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PPS Takes Another Run At Converting To Middle Schools


Portland Public Schools proposes significantly reducing the boundaries for Beverly Cleary K-8, as one of several steps to balance enrollments in North and Northeast Portland.

Portland Public Schools proposes significantly reducing the boundaries for Beverly Cleary K-8, as one of several steps to balance enrollments in North and Northeast Portland.

Portland Public Schools

Oregon’s largest school district rolled out plans Thursday to redraw school boundaries and relocate programs affecting 17 campuses.

This is Portland Public Schools’ latest attempt to shift from K-8 schools and toward middle schools. District leaders have struggled to provide electives and support for older students at K-8 schools because they were spread so thin across numerous buildings.

The idea — first floated almost two years ago — is to convert two buildings in North and Northeast Portland into middle schools.

A new draft proposal lays out the challenges of the potentially big change.

One problem is the district can’t easily fit all students in grades six through eight into available middle school buildings. So a few K-8s would stay K-8s.

Also, student populations are not evenly distributed, so the district is proposing changes to school boundaries. That tends to be controversial because it can force families to leave the schools they’re used to.

The changes could take effect next school year, if they’re approved by the Portland school board.

School-by-school summary

ACCESS Academy: The program for the top fraction of Portland Public Schools’ Talented and Gifted students would move out of its shared space in the Rose City Park school building and into the Humboldt school building (currently occupied by Kairos PDX charter school).

Alameda Elementary School: would remain an elementary school, feeding Beaumont Middle School. Its boundary would be reduced on the northwest and eastern edges to reduce overcrowding.

Beaumont Middle School: Boundary would shift to make room for the potential future addition of students from Vernon. 

Beverly Cleary K-8: would remain a K-8 school, but would consolidate from three campuses (Fernwood, Holyrood and Rose City Park) to two (Holyrood and Fernwood). Boundaries would be reduced on western and eastern edges to relieve overcrowding.

Boise-Eliot/Humboldt K-8: would convert to an elementary school, with students in grades six through eight attending Harriet Tubman Middle School. Boundary’s southwest corner would expand to increase enrollment.

Grant High School: Part of eastern boundary would shift to Madison High School.

Harriet Tubman: would open as a middle school (it last operated in the 2016-17 school year as the temporary home of Faubion K-8, while that school was being re-built). Boise-Eliot/Humboldt, Irvington, Martin Luther King and Sabin elementaries would feed its sixth through eighth grades to Tubman. Tubman students would have “a consistent high school dual-assignment choice” between Grant High School or Jefferson Middle College. 

Irvington K-8: would convert to an elementary school, with students in grades six through eight attending Harriet Tubman Middle School. Boundary would expand southeast to help relieve overcrowding at Beverly Cleary K-8.

Kairos PDX Charter School: would be forced to move out of Humboldt school building, to make room for relocated ACCESS Academy. A new location for Kairos is not specified.

Lee K-8: would convert to an elementary school, with students in grades six through eight attending Roseway Heights Middle School. Boundary would shift on west side in part to consolidate students living in an “income-controlled housing development.”

Madison High School: Part of western boundary would expand, shifting an area away from Grant High.

Martin Luther King K-8: would convert to an elementary school, with students in grades six through eight attending Harriet Tubman Middle School. Boundary would expand to the south to increase enrollment.

Rose City Park: opens as a neighborhood elementary school with its own boundary. The RCP building currently houses both the ACCESS Academy program and is one of the three Beverly Cleary K-8 campuses. Rose City Park Elementary students would feed to Roseway Heights Middle School. 

Roseway Heights K-8: converts to a middle school with Lee, Rose City Park, Scott and Vestal as its feeder elementary schools. Roseway Heights students would feed to Madison High School.

Sabin K-8: would convert to an elementary school, with students in grades six through eight attending Harriet Tubman Middle School. Boundaries would shift on east and west sides to help balance enrollments at Alameda and MLK schools.

Scott K-8: would convert to an elementary school, with students in grades six through eight attending Roseway Heights Middle School. Boundary would expand to southwest to balance enrollments between neighborhood and language immersion programs.

Vernon K-8: no immediate change, but the proposal considers a boundary change for Beaumont Middle School, in part to potentially make room for students in grades six through eight from Vernon (in the future).

Vestal K-8: would convert to an elementary school, with students in grades six through eight attending Roseway Heights Middle School. No proposed boundary change.

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