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Celebrate! Portland Public Schools

The season of school info, selection and such is in FULL swing. Most schools are having informational events as well as providing opportunities to tour classrooms. Check with individual schools to find out what on-campus events they may have planned - including what events may be REQUIRED if you are considering a charter school.

THE BIG EVENT where you can get an overview on the myriad of educational choices at every Portland Public School is this Saturday, February 3 from 10:00 am to 3:00pm at the Portland Expo Center: “Celebrate! Portland Public Schools.”

A lot of fun activities are planned for the day in addition to learning about individual schools and the mechanics of the enrollment process. You can find out more info by calling 503-916-3304 or checking the website.

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Who else went to this? With a child entering kindergarten in the fall, (Everything was much more clear when he was younger, and before I had children at all!) this was an emotional rollercoaster for me. At some point in the day, I experienced: excitement, hope, regret, disappointment, joy, and shame. I knew exactly what we were doing for school next year, until the moment we walked in. Everyone is so hopeful, and kind, and grateful almost, to see us there. We've been making secret plans for an exit out of the public school zoo for over a year...that's where the shame comes in. I was totally inspired by talking to folks from a couple of the charter and magnet schools, and now I'm just confused beyond belief. I keep hoping for a really strong opinion from my husband to help with this decision, but he is in the same place as me. What was your experience?

Does anyone know anything about the Metropolitan Learning Center in NW Portland? It has been around for years and I was thinking it might be worth checking out. Any feedback would be great.

Is there a general timeframe for when we should start looking at Kindergarden for Fall 2008? I couldn't make it to the event on Saturday, and the web site doesn't really include any deadlines!

Last year, we considered the Metropolitan Learning Center (MLC) and there is one comment regarding the school here: http://urbanmamas.typepad.com//urbanmamas/2006/01/schools_gloriou.html

I do recall that MLC has a separate application process and attendance at an informational session was require prior to applying. The application was due well before the normal PPS lottery, so around now perhaps. The application involved a recommendation from a current teacher and a statement by student/parent.

We had positive impressions of MLC and their educational approach. In the end, we felt that the school was too large (K-12) for our daughter, who was just entering the first grade. We are keeping MLC in the back of our minds for middle and high school.

Karen,

Regarding timing for fall admission, I think most of the schools do "Round-Ups" and info sessions in Jan, Feb, and March. I believe applications are due sometime in April. Visiting schools, making appointments with teachers or principals, and soliciting first-hand feedback from students and parents are good things to do in the few months before the annual PPS lottery in April.

Hi, just a word about charter schools:
Each one is independent, thus the Portland charters are NOT part of PPS's lottery. Each one has its own lottery (if needed, i.e., if the number of students who apply exceeds the spaces open in certain grades or the school overall), and the only criteria that a charter school can legally use for admission are age and grade. Any meetings or other things listed as "requirements" of students or parents are NOT actual "requirements."

The only caveats to this: Students who reside within the PPS boundaries are given priority in admission to charter schools sponsored by PPS (namely, SEI Academy, Trillium, Opal, Emerson, Arthur Academy and LEP High...and, starting this fall, Portland Village) and siblings of students already enrolled at a charter school CAN be given priority (most charters have this policy, but are not legally required to).

Oregon's charter law, which is relatively short and simple, is: http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/338.html

Keep in mind that charter schools are public (i.e., tuition-free) schools of choice. As you can see, I'm a charter geek, so please let me know if you have any questions re: charters. :)

This is the third time I've written this, and had it disappear before I posted it, so it is now going to be brief.

Elementary school choice deadline is March 23rd.

Good school choice details here: http://enrollment.pps.k12.or.us/.docs/pg/11204
Make sure to look at the "Space Availability by School" page under step 3. Some schools have no transfer slots available, especially at the non-starter grades for the school, but also even for kindergarten.

MLC has a mid-February application deadline, with notification before the March 23rd PPS deadline.

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