Portland Private Schools
About 14 percent of Portland’s K-12 students attend private schools. There are over 200 private schools in the metro area so picking the best fit for your child can be overwhelming. Fortunately, a number of organizations can help you get started.
Three Acclaimed Private High Schools
Oregon Episcopal School in Raleigh Hills is the top private high school in the state and 14th best in the country, according to a ratings report released this week by a Pittsburgh-company. It was the only school in the Oregon to be listed in the top 100. Catlin Gabel School in the Beaverton area was ranked second statewide, and St. Mary’s Academy in downtown Portland was third.
The study, by consumer research site Niche.com, grades each school based on the academics, figures about diversity and survey responses. Released on Monday, the study gathered responses from more than 16,000 students, parents and recent alumni from across the nation and gave a numerical ranking to almost 4,000 schools.
Oregon Episcopal School Founded in 1869, the Oregon Episcopal School (OES) offers a preK-12 program with a strong academic as well as extra curricular activities. The boarding program at OES serves students in Grades 9-12. Boarders comprise nearly one-quarter of the Upper School student body, and about one-half of our boarders are international students.
The school claims the highest average SAT math score (670) of any Oregon school. OES advocates a hands-on approach in which students design experiments to find the answers to questions they pose.
OES is the science school of the Northwest. Everybody does a project and OES projects win at the national level and win regularly at the state level. “We were always out there dropping bowling balls or playing with toy cars and recording data to find out for ourselves what physics was about,” wrote a student in an email about her physics class.
When the school built a new science building, it included drop zones filled with sand and open above so students and teachers could demonstrate physics by dropping items from the second floor.
Since 1995, OES has racked up 66 total finalists and semifinalists in two prestigious national contests (Siemens Westinghouse and the Intel Science Talent Search). In 2010, two OES juniors, Matthew Fernandez and Akash Krishnan, won $100,000 after being chosen the top team entry in the Siemens Competition for Math, Science, and Technology. Matthew and Akash developed a computer algorithm to identify emotion in the human voice, which may have applications for helping people cope with autism.
Catlin Gabel Another well-known private school in Portland is The Catlin Gabel School. Besides the high school, it enrolls preschool, elementary, middle school students. They have a strong extra curricular activities program ranging from theatre to athletics. Over 60% of the students are on interscholastic sports teams according to biology/chemistry teacher Paul Dickinson. The 54-acre wooded campus has four soccer fields, a state-of-the-art track, two outdoor tennis courts, two indoor tennis courts, gym, and weight room. Boosting a strong science curriculum, in the five year span from 2006-2010, Catlin’s high school robotics team has won 20 first competition awards, becoming the only Oregon team to qualify for the world championships four years in a row.
Other information about Catlin Gabel:
St. Mary’s Academy Founded in 1859, St. Mary’s Academy is Oregon’s oldest continuously operating secondary school, and one of about 500 all-female schools in the country. St. Mary’s is the only school in Oregon to receive three U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools Program Awards. Located in downtown Portland, the school provides a college preparatory curriculum and a complementary and enriching co-curricular program to a diverse group of about 600 young women. The school even offers Latin. St. Mary’s has won 17 Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) state championships in five different sports.
The school’s newspaper, Ms. Print, can be viewed online at www.smamsprint.com.
Noteworthy Private Middle and Elementary School
Portland Jewish Academy PJA is a community Jewish day school that serves about 325 students from preschool through eighth grade. PJA is a Blue Ribbon School, given by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2008, 3 out of the 10 Portland High School valedictorians were graduates of PJA. The Portland Jewish Academy Our students learn Hebrew everyday in a mini-immersion style and middle school students also learn Spanish.
Schools Offering Foreign Languages
Portland provides a wide variety of private schools with a range of philosophies, educational approaches, and standards.
The International School The International School provides a multicultural environment where children are fully immersed in Spanish, Japanese or Chinese language and culture. Children become fluent in another language, at home in other cultures, and engaged in math, science, social studies and arts. The International School was founded in 1990 and today educates about 450 elementary age students. The International School has been an IB World School since March 2010. It offers the IB Primary Years Program.
The French American International School (FAIS) has two academic divisions. The French American School (FAS) is a preschool through fifth grade French immersion school accredited by the French Ministry of Education. The Gilkey International Middle School (GIMS) is an international sixth through eighth grade program. Students can study one of the following languages: Chinese Mandarin, French, German, or Spanish.
The International Leadership Academy, a French immersion school in Lake Oswego, offers classes in preschool through 5th grade.
The Portland French School operated in Johns Landing for years but closed it doors in 2011 due to financial problems. To take its place a charter school, the Le Monde Immersion School, will open. It begins with kindergarten and first grade in the 2011-2012 school year, and then to add one grade each year until reaching full strength at K-8.
The L’Etoile French Immersion School was also formed in 2011 as a result of the closure of the Portland French School. The school is currently located in temporarily facilities in John’s Landing and will be moving to a permanent location in December 2011 (5839 SW Hood). This will enable the school to open up spots in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade for the Spring term, and enrollment from 2nd through 5th grade beginning in Sept. 2012.
The German-American School offers classes through the fifth grade. Two schools offers Saturday classes are the Springleaf Chinese School and the Portland Japanese School at Park Plaza West− telephone: (503) 644-9579.
The Northwest Chinese Academy offers an immersion curriculum in Mandarin Chinese for preschool and elementary grade children. They have a very low student to teacher ratio, in the 2010-2011 school year it was 6:1. They are located in Beaverton.
This Web site, Archdiocese of Portland, will link you to a list of all the catholic schools in Oregon. There are over 20 catholic elementary schools in the Portland area plus six high schools. Below are five of the high schools (St. Mary’s Academy is mentioned above):
Other Private Schools
The State of Oregon Department of Education has a directory of registered private schools on their site which you can find at Oregon Private Schools.
Mt. Hood Academy is a fully accredited private high school for students pursuing a rigorous academic program while developing their skills as alpine ski racers. The students, from throughout the Western United States, live, study and train at the Academy from early November to April while on leave from their regular high schools.
Westside Christian High School Westside Christian High School is a non-denominational high school founded in 1981 and located in the suburban community of Lake Oswego. Westside offers AP classes as well as a full compliment of music and theater activities. According to Scott Ball, Academic Dean, about 40% of the students take AP or honors classes and 90% of the graduates are admitted to their ‘first choice college.’ In 2010, the choir won state for the fourth year in a row. The drama department produces two main stage performances each year.
To learn more about Waldorf Education, visit the Web site of Bob and Nancy. Waldorf Education now has four schools in the Portland area: Cedarwood School (Pre-K/K-5) in Southwest Portland, Portland Waldorf (Pre-K/K-12) in Milwaukie (SE Portland area), Shining Star School (infant to age 14) a co-op family school in NE Portland, and Swallowtail School (Pre-K/K-8) in Hillsboro.
More Private Schools
Religious Affiliated Schools
Ready Set Mom has a guide for childcare in the Portland area. It’s the area’s comprehensive guide to preschools and daycare providers. You can select the area of town where you need care from a list, and browse the listings. Or, enter keywords in the BlogBar search engine.
Enrichment and Tutoring
Saturday Academy’s (SA) innovative programs are open to all students in grades 4 through 12. SA offers enrichment programs in locations through out the Portland metro area. SA emphasizes math, science, engineering, technology, and healthcare because these disciplines are integral to the future children will live and work in.
Mathnasium is a learning center where kids go after school to boost their math skills. The program is for kids in grades 2 through 12. Students attend once or twice a week, for about an hour. Like a gym or health club, members pay a low monthly fee and can drop–in anytime. Mathnasium’s goal is to significantly increase your child’s math skills, understanding of math concepts, and overall school performance, while building confidence and forging a positive attitude toward the subject.
Home Schooling in Oregon
Between 12,000 and 13,000 students are home-schooled in Oregon , according to the Oregon Department of Education. The Web has proved to be a powerful tool for home-schooling parents, giving them access to math, science, and other lesson plans and offering their children a world of research opportunities. Most of all, it has brought home-schoolers together as never before, creating an electronic bulleting board to list home-school events, ask questions and exchange ideas.