Oregon Charter School News Weekly

A weekly newsletter of Charter School happenings around Oregon and the Nation.

2020 Legislative Session Update

This week at the Capitol legislators, lobbyists, and advocates have a clearer sense of which policy bills may make it through session and whether we'll stay in session until the official March 8th end date. Tensions continue to be high between Democrat and Republicans, over the Cap & Trade bill, with House Republicans refusing to come back for an evening floor session (where bills are voted on) this last Wednesday. This set the stage for possible walk-outs in the coming days. 

State and local agencies that are working on budget adjustments (or fixes) are eagerly hoping that work will continue in the Capitol so that they can continue services at their current levels. Legislators have a couple more weeks to make those things happen. Next week will be a real test as to whether the legislature will be able to get done the work that it's intended to do during short session years. 

Stay tuned!

Register now for early bird pricing!

The National Charter Schools Conference 2020 is from June 21 to 24 in Orlando, Florida. More than 85% of conference attendees say what they learn at NCSC applies directly to their jobs and will lead to implementation or positive changes at their schools and organizations. Join ORC3S at this year's conference - REGISTER TODAY! Rates go up after February 24. Click here for more information on keynote speakers, featured sessions, and a recap from the 2019 conference.

Educator Resources

Programs, Policy, and Research
  • Recently, Brightbeam published the report "The Secret Shame: How America’s Most Progressive Cities Betray Their Commitment to Educational Opportunity for All." Brightbeam is an umbrella organization for Education Post, a nonprofit organization that supports school reform.

    The report examines school achievement and graduation data from public school districts in the 12 most conservative cities and the 12 least conservative cities. According to the report, "six of the 12 progressive cities — San Francisco, Washington, Seattle, Oakland, Minneapolis and Portland — have yawning black-white achievement gaps in both math and reading that exceed 40 percentage points." Click here to read an article on the report published by NBC and here to take the pledge to demand educational justice from the leaders in your city. 
  • Stay up to date on the latest in Election 2020. Chalkbeat created a cheat sheet that covers what the democratic presidential candidates have said about education. 
  • According to new federal data, a record-high 1.5 million students were homeless during the 2017-18 school year, 11 percent more than the previous year and nearly double the number a decade ago. Click here to read the Education Week article. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools published a toolkit with guidance for how to best serve students who are experiencing homelessness. Click here to download the toolkit. 
Events and Workshops
School Opportunities
  • Grant Opportunity: LISC Spark Opportunity Facilities Grant Program
    Applications are open for the second round of the Spark Opportunity Grant Program run by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). Spark Opportunity Grants provide charter schools predevelopment grants of $15,000 - $50,000 to support planning for new school facilities on a competitive basis. For more information, sign up for the Spark Opportunity Grants mailing listApplications are due by February 28, 2020.
  • Funding Opportunities for Early Learning 
    The Early Learning Division is now accepting applications to expand culturally specific early learning programs and infant, toddler, and preschool education programs. Consider applying for funds to become a Preschool Promise provider. Preschool Promise leverages high-quality, local and culturally-relevant early child care and education programs and makes them available to children living at 200 percent of the poverty level. For more information on the Request for Applications (RFA), visit The deadline is to apply is April 2, 2020. 
  • Exemplary Therapist Awards
    Each year at the TIES Conference, Oregon therapists are recognized for their outstanding achievements in the provision of education-based therapy services. Click here for award descriptions and directions to nominate a colleague from your charter school. Deadline is March 20, 2020. 
  • Steven R. Nelson Native Educator Scholarship Program
    Apply for Education Northwest's Steven R. Nelson Native Educator Scholarship! This scholarship program strives to increase Native representation in the field of education by providing financial support, mentoring, and internships for Native students in the Northwest who are pursuing a master’s degree in education policy, leadership, technical assistance, research, or a closely related field. The application deadline is March 31. Click here for eligibility requirements and application procedure. 
Student Resources and Opportunities 
  • Safe Routes in All Weather Photo Contest
    Encourage your charter school students to enter the Safe Routes to School Partnership photo contest. Enter the photo contest by snapping a photo walking, rolling, and being active in your community! To learn more about the contest categories and how to enter, click hereThe deadline to submit photos is February 28.
  • National Endowment of the Arts: Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge
    The National Endowment for the Arts and the American Theatre Wing opened applications for the 2020 Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for high school students who have a passion for writing songs that could be part of a musical theater production. Musical theater encompasses a wide range of musical styles including hip-hop, rock, R&B, country, jazz, and more. The 2020 application portal is open until March 6, 2020. For more information, visit
  • 2020 Prom Challenge
    Prom Challenge is a new program created in partnership between When We All Vote and MTV’s +1thevote campaign, with support from Rent the Runway and other brands, to celebrate and recognize 20 high schools across the country integrating voter registration into their schools in the most creative and impactful ways. Application deadline is March 13, 2020. Click here for more information. 
Oregon Charter Schools in the News

Advocates, families and transgender students push for progress in Oregon schools

In this article by the Statesman Journal, Jack Loney and Julian Holman share their stories and experiences as transgender students. Compared to their cisgender peers, trans people are more vulnerable to: dropping out of school, experiencing homelessness, earning less, being discriminated against for employement and house, and being victims of crime.

By taking a proactive approach in promoting inclusion and preventing discrimination, schools can embrace and support transgender students. 

"Inclusion has to go down to every level," Julian said. "It can't just be a sticker that you put up. It has to be what you're teaching, what you're showing."

Check out these tips from the article: 

"When everybody gets on board with that, it shows every trans person in that classroom, 'Oh, this is a place that actually does things that show they care about me,'" Julian said. "It also lets other students know 'this is what we're about.'" 

Other school headlines from around the state:  

Is your school a member of ORC3S yet? 
We are a coalition of community-based, public charter schools representing all corners of our state. Although, we are all unique in our pedagogy and practice, what unites us is our commitment to educational innovation and to high-quality schools for all students. Our mission is to provide a voice and sustainable support and guidance for the members of our coalition.
Join us now!
Oregon Coalition of Community Charter Schools
13809 SE Division St Ste A
Portland, OR 97236

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