FW: Parents for Closing the Gap...Not the Schools Submit Alternative Resolution to the School Board

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Jeff Hammond

Feb 19, 2010, 6:53:10 PM2/19/10
to frankli...@googlegroups.com

Note the following email regarding an alternate resolution created by the Grant Cluster "Closethegapnottheschools" group.

Check out their site and review their proposed revisions to the resolution.


Although, I support the resolution in general, I expressed my concern that there wasn't enough emphasis on adjusting boundaries and eliminating (or severely limiting) transfers.

I believe these items are critical to the success of any plan to bring equity across all our schools.

Therefore I have not signed on to the letter.


They could not fully reach a consensus stating such, so therefore at the risk of doing nothing, they put together their proposal anyway.

In my dialogue with the other schools (primarily Grant & Cleveland) I found it interesting that Cleveland’s had this to say regarding the transfer policy as well.  


1. Cleveland directly benefits from the liberal transfer policy as it stands today; but 2. Eliminating that transfer policy is the key to successfully revitalizing struggling neighborhood schools; and 3. Leaving the door potentially wide open for transfers as outlined in e-ii would effectively undo the restriction, and would jeopardize the success of the reorganization.

That said, I do know that there are many in the Cleveland community that would like to see the existing policy retained.  After all, it is part of what has allowed Cleveland to thrive in recent years, and, colloquially speaking, it really is to our advantage to leave things they way they are.  But speaking as someone who wants to see outcomes improve city-wide, I think the transfer policy, at all grade levels, needs to go.


Well as you can see many of those who have benefitted from the districts past policies are (not surprisingly) having trouble letting go.


Thanks again everyone,




-----Original Message-----
From: gran...@googlegroups.com [mailto:gran...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Suzanne Goddyn
Sent: Friday, February 19, 2010 1:46 PM
To: Grant Cluster Parents for a Thoughtful High School Redesign
Subject: Parents for Closing the Gap...Not the Schools Submit Alternative Resolution to the School Board


I am pleased to announce that we have submitted an alternative

Resolution for consideration by The School Board. If you go to Files,

you will find four documents: Summary Community Principles and

Resolutions; Cover Letter 2-19-10; Comparison of Alternative

Resolution and Superintendent's Resolution as well as Community

Resolutions 2-19-10 Final.  All of these documents have been released

to members of The School Board, Carole Smith, the media and local

government officials. Below you will find text from the Press Release.

Please join me in thanking principal author of the Community

Resolutions, Frank Cappuccio, for his intellect, stamina and

courageous effort in getting this very important document completed.


>From the Press Release:


Parents Organize to “Close the Gap…Not the Schools” with Alternative

Community Resolution to the Portland School


School Board is asked to consider at February 22, 2010 Meeting




Portland, OR February 19, 2010 — In response to Portland Public

Schools Superintendent Carole Smith’s High School Redesign Resolution

(“Definition of High School System Design Principles”) presented

February 8, 2010 calling for The Board to proceed with closing two to

three out of nine District neighborhood high schools, a group of

concerned parents “Parents for Closing the Gap…Not the Schools

(PCGNS)” have submitted alternative Resolutions called “Community



While the Community Resolutions and the Superintendent’s Resolution

find common ground that every student attending Portland Public

Schools should have access to a quality high school education, The

Community Resolutions call for no school closures.  PCGNS’s Community

Resolutions takes issue with PPS’s enrollment data, budget

information; and especially its lack of concrete details regarding

closures, transfers, boundary changes, implementation and



“The Board is set to vote on the Superintendent’s Resolution on March

8. If passed, PPS must present a complete plan to the Board forty-five

days later. Implementation of the plan would be fall of 2011.  We

maintain that closing neighborhood schools, altering boundaries and

redesigning our high school system deserves more than just a month and

a half of preparation,” said Frank Cappuccio, principal author of the

Community Resolutions. “Closing neighborhood schools is in direct

conflict with the goal of 20-minute neighborhoods envisioned by the

Portland Plan.”


About Parents for Closing the Gap…Not the Schools (PCGNS)


PCGNS is a grassroots effort by a group of parents calling for a

thoughtful high school redesign and no school closures. Their mission:

“We stand for a thoughtful redesign of the high schools in the

Portland Public Schools. We firmly believe all nine Portland high

schools reflect their unique and vibrant neighborhoods - each is vital

to our city. Each must offer the quality programs needed to serve

their communities, and Benson should remain our tech school. We

stakeholders plan to build on the improvements our school is making

toward closing the achievement gap and raising graduation rates. We

also expect to continue serving all students of this vibrant and

diverse community as we build programs around our city for many years

to come.” This weekend they will be selling lawn signs calling for

“Closing the Gap…Not the Schools” at QFC (33rd and NE Schuyler, one

block north of Broadway) Saturday, February 20th from 1-3 PM. More

information can be found on their website at www.closethegapnottheschools.com


Feb 19, 2010, 7:11:19 PM2/19/10
to frankli...@googlegroups.com
One of the things I would like to hear in this discussion are the voices of those schools on the other side of the equity equation (i.e. not Grant, Lincoln and Cleveland).   When I hear "build on success" it sounds like "leave our schools alone and replicate what we have done (which fails to acknowledge the indirect resources like fundraising, parent involvement and high levels of enrollment and incoming student acheivement the "success" schools have at their disposal).   When I hear "slow down the process," I wonder what the silent majority of families whose kids need change at their local school right away are saying.   I am not saying I agree with the District's process or proposal and I AM hopeful that what I have seen built up at Franklin can be retained (I have a sophmore and incoming eighth grader who both stand to be impacted by all of this).   But the inequity in the current high schools is painfully visible, and the District is at least claiming to be trying to address it.  I am curious if any voices are out there urging the District to move forward or if anyone is on record of supporting the District's plan?   Are all the school community's in favor of slowing this down or is it just the "desireable" schools.   I have to note that with limited resources, the "have" stakeholders will have to give up something if we are to acheive a level of equity for the "have nots."   I am not sure more time will produce a "win-win" - not sure one is out there.   Just my current thinking.   --Andy Miller

From: je...@seallp.com
To: frankli...@googlegroups.com
Subject: FW: Parents for Closing the Gap...Not the Schools Submit Alternative Resolution to the School Board
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2010 15:53:10 -0800

Jeff Hammond

Feb 19, 2010, 7:40:47 PM2/19/10
to frankli...@googlegroups.com

Andy, I agree.

The term slow down is a little bothersome.

We need equity now.  Too many schools and students are struggling from lack of support, opportunity, enrollment, course offerings, etc.

It’s taken the district a year and a half to get this far with the plan.  That is too long.  The basic concepts should be implemented immediately.

1.       Eliminate or severely limit transfers.

2.       Adjust boundaries to give each school a stable enrollment of students.

3.       Provide robust course offerings and additional support to all our schools.

I personally see no reason to hold off on these concepts.

Communities such as Marshall, Madison, Roosevelt & Jefferson cannot wait any longer.


When it comes to focus schools, let them happen as student / community demand necessitates.

If we have to close a school, make time for adequate community input to make sure all options are considered.


Jeff Hammond

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