50 Years of Reinventing Education

1971 Open Meadow Learning Center founded as an educational program of Portland Youth Advocates serving homeless Portland street youth in a downtown storefront.

Mid-1970s Open Meadow moves to rented space in North Portland (where we concentrate our services to this day). The program is collectively managed by five teaching staff and serves 35 middle and high school students from North and Northeast Portland.

1979 Open Meadow incorporates as an independent non-profit.

Early 1980s Open Meadow changes to an Executive Director model. Our annual budget is less than $100,000.

1991 We purchase our first building and grow to serve 80+ students.

1993 Youth Empowerment and Employment Program (YEEP) added.

1995 Corps Restoring the Urban Environment (CRUE), a project-based high school program is added.

1998 At the request of Portland Public Schools, Open Meadow opens a middle school for 56 students, now called Open School North.

2000 We change our name to Open Meadow Alternative Schools.

2003 Open Meadow develops Step Up, an innovative partnership with Roosevelt High School offering intensive summer and after-school academic and social support services.  We add Youth Opportunity (YO), offering youth employment services.

2004 Step Up expands to serve Roosevelt’s feeder middle schools (George, Portsmouth, and Open Meadow Middle School). We open a newly renovated building to serve CRUE and other Transition Programs, allowing us to expand the number of high school students served.  Corporate Connections begins, providing employment readiness training, internships, and career track jobs with local corporations.

2005 Open Meadow adds Project ESTEEM (Empowering Students Through Educational Employment Mentorships), a partnership with local and national businesses offering career-based mentoring for high school students, and City Corps, a project that teaches students about city government and increases youth voice in the civic process.

In 2006-07, Open Meadow serves nearly 600 youth ages 10-24 in seven programs at six sites, including public middle and high schools in the Roosevelt Cluster. The 2006-07 budget is $3.0 million.

2007 Open Meadow’s Step Up expands to serve Portland’s McDaniel and Marshall high schools.

2009 Open Meadow’s Step Up expands to serve Gresham-Barlow School District at Gresham High School.

2013 Plans for a new program in East Multnomah County are crafted. This program will use predictive analytics to enroll students before they drop out and in time to prepare them for post-secondary success. It will be called Open School East.

2014 Open Meadow’s storied High School, located at the Benson-Cheney house, closes after 43 years.

2014 Open School enrolls its first class of 7th grade students at Open School East, located in the Rockwood neighborhood on the border of Portland and Gresham. The new program is temporarily located at Harold Oliver Middle School.

2015 Open Meadow changes its name to Open School to reflect a new strategic focus on post-secondary success. Open School breaks ground on the new Open School East building.

2016 Open School completes construction on Open School East where we currently serve 101 amazing students from six school districts.

2021 Open School celebrates 50 years of transformative education! Open School serves 450+ high school students across the Portland metro area with a full-day school program (Open School East) and a robust equity-centered mentorship program (Step Up)