PPS community discusses proposed middle schools

The proposal would affect students in all grades

Parents, teachers and PPS school board members met on October 2, 2017 to discuss the plan to turn Harriet Tubman and Roseway Heights into middle schools. (KOIN)
Parents, teachers and PPS school board members met on October 2, 2017 to discuss the plan to turn Harriet Tubman and Roseway Heights into middle schools. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Public Schools is considering converting 2 schools into traditional middle schools, creating a ripple effect that would change where some kids go to high school.

At a public meeting Monday night, officials talked about the proposal, which would turn Harriet Tubman and Roseway Heights into middle schools for grades 6-8 rather than K-8.

Parents, teachers and members of the school board weighed in on the decision that would affect students of all grades in some areas.

“The proposal at its heart is to open two new middle schools,” said Harry Esteve with PPS.

The idea is to get away from some of the K-8 programs in favor of traditional middle schools to get better access to quality academics.

Portland Public School's proposed boundary if the plan to turn Harriet Tubman and Roseway Heights into middle schools goes through. (KOIN)
Portland Public School’s proposed boundary if the plan to turn Harriet Tubman and Roseway Heights into middle schools goes through. (KOIN)

“Why didn’t we do this years ago?” school board member Scott Bailey said. “For kids who have been K-8, who in the middle grades have not had many options in terms of course offerings compared to say Beaumont or West Hills, Mount Tabor, is to give them the same options that other kids have.”

The ripple effect for school boundaries would affect some neighborhoods and would send students to a different high school.

“There would be some students who would go to a different high school,” Esteve said. “Either they’d be going to Madison rather than Grant or vice versa.”

One of those students is Louise Merrigan’s son, an 8th grader who lives walking distance from Grant High School. If the proposal goes through, he’ll likely have to go to Madison.

“The proposed boundary is cutting an entire pocket of the neighborhood out,” Merrigan said.

Other parents feel it’s long overdue to add more traditional middle schools to the district.

“Whenever you’re starting something new that’s always how it is,” Camilla Adams said. “There’s going to be some glitches that have to be fixed.”