Center for Black Student Excellence9/29/2022
On September 20, 2022, the Portland Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education unanimously approved a historic agreement that centers Black students, and embarks on the development of a community plan for their future by making the voter-approved Center for Black Student Excellence (CBSE) a reality.
To enable this work, we have tapped into the collective wisdom of our Black community by establishing a partnership with organizations such as SEI, POIC, KairosPDX, Black Parent Initiative, and Albina Head Start. The Albina Vision Trust (AVT), a community-based organization that is facilitating the thoughtful reinvention and transformation of lower Albina - where Black Portlanders lived, worked, and contributed for generations - will serve as the fiscal sponsor of this collective effort.
This endeavor not only fulfills our commitments to the community but is also a manifestation of our values. PPS has long recognized, and has been transparent about, how the effects of racism and under-investment have impacted Black students and predominantly Black-serving schools at PPS leading to achievement gaps.
In 2020, voters approved the creation of the CBSE as part of a bond measure that would also pay for a modernized Jefferson High School, a critical institution to the Black community. Because of the widening of Interstate-5 in the Rose Quarter, the State of Oregon agreed to pay for the relocation of Harriet Tubman Middle School, another major institution in the Black community.
Portland Public Schools, in partnership with our Black community, will lead a community effort that will inform the plan to develop the CBSE, ensuring associated programmatic and capital projects in lower Albina work in coordination to reflect the goals of racial equity and social justice. The goal of the CBSE is to advance a culture of Black excellence; unify, and elevate the Black educational experience; and improve outcomes for Black students.
The district’s Innovation Studio, a problem-solving accelerator, will assist in facilitating this process—allowing our community to drive how we dream about all these possibilities together.