Using This Site

Get the lay of the land for Portland area schools. Learn the basics of navigating the system.

Determine what you’re looking for in a school, and what your child might need.

Get the essential details on your school options, and learn how to interpret the data.  Give and get the scoop in our Schools Forum

Know how to get the inside scoop on a school. Learn what to ask and what to look for on a school tour.

Make a plan to go after the schools you like best. Understand the application or lottery process.

When you finally commit to a school, get tips on how to transition successfully.

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Welcome to Scoop On Schools

If you are wondering how to find the best Portland area school for your child, we’ve got you covered! Follow a step-by-step process created by two Portland moms who have gone through it themselves and want to give you the scoop on how it all works.

We may not be blogging anymore,  but we're still around! If you want to let us know about changes in the school scene please leave comments, find us on FACEBOOK, post to the FORUM, or CONTACT US


The Lake Oswego Mothers Club 12th Annual Preschool Forum

Lake Oswego Mothers Club Preschool Forum

November 5 from 10 – 12pm

Uplands Elementary School, 2055 Wembley Park Road, Lake Oswego


If you’re starting to think about preschool for your toddler or preschooler, this event might be worth a visit.  Every year the Lake Oswego Mothers Club puts on their annual preschool forum, which provides an opportunity for parents to learn about a lot of area preschools quickly.  The event has grown year after year, and more than 30 schools will participate this year.

“What if I don’t live in Lake Oswego?” you might ask?  While the highest concentration of schools are from Lake Oswego, Beaverton, and SW Portland, this is increasingly a regional event, drawing schools from as far away as Oregon City, SE Portland, and Cedar Hills.   Parents in communities near Lake Oswego will find programs near them represented, and even those from farther away might find it worthwhile to look at the list and see if any schools that interest them are participating.

Also, if you’re new to the preschool search and don’t yet have a good understanding of the different philosophies and types of schools, let alone know which you think might be a match for your family, this event gives you a chance to talk to representatives from many types of schools at once.  It can help you get a feel for what differentiates Montessori from Reggio Emilia, and a cooperative preschool from a preschool that’s part of a larger school, for example.  The basic overview it provides can help you narrow down what you want (and don’t want) in a preschool for your child, guiding your search.

 You can learn more about 12th Annual Preschool Forum from the Lake Oswego Mothers Club


It's Open House Season

It’s private school open house season!  Private and independent schools are hosting open houses now through early 2017 for families applying for the 2017-2018 school year.

While it may seem crazy to be looking at schools that your child will not actually attend for nearly a year, the open house is just a first step in checking out a school and deciding whether to apply.  Many schools also offer events like parent tours, student visit days, and parent receptions to help you decide if their school is a fit for your family.  The open house is a great way to get an overview of the school, see the facility, and meet faculty, parents, and students, and decide if you want to take the next steps in learning about the school. 

What if you’ve missed the tour?  Or it’s at a time when you just can’t attend?  Not to worry – most schools are happy to arrange visits at alternate times.  It is a good idea to call the admission contact at the school as soon as possible, however, as popular schools sometimes fill their spots for student visits and other “next steps” quickly after their open houses.

Daunted by the list?  It’s understandable.  Portland has a lot of school options.  There are a few upcoming school fairs and information events that will allow you to meet representatives from several schools at once.  Scoop on School will share information about these events as they draw closer; the short story is they allow you to learn a little bit about a lot of schools quickly, but they don’t replace a visit to the schools in which you’re really interested. 

You may ask what about parochial and religious schools?  And charter schools?  And public school options?  And preschools?  The open houses for these schools generally don’t happen until into the new year.  Scoop on Schools will share information about those open houses over the next weeks and months, so stay tuned!

Finally, if you know about an open house that’s not listed here, please share in the comments!


Harmony Montessori School

  • Saturday, October 22 from 10 – 11am
  • Saturday, November 12 from 10 – 11am

Arbor School of Arts and Sciences

  • Sunday, October 23 from 1 – 4pm

Central Catholic High School

  • Sunday, October 23 from 1 – 4pm

Oregon Episcopal School

  • Middle/Upper School - Sunday, October 23 from 1 – 4pm
  • Lower School - Wednesday, October 26 from 6 – 8pm

Westside Christian High School

  • Tuesday, October 25 at 7pm

German International School

  • Thursday, October 27 from 9 – 11am
  • Sunday, January 22 from 10 – 11:30am

The International School

  • Preschool and Kindergarten Open House - Friday, October 28 from 9:00am – 12:00pm
  • Open House - Saturday, January 24 from 6:00 – 8:00pm

Catlin Gable

  • Sunday, October 30 from 1 – 4pm

De La Salle North Catholic High School

  • Sunday, October 30 from 1 – 4pm

Valley Catholic School

  • High School - Sunday, October 30 from 1 – 4pm (Welcome Address at 1:45)
  • Early Learning School – Sunday, January 29 from 2 – 4pm
  • Elementary School – Sunday, January 29 from 1 – 3pm
  • Middle School – Sunday, January 29 from 2 – 4pm

Northwest Chinese Academy

  • Wednesday, November 2 from 5 – 7pm
  • Saturday, December 3 from 10am – 12pm
  • Saturday, January 7 from 10am – 12pm
  • Saturday, February 11 from 10am – 12pm
  • Tuesday, March 7 from 9:30 – 11am
  • Saturday, April 1 from 10am – 12pm
  • Thursday, May 11 from 9:30 – 11am

Gilkey International Middle School @ French American Internation School

  • Thursday, November 3 at 6:30
  • Wednesday, January 11 at 6:30

Cedarwood Waldorf School

  • Saturday, November 5 from 10am – 1pm
  • Saturday, January 21 from 10am – 1pm
  • Saturday, March 18 from 10am – 1pm

Portland Jewish Academy

  • Tuesday, November 8 at 10am
  • Wednesday, December 7 at 10am
  • Thursday, January 12 at 10am

French American International School

  • Wednesday, November 9 at 9am
  • Friday, January 20 at 9am
  • Thursday, April 6 at 9am

Sunstone Montessori School

  • Thursday November 10 from 5:00 – 7:00pm
  • Thursday, January 12 from 5:00 – 7:00pm

Portland Waldorf School

  • High School - Sunday, November 13 from 1 – 3pm
  • Early Childhood - Sunday, November 20 from 10 – 11:30am
  • Lower School - Saturday, January 28 from 1 – 3pm

Franciscan Montessori Earth School and St. Francis Academy

  • Tuesday, November 15 from 10 – 11:30am
  • Tuesday, January 10 from 10 – 11:30am
  • Tuesday, February 14 from 10 – 11:30am
  • Tuesday, March 14 from 10 – 11:30am
  • Tuesday, April 11 from 10 – 11:30am
  • Tuesday, May 9 from 10 – 11:30am

Northwest Academy

  • Middle School - Tuesday, November 15 from 10:30am – 12:00pm
  • High School - Thursday, November 17 from 10:30am – 12pm
  • Middle School - Tuesday, December 6 from 10:30am – 12pm
  • High School - Thursday, December 8 from 10:30am – 12:00pm
  • High School - Thursday, January 5 from 10:30am – 12:00pm
  • Middle School - Tuesday, May 9 from 10:30am – 12:00pm

The Marylhurst School

  • K-8 Information Night - Tuesday, November 15 from 6 – 8pm
  • Open House - Saturday, January 28 from 10am – 1pm

The Portland Montessori School

  • Elementary Info Night - Thursday, November 17 from 5:30 – 7pm
  • Open House - Saturday, January 28 from 10am – 1pm
  • Elementary Info Night - Wednesday, March 22 from 5:30 – 7pm

Pacific Crest Community School

  • Saturday, November 19 from 1 – 3pm (presentation at 1:30pm)

Gardner School of Arts and Sciences

  • Sunday, December 4 from 1 – 4pm
  • Sunday, March 19 from 1 – 4pm

Montessori of Beaverton

  • Saturday, January 7 from 2:00 – 3:00pm

SUMMA Academy

  • Saturday, January 18 from 10am – 1pm

Park Academy

  • Thursday, January 26 from 7 – 8:30pm

Shining Star Waldorf School

  • Saturday, January 21 from 10am – 2pm
  • Saturday, February 4 from 10am – 2pm
  • Saturday, March 11 from 10am – 2pm

Micha-el School

  • Saturday, February 4, 10am – 12pm
  • Wednesday, March 8 from 6 – 8pm



An Introduction

Thanks to Jacqueline for the introduction, and to Jacqueline, Katy, and all the past contributors to Scoop on Schools for their work developing the site into the resource that it is today. I’m delighted to be able to take over the task of continuing to develop it into a thriving resource for the Portland community. 

I’m a long-time Portlander who attended both Beaverton public schools and a Portland-area private high school.  I have a B.A. from Stanford in public policy with an education focus, a law degree, and additional graduate coursework in education policy and psychology.  I’ve worked in both public and private schools as an elementary school teacher’s aide, a middle school teacher, and a college teaching assistant and advisor.  After law school I worked for several years on Oregon education policy, then transitioned to higher education administration.  When my daughter was born I transitioned again to the world of stay-at-home parenting while continuing to volunteer with education-related nonprofits.  I’ve served on the boards of directors of Portland area private schools, a public school district foundation, and other education organizations. I love education policy, schools, and helping families find the right school for their children.

I’m looking forward to maintaining Scoop on School’s strong tradition as a reliable source of information about public and private school options in the city of Portland.  Over the next weeks and months, I’ll add information about other metro area public and private schools for families exploring options throughout the region.

If there are specific topics about which you’d like to learn more in future posts, please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments – most of all, I want to make sure this site is a resource for you.




Passing the Torch

With Portland bursting at the seams, the timing couldn’t be better for us to announce that ScoopOnSchools is getting back into action! While we’ve had the honor of bringing this site to fruition as a much-needed resource for the community, it’s time to make some changes.

We are thrilled to pass the torch to Kristin, a Portland native who has worked her adult life at improving education - whether for individuals, in the classroom, or at the community level. She is prepared and ready to guide a new generation of parents who want the scoop on schools in the Portland area.

We’ll let Kristin introduce herself, but in the meanwhile stay tuned for new posts and upcoming information on school open houses. Whether you’re entering the elementary school scene, or considering a family move to Portland, ScoopOnSchools is the best place to start. And it’s about to get even better!

Jacqueline & Katy



ScoopOnSchools has been updated! 

The One thru Six step process to help you navigate your school search now has updated links and reflects the new PPS lottery rules.  These lottery changes in a nutshell: neighborhood school to neighborhood school transfers will no longer be done via lottery, but rather on a case-by-case petition basis.  And, some Focus Option and Language Immersion programs, which are still done via lottery selection, will now have a portion of their available slots weighted toward those who meet certain income eligibility requirements.

Our language immersion program list (that includes public as well as private and after-school options) has also been updated, so check out Language Immersion - The Where!

And if anyone getting into the local school scene is inspired to make ScoopOnSchools a more active site, we’d love to hear from you!



Language Immersion - The Where

This updated list shows the various language immersion programs in the greater Portland area current as of October 2015. It originally followed Language Immersion – The What, Why and When, which offers a basic overview of language immersion.  The list below includes schools that support true immersion to varying degrees, as well as after-school or weekend programs.  Note that we didn’t list separate preschool immersion programs (although there are plenty out there).

If you’ve heard of any programs not on our list, please leave a comment with information.  All schools or programs listed below are in Portland, unless otherwise noted:

Click to read more ...


Class Dismissed

Well, this is a bittersweet moment… Over the past 21 months we’ve written 100 blog posts and this is the last one for the foreseeable future.  We’ve taken some of the most relevant of these posts and linked to them throughout the main body of the Scoop On Schools website (steps 1-6), which we hope will be helpful to our readers.   

We’d like to thank the countless Portland parents, teachers, and students who have given us the scoop over the past few years – as well as all the amazing thought leaders out there who have educated us in our quest to find knowledge we could pass along to you.  And last, but certainly not least, many, many thanks to Deborah Kass-Ray (TherapistMama), Kristin Walrod (StoryMama), Jen Barth (ActivistMama), Rebecca Brown Schroeder (AdvocateMama), and Chandra Emery (PeaceMama) for contributing their smarts and writing skills to Scoop On Schools!

And thank *you* for reading and passing Scoop On Schools along to your friends. We wish you the best of luck as you navigate your school options.  We know that whatever school community your child joins will be better because you’ll actively be part of it! 

Jacqueline Jannotta Rothenberg (ResearchMama)

Katy Mayo-Hudson (TeacherMama)

and Tamara Miller (JournoMama)


Happy Kids = Grateful Parents

Last Thanksgiving we shared one of our favorite blogs with you, which this week appropriately talks about Why Gratitude Works.  Have a Happy & Delicious Thanksgiving:-)

In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to introduce you to one of my favorite blogs.  It’s called “Raising Happiness” and it’s written under the aegis of the Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley. What I love most about this blog is that it’s based on scientific research, which pleases the nerd girl in me :-)

Christine Carter, PhD, writes about a variety of topics all with the aim of helping parents to raise happier, more joyful kids (thereby making for happier, more joyful parents!).  And what way is there to create better learners in our schools than to raise more emotionally intelligent, happy & whole children?  Check out what Dr. Carter has to say on the subjects of Education and Learning

This week her post is on gratitude.   Happy Thanksgiving!


Option 3: Non-Traditional Schools

Most of us take for granted that school is the way it is, the way it’s always been - but does that mean the standard school is ideal for your kid? Once you start peeling away the onion layers and looking at the roots of traditional education, your mind may start to shift. To get a sense of how traditional schools were designed and thus how you might want to stray from that model when it comes to your child, I highly recommend this short visual lecture by Ken Robinson (worth the 12 minutes, I promise). If his talk inspires you to consider some type of non-traditional school, you will have plenty of possibilities in Portland.

Whether you’re looking at public or private schools, options in both of those camps include schools that don’t follow the mainstream approach. They may use a century-old method like Waldorf/Steiner or Montessori; or they may be some amalgam of “tried & true” and their own unique approach. The latter also tend to utilize collaborative, project-based, and experiential learning, with examples around town such as Renaissance, Emerson, The Living School, and others somewhere on the spectrum. But no matter which of these less-traditional paths you might choose to follow, the challenges and rewards tend to be similar. Based on dozens of conversations over the past few years, along with my own research and experience as a Montessori mom, I’ll lay out the pros and cons of these non-traditional approaches in a broad-strokes way. But it bears repeating that every school is different (even within the same method – e.g. Waldorf) and your assessment of a particular school requires diligent investigation!

The Scoop Half-full:

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Option 2: Private/Independent Schools 

While all of us writers for Scoop On Schools have experience with our school-aged kids in public schools, some of us also have enrolled our children in local private or independent schools. (There is a subtle distinction between the two. We are using the word “Private” since that’s the commonly used term around town.) The differences between private and public schools are sometimes insignificant, and other times quite notable. Over the past few years we’ve had frank conversations with scores of parents about their private and public school experiences. Adding to that our own experiences of both, we want to tell you like it is: the good, the bad, the ugly (and the pretty). Some of it may be obvious, but here goes:

The Scoop Half-Full:

Click to read more ...