Portland Public Schools
Portland, Oregon

MLC logoMetropolitan Learning Center

K x 12 student-centered education

2033 NW Glisan St. | Portland, OR 97209
Phone: (503) 916-5737

About Us

About our school

We believe...

All people can and want to learn. We believe experiential learning is a powerful method for developing the curiosity, skills, knowledge, and courage needed to imagine a better world and work toward realizing it. Learning is an expedition into the unknown. Expeditions draw together personal experience and intellectual growth to promote self-discovery and construct knowledge. We believe that adults should guide students along this journey with care, compassion, and respect for their diverse learning styles, backgrounds, and needs. Metropolitan Learning Center is an educational option designed to promote strong academic and character standards.

The Metropolitan Learning Center (MLC) is a well established, long-term (35+ years) alternative program, rich with tradition yet continually adapting to meet the changing needs of our students and their families.

MLC offers a unique academic program focused on experiential learning, character development, service to its community and the pleasures of life and learning. Students who thrive in this project and adventure based learning environment have the opportunity to attend from kindergarten through high school. Those who do are joined by others transferring in from other schools, programs and districts. All students and their families choose to attend MLC.

The kindergarten program prepares students for school through developmental reading, math and social skills activities and in-depth subject studies.

Elementary students spend their day in core academic subjects and some afternoon time exploring areas of special interest in a wide-range of student choice elective classes.

Middle grade students work with specialists in language arts, math, science and social studies and participate in weekly adventure and service activities as well as the elective program.

High school students build their own schedules. In addition to the full range of courses offered at MLC, schedules can include co-op classes at other schools, independent studies, work experience and credit work at art institutes, colleges and universities. Read the 9x12 profile for more information.

At all grades, the program is personal and personalized in keeping with the character of a smaller learning environment. Instruction has an experiential influence progress reports are ungraded, conferences are frequent and all students annually compile and present a portfolio of their learning.      

Kx12 Bell Schedule

Handbook for Families

Student Enrollment for 2015-16: 430
Kindergarten: Full-day program
Program Teams: Kx3, 4x6, 7x8, 9x12
Day Care: Kids Community Learning Center, 503-916-6367
Special Features:
  • A Kx12 program which permits cross-age classrooms, activities and staff collaboration.
  • Student-centered learning environment that emphasizes decision-making, critical and creative thinking, social interaction, adventure and service learning.
  • Strong connections to family and community.

MLC Profile 2015-16

Metropolitan Learning Center


CEEB Code:  380904


2033 NW Glisan St. Portland, OR 97209




Principal: Pamela Joyner

Assistant Principal: Shannon McClure

Counselor: Jeanette Scantling



The Metropolitan Learning Center (MLC) is a focus option liberal arts educational option for students who reside in the Portland Public School District. This K – 12 program began in 1968 as a challenge to the notion that educational rewards must be extrinsic and maintains the belief that personal relationships between staff and students are paramount. MLC emphasizes a positive and humane environment where students learn independence and responsible decision-making in a supportive educational setting. The program responds to students’ diverse needs and fosters creativity.


Our community believes that good character development stems from values of responsibility and trust. Excellence is the outcome of personal commitment. Students earn credit in all required and elective areas to satisfy requirements for a standard high school diploma in the State of Oregon. MLC has met State of Oregon Standardization criteria and is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. The latest annual school report card for MLC can be downloaded from the Oregon Department of Education


Current enrollment is approximately 430 and our ethnic breakdown is as follows: African American/Black 2%, Asian 4%, Hispanic/Latino 7%, Native American <1%, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 1%, Mult-Racial 5% and White 81%.



Our high school courses are grouped in ‘blocks’ of time ranging from an hour and a half to two and a half hours, depending upon the school day. Longer classes offer more instruction time and one on one help, as well as opportunities to deeply explore key concepts.  Students usually take four courses or ‘blocks’ along with a Metro (homeroom) during each Trimester. Each ‘block’ satisfies the required number of Carnegie hours to earn a half credit.


In addition, students collect their work in portfolios; where students showcase pieces of significant work from each class and reflect on field trip experiences, community service and various educational extension opportunities. At the end of the year, students present their portfolio of work to a panel of community members for authentic feedback.


MLC does not offer traditional A-F grades.  Students now earn an Exceeds (EXC) for exceeding the standard, Proficient (PRO) for demonstrating proficiency of the standards, Developing (DEV) given evidence of work towards meeting the standards and Does Not Meet (DNM) given little to no completing of course work.  Credit is award for EXC and PRO grades.  The students’ class ranking and GPA calculation on the transcript is not applicable to MLC. The letter grade of EXC (Exceeds) and PRO (Proficient) has not been assigned a point value similar to other systems of grading (A = 4, B = 3...).  

We have made some shifts from the grading policy implemented in 2010-11.  Students had earn an Exceeds (E) for exceeding the standard with at least a 90% on course work. Students had earn a Meets (M) for doing work at the benchmark level with at least a 70% on course work. Students had earn a Does Not Meet (DM) for not meeting benchmark scores. In previous years a student earned a Passing (P) grade, when they exhibited a standard of at least an 85% or higher on all course work. Students earned partial credit (PC) if only a portion of work was satisfied at the 85% benchmark.  In 2010-11 a new grading policy was implemented.  

In the past few years, our graduates have enrolled at the following schools:

Brandeis Univ – MA

California College of Arts – CA

Cornish College of the Arts – WA

Eastern Michigan Univ - MI

Evergreen State College – WA

Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising – CA

Goucher College – MD

Grinnell College - IA

Hampshire College – MA

Lane College – TN

Linfield College --OR

Loyola Univ New Orleans –LA

Macalester College – MN

Marlboro College – VT

Mt Hood CC – OR

Nova Southeastern Univ – FL

Oregon State Univ – OR

Pacific Northwest College of Arts – OR

Portland CC – OR

Portland State Univ – OR

Reed College - OR

Regis Univ – CO

Sarah Lawrence College – NY

Southern Oregon Univ – OR

South Plains College – TX

Univ of Puget Sound – WA

Univ of Oregon – OR

Western Oregon Univ – OR

Western Washington Univ – WA

Willamette Univ – OR