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Meetings on high schools resume Monday

November 24, 2009
A packed house
Hundreds gathered in the Grant High School library Nov. 17 to discuss High School System design.
PHOTOS COURTESY JONATHAN SCHELL

Eight meetings for parents, students, employees and community members to learn more about Portland Public Schools' High School System design and share their thoughts will run from Monday, Nov. 30, through Dec. 17.

Planned initially to overlap, four of the eight meetings have been rescheduled so that Superintendent Carole Smith and Chief Academic Officer Xavier Botana can hear questions and comments directly. In addition, a fifth meeting was rescheduled because of the University of Oregon-Oregon State University football game.

Rescheduled are meetings at Cleveland, Wilson, Madison and Franklin high schools and the Marshall Campus. All meetings will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. They are:

  • Cleveland High School – Tuesday, Dec. 8
  • Marshall Campus – Wednesday, Dec. 9
  • Wilson High School – Thursday, Dec. 10
  • Madison High School – Tuesday, Dec. 15
  • Franklin High School – Thursday, Dec. 17

The other dates remain the same with a 6:30 p.m. start time:

  • Lincoln High School – Monday, Nov. 30
  • Jefferson High School – Tuesday, Dec. 1 
  • Roosevelt Campus – Wednesday, Dec. 2

All meetings will have interpretation services available in Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Somali. Child care will be provided for ages 3 and above. Refreshments will be served. Families, PPS employees and community members are invited to attend the meetings at their neighborhood school or one that fits their schedules.

Superintendent Smith asked for the new meeting dates after attending the first of the High School System meetings Nov. 17 in the Grant High School library. The standing-room-only crowd of 500 people expressed numerous thoughts and questions about the High School System design now under way.

Following the meeting, the superintendent committed to attending each of the subsequent gatherings. She apologized for the rescheduling but emphasized how important it was for her to participate. 

“Just as they did at Grant,” she said, “participants in each of the upcoming meetings on neighborhood campuses will have their own unique views — their own particular legacy of PPS successes and shortcomings in their area, and their own hopes looking forward to next year’s conversation about locations for our community schools. I want to hear from each and every neighborhood high school community.

At the Grant meeting, Botana spoke about the core academic program envisioned for PPS high schools. While that drew support, audience members expressed concern about executing and implementing a new system in light of the K-8 conversion several years ago.

The proposed High School System model comprises six or seven community comprehensive, as well as focus and education option schools. The superintendent is scheduled to present a recommendation on the number and size of community schools and next steps for focus schools to the Portland School Board in January. She will not name specific schools at that point.

Find more information on the High School System design page, including Botana’s presentation to the Grant community Nov. 17 and to the school board Nov. 9.

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