When the Columbia River Gorge town of Cascade Locks lost its high school last year, parent Debora Lorang described it as “devastating.” She says a year later, now that all the high school kids are going to Hood River and elsewhere, it feels like the town has lost its center.
Some parents of students in the Portland Public Schools are expressing similar fears over the district’s plan to redesign high schools. PPS has been holding informational community meetings and has heard from parents, students and some organized opposition. The School Board is poised to vote on superintendent Carole Smith’s proposal on Monday night. If it’s approved, the superintendent will have 45 days to come back with specific proposals that will address what courses neighborhood high schools will offer, what schools will be “focus” options, and which will close.
What role does the neighborhood or town high school play in your community? How important is it? Do you have kids at a public high school in Portland? Does he or she go to your neighborhood school or do you go out of your way to attend another one? What do you value most about the school you attend? What is more important — keeping all neighborhood schools open even if the curriculum is limited or being able to access a wider range of academic offerings?
- David Wood: High school curriculum program director for Portland Public Schools
- Jeff Hammond: Franklin High School parent
- Debora Lorang: Cascade Locks parent
- Pat Evenson-Brady: Hood River County School District superintendent