A Free Ride For Portland High School Students

This morning Portland City Council will consider an intergovernmental agreement with Portland Public Schools and TriMet to give all high school students in PPS a free, unlimited bus pass for the upcoming school year. Classes start Sept. 8. PPS is contributing the $800,000 it already put aside to pay for bus passes for a small portion of its students (whose transportation to and from school is ...   More
Wednesday, August 26, 2009 BETH SLOVIC

Vicki Phillips In The News

The Associated Press in Seattle reports on changes at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose education director is a familiar name to Portlanders. Nine years and $2 billion into its work to improve America's public schools, the Seattle-based foundation is turning its focus to teacher effectiveness. Which seems to be a nice way of saying the foundation's last big effort -- turning comprehensive ...   More
Friday, August 28, 2009 BETH SLOVIC

PPS Comings and Goings

Two unrelated bits of news from Portland Public Schools today: Pam Knowles, a new member of Portland Public Schools' Board of Education, is leaving her job with the Portland Business Alliance after five years. Knowles was chief operating officer and general counsel of the alliance. Her last day is Wednesday, Sept. 30. But she says she's not ready to say where she's going next. Secondly, Bryan ...   More
Monday, September 28, 2009 BETH SLOVIC

PPS Board: "That's the Octopus We're Struggling With"

Yikes. Apologies for writing on Friday about a Monday meeting. But this week's session of Portland Public Schools' Board of Education was too important to ignore, even at this late date. The topic? High-school redesign. The details? Um, there aren't many. But here goes. First the overview, which is based on a PowerPoint presentation from a PPS administrator (a good sign, right?): • ...   More
Friday, September 18, 2009 BETH SLOVIC

Portland Public Schools' Reorganization

Tonight's Portland Public Schools board meeting will include an update on the district's plan for reorganizing its high schools. District leaders have had some practice in that field. Under former Superintendent Vicki Phillips, PPS merged several middle schools with elementary schools to create K-8 schools. That transition, which is still in process, has been hotly criticized for years, however. Less ...   More
Monday, September 14, 2009 BETH SLOVIC

Teachers to Rally at Portland School Board Meeting

Portland teachers will hold a rally at 6:15 pm outside tonight's 7 pm Portland School Board meeting to pressure the district to reach agreement on a new contract. The Portland Association of Teachers union, which represents about 3,800 educators in Portland Public Schools, has been without a contract since June 2008. Since then, the district has asked teachers to agree to five furlough days and ...   More
Monday, October 12, 2009 BETH SLOVIC

Teachers Overpower School Board Meeting

Several hundred Portland Public Schools teachers gathered outside Monday night's school board meeting to protest contract talks that have dragged on since before June 2008, when the teachers' contract expired. Their chanting outside delayed the meeting's start time — then threatened to overpower the opening minutes. As school board chairwoman Trudy Sargent pounded the gavel to start the ...   More
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 BETH SLOVIC

Tear Down That Sign, PPS Tells Teachers

The Portland Schools Foundation hosted "Principal for A Day" in five Portland school districts yesterday, connecting area business and political leaders with local schools so those people could glimpse how schools operate. The annual event came at an awkward time for Portland Public Schools, which this week continues its protracted talks with PPS teachers over their expired union contract. With ...   More
Wednesday, October 28, 2009 BETH SLOVIC

Stephen Colbert Interviews Vicki Phillips And He's NOT Funny

If you've ever wondered if it's possible for Stephen Colbert to not be funny, check out this earnest video I just happened to come across of Colbert speaking and then interviewing Vicki Phillips, former superintendent of Portland Public Schools. The April interview with Phillips, who now works at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, supports donorschoose.org, a website for giving ...   More
Tuesday, October 27, 2009 BETH SLOVIC

PPS Gets A New Director for English-Language Learners At A Tough Time

Portland Public Schools' director of programs for English-language learners is on leave due to sickness and has a temporary replacement, Jean Fischer. The timing of director Diana Fernandez's departure could not be worse for Portland Public Schools. Next month, state officials will visit Portland to see if PPS is complying with a February 2009 audit (PDF) of the school district's program for ...   More
Thursday, October 22, 2009 BETH SLOVIC


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