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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.

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Entries in Buckman Arts Elementary (4)

Tuesday
May152012

Take Action & Turn Up the Volume

I’m not breathing a big sigh of relief at Monday night’s 11th hour rescue of PPS’ funding woes – and neither should you. Every year since my kids started school it seems to go like this: 1) impending budget cuts for lack of funding 2) administrators forced to slash expenses, layoff teachers 3) a desperate move to find emergency funding so schools can have a semblance of adequacy 4) our students are left a little more starved than the year before.

When will we say “enough!” of this gut-wrenching rollercoaster ride? When will we get fed up instead of holding our breath and crossing our fingers that class sizes won’t grow or programs won’t be gutted, like what’s happening at Buckman Arts, which could lose 2 of its 3 art teachers unless parents scramble to raise a crazy amount of cash? Maybe we’re finally there with last Friday's rally when hundreds of Portlanders marched into Pioneer Square  to express their frustration at yet another year of this insanity. This momentum needs to build, and we need to get louder.

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Wednesday
Apr182012

Update on One Family's Search

Several weeks ago we met Pradeep*, a work-at-home dad in SE doing much of the school scouting for his twins while his wife Siri finishes her residency at OHSU.  We checked in with him again and here’s the scoop on their school visits:

  • Abernethy: Pradeep and Siri visited their neighborhood school and liked it well enough - but not enough to pull kids out of their last year of Montessori school. The bottom line is that they think that one of their twins would do fine anywhere, but that the other needs more freedom in his environment to engage in learning, which makes them very hesitant to jump the Montessori ship now.
  • Buckman Arts: They liked it, but it didn't feel that drastically different to them than their neighborhood school - just more art bells & whistles. They did think that if Buckman were their neighborhood school they would be more than happy with it - but is it enough to leave the

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Tuesday
Jan242012

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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Monday
Apr112011

Buckman Arts Elementary - profile

Buckman Arts Elementary, is a K - 5 PPS Lottery Choice option, which infuses the Arts into most of its teaching – as well as a neighborhood school. This means if you happen to live in its district, you’re an automatic in; and if you don’t, you must lottery in. We spent a wonderful Kindergarten year at Buckman & spoke with several parents with kids currently there.  Our collective impression:

The Scoop Half-full:   

Because Buckman incorporates the arts into the academic learning, it tends to highly engage kids in school & learning from the outset. Assuming your child has an innate interest in performance, music or art, s/he will be excited to go to school – and if you tour, you may very well feel the palpable joy of happy kids in the hallway.  Buckman has a full time art teacher who teaches skills, theory, and technique in several mediums.  There’s also dramatic arts, music, and dance as separate classes (in 6-week rotating blocks) – and plenty of art activities in the classrooms themselves.  Another bonus is the city pool in the basement which makes for a more rounded PE program (in as much as PE is a program these days anywhere…)

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