Portland Public Schools
Portland, Oregon

Irvington School

School Grade Levels: K-8

1320 NE Brazee St. | Portland, OR 97212
Phone: (503) 916-6185 | Fax: (503) 916-2639

K-8 Concerns and Questions

PK – 1 grades

  1. Loss of diversity.
  2. Physical Building Constraints – is there room for K-8?
  3. District commitment to adequately fund K-8
  4. Electives – what will they be?
  5. PE for all? How much PE will students receive?
  6. Class size is crucial – will K-8 impact class size?
  7. If K-8 is so great – why aren’t all schools going to K-8?
  8. Discipline concerns – maintaining zero tolerance for bullying.
  9. How to build accepting community/safety?
  10. Dress code – should we have uniforms?
  11. Separating older/younger students? Separate bathrooms separate playground areas?
  12. Cafeteria space crowded/noisy.
  13. Academic preparedness – making upper grades adequately challenging.
  14. Specialist teachers?
  15. How to prepare for transition to High School
  16. Changing/Not changing classrooms
  17. Our school size may be too small to expand social/peer connections.
  18. What sports will be available for older students? Facilities?
  19. Will band/orchestra be available?
  20. Need consistent PE/health curriculum.
  21. Dances/Social activities?
  22. Added sheet:
  23. Adolescent behavior, need clear consequences.
  24. Lack of variety offering in small program.
  25. Cost of clubs etc.
  26. Sufficient staff – librarian?
  27. Technology in library.
  28. PE, sports, & drama.

2 – 3rd grade

  1. Lack of electives.
  2. Lack of critical mass – harder to offer electives etc.
  3. Rigor – will our program prepare students for High School? Will they be challenged?
  4. Need for increasing responsibilities/privileges as kids age.
  5. If they don’t have multiple transitions, how will they learn to manage their time and workload?
  6. District’s commitment to K-8. Why are there still middle schools if K-8 is so great?
  7. Funding for resources needed.
  8. Lose Irvington’s emphasis on early childhood education.
  9. Appropriate interactions and separation of youngest and oldest students.
  10. Upper grades might suck-up shared resources (counselor, PE, library etc)
  11. Administration planning/focus will be on upper grades.
  12. Loss of Pre-K.
  13. Physical building constraints: adequate science labs, auditorium etc.
  14. Loss of diversity. Kids not experiencing diversity until high school.
  15. Need a clear vision for our school – how do we define ourselves – both in academics and character?
  16. Will we have adequate library resources for middle schoolers?
  17. How will kids needing accelerated or remedial coursework be served?
  18. Will there be groupings by ability as well as, or by grade level only?

3 – 4th grade

  1. Do new kids negatively affect the education of the former Irvington students? How do we address this?
  2. Will we have enough staff to run all the programs we want?
  3. How will parents fit in?
  4. Where will the funding come from?
  5. How will we have rigorous benchmarks/standards in 6/7/8 grades?
  6. What will our school focus be?
  7. How do we bring transfer kids on board with Irvington’s standards?
  8. Will we require Community Service and/or older kids mentoring younger kids?
  9. Communication about “normal” middle school behavior.
  10. How are we preparing our kids for the competition of getting into college? What will make them “special?”

4 – 5th grade

  1. Exploratory possibilities are limited (electives too).
  2. Space constraints will limit options. Will there be a lab for science? Computers – both space and # of machines.
  3. Where will kids learn the transition organizational skills they will need for high school? We have to build opportunities for kids to demonstrate self-management and organizational skills.
  4. Program needs to be developmentally appropriate to help them gain autonomy.
  5. K-12 alignment – will our 8th graders be ready for High School?
  6. Will there be adequate library resources?
  7. What is the school district’s role – both in funding and personnel?
  8. Can we support advanced course offerings?
  9. Will we have specialists in all disciplines?
  10. Will we receive additional FTE for administrative support (V.P?)

5th - 6th grade

  1. Transition to more difficult for students transferring back to Irvington as a neighborhood school in 6th grade.
  2. Harder to offer/create social events for middle schoolers because of limited size.
  3. Harder to reach critical mass for range of issues: electives, sports, social etc.
  4. Fewer ways to mix-up classrooms w/smaller # of classes.
  5. Physical building constraints – no dark room, auditorium, rooms for electives, cafeteria and library capacity etc.
  6. Less access to extra-curricular activities.
  7. Ability to offer accelerated classes.
  8. Academic rigor – challenge to achieve w/o critical mass.
  9. Reduced diversity could change the school’s character
  10. Need highly qualified staff with appropriate training for age level.
  11. Limited elective choices as a small school.
  12. Inability to offer sports.
  13. Need to start band in middle school – 9th grade is too late.
  14. Balance between prolonging childhood and preparing for successful transition to high school. How to prepare students for organizational requirements and independence of High School?
  15. Need academic rigor or families will leave.
  16. Communication on homework – parents need way to verify assignments, expectations, and results.
  17. Want letter grades not +/-.
  18. Afterschool programs expect parents to pick up kids – policies need to reflect appropriate autonomy for middle schoolers.
  19. Are tables and chairs large enough? What physical modifications to building/equipment are needed?
  20. How to reconcile advantages of fewer transitions with (stronger relationship with teacher, less time lost in transition, more in depth projects possible, less confusion over differing teaching styles/expectations) with advantages of frequent transitions (less impact if student doesn’t like a teacher, more exposure to different teaching styles/expectations, learns more organizational skills). Possible to offer a MWF schedule that differs from T/TH schedule to maximize benefits of both.
  21. Homework – middle schoolers need more long-term, in depth assignments rather than “turn this in tomorrow”. Also, students need some choice – character study – student chooses media and character etc.
  22. Bullying between older and younger students and between peers.
  23. Younger kids observing older kids behavior.
  24. After school loitering issues – neighbors and businesses – school needs to address after school expectations for behavior.
  25. Loss of transition, “5th grade graduation” milestone. Need to recognize this milestone somehow.
  26. Small size makes it harder for kids to find new friends, “simpatico” friends, especially if elective offering is limited – middle-schoolers interests become more defined and electives help them meet kids with similar interests.
  27. Important to have creative opportunities to help kids probe inside themselves to learn who they are.
  28. Will foreign language be required?
  29. What can we expect for electives?
  30. Block scheduling vs. periods?
  31. Will PE resources be expanded with additional grades?
  32. How will we increase technology resources to accommodate higher grades needs?
  33. How will we grant additional privileges/responsibilities to older students?
  34. Can we extend the school day for middle-schoolers?
  35. Are there opportunities to partner with other schools to achieve critical mass/share FTE/kids raking classes at other locations?
  36. How do we develop a relationship with Grant and prepare kids to do well at Grant?
  37. How do we handle academic and social transitions to Grant or other High Schools?
  38. How can we acknowledge and recognize that 5th graders have matriculated to middle school? Graduation ceremony?
  39. Dances?
  40. Will there be a community service requirement?
  41. Middle school grades don’t have to be sequestered in one area.
  42. Are they ever going to get letter grades? 5 point system would be better than 3.
  43. Why do people say Irvington will be less diverse? What is the transfer policy? How much affect do transfers have on Irvington’s diversity?

Staff Concerns & Questions:

  1. Space – where will we put everyone?
  2. Science lab needs to be a real science lab.
  3. First group will always be the oldest.
  4. Feels like a top-down directive without any direct support.
  5. Lack of communication of direction/vision/expectations from the district.
  6. FTE – will there be more allocation for specials?
  7. Structure of the day.
  8. Social events?
  9. Parent involvement reflects the community.
  10. Leadership opportunities (for students?)
  11. Current 6th graders will be the oldest students for 4 years – need older role models.
  12. How will we maintain the numbers in upper grades? Add new students?
  13. Electives?
  14. Will we have specialists for 7th & 8th like 6th is?
  15. Rotating through content areas?
  16. Resources – science equipment, music equipment etc.
  17. Space issues!!
  18. Class size important.
  19. Curriculum resources for 6,7,8? Inservice time to learn it/research it.
  20. Money support?
  21. Library resources?
  22. Storage for curriculum?
  23. Discipline, need assistant principal.
  24. Bathrooms/used by –
  25. Paid time to research/organize resources.
  26. Need media center, not just a library.
  27. Technology updated/specialist (equity issue)
  28. Foreign language provided? (not Hola Hola)
  29. TAG – how to meet their needs.
  30. Math – advanced level provided.
  31. How to avoid tracking.
  32. Teaming to meet student needs – creative scheduling.
  33. What happens to all of this info?
  34. Opportunities to network with other 6,7,8 teachers
  35. Mandates without $$.
  36. Change is happening too fast! Can we slow it down?
  37. Advance Planning!!
  38. Safety as older students move about the building.
  39. Need for a better balance between freedom & ?
  40. How to see the 6-8 students as part of the school.
  41. More opportunities to work cross grade configuration.
  42. Scheduling – LA/SS MA/SC
  43. Electives
  44. FTE resources
  45. What about foreign language?
  46. What about advanced math/science?
  47. Where does the rest of K-5 program fit into advanced math/sc?
  48. Criteria for advancement – what
  49. Staffing expertise, administrative support, librarian, technology needs.
  50. Administrative FTE
  51. Support staff workload.
  52. Physical space.
  53. Gym facility, bathrooms, locker rooms
  54. Assembly space
  55. Lunch
  56. Minimal transitions vs. High School (are you ready?)
  57. Bathrooms.
  58. Necking, sex ??
  59. Not all teachers see “all children as theirs”
  60. Discipline – need additional admin. FTE
  61. Nurse’s time – support staff workload?
  62. Computer tables, lab tables etc.
  63. How much FTE & $$ increase do we get?
  64. Who & how are we going to choose electives?
  65. Who is going to teach health?
  66. When and how will the library grow?
  67. Is the FTE for counseling & PE tapped out? What will these programs look like?
  68. What will the transfer policy look like?
  69. What are we going to look like in the future?
  70. How much support from the AAA do we have?
  71. Is the school start and end time going to be the same? What about siblings?
  72. Is there a dress code?
  73. Can we extend our day?
  74. Will the curriculum be integrated? LA to SS, MA to SC?
  75. Do we see ourselves as a continuum or K-5/6-8?
  76. How do we plan thoughtfully with this limited amount of time?
  77. How do we establish good communication?
  78. How do we prepare kids for the transition to high school?
  79. Will there be room for the SLC-B classroom?
  80. Can we be more purposeful with planning buddy classes? Maybe buddies stay together (K/5, 1/6, 2/7, 3/8)?
  81. What happens to the extra teachers? Will we be transferred?