PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — J.T. Nothwang is a shining example of Open School’s success. He’s an 8th-grader who read at about a 2nd-grade level last year. Since he came to Open School about a year ago, he’s rapidly improved and has nearly caught up with where his reading level should be.
“When we’re here the teachers really push us to get good grades which really helps,” Northwang said. “Like they’re really on top of you about that because they want you to succeed in life.”
Open School is a program that’s been in the Portland area for 40 years. Simply put it’s a program that prevents academically at-risk students from falling through the cracks.
They’re expanding from its flagship school building in North Portland. With funding from private donations, school districts and the legislature, workers began breaking ground on a new school facility at SE 165th and Stark.
The new spot will continue to surround kids with small class sizes, teachers that believe, and curriculum that fits.
Andrew Mason/Executive Director Open School: “That includes a small class size, a cultural identity curriculum, and relevant academics where they see themselves and they have the aspiration, and we hold those kids capable and accountable,” said Open School Executive Director Andrew Mason.
Through the years, Open School has served thousands of students. Poverty accompanies lagging academic achievement. Their new facility in the Rosewood-Rockwood neighborhoods of east Multnomah County, poverty has gone up by more than 60% in the last decade.
They hope the new building will help dreams come true for once at-risk kids like J.T. Nothwang, who may realize his dream of one day turning his love of cars into a career as a mechanic.