Working together to get all students readingNovember 12, 2013
I want to tell you about a game-changing effort to reach a game-changing goal: in Portland, we want 100 percent of today’s first graders to be strong readers by the end of third grade. Reading to learn by the end of third grade is one of our key academic milestones. [Read more]
Welcome to a new school year!September 3, 2013
We hope that school is off to a great start for you and your family. This is a promising and pivotal year for schools in Portland. We want to tell you about some of the many hopeful changes affecting your school and others in PPS.
We also want to encourage you to stay informed about some important priorities for our schools this year. We hope you will share your input. [Read more]
The baby in the room is named HopeMay 29, 2013
Since February, we have been asking community groups to help shape the vision for the schools we are about to transform, thanks to voter approval of the school improvement bond. That vision will guide not only how we redesign and rebuild our outdated schools, but the teaching and learning that happens inside them. [Read more]
2013-14 budget forged through participation and partnershipMay 22, 2013
On Monday night, the Portland School Board approved a budget for 2013-14 that focuses our resources on our classrooms and our schools. We are making critical investments to ensure that we continue to make gains at key academic Milestones: all students reading by third grade, on track to graduate by 10th grade and graduating with a diploma that prepares them for career, college, and life. [Read more]
Appreciating our TeachersMay 6, 2013
I am pleased to announce that this is National Teacher Appreciation Week. Portland Public Schools is rich with talented and dedicated professional educators who work tirelessly to provide support and instruction to more than 47,000 students each and every school day. [Read more]
More classes for students, more teachers in schoolsMay 6, 2013
I want to bring you up to date on PPS’ budget for the coming school year and how we will offer more classes for students and put more teachers in schools next year, within our current constraints. Over the past few weeks, many people have testified about next year’s proposed budget. We’ve heard support for putting more staff into schools where students have been underserved in the past. We’ve also heard frustration from parents about school cuts and limitations, especially from high school parents. [Read more]
Spring is the season for showcasing studentsApril 15, 2013
I have been impressed by the importance of students' voices in recent weeks.
Students set the tone for discussing how we build a sustainable education system by reading aloud audience questions at our Town Hall with Governor John Kitzhaber and Chief Education Officer Rudy Crew March 18. [Read more]
Student voices shape their future and ours March 22, 2013
Tonight I proposed a budget for our schools next year that builds on the stable level of school funding proposed by state legislative leaders. This proposal marks a pivotal moment for Portland schools. [Read more]
Good news on school funding March 4, 2013
Today legislative leaders announced some very encouraging news for Oregon schools: a budget proposal for the next two years that stabilizes funding for our classrooms and turns the tide after years of state disinvestment in schools. [Read more]
The story of student success is told in many voices Februrary 28, 2013
I was really inspired this month by our emerging bilingual students at our first annual International Youth Leadership Conference. Their stories demonstrated the power of every student’s voice and experience. [Read more]
School funding update Februrary 21, 2013
I want to update you on steps we are taking to increase school funding next school year and reduce or eliminate our budget gap. As you know, we have been facing hard budget times in recent years. For the first time in a long time, there are some encouraging signs coming from Salem.[Read more]
Graduation gains are a collective effort January 31, 2013
Today the state released its annual graduation rate data. PPS showed a one-point gain to 63 percent, the third straight year of growth. We clearly have more work to do, but we are moving in the right direction. [Read more]
Marysville re-opening is a tribute to teamwork January 17, 2013
On the morning of Jan. 7, Marysville Principal Lana Penley stood outside the freshly painted front doors of her rebuilt school and greeted students and families who had started gathering long before. Then she rang a big, silver bell, welcoming and celebrating the students, families and Marysville staff after three years away from their fire-damaged school. [Read more]
A safe and happy new year December 30, 2012
I hope you are having an enjoyable and restful holiday and a chance to spend time with loved ones.
As we return to school Jan. 2, I know that the Clackamas Town Center Mall and Sandy Hook Elementary tragedies are weighing on us. The incomprehensible nature of these acts and their impact turn our attention to preparing the very best we can. [Read more]
Ringing in a new year with resolve, community December 20, 2012
We mourn for a Connecticut community that has suffered unimaginable loss and for our local families affected by the Clackamas Town Center shooting even as we take heart in our parents, students and teachers who are holding vigils and joining in the national Hands around Our Schools movement.
These devastating events redouble our focus on preparedness and also the power of community to push back against violence with solidarity and resolve. I hope that your winter break includes a time for reflection and for gathering loved ones close as we ring in 2013. Thank you for embracing our students and our schools at this time and into a new year.
Have a good winter break!
Are high school changes working? December 12, 2012
Two years after the Portland School Board approved major high school changes through High School System Design, I want to share with you a report that shows that Portland’s high schools are on track to meet the major goals and measures of these reforms. [Read more]
What the governor’s budget means for schools November 30, 2012
Today the governor released his proposed budget for the coming biennium. His budget creates a base upon which future education budgets can build, providing greater adequacy, stability and sustainability over time, and supporting our statewide commitment to systemic reform. [Read more]
A victory for our students and cityNovember 6, 2012
Thank you, Portland!
We are glad that voters approved the school bond tonight. It is exciting to see our community come together to improve our schools. [Read more]
Our focus on racial equityNovember 2, 2012
Yesterday, the Portland Tribune published 3 related articles about our school district’s focus on racial equity. This coverage offers all of us an opportunity to widen and deepen our conversations on equity with each other and the broader community.
At Portland Public Schools, our goal is to increase student learning for every student. Racial equity is a critical component of our district’s strategies and school board policies for a basic and essential reason: To get better results in our schools, we need to close the persistent and unacceptable opportunity gap between white students and students of color. [Read more]
Rating our schools, focusing on successOctober 12, 2012
The state released school report cards October 11, based on a new way of rating school performance that Oregon has put in place for this year as the state develops new report cards for the 2013-14 school year.
I am encouraged to see that Oregon rated 83 percent of PPS schools as “satisfactory” or better, including 38 schools that received the highest ‘Outstanding’ rating. [Read more]
Our goal: all third graders can readSeptember 13, 2012
The Oregon Department of Education reported Sept. 12 that PPS students continue to score above the average on state achievement tests, with more students overall meeting or exceeding the benchmarks in reading, writing and math.
Reading scores improved. Yet the overall percentage of PPS students meeting the new reading benchmark was down from the year before – due to fact that the bar was raised.
This year we are putting a stake in the ground. By the time this year’s kindergartners finish 3rd grade, we want 100% of them to reach the third grade reading benchmark. This will provide the solid foundation for success in higher grades. [Read more]
Showing up for kidsSeptember 5, 2012
As a new school year begins, thank you for all that you as parents, teachers and community members do to support students in our schools. Please view my welcome from the steps of Benson High School.
I hope your school year is off to a good start.
Ready to welcome you backAugust 27, 2012
School begins Wednesday, Sept. 5 and I know that families are squeezing in a few more summertime activities while preparing to return to school.Thank you to the thousands of volunteers who turned out at so many of our schools to spruce up the grounds for our students and staff. [Read more]
A new way of rating school performanceAugust 3, 2012
Today, schools in Portland and across Oregon received new school performance ratings. The new ratings are based on overall student achievement, student learning growth and academic growth among historically underserved students. These ratings are part of Oregon’s alternative to the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) school accountability system -- also known as the No Child Left Behind law. (The federal government approved Oregon’s ESEA waiver last month.) [Read more]
TriMet Youth Pass extended for 2012-13July 25, 2012
Good news! Youth Pass – which provides TriMet bus transportation to over 13,000 PPS high school students – has been extended for the 2012-13 school year. I appreciate the collaboration between the City of Portland, TriMet and Portland Public Schools, which will keep bus services available to our students for the coming school year. By providing accessible transportation, Youth Pass helps students get to school, work, internships and after-school activities. And that helps them stay engaged and on-track throughout the school year. It is also helping to build a generation of public transportation users. [Read more]
Bond proposal touches schools district-wideJune 29, 2012
Last night the Portland School Board held the first of two hearings on a preferred school construction bond, which would make seismic safety upgrades, replace roofs, improve access and provide modernized science labs at schools across Portland. It would also rebuild and modernize three high schools (Grant, Franklin and Roosevelt) and Faubion PK-8. [Read more]