I have a 2nd grader and 5th grader at Emerson and we could not be happier that our children attend this school. The project approach has been such a great experience for them and it has supported their intrinsic desire to learn. The teachers are exceptional at what they do and i feel so fortunate that my children have had such amazing people in their lives. Socially, I think Emerson does a beautiful job of creating community and expanding the curriculum to social learning and character development. My only complaint is that the school does not go through 8th grade. I think this school supports the whole child and I only wish more schools would follow their example.
We're not easy to thrill when it comes to schools, but our expectations have been far exceeded at Emerson. LOVE having the same teacher for 2 yrs and focus on experiential ed - our girl has been so motivated to learn. She knows almost all the students and teachers. The authentic assessments are great - instead of As and Bs, we get a 3 -5 report detailing her progress, and conferences where kids present their portfolios + assess their own progress. Social curriculum rocks. Our girl's special needs were handled very sensitively and respectfully. The space is tight, and there are few extra-curriculars (but we just go elsewhere). The positive discipline focus is great. Kids don't get yelled at, put their heads on their desks, etc. Instead, they're respected while still being held accountable for solving problems. We love Emerson.
My daughter is in her final year of 6 at the Emerson School. Our experience has been phenomenal! She continues to come home interested in learning, feeling supported and inspired by her educators and friends, full of life skills that are most important in life overall, and motivated to step into both her strengths and her challenges. As a parent, I feel that the school honors most children equally and provides an excellent platform for children to view the world as a learning environment. The project based approach balances academia and accessing information directly from the community. The cons of the school in my opinion (no foreign language education, small space....) are far outweighed by the pros and never seemed to get in the way my feeling that Emerson is one of the strongest Primary schools in the district!
We transferred our daughter from our strong neighborhood school to Emerson when she was in the fourth grade. Although we loved the community and teachersl, the traditional teaching style of "sit in your desk, be quiet, and listen to the teacher" compounded with worksheets for homework did not fit our child. She needed something more engaging. That is what she found at Emerson. The kids have more freedom of movement and are encouraged to work together. In place of memorization, they use art, drama and project work to fully lean. Fourth and fifth graders are given meaningful homework that directly relates to what they are doing in class, similar to the homework my middle school student is doing in that it is project-based. Despite what the other reviews say, they are held accountable for quality and completion of their work; not by "grades" or "punishments" but by serious, respectful conversations with their teachers. I can't say enough positive things about the school. It saved my daughter!
Emerson has consistently been rated Outstanding by the Oregon Report Card, and looking at the state assessment data is proof they are doing something right. Students there, including my own children, consistently meet or exceed district and state averages on all the state assessments. As far as school community, I have found it to be a very warm and inclusive community, especially to new students. Parents can be as involved as they want to be, helping in classrooms or with fundraising, or not at all if they aren't able to. It is a small school, with fewer resources than larger schools with more space, but what they do with what they have is phenomenal!
I'm very surprised at the previous review, and felt the need to respond. My daughter (now a successful 8th grader) attended Emerson for 5 years. She had wonderful teachers, all of whom were extremely qualified, warm, nurturing, and welcoming of everyone. We are still in contact with the teachers and her friends (many of whom have siblings still attending), and they have only wonderful things to say about the program. The school community was warm and open to our non-traditional family and, although there were some parents who were more involved than others, there was no "preferential treatment". The Principal was receptive to feedback, and had a strong and clear understanding of the educational foundation of the program. In regards to Emerson not meeting state benchmarks, that is simply untrue. It has been rated an Exceptional School by the state for the last 6-7 years, and each year the students score consistently 85-90+% meeting or exceeding state benchmarks. The previous poster clearly had an unhappy experience at Emerson and for that I am truly sorry. However, based on my own experience, as well as the experiences of many other families, it was clearly an anomaly.
well, looks like my post (posted 12/10/10) was deleted. So I will have reiterate my feeling again - maybe less strongly this time so it's not removed. although there are some good things about the school - the project approach and positive discipline - the school has some major problems. They are lacking in community, don't support the families (a select few get preferential treatment) and haven't figured out to meet state standards as well as our neighborhood school. They are a somewhat new school with some great teachers (and some not so great ones), and are having 'growing pains.' The director has no educational background that I'm aware of and doesn't know how to lead the school, but takes care of the administration duties only. We did not feel supported or heard. Alternative learning can be great - if done properly.
The Emerson School offers a truly unique and fantastic learning environment. My daughter is flourishing there after coming home in tears every day at her neighborhood school. We love the teachers, administrators and overall community. If you are lucky enough to get into this school you won't be disappointed.
I have been very happy with our experience at Emerson for the last three years. Not only is there a very strong community focus within the school, student learning also focuses on creating connections to the wider Portland community. I am pleased that my daughter is experiencing learning as a process of inquiry, critical thinking, and reevaluations of old ideas. The project approach is what makes Emerson so unique and perfect for our family and our child. She is also developing a solid foundation in the essentials: reading, writing, math. The school also places a lot of positive emphasis on developing healthy social/emotional connections within the school. If issues arise, I have always felt free to discuss them with my daughter's teacher and with school leaders, who are compassionate, dedicated, and fully accessible and open to comment.
I have two children at The Emerson School--one in third grade, the other in kindergarten--and have never regretted my decision to send them there. In fact, this school has been a gift. I volunteer regularly in a variety of capacities and have had the pleasure and opportunity to see the teachers and staff at work. I am continually amazed at how respectful the adults are to the students in teaching them not only as students of school, but students of life. Both of my children are way ahead of their grade level in all subjects, but more than that, they are confident, independent thinkers and learners who are treated and encouraged as such by every member of the Emerson staff.
I have two children at The Emerson School. We love the urban environment, the fact that the city is the classroom (with bus trips through Portland and walking trips through downtown as part of project-based learning). If you are looking for daily worksheets for your children, you will be dissatisfied. Through 3rd grade homework is primarily reading books as a family and experiencing life. This is not because there is no accountability but because educational research shows no correlation between busywork such as worksheets or spelling memorization and later academic success. My 4th grader has regular meaningful homework. I find the accountability at Emerson much greater - the children are taught problem-solving, critical-thinking, planning, and conflict resolution, as well as strong reading, writing, math skills. I LOVE this school.
I have two students at The Emerson school. My son is in his fourth year as a 3rd grader and my daughter is in Kindergarten. I love that my children are learning to value themselves as learners and are seeing themselves and citizens of their school, community and of the world. The teachers are outstanding and exceed my expectations in every way. I especially appreciate their communication and understanding that the home-to-school connection is so important in these early school years. I feel completely welcome to express any concerns to my children's teachers or the administration and I know that they will listen and help. My kids love their school.
As a former Emerson parent I would advise any parent considering this school to really think if this environment would work for their child. There is no accountability nor responsibilty for work to be completed which may be fine at Emerson but not in the real world . After two years at Emerson my child has no tangible evidence of her time there. Teacher , though some very nice do not prepare your child for the work that lays ahead of them and my child will play catch up for the next few years for all the basics she missed as a student of Emerson. This has been a huge disappointment for us
We were overjoyed upon finding out our daughter got a slot at The Emerson School. The teachers are amazing and it's truly a community environment. The project based learning is effective and helps the child truly get an encompassed education versus ditto sheets and teaching for testing. The Emerson School is truly a gem and we are incredibly thankful our children get such a positive start to their education.
Having had my children in a high ranking public school, where they were bullied regularly by other students, not getting their academic needs met by their teachers (due to oversized classrooms) as well as their emotional needs, I was desperate to find a better alternative. I am so pleased that we were accepted into Emerson and now my children are flourishing academically, socially, physically, emotionally!
Although classrooms my look disorganized to some there is always a high amount of learning going on. While the project approach may not work for some (it does tend to look like 'messy learning'it is great for those learners who are curious, hands on and self motivated. Extremely high parental involvement, small classroom sizes (capped at 22). Children get to be involved and responble for their own learning. Teachers are facilitators and not just instructors. My daughter is reading well above grade level (far exceeding state expectations) and is also exceeding state expectations in math as well. Opportunities for some after school activities are available but this area could be improved on. Overall a great small school in terrific downtown location.
Very disorganized with no classroom control. Lots of great ideas but without classroom control it is impossible to implement.
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