The Little People    About the
Community Transitional School

  Who We Are
CTS is a private school dedicated entirely to the needs of children whose families are homeless, in transition and experiencing chronic poverty-related crises. Our purpose is to provide them with a stable, supportive environment that promotes both their personal and academic growth. We combine character education with a curriculum that helps students succeed and develop their individual strengths.

Founded in 1990, we serve about 200 children every year. Our average daily enrollment is 60 to 70 students. We're a registered private school and an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Regular days during the school year start at 8:30am and end at 3:10pm. We're open for a full school year. We also offer a 6 week summer program.

  Our Students
Our students range in age from 4 to 14 and come from families living in the city of Portland, Oregon, and parts of East Multnomah County. They live in homeless and domestic violence shelters, cheap motels, on the floor of a friend's home and even outside in their cars. Some are from families that are on the brink of losing their housing. Some have just recently managed to move into permanent housing. All are in situations where poverty and uncertainty are dominant forces.

  What We Offer
At no cost to our students, we offer:
  • A small, closely knit school with 3 multi-grade classrooms: prekindergarten-1st grade, 2nd-5th grade , and 6th through 8th grade.
  • Flexible school transportation to and from school. Our system is flexible enough to pick up the students wherever they move in the Portland area, on a day by day basis.
  • Two nutritious meals each school day.
  • New clothing and personal hygiene items.
  • New school supplies and daypacks.
  • Special field trips, activities and school events.
  • A highly qualified and experienced teaching staff that includes 3 state-certified teachers, 1 part-time Title I instructor, and 2 full-time teacher assistants.
  • A summer program
  • Great classroom volunteers!
See here for more information about our services.

A Brief History of the School

The Community Transitional School opened on September 17, 1990, as one of the projects of the Portland YWCA. Current principal Cheryl Bickle was hired as the first teacher. Soon after, Marna Tisdel and Jennipher Cochenour were hired to teach as well. Cheryl and Jennipher are still teaching at CTS, and Marna retired in 2013. Then, Jennipher took over Marna's class, and Akina Kawauchi became our new teacher for the younger kids.

Since opening, we've taught about 4000 kids. We have also moved 6 times during that time, becoming an independent school along the way. In the spring of 2006, after 5 moves, the CTS board decided the 6th move would be the last, and launched a capital campaign to build a permanent school. The campaign was successful, and we were able to start our 19th year in our own building.

Our own building!

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Interested in volunteering? call Noni Goodman at (503)-292-4599