Dragon Tales

January 18th- 21st

Spoiler Alert: Dr. MLK Jr., Intro to our Guest Assistant Principal, Safe Oregon (reporting), Covid Stuff...

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, da Vinci Families,

I hope this message finds you in a place of peace. Dr. King once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Coming from a family of activists, I knew my life's purpose would be centered around advocating with and for others. Thus, I was purposeful in choosing a career in education. I understood at a young age the importance of education and how education has been used as a gate; without it, people are not afforded equal access to opportunities.

Equity in education matters to me. When we look at our history, oppression and unjust systems of practice, harm is caused and perpetuated through our educational system, even in 2022. I chose to lead da Vinci because I appreciate the way we grow our students academically and artistically. I also recognize that in doing so, we still have work to do! Over the next bit of time, our staff will be consistently engaging in Racially Centered Equity Professional Development, exploring equitable grading practices and continuing to expand our repertoire of strategies to support our students' emotional and social health.

Moreover, as we celebrate and honor Dr. King, I hope that you will involve yourself in a day of service or find a way(s) to keep Dr. King's Dream alive. If you are interested in ideas and activities for Monday, please check out Hands on Greater Portland website.

Peace, love and light,

Principal Davis

Introducing Mr. Castillo (Guest Administrator)

Big picture

Please welcome Mr. Castillo to da Vinci!

Hi da Vinci Community,

I wanted to quickly introduce myself and let you know I will be subbing for Ms. Wilson until needed. I am from the frontera of South Texas, but have lived in North Portland (St. Johns) since 1998 with my partner Lianne and our kitty-cat Jean-Luc (Lianne is from Oregon City, but that story is for another time). I am Latino and my pronouns are: he/him/his/él.

I am currently a MTSS TOSA for our district and have provided support to 8 schools, but due to covid changes, have been providing support mainly at George MS and Jason Lee. Previously, I was a 3rd - 5th grade teacher at James John Elementary (9 yrs) and worked at Rosa Parks during the beginning of Covid as a 5th grade teacher, while there, I completed my principal internship under the guidance of Dr. Walker, Dr. Wilson and the Rosa Parks community.

Interesting Facts:

My first job was teaching marching band at the age of 19.

I lived in Germany for three and half years.

I have done three US tours and 2 Japanese tours in a rock band.

I am a classically trained percussionist.

I look forward to meeting all of you.

In Solidarity,

Martín Castillo

Out Sick? What's the protocol.

Students are encouraged to first look at Canvas to know what is happening in class. If they are feeling well enough to do school work, they are encouraged to do what they can from home and submit assignments online when possible. They can communicate directly with teachers via Canvas.

If your student is out sick (or for any reason) please notify the office by email to the attendance secretary, sbryan@pps.net, or the main office line, 503-916-5356.

Safe Oregon

SafeOregon is a program created for Oregon students, parents, school staff, community members and law enforcement officers to report and respond to student safety threats. Please see this brochure for information about how to share information.

Big picture

Contact Tracing Guidance & 5 and 5

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Multnomah County Health Department (MCHD) released new contact tracing and notification requirements for K-12 schools on Friday. For the full announcement, if you have not seen it, please read this letter. Please continue to notify us immediately if your student is exposed to someone with Covid or tests positive for Covid. We will continue to notify the community if there is a case at school and follow this new guidance.

Covid Testing at School

Important reminder: Last week we received quite a few tests that were not labeled with student information. If you sent a sample and did not get results, it's likely because the sample was not identifiable. Be sure to follow the directions carefully and label the test sample and the bag with the label provided by OHSU.

The OHSU screening program is available for weekly testing for asymptomatic students. Samples are collected each Tuesday morning. If your student has tested positive in the last 90 days, they should not be participating in this screening. Those enrolled should bring home more labels and kits for the coming weeks. If you do not need more kits or you have any questions, please let Sheli Bryan in the office know. To opt-in, we need the OHSU form and the general consent form with the third box on the back page checked. The consent form with the other boxes checked is for on-site testing for students who become ill at school or are exposed while at school as part of the test-to-stay program.

Link for OHSU weekly screening

Link for information

Link for General Consent Form


PPS is now allowing a Test-to-Stay protocol for students who meet the criteria for modified quarantine guidelines and expectations. Below is info more specific to this measure. Please note, PPS follows health guidelines, which are subject to change.
Big picture

Family Support with Monitoring Devices & Social Media (from last week's addition)

Social Media Posts

Last week, I spent a lot of time interviewing students, reporting social media pages to Instagram and investigating issues around cyber bullying. I am really disappointed that some of our students have decided to engage in (there is no other way to put it) mean and cyber bullying behavior. There are a few Instagram pages dedicated to da Vinci students. Some of the pages are light and silly, while others contain hurtful, mean and disrespectful posts towards students and even staff. This needs to stop.

I have worked with our IT Department to figure out how to address this issue and to figure out who owns certain accounts and Google Forms that are being used to keep students' posts anonymous. I suspect students are using PPS owned technology to support their posting on social media sites; however, there appears to be no link to their student Google accounts. In addition to working with our IT Department, I have interviewed a number of students. Luckily a few of our students have owned up to their parts for different pages and have since deleted them.

Please have conversations with your students about PPS and da Vinci's anti - bullying policy and expectations. We try really hard to foster a positive and inclusive environment at da Vinci and take our students' health and safety serious. Please know if students are engaging in bullying behavior, such as what is going on now, there will be consequences attached to the behavior. Below are a few ideas of how I, as a parent monitor my children's screen time and social media accounts.

Monitoring Screen/Social Media Time

Parents and Families, as you are helping our students learn social media etiquette, here are a few tools to hep you monitor while at home:


Securly is a resource made available through PPS to help families monitor their students interactions while browsing the web and accessing various sites. Families will receive weekly reports about their student's usage.

Screen Time Limits (iPhone)

Check out this article. This function can be used to monitor screen time, as well as to access to different apps and sites (such as Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat).

Xfinity Family Profiles

If your pre-teens and teens are like mine, they need support with turning down at night. I created different profiles for each of my children. I then set limits for internet use for each of my children's profiles for times throughout each day/week (it is different on weekends and breaks). The Xfinity App allows me to also monitor the frequency and which sites my children are visiting. I can turn my internet access on and off with the press of a few buttons on my phone via the app. I love this function.

Winter Dance Concert, coming January 21

We are hoping to be able to proceed with the Winter Dance Showcase this week! If all goes as planned, and under our current guidelines, the audience will be limited to four guests per student. Ticket information will come from the Dance Department. Guests will need to show their vaccination card (or proof of a negative test within 72 hours) upon entry.

Volunteers are needed for this production. If you are able to volunteer, please let us know using this Signup Genius site.

Spring Drama Casting and Rehearsals

The cast list for the Spring Drama Musical Revue will be posted on Tuesday. Rehearsals will start on Monday the 24th.

Candy Donation

Families, our Leo Leaders are organizing to support a few community efforts in the next few weeks and months. One of the ideas they have is to sell individually bags of candy to students and take the proceeds to donate to homeless youth, support a Period Drive among a few other things. If you are able, we would love it if a few families could pick up a bag of individually wrapped candy and donate it to our Leo Leaders. Our Leaders will then package the candy and prepare to sell. We will accept donations through Friday. Thanks so much!

December Music Concert Video

It was a thrill to have our musicians on stage for their Winter Concert. HERE is the video link if you would like to watch or share it with someone who could not be there.

If you would like to make a donation to the Music Department to support the program, use this LINK on SchoolPay.


Attendance Reminder

If your student will be late or absent for any reason, please notify the main office at 503-916-5356 or email the attendance secretary, Sheli Bryan at sbryan@pps.net. Because we receive a high volume of calls and the front doorbell also rings the front office, an email notification is preferred. Please let us know the reason for the absence and if your student is ill, a brief explanation of symptoms. We will follow up if needed.


Parking /Drop-off Pilot

Parking and drop-off/pick-ups are quite busy, especially as some of our families have opted out of carpooling with others. Being a focus option school, makes traffic a little different, as our students come from all over Portland and we need to get a better plan to support our situation. We do not want to rush morning drop-offs, as mornings are sometimes hard for families; however, once your kiddo is out of the car, please do not idle - please drive off in order to make room for the next family. Also, we cannot block bike lanes, intersections or parking in non-parking zones. In effort to intervene with the congestion, we ask that you try the plan outlined below:

8th grade:

Location: NE 24th and Couch back field road (it is a one way going East)

7th Grade:

Location: NE 24th between Everett and Davis (no turning left onto Everett)

6th grade: Location: NE Everett Street (front of school)

Big picture

Locker Use Requests

A few weeks ago, we mentioned that we would be reintroducing lockers. However, with the very contagious new variant upon us, we need to continue to be cautious and limit students gathering (which is definitely a task with middle schoolers). At the moment, we are in a compromise, we will offer lockers to students who need them. Our locker plan is somewhat of a hybrid model. Students who absolutely need them, will be assigned a locker - while those who are okay without will still carry their belongings.

If your student is in need of a locker, please help them complete our locker survey. Once the survey has been completed, we will assess the need and begin delivering locker assignments within the upcoming weeks.

Indoor Breakfast & Rainy Day Entry

Brrr...it is cold outside!! Thus, breakfast will be offered and eaten indoors. In general we don't have a lot of students participating in the breakfast program. However, those who do participate, will eat breakfast in the cafeteria, adhere to the covid guidelines for spacing and clean up after themselves. Please note, teachers will be in their classrooms planning for the day, thus, students will not have access to teachers (unless they have a scheduled appointment) and need to remain in the cafeteria, where there is supervision.

On the days where it is raining, we will open up the school so students are not hanging outside in the wet rain and cold. Here's the plan for non-breakfast eaters:

6th graders will enter through the regular 6th grade entrance and remain on the 1st floor (downstairs).

7th graders will enter through the main doors and remain on the main floor, seated in the auditorium.

8th graders will enter through the regular 8th grade entrance and remain on the 2nd floor, seated quietly in the hallway.

Please remind your students, they will not have access to the rest of the building and will remain in the grade specific designated spots.

Calendar Highlights

Black and Brown Virtual Family Night- MOVED to January 25th 6p-7p

January 17th, MLK Jr. Holiday - no school

January 21, Dance Showcase, 7 pm, limited admission

January 28th, End of the Quarter/Semester 1

January 29th, Teacher Planning Day - no student day

From Nurse Cam about Immunizations

Hello Families,

The immunization exclusion date this school year is February 16th, 2022. You should have gotten a letter notifying you if your student's immunization status is not complete. If your Student's immunization status is not up to date by February 16th, 2022, your child will be excluded from school.

The Multnomah County Health Department is holding immunization clinics on Wednesdays and Saturdays. See the fliers for more information.

Clinic flyer in English.

Clinic flyer in Spanish.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or email.

Thank you!

-Nurse Cam

971-801-4415 (text friendly)


PTSA Corner

Thank you to those who were able to join this month's PTSA meeting. We saw a nice turnout and covered topics ranging from social media education for parents, accessible period products in the school bathrooms, virtual happy hours to build connections, and sustainability projects on campus in partnership with the Eco-School Network.

There is no shortage of needs or ideas in support of da Vinci’s continued excellence but it will take this community to bring them to life. I urge you to take a look at the numerous volunteer and engagement opportunities listed on the volunteer/community sign-up list. Thank you!

Current Needs

Dine For da Vinci

Fun for the Arts - Dance-a-thon!

Auction Planning and Procurement

Teacher/Staff Appreciation

Join Today

Thank you to all those who have joined the PTSA, we are now at 62 members and more than halfway to our goal of becoming 100 members strong. Click HERE to join.

Passive Fundraising through 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.


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. If you are in need of a blue bag, send your student to the office to pick one up!

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.

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