Fight for Roosevelt High School STEM Space

12 Oct

Roosevelt STEM Update August 9, 2020

The Portland Public Schools Board has decided to go ahead with a Bond measure that does NOT include any of the corrections needed to make the remodel of Roosevelt High School complete. 

1. No consideration of STEM space.

2. No consideration of the the need for approximately 20 new classrooms over the next couple of years due to growth not planned for in the original remodel. The original remodel plan was for a student body of 1,350 even though all other comprehensive high schools are planned for enrollments of 1,700!

During the Board meeting, it was mentioned that the plan to build out Roosevelt for 1,700 enrollment would be considered for a Bond measure in 2024!

In short, Roosevelt - the comprehensive high school in Portland with the highest enrollment of students-of-color and a high [highest?] proportion of low-income students - is being neglected still. Should the upcoming Bond to move ahead the remodel of other high schools, while Roosevelt continues to be left behind, be supported? That is your decision.

Roosevelt STEM Update June 26, 2020

Portland Public Schools is planning for a new bond measure to remodel additional high schools. However, they have not included in the measure, at this time, what is needed to finish the remodel of Roosevelt. We are short - due to a conscious decision to under-build RHS in the original remodel plan - approximately 20 classrooms, and thus need an additional building.

At the same time, that additional building will allow us to expand the space that will be used for STEM/Makerspace once the current CTE construction program moves to its new location. We can then have the STEM space we have fought for since 2014!

So... please contact PPS and let them know - no Bond approval from the RHS community for them to move on to other school rebuilds until they include the missing pieces of the Roosevelt remodel as part of the bond measure. Remember, folks, the original budget for the Roosevelt remodel was significantly lower than for the other school remodeled at that time and also much less for the ones in the planning pipeline now. 

PPS talks about equity. They need to show they mean it by doing right by Roosevelt High School and complete the RHS remodel!

Roosevelt STEM Update Dec 23, 2019

 Good news! We’ve moved the district closer to our goal of an adequate and safe STEM workspace that will allow serious projects to be designed and built in one location in the school. The district and school have given us what might best be termed a “down payment” for our ultimate goal. 

 As you know, a School Board Resolution in 2016 directed a 10,000 sq ft addition – ½ for a Construction CTE program and ½ for STEM [although they were using the term “Makerspace”]. But, the lack of an appropriate STEM space was not the only inadequacy in the original Roosevelt remodel plan. They also did not plan for enough general classrooms for student enrollment growth. That led the district/school to want to take the second floor of the coming new addition – which was to be for STEM – for classrooms instead!

 The indomitable STEM advocates who have worked together for 6 years and counting – myself, Joe Purkey, Paul Anthony, David Crandall, Dennis Phillips and Mike Verbout – along with great support from the larger Roosevelt community – went back to work and developed an alternative plan.

 The current Construction CTE program will be moving to the new addition in a couple of years. We wanted to see the space left open in the main building become the start of a new STEM, multi-technology, workspace. The ultimate goal is to see the old Construction space combined with the two adjacent classrooms and reconfigured into a modern, adequate, safe and accessible STEM workspace.

 Phase 1 [when the new addition is built in 2021] will be changing the Construction space to one for STEM courses/projects, as well as making some changes to the adjacent classroom area for part-time use for STEM. 

 Phase 1 includes such tasks as:

 Course definitions / also how to increase enrollment among girls

 Teacher qualifications / recruitment

 Layout of equipment, work areas, storage, etc. including bringing in new equipment that is needed [right now it’s just a woodshop; a greater variety of technologies are needed]

 A very important part of Phase 1 should be developing an Advisory Committee of school, community and business people who can help inform the space and who can help us raise funds – permanently.

 Phase 2 [when a new classroom addition is built under a future school bond] will be remodeling the STEM space with the adjacent classrooms into one coherent, safe and accessible STEM workspace.

 The most important additional task of Phase 2 includes determining a new coherent layout for the full space [about 4,700 sq ft], determining what new infrastructure is necessary [wiring, ventilation, storage, etc.], new equipment, and continuing course development and strategies for encouraging enrollment.

 The STEM Advocates look forward to continuing to provide input. If you are interested and/or know others who might be – especially if they have a technical background that could range from the trades, to a technical job in a STEM career, to a professional job in a STEM career, please let us know.

 In conclusion, we’re not “there” yet, but we have an IOU for a starter space, a certified teacher and a credit program. With a lot of nurturing we could see students building exciting, challenging projects while they explore skills and knowledge that will open the door to a vast array of careers in less than 2 years. STEM is general education. Students are not expected to have a career interest; they only have to want to explore and discover and create. Job interests come later.

 A few years down the road, we plan to see a fully-furnished, fully-operational, STEM facility, with areas for CAD [computer-aided design], high-tech equipment, woodworking and metalworking tools, work areas, storage, lecture area, etc. This facility is also expected to be available to the community via evening adult education classes!

 Yes, there is still a lot of work to be done – but, we are on the right path!! It's really crucial we all stay involved to see the dream fulfilled!

 Happy Holidays!

 Donna  - and Paul, David, Joe, Dennis and Mike!

Solid red outlined area is new STEM once the new addition [orange dashed outline] is built.
Blue outlined area is additional new STEM area when a classroom addition is built as part of a new bond measure. Total STEM area [solid blue and red] will have to be reconfigured for coherent, and safest, use of the space. Monies will need to be included in bond measure for the retrofit and additional equipment.