The above map shows the distribution of Vietnamese speaking students in PPS. Note that most are in the eastern part of the district, more or less along 82nd, with clusters in the north and south.
The PPS Board proposes opening Roseway Heights as a middle school in 2017. Currently it houses a developing Vietnamese immersion program. That program needs to find a new home. IMHO, that new home should be at Lee Elementary School and Lee needs at some point to add portables (or an addition) to have sufficient classrooms for two strands of immersion and two strands of non-immersion programs. Funding for portables or the addition should be in the bond measure before the PPS Board on 9/26/16.
The district-wide Boundary Review Advisory Committee (DBRAC) submitted a 6/24/16 memo to Carole Smith titled “2017 Enrollment Balancing in the Jefferson, Madison and Grant Cluster” Here). One of the issue in the memo is where to relocate the Vietnamese dual language immersion program. Here that part of the memo (here):
Note first that the DBRAC ruled out Vestal “due to its small building size (26 classrooms) and limited land on which to places portables.” The DBRAC memo then lists three new options: Lee, Harrison Park, and Lent. Harrison Park and Lents are not viable options. Here is how the memo frames the Lee option.
Lee does not now have enough classrooms to house two strands of full K-5 Vietnamese immersion plus two strands of a non-immersion, English only program. Lee could possibly get by for several years without more classrooms as the immersion program grows. But, eventually, as the immersion program reaches maturity, Lee would need more classroom either from portables of from an addition. To me there appears to be space for either at Lee.
In proposing Harrison Park, the DBRAC totally forgot the need to site a Mandarin immersion program in SE Portland. Harrison Park is the most logical site. See my previous blog post “Open Mandarin immersion at Harrison Park in 2017” (here).
And to place the Mandarin immersion program at Harrison Park, some non-immersion students need to be moved out. Since Vestal in the conversion from K-8 to K-5 will lose student enrollment, its boundary can be move south to take in some Harrison Park students, making room for the Mandarin immersion program at Harrison Park.
The Lent option is just too complex, requiring enrollment balancing of all the SE schools and the probably reopening of Kellogg, to be considered for implementation in 2017. Rule it out.
With Vestal, Harrison Park and Lent out, that leaves Lee. Here are the count of Vietnamese kinderarteners in 2015-16. Note Lee has the most.