Great things are happening at Vernon K-8!
By, Catherine Landwehr
It’s that time of year: families are trying to figure out
where their children will go to school in the fall. As a mother of two boys, now 5 and 8, it
doesn’t seem that long ago that I was faced with all those nerve-wracking
questions. Do we go with the
neighborhood school? Is it committed to
academics, is it safe, is it welcoming?
Do we shop around and try the transfer/lottery system? What’s the deal with charter, magnet, and
private schools? What is the best thing
I can do for my child as we enter into the school years? What is the best way for our family to become
part of a great educational community? And what’s going on inside that classic
104-year old school building on Killingsworth that we pass by all the time?
Like many others families, we decided invest in our
neighborhood and send our children to Vernon.
We are so happy we did. If you
are looking for great school and a close-knit local community for your child
and for your family, please join our group!
If you are a prospective Vernon parent, please come to one
or both of our upcoming events to hear about all the reasons the families of
Vernon love our neighborhood school. The
Vernon community is having a meeting for
prospective Vernon families on Feb. 23, from 3-5 at the Kennedy School. We are also having two Kindergarten Connects (these used to be called Kindergarten Round-Ups)
on March 5 at Vernon. The first Kindy
Connect is from 9-11, and the second
from 6-8. Come to one or both events to
get a sense of all your neighborhood school offers, to ask any questions you
may have, and to meet other Vernon families, both prospective and “old school.”
Here’s a quick overview: Vernon is a K-8 with a diverse student body of
438 students, and our school spirit is through the roof. It’s easy to see why—our teachers are
absolutely inspired, our parent community is welcoming and committed, and our
students are thriving both academically and socially. The class sizes are reasonable—this year, my
kindergartner in a class of 21 kids, and my second-grade in a class of 23. Vernon is part of the renowned International
Baccalaureate program, which means the school’s approach to
learning is project-based, and focused on “inquiry” and the concept of
interconnectivity between countries, cultures, and disciplines. In keeping with this approach, all students
have instruction in art, music, Spanish, wellness, physical education, geography,
and technology, in addition to the core fundamentals of reading, writing, math,
and science. Vernon also boasts a well-stocked library and
computer labs. Thanks to a Nike grant, our playground is newly refurbished so
that our kids can run and play to their hearts’ content during recess, P.E.,
and our newly-instituted “Brain Breaks.”
Our two beautiful Vernon Gardens are alive with student-tended greenery
from blueberries to kale to cilantro.
Because of the support we receive from the East Portland Rotary club, students
also benefit from regular field trips to visit nature sites, museums, local
businesses and organizations, and to see plays and performances. This year so far the play “Duck For
President” and the trip to the Oregon Forestry Center have been big hits in our
household, and we are looking forward to next month’s music performances and
first science fair.
The Vernon school day goes from 8:45 to 3, but many kids
stay at school after the bell rings. Some of our most popular afterschool
activities, offered in conjunction with SEI/Sun School, are Garden Club, Chess
Club, Lego Club, as well as Zumba, hip-hop, art, sports, and technology
classes. YMCA offers on-site care before
and after school. There are also
frequent Vernon “family” nights: Multicultural Night, Math Night, Craft Night, Science
Night, and movie nights. Our monthly
PTA meetings are well-attended and productive.
Our weekly “Walking School Bus”
is a popular way for students to travel to school as a group on foot or by bike
(and reminds us all how glad we are not be commuting far and wide to get to
school—for most families, it’s a short walk or few-minute drive). The annual Vernon Auction has also been a
way for the community to come together and to support the art and music
programs at Vernon.
Community involvement has for me been one of the best things
about having school-aged children—instead of just living in a neighborhood, our
family has become part of the neighborhood.
We know the families we live near, our children play together, parents
form networks for pickups and play dates and family support; everyone pitches
in to make our school better and better each year. We are building a fantastic community, right
here in the Vernon neighborhood. Please come check Vernon out and see for
yourself all that your neighborhood school has to offer!
Come find out what's in store for 4th-7th grade students!
February 27th 5:30 - 7:30
Exhibition and Beyond
- Learn about the long-term
independent inquiry project that caps a student's Primary Years experience at
Vernon School. (Called Exhibition)
- Hear from current Vernon
Middle School students and parents about why they chose Vernon.
- Find out how teachers are
using the International Baccalaureate and Common Core together to create
unique, authentic and engaging learning experiences for our students.
- Get information about
electives, academic support, after school programming and more!
Childcare and food will be