Portland Public Schools Delay Most SE Boundary Change Decisions For More Comment


Portland Public Schools are putting the brakes on his plans to solidify the new frontiers of school through the south-eastern neighborhoods of the district.

The school board decided Tuesday to postpone all decisions regarding new college and high school assignments and school attendance limits that will power Mt. Tabor Middle School and at Harrison Park, a K-8 set to drop out of lower grades and reopen as a college in 2022.

Instead, the board will focus on opening a brand new version of Kellogg Middle School next fall, and whether the four K-8 schools he penciled in to feed Kellogg – Arleta , Creston, Lent and Marysville – are the right ones to choose from. If so, they will abandon their lower classes and feed there as elementals.

All schools in the district east of southeast of Cesar Chavez Boulevard and south of Interstate 84, with the exception of Laurelhurst K8 and Lewis and Whitman elementary schools, were originally part of the first phase of a broader review intended to establish a feeding model for the newly reopened Kellogg and cancel the 15-year-old pivot from the district to K-8 schools.

This review was also to affect the location of almost all immersion programs in this region as well as that of the School of Creative Sciences.

On Tuesday, the council decided by consensus to delay everything but the choice of foster schools for Kellogg by countless months.

Families affected by the proposed changes categorically denounced what they perceived to be a lack of awareness of the proposed changes, Dani Ledezma, the Senior Advisor for Racial Equity and Social Justice, told the board.

A coalition of principals and parents from many affected schools, under the leadership of the district, has drafted revised boundaries for these buildings over the past two months, with their work posted on district website for the public to watch.

But some parents said they only learned of the boundary redefining efforts in mid-November, even though the committee had already been actively discussing the proposals for weeks.

The final vote on Kellogg Nursery Schools and their attendance limits is scheduled for January 26.

There is less urgency to setting the new Harrison Park boundaries in stone as the K-8 is not expected to reopen as a college until the fall of 2022. The definition of Harrison Park’s boundaries, as well as those of Kellogg, will define de facto new schools and limits for Mt. Tabor Middle school too.

“We all know with any kind of registration balancing, when you pull a thread here it becomes a catch,” said Amy Kohnstamm, board member.

Ledezma said that while the group is now focused on establishing the feeding model for Kellogg only until January, the coalition may still discuss ideas for other schools.

“But we’re going to put them in a parking lot to the side, capture every last bit of thinking and we’re going to focus on that little area in those few meetings,” she said.

Michelle DePass, the only member of color on the school board, said the delay was understandable, especially after an in-depth survey of around 300 families whose boundaries need to be revised showed less than a third of parents children enrolled in affected schools knew about it. the effort.

About 26% of Asian parents surveyed were aware of the upcoming boundary overhaul and 30% of Latino parents did. Only 12% of black parents surveyed were aware of the effort.

“What’s most important to me is that people feel like they’ve been heard,” said DePass, who is Black. “We’re not going to make everyone happy.”

The week before Thanksgiving, the district hosted a series of virtual open houses that drew more than 900 parents with children to schools in Southeast Portland.

Several were aimed at specific populations and some were broadcast in languages ​​other than English, including Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese and Russian. The largest open house, which drew 730 people, was widely attended by white parents.

An exit survey conducted by the district showed that 64% of participants in the November 19 rally were white. Another 13% were Asian and 10% identified as multiracial.

Only 1% of the participants were black and 4% were Latino.

Board member Andrew Scott noted that he had heard from several white parents who asked the district to consider the best interests of students and families who are black, indigenous and other communities of color. . Scott wondered aloud if many open house attendees faithfully conveyed the concerns of families from traditionally marginalized groups.

“I want to hear directly from the BIPOC families and not the whites on behalf of the BIPOC families,” Scott said. “The majority of the fairness talk right now comes from white Portland families who are directly affected.”

The board’s decision to focus on a small portion of its more in-depth review until January means its members will have a full plate in the spring.

In addition to the new power models and, in some cases, limits for Harrison Park, Mt. Tabor, Atkinson, Bridger, Glencoe, Kelly, Richmond, Vestal, Whitman, Woodmere and Creative Science, board members will likely decide to create bilingual immersion programs exclusive to a handful of schools.

“I’m a little concerned that a lot is going to have to happen in the spring,” said board member Rita Moore. “There are advantages and disadvantages to changing things in phase 2.”

–Eder Campuzano | 503-221-4344 | @edercampuzano | Eder on Facebook

Eder is the educational reporter for The Oregonian. Do you have a tip on Portland public schools? E-mail [email protected].

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