Open School’s mission is to lead an educational community based on equity, advocacy, and academics. We support marginalized students on their journey to break limiting beliefs, learn to navigate systemic oppression, and build their life goals.
Bottom Line for Portland
This past school year, we served 430 students in 9th to 12th grade. 100% of our students entered our programs at high-risk for dropping out, but at the end of the year 95% of all students were retained in school and 100% of our seniors graduated on time, even in the face of Covid school closures. While schools locally and across the U.S. struggle to close gaps between students of color and white students, Open School’s model of culturally-responsive curriculum, diverse teaching staff, and relationship-based advocacy has proven to be effective in improving outcomes for Portland’s most underestimated students.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We specifically serve students at highest risk for dropping out and/or not graduating on time. Systemic inequity in public education means that the kids we work with are largely BIPOC and lower-income. In order to serve this population effectively, we are engaged daily in comprehensive DEI work inside and outside the classroom. Open School staff demographics reflect our student demographics: 75% of OSE staff identify as BIPOC; including 63% of teachers, 87% of school administration, and 100% of school leadership. Connections to communities and shared lived experiences provide keen insight into struggles, fostering trust and connection. Our Executive Board is continuing its work to diversify (now at 25% BIPOC) by only recruiting new members who are BIPOC until the Board is representative of the students we serve. Open School staff and board members continue their regular training with the Center for Equity and Inclusion (CEI), I Am M.O.R.E., and other professional development. This work includes ongoing learning to design and deliver culturally responsive, trauma-informed learning spaces and family outreach. We directly attribute our staff demographics and training with our equitable outcomes. This school year, we’ve experienced no disproportionality between White students and BIPOC students in terms of attendance / participation.