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School Notes: Our Stories Matter campaign; PPS to end June 9; Polson fired; Celebrity spelling bee Feb. 11

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School Notes is a collection of education news around Portland. E-mail tips to shasta@portlandtribune.com.

Group pushes for minority viewpoints in Oregon curriculum

Know Your City, a social justice nonprofit group, asked the Portland City Council on Wednesday to support its campaign for an inclusive Oregon studies curriculum to serve Portland-area youth.

The nonprofit hopes to push for funding of a provision in the city’s five-Year Action Plan to “promote curricula that reflect the experiences, histories and cultures of Oregon’s communities of color, immigrants, and refugees to boost student investment and performance.”

“Oregon has a glaring history of discrimination and exclusion,” Know Your City’s Executive Director, Cameron Whitten, said in a press release about the Our Stories Matter campaign. “The demographics of our classrooms are changing, making the damage to our students more severe. Oregon prospers when the culture and history of all people are uplifted — that’s why our stories matter.”

The campaign to fund the diversification of Oregon’s curriculum has a broad range of support from education advocates and nonprofit groups.

For more information, visit: http://knowyourcity.org/ourstoriespdx/

School year ends two days later

Portland Public Schools will add two days to the end of the school year to make up for the two days lost to snow and ice at the beginning of the year.

The school board voted Jan. 12 to add the days.

The last day of the PPS school year will therefore be June 9.

PPS board OKs Polson firing

The Portland Public Schools board on Jan. 12 approved the recommendation of its Human Resources department to dismiss Kenneth Polson.

According to PPS officials, Polson was a 10-year employee whose final position was as a student management specialist at Lent School. A Kenny Polson is listed on LinkedIn as a music teacher at PPS.

Polson was placed on administrative leave Sept. 10 and officially fired Jan. 13. The district does not discuss why employees are terminated.

Celebrities tapped for spelling bee

Celebrity spellers and celebrity officials will gather with supporters Feb. 11 for the 2016 Schoolhouse Supplies Celebrity Spelling Bee, presented by Fred Meyer.

Celebrity spellers at the 5 p.m. event at the Portland Art Museum include reigning champion John Erickson, on-air personality at K103 FM; April Baer, host of OPB’s “State of Wonder”; Cameron Whitten, social justice activist and executive director of Know Your City; and many others.

The spelling bee is an annual fundraiser for Schoolhouse Supplies, which collects donations of unused school supplies for students in need.