November 1

State Report Card- I want to thank all of you for the great things you are doing academically. We have so much going on and so many things to think about, we often forget about the basics and forget about celebrating our successes. Despite the distractions, we are doing better than ever. According to the state report card, in 18-19, BLP elementary schools had our highest ELA and math smarter balance scores ever. 65.2% of our 3rd-5th grade students met or exceeded in ELA. This is 4.4% higher than three years ago. 58.9% of our students met or exceeded in math. This is 3.3% higher than three years ago. For comparison’s sake, Check out the scores of four large districts in Oregon with three-year improvement in parenthesis.

Eugene- ELA- 55.7 (2.4)/ Math- 46.8 (2.4)

Beaverton– ELA- 65.6 (2.8)/ Math- 58.9 (-.9)

Portland– ELA-58 (1)/ Math- 48.4 (-.1)

Tigard/Tualatin- ELA- 59.1 (-.3)/ Math- 53.6 (-.8)

I looked at 6 other districts (Salem, W. Linn, N. Clackamas, Newberg, Sherwood, and Lake Oswego). None of them had a larger increase in ELA or Math. The next highest increase in ELA was Beaverton (2.8%), and the next highest improvement in math was Eugene (2.4%). Wow. Fantastic work. Our scores are growing significantly- we are not far from level 4 in ELA and Math. This is not an accident. You can feel good about where we are and it is proof that we can continue to improve and grow. As we move forward and work to close gaps, remember that we have lots of opportunity for growth, especially with our historically under-served groups.  Thanks for leading all of the progress to date!

SBAC Prep- Jenn did a great job presenting the SBAC prep materials at our last horizontal meeting, but I did a lousy job setting up her presentation. The SBAC prep activities are OPTIONAL. I didn’t make that clear and had a few of you a little worried…my apologies. While I think it is a very useful and powerful tool that can help students and teachers beyond just testing, I also trust that you know your students and staff well enough to decide IF, when and how they should be used.

Listening Sessions- Please be sure to get the summaries of your listening sessions to Lora no later than Thursday, November 14th. Thanks to those of you who have already submitted.

Community Survey- I know most of you have done this already, but please be sure you have communicated with your families about our community surveys.

Smarter Balance Opt- Out Directions- A preface- you did a fantastic job last year encouraging students/families to participate. Our participation rate went from 91.3% ELA in 17-18 to 94.3% ELA in 18-19 and 90.5% Math in 17-18 to 93.7% Math in 18-19. Thank you for your efforts as I believe we are close to a participation percentage that allows us to accurately track from year to year.

  • Schools need to distribute the attached statewide notices (English and Spanish) and opt-out forms (English and Spanish) through their “regular communication channels” by December 8, 2019. Appropriate communication methods do include electronically distributing the forms or links to the forms posted on district/school websites.
  • Principals also will sign and distribute the principal letter we used last year.
  • In all communication related to opt-outs it is critical that parents are engaged in the communication and that non-adult students are not subjected to undue influence by educators or staff during working hours. Principals need to ensure all staff understand what types of communication has been deemed inappropriate by the state. Inappropriate communication would include:
    • Making repeated announcements to non-adult students (e.g., over school intercom systems, assemblies) during working hours reminding students to pick up ODE’s opt-out form
    • Initiating a discussion of ODE’s opt-out form or process with non-adult students during working hours
    • Repeatedly reminding non-adult students to submit ODE’s opt-out form during working hours
    • Encouraging students to submit ODE’s opt-out form during working hours
  • All student opt-outs again need to be entered into the district’s Google form for tracking opt-outs
  • The opt-out forms apply only to ELA and Math. Exemptions for all other state assessments require parents to submit a written request based on disability or religion. Those students are tracked here

Chronic Absenteeism- I have been talking with each of you during my school visits about a focus on chronic absenteeism. As we know, it is now part of our school report card, so we are accountable for it. More importantly, regular attendance, especially in the early grades, is critical for student success. While it may or may not be something that you are focusing on at your school, I will be trying to regularly provide you with information/ PD on chronic absenteeism and things you can do to improve attendance at your school. Attendance in the Early Grades: Why it Matters for Reading is a great article summarizing the importance of attendance and things you can do to help improve it.

In addition, please mark your calendars for Monday, November 18, from 3:15-4:30 (site to be determined). Kimberly Strong will be providing a short inservice for our team on chronic absenteeism followed by a time to collaborate with your colleagues and share ideas with support from Kimberly. This is an optional training. Please RSVP so that Kimberly knows how many to plan for.

PD Opportunity- ORTli will be conducting their annual Effective Instruction Day, targeting best practices in Core small group literacy instruction, observation, and feedback. It might be a great PD opportunity for you and/or some of your team.

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