Following guidance from health officials and Gov. Kate Brown, Portland Public Schools will start the 2020-21 school year online until at least January 28. This page will offer regular updates on our Comprehensive Distance Learning program and other supports for students and families during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Interpretation Information for Tonight’s Covid-19 PPS Virtual Panel Discussion
Dear PPS Families and Staff,
As we shared last week, we are hosting a virtual panel discussion, Schools, COVID and Shared Understandings, tonight (December 14) from 6 to 8 p.m. on the PPS YouTube channel. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters will be available during the event. To access interpretation services in your language, please see the information below. If you are unable to watch the event tonight, the discussion will be available to view on the PPS YouTube channel playlist starting tomorrow.
Call-in number: 669-900-9128
Meeting ID: 850 3462 8848
Call-in number: 253-215-8782
Meeting ID: 896 8492 1785
Call-in number: 253-215-8782
Meeting ID: 846 1965 6624
Call-in number: 253-215-8782
Meeting ID: 875 7785 1573
Call-in number: 346-248-7799
Meeting ID: 862 6610 7476
Call-in number: 312-626-6799
Meeting ID: 854 0193 2438
Join Us For a Covid-19 PPS Virtual Panel Discussion on December 14
Dear PPS Families and Staff,
You are invited to visit the PPS YouTube channel Monday evening for Schools, COVID and Shared Understandings, a two-hour virtual panel discussion where the Board of Education and our larger community will hear from public health experts and district leadership on the district’s planning and decision-making for school re-entry. The discussion will address questions including why we are in Comprehensive Distance Learning now and what it will take to get students back into classrooms. Our public health experts will also have the latest information about COVID vaccines.
Schools, COVID and Shared Understandings
Virtual Panel Discussion
Monday, December 14
PPS YouTube channel
We hope you can tune in.
Previous 2020-21 Messages
November 13 Update: Classes Will Continue Through Inclement Weather During Distance Learning
Dear PPS Families,
Snowfall in the Cascades this week reminds us all that we have entered the time of year when inclement weather is most likely. We are ready for winter storms just as we would be any year, but also operating in a much different landscape dictated by COVID-19 and framed by Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL).
Comprehensive Distance Learning will, in most cases, continue during inclement weather that in more normal times would have prompted us to close schools and declare a “snow day.” This will allow us to protect instructional days whenever possible. Student and staff safety is always our highest priority; distance learning means potentially dangerous winter travel to and from school campuses is not necessary. In cases of storm-related power outages or other factors that preclude distance learning, we will make sure that students are not penalized.
Inclement weather could still impact campus-based activities we are conducting during CDL. This includes meal service, meal delivery, child care in PPS sites, athletic training for high school students and any other on-site activities. We will follow our inclement weather protocols on deciding if those activities can continue, and will keep you updated via multiple channels, including automated phone calls, emails, text messages, social media and our website (click here to learn more about those channels).
October 30 Update: Oregon Revises COVID-19 Criteria for Opening Schools
Dear PPS Families and Staff,
Earlier today Governor Brown announced that the State of Oregon is relaxing the criteria and thresholds for schools to re-open to in-person instruction, starting with hybrid models that combine distance learning and on-campus learning.
We just received the updated criteria and are still reviewing them. In the meantime, we can tell you this:
- The metrics for returning to in-person instruction have changed, and they are less restrictive. This includes criteria related to positive COVID-19 cases in Multnomah County (as well as Washington and Clackamas Counties, given many of our employees are residents), as well as test positivity rates for counties.
- Even with the new and more relaxed metrics, current numbers in Multnomah County would still preclude PPS from opening classrooms to students, either fully or in a hybrid model, until COVID numbers improve.
- Comprehensive distance learning at PPS will continue through January 28, as previously announced.
Overall, these updated metrics give us a more realistic chance of offering a hybrid learning model or potentially full in-person instruction for students in the second semester, which begins February 2. However, we are not there yet; our county numbers still fall short and we are trending the wrong way. We need your help to change this. We are all part of getting our community’s COVID numbers down. Every time you put on a mask, keep yourself at a safe distance from others, or follow other public health best practices, you are contributing to our ability to bring students back to school.
Until we can offer hybrid or full in-person instruction, we continue to explore opportunities to bring small groups of students to schools for limited in-person activities, following what we have already started with our student health centers, kindergarten and special education assessment sites, and athletics fitness training for high school students.
Throughout all of this, our commitment to student and family supports remains constant and we continue to be guided by health experts as we make decisions in the best interest of the health and well being of our students and staff. We are dedicated to returning students to our classrooms and hallways across the city as soon as we can safely do so.
We will be in touch with a more detailed update next week. Thank you as always for your patience and flexibility as we navigate the pandemic together. We wish you a peaceful weekend.Links Regarding Today’s Announcement
- Ready Schools, Safe Learners (RSSL) Press Release
- Talking Points
- Guidance version 4.0.0
- Exclusion Summary Chart
- Health Metrics Explainer
October 23 Update: Information About Middle and High School Parent-Teacher Conferences
Dear Families of PPS Secondary Students,
During Comprehensive Distance Learning, opportunities are built into the schedule for all families to be able to connect with teachers during office hours. As in a traditionally formatted year, we will also be offering Parent-Teacher Conferences (morning to evening) on November 23-24.
In a typical year, Middle and High School Parent-Teacher Conferences are usually conducted arena-style, with families meeting with educator teams in a gymnasium or large common school space. These conferences are typically 5-10 minutes in length, and teachers are available to connect with families, morning through evening, with breaks for meals.This year, since conferences will be held online, to ensure best access for families, we are offering conferences by appointment. In line with PPS’s commitment to improving student outcomes for historically underserved students, including students with disabilities and students who are learning English, schools will priority-schedule conference slots prior to opening conference appointments to all families. Schools are using online calendaring tools such as SignUp Genius or Google Calendar appointments. Appointments will open to all families mid-November. Your school will send additional information in upcoming weekly newsletters.
October 22: Updates to Meal Service as Weather Changes, Distance Learning Continues
Dear PPS Families,
With the announcement that Portland Public Schools is extending Comprehensive Distance Learning through at least January 28, we want to make you aware of upcoming updates to our meal service as we adjust to the coming colder weather and shorter days.
We will be pausing services at Clarendon, Sacajawea and Harriet Tubman Middle School due to low participation. The last day of service at these three locations will be Friday, October 30. Families who have been visiting these sites are encouraged to visit one of the other PPS meal sites close by or request home meal delivery.
Starting November 2, our grab-and-go curbside serving locations will be open from 3 to 4:30 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Some schools might shift their serving location on campus to help keep employees dry and visible. To see the full list of meal sites, please visit the Nutrition Sites During Distance Learning website.
Finally, we are re-opening access to home meal deliveries, a service for PPS families that are not near a meal site or need assistance accessing meals. To request meal delivery service, please complete the request form. We continue to assess the capacity of both the Nutrition Services and Transportation departments and will keep you apprised of any updates we make to our services.
If you have any questions about our meal service, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
PPS Nutrition Services
October 15 Update: Limited In-Person Opportunities Becoming Available
Dear PPS Families and Staff,
We are now several weeks into Comprehensive Distance Learning, and simultaneously working on the next phases of a gradual re-opening of schools. PPS remains focused on published health metrics from the county and state and our medical experts. We also continue to observe Oregon Department of Education guidelines as we contemplate introducing limited in-person opportunities. While we are anxious to have all of our students back on campus, we will proceed in a measured and prudent manner that prioritizes the health and safety of our students and employees.
As we shared last week, we will continue in distance learning through January 28, 2021. Our ability to fully open classrooms is dependent on health metrics in Multnomah County specifically, which in turn are dependent on our community following good practices, including the wearing of face coverings. We are likely months away from re-opening our school buildings in a broad manner, even for a hybrid/cohort model of learning.
In the meantime, there are opportunities to bring smaller groups of students and programs onto our school sites. Over the last few weeks, we have engaged our school leaders and consulted our re-opening blueprints to determine what limited in-person activities we can begin to offer in these early stages. For example, the Student Health Center is now open at Roosevelt High School, and we plan to open our Wellness Center at Benson Polytechnic High School within the next few weeks. We have also opened Special Education Assessment Centers at Pioneer School and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, in addition to kindergarten assessments for literacy. We continue to offer a comprehensive menu of Student and Family Supports during comprehensive distance learning, which include available academic supports, student supports, belonging and connection services, family supports and resources, and culturally specific supports. In addition, we have opened 11 school sites to child care providers. Teachers can access schools if they prefer to teach online from their own classrooms and of course, we continue to serve meals at 38 school sites, three days a week.
Another opportunity that we will make available soon is limited training for high school athletics. Beginning Tuesday, October 20, student-athletes at PPS high schools will be able to engage in limited, outdoor fitness training sessions with coaches present. These sessions will be outdoor-only, as students will not have access to indoor facilities. Students will be required to remain in weekly cohorts not exceeding 25 athletes in any group, will practice appropriate distancing requirements and will wear masks at all times. High school families should expect to receive additional information on Friday.
In addition to the limited training opportunities for high school athletes, we have assembled three limited in-person workgroups to discuss additional small group instructional opportunities for students. As we have more information, we will continue to update you.
These are all small steps, but important ones, and we are very excited to begin to see students on our campuses once more. As always, we will continue to roll out in-person opportunities only when we believe we can safely do so. Student and staff health and well-being remains our highest priority.
We are grateful for students’ patience and flexibility, and yours, as we all navigate these challenging and ever changing times together. Thank you.
October 7 Update: PPS Distance Learning to Continue Through January 28
Dear PPS Families and Staff,
At last evening’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Guerrero announced plans to extend Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) through the second quarter, which ends January 28. This decision is based on the latest public health data; we are hopeful that our next announcement shortly after winter break will be different, as we would much prefer to be back in our school buildings.
We are closely monitoring the county and state COVID-19 metrics. To be able to start hybrid learning (part in-school/part CDL), the following metrics must be met:
- 10 or fewer cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in Multnomah County over 7 days for 3 weeks in a row
- Test positivity of 5% or less in Multnomah County over 7 days for 3 weeks in a row
- Test positivity of 5% or less statewide over 7 days for 3 weeks in a row
- And, given that 10% or more of our staff live in Clackamas County and another 10% or more live in Washington County, we must also consider the metrics and their trends in those counties as well.
We need our metrics to dramatically improve. We ask everyone in the greater community to do their part by observing safe health practices, including and especially wearing masks. It will take all of us to get those metrics where they need to be to allow us to welcome students back to classrooms.
Until then, we will continue to provide a wide array of services and supports to students and families, while focusing on continuous improvement of our Comprehensive Distance Learning experience for all students in all grades. We are also working to increase the number of limited in-person opportunities for certain groups of students and other potential limited, school-based activities. As has been the case throughout our pandemic decision-making, our highest priority remains the health and well-being of our students and staff and we will continue to closely monitor objective health metrics published by the Oregon Health Authority.
We will continue to keep you updated on any progress and decisions considered or made. As for our third quarter, we will communicate a decision to you shortly after winter break.
We all want to get back to our classrooms. We deeply miss seeing students, and we are grateful for their (and your) flexibility and understanding as we navigate this pandemic together. Thank you.
September 25 Update: Clarifying Expectations for Middle School Instruction
Dear PPS Middle School Families,
We apologize for the confusion many students and families are feeling with regard to middle school schedules and expectations for distance learning instruction. We have worked with educators and administrators throughout this week to come to a more clear understanding related to middle school learning experience, and want to make sure you know what to expect as well.
The middle school schedule is designed to give students opportunities for teacher and peer connection throughout the week and to make sure they are supported and challenged by meaningful work that matches grade-level standards.
- Monday to Thursday: Students work directly with teachers online from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
- Friday: Students meet with all of their classes live in whole or small groups; or engage in asynchronous learning; or meet with teachers during office hours.
Each type of learning is outlined below.
- Teachers are expected to provide whole-group instruction Monday/Tuesday, and may choose to also provide whole-group instruction Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, depending on students’ needs.
- We know that middle school students need opportunities to connect with other students, and small groups provide this.
- Small groups provide an opportunity for teachers to get to know students better.
- Small groups are designed to: 1) reinforce learning, 2) provide additional instruction for students who need re-teaching or extensions. Groups will vary based on student need.
- If teachers are leading small-group instruction during a period, they are expected to provide applied learning work for students who are not part of that small group or groups.
- Students will have the opportunity for peer-to-peer connection during small-group instruction.
Whether teachers use small-group instruction, whole-group instruction, or office hours during the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday periods, they are expected to cover all priority standards for their subject that have been identified by the district.
Asynchronous Learning Occurring During Scheduled Class Periods
- Asynchronous learning should be aligned to the learning outcomes from teachers’ live lessons.
- During asynchronous learning periods (designated Periods 1-6 or 1-7), teachers are available for electronic communication with students.
- If a teacher is leading small-group instruction during a scheduled class period, they are expected to provide standards-aligned asynchronous work for students who are not expected to participate in small groups.
- Teachers should offer at least 30 minutes of office hours for students per week.
- Teachers have flexibility on which day to schedule office hours.
Advisory/Small Group Instruction Block (1 to 1:45 p.m.)
- Schools with advisory use this period for advisory. Schools without advisory offer instructional intervention and extensions.
- Teachers work with students directly or are present synchronously for student contact during this time.
Applied Learning (afternoon)
- Students are expected to be engaged in meaningful, standards-based work assigned during their synchronous periods (Periods 1-6 or 1-7).
- To make sure teachers can focus on giving feedback to students and engaging in professional collaboration, they are not expected to be able to respond to students synchronously during this time.
- Students will never be assigned to participate in unsupervised groups as part of applied learning.
K-8 Specials Note
- Within K-8 schools, PE, Art, Health, Library and Tech teachers are typically serving all grades. If your student’s teacher is scheduled to teach younger students during the designated middle school applied learning periods, they will not be able to be present to respond to students/families during these learning periods.
As always, thank you for your patience and flexibility as we work with our school leaders and educators to continually improve our comprehensive distance learning offering for all students in all grades.
September 22 Update: Breakfast and Lunch Are Free for All Students
Dear PPS Families,
As the 2020-21 school year gets under way, we are excited to share news about school meals. Through our partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture, we will be able to provide school meals for all students at no cost at this time.
The USDA announced that it is continuing a program that made free breakfast and lunch available to all children during the summer. For Portland Public Schools, that means we will be able to offer seven days’ worth of meals every week for not just PPS students, but all Portland children ages 1-18.
As we announced in August, we have expanded our meals sites to 38 schools where families can pick up sacks of breakfast and lunch on select days, from 3 to 5 p.m.
Our regular meal service schedule will be:
- Mondays: 2 days’ worth of food
- Wednesdays: 2 days’ worth of food
- Fridays: 3 three days’ worth of food
The complete list of meal pickup sites is available at our Fall 2020 Meals webpage. Families are welcome to visit any school site for meals, regardless of whether their children attend that school. There is no need to sign up, register or provide student ID when you arrive. All sites are outside, and we ask that you wear a facemask and practice physical distancing as you pick up meals.
We will continue to inform you of any updates or changes to meal service. For more information or support, please contact the Nutrition Services department at 503-916-3399 or email@example.com.
September 21 Update: Information about Middle Grades Virtual Schedules
Dear PPS Families,
As we shift from the soft start into ongoing virtual learning, families have shared questions about the middle grades schedules. We know you are essential partners in student learning, and we want to ensure you have answers to these commonly asked questions in one place. In case you are interested in state guidance behind the PPS schedules, we have linked information below for your reference.
Why does the PPS middle grades schedule only use whole-class live instructional time with students on Monday and Tuesday?
- The PPS schedule exceeds the requirements of the recommended grades 6-8 schedule from ODE.
- Middle grades research emphasizes the developmental importance of choice and variety for students as they explore multiple new elective options – in order for students to access electives, they needed to participate in all classes (not half of all classes per semester, as in high school, which would only allow students to access Language Arts, Science, Math, and Social Studies).
- The Council of Great City Schools emphasizes importance of ⅓ synchronous and ⅔ asynchronous time for students at this grade level.
- Holding fewer live classes as a whole group allows time for interventions and extensions, as well as 1x1 educator communication with students who need additional follow-up.
What is Applied Learning?
- Applied Learning is practice/application work that the teacher designs for all students to help them practice skills and new learning from the live lesson. Students are engaging in the “you do”/independent practice part of instruction. In a brick and mortar classroom, the teacher would usually give some direct instruction first (“I do”), then provide some time for supported practice (“we do”), then give students time for supported independent practice of new skills (“you do”). In the virtual classroom, “I do” and “we do” will happen during live sessions; “you do” will happen during applied learning.
- The Oregon Department of Education defines Applied Learning as “Experiences [that] allow for students to apply knowledge and skills that extend from the teacher-facilitated learning . . . These learning experiences are intentionally designed by the teacher to meaningfully deepen student engagement, allow for peer interaction, and to support family and community involvement . . . Applied learning experiences must be designed to support independent learning routines, independent practice, and independent application of skills or learning.”
How do I know whether my student is scheduled into a small group each week and/or when my student’s teachers host their office hours?
- Teachers determine which students need to be scheduled for additional teaching, interventions, and/or extensions for a given week.
- You and your student will receive communication from your teacher about being scheduled into a small group if your student needs additional teaching, interventions, or extensions for that week’s lessons.
- Most teachers will establish a weekly schedule for office hours that is the same each week. In some cases, this may vary depending on the unit.
- Teachers will likely reach out through text and email.
What does grading look like?
- A-F or proficiency grades are used, depending on your school’s grading system prior to distance learning.
- Aligned to recommendations from ODE on pp. 26 and 27 of the Comprehensive Distance Learning Guide.
September 10 Update: Menu of Student and Family Supports
Dear PPS Families,
With the challenging times we all find ourselves in, PPS is particularly committed to ensuring our students and families are supported in a variety of ways. Staff from across all Portland Public Schools departments came together this summer with our culturally specific community partner organizations to build a detailed plan that reflects the needs of those we serve. We are very pleased to share with you today the PPS Menu of Student and Family Supports.
This menu shows what we are currently offering to students and families and is listed by school. The menu includes details about:
- Academic Supports
- Belonging and Connection Services
- Family Supports and Resources
- Culturally Specific Supports
The menu will be updated regularly. It is currently being translated and will be available soon in all PPS-supported languages.
Hard copies of the menu will be distributed at our Nutrition Sites, and through our partners, principals and teachers.
For more information and resources, please visit the PPS Fall 2020 Resources for Families webpage.
September 9 Update on Child Care
Dear PPS Families,
We hope that you and your students have had an engaging start to the 2020-21 school year. We’ve never begun a school year in this way, under such circumstances, and we appreciate your flexibility and understanding as we work to solve the numerous challenges that come with the pandemic.
A particular challenge for many of our working families is access to child care. PPS has been in discussions with licensed child care providers to determine if and how we can play even a small role in expanding the number of child care spaces available to our families. While our school buildings are closed due to State of Oregon COVID-19 restrictions, we are able to make them available to very small groups, including for child care providers.
By the end of September, we will begin gradually introducing child care sites across the district. Our phased approach will start with nine sites, limited to 30-40 school age students per site, that meet licensing safety criteria and serve communities with diverse student populations. The child care programs are operated by contracted child care organizations under strict Emergency Child Care licensing rules and will reserve 50% of seats for families qualifying for state subsidies. Child care programs are operating out of dedicated spaces and are separate from spaces used by school staff who may be in the building teaching from their classrooms.
This is a cautious approach that allows providers time to train staff, set up spaces and ensure that strict licensing guidelines are implemented successfully.
You can learn more about the sites and providers and register with a child care program via the Contracted License Child Care During Comprehensive Distance Learning flier.
These spaces are likely to fill quickly. PPS continues to focus on connecting families to child care in the community to improve access. To that end, PPS partnered with Child Care Resource and Referral to inform SUN Site Managers, culturally specific Coordinators and Community Agents on how to support access to child care and state subsidies.
Please see below for more information about accessing child care referrals and financial aid. If families are eligible, subsidies cover most or all of child care costs. The deadline to lock in low/no rates is October 31.
We will continue to work with families to support you during these trying times. We are grateful to our child care partners who want to provide care in our buildings and feel confident that they can do so safely. If you have specific questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessing Child Care Referrals and Financial Aid
To receive a customized referral to emergency child care programs, contact 211info by:
Option 1: Calling 211
- Press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish, # for all other languages
- Enter your 5 digit zip code
- Press 3 for child care
- Press 2 to access a child care provider for your family
Option 2: Texting the keyword “children” or “niños” to 898211 (TXT211)
211 Hours: Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Accessing Financial Aid
The Department of Human Services (DHS) provides eligible families with child care subsidies that cover the cost of most child care fees. To find out if your family income is eligible for subsidies, check out the Employment Related Day Care: Temporary COVID-19 Related Changes website, or call the direct pay unit at 1-800-699-9074.
- For billing forms and listing forms: Email email@example.com
- For general questions: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Need help with forms? If your child attends a school with SUN services, contact your SUN Site Manager. Community Agents and P-3 Coordinators are also trained.
Due to COVID, the income limit has increased for initial eligibility, and the subsidy amount is greater. To receive this increased subsidy amount for 12 months, families must complete forms by October 31.
September 2 Update: What Students and Families Need to Know about Attendance
We are very excited to see your student back at school this year. While we cannot see them in person, we will connect with them virtually through online distance learning. It is very important that students attend and participate in classes. We want to provide multiple ways for our teachers to account for your child’s attendance in school. You can find several ways listed below. Please review them with your student and please stress the importance of their participation and engagement in school this year. Thank you in advance for your partnership with us during online learning.
Students will have 24 hours (from 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m.) to participate in one of the following ways:
- Participating in a video class.
- Communication from the student to the teacher via chat, text message, communication app, or email.
- A phone call between the teacher or EA/Paraprofessional with the student, or, for younger students, with the parent.
- Posting completed coursework to a learning management system or web-based platform or via email.
- Turning in complete coursework on a given day.
Please note that students in grades 6-12 must attend in one of the above mentioned ways for every scheduled class on a particular day.
To understand the difference between synchronous and asynchronous learning, please check out our Instructional Delivery model document.
For the most current information about the beginning of the school year, visit the Fall 2020 website.
August 28 Update for Families
Dear PPS Families,
As we continue to prepare for next week’s start to the 2020-21 school year, we have a few updates and reminders from messages you should have received earlier this week. As always, you can visit pps.net/fall2020 to find the latest information and resources.
As you know, following guidance from health officials and Gov. Brown, academic instruction will be online from the first day of school, September 2, through at least November 5. We will continue to send updates on a weekly basis. As we approach the first day of school next Wednesday, we will share important, time-sensitive information in regards to how your child will start school through a number of channels, including both email and text messaging. If you have not already opted to receive texts from PPS Communications, you can do so by texting “Yes” or “Y” to 68453. Please note that PPS Communications uses text messaging on a limited basis.
We are very excited to see students (virtually) next week! The start of the school year can be a bit overwhelming in normal circumstances, and we know that the pandemic means a number of additional variables to navigate this year, including technology.
We invite all families to visit pps.net/fall2020 to access a full set of orientation videos and other resources, translated into our district-supported languages, to help you better understand the learning platforms students and teachers will use this fall. You will also find information on how to log on to the platforms, how to connect to the internet and other helpful tips.
If you or your student is still struggling with any of the aspects of learning technology, we hope you will call the PPS Technology Help Desk, which is open from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on school days. We will answer your questions and share information and helpful tips about anything related to distance learning technology. The Technology Help Desk is available in all PPS-supported languages. Email email@example.com or call us:
- English: 503-916-3375
- Español: 503-916-3582
- Tiếng Việt: 503-916-3584
- Soomaali: 503-916-3586
- Русский: 503-916-3583
One of the changes your student will notice from PPS HD last spring: schools and students are allowed to use Zoom during the instructional day. Google Meet is still available and teachers can continue using that tool. The choice will be up to the teacher as to which software they would like to use to hold their virtual classrooms in.
We want to remind you that Portland Public Schools is committed to providing a safe learning environment for all students. No personal information about students is shared with or accessible by those outside the learning community. Although online lessons will be recorded to provide asynchronous learning opportunities to students, teachers will keep personally identifiable information from being disclosed during these recordings. Online student participation and work is closely monitored by the assigning teacher. Parents should also closely monitor online content and maintain full access to the login and password information of their student’s accounts.
On Tuesday evening, our Chief of Schools, Dr. Shawn Bird presented sample instructional schedules to the Board of Education. Here you can find those schedules and you should expect to receive specific school schedules from your student’s principal.
A reminder that our first two weeks of school (September 2-11) will follow the “soft start” schedule focusing on connection, which can be found by clicking here.
We know students, coaches and families are wondering about a possible return of athletics. We are working diligently to determine when we can safely introduce some form of distanced, outdoor training as a first step. We expect to have more information about athletics within the next week. We will also update you soon on potential plans for other small-group opportunities on campus as fall progresses, when COVID-19 numbers improve and we identify ways to safely adhere to evolving guidance from the Oregon Department of Education. Throughout all of this planning, we will prioritize the health and wellness of our students and staff.
Finally, we will share our comprehensive list of student and family supports with you next early week. This will include comprehensive services and programs provided by our culturally specific community partners. Those services and programs extend from academic supports and enrichment and extended day programming, to social and emotional supports and family resources. The full menu, with school-by-school options, will be released and sent to you by next Tuesday.
It has been a busy summer and we know, for many, a challenging one. While the start of this school year will look different than ever before, we are very eager to begin and we look forward to connecting with students next week. Have a great weekend.
August 26 Message to Families: Sample Instructional Schedules
Dear PPS Families,
Last evening PPS Chief of Schools, Dr. Shawn Bird, presented an overview of instructional schedules for the 2020-21 school year. You can watch Dr. Bird’s presentation to the Board of Education by clicking here.
We have posted a number of sample instructional schedules, sorted by grade groups, on our website. Click to image to the right to see those schedules. In addition, you should expect to receive a message from your school principal about your student’s schedule sometime this week. These schedules will begin Monday, September 14. A reminder that our first two weeks of school (September 2-11) will follow the “soft start” schedule, which can be found by clicking here.
These are unprecedented and challenging times, but we are as excited as ever to see our students next week and we are hopeful that sometime soon we will be able to safely welcome them back into school buildings. Thank you for your patience as we have worked to make the online learning experience the best it can be for students at every PPS school.
August 21 Message to Families on "Soft Start"
Dear PPS Families,
We want to share more information about the first two weeks of the school year and remind you that they will focus on connection, orientation and social emotional support. You can find schedules for our 2020-21 “soft start,” which starts on Wednesday, September 2, by clicking the image to the right.
The purpose of the “soft start” schedules is to provide teachers, parents, families and students with an opportunity to develop relationships, become more familiar with distance learning platforms and tools, and build a positive virtual classroom culture. To give students a chance to develop a daily rhythm, a social-emotional learning activity will be included and attendance will be taken each day.
As we start the school year with Comprehensive Distance Learning until at least November 5, you may see terminology that is unfamiliar to you. For clarification about the difference between synchronous and asynchronous instruction, please click here for an explanation and helpful examples.
We expect to have daily schedules for the entire first quarter, by grade level, available to families next week. Please go to this webpage (pps.net/fall2020) for the latest updates on the opening of the school year and answers to frequently asked questions.
In the meantime, we hope you stay healthy and enjoy the last days of summer break.
August 14 Message to Families
Dear PPS Families,
We want to share updates about the opening of the school year. As always, you can find the latest information and resources by visiting this webpage (pps.net/fall2020).
As we get closer to September 2, we will share important, time-sensitive information through a number of channels, including both email and text messaging. If you have not already opted to receive texts from PPS Communications, you can do so by texting “Yes” or “Y” to 68453. Please note that PPS Communications uses text messaging on a limited basis.
IMPORTANT: “SOFT START” AND INSTRUCTIONAL DAILY SCHEDULES WILL BE SHARED NEXT WEEK.
PPS Computers Available for Students
Students who lack an available computer at home can borrow one from PPS. Please contact your school directly for more information.
Knowing how to use a PPS computer and our Comprehensive Distance Learning platforms is central to student success this fall. Next week we will introduce a number of virtual orientation opportunities, resource materials and videos to help students and families familiarize themselves with the technology that will be used during online learning. We will also share details about a Technology Support Desk and Call Center that will be available to students and families beginning next week. This call center will be accessible through all five PPS-supported languages.
Blueprint Submitted to ODE
PPS submitted its Operational Blueprint for 2020-21 this week. There are many areas of focus within the document, but we have highlighted four main areas, per Oregon Department of Education requirements. They are: Academic Conditions for Comprehensive Distance Learning, Digital Learning Needs for Comprehensive Distance Learning, Racial Equity and Access, and Student and Family Support for Comprehensive Distance Learning. These areas of focus were discussed in detail at our Board meeting this past Tuesday. Our Blueprint is informed by our Theory of Action and follows this Comprehensive Distance Learning premise:
- All students will receive an engaging, comprehensive, and rigorous academic experience every day of the week.
- The learning day will be organized so that the time educators spend directly interacting with students will be high quality and focused on meaningful learning activities.
- Families will receive focused supports and training for digital learning tools.
- Comprehensive Distance Learning will include centrally and teacher-designed lessons, along with district-wide support services.
Regarding support services, we are pleased to share that we are increasing the number of counselors and social workers across the district and adding other mental health supports for students. Our mental health partners are also ready to provide tele-therapy services. Your student’s counselor will provide additional information, if you are interested in learning more. We are also working with our culturally specific partner organizations to provide family engagement that supports student learning and reduces institutional barriers for families of color to advocate for the needs of their students. Our partners will also offer wraparound services including academic tutoring, extended learning and enrichments, and programming to promote positive cultural identity development.
We know that the pandemic has disproportionately affected students and families of color. Our Theory of Action, our Student Investment Account priorities, and our efforts regarding Racial Equity and Social Justice are consistent with our commitment to prioritizing students of color, particularly Black and Native students. The pandemic will not stop us from this work.
PPS leadership presented an overview of the Blueprint at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. You can watch the presentation by clicking here.
PPS Meal Distribution: Important Dates and Changes
We are proud to share that we have served well over one million meals since closing school buildings in March. It is a great privilege to provide nutritious meals to our students, especially now.
Please note that the last day of our summer meal distribution service is Thursday, August 20. We will resume meal distribution at 36 sites across the district on Wednesday, September 2. We will have a full list of sites and times available to families next week, once details are finalized.
Finally, a reminder that our campuses are closed per state public health directives – this includes playgrounds and athletic fields. Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in property destruction and graffiti at many of our schools during the summer. If you notice any evidence of this at your school, we would like you to let us know by contacting the district’s Maintenance and Operations office at 503.916.3303. Thank you.
Much more to come next week, including first quarter school schedules by grade, information about technology support and orientation, expansion of our meal sites, and details about our upcoming PPS Connect to Kindergarten event. In the meantime, we wish you health and wellness. Have a great weekend.
August 7 Message to Families
Dear PPS Families,
We have a few updates to share with you today, as we get closer to the start of the 2020-21 school year. As always, you can find the latest information and resources by visiting this webpage (pps.net/fall2020).
As you know, following guidance from health officials and Gov. Brown, academic instruction will be online from the first day of school, September 2, through at least November 5. We will continue to send updates on a weekly basis. As we get closer to September 2, we will share important and/or time-sensitive information in regards to how your child will start school through a number of channels, including both email and text messaging. If you have not already opted to receive texts from PPS Communications, you can do so by texting “Yes” or “Y” to 68453. Please note that PPS Communications uses text messaging on a limited basis.
We are so excited to re-connect with students and families. The first two weeks of school are designed to help students settle in and be best prepared for a successful year. The schedule will include opportunities for Social-Emotional Learning together through connecting and relationship building, as well as setting expectations around instruction and building a virtual classroom culture.
This time will also allow us to make sure our online learning platforms are working well on a large, district-wide scale so that students and teachers are ready, connected to each other and comfortable with the learning technology they will be using.
We plan to provide multiple opportunities for virtual orientation to ensure all students and parents/caregivers know and understand the online tools that students and educators will be using this fall, and our tech support call center will go online the week of August 17.
A number of district functional teams continue to work on the Portland Public Schools Operational Blueprint for 2020-21, which will be presented to the Board of Education Tuesday evening. This plan for instruction and support for the upcoming school year covers areas including academic conditions for distance learning, health and wellness, grading, racial equity and access, special education, student and family support, and access to nutrition.
As our teams continue to refine what instruction will look like in the fall, we wanted to share some of the latest details with you:
- All PK-5 students will have daily synchronous (live and happening at a scheduled time) check-ins with their teachers. Secondary students will have a consistent course schedule with synchronous check-ins. We are working to balance total instructional time with best practices regarding screen time for different age groups. Attendance will be taken, so please make sure your child attends school daily.
- Students will have opportunities to access educator office hours, receive support for academic and mental health/wellness needs and explore extracurricular activities.
- The majority of special services, including Special Education and ESL, will be provided synchronously, unless agreed upon with families for a different type of instruction.
We are also expanding the ways we support our students for the upcoming school year:
- We will have a social worker for every high school and elementary school. We will have additional counselors for every middle school. They will be trained in trauma informed supports and racial equity and social justice.
- We have expanded our mental health partnerships with community agencies in order to provide teletherapy and will hire additional substance use specialists to help support our most marginalized students who struggle with mental health and addiction challenges.
- We have partnered with our culturally specific community partners and are finalizing ways in which we can creatively support our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) students and families.
The PPS plan will be submitted to the Oregon Department of Education later next week. If you would like to watch Tuesday’s Board meeting presentation, please click here.
Superintendent Guerrero joined district leaders from the Beaverton, Salem-Keizer and Evergreen school districts for an hour-long town hall on KOIN-TV Thursday evening. You can watch the program, “Kids, Class and Coronavirus,” by clicking here.
The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) announced Wednesday that OSAA sports and activities will be delayed until January. If you have specific questions about your student's specific sport, please contact your school or the PIL offices at 503-916-3223.
We will be in touch next week, and families should start hearing from their schools, as well. In the meantime, we wish you health and wellness. Have a great weekend.
July 28 Superintendent's Message Announcing Online Classes Until Nov. 5
Dear PPS Families and Staff,
I am writing to let everyone know that after reviewing the best available guidance from health officials, and following today’s announcement by Governor Brown regarding new health metrics and standards for opening schools, we have determined that the PPS fall semester will begin online, using a new, comprehensive distance learning model. This means all students PreK through Grade 12 will participate in an online learning model from September 2 (the first day of the 2020-21 school year in PPS) until at least November 5, which is the end of the first quarter.
I want to acknowledge that we have all been anxious to learn what the new school year might look like, and that this news may provide a sense of assurance to some and a further challenge to others. Nearing the end of the summer now, we all hoped to be in a different reality with this pandemic. We believe it is both responsible and critical to base our decisions on what will best ensure the health and wellness of our students and staff. For those of us who serve in public education, we will always prefer to have our students engaged in classroom-based learning, but given current conditions, it would be unsafe to have significant numbers of students and adults back on campus at this time.
It is possible that, unless COVID-19 conditions improve significantly, online learning will extend into the second quarter. We will assess all available public health information and county health metrics, in addition to regularly consulting with our medical advisory team of health experts, to help make a decision about reopening school campuses for the second quarter of the school year. We will communicate our plans no later than October 10. Until then, comprehensive distance learning will be the PPS model of instruction for all students until at least November 5.
As an educator, I know that there is no true replacement for face-to-face learning and the interaction between a student and a dedicated teacher or staff member. But our announcement today is in keeping with our highest priority during a global pandemic, which is the health and well being of our students and employees. We are joining a growing number of school districts across Oregon and the U.S. deciding to begin the year in a distance learning model.
As far as what comprehensive distance learning will look like for PPS students, you should know that this model will be different from the student learning experience of this past spring. Our goal is to be prepared to engage students and provide them with a robust learning experience this fall. You can find more information in the frequently asked questions section at the end of this message, and we will continue to share more details in the days and weeks ahead.
During the first two weeks of school you can expect your children to connect with their teachers, become oriented to their learning platforms and participate in activities that support interconnectedness with their classroom and school communities. After the first two weeks, students will follow a regular weekly schedule and will have daily interaction with their teachers. Grades will be given and attendance will be taken.
Although this will be an unusual start to the school year, we are working diligently to create new opportunities, establish support structures for students with special needs and ensure our Black, Native and Students of Color have access to culturally specific supports. This includes a continued and strengthened partnership with our culturally specific community based partners, continuing to braid our racial equity and social justice strategies into our instructional core and developing supports that begin to address the trauma, emotion and mental health impacts of these times.
Families and staff can expect additional updates and information before the start of the new school year. Our teams are working tirelessly to make the transition to comprehensive distance learning as smooth as possible. Next week you will also receive more information on timelines for our continued technology device roll-out.
Please check your inboxes regularly and visit this page (pps.net/fall2020) for up to date information about the start of the school year. You can also watch the July 28 Board of Education work session where staff presented an update, by clicking here.
It will be some time before students can return to their schools, but the health and wellness of our children, youth, and employees have to come first. We are fortunate to have such supportive labor partners, community leaders, elected officials and health officials that are working in collaboration with us every step of the way. It is our collective commitment to do everything we can to support you, your students, and the outstanding educators whose dedication and creativity we count on to make distance learning a positive learning experience for every one of our students. And as soon as it is healthy to do so, we will once again open our classroom doors, but in the meantime, we look forward to seeing our students learning and growing together, virtually.
July 20 Update To Families
Fall 2020: Update for July 20
Dear PPS Families,
We know you are eager to learn how students will safely begin school in the fall. The start of this school year is especially complex as we continue to adjust to the most up-to-date information from state and local education and health leaders. In the meantime, you can find more information about our planning process in our July 11 message (below on this page) to families and staff.
Please remember: we will only reopen school buildings if we can safely do so. If we are not able to safely open school buildings, all teaching and learning for every student will take place virtually/online until it is safe to return to school in person.
As we work on our reopening plans, we are taking into account the different needs of our students, including the support required for our students with special needs. We are also observing our guiding principles and Theory of Action, paying particular attention to how we can prioritize our students who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic; specifically our Black, Indigenous and students of color.
Superintendent Guerrero on National Radio Program
PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero was part of an hour-long On Point segment on school reopenings last Wednesday. The program aired on WBUR in Boston and nationally through NPR. You can visit the station’s site and listen to the interview by clicking here.
July 14 Board of Education Meeting
A number of PPS leaders presented to the Board of Education last Tuesday, giving Directors an update on Fall 2020 plans. You can watch this presentation and follow-up questions from Directors, by clicking here.
Find All Fall 2020 Information in One Place
A reminder that this re-entry webpage is live at pps.net/fall2020. Here you will find the latest messages to families and other important information. In the coming days and weeks we will be adding information about resources and support, along with help for students and families related to online learning at PPS. You can expect to see other tools and videos on the page, as well, beginning next week.
The page also includes a link to a form for families to ask questions and share their comments about Fall 2020 (in right column).
Until then, we wish you a healthy week and ask that you join us in preventing the spread of the coronavirus by wearing masks in public and following physical distancing practices. Our ability to safely open schools depends in large part on the broader health of our community.
We will continue informing you as we have more definitive information available early next week.
Thank you for your patience.
July 11 Message To Families and Staff
Dear PPS Families and Staff,
We know that you all are eager to know our preliminary plans for Fall 2020. We want to uphold our promise to keep you regularly updated on our planning and preparation, which began in March and continues through these summer months.
As with any decision we make, our highest priority is the health and well-being of our students and staff. Our emerging plans and decisions are relying on the latest public health guidance and guidance from the Oregon Department of Education as we prepare for re-entry. It is important that our students, families, and employees understand that we will only reopen school buildings if public health experts say it is safe to do so. If we are not able to safely open school buildings, all teaching and learning for every student will take place virtually/online until it is safe to return to school in-person. The online learning experience for students will be different than what was offered last spring, including access to additional instructional time and digital resources.
As we develop our reopening plans, our key considerations are how to best serve and support the academic learning and social emotional needs of every student, particularly students of color. We are also taking into account the differentiated needs of our students, including the specialized support required by our students with special needs. We will continue providing meals and other primary supports, like technology tools, to our students. We are also observing our guiding principles and Theory of Action, paying particular attention to how we can prioritize our students who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic: Black, indigenous and students of color.
We are working diligently to safely commence the 2020-21 school year on September 2nd. What the first week of school, the first month, and the first semester will look like is dependent on circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Again, all of our plans will be based on up-to-date guidance from health authorities. Right now, our preliminary plan includes the following:
We are proposing a model in which the first two weeks of school, September 2-11, would be dedicated to a number of important foundational social emotional and academic components to ensure students, educators and families are ready for the learning ahead. These activities would be conducted virtually/online and include:
- Teachers individually connecting with students.
- Multiple opportunities and ways for families to become familiar with the learning technology that will be used by their children.
- Training for teachers on using all teaching and learning technology and new health protocols.
- Social emotional engagement in order to help ease the anxiety and stress of the past months.
- Ensuring technology is available so that every student has a working device and online access, especially our “new to PPS” students.
- Health and wellness processes are practiced and in place prior to students entering the buildings.
This time will allow us to make sure our online learning platforms are working well on a large, district-wide scale and that students and teachers are ready, connected to each other and comfortable with the learning technology they will be using.
Following this proposed initial two-week orientation, our current plan includes students returning to schools and engaging in online learning in assigned smaller groups on September 14. Currently, our re-entry models, including school and student schedules, are flexible in anticipation of various pandemic-related scenarios. We will update these models as we learn more and in consultation with public health experts.
Our goal is to ensure that student learning is taking place five days per week, regardless of location. As we balance physical distancing requirements (6 feet apart) with our desire to maximize in-person instruction, our current modeling suggests that students could be in their school buildings at least two days a week. Online learning would be a part of every student’s learning experience, as we prepare for the continuity of learning in any circumstance or condition. We want to support our students, educators, and family members in their ability to be flexible as we switch between an in-class and online model of learning, depending on circumstances and changing health and safety conditions.
- Pre-K through 8th grade: We are currently developing an A/B cohort model.
- Cohort A would attend school in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays.
- Cohort B would attend school in-person on Thursdays and Fridays.
- Wednesdays would be spent sanitizing classrooms between cohorts and for continuing professional development and training for teachers and staff.
The A/B cohort model allows us to maintain physical distancing and spacing requirements; in other words, we would have about half as many students in classrooms at one time. Elementary-age students would each be assigned a homeroom teacher who will remain consistent during students’ learning experiences. We are exploring a similar homeroom teacher model for middle school students.
- We are considering a model in which High School students would take four classes per semester for a total of eight classes for the entire school year, and using a cohort model similar to PK-8 (i.e. students would spend two days per week on campus). This schedule would allow students to complete a year-long course in one semester. For example, a student may have English in the Fall semester and History in the Spring semester. We believe that allowing students to focus on fewer classes will help them be more successful in an environment that is, at least for part of the year, a hybrid model of in-person and online learning.
- Extracurricular and other experiences: We know that classroom instruction, while the basis for public education, is only one part of a student’s school experience. We will share information about elective classes, athletics, extracurricular activities, IB and AP programming, arts, CTE and more as soon as we can.
We continue to review full-time online learning options for families who prefer not to send their children to physical buildings at the start of the school year. More information will come soon.
Rolling online learning: Throughout our planning, we have remained health focused, student-centered and flexible, given that so much of what we will include in our reopening plans is out of our control. At any point in time we may have to return to full-time online learning. We are preparing for this real possibility and are putting plans in place to move in an agile fashion in and out of online learning as needed for a classroom, a school building and district wide.
Teachers will be provided with ongoing professional development to support them in the implementation of their instructional program. There will be a focus on assessing and monitoring student progress in order to identify where students may need additional support. In every potential school model that we are considering, teachers will keep a focus on maintaining a continuity of learning for students, whether they are in classrooms or learning online.
We will continue to be adaptable, understanding that adaptability is something every one of us--students, educators and staff, parents--has had to rely on the last four months. No scenario for fall is perfect, but we are working hard to give everyone in our school community the best possible option for teaching and learning this fall.
We will keep you updated as we work with public health experts, our families, labor partners and district stakeholders, which includes feedback we have already received from many PPS families through our survey.
We value your input and feedback as we refine this preliminary plan and we welcome your comments and questions. Next week we will share a way for you to ask ongoing questions related to our reopening. Look for regular updates in your inbox and the latest information at pps.net/fall2020.
July 1 Message To Families
Dear PPS Families,
We hope you are enjoying a safe and healthy summer break. Thank you for sharing your feedback on the re-entry survey we recently sent to you. While there are still numerous details to finalize, we wanted to update you on where we are with our efforts to ensure healthy beginnings for the 2020-21 school year.
Of note, we are grounding all of our decisions in racial equity and social justice and following these guiding principles as we work through this process:
- Ensure the health and wellness of our staff, students and schools.
- Transform curriculum and instruction, and provide innovative learning environments to ensure a robust instructional core that provides cognitively demanding experiences and opportunities accessed by all students so they successfully build the knowledge, skills, and dispositions reflected in the PPS Graduate Portrait.
- Cultivate connections and relationships within our school buildings and with our broader community.
We will have much more detail and background information to share with you next week, but here's what we are focusing on as we finalize our plan for Fall 2020:
- Prioritizing our Black and Native American students, following our Theory of Action and engaging with groups who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
- Prioritizing our students who receive special education services and focusing on student needs and health requirements.
- Following Oregon Department of Education guidance, and strictly adhering to public health standards in response to COVID-19.
- Focusing on connecting with our students in order to access basic needs, including meals, computers, social emotional support and internet access.
- Working with our labor partners to discuss, determine and decide the best ways to prepare and train for what will be another atypical school year.
- Committing to provide the best possible learning experiences for our students, regardless of delivery model.
- Continuing to plan transportation, custodial services and many other operational services that are essential to our schools and students in order to accommodate the physical distancing guidelines and sanitization requirements.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. We look forward to sharing more with you next week as we finalize our plan for Fall 2020. We wish you a safe, healthy and happy Independence Day weekend.
Operational Blueprint for Reopening
The Oregon Department of Education, in its "Ready Schools, Safe Learners" guidance, requires schools and districts to submit and publicly post a blueprint for reopening for the 2020-21 school years. Click the image below to read PPS's blueprint:
Other Reopening Blueprints:
- School-by-school Blueprints for Reopening
- Limited in-person instruction/comprehensive distance learning blueprints
- Mulitple Pathways to Graduation programs
- PPS-sponsored Charter Schools