We need your help - Join us tomorrow Tuesday January 7th
Hello Chapman Parents,
We hope you will join us in this next wave of action to advocate for our current kindergarten students and future Chapman Elementary students. It is important to note that the Portland Public School leadership has rejected the plea from our Kindergarten teachers for additional support to keep our children safe and provide quality equitable education to our children. We now ask for you to act and use your voice to let education leadership know that they must address our children’s needs—our collective voices do matter to support all students.
How can you help?
Step 1: Please attend the upcoming meeting on Tuesday, January 7th at 6pm (501 N Dixon Street, Portland).
Karen Zink, a kindergarten parent, will be speaking at the upcoming January 7th School Board meeting. We will support the Chapman staff as Karen expresses the needs of Chapman directly to the Board. Your presence shows support for our current kindergarten to reduce class sizes and create safe learning environments for all children. In addition, we hope to express our concerns about the lack of oversight on the growth and changing landscape of Chapman and demand system changes that ensure a safe and thriving school for the future students who will join Chapman. If possible, where red or Chapman clothing to represent our school.
Step 2: Email (copy and paste email addresses)
Share our message pasted at the bottom of this email with School Board members, please feel free to edit to represent your voice. Email as soon as possible at:
Step 4: Call Portland Public School leadership and share your concerns
Karl Logan (Supervisor to Pamela Van Der Wolf, Chapman Principal) 503-916-3714
Guadalupe Guerrero (Superintendent) 503-916-3200
Jonathan Garcia 503-916-3270
Stephanie Soden 503-916-3214
Dani Ledezma 503-916-3769
Dr. Keeley Simpson 503-916-3565
We will continue to ask for your engagement and communicate with you as we do this work. We gain power when we unite and act collectively to change and improve this system. Thank you for your continued support for all of our children at Chapman.
All our best,
Below is our collective message as drafted by volunteer parents in support of the kindergarten letter written to School Board members/PPS Leadership. Click here to read the letter from Chapman Kindergarten teachers and staff.
Our kindergarten classrooms are experiencing a crisis and we ask for your immediate response.
We have three sections of kindergarten with 26-28 students without full time Educational Assistant (EA) support. The current class sizes are too large, and our kindergarten teachers are unable to give students the attention they require and keep our children safe. Other cities recognize this issue and have far better standards set by legislation. Here are the class size maximums for other US cities: San Francisco-24 San Diego-24, Boston-22, etc. Our Chapman student teacher ratio is 21:1 and the Oregon State level is 20:1. Our kindergarten currently ranges from 26:1 and 28:1. This is unacceptable and unsafe. The Caring School Curriculum, mandated by PPS, is not designed to be utilized in classrooms of this size and teachers are forced to adapt the curriculum on top of the demands of an overcrowded classroom. It is unacceptable to expect our teachers or our children to succeed under these circumstances.
Classrooms are experiencing an overwhelming amount of behavioral issues, which requires much of the teacher’s attention. Daily, students endure kicking, hitting, scratching, spitting, screaming and elopement. In the first ten days of November, there were 17 incidents in kindergarten. Approximately five kids per classroom received referrals for significant behavioral issues. The inability to meet the student’s behavior and academic needs has long-term impacts on all student’s learning and attitudes towards school. The needs of our children, coupled with large class sizes, compounds the problems our teachers are trying to manage throughout the day—greatly inhibiting teaching and learning. Many parents have planned to volunteer in the classroom for a couple hours but have felt obligated to stay throughout the day to help ensure the safety of all children. Parents are not qualified to meet these needs and for PPS to rely on parents to potentially intervene in physical or behavioral altercations poses unnecessary safety risks that negatively impacts the learning environment as well as jeopardizes the relationships among parents, teachers and students. This dependency on parents to solve these problems is not sustainable and requires systematic solutions with clear leadership and resources from elected PPS officials.
We are concerned that you are being reactive and not proactive to the rapid growth and changes happening in our community. The Pearl and NW housing has expanded by thousands of units, many will be inhabited by young families. In the 2018-19 school year, one Chapman kindergarten class gained seven children in the second half of the year. That means our classrooms could easily exceed 30 students by the end of this school year. There is not enough room to grow at Chapman, as we are already over capacity. Our lunchroom is unmanageable and overwhelming, with children grouped elbow to elbow and limited staff supervision. Our facility for indoor recess is bursting at the seams. Given the current challenges, we don’t have the capacity to provide safe learning environments as our population continues to grow. How have you prepared Chapman for the influx of families in the second half of the year? How have you prepared Chapman and this community for the continued growth happening in our neighborhoods?
We call upon the board and PPS leadership to address the specific demographics of our school, we have a significant number of children coming from shelters, financial insecurity, and backgrounds of trauma. With overcrowded classrooms and not enough EA support, teachers are unable to meet the unique needs of these children. While we might not yet qualify as a Title I school (Chapman: 26% Free Meal by Direct Certification versus the 33% Title I requirement), a larger portion of our children deserve and desperately need more support from our district in order to provide equitable education. What is the process and timeline for the Student Success Act funds to address mental/emotional health, inequity and disparities in our community? How will these funds be utilized to meet the unique challenges we are experiencing at Chapman?
We need you to:
Provide an additional kindergarten teacher and classroom, and Educational Assistants to support student behavioral needs as well as align with the Caring School Curriculum. We need to hear your plan to address our overcrowded and unsafe kindergarten classrooms today.
Visit our school and engage with our school to understand the unique challenges at Chapman Elementary. While you are visiting, we invite you to visit our kindergarten classrooms, lunchroom, and indoor recess.
Share your plan to tackle the increased growth this community and school will continue to experience in the coming years.
Share your specific solutions at our upcoming PTA meeting on Tuesday, February 11th at 6pm at Chapman Elementary.
We value your collaboration and commitment to all the children of PPS, and we hope we can work together to meet the specific needs at Chapman Elementary.