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

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

1st/2nd Grade Plant Study

Nov 2020 Fieldwork Update


The days are getting shorter and colder, but the plant study for our 1st and 2nd grade students is still going strong! This fall they have been learning about all things plants: how they work, their parts, the gifts they give us, and all the ways we can help care for them. At home, students are sprouting herbs and watching roots, stem, and leaves slowly emerge from a bean seed that germinated in their window.


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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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