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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

Entries from September 1, 2012 - September 30, 2012


Destination Imagination - an After-school Program that Packs a Punch

In terms of our kids’ schooling most of us lament the over-focus on standardized test scores, abundance of worksheets, and basic factory-style schools that have not caught up with 21st century knowledge. Because even though science tells us that a crucial element of learning has more to do with thinking on your feet, creative problem solving, and self-managed decision making, our schools are still stuck in a morass of learn-some-facts-and-spit-them-back-for-a-test. So unless you enroll your kid in a non-traditional school that puts her in the driver’s seat of the learning process, your child might not get practice in some fundamental skills that her future success depends upon. What’s a parent to do?

We supplement with soccer in lieu of PE; after school classes in art, music, or drama (because they’ve been cut in most schools); and other enrichment in hopes of rounding out our kids’ education. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an after-school activity that touched on all of this *and* gave your kid plenty of opportunity to develop those executive function skills that schools sadly can’t afford to worry about? Enter Destination Imagination…

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Southwest Charter School

The Southwest Charter School (SWCS) is a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school located in the Johns Landing neighborhood of Southwest Portland. SWCS is a state-sponsored charter school, meaning that unlike the rest of the charter schools in the city, Portland Public Schools does not oversee the SWCS; the state’s Department of Education does. However, like all charter school, SWCS is a free, public school, its teachers are held accountable by the same standards neighborhood public schools are and the waiting list gets longer every year.

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Update on Local Family's School Search

Early this year we met Gina and her partner Luca who were looking for a half-day Kindergarten option for their son this fall. They were drawn toward the more alternative schools such as Metropolitan Learning Center, Opal Charter School and Cedarwood Waldorf School, while at the same time feeling 70% certain they would end up at their neighborhood school, Chapman Elementary. However, the twists and turns of the school exploration path have taken them for a bit of a ride.

Since our original post Gina & Luca visited Cathedral School in NW Portland. While Gina & Luca consider themselves classic “Portland liberals” their Catholic upbringing made them pretty comfortable with a parochial school as an option for their son. They were really impressed with Cathedral’s size (250 kids in K-8), the dynamic new principal, involved parent community, and commitment to new technology (Starting this year, every student is issued an iPad). The downtown location, uniforms (makes mornings very easy!) and relatively low tuition ($6000) were bonuses too. But...

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Time to hit the books

It’s been a long time since anyone on this side of the blog has set foot in school as a student, but we can’t help it – school’s back in session and we’re brimming with excitement. Maybe it’s the shopping for school supplies or new clothes, or the thought of a new teacher bringing out our child’s potential. The promise of another school year puts a smile on our faces.

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