“We need to be purposeful and have a sense of urgency.”

— Kellie Burkhardt, principal

  • Portland, Oregon
  • Grades K-5
  • David Douglas SD 40
  • DTM awarded in 2014

School Overview

With 80 percent of its students meeting the qualifications for free and reduced-price meals, and about one-third considered to be English learners, Menlo Park Elementary has to be very deliberate about everything it does to be successful. And the school, in Portland’s David Douglas School District, is both deliberate and successful.

The school begins with its core instruction, making sure teachers have the time and wherewithal to collaborate on ensuring that lessons are focused on what their students need to know. Then begins a careful system of intervention, quickly providing increasing levels of support to students who aren’t initially successful. They try new things — for example, they brought in Rosetta Stone to help their newest English speakers begin to master English conversation — and then evaluate the results carefully, jettisoning those things that don’t work.

“Every student deserves an education,” says the brand-new principal, Kellie Burkhardt, a veteran of the district, echoing her predecessor, Elise Guest, who said, “We need to be purposeful and have a sense of urgency.”

Updated 2014