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.
LOCAL SCHOOLS Nov. 5
Time capsule opening recalls life at Leslie Junior High 50 years ago
Alumni travelled hundreds of miles for a Friday afternoon ceremony where artifacts from 1971 were unearthed from the wall of Leslie Middle School. This year’s seventh grade class will now make their own capsule, to be opened in 2071.
Pringle Elementary tagged with graffiti opposing vaccines, critical race theory
AGENDA: Salem-Keizer School Board will review math, reading performance; grant spending
FreeCOMMUNITY COLLEGE Nov. 4
With new ag complex, Chemeketa sets sights recruiting high school agriculture students
Chemeketa Community College will soon have a working farm onsite. The college is using a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture aimed at enrolling more Hispanic students in agriculture programs to mentor high schoolers in Gervais and Woodburn, and support college interns.
Scholarship raffle on offer at Salem student college and career fair
Salem-Keizer cancels school on Nov. 12
COLLEGES Oct. 29
A new website helps Chemeketa Press spread the word on cheap textbooks
For six years, Chemeketa Press has helped local college students save millions on costly textbooks with more affordable texts written by faculty. Now, they’re hoping to get the word out to colleges across the U.S.
Construction finished on new wing at Auburn Elementary
FreeAROUND OREGON Oct. 27
Oregon senators want closer scrutiny of Chemawa Indian School
Merkley and Wyden have asked Department of the Interior to investigate student achievement, finances at the Bureau of Indian Education-run school in Salem.
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.