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The Community School, A New Charter School - working to open in Sept. 2014

February 26, 2013

We are a group of educators and parents who will be applying for a charter to open The Community School in September 2014 (please visit our website or our facebook page). We are hoping to gather information from Portland families about your hopes and dreams for your children's schooling. Please take a moment to fill out our survey so we can her from you about what you would hope for a new school in Portland: ). If you would like to express interest in your child attending The Community School please fill out our interest form.

Here is more info about our school...

The Mission The mission of The Community School is to celebrate our students’ voices as we inspire a lifetime of passionate learning. We strive to work in the service of our diverse children and families, to create a school culture rooted in care, respect and collaboration, and to ensure our students develop a meaningful sense of personal and social responsibility. The Community School connects students to the surrounding community while fostering the knowledge, skills, and values to become thoughtful, engaged citizens.

The Vision

The Community School is a K-8 charter school, opening in September 2014, that offers academically challenging, culturally responsive, and project-based education and comprehensive support to students’ families. The community school strives to ensure that all children become informed, courageous, and compassionate adults who work to shape our world into one that is more equitable and sustainable. The Community School serves a diverse group of families and strives to ensure that all students are academically and socially prepared to succeed in high school and ultimately poised for college, job, and life success.

The Community School nurtures the development of the whole child through a program that seeks:

  • to value and honor each child as a truly unique learner and to provide individual attention and support
  • to foster in each student curiosity, integrity, ethical decision making, and compassion;
  • to develop intellectual abilities such as scholarship and critical thinking;
  • to promote appreciation of differences and respect for the ideas and opinions of others;
  • to support the development of a healthy identity and sense of self;
  • to nurture imagination, creativity, and connection to musical and visual arts;
  • to encourage high self esteem, interpersonal skills, and accountability to self and others;
  • to engage families and other community members in the activities of the school.

Educational Philosophy

The Community School strives to create an educational environment where all students and teachers come together to build a joyful, collaborative, and supportive learning community. Intellectual curiosity, critical thinking and communication skills are cultivated by an interactive curriculum that emphasizes authentic and rigorous learning.

Community teachers integrate language and expressive arts, mathematical thinking, scientific inquiry, and social studies into in-depth projects and investigations. Our integrated curriculum ensures that all students feel invested in and connected to their studies, and that their learning is connected to the world outside of our school.

The Community School’s curriculum provides students with opportunities to learn and apply academic knowledge and skills as they explore topics that inspire and intrigue them. The Community School’s educational model fosters foundational life skills such as problem solving, collaboration, flexibility and empathy.

In addition to project work, The Community School supports students’ social and emotional learning by putting relationships at the heart of its curriculum. Community teachers invite children to consider their diverse selves, families, and cultural backgrounds in an environment that is rooted in respect, care, and understanding.

By learning about themselves and others, and actively participating in building community, The Community School prepares students to be informed, courageous, and compassionate people who shape a more equitable and sustainable world.

Restorative Practices

The Community School uses a Restorative Justice model to create a school culture that promotes community safety and emphasizes values of inclusion, respect, honesty, acceptance, responsibility, and accountability. Restorative Justice fosters a climate that improves school safety and supports students’ ability to learn across differences and resolve personal and social conflict through dialogue.


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I certainly appreciate your comment and committment to your neighborhood school, but as we have seen in the Jefferson cluster, PPS is just as willing to close a growing school as it is a school with low enrollment. Trusting PPS will likely result in a broken heart and tears. It's possible that a neighborhood school is best for some children but I suggest that parents be pragmatic. Parents will do well to investigate all options available for their children. PPS is not thinking about your neighborhood or community and will not hesitate to pull it apart. If you seek stability for you children, look to other options rather than your PPS neighborhood school.

I'm excited to see the possibility of this charter option in SE!

I would like to see a school that included kids who learn differently. My son has dyslexia & I have no options for him, as very few schools know anything about it.

How does this charter school differ from Emerson? That it will eventually have 6th-8th grade? How will you recruit a diverse population? I ask because it takes a great amount of effort to reach out to diverse communities. Then how will students get to the school? Do you plan on being located on a bus-line?
Just curious.

I admire this group's commitment to community, equity, and sustainability. This is what I trust all parents want to see. From my perspective, though, charter schools draw people away from where we can best build community and effect positive change: in our neighborhood schools. When families decide to forgo their neighborhood schools for charter, magnet, private, or schools outside their neighborhoods, the neighborhood schools quickly become underfunded, leaving our communities divided and hurting. Right now several neighborhood schools in N/NE Portland are in danger of closing because so many families opt out of them.

Our neighborhood school is wonderful--we have a truly diverse community, fantastic parent involvement, and great offerings, from garden club, to chess club, to community involvement, to walk/bike to school days that see more and more participants every week. The kids' assembly to honor MLK Jr. this week moved me to tears--our kids from all sorts of backgrounds sang together. We hope that more people will see how special neighborhood schools are, especially when there are justice-minded and progressive parents involved like those I know are part of this project! Give your neighborhood school a chance--all kids are special and we can bring them the justice of excellent public education for all!

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