The Cottonwood School Family Handbook outlines both student and parent expectations
as well as gives an overview of our school and pertinent info you will need.
CSCS Family Handbook 2020-21
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I came to Cottonwood in 2017 when my stepdaughter was accepted into the third grade. From the beginning, I was so impressed with the place-based curriculum that I decided to send her younger brother and sister to the school as well. Once it became clear that our family would be a part of Cottonwood for many years, I decided that the best way for me to support the school was to use my previous board experience in home-owner and neighborhood associations and join the board.
Educated at the Oregon Institute of Technology, I am currently working as a web developer full-time. My wife Allison, a naturopathic physician and clinical consultant for a medical lab, and I are currently navigating the craziness of working and doing school for three kids from our home. In my spare time, I am a huge fan of the Portland Timbers and, when not in the middle of a global pandemic, can often be found standing in the famous Timbers Army singing the team on to victory.
We joined CSCS in 2012 and I have been volunteering for various things, including creating promotional material for the school’s annual auction since 2014, including the design of the live auction catalog from 2015-2019. I also worked with another parent to revamp the school’s website when the name of the school was changed from SW Charter to The Cottonwood School. I have been the go-to person for all things related to the school’s website since.
In November of 2017, I was elected The Cottonwood school board. I had one child enrolled and one who would be soon, so I thought that I would like to have more input on shaping the future of the school. I am currently the chair of the Marketing committee which oversees the website and search engine marketing as well as press and promotion for events and school activities to help further position the school as an authority in place-based education and promote enrollment.
I am a graphic designer, web designer, web developer and digital marketer.
I normally enjoy going out and listening to live music on a regular basis, but 2020 broke all of that, so I spend more time watching movies and playing cards with my family, doing DIY projects around our new house, playing video games with the kids, practicing playing the drums and keeping up with all of the extra cooking now that we don’t go out anymore. When we go back to some kind of “normal,” I am really looking forward to hanging out with CSCS parents again.
Scott is the Executive Director of the nonprofit Blanchet House of Hospitality, which provides meals, shelter, and aid to houseless and food insecure individuals in Portland. Although not a Cottonwood parent, Scott has long admired Cottonwood’s mission and unique place-based curriculum. Prior to joining the Cottonwood Board, Scott got a first-hand look at Cottonwood’s classrooms in action while he was the senior program manager at Classroom Law Project, which runs the Project Citizen program that Cottonwood teachers and students enjoy. He brings over two decades of teaching and independent school leadership experience to the Cottonwood board, as well as past board experience, including six years on the board at the nearby language-immersion International School. Scott currently serves on the Old Town Community Association Board. And once in his life, a long long time ago, he practiced as a criminal defense attorney in Texas. Scott and his wife Jill, a med/peds physician, have three children–one out of college, one in college, and one almost there. In his precious free time, Scott and his wife practice being empty-nesters, which during COVID involves a lot of binge watching shows they didn’t have time for before.
I’m proud and privileged to say that we’ve been a Cottonwood family since 2013. From the very beginning, I could feel that this community was itself a precious family worthy of my support. I started my service to the school with the parent organization helping with auctions and have spent the last five years on the Board, serving as President for two years, and currently as Treasurer. I enjoy putting my skills in accounting and governance to use to the benefit of the administration and staff of the school, and ultimately for its students. I am an Accounting Manager at Portland General Electric focusing on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, a mother of two boys, an all-weather runner, a summertime paddle boarder, and an Airbnb superhost! I draw on my past experiences as a bookkeeper, CPA, internal auditor and Wilson High School cheerleader to volunteer for the unpopular tasks, or find volunteers, to fill in the gaps where needed. I find so much meaning in my board service because it allows me to witness an organization carrying out a mission I deeply believe in and doing so with courage, grit, creativity and passion. I am here in support of the committed and talented teachers and staff because I can see the difference that they make in the lives of the children of Portland and in the broader educational community.
Cottonwood’s place-based curriculum and passion for civic engagement was the foundation for putting our kids at CSCS. I have a son (9) in the third grade, and I have a son (7) in the first grade. We have been part of the CSCS family since my nine-year-old was in kindergarten. After two years of my oldest son attending CSCS and having another son going into kindergarten, I decided to join the Board. Having two strong Black boys at CSCS I wanted to be their voice. Being on the Board this past year has given me that opportunity. Currently, I am attending Portland State University in my last year towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. I also have an Associate Degree in Business Administration. My current goal, especially after this past year, is to be a Diversity Advocate for grade-school level students. I believe every child from a diverse background should have someone advocating for them in the school system.
I moved around a lot as a child, throughout the Portland and Vancouver area, and I know first-hand as a minority how hard it is to be a student in a school system embedded on systemic racism. The amazing thing about Cottonwood, particularly after this traumatic year we had, is seeing our school really stepping up. Seeing the growth, the support, and strength this past year at CSCS makes me proud to be part of such an amazing school and serving on the Board.
In my spare time, my family and I love going to the Coast spending time relaxing with an ocean view. I enjoy writing poetry. My family and I love having dance parties in our living room. Even though I lived in the Northwest most of my life, I like taking adventures and finding new gems right in our very own backyard. I love to read books; sometimes I will finish a whole book in one day. I also love watching movies of all genres, and if I could spend a Saturday binge watching and eating popcorn all day I would. What I love most is being with family and having some good, old-fashioned family fun.
I am a neurodivergent Jersey girl-turned-Portlander, avid reader and writer, and believer in all things local. Cottonwood’s focus on place-based education inspired me to join the board.
Leadership isn’t something that came naturally to me; all my teachers branded me as extremely shy as a child. I’ve always preferred working behind the scenes and amplifying others’ voices, and my role on this board allows me to do both. I worked as a local journalist prior to starting a literary publishing house, Forest Avenue Press, in 2012. I believe in the power of storytelling and use my skillset to help with Cottonwood publicity and marketing campaigns.
I have a degree from Vassar College and a certificate from the Yale Publishing Course, which I attended in 2018 thanks to a scholarship from the Independent Book Publishers Association. I’m a proud member of the Anxiety Society, supporting the Create More, Fear Less nonprofit founded right here in Portland to help students use art and imagination to work through their worries.
Jake comes to us with great experiences and passion that directly relate to this diverse position. Over the years, through work with Playworks, at a Montessori school, Outdoor School and with the Boy Scouts, Jake has gained experience in teaching games, delivering lessons, and actively keeping kids engaged in fun, physical movement. He has had the opportunity to build skills that support children’s social emotional well being alongside their physical health.
Liza joined the Cottonwood staff in 2018 as the full-time special education teacher. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and a dual Master’s degree in Reading & Special Education from the University of Michigan. Liza grew up in a large family in the Northeast that included a special needs sibling. Before getting her masters, she worked in administrative positions at schools in Boston and Southeastern Michigan. After grad school, she and her husband relocated to the Northwest for access to all of the outdoor activities in the Cascades and Oregon coast. In Portland, she has taught special education at Beaverton High School, Peninsula Elementary and Portland Village School. She is thrilled to be at Cottonwood where she appreciates the close knit community of staff & students along with the school’s place based education mission. In her free time, Liza enjoys spending time with her family in the mountains or at the coast, buzzing around in her EV, and enjoying the many great coffee houses in the Northwest.
Nancy joined the Cottonwood Special Education team as a half-time learning resource teacher in the Fall of 2020. Over the years, she has evolved as an individual that sees great value in education. In her generation, there were no additional supports for students to develop their areas of weakness. She was a high school drop-out that yearned to be equal. Throughout her life, she strived daily with small challenges that propelled her forward.
Nancy graduated from the Cinema, Television, Stage, and Radio Arts program at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology with a Practical Arts Degree, as a writer/producer for television.
She also studied the fine art of printmaking at Northern Virginia Community College and became a professional printmaker.
She pursued interdisciplinary studies in education, art, and psychology at George Mason University. Her Masters in Education is from Regent University; with an Adaptive Endorsement from George Mason University.
She is also a proud mom of two, who both had learning challenges throughout grade school, one of whom is now a veterinarian.
Joe joined the staff as a long-term substitute in the Winter of 2020. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, and his Master’s of Art in Teaching from SUNY Cortland in 2010. He is a passionate reader, writer, and outdoor adventurer who has been teaching and exploring the Pacific Northwest for the past ten years. In addition to several years working with underserved and homeless youth in downtown Portland, Joe has also taught at an American International School in Guatemala City. Joe feels that successful educators must be constantly searching for newer and better ways to connect with and engage their students and be willing to meet and interact with young people in the spaces that they find comfortable. This means being tech savvy and culturally aware, but it also means simply having the confidence and the integrity to treat all people with respect, and approach every learning opportunity with an open mind. He is looking forward to learning more about place-based learning as the year proceeds.
McLean came to Cottonwood in the fall of 2019 as a teacher candidate in Morgen’s 4/5 classroom, before moving to the middle school. He recently earned his Masters in Education from Portland State and works to incorporate music, theater, and storytelling in the classroom each day. Prior to his time at CSCS, McLean served as a classroom assistant and after school teacher at The Ivy School, a summer camp instructor/Earth Mage at Trackers Earth, after school care bus driver, field educator at an environmental non-profit, and Expressive Arts Program Coordinator. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, McLean enjoys backpacking, playing the guitar, looking at maps, creating art, sports, video editing, playing board games, long road trips, and crossword puzzles with his morning coffee.
Kimberley has spent the last ten years teaching preschool through third grade at Trillium Charter School and spent the past three years in a K/1 blended classroom. Kimberley is committed to relationship-based education and inclusive classroom practices. She became interested in place-based education while working with a colleague who did their student teaching at The Cottonwood School. The next year Kimberley devoted her time to a year long study with her students of Washington Park and the importance of this place to the Portland Metro community. Kimberley has a BA in Early Childhood Education and Human Development from Washington State University. In her free time, Kimberley loves spending time with her daughters, friends and family, reading, hiking and riding her bicycle.
Angie joined CSCS in fall 2016 and came to us after teaching a first, second, and third grade blend at The Ivy School in Portland. Originally from Southeast Idaho, Angie moved to Portland in 2005 and later earned her Masters of Education from Portland State University. Angie has held a variety of roles in education from coaching to being an instructor at Mad Science, but has especially enjoyed working with young children. She loves their strong sense of curiosity and contagious joy for life. Angie’s commitment to crafting learning experiences that are hands-on and require creative thinking have found a natural fit in place-based education and the Storyline method. When not teaching, Angie loves to fill her time with reading, painting, kayaking, and catching up with friends and family.
Susan joined the teaching staff of the Cottonwood School in 2012. She has over 15 years of teaching experience spanning grades two through six in both public and private schools. In 2018 she joined the administrative team as Academic Director and is enjoying supporting staff and students in this new role. Susan received her Masters of Education from the University of Pennsylvania and found her way to Oregon as the result of marrying a native Oregonian. She spent most of her childhood living outside the United States. She was born in Brazil, completed high school in Belgium and as an adult has also lived in Russia. These international experiences have helped her develop a strong appreciation for other cultures and viewpoints. When not at school, she enjoys travelling to new places whenever she can. She is an avid reader and helps to promote this with students through participation in Battle of the Books.
Email: susanhathaway [at] thecottonwoodschool.org
Elizabeth joined CSCS in 2016. She recently graduated with a MAT from the Arbor Center for Teaching in conjunction with Marylhurst University. As part of this program, she had the privilege of co-teaching for two years in a K-1 classroom at the Arbor School of Arts and Sciences, as well as teaching language arts and math units in a 5th grade at Stafford Elementary in West Linn. When she’s not in the classroom, you can this native Portlander singing in choirs, cooking, gardening, writing, and hiking.
Morgen came to CSCS in 2016 from the Creative Science School in Portland. Prior to her time at Creative Science, Morgen received her master’s degree in Education from Portland State University and had the opportunity to teach in a variety of educational settings as a substitute teacher for Portland Public Schools. She has experience with the Storyline method and strives to find authentic and engaging ways to integrate grade level content across the curriculum. An avid fan of the game of soccer (football), Morgen enjoys playing weekly on her adult co-ed team and also looks forward to attending Portland Timbers games with her husband and son. As a native Portlander, she also loves a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and snowboarding.
Lisa joined the teaching team at CSCS in 2007. Prior to teaching at SWCS, she worked with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) where for four years she developed science curriculum and taught students of all ages around the state. Her love of science and exploration began back in Michigan where she and her sister would explore their neighborhood, looking for insects and tinkering in their father’s work shed. That interest would take her to study at the University of Michigan where she discovered she had a talent for teaching and received a Bachelor of Arts in Education with High Distinction. She recently completed her Master’s degree at Concordia. She has taught in a variety of educational settings from large group assemblies, which encouraged a love of theater, to small group classrooms, where she can give individualized attention. Her strong science background is accented by a passion for storytelling, folklore & mythology from around the world. Inspired by those tales, she creates visual art, plays with the Stumptown-Jugthumpers as a washboard player, and is learning how to make puppets. Lisa brings her enthusiasm and talents to share and loves discovering and honing the talents and skills of each of her students.
Chris joined the staff as the 7/8 Math and Science teacher in 2014. Chris received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology Education from Ithaca College. He has completed Master’s level work in Educational Technology at Walden University. He spent four years teaching Middle School science at Lower Manhattan Community School in New York City. Chris feels that every interaction and situation presents an opportunity to learn. He has a passion for outdoor education and learning through community. Chris believes that knowing the children we teach is as important as knowing the content we teach.
Emily Conner joined Southwest Charter in 2016 as our 7/8 Humanities teacher. Emily has a Masters in Teaching at Lewis & Clark, where she focused on social justice education and promoting an inclusive and inquiring classroom community. Her interest in place-based education began when she lived in Alabama, working toward her MFA in creative writing and farming in Coker on weekends. In her free time, Emily likes to bake bread, doodle, and go on long walks with audiobooks and her dog Ellie.
It is a policy of the State Board of Education and a priority of The Cottonwood School that there will be no discrimination or harassment on the grounds of race, color, sex, marital status, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or disability in any educational programs, activities or employment.
People having questions about equal opportunity and nondiscrimination should contact Amanda McAdoo, Executive Director,
0640 SW Bancroft Street., Portland, OR 97239;
or email: email@example.com
Her teaching journey actually began at our school as a student teacher for Sarah Anderson while earning her Master’s in elementary education at Antioch University. While there she specialized in integrated learning with an emphasis on science and environmental education. She has spent the last four years teaching a blended 2/3 class at Trillium Charter School where she has been committed to creating engaging and relevant projects that connect students to their place. She is passionate about building strong relationships with students and creating a collaborative and inclusive classroom community. We are glad to have her back at our school.
Daniel has a Masters in Education from Portland State University. He spent last year in a 4/5 classroom at MLC where he gained experience with this age group, used the Storyline Method during several projects, infused the school day with music, and more. He is passionate about incorporating the arts into each school day; He plays guitar for the children every day and has begun a novel writing project with the class. He has been hard at work building solid routines in math and other areas of classroom life.
Natalie recently graduated from Oregon State, grew up in Coos Bay, and is an avid horsewoman. We are excited to have her with us full time as a PE Teacher and Recess/Classroom Aid.
Melissa studied early childhood education before having her own children and moving from California to Oregon in 2012. She worked for several children’s art companies including Kiwi Crate where she designed over 400 of their art tutorials and wrote for their child centered art blog. Melissa’s oldest child started at CSCS her kindergarten year in 2012 and Melissa naturally fell into the art program of CSCS by volunteering in a parent-led art program for two years before coming on board officially as the k-5th grade art instructor in 2015. When she is not teaching art at school and hanging art throughout the halls, Melissa leads a girls group, enjoys cooking, painting and spending time with her family. Coming from a family of 9 siblings she thrives around the energy and the children at CSCS.
Noelle joined Cottonwood in the fall of 2017. In the six years prior, she taught pre-k thru third grade in both public and private school settings. Noelle also teaches acting classes at Oregon Children’s Theater. Noelle received both her BA and MAed from Portland State University. When she isn’t teaching, she spends her time acting on stage and in film, camping, backpacking, hiking, and adventuring with her dog, Lady Bird.
Nesa joined the teaching team at CSCS in fall 2014 and has loved being a part of this amazing community ever since! Nesa is passionate about Place-Based Education and has been working on the grant committee to help other teachers learn about and implement PBE curriculum. She also uses the Scottish Storyline method, an integrated approach to teaching, in her classroom which leads to many engaging activities such as building a volcano and creating a restaurant in the classroom. Nesa received her B.A. in Drama from Vassar College in New York and incorporates her love of performance into the classroom by allowing her students to explore creatively and learn by doing. Originally from Eugene, Nesa returned to Oregon after living on the east coast and received her Masters in Education from Portland State University. Nesa has loved being a teacher of young students immensely. She loves getting to know her students, discovering their strengths and talents, and overcoming challenges together as a classroom and school community. Outside of teaching, Nesa enjoys being in nature, traveling, Balkan folk dancing, dancing in general, and 90s sing-along parties.
Kathy Price, a former preschool teacher, has been working with CSCS since the opening in 2007 (as Southwest Charter School). In addition to teaching preschool, Kathy has worked with Neighborhood House’s SUN program teaching after school classes to grades K-8. Kathy has a coached many sports over the years including soccer, basketball, gymnastics and dance. Outside of school, Kathy enjoys reading, hiking and long walks on the beach. Kathy has lived in Portland for most of her life and is proud to be bringing up her son in the same neighborhoods in which she grew up. Kathy has taken great joy in raising her teenage son and is grateful she gets to spend time with the amazing kids of CSCS.
Amanda joined the faculty at Southwest Charter in Fall 2010 as the kindergarten teacher, during the 2014/15 school year she began her transition into administration, becoming the Executive Director in 2016. After being away for 22 years, Amanda returned to her hometown of Portland in 2008 to raise her two boys. Amanda received her Master’s Degree in Education from the Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California in 1992. With her degree in hand, she has taught in a number of small alternative schools, designed a successful children’s clothing line using recycled materials, and started her own Place-based school in rural Montana. Amanda believes strongly in the power of Place-Based Education and getting children out from behind their desks and into active, hands-on learning! She loves children and is enthusiastic about the outdoors, her community, family, cooking, and crafts.
Email: amandamcadoo [at] thecottonwoodschool.org
Sarah K. Anderson, was previously our 7th/8th teacher specializing in language arts and social studies, was originally lured to Oregon by its waterfalls. She spent most of her childhood exploring rivers and forests near her rural Vermont home- experiences which provided inspiration for a passion for nature and all things wild. After graduating with a degree in American Studies from Bard College in New York, Sarah served as an AmeriCorps volunteer for Metro Parks and Greenspaces in Portland. Since then, she has worked as a crew leader at an educational farm in Vermont, a Teacher Naturalist in the California Redwoods and a Middle School Humanities teacher at The Key School in Annapolis, Maryland. Sarah received a Masters of Education from Antioch New England Graduate School, where she specialized in integrated and place-based education. In addition to exploring the local neighborhoods and environs with her zany middle-schoolers, Sarah enjoys knitting, hiking, pickling, reading good books, and climbing waterfalls.
Sarah has written a book about Place-Based Learning and The Cottonwood School of Civics and Science, titled “Bringing School to Life: Place-based Education Across the Curriculum.” Learn more about the book here .
Email: sarahanderson [at] thecottonwoodschool.org