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Classroom scene, teacher pointing to the right.

High expectations

We owe every student the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential. Yet, for too long, our schools have not delivered the same results for students of color and students from low-income families as they have for white and higher-income students.

Today, our schools are raising expectations for students. We are offering more support to struggling students. We are making our results more transparent. Schools are sharing “what works.”

Fact: More than 85 percent of Early Learners Academy students gained new literacy skills.

Astor K-8: So much depends on a red folder

Student achievement at North Portland’s Astor K-8 School outpaces results at higher-income schools because educators set high expectations and work together.

Kindergartners are given the same red homework folders that eighth-graders carry. They are told on the first day of school, “You are an author.” Teachers collaborate to connect lesson plans across grade levels and subjects. They use frequent assessments to adapt and focus their instruction.

“Parents and staff have high expectations for students, the moment they walk in the door in kindergarten… We are committed to doing everything we must to ensure that every student is successful.”

— John Walden, principal, Astor K-8

Involving families

Involved parents and caring adults are keys to student success. We’re getting more parents involved at their students’ schools and helping them support their children’s education at home.

Parent Academy

This year, Portland Public Schools launched the Parent Academy — 30 classes on parenting, learning at home, parent leadership, child development and school choice. Classes are offered free of charge and PPS enrollment is not required. For information on classes go to the PPS website.

Parent involvement: an academic priority

Highly involved families are a hallmark of high-performing schools. At Academic Priority Zone schools, we are working with community groups to better engage families: helping parents support learning at home. Forging stronger connections with teachers and principals. And becoming more active in school decisions.

Online grade book

Heads up students! Parents can now go online to see homework assignments, grades and attendance reports, under a pilot program used by more than 300 teachers. Grades will be available online at all middle and high schools next year.

Mother and daughter, first day of school.