This Week in PPS #2

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On the Calendar:

  • The school board’s Finance, Audit and Operations committee meets Tuesday at 4pm in the Willamette Conference Room at BESC, 501 N. Dixon St.
  • The PPS Parent Union meets 6:30 Thursday evening at the library at Concordia University, NE Dekum and 27th. Parent Union organizers are preparing for their kickoff press conference October 9 at the Mallory Avenue Community Enrichment Center and information fair October 10 at the Curious Comedy Club.

In the News:

  • Lincoln High’s head football coach and one of his assistants pleaded guilty to interfering with police and have been placed on paid leave by PPS pending a review of the situation. Maxine Bernstein writes in The Oregonian that Chad Carlson and Kyle Fairfax were ordered to do eight hours of community service by Tuesday in exchange for having their records wiped clean. Kim Melton reports in Saturday’s Oregonian that this case triggers the first use the districts new conduct code for coaches. District administrators will decide the fate of Carlson and Fairfax, as well as two other coaches present at the time of the incident. Before the code of conduct was instituted, principals had almost sole discretion in meting out discipline.
  • The ranks of homeless students in Oregon’s schools have swelled by nearly 14% over last year. According to a report released by the Oregon Department of Education Friday, 3.8% of students in PPS were considered homeless, writes Amanda Ingram for Willamette Week.
  • Beth Slovic covers last week’s school board meeting, and the board’s reaction to high school redesign plans presented by staff. David Wynde complained that questions he had about the process in June all remain unanswered in September.

On the PPS Equity blog:

  • Bonnie Robb, winner of last year’s prestigious Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, writes about how Portland schools serving students with high rates of poverty struggle to fund the most basic curriculum enrichment, and how teachers frequently spend their own time writing grants  “so [their] disadvantaged students can experience a world outside of their neighborhood.” Even with all the extra effort, students affected by poverty get far less of this kind of enrichment than students at wealthier schools.
  • Last week’s report on late opening for professional development drew conversation from readers, including parent Rose, whose children reported low attendance on the first early opening day. She writes that “a lot of parents left kids the whole day with relatives, or worse, left them home alone all day because there was no transportation to school.” The conversation began with district spokesman Matt Shelby pointing out that the late openings amount to an increase in instructional time and a reduction of professional development. Veteran teacher and former school board member Steve Buel argued for the abolition of even more professional development time in favor of instructional time, and Susan notes that the two hour professional development days will make it difficult for staff to attend training outside of their buildings.

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