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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 The Odyssey Program at Hayhurst (5)


Hayhurst Elementary - profile

Hayhurst Elementary (K-5) is tucked away in SW Portland and feeds into nearby Robert Gray Middle School and Wilson HS. Because it is a PPS neighborhood school (which shares its campus with the K-8 Odyssey Program Focus Option), curriculum and methodology won’t vary much from any other neighborhood school - so to get the scoop we’ll look at what parents have told us about its community and other general observations:

The Scoop Half-Full:

Most families within the Hayhurst boundaries attend this elementary school (72% in fact) which sits on a sizeable patch of green in suburban SW Portland. When asked about the positive aspects of Hayhurst, parents called out principal Deanne Froelich, whom they feel is doing an exceptional job leading two programs under one roof. And while Hayhurst’s solid test scores offer evidence of successful leadership, parents note that Principal Froelich’s friendly, available, and “goal-oriented” approach are what make Hayhurst hum. Whether she's working to upgrade the computer lab, or making smart decisions in hiring staff, parents see day-to-day progress at the school, and in their children’s own educational progress.

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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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The Odyssey Program at Hayhurst - profile

The Odyssey Program is a K-8 “Living History” PPS Focus Option program housed at Hayhurst Elementary in SW Portland. Since 1994 Odyssey has used mixed-aged classrooms, team teaching, as well as team learning to create an experiential and thematic learning environment.  Comprised of 3 grade-level clusters (K-1-2, 3-4-5, and 6-7-8), each with 3 teachers who work together, Odyssey students have a unique, integrated learning experience.  Here’s the scoop:

Scoop Half-Full:

Imagine a school where kids don’t know boredom; where they learn through the lens of different periods of history while taking on identities from that era; where they work freely in teams of their choosing, in a program designed to challenge them at their own ability levels.  Then also imagine that the curriculum is carefully culled from a variety of resources, designed by teachers dedicated to working in such a unique program.  Welcome to Odyssey, the PPS Focus Option at Hayhurst, where in any given season you might walk into Ancient Rome, Renaissance Europe, or the Oregon Trail.  And if you’re kid isn’t a history buff, don’t dismiss Odyssey just yet.

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Give a Kid a Camera...

…and let the learning begin.  It’s no secret that most kids seem to have an intuitive ability to navigate a computer, and solve random issues on an iPhone. Combine this knack with an interest in a particular subject, a video camera, and watch them flex their creative muscle. 

Allow Sarah Gordon to demonstrate.  She just completed the 7th grade in the Odyssey Program, a history Focus Option at Hayhurst Elementary in SW Portland.  During this last year Sarah’s team (a collaborative learning group of mixed-age kids) studied the Inca culture and produced the music video Incalicious, based on the song Fergilcious by Fergie.  They were inspired by History for Music Lovers, a YouTube channel created by a couple of teachers in Hawaii eager to spread their love of history (check out some fun videos there). Sarah’s “Team Inca” researched, wrote the lyrics, gathered images, and did all the technical production. 

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