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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Survey of OR Students Provides Guidance as School Returns

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Monday, August 21, 2023   

The new school year is approaching and schools in Oregon are using data to figure out what students need to feel like they belong.

The organization YouthTruth conducts surveys of students to understand more about their experiences in school. With help from the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators, the group analyzed survey responses from more than 68,000 Oregon students from the last two school years.

Shelly Reggiani, senior director of learning, equity and communications for the coalition, said the data can help pinpoint where schools are succeeding in improving students' lives.

"Let's find out what the magic sauce was," Reggiani urged. "Let's talk with more students, let's talk to the teachers and understand what was different and how can that be replicated so more schools across our system could do something similar and more students across our system could feel that higher level of connectivity."

The data from last school year found Oregon students are struggling to feel engaged and like they belong. They were also less likely to want or expect to go to college than the national average.

Reggiani noted it is important to see how certain groups are doing. For instance, Black and LGBTQ students tended to feel less like they belong than their peers. She argued schools and educators should take special note of these equity gaps.

"Knowing our students matters," Reggiani emphasized. "When see data that shows there's a difference in experience, it's a call to us to go deeper."

Jimmy Simpson Jr., senior manager of partnerships for YouthTruth, said students provide important insights in the surveys.

"We really believe that the students are the experts in their own school experience," Simpson contended. "If we're not listening to them and we're not hearing what they're saying is wrong, then we're not going to be able to solve that problem."

Disclosure: YouthTruth contributes to our fund for reporting on Education, Philanthropy, and Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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