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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 Metropolitan Learning Center (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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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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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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Charter Schools – Who Should Get In? 

I struck up a conversation with a mom at a Northeast Portland playground lately that could have threatened to undermine all the obsessive research I’ve been doing on education lately. We were each pushing our infant sons in baby swings, commenting on life with kids, the weather and Portland neighborhoods. I learned she lived nearby and was a decade-long Portlander. She learned I lived in Southwest Portland and had lived here for not quite two years. It didn’t take long for our talk to turn to education.

She had just received word that her son had been admitted to the Emerson School. She was happy about it, even though her first choice had been the Metropolitan Learning Center, where her son had been waitlisted.  I congratulated her on her happy news and mentioned my interest in learning more about the charter schools and other forms of alternative education in Portland. Her smile disappeared.

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