The Debacle Over Public School Boundaries


School boundaries are a big deal right now if you’re in the Portland Public School (PPS) or Beaverton School (BSD) districts. 

I am not talking the “please stay out of my space” boundaries. I mean the school boundaries that devastate parents when they hear their children will go to a different school than they originally planned when they moved into their neighborhood, or when kids have to change high schools in the middle of high school.

I get it. I’m a mom first and a teacher second. I, like every parent out there, want what is absolutely 100%, hands-down best for my kids. 

And then the schools get overcrowded and build newer schools. Those new schools need people, so meetings commence to talk about the mapping of new school boundaries. Lines are drawn, and suddenly the school down the street isn’t your school anymore. It feels like it makes no sense, but so much thought and foresight is put into the boundary process that it has to make sense in some bigger, insane picture. 

public school boundaries, portland, beavertonHere’s what I can tell you as a teacher, but more importantly as a mom:

  1. Teachers Care 

    Whether it’s the new school, the old school, the poor school or the rich school, each teacher in each classroom wants nothing more than his/her students to be successful. As with every profession, there may be a few bad seeds but I am surrounded by teachers at all schools who absolutely love their students.

  2. Kids Are Resilient

    At fifteen years of age my family moved across the country from Connecticut to Oregon. It was one of the most horrifying, stressful experiences of my life, but it taught me the importance of learning to work with what I have. My move to Oregon allowed me to grow as an individual and thrive. If you communicate and support your kids physically and mentally, they will survive the change. I know that we want to protect our precious kids from the bad in the world, but learning to overcome challenges at a young age can pave the pathway to personal and professional success.

  3. Be a Role Model

    If there’s a shift in school boundaries, talk to your kids about the changes, and how you plan to manage it. If your precious munchkins hear you say something bad about the alleged “evil” school, board, committee, families, etc. then they may remember it, and possibly even repeat it. This isn’t the way to go.

  4. Cry it Out

    Yes, I said it. I just returned from my son’s kindergarten orientation, and I’m an emotional wreck. Every fiber in my being tells me not to send him to school where he’s exposed and people can hurt him, but I know he’s ready, and I have to accept the reality that he’s growing up. The change may be harder for you than it is for your kiddo (clearly the case for me) but it’s probably not as bad for them as you think.

At the end of the day, change is hard. The school boundaries changing in our cities and neighborhoods puts enormous strain on relationships, travel, and which side of the basketball court we’ll sit on. It is a big deal, and many of you are on the frontline trying to do what’s  best for your community and your kids. Just remember, no matter what happens, teachers everywhere are welcoming your kids.

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Nadia has worn many hats in her personal life and career: mom, matchmaker (professionally and personally), marketer, recruiter, teacher, daughter and sister to name a few. Her true passion is helping people by developing their personal and professional skills so they can be successful in their career. Motherhood has had a different plan for her as she navigates poopy diapers, colicky babies and messy houses. Now, she balances working as a recruiter/career counselor with her toddler son and baby girl.