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School Notes: Kindergarteners' scores up; Native American housing project; Nartey-Tokoli named a Promise

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Kindergarteners earn slightly higher academic test scores

In data released by the Oregon Department of Education on Feb. 8, the state’s kindergarteners fared slightly better in academic skills than last year, but there are still racial disparities.

This year’s results showed a slight increase in students’ early math and literacy skills across all populations and groups. The averages for self-regulation and interpersonal skills were flat.

Children of color showed the most positive movement. African-American, Latino and Native American children gained an average of 0.4 points in early math and 0.7 points in early literacy. Asian children— highest overall — gained 0.6 points in early math and 1.7 points in early literacy. White children gained 0.4 in math and 0.5 points in early literacy. Scores are on a 5-point scale.

The assessment is part of an ongoing effort to boost access to early childhood education in Oregon.

Ground broken for Native American project

A local Native American nonprofit is celebrating the start of a construction project in Southeast Portland that will create an multigenerational living space and preschool.

NAYA Generations Intergenerational Living is a comprehensive community development project designed around an early learning center, community longhouse, and housing community in the Native American tradition. The plan is to bring foster children, permanent families, and elders together into a mutually supportive and service-intensive community.

According to NAYA: One in five Native American children in Multnomah County is in child welfare custody — a rate 26 times higher than white children. Native American youth are more likely to age out of foster care, experience homelessness, drop out of high school, fail to obtain a diploma, and experience mental health and wellness issues.

Nartey-Tokoli part of Oregon Promise campaign

Gideon Nartey-Tokoli, a student at Madison High School, is being featured next week as part of a statewide public education support campaign known as The Promise of Oregon.

The Promise campaign, which officially debuted in November 2014, aims to create public support for K-14 education, to help meet the state’s 40-40-20 goals, and lift student achievement and graduation rates.