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May is Full of Reasons to Celebrate
May is a month filled with celebrations and important observances that highlight the diversity, resilience, and excellence of our students, staff, and community, including Teacher Appreciation Week, National School Nurse and Health Worker Day, Asian Pacific Heritage Month, and Mental Health Awareness Month, among others. As we recognize these events, we are reminded of our commitment to creating a safe, supportive, and thriving learning environment.
Thank You MESD School Nurses and Health Workers!
Kathi Carney, RN
Kathi has been a nurse for almost 44 years, a school nurse for 23 years, and a general pediatric nurse for a total of 37 years. Currently, she is meeting the diverse health needs of students within Portland Public Schools (McDaniel Cluster). In addition to her duties as a school nurse, she has contributed to the development of asthma and bleeding disorder toolkits for the Oregon School Nurse Association. During this year, Kathi worked alongside other MESD nurses on developing an acuity assessment tool to improve practice. Sharing her knowledge and experience with nursing students is another way that she gives back to the nursing community. Kathi is described by her school health assistants as patient, efficient, and extremely pleasant to work with. We are grateful for Kathi's continued contribution to nursing practice and the students and community she serves.
Betsy Cruz, RN
Betsy Cruz has been a nurse for 21 years. Before coming to MESD she worked in Inpatient adult and child psychiatry, Inpatient Neurology, Med-Surg float nurse, Inpatient Specialty Surgery, and outpatient program for teens with first onset psychosis. Betsy has been with MESD for 6.5 years. She started out as an Early Childhood nurse at CESD and is now completing her 5th year at Pioneer School in PPS. Betsy has immersed herself in her school community. She has been part of the Safety Committee and participates in different projects within the school. Betsy continually operates from a student first focus and is an outstanding advocate for the students at Pioneer.
Here is what Betsy has to say about her current assignment and what she does for fun when she isn't working:
"I love my students! At Pioneer, we care for a very vulnerable and many times misunderstood group of students. When a student comes to us they have typically "failed" in several settings and may feel rejected, labeled as a "bad kid", and feel incapable of achieving simple goals that other students do easily. At Pioneer we love every student and all their uniqueness. The teachers, paraeducators and therapists are all very knowledgeable about behavioral interventions and it is amazing to watch the students grow, become more confident and start to enjoy school. A large portion of our students have experienced trauma or are currently in a difficult home situation, I feel privileged to be able to be a positive person in their lives and to be part of this team that helps build them up."
I love all kinds of crafts, I am currently in a weaving phase. I love soccer and splurged this year with Timbers season tickets. I love the sunshine and have realized the past couple days that I am a completely different and happier person in the warm weather! In reality though I spend most of my life driving my 14 year old son to all his activities... I wouldn't change it for anything though".
Kathy Lucas, RN
Kathy provides nursing support within a special education program designed to prepare students between 18 and 21 years old for transition into adulthood. The Transition Program focuses on nurturing independence, self-advocacy, social, and employment skills. The many things she loves about working with this program relate to the exceptional students she works with. When she witnesses students experiencing joy and accomplishment in daily endeavors and interactions, she also shares their joy and feeling of accomplishment.
Kathy is a mother of two and a farmer. Her oldest is a nursing student, and her youngest attends a transition program in a neighboring district. Her family started a u-pick blueberry farm and is preparing for their grand opening and first harvest this summer.
Tyler Maybury, RN, BSN
Tyler joined MESD in Spring of 2018 as an ODS Nurse; they transitioned into their current role in the Fall of 2019. Tyler currently supports 4 schools in N/NE Portland: Chief Joseph, Woodlawn, Ockley Green and Alliance High School at Meek. This year they have participated on the SHS Equity Team, as well as engaging in work that supports the LGBTQIA students at Alliance HS. Working in a K-12 assignment has provided Tyler the opportunity to build relationships with people of all ages, which is one of the things about this work that they are most grateful for.
Outside of work Tyler can be found weight lifting, practicing Xing Yi Quan, learning about astronomy, playing Tabletop Role Playing Games, and spending time with their dog "Prince Zuko." We are grateful for their energy and commitment to keeping students healthy and safe at school.
Meghan Pritzlaff, RN
Meghan came to MESD SHS in 2022 after Winter Break. She has been a Registered Nurse RN for 16 years and has a very extensive and impressive Neonatal Intensive Care Unit background including charge nurse duties. She comes to Oregon from the MidWest.
Meghan currently serves 4 schools in SE portland: Bridger, Access Academy, Mt. Tabor and Sunnyside Environmental. She is the perfect combination of smart, fun, adventurous and compassionate. When she's not hanging out with her dog, she and School Health Assistant John Segura (also pictured) like to dress up as germs and bars of soap to teach kids about handwashing. We are so lucky to have her working with us in the schools!!
Peggy Sedlack, RN
Peggy is our MESD Outdoor School Program Nurse. She grew up in Wisconsin, and served in the Peace Corps in Gambia, West Africa as a health volunteer from 1997-1999. She started working for Outdoor School as a site nurse in 2003 before becoming the Program Nurse in 2011. Since 2001, Peggy has traveled to Maine each summer to work at a summer camp. Peggy is featured as a character in a (true story) children’s book, One Plastic Bag by Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of Gambia. Peggy enjoys seeing the growth in children when they get to spend time learning in nature.
Alyson Soderquist, BSN, RN
Currently, I am working on several exciting new endeavors at my schools. At Gresham High, I am working with the district to implement our first ever mobile medical unit which will one day turn into a brick and mortar student-based health center. I am also working closely with admin to provide very needed (though sometimes highly stigmatized) sexual health resources to our school and community. I am also actively working on bringing nursing services to REY Academy, a program that has never had a nurse's regular presence and impact, in hopes of creating a healthier student body and community. I am incredibly grateful for the services I am able to provide to my students, their families, and our community."
LeAnn Teixeira, RN
I graduated from Nursing school (MHCC) with an RN Associate Degree in 1984. (I was a Licensed Practical Nurse a year before that) so I have been practicing Nursing for 40 years. I did hospital nursing until January 1990 when I began a very satisfying career change in Pediatric Homecare with ventilator dependent clients and many of these clients I took to school as their nurse. I continue per diem (2 shifts a month) with homecare with a non-profit company, Nursingale, to keep my hands-on nursing skills current.
I started with MESD in 2005 as a 1:1 RN taking medically fragile students to school. Until 2020, the majority of my time with MESD has been with one student, from Kindergarten through the 2nd year of the Adult Transition Program.
During the 2020/2021 school year, I was a Program (Building) Nurse at 5 schools. This represented a huge learning curve for me, but in the end, the things I learned are helpful in my MESD role on the PPS Feeding Team which I joined part time, during the Fall 2021. I continue in this role during the school year 2022/2023.
As a Feeding Team Nurse, I have had wonderful opportunities to connect with many different school nurses, and the MESD Complex Needs Nurses, regarding the safe eating protocols, and medical diagnoses of specific students, as well as many community medical providers and their care manager nurses and medical providers at Feeding Clinics at OHSU and Randall, specifically, to collaborate together on the students that we all manage together.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Teaching Resources
May is Asian Pacific Heritage Month! MESD is proud to celebrate the unique perspectives and contributions of our diverse students, teachers, and staff of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent. This includes a wide range of folks with ancestry from countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Samoa, Hawaii, Guam, and many, many others. These communities have rich cultural traditions, histories, and contributions to the United States, in addition to a variety of challenges and other experiences that may be unique to each group.
Interested in learning more? Here are some teaching resources to help raise awareness and celebrate the diversity and richness of these communities:
Celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage
Colorín Colorado celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage all year long with books, activities, and classroom resources. Explore the following: These booklists celebrate the diversity, history, and resilience of the AAPI community.
Thank You MESD Teachers!
Celebrate a Teacher or Educator!
Do you have a teacher you'd like to spotlight and thank? This Teacher Appreciation Week, we want to make sure each and every educator knows just how appreciated they are. Celebrate the educators in your life by sharing a message on social media, tagging @multnomahesd, and using the hashtag #ThankATeacher – we'll keep an eye out and amplify your message!
Recognizing MESD's Angela Turner
In last month's newsletter, we featured an article about helping children transition from mental health crisis back to school – but neglected to note that Angela Turner, a Special Education Teacher in the Hospital School Program at Providence Willamette Falls Child and Adolescent Psychiatry was a research partner in this important work and also an MESD employee.
Please join us in recognizing Angela's many accomplishments! The article talks about the need for planned, coordinated trauma-informed care to ensure a successful transition, as well as a need for greater awareness.
Interested in learning more? Check out Angela Turner and Benjamin White's article, download the classroom posters for Mental Health Awareness Month below, or visit ODE's resources on strengthening mental health in education.
Trimet Summer Pass Program
This summer, TriMet will make summer passes available for high school students at MESD, Parkrose, David Douglas, Centennial, Gresham-Barlow, and Reynolds. This is a great opportunity for students who are transit-dependent and plan to make use of them over the summer months. Since students' TriMet Hop cards aren't loaded in the summer, they will likely need these passes to help them to get to school, jobs, and other activities.
Here are some important details about this opportunity:
The summer passes will be valid from June 1- August 31.
The passes provide unlimited rides and are not registered under each student’s name.
The passes are available to incoming 9th-grade students, as well as graduating seniors.
TriMet anticipates delivering the passes at the beginning of May.
Learn more and get passes at trimet.org/summerpass
In Case You Missed It
Anti-Racist Resources for MESD Employees
Did you know? MESD has an award-winning website with anti-racist resources for educators, administrators, and staff to engage in their equity journeys. Resources include books, short films, presentations, and much more. Feel free to share any relevant content you would like to see included. The goal is to support and celebrate diversity in our staff, students, and community!
- Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
- South Asian American Heritage Month
- Haitian American Heritage Month
- Jewish American Heritage Month
- Mental Health Awareness Month
- Older Americans Month
- School Principals’ Day (May 1)
- National Teachers Day (May 2)
- Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
- School Nurse Appreciation Week (May 6-12)
- Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12)
- School Nurse Day (May 10)
- Mother’s Day (May 14)
- Graduation Tassel Day (May 17)
- Memorial Day (May 29)
Share Your News with MESD!
Thank you to the MESD staff, who share their stories with us for this edition!
We want to continue sharing your stories, and happenings across our district. To submit a photo(s) for consideration, please email email@example.com
Here are some helpful tips to increase the chances to have your photo published:
Include the school name and names and grades of the students and teachers featured in your photo (make sure to have a photo release consent form in place!)
Provide a brief description of the photo, including any educational value of the activity or event happening in the image
If using a cell phone, take your photo in landscape mode
Email your photo in the largest format possible - the higher the KB or GB, the better
If possible, send us multiple photos of the same activity or event, providing a variety of options for the communications team to choose from
Focus on smaller, common happenings in your school - we’d like to see students and staff in action, not just posing for a picture. We also love seeing the work of our students (if a photo of the students is not possible)
Please let us know if your submission can be posted on MESD social media. We won’t post without your consent
Please send in all submissions by the 20th if you would like the content in the next month's newsletter.