• Center for Black Student Excellence


  • A bold fresh approach to Black student learning

    The Center for Black Student Excellence comprises a constellation of academic programs, strategies, supports, and experiences reinforced by physical infrastructure. Each of these elements work in coordination to create a transformational Approach to Black student learning.

  • The problem:

    Decades of underinvestment, systemic racism, lack of coordinated systems of support, and discriminatory practices have resulted in an enduring opportunity and achievement gap for Black students in Portland.


    • Advance a culture of Black excellence while meaningfully integrating joy and healing;    
    • Unify and elevate the Black educational experience; and     
    • Improve outcomes for Black students. 

    The mechanism:

    The Center for Black Student Excellence

  • A place, an approach and a redesign of the system

    Graphic for: A place, an approach, a redesign of the system

  • CBSE as a Place

    The physical place of the Center for Black Student Excellence will serve as both a monument to augment in-school learning and a resource hub of programs, aid, and multi-use spaces as students gather for affinity, staff gather for professional development, and community members gather to facilitate honest discussions. The resources of the space will extend digitally for families who’ve been displaced and for accessibility.

    CBSE as an Approach

    The Approach relies on the integration of positive cultural identity development and student leadership, with culturally affirming teaching and learning. In recognition that our students’ experience is influenced by the adults who support them–particularly their families and educators–the Center for Black Student Excellence seeks to build an ecosystem that acknowledges their needs as central to student success. 

    CBSE as a  Redesign of the System

    The system redesign is rooted in redistribution of power from silos to community networks, processes of competition to collaboration, transparency, and accountability. The strategies of the Center for Black Student Excellence will scale to ensure that Black students across Portland Public Schools are seen, valued, and held to high standards.  At the district level, efforts will be coordinated to ensure high-quality delivery of service to schools and communication is clear, consistent, and reliable. Teams will meaningfully collaborate so that efforts are not duplicated. And through repeated behavior change, PPS will cultivate opportunities for communal healing.   Community leaders and organizations will contribute to a tightly woven network of educators, service providers, community members and entities working in coordination for the benefit of Black students. In the system redesign, every member of the community will feel a sense of shared responsibility for the outcomes of Black students, and the organization will establish accountability measures to reflect progress.

  • 2023-2024 Priorities

    Design Teams

    • Culture in the Classroom: When the Lesson Comes Alive Across Disciplines (ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies)
    • Emanating from the Home: Parent/ Caregiver Excellence Consortium
    • Student Affinity, Leadership and Identity Development


    • HBCU Black Educator Pathway
    • Sustaining the Effort
    • Digital Infrastructure
    • Develop a Coherent System-wide Community Engagement Approach
    • Implement a Proactive, Effective, and Creative Communication Practice
    • Build a Collective Sense of Trust and Belonging

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