Education

This page contains KLCC stories about Education. 
Also visit KLCC's 12-part series on The Future of Public Education in Oregon

Karen Richards

As Eugene 4J schools prepare for students, several Roosevelt Middle School staff had a preview of the place they'll be working a year from now.

About two dozen teachers and staff donned hard hats to walk next door and tour the project, which began about four months ago. The new school is coming together quickly. Maintenance Coordinator Randy Williams is on the design committee:

Teachers Incorporating Agriculture In The Classroom

Sep 6, 2015
www.agintheclass.org

In an effort to keep kids interested and informed about farming, the non-profit educational foundation, "Agriculture in the Classroom" is continuing to build on its success from the last three years.

Karen Richards

Dr. Gustavo Balderas, Eugene 4J's new superintendent, addressed teachers, staff and administrators from the district this [Thursday] morning. Most were meeting him for the first time.

The response to the new Superintendent was overwhelmingly positive. His speech received a standing ovation, unusual for a back to school presentation. Doug Doerfert directs the band at South Eugene High School:

Doerfert: "I felt it was very inspirational, just to see a different background from another superintendent."

Creswell Welcomes Three Low-Emission School Buses

Aug 30, 2015
Theresa Bichsel

The Creswell School District is replacing three diesel-powered school buses with new low-emission ones. A federal grant will cover 25% of the cost of the new buses.

Theresa Bichsel is the transportation supervisor for the district, which operates 15 school buses. She says the new vehicles will greatly benefit Creswell students.

Bichsel: "We have the opportunity with these cleaner burning buses to immediately impact our students and the immediate area around our school and our routes. In essence that is helping our community and the global community."

Rachael McDonald

A new survey of University of Oregon students finds a climate of sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus. The survey was conducted by a team led by Psychology Professor Jennifer Freyd, with funding from the U of O.

Jes Burns

The Faculty Union at the University of Oregon has tentatively agreed to a new 3-year contract. A ratification vote is set for October.

The deal includes a 3 and a half percent increase in cost of living raises over the next three years. This is the second contract negotiated by United Academics. Sociology Professor Michael Dreiling is President of the 18-hundred member union. He says before the union formed in 2013, raises for faculty were inconsistent.

oregonstate.edu

The Oregon legislature has approved a nearly 30 million dollar taxpayer bond for a new wood products lab and other additions at Oregon state university. 

According to Thomas Maness, Dean at the School of Forestry, the project will add new classrooms and research facilities, including a twenty thousand square foot laboratory focused on utilizing Oregon's wood products for a growing global demand:

Thomas Maness: "Architects and engineers are really looking for a solution to build larger buildings than we currently build out of sustainable materials."

University of Oregon

As the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of gay marriage as soon as Friday, a  University of Oregon researcher found no harmful effects for children of same-sex parents. The study was published in the journal "Social Science Research".

file photo

All this week, NPR is digging into high school graduation rates. Oregon has the lowest grad rate of any state - of less than 69 percent in 2013. Oregon's long-term plan to improve graduation rates starts really early - with preschoolers.

With the help of a family in OPB's "Class of 2025" project, Rob Manning looks at the difference preschool can make.

Thursday is the last day of school in Springfield and this week the school board finalized a few big decisions about next year.

Angela Kellner

As City of Eugene staff continue to refine plans for the new city hall, students at Camas Ridge Elementary shared their design ideas with the mayor this week.

Inside Donna Dubois' 4th/5th grade class, teams of students proudly show off their city hall plaza designs to Mayor Kitty Piercy. They glued down small pebbles to make pathways, painted plastic lids to represent fountains and added green material to represent grass.

Barbara Elliot and Isabella Shaft got the Mayor's attention with the small details of their multi-dimensional design.

Marcola Approves Bond For New Elementary School

May 20, 2015
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mohawk_High_School_Marcola_Oregon_0001.jpg

Voters in Marcola approved a bond of $7.82 million dollars. The money will go towards an elementary school at a new location closer to the high school so they can share staff and resources.

The current school is structurally unsound. The heating system was so damaged that water was coming out of the electrical outlets. Superintendent Bill Watkins explains how they improvised with a Herman Nelson heater, propane and a tube.

“The tube runs the full length of the hallway. Just a plastic tube has holes punctured into it. That’s what heats the building right now”

Eugene Public Works Day Expects Record Attendance

May 19, 2015
City of Eugene Public Works website.

Eugene Public Works Day is expected to have a record turnout on Thursday. The event is geared towards students and teachers.

For nearly 30 years, Eugene Public Works Day has provided the community with the opportunity to learn more about the maintenance, repair and engineering services provided by the city.

City spokesman Eric Jones says the event allows people to have a better understanding of where their tax dollars go.

Jones: “People may not be quite so aware though that

lanecc.edu

The Lane Community College board voted four to two Wednesday night to eliminate the Auto Body and Electronic Technology programs. The controversial decision came just after dozens of people voiced their concerns in a public comment session.

The administration proposed the cuts as part of its plan to offset next year’s projected $4.7 million dollar deficit. LCC staff, former and past students and local business owners said the board had asked the wrong questions and not followed procedures. Jim Salt is President of the LCC Education Association:

Recorded on: May 8th, 2015

Air Date: May 11th, 2015

Ten candidates for contested elections to Eugene school board positions will tell City Club members about the skills and experiences they can offer their districts. They are also invited to describe the issues they see as most significant and how they would seek to resolve them.

Of the three Bethel School Board positions up for election this year, only one is contested. Blake Holton is running for Position 6 against Ginger Poage, who has served since 1983.

Civic Education In Oregon: Youth Voices

May 4, 2015

Recorded on: May 1st, 2015

Air Date: May 4th, 2015

Guest Speakers include Harley Emery from Thurston, Sydney Baker from Springfield, Alya Bussel from Teen Court/Sheldon, Yessenia Carlos from LULAC/UO, Vincent Lanier from South Eugene, and Christian Mora from Willamette High School.

Wednesday the Register-Guard published a front page story headlined "Secret school emails released." The article outlined the contents of personal emails and text messages between individual Eugene 4-J school board members concerning Superintendent Sheldon Berman. (see statements below)

The documents were accidentally sent to the newspaper by the law firm representing the Eugene school district.

Wendy Baker is Chief Council with the Register Guard. She describes receiving the box of 500 documents. earlier this week.

Betsy Miller Jones, executive director of the Oregon School Boards Association, presses the need for more -- and more racially diverse -- school board candidates.  She also offers her views on the Common Core curriculum and Smarter Balanced test.

The Springfield School Board Monday night decided it will not suspend administration of Smarter Balanced tests.

Board member Jonathan Light had proposed a moratorium, saying the new requirements are not good for kids. But the rest of the board felt it was too risky for the district to refuse to give the tests since they're required by law.
Springfield students have already started taking Smarter Balanced exams.

Board Chair Nancy Bigley says the district will continue looking at testing.

Recorded on: April 24th, 2015

Air Date: April 27th, 2015

Educators, administrators, policy makers, researchers, and parents in Eugene and across the nation are engaged in a lively debate about the Common Core State Standards and testing. The two separate but related issues include the Smarter Balanced tests now used in Oregon. In February, City Club members heard UO Professor Jerry Rosiek critique these initiatives, particularly noting the danger of relying too heavily on any system of testing to assess school productivity.

Karen Richards

Construction trucks are at work on the site of the new Roosevelt Middle School in South Eugene. Current sixth graders should be able to start eighth grade on the new campus.

Bonds approved in 2013 funded the rebuilding of four aging Eugene schools. Superintendent Shelley Berman says the recent groundbreaking is an exciting moment:

Berman: “We’re moving ahead in a very rapid way around Roosevelt. We hope that we’ll get it open in fall of 2016. I know that they’re beginning to move dirt and will be setting the foundation fairly soon.”

www.georgefox.edu

At a special meeting Thursday night the Springfield School Board formally selected Assistant Superintendent Sue Reike-Smith to be the district's Acting Superintendent. She will take over for Hertica Martin who announced her resignation Monday.

Reike-Smith says besides the contractual duties of a superintendent, she plans to keep doing what she always does, visit schools and interface with teachers and students. The focus of her new role is on the last ten weeks of school.

Tiffany Eckert

The search is over. The board of trustees voted today to name the 18th President of the University of Oregon.

Michael H. Schill has been chosen as the next U of O President. Schill is currently Dean at the University of Chicago-Law School.

Schill is a first generation college graduate--he attended Princeton.  Calling public universities “gems,” Schill says he’s proud and excited to be a Duck.

“This is an opportunity to take a great school, a proud school, an exciting school and move it forward. This is an absolutely pivotal moment for this university.”

Rob Manning / OPB

We continue "Testing 1-2-3" today - OPB's occasional series on standardized testing in Oregon. Some younger students are already taking new the new federally-mandated tests. High schoolers will take them soon. There are questions about the time these Common Core tests will take.

An American flag, a University of Oregon banner, and posters with literary terms hang in the front of David Wilkinson's room at Beaverton's Westview High.... a typical English class. Wilkinson is leading his 11th graders through a college admissions essay.

City of Redmond

The University of Oregon's Sustainable City Year Program is moving east of the Cascades for the first time in its six year history.

The program brings together UO students and faculty with members of a different Oregon city each year. Redmond has been selected and will benefit from more than 40,000 hours of student work aimed at improving sustainability, infrastructure and livability. Redmond's Community Development Director Heather Richards says they're getting started April 8 with a bicycle tour of existing infrastructure.

Tiffany Eckert

About forty percent of the children eligible for head start programs in Lane County can’t get in. Today (Tuesday), Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley visited a head start center in Eugene. While there, he criticized cuts to early childhood education in a recent U.S. senate budget.

At the Whiteaker Head Start Center a classroom of pre-kindergarteners welcome Senator Merkley with a song.

(kids and teacher sing:”Mr. Merkley’s here today! We’ll all clap our hands because Mr. Merkley’s here today!”)

Then, he sits in a little chair with a classic children’s book.

eduventurist.org

Anya Kamenetz, who writes about education for NPR and is the author of several books on education, says parents are losing patience with standardized testing.

She'll present April 1st at 7 p.m. at Tsunami Books in Eugene on this and other educational topic.

More about Anya Kamenetz

Bethel School District

In a letter to state legislators from Lane County, local school superintendents say the K-12 budget proposed for the next two years is "woefully inadequate".  The $7.3 billion spending plan is headed for votes in the full House and Senate, likely next week.

Colt Gill is superintendent of Bethel School District in Eugene. He says the district is preparing to offer state-mandated full-day kindergarten in September. It's also trying to keep up with rising costs of maintaining the district's services.

Two of the University of Oregon’s six library archivists are without their jobs following the release of thousands of presidential documents to a professor.

James Fox and Kira Homo were put on paid administrative leave in January. According to the administration they were responsible for the un-processed handoff of over 20,000 pages of correspondence.

In a statement, spokesman Tobin Klinger says Homo resigned her position and Fox will not return to his job, nor will his contract be renewed.

Rachael McDonald

Oregon’s Farm to School and School Garden programs may get a boost next school year. A bill to increase funding by over four million dollars passed through a legislative committee last week.

Lawmakers heard from 12 stakeholders of farm to school programs. They passed the bill unanimously to the Ways and Means committee, which will now decide the level of funding. Megan Kemple is with the Farm to School Network. She says the bill will allow all school districts in Oregon to participate through a non-competitive process:

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