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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

Building community partnerships is at the core of the place-based approach.

See All of Cottonwood School’s Community Partnerships

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

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Stories From the Field

Outdoor School 2021

Spring, 2021 Fieldwork Update, Part 2


We are so grateful that our 6th and 7th grade students experienced a full week of in-person outdoor school this spring. Below are overviews from the two teachers who accompanied students’ daily adventures at Audubon’s wildlife sanctuary in NW Portland.


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Fieldwork Coordinator Update – Spring 2021


In-person, place-based learning returned to Cottonwood every Thursday (K-5) and Friday (6-8) this spring! The majority of our students joined their teachers in Willamette and Sellwood parks to connect, learn, and enjoy the outdoors.

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Teaching Fence, Black History = American History = Our History

May 2021 Fieldwork Update


Over the past year, our fence facing Bancroft Street has attracted much attention. Last summer, many students and families showed their support for our Black families by posting homemade signs. These cardboard and paper messages filled the fenceline and elicited responses from the greater community, some hostile, but mostly encouraging.



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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 third grade Winter/Spring trimester work this year focused on learning about Indigenous people of the Columbia river region by studying native plants and their uses.  Guiding questions of this uni

  • Please join our staff in reading Indian No More by Charlene McManis and Traci Sorell this summer.   This short book is appropriate for students grades 5 and up to read alone or for families of al

  • Join The Cottonwood School and Confluence for a virtual screening of the documentary film Gather   Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their