Archive for April, 2009

SALEM – State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo announced today that Oregon’s statewide dropout rate for the 2007-08 school year was 3.7%, down from 4.2% last year. The 3.7% dropout rate is the lowest since statewide reporting began in 1991. Oregon defines a high school dropout as a student in grades 9-12 who withdraws from school for example without receiving a high school diploma, GED, modified diploma, or transferring to another school.

“In order to be successful in the 21st Century, it is vital that our students graduate from high school,” Castillo said. “This report is good news for students, parents, schools, and communities and demonstrates that our efforts to reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates are starting to pay off. We must continue to build on the proven strategies and interventions we know are critical to keeping students in school and on track to graduate.”

Increased educational opportunities and prevention programs offering more support for at-risk students and more accurate statewide data have contributed to the decline in dropouts.

2007-08 Dropout Rates and (decrease from prior year) by ethnicity:

White 3.0% (-0.5)

Asian 2.6% (-0.4)

African American 7.0% (-0.1)

Hispanic 6.4% (-1.2)

Native American 5.8% (-0.7)

Total 3.7% (-0.5)

These decreases are significant for the Hispanic and Native American populations where the dropout rate decreased 1.2 and 0.7 percentage points respectively. These decreases were greater than the majority white population decrease of 0.5 percentage points which reflects Oregon’s priority to close the achievement gap that separates disadvantaged populations from their peers. A decade ago, the statewide dropout rate stood at 7% and the Hispanic rate was about 18%. The African American rate was nearly 12% and the Native American rate about 10%.

Click here for statewide dropout trend data.

“Many of our schools have been sharply focused on using data to improve and target instruction for their disadvantaged students. These efforts prove that we can produce more equitable outcomes for our students when we focus on implementing strategies to close the achievement gap,” said Castillo. “This news comes at a time of incredible opportunity to build on our efforts with the federal funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. These funds can be targeted to strengthen our support for at-risk students in danger of failing or dropping out.”

The 2007-08 graduation rate increased from 81.4% for 2006-07 to 84.0% for 2007-08 with most of the gain coming from minority student sub-groups, especially Hispanic and Native American:

2007-08 Graduation Rates and (increase from prior year) by ethnicity:

White 87.2% (+2.4)

Asian 89.3% (+2.1)

African American 68.5% (+0.4)

Hispanic 70.5% (+6.1)

Native American 75.5% (+3.8)

Total 84.0% (+2.6)

“The Oregon Diploma is an important initiative underway in our schools to help reduce the dropout rate and increase the graduation rate,” said Castillo. A key component of the Oregon Diploma is identifying those students who need help early and beginning to engage them with targeted instruction and support.”

“These graduation requirements are tied directly to student interest and aspiration through the personal plan and profile, making high school more relevant. Students see that staying in school and working hard to finish has meaning in their future. The new requirements also allow more flexibility in how students work through high school. In addition, they have more opportunities to explore career options that will help them develop a vision and pathway for their future, said Castillo.”

Graduation rate calculations are based on the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) formula approved by the U.S. Department of Education: divide the number of graduates with a regular diploma in the school year by the sum of the number of graduates with a regular diploma plus the number of students who dropped out from all grades 9-12 that year.

Consistent with federal Title I requirements, starting with the 2009-2010 school year, ODE will be adopting a Cohort Graduation Rate which considers students with a GED as non-graduates. This change will reduce the graduation rate by about 3.5 points. Additional differences such as not counting graduates who need more than 4 years in high school could reduce the rate by another 6.5 points.

Summary of 2007-08 Graduation and Dropout Rates

As required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Oregon now provides dropout and graduation rates by Gender, Economically Disadvantaged, Limited English Proficient, Special Education, and Talented & Gifted (TAG). Click on link to see these rates:


Questions? Contact:

Susanne Smith
Communications Officer | Office of the Superintendent | Oregon Department of Education
P: 503.947.5637 | C: 503.730.7041 | E: susanne.smith@state.or.us | http://www.ode.state.or.us

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As you may know, NICHCY has maintained a core of key publications for many

years, updating them every time our nation’s special education law is

reauthorized or significant changes occur in the field. Here are the latest to

get complete facelifts so they are not only shiny-new again but are also

consistent with the requirements of IDEA 2004 and its regulations.

Categories of Disability Under IDEA (GR3)

If you want to find out how IDEA defines the disability categories under which

a child may be found eligible for services (see, the old title did make sense),

this publication will tell you. Posted online at:


Your Child’s Evaluation (BP1)

What’s involved in evaluating a child to determine if he or she has a disability

and is eligible for special education and related services? Find out in 4 easy-to-

read pages that describe IDEA’s requirements for evaluation. Posted online at:


Questions Often Asked by Parents about Special Education Services (LG1)

Here is a comprehensive but brief look at the special education process from

start to finish. It begins with the question “Why is my child struggling in

school?” and goes on to describe the evaluation process under IDEA, how

eligibility for special education is determined, and what’s involved in writing

and implementing the individualized education program (IEP), the crown jewel

of special education. New provisions in IDEA regarding IEP meetings are also

detailed. Find the revamped and expanded LG1 online at:


Developing Your Child’s IEP (PA12)

Written expressly for parents by a parent, this 28-pager looks at every

component of the all-important IEP. Find it online at:



NICHCY is also pleased to launch a new series of questions and answers about

IDEA, beginning with these two offerings:

Questions and Answers about IDEA: Purposes and Key Definitions (QA1)

This Q&A discusses the purposes of IDEA as established by Congress, as well

as how four of IDEA’s key terms are defined: free appropriate public education

(FAPE), child with a disability, special education, and related services.


Questions and Answers about IDEA: Parent Participation (QA2)

A parent’s right to participate in meetings and decision making regarding their

child’s special education is one of IDEA’s foundational principles, strongly

supported through explicit provisions and guarantees. Go straight to the heart

of the matter in this 12-page Q&A summarizing parental rights of participation

and describing prior written notice, the procedural safeguards notice, and the

in’s-and-out’s of parental consent. Enjoy, at:


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This is the first opportunity in a year for individuals and families to apply for small grants through the Fairview Community Housing Trust Fund. The grants are for adults and children with developmental disabilities in “non-licensed” homes to receive funds to increase their safety and independence while at home.

The Trust is accepting applications between April 15th and May 15th 2009.

Application and procedures for the Trust are located at http://dhsforms.hr.state.or.us/forms/databases/FMPRO



Enter form number 2414 and hit search.

If the first web address doesn’t work, try the second.

Forms numbers are 2414 for the application and 2414P for procedures.

There have been changes made in both forms so please be sure to let people know they need to use the new application and read the revised procedures before applying.

If you have questions please contact;

Peter Straton, Trust Fund Housing Specialist
Phone: 503-378-3971


Diana Buell
e-mail: diana.buell@state.or.us
Phone: 503-945-9822

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Oregon celebrates Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day at the Capitol
SALEM, Ore. — More than 200 students from small towns to large cities throughout Oregon will
descend on the State Capitol Friday, May 8th from 10:30 to 2:30 to educate legislators about the needs
of youth who struggle with mental health challenges. This is just one objective in a day-long list of
activities designed to elevate children’s mental health awareness in the hearts and minds of all
Oregonians. Other activities include: a tour of the Capitol, in-school assignments focused on the
importance of student involvement in the legislative process, a rally and a talent show.
The theme for this year’s national Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is “Thriving in the Community.” The event has a special emphasis on high school youth, who with the right services, can have positive outcomes such as better grades and higher rates of graduation and less likely to have
negative outcomes such as involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
Jammie Farrish, Executive Director of the Oregon Family Support Network (OFSN),
encourages youth, their families, and concerned individuals to attend the May 8th event, “This is a great time for people to educate themselves and better understand youth with mental health
challenges, to see the incredible talent and strengths of our young people, and to have fun.”
In a typical year, over 250,000 Oregon children are eligible to receive publicly funded mental health services. However, according to the State Department of Human Services, only 30,000 of
these children receive mental health and/or addiction treatment services. OFSN, a chapter of the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, reports that without treatment, many youth will become homeless or incarcerated, so treating youth as early as possible avoids tragic outcomes.
Events begin at 10:30 am on the Capitol Mall. The youth talent show starts at 11 am and the rally kicks off at 11:45 am on the front Capitol steps. Speakers include Claudia Black from the
Governor’s Office, who will be reading a Proclamation by the Governor, and several youth leaders from around the state.
Zaak Anderson-Klem, a 13-year-old youth organizer, is a talent show participant. He is excited about this year’s event: “I’m excited about performing at the Capitol. People at Children’sMental Health Day are always nice and kind – the way I wish other people were all the time. Maybe if
more people come and find out about mental health they’ll be friendlier and nicer, too.”
The first 300 youth to register will receive a free t-shirt, free parking is available a few blocks away at the Marion Parkade, specially priced lunch options are being provided by Outpost Grill, with a percentage of the proceeds going to support Youth MOVE Oregon – Youth Motivating Others through
Voices of Experience.

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Governor Signs Executive Order Establishing Oregon Commission on Autism

SALEM – Flanked by members of the Oregon Autism Project, including Representative Chris Edwards, Governor Ted Kulongoski today signed Executive Order NO. 09-07 establishing the Oregon Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Oregon has seen a rapid increase in the number of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Currently, there are over 7,000 school age children that have been diagnosed with ASD, not to mention thousands more adults who experience ASD. As rates have increased, public and private systems have struggled to find ways to effectively respond.

That is why Representative Chris Edwards (D-Eugene/Junction City) convened the Oregon Autism Project; a group of legislators, agency personnel, and parent advocates. With the support of State Representatives Peter Buckley (D-Ashland), then Chair of the House Education Committee, and Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland), Chair of the House Health Care Committee, the group set out to identify existing holes in service to those with ASD and chart a path forward to fill those holes.

“When we began work our goal was to assess the services we now provide, see how we can do a better job with existing resources, and develop a plan to implement should we find new resources,” said Edwards.

Autism is a complex disorder that presents a diverse set of challenges. Often, this results in multiple state agencies and private groups working to provide services to the same set of people. After compiling a report and conducting a statewide tour to garner community feedback, the Oregon Autism Project identified the need for a central hub to focus energy and resources toward assisting those with ASD. The Oregon Autism Project suggested the creation of a commission that could get to work immediately to produce results.

“Based on the Oregon Autism Project’s research and testimony from constituents around the State, it became more apparent than ever that we need to do a better job coordinating efforts between various agencies and groups to prevent duplication of efforts and spend our dollars more wisely,” said Rep. Buckley.

Rep. Greenlick agreed. “It’s our job to ensure we are receiving maximum affect for every dollar we spend. This means targeting the use of our limited resources and using the best practices available to improve services to all individuals and families experiencing ASD.”

When the Oregon Autism Project recommended the creation of a commission to carry out these goals, Governor Kulongoski was eager to help.

“Through my work advocating for individuals with Autism and others with developmental disorders, Governor Kulongoski has been an ally,” said Rep. Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis) a member of the Oregon Autism Project and current Chair of the House Education Committee. “I would like to thank him for championing this effort and working with us as we take this important first step.”

Today’s signing ceremony marks the beginning of what Rep. Edwards sees as a long-term commitment by the State to confront ASD.

“This is an exciting first step. This Commission is about producing results, not compiling another blueprint that collects dust on some agency shelf. It has been my intent that the Commission begin work as soon as possible, coordinating expertise and implementing change,” said Edwards.

The Governor is now accepting applications for slots on the 13-member commission. Interested parties are advised to contact his office for further information.

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A National Teleconference and Webcast Presented by the National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN)

Advocate!! Spread the word!! Help young people with disabilities talk about education!!

When: Tuesday, April 14, 2009

5:00pm Pacific Time

What: Please join us as the speakers will be discussing the following
* Independent Living: Links to life after high school, post-secondary and beyond!

* Transition: Links between school and career goals!

* Education for all: Individuals with cognitive disabilities succeeding in post-secondary education!

* Guest speaker: Micah Fialka-Feldman, Disability Rights Advocate

* Guest Speaker: Jeff Moyer, Public speaker and Human Rights

How: 1) Go to http://www.nyln.org
2) Click the teleconference link.
3) Register your information.
4) Press send!

This teleconference is presented by the National Youth Information Center of the National Youth Leadership Network.
Thanks to Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) for supporting this event!

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As spring break ends an army of free tutors await eastern Oregon students
51 communities across eastern Oregon – March 30, 2009 – As the school year’s end approaches many students across eastern Oregon are having the same
thought: “How am I going to pass my toughest courses?” The answer: Free Live Homework Help. The Chalkboard Project provided a grant to the Libraries of Eastern Oregon (LEO) for a free
online tutoring service available from any location. Administered by Tutor.com, Live Homework Help connects students to expert tutors in math, science, social studies, and
English. Since launching the service in September the feedback has been
loud and clear: “This is a great service!!! Keep it running!!” said one 8th grader from the Harney County Library.
To bolster the success of the free tutor service, LEO and Tutor.com are co-sponsoring a contest in April, May and June for public libraries in the 15 counties served by LEO. The contest includes $100 to be awarded to the library that has the highest usage of Live
Homework help by community residents during those three months, $75 to
the library with the most creative marketing effort for the program, and $25 to the library where patrons have
used the tutoring service for the widest range of subjects. Awards will be made during the first week of July.
Students from Kindergarten to 12th grade, those in introductory-level
college courses, and adult learners can simply visit 51 local eastern Oregon libraries, a library’s Web site, or
LEO’s Web site http://www.librariesofeasternoregon.org) to get on-demand, free help from
qualified tutors. All that’s needed is a library card. The service is available seven days a week from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“The bilingual Live Homework Help is free, easy to use, and widely accessible,” said Marie Baldo, director of the Hermiston Public Library. “It significantly increases the library’s ability
to serve learners from all ages and walks of life; strengthening the
library’s presence and responsibility in our rural community.”
Students and tutors can review specific homework questions, as well as
subject-specific concepts using features such as controlled chat, an interactive white board and shared Web
browsing in the Online Classroom. All tutors are certified teachers, college professors,professional tutors, graduate, or undergraduate school students from across the country. Tutor.com has more than 1,800 tutors available to work with kids when they need help most. Every tutor is certified by Tutor.com and has completed a third party background check.

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