Teachers worry about proposal to have college-style classroom sharing

PORTLAND, Ore. – Parents, teachers and students are worried about Portland Public Schools’ plan to increase the student body at several high schools.

Grant, Roosevelt and Franklin are preparing to expand as part of the modernization proposal.

Though details are still being worked out, it was suggested by a teacher at a school-board meeting Tuesday night that the schools might be going to “college style” learning.

One Roosevelt teacher was brought to tears describing the college-style idea. She said it’s a model where teachers have offices instead of classrooms and share the classrooms.

She said classrooms are where teachers build community and relationships.

“Our students are not college students - a college model is not going to work,” said Barbara Macon. “I encourage you to … push for one teacher, one classroom model. “They seem to be keeping this a secret from everyone - we've only just discovered this - so please, each teacher needs their classroom.”

The district acknowledged on Wednesday that it is looking at the plan.

"PPS is in the design phase of building new high schools, like Roosevelt," said spokeswoman Christine Miles. "We are looking at designs that will create efficient use of educational space for students and teachers, plus provide collaborative environments for teachers."

Miles said the district is calling the idea "open collaborative classrooms." She said talks are still in progress, but wouldn't say if other ideas are on the table.