Jefferson YMA: its demise fortold?

PPS Equity has learned that staff in the Portland Public Schools transfer and enrollment office told the parents of at least one incoming 9th grader at the Jefferson Young Men’s Academy that the beleaguered academy would be closing.

“It’s not going to exist,” the family was told approximately two weeks before the start of the school year. It was strongly suggested that they should withdraw and go to one of the other schools where they’d been accepted.

The family, feeling like they had no choice, settled on their neighborhood high school, which the district employee told them “gets just as bad a rap as Jefferson,” so why not go there.

This could certainly explain why there were no incoming sixth graders at the Young Men’s Academy this year, if families were told to go elsewhere.

Were other incoming students told by transfer and enrollment to go elsewhere? If the district is planning to close the Young Men’s Academy, what does this say about their commitment to the 33 students who remain there? Were they also told their school would cease to exist? And what does this mean for the future of the Young Women’s Academy?

If we are giving up on the Young Men’s Academy, it is time to come clean for the good of the students. Slow death by strangulation can’t possibly be in anybody’s best interest.

Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.