Oregon Charter School News Weekly

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

To be honest, I don't even know what to write for this final “Week in The Capitol”. It feels like nothing happened, but everything happened this last week. As I reflect I realize this isn’t an uncommon feeling during a short session, but it’s been 4 years since we’ve had a full short session. You all know that short session is a sprint and this year’s sprint has been one of the biggest in a decade…with record revenue to spend, unusual mid-session (ARPA funds and huge state revenues), and a drive to address unfinished policy business from 2021 we’re lucky we didn’t run right up to the constitutional sine die. 

Big things happened this session and we’ll dive deep into those in our end of session reports but it’s important, this final week, to note that the tone of the Capitol shifted significantly this week. It’s not unusual, when we get closer to gaveling out that the tension dividing opponents and supporters remains but legislators seem to rise above that to show a camaraderie and gratitude for one another that we don’t see much of during the session. For those of us observing, we wonder “could this be our normal instead? Must we wait until people see the end in sight for this collegiality and warm rapport to be present?”

This marks Senate President Courtney’s last session, as he’ll retire at the end of 2022. During Senate debate on the last policy bill he will chief co-sponsor (SB 1504, related to greyhound racing) his Senate colleagues rose to speak to the bill but mostly to praise his commitment to Oregon, his work to support Oregon’s most vulnerable humans and animals over the decades of his career, and the snarky, stoic, but also comical way he’s managed the Chamber. 

In the end of session reports we’ll dive into what passed/didn’t this session, the big ticket items like Future Ready Oregon, Agricultural Worker Overtime, criminal justice reforms, and the record short session budget reconciliation bill.


Oregon legislature adjourned 2022 Sine die March 4, 11:58am. 


Webinar: When Your Reputation Precedes You

The National Charter School Research Center hosted an interactive webinar, titled “When Your Reputation Precedes You,” to help charter school leaders identify issues regarding their school’s reputation and how failing to address these issues can hinder a school’s progression over time.The event included an introduction to NCSRC’s indicators of distress research and a panel discussion exploring elements of the reputation management in action. Participants at the event also engaged in small group discussions about situational challenges that could be faced when addressing issues regarding a school’s reputation within their community.

The event featured school leaders from the Charter School of New Castle Middle School and Victory College Prep about their experience in reevaluating and managing their schools’ reputations. It concluded with participants engaging in action planning to apply what they learned through the session. 

Watch the Webinar
Rising Leaders Initiative with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

The Rising Leaders Initiative is a one-year advocacy training program for charter high school students who want to become active participants in education policy decisions in their local community and state and develop skills to guide their educational and professional pathways. They will recruit a diverse group of charter high school students who want to advocate for better education policies in their communities and give back to the next generation of students. Students will participate in monthly virtual workshops to deepen their knowledge on the functions of civic participation, education advocacy, coalition building and develop leadership and public speaking skills. Students will create and lead an advocacy club in their school to advocate for their charter school and develop impactful policy initiatives to address an urgent public education issue affecting their school or community. 

Students are expected to participate in all scheduled virtual meetings and trainings. Meetings/trainings will be held monthly from September 2022-June 2023.

Students will be eligible for a $3,000 stipend for their participation in the program. Advocacy clubs will also receive operating funds.

  • High school students enrolled at a U.S. charter school in the 2022-2023 academic year
  • Good academic standing
  • Demonstrated commitment to others through volunteering and service to their school/community.
  • An interest in advocacy, leadership, and government
Learn more and apply
More Schools, Community Organizations Sought for Summer Food Service Program
The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) is seeking more schools, community organizations and tribes to participate in the Summer Food Service Program  (SFSP) this summer to ensure children 18 and younger, who benefit from meal programs during the school year, continue to have that same access to nutritious meals when schools are closed, or students are unable to attend school in person.

“Access to summer meals is an important way to ensure that children continue to receive the nutrition they need, to learn and grow, when school is not in session,” ODE Summer Meals Outreach Coordinator Cathy Brock said. "It is important to expand the program and close the hunger gap in all areas of the state, and ODE’s Child Nutrition Program is reaching out to ensure that children continue to receive meals throughout the summer."

For information about how to apply for the Summer Food Service Program, please contact ode.communitynutrition@ode.oregon.govThe deadline to submit an application to become a Summer Food Service Sponsor is May 13, 2022. 

ODE has state grant funds available up to $20,000 per sponsor to expand or start up summer meal programs.  For more information on grant funds, please email Kaitlin Skreen or call (503) 947-5901.

Learn more
School Opportunities and Resources

Nominate for the National Alliance's 2022 Changemaker Awards
Do you know an individual who is making a difference in their charter school and their community? Nominate them for the National Alliance's 2022 Changemaker Awards! During National Charter Schools Week 2022, May 9-13, we'll highlight school leaders, teachers, parents, community advocates, or charter school alumni who are going above and beyond to adapt new ideas, make change, or use their voice and talents to fight for one of the many issues facing our nation today. We want to hear who you think deserves to be recognized! 

Resources on weighted lotteries are available on the ORC3S Member Portal!
Weighted lotteries benefit Oregon charter schools by helping charter schools increase the diversity of their student bodies. Historically underserved students will experience more equitable access to these rich educational opportunities and all students will experience a richer learning environment. And, according to the Century Foundation, such learning environments lead to stronger academic outcomes. Previous Oregon Charter School enrollment law only allowed schools to give priority for admission to students who have enrolled siblings. A new law, passed in 2021 by ORC3S (and championed by Rep. Susan McLain) allows public charter schools to implement a weighted lottery that provides a system of enrollment preference for:
  • Historically underserved students (defined as students at risk because of race, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, income level, proficiency in the English language, socioeconomic status, or geographic location.)
  • Children participating in a publicly funded or free preschool program operated by the public charter school
  • Students who are at risk (defined as students from economically disadvantaged families; identified as having special educational needs; are limited in proficiency in the English language; are at risk of dropping out of high school; or do not meet minimum standards of academic proficiency)
Learn more about weighted lotteries and access resources on our member portal! The ORC3S Member Portal is a password-protected section of the ORC3S website where we will host a variety of resources & tools that ORC3S member schools can access anytime they want. Not a member? Click here to learn more about membership and apply today!

National Charter School Resource Center Funding Opportunity Database
The database includes one-time and ongoing grants, fellowships, prizes, and scholarships. Sponsors include the U.S. Federal Government and philanthropic organizations. The page is updated frequently as charter school funding opportunities are announced. Click here to view the database and search for funding opportunities.

Upcoming Events

Programs, Policy, and Research

Register Now: 2022 National Charter Schools Conference in Washington, DC
Registration launched last week for the 2022 National Charter Schools Conference in Washington, D.C., June 19-22. The National Alliance is committed to hosting a safe and rewarding event to make up for the time we’ve lost together, but space is limited. Join them where the movement meets. Click here to learn more.

New CREDO Study Confirms Charter Schools Pivoted Well During Pandemic
The autonomy and flexibility of the charter school model's governance structure allowed charter schools to quickly pivot and meet the needs of their students at the start of the pandemic, according to a new study from Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO). On average, it only took 3.5 days for charter schools to transition to remote learning in March 2020—while most district-run schools didn't transition until May.

How are Charters Using Their Federal TA Funds?
Charter School Programs (CSP) State Entity (SE) grantees are required to use at least 7% of their CSP funding to provide technical assistance (TA) to subgrant applicants and charter school authorizers. These funds can also be used for other activities that improve authorizer quality, including developing capacity for, and conducting, fiscal oversight and auditing of charter schools. SE grantees can determine how to allocate theses "TA set-aside" funds between support for quality authorizing and TA to applicants. This report explains how SE grantees are using or proposed to use the TA set-aside portion of their CSP funds for these activities. This report also describes SE activities to ensure that subgrantees are equipped to meet the needs of all students, and specifically students with disabilities and English learners (ELs). Learn more.

New Report on How Charter Schools Improve Outcomes for Students in Metro Areas
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute is out with a new report that analyzes two decades of data to understand how the presence of public charter schools in a metro area impacts student achievement—both in district and charter schools across America. One of the report’s major findings: “On average, increases in Black and Hispanic charter school enrollment share are associated with sizable increases in the average math achievement of these student groups, especially in large metro areas.”

Charter Schools in the News

Here are a few local headlines from the past few weeks:

See which Portland schools, metro districts had big enrollment losses: PPS reports 4% fewer students this year, Oregon Live

Oregon joins other West Coast states in lifting mask mandates in schools on March 12, OPB

Mega chicken farms planned near school, rivers prompt outrage in rural Oregon, Statesman Journal

Here are a few national headlines from the past few weeks:

Flexibility Gave Charter Schools an Edge During the Pandemic (Op-Ed), Reason

Biden Must Reclaim Democrats' Discarded Mantle of Education Reform in State of the Union Address (Op-Ed), Real Clear Policy

Many Rural Communities of Color Have No Arts Education. That’s Why We’re Opening Our Maryland Middle School (Op-Ed), The Seventy Four

Revitalizing K-12 Education With 10,000 New Charter Schools (Op-Ed), Real Clear Policy

New Research Confirms that Charter Schools Drive Academic Gains for Their Own Students — and for Kids in Nearby District Schools (Op-Ed), The Seventy Four

3 Ways for Charter School Leaders of Color and Donors to Work Together, Close the Financial Divide and Unleash Big Bets for Social Changes (Op-Ed)*, The Seventy Four

Enrollment in virtual schools is exploding. Will students stay long term?, The Washington Post
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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Oregon Coalition of Community Charter Schools · 13809 SE Division St Ste A · Portland, OR 97236-2843 · USA

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