Our groundbreaking 3toPhD® program creates safer, healthier, and more educated communities. We do this by providing a holistic education with nurturing at its core that inspires students to pursue their highest dreams. Being a student is hard enough, but some students lack access to the essential services needed to learn and grow, like food, healthcare, and proper clothing. 3toPhD® works with partners to provide students with access to these life-changing services, helping them learn with dignity and empowering them to succeed on their journey. 3toPhD® imagines a world where education goes beyond the classroom. A world where students have the tools to overcome any challenge that stands in their way.


Faubion School, part of Portland Public Schools, and Concordia University have been neighbors in education for 63 years, sharing 24 adjacent acres in one of Portland’s most diverse and socio-economically challenged communities.

In 2012, Portland voters approved a capital improvement bond which would partially fund the rebuilding of Faubion School. Faubion was the only elementary school slated for rebuild because of the private, nonprofit 3toPhD® partnership with Concordia.

The nation’s first 3toPhD® campus opened in August 2017, serving almost 1000 PreK-8 children, 81% of whom are eligible to receive free and reduced lunch. Concordia’s College of Education is located inside the school, offering Concordia students the opportunity to apply their own coursework and gain real-world experience working in Faubion’s classrooms, and their presence offers Faubion’s students subtle but persistent guidance toward a future that includes a college education.

Portland Public Schools and Concordia University have contributed the lion’s share of the necessary funds; however, there is a hole in the budget that can only be filled by community donations.


Collaboration Director Kevin Bacon


3 to PhD Collaboration Director Kevin Bacon photoKevin Bacon, a 32-year educator in the Portland area, assumed the role of 3 to PhD® Collaboration Director on July 30, 2018.

Bacon has dedicated his life’s work to student outcomes and community engagement. His previous roles as a teacher, student management specialist, biotech education coordinator, vice principal, principal, and facilitator of Courage to Lead, have seasoned him for this new 3 to PhD Collaboration Director role.

“I am excited to connect with Faubion families and students, as well as Concordia University faculty, staff and students.” Bacon explains, “They are the heart and soul of the collaborative, along with Kaiser Permanente, Trillium Family Services and Basics, and I will be seeking out all their voices to develop and shape the present and future of 3 to PhD.”

He is no stranger to Portland Public Schools, Faubion School, Concordia University, or the Concordia neighborhood. Kevin recently served as principal of Boise-Eliot/Humboldt PK-12 School in northeast Portland.

Bacon has extensive work as a school leader driving initiatives that engage multiple stakeholders. Recently, his work of embedding STEAM education improved student engagement. Likewise, Bacon established relationships with business associations to leverage resources and support of school-wide initiatives and services. Over the years, by building partnerships, Kevin has ensured a healthy balance of support for whole-child development and health.


Demo Kitchen

The Demo Kitchen at Faubion School provides a unique space for students and community members to gain valuable culinary skills and learn new techniques. The kitchen seats 30 people and is available to reserve. Since its opening in 2017, the kitchen has been used over 50 times by more than 1200 students, families, and community members.


Wellness Center

The Kaiser Permanente 3toPhD® Wellness Center is a 2500-square-foot space dedicated to providing health services to students and community members. On-site Kaiser Permanente clinicians provide a full range of primary care services, including medical and dental care, and treat a variety of health needs, from treatment of acute and chronic conditions to prevention services. This innovative clinic is a collaboration with six core providers — Kaiser Permanente, Portland Public Schools, Faubion Elementary School, Concordia University, Trillium Family Services, and Basics (formerly Pacific Foods) — all working together to create safer, healthier, and more educated communities.


On-Site College of Education

Imagine being a junior at Concordia majoring in education. In today’s Educational Technology class, you learn how to use an iPad and a special app to help readers having trouble with vowels. Following class, you walk down the hall to the reading lab where you put the lesson you just learned to work with a trio of second graders struggling with vowels. In the master plan for 3toPhD®, the College of Education is co-located with Faubion, operating on-site. By doing so, Concordia education majors work daily with Faubion students. This practical model of integrated education rigorously challenges both schools – providing years of hands-on training for Concordia students and a willing battalion of extra educators-in-training to serve as mentors, tutors, and one-on-one literacy coaches.


Comprehensive Early Childhood Development Center

Another hallmark of the 3toPhD® initiative is an early childhood development center. This community/campus resource provides a remarkable learning environment for early childhood education students and faculty, serving as a magnet for vulnerable low-income families with young children. As a point of reference, Head Start – the national program that provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families – generates a return on investment for society of $7 or more, according to numerous economic studies. The 3toPhD® initiative holds the promise to do even more, fully engaging Concordia students and Faubion students (and their families), along with other children and families from the surrounding community.

Collaborative Community Health and Wellness Clinic

Helping bridge the achievement gap is about more than education alone. It also involves the health and wellness of the students and their families. To that end, the 3toPhD® initiative has developed a community health clinic and wellness center, leveraging close, working relationships with physicians, nurses, and health care providers from across our community, including current partners like Trillium Family Services and many others. The goal? Building a healthy community. Students from Concordia’s nursing and health sciences (nutrition, exercise, and sport science) departments work in the clinic, providing them with invaluable real-world experience.

In conjunction with community partners, and consistent with a “wraparound” model, the initiative also includes support for proper pre-natal care and other measures designed to reduce the probability of low-birth-weight babies for expectant mothers, along with proven practices to help lower childhood and adult obesity.

Science Lab Partnership

Locating basic science labs at Faubion puts Concordia science majors on the Faubion campus, opening the door for much-needed mentor and tutor possibilities. This leads to the development of the STEM (part of STEAM) focus for Faubion students – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A year-round STEM academy, led by Concordia students and faculty, increases learning and participation in these key areas – especially among girls and under-represented populations – ultimately preparing Faubion students for success in high school, college, and various careers.

Integrated Focus on Technology

Smart use of technology is a key component of the 3toPhD® initiative. Studies show that proper use of technology among young learners leads to achievement improvements down the road. Technology drives learning, engages students, and allows for development at different levels. It has also been shown to make students more autonomous in how they attain knowledge. During Concordia’s 2013 Governor Victor Atiyeh Leadership in Education Awards ceremony, online education partner HotChalk donated 120 iPads to Faubion (see story, page 4). In the future, Concordia students will be on hand to help with technology training.

Service Corp Expansion

In keeping with our mission to prepare leaders for the transformation of society, Concordia Service Corps is a mentorship program designed to promote meaningful relationships between university students and elementary and middle school students at risk. The Student Service Corps is divided into a variety of specialized groups, each working one-on-one with local school kids to address the issues of low graduation rates, low test results, and a lack of positive role models. The overall Service Corp includes teacher corps, athlete corps, health corps, green corps, and performing arts corps. With the 3toPhD® initiative, the role of the Concordia Service Corps has been expanded, making it so virtually every Concordia undergraduate student has the leadership opportunity to mentor Faubion students, as well as students at surrounding schools, such as Woodlawn, Vernon, and Trinity Lutheran.


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