“FAMILIES HAVE STRUGGLED IN THE PAST AT DIFFERENT TIMES, BUT EDUCATION HAS HELPED EVERYBODY MOVE FORWARD.” – CHERYL BICKLE, PRINCIPAL OF THE COMMUNITY TRANSITIONAL SCHOOL (CTS)
CTS is a private school dedicated to the needs of children whose families are homeless, in transition, and experiencing chronic poverty-related crises. Located in Portland, Oregon, CTS serves Portland and East Multnomah County. The school was founded in 1990 as a joint initiative between the Portland YWCA and Portland public schools. The first teacher hired then was Cheryl Bickle, the current principal.
Through the school, the children receive school supplies, hygiene supplies, and clothing. More importantly, they are provided with two meals a day and transportation to school. The children are picked up from their home location, even if it changes daily.
“Our purpose is to provide them with a stable, supportive environment that promotes both their personal and academic growth. We try to instill in the kids the expectation of themselves to get an education,” proclaimed Bickle.
Typically 200 to 225 students attend each year, with approximately 70 to 90 attending daily. Students are divided into three class groups: kindergarten and first, second through fifth, and sixth through eighth.
CTS depends almost entirely on grants from foundations and organizations. “The reason why we’ve gotten such good support through the years is people believe in education,” said Bickle.
Subaru of America Foundation donates a grant for summer school funding, which allows CTS to run a five-week extended year. The structured half-day classes focus on math, reading, and continuing lessons. Approximately 35 kids in second through eighth grade participate in the program each summer, with priority given to the older kids. In this way, CTS offers continued stability – and two meals daily.
For more about the Community Transitional School, visit www.transitionalschool.org.