The Pacific Crest Story

Pacific Crest Community School began over sack lunches in a social studies classroom in West Linn High School. In the Fall of 1991, three teachers began discussing what their perfect school might look like. All teachers do this at one point or another, sit around the lunchroom, or maybe over coffee after work, and muse about their ideal school. But this group was different.

First, they had support: opportunities lay ahead for them that most groups of dreaming educators do not receive. Second they had each other: an enthusiastic collection of idealists with diverse opinions but a common goal.

After much discussion over peanut butter and jelly, the group defined its mission:

“To create an exceptional learning environment where students will discover and advance their own remarkable gifts, prepare themselves for a demanding and complicated adult world, and develop the skills necessary to be contributing members of a community.”

These were lofty and inspiring goals, though not much different than those of any other self-respecting school. But this group wanted to approach the challenge of educating young people from an original perspective whereby each student would be respected, and empowered with the freedom and responsibility to chart their own course.

The third characteristic of this group, which would ensure its success, was a fundamentally adolescent sense of humor. Early on, the group agreed that if it wasn’t going to be fun, they were not going to do it.

Start with the heart, empower the mind, and put students at the front and center of everything we do.

In 1993, Pacific Crest Community School opened its doors with 55 students and 5 faculty members. Two years later the school sent its first graduating class off to college and moved to its present site at 29th and N.E. Davis. Early in 1996, the school curriculum and track record was approved for accreditation by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. The Mock Trial Team reached the state finals. Eight students went to Russia on the school’s first exchange program. Twelve Russian students visited in return.

Now, thirty years after it all began, Pacific Crest has a student body of 95 and a faculty of 13. We have served over 500 students and sent over 80 percent of our graduates to colleges and universities across the United States—more than a third with full or partial scholarships. All of our college-bound graduates have been accepted to the schools of their choice. Though the school has grown and changed over the years, we strive to keep it true to its original ideals: start with the heart, empower the mind, and put students at the front and center of everything we do—because that, we have learned, is precisely what has always made it fun.

Pacific Crest Community School has been winning hearts and unlocking minds since 1993 when its doors first opened in Portland, Oregon. From the beginning, the school has offered its students and teachers alike the opportunity to be creative, independent and personally engaged in the educational process and community. Everything we do is based on our goal to inspire, respect, empower—and have fun.