Franklin to PPS: We Are Your High School Model

Portland Public Schools' final community meeting about the district's plan to close and redesign high schools, held at Franklin High last night, can only be described as a whopper. Franklin's theater, which holds 1,500 people, was beyond capacity. Some estimates put the crowd at 2,000. The turnout was a clear indication to school district officials that Franklin's community is worried about rumors ...   More
Friday, December 18, 2009 BETH SLOVIC

High-School Redesign: School Closures, Boundaries, Board Elections and Union Impasse

The busy state of Portland Public Schools' high-school redesign and teacher contract negotiations bring this omnibus update, in advance of tonight's School Board meeting: • Parents in the Grant High School cluster met last week to organize against Grant's possible closure as a neighborhood school. Between 200-300 people attended the meeting, which included entertainment from Grant's Royal ...   More
Monday, February 8, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

High School Redesign: Portland's Superintendent Says She's "Ready To Be In More Definitive Territory"

This week's WW contains an analysis of Portland Public Schools' efforts to reform its high schools. On Friday, I had a brief opportunity to chat with Superintendent Carole Smith about this process. I had another, longer chance to talk with her last night -- after the story went to press. But Smith said a few things that struck me as worthy of sharing. During that phone conversation Tuesday, ...   More
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

High-School Redesign: An Unofficial, Chronological History

The idea that the Portland School Board is just now getting the opportunity to weigh in on Superintendent Carole Smith's high-school redesign proposal is understandable. The board won't vote on anything until March 8. But that idea also ignores a lot of history. In fact, the redesign has been in the works for almost three years. Board members have had numerous chances to contribute before now. What ...   More
Thursday, February 25, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

High School Redesign: Carole Smith's New "Brain Trust"

About a dozen parents calling themselves the High School Alliance met with top administrators from Portland Public Schools over the weekend to talk about the high school redesign. The parents politely shared their concerns [PDF] on Saturday about the impending redesign, which is supposed to get its first airing in just three weeks on April 26. Among the questions from the group (whose members ...   More
Monday, April 5, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Carole Smith to City Council: Butt Out!

Just days before she is expected to unveil Portland Public Schools' controversial high school redesign, Superintendent Carole Smith penned an angry four-page missive [PDF] to Mayor Sam Adams and the rest of City Council forcefully asserting the school district's independence. The reason for her letter has little on the surface to do with the impending changes to the district's high schools. Instead, ...   More
Monday, April 19, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Awkwardness Alert: Mayor Sam Adams, Plus Avel Gordly Discuss High-School Redesign

According to a fresh press release from Portland Public Schools, Mayor Sam Adams and former state Sen. Avel Gordly (who led the second failed effort to recall the mayor) will meet with Superintendent Carole Smith to discuss her proposed high-school redesign this evening. They won't be alone. Business and community-college leaders will also be at the public work session at 6 pm. But it is difficult ...   More
Tuesday, April 27, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Three PPS Board Members Say Close Jefferson as a Neighborhood School

Trudy Sargent, co-chairwoman of the Portland School Board, said at a board meeting this afternoon that she didn't support Superintendent Carole Smith's proposal for reforming Portland's high schools and instead favors a huge change for Jefferson High School. The superintendent's plan calls for shrinking Benson Polytechnic High's student population from 1,000 to 400 and reinventing the three ...   More
Monday, June 7, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

High School Redesign: More Questions than Answers

Thinking about what aspect of Portland Public Schools' latest high-school recommendations to examine feels a bit like standing at a car collision with several bleeding people in front of me. Superintendent Carole Smith's new modifications [PDF] pose many new unanswered questions. Why should Benson High limit its enrollment to 400 students, as Smith proposed this week? Won't those kids continue ...   More
Friday, June 4, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

High-School Redesign: Superintendent Proposes Changes for 2010

One month after introducing her first proposal for reforming Portland Public Schools' high schools, Superintendent Carole Smith offered a new, slightly different plan. The biggest change to Smith's high-school redesign, presented at a work session with the School Board on Wednesday night, concerns Benson Polytechnic High. Under Smith's previous proposal, Benson was to become a two-year technical ...   More
Wednesday, June 2, 2010 BETH SLOVIC


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