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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 in Catlin Gabel (5)


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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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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Catlin Gabel - profile

Catlin Gabel has long held rank as one of the best private/independent schools in the Portland area.  Nestled in the hills of Northwest Portland just off Highway 26 on a large umpteen- acre campus, Catlin students can begin in preschool and continue all the way through 12th grade.  At upwards of 20K a year, this is a school with deep resources and fully built-out offerings.  Let’s get the scoop:

The Scoop Half-Full:

The first rave out of a Catlin parent’s mouth is inevitably about the quality of instruction.  Meticulously hand-picked after national searches for the best and brightest, teachers are consistently enthusiastic, innovative, and highly motivated to be part of the Catlin community - one teacher going so far as to call Catlin “teacher paradise” for its stimulating and supportive atmosphere. 

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Upcoming Events

If you have daughters trying to navigate the sometimes thorny path of girl friendships you might want to check out Finding Kind.  It's a documentary in the tradition of Race to Nowhere and it's coming to the Hollywood Theatre this Friday November 4th at 6:45pm. Produced and directed by some determined young filmmakers on a mission, Finding Kind explores another significant pressure point for teens - girl social politics and meanness.  It looks to be a great conversation starter for daughters, parents and friends alike.  

Tickets are $10 and can be pre-ordered online.  Beaumont Middle School is sponsoring so we are guessing that it will sell out.

Also, take note that if you’re thinking of looking at any private schools for your kiddos, Open House season has begun.  A few of the well-known schools in the area (Arbor School, Catlin Gabel & OES) have Open Houses scheduled over the next couple of weekends. Check out their websites for more info.  And be sure to stay tuned for our upcoming post on how to gauge the financial health of a private school…


Arbor School of Arts & Sciences - profile

The Arbor School of Arts & Sciences is an independent K-8 school established in 1989 and located in Tualatin (a SW suburb) that follows an interdisciplinary, project–based learning philosophy.  We’ve talked to several parents whose kids attend the school, as well as several more who’ve toured and applied – and based on that, here’s the scoop:

The Scoop Half-Full:

Parents lucky enough to have found (and gotten into) Arbor can’t say enough about its engaging curriculum, which covers classic subject matter in a thematic way and with a global perspective.  The art-infused curriculum incorporates skills such as sewing, drawing, constructing and creative writing throughout the contextual learning which culminates in a conclusion (e.g. celebration or performance) for each study.  This rich educational palette is balanced with specialists in PE, music, art, and science who regularly meet with kids for skill-based instruction that includes world instruments, dancing, singing, and reading music. 

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