Portland Public Schools

Portland, Oregon

501 N. DixonPortland, OR 97227(503) 916-2000

District-wide Boundary Advisory Committee meets in Portland Public Schools central office foyer.

District-wide Boundary Review
Advisory Committee

District-wide Boundary Review
Advisory Committee

Questions and Answers


    The purpose of this page is to provide answers to key questions related to data, scenarios, programs, and other topics from DBRAC meetings.

    Staffing and Programming Schools


    How are schools staffed in PPS?

    Click here for an excerpt from the 2017-18 Budget Book that describes the proposal for how schools will be funded for next year. The full proposed budget is available here.


    What is the "core program?" What programs must every school provide to students?

    PPS provides principals with guidelines for staffing the "core program," or the base program for each grade band. The core program includes requirements such as how much time should be spent on literacy, writer's workshop, science, social studies, math, PE, arts, English language development, special education, and talented and gifted supports, and other requirements. Click here for the Staffing Guidelines and Core Program Requirements Handbook for more information about the core program requirements.


    Historical Trends


    What is redlining and what does it have to do with Portland Public Schools enrollment?

    Through much of the 20th century, home loans were based on community rankings. "Redlining" was the racist practice of refusing to loan to families seeking to live in particular neighborhoods--in particular, neighborhoods with high percentages of people of color.

    Click here for a visualization of redlining in Portland.



    What areas of Portland are at risk of gentrification?

    The City of Portland conducted a gentrification vulnerability risk analysis in 2012. Risk factors for gentrification include higher than average % renters, communities of color, low income households, and lower than average % population without bachelor's degree. Click here to view the report and maps.



    Student Populations

    Where do students who are native speakers of languages other than English live?

    On 10/22/16, DBRAC discussed dual language (DLI) programs. DLI is a proven strategy for accelerating achievement, particularly for native speakers of partner languages. A district goal is to increaase access to DLI for native speakers of partner languages through strategies such as increasing the number of spaces and bringing programs close to where students live. Click here for a short video about dual language in PPS.

    In the Jefferson cluster, dual language is currently located at Beach Elementary (Spanish), Ockley Green Middle School (Spanish), King K8 (Mandarin), Rigler Elementary (Spanish), and Beaumont Middle School (Spanish).

    Map of Dual Language Programs 2016-17

    Dual Language Programs Map  

    Population Maps

    Spanish Speakers Map These maps show where concentrations of Kindergarten native speakers live, as of 2015-16. The gray areas show population density--the darker the gray, the more native speakers are in the area.
    Spanish Native Speakers
    Mandarin Native Speakers
    Vietnamese Native Speakers
    Native Speakers by School (Data sheet)



    How has race changed over time at Ockley Green and feeder schools?

    In 2011, PPS adopted the Racial Education Equity Policy to address race-based disparities in schools. DBRAC requested information about the racial backgrounds of students attending Ockley Green and its feeder schools Beach, Chief Joseph, Peninsula, and Woodlawn.

    HU Race by School and Year Historically Underserved Students by School, Grade, and Year

    This report visualizes how populations have changed each year as new cohorts of students enroll. Updated 11.14.16; schools now have al the same scales.

     Historically Underserved Students by School and YearHistorically underserved students in Ockley Green and feeder schools over time


    Tableau thumbnail Interactive graphs.

    This interactive page is another way to explore how populations have changed each year as new cohorts of students enroll.



    How are Free and Reduced Meals and Direct Certification different? (Asked at Peninsula PTA Meeting)

    As of September 2, 2014, Portland Public Schools implemented the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program at 25 eligible schools including Woodlawn. These CEP schools provide school breakfasts and lunches to all students at no charge while enrolled in a CEP school during the 2014-15 school year. Another component of CEP is that Districts no longer collect paper applications for free or reduced price meals at CEP eligible schools. For Districts who implement CEP, one benefit is that families no longer need to complete an application—but one challenge is that Districts need a different way to measure economic disadvantage/poverty. For example, at Woodlawn, ALL students automatically are eligible for free or reduced price meals regardless of their income. Using free/reduce price meals as a measure of poverty, therefore, is no longer an option.

    PPS now relies on a measure called “Direct Certification” to measure economic disadvantage or poverty. Direct Certification information is shared with PPS Nutrition Services from the State of Oregon. The State identifies families for free meals, mostly related to income (up to 130% of poverty) or a categorical reason such as participation in Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), foster care, and other reasons.

    When using Direct Certification as opposed to Free and Reduced Meal eligibility, the definition of economic disadvantage changes from a qualification level of $44,863 for a family of 4 (185% of poverty level) to $31,525 for a family of 4 (130% of poverty level). This means that schools will have a smaller direct certification percentage than they will free and reduced meal percentage. For example, in 2014-15 if a school’s Free and Reduced Meal percentage is 60%, the corresponding Direct Certification percentage would be approximately 40%.

    For more information, please see Nutrition Services. For historical data, see System Planning and Performance.


    What are achievement data for Ockley Green, Beach, Chief Joseph, Peninsula, and Woodlawn?

    We have 2015-16 Smarter Balanced Assessment (state standardized test) mathematics and English language arts data for these schools here.




    What neighborhoods do current Beach immersions come from?

    Beach immersion map

    This map shows where Beach dual language program students live. Points have been displaced in a random direction to protect student privacy.



    How many students are native Spanish speakers in the Beach Dual Language Immersion program?

    In 2015-16, 77 students were native Spanish speakers. See the previous question for an accompanying map and data by grade level. 



    How are dual language immersion schools meeting objectives? How do co-located dual language immersion/English only programs meet the needs of their communities? What are the challenges of co-location? (Asked at Ockley Green Principal Meeting, Beach Black Family Info Night)

    Dual language is a key strategy for closing achievement gaps at PPS. For a brief overview of the program, please see this page on the DLI department website, which includes a short video. Research, including a three-year study focusing on PPS dual language programs, shows significant positive effects on reading and a higher rate of reclassification for English Language Learners. In addition to providing a highly effective education program model that meets the academic needs of historically underserved students, dual language also provides an enriched educational experience for all students. The PPS Board has directed teh district to expand immersion and prioritize new and growing programs in areas where native speakers of DLI partner languages live.

    We know that there are challenges posed by dual language programs that are co-located with neighborhood (English only) programs. On October 24, 2016, the Department of Dual Language presented the challenges of co-located programs to the Board of Education Teaching and Learning Committee. In schools with just one "strand" (eg one classroom per grade) of K-5, these challenges include higher rates of mobility within English only classes can cause class sizes to increase by 3-5th grades, scheduling complexities (fewer opportunities to split or mix students into other sections, isolation of programs due to scheduling constraints), and difficulties providing professional development for teachers in two different programs. 



    What are there differences in demographics (e.g., race, poverty) between dual language immersion and neighborhood programs? (Asked at Beach Black Family Info Night)

    In some co-located schools, the immersion side has higher percentages of poverty and students identifying as Black, Latino, Native, or Pacific Islander than the neighborhood. In other schools, the immersion side has lower rates of these historically underserved groups. For example, in 2015-16, 59.4% of students in the Beach Neighborhood program qualified for free meals through direct certification (a measure of poverty), whereas 21.5% of the Spanish immersion students qualified for free meals. The percentage of racially historically underserved students (students identifying as Black, Latino, Native American, or Pacific Islander) is similar (47 % in the neighborhood program vs 43% in the immersion program). However, a larger percentage of Latino, White, and Multiracial students enroll in the Spanish immersion program, and a larger percentage of Black, Asian, Native American, and Pacific Islander students enroll in the neighborhood side.

    Factors such as sibling preference in the immersion lottery and the early Spring application deadline play a role in program demographics. Recent lottery changes approved by the Board a slight weight to students qualifying for free or reduced meals through direct certification. In addition, the Department of Dual Language uses community agents to recruit native speakers to programs. The 2015-16 data below show how these efforts have increased representation of underserved populations in immersion programs—most evident in the incoming Kindergarten cohort. Click here to see the percentages of students by race at each immersion school for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

     2015-16 Demographics

    % Racially Historically Underserved

    % Free or Reduced Meal by Direct Certification






    Focus Option and Alternative










    Neighborhood Programs





    District Total







    In schools with co-located dual language immersion and neighborhood programs, are there ways to help prevent enrollment and class size imbalances across programs? (Asked at Ockley Green meeting)


    The goal of the Deparment of Dual Language is to have comparable, balanced enrollment in the neighborhood and DLI strands. The district can limit the number of neighborhood students that are allowed to enter the DLI program as a way to prevent enrollment imbalances. In the middle (6-8th) grades, there are opportunities to enroll eligible and interested native speakers of partner languges into the immersion program, which can help balance programs, reduce class size in the neighborhood program, and increase access to immersion. Since opening as a middle school, Ockley Green has been using this strategy.




    What is the forecast enrollment at charter schools?

    PPS contracts with the Portland State University Population Research Center for enrollment forecasts. The PRC does not forecast charter enrollment. The program director for charter schools has provided a summary of estimated charter school enrollment.


    How accurate or uncertain are student population forecasts? (Asked at Peninsula PTA Meeting)

    Coming soon. 


    What are the changes in neighborhood students over time? (Asked at Beach Black Family Info Night)


    The PSU Population Research Center projects neighborhood students. Their latest projections are available on our website and are available by school.


    How many students are projected for Ockley Green Middle School for the 2017-18 school year? (Asked at Ockley Green meeting)

    Updated projections from PSU Population Research Center are coming soon. Current projections are available here. Currently, Chief Joseph 5th graders attend Ockley Green. If Chief Joseph 5th graders move back to Chief Joseph and out of Ockley Green, current PSU projections estimate 544 6-8th graders for the 2017-18 school year.



    Is PPS working with any partners to envision what enrollment will look like in the future? (Asked at Chief Joseph PTA Meeting)

    Yes! PPS contracts with the PSU Population Research Center (PRC) for enrollment projections. These projections are used across the district for planning, including staffing schools, managing facilities and operations, etc.

    The PRC process for developing these projections is as follows: "Primary data sources used to prepare these forecasts include historic PPS enrollments through 2015‐16, U.S. Census Bureau 2000 and 2010 Decennial Censuses and 2010 to 2014 American Community Survey, birth data from the Oregon Center for Health Statistics, and housing development information from the City of Portland and Metro.   We also work with specific housing developers  of properties that are designed to accommodate families with children to understand the number of units, size of units, and timing of their homes becoming available."




    How are transfer rates different in the Ockley Green area compared to other areas?

    From 2005-2013, Ockley Green was a K-8 Arts & Technology Focus Option. It had no neighborhood for grades K-5 and so was full dependent on tranasfers to sustain its program. Students who transferred into Ockley Green as Kindergarteners in 2012--the last year the school wasa focus option--are now in 4th grade. Many of these and other transfer students remained part of the Chief Joseph/Ockley Green community when the schools merged in 2013 and again when Ockley Green became a middle school in 2016. 

    What are the capture rates and transfers in at these schools? How have these changed over time?

    Ockley Capture Rates This interactive page shows how capture rates and transfers have changed at Ockley Green, Peninsula, Beach, Woodlawn, and Chief Joseph.



    What is the capacity of Ockley Green Middle School?


    Ockley capacity thumbnail Click here for a visualization of Ockley Green middle school enrollment targets.




    How does Ockley Green utilization and enrollment compare to similar schools?

    boxplot thumbnail We compared class size and other data across Ockley Green and a few other middle schools with dual language programs including Hosford, Beaumont, and Mt Tabor. Although these schools have a similar number of classrooms, their enrollment, demographics, and class sizes across similar course types vary widely.

    View the report.


    What is the racial and poverty data for the Beach/Ockley Green immersion programs compared to the neighborhood programs?

    In 2015-16, Beach Spanish Immersion (as a K-8) had similar proportions of racially historically underserved students (46.9%) compared to its neighborhood program (54.2%). The neighborhood program had higher percentages of African American, Native American, and Pacific Islander students while the immersion program had a higher percentage of Latino students. There was a significant difference in terms of poverty, however, with 59.4% of the neighborhood program students qualifying for free meals by direct certification (how we measure poverty) compared to 21.5% of the immersion program students.  Click here for 2015-16 poverty data and click here for racial data.



    In which cluster/neighborhoods do Ockley Green students live? What schools did they attend last year?

    data table thumbnail View the data table showing the schools current Ockley Green students attended last year and their neighborhood/cluster of residence.





    How does SEI enrollment affect Ockley Green Middle School? (Asked at Ockley Green meeting)

    Self Enhancement Inc (SEI) is a nonprofit organization supporting at-risk urban youth that partners with Portland Public Schools to provide "wrap around" support services to underserved students (including summer classes, academic guidance, family counseling). They currently run a nonprofit PPS charter middle school (SEI Academy). After PPS announced its move toward a mostly K-5/middle school model, and after staffing for Ockley Green Middle School had been completed, SEI announced it would close after the 2016-17 school year and would not accept 6th graders for 2016-17.

    In 2015-16, SEI enrolled 122 students, 83% of whom were Black (view the enrollment summary by race and ethnicity here). 60% of students enrolled at SEI in 2015-16 lived in the Jefferson cluster, with other students primarily living in a district outside of PPS (12%), Roosevelt cluster (10%), and Madison cluster (8%).

    We believe the closure of SEI contributed to the slightly (30 student, or ~4%) higher enrollment at Ockley Green. In 2016-17, 67 students enrolled at SEI, far fewer than the previous year.


    What is the capture rate of Ockley Green Middle School? (Asked at Ockley Green meeting)

    The 2016-17 capture rate is 60% for grades 6-8. 


    What is a capture rate? (Asked at Chief Joseph PTA Meeting)

    A school's capture rate as the percentage of PPS students in a neighborhood who attend that neighborhood's school. 

    Draft Options


    For draft options, what is the population at each school by each racial/ethnic group, Special Education, and English Language Learners?


    What are the demographics of each area changed in draft options?

    draft option thumbnail For each area that was changed in Draft Options A and B, we identified how many current neighborhood students would be reassigned to give a sense of the demographics/number of students affected. In Draft Option A, current Board policy would guarantee that current students and siblings are able to attend their current school until the highest grade (changes would affect future incoming students). Report here.




    Is there a plan to support under-enrollment at schools with additional funds? (Asked at Peninsula PTA Meeting)

    All schools must provide students with access to the core program. Currently, Portland Public Schools subsidizes under-enrolled schools with the teachers they need to provide the core program.


    For Draft Option A, what would the impact be if grandfathering was not in place? (Asked at Peninsula PTA Meeting)

    If grandfathering (where students are allowed to remain in their current school to the highest grade after boundary change, which is PPS Board Policy) was not in place, currently enrolled K-4 students in boundary change areas would immediately be assigned to a new school. If grandfathering was in place, only incoming kindergarteners would be affected. Incoming kindergarteners who would still have siblings enrolled at their previously assigned school would be able to apply for a transfer to attend school with their sibling.


    For Draft Option C, how would grandfathering fit into the program? (Asked at Peninsula PTA Meeting)

    Grandfathering is the PPS Board of Education policy by which students are allowed to remain in their current school to the highest grade after a boundary change. Younger siblings living in a neighborhood approved for a boundary change are also guaranteed a space at their former neighborhood school if they apply for a transfer on time and if the older sibling currently attends and will be attending the former neighborhood school during the upcoming school year. See 4.10.049-AD for more information about the policy.

    Transfer students may also continuing their current school through the highest grade. Younger siblings of these transfer students are eligible for sibling preference for transfer requests if their older sibling currently attends and will be attending the school in the upcoming school year. The school must also have enough space to accept transfers.

    Draft Option C represents a large change from how PPS currently assigns students through boundaries, so many details of how it would be implemented are not finalized. In Draft Option C, we only modeled how student level assignment would affect kindergarteners. If grandfathering was in effect, these grandfathered students could be placed before other student assignments were made. Student assignments would still be made based on school capacity—and non-grandfathered students would be placed into remaining spots.


    Is there a version of Draft Option C that shows student assignments for grades K-5? (Asked at Peninsula PTA Meeting)

    No, not at this time.


    Would the student assignments proposed in Draft Option C apply to middle and high school? (Asked at Peninsula PTA Meeting)

    If the district moved forward with individual student assignment, middle and high school assignment would depend on how we choose to implement it. In districts using similar models, students are generally assigned to their elementary, middle, and high school when they enter in Kindergarten.



    Could Draft Option C take into account siblings? (Asked at Chief Joseph PTA Meeting)

    Yes. A sibling preference or guarantee could be used in assigning students in this model. 


    What are other options for Beach, such as making Beach an all immersion school or creating a bilingual school at Beach rather than separate neighborhood and dual language programs? (Asked at Beach Black Family Info Night)

    There are many options for balancing neighborhood program and Spanish dual language program enrollment at Beach. We modeled moving the immersion to Chief Joseph to become a standalone dual language school. Other options that have been proposed by the community or DBRAC include different boundary changes, making Beach an all-immersion K-8 school, or creating a bilingual school at Beach (where all neighbood students join the immersion by default but could opt out to attend a different neighborhood school).


    What would happen to schools' Title I status under Draft Options A, B, and C? (Asked at Beach Black Family Info Night)

    Beach is not currently Title I and would likely not be a Title I school under any of the options.


    Is DBRAC considering options that change the feeder pattern of Ockley Green Middle School? (Asked at Ockley Green meeting)

    All of the current draft options (A, B, and C) maintain the feeder pattern of Ockley Green (Beach, Chief Joseph, Peninsula, and Woodlawn). DBRAC continues to examine options for this region, including how to balance short-term capacity concerns with longer term redistricting and middle school conversion throughout the east side of the district. 



    Could building modifications (such as portables) be a short-term way to resolve overcrowding at Chief Joseph? (Asked at Chief Joseph PTA Meeting)

    No. Because of their cost ($600,000-$1 million or more) and length of time to permit through the City of Portland (just over 1 year), modular classrooms or "portables" are a last resort and are meant to solve long term space needs that cannot be solved with other facility solutions or non-facility solutions.


    Option B used a computer to optimize boundaries--how does this computer modeling work?

    solver thumbnail A technical summary (preliminary working paper) of Portland Public Schools' neighborhood boundary optimization model is available here.







    Why was DBRAC formed? Why is DBRAC focusing on Ockley Green and its feeder schools? (Asked at Ockley Green meeting)

    See this page for an overview of why DBRAC, the District-wide Boundary Review Advisory Committee, exists and what problems they are tackling.




    What are “blends?” Why do some schools blend elementary grades? (Asked at Ockley Green meeting)

    "Blended" grades are classrooms with two grade levels being taught at once (e.g., 4th and 5th graders in one classroom). Some schools blend grades in order to address class size. For example, if a school had 36 students in 4th grade and 36 students in 5th grade, they would have large (36 student) classes. Splitting into two classes per grade (18 students in each classroom) would require 2 more teachers/classrooms. Instead, the school could opt to create one blended 4-5th classroom for 1 classroom of 24 4th graders, 1 classroom of 24 5th graders, and 1 classroom of 24 4/5th graders.