Martin Luther King Elementary

For the past six years, PSU students have tutored at King with the goal of helping King students meet state and national (NCLB) bench-marks in reading and math, a primary concern of public education in Oregon.  One of the larger K-5 schools in Portland and one with a diverse student population, King has made progress in reaching these goals, in part due to a variety of support services at the school. King is a Title I, school-wide funded program, with Title I funds helping to support the entire instructional program.  All King students are eligible for free breakfast and lunch and 100% qualify for the Federal Child Nutrition Program. In 2001 enrollment was 696 students; currently it has dropped to 395, with an average class size of 25.  The school's ethnic make-up is 68% African-American, 15% Hispanic American, 10% European American, 5.1% Asian-American, and 1.3 % Native American.  State 2006 test results showed 72% of this diverse group of 3rd graders meeting state benchmarks in reading and 66% in math. Fifth grade scores were 64% reading, 63% math, 38% science, but only 20% of 4th graders met state benchmarks in writing.  These figures can be compared to 2006 statewide third grade scores of  86% reading, 86% math; and fifth grade scores of 81%  reading, 84% math, and 78% science.  Fourth graders statewide scored 32% on writing, down from previous years. However, June 2007 brought good news for King in regard to state writing scores, which shot up 48%, to 68% meeting benchmark. King also met all criteria for  national NCLB benchmarks. Other new challenges in the past three years have resulted from King's addition of  6th,, 7th, and 8th grades.  Many, but not all, Portland Public Schools (PPS) have also transitioned to a K-8 configuration from the former middle school model.    

Clearly, the need for additional one-on-one tutoring and classroom assistance is great.  PSU students, having been at King the past 6 fall and winter quarters, and the past 5 spring quarters, have provided invaluable support for King faculty.  This new spring capstone would build on that solid base, and provide both continued classroom assistance and the individual support often critical for student success.  PSU tutors also serve as role models for King students, many of whom have few college acquaintances, This year community partner Joy Williams is especially interested in Capstone assistance with 5th through 8th graders, as King has been selected as one of four PPS   K-8 schools to participate in the rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) program.