In 2017 the major thrust of the Oregon Department of Education was putting together a plan for ESSA. The final plan, submitted to the Federal Government in May, was approved in late August. Oregon’s plan emphasizes attention to chronic student absenteeism and keeping ninth-grade students on track for graduation. The ODE has already begun to implement its plan by working to redesign the school report card and support educators in low-performing schools.
In addition to working on their ESSA commitments, Oregon school districts are devoting their resources to repairing and modernizing school buildings. In Portland the major task is to replace water fountains in schools where lead is present. Although lead was discovered in two schools last year, the district did not have sufficient funding to test fountains in all schools.’ Fortunately, a $790 million school bond was approved by voters in May, so the work is now underway at all of Portland’s 90 schools and other repairs and improvements will be done in four schools that need them.