Dragon Tales

November 15th - November 19th

Spoiler Alert: Native Heritage Month, OHSU COVID Screening, Conference Update, PTSA and Counselor Corner...

Dear da Vinci Families,

I hope the longer weekend was good to you. Staff used Friday's PD day to brush up on existing skills and learn new skills with colleagues. When we take these days, we understand it pauses instruction for students, but PD days are so needed, in order to enhance our students' educational experience.

As a school, we have heard your feedback about traffic control. We have creatively reallocated resources in order to increase adult supervision during passing times, arrivals and dismissals. We will also be starting up our search for Site Council Members. For more information Site Council, see this blurb.

Thank you,

Principal Davis

OHSU K-12 Covid Screening Update

We now have all the materials ready and the program will start for enrolled da Vinci students this week. This program is for non-symptomatic home screening only. The priority is for non-vaccinated youth. If you turned in the consent form to opt-in, your student should be bringing home labels, two test kits, and an instruction page on Monday. Our first pickup day is Tuesday, November 16th. We will not have a pickup during conference/Thanksgiving week, so the next sample should be sent on November 30. Samples should be brought to school and dropped off as students enter the building each Tuesday morning. Please follow the instructions carefully and place one label on the sample and one label on the bag enclosed in each kit. Save the label sheet and use it each time you send a sample! Results will be shared with you via secure email, using the email you have in Synergy. Enrollment is on a rolling basis and we are still waiting for a few label sheets for recently added students. More test kits will be sent home as supplies are delivered to the school. If you want to opt-out or have questions, contact Ms. Bryan, sbryan@pps.net.

Conference Information

Family (parent/guardian/caregiver and student)/Teacher conferences offer an invaluable opportunity to meet and discuss student progress and needs. These conversations are student-centered and we want students to participate. Because conference times are limited, we hope to prioritize families who need this time to connect with teachers. While teachers always enjoy talking with families, if your student is doing well, especially if you already know the teacher from last year, a conference may not be necessary.

Further, we understand our students come from different family structures and may have two households. If this rings true for your family, please work within your family to determine which adult(s) will attend conferences. Please know, unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to offer separate conference slots to families residing in separate homes. Thank you for your understanding.

When: November 22 and 23 from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM.

Teachers block off their meal breaks in advance and there may be some variation in availability. There are a couple of teachers with spots on alternate days.

Where: Our conferences will be virtual, using Zoom. As is typical, each conference slot is 10 minutes. These are scheduled without any transition time so it is imperative to start and end promptly. These slots usually do fill up so if you miss your time for any reason, we will not be able to accommodate schedule changes.

How to Sign up: If you feel a conference would be helpful, please use this site to pick times to meet with your child’s teachers.

  • Take only one slot per teacher per child for year-long classes, or semester Art classes. Coordinate with other adults to share the time or divide the meetings.

  • Teachers do not offer conferences for quarter-term electives, e.g., term dance/PE fitness, health, or the quarter of art or AVID for 6th graders.

The conference schedule website will go live for you to sign up at 4 PM on November 4th, 2021. It will be locked at 4 PM on Thursday, November 18th so teachers can prepare.

Sign up on MyConference Time:


> Register for multiple time slots

> Select the number of students you have

> Pick the teachers you need to meet with

> Enter your names and email address

> Pick a day that works best for you

> Select times and sign up

> Look for a confirmation email from Myconferencetime with the link for the Zoom meeting. You will also get a reminder two days in advance. If you need any help, contact sbryan@pps.net.

How to join Zoom, video tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgBBO-rbZ00&feature=youtu.be

  • Download Zoom in advance and become familiar with joining a meeting if you are not already.

  • There will be a waiting room for the teacher to let you in when it’s your time. Make sure your Zoom account name is recognizable.

  • You can use your student’s PPS Zoom account or a personal one.

  • If multiple people plan to join the meeting, make sure to let the teacher know to admit other participants.

Prepare for the meeting:

ASK- How is my student’s participation?

Share- what’s working/not working.

What do we need to know about your student?

How can we help your student to be successful?

PTSA Corner

Thanks to those of you who attended the PTSA meeting this past week. We discussed fundraising, upcoming volunteer opportunities and had some great student inputs on how to increase awareness around the PTSA and ideas for selling da Vinci swag IN the building!

All of this takes work and time and I urge our community to check out the list of current volunteer and community-building opportunities HERE. There is no need to be a PTSA member to volunteer at da Vinci!

Please review the updated PPS guidelines for volunteering HERE.

Volunteer Needs - In an attempt to foster community you will find sign-ups for the 4 PDX quadrants on the volunteer sign-up list HERE. I encourage those of you with time to consider signing up to volunteer! Opportunities and other school needs are listed HERE.

Please review the updated PPS guidelines for volunteering HERE.

Fred Meyer Community Rewards

If you have a Fred Meyer Rewards Card, you may link it to da Vinci PTSA and help raise funds for our school at no additional cost to you. In addition to still keeping your personal Fred Meyer Rewards, Fred Meyer will also donate to the charity of your choice. Learn how HERE.

Shop on Amazon & Support da Vinci Arts Middle School with Amazon Smile

Every time you purchase something off Amazon using the “smile” page, da Vinci Arts Middle School PTSA gets a 0.5% contribution, at no additional cost to you. Please take a few minutes to sign up using the instructions below and be a proud supporter of the da Vinci Arts Middle School PTSA today. Learn how HERE.


Did you know you can help raise money for da Vinci by recycling your bottles and cans without any extra cost to you? Learn how HERE.

Follow the PPS COVID-19 dashboard HERE for real-time data.

Winter Talent Show Announcement

Calling performers for our next Talent Show ... Complete THIS FORM with your show-ready act for the Winter Talent Show. Submissions are due by Friday, 12/10. Performers will be announced on Monday 12/13 and the show be shown in 6th period on Friday, 12/17.

Calendar Highlights

November 16, Tuesday- First OHSU COVID 19 Screening pick up (continues weekly)

November 19, Picture Retakes, 5th and 6th periods

November 22 and 23, Teacher/Family Conferences

November 24-26, Thanksgiving Holiday, No School

November 29- December 19, Enrollment and Transfer Lottery Window for middle and high school next year. Information about the lottery for da Vinci for next year will be updated on our website

December 3rd, PTSA Poinsettia pickup date

December 20 - 31, Winter Break, school resumes January 3rd

Student Clubs and Affinity Groups

BSU, Sponsored by Mr. Muhammad, Ms. Davis and Ms. Aja (from The Urban League)

Our BSU has started and will continue every 1st and 3rd Wednesday (unless where a holiday/break occurs).

Latinx Student Union, Sponsored by Ms. Wilson

Please sign up using this quick form if you are interested in participating as a student and parent. Students, parents, and teachers can join!


QSA, Sponsored by Counselor Foxley

QSA has started and will meet on the 1st & 3rd Thursday of each month from 3:15 - 4:00 pm. Students can also find more information on the bulletin board across from Ms. Shannon's office (room 202).

Yearbook Club with Ms. Staurseth

Our Ceramics teacher, Ms. Staurseth is running a lunch club for students to work on planning our Yearbook. We’re looking for students that are organized and detail-oriented. Does your student love taking photos and making memories? If so, ask them if they might be interested and encourage them to talk to Ms. Staurseth.

A message from Nurse Cam

Hello families!

Many families are choosing to COVID test their children with any signs of illness. You may, however, be wondering when a COVID test is REQUIRED in order to return to school. Please read on for the answer and for a link for the latest OHA/ODE exclusion criteria.

When your child presents with any primary COVID symptom, they are excluded from school for 10 days. HOWEVER, this exclusion can be canceled with a negative COVID test. Primary COVID symptoms are fever, cough, chills, loss of taste/sense smell, or shortness of breath/difficulty breathing.

Where to find testing?

Oregon Testing Sites

School Based Health Centers

A link to the most current OHA/ODE exclusion criteria can be found HERE. Please reference pages 8, 9, 10, and 12 for the exclusion information.

Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need more information about testing.

-Nurse Cam




Please ensure your student is coming to school with a couple of pencils in their bag each day. So many students are asking to borrow a pencil each day that we just went through a box of 1000 in two weeks. Instead of sharpening a pencil, some are just thrown away and many are seen on the floor in the halls.

Picture Ordering and Retake Day, November 19th

We will automatically include any student not present on our original picture day. If you are not happy with your pictures and want your student to do retakes, please fill out THIS FORM.


Our tents are on the way! We will receive 6 tents that will be placed on our blacktop within the next few weeks. Once they arrive, we will share photos of our kids enjoying them.

Before and After School Expectations

Please remember, students should not be in the building before school begins and should leave campus immediately. Teachers make time to meet with students; however, this is done ahead of time, thus, if your student is meeting with a teacher, they will need a pass. Otherwise, the expectation is that they do not linger on campus before or after school.

Absence and Illness reporting

If your student is going to be late or absent for any reason, please notify us by email.

If your student is ill, notify the health assistant, Tul Laffitte, AND the attendance secretary, Sheli Byran. Tul will need to know the symptoms your student is experiencing and the best call-back number for follow-up if needed. If your student will be taking a vacation day, has an appointment, there is a family emergency, or needs a mental health day, you can email only Sheli Bryan.

Student Phones - Off and Away

Please remind your children that personal electronic devices such as cell phones and smartwatches should be off and away during the day, including lunch. If you need to reach your student, call the office and we can relay a message or call them to the office so they can call you. If students are on their phones during the day without permission, we will ask them to keep their phones in the office until the end of the day.

Prepare for the weather

We will be outside enjoying lunch recess as much as our weather will permit. Please be sure to send your student with gear suitable for the weather elements. When not pouring down, we will be outside - since we are entering fall, it will be colder.

Parking and Traffic Flow

There are still occasional jams and horns in the morning. Please remember to only travel headed east on Everett St. Pull over to the curb to let passengers out. Drive with care and yield to pedestrians. Also, please be courteous to our neighbors and do not block driveways, corners or the fire hydrant zone.


We understand that families have different balls to juggle. However, we ask, if possible, please be mindful of how early students arrive at school, as we have limited adult support to monitor students in the morning. The first bell rings at 8:40 AM and the late bell rings at 8:45 AM. Students who are grabbing breakfast should arrive between 8:20 AM - 8:40 AM. As a reminder, breakfast is served through the doors nearest to the courtyard and is to be eaten outside.

Thank you for helping us with discouraging students from crowding, by not having students arrive too early to school.

Counselor Corner

High School Forecasting Time

Hi da Vinci families!

Have you had a chance to check out the counselor website yet? Please check it out! We have:

  • Mental health tips

  • Information on school clubs

  • Additional resources for tutoring and mental health

8th Grade Families!

One very important thing on our website is high school information. If you have an 8th grader at da Vinci, please click on this LINK. Bookmark it, because we will be updating it as we get additional information on upcoming events, such as 8th grade information nights.

***REMEMBER: The lottery application window for Benson, Jefferson, and MLC is November 29th - December 17th.***

Thank you!

Ms. Shannon and Counselor Heather

From our Library Staff- OBOB and Computers

OBOB (Oregon Battle of the Books) is coming to da Vinci! Information on sign-ups will be posted on the Library Canvas page (available soon). OBOB is a reading competition. Teams of five members read 16 books and answer questions in a "jeopardy style" format to win battles against other teams. Winning the school battles earns their spot to compete in the regional battles, and then hopefully to the state competition. Regional battles will be virtual this year. Students can begin forming teams of 4-5 teammates from grades 6-8 grades. The 16 titles are in our library now. Please look for more information during the first weeks of November.

Chromebooks ~ Please help students to bring their new Chromebooks to school each day. Make a habit of charging it at night and make sure you are plugging it in on the side with the button and the tiny light. No light = no charge. There are some available in the library but they must be returned at the end of each day.

2023 Travel Opportunities

Hello families! Are you looking for travel opportunities for your student? Heidi Sprecher, the drama tech teacher, leads trips during the summer through a company called EF. These trips are open to students at the middle and high school level, whether or not they attend da Vinci.

There is an info session coming up soon for an exciting theater-based trip to New York in the summer of 2023. Some of the exciting opportunities on the trip are that travelers will see multiple Broadway shows, participate in drama workshops, and have a meet-and-greet with a real Broadway professional.

If you are interested in learning more, please click on this link to be taken to a flyer with information on how to RSVP for the info session! Your student can also pick up physical flyers from room 106 (the drama tech room) at da Vinci. All questions should be directed to Heidi Sprecher (HSprecher@pps.net). Looking forward to seeing you there!

Please note: This is a non-district sponsored event. The school and the district are not responsible for conducting or supervising this trip."