High-School Redesign: District Reveals Mayor's "Blue Ribbon Taskforce"

One huge, unresolved issue surrounding Portland Public Schools' high-school redesign concerns career training. Under Superintendent Carole Smith's School Board-approved plan, Benson Polytechnic High School will offer fewer career-training classes to a smaller number of students. However, the remaining eight high-school campuses will offer students access to jobs-focused classes that they now lack. To ...   More
Monday, November 1, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

School District Reverses Decision on Young Women's Academy

As part of her high-school redesign, Superintendent Carole Smith in September proposed closing the high school at the 206-student Harriet Tubman Young Women's Academy, leaving it as a far smaller sixth- through eighth-grade middle school with 150 students. Smith's predecessor, former Superintendent Vicki Phillips, created the academy as an offshoot of Jefferson High School in 2007. Yesterday, ...   More
Thursday, November 4, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Poll Suggests Portland Schools Will Ask for Bond in Neighborhood of $500 Million

A new poll paid for by Portland Public Schools shows a majority of Portland voters likely would support a $500 million construction bond to renovate and rebuild the district's aging campuses. Translation? On Monday, Superintendent Carole Smith is likely to announce plans to ask voters in the school district to OK a hefty tax increase when she goes before the Portland School Board to present her ...   More
Friday, November 5, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Portland Schools to Consider $548 Million Construction Bond

Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith will pitch a six-year, $548 million construction bond to the Portland School Board tonight as part of her plan to rehabilitate the district's aging campuses. The bond, which would cost an average homeowner in the school district about $300 a year in additional property taxes, goes to the School Board for a vote on Dec. 13. If approved by the ...   More
Monday, November 8, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Grant High Principal "Saddened" by School's Toga Day Tradition

Grant High School's new principal is continuing to shake things up at Portland Public Schools' biggest high school. In a lengthy online letter to students, teachers and parents, Principal Vivian Orlen said she was "saddened" to see what transpired at Grant on the last day of "Spirit Week" in October, when seniors dressed in togas as part of a school tradition stretching back decades. "What ...   More
Tuesday, November 9, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Updated: Portland Schools Change Discipline Policy on Toy Guns

Remember the 8-year-old Portland boy who was suspended for a day earlier this year for bringing a toy gun to Duniway Elementary School? The boy got that punishment last February because Portland Public Schools policy treated toy guns the same as "simulated weapons." That meant the third-grade student automatically faced a minimum punishment of suspension. The result outraged Aron Anderson, the ...   More
Thursday, November 11, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Portland Superintendent Recommends Costly Reconstruction at Marysville

Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith wants the School Board to approve a $21.6 million renovation of the 89-year-old Marysville K-8 School, which burned in a fire last November. The recommendation from the superintendent is a more expensive alternative to rebuilding only the damaged spaces of the wood-frame building, which suffered about $7 million in fire damage up from an original ...   More
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Portland School District's Special-Education Director Moving On

Portland Public Schools' special-education department is on the cusp of change as its director prepares to leave and her associate director gears up to take over. Joanne Mabbott, special education director at PPS since 2008, will become interim principal at Maplewood Elementary School in Southwest Portland starting Jan. 1, 2011. But that's not a permanent move. Mabbott will lead Maplewood until ...   More
Wednesday, November 17, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Carole Smith's "Pants on Fire" Over School-Bond Issue

The Oregonian today calls B.S. on Superintendent Carole Smith's claim that Portland Public Schools' proposed $548 million construction bond would affect 40 percent of the district's students. The bond, if approved for the May ballot by the School Board on Dec. 13, would fund the rebuilding of three of the district's nine high schools. "The school district's own projections show enrollment at ...   More
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Portland School Board Members Calls for Reconstituting District Program

Portland School Board member Martín González made a bold proposal to reconstitute Portland Public Schools' long-troubled department for teaching English to immigrant and refugee students. The remarks from González came during a heated discussion of the district's chronic problems in that department, an issue recently highlighted in a board-requested audit [PDF] that found ...   More
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 BETH SLOVIC


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