• Principal's Message Sept. 14, 2018

    Hello Parent(s)/Guardian(s) of CHS Students,

    The start of the new school year is always so full and busy. I have made it into almost every single classroom already and have enjoyed meeting with several student groups about what is going well and what Cleveland can do differently to best serve them.  It has been an outstanding start!

    Of course, we always face new challenges and issues that require a high level of response.  I want to share with you some updates that may directly or indirectly influence your student’s learning experience at Cleveland. 


    Our student body is larger this fall than the projections last spring.  We were projected to be at 1603 in the spring and currently we are at 1688.   As a result, we received an additional staffing for a 1.0 teacher position.  We have split this position into two ½ time teaching positions for 9th graders.  We found that our largest class sizes are at the 9th grade level with the 9th grade classes above 30.  We are in the process of hiring one ½ time Social Studies/Language Arts teacher and a ½ time Science/Math teacher. We have recommended two outstanding teachers for these positions. 

    Parent(s)/Guardian(s): We thank you for your patience while we work with our Human Resources Department to have our new teachers land in our 9th Grade Academy as soon as possible. 


    We are emphasizing that all students MUST have a hall pass when they are in the halls during class time.  Please explain to your student that we are doing this primarily for safety/security reasons and also to hold ALL of our students responsible for spending as much time as possible in the classroom learning. 

    I want to remind families that Cleveland High School is a closed campus with the exception of lunch time. That means, a student must have parent/guardian permission to leave campus during any point in the school day.  Please communicate directly with our Attendance Secretary, Vicki Kokich (vkokich@pps.net), when you need to excuse your child’s absence and/or pick them up during the school day for an appointment.


    Students are expected to attend school-wide assemblies. Students who do not want to attend the assembly may report to the cafeteria where we have supervision.  Again, students cannot leave campus without parent/guardian permission with the exception being during lunch. 

    Yesterday (Thursday, Sept. 13th), during our first assembly, we had many, many students leave campus.  Again, this presents a safety issue for us as we are responsible for the safety of your child during the school day.  Please let your student know that they cannot leave campus unless a parent/guardian calls or emails our Attendance Secretary to excuse their absence.  We are responsible for your student during the school day.  They need to know and understand that staying on campus is your expectation as well.  Thank you parents and guardians!


    Cell phones and screens are “OFF AND AWAY” during class time in classrooms and in hallways.  We are emphasizing that students should not be wandering the halls during class time to be on their screen.  Students can access a screen during class time with expressed permission from their teacher; otherwise, screens are “OFF and AWAY.” 

    We know that sometimes there are exceptions, and we will work closely with you, families, counselors, case managers, and students, to be responsive to necessary accommodations for some students.


    Last Wednesday, Sept. 5th, we did have a LOCK OUT.  I took directions directly from the Portland Police and was instructed to remain in a LOCK OUT until the end of the day.  Citizens had called police to report there were 3-4 individuals near SE 28th and Powell and that one of those individuals had a gun.  During the LOCK OUT, I was in close communication with students and staff.  We kept everyone on campus until 3:15 when the police said the threat was no longer in our area/region.  At the end of the day, we had a strong police presence along with our administrative team and campus security agents who were on the exterior of the building supporting students as they exited. 

    I communicated with our students last Friday during individual class meetings, expressing a serious concern that we had many students run out of exterior doors and leave campus during the LOCK OUT,  even when an adult asked them to return.  I reiterated to students that during a LOCK OUT, everyone must follow our directions and stay on campus until the police notify us that it is safe to leave campus.  During the LOCK OUT, I had several parents to ask if they could pick up their student.  The answer is NO.  During a LOCK OUT, no one can enter and no one can leave the building. 


    I am looking forward to seeing you during Back to School Night on Wednesday, Sept. 26th at 6:15 p.m.  We welcome our entire school community to come together for this event. 


    We have a wonderful new staff member, Margie Suydam, who is supporting us with our website.  Families will begin to see that the calendar and other information is up-to-date. If you notice that we need to update a part of our website, please feel free to email me (afreeman@pps.net) or Margie Suydam (msuydam@pps.net).


    For those of you who have students involved in the Theater Arts Program here at Cleveland, I know there are several unanswered questions about our current staffing/teaching position.  Please know that I am working hard to ensure that our Theater Arts students receive the best education as part of their learning experience and I recognize there have been challenges.  I am working closely with our current Theater Arts substitute teacher, Nicole Seeley (nseeley@pps.net), and she is open to speaking directly with any Theater Arts parents(s)/guardian(s) if you have questions.  In the meantime, my hope is that the Theater Arts Program will grow to be a full, robust, thriving program here in the heart of SE Portland at Cleveland High School.

    Again, I look forward to seeing all of you at Back to School Night.

    Enjoy the weekend,


    Ayesha C. Freeman


    Cleveland High School