Food Resources at Open School (led by Giselle Reynoso & Annaliese Anderson)

Open School East, located at 16570 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97233, is a extremely rigorous college-prep program for amazing children who need something other than the traditional school. There are many students that are likely to drop out, and open school knows who those students are. They find them, and surround them with what they all need to graduate and get ahead. This includes; academics, equity and advocacy. Open school consists of four core programs: Open School East, Open School North, Step Up and Open School Masters of Arts in Teaching.

Open School East’s principal is Matt Ross. The East program is a 7th – 12th grade college prep school that is located in Multnomah County. These students advance an average 2.5 grade levels in math and reading wile attending their first year with open school. At Open School it is emphasized to build long, strong healthy relationships, personal responsibility, clear choices and outcomes, stepping-stones to post-secondary success and relevance. At the beginning of the term our team set four goals.

  1. To reach out and contact the businesses that the Winter term team suggested and others that our team thought of.
  2. Create long lasting relationships between organizations/ businesses with Open School
  3. Secure donations and a plan for future donations
  4. Create and open a food bank/pantry in Open School for students have a resource for food that they can easily go to for free

Open School East currently serves 135 students. These students are in middle school and high school. By 2019 they hope to serve 270 students. It costs a yearly amount of $12,000 to support Open School students. And although thy receive grants, it is still not enough to cover the entire $12,000. Not only is this a factor for these kids to get ahead but food security and having the access to the clothing on their backs in order to attend school at all.

There is a passion to move these children forward to graduate high school and go onto college. Lets help raise the statistics for graduates together. It’s not easy getting organizations to help our cause, but persistence is key. Moving forward and keeping that communication going with the list of organizations and asking them for their help will keep and build those authentic relationships going between them and Open School. We are very exited to see what the future terms and teams accomplish. We are exited to see where you take what we and the past terms started. The list our team members made with the organizations we contacted is a great start to get connections built. It is a great starting point for the next term to pick up where we left off. We hope to see this grow and hope to see that food pantry to provide free food for those students that need it. We hope to secure those donations for those students that need clothing that cant afford it. We hope to see this organization thrive!

Team Members: Giselle Reynoso, Laura Hanson, Annaliese Anderson, Leanna Knight

5 thoughts on “Food Resources at Open School (led by Giselle Reynoso & Annaliese Anderson)

  1. There are so many factors that influence student academic success rate in the United States. In Oregon we trail far behind the rest of the country ranking 3rd worst in the country for graduation rates (The Oregonian, 2016). This staggering statistic can be digested when we look at why. Across the country variables cited as reasons for an educational Opportunity Gap, previously known as an Achievement Gap, include race, parental educational achievement, socioeconomic status, and unemployment rates. A study, conducted at Stanford University, looked at the children’s educational achievement. In Oregon, they found that socioeconomic status is the greatest indicator of academic achievement. In fact, they found nearly a 1:1 correlation between socioeconomic status and childhood educational achievement which means that in Oregon other factors have a negligible effects in comparison.
    Logically, it makes sense that children from lower socioeconomic statuses have a harder time achieving academically due to the challenges they face every day. At Open School, creating a food bank is a step toward fighting the Opportunity Gap in Oregon. Food scarcity and hunger are real socioeconomic issues that cause children to underachieve in school. Michigan State University reports that hunger in children can be associated with slower memory recall, hyperactive and attention problems, behavioral problems, and lower math scores.
    Open School takes in students that are high risk for dropping out and surrounds them with resources to help bridge any gaps they may have. Helping Open School create a food bank will help student get through one of the socioeconomic problems they face. Being a part of this project was an opportunity for me to grow and become more engaged in the community. During the term we worked on creating awareness and building relationships within the community. We worked on garnering support from local businesses and were able to get Sunshine Food Bank to offer a monthly donation. Every attempt we made at helping Open School we did while trying to create relationships based on equality. We want to empower the students at Open School and not have power over them. We tried to build in the redistribution of power into our work, creating something that could be sustained by the community at Open School. This is an exciting and moving project and I encourage the next group to continue working hard to achieve this important goal!


    [1]The Center for Educational Policy Analysis. (n.d.). The Educational Opportunity Monitoring Project: Racial and Ethnic Achievement Gaps. Retrieved from
    [2]Hammond, B. (2017, January 26). Oregon’s graduation rate, among worst in nation, inches up 1 percent | Retrieved from
    [3]Michigan State University. (2013, February 23). Hungry children at higher risk of poor school performance | MSU Extension. Retrieved from

  2. Hello all! My group and I also worked at Open School. I found their mission and goals to be very inspiring. I did not know that it cost $12,000 dollars to run open school all year. I think your goals that your team had were very important and admirable. I think that reaching out to local businesses around the school for fundraising was a great idea. It is more likely that a local business would be more willing to help the school that a large business would.

  3. Hello all,
    My team also worked with Open School East, but I did not know a lot of the information listed in this blog post. For instance, I had no idea that the students advance an average of 2.5 grade levels within their first year at the school, that is really amazing! That really shows that this environment is very effective for these students and gives them the opportunity to academically flourish in a way they were not previously doing. You mentioned that open schools know students who are struggling in traditional school and are at risk for dropping out, do you know how? I am just curious. I also did not know that it takes $12,000 to support Open School students. I did however realize from my own team project that raising money is a lot harder than I thought and, like you said, requires a lot of persistence. I remember in the beginning of the term I was wondering why so many teams had worked on the same project before us, and why we could not get it done in just one term. I definitely see that things were not as easy as I thought. It looks like you guys made some great progress though! I think the fact that you guys contacted organizations will be a huge help to the next group and make maintaining and building those relationships a lot smoother. My team project involved raising money for technology, which I think is extremely important, but being able to provide food and clothing to students who need it seems to be absolutely essential in my opinion.Thanks for all your great work!

  4. Sounds like Open School is a great organization to get involved in. I think it is a great way to reach out into the community and find those who have what it takes to graduate, but may need a little more support to get there. According to your blog post, it sounds like they are looking to double student enrollment in two years. Do they have specific ways they want to accomplish that? I am curious what that might look like. I think having a food pantry is a great idea for supporting students. What a great way to decrease the burden on these students, and also give a way for organizations to give of some of their resources in a very tangible way to support education in the city. I hope the students next term will be able to continue with this good work!

  5. My group was also working with Open school and I was extremely impressed with the way the school has supported their students. They have given these students with many resources that were not there before and I think that being able to help them in any way is an amazing contribution. The kids from around the community have so much potential and many times are not able to show this due to the lack of funding that many schools receive due to low test scores. I would love for more of the community to be involved and be aware of what is going on. Maybe this way they would be more prone to want to help out, even if it is just by giving their time to help in the classroom or with fundraisers. I truly hope that a team in the future will be able to get more funding donated to the Open school because the school they are running is truly amazing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s