Bill would expand the UO's Oregon Research Schools Network

First appeared in Around the O on March 29.

A bill that would expand a UO College of Education pilot program focused on improving high school graduation rates is currently moving through the Oregon Legislature.

Senate Bill 739 would provide funding to extend to additional high schools the Oregon Research Schools Network, a College of Education program that strives to improve high school graduation rates through collaborative partnerships between UO faculty members and teachers in the high schools.

The bill is sponsored by Coos Bay Democratic Sen. Arnie Roblan, a UO graduate and former high school principal . On March 27 the bill moved out of the Senate Education Committee and on to the Joint Committee on Student Success.

Roblan first learned about the network when College of Education Dean Randy Kamphaus spoke at the Oregon Coastal Caucus last August. Since then the senator and his colleagues on the legislature’s Joint Committee on Student Success visited Coquille High School to learn more about the benefits of the program for students at one of the pilot sites.

The schools network is based on the agricultural extension model, which extends service, instruction and research statewide by placing experts in the field to help improve the academic and career outcomes for Oregon’s youth. Its current five-year pilot project includes placing faculty members in North Eugene High School, Roosevelt High School in Portland, Pendleton High School and Coquille High School. 

Senate Bill 739 seeks $2.5 million to grow the model and extend it to six additional districts across Oregon, serving additional high schools identified as high-need, highly impacted and geographically diverse. The college hopes the model can be sued to increase K-12 performance statewide.

The pilot program will be expanded and evaluated to assess its effects on diverse high school graduation rates and better participation in and completion of post-secondary education. In addition, the funding will allow it to develop affordable scale-up strategies, including training materials on how to successfully launch an improvement model — which can be delivered online or in person — the development of a “train the trainers” approach, and a framework for how to increase university partnership opportunities