School board to discuss suicide prevention, staff retention in work session
Co-pays resume for some Oregon families getting state subsidies for child care
LOCAL SCHOOLS Oct. 21
Rebuilt 900 seat Rose Auditorium anchors South Salem High School expansion
An $84 million renovation at South Salem High School is now complete, with a dozen new classrooms and more space for performing arts and career programs. It's the most substantial and expensive project to date in a districtwide construction package voters approved in 2018.
MAPS wants to give local teachers $1,000 for classroom projects
Reported Covid cases in Salem schools decline
FreeAROUND OREGON Oct. 18
Shortage of bus drivers the latest staffing challenge for Oregon schools
In some districts in Oregon, routes are being combined, cut and parents are being paid to figure out alternatives.
VACCINATION Oct. 15
As Oct. 18 vaccination deadline looms, Salem employers report high vaccination rates
Nearly all employees of the Salem-Keizer School District and Salem's largest medical providers have been fully vaccinated against Covid or had an exception approved three days out from Gov. Kate Brown’s mandated deadline.
New agreement gives Chemeketa students easier pathway to 4-year art degree
LOCAL SCHOOLS Oct. 14
At McKay, orchestra will no longer be held in the closet
Larger science labs, more space for special education students and a building dedicated to career programs are among the improvements from a recently completed $64 million renovation of McKay High School.
FreeLOCAL SCHOOLS Oct. 13
Split Salem-Keizer school board commits to antiracism in 4-2 vote
Following a contentious meeting Tuesday night, Superintendent Christy Perry said her school board's public commitment to antiracism and equity reflects the goals she's advanced for years and gives the district's elected leaders better tools to hold her accountable for outcomes.
Latino students now largest share of Salem-Keizer district
LOCAL SCHOOLS Oct. 8
Salem-Keizer's first woman principal remembered at Celebration of Leadership
Former McNary High School principal and longtime educator Kathleen Hanneman died last September. A public tribute Wednesday recalled her impact on the school and her students.
FreeOREGON NEWS Oct. 7
Despite return to in-person classes, many who chose homeschooling during pandemic stay home
Almost 7,000 students are now homeschooling in the Willamette Education Service District, up from 4,500 during the 2019-20 school year.
FreeLOCAL SCHOOLS Oct. 6
Pandemic widens graduation inequities for Salem high schoolers
Just 70% of Salem-Keizer freshmen last year completed enough credits to stay on track to graduate high school, down from 85% before the pandemic. While nearly every group of students struggled, Latino, Pacific Islander, migrant and homeless students were particularly impacted.
FreeSALEM TEACHERS Oct. 6
As the pandemic disrupted substitute teaching, this Salem teacher worked to lift her colleagues’ spirits
Leslie Polson, president of the Oregon Substitute Teachers Association, has taught in districts around Salem for 40 years. She said last school year prompted many substitutes to get other jobs because virtual classes typically didn’t employ substitutes, exacerbating the substitute shortage Oregon now faces.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Oct. 4
One month into school, few Covid outbreaks among kids in Salem
The start of in-person school in Oregon so far hasn't led to a spike in Covid cases in kids or hospitalizations. While many schools have recorded cases of Covid, local and state data shows in general, those infections aren't spreading in classrooms.
Two classrooms at Grant, Weddle elementary schools moved online following student illness
LOCAL SCHOOLS Sep. 30
Salem teacher gets community boost to expand classroom library
When Kalia Flocker’s second graders started school at Lamb Elementary this fall, she noticed most of them were reading well behind grade level. She turned to crowdfunding to get books at their level, and said they’re now making quick progress.
Western Christian School closes for a week after 12 Covid cases
89 more Salem-Keizer students positive for Covid among 39,000 attending in-person
LOCAL SCHOOLS Sep. 27
An old toy store is now home to Salem’s newest career education program
The Willamette Career Academy offers hands-on classes in diesel mechanics, health sciences and cosmetology to high school students from districts around Marion and Polk counties, many of which are too small to have their own courses on campus. It opened with about 200 students this fall.
Child care providers in Oregon can again apply for state grants
HIGHER EDUCATION Sep. 22
With national grant, Chemeketa instructors will work to boost enrollment, diversity in STEM
Several years ago, Chemeketa geology instructor Shannon Othus-Gault was successful getting a more diverse group of students enrolled in her classes and improving pass rates by making small changes in teaching and testing. Now, she's hoping to help other science, technology, engineering and math faculty do the same.
HIGHER EDUCATION Sep. 20
WOU welcomes first students to new Salem campus
Oregon’s oldest public university now has a presence in the state capital, with a downtown campus offering evening and weekend courses aimed at working professionals.
ON THE AIR Sep. 20
ON THE AIR: Salem Reporter's Ardeshir Tabrizian on the impact of the late Chuck Lee
LISTEN IN: Catch the comments of reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian on the latest local news on community radio station KMWV (98.3 FM) with "In Case You Missed It - With Salem Reporter."
Two weeks into school, 48 Covid cases, 99 quarantines among 39,000 Salem-Keizer students
SALEM PEOPLE Sep. 14
Salem-Keizer educator Chuck Lee remembered for authenticity, love for education
The Salem-Keizer community on Sept. 4 lost Chuck Lee, 72, a veteran educator who founded Blanchet Catholic School and the Career Technical Education Center. He helped raise millions of dollars for local education by keeping his focus squarely on students and their needs.
OREGON SCHOOLS Sep. 14
School board members around Oregon get warning: Obey the law
The state association representing school boards was blunt in a letter to board members about the risk of ignoring Covid restrictions. The association leaders wrote that school board members have a duty to obey the law regardless of their views.
AGENDA: In virtual meeting, Salem-Keizer board will consider welcoming schools resolution
LOCAL SCHOOLS Sep. 13
In Salem, students no longer need to be expelled or fail classes to attend alternative school
A redesign of the Salem-Keizer School District's alternative middle and high school programs is intended to give students a chance for a different environment before they become disengaged from classes - and provide more options for students already enrolled.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Sep. 9
PHOTOS: School is back in Salem
More than 41,000 kids had their first day of classes Wednesday as the Salem-Keizer School District went back to full-time, in-person school for the first time since the pandemic began.
Chuck Lee, Keizer educator and advocate, dies at 72
LOCAL SCHOOLS Sep. 8
“Incredibly exciting”: Salem students back in schools
Navigating new buildings and school traffic congestion, tens of thousands of kids returned to classrooms in-person full time for the first time since the Covid pandemic began.
West Salem music students go door to door seeking donations Saturday
LAW ENFORCEMENT Sep. 8
Marion County child abuse response team ramps up investigations ahead of fall school return
Officials in Marion County tasked with child abuse investigations are expanding and meeting more often, with concerns of a potential spike in reports.
FreeLOCAL SCHOOLS Sep. 7
How Salem schools are opening windows, filtering air to limit Covid spread as classes return
Thousands of Salem kids are back in classrooms full-time starting Wednesday. Here’s what we know about school ventilation, lunch plans and more.
SALEM PEOPLE Sep. 1
South Salem grad wants to protect Oregon coastal communities through better engineering
Inessa Garrey sees flooding, extreme weather and soil erosion as imminent threats to the beaches she loved visiting as a kid. She's heading to the University of Washington to study civil engineering this fall after two summers aiding in research at Oregon State University.
FreeCOVID AND KIDS Aug. 30
What an Oregon pediatric doctor wants parents to know about Covid as schools reopen
Even with the more contagious Delta variant of Covid, Dr. Dawn Nolt, professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at Oregon Health and Science University, says Oregon schools can reopen in-person and keep kids too young to be vaccinated safe. But masks and other prevention strategies are essential, she said.
SALEM FAMILIES Aug. 24
An expanded child tax credit means more breathing room for Salem parents
Salem parents said the federal payments of a few hundred dollars per month have helped cover some “extras” for their kids, like for summer camp or back-to-school clothes. But mostly, they’ve meant less worry about regular bills.
Salem-Keizer board cancels meeting over concerns of clashes between protesters
Oregon students who refuse to wear masks can't attend school in person, state says
LOCAL SCHOOLS Aug. 18
PHOTOS: Young thespians perform at Unified Musical Theater showcase
The new summer program brought together middle school students with and without disabilities from seven Salem-Keizer schools to learn performing arts.
Gov. Brown tells school leaders not to "jeopardize" in-person classes by ignoring mask rule
LOCAL SCHOOLS Aug. 16
What to expect when Salem kids head back to school
Full-time, in-person school remains the plan for every Salem-Keizer family who wants it, and spots in the district’s online academy are filling quickly. There’s currently no requirement Oregon or local teachers get a Covid vaccine, though district and local union leaders said it’s among the possibilities being discussed.
Person who attended Salem-Keizer School Board meeting tests positive for Covid
SALEM PRESCHOOL Aug. 12
Hundreds of slots unfilled in free Head Start preschool around Salem
Directors of Head Start programs around Salem say fewer families are qualifying for the program that’s intended to serve low-income kids and help them prepare for kindergarten. Uncertainty about K-12 school in the fall and pandemic concerns are also keeping some kids home.
AGENDA: Salem-Keizer School Board will discuss public comment, return to school
Salem again sees decline in number of child care providers
LOCAL SCHOOLS Aug. 3
"I’ve gotten more confident”: Black Salem students find friendship, explore culture in summer program
A new summer program is intended to give Salem-Keizer students an academic boost by weaving African and African American history and culture into reading, math lessons and recreational activities.
HIGHER EDUCATION Aug. 2
Chemeketa offers career-focused programs free to young adults through federal grant
Chemeketa Community College was one of 26 U.S. colleges chosen for a Department of Labor grant which pays for tuition, books and other costs for low-income students who enroll in programs like welding, preschool teaching, medical assisting and more.
OREGON SCHOOLS Jul. 29
Governor mandates masks for all Oregon K-12 schools in fall 2021
Brown’s decision Thursday is an about-face from the state’s previous focus on local control for school in the fall. The mask rule applies to public and private schools, and state education officials said guidelines being developed would allow modifications for students with disabilities or medical conditions that make wearing masks difficult.
SALEM PEOPLE Jul. 29
Salem student gets a boost toward dream of improving reservation housing
Kayla Monte, a student at Chemawa Indian School, wants to study architecture and apply her skills toward affordable housing on tribal reservations. She recently earned a national scholarship to cover college coaching as she works on her applications.
Gov. Brown will require masks in Oregon K-12 schools for 2021-22
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jul. 28
No decision on masks in Salem schools as federal, state recommendations shift
About 40,000 local students will be back for full-time, in-person class in the fall. Whether they have to cover their noses and mouths while indoors remains up to district officials, who plan to gather feedback from parents over the next week.
AGENDA: Salem-Keizer board wants to hear from you about public comment
WOU students get smoother pathway to Willamette Law
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jul. 22
PHOTOS: Students grill, build robots at Salem summer camps
Salem Reporter stopped by two middle school camps helping students explore new hobbies this summer, buoyed by millions from the state legislature.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jul. 21
From barbecue to robots, students explore new hobbies at expanded summer camp
Millions in state funding dramatically expanded the summer programs available to Salem kids, with more than 5,200 students enrolled in school district camps. That’s allowed teachers to employ high school students as assistants and, in some cases, send teens home with quality grilling supplies.
SCHOOL BOARD Jul. 15
New Salem-Keizer board leaders mull reopening live public comments
Osvaldo Avila was unanimously elected school board chair at a July 13 meeting - the first for four new board members since they were elected in May. Ashley Carson Cottingham will serve as vice chair. They're now discussing how the school board will hear from the public as meetings reopen.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jul. 12
The new Salem-Keizer School Board is younger, more diverse and ready to get to work
Four newly elected board members take their seats Tuesday as Oregon’s second-largest district plans for a return to normal school in the fall. Newcomers Osvaldo Avila, Ashley Carson Cottingham, Karina Guzmán Ortiz and María Hinojos Pressey said improving community trust in the board and changing public comment processes are among their early priorities.
Better recess helps kids do better in school, OSU study finds
SALEM FAMILIES Jul. 6
Kids and parents will have a place to play, learn through new Salem Islamic Center summer program
Salem’s mosque was among 44 organizations awarded a state-funded grant from the Oregon Community Foundation for summer parent-child programs for young kids. Facilitators are preparing for a July 9 start by unpacking boxes of colorful toys that will help parents teach their kids to read and recognize colors in English, Arabic and Spanish.
Mask rules remain in place for Salem-Keizer summer programs
HIGHER EDUCATION Jul. 1
Willamette University inks merger with Pacific Northwest College of Art
The merger gives Willamette a larger footprint in downtown Portland and will maintain the art school as an independent college within the university. University leaders said the merger will give both Salem and Portland students more options to combine studio art with studies of technology, business management and social sciences.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jun. 23
Salem’s new student advisor wants mental health front and center when teens return to school
Grace Caldwell, 17, will serve as the second student advisor to the Salem-Keizer School Board as she begins her senior year at McKay High School. She spent much of her junior year bringing student concerns about online learning, school discipline and mental health to district leaders while serving on a variety of task forces.
Ranae Quiring named principal of McKay High School
Salem-Keizer district seeks graduate student researcher for historic preservation project
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jun. 17
For some Salem parents, upended school start times in fall mean child care headaches
A Salem-Keizer School District announcement June 7 that middle and high school students would start classes later in the morning, and elementary schools earlier came as a surprise for many parents. District administrators said they made the decision based on years of parent and student feedback, and new data from this spring showing earlier start times worked well at local elementary schools. But many parents said it’s yet another curveball after a year of disruptions to school and work.
Free summer meals for kids start Monday at local schools
OREGON SCHOOLS Jun. 17
Oregon students shouldn’t have to prove they can write or do math to get a diploma, lawmakers decide
Students in the class of 2021 did not have to prove they could write or do math at a basic level to earn their diplomas. A bill headed to Gov. Kate Brown would prohibit any such requirement at least until 2027.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jun. 16
Western Christian School seeks to sustain growth with new development director
The private school on the outskirts of Salem added about 40 students in the past year, some of whom were seeking in-person classes. A recent grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust will allow the school to focus on fundraising efforts to support a new science building, scholarships and other capital projects.
CLASS OF 2021 Jun. 15
STUDENT SPOTLIGHTS: Meet the graduating Salem-Keizer seniors who persevered during a difficult year
Salem's latest high school graduates include an Olympic hopeful, an award-winning engineer and more than 2,700 other teenagers who made the best of a mostly online senior year. We interviewed seven to give a snapshot of the Class of 2021.
CLASS OF 2021 Jun. 14
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Salem volleyball star now aims to compete at Tokyo Paralympic Games
Annie Flood has been a member of the U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball team since her sophomore year at South Salem High School. The switch to online school during Covid let her spend more of her senior year training in hopes of bringing home gold in Tokyo this summer. This is part of a series by Salem Reporter featuring graduating seniors.
Salem-Keizer School Board to consider budget, approve election results
CLASS OF 2021 Jun. 13
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: McKay High School’s budding engineer looks to technology to help others
Lesly Rojas has worked with classmates to design multiple award-winning inventions aimed at helping agricultural workers and people with disabilities. Her work has brought in thousands of dollars in prize money for McKay’s engineering programs. This is part of a series by Salem Reporter featuring graduating seniors.
PHOTOS Jun. 12
PHOTO GALLERY: Saxons weather a pandemic year, graduate in person
In a series of ceremonies, the seniors of South Salem High School graduated on Friday, June 11. Because of lingering pandemic restrictions, the school held three ceremonies through the afternoon and evening.
PHOTO GALLERY Jun. 11
PHOTOS: For graduating Titans, it's a shared ceremony to end a pandemic year
PHOTOS: West Salem High school conducted its graduation ceremony on Thursday, June 10 - in person and with friends and relatives.
CLASS OF 2021 Jun. 11
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Seniors pay tribute to a year of resilience with award-winning video game design
A team of seniors designed a video game, “Somebody,” that explores one girl’s journey through her own subconscious as she tries to recover lost memories. The prototype took home the best theme and story award at the Oregon Game Project Challenge. This is part of a series by Salem Reporter featuring graduating seniors.
FreeCLASS OF 2021 Jun. 10
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: With a toddler at home and Covid disrupting her classes, Sara Miranda persevered
As a high school freshman, Sara Miranda returned to school with her newborn daughter in tow to finish her finals, passing every class. That dedication helped her get back on track to graduate on time after almost a year not attending school regularly during the pandemic. This is part of a series by Salem Reporter featuring graduating seniors.
CLASS OF 2021 Jun. 9
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Sprague artist draws on the human brain for inspiration
Mei Tate said the Covid shutdown helped her find time to reconnect with art and do more creative projects. She won Sprague High School’s outstanding senior award from the art department and plans to study neuroscience in college. This is part of a series by Salem Reporter featuring graduating seniors.
CLASS OF 2021 Jun. 8
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: A success in the classroom, Hernandez Escobar also succeeded as a student leader
During a year of disruptions to school, Monserrat Hernandez Escobar has been a steady leader for her peers and teachers at North Salem High School. She gathered student input and advised school officials on returning to the classroom. This is part of a series by Salem Reporter featuring graduating seniors.
CLASS OF 2021 Jun. 7
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: West Salem High School senior turns passion for business into suicide prevention
Anthony Broncheau went from a timid freshman to a pillar of West Salem High School’s business program, running the student store and working at the credit union. His own struggles with mental health inspired him to start a small clothing company that he said has helped classmates open up. This is part of a series by Salem Reporter featuring graduating seniors.
Salem elementary schools announce new principals for 2021-22
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jun. 3
School proves tough into spring - 4 in 10 local high schoolers get an F
Local high schools offered more slots for struggling students to get in-person help in early 2021, but students still recorded more F grades during second and third quarter of the school year than in the fall. Latino and Pacific Islander students were especially likely to fail a class. School administrators said they're seeing improvements now that part-time in-person classes have resumed and are focused on helping students catch up over the summer.
SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS Jun. 2
Liberal candidates sweep Salem-Keizer School Board in unofficial final results, but zone 3 race headed for recount
After Marion and Polk counties tallied ballots from voters who corrected signature issues, candidate Ashley Carson Cottingham had 73 more votes than her opponent Linda Farrington in the race representing south Salem. That’s within the state threshold for an automatic recount, but election officials said it’s rare for recounts to flip races.
State planning for Oregon schools to open full-time, in-person in fall
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jun. 1
West Salem HS expansions mean more space for fire science, parking
Built in 2002, West Salem High School is the newest and least crowded of Salem-Keizer’s high schools, and one of the last to undergo renovation. A $34.5 million construction project will add new classrooms, parking and space for a new career program.
LOCAL SCHOOLS May. 28
Traffic improvements, more classrooms coming to Sprague as $43 million construction project begins
Sprague High School will shed much-hated portable classrooms and add space for science labs, career programs and special education over a 15-month construction project kicking off this summer.
Construction to kick off at Sprague, West Salem high schools
Design a game, explore the forest or play the drums at free Salem summer camps
COVID VACCINATION May. 24
To boost Covid vaccination rates, Salem Health plans mobile clinics for local schools
At Four Corners Elementary School, counselor Kim Siegrist said many families have had trouble getting vaccinated because they lack transportation and can't miss work to get a shot. She worked to bring a clinic to them. Similar events are planned in the coming weeks at north and east Salem schools.
SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS May. 20
Two Salem-Keizer school board races too close to call, two are settled in latest ballot count
With nearly all ballots counted in Marion and Polk counties, Osvaldo Avila and María Hinojos Pressey appear to have clinched seats on the Salem-Keizer School Board. Just 86 votes separate candidates in the zone 3 race, with the next update expected June 2 after voters have a chance to correct signature issues.
AGENDA: Chemeketa board to hold budget hearing
Weigh in on Salem-Keizer School District's proposed budget
LOCAL SCHOOLS May. 13
Salem-Keizer custodians say understaffing is at a "crisis level"
Members of the Association of Salem-Keizer Education Support Professionals said district custodians are being asked to work double shifts almost daily and that "workplace bullying" has led to high turnover in the department. District administrators said complaints about mismanagement were "totally unsubstantiated."
LOCAL SCHOOLS May. 12
Protesters with Latinos Unidos Siempre want a clear statement that hate groups aren't welcome in local schools
Salem-Keizer School Board meetings are now partially in-person, but members of the public can only submit written comments or watch an online livestream. That policy led to dozens of people protesting outside a school board meeting Tuesday, banging on windows as a meeting got underway.
Western Oregon University will require Covid vaccination for students, employees
AGENDA: Salem-Keizer School Board to vote on property sale, hear update on hybrid school
Willamette names new dean for Atkinson Graduate School of Management
Watch Q&As with Salem-Keizer School Board candidates