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

High-School Redesign: Jefferson Supporters Voice Frustration, Disappointment

In front of depictions of tombstones that carried the names of short-lived Jefferson High School principals and even shorter-lived Jefferson reforms, Superintendent Carole Smith told a crowded cafeteria full of Jefferson supporters tonight that "people are still listening" and "your voices matter." The decorations for the evening's PTA session -- which also included a classroom skeleton dressed ...   More
Monday, June 14, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Portland Superintendent Asks PPS Teachers for Wage Freeze

Less than four months after ratifying a new teachers contract for 2010-11, Portland Public Schools wants its 3,000-plus teachers and guidance counselors to give up their 2 percent cost-of-living increases to save jobs. The district also wants the union to freeze members' ability to make salary gains based on "steps" and "columns." (Steps are increases based on years of experience. Columns are pay ...   More
Friday, June 18, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Portland School Board and Superintendent Suspend the High-School Redesign

Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith announced tonight that district administrators, with the support of the School Board, would suspend all decisions about the high-school redesign until at least September. That means there will be no votes on any aspect of the redesign, which has been in the works for 30 months, until the start of the next school year. The School Board had been ...   More
Monday, June 21, 2010 BETH SLOVIC

Portland Superintendent Proposes Eliminating Physical Education, Art or Music in Primary Grades

Portland Public Schools' Superintendent Carole Smith has proposed the wholesale elimination of either physical education programs or a combination of other electives like art, music and foreign language to balance next year's budget for the district's elementary, K-8 and middle schools. And the cuts to the district's $445 million general fund don't end there. As PPS struggles to fill a sudden ...   More
Wednesday, June 23, 2010 BETH SLOVIC


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