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

Portland Public Schools Director on Paid Administrative Leave

Three days after members of the Portland School Board issued one of their harshest assessments ever of a district program, the director of that program -- Diana Fernandez of the district's department of English as a second language -- is on paid administrative leave. The following email went out to Portland Public Schools principals this afternoon from Carla Randall, the district' chief academic ...   More
Friday, December 3, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

PPS to Seek Construction Bond AND Local-Option Levy on May Ballot?

Portland Public Schools' $548 million construction bond may not be the only tax measure for Portland schools on the May 2011 ballot. According to Portland School Board member Bobbie Regan, the board is also contemplating asking voters in the PPS district to renew a local-option levy at the same time as the construction bond. That local-option levy, which expires in 2012 and generates about $30 ...   More
Monday, December 6, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Learning While Latino: Feds Accept Discrimination Complaint Against PPS

Federal civil rights officials have told Portland Public Schools there could be an investigation into an incident at Buckman Elementary School this fall, when a Spanish-speaking kindergarten boy faced a five-day suspension for "assault." In a Dec. 2 letter, [PDF] the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights in Seattle tells Superintendent Carole Smith the office has accepted a ...   More
Tuesday, December 7, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Portland Schools Advocates Resurrect Campaign Fund

The Portland School Board votes tonight whether to refer a $548 million construction bond measure to voters this May. But supporters of the construction bond, including board member Bobbie Regan, have already started raising money under the auspices of "Portlanders for Schools," the campaign fund that supported the successful 2006 local-option levy. Besides Regan—who gave $1,000 to ...   More
Monday, December 13, 2010 BETH SLOVIC


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