Woodstock Elementary's Mandarin Immersion program? Still in limbo
In the Portland Public Schools (PPS) "Enrollment and Program Balancing Update" for this May, the school district announced that the process was going into "Phase 2", as they also are with rebalancing their elementary schools' population of students in Southeast Portland.
"Under the approved enrollment boundaries, the neighborhood programs at Arleta, Marysville, Creston, and Lent will convert from their kindergarten-to-8th grade (K-8) structure to a K-5 structure. Students in grades 6-8 in those schools will move to Kellogg Middle School [on Powell Boulevard] starting in the 2021-22 school year," that announcement said, in part.
The letter also stated that PPS staff is proposing a narrowed scope for Phase 2 that focuses on three areas:
· Converting Harrison Park (currently a K-8) into a 6-8 middle school
· Re-locating Harrison Park K-5 students
· Increasing enrollment at Lane Middle School
In February, the PPS Board approved "Resolution 6236", which completed Phase 1 of the process.
To view a PDF document of "Resolution 6236", go online -- tinyurl.com/4pe75hah
Woodstock Elementary School PTA President Ehren Schwiebert commented to THE BEE, "In reading Resolution 6236, one will notice that the letter does not explicitly mention Woodstock's immersion program; but, based on the revised scope and priorities, the possibility remains that our school could be facing some changes.
"The focus on converting Harrison Park (currently a K-8 school) into a middle school, and the requirement that Harrison Park's K-5 students be placed into a different school, means that there will be some necessary shifting of that schools Mandarin Immersion Program (MIP) students, she pointed out.
"Recall that Harrison Park currently has a Mandarin Immersion Program too; it is still somewhat new, and actually under-enrolled below their targets -- at least according to PPS's numbers," Schwiebert continued. "In fall of 2020, the initial proposal for enrollment and program balancing aimed to move Woodstock's Mandarin Immersion Program to a different school in the Jade District, essentially consolidating the Mandarin Immersion Programs from both Harrison Park and Woodstock.
"That is the proposal that had so many of our families concerned, because it meant the end of Woodstock's successful Mandarin Immersion Program."
The third area of focus in the PPS letter is to boost Lane Middle School's enrollment, which also could potentially impact Woodstock. That was also of concern to Schwiebert: "Geographically, Lane is the closest middle school to Woodstock, so I can foresee a scenario where some or all of Woodstock's students would feed to Lane, instead of the current school [Hosford]. But at this point, it's unclear to me if or how this would impact Woodstock's Mandarin Immersion program specifically.
"So, I'm pleased to see that PPS has revised the scope to no longer seek to eliminate co-located programs like Woodstock's.
"However, I remain concerned that this narrowed focus will result in essentially the same outcome eliminating the Woodstock's Mandarin Immersion Program. I really hope that the Southeast Guiding Coalition will carefully listen to all the families that will be impacted by their changes, and find a way to keep our unique and successful immersion program at Woodstock."
We asked Woodstock's Shu Ren leaders to comment; but so far, there has been no response from that organization.
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