Originally constructed in 1965, Stephenson Elementary is a one-story, wood frame building. It is a mid-sized school with a total of 40,539 square feet. It has an average enrollment of 310 students and serves grades K-5 on an 8.9-acre campus in southwest Portland.
Stephenson offers single-grade classes, two at each grade level. It has a history of high achievement, minimal discipline problems and a very stable school population. We also have on-site before and after school childcare provided by SCCA, a non-profit organization not associated with PPS or Stephenson.
Stephenson School History
Stephenson School was named after one of the early settlers in southwest Portland. John Stephenson was a sheriff and clerk from Wood County, Virginia. He led a wagon train across the continent and settled near the Fulton House in the fall of 1853. He was a prominent resident in the area until his death in 1871.
The school is built on land homesteaded by the family of George (1862-1934) and Anna Roberta Stephenson (1859-1955). Their land was cultivated as a hops farm.
In 1964, construction began on to build the school and the building opened in 1965. When the school welcomed students, it held eight classrooms and a boiler unit. The original classrooms encompass most of what we now call the primary wing. The staff consisted of seven teachers, a secretary, and principal. The school offered one classroom for each grade 1-6, and a self-contained special education classroom. Growth was rapid, and it was not uncommon to have class sizes of more than thirty students. In 1975, an addition was built at the north end of the school that we now call the intermediate wing. It included five additional classrooms, two small meeting areas, the library, and wet area. This addition was built during a time when the concept of "open classrooms" was influencing education. The rooms did not have walls or bookcases dividing them. Teachers quickly found that this was not the most effective environment for learning, and accordion doors were installed to differentiate the classrooms. The school continued to grow, and in 1987 two more additions were built. Three classrooms were added at the end of the primary wing to accommodate two kindergarten classes and a first grade. The last addition added was a new office, music room, classroom, and workroom.
Like the community that surrounds it, Stephenson School has grown and prospered over the last forty years. From seven classrooms in 1964, to fifteen classrooms in 2005, the expansion of space reflects the area's growing need for talented staff. Forty years of expansion have altered Stephenson's physical walls, but the enjoyment of excellence continues to define what this school - and it's community- offer to the children fortunate enough to sit, laugh, and develop in its ever-changing classrooms.
Stephenson Vision Statement
Stephenson School will provide a compassionate, caring environment where all students, staff and the community are challenged and motivated to achieve their personal, academic and creative best.
Stephenson Mission Statement
To prepare students to become responsible world citizens and life-long learners, Stephenson School is committed to becoming a professional learning community. We recognize art, music and second language as avenues to self expression and communication and as essential to the educational experience of all students.
Stephenson Elementary School is “at its best” when all individuals honor each student by name, value their individual contributions and recognize that all students have the ability to strive, shine and succeed. The Stephenson learning community is “at its best” with a continued collaborative partnership between school and a highly involved community.