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Private Schools

Portland Private Schools

About 14 percent of Portland’s K-12 students attend private schools. There are over 200 private schools in the metro area so picking the best fit for your child can be overwhelming. Fortunately, a number of organizations can help you get started.

  • Oregon Department of Education  A good place to start is the Oregon Department of Education’s Web site where you can find an online directory of more than 360 private schools registered with the state.  Included are schools approved for special education.
  • Great Schools  Great Schools contains information on more than 290 area private schools and many of them are reviewed by parents.
  • Educational Consulting  Consider hiring an education consultant. For a fee  a consultant can help ensure your child finds the best fit. Education Consulting is a site managed by a consortium of independent school experts that can help you find a local consultant who has been accredited by the Independent Educational Consultants Association of the US.

Three Acclaimed Private High Schools

Oregon Episcopal School  Founded in 1869, the Oregon Episcopal School (OES) offers a preK-12 program with a strong academic as well as extra curricular activities. The boarding program at OES serves students in Grades 9-12. Boarders comprise nearly one-quarter of the Upper School student body, and about one-half of our boarders are international students.

The school claims the highest average SAT math score (670) of any Oregon school. OES advocates a hands-on approach in which students design experiments to find the answers to questions they pose.

OES is the science school of the Northwest. Everybody does a project and OES projects win at the national level and win regularly at the state level. “We were always out there dropping bowling balls or playing with toy cars and recording data to find out for ourselves what physics was about,” wrote a student in an email about her physics class.

When the school built a new science building, it included drop zones filled with sand and open above so students and teachers could demonstrate physics by dropping items from the second floor.

Since 1995, OES has racked up 66 total finalists and semifinalists in two prestigious national contests (Siemens Westinghouse and the Intel Science Talent Search). In 2010, two OES juniors, Matthew Fernandez and Akash Krishnan, won $100,000 after being chosen the top team entry in the Siemens Competition for Math, Science, and Technology. Matthew and Akash developed a computer algorithm to identify emotion in the human voice, which may have applications for helping people cope with autism.

Catlin Gabel  Another well-known private school in Portland is The Catlin Gabel School.  Besides the high school, it enrolls preschool, elementary, middle school students. They have a strong extra curricular activities program ranging from theatre to athletics.  Over 60% of the students are on interscholastic sports teams according to biology/chemistry teacher Paul Dickinson.  The 54-acre wooded campus has four soccer fields, a state-of-the-art track, two outdoor tennis courts, two indoor tennis courts, gym, and weight room. Boosting a strong science curriculum, in the five year span from 2006-2010, Catlin’s high school robotics team has won 20 first competition awards, becoming the only Oregon team to qualify for the world championships four years in a row.

Other information about Catlin Gabel:

  • 25% of the students identify as people of color.
  • More than 80% score above 1200 on the combined SAT I, and 30% score over 1400.
  • 100% admitted to college and 60% admitted to first-choice college.
  • More than 20% national merit semifinalists or commended scholars.
  • Advanced honors courses in biology, chemistry, and physics. 90% of seniors pursuing advanced math, culminating in Calculus 2.

St. Mary’s Academy  Founded in 1859, St. Mary’s Academy is Oregon’s oldest continuously operating secondary school, and one of about 500 all-female schools in the country. St. Mary’s is the only school in Oregon to receive three U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools Program Awards. Located in downtown Portland, the school provides a college preparatory curriculum and a complementary and enriching co-curricular program to a diverse group of about 600 young women. The school even offers Latin. St. Mary’s has won 17 Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) state championships in five different sports.

The school’s newspaper, Ms. Print, can be viewed online at

Noteworthy Private Middle and Elementary School

Portland Jewish Academy  PJA is a community Jewish day school that serves about 325 students from preschool through eighth grade. PJA is a Blue Ribbon School, given by the U.S. Department of Education.  In 2008, 3 out of the 10 Portland High School valedictorians were graduates of PJA. The Portland Jewish Academy Our students learn Hebrew everyday in a mini-immersion style and middle school students also learn Spanish.

Schools Offering Foreign Languages

Portland provides a wide variety of private schools with a range of philosophies, educational approaches, and standards.

The International School  The International School provides a multicultural environment where children are fully immersed in Spanish, Japanese or Chinese language and culture. Children become fluent in another language, at home in other cultures, and engaged in math, science, social studies and arts.  The International School was founded in 1990 and today educates about 450 elementary age students.  The International School has been an IB World School since March 2010. It offers the IB Primary Years Program.

The French American International School (FAIS) has two academic divisions. The French American School (FAS) is a preschool through fifth grade French immersion school accredited by the French Ministry of Education. The Gilkey International Middle School (GIMS) is an international sixth through eighth grade program. Students can study one of the following languages: Chinese Mandarin, French, German, or Spanish.

The International Leadership Academy, a French immersion school in Lake Oswego, offers classes in preschool through 5th grade.

The Portland French School operated in Johns Landing for years but closed it doors in 2011 due to financial problems. To take its place a charter school, the Le Monde Immersion School, will open. It begins with kindergarten and first grade in the 2011-2012 school year, and then to add one grade each year until reaching full strength at K-8.

The L’Etoile French Immersion School was also formed in 2011 as a result of the closure of the  Portland French School.  The school is currently located in temporarily facilities in John’s Landing and will be moving to a permanent location in December 2011 (5839 SW Hood).  This will enable the school to open up spots in  preschool, kindergarten, and first grade for the Spring term, and enrollment from 2nd through 5th grade beginning in Sept. 2012.

The German-American School offers classes through the fifth grade. Two schools offers Saturday classes are the Springleaf Chinese School and the Portland Japanese School at Park Plaza West− telephone: (503) 644-9579.

The Northwest Chinese Academy offers an immersion curriculum in Mandarin Chinese for preschool and elementary grade children. They have a very low student to teacher ratio, in the 2010-2011 school year it was 6:1. They are located in Beaverton.

Catholic Schools

This Web site, Archdiocese of Portland, will link you to a list of all the catholic schools in Oregon.  There are over 20 catholic elementary schools in the Portland area plus six high schools. Below are five of the high schools (St. Mary’s Academy is mentioned above):

  • Jesuit High School  A Catholic, college-preparatory school in the Jesuit tradition.  Jesuit became coeducational in the fall of 1993 and has now grown to a student body of more than 1,000 young men and women.  Jesuit High School has a strong sports program and the Crusaders are a frequent state tournament entry.  In June, 2009, Sports Illustrated named Jesuit as the 2nd best “High School Athletic Programs for 2008-09” in the nation.
  • Central Catholic  Central is located on the eastside and the school educates students that come from diverse economic, cultural, religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds.  They have a strong athletic program.
  • De La Salle North Catholic High School  Located at 7528 N. Fenwick Avenue, Portland, Oregon.
  • La Salle Catholic College Preparatory  Located in Milwaukie, in most years 100 percent of La Salle graduates attend college.
  • Valley Catholic School  Located in Beaverton, Valley Catholic School is a PreK-12 private, Catholic school.

Other Private Schools

The State of Oregon Department of Education has a directory of registered private schools on their site which you can find at Oregon Private Schools.

Mt. Hood Academy is a fully accredited private high school for students pursuing a rigorous academic program while developing their skills as alpine ski racers. The students, from throughout the Western United States, live, study and train at the Academy from early November to April while on leave from their regular high schools.

Westside Christian High School  Westside Christian High School is a non-denominational high school founded in 1981 and located in the suburban community of Lake Oswego. Westside offers AP classes as well as a full compliment of music and theater activities. According to Scott Ball, Academic Dean, about 40% of the students take AP or honors classes and 90% of the graduates are admitted to their ‘first choice college.’  In 2010, the choir won state for the fourth year in a row. The drama department produces two main stage performances each year.

Waldorf Schools

To learn more about Waldorf Education, visit the Web site of Bob and NancyWaldorf Education now has four schools in the Portland area: Cedarwood School (Pre-K/K-5) in Southwest Portland, Portland Waldorf (Pre-K/K-12) in Milwaukie (SE Portland area), Shining Star School (infant to age 14) a co-op family school in NE Portland, and Swallowtail School (Pre-K/K-8) in Hillsboro.

More Private Schools
  • Arbor School of Arts and Sciences  Non-profit elementary school in Tualatin.
  • Children’s Hour Academy   The Lake Oswego academy serves infants and toddlers in the preschool development program and they also have an K-6 elementary school.
  • Montessori Schools  There are over 20 Montessori schools in Portland and the majority serve 3-6 year olds. The Alameda Montessori offers Spanish instruction for preschool and kindergarten.
  • Mt. Hood Academy   Mt. Hood Academy trains alpine ski racers, ages 13 and older.
  • Northwest Academy  Northwest Academy that offers an arts-infused college-prep curriculum for students in grades 6 through 12. High school students throughout Portland can now access French and Mandarin language immersion classes through a partnership between Northwest Academy and the French American International School.
  • Oregon Deparment of Education  Information and links to Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) and other useful information for families considering private school education.
  • Pacific Northwest Academy  PNA is a K-5 school that is located in Wilsonville, and serves families that live in the south and southwest suburban communities.
  • Portland Family Freeschool  For children ages 3-7 – located in NE Portland.
  • Portland Friends School  Located at 7426 SW 53rd Avenue, Portland, Oregon. 97219-1331 Phone: (503) 245-8164
  • Renaissance School of Arts and Sciences   A K-8 school in Portland’s Northwest District neighborhood (Nob Hill) integrating design, art, engineering, and the sciences.
  • Summa Institute  An independent private school for children K – 8th grade and their families. Summa Institute campus is located at 2510 SW 1st Avenue in Portland which is close to downtown.
  • Sunstone  Montessori  Sunstone offers a comprehensive Montessori education for children from 16 months old through 6th grade. The school is located in the Johns Landing area of Southwest Portland.
  • Touchstone Elementary  Lake Oswego – part of Noble Learning Community.
  • Tucker-Maxon Oral School  Tucker-Maxon is a school for both deaf and hearing children talking, learning, and achieving excellence together.  Hearing children benefit from their low student-teacher ratios (8:1) and an environment where individual attention is the norm.
  • Village Free School  The school is built upon the concept that children of all ages learn from each other, and so the school is not segregated by age or grade, which allows for significant peer mentorship.
  • Woodmont School for Dyslexics  The school is located at 8660 SE Foster Road, Portland, OR 97226.  Telephone: (503) 771-0002.
Religious Affiliated Schools
  • Archbishop Howard  Archbishop Howard School is a Catholic elementary school located in Northeast Portland.
  • Crossroads Christian School  Crossroads Christian School is a private Christian school in Portland, Oregon that serves students from pre-school through 8th grade.
  • Horizon Christian Schools  Horizon is a private, nondenominational, evangelical K-12 school located in Tualatin and accredited by the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools.  It has an enrollment of over 400 students.
  • Portland Lutheran School  Portland Lutheran School is an independent private pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school dedicated to the intellectual, spiritual and emotional development of its students.
  • St. Agatha Catholic School  Located on the eastside at 7960 SE 15th Avenue.  St. Agatha offers classes for grades K-8.  Telephone”  (503) 234-5500.
  • Veritas School  Located in Newberg, Veritas offers a K-12 classical and Christ-centered education. Students study Latin starting in 3rd grade, Logic in 8th grade, and Rhetoric in high school.


Ready Set Mom has a guide for childcare in the Portland area.  It’s the area’s comprehensive guide to preschools and daycare providers. You can select the area of town where you need care from a list, and browse the listings. Or, enter keywords in the BlogBar search engine.

  • Adventure Friends Preschool  Adventure Friends Preschool is a Christian preschool with an academic focus and welcomes 3,4 and 5 year olds.  Located at 835 SE 162nd Portland.  Telephone 503-252-8415.
  • Children’s Hour Academy   The Lake Oswego academy serves infants and toddlers in their developmental program.
  • L’Espoir Preschool of the Arts  Provides early childhood education for children from ages 2-1/2 thru 5. Drop in care is also available for full day, half day and hourly rates.
  • Multnomah Playschool  A parent cooperative located in Southwest Portland, the school feeds into elementary schools like Bridlemile, Maplewood and Stephenson.

Enrichment and Tutoring

Saturday Academy’s (SA) innovative programs are open to all students in grades 4 through 12.  SA offers enrichment programs in locations through out the Portland metro area.

SA emphasizes math, science, engineering, technology, and healthcare because these disciplines are integral to the future children will live and work in.

Mathnasium is a learning center where kids go after school to boost their math skills. The program is for kids in grades 2 through 12. Students attend once or twice a week, for about an hour.  Like a gym or health club, members pay a low monthly fee and can drop–in anytime.  Mathnasium’s goal is to significantly increase your child’s math skills, understanding of math concepts, and overall school performance, while building confidence and forging a positive attitude toward the subject.

Home Schooling in Oregon

Between 12,000 and 13,000 students are home-schooled in Oregon , according to the Oregon Department of Education.  The Web has proved to be a powerful tool for home-schooling parents, giving them access to math, science, and other lesson plans and offering their children a world of research opportunities.  Most of all, it has brought home-schoolers together as never before, creating an electronic bulleting board to list home-school events, ask questions and exchange ideas.

Most home-schoolers in Oregon use the discussion group called ORSig and Portlanders use the Greater Portland Homeschoolers site as well as OHEN (Oregon Home Education Network).