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Oregon Nonprofit Announces Teacher-Training Grants

An Oregon research and advocacy organization is investing more than $700,000 in teacher training in the state.

According to a release issued last week, the Portland-based Chalkboard Project will invest the funds in three "Teach Oregon" university-district partnerships. They are the Salem-Keizer district and nearby colleges; the Springfield school system and partners; and the David Douglas North Clackamas and Portland districts with Portland State University.

The partnerships had to apply to receive the funds. And in an echo of the federal Race to the Top competition, the Oregon applicants had to secure the endorsement of the local teachers' union, district administration, and university officials to be eligible.

The projects will focus on topics such as the recruitment of diverse candidates as early as middle school, scholarships for high school graduates who study to become teachers, stipends for cooperating teachers who guide the new recruits during student-teaching, and co-teaching. Those are hot topics in the teacher-preparation world right now.

The Chalkboard Project was formed in 2004 by five Oregon-based philanthropic organizations. (A sixth came on board more recently.) It focuses on improving teacher quality. Among other grant projects, the group also makes grants to districts that design new career ladders, mentoring, and compensation models for their teachers.

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