K-8s from a teacher’s perspective

8:42 pm

Everyone’s a critic, it’s true. It is easy to point fingers, but try to fix something? This takes more effort than most people can muster.

I have been a witness, for the last four years, to Portland Public Schools’ fiasco known as K-8 schools. I have tried to shed light on the problems created by this policy and had hoped to, as they say, be part of the solution, not part of the problem. The district has a history of not accepting blame when it is due, continuing with programs proven not to work, and trying to spin it all in a positive light. As PPS entrenches itself deeper into this hole it has dug itself, I cannot help but throw in my two cents, both as a K-8 teacher in PPS, and as a parent to two children in a K-8 school.

Perhaps the most obvious problem with K-8s is that the facilities housing them are woefully inadequate. My school this year, as of June 12, is losing its staff room to a classroom and the nurse will be in the hall. We were promised a brand new computer lab, but alas will have to settle for a mobile cart of computers to be wheeled from classroom to classroom. There is no science lab, our library is extremely small, and the counselor has to share a room with several other programs. Already, there is a portable on the playground. It is true that some schools have enough space, but many do not.

Indeed, some schools have scaled back their K-8 plans due to space constrictions. However, this policy is not applied consistently. Several times, in other K-8s I have taught, facilities people have gone on walk-throughs to plan for the upcoming years. Never have I seen staff asked for input. Indeed, I have seen several staff members give input, only to have it ignored. This resulted in configurations that then had to be changed once the school year started.

Even if facilities for K-8s were sufficient, the content taught and the approach to this content is not at all up to the standards of most middle schools. Many middle schools in K-8s are taught using a self-contained model. This means that one teacher teaches almost all subject matter. The problem with this is that the higher the grade level, the more complex the subjects become, and most teachers, no matter how gifted they are, cannot adequately teach every subject.

Most middle school teachers teach one or two subjects. They are experts in those subjects. As a parent, I want my children to learn from experts. Additionally, electives are taught, usually, by those same teachers. So, on top of teaching 4-5 academic subjects, middle school teachers in K-8s are required to teach an additional elective. Hence, lots of knitting, badminton, and study halls are offered. No music, no home economics or languages, as these would require actually hiring additional teachers.

Lastly, in addition to lacking satisfactory facilities and academic support, K-8s have no one steering the boat, so to speak. Most administrators are trained in elementary protocols and procedures, not middle school models. I have called several people in the district who were supposed to be “in charge” or helping those in charge, and have gotten nowhere.

The last phone call I made, on June 12, was to a facilities person. She got irritated with me asking “Why do we not have adequate room for our programs?” She then started asking me what my solutions were. I offered two or three, and she said each one had already been considered and thrown out. But it left me wondering. If you really wanted my opinion, as a teacher in a K-8, why didn’t you ask me four years ago?

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Sheila Wilcox is a PPS parent and K8 teacher.

filed under: Curriculum, Facilities, Features, K-8 Transistion, Labor Relations, Middle Schools

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52 Responses

  1. Comment from marcia:

    This year there was also a special ed teacher with her “classroom” located in the hallway next to the kindergarten and first grade classes at our school. Very unfair. She would even have to conduct “private” conferences with parents right there in the hallway, with people walking by. Just one more instance of less than poor planning on the whole K-8 fiasco.

  2. Comment from Stephanie:

    A classroom in a hallway?!! This sounds so awful I cannot even conjure an image in my head. So you really mean literally that the students classroom was a spot in the hallway? Did they have those cubicle walls up or something? This makes me furious.

    Great post Sheila!

  3. Comment from Nancy R.:

    Great post, Sheila. Thank you for putting in your two cents it’s worth a million. My frustration: school libraries, even though they’re usually the biggest classroom in the building, get “farmed out” for so many purposes (including being used as testing centers) that the students often can’t come in as classes to do research. This is especially vexing as we attempt to prepare our middle school students for high school. We’re forcing them to stay primary students (with the self-contained classrooms). No wonder they struggle in high school when it’s time to change classes, teachers, deal with a locker, etc.

  4. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    Nancy, you are so right. Our school library is definitely not up to par. Few up-to-date resources, a miniscule middle school section, and yes, it was used for a math class (so please do not use the library at this time)! My son will be in sixth grade this coming school year, and I worry immensely.

  5. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Portland’s middle school age education remains a travesty. No wonder our drop-out rate is astronomical. For three years we forget anything that has to do with age appropriate education and feed children a form of slop that is more like a third world education than a “world class education”. My best advice for parents of kids in Portland entering the middle grades: “Be afraid. be very afraid.”

  6. Comment from Rita:

    Since the bureaucracy is not asking teachers (or parents) about what’s happening on the ground in the K-8s, I’m wondering if we can’t use this blog to catalogue the situation school by school so that we can develop a list of deficiencies and needs, and maybe a wish list.

    As Steve Rawley mentioned on another thread, it appears that PK-8 education (as a whole) will be the next thing on the agenda for SACET in August. I think it would be very helpful to have some detailed info to highlight the general problem and also extract some specific commitments for improvement.

    For what it’s worth, my sense from what Carole Smith and Sara Allen have said to the committee is that the District is actually considering reversing the reconfiguration as an option. It would be helpful to hear from people with real-life experience in the K-8s (teachers, staff, parents, and students) about whether individual schools are salvageable or not.

    Sara said that they’re done a lot of work on the K-8s this year, but admitted that they’ve done a lousy job at communicating what they’ve done. I’d say that’s the understatement of the year. Has anybody seen the fruits of all that work?

  7. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    Sara is one of the folks I contacted at the beginning of the year. She was only working part time, and thus IMPOSSIBLE to actually talk to. I kept calling, she said she gave my name to someone else, and I was promptly forgotten. Not sure if I would believe that anything was accomplished this year. There are certainly some schools out there that simply cannot go another year with what they have (or in this case, don’t have), and yet here we are, on the cusp of yet another year, with NOTHING being done.

  8. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    As far as a school-by-school list, I think it is sufficient to say that (for the most part) schools that started as middle schools and added K-5 are doing relatively well, while schools that started as elementary schools and added 6-8 have the greatest problems.

    These problems won’t be solved without spending a lot more money on an ongoing basis, which obviously isn’t going to happen.

    Carole Smith’s high school plan gives me some confidence that she won’t shy away from bold action on K8s, but when? How many more classes of middle school students in poor and minority neighborhoods will be denied access to a comprehensive middle school?

    The superintendent’s “K8 action team” held its last public meeting in May 2008. Last I heard, the team had no dedicated staff.

    Personally, if I were in charge, I would have tackled K8s before high school redesign. If we’re concerned with student success in high school, we need to make sure students start high school prepared and engaged.

    I have seen nothing about a self-contained eighth-grade classroom, as implemented in PPS, that’s preparing these kids for success in high school and beyond.

  9. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Steve, you are so right about starting with the middle grades and then building on that. Or at least doing the two together. One of the major problems is that way too many parents get sidetracked in their kids’ middle school years.

    In primary school parents know they have to nurture. When children reach those middle grades there is so often a purposeful disconnect on both the child’s and the parent’s part. While this can be healthy at the same time the school needs to step up to the plate and do their job. This doesn’t happen in Portland with their non-engagement curriculum and non-engagement athletics and activities programs. When the child enters high school parents tend to re-engage, often because of the actvities such as plays, sports, debate, and the other interests their child pursues which often includes opportunities for the parents to not only be an interested spectator, but involved.

    Hence, the result is that the lack of parent interest translates into less political influence on improvement in the middle grades. When this is combined with the lack of political influence, interest, and economic factors in the poorer neighorhoods it creates a huge deficit. The old middle schools, though better maybe, were horrible too. I know you know this but many of your readers may not.

    The fix: Fix-em.

  10. Comment from Ohme:

    I would be interested to find out what would happen in Marshall cluster if the district reversed the k-8 (which I sincerely hope they do). They have created a situation out here that will be interesting to fix.
    When Bridger (housing Creative Science focus option)/Clark/Binnsmead were informed several years ago that they were becoming k-8′s, the district made the short sighted decision to close the Clark building as a neighborhood school, and housing the creative science school there, leaving Bridger intact.
    This is short sighted because this area of SE Portland has nearly the highest number of grade school ages students in the city! So now the old Clark neighborhood kids are squished k-8 into the Binnsmead building (730 students and counting, with new apartments going up everyday in the boundaries), Creative science school has to share a building that used to house 520 students with 3 other programs just to partially fill the space.

    While I hope the district does reverse the k-8 program (as I am teaching at one, and it is horrible for ALL ages of kids), it will be interesting to see how they deal with this situation.

    The only way to make a reversal work is to put neighborhood k-5 kids back into the Clark building, which will cause quite the roar to emanate from the CSS parents. Which is fine with me, because I think it was a bad decision in the first place. Closing a thriving neighborhood program in the highly populated Marshall cluster was just a dumb move. Period.
    Hopefully it will be correctly shortly. No more students should have to suffer through this “experiment”.

  11. Comment from marcia:

    The district also made a bad decision when they closed Kenton Elementary and leased it out to a catholic school for the next 20 years. The neighborhood now is bursting at the seams with young families with children. It will be hard to reverse the mess, but not impossible.

  12. Comment from howard:

    DEMAND more than promises, As posted (In Part) “Perhaps the most obvious problem with K-8s is that the facilities housing them are woefully inadequate. My school this year, as of June 12, is losing its staff room to a classroom and the nurse will be in the hall. We were promised a brand new computer lab, but alas will have to settle for a mobile cart of computers to be wheeled from classroom to classroom.”

    Before projects like K-8 reconfigurations and High School reconfigurations every possible detail should slotted into the project, a project manager should be installed and full funding should be arranged.

    There should be bi-weekly or monthly reviews to assure stakeholders that all aspects of the project are on-time and on-budget. If changes are deemed necessary they should be agreed to and added funding provided immediately.

    Review the recent history of PPS and the K-8 “project”. The superintendent who started it mhas moved to Seattle and many of her top aides have left or lost juice. You gotta have project certainty and personnel continuity and responsibility particularly in high-turnover urban districts.

  13. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    I just received an email from someone I talked to at facilities. She told me that one of the rooms in our building that has to share programs (reading, nurse?, counselor) will have partitions! Well, this is what we had last year. They did not go all the way to the ceiling, and they most certainly were not soundproof. Apparently, this is the best they can do. And, she assures me, our school is “at the top of the list.”

  14. Comment from marcia:

    Maybe they will provide a partition for the teacher holding class in the hallway, too. LOL

  15. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    Perhaps! I love that this is what happens when a school is at “the top of the list.” Pity those schools at the bottom!

  16. Comment from J.Clark:

    Shelia, I wish I had written this, but being one of your team mates, I don’t think I could have articulated it better.

    However, I would include the tendency that we wittnesed for administators to shuffle the responsibilty to us, by implying that there is something amis in our teaching practices when we point out the problems. We have seen them go as far as to imply that it’s just a classroom management problem. In one case, a teacher at our school was asked to seek support from one of the elementary teachers who “never had problems when she taught these kids.” The disconnect in understanding between elementary and middle school is a chasm that no one seems prepared to cross, and the administartive body in PPS is clearly not prepared to lead.

    Has anyone taken the time to sent this article, and it’s string of posts to Carol Smith? Perhaps that would be to bold?

  17. Comment from Rose:

    When the K-8 model was first implemented I was pretty keen on it as a parent.

    It solved the issue of driving my three kids all over the neighborhood. And the idealistic Little House on the Prairie aspect of it appealed to me. I hoped it would keep the big kids younger a little longer.

    But the reality has been different. My kids attend one of the better K-8 schools (Ockley). It was a good middle school that added on K-5. So the expert teachers were there and still are. We have excellent science and math and LA teachers.

    But there are many problems. Some are simply developmental. There are huge differences between 5 year olds and eighth graders. Expecting a school to serve such a spectrum of students is mind-boggling. Just juggling the cafeteria schedule is hard. Principals and staff are expected to attend to a vast curve in learning and ability. Add in some puberty and you got eighth graders who want dances but really really need some sex ed, and they are sharing halls with K students who can’t tie their shoes yet….it is just too much for one school to handle.

    I like how our school has dealt with it but I do think it would be better for the kids to be with their peers. I also question just what we will do with the increase in students that is bound to come…one would hope. It seems like a self-defeating prophecy to create schools which are too small for the actual population of the neighborhood.

  18. Comment from Marcia:

    Yes, your remarks about schools too small for the actual population is exact. Kenton has so many new families moving in..all the young hipsters..just on my block alone, there are four families with kindergarten age or younger kids. Now that Kenton Elementary is history, where are these kids supposed to go to school? The new charter school down the block? Probably. Very poor planning…but when the decision was made to lease out Kenton for 20 years, our school board was training with the Broad Foundation, and their agenda is to create as many seats as possible outside the public schools…Go to their website. It is part of their manifesto.

  19. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    I keep hearing about the high school redesign and meetings pertaining to discussions about this. Knowing I risk sounding like a broken record, I will ask again, “What happened to fixing K-8s?” Is there ANYONE in administration who is paying attention? I would love to be part of that discussion. Besides, who is going to trust the administration on the high school level when they bungled the K-8s so completely? I say, finish what you started before moving on. Teachers, parents, and students need to be able to trust the “higher ups” and they have not yet showed us that we can.

  20. Comment from Susan:

    Rose’s comment “It seems like a self-defeating prophecy to create schools which are too small for the actual population of the neighborhood,” really hit a nerve with me, as did this article re Corbett adding a charter school with the same curriculum as its traditional schools in order to circumvent state transfer laws. Is this PPS’s future? Charter Schools will be the only way to compete financially? Or Charter Schools will seem the only alternative to failing K-8s?

    “The Corbett Charter Academy will begin classes today in the same building as the district’s K-12 classrooms. Dunton will run the K-12 charter school, and it will offer basically the same programs as the traditional school.”

  21. Comment from Steve Buel:

    8th grade kids and kindergarteners in the same building was sold as a positive. Oh, they will both benefit from each other. Just more educaslop (sic)to sell the program. Heck, 6th graders are right on the edge, let alone 2nd graders.

  22. Comment from Rose:

    This is probably generalizing, but it seems PPS is always in a hyper-defensive posture. If charters are stealing their kids, then they think, we’ve got to co-opt them, by making faux charters, magnets and academies. If enrollment in North Portland declines, they think, close Kenton and make Ockley a K-8.

    There is no long-term thinking or planning. At Ockley we had a waiting list for kinder last year. At the same time the district was considering putting the Access Program in our school (without any community input, mind you). I have NO idea where they planned to put the kids. Maybe tents on the playground like an Arizona prison?

    When I was growing up Ockley was filled to the brim as a middle school. Now we have made it a K-8, and neighborhood families who want to get in cannot do so. I wish someone in PPS could explain the logic of that.

    And DeLaSalle North is entrenched in the old Kenton school. They will not be leaving. Where does PPS plan to house all the students of that neighborhood?

    Steve, I agree with you. I bought into the idea the ages groups benefit from each other. But staff spend so much time managing numbers that the benefits are minimal.

  23. Comment from Oh me:

    Another part of the k-8 that is not being talked about is what we were promised about school size. I have several documents that promised, in writing, that the k-8′s would be between 400-600 students. This was promised to teachers, parents, communities. Harrison Park is at 735 students, and more are arriving every day. Our k-2 grades have 28+ students with no parent volunteers or aides and over 80% students in poverty and 50% ELL. We are out of classrooms to make another class to relieve crowding. The district refuses to make a boundary change and more apartments are built in our boundary daily. We have three lunches, the earliest at 11:00am (we start school at 8:40am) and students only get 30 minutes for lunch/recess. We are overcrowded. There seems to be no end/solution in sight. Is anyone else experiencing this problem?

  24. Comment from Susan:

    A question that might go hand-in-hand with over-populated K 8s is schools that are still under 400. One of the reasons given for the K 8 reorg was budget, and school closures were tied into the whole package.

  25. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    Just to update everyone on the dismal state of my K-8. Still no teacher’s lounge, and I am told this is a union issue for some of our para-professionals. Our copy room is a closet, and I have had to borrow books from another school for my reading program, as we do not have any designated books for 7th grade. The map in my room shows the Soviet Union, and I am expected to teach a book group with no books ( I have asked for money but have been ignored). Ahh!!!! Just another day in paradise.

  26. Comment from mom:

    My children attend a pk/8 school in n.e. Portland, and I can tell you this…if something doesn’t change in terms of what is offered at the 6/7/8th grade level to make it more comporable to what is offered at traditional middle schools, we will definitely be moving out of this district to a place where they can have a high quality experience. It’s just not happening at our school now, and realistically, I don’t see that PPS is taking these reconfigured pk-8 schools seriously. I agree—this big mess should be addressed way before this high school change agenda.

  27. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    Thank you. The inadequate K-8s are the elephants in the living room. How is administration not seeing that? It is quite obvious. They see what they want to see. Our grievance about having to teach “enrichment” while also teaching in a “semi self-contained” middle school classroom is moving forward, albeit VERY slowly. Why is it taking so long? Great question.

  28. Comment from code1:

    This has been enlightening to me, I also teach in a k-8 and thought we had it bad until reading the posts. I do believe it is NOT the ideal as promised “Little House on the Prairie”

    I don’t think the facilities department has had anyone working with “vision” for several years.

    I agree that if teachers have suggestions or problems we are not listened to and often blamed.

    Every time I received the e-mails about the high school redesign, I responded by asking them to work on the k-8′s first. There has been no thought behind the transition even to this day.

  29. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    I have called the union and the district several times this year, asking what is going to be done about our lack of a staff room (which means when there is “inside recess,” students are in the classrooms,as are teachers, and there is no “duty free lunch” for teachers). I was told it was “being looked into.” How much else is “being looked into”? We have a closet that is now our copy room, and a huge paper cutter hanging off the edge of a shelf in said closet. Safe. Not! I’ve tripped over the cord of the laminator several times. We are told this closet is where it is supposed to be, but since the room is a closet (did I mention that?) there is not enough room for what needs to go in there. We joke that if anyone were to call OSHA, we would be shut down. Hmmmm…….

  30. Comment from Jax:

    The meeting at Grant High School about the redesign process on Tuesday night was enlightening…wow, there are lots of angry parents about the K-8 promises that have not materialized.

    The problem for the teachers, unfortunately, is that at this point folks really don’t care that they don’t have a contract and will most likely not rally around them if a strike happens. That is an administrative problem, but the teachers will bear the brunt of hte anger.

  31. Comment from Marian:

    Perhaps the redesign benefits the district in that it distracts parents from rallying behind teachers.

  32. Comment from NEteacher:

    I am so glad to find this post and see that people are still talking about K-8′s. By the way, there is a gap in equity among K-8 schools, just as there is a gap between middle school and K-8’s.

    I was a teacher at one of the middle schools that “merged” with an elementary school. Along with most of the middle school staff, I was moved to teach at one of the 4 new K-8 schools which were to take the place of the discontinued middle school.

    Here is what happened: the kids from the lower income neighborhoods were sent to schools that had formerly been K-5’s. These buildings had no computer labs, middle school libraries, science labs, or elective classes. Schools were given (I am not making this up) $2000 for materials for the newly added grades. The school with (by far) the highest SES in the cluster moved into the middle school building, and kept all the computer labs, science labs, and library books from the middle school, and was able to bring their computer labs and books from their former building as well.

    The concentration of resources to the whitest, wealthiest school was astounding at the time, and has not been corrected since. I tried to advocate for a plan to distribute resources equitably before the “merger” actually happened, and was told it would be figured out later; later I was told that decisions had already been made and resources could not be taken from schools.

    I love the community that I serve, and to be honest, I believe there are some advantages to the K-8 model. However, I hate that by the design of the district, kids with the greatest need tend to get the fewest resources. Those with the most connected and involved parents tend to get the most.

    Clearly, mistakes have been made. What do we do now? A campaign against K-8’s will only result in more families with resources transferring out of K-8’s and into the few remaining middle schools, which will make the divide between middle school and K-8’s even greater. If anyone is working on this issue, I would love to get involved.

  33. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    Me too. Sign me up!

  34. Comment from marcia:

    Those families are going to transfer out anyway..campaing or no campaign…don’t you think? …That is unless a miracle happens and the K-8′s suddenly blossom and grow full programs which can compete with the regular middle schools…

  35. Comment from NEteacher:

    We just had parent teacher conferences at my K-8. There are a lot of happy parents– good teachers go a long way, and so does the fact that every adult in the building knows their kids. At my school, the 6th- 8th grade teachers are all experts in their field, and experienced middle school people. Because the each grade-level is small, teachers are in excellent communication with each other and with families. Having worked at both big middle schools and a small K-8, I see advantages to both models.

    But that is no excuse for the gross inequity of resources between schools. I don’t know if it is possible to solve this problem without creating a district-wide standard for school configuration, be it middle schools as we used to have, or K-8’s designed to offer the upper grades the resources similar to what they would have at a middle school.

    Does anyone think the district is actually considering (or would consider) going back to a middle school model across the board? If not, is it possible to have a system of K-8 schools with resources equivalent to those of a middle school?

  36. Comment from Steve R.:

    NETeacher, thanks for calling out the advantages of K8s for middle graders. I don’t want that to get lost in the debate.

    The problem, as I see it, is that we don’t have enough money to do K8s right. The few exceptions seem to be mainly at schools that were middle schools to begin with, where the cohort sizes bring the necessary economy of scale to continue offering a full middle school curriculum.

    But most of our K8s converted from K5s, and don’t have anywhere close to the enrollment they need to provide a broad-based secondary education.

    I asked Sara Allan, the district’s “Executive Director for System Planning and Performance,” in charge of high school redesign, K8 redesign, and much, much more, if the district would consider going back to middle schools district-wide. She doesn’t think that’s necessary. (More on that in a story I’ll be publishing soon.)

    Personally, I think every middle grade student should have a choice. Many students need the individualized attention and small communities that K8s offer. But many need the increased educational opportunities that only middle schools can offer given the current budget picture.

    It is worth noting that no student living west of the Willamette has to enter the lottery to get into a middle school. The only K8 there is Skyline, and through a bizarre clause in the existing transfer policy, students can choose to go to a comprehensive middle school if they don’t like the K8 model.

    On the east side, particularly in the poorest neighborhoods, there is no such choice.

    Despite Allan’s contention that it isn’t the type of school that matters, but what goes on in the classroom, school board director Ruth Adkins has been consistent in calling for a comprehensive middle school option in every cluster.

    That makes the most sense to me.

  37. Comment from Steve Buel:

    It is also worth noting that PPS doesn’t do a very good job with their middle schools either. While I agree with Steve and also with Ruth about a middle school option in each cluster, in the long run it doesn’t make much difference one way or the other. Weak education is weak education no matter how you organize it.

  38. Comment from Tired PreK-8 Teacher:

    I’ve appreciated reading everyone’s comments here and wanted you all to know about a potential opportunity to do something about this mess. (One can hope, right?)

    I received a copy of an email from my administrator about “a series of parent meetings focused on the PK/K-8s…For this meeting the focus is the PK/K-8 parent leadership in the PTA…and/or other school site parent leadership as well.”

    The first of these next meetings will be TUESDAY, FEB 16, 6:30-8:30 at Harrison Park.

    Given that teachers aren’t given a formal opportunity to give input about the situation in their PK/K-8 schools, maybe we should attend this meeting along with any parents who are concerned about the state of these schools (and it sounds like there are many of you!) Administrators have also been encouraged to attend.

  39. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    Interesting that this is the first I’m hearing of the meeting….

  40. Comment from Bonnie Robb:

    Yeah, me too…and I WORK at Harrison Park.

  41. Comment from Zarwen:

    The meeting is advertised on the PPS webpage, here:


    and also in the Tribune, here:


  42. Comment from getrowdy:

    There’s a new survey out asking for k-8 input but I had to stop taking it once I got started because the way the survey is set up, it assumes you stayed at your newly configured k-8, which wasn’t the case for us
    ( we lotteried out ), but I would think for those of us who did so, should give input, too. I still filled in the free response feature of the survey, to tell them why we chose to leave.
    I know the k-8 ordeal needs to be addressed but smack during the high school redesign? One would think you’d have better results if you complete one task before taking on another. But I guess the problem here is that the two issues go hand-in-hand and so now we try to improve by…back-pedalling? This yo-yo ride is growing old, anyone else agree?

  43. Comment from Stephanie:

    Where is this survey? How can we have all of these communication people and no communication?

  44. Comment from Zarwen:

    Is the survey available on the PPS website? Maybe Getrowdy could post a link?

  45. Comment from Stephanie:

    Found this on the website about a meeting on K-8′s tomorrow http://www.pps.k12.or.us/news/2745.htm but no survey.

    I am frustrated because the audit of special education included a poorly rolled out survey that made parents look very happy with the district and I suspect did not include the opinions of people without computers, parents with disabilities, foster parents, group home and day treatment staff that basically parent kids in their care, non-English speakers, and kids with IEP’s that are in general ed. I would be fine with these people making their big checks if the communication was adequate and equitable. There was a striking lack of representation of people of color at the stakeholder meeting although PPS did ask us for help with this at the last minute to be fair.

  46. Comment from getrowdy:

    The survey ( k-8 ) came to me via email but I’ll go back and see where exactly it originated from ( i.e, PPS Pulse,etc..).

  47. Comment from Rita:

    Unfortunately, tonight’s meeting on K-8s coincides with the rally against the recent police shooting, with Jesse Jackson as the featured speaker. I’m guessing quite a few people (including me) who would otherwise attend the K-8 meeting won’t be there.

    Can I ask that anybody who attends post a report here afterwards? Presumably, the inevitable powerpoint presentation will be posted on the PPS site, but it would be helpful to get a read on the mood in the room, size of the crowd, etc.

  48. Comment from stephanie:

    I will post a report from the meeting tonight.

  49. Comment from Craig:

    The K-8 meeting at Harrison Park was organized by Portland Council PTA; the survey is the work of Portland Council PTA, as well. Here is a link to the survey: http://oregon.ptaworkspace.org...../surveyk8/

  50. Comment from S. Wilcox:

    I just read some remarks (on another website) about a redesign meeting last night. It was on the westside, and many parents still not willing to give things up. I suspect the redesign will not look like any of us imagined it would when this whole thing is over. I am fuming about how my kids, who are in an immersion K-8 in the Jeff. cluster, have no immersion feeder school to go to in high school, and these parents are worried about losing AP chemistry. Let’s get AP chemistry at all the schools before we worry about losing it!

  51. Comment from Stephanie Hunter:

    I just submitted my notes from the K-8 planning meeting at Harrison Park to Steve as a blog post.

  52. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Here is Stephanie’s post.