New State-Funded Programs Are Helping Inspire Students and Faculty across Oregon Public Schools

Think back on your time in elementary school. You may remember sitting in a classroom and solving math equations, learning about the world and space, reading new books and maybe even playing sports in the gymnasium.

For students in Oregon, school looks vastly different today. Hands-on, interactive lessons now take the place of work packets, and outdoor school gardens and live animals have become new-age chalkboards and textbooks. Through this innovative approach, faculty and staff can provide experiential programs that extend outside of the classroom.

With partial funding from the Oregon Lottery®—a result of a 1995 constitutional amendment directing lottery profits to help fund public education—public school students from kindergarten through college have also received assistance with supplies, school projects, infrastructure, academic scholarships, intercollegiate athletics and more.

Read on to learn more about the Oregon Lottery’s funded programs that empower inspirational learning.

Interactive School Gardens

Across the Beaver state, outdoor gardens are taking center stage at 784 public schools. Students, alongside faculty and staff, are testing their hand at growing fresh fruits and vegetables to either power in-house nutritional programs, serve as tactile lessons on math and science, or stand as demonstrations for agriculture and sustainability. Some are also student-created art projects, from murals to stepping stones.

Close to 30 schools have taken their gardens a step further by adding a small flock of chickens. Children at every grade level are introduced to coop planning and construction, record keeping of egg production, and safe handling and sanitation, to name a few. Some are even tending to at least one beehive and working to protect endangered monarch butterflies.

Check out this interactive map to see which schools are taking learning outdoors and to learn about the Oregon Department of Education’s upcoming goals for the school garden program.

Oregon School for the Deaf

Located in Salem, Oregon, Oregon School for the Deaf (OSD) is a coeducational public school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. It has served children and young adults since 1870, making it not only the state’s first institution for deaf but also the longest-continuously running school in Oregon.

As part of its mission to cultivate a safe, comfortable and positive environment for students, OSD offers boarding options for those in kindergarten through grade 12. Special programs are also available to those up to 21 years old to assist with transitioning to independent living. Students who live within commuting distance, however, can attend school during typical school day hours.

With two accreditations (AdvancEd and CEASD), OSD further focuses on providing a barrier-free atmosphere for kids through immersive language, cultural learning and nurturing resources.

Find out more about how students are thriving at the Oregon School for the Deaf.

Oregon’s Teacher of the Year

For many students in Oregon, it’s not just the enhanced curriculum and activities that shape their experience, but the teachers who inspire them. That’s why the Oregon Department of Education, in partnership with the Oregon Lottery, participates in the national Teacher of the Year program.

The award helps recognize passionate educators who are dedicating their lives to helping children day in and day out by providing a $1,000 cash prize for 19 regional teachers and a $10,000 prize for one statewide winner.

Since 2016, the Oregon Lottery has assisted with expanding the Teacher of the Year program by increasing the rewards for all honorees and providing school funding.

Nominate the 2023-2024 Oregon Teacher of the Year here, with winners announced in October!

Each year, the Oregon Lottery continues to assist the Oregon public school district, with 53% of annual proceeds helping improve children’s education experience, in addition to other statewide programs from veteran services to natural habitats and state parks.

Learn more about how the Oregon Lottery helps strengthen Oregon public schools at