News & Updates
August 28, 2019
Finding good tutoring in Portland, Oregon can be a unique and challenging journey. This is because Portland has many different educational sub-systems to navigate. We are firm believers that good tutors know and understand how a given school system works. A tutor has to know how a school system works in order to best help a student.
Portland has seven different public school districts and a vast array of private schools. It also has many colleges, including Portland State University, which is located in downtown Portland, Oregon. With regards to primary and secondary education, Portland has seven school districts which include: Lake Oswego, Parkrose, David Douglas, Beaverton, Tigard-Tualatin, Reynolds, Riverdale, and the Portland Public School District. The latter is by far the largest school district. There are over 45,000 students who attend one of the ~ 100 schools in the Portland Public School District.
Portland also has many private schools, including Central Catholic High School, Catlin Gabel, De La Salle, The International School, and Oregon Episcopal School, among many others. Portland is also home to OHSU School of Medicine and Lewis and Clark Law School.
I grew up in Portland, Oregon. I attended a number of the Portland Public Schools, including Duniway Elementary, Sellwood Middle School, and Cleveland High School. I also spent some time at Central Catholic High School. Growing up in Portland taught me a lot about the Portland Public School system as well as the surrounding school systems. Now I own and run Tutor Portland, which is a local tutoring company serving a countless number of schools in the Portland area. We focus mainly on mathematics, science (mostly chemistry!), and Spanish. We focus on these because we have found through experience that these are generally the subjects that Portland, Oregon students struggle most with. They are also subjects which students can learn! And we’ve seen the biggest benefits when students reach out for help in these subjects. But, we’ve also learned that not all tutoring is created equal. We’ve discovered that often a college student with strong communication and psychology skills makes for a better tutor than a Ph.D. who has trouble explaining his or her ideas. The college student is likely more approachable. And if they are experienced at working with youth and have the ability to create rapport then that’s a strong foundation for a tutoring relationship to flourish. They also have to know and understand the Portland, Oregon school system—especially the school district within Portland that your child attends. Each district has different standards and programs.
Finding tutors who are knowledgable about the various different school districts and curriculums in Portland is not easy. Portland, Oregon is a growing city. There are more students needing tutoring—and more people claiming that they can offer it! How do you sort out a trustworthy tutor from one that doesn’t really know how to teach?
We like tutors who:
- Grew up in Portland, Oregon and know the local school system
- Have strong communication skills & understand human psychology
- Are down-to-earth and approachable*
*This one is really important. Learning is really hard. Math and science are difficult subjects. The last thing you need is a teacher or tutor who is uptight and too serious. That makes these subjects even more challenging and frightening to approach. When the tutor is down-to-earth and relaxed, the student will naturally feel this and adopt this attitude. In addition, math and science are generally not the most important things in a teenager’s life. And that’s fine! Tutors need to be accepting and understanding of this. If they aren’t, if they try and tell students that math is the most important thing in life, the student will be off-put by that. This puts the learning relationship at risk.
In addition, *you* are likely getting busier and busier. Your kids do sports, your daughter has music lessons, and you have to drive them around all day. Traffic is getting worse. It takes hours to get across town. That’s why many parents find it hard to secure good tutoring. Maybe they think about online tutoring, but generally realize it’s not as high quality as in-home or in-person tutoring, and they can’t monitor what is going on during online sessions. That’s why many Portland, Oregon families ask about our in-home tutoring. This is a good option because we drive out to you. This allows your student to learn in the comfort of their own home. In addition, it is just simply convenient. You save time and money not having to drive your kids all around town during rush hour.
Many families are telling us that the current education their child is receiving is inadequate. Often they have a teacher who moves too quickly for their child. Many times these teachers are by-the-book and not very accommodating to students who learn math and science at a different pace or in another way. And less-than-stellar teachers are not the only thing putting downward pressure on Portland students. The Portland Public School system is also facing budget cuts and other funding pressures. To compound this problem, Portland has a housing crisis for many families. This means that many children go to sleep each night without a stable home to sleep in. Because of this, nearly 4% of Portland Public school students are deemed homeless. This puts pressure on all of the students in school.
One neat thing about the Portland Public school district is that they offer language immersion programs. The Spanish immersion is the most popular program and it is offered at ten elementary schools. The program is also offered at the middle and high schools that these elementary schools feed into. At Tutor Portland, we work closely with these programs and provide support for students who are struggling, and students who simply wish to excel.
Many Portland schools also offer International Baccalaureate (IB) programs. The IB program is run by a non-profit organization. It allows students to take more challenging courses and receive advanced credit for them. There are four different IB programs: Primary, Middle, Diploma, and Career-Related. These programs are offered at various schools throughout the Portland area. Some of the schools are: Lincoln High School, International School of Beaverton, Southridge, Tualatin, and Cleveland High School.
The Diploma IB Program is for high school students aged 16-19. Schools all across the world offer this program. There are six core subject areas within the program: Arts, Mathematics, Language, Science, Literature, and Societies. Each subject area has specific courses that fall within it. Many schools will let students take just a few courses instead of testing for the entire IB Diploma program. For example, it’s possible to just enroll in IB English, IB Science, and IB Mathematics. And we can help you with those subjects! We’ve done quite a bit of work helping students in these challenging IB courses and preparing for difficult IB and AP examinations.
We think that the IB Program is great because they focus on developing students who are:
Those are great qualities for students to have.
Portland Public Schools also have other programs, which many families voice concerns over and feel frustrated with. We listen to many complaints about the Common Core State Standards Initiative. The Oregon School Board of Education put these standards in place in 2010. The standards were placed in English and mathematics. The majority of issues families have are with the mathematics standards. Families are frustrated because the Common Core Standards and their corresponding teaching methods are different than they grew up with.
The standards outline different categories for students. For example, high school students are expected to learn and gain mastery over six different areas:
- Numbers & Quantities
- Statistics & Probability
As a way to gauge success within the given categories, annual standardized tests are conducted for each child. This strong emphasis and focus on persistent testing of students has led to backlash and outrage across the nation and throughout schools in Portland, Oregon. Teachers have taken to the streets to protest the Common Core Standards and corresponding standardized testing.
However, there are some organizations that support Common Core. Notably, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supports it. They support it because they believe that Common Core gives our schools a set of standards which help make our students competitive in the global economy.
Regardless of the perceived benefits or disadvantages of common core, one thing is clear: it can be tricky for families to navigate. That’s why we’ve found that having a tutor or assistant who can help you greatly improves student performance and reduces stress.
However, not all students fit within the neat categories or school districts. There are many students who choose to home school, at least for a few years. We have worked with a number of families who were deciding to homeschool their children and wanted to provide some structure to their day by adding an hour or two of tutoring each weekday. We have helped create custom learning programs for students in subjects ranging from mathematics, English, to Spanish. These students often see great results in their learning. They have the advantage of being more self-directed in their learning and more focused on mastery of subjects and ideas, rather than on simply earning good grades.
The legal requirements and standards for homeschooling in Portland, Oregon are pretty simple. The government simply asks that you register your child with your local school district service. This can be done online! Parents are given a lot of leeway with how they want to educate their children. Parents can choose what subjects they want their kids to learn and what resources they will use. Parents can choose textbooks, online resources, private tutoring, and online charter schools. There are many free resources to use! KhanAcademy is a great free tool.
There are a lot of different ways parents like to use tutoring. We have covered many different ways in this post. Sometimes families choose unlimited [or full time] tutoring for their children instead of school. This is common for parents who are homeschooling their children. Other times, parents use tutoring as an addition and boost to their current education.
Portland, Oregon can be a tricky place when it comes to navigating the local school systems and finding a good tutor. This is our specialty. This is what we do. Please let us serve you.
August 18, 2019
Are you looking for tutors in Portland, Oregon? The first step in looking for tutors in Portland is to know exactly what type of subjects you are interested in and also what goals and objectives you would have for any tutoring program. Portland has a very diverse set of schools and curriculum. In addition, there are many different types of tutors and tutoring organizations in Portland.
Different Options for Findings Tutors in Portland, Oregon:
1. You can always find a tutor on craigslist. This is a great idea if you are looking for a low-cost tutoring method. This is a more involved process because it would be a good idea to meet with the tutor before you have them work with your child. It would also be smart to test and see how well they know the given subject. Normally, I would only recommend working with someone off craigslist if you can verify they have a track record of successful tutoring experiences. You can also find a tutor on a website such as care.com. However, it would be smart to do your due diligence here as there have been some recent media articles highlighting concerns with care.com.
2. You can find online tutors. Online tutoring is always an option. There are many good options for this. Varsity tutors has online tutoring available. There are also websites like Wyzant. I know people who have tutored for these organizations. However, even with the rush towards everything online, most families that I know still prefer to have tutoring happen in-person. I prefer it for myself, too. I’ve been studying a lot of organic chemistry recently because I am applying for medical school soon, and I personally use in-person tutors here in Portland, Oregon when I need help. It feels so much more tangible and real and dynamic to have a tutor who is there with you in-person.
3. Another option is to find a local tutoring company. I like local tutoring companies because they are normally founded by someone who is originally from the area and knows the different local school systems. In addition, smaller companies just make sense when it comes to tutoring. I think the entire problem with education is that it has become too commercialized and too mass-market. Classroom sizes are too large. The curriculum is dictated by “common core standards” and students are taught and tested based on standardized metrics. I think that smaller, local tutoring companies are better able to customize and tailor specialized learning programs for individual families.
Other Factors to Consider When Looking for Tutors in Portland, Oregon:
Aside from where to find a good tutor, there are many other factors to consider when looking for tutors in Portland, Oregon.
1. It’s important to think about the tutor’s long-term plan and goals. One big complaint that we hear all the time from families is that they have trouble finding a reliable tutor in Portland. This is because tutoring is normally a short-term part-time job. This is because tutors are normally younger, and often still in college. There is some work that needs to be done here because often times college students make great tutors. These tutors are down-to-earth and relate very easily to students. We have found that they key distinction is determining the motivations of the tutor. We search for tutors who are motivated intrinsically to teach. We want tutors who are passionate about their subject and will go above and beyond to make sure the message gets across. We are not interested in tutors who just view tutoring as a job or as a way to make some money. These tutors are unreliable and more short-term in nature. We have discovered through experience that tutors who are passionate about their subject and about teaching tend to go the extra-mile and stick around for many years.
2. Look for local tutors!!! We cannot stress this enough. We have learned over the years that local tutors are effective because they grew up in the area and often attended some of the local schools. This means that they are likely to have connections with local teachers and within local school systems. But even more importantly, they understand the local standards and curriculum. This is important because expectations for students vary by state, city, and even school districts. For example, not all states use common core. But school districts within Portland, Oregon use the common core standards heavily.
3. Find tutors who are passionate about education and who stay up to date on the most recent trends in education. This is incredibly important. Education is changing all the time. We read about different states changing their education standards nearly every year. Within any given year it is common for 10+ states to change and adjust their mathematics or reading standards. The bottom line is that education is changing all the time. For example, New York recently reported that they will be moving away from the common core standard and towards a “next generation” learning standard. At Tutor Portland, we are constantly researching what might happen next with regards to the state of education in Portland, Oregon. We are on top of this so that you don’t have to be. We do it because we love this stuff! Education and learning are fascinating. And we want to do our part to make learning more accessible to all students.
Finding Tutors for Students at Portland Public Schools (PPS):
Some families aren’t a fan of Portland Public Schools. And we get it. Any public school system is bound to have some problems and issues. But there are several things that PPS does very well. Expert tutors (often local tutors) know and understand well how to work within the Portland Public School system in Portland, Oregon. PPS publishes many tools and resources for students, families, and educators on their website. For example, Portland Public Schools mandate that all teachers publish their syllabi online in an easy to find and read format. Tools like these help students and parents. They also help tutors who are better able to track a student’s progress and help them over the course of the school term.
Tutors for Private Schools in Portland, Oregon:
There are many great private schools located in Portland, Oregon. Some of them have their own tutoring on staff. And others offer tutoring to their students for an additional fee. But we have found that many private schools don’t have tutors available, or the ones they do aren’t satisfactory. Private schools in Portland, Oregon definitely have different standards and expectations than the Portland Public School system does. So when you’re for tutors in Portland it’s a good idea to find tutors who know the local area and understand the differences among the schools here. And the differences between the private schools here are pretty found. We like this guide as a breakdown of the top 20 private schools in Portland, Oregon. As you can see, these schools have a wide variation in their “grade” or ranking, and also in their cost.
What are some of the top private schools in Portland? There are smaller schools located in downtown Portland such as the Northwest Academy. Oregon Episcopal School, OES, is a very well known and highly regarded school in Portland. We have tutored a number of clients at OES, and have often donated to their school auction in previous years. There is also All Saints School, which is located in inner SE Portland. We have also worked with several families who have students attending La Salle Catholic College Prepatory School. La Salle is a co-ed roman catholic school. There are countless other private schools. They all have a slightly different way of running their schools and their academic departments. They have varying educational standards and they teach some of the core subjects like math and science in separate ways. Looking for a private tutor who understand these differences is a very wise choice!
Finding Tutors in Portland, Oregon for a Homeschooling Program
Homeschooling in Oregon is a pretty straightforward idea to get started with. Legally, the barriers to entry for a parent to start their child on a homeschooling program are pretty low. You simply need to register your student with your local ESD. You can do this by sending the ESD a simple letter stating your intent to enroll your student / child in a home learning program. You then have free range what you wish to teach your student. However, this is the bare minimum that you should do. Most parents attempt to find activites and chances for interaction and collaboration for their child. We have had several families, therefore, ask us about creating programs for their children who are being homeschooled. Often the student will spend the first part of their day reading and involved in self-directed learning. This means that they are engaged in their own learning and focused on things they are intrinsically motivated to learn and improve at. As the day progresses, the parents may want them to take some formal lessons. They might take their child to music lessons. There is one program we like a lot called Trackers Earth, and many parents choose to send their children there to learn great skills such as blacksmithing, animal tracking, and a wide variety of other cool and useful outdoor skills.
Often families then have a tutor come in for a few hours per day. We normally assist with subjects like reading and mathematics because these can be challenging subjects to master for some students. Normally, families that are homeschooling choose to opt for our Unlimited Tutoring Membership. Essentially, this is exactly what it sounds like. We have a no-limits approach to tutoring and to the time we can spend with your child. We have always had this as an option since we were founded right here in Portland, Oregon in 2015 – by me, Eric M Earle, a proud Portland native.
Finding Tutors in Portland for Other Programs
There are many other learning and educational goals that can be assisted through the use of an in-home tutor. For example, we have a specific math tutoring program for families who are located in Portland, Oregon. This is our most commonly used program because – let’s face it – math is hard! We have found it is one of the subjects that students most benefit from having help with. Having a math tutor is a big boost!
Another popular program is our pre-medical program. This program is geared towards seniors in high school as well as college students or post-graduate students. We focus on several things in this program. We have a core curriculum that includes intensive tutoring for any math or science courses. We focus primarily on these courses because mastering the concepts in these courses is critical for successful applications to medical school. It is also critically important to earn high grades in these courses. We do not accept anything less than an A. Neither should you. On top of this, we also assist with English, Sociology, Psychology or any other courses that your student might be enrolled in because these are very important, too. And they are becoming increasingly more important with each passing application cycle. In addition, we also help with overall strategy for acceptance into medical school. We help students focus on their purpose and their mission. This focus is *critical* for acceptance into great medical schools. We assist, therefore, with overall game plan and strategy. What jobs should I work? What type of volunteering should I do? What type of reflective writing should I do to start preparing for my medical school applications? We help with all of this and so much more.
We also have specific programs which have been created and shaped for each grade level: high school, middle school, and elementary school. We also have a program for adult tutoring. In addition to these age-specific programs, we also offer summer tutoring programs.
Thanks for much for choosing to read through our website and for your time reading this article. We really appreciate you and we would love to have the opportunity to serve you. We focus on being the most customer centric tutoring company ever known! It is our mission to serve you – to make sure that you are happy and fulfilled and that you are confident in the future of your child. We know that children are the most important and precious things in the world. We treasure that special relationship. And we work very hard to ensure academic success for even the most challenging and difficult circumstances. Thanks! We hope you are having a fantastic day.
Eric M Earle
Founder and Owner, Tutor Portland (est. 2015)