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Chief Education Office
October 28, 2016: Chief Education Office Bulletin  |  |  503.373.1283  |   Twitter: @ORLearns
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Chief Education Office
Reflections from Education Innovation Officer, Colt Gill, on His Statewide Engagement
Including Multiple Voices

We have continued our community engagement sessions this Fall, gathering input from nearly 1,000 people in face-to-face meetings across the state. We heard from parents, students, educators, and community members from a variety of communities representing voices from 32 counties. 
The sessions have been a powerful testament to Oregonians’ hopes for their children and the future of the state. It is clear we need to take steps to remove the barriers to graduation and implement supports, especially for populations of students that our system is not working as well for, including students of color, students in tribal communities, students navigating poverty, students with disabilities, male students, and others.
Our most recent visits included LGBTQ students in Lane County, students and community members in Cottage Grove, and community organizations supporting Latino/Hispanic and African American/Black students in Marion and Multnomah County.   
While Oregon does not track graduation rates of LGBTQ-identified students directly, the Oregon Youth Development Council has noted barriers this community faces at school. A 2009 National School Climate Survey conducted by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that 84.6 percent of LGBT students were verbally harassed and 40.1 percent were physically harassed at school because of their sexual orientation. A hostile school environment can contribute to higher rates of truancy, absenteeism, and dropping out, in addition to lower academic scores or grades and psychological trauma (Mitchum, Preston, and Aisha C. Moodie–Mills, 2014). According to the 2015 Oregon Healthy Teens Survey, more than 11 percent of teen students in Oregon identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Many of the LGBTQ students I spoke to discussed these barriers as well as ideas for schools to be more welcoming and supportive of all students.
In closing, we’d like to share a student-created video that was made possible through the mentorship and programs of the Latino Network. It is programs such as this that keep students engaged in school and prepare them to earn a high school diploma and develop a plan for their future.
Chief Education Office
Chief Education Office
Chief Education Office
The Chief Education Office was created in 2011 to lead cross agency planning and coordination to ensure that students are successful from cradle to career. Through policy development, sharing of research-driven best practices, and a core focus on educational equity, we work closely with state agencies, education partners, and communities across the state to position each student in Oregon to graduate high school with a plan for their future.  
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