Thousands of Oregon families choose new online programs for their child’s public education

As a school year unlike any other unfolds this fall, most Oregon students have no choice but to start the year online.

But thousands of families are deciding to stay online for the whole school year, even if it’s safe to return to school in-person again. It’s one sign that online education programs launched during the pandemic could last after it’s over, providing more flexibility and options for students to learn.

Some districts are starting programs from scratch. Others expanded existing ones. Either way, from Baker City to Hillsboro, educators say they’re bowled over at how many students and parents are hungry for that option this year.

Leading the way is the second-largest school district in Oregon, Salem-Keizer, which has created an online program called Edge, which stands for Enhanced Digital and Guided Education.

When the enrollment window for the new option closed in late August, co-principals Christine Bowlby and

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Early intervention: Spotting problems in your adopted child’s development

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Maybe I was paranoid. Everyone seemed to think so. But my son was almost 2 years old and showing no signs of talking. Boys always talk late, people said. Albert Einstein didn’t talk until he was 3, they said. But I knew plenty of 2-year-old boys who were at least trying to speak. And I knew that my son’s blood lead levels had at one time been elevated. To say I was worried is an understatement.

When I confessed my fears to a friend, she had a simple response: “Have you tried Early Intervention?” Of course I hadn’t. I had never heard of Early Intervention.

The Early Intervention program

Discovering the Early Intervention program can feel like stumbling upon a pot of gold on the steps of City Hall. You’re going to evaluate and diagnose my child? You’re going to assign committed, talented therapists and educators to his

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Your adopted child’s speech and language development

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“Vic has difficulty using adjectives and pronouns, and sometimes it sounds as if he doesn’t know the difference between male and female.”

“Our son, Camden, never jabbered. He would learn a few words and then we’d hear nothing. Time would go by and we would hear a new word, then not hear it again. It was as if he were learning them, storing them, and moving on.”

Like a child’s first steps, first words are a milestone that parents eagerly await. Typically, other words quickly follow, as the child learns the power of speech and masters the rules of language. By age 3 or 4, most children are adept at expressing themselves, are fairly understandable, and need to be reminded that someone else might have something to say.

But some children encounter difficulty expressing themselves, calling objects by the wrong name, or saying words that are hard to

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