Monday, January 1st, 2018

Enroll Now for Fall 2018

Posted by Kay

Hello, Prospective Families! Enrollment for Fall 2018 has begun. Start the process by touring our school at the first Open House of 2018 – Thursday, March 1st, from 5:30-7:30pm. If you already know that you will be applying, this is a great opportunity to drop off your application.

The TCS 2018-19 Application is available for download from our website and in print at the Front Office. All applications submitted by March 30, 2018 will be entered into a blind lottery, to be drawn on April 4, 2018.

Before you apply, we recommend a few things. First, attend an Open House. Open House is an informational meeting and an opportunity for self-guided tours of the building. There are no children’s activities, but children are still welcome. Your child may meet their future teacher!

Then, dig deep into our website. Make sure that you feel comfortable with who we are and what we stand for. A good place to start is our Trillium FAQs. Here, you will also find answers to questions you may have about Enrollment.

If you have further questions about our school, the enrollment process, or the application, please contact Patrice, email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Letter from the Director

Posted by Kay

Some of you may have had an opportunity to read the article written by Shasta Kearns Moore in the Portland Tribune, on December 21, 2017, titled: “Trillium Charter School Roils in Turmoil: Racial Divide One Factor as Students Leave in Droves.” Another byline was:  “Kids Said to Be Out of Control.” Ms. Moore was present at the December 13, 2017 Board Meeting, alongside 80 staff, students, and parents. She interviewed current and former staff, parents at the board meeting and I was interviewed as well.

The article, I believe, provided a fairly balanced view of the current state of the school.  There are divisions.  There is tension.  Test scores are low, enrollment has declined; there is staff instability and poor staff morale, and student management issues.  There is dissatisfaction with the Trillium School Board and me as the Interim Education Director.  Despite the current state of affairs, I believe that improvements can be made that will enable us to sustain the mission and vision of Trillium.  I understand the importance of listening to the school community and gaining a deeper understanding of your concerns.  It is my intention to be open to your perspectives and points of view.  My decisions at all times are based on what is in the best interest of our students.  What will increase student achievement?

My effort is to continue to work diligently with school staff, parents and students to address the divides and other issues that are negatively impacting our school.  I cannot do this work alone.  I will need the collaboration of all groups as we work together toward accomplishing the goal of increasing student achievement, improving staff morale, increasing student retention and maintaining staff mobility.  I realize the importance of effective communication and am committed to increasing lines of communication with the school and community.

We have important work to accomplish.  Your children deserve a quality education here at Trillium. Having worked in this assignment for six  months, I am keenly aware of its dynamics. I will continue to strive each day to successfully fulfill the responsibilities of the Interim Executive Director and I look forward to us working together.

Patrice Mays
Interim Executive Director

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Help Us Fulfill Our 2018 Goals

Posted by Kay

From the outside, Trillium is unassuming — a converted warehouse that appears too small to house a preK through 12th grade student body.

“The staff is tireless, and the teachers are downright extraordinary. It looks very different from traditional schools: students work together, solve problems as a community, and ‘normalness’ is not considered a virtue. Critical thinking is encouraged and kids are allowed to make choices within a structure they can thrive. I predict that Trillium will someday be revered as a leader in the paradigm shift in education.”
- 4/5 Parent 

The current funding crisis for education has been widely reported, and schools across the country are experiencing severe difficulties as a result. Trillium is no exception. What’s more, since Trillium is a charter school, we receive 20% less funding than traditional public schools. Our vision at Trillium has always been to create an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable place. To follow through on this, we need to be proactive about establishing renewable sources of funding.

As we enter our 16th year of operation, we are feeling a renewed sense of passion and idealism. Where is it coming from? It is coming from you! — from all of the voices chiming in with excellent advice and inspiration for Trillium’s future. Community involvement is climbing, with staff, parents, and students teaming up, to organize interest in leadership, preparedness, and volunteering; to breath new life into tried and true fundraisers, while launching new and innovative ones.

However, direct giving is the most efficient method for you to positively impact our future. When you make a cash, check, or online gift, 100% of your dollars stay at Trillium to benefit your child. We offer giving levels for every budget. Review them at What will the funds be used for? The funds from your donation will be put toward the areas where they are needed most. Help us fulfill these goals in 2018:

  • Technology Upgrades – Network, ChromeBooks for Students, Projectors for Teachers
  • Schoolyard and School Building Upgrades – Playground, Fencing, Garden, Bathrooms
  • Competitive Teacher Salaries
  • Field Trips and Experiential Learning Opportunities
  • Afterschool Programming


If every family gave $10 per month of 2018, we would raise over $40,000 dollars. To break it down, that could mean 250 new ChromeBooks, salary increases for every teacher, a free breakfast program, or a safer play surface. Imagine the possibilities with us, and make them happen! Since Trillium first opened its doors in 2002, we have been pooling our collective resources, and making amazing things happen. Let’s keep the tradition alive, and keep building a better future for our kids.

Ever Forward,
Trillium Staff and Board

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

We’re Hiring!

Posted by Kay

Is your New Year’s resolution to explore other Employment opportunities? If so, you will be glad to know that Trillium has several openings coming up in the next term. Both teaching and staff positions available. We highly recommend that you review our Trillium FAQs before applying, and volunteer or sub if possible. The majority of our current staff and teachers were volunteers or substitute teachers before arriving in their current positions. Like their students, they work hard, but they love this place that they get to create, and are dedicated to its success. Learn more about Employment at Trillium.

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Prepare Out Loud! Presentation

Posted by Kay

Interested in improving earthquake safety in schools? We recommend that you attend Prepare Out Loud! at Trillium, on Wednesday, February 2nd, from 6-7:30pm, presented by Trillium parent and Red Cross staff member, Steven Eberlein. Learn practical steps you can take to protect your kids at school, and at home, in the event of “The Really Big One.” Brought to us by Together for Trillium PTSA and Parents4Preparedness.

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Still Enrolling for 2017-18

Posted by Kay

We currently have openings in the 1st, 3rd, and all Middle and High School grades, for the 2017-18 school year, and will begin accepting applications for the 2018-2019 school year in January. Please download and print an application from Once you complete the application, you may submit by US Mail or in person.

Trillium Charter School
Attn: Debra Lazzaretti
5420 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97217

Debra (email hidden; JavaScript is required) is also your contact person for scheduling an alternate school tour, and for questions regarding the application.

Applicants are highly encouraged to review our website and attend an Open House before applying.

The Middle and High School programs at Trillium provide students with a framework for understanding the larger community in which they live, centering on people, culture, identity, and politics. Through engagement with and service to “the real world,” they develop a skill set that can be used throughout their lives, to solve problems at work, in their personal relationships, and in their communities. From 6th-12th grade, the scope of community studies broadens from a focus on the local and regional, to a focus on national and international; as skills-based learning narrows to writing, research methods, and computer literacy.

The K-5th program at Trillium Public Charter School provides a platform for safe exploration of the three core study areas, and a variety of enrichment areas, such as art, music, movement, and drama. Our mission is to promote students’ discovery of the ways their experience is interconnected with others in their community and their world.

Learn more about our school on the About Us page.


Monday, November 27th, 2017

12 Days of Giving

Posted by Kay

In the spirit of the holiday season, Trillium is sharing ideas for “12 Days of Giving.” Each school day, from Monday, November 27th to Tuesday, December 12th, there is a suggested action for Trillium community members to take, to send a strong message of support to our staff, students, and teachers. If every family gave $10/month of 2018, we would raise over $40,000. That could mean 250 new ChromeBooks, salary increases for every teacher, a safer play surface. Imagine the possibilities with us, and make them happen! Donate now.

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Giving Season is Here!

Posted by Kay

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, when many start to focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Please visit our campaign page, by clicking the Donate button on our website or here. We encourage sustaining support, in the form of a recurring donation. These can be set from bi-weekly to annually, for as little as $10. Every dollar counts!

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Letter from the Director

Posted by Kay

In two short months of the school year, Trillium has addressed several longstanding challenges, and initiated as many positive changes. I am writing from a place of deep gratitude for the students, parents, teachers, and outside community members who have brought their questions, concerns, and ideas to the table. In addition to parent listening sessions, TFT and Trillium Board meetings, I am excited to announce a new way for you to become a leader in our community. Committees.

Historically, committee work at Trillium has been performed by staff, on projects that fall outside any one person’s scope of work and/or especially benefit from the perspective of diverse staff members. If Trillium believes that “many hands make light work,” and that “diversity makes us stronger,” we ought to stand by our convictions, by inviting students and parents to co-create and join committees. Designations that are under consideration include: Equity, Curriculum, Events, Restorative Justice, Fundraising, Enrollment, and Outreach. If you have feedback, questions, or are interested in committee membership, please email me, email hidden; JavaScript is required. The time commitment for committee membership is two hours per month.

Another positive change that I am proud to announce is the return of afterschool programming at Trillium. This is something that our community has been asking for, for a while now. A handful of tuition-based programs have reached out to me, with interest in establishing a branch a Trillium. These include Girl Scouts (trans-friendly), Circus in Motion, Chess Wizards, and a lacrosse organization. It is now on you to show that Trillium is a worthwhile partner, by completing the Afterschool Program Interest Survey. A certain number of students must be interested for a program to run. Additionally, we have scheduled several free opportunities for students and families to connect afterschool, such as the upcoming Movie Night, presented by TFT, on Friday, December 1st.

Speaking of upcoming events, we are proud to present Trillium Holiday Bazaar on Friday, December 15th, from 12:30-5pm, and 6-8pm. We want to create an opportunity to support each others’ work and support our school at the same time. If you, or someone you know, is a crafter or vendor, or simply has a flair for art, craft, or cooking, please inquire to me and Kay, email hidden; JavaScript is required, about selling with us. You do not need to be an established business! We will accept anyone with family-friendly goods or services to display, and are especially interested in featuring youth. Tell your kids!

Note: Trillium Holiday Bazaar is the culminating event of our end-of-year giving campaign, during which we hope you set up a recurring donation of $10 per month or more. You can either do so by mail (letters are coming soon) or online. To learn more about how your contributions will be used, visit the campaign page here.

If you would rather keep your holiday purchases under wraps from the kids, or just have a night of alone time, consider dropping them off with us on Parents Night Out. For a nominal fee, we will entertain, drain, and feed your kids, providing games, activities, and a movie. They can even come in their pajamas, and bring a sleeping bag. Friday, December 8th, 6-10PM.  So, there is something fun scheduled for every Friday in December, and most importantly, something fun for everyone.

On a heavier note, in the time since I last wrote, some staff members have decided to move on to other opportunities. After the Thanksgiving Break, Chris Scott, Upper School Student Support Specialist, will be working for Portland Public Schools. Dekin Hom, our beloved School Chef, will leave for a position elsewhere. Alfred Ada, Head of Upper School, resigned last month. I will share their personalized communication detailing their reasons for leaving. Trillium can have a summer camp feel. People come, create memories, and eventually move on. Such is the reality for schools. While we had hoped these staff members would stay with us longer, we are proud to have been a part of their journey, and excited to see what they do next.

Looking forward, if you, or someone you know, is interested in working at Trillium, please refer them to the website, where positions will soon be posted. Our mostly recently posted position, Bookkeeper, has been filled! Ty will start at Trillium on Monday, November 13th, and work 4 days per week. They bring years of experience and are thrilled to work with our community.

Patrice Mays
Interim Executive Director

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Holiday Bazaar 2017

Posted by Kay

Support local and Trillium-owned businesses at the 1st Annual Trillium Holiday Bazaar, hosted at our school, and benefiting our school! We will have a variety of vendors, including artists, artisans, and authors; selling art, art prints, handcrafted mugs, books, baby clothes and blankets, and wellness products.

RSVP on Facebook!

Meet the Vendors:



Apparel & Accessories

  • GirlBand Headware// up-cycled fabric headbands
  • Baby Wit // onesies, youth & adult tees
  • Ingrid Parmeter Jewelry // ceramic pendants
  • Kokopelli Jewelry Designs // wood-turned pendants
  • Natalie Rulmyr // knit scarves & beanies


Home Goods




Vendor Registration is still open!

We are currently accepting any vendor with family-friendly goods or services to display, on a first come, first serve basis. However, please note that we are particularly interested in featuring youth and other underrepresented vendors. This is your opportunity to take your secret recipe or craft instructable to the next level. Inquire to: Kay Kennett, email hidden; JavaScript is required, or jump right in, by completing the Vendor Registration Form.

Support local businesses year-round!

Visit the Community Business Directory to see the full range of local businesses that we endorse for your holiday shopping! If you are a Trillium student or family member, we will list your business here, whether you are participating in the Holiday Bazaar or not. Please follow the instructions listed on the CBD page (linked above).

Bring Cash or In-Kind Donations.

Shoppers are invited to bring a toy, food, clothing or supplies donation for homeless families. This drive is coordinated by our 2nd and 3rd grade students! Sales of soy candles by Portland Assembly Piedmont NAC also benefit this cause. And, of course, Trillium welcomes any cash or in-kind donation. Trillium Holiday Bazaar is both a community event and a fundraiser, the culmination of our Twelve Days of Trillium giving campaign.