Franklin High School Renovation Raises Controversy

benjiSaturday morning more than 100 staff, teachers, students and community members took part in what was billed as a "Schematic Design Workshop" for the new Franklin High School. Franklin is undergoing a "full modernization" as a result of the $482 million school facilities bond measure approved by voters in 2012.

As it turned out, however, the event was less a workshop than a town hall in which dozens of attendees voiced complaints about the allocation of classroom space under the new design.

At issue was the proposed design's reliance on shared, flexible classroom space, rather than on dedicated classrooms assigned to specific teachers.

In sometimes emotional comments, teachers and students talked about the impacts of moving teachers and teaching materials from room to room, moving desks, and removing materials from walls and blackboards each period, which teachers said would impact instructional time and their ability to build relationships with their students. (more…)

PPS Candidate Forum Interesting but Disappointing

Last week’s school board candidate forum at Franklin High School provided some interesting insight into the personalities of four of the candidates, but was ultimately disappointing for the lack of substantive information it provided to attendees at the 90-minute event.


Roger Kirchner, Co-President of the Franklin High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association, helped organize last week’s PPS Candidate Forum.

About 80 people, including an impressive number of students, gathered in the gym last Wednesday evening to hear candidates debate the future of Portland Public Schools. Three of the school board’s seven seats will be decided in next month’s elections.

The forum, which is the only scheduled PPS debate in Southeast Portland this year, was cosponsored by the Cleveland High School PTA and the Franklin High School PTSA. All five candidates for the three PPS Board seats were invited. Pam Knowles, the Zone 5 incumbent who did not draw an opponent in her re-election bid, was a no-show.

The candidates vying to represent Zone 6 were David Morrison and Tom Kohler. Kohler is a small business owner and former Corvallis City Council member who calls our schools  Portland’s “best asset” and emphasized critical thinking skills as an educational goal. (more…)

Discount tickets going fast for the Franklin High Benefit Auction!

This year’s Franklin High School Benefit Auction is called “A Passage to India,” and early discount tickets are going fast.

Passage to India


The dinner and auction benefits the Franklin Parent-Teacher-Student Association and the Franklin Foundation’s award-winning Advanced Scholars Program, which has had remarkable success in bringing more low-income students into Advanced Placement, college-track classes.

The benefit auction features gift certificates to many local restaurants, Nike golf gear (possible Father’s Day gift?), local works of art, and some great vacations including trips to:
• a private casita in Loreto, Mexico,
• Sunriver,
• Black Butte Ranch,
• Seabrook on the Washington Coast,
• Cove Palisades Resort on Central Oregon’s Lake Billy Chinook.


The event takes place Saturday April 13, 6pm, at the Ambridge Event Center, 1333 NE MLK Blvd. Buy tickets or get more info here.

From now through April 5, tickets are only $25 –after that they go up to $35. For that price, attendees are treated to an Indian buffet dinner plus free drinks for the first half hour after doors open.

Organizers are also looking for donations of auction items, so if you can help, contact Lisa Zuniga.

Foster United Previews the May Elections

The dust has settled from the November 2012 elections and we’re all settling in for a long, politics-free respite.

Well, no.

ballotsThere’s already another election coming up on May 21, and although we won’t have anything nearly as sexy as Obama-Romney, locals will want to pay attention. (more…)

Franklin High School: A Local Treasure Enters The Second Century


“Genius without education is like silver in the mine.” Benjamin Franklin

Last month, about 50 local residents and parents gathered in the nearly-60 year old Auditorium of Franklin High School. They mostly kept their coats on because, as students know, the room –though beautiful –is always cold.

Principal Shay James and Portland Public Schools invited the public to this Open House to see the landmark campus, operating since 1915, and to talk about plans for the future of the school. Now that funds are available through the PPS facilities bond that voters passed in November, hopes are high that things like antiquated heating will be fixed soon. (more…)