Teacher survey shows areas of progress, challenge for Oregon public schools

Salem – Oregon educators are seeing improvements in their access to technology and professional learning, but face increasing challenges with policies involving managing student conduct, according to results of the latest Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning (TELL) Survey, released today.

The TELL survey is conducted every two years in Oregon and provides an opportunity for teachers and administrators to share perceptions about teaching and learning conditions at Oregon’s public schools. A record number of educators – 19,556 – took the 2018 Oregon TELL Survey.

“Educator voice and leadership are critical to improving student outcomes in schools throughout Oregon,” said Governor Kate Brown. “This data will help guide efforts to ensure all teachers are supported and the have resources they need to best serve our students.”

New national research shows that many of the conditions measured in the TELL Survey are directly connected to student achievement. An analysis of TELL data from several states (including Oregon) by Dr. Richard Ingersoll of the University of Pennsylvania found that students in schools with higher levels of school leadership and teacher leadership perform at least 10 percentage points higher in both mathematics and English language arts proficiency on their state assessments.

The Governor’s Office, Chief Education Office and Department of Education partner with the Confederation of School Administrators, Oregon Education Association, Oregon School Boards Association, Oregon Education Services Districts Association, Chalkboard Project and New Teacher Center to administer the survey.

The TELL Survey gathers input from educators in eight categories. The category that saw the most improvement from 2016 to 2018 is facilities and resources. Educators reported progress in their access to technology, reliable Internet connections and instructional materials. Educators also reported slight improvements in the amount of time available to collaborate with colleagues, resources available for professional development, and efforts to minimize routine paperwork.

The category that saw the biggest decline was managing student conduct. For example, the percentage of teachers who feel the school environment is safe declined, from 89 percent in 2016 to 82 percent in 2018. This is particularly important because the national research mentioned above found that teachers’ involvement in creating policies on student discipline leads to better student achievement.

The survey results will help drive state policies and investments, particularly through the new Educator Advancement Council, which launched this spring. The Council will establish a system of local educator networks to prioritize and expand educators’ access to professional learning and support services.

Survey results are available at the state, district and school level.

“We’re excited to have the TELL Survey data,” said John Larson, High School English Teacher from Hermiston and President of the Oregon Education Association. “This data provides important points of information for educators in districts across the state to work together to improve teaching and learning conditions in their own communities. We look forward to utilizing this knowledge to ensure that every student, regardless of their ZIP code, has access to quality learning conditions.”

TELL results suggest more schools are using the data to make improvements. In the 2018 survey, 70 percent of educators agreed with the statement: “In this school, we use the results of the TELL Oregon survey for school improvement planning.” That is a significant improvement from 57 percent in 2016.

“The TELL Survey results provide helpful feedback to school leaders and an opportunity to work with educators to make improvements in Oregon schools,” said Craig Hawkins, Executive Director of the Confederation of School Administrators. “We are pleased to see that schools are using this data as they work to improve programs and practices.”

For more information on school, district, and state-level results, visit

2018 Legislative Highlights

The 2018 Legislative session ended Saturday, March 3, 2018. The Legislature tackled many challenging issues during session, such as gun control, clean air, PERS, child welfare, and net neutrality. In addition, there were several important policy changes that impact the Chief Education Office and its partners in the education system. Below is a summary.

System research and coordination
Through HB 5201, the Legislature appropriated funding to allow the Chief Education Office to complete and launch the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) and agency operational funding for research and coordination of a seamless system of education.

The Legislature also directed the Chief Education Office to conduct two new studies:

  • Study on recruitment, retention, mentoring and professional development of educators who serve students from student groups that may be at risk for experiencing achievement gap (HB 4044).
  • Annual report on accelerated college credit programs (HB 4053), in collaboration with the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC). The goal is to provide a uniform system to advance accelerated learning and reduce the cost and time to complete a college degree and transition to a career.

Besides the launch of the SLDS and the new research projects, the Chief Education Office will focus on the following areas during the remainder of the 2017-19 biennium:

  • Convene the Education Cabinet and lead the development of a unified education budget
  • Focus on key student transitions to improve outcomes, particularly pre-K through third grade, and high school to college or career.
  • Improve the quality of teaching by enhancing educators’ access to professional learning opportunities and support
  • Improve processes to identify and disseminate effective practices across the education system to improve student learning outcomes and achieve statewide goals.
  • Support regional partnerships among schools, community organizations, businesses, and local leaders in developing creative solutions to improve student outcomes.

Early learning and child care safety
The Early Learning Division of the Department of Education received support from the Legislature to strengthen its child care licensing program. HB 4065 provides additional enforcement authority to the Early Learning Division’s Office of Child Care, allowing for stronger and quicker action again child care facilities that are violating the law. It also increases civil penalties for violations.  HB 5201 provides funding for additional child care licensing staff and lead testing for small child care providers.  The new licensing staff will help lower caseloads (which now exceed the national standard) and allow the Office of Child Care to conduct additional unannounced visits to ensure children are safe. The funding also provides for new staff to conduct joint investigations with the Department of Human Services when there are allegations of abuse in child care setting.

Access to technology
House Bill 4023 directs Oregon Broadband Advisory Council to study options for a local broadband champion program and creates the Connecting Oregon Schools Fund to provide matching funds for federal funds received by school districts for broadband access. This will allow the Oregon Department of Education to help rural and low-income school districts get better digital connections.

School support and accessibility
Several bills provide additional services to students or protections that remove barriers to success.

HB 4150 provides additional information to students and their families after an investigation related to sexual harassment. Instead of only receiving notice that the investigation is complete, the student and student’s family will now have access to information regarding whether the investigation determined a violation occurred and what actions, if any, the school district is planning to take to prevent a recurrence of the situation.

HB 4067 adds developmental delays to the list of conditions eligible for special education services for children in kindergarten through 3rd grade. Currently, there are a number of developmentally delayed children in the Early Childhood Special Education programs.  When these children reach kindergarten, they are no longer eligible for services as developmentally delayed and have to go through an evaluation process to see if they are eligible for services under another category.

HB 4047 helps prevent barriers to graduation for at-risk students by prohibiting education service districts (ESDs) from imposing high school diploma requirements that are in addition to requirements established by state law if child is enrolled in educational program under Juvenile Detention Education Program or Youth Corrections Education Program. ESDs were overlooked in a previous bill with the same purpose.

HB 4036 expands the types of interscholastic activities available to students who are homeschooled or in public charter schools.

Higher education access and affordability
Two bills focus on support for military service members pursuing post-secondary education:

  • HB 4035 requires Higher Education Coordinating Commission to provide tuition assistance for qualified members of Oregon National Guard to attend community colleges or public universities.
  • SB 1557 requires community colleges, public universities and Oregon Health and Science University to provide protections to students ordered to federal or state active duty for 30 or fewer consecutive days, to help prevent barriers to academic success.

HB 4141 helps ensure a greater degree of student participation in tuition setting processes on public university campuses as universities contemplate tuition rates. Campuses will be required to: formalize more student involvement; consider several factors in their tuition setting processes; and, in the event universities request a tuition and fee increase that requires the HECC’s approval (greater than 5 percent), provide information about how they have considered those factors to the Commission.

SB 1563 provides a technical correction intended to ensure that the tuition equity policy continues for undocumented students in Oregon absent a federal deferred action program. It removes the requirement that students who are not citizens or lawful permanent residents apply for official federal identification documents to be eligible for exemption from paying nonresident tuition at public universities.

Finally, Senate Bill 1528 creates a tax credit auction, modeled after the Oregon Film and Video Office auction, which would result in approximately $15 million increased funds for the Oregon Opportunity Grant.

Record number of educators take the 2018 TELL Survey

The 2018 Oregon Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning (TELL) Survey garnered responses from 19,556 educators – the most responses ever since Oregon launched the survey in 2014. That total represents 54 percent of all educators in Oregon.

In 95 schools, 100 percent of the educators participated. And 668 schools with a minimum of five respondents reached the 50 percent participated level so they will be able to view their own school data.

Results will be available in late spring on the TELL Oregon website.

Educator Advancement Council recruiting members

The new Educator Advancement Council, created by Senate Bill 182, is recruiting members to begin meeting as a council this spring. The Council will develop local educator networks to provide professional learning and support to educators statewide.

The Chief Education Office is seeking a broad range of voices, experiences, and perspectives to fill the council seats. Applications materials are available here. The deadline to apply for the initial group of council positions is April 15; however, applications will be accepted year-round to help fill any vacancies that may arise.

TELL Survey deadline extended to March 4

The deadline for educators to complete the 2018 Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Survey has been extended until Sunday, March 4, at midnight.

Nearly 19,000 educators, about 52 percent have taken the survey, but it’s important for as many educators as possible to take the survey and let their voice be heard. You can check the progress of your school or district on the 2018 Tell Oregon website: .

Other helpful links:
2018 Tell Oregon website:
Take the survey:
Get help:

SB 182 work well under way

 Senate Bill 182 (2017) creates the Educator Advancement Council to provide a systematic and equitable approach to supporting the educators who guide students in Oregon classrooms every day. The council will develop local educator networks that will prioritize needs for educator professional development and support and distribute funding in an equitable manner.

The Chief Education Office will coordinate across education agencies to provide support and accountability to this new council, connect educator networks, and coordinate and conduct research on teaching and learning conditions, educator workforce supply and demand, and common measures for accountability

In January 2018, the Chief Education Office submitted a report to the Legislature that updates the work under way to implement SB 182. To read the report, click here. The Office will be providing more information about the new council through its website in the coming weeks.

Report details college and career readiness initiatives

A critical focus of Governor Kate Brown and the state’s education agencies is to ensure that each Oregon student graduates high school with a plan for their future. In 2015, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 418, aimed at improving college and career readiness. The bill directed the Chief Education Office (CEdO), Oregon Department of Education (ODE), and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to develop recommendations for programs and resources to help students transition from high school to college and into the workforce. Funding for initiatives was provided by the 2016 Legislature. To learn more about the outcomes of these initiatives and recommendations for moving forward, read the agencies’ report, Improving Transitional Supports for Student Success: A Snapshot of Outcomes.

Two new STEM hubs come online

The state recently funded two new Regional STEM Hubs, bringing the total statewide to 13. These Hubs bring together schools, nonprofits, businesses, and local leaders to drive hands-on learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. The new Hubs are:

  • Mid-Valley Mid-Coast STEM-CTE, serving Benton, Linn and parts of Lincoln County, received $47,382. It is a partnership among Lane Benton Community College and Oregon State University, the Linn Benton Lincoln Educational Service District, K-12 school, and industry and community partners. The Hub aims to provide a unified, coordinated approach to meeting workforce needs and addressing social and economic inequities in the region.
  • Northwest STEM Hub, serving Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties, received $49,875. Housed at the Northwest Regional Education Service District (ESD), the mission of the Northwest STEM Hub is to provide local students the opportunity to develop real-world skills linked to high-wage and high-demand careers and postsecondary education and training.

Reflections from Education Innovation Officer, Colt Gill, on His Statewide Engagement

Looking Outside Oregon…

The last four days I have shifted away from statewide engagement to look to communities beyond Oregon’s borders. I have been attending the Community Convention by the America’s Promise Alliance. America’s Promise Alliance launched the GradNation campaign in 2010, building on 105 dropout prevention summits convened across the country to raise awareness and inspire action. GradNation is now a large and growing movement of dedicated individuals, organizations and communities working together to end America’s dropout crisis. Attending this has allowed me to learn from state and community leaders from across the country who have all focused improving graduation outcomes for students.

I have learned about public-private partnerships, programs that target historically underserved students, and policy initiatives that have made the transition into widespread practices and positive outcomes for children. These communities and states have proven that when an entire community comes together they can improve outcomes.

One of the many examples I learned from is the Academies of Nashville. This program includes over 350 private and public partnerships. It has improved their graduation rates by more than 9 percentage points over the last four years. Perhaps more importantly it has set students up with a plan for their future after high school graduation. Check-out this 5-minute video to learn more:

The research of this week and next I’ll be wrapping up the statewide engagement with more conversations in Lane, Douglas, Marion, and Multnomah counties. Later this month or early in November we’ll be able to share back what we have learned from Oregon’s students, parents, educators, and community leaders.


Culturally Sustaining Practices in Portland


I learned a lot. I learned from students and dedicated staff members, community partners, university leaders, and district and school leaders in Portland. Last week I visited three programs in Portland, some of which serve multiple districts. I got to see culturally responsive and sustaining programs in action. Programs that truly connect with the students, families and communities they serve. The staff, volunteers, and partners have a deep dedication to the people they serve and the mission they are trying to accomplish. This commitment to community and mission is one commonality these three programs share. But there are more… all three rely on cross-agency, inclusive partnerships to reach the community and their mission and they all three willingly share their methods with others so that their success can be replicated.

The programs were:


The list of partners is impressive:


I really did learn a lot! Each of this programs is focused on helping students reach graduation with a plan for their future. Each one of these programs recognizes that Oregon is becoming more and more diverse and that schools must change their practices to reach all students and families. And, each one of them is moving beyond talk and plans to serve our most marginalized students…they are doing it and they are a model for all of us.

KairosPDX knows that education is a gateway to future opportunity. They start with families and their youngest children through their Early Learning Network. The KairosPDX Early Learning network is focused on  providing direct and  indirect, culturally competent consulting and services to current in-home providers and families/friends and neighbors who serve under-represented youth including low-income youth and youth of color. They also offer a Family connections program, born of the belief that families are first teachers and children exist in the context of their families. The family connections program also serves as a broker and connector to community resources. Oh yes, and they operate a K-3 (eventually to grade 5) school or multicultural service learning academy.

OPEN School East is OPEN School’s newest 7th-12th grade college-prep school in East Portland. It helps students excel academically, graduate, and go to college. They focus on rigorous academics, teachers who are given time to develop meaningful relationships with students, and a lot of love and support – yes, I witnessed this…it is present in the halls, outside the school,  and in the classrooms. And, it seems to work. Their students advance an average of 2.5 grade levels in math and reading in their first year in the program.

3 to PhD is a unique partnership between Faubion K-8 School and the Concordia College of Education. This is a partnership that has been in existence for several years. It has now grown to a new level. The K-8 and the College of education will soon be housed within the same building! They aim to create a safer, healthier and more educated community. Their goal is to close the opportunity gap for the most marginalized and vulnerable children and families in the community. 3 to PhD hopes to restore a school as the heartbeat of a community. The effort includes:

  • Wrap-around services for children and families;
  • early childhood education;
  • health & wellness programs;
  • STEAM (science, technology engineering, arts and math) educational opportunities; and
  • one-on-one tutors, mentors and coaches from Concordia


Innovation is happening in Oregon! Over the next two weeks I will continue to visit with students, families, educators, and community in Lane, Marion, Linn, Benton, and Douglas Counties. Look for a report of all our findings in late October or early November.