The Cottonwood School of Civics and Science

A Place-Based, Public Charter School in Portland, Oregon


To provide a creative learning environment where students develop a sense of place and become stewards of the natural world and active citizens within our community.

Portland skyline
hp top curve with logo

Place-Based Education in Action

Before they began the trimester, we asked this 1st/2nd grade class simple questions about rivers…

Place-based education is a way of taking the walls down between school and the community.

7th graders identify a problem in the community and seek out policy-based solutions.

Make a Donation to Help Further Place-Based Education!

Stories From the Field


June, 2018 Fieldwork Update

In this last month of school, many of our students have been out of the classroom and in the community. Here are a few end-of-year fieldwork highlights. Our kindergartners made multiple visits to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, first and second graders spent the spring trimester learning about local forests, The Portland State University Archaeology Roadshow featured projects from three of our classrooms this year (3rd, 4th & 5th grades), the seventh and eighth grades traveled to the State Capitol building in Salem earlier this month to present their Project Citizen portfolios.

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Oregon Trail

April – May, 2018 Fieldwork Update

The 7th and 8th graders installed their “pop-up” museum on Latin American immigration for the Portland Mercado’s three-year anniversary festival. Our kindergarteners cared for and hatched chicks using an incubator. 8th graders travels to a different site every Thursday afternoon in the spring trimester to practice career skills and provide service for a community partner. The 6th graders attended OMSI science camp and the 4th and 5th graders participated in Outdoor School’s Oregon Trail overnight.
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March 2018 Fieldwork Update

March, 2018 Fieldwork Update

Why is Portland the whitest big city in America? What are the historical trends behind the Black Lives Matter movement? Why is there a police oversight committee in Portland? If you’re looking for answers to any of these questions, just ask a sixth grader– they know! For the past two and half months, Lisa’s class delved deep into the Civil Rights Movement of the ‘50s and ‘60s and the roots of racism in America…
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hills and trees