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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Abernethy Elementary (3) Ainsworth Elementary (2) All Saints School (1) Arbor School of Arts & Sciences (2) Arco Iris Spanish Immersion School (1) Atkinson Elementary (1) Be Academy (3) Beach Elementary (2) Beverly Cleary (1) Bridlemile Elementary (1) Buckman Arts Elementary (4) Cathedral School (1) Catlin Gabel (5) Cedar Hills Kindergarten & Preschool (1) Cedarwood Waldorf School (3) Chapman Elementary (1) Childpeace Montessori School (1) Class Academy (1) Cleveland High School (2) Creative Science School (2) Duniway Elementary (1) East/West Sylvan Middle School (1) Emerson School (5) Faubion K-8 (2) French American International School (1) German American School of Portland (1) Gilkey International Middle School (2) Glencoe Elementary (1) Grant High School (1) Grout Elementary (1) Hayhurst Elementary (3) Homeschool (1) Hope Chinese Charter School (1) Hosford Middle School (2) International Leadership Academy (1) Irvington Elementary (1) Ivy School (2) James John Elementary (1) Jefferson High School Middle College for Advanced Studies (1) Laurelhurst Elementary (1) Le Monde Immersion School (2) L'Etoile French Immersion School (1) Lewis Elementary (1) Lincoln High (1) Maplewood School (1) Markham Elementary (2) Martin Luther King Elementary (2) Metropolitan Learning Center (5) Northwest Academy (1) Northwest Chinese Academy (1) Opal Charter School (2) Oregon Connections Academy (1) Oregon Episcopal School (2) Portland French School (2) Portland Public Schools (11) Portland Village School (1) Providence Montessori School (1) Renaissance School of Arts and Sciences (1) Richmond School (Japanese) (2) Rigler Elementary (1) Scott School (1) Sitton Elementary (1) Southwest Charter School (2) Sunstone Montessori School (2) The International School (2) The Living School (2) The Odyssey Program at Hayhurst (5) The Portland Montessori School (1) Trillium Charter School (1) Valley Catholic Elementary (1) Vestal Elementary (1) Whitman Elementary (1) Wilson High School (1) Winterhaven (3) Woodlawn Elementary (1) Woodstock Mandarin Immersion (2) Your School Not Listed? (1)


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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


Lottery Reminder & Upcoming Events

With the PPS Lottery closing next Friday, March 9th, we wanted to remind anyone who is considering entering the lottery to think strategically.  Follow this link to see how many spots each school has at each grade level and how many waitlist spots will be made:  

If you’re determined to get a Lottery spot, review our Lottery Strategy page, if you haven’t already, before ranking your choices.


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On the Open House Circuit

It’s that time of the year again. The bulbs are pushing out of the ground, the weather can’t decide if it's winter or spring, and all across Portland parents are flocking to open houses and information sessions, trying to find the best school for their child before the March 9 school transfer deadline.

I’m doing the tours, too, though we have another year of preschool before we need to make the big decision. So far, I’ve hit up the open house at the Southwest Charter School, the information sessions at the Metropolitan Learning Center and for Beach School’s Spanish immersion program.

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Cedarwood Waldorf School - profile

Cedarwood Waldorf School is a private/independent school across from the Lair Hill park in SW Portland. It began in 1997 with 4 students and today enrolls just under 300 students in the pre-K through the 8th grade.  Cedarwood follows the Waldorf educational philosophy which, in broad strokes, emphasizes imagination and the whole child.  Some simple search terms will yield an abundance of information and commentary on Waldorf.

The Scoop Half-Full:  

The first thing the parents we spoke with raved about were the teachers at Cedarwood.  To describe them as simply good teachers would be a vast understatement. Teachers are trained with the Waldorf philosophy of honoring the whole child, and creating a warm, nurturing and natural environment, which is felt in a typical Waldorf classroom at Cedarwood. Parents were moved at the teachers’ unfailing commitment to know each child individually.  And because teachers in a Waldorf school stay with each class cohort throughout all the elementary years, they have the benefit of knowing every child as s/he essentially grows up.

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Kindergarten Round-Ups and School Tours

Portland Public Schools

It’s that time!  The link below will tell you when PPS Kindergarten Round-Up dates are.  Scroll down a little farther and you'll see Language Immersion & Focus Option Information session dates, most of which require attendance if you plan to apply via the lottery, which closes on March 9th. 

The PPS School Choice Page says they will have the “transfer space availability” list up on February 10th.  If you are considering doing the lottery for transfer, this bit of information will be crucial as it will let you know how many spots your choice school may have for a particular grade level.

If you plan to enroll in your neighborhood school for the first time (either with a kinder- aged child or an older child) PPS is asking that you do so by April 30th, to make sure you’re on the list for “new family” events this spring & summer.  

Charter Schools

Remember that each charter school will have its own lottery, often a date that is later than the PPS lottery.  Check with your school(s) of interest to learn the scheduled information session, tour, and lottery dates.

Independent & Parochial Schools

While some deadlines have passed, plenty of independent (private) and parochial (not just for Catholic folk) school options are still offering tours and accepting applications.  Check with your school(s) of interest to learn their open house, tour, and application deadline dates.

Though we aren’t able to list every single school and their respective dates/deadlines, our Gathering Basic Info page does have links to websites which can be useful in finding the various schools out there.

Good luck!


The Right Brain Initiative in Our Schools

Today's post is by Kristin Walrod, a writer and creative writing teacher through Columbia Gorge Arts in Education (CGAIE). She is also an Arts Integration Facilitator for The Right Brain Initiative. 

The right brain is the creative side, right? As parents and teachers we have seen creativity and the arts get pushed to the sidelines in our schools in favor of reading, writing, math, and packaged curriculum designed to improve test scores. Often, elementary school teachers have trouble finding time for art in their classrooms. In addition to lack of time, many new teachers grew up without art instruction themselves, making them less likely to feel confident incorporating the teaching, creating, or appreciation of art in their own classroom activities.

Sitton Elementary photo by Zac Goodwin, courtesy of Right Brain InitiativeLaunched in 2008, The Right Brain Initiative (managed by the Regional Arts & Culture Council) doesn’t believe that schools should be in an either/or situation with the arts. In fact they believe that in many cases the arts are uniquely helpful in teaching crucial skills our kids will need to face their future. These 21st century skills—critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, and what Right Brain refers to as the “Fifth C” (a mesh of civic-mindedness, community and compassion)—are the focus of Right Brain residencies.

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Meet Another Neighbor

The other day we met Gina and her partner Luca, and learned about their extensive school search.  Today we meet Pradeep, a work-at-home dad, who is taking on most of the initial school research while his wife finishes her residency at OHSU.  Pradeep and Siri live in SE, and they have the double dilemma of finding a school for their twins, who have very different personalities.  Names and identifying information have been changed to protect their privacy, but their situation is one many of us can relate to. Even though most of us aren’t raising twins, having a second child often complicates the school situation when one sibling has very different needs from another. 

Pradeep lives in the Abernethy school district, and given its strong reputation, he feels pretty good about ultimately settling in there.  But their kids are in a Montessori program, and they’ve grown to love its more out-of-the-box, whole-child approach.  This presents a challenge for them because since Montessori preschools encompass a kindergarten year, they don’t *need* to enroll in an elementary program next year.  BUT...

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Meet Your Neighbor

This week we’ll introduce two local families who are deep in the school search & decision-making process for their kindergarteners-to-be.  We’ve changed some identifying information to protect their privacy, but their situations are real.   

Meet Gina, who lives in NW with her partner Luca, and who is 70% sure they'll end up at their neighborhood school, Chapman Elementary, when their son starts kindergarten in September.  A big reason Chapman is appealing is the ability for their son to do a half-day kindergarten, which is very important to Gina.  You see, Gina is a supermom who fills her children’s days with fun and a lot of togetherness (easily making those of us who don’t do toddler talk so well feel inadequate!).  As a result, her boy hasn’t had any ongoing experience in a preschool, which makes Gina really reluctant to dive into the deep end with full-day school in the fall.  But Gina and Luca also want their child to get a rich, well-rounded education and so they don’t want to make a decision without knowing what’s out there and what they're potentially giving up.  So, where is their research leading them?

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What Does it Mean to Be Well Educated? 

I know a surgeon who can’t multiply 8x7 without the help of her phone.  I know a writer who is a terrible speller. Do these gaps indicate that they are not well-educated?  Ultimately, what are the true features of a well-educated person, and how can we best guide our children towards that vision?

As a parent of a son entering college, and a daughter in middle school, this question is often on my mind as I consider how to best help my kids navigate their school experience.  This question also looms large on the national stage as No Child Left Behind begins to unravel, leaving in its wake a national educational and cultural agenda largely focused upon tests scores, standards and traditional measures of achievement. 

I wonder though, are these the goals that matter most in order to be a contributing adult in the 21st century?

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Adventures of an Accidental Activist (part 2)

...Four (of Many) Lessons I’m Learning on My Journey To Create More Compassionate Kids…And A More Connected Community

This week's postings are written by Jen Barth, who is currently serving as Oregon's Delegate for Parenting Magazine's Mom's Congress on Education & Learning Earlier this week we heard some sobering  facts about  the state of education in Oregon.  Today, Jen offers some inspiration:

When I attended Mom Congress at Georgetown University in April, I had the opportunity to meet with education and advocacy leaders, and moms from across the country. We discussed the significance of family engagement in improving America’s schools and we connected on the importance of personal activism in education reform.  When I returned from DC, it occurred to me that each of us can read these staggering statistics, and either decide to give up — or step up. I’m choosing the latter.  I’m hoping that a few of the lessons I’m learning along the way, though, will inspire you to consider doing a bit more. Here goes…

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Adventures of an Accidental Activist (part 1)

This week's postings are written by Jen Barth, who is currently serving as Oregon's Delegate for Parenting Magazine's Mom's Congress on Education & Learning

...Four (of Many) Lessons I’m Learning on My Journey To Create More Compassionate Kids…And A More Connected Community

I have a confession to make: I never set out to become an “education activist.” In fact, it was the farthest thing from my mind when we moved to Oregon in 2009. Yet today, just 2 ½ years later, I somehow find myself deep (and getting deeper) into the trenches of trying to understand, and work to improve, our local school scene.  Along the way, I’m learning a lot about local education issues — and about myself, too.  Here are just a few of them.

First Things First: How I Got Here

Before I begin, I should probably introduce myself.  I’m not an educator. I’m not involved in local politics. And while I’m an active volunteer with several local nonprofits and community organizations, I don’t represent any of them in any sort of official capacity as a Board Member or Officer. I’m simply a preschool parent —and relative Oregon newcomer —who is passionate about doing what I can to carve out a stronger educational path for my own daughters. Even more importantly, I want to live in a community where I’m as proud of our schools as I am of our street food scene.

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