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School News

May Meeting Wraps Up, School’s Out until September

The May 15 committee meeting had a lively discussion with Brian Chatard, in his 2nd year as principal at Wilson HS.  There’s an exciting list of changes at Wilson these days:  new Language Arts classes, expanded Info Tech program, philosophy courses, many innovative Advanced Placement courses (more AP than any other high school in town), a major rethinking of Physical Ed and Health, even Yoga as a centering spiritual discipline not just Downward Dog exercises, and much, much more.  Graduating seniors are jealous of incoming freshmen who get to take advantage of the new ideas and smaller class sizes.

School Resources for Technology and other needs

Is SW Portland getting its fair share of resources for labs, computers and basic supplies for teachers?  How can we best advocate for our students to get the resources we need?  Our planned Fall forum on use of technology in our schools is morphing into a review of resources for innovative, modern programs.  The new IT plan for PPS should be available soon for the community to see and discuss.

Wilson Students Help Spring Cleanup, Need Help Funding Thirst Project

Our thanks to the Wilson students took part in the May 10 Spring Cleanup.  In the Fall, the Thirst Project fundraising will start up again, and we will help on that project to bring water to the world.

Common Core, Uncommon Testing

Schools have been preparing for the new common core state standards for a couple of years now, revising their offerings to align with the new standards.  Initial reports are that the standards will be an overall improvement in courses.  The Smarter Balanced assessments. i.e. high stakes tests, on the other hand, are still something of a black box and are subject to a lot of questioning and pushback.  Predictions that 40 to 60% of students will fail these tests have teachers and families worried, and some are calling for delays in starting the testing.  So far, however, the State has said Smarter Balanced testing will begin in Spring, 2015.   Meanwhile, the Committee will continue to look at progress on them, and report back later in the 2014-15 school year.

Enrollment Balancing Review Begins Next School Year.

This process was delayed, but is now moving forward.  Expect that next year will have a lot of discussion of school boundaries and other changes to spread the student load more equitably among schools.  We will send out bulletins as we get more information on the schedule and process, especially a series of community meetings on enrollment balancing, but there’s no schedule yet for these.  This process is important to SWNI because everything will be on the table for discussion.  Portland State is working with Portland Public Schools, with an initial assessment that should be out early this month.  Public announcements and a schedule should follow shortly after that.  For more information, go to and click on the Enrollment Balancing link on the left side of the screen.


Next meetingThursday, September 18, 2014, 7 to 9 PM at Room 4, Multnomah Center 7688 SW Capitol Hwy at 31st.  FIRST MEETING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR