The Mt. Tabor Tribune
Weekly Newsletter for the Mt. Tabor Middle School Community
A Message from the Principal
August 14, 2020
Dear Mt. Tabor Middle School Community,
What an amazing week it has been. I write to you this afternoon following three evenings of getting to know you as part of our Tabor Talk series.
There are parts of this socially distanced world that are still taking some getting used to. I find myself missing hugs and handshakes, and being able to smile at people as I pass them in the store or on my walks. But there are other things for which I find myself exceptionally thankful. I know that often when a new principal takes over in a building, there are the perfunctory "meet the principal" events where a small group of parents show up, have a cup of coffee, and learn a little bit about the individual that will be heading up their child's school. And while these opportunities are important, just the act of going into the school space after work for a meeting like this when we are giving up time with our families can be a huge ask--and as a result, these meetings are not always well attended.
And here's where the thankfulness comes in. While I do miss shaking your hands and being in your physical presence, I know that Jill Liddle and I both got to "meet" and share space with nearly 300 families in three days as a result of these digital conversations. You all asked important questions, and listened as we shared our vision about what we believe MTMS can become. I have no doubt that when 300 families come together with school leaders, counselors, teachers, and staff that remarkable things can happen for students. I knew I was lucky to be part of this school, and the last three nights have shown me that we collectively value the community we share together. It is powerful and inspiring stuff.
If you missed this week's Tabor Talks, I have recorded an abbreviated version of the bulk of the session that you can view. Likewise, I have left the Padlets up and running (they are linked near the end of the presentation), so if you are watching it asynchronously, you can still have a space to record your feedback and questions for us.
Some of the biggest questions of the evenings were about what the student learning schedule would look like. What can we expect as parents? How can we best support them? How much time will our children be spending in front of the screen each day? I believe that some of the answers to these questions should be coming in the next several days from the district office directly, and I will be sharing out additional details that are pertinent to our Mt. Tabor community as well.
I know our school teams are feeling good about the new hires coming our way for the 2020-2021 school year, and we are just waiting for the official word from our Human Resources department so that we can share more information with you about the individuals we are bringing onboard to teach science, language arts, math, and Japanese.
We wish you all the best in this last month of summer, and we look forward to working with you closely for the success of our students this school year.
All the best,
Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School
Chromebook and Hotspot Pickup: WEDNESDAY, 8/19
Families who indicated that they needed to check out a Chromebook or WIFI Hotspot on the Survey for Incoming Mt. Tabor Families will be able to pick up their devices on Wednesday, August 19 at the Mt. Tabor Middle School campus. We will be sending individual pick up times to families via the Remind application with your pick-up window and directions. It is important to come during your scheduled time to help us alleviate lines and support appropriate social distancing protocols.
If you have not filled out the survey to indicate that your student needs to borrow a computer or you need access to the internet, please complete it as soon as possible at https://bit.ly/MTMSincomingsurvey If you already checked out a Chromebook last year, the district will not be able to check out another one to you. If your device is broken the district will be sending information to families about what can be done to swap out these devices in the coming days, or you can stop by during the check-out windows (9-11 am, 2-4 pm, or 5-7 pm) to swap out your device.
URGENT: Survey for All Incoming Mt. Tabor Families
We are asking that ALL families complete this survey for each of their Mt. Tabor students by ASAP. Families can access this Survey for Incoming Mt. Tabor Families at https://bit.ly/MTMSincomingsurvey. There are three sections to this survey:
- The first section asks about your child.
- The second section asks about how connected you feel to our school and staff
- The third section asks about readiness for Distance Learning (including requests for Chromebooks and WiFi/Internet.
Feel free to skip any questions, but we hope you will answer all so that we can have as complete a picture as possible. We will share the information with each of your student's teachers and with our team working on technology distribution.
If you have more than one student with us, we would really appreciate your time to complete a survey for each.
Thanks for helping us get to know your child, and we can't wait to see them virtually!
Earlier this week, our administrative and counseling teams began getting emails from parents regarding student schedules that were viewable in some of the Clever applications (like Google Classrooms, Remind, etc.). Like many other buildings in the district, we are still finishing student schedules and making adjustments to balance class sizes, equalize gender balance, provide appropriate special education and language support, and ensure all students have full schedules. The IT department is simultaneously getting learning apps ready and, as part of that preparation, pulled in-progress scheduling information to start setting up these Clever programs.
**Please note that any courses that your student may see in Clever portal applications are NOT accurate reflections of the all the courses, teachers, or periods that they will be enrolled in for the 2020-21 school year. **
Our counseling and administrative teams are still hard at work ensuring that we have the best schedules possible for all MTMS students. Official schedules, when completed, will be posted in ParentVUE and Student VUE. My understanding is that these schedules may be viewable by the end of next week, and I will be sure to let families know when they can be seen on ParentVUE and StudentVUE platforms.
At that time, if your student still has an incomplete schedule, please notify Jill Liddle, Assistant Principal, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are so sorry for any confusion about course placements that this data merge may have caused.
Sign Up and Log In to ParentVUE
ParentVUE is a secure website and mobile app which offers parents, guardians real time access to:
- School Messages
- Class Schedule
- Course History
- Grade Book
- School Information
Additionally, parent/guardians can complete their yearly verification of student data through ParentVUE.
If you have used ParentVUE in the past, your log in information remains the same. Families can log in to ParentVUE at https://parent-portland.cascadetech.org/portland/PXP2_Login.aspx
If you have never used ParentVUE for your student before, you will need to sign up. To sign up for ParentVUE, you'll first need an Activation Letter from your school. Families who have not previously activated their ParentVUE accounts should have received an email on Tuesday, August 11 with activation keys.
If you need additional details about how to activate your account or have forgotten your password, please check the PPS website at https://www.pps.net/Page/2341. If you did not receive a copy of your activation letter or having trouble activating your account, please contact school secretary Tania Trujillo Morales at email@example.com
Online Verification Open
Each year parents and/or guardians are asked to review and update the information on file for their children (students). This information can be reviewed, edited and submitted online via PPS ParentVUE.
There are many benefits of verifying online via ParentVUE:
- Complete yearly verification of your student's information
- You can update your communication and language preferences
- Ensures your school has the most up to date information
- Saves paper and time
Questions about Learning Pods
While we can see the benefit of this, parent-initiated learning pods, hand scheduling students into pods changes many of the dynamics that we hope to achieve as we build master schedules. Much of the master scheduling process and the placement of students into classes is done with our scheduling program, and this work was done much earlier in the summer. Having a computer place students into classes allow us to better balance classes. With two different immersion programs, a deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) classroom, and other classes to support language learners and students with special needs, it is impossible to schedule all 740+ Mt Tabor students by hand and do it well and equitably. Even small changes at this time of the year can be exceptionally difficult and time consuming.
While we understand and support our community trying to do the best job possible in supporting student learning, PPS as a whole cannot support the coordination of family recommended “Learning Pods” at this time. There will be opportunities for small group and individualized instruction incorporated into student online schedules, and district planning teams are also working on how to creatively support student connection to school and each other.
We are working at MTMS to support teachers in collaborative developing lessons within their professional learning teams. Our teachers will be working on the same scope and sequence of learning, meaning that students should be in the same unit of study and working on the same skills at the same time as their peers in other grade-level classes. We will be working with these team to ensure they have common assessments and encouraging them to work smarter, not harder, in sharing lessons, activities, and resources across classes. And our MTPTA is discussing ways to help provide resources to allow families to connect with each other for support.
Stay Connected with Remind
Last spring, PPS began using a program called Remind to connect schools and teachers to families via phone, text, email and an application. The ways that we can use Remind to share newsletters, events, etc help to open up communication while we are teaching and learning remotely.
PPS is continuing its partnership with Remind this fall to support connection needs. Please not that Remind emails are not phishing attempts, and and it's completely free to use the web version or mobile app (this can be handy if you do not want to receive text reminders on your phone.
If you want to learn more about Remind or how to set your communication preferences, resources are available on the Remind App for Students and Parents page.
Meal Distribution for Fall 2020 & School Meal Benefits
Starting September 2nd, the Nutrition Services department plans to have 35 schools operating with grab and go meal services. Each site will serve 3-5pm outside for walk up or drive thru on Mondays and Wednesdays.
On Mondays, we will provide two breakfasts and two lunches for each PPS student. On Wednesdays, we will provide three breakfasts and 3 lunches to each student. Each of the 35 sites are eligible for free meals to all students who are enrolled or visit the school. Due to USDA regulations, we are unable to continue meal services for non-PPS enrolled children such as non-school aged siblings.
Families must reapply for meal benefits (free and reduced eligibility) every year. Meal applications are not needed if students attend a CEP school. New this year! Eligibility for free meals has been expanded through the state of Oregon - please check to see if you may be eligible!
Eligibility for free/reduced price school meals may also help families with other fee reductions or waivers -
Science lab fees
College application fees
Summer school fees
Comcast or other cable/internet services
Supplemental food and nutrition benefits (when available)
Tabor Talk: Upcoming Sessions
We know that as the new teaching/learning schedules are unveiled in the days to come, there will be much to talk about. While we have not yet narrowed down the topic for our next sessions, we wanted to get the dates on your calendars.
Tabor Talk Session #2: SAVE THE DATE
To join either session, use the following link: https://bit.ly/tabortalk
Monday, August 24 (6:30-7:30 pm)
Tuesday, August 25 (6:30-7:30 pm)
We look forward to seeing you there.
New To Mt. Tabor? Register Online!
Do you know a family new to our area that needs to register their student for Fall 2020? Families can register new students by clicking the ENROLL button at www.pps.net.
Families can also submit paper forms and submit supporting documents through the Enrollment and Transfer Center, accessible via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 503-916-3205. Paper forms are available at seven food pantry sites throughout the summer: (list of sites available on the ETC Forms Page).
YOUR WEEKLY PTA UPDATE
Mark your calendars for our first PTA general meeting of the year on September 15. We will be reviewing the 2020-21 budget and electing officers for vacant positions.
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 mtmspta.com for weekly updates (beginning the next couple of weeks) and following our page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MTMSPTA/.
Questions? Ideas? Concerns? Want to volunteer?
Write us at email@example.com
SAVE THE DATE!
- Monday, August 24: Tabor Talk #2 (6:30-7:30 pm)
- Tuesday, August 25: Tabor Talk #2 (6:30-7:30 pm)
- Wednesday, September 2: First Day for 6th Grade Students & Orientation
- Thursday, September 3: First Day for 7th & 8th Grade Students
- Tuesday, September 15: PTA General Meeting
- Thursday September 24: Virtual Open House