The Mt. Tabor Tribune

A Weekly Newsletter for the Mt. Tabor School Community

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A Message from the Principal


Good evening, MTMS,

I hope that you all had an amazing week. It was so refreshing to see so many of you at our Tabor Talk on Wednesday night and to have a chance to visit with families at our monthly Convivencia. While one was a virtual evening meeting and the other an in-person meeting in the blustery school parking lot, it strikes me how important these communication opportunities are to keeping us connected to each other as a school community. The topics of conversation in both of those spaces focused school boundary changes, and the perspectives offered by our families showcased the various and diverse ways our concerns and needs are being met by current PPS systems and processes.

Your questions were heartfelt and all came from a place of wanting what is best for your students--now and in the future. Your words showed such commitment to their wellbeing, their sense of community, and their success.

As an educator and a mother myself, I appreciate your willingness to engage and advocate. Neither of these actions are not easy--they require time, energy and emotion. And when we find ourselves in spaces that demand our engagement and that make us feel like we need to advocate fiercely, it is hard to have faith that others truly hear us or understand our needs and wants.

I sometimes refer to these moments as ones where my own "mama bear" instinct kicks in. I can feel it creep over me--that intense desire to protect my children from whatever threat I sense. I can feel my adrenaline kick in, and my rational thought threatens to give way to that reptilian part of my brain. I'm pretty sure that fathers are wired for "papa bear" instinct as well, and before we know it, we have a house full of bears ready to protect our baby bears and their "just right" bowls of porridge, their "just right" chairs, and their "just right" beds from that interloping Goldilocks who threatens to disrupt our collective comfort and lives.

I know that the topics of conversation right now surrounding boundaries and a host of other issues are near and dear to our hearts, and to our students' experiences. I have also felt so often in the past week your openness to share how these drafts and experiences feel to you and your families. I am so thankful for your voices in sharing those things that matter to you and your students, that worry you about the changes and situations you see on the horizon. It shows such trust that you are willing to share with us these perspectives so that we can better understand and support our community. You were more than kind in sharing the impact of these proposed changes with me, a "goldilocks" in my role as a building principal. I know that the three parent members of the SE Guiding Coalition and I are so thankful for your honesty, your candor, and your ongoing advocacy, and I hope that you can continue to look to MTMS as a trusted partner in the days to come.

I hope you all have an amazing weekend.

All the best,

Ms. Tonya Arnold

Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School

Quarter 2 Begins Monday, November 8

Any students in a zero period course this semester or who took Health 6-8, AVID 6, Technology, or Pub Tech during Quarter 1 will be experiencing their quarterly wheel rotation take place on Monday. Please have your students check their schedule for their new classes and rooms.

Enrollment & Program Balancing: Phase 2 Work to Bring Changes to DLI, Focus Option and Neighborhood Programs

This week's SE Guiding Coalition meeting saw changes to PPS "guiderails" for DLI instruction, allowing the group to consider co-located programs while reducing the number of single strand in K-5 schools across SE Portland. In addition, the district and FLO Analytics are working to create a Proposal C that addresses more of the feedback surfacing from families and SEGC members.

The district also shared that it will be changing the dates of the scheduled Open House and some of the listening sessions to accommodate feedback on Proposal C.

You can view the two prior proposals, past SEGC meetings, and more at

Thanks for attending Tabor Talk

Many thanks to all the families that joined us for Tabor Talk this week. If you missed the session and would like to hear more about Parent-Teacher Conferences and the SE Guiding Coalition, you can view the session at the YouTube link below.

We had a lot of questions about high school feeder paths and whether students would be able to access "legacy" placements as these shifts are determined in SE Portland. While both of these I know are important questions, neither of these are part of the charge of the SEGC at the moment. High school feeder patterns across all of PPS will be discussed next year, and the school board will ultimately determine how the new feeder paths are implemented.

- YouTube

No School November 11-12

There will be no school on Thursday, November 11 for Veteran's Day, nor will there be school on November 12 for Staff Professional Learning.

Weekly Asymptomatic Testing to Begin Week of November 15

While we are still waiting for our tests to arrive, we are anticipating that students will bring home their first asymptomatic COVID-19 screening tests on Monday, November 15. We will send students home with their labels and enough testing kits to support them through winter break.

Students will be taking their spit samples and returning their completed tests each Tuesday. Tests will need to be dropped of in the cooler just outside the main office.

Welcome REAP and Fernando Torres to Mt. Tabor

Mt. Tabor Middle School is so incredibly lucky to be partnering with REAP for the 2021-22 school year.

REAP is a year-round multicultural youth leadership program committed to empowering the next wave of leaders. REAP works with students in grades 3 through 12, who represent our most marginalized student populations.

We empower students to become global leaders through civic engagement, entrepreneurship and cooperative management (conflict resolution) for a better future NOW. In recent years, REAP has served more than +1,000 students each year.

This year, Fernando Torres, our REAP Youth Essential Coordinator, will be on campus with us full time and providing programming and support. To learn more about the Solutions program and about Fernando, see the images below.
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MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Parent- Teacher Conferences Nov 22-23

This year, MTMS will host virtual Parent-Teacher Conferences on Monday and Tuesday, November 22-23. We will be sending out conference schedules and sign up information to families beginning the first part of November.

Like last year, families will have an opportunity to look at their student Quarter 1 grades and prioritize the teachers and subjects that are most important for them to speak to regarding their student's progress. Conference sessions will be 12 minutes in length, and there will be slots in the morning, afternoon, and evening to choose from. Registration will be online through a conference scheduling tool. The roll out of scheduling will prioritize families in need of translation, students receiving special education services, and students who are receiving additional supports/interventions for academics, behavior, and attendance. All families will receive the opportunity to begin registration by no later than November 12.

Help Support the MTMS Band Program

The MTMS Band needs a new set of music chairs!! Our current chairs are old and damaged to the point of being a distraction during daily rehearsals. Students spend valuable rehearsal time cherry-picking chairs and I am constantly observing them wiggle around to avoid the broken parts of the seats (see pictures below!). With your generous donations we would replace our old, worn, and damaged chairs with a brand new set specifically designed for music classrooms. With your donations we will also be able purchase rolling storage carts for these chairs, allowing for super quick set ups and tear downs, whether we play indoors or outdoors.

With a new set of music chairs we will be able to:

  • Increase rehearsal time

  • Ensure comfort, so students can focus more on the music

  • Promote good posture habits so students can give their best sounds

  • Increase efficiency for setting up/tearing down

Our goal is to raise $5,000 by December 31st, 2021. Please consider donating any amount you are able to via the link below. All donations are tax deductible.

Thanks again for your support!

Jacob Soto


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Your Weekly PTA Update

Your Weekly PTA Update

The MTMS spirit store is up and running. Like last year, t-shirts and hoodies are available through Big Frog. Items are ordered on demand from the local company and ordering is available throughout the entire school year. You order online, pay online, and items can be picked up locally in Portland or mailed to your address. You can place your order online at this link:

There is a new design this year to show the neighborhood and community that surrounds the middle school. The school building is down in front in orange and red and then the blue houses surround the school and the mountain and sun are in the background. The design was created by our very own PTA President. The MTMS mascot design is also available. This is similar to last year, but new and improved, the Eagle is wearing a face mask (COVID-19 style).

Adult and youth sizes are available and there are t-shirt and hoodie options. These would make great holiday gifts for your MTMS students.


MTMS PTA needs your help. The community is stronger when we work together and we would love to have some more volunteer power within the PTA.

Treasurer Elect – Learn how to be treasurer from our current amazing Treasurer. Our current Treasurer is planning to stay in the position next year as well, so this volunteer would have two years to learn the ropes. **We are currently looking for a volunteer to participate in audits with the Treasurer. This is a small time commitment and occurs on a regular basis.**

Volunteer Coordinator – Help coordinate volunteers as needed (some examples: Picture Day, Picture Retake Day, Staff Appreciation Week, decorating for 8th Grade Promotion). Picture day and picture re-take day are already off the list, so 1/2 the work is already done!!

Restaurant Partner Coordinator – Procure restaurant partners for these fundraising events. This is done with some outreach via email and then making sure the Communications Chair has the details to share with the community. We have relationships established and leads on new restaurants that are interested.

Outdoor Coordinator – Lead or assist with beautifying the internal courtyard. We want our students and teachers to have a nice space in the courtyard. The space is used often and passed through multiple times a day.

Bottle Drop Coordinator – Ensure Bottle Drop bags and labels are stocked and distributed to those interested. This is a minimal time commitment.

Staff Appreciation Week – Take the lead or assist in coordinating staff appreciation events in May. The PTA has several leads and relationships established already.

Stay Connected & Up to Date with the MTPTA

It's easy to stay up to date with the PTA. We encourage Mt. Tabor families to visit our website at for updates and following our page on Facebook at

Questions? Ideas? Concerns? Want to volunteer?

Write us at

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We are excited to announce that we are just waiting to hear when our test kits will arrive here at MTMS. We are anticipating that students will receive their first tests on Monday, November 15 and those first tests to be picked up by Tuesday, November 16.

We know that this is an important tool in our effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It’s also important to remember that despite the availability of this program, the best tools to protect individuals against COVID-19 are vaccination for those eligible, physical distancing, masks, proper ventilation and airflow, hand hygiene, and staying home if ill or exposed to someone with COVID-19.

We are excited for the launch of this screening testing program, helping us make more informed decisions about our students safety and health.

At this time, we do not know when our testing will begin, and we will keep families posted when we receive our start date from OHSU.

10.19.2021 MTMS PTA Presentation on COVID-Screening Testing
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My Child Is Out Sick

If your child is feeling under the weather and is missing school, please be sure to call the MTMS Attendance Line. If you leave us a message, please give us a list of your student's symptoms as we are tracking these as part of our health and safety protocol. A member of the office or admin team may call you back regarding the symptoms you report.

It is also essential that you notify the school if your student has a positive COVID test or is a close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive. Please call the school office, and they will connect you with our School Health Assistant, Julia Mudgett; our school nurse, Catrina Luna; or Principal Tonya Arnold to follow up with you on these protocols. If you need to reach someone after hours, please email

Mt. Tabor Middle School

Home of the Eagles. Be sure to follow us on Instagram at mttabormiddleschool