In 1976, a few members of a social-spiritual movement, Ananda Marga, aspired to create an environment where children would learn through the Neo-Humanist model of education. These were the beginnings of New Day School in Portland. The first preschool program featuring yoga, meditation and Neo-humanist principles began in the basement of a co-housing “yoga house” in Northeast Portland in 1976 with 6 students. In 1979, New Day School became a registered non-profit and was established in its current 1825 SE Clinton location.
For 40 years, the New Day community has continued to enhance its indoor and outdoor environments. New Day purchased a nearby Victorian house for teacher and staff housing, added classrooms and developed its yard and playspace. A permaculture inspired garden began to evolve with an edible landscape of a variety of fruit trees, berries, herbs and healing plants. A beautiful natural earthen cob building was built as a sanctuary and special classroom. In 2008, New Day purchased the Mahavidya building along with its very large parking lot that later was transformed into a green space with the help of an organization called depave (pavement removal for urban greenspaces). New Day School’s transformation is a continuous process as we align our outer environment with our inner values. Ways that we are manifesting this in our buildings is by transforming them into healthy environments with advanced energy efficiency, superior air quality and thermal comfort.
In 2018, New Day School embarked on a renovation project of two of its three buildings. The first construction phase was a seismic retrofit of the Mahávidyá building(1847 SE Clinton), making it more resilient and safer during an earthquake. This renovation also included energy upgrades, increased insulation, lighting upgrades (including skylights), acoustic improvements, and new floors and paint. Phase One was completed October 13th, 2018.
The second construction phase is the renovation of the Kishalay building(1825 SE Clinton) into a Net-Zero and Net-positive Energy building. At present, the design is complete and in review by the City for permitting. Construction will commence in the beginning of Spring 2019 and completion is anticipated by January 2020. Although the number of classrooms, offices and staff areas will remain the same, the layout will change and many important and exciting upgrades will occur, including: seismic upgrades, renewable energy production, high energy efficiency design, indoor air quality upgrades, and water conservation (low-flow fixtures,rain gardens). Further the project takes responsibility to use natural, non-toxic (Red-List free) and recyclable materials and will use sustainably-harvested wood (FSC certified). Our community is both how and why we are renovating our school.
New Day School is an ever changing entity bound by a single mission. The parents provide the backbone of the school, volunteering countless hours in service, from washing of laundry to building beautiful play structures. The teachers and staff are the lifeblood of New Day, giving their time, heart and commitment to growing themselves and the children they serve. The heart and soul of New Day are the children, bringing joy and the thirst for knowledge and life into the heartbeat of the school. Our history is one shared with more than 40 years of teachers, staff, families, friends, supporters and children who have made New Day School the fruitful environment that it is today and will be for many years to come.