A few months ago, I posted about the possible boundary changes that were coming to Portland Public Schools. Over the last months, the District-wide Boundary Review Advisory Committee (DBRAC) has worked to put together a recommendation for Superintendent Carole Smith’s review. She is now in the process of putting together a proposal for the School Board, and if it is accepted, may be implemented as soon as this coming 2016-17 school year.
For a full report of the proposed changes, you can visit the PPS website . The report addresses criteria and implementation guidance for reconfiguring K-8 schools, criteria and implementation guidance for siting middle schools, and West Side boundary changes and program relocation to address overcrowding. The recommendations are quite thorough and it appears the many months of debate on what the best course of action will be have at the very least given Superintendent Smith a lot to consider.
At this point in time, the Superintendent is reaching out to the community to participate in two enrollment balancing meetings in the coming weeks. The first is tonight, 2/25 (late notice, I know, but there will be food and child care provided!) from 6-8 PM at Mittleman Jewish Community Center, 6651 SW Capitol Highway. This meeting will be held in Spanish with English interpretation to review the West Side boundary and program changes, including moving the K-5 Spanish immersion program from Ainsworth to East Sylvan. All are encouraged to attend, but the is hope is to hear from Spanish-speaking families that may not have had an opportunity to have their voices heard so far in the process.
The second meeting is Tuesday, 3/1, at Ockley Green, 6031 N. Montana Ave. Part of the DBRAC proposal is to make Ockley Green (which currently houses grades 4-8 of Chief Joseph/Ockley Green K-8) into a standalone middle school. This meeting will be cohosted with the Jefferson Cluster Middle School visioning group. Again, all are encouraged to attend, but the idea is to hear from those in the immediate community this change would impact. Food, childcare, and Spanish language interpretation will be provided.
If you have not had a chance to look at the proposed changes, do yourself a favor and take a look. There is a lot going on, but it’s worth it if you’ve got school-aged children, especially middle school. If there’s a chance you are moving to or within the city, it’s doubly important for you to know about these possible changes; as boundary lines change, your dream home may no longer put you at your kids’ dream school. Educate yourself, and make sure your voice is heard before it’s too late!
Earlier this week, I was at a class with the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors (PMAR) and we briefly touched on the subject of a potential redrawing of boundary lines for Portland public schools. This piqued my interest and led me to do a little research on the situation, although I haven’t learned enough yet to really form my opinion. I wanted to share some of the basic facts I’ve learned over the past couple days and give some insight into what this might mean for future home buyers.
Here are some of the facts I’ve gleaned over these last few days:
Portland Public Schools (PPS) and the District-Wide Boundary Review Advisory Committee (DBRAC), a community of 26 parent, teacher, principal, administrator and technical expert volunteers, have come together to make a decision about redrawing boundary lines for schools in the district.
The committee will send final proposals to Superintendent Carole Smith in early December and a final proposal from her will go to the school board in January 2016. Changes to any boundaries will begin in Fall 2016.
The project is meant to reconfigure and right-size schools, as well as account for the projected 5000 student population growth over the next 10 years.
While all boundary lines are being looked at and considered, not all lines will necessarily change.
A huge issue stems from how much socioeconomic status should be considered when discussing these boundary lines, and how successful it will be in closing the achievement gap between students from higher and lower income families. It’s not hard to see that schools in typically lower-income areas are affected by the lack of resources. A great map shows the lack of equity in electives across the city’s middle schools.
So what does this mean for us? Right now, the best thing we can do is stay informed on what’s going on. The best resource for how DBRAC is progressing can be found on the PPS website. In mid-October, proposals will be released to the community for feedback. There will also be community meetings throughout October and November where the public can learn about the possible changes and comment on them. We will also have the opportunity to share thoughts and comments through online survey as well as on Facebook and Twitter. I strongly encourage anyone who has an opinion on this matter to make it to one of these meetings (the next one is Oct. 1).
If you’re currently looking for a new home, be aware that the current assigned school may not be the one assigned next school year. Schools on a listing can only be deemed accurate at the time of publication. If a house is specifically admirable because of the school your kids would be going to, make sure to do some research to figure out the likelihood you’ll still be zoned for the same school. If you need specific information about where your children will go to school or if a boundary will change, contact the PPS Enrollment Office at 503-916-3205.