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
LOCAL SCHOOLS May. 4
As Salem-Keizer emerges from the pandemic, $1.5 billion budget adds more social workers, alternative education
Each district high school would get a social worker and elementary schools would no longer share speech pathologists under a budget plan released Tuesday by Superintendent Christy Perry.
Oregon Tech faculty end strike after tentative agreement reached
FreeLOCAL SCHOOLS May. 3
As Salem-Keizer schools resume, numbers show how many students have Covid and who’s staying home
In the weeks since Salem-Keizer middle and high schools resumed in-person classes, the district has recorded 26 cases of Covid among more than 18,000 secondary students who are back in school buildings. About 15% of students have remained in all-online classes.
Salem-Keizer budget committee begins meeting Tuesday
SALEM SCHOOLS May. 3
With ceremonial toss of dirt, Corban University starts on new sports complex
Corban University, the private university in southeast Salem, is launching construction for a new complex for track and field. Officials gathered recently for a groundbreaking ceremony.
Carlos Ruiz named West Salem High School principal
LOCAL SCHOOLS Apr. 29
Poised to graduate early, Salem high school seniors get a free quarter of college
Pandemic schedule changes meant a higher than usual share of Salem-Keizer seniors completed graduation requirements at the end of first semester this school year. Hoping to smooth the runway for those pursuing higher education, Salem-Keizer and Chemeketa administrators set up a Senior Launch program to give them a head start on college for free.
SALEM PEOPLE AND PLACES Apr. 28
Gardening helped these Salem teens cope with quarantine. Now, they’re selling plants.
The Salem-Keizer Future Farmers of America’s annual plant sale is just starting, and agriculture students are already seeing high demand. McKay High School students help prepare vegetable starts and flower baskets in the school greenhouse, with proceeds supporting club membership fees and competition travel.
AGENDA: Salem-Keizer board to hear plans for academic support, financial updates
HIGHER EDUCATION Apr. 26
Oregon Tech faculty in Salem join strike over pay raises, workload
The dental hygiene program and teaching clinic run by the Oregon Institute of Technology at Chemeketa Community College ground to a halt Monday as five faculty joined a strike with support from many of their students.
SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS Apr. 24
Salem-Keizer school board candidate Q&A - Zone 7 (north Salem)
Hear from school board candidates Liam Collins and María Cecilia Hinojos Pressey about their priorities for the Salem-Keizer district. Voters across the district get a say in all four races on May 18.
McNary's Erik Jespersen named Oregon Principal of the Year
SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS Apr. 23
Salem-Keizer School Board candidate Q&A - Zone 5 (southeast Salem)
Hear from school board candidates Karina Guzmán Ortiz, Jesse Lippold Peone and Mike Slagle about their priorities for the Salem-Keizer district. Voters across the district get a say in all four races on May 18.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Apr. 22
Salem-Keizer School Board candidate Q&A - Zone 3 (south Salem)
Hear from school board candidates Ashley Carton Cottingham and Linda Farrington about their priorities for the Salem-Keizer district. Voters across the district get a say in all four races on May 18.
Willamette University becomes latest to require Covid vaccine for students, employees
SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS Apr. 21
Salem-Keizer School Board candidate Q&A - Zone 1 (west Salem)
Hear from school board candidates Osvaldo Avila, Richard Riggs, Ross Swartzendruber and Kari Zohner about their priorities for the Salem-Keizer district. Voters across the district get a say in all four races on May 18.
FreeSCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS Apr. 21
Salem-Keizer sees 11 candidates for four school board seats in heavily polarized races
Intense debates over school reopening, police in schools and racial equity have put more focus on the Salem-Keizer School Board over the past year. In the May 18 election, two slates of candidates backed by local political action committees have organized along partisan lines, while three independent candidates also seek seats.
FreeCHILD CARE IN SALEM Apr. 19
One year after pandemic closures, fewer child care providers operating in Salem
A new report from Portland State University and the Early Learning Division chronicles how pandemic changes to child care affected parents and young children across Oregon. State data shows Marion County lost 52 child care providers in the past year.
Salem-Keizer assistant superintendent Kraig Sproles takes job in Eugene
FreeLOCAL SCHOOLS Apr. 14
In violation of state policies, Salem-Keizer students won’t be given standardized tests this spring
A divided school board on Tuesday gave district administrators the go-ahead to skip Oregon tests for the second year in a row. Some board members questioned the move, but proponents argued that the tests would cut into valuable class time without providing much useful data from the unusual school year.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Apr. 14
PHOTOS: Houck, McKay welcome students back in-person
Middle and high schools across Salem and Keizer rolled out the red carpet, sometimes literally, as their youngest students returned to in-person classes Tuesday and Wednesday.
Summer program grants available to help Oregon kids catch up
LOCAL SCHOOLS Apr. 13
Marching band, red carpets and balloons for middle and high school students returning in Salem-Keizer
Sensory overload appeared to be the theme at many local schools as sixth and ninth graders returned to in-person classes Tuesday. Cheering walls of teachers and school staff greeted teenagers still waking up - but despite some nerves, most reported they were glad to be back.
Salem-Keizer board chair apologizes, says board will recognize student journalist
Salem-Keizer plans for five days per week of in-person school in fall
AGENDA: Salem-Keizer board will consider waiving state standardized tests
SCHOOL BOARD Apr. 9
Salem-Keizer School Board delays recognition of student journalist following critical coverage of school board campaigns
Board Chair Satya Chandragiri said he was concerned that recognizing senior Eddy Binford-Ross before May school board elections might appear too political. He said the concern wasn’t about the article’s content, but arose after a local socialist group shared it to endorse candidates.
PRESCHOOL IN SALEM Apr. 9
Northeast Salem parents finding new help to get their preschoolers ready to learn
Teaching Spanish-speaking parents how to help their kids learn at home is a longstanding goal at the Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality. Their classes usually focus on elementary school students and their parents, but a flood of requests over the past year led to a new offering for 3- to 5-year-olds.
SALEM PEOPLE Apr. 7
After meandering path marked by ‘oddball invocations,' Willamette University’s “heart and soul” plans her retirement
As Willamette University’s chaplain, Karen Wood counseled grieving students, made lawyer jokes at commencement and shepherded a program to help students find a path forward after college based on their values and spirituality.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Apr. 6
With bands, balloons and ‘awkward school spirit,’ Salem high schools will welcome back students
As the Salem-Keizer School District moves forward with reopening, thousands of middle and high school students across Salem will be back in school buildings two days per week starting April 13. That’s required lots of careful planning for students, some of whom will step in the buildings for the first time.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Apr. 5
After years of work, North Salem High School will offer students a program that’ll give them a leg up with a global focus
North will become the second high school in the Salem-Keizer School District to offer an International Baccalaureate program for students, allowing them to earn college credit while pursuing high-level courses and second language proficiency. Students can earn a special diploma or pursue a career program.
OREGON SCHOOLS Apr. 1
Gov. Brown joins Woodburn students for first day back in-person
The governor visited Lincoln Elementary School, where about half the school's 640 students have opted to come back in-person four days per week, meeting a class mascot and speaking with educators about the challenges of the past year.
FreeCOMMUNITY COLLEGE Apr. 1
Chemeketa plans to resume classes in the fall, anxious if students will return
Enrollment in Oregon community colleges dropped by one fourth, with career and technical education programs particularly affected. Jessica Howard, president of Chemeketa Community College, said her school is well-poised to aid in the Salem area’s economic recovery and sees opportunity out of the chaos of the past year. Uncertainty and financial challenges remain.
Salem-Keizer adds two days to school year as ice storm makeup
LOCAL SCHOOLS Mar. 29
After Marion County lands state money, walking to school will be safer in east Salem
Marion County’s public works department recently received state funding for crosswalk and sidewalk improvements near three east Salem elementary schools: Mary Eyre, Four Corners and Auburn.
Watch Gov. Brown, Superintendent Christy Perry talk school reopening at 1 p.m.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Mar. 25
Data shows more than 80% of Salem-Keizer elementary school students opted to return in-person
About 3,000 district elementary school students were attending school all online before spring break, while 14,000 were back in the classroom. Just a few hundred students transferred to an all-online program ahead of the switch, with Latino and Asian students slightly more likely to transfer.
Pandemic relief brings more college aid for Oregon teens, young adults in foster care
LOCAL SCHOOLS Mar. 22
Oregon will allow less space between students in class, but Salem-Keizer not planning changes
State health and education officials said Monday schools can safely prevent Covid spread with three feet of space between students in most classrooms, rather than six. The change means some schools could resume full-time in-person classes. But Salem-Keizer will stick with its plan for two days per week in-person and doesn’t expect a full return until the fall.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Mar. 22
Wanted: Salem high school students who love hands-on learning
Seniors at Salem-Keizer's Career Technical Education Center resumed part-time classes last week. District programs in agriscience, culinary arts, business and robotics are seeking more students for the fall as the pandemic has pushed back their regular recruitment schedule.
Meet your Salem-Keizer School Board candidates for May 2021
Deadline approaching for Chemeketa Foundation scholarships
SALEM COMMUNITY Mar. 18
Neighborhood by neighborhood, a new project wants to change the odds for Salem's kids
After almost four decades at the helm of Catholic Community Services in Salem, Jim Seymour is leading a group that asks families to weigh on in the social problems within their own neighborhoods, starting in the Hallman area. He says the only way to reduce poverty and help kids succeed is by listening to their parents about what they need.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Mar. 17
Cowboy costumes, baby chicks mark first day back for fourth and fifth graders
About 14,000 students are now attending local elementary schools in-person part-time after the Salem-Keizer School District welcomed back older elementary school students this week.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Mar. 17
PHOTOS: Fourth and fifth graders join younger classmates in Salem-Keizer schools
Wednesday was another "first day of school" for thousands of kids across the Salem-Keizer School District as the final group of elementary school students resumed in-person classes.
SCHOOL BOARD Mar. 16
No change for May 2021 school board elections as Salem-Keizer adopts longer process for review
Voters across the Salem-Keizer School District will have a say in all four contests for school board this spring. On a 4-3 vote, school board members amended a proposal to adopt a zoned system, instead calling for gathering public input and expert advice over the next 18 months.
Willamette president to speak March 19 on "State of Higher Education"
Latest changes to Oregon's school reopening rules will have little impact in Salem
After technical glitch Tuesday, Salem-Keizer board will take up zoned elections proposal March 15
LOCAL SCHOOLS Mar. 11
Salem-Keizer ended its school resource officer program, but police will still have a scaled-back role in the district
District leaders said they're committed to law enforcement not having a "regular presence" inside schools. A Keizer police officer formerly stationed at McNary High School will continue to serve on a school district safety and threat assessment team under a contract signed in February. Discussions about the handling of child abuse investigations will be ongoing this spring.