UPDATED: Lockdowns lifted at North, Parrish following reports of person with gun near campus
LOCAL SCHOOLS May. 27
Educators raise concerns about fights, assaults in Salem middle schools
Dozens of educators at Waldo Middle School signed a letter in February saying they were being asked to routinely break up fights and receiving verbal abuse and threats from students. The teacher union president and administrators say the issue has improved over the spring, but challenges remain.
FreeOREGON SCHOOLS May. 25
Oregon leaders need to stop disrupting education reforms, report finds
Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s team outlined five risks to school improvement in Oregon.
LOCAL SCHOOLS May. 13
Hundreds more Salem kids to get a chance for bilingual Spanish-English classes in fall
District leaders are more than doubling the number of elementary schools offering dual language classes, where native Spanish and English speakers are mixed starting in kindergarten and students work to learn both languages fluently. It’s the first step in a substantial expansion of the program planned for the coming years.
Salem teacher union wants input from parents
Chemeketa offers tractor safety training, certification for teens 14-17
Salem-Keizer School Board considers new student rep, support for dual language expansion
OREGON NEWS May. 10
State opens investigation into Nyssa's Migrant Education Program
The Oregon Department of Education is reviewing a Nyssa School District program that serves 500 migrant families. Agency officials met with parents in a community meeting in Nyssa on Thursday, May 5, to explain developments.
LOCAL SCHOOLS May. 3
Salem-Keizer budget calls for more teachers to help students learn English, manage behavior
The number of students in the Salem-Keizer School District is expected to drop for the third year in a row, but that won’t cut into state funding for local schools because similar enrollment declines are happening across Oregon.
FreeHIGHER EDUCATION Apr. 26
Despite enrollment losses, inflation, community colleges propose little to no tuition increases
Several of the state’s 17 community colleges won’t raise tuition, while others will do so by a few dollars per credit hour or a couple hundred dollars each year.
Salem's Queen of Peace school wins federal recognition for environmental efforts
LOCAL SCHOOLS Apr. 18
Children’s book on racism to remain in Salem-Keizer libraries following parent challenge
“Stamped (For Kids)” will remain in elementary school libraries following an 8-1 vote by a special district committee convened to review the book. SK We Stand Together, the group that brought the challenge, intends to push for changes to the district’s review process.
AGENDA: School board reconsiders apartment tax break
LOCAL SCHOOLS Apr. 11
Years in the making, new trans student policies for Salem schools draw backlash
A recently adopted set of Salem-Keizer School District policies intended to support transgender students codifies state requirements that trans students can use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with the gender they live as, and play school sports. They came after a transgender Salem high schooler pushed the district for more consistency.
FreeOREGON SCHOOLS Apr. 8
Despite more money than ever for summer school, teacher shortages limit possibilities
Districts have access to more state and federal funding than ever, but ambitious plans for summer school programs could be stymied by lack of staff.
ADDICTION Apr. 7
Teen drug counselors concerned as fentanyl more prevalent in Salem
Drug overdoses have climbed in Salem in recent years as police say they’re finding more fentanyl in the city’s drug supply. While teens rarely seek out opioids, addiction treatment providers said they’re vulnerable to accidentally taking the drug in counterfeit pills.
Salem student chefs prep pastries, colorful drinks at new café
A student-run café at Salem's Career Technical Education Center is giving high school seniors a chance to practice menu planning, inventory, pastry and food preparation and customer service skills.
Legislative fix will give low-income students more scholarship money for community college
Oregon students can share pandemic experiences for state archives contest
Judson Middle School teacher under investigation following report of "inappropriate image"
LOCAL SCHOOLS Mar. 17
Enthusiasm, teamwork shine in Swegle soccer club
A trio of Blanchet seniors is putting on a free soccer club for neighboring Swegle elementary students as their senior community service project. Swegle parents and families filled the high school stadium in support during their inaugural game last week.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Mar. 15
High schoolers are failing fewer classes this year, but still struggle adjusting from online school
Data from the first semester of the school year shows Salem high schoolers are failing about 15% of their classes. Educators say the sophomore class, who experienced their first year of high school almost entirely online, are in particular having trouble with routines like regular attendance.
Queen of Peace students place in national science competition
Salem-Keizer won’t require masks after March 12, superintendent says
Quarantine rules ease for Oregon child care providers
COVID IN SCHOOLS Mar. 2
UPDATED: Oregon will drop Covid quarantines, contact tracing in schools March 12
Students who are sick or test positive for Covid will still be expected to stay home, but the state is dropping many of its other Covid-related guidelines along with the mask mandate, health and education officials said Wednesday. Salem-Keizer Public Schools will announce a plan by the end of the week, Superintendent Christy Perry said.
HIGHER EDUCATION Mar. 2
Deal with WOU makes 4-year degree easier for Chemeketa students
Starting in the fall of 2023, Chemeketa students who complete a two-year degree with a minimum GPA will have guaranteed admission to Western Oregon University, and more advising to help them graduate.
South Salem student journalists win press freedom award
Learn about online safety for students at district-sponsored panel
LOCAL SCHOOLS Feb. 23
Salem’s first electric school bus is on the road
Bus #427 looks identical to its diesel-powered siblings and can run about 80 miles on a charge. It was purchased thanks to a grant from Portland General Electric, which has also awarded the Salem-Keizer School District funds for a second, larger electric bus to be delivered next year.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Feb. 21
School board directors join protesters at rally against school mask mandates
Salem-Keizer school board directors Marty Heyen and Danielle Bethell joined protesters on Feb. 18 at a rally against school mask mandates. Bethell said she believed Superintendent Christy Perry needs to remove the school mask mandate prior to March 31, when the statewide mandate is set to end.
Salem-Keizer to spend $17.7 million on employee retention bonuses
LOCAL SCHOOLS Feb. 14
Fourth graders render Salem-Keizer school board in colorful portraits
For the second year, the district observed School Board Appreciation Month by inviting elementary school students to draw their elected leaders.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Feb. 9
Volunteers help Salem educators de-stress with personal pies
Thousands of fresh cherry and apple pies are on their way to local schools after a staff appreciation request from a Swegle Elementary worker snowballed into a community-wide effort. Salem Leadership Foundation workers hope the effort encourages others to show appreciation for educators.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Feb. 8
As Oregon moves to local control on school masks, Salem parents and educators rally against mandates
Educators who have resigned from the Salem-Keizer School District over mask and vaccination mandates were among hundreds protesting outside the district office Tuesday morning. Superintendent Christy Perry said she’ll seek public input before district leaders or the school board decide on whether to keep masks in place locally past March 31.
AGENDA: School board considers apartment tax exemptions
LOCAL SCHOOLS Feb. 7
Salem students are glad to be back in school. That doesn't mean it's easy.
Salem Reporter interviewed seven local high school student body presidents and leaders about what they’re seeing as they work to graduate during a year that’s nowhere near as “normal” as they’d hoped.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Feb. 3
As Salem schools seek emergency subs, some experienced teachers struggle to get into classroom
A state emergency license created in the fall of 2021 to help districts hire more substitute teachers isn’t open to people with college degrees or teaching experience. That means teachers with experience must pay more out-of-pocket for a substitute license, even if they only want to help with the current shortage.
FreeOREGON SCHOOLS Feb. 2
New study highlights why so many of Oregon’s superintendents of color are leaving
The director of the state Education Department sees a “highly concerning free-fall."
Oregon cuts child care quarantine length - if kids wear masks
South Salem student, McKay choir instructor recognized with leadership awards
SALEM EVENTS Jan. 31
Explore taiko drumming, earthquake preparedness, history as Salem Reads 2022 kicks off
Before World War II, Japanese farmers just outside of Salem grew the vast majority of Oregon's celery. Their story is just one that will be explored during a month of Salem Reads activities themed around Ruth Ozeki's “A Tale for the Time Being," a novel about intersecting lives.
OREGON SCHOOLS Jan. 28
Alsea superintendent, board will defy mask mandate, forgo school funding
Superintendent Marc Thielman, who is also a Republican gubernatorial candidate, acted after the school board voted to make masks optional. The district of about 800 students in Benton County may face state fines.
HIGHER EDUCATION Jan. 26
Chemeketa again seeks tuition increase as enrollment continues to fall
If the college’s board approves the 4.6% increase, a full-time Chemeketa student would pay about $270 more for a year of classes starting in the fall of 2022.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jan. 25
EDGE cancels live classes Wednesday following agreement to address teacher burnout
After months of bargaining, an agreement with Salem-Keizer’s teacher union will give middle and high school teachers in the online program more prep time and back pay. The union said teachers were routinely working an average of 20 unpaid hours per week to keep up with lesson planning and other responsibilities.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jan. 24
Salem’s 2021 grad rates mostly flat, but 2 schools had a different path
McNary High School soared to a 96% graduation rate for the class of 2021, one of the highest in Oregon. At North Salem High School, graduation rates fell to 78%, but far more students are finishing high school in five years instead of dropping out.
HIGHER EDUCATION Jan. 21
Why Willamette’s law school dean wants alternatives to the bar exam
Brian Gallini has been part of a statewide effort to develop more ways for law school graduates to become lawyers, like an assessment of practical skills or an apprenticeship under an experienced attorney. The Oregon Supreme Court recently greenlighted two possible options, though the bar exam isn't going anywhere.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jan. 20
With pandemic challenges, 81% of Salem seniors graduated in 2021
After years of steady increases in the district, new state data shows Salem-Keizer’s graduation rate was about the same as in 2020, and remains far higher than five years ago. Gaps along racial and income lines persisted, but generally didn’t worsen.
Salem schools cap audience at 50% capacity for music, theater events
FreeOREGON COLLEGES Jan. 19
Oregon scholarship for community college disproportionately going to wealthier students
The Oregon Promise grant is supposed to help high school seniors with the costs of community college, but 80% of the money is going to students with the least need.
CHILDREN'S HEALTH Jan. 18
As kids come back for screenings, dentists seeing more tooth decay
When Salem schools moved online, thousands of kids went without the dental screenings the district has offered in many elementary schools for years. Now, hygienists are finding about one in three kids have decay, up from 22% pre-pandemic.
FreeOREGON SCHOOLS Jan. 13
Legislators consider shielding school superintendents from rash school board actions
Two groups are hoping the legislature will pass bills barring school boards from firing superintendents for following the law and to create greater training and oversight for school boards.
McNary evacuated over anonymous bomb threat; no bomb found
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jan. 11
Salem-Keizer cancels classes Friday due to staffing shortage
With high rates of student and staff illness and absence, Superintendent Christy Perry acted in hopes a four-day weekend would allow enough people to recover so schools could continue operating more normally next week. “It’s just knowing how long you can hang on,” she said.
Chemeketa seeks to renew college accreditation
LOCAL SCHOOLS Jan. 10
Salem schools turn to superintendent, administrators to cover classes as teacher absences rise
A surge in Covid cases across the U.S. has some schools shifting online temporarily because there aren’t enough teachers to cover classes. In Salem-Keizer, a substitute teacher shortage was already straining district resources, but administrators said they’re committed to keeping schools open.
AGENDA: School board considers Howard Street charter renewal, parent proclamation
Salem-Keizer won't pause sports, extracurriculars despite state warnings
Salem-area high school girls can earn cash through speech contest
FreeOREGON EDUCATION Jan. 5
Oregon’s state education director a quiet, collaborative force in the turbulence of pandemic
Colt Gill’s voice quivered when he talked of teachers and other school employees who died from Covid, or who lost family members.
Willamette will require booster Covid vaccines for employees, students
MENTAL HEALTH Jan. 3
South students create suicide prevention guide to aid struggling teens
A student-created guide to mental health resources is part of a larger effort from South Salem High School students to keep mental health and suicide prevention visible topics of discussion as many teens have struggled with pandemic isolation and the return to school.
Sprague team wins county contest for video spotlighting problem gambling
LOCAL SCHOOLS Dec. 22
Celia Hyman Baculi, parent volunteer and South Salem High fixture, honored
Celia Hyman Baculi spent years helping improve the lives of Salem-area students of all ages. Now, a local nonprofit is fundraising to renovate South Salem High School’s College and Career Center, which will be renamed after her when complete.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Dec. 20
Sprague students spread holiday cheer at Hoover Elementary
On the Friday before winter break, high school students visit Hoover Elementary to make crafts, read books and pass out gifts to every student. “Sprague Day” has been an annual tradition for so long that the teachers now leading it remember delivering their own gifts when they attended Sprague.
Free Dec. 20
Free lunch available at 11 Salem-Keizer schools during winter break
COVID IN SALEM Dec. 20
In response to Omicron, Willamette University moves large classes online for start of spring semester
A two-week “quiet period” at the university will begin Jan. 10, with large classes and lectures held online and students encouraged to limit in-person interactions. University President Steve Thorsett said the changes will help the university identify and contain Covid cases acquired during winter break travel as the Omicron variant is expected to become dominant in the U.S.
Salem high school athletes won't compete in Bend starting in 2022-23 school year
LOCAL SCHOOLS Dec. 16
Following Michigan school shooting, hoax threats in local schools on the rise
District officials said they've worked to educate students about the seriousness of threats, which disrupt classes and cause fear in classmates and school staff.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Dec. 15
Split school board adopts redistricting map with minor tweaks
Board members adopted a new school board redistricting map Tuesday night on a 4-3 vote, with a majority of the board and public commenters supporting a map which made fewer changes to existing zones. The newly adopted map leaves a small portion of south Salem in west Salem's zone.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Dec. 14
Salem-Keizer sues construction firm over fire damages at Waldo Middle School
The district is seeking $81,588 in damages from Woodburn-based Triplett Wellman, a construction contractor. Their lawsuit alleges the firm failed to secure a school construction site in April 2020, allowing an arsonist to set a fire.
Free Dec. 14
UPDATED: Late decision to delay school frustrates Salem parents
LOCAL SCHOOLS Dec. 13
Salem-Keizer board set to vote on redistricting maps
One of the two proposed maps for school board elections would displace board Vice Chair Ashley Carson Cottingham outside the zone she represents. In a district survey, those who responded mostly favored the other map, which has boundaries most similar the current ones.
SALEM EVENTS Dec. 13
PHOTOS: Titans put on a show for the holidays in music concert
West Salem High School's music groups staged a holiday concert on Thursday, Dec. 9. Protocols for the pandemic were observed but still the joy of the season came through.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Dec. 13
Salem-Keizer pilots Covid surveillance testing at 8 elementary schools
Testing is free, and families who opt in will be mailed saliva test kits that can be dropped off at school weekly. Tests are processed at a Santiam Hospital lab.
Salem-Keizer says uptick in hoax threats, false information disrupting local schools
Salem hosts statewide virtual teen leadership summit Saturday
SnoBall dance returns "Together Again" for 68th year
FreeOREGON NEWS Dec. 6
Oregonians can bid for lower taxes while funding scholarships through state auction
You could shave your income tax bill and push money into Oregon scholarships with an online auction under this week.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Dec. 3
S-K school board director, county commissioner considers removing children from district
Danielle Bethell, a Salem-Keizer School Board director, took to Facebook on Nov. 23 to ask followers for any "middle school/high school homeschool pods in Keizer area." She said the district's "the lack of real education and safety being provided in our schools today," has led her and her family to look at other options for education.
FreeOREGON SCHOOLS Dec. 2
Despite closing decades-long funding gaps, Oregon schools say they need more money
A new state report credits the state for boosting local school funding – but school leaders say new stresses add costs.
COLLEGES Nov. 30
Chemeketa grant writer seeks funding to recruit and retain students as enrollment keeps falling
Chemeketa Community College’s grant writer has helped the college bring in millions of dollars in recent years for programs intended to recruit and support new students. It's key to the college's plan to focus more on vocational programs, non-traditional students and accessibility.
Families have until Tuesday to seek compensation for school meals lost during online school
FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 28
Oregon is losing female school superintendents, new study highlights why
The report found that Oregon lost more than 50% of its female school superintendents last year. Hiring bias and retention remain major issues.
SALEM PEOPLE Nov. 25
Salem teacher recognized for helping kids get their hands dirty
Stephanie Madison has raised animals and crops since childhood and runs a small farmstand in west Salem. Her classroom at Myers Elementary School is teeming with life, from a bearded dragon to seedlings her students are growing. It's all part of her effort to bring hands-on agriculture lessons to them.
FreeOREGON SCHOOLS Nov. 23
Oregon announces test-to-stay program so kids exposed to Covid miss less school
Salem-Keizer School District officials will meet after Thanksgiving to review the new guidelines and hash out details.
FreeSCHOOL SAFETY Nov. 23
Back in school after a year online, Salem kids are getting into more fights
Salem-Keizer School District administrators are stationing more security workers in local schools in response to an uptick in fights involving students and two recent incidents where guns were reported on campus.
OREGON NEWS Nov. 18
How a small rural school district tangled with Oregon officials, netting huge fine
Records obtained by the Malheur Enterprise show events leading up to the state's decision to fine the Adrian School District over Oregon's mask mandate. School officials say they are ready to move on - and comply. They are contesting a $10,500 fine.
UPDATED: No gun or weapons found following report of armed person at McKay High School
FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 17
Community college enrollments in Oregon begin to stabilize, but decade of decline worrying
Oregon community colleges will need to make steep enrollment gains to meet state workforce needs.
Tell the Salem-Keizer School Board which election map you prefer
FreeOREGON NEWS Nov. 16
School staffing issues in Oregon called ‘real, emergency situation’
Legislators hear how school districts across the state are scrambling to fill vacancies in a time when the labor market is tight.
EDUCATION Nov. 16
Corban adds ag science program for fall 2022
The Salem-based university says it's offering is the first ag program at a Christian school west of the Rockies.
PUBLIC SAFETY Nov. 15
Stephens Middle School student arrested for bringing gun in backpack, police say
Classmates spotted the gun and notified staff immediately, Principal David Wood told parents. An investigation is ongoing, but school officials and police don't believe there was a plan to attack the school.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Nov. 15
School board weighs new zones to balance population
A new election map for the Salem-Keizer School District won’t spell immediate changes for voters. But it could be significant in 2023 if the school board switches from at-large to zoned elections.
Masks still needed in schools, OHA health advisors say
SALEM PEOPLE Nov. 11
Philanthropist’s gift will boost field trips, clubs at McKay
Lester Green married into the McKay family decades before Douglas McKay High School was built. Following his death in July, the school is receiving a $360,000 bequest from his estate.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Nov. 9
Juan Fernandez wants to make sure every Sprague student feels welcome at school
Salem schools began adding community outreach coordinators at some schools decades ago, aiming to help families in neighborhoods where a high share of kids were living in poverty. Sprague doesn't fit that bill demographically, but the school's new outreach worker said there's still plenty of need for a caring adult at school.
Educators highlight tribal government in new Salem community learning series
FreeSTATE GOVERNMENT Nov. 7
Oregon attorney general leads call to end Trump exemptions for religious schools
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is among 19 state attorney generals seeking to roll back measures that made it easier for religious schools to exempt themselves from anti-discrimination laws. Corban University in Salem is also intervening to defend the Trump administration rules.