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Sauvie Island Academy promoting 'school choice' with week of events

Charter school participating in National School Choice Week

Photo Credit: COURTESY OF SAUVIE ISLAND ACADEMY - An event guide to Sauvie Island Academy's participation in National School Choice Week, a nationwide campaign to promote alternatives in education.Next week will be Sauvie Island Academy's version of “spirit week,” its director said Friday, Jan. 23.

Darla Meeuwsen said the charter school on Northwest Charlton Road is holding events as part of National School Choice Week, a nationwide campaign to promote education alternatives, for the first time.

“You have all of these avenues that provide choice, and I think sometimes people in our communities and parents don't always realize that,” Meeuwsen said. “Parents know their kids best, and they know how they learn best.”

Sauvie Island is a public charter school sponsored by the Scappoose School District. The school serves more than 200 children in kindergarten through eighth grade from Sauvie Island, south Columbia County, Portland and its suburbs, and beyond.

Meeuwsen said the school's participation in National School Choice Week will include a series of school and community events.

On Monday, Meeuwsen said, students will write letters to the Oregon Legislative Assembly “just reminding them of the importance of having choice and making sure that choice is funded in an equitable manner, and that it's accessible for all students.”

An all-school spirit assembly will be held Thursday.

Students are also running a canned food drive, as well as a clothing exchange. The class that brings in the most canned food, as measured by weight, will win a trip to the Columbia Pacific Food Bank in St. Helens, Meeuwsen said.

The school will also welcome visitors Wednesday evening and Friday morning.

Wednesday's event, “It's History,” is billed as an “interactive community event” to celebrate the history and unique character of Sauvie Island. Meeuwsen said a “replica model map” of the island will be on display. Dessert will be provided as well. The event starts at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.

RSVPs are being sought for the “Savoring Sauvie” community breakfast at 8 a.m. Friday, Meeuwsen said. Student projects highlighting the school's “place-based education” model will be on display, and there will be a presentation on the value of school choice — a concept encompassing the rights of parents to send their children to a charter, magnet, alternative or private school, or home-school them, or enroll them in online learning programs, if they do not thrive in a traditional public school setting.

There will also be a “soft ask” for donations to fill what Meeuwsen often describes as a “funding gap” under which public charter schools receive 80 percent of what a typical public school does in per-student state funding, she said.

The hope is that the event helps the school in “building friendships and funds,” Meeuwsen said.

“It's gonna be our first time out of the gate, but we're really excited,” she said.

To RSVP for the breakfast, visit the school's event website.

Family School also hosting event

Sauvie Island Academy is one of two charter schools affiliated with the Scappoose School District.

The other charter school, South Columbia Family School, is also holding a special event as part of National School Choice Week.

On Thursday, Jan. 29, the school will put on a math and science fair in the gymnasium of Warren Elementary School. The fair starts at 6 p.m.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the South Columbia Family School event information.