Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Supporting Documentation as of 9/2/14

#1 - 
An Assessment by PSU's Center for Public Service of PPS’s Organizational Readiness and Options for Citizen Engagement 



Memorandum - Current status of Enrollment & Transfer policy & school boundary review process.


Date: August 28, 2014

To: Portland Council PTA, PPS PTA Leaders & Parent Advocates

From: Jon Isaacs, Chief of Communications & Public Affairs 
            Judy Brennan, Enrollment & Transfer Director

Subject: Current status of Enrollment & Transfer policy & school boundary review process.

In spring of 2013, the PPS Board of Directors directed the Superintendent to implement a review of both enrollment & transfer policy and school boundaries as part of resolution they approved following Jefferson Cluster enrollment balancing. Specifically, the board directed the Superintendent to:

Develop and recommend a process for a comprehensive review of school boundaries district wide and policies related to student assignment and transfer to better align with the Racial Educational Equity Policy and promote strong capture rates and academic programs at every grade level.

In order to meet these to directives the Superintendent and PPS staff took two actions-

1. Engaged the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Enrollment and Transfer (SACET) to review student assignment and transfer policies align with the Racial Educational Equity Policy.

2. Partnered with the PSU Center for Public Service and their team of experts who assist public agencies with taking on tough public policy challenges. The PSU team has been asked to assess PPS’ readiness to take on a district wide boundary review process, assist PPS with setting clear values, goals and issues, and recommend a process for a district wide review of school boundaries.

Work on Enrollment & Transfer and Boundary Review to Date
On June 2nd The PSU team delivered their first report to the PPS Board, which is attached for your reference and review. In this readiness assessment, which included interviews with over 20 community stakeholder organizations, the PSU Center for Public Service team recommended internal alignment phase to address several important but unanswered questions about the purpose and scope of a district-wide boundary review process. The report offered several options for conducting a process that could begin in the fall and would address long-term and short-term boundary issues. However, the report acknowledged that selecting the best process would depend in part on the outcome of the internal alignment phase. Additionally, on June 2nd, SACET delivered their first extensive report to the board including their first set of preliminary recommendations. The SACET report is also attached for your reference and review.

Since June 2nd, the PSU team has been working with all of PPS leadership on questions related to district-wide boundary review. They have heard, and continue to hear from board members, senior PPS staff, school administrators and educators l about the following questions:

1. What should the primary purpose of district wide boundary review be?

2. As you know, once we begin a conversation about boundary review, other inter-related issues start to come up. Do you have strong preferences about things that should, or should not, be included in district wide boundary review? (Moving or changing programs? School reconfigurations? Etc.?)
3. At what specific points in the process should you as a Board play a formal role in district- wide boundary review?

You can watch the July 7 alignment discussion the PSU team facilitated with the PSU Board of Directors here:

SACET has spent the summer doing listening sessions with historically underserved communities and looking at modeling to prepare their final recommendations. SACET also participate in a work session with the PSU team about boundary review and how it intersects with enrollment & transfer policies.

What comes next?
The PSU assessment team is now completing this work and will report back to the Superintendent in late September on the outcomes of their summer alignment work and make a recommendation for the process PPS should use to accomplish a district wide review of school boundaries. SACET will be delivering its final recommendations to the Superintendent for changes to enrollment & transfer policies in October. You can track SACET meetings on their website - http://www.pps.k12.or.us/departments/enrollment-transfer/6531.htm

At that time, The PPS staff will also make recommendations to the Superintendent and Board on urgent enrollment issues that need to be addressed by the 2015-16 school year.

If you have any questions about boundary or enrollment & transfer review or would like to meet with the staff to ask questions directly about this contact Jon Isaacs in the Community Involvement & Public Affairs office at jisaacs@pps.net or Judy Brennan, Enrollment & Transfer Director at jbrennan@pps.net

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Grant Cluster DWBR Meeting Min

Grant Cluster DWBR Meeting

May 27, 2014, 6:15 – 8:00

Grant HS Cafeteria

Opening: Heather Leek, BC PTA President and Rep to Grant Cluster.

Roster/roll-call.  Larry Bingham from PPS.  Parents from all over the cluster.  Approx. 110 total.  Otto Schell and Scott Overton from the Portland Council of the PTA.

Heather walked through power point, timeline, etc.  Boundary discussions are about all students and all clusters.  PTA isn’t offering an opinion, just making sure that information is communicated.  Cautioned parents not to use their school’s name (representing their school) during advocacy unless they have buy-in from large number of other parents through a survey or other broad and inclusive methods.

Scott Overton from PTA discussed the broader district wide boundary review process, as opposed to piecemeal approach.  Target sizes, but this process doesn’t affect program sizes.  This is about gathering information from parents and creating community awareness and involvement.

Heather: we’re seeing growth that was totally unforeseen.  For example, the Beverly Cleary School has seen an average of almost 11% growth per year for the past five years.  This has created severe overcrowding and has resulted in the school being on three campuses for the 2014-15 school year.

Parent Comments: 
  • Want to know what PPS is going to do. 
  • Doesn’t believe PPS will take our input, or don’t believe parents have any “real” input.  
  • This process is happening so fast that families don’t have a chance to plan (13-15 months), 
    • housing choice, 
    • sibling rights
    • transfer rights, etc.  
  • Lack of trust toward PPS, Superintendent and Board.  
  • Programs shift and thus capacity needs shift.  
  • Is it a top-down decision by PPS (high schools trickling down to K-8’s, etc)?  
  • PPS knows how hard this is and thus should come to us for input; otherwise it’s a waste of our time.  
  • This is our opportunity to complain and speak up, so PPS doesn’t just jam something on us.

Heather: It’s about what we hope to see, what we’re afraid of and how we can help the direct PPS when it comes to Grant Cluster.

Small Group Notes / Comments:  
  • Infrastructure issue
  • Changing boundaries doesn’t make any difference if we don’t have anywhere to put them.  
  • Should re-open closed schools or expand existing schools, or else it’s pointless.  
  • PPS has a history of proposing a policy, then community pushes-back, and then they change policy tact.  
  • It all comes back to basic infrastructure; there aren’t many more mothballed schools that could re-open, so with all this NE infill that’s coming, the existing buildings are going to have to expand.  
  • Increased capacity is the only way. 

What do we hope to see?  
  • Evidence that we need to increase capacity and that just moving boundaries won’t do it.  
  • Would like to see class sizes come down; not just accept high ratios.  
  • Would like to use this as a case to state leaders about why we need broad statewide financial overhaul.  
  • Want to see transparency in the process.

Judy Brennan: polled group as to what they felt was the appropriate time frame for planning purposes – anything beyond five years is really tough.

Gave a demographic overview:  PPS declined from 1997-2003. Under-18 population in the PPS boundary shrank.  Coupled with seismic shift in funding for schools.  Growth is happening in lower grades; high schools were getting smaller, though.  Growth swing is hard to predict, namely because PPS is already built-out – more of a behavior change by families.  People are staying in their “starter homes” longer.  Not necessarily more kids being born.

Q&A with Judy: Will focus on forecasting, sometimes decisions have to be temporary to true-up capacity between schools (Fernwood-to-Rose City, for instance), thousands of “seats” of capacity across PPS have gone offline since the 1970s.  Capacity and space vary from program-to-program.  No specific plan to move kids from one school (overcrowded) to another (less crowded).  Forecasting will be important, but kept to a narrow band because history has shown that forecasting has been inconsistent.  Make a decision and stick to it so we can get on with our lives.  K-8 reconfiguration was done due to culture and bad test scores.  Flexibility – reason to believe these boundaries are permanent.  But boundaries are one of the last things we do – “Right to Remain” and sibling grandfathering are examples of flexibility we may need to see.  Tension between making right decision and making it quickly enough.  Expectations about population forecast next week:  in order to resolve it, it may limit amount of public input.  Timeline about next steps is unclear. 

Meeting adjourned 8:05 pm

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Few Good Men and Women Needed. Please Volunteer.

Items with an * require help this school year as well as the 2014-15 school year.
Key Position
Brief Description
Importance to BCS
Passport Club
Bring geography to BCS!  Passport has been a long standing nationally support PTA effort to enhance the geography in our schools.  We will need to look at the current program and evaluate how we can create an interesting experience at 2 campuses (2nd-8th grade program).  This is a year-round program that will need several hours of support per month.
Great opportunity to teach geography, which is not included in basic curriculum.
Spook A Rama
Lead/support effort for BCS Fall Halloween carnival and fundraiser.  This effort is requires several hours per week leading up to the event and significant work the night of the event.
Raises about $6500 annually
Rummage Sale *
Lead spring rummage sale fund raiser.  School rummage sale in April.  Requires a few hours leading up to the event, with a huge effort Thursday-Saturday the weekend of the event.
Raises about $5000 annually
Volunteer Coordinators
We need 3-5 individuals to help solicit volunteers for various PTA events (such as those listed here).  Requires year-round effort.  This role solicits volunteers versus a large amount of leading various efforts.  Ideally we need at least one person on each campus.
Critical role in support volunteer efforts at BCS. 
Casino Night / Misc Fundraiser
The PTA would like to begin another fundraiser during the year.  This position will look at various options of events and make a proposal to PTA, as well as lead effort, or find volunteers to support event.

Run For The Arts *
Two to three individuals work with the national program to administer the event.  Hours are spent on preparing for the event and post-event tracking and collecting of donations.  Volunteers are also needed to help count laps, tally donation sheets, hand out T-shirts and awards and, best of all, share time with students as they run laps at the Grant High School track.
This event raises money for art programs, assemblies, artist in residence programs and the like at Beverly Cleary School. 

Other Lead Volunteer Roles

Work with middle grade students to develop the product (including photography and written content), submit to photography company for production, help with collecting orders and distribution
Green Team
Volunteers will help campuses implement Green School environmental principles, including Earth Day activities.
Art Cards (or other items)
Collect student art work that will be transformed into cards/items that the student’s family can purchase.  This event was not completed in 2013/2014 due to lack of volunteer support.
Clothing Closet
Clothing Closet provides needy families of PPS children a place to “shop” for donated, gently-used clothing.  Volunteers from PPS schools staff the PTA Clothing Closet, located at Marshall HS, on specific dates throughout the year.
Chess Club
This is a volunteer-run club for children grades K through 8.  You don’t have to know how to play, just be willing to learn.  Chess is a fun and very popular activity for the kids as well as a great learning tool
Teacher Appreciation Week
This position is to guide the school through teacher appreciation week.  You will help coordinate and communicate a lunch for the teachers, a coffee day, cards from the kids, a sweet treat….or?  It’s up to you if you take the lead.