Welcome to the Oregon Leadership Network's monthly blog series. Topics relate to building the capacity of education leaders to sustain research-based equitable practices across Oregon’s P–20 education system. Learn more about the Oregon Leadership Network.
Throughout our state, unacceptable disparities exist in course-taking patterns, discipline practices, attendance, college readiness, and virtually all educational indicators. A recent study released by ECONorthwest estimates that the racial achievement gap costs Oregon $2 billion a year in economic activity. More importantly, this gap represents significant unrealized potential for individuals, families, and communities. As members of the OLN, we have made a statement that we are committed to eliminating gaps in student opportunity and achievement in order to create a brighter future for Oregon students and families.
To sustain the mission of the OLN, the State Steering Committee articulated the need to deepen the nature of our work. This means that as a condition of OLN membership, we collectively and urgently seek improved outcomes for educational equity. We thoughtfully ask more provocative questions, identify and mitigate barriers to improvement, demonstrate strong passion and skill, and celebrate improved outcomes along the way.
Together, we have called for practical, actionable support to improve educational practice and help with day-to-day efforts to make effective decisions that eliminate institutional racism, promote positive and inclusive learning, and sustain equitable practice. To address these challenges, I am pleased to announce a formal partnership with the National Equity Project (NEP).
The NEP is nonprofit organization based in Oakland, California. They share the values of the OLN and a commitment to achieving educational equity. NEP works to ensure that each child receives what he or she needs to develop to his or her full academic and social potential. Moreover, they are dedicated to interrupting inequitable practices, examining biases, and creating inclusive, multicultural school environments for adults and children.
With the support of the OLN Executive Committee and the State Steering Committee, our partnership with the NEP will provide professional learning services focused on education equity exclusively through the OLN at a special rate for all OLN member organizations.
Professional learning opportunities are available in critical areas, such as:
- Instructional coaching for equity
- Keeping students at the “core” of the Common Core
- Teaching with a cultural eye
- Leading for equity in complex systems
This statewide effort is designed to enhance local outcomes and improve practice within and among OLN member organizations. Additionally, the OLN’s partnership with the NEP will foster coherence across the OLN members in our common mission to close opportunity and achievement gaps in Oregon.
There’s much to look forward to as we approach the 2015–2016 school year. In addition to the OLN’s new partnership with the National Equity Project, we welcome new members to our statewide leadership-development network. This year’s new members include Eugene School District 4J, the Hood River County School District, the Black Parent Initiative, and Portland YouthBuilders.
Here’s to a successful launch to the 2015–2016 school year!