Oregon Department of Education Letter finds that Portland Public Schools needs to do more to substantiate compliance

May 11, 2009


The Oregon Department of Education has issued a letter to Portland Public Schools (PPS). The letter was issued on May 11th. and received on May 18.

The letter finds that PPS "Has made considerable progress toward coming into compliance during the last school year."  It found many areas of the corrective action plan where compliance was demonstrated.  However, it also found that "due to PPS's plan to disperse the current TAG office personnel and restructure its TAG program, it is not possible for ODE to determine compliance for all areas of the corrective action plan at this time."

The ODE has requested an update explaining the proposed administrative changes and how they may affect implementation of the current plan.  If these changes result in significant adjustments to the corrective action plan, the ODE is requesting that PPS submit an updated district TAG plan explaining how the district will accomplish full compliance with the TAG mandate on or before October 15, 2009 in addition to a final corrective action report.  "Based on this additional information, ODE will determine if additional onsite monitoring may need to occur to determine if PPs has met the remainder of the items for corrective action."

The Department has found that PPS is in compliance with the requirements for assessments for ELL students and notice to parents (Actions 2,3,4), as well as professional development (Actions 8 and 9 ), though
 it recommended that the district consider what professional development needs to be continued.

 Assignment of responsibilities to specific staff (Action 1) and Monitoring to make TAG services consistent across the district (Action 5) are continued into 2009-10.

For Action 6, the ODE found that PPS has developed a system to require teachers to document their TAG students, but has not ensured that they document differential instruction provided for all students.  ODE plans to review the documentation and conduct any onsite monitoring that may be needed. 

For Action 7, "Provide access for all TAG students to accelerated programs including programs that may not be available in a student's home school", ODE has determined that the action will continue into 2009-10.  ODE expects further reports on this in June and October.  It commented that "Many meaningful changes have been made such as added AP coursework ... at Jefferson High School, incorporating more advanced math options in middle schools, and training teachers in proficiency-based instruction".

Finally, Action 10 requires regular written quarterly reports.  The Department has decided to continue this through October 15, 2009, when the District will submit a final corrective action report and an updated district TAG plan reflecting any applicable administrative or organizational changes and demonstrating compliance with TAG statutes and rules.

In a cover letter to our attorney, dated June 11, 2009, Colleen Mileham, Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Educational Improvement and Innovation wrote "As part of our normal and standard procedures for monitoring districts in corrective action, ODE has already had communications with several PPS parents regarding the CAP [Corrective Action Plan].  As the monitoring process continues, we will welcome and illicit [sic] additional feedback from parents and other stakeholders." 



If parents wish to comment, it is important to do so before October 15th. as that is the date of the final approval (or rejection) of the District's plans. 

It seems to me that the State has found that PPS is getting its paperwork in order and carrying out many of the support processes that are needed for TAG services--identification, monitoring, professional development.  However, all those activities are there in order to help ensure that the heart of the TAG mandate--provision of appropriate instruction to students at their level and rate of learning--is implemented.  So far, the Department has found that this is not happening.  That is also what parents have been telling me.  It seems that parents still have an opportunity to provide information to the Department on their own experiences in PPS if they wish to do so.

I would also appreciate it if you would share your comments with me.  You are also encouraged to exchange comments on the compliance process on this list, but please do not share comments about individual teachers by name or include the names of your children.  I would really like to hear whether you feel that all this process has produced tangible results, and if so, what they were.  If not, I would also like to hear your suggestions for ways to improve the process.

Please share this message with other parents and with your school listservs.

You can find the state's letter and the District's response to it on the PPS website (well buried) at

choose "ODE update on required corrective actions"
"corrective action fourth quarterly report"

The cover letter from Dr. Mileham is not online as far as I know.