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District explores moving three schools

ACCESS, Creative Science and Odyssey might make room for neighborhood schools


TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - Portland Public Schools headquarters

ACCESS, Creative Science School and Odyssey are three Portland Public Schools programs that might move after deliberation from the District-wide Boundary Review Advisory Committee.

A staff report presented Saturday, Jan. 9 to the committee examined whether there were district-wide focus-option and alternative schools that could move to make room for overcrowded neighborhood schools.

The report concludes that, overall, boundary changes are more effective for rebalancing the district, but that in certain circumstances a move could help.

ACCESS, a first-grade through eighth-grade alternative program for high-performing children, is located on the overcrowded Rose City Park campus in Northeast. Staff recommends finding space for its 16 classrooms at Meek Pro Tech, Smith, Kenton, Humboldt, Tubman or Kellogg schools. ACCESS Academy advocates, however, say the program needs to add capacity in order to make room for more than 100 children who qualify.

"The ACCESS program has requested growth to accommodate its waitlist of 170 students who meet the qualifications for alternative education," says Scholle McFarland, a parent of an ACCESS 6th grader and a member of the district's TAG Advisory Council. "That would mean instead of 16 rooms it needs more like 25 classrooms."

Creative Science School is a K-8 constructivist program near Mt. Tabor that promotes learning through experiences and behavior. The report says its more than 21 classrooms might be better served at Kenton, Humboldt, Tubman or Kellogg.

Odyssey, currently at Hayhurst School in Southwest, teaches K-8 students through the lens of living history. With just nine classrooms, the program could move to any of 13 sites with vacant rooms. (See below for details.)

Some of the schools listed are vacant, but in others, programs would be displaced. The System Planning and Performance Department says its analysis did not include considerations such as transportation, proximity to current students’ homes nor the necessity for building improvements.

The Metropolitan Learning Center was not one of the programs the district proposed to move. Concerns after a proposal from overcrowded Chapman Elementary School to move the unique K-12 program have rallied the MLC community with more than 1,600 people on a “Save MLC” Facebook group and a Friday protest.

The District-wide Boundary Review Advisory Committee will meet again on Jan. 14 and then present its final report Jan. 20. The school board is then expected to vote on the growth management plan in February.


OPTIONS FOR OPTION SCHOOLS

ACCESS

  • 346 students
  • 16 classrooms
  • Could move to: Meek Pro Tech, Smith, Kenton, Humboldt, Tubman, or Kellogg
  • Creative Science School

  • 476 students
  • 21.1 classrooms
  • Could move to: Tubman or Kellogg; possibly Kenton or Humboldt
  • Odyssey

  • 222 students
  • 9 classrooms
  • Could move to: Edwards, Wilcox, Halladay Center, Youngson, East Sylvan, Terwilliger, Applegate, Meek Pro Tech, Smith, Kenton, Humboldt, Tubman, or Kellogg
  • See a video of the five-hour DBRAC meeting:




    Shasta Kearns Moore
    Reporter
    503-546-5134
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