Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get more information?

Interested parents, students, and community members should attend an informational session, generally held in Winter (see Enrollment page for dates).

Questions may be submitted via e-mail to Principal, Dawn Bolotow, at dawn@springwaterschool.com, or call the school at (503) 631-7700.

If you would like an application or would like to contact the school with questions, please contact April Newlon at the front desk or call our office @ (503) 631-7700.

What about transportation?

Parents are welcome to transport their own children and Springwater’s volunteer coordinator will assist parents in making connections with one another to arrange for carpools. Springwater also contracts with the Oregon City School District to transport students by bus from and to several centrally located hubs. Transportation arrangements may vary year-to-year, depending on the needs of the students and their families. Springwater will assist all families in making transportation arrangements and will ensure that every successful applicant is able to get to and from Springwater.  See our Current Bus Schedule.

Why is Springwater located in such a rural location?

Springwater’s rural setting, while not as centrally located as some other schools, is critical for the realization of our educational program and philosophy. Located on five rural acres, near 500 acres of Metro land and the Clackamas River, Springwater’s setting gives students the opportunity to learn and experience environmental sciences on a daily basis right outside their front door. Instead of busing students from one unfamiliar location to another in order to experience and learn from the environment, students are able to live what they learn by developing an outdoor classroom, a community garden, and working on outdoor projects that are located, and that benefit, their local community.

Who is employed by Springwater?

Springwater employs a full-time building principal, a full-time secretary, part-time bookkeeper, ten classroom teachers, and two preschool teachers.  Springwater also contracts with a special education teacher and a counselor, as well as other specialists on an as-needed basis. It is Springwater’s goal to hire master teachers with specialties in teaching elementary science, math, and reading. While charters may employ up to 50% of its staff without licensure, Springwater anticipates that all of its teaching staff will carry state teaching endorsements and credentials.  See our Staff Bios.

What is expected of parents?

All parents who elect to enroll their children in Springwater are expected to commit to helping Springwater grow into a successful educational program by donating their time, skills, and/or resources to the degree that they are able to do so. A wide variety of volunteer opportunities are made available, so that parents may volunteer their time and abilities on campus or at home, during the school day or during evenings or weekends. Parents are also encouraged to attend the community-building activities that are scheduled throughout the school year, to give parents an opportunity to meet each other, get to know the students with whom their child attends school, and gain a greater understanding of the educational goals and philosophies employed by Springwater staff.

Are Springwater students required to meet the same academic standards as other students in Oregon?

Yes. All curriculum utilized by Springwater will be aligned with state content standards and Springwater provides instruction to meet the common curriculum goals of the State and of Oregon City School District. Springwater provides instruction in all of the subject matter areas, and thus prepares the students to meet all State and District standards. The primary difference from other elementary schools is the emphasis on instruction in science, particularly environmental sciences, as a unifying theme or focus for learning, as well as an emphasis on project-based, hands-on learning. In addition, Springwater students take the same statewide assessments and are required to show the same growth as other public school students in Oregon.

Who should apply to Springwater?

Springwater is committed to a diverse student body and is designed to work well for students with diverse backgrounds, interests, and educational experiences. However, applicants should have a strong interest in science and an understanding that all of Springwater’s curriculum will eventually be integrated with the sciences. Applicants should also be interested in working outside (in all sorts of weather – this is Oregon!) Springwater’s approach to teaching will prove especially successful for students who derive benefit from project-based learning and who are looking for an academically rich, challenging environment.

What does it cost to attend Springwater?

Like all public schools in Oregon, there is no tuition assessed.  Springwater may offer enrichment opportunities to students and parents outside school hours on Fridays, weekends, holiday breaks, and the summer months for which costs may be associated.  As with many other schools, there are beginning of the year costs that average about $200 per student.

Who is eligible to apply?

Any child who resides within the Oregon City School District boundaries is eligible. In addition, Springwater is allowed by law to admit out-of-district students if available spaces remain at the end of the lottery period. Springwater classes will have no more than 22 students per class. For more information, see Enrollment.

What is a Charter School?

A charter school operates via a charter “contract“ with a local school district. Charter schools usually receive 80% of the per-student financing provided by the state school fund, and the local district keeps the remaining 20%. A charter school has its own board of directors and is run independently of the local school district. However, a charter school’s charter with the local district contains specific requirements, including financial standards and academic goals, that the charter must meet. Enrollment at a charter school is voluntary and is initiated and selected by parents.