Where students realize their academic and personal potential
SEI Academy is a full service, grades 6-8 public charter school dedicated to helping all students realize their full academic and personal potential. The school is founded on the principles of integrity and respect, and on the SEI tenet that every child will be successful.
SEI Academy opened in Fall 2004 and any student in Portland Public School District may enroll. SEI Academy is a Title 1 school that primarily serves children from North and NE Portland who are seeking an alternative to their neighborhood public schools, which unfortunately rank among the lowest in the state in reading and math scores.
SEI Academy is located in the Center for Self Enhancement in North Portland, which is served by the Jefferson High School cluster. For years Jefferson High School has been the lowest academically achieving high school in the region. The K-8 schools in the Jefferson Cluster also rank poorly in annual state assessments.
Each year, 70 percent of the new students that enter SEI Academy from another school come to us testing far below grade level, with many students testing 2-3 grade levels behind. These are the very students most likely to drop out of high school if there is no intervention. The recent decline in enrollment, administrative turnover, and persistent low achievement results in the Jefferson Cluster have accelerated the community’s demand for change.
SEI Academy provides a necessary choice and opportunity for parents who are frustrated with failing schools and with their lack of control over their child’s education. Parents recognize SEI’s track record for success, cultural competence, and the tangible benefits that SEI Academy delivers:
- Smaller and more personalized programs and instruction
- High-quality student-adult relationships
- A family-based approach
- Above all—academic success
SEI Academy goals
- Facilitate academic achievement and positive social development among local students.
- Engage the parent/family members of every student in supporting their child’s progress.
- Establish a rigorous, research-based academic model.
- Help Portland Public School District identify successful strategies to reduce the achievement gap and improve school achievement among at-risk students
- Create an outstanding educational system serving Portland.
SEI Academy utilizes a holistic approach that encompasses the whole child and engages guardians/parents in the child’s education
Specific strategies include:
- SEI Relationship Model. Understanding that youth must have strong, positive relationships with caring adults to nurture growth, SEI Academy prioritizes strong 1-on-1 relationships with students to ensure personalized instruction and guidance that at-risk youth need.
- Small environment. Research demonstrates that smaller learning environments are most effective in building student achievement. SEI Academy’s size creates a low teacher-to-student ratio (12.6:1, compared to the district’s 14.4:1), more individualized attention, and a system that supports each child, preventing youth from getting lost in the shuffle.
- Student Coordinators. Every student at SEI Academy benefits from an individual Student Coordinator, who serves as a teacher, mentor and parent to each child on their caseload.
- Individual Success Plan. Every student develops an Individual Success Plan with their Coordinator. This plan sets personalized short-term and long-term goals in academics and personal growth and establishes specific strategies and activities to obtain these goals.
- Innovative Instruction. SEI Academy’s evidence-based methods utilize project-based learning, critical thinking skills, service-based learning (through community learning opportunities), inquiry-based learning, and information literacy (emphasizing critical research skills for the new “Information Age”).
- “Full Service” Program. All students participate in SEI’s after-school, weekend, and summer programs. The result is students who are engaged all-day, all year long through task-focused curriculum and activities. For students who lack a supportive family life and are surrounded by negative influences, SEI is a home away from home and a second family.
- Family Involvement. SEI Academy has a track record of engaging parents/families in their child’s education. Family Coordinators perform home visits to assess risk levels, connect families with community assistance, and offer additional assistance to ensure children have a supportive home environment. Parents are encouraged to volunteer, serve on a Parent Advisory Council, and attend regular events.
- Top level instruction. All Academy teachers are certified, highly qualified instructors. On average, instructors have 8.2 years of experience, the most of any Portland charter school.