Star Program

The tragedy of school failure, whether the school dropout or the underprepared gradL touches us all. Its consequences include loss of esteem and loss of opportunity for student. For society, the cost in hard dollars is staggering. A life of crime or a long stay on the welfare rolls do not automatically follow school failure, but countless studies indicate they are common consequences.

Extensive research has shown us the warning signs that indicate students’ special needs for support. This Blueprint reminds us of those warning signs. But it does more. It puts hope into the picture by detailing concrete actions for helping all our children be successful in school — and in life.

This vision of action and commitment begins and ends with our belief that all children can learn and that everyone in the community has an important role to play in ensuring that they succeed.

The Portland Public School System traditionally has been a pioneer in opening doors of educational opportunity to its disadvantaged students. By rising to meet the monumental challenge we now face, we will reaffirm our faith in our students, in one another, and in our educational system.

The work that led to this document began in January 1988, when a districtwide steering committee of students, parents, educators, and community leaders began to draft a local strategic plan following a promising natio;nal model. That model was created by the National Conference on Educating Black Children and is founded on the research of Dr. Ron Edmonds. The resulting draft of The Portland Blueprint: Success for Students At- Risk was revised using suggestions from school staff, students, parents, and community and business representatives.

This Portland Blueprint includes suggestions for action by each of the groups who are key participants in this effort: students, parents, teachers, administrators and support personnel, policy makers, and business and community members. Suggestions for action by members of each group are organized around four goals that can guide us in providing services to students who need them most.

But just as a tree is defined in part by the forest in which it lives, the material before and after the action suggestions is important as well. It provides background information and solid suggestions for creating action plans and assessing our efforts.

No plan is effective if its recommendations are ignored, if its various components fail to mesh, or if its potential beneficiaries are not served. This document is designed as a tool to be used. I urge you to join me in taking up this implement of hope and progress. To be effective, it must be wielded by us all — together.

Matthew Prophet Superintendent August 1989

See Star Plan for complete details of the program.

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