PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A charter school serving predominantly black students may lose its facility to make room for an alternative school for highly-gifted students — most of whom are white.
More than 120 students currently attend KairosPDX in the Albina neighborhood and parents are passionately supportive of the school because their students are doing so well.
Read Mayor Wheeler’s response at the bottom
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Elonda Bristol, whose daughter goes to Kairos. Bristol said she’s been advancing far beyond her grade. “For her to come home and be in kindergarten and to start reading end of kindergarten reading at a 1st grade level, then in 1st grade reading at a 2nd, 3rd, grade level, is amazing.”
The possibility of Kairos losing their facility started when Portland Public Schools committed to opening 2 middle schools — but to make room for them, other schools have to move out as well.
Kali Thorne Ladd, executive director at KairosPDX, said, “We are the only choice school, serving predominantly African American children in North Portland.”
Ladd said they’re succeeding at reducing the education gap in the black community, something other Portland Public Schools have struggled with.
“I cannot overstate how much African American children have experienced disproportionate discipline, disproportionate treatment, and families not welcome in schools. Portland can be better. Portland can do better and I think Kairos is trying to be part of the solution. We got unanimous approval both times.”
The district has proposed that Kairos move out to make room for ACCESS Academy — a school that’s mostly white, without offering an alternative facility.
PPS spokesmen Dave Northfield said, “The district understands that this looks strange for a district emphasizing equity and closing the achievement gap and Kairos has been successful. We hope that Kairos is successful wherever they are. We understand the implications of gentrification.”
The proposal isn’t a done deal yet, but the board will decide sometime soon. In the meantime, the public can weigh in at listening sessions coming up –the next one is Sept. 18 at 6 p.m.