensing 60 percent of the state’s new teachers—and built strong partnerships critical to improving teacher preparation. Productive dialogue between universities and school districts created an aligned curriculum for training teacher candidates. To read more about the TeachOregon project read its final report.
In 2015 Chalkboard Project worked with Oregon legislature to advocate for and pass two pieces of legislation based on the work of Teach Oregon.
- Senate Bill 78 strengthens teacher preparation by requiring all of Oregon's teacher preparation programs to become nationally accredited by 2022 and provides $200,000 to support programs as they become accredited.
- Senate Bill 83 strengthens the student teaching experience by requiring training for cooperating teachers (the classroom teachers who guide and mentor teacher candidates).