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The Student Success Act, SSA, was funded by the legislature last year (2018). This new pot of education dollars for districts is to hit the lingering issues of low student outcomes head-on by identifying and focusing on student groups who struggle the most. Districts were charged with developing a diverse community-school Student Investment Account (SIA) task force that included parents, community members and staff to identify student groups with the most disparities, to determine their distinct needs, and develop specific plans to help all struggling students succeed with intentional, focused resources.
The task force is preparing their final report in January, after doing extensive community outreach and incorporating that feedback about what our students truly need to succeed. These recommendations will come before the school board in early 2020, and the final decisions will be incorporated in the district’s biennial budget (to be adopted in June). Meanwhile, the SSA funding application plans are due to the state around March. The funding will be available to provide new resources to students by fall of the 2020-21 school year.
One of the important jobs of the task force was to conduct diverse focus groups for parents and community members. SKCE’s staff, who have the same culture and lived experience as the community we serve, conducted the largest number of focus groups with the largest number of Latino/a/x parents in the district. The advocacy of SKCE Latino/a/x staff and parents was critical to increase the number of focus groups and assist the district and the Marion Polk Early Learning Hub in facilitating the Spanish-speaking parent groups.
We helped to fully represent the families of 17,000 students, 40% of the district. Participants repeated many of the same issues our parent leadership group identified and brought to the school board this past summer to address in the 2019-20 school year: school safety, bullying and mental health, strengthening meaningful parent engagement and hiring more bilingual/bicultural teachers.
Schools and communities have worked very hard for many years to reach the goal of all students graduating. We have seen incremental positive results for most student groups, some more than others, and a few groups who have not improved. If we look back, we know we have come a long way. If we look forward, we know we still have a long way to go to reach the goal of equal education to all children and youth.
With the support of families, community members, business owners, civic leaders and our governing bodies –
our students can do this
our district can do this
our state can do this
Oregon has what it takes to be up to par with other states across the nation, and more importantly, we have what it takes to reach the point where our children can compete in this new economy, a worldwide economy dependent on many unique skill sets.
We are getting closer and the SSA funding is going to be critical in reaching the k-12 goal of 100% of students graduating or completing high school in four or five years—with none dropping out.
For whatever reason, disparities continue to plague us. Whether because of historical and generational oppression, poverty and lack of equitable educational opportunities—this situation confronts us, and we must respond. According to the census, Latino children age 0-18 are about 25% (55,000) of extended population of (about 220,000) the Salem and Keizer District! Their success is critical to the health, safety and well-being of Salem and Keizer, and all of Oregon.
There is no alternative to this scenario. These are the reasons the Student Success Act was created. These are the reasons our taxes were increased. These are the 55,000 reasons SKCE does what we do. For the first time in many decades, Oregon will actually spend as much or more on children as we do on incarcerating individuals!
SKCE hasn’t forgotten Oregon’s 40-40-20 by 2025.
40% of our children will graduate from a four-year college or university
40% of our children will graduate with a two-year degree or career program
20% of our children will at least graduate from high school.
For Salem Keizer District, the 40-40-20 goal means that all 42,237 students will succeed in their education, with a high school diploma, career training, college degree or university degree. “All students” includes:
All 25,342 low income students = 60%
All 17,000 Latina/o/x students = 40%
All 422 black students = 1%
All 1,267 Pacific Islander students = 3%
All 422 Native American students = 1%
All 1,122 children experiencing homelessness = 3%
All 2112 Multi-ethnic students = 5%
All 845 Asian students = 2%
All 6,758 students with special needs = 17%
All 7,180 students learning English from over 80 home languages = 17%
All 20,274 white students = 48%
All several hundred students in foster care #unknown
All LGBTQ students #unknown
We need your support to continue bringing parents and community members together with school leaders, to bring about the system changes we need for all students to succeed.