Portland’s Concordia to Relocate Ed School in ‘3 to PhD’ Initiative
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In one of the most impoverished neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon, a flourishing partnership between Concordia University and the PK-8 Faubion School has spawned ambitious plans for a new model of education to help disenfranchised students and the whole community.
The new model, known as the “3 to PhD” Initiative, builds on a long-standing partnership between Concordia and Faubion that has blossomed over the past 8 years. Faubion Principal LaShawn Lee explains that the initiative’s name indicates its support for students from “three trimesters of gestation to pursuing one’s highest dreams.” The program aims to close the achievement gap and develop young students’ college mindset, taking an innovative partnership approach that focuses on the whole child.
Faubion is a designated Title I school with strong ethnic and racial diversity—about one third of students are Hispanic, one third African American, and one third Caucasian. Approximately 25% of children are homeless, another 25% live in public housing or trailer parks, and 81% qualify for the free-and-reduced school lunch program. But according to Principal Lee, although poverty surrounds the school, “our children are not poor in spirit. They’re not poor in motivation, and they’re not poor in creativity.”
The 3 to PhD Initiative will take the already-strong partnership to a new level when Concordia’s College of Education and Faubion School relocate—together—to a brand-new facility scheduled to open in September 2017. The new building will have capacity for up to 800 children from early childhood to eighth grade and will afford Concordia’s educator candidates daily contact with Faubion students.
In addition to housing the Concordia College of Education, plans for the new facility include a comprehensive early childhood development center, a community health clinic and wellness center, a STEM/STEAM lab for both college and PK-8 students, and a food pantry provided by Pacific Food and staffed by Concordia students to provide nutritious food to Faubion families. Concordia students from other colleges and majors would have the opportunity to gain real-world experience while contributing to the community in various components of this “wrap-around” service model.
The 3 to PhD program incorporates the performance goals and benchmarks of the “Cradle to Career” Initiative of Portland’s All Hands Raised partnership. Already, early elements of the initiative are showing results. In the past 4 years, one-to-one literacy tutoring provided by Concordia students has paid off with marked improvements; eighth-grade test scores made double-digit gains in math, science, and reading; and behavioral referrals to Principal Lee have decreased dramatically. Just imagine what the impact will be when the partners move in to the new building!