• District launches effort to balance enrollment and programs

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     Image of Vestal students

    (Photo by Beth Conyers)

    Portland Public Schools has launched a two-year process to develop a framework for balancing enrollment and school programs across the district. The goal is to use data and community input to build a thoughtful and equitable plan that addresses all schools and programs as well as short- and long-term student, staff and community needs.

    The District has hired Portland-based consulting firm FLO Analytics to help guide this process. Work to date includes: studying past district processes; defining the district’s current needs; interviewing stakeholders; conducting initial research and assessment on future school enrollment and capacity; and reviewing existing programs and policies. The goal is to better define the project and to outline objectives and plans for community engagement over the next two years.

    “These early steps take time,” said Tyler Vick, Principal of FLO Analytics. “The process of districtwide balancing is complicated: changes in one program or school can affect others—and be felt by students and families across the district. We want to move through the process deliberately and thoughtfully over the next two years.”

    The project will include regular updates and opportunities for parents, staff and others to share their thoughts.

    “Many factors drive this process,” said Deputy Superintendent Claire Hertz. “With our community’s help, we’ll look carefully at each one.”

    The data being gathered and input needed include information on converting some schools from K-8 to the elementary-middle school model. The process will pinpoint challenges with over-enrollment and under-enrollment, explore how school capacities are changing as the result of bond-related construction, and how other factors affect future student enrollment and program placement.

    This summer the project team will continue to focus on informing and engaging the community, reaching out and conducting interviews with school principals, PTA councils, community organizations and other stakeholders. Results will be shared via website updates, newsletters, social media and more. The process starts to pick up speed this fall, when the culmination of this work – the Enrollment, Capacity and Program Analysis Report – will be presented to the school board.

    By late 2019 the district will initiate broader engagement to integrate community values in the development of the first round of proposals for balancing enrollment and programs. These proposals will be publicly vetted throughout 2020, with final proposals presented by early 2021.

    For more information or to get involved, please visit Enrollment & Program Balancing webpage.