Through the Grapevine
Have a question or need clarification about district operations?
Through the grapevine offers accurate information and addresses concerns about district operations and schools.
Posted on this page are the top questions and answers. The district updates this page continually with additional questions and answers of greater concern to its variety of stakeholders.
Feel free to click on contact us to ask a question not listed here.
Questions & answers
Click on the highlighted questions below to find the answers.
Everyone in our community plays a critical role in keeping our schools safe places for all students and staff. Whenever there is a concern for safety, or any suspicious activity please immediately report these concerns to law enforcement, school administration, or through SafeOregon by using the app or by calling or texting the tipline at 844-472-3367.
Sharing unconfirmed or rumored information broadly such as on social media although well-intentioned, can be harmful to law enforcement investigation and cause panic and anxiety for students, staff and families. Please know that all reports are taken seriously and the district works closely with local law enforcement partners to assess and respond to any concerns for safety.
All students, regardless of student group, participate in graduation commencement ceremonies as part of the high school they have earned their diploma.
Much like awards celebrations held at each high school ahead of graduation, there are several districtwide graduation celebrations that honor students across student groups that have historically struggled to graduate or may have faced significant barriers during their K-12 journey. Some of the celebrations are culturally specific and informed by the experiences and rich cultural assets that students and their families bring to our school communities. These celebrations are not commencement ceremonies for specific student groups. These celebrations are an opportunity for students to receive specific cultural or honorary regalia for their commencement ceremonies. Learn more about graduation celebrations.
Critical Race Theory is not curriculum or included in the Oregon state standards for K12 education. These state standards, however, do include social sciences education aimed at helping students develop as rational, humane and productive citizens in a democratic society. Students learn through ethnic studies, tribal history/shared history and holocaust and genocide.
The district has 110 languages in its school district, therefore, strives to ensure all schools are safe and welcoming for students from every walk of life. Educators value the rich diversity, history and assets of historically marginalized students of color and in no way uses instruction to blame or shame any one race. It simply provides an avenue for these students to see themselves in their studies, minus the stereotypes, and in a positive light.
In as much, social sciences can enrich the lives of students because they can learn and share in the experiences of a variety of different cultures impacted by historical issues that segregated them based on race rather than offer a chance to live as part of one great society.
Libraries located in Salem-Keizer schools strive to offer a collection of diverse books and reading materials that can:
- Help students understand and celebrate their own backgrounds, cultures, & experiences
- Broaden students’ thinking to include a global perspective
- Build awareness and an understanding of voices that are often suppressed or omitted
- Strengthen inquiry regarding political, racial and social injustice
- Empower students to envision a future of possibilities not necessarily represented in the present
Books available in Salem-Keizer school libraries are not part of curriculum. Parents or guardians may ask the school librarian or library media assistant to restrict their student’s access to any book in their school library.
I’m worried about what my student can check out from the library, how do I know what is available and how can I ask for my child to not check out a book?
Ask the school librarian for how to access a list of books in the library. As a parent or guardian, you have the right to request that certain books be off limits to your student.
Yes. Please ask your school for opt out forms (There are not opt out forms for Secondary – they just need to email their teacher. This happens in ParentVue during registration and they can opt out at any time by opening Student Registration, or emailing their teacher). Meanwhile, we encourage you to, first, reach out to your student’s teacher and ask to review the curriculum before you make your decision.
I’ve heard there is a new elementary health adoption, is there a way for me to preview the materials?
At its meeting on April 11, the Salem-Keizer School Board voted to adopt the recommended elementary health curriculum for implementation in all Salem-Keizer elementary schools beginning in the 2023-24 school year. The adopted curriculum, The Great Body Shop was adopted by the board following the recommendation from the process steering committee.
About the Elementary Health Curriculum
The Great Body Shop is approved by the Oregon Department of Education and, according to the curriculum publisher, is developmentally appropriate, culturally sensitive, and medically accurate.
TGBS will have a Family Portal where families can view the TGBS Program Guide, TGBS Music, Family Connection and Student Issues assigned by the classroom teachers. Parents will receive a family letter from the student’s classroom teacher at the beginning of the year which will direct them on how to register for access to the portal.
This applies to elementary and middle school students only. Elementary and middle school students can use cellphones before and after the school day. During school, students may not use their cellphone in classrooms, common areas (lunch) or between periods. Teachers may allow use of cell phones during classroom instruction or specifically for academic purposes in certain situations and as permitted by the school. Administers will ask students to turn their cellphones off and put them inside of their backpacks, leave at the main office, or in their locker (if available). Parents and guardians who need immediate communication with their student, please call their school main office.
No. The 2018 bond program is on track to deliver all the improvements promised to schools and more. Because of premiums and earnings on the bond proceeds, grants and reimbursements, the district is able to provide well over $100 million in additional work above and beyond what was originally promised, all without affecting the taxpayer’s levy rate.
The district reviewed the dress code and updated the policy effective beginning the 2019-20 school year. The district incorporated student and parent feedback as well as national best practices into the updated policy.
Essentially, students are expected to dress in a way that is appropriate for the school day and for any school-sponsored event. The primary responsibility for a student’s attire resides with the student and their parent(s) or guardian(s). Student dress choices should respect the ability to sustain a community that is inclusive of a diverse range of identities. The school district is responsible for ensuring that student attire does not interfere with the health and safety of any student; that student attire does not contribute to a hostile or intimidating atmosphere for any student; and that dress code enforcement does not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income, or body type/size.
For more information about the district dress code, view this PDF document.
No. Salem-Keizer Public Schools does not provide litter boxes for bathroom use. This rumor has been circulating, nationally, and more recently in some Oregon schools. Restroom facilities are available at all district facilities and schools and comply with state law.