Place-Based Education Exploring our community through fieldwork and service Learn More DONATE
Robin Wall Kimmerer

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

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.

Community Partnerships

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Portland Parks and Rec
Mirabella Retirement
PSU Archaeology
Rice Museum
Friends of Tryon Creek

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Stories From the Field

7th-8th FW Update

May, 2020 Fieldwork Update

Fourth and Fifth graders have learned about different indigenous tribal communities. 6th grade has adapted quite a lot to at-home learning. Students have been exploring algebraic patterns and geometry with easy to find materials. The 7th and 8th graders have been looking outside for their place-based project this trimester.

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Kindergarten: Change

April 2020 Fieldwork Coordinator Update

School in the spring of 2020 is for Cottonwood students as it is for children all over the world: different. For the past six weeks, our small school has worked to negotiate the contradictory concepts of “remote learning” and “place-based education.”

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4th/5th Grade Fieldwork

Nov / Dec 2019 Fieldwork Update

7th/8th graders trekked to Oaks Bottom wildlife refuge, 4th/5th grades have been laying the foundation for a year-long study of American History through an Indigenous lens. Geology is the place-based focus for 3rd grade. Kinders have been exploring the topics of identity, family, and art.

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Keep Updated with Periodic CSCS News and Place-Based Education Updates:        

hills and trees

Upcoming School Events and Announcements:

Latest from Our Blog

  • The Cottonwood School of Civics and Science stands in solidarity with our Black families. Our goal is to nurture compassionate and confident students who possess the skills needed to confront racism i

  • Exciting news! As part of our first ever Cottonwood Reads! program, we are beyond THRILLED to host an evening with Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass from 6pm-7:30 on Tuesday, November

  • The board of the Cottonwood School of Civics and Science stands with the Black Lives Matter Movement. We recognize we can and must do better. Anti-racist efforts, to be successful and sustainable, mus