Skip to main content

Measure 26-215 calls for a landmark commitment of funds to support a vital inflection point at Portland Public Schools and creates a thoughtful investment in both physical buildings that are more accessible and safer as well as equipped for the 21st century needs of all students.

We ask you to vote yes for the bond as do our young people. Their voices can be heard here in the “Disability Rights are Civil Rights; Vote Yes on Measure 26-215 PPS Bond“ video created by members of our Social Justice Youth Group. Our youth are concerned about disability justice and we as an organization celebrate all the pieces of the bond package as disability and belonging means much more than just physical access to a school.

Daniel Jarvis Holland, a graduate of Benson Tech who studied media and experiences Down syndrome, writes in the voter’s pamphlet this statement, “Kids with disabilities and without should be able to go to school. Grandmas and volunteers, teachers with disabilities should be able to go into any school. When we go in the school teach all students all disabilities all races. We all belong. Instead of talking about equity VOTE for this bond.”

In this bond we will, after 30 years of ADA law passing, see the first floor of each PPS school made accessible in a 34 million-dollar investment. This is both a heartening step forward and an indictment of how long accessibility concerns have languished, and we expect the accessibility needs to be fully addressed in the next cycle of the bond at a cost of 63 million dollars.

Additional highlights from the bond that are critical to equity and people with disabilities include:

· Educational and Accessibility Investments of 53.4 million dollars to adopt comprehensive, culturally relevant, accessible and differentiated current curriculum and instructional materials and differentiated instruction. This will mean every student can learn and be supported to access core curriculum in the unique ways.
· 128.2 million dollars will provide equitable access to technology including assistive technology.
· 13.4 million to improve teaching and learning environments for diverse learners so that they have access to supports for inclusive practices.
· 183.8 million dollars in Health and safety Investments.
· 569 million dollars for modernization and rebuilds which will by law be ADA compliant.
· 60 million dollars for the Center for Black Student Excellence which will include the needs of students of color with disabilities.
· This is not a new tax but a continuation of an existing tax.

Thank you to the youth who have bold dreams about equity and belonging. Hearing your call for change reminds us of the continued importance of our deep advocacy, and the commitment from PPS after our first call out 12 years ago shows us that we can indeed create change with hard work and persistence.

Thanks also to the Yes for Portland Schools campaign, and to all the supporters of equitable and accessible schools which includes community leaders, activists, educators and champions that have helped shape such a vital opportunity to invest in real futures and the dignity and rights of every Portland student to an inclusive and quality education.

Special thanks to the contributors to this video, and to Cleveland students, Arly Holzweissig and Charlie Abrams, for their incredible assistance in creation of this video.

Northwest Down Syndrome Association and All Born (in) are proud to endorse this bond and proud of the leadership in creation of this video by our Social Justice Youth Group! Vote YES on Measure 26-215 and Free Our People!

Link directly to our Social Justice Youth endorsement of Measure 26-215 here:

Find our mission and values statement here:

Information about the Center of Black Student Excellence can found here:

Visit for more information about Measure 26-215.

This testimony is a contribution to the Equity in Education meeting discussions. It recognizes people with disabilities are an underrepresented group and the equity of their education needs to be elevated and included in equity discussions.

Board members, Michael Bailey and Mike Rosen, recognize the unanimous decision by the Portland Public School Board to earmark funds in the November bond and the years of advocacy by Angela Jarvis-Holland, Executive Director. This is a good step towards equity and improving education for all students. NW Disability Support (All Born (in) and Northwest Down Syndrome Association) are supporting this bond and will be sharing more information.

The recording of last week's session "What Does Back to School Mean for My Child?" with Dr. Candace Pelt, Oregon Department of Education is now available!

An update from Jamie Burch regarding our Think Inclusive College West Coast Coalition.

The first graduating class from PSU's four year Think College Inclusion Oregon program (the first university program for students with intellectual disabilities) includes Rachel and Will!

Our fourth entry into Notes on Belonging: Quiero ir a la tienda a comprarme unas papas / I want to go to the store to buy some potatoes

Rachel, one of the first students to complete the College and Community Studies Program at PSU, and staff member at NWDSA/ABI reflects on her experience.

Congratulations, Rachel! We are so proud of you!!!

A message from Angela Jarvis-Holland and survey request designed for parents/caregivers regarding online learning. The survey will help us in our efforts to provide resources and help direct our advocacy for inclusive online learning. Thank you in advance for your support!

Here's a plain-language resource for sharing how to help prevent COVID-19.

Our third entry into Notes on Belonging: Revisiting the closure of Fairview

Our second entry into Notes on Belonging: Through a father's eyes

Our first entry into our new blog, Notes on Belonging: Making space


Friday, April 17, 2020
8:00 am-5:00 pm
Holiday Inn Portland Airport, 8439 NE Columbia Blvd, Portland, OR 97220

All Born (in) Conference Master Session presented by Think Inclusive College West Coast Coalition featuring local and national presenters

Together we will learn and share with national and local experts on transition and inclusive college! This powerful day builds on successes and creates action steps for youth (16-25), parents, educators, professionals, and anyone interested in increasing inclusive higher education opportunities in the NW region. Receive information, network, and take part in state-level advocacy around inclusive postsecondary education for individuals with intellectual disability (ID) in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, northern California, and Nevada.

Andy Arias, Advocacy Professional
Debra Hart, Think College
Denise Rozell, AUCD
Lori Cooney, Think College
Stephanie Smith Lee, NDSC
More coming soon!

Registration will be available soon.


Research shows that inclusive post-secondary education leads to better employment, social, and community living outcomes for people with disabilities. The Think Inclusive College West Coast Coalition Advisory Group is dedicated to opening doors to inclusive college options for students with intellectual disability.

Attend one of the upcoming information nights at Portland State University to find out more about their Career and Community Studies certificate and experience! First day of Fall Term is September 28, 2020!

We need zero judgment of families and to meet them where they are and encourage high expectations and increase their confidence and knowledge as advocates. We need to help support their next steps and empower them to reach their child’s dreams and maximize their inclusion.

Five years ago, we asked our children what they wanted for their future, encouraging them to envision no limits. A shared dream was college. Emma had choices and options; there was no college option for Dan in Oregon.

Randy noticed that, while the Seaside promenade is accessible for wheelchairs, individuals with mobility challenges weren't able to experience the sand and surf up close.

Kindergarten Inclusion Cohort provides an additional vital resource—a community of other parents to lean into for support.

Pasaron diecisiete años y mi hijo estaba a punto de terminar la escuela secundaria. Comencé a preguntarme: “¿Qué habrá para mi hijo después de la secundaria?”

Getting a pedicure can be tricky for me. Sometimes having my feet touched is a little uncomfortable. My mom says the technical term is Sensory Defensiveness.

Uno de nuestros mayores logros este año fue poder ofrecer nuestro taller de entrenamiento de transición de kínder y más! en español por primera vez.

The 14th Annual All Born (in) Cross-Disability Best Practices Educational Inclusion Conference on April 6th was a Success!

130 friends of inclusive college share a full day of information, networking, and advocacy to create powerful, positive change to open more doors to inclusive college options for students with intellectual disability.

The pink and purple dune buggy that Alexis, a 7-year-old from Washougal, received for her birthday became one of her favorite toys

Emma Frome and Dan Jarvis-Holland attended their first advocacy rally with us as small children 18 years ago in Salem as we protested cuts to Early Intervention.

Parents and professionals learned how to amplify the youth voice, work together to advocate for more post-secondary programs, and support the dream to make inclusive college a reality.

It’s amazing to see the friendships that inclusion have developed for Parker, and how much his friends and peers value and respect him.

Como la nueva Coordinadora de alcance bilingüe, estoy trabajando para que los entrenamientos, eventos, recursos, apoyo para padres y conferencias sean más accesibles para nuestra comunidad de habla hispana.

This will be our ninth walk this year and each year Nickel grows more eager to attend.

I’m proud of the tone I set—checking every detail, speaking my mind, and building working relationships. I do wish the percentage of inclusion for my child was higher. I wasn’t prepared for feeling so mixed, but truly it is a preview of the next 15 years.

Mi experiencia en el último taller fue de muchísima ayuda, me enseñó que ser paciente es la mejor clave para obtener los mejores resultados y que siempre existen mas de una forma de ayudar a nuestros pequeños a aprender.

Supporting the Down syndrome community has always been important to Donald and Mary Prescott.

Angela mentioned that she happened to have a bucket of chalk in the trunk of the car. They stopped, got out, and drew in giant letters the words “Free Our People” where Fairview's sign used to be. Dan wrote “kind”, “love”, and “never again”.

College options are more of a reality for students with intellectual disability than ever before, but there's still much work to be done.

“We wanted to raise awareness ... and we thought a walk in our small town would be a great way to bring everyone together to educate about the reality of living with Down syndrome."

Patrick is a young man from California who is helping lead the charge for college options along the west coast.

Educational staff and parents benefit from shared resources.

It’s not rocket science, it’s education. Separate will NEVER be equal…. I will never believe that isolation is an equal trade for education.

I am 24 years old. I go to college. The program I am in is called TCIOC or Think College Inclusion Oregon.

Angela Jarvis-Holland and Angela Frome receive community awards.

It seems impossible to see how one person can make a difference. But thankfully, there are many knowledgeable and passionate people and organizations willing to help us learn how to advocate.

Building inclusive classrooms is hard work, but easier together.

Newlyweds make generous gift

For their April wedding, Angela and Tony Vu asked friends and family to make donations to NWDSA / ABI in lieu of wedding gifts. Their nephew Oliver and his parents are members of our Kindergarten Cohort community. We are honored by the generosity of the bride and groom. Their wonderful gift helps us continue to support their nephew and other families who work towards an inclusive world for all children.

Congratulations, Angela and Tony and thank you!

Think College Inclusion Oregon Coalition (TCIOC) is incredibly honored and excited to be leading the effort to increase post-secondary education opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

You do not have to be grateful to your school for “allowing” your child to go there.

The camp broke new ground in creating a powerful alliance with a strong belief in the importance of belonging.

Are you or someone close to you interested in bicycling, but due to ability or preference find you are unable to use a conventional bicycle?

On March 6th the American Health Care Act was proposed in the House of Representatives to replace the ACA. This legislation will cut Medicaid and repeal important protections of the ACA.

“I’ll tell you this. Your daughter will grow up, graduate from high school, go to at least some college, get a job and move out.” He looks at us over the top of his grandpa glasses: “And that’s more than you can say for a lot of people.”

In December of 2016, the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan became available to individuals in Oregon.

I felt like I had been caught tearing the wings off a butterfly, and I shrunk away, no clever words slipping off my tongue now.

You couldn’t pick a better group to fight with. This isn’t our first rodeo. We do this every day. Our muscles are primed and ready for this work of resistance.

Does everyone see my responsible, competent child? Do you see her making it in typical preschool with two hundred of Portland’s most organic children? Do you see her here in the main stream, not off in some side stream, some trickle going nowhere?

In the history books the revolutions seem so organized. It seems like every leader has their assignment which they execute flawlessly without complication and the gears turn perfectly and the world is changed forever. While I hunt for the car keys.

There were many false starts as she remembered the tricks she’d learned, and remembered to trust her mother, but in time we made it to the park. And let me tell you, that was one proud little girl.

“Going into this camp, I thought social justice was only about helping people who can’t help themselves…but I learned that it is so much more. In order to create social justice, we have to start with ourselves.” – James, 2016 Social Justice Youth Summer Camp Participant

The Northwest Down Syndrome Association kicked off its annual Bike First camp Monday, giving children with disabilities another way to have fun this summer.

We are excited to welcome Susan Hiler as our new 2016 Portland Metro & SW Washington Buddy Walk Chair!

NWDSA Executive Director Angela Jarvis-Holland and her son Daniel recently presented testimony at PPS Board of Education meeting. Angela discussed the Think College program, and Daniel shared his college goals and asked members of the Board to be on his team.

ABI is not just about schools, about Special Ed, about getting my kid through school and helping other parents do the same. It’s about the long haul, and about building communities that understand that All Means All, that when we take the time to truly embrace and celebrate our differences, we will be the best world

For the first time in Oregon, individuals with intellectual disabilities will have access to an inclusive postsecondary education at a four-year university, thanks to the efforts of Think College Inclusion Oregon, Northwest Down Syndrome Association/All Born (in), and Portland State University.

Pienso que el programa de alcance para familias Hispanas/Latinas es muy importante, ya que así las nuevas familias se conectan a servicios, participan en grupos de apoyo, conocen a otras familias, crean una red de amigos/as, y reciben información mediante entrenamientos y conferencias.

In January 2012, attorneys from DRO filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Oregon, contending that its use of “sheltered workshops” violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by segregating people with disabilities from the workforce.

Edie realized that in 1976, society didn’t have much space for a child with Down syndrome, and she was appalled to realize how poorly her son and his peers could be treated, how low expectations were, and how few opportunities there were for him to learn and thrive. Things were going to be different in the Brown family, and so began a long life of advocacy.

What if you have a child with disabilities who may lack the confidence, balance, and independence to hop on a bike and pedal away? That’s where NWDSA's Bike First summer clinic comes in.

Blogger Cathleen Smalls' experience at the 2015 National Down Syndrome Congress Convention

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are proposing to release a policy statement on inclusion of young children with disabilities in high-quality inclusive early childhood programs. It is the purpose of this blog to request comments on the proposed statement. Please review the attached draft policy statement and provide comments no later than 6:00pm EDT, Friday, May 22, 2015.

Reach 2020 would shift resources to integrate students (Portland Tribune)

When she was just 11, Katie said to her mom over breakfast one morning, “Mom, I want to go to high school, then college, get a job, and have a wedding.”

In the end Down syndrome doesn't define our daughter nor does it define us as parents.

Northwest Down Syndrome Association/ABI is incredibly honored and excited to be one of the KPCF Funded Partners.

We are all different races, sizes and ages but a community is one big family.

This is truly a grassroots effort to fund this 4-year old amazing program.

Inspiration. Learning. Inclusion. These are words that have consistently been used by RLC attendees to summarize recent sessions.

The 2014 conference drew over 450 people, ranging from parents of a 4 month old baby with Down syndrome to the head of Special Ed for Portland Public Schools, from self-advocates to grandparents, all enjoying an inspiring and educational day.

Thanks to everyone who helped out at the Burgerville Fundraiser for the Reciprocal Learning Community.

Six mothers present themselves dutifully on the first day in class. Four care for children with Down syndrome, two for children with other developmental disabilities. They’re nervous, unsure if they want their stories out in the world.

We are excited and grateful to welcome two new members to the NWDSA Board of Directors. Isis Sanchez and Dr. Ruth Falco, PhD are both long-time members of the NWDSA community.

Before I tell you about myself and things I like to do; I want to say thank you to my family and friends for all of the love and help they give me.

In case you don’t know I have Down syndrome. In some ways it makes me different than other people which I think is interesting. In a lot of ways I am the same as you - I like who I am and I like learning with my friends. I consider myself funny, smart, creative in art and friendly.

That is when I realized that the doc’s use of "normal” wasn't just a difference in our vocabulary usage. It reflected a different way of seeing.

It was a picture-worthy moment — an image as adorable as the cuddly kittens in baskets and chunky babies in cornucopias that we see on calendars in shopping malls.
Was that what I was afraid of the day she was born?

Community and parent perspectives, partnerships, and ethical issues related to genetic testing were presented at this important event.

The ADA: Moving Forward event at Portland City Hall on July 26, 2013 celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

And there it was in black and white: General Education with Special Education Support/Selected. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Buddy Walk 2013 was a stormy one, with wild winds and rains and plenty that could have gone wrong. But thanks to an incredible amount of good will and creativity, it will go down in memory as a day of community in its truest and deepest sense

Looking to maximize your investment in NWDSA? Please check if your company offers a corporate match program and/or an employee giving program.

Ethan Saylor was a 26 year old man with Down Syndrome who died in the custody of three off-duty Frederick County Deputy Sheriffs on January 12th, 2013. His family has created a petition calling for an independent investigation.

We are asking schools to comply with the law requiring closure of seclusion cells in our schools.

The NWDSA is excited to announce a new project to build an empowered group of Spanish-speaking parents to work as “promotoras” supporting Hispanic families in a parent-to-parent model.

Looking for another educational opportunity for parents of children age birth - 5?

This year, we will be offering some great prizes for the top money raising teams. All teams who raise $3,500 or more by Wednesday, September 25th at noon will receive an Apple iPad.

It’s hard to believe that the transition from early childhood education to kindergarten is just around the corner!

Pamela Dye was anxious as she navigated the halls of the state capitol in Salem on her way to meet with Oregon State Representative Lew Frederick this past March. All the parents at the capitol that day felt the gravity of being face-to-face with lawmakers whose decisions and attitudes directly affect their children’s future.

Powered by Firespring