Portland Christian Schools Preschool - Grade 12

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Our History

Portland Christian Schools was launched in 1947 by a group of committed parents seeking to establish a Christian school presence in the Portland area. Driven by their vision of a school where students could receive an education firmly rooted in a Christian worldview, these parents laid the foundation for what would soon become the "Christian School Society of Portland, Oregon."



Concerned over “an increasing trend toward total secularism” in the public schools and inspired by Dr. Mark Fakkema, Educational Director of the National Association of Christian Schools (which later became the Association
of Christian Schools International -- ACSI), a group of Christian parents met for a prayer meeting at Hinson Memorial Baptist Church in the spring of 1946. That meeting led to The Christian School Society Of Portland, Oregon, aka, “Portland Christian Schools.”


Portland Christian Elementary opened in fall 1947 with 80 students and four teachers. Soon after opening, the Fire Marshall determined that the location was not suitable for a school and PCS moved into rented army barracks on Swan Island. In May, massive flooding destroyed the Vanport area and the government needed the barracks to house refugees from the flood. George Atkinson donated land at 118th and SE Market St., C.M. Corkum donated funds, many parents donated labor, and PCS began building in July. “No money was available for desks and other school furniture. The resourceful parents went to work shaping quarter-inch veneer, orange crates, and scraps of lumber into desks and bookcases. Each parent furnished a chair for his child.” (PCS 40th Anniversary booklet)


PCS started its second year in its own building, on its own land! About the same time, the Board felt the Lord's leading to add a high school. Plans were adjusted and seven more teachers were hired. The Society purchased land at 112th and SE Market Street. Parent volunteers remodeled the existing log building. By October, the high school had its own separate building! That same year, the Goetz family composed the school song, “Hail, Christian High.”


The first high school class of eight students graduated.


PCS joined the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA). Portland Christian High was now able to participate in and compete against other schools in the Sunset League! Enrollment grew in both the elementary (Kindergarten - 8th grade) and high school (9th - 12th grade) programs. Total enrollment Kindergarten - 12th grade by 1957 was 420 students. That's over 400% growth in 10 years!


A junior high building and chapel were added to accommodate growing enrollment.


First trophies! The Basketball team made it to the OSAA state tournament where they took third place and also won the Sportsmanship Award.  In December 1961, the elementary building burned to the ground. The front section of the building burned to the ground but the junior high section was salvageable. The school was unoccupied at the time and no one was hurt. The primary grades moved to Montavilla Baptist Church and the remaining students attended class in the junior high building. The Society moved forward with plans to rebuild


The cost of rebuilding and refurnishing the elementary school was calculated at $150,000. Insurance provided a third, while a loan and gifts made up the rest. Volunteer labor and the untiring leadership of Mr. Harold Steinhauer, building committee chair, augmented the contractor’s program. By fall 1962, the campus was ready to open with a new brick building. The building still serves the PCS elementary campus today.


The PCS Mark Fakkema Chapter of the National Honor Society was established to further recognize students who maintained Portland Christian’s rigorous academic standards. PCS’s academics have produced a number of National Merit Finalists over the years. The name of the yearbook was changed from Searchlight to Sceptre, “which was thought to be more in accordance with the team name Royals.” (Sceptre, 1966)


“On the night of October 2 [1967], high winds exceeding 60 miles per hour ripped through the Willamette Valley, causing widespread damage. One of the heaviest casualties was Portland Christian High School, where more than $40,000 damage was done. A gust of wind completely removed the roof of the English room, and did [other] severe damage... Due to an immediate response to the emergency by [the PCS community] most of the equipment and materials were saved…” (Sceptre, 1968)


PCS added its first GIRLS sports team. “In a few short weeks, 15 hardworking girls took first place in the league and first place at the volleyball tournament. This is the first year our school has had a program of girls volleyball.” (Sceptre, 1972) Note: OSAA did not hold a state volleyball tournament until 1974.


Portland Christian celebrated 25 years!


The Dallas Toland Memorial Field was completed and dedicated at the high school.


PCS entered into a lease with an option to purchase after 10 years, for the Parkrose Heights Jr. High School building and 20 acres of property, at 124th and NE Brazee Street. The National College of Naturopathic Medicine purchased the old high school site, and the junior and senior high schools were moved to the new Brazee location to begin classes in September.


The Boys Track and Field team won Portland Christian’s first ever OSAA state championship!


PCS embraced the information age with the purchase of 31 Apple computers, software, and computer supplies, enabled by a grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.


After an entire year of painstaking research, thorough self-examination, and critical review by an ACSI accreditation committee, PCS Jr/Sr high school was granted full accreditation in July 1986. PCS officially adopted the mission statement, “to educate students in the truth of God's word in every area of instruction and activity, so that their lives may be transformed by the renewing of their minds.”


At the request of Clark County Christian School in Vancouver (grades K-12) PCS agreed to take over its operation. The Vancouver campus served elementary students while Jr/Sr high school students attended in Portland. The school licensed Vancouver’s Luv ’n Fun Early Childhood Education program, enrolled 12 students, and PCS officially entered the realm of preschool.


PCS launched an International Student Program (ISP) with seven students.


PCS exercised the option to buy the Jr/Sr high school campus and dedicated the campus on June 30, 1991 with these words: “On behalf of our people, and to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, we hereby possess and dedicate this campus to the ministry of Christian education, ‘...that in all things Christ might have the preeminence.’”


Grants and gifts from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Tektronics, and other donors funded a renovation of the Jr/Sr high school science facilities. The school was granted dual ACSI/NASC accreditation. A second preschool was opened at the Market Street campus.


Luv ’n Fun became the first early childhood education program to be accredited by ACSI in the Northwest region.


The Jr/Sr high school track and field received a major renovation thanks to gifts from the Meyer Memorial Trust, the Beck family, and other generous donors. Choir placed first in the state competition.


Portland Christian celebrated 50 years!


The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust awarded a grant for science and technology upgrades and installation of a STEM lab.


The ECE modular building was added at the Market Street campus. The preschool continues to use this building today.


The Vancouver campus was closed at the end of the 2005-06 school year. The students and staff dispersed, spreading God’s light as they went -- some across the river to PCS Portland, others to Vancouver schools.


The Market Street campus got a new Arts Building, funded by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and other generous donations. The baseball team ran a very successful fundraiser and together with donations, built a new field.


The preschool program's name was changed from “Luv ’n Fun” to “Portland Christian Early Childhood Education and Before and After School Care” (commonly referred to as ECE).


The PCS ECE program was awarded certification as an Oregon Program of Quality (OPQ). OPQ evolved to become the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) and in 2017 the program was renamed Spark. The PCS ECE program continues today to maintain the highest possible Spark rating of five stars.


The school board voted in the summer of 2020 to use reserves to pay off debt and PCS became debt free for the first time in many years. The Covid-19 pandemic shut down everything in March 2020 and the school switched to distance learning for a time. Enrollment and all programs were greatly impacted. Promotions and graduations were delayed and ceremonies were all held outdoors.


Portland Christian celebrates 75 years!
After living through more than two years of a pandemic, the spring of 2022 began to resemble life before COVID. Masks became optional, enrollment continued to improve and life on campus began to feel more “normal.” In-person events such as Fun Night, Serve Day, Cultural Night, Book Fair, plays, and musicals returned. As we move forward, there is a renewed sense of hope and excitement for the future of PCS...stay tuned to see what God has in store for Portland Christian!
Today, Portland Christian Schools excels in academics, athletics, arts, and music. The school has become well known as a place where students are transformed into Christian leaders.
We are committed to providing an excellent education in a distinctively Christian environment, educating students not only in academics, but also in morality, character development, and leadership skills, while growing their Christian faith.