• ACCESS Academy Alternative Program 


    This link is a pdf version so you can have an idea of the questions

    Access Application for 2021-22 School Year  (If Access is still accepting applications)




     The ACCESS admission process will open for grades 1-8 on TBD and closes TBD

    Students in grades 6-8 can submit focus option applications in TBD, and also to ACCESS beginning in TBD.


    During a special meeting of the Portland Public Schools Board of Education, a resolution was approved to co-locate ACCESS Academy at Vestal Elementary and Lane Middle School.  

    There was no perfect solution to siting the ACCESS program, and we must work together as one community to successfully implement this decision for the benefit of our students. Much of this work relies on the entire PPS community coming together to do what is best for our students. PPS Central Office will work with principals and staff at Vestal, Lane and ACCESS to plan community integration events and to identify support needs. Additional information will be posted on school websites, including answers to the questions received, and translated copies of the formal announcement will be available at each school.

    Currently, 1st through 5th grade ACCESS students will attend Vestal Elementary and 6th through 8th grade students will attend Lane Middle School for the upcoming school year. Information in regards to bus routes, childcare, and additional concerns will be posted as it becomes available. In the meantime, please direct all questions and/or concerns to pubinfo@pps.net

    Eligibility Requirements:

    Applicant has scored at the 99th percentile or above on a nationally-normed assessment of Reading, Math, and/or Cognitive Ability

    The PPS Board resolution directs reviewers to consider this as a first criterion. The student must have a composite score at the 99th percentile to be considered for ACCESS. At this time, the score/s may be from a variety of valid normed assessments such as the ITBS for reading and math, the WISC-V, CogAt7, Ravens, NNAT3, Battelle, and Kaufman.  PPS has also transitioned to using OSAS (previously SBAC) or MAP as a data point for reading and math in formal TAG identification. The student must also have a demonstrated need for an alternative program.  See below. 

    List of Accepted Tests

    Applicant has a demonstrated need for an alternative program.

    ACCESS Academy was established in 2002 as an Alternative Program.  Therefore a student must also meet eligibility as directed by the state requirements for alternative education. A “demonstrated need” requires the applicant’s family and current educators to provide a body of evidence that would suggest an alternative placement is necessary for the student.


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    Want more information? Check out the ACCESS Website.

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    ACCESS Academy Admissions

    Process Questions and Answers for Educators and Parents

    Who is eligible to enroll in ACCESS Academy?

    •  Students in grades 1-8 who are PPS residents and meet two criteria:
      • Applicant has a composite score at the 99th percentile on a nationally-normed assessment of Reading, Math, and/or Cognitive Ability
        • Score/s may be from a variety of valid normed assessments. 
      • Applicant has demonstrated need and would benefit from placement in the ACCESS Program
        • A student must also meet eligibility as directed by the ACCESS Charter criteria.  The applicant's family and current educators must consider a body of evidence that suggests ACCESS is of greatest benefit to the student. 


    How do families apply for ACCESS?

    • There are two steps to the application process:
      •  Complete and submit an ACCESS Application and supporting documents.
      •  Complete a PPS School Choice Application (SchoolMint),  including, if appropriate, an income eligibility form.     

     How is ACCESS eligibility determined in the ACCESS Application?

    • Best practice is for a school-based team (including parent/s) to meet. This may include anyone who is a critical person in the child’s education.
    • Use the following criteria to foster dialogue about the child’s needs. Applicant may meet any one the following criteria:
      • The district believes that the student's educational interests and needs are best met in an alternative setting
      • The student has met or exceeded all, or majority of, benchmarks or standards for their age
      • The student is not benefiting from a regular educational program
      • The student exhibits, or has the potential to exhibit, substantial underachievement in relationship to their ability
      • The student exhibits erratic attendance, low self-esteem, and/or difficulty with peers


    • If a school-based team has convened and discussed the student’s educational needs, the team completes the application being sure to answer all required questions. Once the team decides, the student is automatically entered into the lottery. No further evaluation is required; there are no additional external reviewers or rubrics needed.


    • In lieu of a team-based meeting, a family who is not able to meet with their neighborhood school may still apply using the Access Application for admission, and a statement of need from an educator/counselor who knows the child best. Once completed and all required info is provided, the student is automatically entered into the lottery. No further evaluation is required.

    How many open seats are there per grade level for the 2022-23 school year? * 


    Grade Level


















     * Slots will be made available in Winter 2022.  Availability subject to change based on student transfer and family mobility. Please continue to apply even if the number of slots is a low number. 

    What is the lottery?

    • Parents will also be required to complete the PPS School Choice (SchoolMint) application through the Office of Enrollment and Transfer. A lottery will be conducted to choose which students will be accepted into open seats at ACCESS. A portion of seats will be reserved for applicants who meet income eligibility requirements and siblings of currently enrolled ACCESS students.  The remaining seats will be filled based on lottery numbers only.
    •  Students who are not placed because of lack of space will move to a waitlist, which remains in effect for the school year. Enrollment and Transfer Center staff will make waitlist offers based on the order determined by the lottery and space availability provided by the Principal of ACCESS.


    What happens if the student is eligible for ACCESS but does not get in?

    • If TAG identified, families may request a written Individual TAG Plan to best ensure the needs of the student are met. The building TAG Facilitator will provide guidance to teachers and support in the completion of the plan, per request. A TAG TOSA may also provide support to the TAG Facilitator to write the plan.

    When will parents receive lottery results?

    • Results will be communicated to parents 4-6 weeks after the application period closes in May 2022.


    Do students who applied to ACCESS in prior years have to apply again?

    • Yes.  However, students who were previously approved to ACCESS for the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, 2021-2022 school year, and were not chosen by the lottery, declined their slot, or moved away are not required to complete the ACCESS application to re-establish eligibility.  SchoolMint lottery applications are necessary for all applicants. Where you place the ranking of ACCESS does not matter on SchoolMint.  


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