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Ivy School Public/Charter Montessori Opening in Septemeber 2009

April 25, 2009

The Ivy School - Portland's first tuition-free/public/charter Montessori school - will open this September with 60 students in two mixed-age classrooms serving grades one through three. Any child eligible for enrollment in Portland Public Schools may apply for admission to the Ivy School via an upcoming lottery. 

The Ivy School's goal is to enable children of diverse backgrounds to learn at their own pace by offering a developmentally appropriate and challenging academic environment that models grace and courtesy and fosters a peaceful community of lifelong learners. The curriculum is bi-lingual English/Spanish.
The Ivy School will be holding an informational event in the auditorium of the Matt Dishman Community Center on Sunday, May 3rd at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend and learn more about the school. Staff will be available after the presentation to discuss both Montessori methods and the Ivy School itself.
A second public meeting is scheduled for Sunday, May 17 at 6:30 at the Peninsula Park Community Center. Please RSVP for either event to tammy@theivyschool.com.

For more information, please visit the Ivy School web site at www.theivyschool.org or look for the Ivy School on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/The-Ivy-School/69167854389?ref=ts


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Thanks everyone for the passionate discussion on charter schools. However, the discussion is straying so far from the original intended post that we fear those that are looking for information on the Ivy School will have a tough time finding it.

If you'd like to continue the discussion on Charter Schools in general, this past thread on Activistas might be of interest: http://www.urbanmamas.com/activistas/2007/10/gettin-a-charte.html

Also, the cardinal rule of being respectful applies on all urbanMama's forums as well as on Activistas: http://urbanmamas.typepad.com/urbanmamas/2007/03/urbanmamas_poli.html

Hi Rose,

Admittedly, I don't have much experience navigating the special education system. Neither of my children is old enough for elementary school yet, and my only slightly related personal experience was pursuing speech and fine motor skills therapy services through the county for my oldest daughter. (She was a preemie who faced some early challenges but is thriving now - thank you Multnomah County Early Intervention!)

I can tell you that I know Ivy aims to be a welcoming place for all. I know, as a public charter school, Ivy will have access to the same services the district provides to other public schools. I also know that Montessori has an excellent track record of working with children of all different backgrounds and abilities -- including those with special needs. In fact, many people may not realize this, but the Montessori Method grew out of Maria Montessori's post-graduate research into the intellectual development of children with developmental disabilities. Because her methods were so successful with this population of students, Dr. Montessori branched out and developed techniques for educating all children, regardless of ability. Over the past century, the Montessori Method has helped children the world over succeed academically, and that is one of the reasons that the Ivy School's founders want so much to offer public Montessori to Portland's children.

That said, like every other school – public or private - the Ivy School cannot be all things to all people. It's just one school – and a small one that that. While I think that the discussion here on Urban Mamas has been fantastic and has raised all sorts of important questions, there's no way one school - charter or otherwise - can address all of the ills plaguing our public school system here in Portland. It's not a fair expectation. Ultimately, parents will need to decide if Montessori - and the Ivy School - is right for their child/children. Attending one of the school's upcoming public meetings and speaking with the teaching staff is probably one of the best ways for a parent to decide if Ivy can meet their child's needs adequately, whatever those needs may be.

On an unrelated note, I would like to point out that my comment about school lunch and subsidized before and after care was only in response to your question asking if Ivy offered those things, and not an attempt on my part to claim that Ivy was offering something that other schools do not.

The choice between charter schools and making schools better for all kids is a false choice. It is not one or the other and claiming that people who run charter schools or who send their children to charter schools are somehow retreating from educational equity make no sense.

Charter schools and school choice do not cause inequity - though what they contribute to curing it is certainly a fair question. If charter schools caused inequity would SEI run a charter school, would teachers unions run charter schools, and would Barack Obama support charter schools? Not likely. Nationally, charter schools enroll large proportions of poor students and minority students and are getting results equal to or better than other public schools.

Blaming charter schools or school choice for problems in public education just creates more excuses for a system already full of pretty accomplished bluffers.

lookingatcharter - What are you going to do? Clearly you are not reading these posts very thoroughly to see that those of us that care about kids and care about schools understand these are hard choices for parents to make and that the activists here are working towards change and a simple recognition from parents that charters and school choice are a "proven" fact that causes inequity would be helpful. What are you going to do today to make things better for kids and schools? Defensive and futile responses are not helpful and just pointless to make. Say something thoughtful, ask a question, or share how you are going to make schools better for all kids and not just your own.

So what do you want the state to do, take kids away from their parents and put them in whatever school the state decides is best?

And what are you going to say to the parents and kids in charter schools? Go back to your neighborhood school and wait until the school becomes more like the charter school? Get ready for a long wait.

Hi Stephanie Brown

Thank you for getting back to me.

On the issue of special education, I'd like to clarify something. PPS says they offer the same services to all kids, regardless of whether they are in a charter or a community school. But the reality is far more complicated.

Some schools have "in house" services. That means they have staff right there in the school for special education students. That might mean language pathologists, psychologists, learning center teachers and counselors.

Other schools chose not to have these staff. What they claim is they will ask for specialists to be sent in if they need it.

To date, most charters have taken the second route. There are huge problems with this that I will let you know.

One is many special education students need to have staff on hand every day. A good example of this is an autistic child who might need an in-class para (an aide). Another example is a child like one of mine who needs to spend time in a learning center every day getting help.

Specialists can take months to arrive. And when they do arrive they cannot take the place of daily help.

Many charters have CHOSEN not to create special education services. What ends up happening is disabled students are asked to go elsewhere because the school is not prepared.

So when you say Ivy will be getting special education services like other schools it raises a red flag to me. Exactly what services? And EXACTLY what will their in-house services be like? If a parent brings an autistic child to Ivy the first year, will there be aides? a Learning center?

As far as diversity, I am glad you have free lunch and accept DHS. I think that is the law but I could be wrong.

I continue to be concerned about how advance applications rule out many children, including foster kids, homeless families. This is one of my biggest concerns about charters.

The very nature of advance application is unjust, because it relies on parents. As a foster and adoptive parent I can tell you there are many parents without the ability or inclination to apply for their kids. These kids will lose in a system that rewards advance application. They will not lose because of anything they did. They will lose because the system rewards the children of parents who are more educated, informed and sophisticated. And it punishes the children of parents who are mentally ill, non-English speaking or homeless.

I respect that you are well-intentioned and kind. But you have to realize that by creating a school that requires advance application you are also creating an unequal system.

I wrote a lovely reply that then was not accepted because I jumped the gun. I will sum it up if I can.

100% agreed pdxmomto2.

So what can we do today to makes things better for all kids tomorrow?
I hope and wish that parents would give their neighborhood and near neighborhood schools a chance first but many new parents don't see the inequities until the choices are already made. Do I think people should leave and come back or that school choice should end tomorrow, no because that would be chaos.
What can we do today? One parent posted that her kids attend out of neighborhood but she volunteers at the neighborhood school. Beautiful. What else? Two parents from creative science told me about the "other second grade class" and that they did not think it was acceptable that these kids with disabilities did not have an opportunity to make friends with her kids and were segregated. Music to my ears. There are things we can do today that are part of the whole.
Ivy seems to understand that to balance enrollment they have to put more effort in harder to reach areas. Let's be honest, all they have to do is post here and put an ad in Metro Parent and that is enough outreach for parents seeking charters. We can demand accountability today so Ivy does not end up inequitable like other charters before they even open their doors.
Here is one thing that could help a great deal that we can today. Stop trashing the n'hood schools period. Stop lamenting neighborhood when you chose to leave it. Stop trashing kids and saying kids are rough and unbalanced and not someone you want your kids to befriend. Someone loves that kid you are trashing. Just keep it to yourself because you are breaking my heart as someone who is really sensitive to kids being talked about like this. Like the creative science parents did question why kids with disabilities are segregated in the building or why they cannot attend their neighborhood school. You do not have to be an activist to do something today to make schools and neighborhoods better.

Stephanie - I agree with the PPS audit that charters "contribute" to inequity in Portland schools. However, considering the small number of students who attend charters compared with the MASSIVE number of students on neighborhood to neighborhood transfers. I would argue that it is PPS's own enrollment and transfer policy that has substantially re-segregated our schools and bears the brunt of the responsibility for the inequity that exists in PPS.

I don't think that charters are the best solution to what I see a crisis in public education in Oregon. I do think they are a good short term option for some families who's needs are not met by PPS. My hope would be that PPS would look at what some of the charters are doing that parents and student love and incorporate those ideas into neighborhood schools. But, frankly the PPS bureaucracy is so entrenched that some families have given up on trying to fix the system in time to benefit their own children, and so have turned to the more flexible charter schools.


Objectivity vs. Subjectivity 101:

Objective: Based on the data, research, an independent audit performed by an outside source, and my own personal experiences I can state that Charters have the potential to contribute to inequities in PPS and have already contributed to the loss of needed resources in schools that have lost students to a variety of inequitable practices allowed and continued by PPS and these practices are based on the demands of the parent community in addition to a lack of consistent leadership in the district. Based on my personal and professional experiences and that of my friends I can state PPS is devaluing parents and kids that are poor, in foster care, disabled, and non-english speaking.

Subjective: You are spreading falsehoods, this is phony, those kids are unbalanced, that school is rough, there are not inequities you are making it up.

I am curious when all of the people that watch FOX news moved to Portland and how they are keeping up this progressive facade? This stuff is very Rovian to simply declare your opponent a liar or make statements based on appearances. Give me some stuff to sink my teeth into and make me research a little instead of saying it is a lie.

There are many more Portland kids in alternative programs than there are in charter schools. Phony objections to charter schools such as the ones in the PPS audit just show that the system loves itself more than it loves parents and kids. It really does not take much to see through that.

I have heard and seen so many things and still each and every story of abuse makes my heart drop into my stomach. Things are better today in theory but I visited a program just today that makes children earn their home visits with family. On a more positive note I visited a program last week in Southern Oregon that has people with severe autism living in their own apartments with the newest technology. It was amazing and I was so overwhelmed with how revolutionary it was that I actually cried because only small pockets in the state are doing this and most definitely not Multnomah County.
There are opportunities coming up for Ivy School to get charter apps in the hands of parents of kids with disabilities and learn more. Go to www.septap.org for more info for a May 19th special education PTA meeting. There is an agenda and all so it would be more networking on breaks but you could write the executive committee to ask to be on the agenda and see what happens. On May 16th there is a class on positive behavior supports that is free at the United Way building and here is a link to the family and community together site with lots of community events including that one that draw in diverse families http://oregon.pmhclients.com/index.php/events/. I don't know how Montessori handles behavior but positive behavior supports is a very kind and gently way of handling behavior that sees all behavior as communication and teaches people to listen and provide the right supports. I have contracted with school districts (not PPS) that use PBS as their schoolwide system and it is changing things dramatically. One of my future advocacy projects is to organize a movement towards PPS adopting a schoolwide system and I will be pushing for PBS because it is internationally recognized and there are already models of it in the state.

Hello Rose,

I noticed that your questions hadn't been answered yet, so I checked in with the Ivy School team to get answers for you.

Ivy certainly cannot claime to have reached every family in Portland, but one of their latest outreach efforts has been to send a mailing to 6000 African American and Hispanic families living in various NE Portland neighborhoods. We are sorry if your family did not receive a postcard, but would be happy to send you one if you would like.

Unfortunately, the Ivy School does not have the financial resources to send a postcard to every household within PPS district boundaries, but that is precisely why they have tried to reach out the community in a number of different ways. One family may not receive a postcard, but they may see a flyer in their local library. Another may family might read about the Ivy School in one of the free community newspapers. Another may be following our discussion here. Another may attend one of our public meetings. Ivy staff and volunteers are trying their best to cast a very wide net and we are definitely open to other suggestions. We want to reach out to as many families as possible, and we encourage ANY parent who is interested in the Montessori model of education to explore the Ivy School as an option for their child.

When it comes to meeting the needs of children with disabilities, the District supplies all special needs services, so Ivy would have the same services available to their students that are available to any other public school because we are a public school.

The Ivy School embraces diversity - not just in terms of its student body, but among staff members. The school is an English/Spanish bi-lingual school and the Spanish-speaking staff members are native speakers, generally coming from Spanish-speaking countries. Ivy will open in the fall with just two classrooms, but the staff - and opportunities for increasing diversity - will grow as enrollment grows.

All children who qualify for free and reduced lunch will be provided a healthy lunch at no charge to their families.

As was mentioned in a previous post, the Ivy School will provide before care and after care. The program will accept DHS. For families who cannot afford before care and after care, the cost will be subsidized.

In terms of transportation, as was mentioned previously, Ivy is investigating the cost of shuttle bus with pick-up and drop-off at a central location. It is also hoped that providing before and after care will allow enough flexibility of scheduling to allow walking, biking and Tri-Met to be reasonable transportation choices for many of Ivy's students.

As for the advance application issue, Ivy will be following the same standard lottery procedures that other Portland schools follow. They are required to announce the lottery, set an application deadline, and hold a public lottery. Once the lottery date has been announced, it cannot be postponed. Ivy is unable to set aside spaces for a later date, and must abide by the results of the lottery.

I hope this helps!

For anyone who is interested, the Ivy School does have a Facebook page and the discussion feature has been activated. So if you have questions about Montessori, or want to start a dialogue with other parents about the Ivy School, I encourage you to check out the Facebook page. Thanks!


I definitely understand why people have differing views about charter schools, and I thank you for giving me a chance to share my perspective.

Stephanie -

No thanks necessary. I once again can't help but think of my brother. Doctors convinced my parents to put him in a residential program when he was three. We were "allowed" to pick him up on Saturday morning and were required to return him on Sunday evening. We weren't allowed to visit during the week and were never allowed to see his room. (Why my parents didn't question this, I don't know. I guess it was just a different time.)

One weekend when we arrived to pick him up, he wasn't packed and ready to go as usual. My father offered to pack his things but the nurses reacted strangely and insisted that parents weren't allowed in the patients' rooms. My dad decided not to take no for an answer and demanded to be taken to my brother's room. His "crib" was pretty much a cage: bars across the top and locked from the outside. My brother had been living that way for close to a year. He came home permanently that day.

My heart breaks for all of the people whose parents didn't know or didn't want to know what went on in institutions.

Again, thank you for your contributions to the discussion and for keeping an open mind.

Stephanie B., thank you for sharing your story, I appreciate your history and where you are coming from. Thank you, too, for your thoughtful comments and for understanding why this is such a heated discussion for so many of us. Peace.

Stephanie our posts crossed paths. Thank you so much. I started ten years ago working with adults that had been put in institutions when they were little babies and their parents were told to forget about them. I helped move them into the community and it was so terrible and my heart ached for them. Fast forward and Murphy's Law would have it that I am a parent of child with autism and I am so glad I knew exactly what to do when I found out. Most people do not and the discrimination is staggering and blatant but there are bright spots and empowered parents are growing in numbers who fight against these systems that still believe our kids are second class citizens but it is rebranded as "your child needs to be in this special place". We already put people in a special place called institutions and it is time for this to stop and not call it something else or deny it exists. A million thank yous and I will stay open minded about Ivy and hope this dialogue is helping them look closely at how they move on this. I will admit I would prefer no new charters are built but if they do it right then maybe others can learn and perhaps these innovations can be moved into neighborhood schools. If they don't, well I am a force to be reckoned with and quite tenacious when I am fighting for or against something. That was really wonderful of you to share your story :)

Hi Nancy,

I am not a member of the Ivy School staff, just a parent volunteer. I am extremely new to the charter school debate as my children are still quite young and not yet enrolled in PPS.

Speaking solely as a parent - and not on behalf of the Ivy School - I understand that not everyone is supportive of charter schools. And I certainly understand being frustrated with the state of our neighborhood schools. Nearly all of our public schools are struggling in one way or another, and with the projected budget shortfalls, things are likely to get far worse before they get better.

I personally believe that having public Montessori available as an option for Portland's students is a really good thing. That belief does not make me an adversary of public education. My parents were both public elementary school teachers. They just retired last year, having spent their entire careers working for the Boston Public Schools' system. (While I grew up in Boston, I moved to the Portland area in 1994.)

Like my parents, I value public education. Like me, my parents have always been supportive of a variety of educational models as long as they help kids learn. For example, my father taught at a science magnet school for a number of years, and my parents sent me to a Montessori kindergarten.

You can blame my convictions on my parents, but I think we have an obligation to offer children a variety of ways in which to learn, because not all children learn in the same way. I know you and I must at least agree on that one point. Immersion wasn't a good fit for your child. It's a fabulous fit for other children. Some children are visual learners and some children are experiential learners. Some children excel in science while others are artistically gifted. So it stands to reason that a one-size-fits-all approach to education is bound to allow some children to fall through the cracks -- because children come in all different shapes, sizes and colors, with different talents, abilities and limitations. But every single one of them deserves a quality education. So I believe it's OK for the educational model to differ from school to school, as long as children are learning.

While you and I may not agree about charter schools, I do believe that we want the same things – a great education for ALL of Portland's children – mine, yours, Stephanie's, Rose's and everyone else's. I really believe that the Ivy School is going to be a positive addition to the public school landscape in Portland. I know you feel differently and can only suggest that we agree to disagree.

As for the Ivy School's location, I'm not sure there is anything I can say to convince you otherwise, but the truth is that I have looked, and looked, and looked (and looked) for a location for this school. I have checked Craigslist, newspaper listings, the multiple listing service, and the commercial realtors' listing service EVERY SINGLE DAY (including today – I'm still looking) for the past 21 months.

The Ivy School must be situated within PPS district boundaries, which limits where the building can be located: http://www.pps.k12.or.us/schools-c/map/

We are required by the terms of our charter to open this fall. Wherever we end up, the building must be zoned for educational use. That's not “our” requirement – it's required by the city. And unfortunately, it's what makes finding a workable solution so incredibly difficult.

There are two buildings in our price range available right now that are zoned properly, within PPS boundaries, and with enough square footage - both indoors and out - to accommodate our students' needs. One is the building at 42nd/Prescott and the other is a building in inner Southeast Portland which requires extensive seismic upgrades. Quite simply, there just aren't many options available to us.

While I hesitate to speak for the school, I know it is absolutely not the Ivy School's intention to negatively impact anyone's neighborhood school. As part of their commitment to building a diverse student body, they want to welcome students from all over the city – not just from one specific area or neighborhood. I can't help but believe that their aggressive outreach campaign, combined with the random nature of the lottery, will ultimately help them serve families from all different backgrounds and zip codes.

An independent audit that PPS had done said that charters are contributing to inequity not me and they have a different take on the percentage you cited and perhaps that is an average because of SEI and LEP. Here is the statement:

The enrollment of
students in public charter schools has the potential to adversely impact neighborhood
schools by reducing enrollment, staffing levels, and other resources. If charter school
students attended their neighborhood school at the same rate as other children living in
their neighborhood, an estimated 31 additional teachers could be assigned to PPS
schools. While it is difficult to determine with certainty whether charter school students
would attend their neighborhood school if the charter option was not available, it is likely
that some schools with a high percentage of students residing in the attendance area but
choosing to attend charter schools experience reduced academic support.
Here is the link http://www.board.pps.k12.or.us/.docs/_sid/f1be5eec95af6898b24ce6e81cea1d9c/pg/10391 and click on performance audit 2009 for the full report.

I agree on the practices that produce low achievement and dropouts need to change and there is a lot of ground up movement in this area such as a parent union that is forming. If you have already chosen an ed option then there is no reason why you still cannot work towards improving your neighborhood school anyway.

Nancy -

I promise to respond to your comments, but first I wanted to address Stephanie's comments about reaching out to children with disabilities.

First of all, I absolutely encourage ANYONE who thinks Montessori might be a good fit for their child to attend one of the Ivy School's public meetings to learn more about the school and the Montessori method.

On a more personal note, I would just like to say, that I understand some of the many challenges you've had to face, Stephanie.

My brother is autistic and severely mentally disabled. My parents worked tirelessly to ensure that our school district provided adequately for his extensive educational (and medical) needs - and this was 30 years ago, when there wasn't much awareness about autism, or much support for families of children with special needs.

I distinctly remember as a child mentioning to adults that my brother was autistic and having them correct me by saying “I think you mean artistic, don't you honey?” When I was a freshman in college, the movie “Rainman” was released and finally people had a vague idea of what autism was, although the constant chorus of comments about Kmart and “bad driving” showed that most people, for all of their good intentions, just didn't get it.

My brother lived at home until he was 16. Loving him was easy. Living with him was much less so on occasion. His disabilities were severe enough that he was never able to attend a traditional school, but his teachers were amazing. He now lives in a group home outside of Boston and has a part-time job. Not bad for a kid doctors predicted would never be able to speak or leave home.

I know our situations are very, very different, but I just wanted to say that I admire you for working so diligently to advocate for families impacted by disabilities. I have no doubt that others who have been following this discussion have found your comments here yesterday and today both eye-opening and inspiring.

Finally, I just wanted to thank you (very much!) for keeping an open mind about the Ivy School in spite of negative experiences you've had in the past.

Kids in neighborhood schools don't lose if other kids go to charter schools, they lose if their neighborhood schools cling to practices that produce low achievement and dropouts instead of changing. Making charter schools a scapegoat for problems in neighborhood schools guarantees that problems in neighborhood schools won't be addressed. Less than 3% of the kids in PPS attend charter schools. Claiming that charter schools are the source of inequity in the district just does not add up, particularly since more than 40 percent of students in PPS charter schools are minority students.

Kidsinpps - I am glad that what I am saying about the discrimination of kids with disabilities sounds so unreasonable to you that you would say it is false. This is the start of us agreeing on something that no one should be treated this way. All the parents here are the true experts but some parents are respected for this and others (those that have poor, foster, disabled, non-english speaking kids) are not and each and every day is a struggle to be heard and valued as a parent. I was an advocate when my daughter started Kindergarten but I was not yet aware of the rampant discrimination that school choice fostered. When I went to Portland Village School for the open house I asked the kindergarten teacher about her experience with kids with IEP's and she said, "I think we are limiting those this year." She must not have received the memo that this is against the law. I was relieved when she did not get the lottery because then I did not have to argue with my husband about it.
Even PPS admits that this is an inequitable situation and they have multiple committees to address this. PPS knows but if they took away school choice there would rioting in the streets. The high school redesign is a passive aggressive way of dealing with this issue without coming right out and saying we really messed this up. I was at the school board meeting waiting to testify on behalf of students with disabilities when the board was presented with the findings of the charter audit. Guess what, not only has this created rampant inequity but these kids are not doing any better academically in Charters. The thing that has changed which the audit found is that parents are happy with charters. It's all in there to read. It was a dark moment at the school board meeting and PPS is rethinking charters as a result of it.
I am not just a parent of a child with a disability but I have also been in direct service, advocacy, and professional consultation to schools, agencies, and families for over 5 years. I have been in multiple schools all the way from Portland to Grants Pass and have even sat in an IEP with the lawyer for PPS. I have talked down parents who had teachers stand lock step arm in arm barring her child from the school. I have worked with parents escorted by the assistant principal out of their child's school in front of their child after the teacher gave the invitation to drop in anytime and the reason was they had to fill out a special form. Students with disabilities are treated like patients and you need multiple clearances as a parent just to volunteer if they even let you at all. I have had teachers look right at me and tell me that things would be better if this kid was out of the school. I have investigated and reported abuse of children with disabilities; kids being tied down, pushed down by staff repeatedly and they don't even hide it from me. I have sat across the table from a county supervisor who told a panel of parents that "kids with disabilities just want to be with their own kind."
I will be clear that spouting the party line like the Republicans is not going to work here (inequity doesn't exist and you are making it up). Go ahead and use school choice because it is there and will not change for awhile. I just want you to look in your own backyard and see what you can do about the inequity that does exist and as kidsinpps stated above is so outrageously unbelievable that I am considered to be spreading falsehoods. Just see it and stop denying it. Many parents have posted about the frustration of poor leadership and leaving the neighborhood school for their child but still staying active in neighborhood improvement and recognizing the facts. If the Ivy school can sufficiently show that their outreach efforts are equitable and provide the supports needed to get more parents that honest to god do not even know what you are talking about when you say "have you considered a charter?" then this school has an opportunity to grow into a model for all charters and a true lab school of innovation. If they do not then I will boycott them aggressively and make it a neighborhood wide effort to the very best of my ability. We do not need any more charters until we fix the ones we have and/or we demand accountability that the doors will open with equitable practices.

Stephanie from Ivy, can you understand that to those of us who live and grew up in North Portland, it feels like the vultures are circling? We are in a weakened state here. It's a death spiral, what's happening to our neighborhood schools. And yes, I'm including my own children's school in that mix.

How convenient that one of the "only" buildings available happens to be in a struggling neighborhood (Cully, just up the way from North). Harvey Scott (my alma mater -- I attended all nine years of K-8 there) is having a hard time, as is Rigler. I'm sure you will be nabbing some of their students, if you go with the 42nd Ave. location. Vernon is not far away either.

"I don't want my children to be the only white faces in the class," as one of my (former) mom friends told me, when she decided against Vernon. That is not a racist statement? Her children are now at the Portland Village School.

Have you checked outer Southeast? They're even more weakened than we are. Easier pickins' there and lots of abandoned real estate.

another curious, I'm more likely to answer questions if I know who I'm talking with. This all feels creepy to me, because you guys are my neighbors, some of you. Perhaps even some of the mamas I socialize with, but you're not going to tell me who you are? You won't talk with me about this in person or when we're out for a drink? I get hatemail sometimes, always anon. It's cowardly. Our family puts ourselves out there too much, but that doesn't make us poster children. I never have said my decision to move the kids (to a school that is exactly the same distance away from us as Beach) was "better" than anyone else's. The neighborhood side of Beach? It was starved out when we were there (see also: Hayhurst, Sabin. Starved out). I cannot speak to that now, I never hear from anyone who is on the neighborhood side of the school. I have heard the immersion parents complain about "them" and how "they" never volunteer or work hard.

I certainly don't think the transfer system, as it stands, is "immoral." (Someone accused me of this recently.)

White flight is a large part of this, but that is my opinion. If I hear racist comments, or someone making cracks about Mexicans, or talking about how they "love" how "diverse" the neighborhood is, but they only have friends who look just like them and are uncomfortable when I have non-white friends over -- that is a problem for me. I could look the other way but I usually don't. When people go all elite on me it bugs me.

I have a problem with racism, classism and elitism. I'm not saying that is you, necessarily, you anon. person who I may or may not have met, who may or may not have been in my home.

But if the shoe fits, slide it on. And I'm not inclined to put anything "out there" anymore. I'm not voice of the nation here.

I have said this before, and this is the last time (I hope) I ever need to say it again -- I was extremely new to school politics four years ago.

Hi! I am sorry for chiming in so late. My name is Stephanie Brown and I am part of the Ivy School facilities team.

I would like to address Portland Parent's question regarding the location of the Ivy School, but first a little about my background...

As a member of the Ivy School facilities team, I began scouting possible locations for the Ivy School as part of the charter application process. I began sifting through real estate listings when my daughter was just six weeks old. She'll turn two this summer. It's been a long process.

One thing I learned pretty early on was that there just aren't a lot of buildings available - for sale or for lease - that are zoned for educational use.

In nearly two years of searching, I've found only three properties within PPS boundaries that - in addition to being affordable - were large enough, provided enough outdoor space for our students, AND were zoned properly. In hopes of expanding our search parameters, we at one point looked at a building that was not zoned for educational use. When we contacted the city to ask about requesting a change of zoning, we were told that it would take six months and cost $30,000 to request the change - and even then there'd be no guarantee that the change would be granted. Since then, we've focused all our energies on finding facilities that are already zoned for educational use.

The building Portland Parent is referring to - the former Community Learning Center building at NE 42nd and Prescott - is one of the rare few buildings we've found that is zoned for educational use. Proper zoning is one of the reasons that building is on our short list as a possible location for the Ivy School. The other reason is its age. Built in 1992, it's free of environmental hazards such as asbestos and lead paint, and it does not require any pricey seismic upgrades (which can often double a building's cost.) It is, however, not the only building we're considering.

We have identified another strong contender in inner Southeast Portland. The final decision, which we hope to reach very soon, will ultimately depend on cost. In other words:which building can we afford to renovate? It may be NE 42nd and Prescott, or it may be the other building. We're crunching the numbers now.

For those who are curious, I live in the Buckman neighborhood. Neither of my two young children attends or has ever attended MOA. I became an Ivy School volunteer after reading about their efforts on Urban Mamas and attending a public meeting about two years ago.

No public school teacher can refuse to teach a child with disabilities and no principal can refuse admission to a child with disabilities. Spreading falsehoods helps no one. Some autistic children may be able to participate in classrooms with other children, some may not. This is true for children with other disabilities also.

At the same time, you can not claim to be the true expert for decisions about your child and then deny that other parents are the true experts for decisions about their children.

Oh and read this http://www.derailingfordummies.com/

...especially this part in particular under the heading "I don't think you're as marginalised as you claim"

Rachel and others - Here is another way to look at it. Folks say that they chose to use the school choice system to "meet their child's needs". This same language is used to discriminate against children with disabilities being able to attend their neighborhood school (It should not happen ever and is unnaceptable in any frequency). If a parent wants to fight the districts decision to change their child's placement the district then just fills up the room with "experts" (parents are the true experts, mind you) that give you a laundry list of your child's deficits. Teachers in this district can still say, "I can't teach disabled kids" and principals can still close doors to parents of kids with disabilities or dump them in a special segregated school for behaviors that would not be anything for a child without a disability.
I challenge you further. Why is it that we transfer or seclude kids with disabilities because they need services? "Oh you have autism and the autism classroom is at Alameda so you will be bussed out of your neighborhood on a 45 minute bus ride." Why do all kids with disabilities have to be in the same school or classroom? Why are the services somewhere else? Why is it OK to give kids with disabilities the short end of the stick and not include them in the regular classroom with the supports they need instead of sending them away?" Has anyone considered what that does to a child when they are shipped away and essentially told they are broken?
Chief Justice Earl Warren said that:
"To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone."
Just think of the broken hearts of these kids that are poor, have disabilities, are in foster care, have parents on drugs or in prison, have been denied a transfer to their high school of choice because they have an IEP and someone says their "needs" are better met somewhere else.
Go to school wherever you want, don't deny this exists, and do something about it with me. There is a great deal of suffering in this city and chances are it is someone that lives next door. Fight for your neighbors Portland.

I'm in the North Portland area. I'm the parent of several African American kids. I have not received any of the "mailings" or outreach the Ivy staff says they are doing.

I'd like to hear some CONCRETE answers to how Ivy will include children of diverse backgrounds. Specifically:

1. What does the special education department look like? Will you have on-site specialists for students with autism and other disabilities? An on-site counselor? A resource room? Specialists?

Because we all know that if you don't have these resources children with disabilities will not be served at your school. A good analogy is building a school without wheelchair ramps and then acting all surprised that handicapped kids can't get in the door. So, what will be your services for disabled kids?

2). Exactly how are you honoring diversity? Do you demonstrate diversity in your staff? Will you have African American teachers who can role model for youth their potential?

3) How will you provide for poor students? Will there be free and reduced lunch? SUN and free afterschool programs? Transportation? Because if you don't provide these things your talk about serving poor kids will just be a bunch of political baloney. Most poor kids come from single working parents who simply cannot afford to leave work every day to pick up their kid at 2:30 (or 11 am for kinder) unless they really feel like getting fired.

4) In North we have seen several charters promise integration and racial equality and diversity. Not a single one has delivered. All are primarily white schools floating in neighborhoods of minority kids. How are you going to change this?

and finally, 5) Your school requires advance application. That rules out many families who can't apply in advance, including poor, homeless and foster families. How are you going to include families without the ability to advance apply?

WackyMama - you posted a link to a conversation about why you left your n'hood school. You mentioned that immersion isn't right for everyone, but Beach has a community side that is not immersion. So I am still unclear as to why your decision to leave is better than anyone else's? You put it out there, so I thought I'd ask.

Some kids with disabilities cannot attend their neighborhood school, but it does not happen "more often than not". More often than not, in Portland, kids with disabilities are served within their neighborhood schools. If, due to their disability, a student needs more services than their neighborhood school provides, the district provides transportation to a school within the district which does provide more intensive services (greater staff to student ratio, typically, but there are other services too - equipment, curriculum, specialists).

I guess one way to change that, and have students who require more one-on-one time with an adult, is to have more staff w/in all of the neighborhood buildings. I'd like to hear other ideas.

I agree with Barbara. I don't advocate for closing Charters that already exist but how awesome if the neighborhood schools became choice schools with our attendance at board meetings and showing up at public forums to fight for our neighbors that cannot afford to drive across town, or the kids who have parents that don't care but the child deserves an education, or the child with a disability that is denied access to his neighborhood school then think of what a difference we could make. Fight for your neighbor and send your kid to school wherever you want. I hear people say things like, "I had to do what is best for MY kid." What is best for your kid is to set an example for them of giving and caring about others and you can do this even if they go to a charter. Taking cans of food to the food drive does not count although it does help. It used to be when a kid was hungry other parents would invite them over but now we just run away from them and say it is what is best for our kids. I am generalizing of course and hats off to any school choice parents that don't go to their neighborhood school fighting the system and getting to know the kids in your neighborhood that don't look like your kids or have the same opportunities as them.

No one has responded to the fact that kids with disabilities do not have school choice and more often than not cannot even go to their neighborhood school. Did you know? Do you want to know how you can change that?

I can't believe I'm engaging in this but here it goes. I do not believe that most parents leave n'hood schools for charters, magnets or focus options to "get away from minorities". They often leave because n'hood schools are teaching to the test, use archaic methods of behavior management and don't provide a method of education that they can get behind. We chose our n'hood school in large part due to the diversity. Sadly, the administration and curriculum have been such a bad fit for our family that we are choosing to leave along with many other parents.

Let's get mad at the system that has created this divide instead of name calling and bashing one another. We all want the best for our kids. Many here who are loudly anti-choice have chosen to leave their n'hood schools as well. We all have our reasons. I would rather see us hold PPS accountable for creating this level of inequity in our schools than blasting one another for our choices.

PPS is around 54% white, so critics of charter schools are claiming that charter schools (and in fact all school choice) are contributing to segregation because they are a vehicle that white people use to get away from minorities.

I have been following this for quite some time and so I did some checking. What is the demographic of Portland?

According to the City Data web site (http://www.city-data.com/city/Portland-Oregon.html) the ethnic breakdown of the city of Portland is as follows:

Races in Portland:

* White Non-Hispanic (75.5%)
* Hispanic (6.8%)
* Black (6.6%)
* Two or more races (4.1%)
* Other race (3.5%)
* American Indian (2.3%)
* Vietnamese (2.0%)
* Chinese (1.4%)
* Other Asian (1.3%)
* Filipino (0.5%)
* Japanese (0.5%)

So when Urban Mamas posters are raising the issue that some of the more successful charter schools are 80 percent white, I personally tend to think that has more to do with the racial make-up of the City of Portland (which could certainly benefit from more diversity) than it does with something being wrong with charter schools specifically.

A charter school with 75 percent of the student body being white/non-Hispanic would actually be fairly representative of the population of Portland on the whole. The student body may be diverse in other ways (economically, student abilities) but ethnically speaking 75% is a large majority. So, is it realistic to expect - for example - to have an equal number of caucasian students and Filipino students when over 75% of Portland residents are caucasian and less than one percent are Filipino? There's only so much one school can do when the ethnic makeup of the city at large is so far from diverse. I'd be interested to know what the posters would feel was a good balance? What can a charter school do to be more diverse than the community itself?

Hey folks, I needed to reply to another comment from earlier
in the thread about Tammy Kennedy.
There is certainly a connection between the Ivy School and Tammy
Kennedy. Tammy has been a Montessorian and businesswoman in NE
Portland for many years and she is very passionate about the
Montessori method. She both owns and runs the Montessori of
Alameda pre-school.

I first met Tammy a little over 2 years ago when my wife and
I enrolled our daughter in the Montessori of Alameda pre-school
program. I soon learned that Tammy was spearheading an effort to
create a public *tuition free* Montessori school.

Tammy - with her extensive Montessori background - was the catalyst
for Ivy. She has spend thousands of hours of her time bringing
together parents and community members together to create a brand
new school - the independent 501c3 non-profit public charter school
we all know as "The Ivy School".

So, while Tammy herself has a connection to both schools, the
schools are not connected to each other. That the Ivy School exists
is because Tammy combined her passion for Montessori and her
experience as a Montessori educator to get the project off the ground.
Ivy has been fortunate to have someone so passionate and experienced
serving on its board (don't all boards benefit from having passionate
and experienced members?) but she is not the only board member,
the two schools are completely separate, and will remain that way,


Here is the link to Ivy's admissions page. Admissions are by lottery:


The least ethnically-diverse charter school in PPS is SEI, which is run by an organization devoted to improving educational outcomes for African-American children and is over 90% African-American.

What is it that Portland is supposed to wake up to about this before it is too late? That Black parents will look outside their neighborhood school for a school that will meet their children's needs? Why is it important to take this choice away from these parents?

I'm curious.
Who is present at the 'random lottery drawing' for charter schools students? Anyone from outside the school to witness the process and show accountability?
I have heard over and over that it's really not all that random/lottery of a process after all...lots of hand picking and preferential treatment.

"if so, with sibling preference this school is sunk before they start and will be just like the rest of them 80% white publicly funded with my tax dollars private-esque schools".

if there is a diverse population to start out with, and siblings get preference, then they will actually keep the school diverse. just sayin'

if there are 60 open slots and 59 people apply....all that applied get in. If there are 60 open slots and 80 people apply, everyone applying gets their name put into a lottery. A waitlist is is used once the lottery is done, they still keep drawing names from the lottery and in the order they were picked assigned a number. If someone who got placed in the lottery does NOT want the spot, then it gets offered to the first person on the waitlist. Pretty standard stuff.
If you follow the other charter school around town, all of them end up having a lottery because the interest out weighs the amount of slots open.

It won't be a lottery until there is a wait list is my understanding. Correct me if I am wrong about this someone from Ivy School. So will preference be given to the open slots? If so, with sibling preference this school is sunk before they start and will be just like the rest of them 80% white publicly funded with my tax dollars private-esque schools. Just sayin'
Read the audit and wake up Portland before it is too late.

"So will Montessori of Alameda kids get preference to Ivy?
Absolutely not. It is a lottery. It does not matter if your child has 5 years of Montessori under their belt, they have the same chance as someone who has never attended Montesorri.

"So will Montessori of Alameda kids get preference to Ivy?"

No, that's illegal.

I don't want to lose portland parent's comment in this thread.

So will Montessori of Alameda kids get preference to Ivy? You are already about to shoot yourself in the foot if that is the case. Buh-bye diversity.

Again, read the charter school audit and be awash in the shame shame shame Portland should feel about allowing schools to be tilted like this in favor of white people getting free private-like education funded by my tax dollars without giving back to the community. Do we really want this to be our cities legacy? Do we really want to sit back while kids with disabilities do not have choice to even attend their own neighborhood school?

Andy gets it and is curious about how not to make the same mistakes the other charters have. It's not equitable to "say" diverse people can attend if you don't go the extra mile to make it so. No one is doing anyone favors by not making it private and my preference is that it would be private but if the school makes good on what a charter is supposed to be then great.

Thank you Andy for your input. I hope you answered enough of the anti-charter folks questions. Really, I am soooooo tired of Ivy charter school getting bashed.

And I need to add my 2 cents on the founder Tammy Kennedy. She owns Montessori of Alameda, and noticed parents had an interest in keeping kids in a Montessori for elementary years. She could have easily expanded her school, charged tuition and called it good. Instead, she considered what be be more "equitable".... public, tuition free Montessori for all to take advantage of is they so desired.
You need someone to start the ball rolling, and she has done a fantastic job. She should be given a "high-five" for her efforts and hard work, not a "slap in the face".

So, if anyone is interested in Montessori for their children, I would highly suggest attending one of the meetings.

Fabulous! Good stuff and I will be cautiously optimistic. If you need any help engaging parent of students with disabilities let me know and you should attend the next special education PTA meeting in May. You can learn more about them at www.septap.org.
I am still staunchly in support of improving the schools we have versus opening new ones with themes but anyone that is striving to do the very hard work of building an inclusive community has my support even if it does not match my values exactly. Charters are supposed to bring innovation into neighborhood schools and be a model for diversity and so far so good if you can pull it off.

Hi Stephanie
You certainly we not making that up - the Spanish form was indeed NOT on our website.

I'm not sure why because I swear I put it up there months and months ago. It used to be called a "Letter of Intent to enroll" and we've been handing out English and Spanish versions for the past year and half or so.
No excuses though - this was probably my fault as I've been the person in charge of maintaining these things on the website.
Along these lines - we've updated our flyer and brochure - and we're working right now at getting these translated to Spanish.

About diversity - this is a huge deal and I completely agree with you that diversity means more than skin color and includes cultural background, language, income and disabilities (and more).

Whenever we think about these issues we're trying to look at them from the stand point of a family and student who might want to attend the school :
Are there other families like me at Ivy?
Will Ivy honor my culture and language?
Will Ivy support my/my child's disabilities?
How will my child get to school in the morning when I'm already at work?
What will happen after school when I'm still at work?

From a community outreach perspective - the plan after Ivy opens is to keep an active dialog open with parents and families and *not make assumptions*.
For recruitment we need to stay in contact with the community by going where they are and communicating with trusted leaders in organizations that serve them - and of course talk to them directly. Ivy's goal, over time, is to become a trusted, inclusive organization in our community.


Hi Andy, I've heard that the Ivy will be located at 42nd and Prescott, just down the street from Montessori of Alameda. Is this correct? I also think having Tammy Kennedy on the board of the Ivy School speaks to the relationship between MOA and Ivy.

I just wanted to add that I know a mom considering a move from Sitka to Anchorage Alaska specifically so that her daughter with Down's syndrome can attend a Montessori school. According to her research Montessori schools have a good track record with at least that subset of the disability community.

Thank you for making the change and adding a form in spanish. I want to clarify I was not making that up and rechecked before I posted a comment including that there were no forms in spanish.
I appreciate the response and will encourage that your public forums include the groups you are targeting and if they don't figure out why. Children with disabilities are often overlooked when the word diversity is used so I would ask that you be aggressive about making sure they are also included in your efforts. If you do not have truly diverse (not just colors but incomes too) enrollment when your doors open then you will end up being like the majority of the charter schools that are 80% white because sibling preference will make it very difficult to break the chain. Thank you for the outreach and I will be actively following this and any other education options that want to move into my neighborhood.
Do I think this conversation is over about ed options however? NO. I encourage you to read the charter audit and feel the shame I felt for my lovely city when I saw the numbers there. We are better than this Portland.

Hi folks, Andy Idsinga here again.
I just wanted to say a couple more things - outside of that long winded response above :)

I'm a parent of a child in a PPS school. My daughter goes to our neighborhood school - Roseway Heights. http://rosewayheights.org/

It's a good school, with very good Teachers (here's a shout out to Mrs Shenker and Mrs Frisch who totally rock) and a community of parents that really care about and support our school!

So, here's the thing - and I've heard this over and over from people who like charters schools, magnet schools and other options - sometimes it's not the facility or the great teachers or the great community, sometimes it's the *method of education*.
This is why I've been involved with the Ivy Montessori project for two years - I want to support creating *public Montessori* here in Portland.

That said - over the next few years I want to personally work harder to encourage public school supporters (like me),public school educators and administrators to figure out how to better integrate the "good things" these charters and magnets into our neighborhood schools.

Warm regards,

Hello! I am the Outreach Coordinator for the Ivy School.
I think Stephanie, and others, have raised some valid questions,
and I would like to try to answer them.

First and foremost, the Ivy School is committed to attracting and
maintaining a diverse student body. We've approached this in a number
of different ways (which I will outline below) but if anyone has other
suggestions, we would love to hear them!

The Ivy School curriculum will be bi-lingual English/Spanish. Students
will be exposed to both languages each day. Every Ivy School classroom
will have two instructors - a lead guide and an assistant. The lead
guide will provide all lessons in English, while the assistant will
handle all classroom management in Spanish. The lead guide will only
speak English in the classroom, whereas the assistant guide will only
speak Spanish. The assistant will also provide group lessons in
Spanish for 30 minutes each day. Additionally, there will be a
"Spanish shelf" with Spanish lessons that will be assigned
individually and in small groups.

Because of our bi-lingual focus, both the Ivy School letter of intent
and the lottery application forms are available in English AND Spanish.
The lottery application form can be downloaded through the Ivy School
web site, can be mailed, or can picked up in person at any of our
public meetings. That being said, we have also attempted to reach out
to many other populations in addition to Portland's English- and
Spanish-speaking communities.

We have conducted our outreach in several ways: through targeted mailings
to zip codes with diverse and under-served populations; through
presentations at community centers, neighborhood association meetings
and church meetings across the city; through neighborhood canvassing
efforts where volunteers have hung posters in libraries, grocery stores,
community centers, parks and small businesses; and by appealing to the media.

It is true that we have reached out to larger mainstreams newspapers such as
The Oregonian and Portland Tribune, and high traffic web sites such as Urban
Mamas, but we've also sent information about our school to smaller
neighborhood newspapers such as the Hollywood Star and Southeast Examiner,
as well as The Portland Observer, The Skanner, El Hispanic News,
The Asian Reporter, Portland Chinese Times, and many, many others.
We will continue our outreach efforts with the above-mentioned public
meetings coming up at the beginning of May, and - as I mentioned above -
we're absolutely open to other suggestions.

As for the question of transportation, it's true we're financially limited
in terms of what we can offer, but we are looking into the cost of a shuttle
bus which could pick children up from a central drop-off point and deliver
them to Ivy to lessen the burden of transportation on families who do not
live within walking distance of the school. We are also planning to offer
before and after school care on a sliding scale to allow families a wider
range of drop-off and pick-up times, which may make walking, biking or
taking Tri-Met more feasible.

As for the school's location, we hoep to announce the school's location soon.

Contrary to what one poster suggested, the Ivy School is NOT connected to the
Montessori of Alameda school (MOA). Tammy Kennedy, the administrator at MOA,
does sit on the Ivy School board and has been instrumental in making the
Ivy School possible, but the Ivy School operates completely independently of
MOA. The two schools do not share a facility, nor do they share staff.
The administrator of the Ivy School will be Tami O'Kinsella Baker.
Tami has been working in the Montessori field since 1987 and holds a Masters
Degree in Early Childhood Special Education and a Masters of Education in
Curriculum and Instruction. Tami also holds an Oregon Teaching Certificate
and is certified through the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI.)

(For those who are interested, the credentials of the other Ivy School staff
members are posted here:

The Montessori model has been shown to benefit a wide variety of
students from many different backgrounds, including those who have
struggled in more "traditional" learning environments. A number of
books and studies go into this in great detail, but one study which
specifically looks at the academic performance of students in public
Montessori schools is a 2006 study by Angeline Lillard published in the
journal Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/313/5795/1893.

I would just briefly like to add that our charter was unanimously approved
by the Oregon Board of Education as they felt that the Ivy School could
make a valuable contribution to public education in Portland.

I hope this helps address some of the concerns posted above, and I would just
like to reiterate that we are committed to creating as inclusive and
diverse a school as possible. We are absolutely open to suggestions as to
how to expand/improve upon our outreach efforts, so please don't be afraid to
share your ideas.

Thank you,
Andy Idsinga, Ivy Communuity Outreach

Thank you Chloe. In this day and age it is still considered OK for a principal to make it overtly difficult for a student with a disability to attend their neighborhood school. For every parent that has used school choice to not go to a school where the principal has stated children like theirs cannot be taught you are off the hook. I went to Portland Village School and applied and when I asked the kindergarten teacher about her experience with IEP's you know what she said, "Oh, I think we are putting a limit on those."
Few people are outraged that a teacher can say to a parent, "I don't take the special education kids." It used to be OK for a teacher to say, "I don't teach black kids." I am realizing more and more every day that people just don't know about the discrimination that happens to low income minority families and kids with disabilities. If all schools in PPS were choice schools than who would care about school choice. I am not against charters when they actually function as a charter is supposed too. I am hoping strongly that LEP gets to keep their charter and Trillium's enrollment and acceptance of students with disabilities is impressive and promising (although Trillium is the most white at 83%). This audit of PPS charter school is embarrassing http://cms9.pps.k12.or.us/.docs/pg/12952 and we should be ashamed that we have allowed these charters with 80% of the students being white to continue to form without demanding accountability. I really believed the woman testifying for Emerson at the school board when she said they want to tilt this number but now they are stuck with only 14 enrollment slots open and most of those going to siblings.
If this Ivy school has a plan to open it's doors with an aggressive plan to increase diversity from day one then I will rethink my position of opposing them. Currently though, it is supposed to be a spanish immersion school and they do not even have forms in spanish. I mean c'mon people, for real? This is embarrassing and I think Portland is a damn fine city and we really need to admit that this is happening. Like Chloe said, you can go to school wherever you want but don't call my daughter's school rough and "wish" you could learn how to build community when you drive 6 miles across town away from the school across the street. Chloe's son was not able to attend his neighborhood school and was bussed away from his neighborhood. Where's the outrage for our neighbors who don't even have choice?

umm .. it will not be a feeder for Montessori of Alameda. Montessori of Alameda is a Pre-School and Kindergarten. Ivy School will be grades 1-8. Unless those 8th graders are going back to Kindergarten instead of High School this should not be a problem :)

I have a big problem with the Ivy School being a feeder school for Montessori of Alameda http://portlandsentinel.com/?q=node/4182.

I am a PPS parent and former advocate of school vouchers and charter schools. While I still largely support parent's choice in seeking out what they feel is the best educational fit for their children, I don't believe it's acceptable that we continue to take advantage of policies that increase inequity in our school system and do nothing about it.

The school choice policy of PPS and the proliferation of charter schools has aided and abetted the gentrification process in many of Portland's historically lower income neighborhoods and led to the decline of many of these neighborhood's schools. Whether by default or design, that is undeniable and in my opinion it is an unacceptable outcome.

There are many barriers to participating in the school choice system; the less resources and privileges you have the have the bigger they become. As for the above exchange between Stephanie and Urban Papa -- parents of children with disabilities often do not have a choice of their school assignment. Stephanie was "lucky" that her daughter was assigned to a nearby school -- students with disabilities can be bussed up to an hour away from home -- when her home school could not accommodate her. If you read her post carefully, you will realize this wasn't an upgrade; her daughter's current school is one of the "rough" ones.

Some questions for us to ponder: What do charter schools and school choice do to close the achievement gap and increase equity across all schools? How can charter schools begin addressing their lack of racial, cultural and class diversity? Why do our mostly middle class, mostly white, mostly English speaking, mostly non-disabled students deserve a better education than the rest of the student population?

You don't want to sacrifice your child's education to the greater good? Fine, then go ahead and lottery into your dream school and then you better fight like hell to make sure that the playing field is evened for all families to participate in choice and that every child is getting the same quality of education as yours.

I'm one of those parents who didn't get to choose our home school due to my son's disability. My hands are relatively clean in this discussion, but I still feel it's my responsibility as a citizen to speak out against injustice and inequity and work to improve the education of students who in some ways are more privileged than my own. How about you?


Um, WackyMommy did not invent the term "white flight", and it didn't start in North Portland. Google it.

Many of us "outsiders" feel that charter schools are created to keep a certain socio-economic class engaged in schools at the expenses of the "have-nots". Some (well, ONE) are better than others IMHO. Some of my best friends have had kids in a charter school.

There will be no agreement on this issue, and much like court-mandated integration, it's gonna take legal intervention to change this pattern of segregation.

I don't know anything about the Ivy, but I hope it will be the needle in a haystack charter that attempts to be inclusive where other have failed. Stephanie's suggestions are a good place to start.

I would like to hear from the Ivy about the outreach that they have done to communities that are underrepresented in charter-land.

I would be creeped out by anonymous mud-slinging that seems somewhat stalker-ish. If you're gonna use her goverment name, sign your name, stay classy.

You chose not to send your child to her neighborhood school, but you have a problem with other parents making the same choice? You're going to have a hard time winning support for that, I think.

A little thought should warn you of the danger of granting PPS the power to revoke a charter because someone disapproves of the children who attend the school. You can see where that could lead and in fact you claimed to have experienced it yourself.

Charter schools have diversity requirements and I was at the school board meeting when the Emerson charter talked about how hard it is to meet this because when the enrollment opened at the new school the only people that applied were well off people. Add in sibling preference and then you have created an impossible situation where only well off people get into charters and drain the neighborhood schools of enrollment and because the money follows the students neighborhood kids suffer. You then get to say "Oh that school is so rough" or "have you seen the kids there" and act like that is not uppity well off folks pretending like they are oh so progressive and "urban" but really you are contributing to the problem. Send your kids wherever you want, truly I don't care, but stop calling my kids school "rough" and don't be surprised when I boycott a new charter school that contributes to the problem of my kids school getting programs cut and say it is because you are a good parent.
I chose not to go to my daughter's neighborhood school because the principal openly did not want kids with disabilities in her school. I did not however want to leave my neighborhood so I went to the rough school around the block where the teachers told me that they believed my daughter did belong there.
If charters want to create diversity then they have to do it before the doors even open. This is why I am saying they better pound the pavement or PPS will not allow them to continue. Several charters just came up in an audit as embarrasingly affluent and white and let's hope this leads to applications being revoked or some hard thinking about how to actually value and increase diversity. So I expect them to find out who does not have a computer and find out who does not know what a charter even is or they are just post-racial racists in hipster clothing.

Wacky Mommy apparently believes that white parents who do not send their children to their neighborhood school do so out of overt or covert racial animosity, except for her, of course.

Charter schools are not private schools. They are public schools that offer parents choices of whether or not to apply for admission on behalf of their children. If there are more applicants than there are places, a charter school has to admit students by lottery. How could people running a charter school possibly know who does or does not have a computer and how could they possibly personally deliver applications to all the parents in Portland?

Yes, your situation is so much different than everyone else's, WM. You have such a chip on your shoulder about the perceived slights you receive, but really you have caused more divisiveness in this issue than anyone with the exception of PPS itself.

We've already talked about this, at length, on this post that I've linked to and elsewhere:


(Scroll down to comment #16.)

Really curious here. Is it true that wackymommy's kids don't attend their neighborhood school?

Let's have Ivy School speak about how they plan to make sure that enrollment is diverse. Are they offering transportation which is a huge barrier to diverse enrollment? While the letter of intent is easy enough to read it is not in any language but english. Do they plan to go to doors and put these applications in people's hands to make sure that everyone who does not have a computer or even know what a charter school is will get in the lottery? Perhaps the answer is yes and while that would be a sign of improved practices I still do not want another enrollment sucking publicly funded private education in my neighborhood even if it is diverse in enrollment. Go look somewhere else for a location or make it a private school. I will be arguing loudly against this in N Portland and gathering support in mass. I am not against existing charters or charter parents but no more in my neighborhood.

Go troll elsewhere or just stay in the circle jerk over at your husband's blog, Nancy.

I would say something, but I'm feeling all Kumbaya facebooky tonight, so I'll skip it. Cough *white flight* cough.


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