FAQ about Trillium

General Questions

Is Trillium a public or private school?
Trillium is a public charter school that is part of the Portland Public School District.

Information about how to get into Trillium

Where is Trillium?
North Portland:
5420 N. Interstate Ave.
Portland, OR 97217

Additional information can be found on the Contact page.

How many students attend Trillium, and in what grades?
We currently have up to 365 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

What are your hours?
School is in session from 8:30-3:00 every day except Friday, when school is in session from 8:30-noon. Students may be dropped off as early as 8:15am, when the front doors open.

How many different classes are in your school?
There are two blended K-1st  grade advisings , three blended 2nd-3rd grade advisings, three blended 4th-5th grade advisings, four middle school (6-8) advisings and four high school (9-12) advisings.

How many students are in each class?
The K-1 advisings have 21 students each, the 2-3 grade advisings have 23 students each, and the 4-5 grade advisings through high school have sizes of approximately 23 students each.

Can I request a teacher for my child?
The process for requesting a teacher is to submit the Classroom Request Form which tells us more about your student’s learning style. This information is taken into account when doing classroom placement and balancing all the other factors. 

Do I have to pay tuition?
There is no tuition. We are a public school. There is a small activities fee at the beginning of the year.

Is there before and after school care?
There is onsite after school care for grades K-6. Aftercare is available 3:00 to 6:00pm Monday through Thursday and from noon to 6:00 pm on Friday.

Trillium Information

What is a charter school?
A charter school is a public school of choice with the ability to create a mission and hire teachers independent of the school district they are sponsored by. Charter schools receive 80% of the funding per student of regular public schools for grades K-8th and 95% for grades 9-12. Charter schools must meet the same Oregon diploma requirements as all Oregon Public Schools, but are able to determine the educational approach to get there. Charter schools are not required to use district adopted curriculum and students participate in state testing. Students are selected through a blind lottery based on availability by grade level. Staff are not Portland Public School employees.

What is the purpose of a charter school?
Through the authorization of public charter schools, the Oregon Legislature has created an avenue for parents, teachers, and community members to “take responsible risks to create new, innovative, more flexible ways of educating all children within the public school system.” (Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 338.015)

Does Trillium receive additional funding?
It is the school’s responsibility to cover all of its own expenses (including the cost of the school building) with the money it receives from the state. Anything beyond those funds must be made up through fundraising and grant writing. We do encourage all families to become involved in supporting the school through financial means, as well as volunteering at the school in a variety of capacities. We are a school that encourages family involvement in ways that work best for each family.

What does democratic education mean at Trillium?
Democratic education at Trillium is a continually evolving process. The cornerstone is building the understanding with students the levels of decision-making from the self to the community.  We work on how to articulate and advocate for  ideas and opinions in community. Through class meetings, all school meeting, and the proposal to vote process, students can make and pass proposals to impact many aspects of the school: a cornerstone to democratic education

Can I tour the school?
The school, including all classrooms, will be open the nights of our Open Houses. At that time, you can walk through the school, investigate the classrooms, and ask the teachers questions. Please check the website for Open House information. Due to limited staff resources, we will not be offering group or individual tours before admittance.

Will I be able to enter the lottery if I am unable to attend Open House?
Yes, Open House is not required to enter the lottery. The only requirement is that you submit an application for your student

Can I observe a classroom?
In order to keep the learning level at its highest for enrolled students, we do not schedule classroom visits.

Can my child visit?
Upon admittance, your child will have the option to shadow. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applicants, we are unable to allow shadow days before you have been accepted.

When will I know if my student got into Trillium?
We will be mailing letters in late April.

How do I know if I got in?
We will notify you be mail in late April. Your letter will either welcome you to Trillium or inform you of your number on the wait list.

What happens if my child does not get one of the openings?
All students who not get a space are placed on a wait list in the order assigned from the lottery. We use that wait list to fill spaces that may become available throughout the summer and the school year.

If my child does not get in at all, am I automatically entered into the lottery for the next year?
No, you must submit a new application each year you would like your child to be entered into the lottery.

If I live in another school district, can my child attend Trillium?
State law requires that we place all Portland Public School District residents before accepting any out-of-district students. If there are still spaces in a class once all in-district residents have been place, then the out-of-district students will be accepted in the order determined by the lottery. You cannot attend Trillium if you are not living in the state of Oregon.

How do I know if my child has moved up on the wait list?
You can contact us to find out if your child’s position on the wait list has changed. Due to the large volume of inquiries, we prefer that you email us at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

If one of my children gets into Trillium, does that mean that my other children will automatically get in too?
We give priority to current students’ siblings. If your child is admitted this year, their sibling will have priority the following school year, assuming that the enrolled child is staying at Trillium.

How long do I have to accept a spot at Trillium?
If your student is chosen in the lottery, we hope that you will accept right away. You do have a couple of weeks to make your decision. Your letter offering a space will tell you your response date deadline. After that, we begin calling names on the wait list. If you are called during June or July, you will have a few days to make your decision. During August, we ask that you make your decision within 24 hours.

Do spaces ever become available during the school year?
Once in a while spaces do become available during the school year. At that time, we call the first person on the wait list.

Do you have grades?
Trillium relies upon a balanced set of assessment tools. Along with the Oregon state-mandated tests, these may include individual Education Team assessments, academic descriptors, student-led conferences, and student work portfolios. They may also include performance projects, community service logs and project evaluations, and exhibitions. By using a variety of assessment tools, we increase the likelihood of gathering accurate information. We also use narratives as an alternative to letter or number grades in grades K through 5.

What are the classes like?
Trillium School curriculum engages students in inquiring, exploring, comparing, collecting information, predicting, testing, justifying and defending ideas, and synthesizing the results of their inquiries. Higher-level thinking is taught and expected. The school is a place of research and innovation, from our youngest to oldest participants. Students, teachers, and families are required to construct and reinvent continuously. Students have opportunities to experience art  and music as part of their education. Skilled discussion and reciprocity lie at the heart of successfully keeping our curriculum alive.