Find Your Oasis in the Portland Pre-K Desert

By Ben Earle

Beautiful teacher and group of toddlers sitting on the floor drawing using paper and pencil around lots of toys at kindergarten

The possible closure of Portland’s largest preschool, Childswork Learning Center in Sunnyside serving 250 kids, alongside recent government and university studies indicating that all the state’s counties are becoming various levels of “child-care deserts,” only confirm what anyone with young children has long known – finding child care is a real challenge. And then COVID hit, making everything harder for parents and service providers.

Beyond the venerable word-of-mouth approach, fortunately, there are numerous resources to help locate a daycare or preschool program best suited for both your child’s and your needs.

  • Google Maps, MapQuest, and Yelp are always good places to see what might be available nearby.
  • Oregon’s Early Learning Division has teamed with Western Oregon University to compile a “Find Child Care Oregon” list of state registered and licensed programs, accessible online or by calling 211Info. Their websites provide step-by-step guides and helpful tips, plus links to a wide range of reports, research, and related info.
  • On “The Press” front, both the long-running Portland Parent Magazine and Oregon Live have decent online search tools.
  • Of the many listing sites a search for “preschools” or “daycare” in Portland reveals, the locally operated Growing Upwards pops up, along with the more generic Preschools, 12 Best Portland Preschools, Great Schools, Judy’s Book, Top Oregon Private Daycares and Preschools,, and, to name but a few. Checking Facebook, NextDoor, and even Craiglist’s “Daycare” section can sometimes also be helpful.
  • Though they fill up fast, Portland Public Schools offers some Pre-K classes, as does Portland Parks & Rec. And Head Start now has a couple of east-side locations.

Be sure to check as many sources as possible since no particular one can capture all available options. Just remember to stay diligent, patient, and positive – with a bit of luck, you’ll find a good spot for your special little one that’s cost-effective and within a reasonable striking distance!

PPS Clears the Air at Tubman

Paul Bubl standing in front of classroom window
Paul Bubl teaches science at Harriet Tubman Middle School in Portland. His room has a view of the Fremont Bridge and Forest Park – and Interstate 5, if you look down.

As Portland school officials toured Harriet Tubman Middle School, they marveled at the new science labs and dance studio. Upstairs, with a great view west of the Fremont Bridge and Forest Park, science teacher Paul Bubl was getting ready for students.

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Natasha Butler: Principal at Harriet Tubman

Principal Natasha Butler in front of the new Harriet Tubman Middle School
Principal Natasha Butler in front of the new Harriet Tubman Middle School. Photo: Danny Peterson

Principal Natasha Butler has big plans for Harriet Tubman Middle School and Eliot neighborhood. As the school reopens to students for the 2018 school year, Principal Butler looks to enlist the entire neighborhood in support of diverse populations and thriving communities for students. Principal Butler’s own roots in Eliot run deep, and she is committed to continuing to welcome people of color in our neighborhood. Growing up, Ms. Butler’s father ran a business near the intersection of Graham Street and Williams Avenue and lived on Graham. Although the neighborhood demographics have changed over the years, Principal Butler wants Harriet Tubman Middle School to be a powerhouse for students of color and students from underrepresented communities.

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Village Home Education Resource Center: Revolutionizing Education

Students at Village Home working together on a project
Students at Village Home working together on a project

Originally published in Eliot News July 2017.

Summer is here, and people are taking vacations, the kids are off to summer activities, or just plain ole’ hangin’ out. At some point, the grim reality will begin to slowly creep back in and manifest itself to parents that school is right around the corner. Many parents who are looking for better ways and places to educate their children for the upcoming school year may want to consider something completely different. More and more people are growing very dissatisfied with the current educational system. The truth is that many people see the  “dumbing down” of our children, overcrowded classrooms, medical diagnoses as an excuse to dope our children, labeling children insomuch as to create a record or history of severe mental problems, and criminalizing children as young as second and third grade. In addition, there seems to be the lack of civil rights protections for students and parents against these conspiracies, hostile environments, bullying, harassment, retaliation, racism, and a whole host of other civil violations.  Obviously, these trends are not in the best interest of our children.

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Eliot School Then and Now

Eliot School c1951

Eliot School corner of Knott and Rodney c 1951. Portland Archives A2001-030
Eliot School corner of Knott and Rodney c 1951. Portland Archives A2001-030

The Eliot School, named after Thomas Lamb Eliot,  was built in 1909 on NE Knott at the corner with Rodney.  In the late 1940’s or early 50’s the school’s teachers and students were relocated. Portland Parks took over the building in the early 1950’s and it became the Knott Street Community Center.

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Bringing the World to Your Home

Kaplan International Students
Kaplan International Students

Traveling the world and experiencing new cultures can be a rewarding experience, but for many of us the constraints of time or money (or both!) can get in the way.  Portland’s Kaplan International School (KI) offers the next best thing with their homestay program; a chance for Portland residents to meet new people and learn about cultures from all over the world.  Kelly, a host mother since 2011, had this to say:

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Faubion Is Moving To Tubman

Faubion North
New Faubian North Entry

As part of the PPS School Building Improvement Bond, Faubion PK-8 School is being rebuilt in partnership with Concordia UniversityFaubion PK-8 students will relocate to Tubman School, 2231 N Flint Avenue, Fall 2015 through Summer 2017.  The old school will be demolished and the new one constructed during this time.

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Name Selection for Neighborhood School

By Lillian Moffitt

Students at Boise-Eliot/Humboldt School
Students at Boise-Eliot/Humboldt School

Add your voice: Name selection for Boise-Eliot/Humboldt Elementary School.

Parents, school staff, and district representatives invite all members of our Boise, Eliot, and Humboldt neighborhoods to participate in a conversation for the selection of an official name for our local public Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade school, currently known as Boise-Eliot/Humboldt Elementary School. All members of the communities; parents and non-parents, housing providers, social service providers, business operators, and residents are all welcome to join the conversation by attending the next two Site Council meetings. All of these meetings are open to the public. Site Council Meetings happen on the second Wednesday of the month. The next two meetings are October 8th and November 12th, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm in the Boise-Eliot/Humboldt School Library.

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Ivy School enjoys the neighborhood

By Laurie Simpson

Ivy Students
Students in front of the Ivy School, walking back from a swim at Matt Dishman Community Center

The Eliot neighborhood is home to The Ivy School’s 4th through 8th grade campus. The school offers a tuition-free Montessori education with Spanish study for students in grades 1-8. For the last 3 years the school has breathed new life into the old Immaculate Heart brick building across the street from Dawson Park.

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Annual Auction Supports Irvington School

By Adrian McCarthy

The annual Irvington Auction is coming soon! This year, we will be celebrating with TOTALLY AWESOME 80s. The fun event will be held nearby at the Left Bank Annex, across from the Rose Garden, on Friday, March 14 at 5:30 p.m. The evening begins with the silent auction, where patrons will have the chance to browse through a wide variety of silent auction items from massages to wine to language lessons. Once the silent auction closes, attendees will enjoy a lovely dinner and exciting live auction featuring trips, unique local experiences and one-of-a-kind student classroom art pieces. It will be a TOTALLY AWESOME night to remember.

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The Ivy School comes to Eliot

By Laurie Simpson

Students in front of the Ivy School on Morris St

The Ivy School, a 1st – 8th grade public Montessori school with Spanish-language study, is located at NE 42nd street and Prescott.  The school opened for the 2009-2010 academic year and just completed its third year.  Since September 2011, the school has been operating their upper elementary classrooms (grades 4 – 6) in the Eliot neighborhood at Immaculate Heart’s classroom building across from Dawson park.

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