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,
Last week, I teased you all a bit, letting you know that we had big and developing news here at MTMS.
Very late last week, we were lucky enough to receive an unexpected staffing allocation from the district. It wasn't enough to keep us from needing to make reductions, but it was enough, based on our projected enrollment numbers for next year, to make a substantial change to our schedule and retain some staffing that we might otherwise have lost.
I wrote to you all several weeks ago about the struggles that our current 6-period schedule creates, and the inequities inherent in it in regard to access to academic supports and engaging elective options. So when faced with determining how we could use the FTE coming back to us-- whether to reduce class sizes or explore ways to more equitably provide access to students to what it is that they need and want--we had to explore the giant "what if?. Would the small bit of staffing be enough to make an important change to the 7-period day?
It is. Just barely enough. But enough.
The change will not be without some major sacrifices. Our class sizes, based on the forecasted numbers we received from the district, will average between 28-33 students per class. Elective classes will see higher averages of close to 35 students per course. We will face a year without a school climate specialist, which places all of the student management squarely back in the office of the assistant principal and principal. And we will have to bid goodbye to several staff members as well.
The good news is that we no longer have the need for a zero-period class. All students, including those in immersion programs, will have access to elective classes during the school day and the ability to access ELD and academic intervention courses should they need them. These are huge wins for our school community. We have also been able to expand our elective options as well to include Computer Science, Drama, Creative Writing, Exploring Film, and Mindfulness in addition to our traditional electives of Engineering, Project Green, Spanish 1-2, Social Justice, AVID, Art, and Band.
The bad news is that students will need to re-forecast for their preferred classes. There is more information below regarding that process and deadlines, but families should see these forms coming home with students today so we can forecast next week. It's a small price to pay, I suppose, for another fun and engaging call.
We continue to remain hopeful that, as the budget outlook from the state becomes clearer and our student numbers get solidified, additional funds may come our way to ensure that we aren't just "getting by," but that we continue to thrive as a school now and in the future. Many thanks to the groups and families who have advocated and continue to advocate for public education in this difficult time. We sincerely appreciate your voice and partnership.
This day has been a day of great change on other fronts as well with the announcement that indoor masking will become optional for all students and staff beginning on Monday, March 14. For more information about this shift, you can see the message below from Superintendent Guerrero that was emailed out earlier this afternoon.
We know this move of required masking may be a relief to some students and families, and a worry and concern to others. We know, having gone through the last four days of optional masking during outdoor activities (like lunch and recess), that majority of our students are still choosing to be masked in those spaces. We really encourage you to have an open conversation with your children about their thoughts and those of your family and develop a masking plan that makes sense for your particular situation. I know I have already begun those conversations with my own children, and I have appreciated knowing their perspectives on these topics that are important to their health and the health of our family. I would likewise encourage them to talk to you when their thoughts and feelings about masking (or not) may shift over time to keep those lines of communication open.
Please know that we will continue to communicate with families as these mitigation measures continue to shift; please be sure to keep us informed as well when your child is sick and if they do test positive for COVID-19.
I wish you all a very lovely weekend.
All the best,
Ms. Tonya Arnold
Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School
New Schedule Means New Options for Forecasting!
It is important that families review selections with their students over the weekend and send them back to school on Monday with completed and signed Pre-Forecasting Forms. Counselors will be pushing into social studies classes next week to finalize the process.
You can access all of the Forecasting information at the links below:
For Current 5th Grade Students
- Rising 6th Grade Forecasting Letter
- Rising 6th Grade Pre-Forecasting Form (file contains forms for both Neighborhood and Immersion)
For Current 6th Grade Students
- Rising 7th Grade Forecasting Letter
- Rising 7th Grade Pre-Forecasting Form (file contains forms for both Neighborhood and Immersion)
For Current 7th Grade Students
Today is the last day for the Successful Schools Survey!
PPS Will Shift to Optional Masking Beginning March 14
Dear PPS Families and Students,
From the beginning of this global pandemic, we’ve been guided by advice from public health experts, made adjustments based on new data and updated science, and applied what we’ve learned to guide our response to COVID-19.
Beginning on Monday, March 14, PPS will transition to optional masking for all staff and students across every PPS building. This is aligned with the new public health guidance released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and Multnomah County Public Health.
Here is why we are making this decision:
- This week, ODE/OHA and Multnomah County public health both released updated guidance that mirrors and complements the CDC’s new guidance and COVID-19 Community Levels tool. This tool helps us–PPS and each one of us as individuals–take preventative steps based on the latest local COVID-19 data. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in our community.
- Currently, Multnomah County is classified as having a “low COVID-19 community level.” Based on this — and with no new variant on the horizon — Multnomah County has decided to not implement a local mask mandate at this time.
- The latest data by the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) indicates that less than 14 percent of Oregonians are currently susceptible to COVID-19. The rates of vaccinations and boosters in Multnomah County are high. In addition, the number of individuals who were infected with the Omicron variant is widely believed to provide a level of community protection against COVID-19 for at least the next three months.
In addition to transitioning to optional masking, we will continue the pause of general contact tracing and quarantining in schools. At this time, public health affirms contact tracing and quarantine to be ineffective at slowing the spread of a virus that moves as quickly as an omicron.
Based on the lessons of the last two years however, we continue to:
- Provide the OHSU weekly screening testing program and school-based rapid testing for individuals who might become symptomatic while at school.
- Use MERV 13 HVAC filters and will begin replacing filters in each portable air purifier this month.
- Inform families and staff if an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 was on-site during their contagious period.
We continue to require that all individuals stay home when sick with COVID-19 symptoms for five days. On day six, individuals will be able to return, if fever free for at least 24 hours, and are encouraged to wear a mask for five days.
We understand that comfort levels on mask wearing will vary in our community. We plan on sharing resources to schools and families that help create a safe and welcoming environment for every student and staff member and one that honors individual decisions around COVID–19 safety, including the use of masks.
Today’s shift comes almost two years after we closed our schools and transitioned to distance learning. We are in a better place today as a community with more ways to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19, including vaccinations, boosters, access to testing, availability of high-quality masks and improved ventilation. Our community has demonstrated a shared responsibility for keeping each other healthy and safe, and we now look forward to returning to more typical school routines beginning on March 14th.
Thank you for your continued support.
Chromebook Chargers: Be on the Lookout!
Please check in with your student to see if they have additional school device chargers at home and have them return any extras to the main office.
Math Placement for Current 6th Grade Students
Dear 6th Grade MTMS Families,
Below you will find some information about placement for middle school Common Core State Standards (CCSS) mathematics courses in Portland Public Schools.
The Compacted Mathematics courses are different than any advanced math course that PPS has offered in the past. In these courses, students are expected to complete 3 years of math over 2 years. This means that these courses are fast paced. Students are expected to master a topic with minimal practice before moving on to the next topic. 6th grade students must have highly mastered the 6th grade topics and skills when given ample practice time in order to show readiness for this kind of pace. Students who earn a grade of ‘C’ or better in Compacted Mathematics Year 1 and Compacted Mathematics Year 2 will earn high school Algebra credit.
Process for CY1 Placement for rising 7th graders:
Student(s) and Guardian(s) complete the FAMILY survey at https://forms.gle/K3pFRGqzdWhRgWas5. Please complete the survey by no later than Friday, March 11, 2022.
School team completes the SCHOOL survey* (recommend or not)
If there is a discrepancy between family survey and school survey that would change the placement, schools will meet with the families to determine placement for the student.
If you have any questions, please contact your child’s teacher, your school principal, or the PPS Middle Grades Mathematics & Science department.
The PPS Middle Grades Mathematics & Science Team
In-Person Band Concerts Coming in April
Thursday, April 7: Advanced Band Concert
Thursday, April 14: Intermediate Band Concert
Thursday, April 21: Beginning Band Concert
We look forward to sharing our students' hard work with all of you!
5th Grade Open House: Thursday, May 12
Keep an eye out for details on the event as we get closer to May.
Mark Your Calendars: 8th Grade Promotion is Friday, June 10
Your Weekly PTA Update
Can you buy ONE wobble seat for a MTMS classroom? A $75.00 donation to the Classrooms in Motion fundraiser will purchase one wobble seat. The PTA is working to raise funds for 100 wobble seats (alternative seating options) in MTMS classrooms. We will continue to collect donations until we are able to get close to our goal. Donations are being accepted through SchoolPay. The link to donate to this fundraiser is https://www.schoolpay.com/pay/for/Classrooms-in-Motion/SCiuLo.
Our partnership with Leikum Brewing is coming up in about two weeks. Be sure to get the date on your calendar - Sunday, March 20th. Leikum Brewing is located at 5812 East Burnside (close to MTMS). Sunday hours are generally 3-10pm. Plan to come out and have a beer! There is an El Salvadoran food truck onsite. Indoor and outdoor seating is typically available with a fire pit outdoors to keep you warm. We hope to see you there!
- March 20th - Leikum Brewing
- April 12th - Tabor Tavern
- April 20th and 21st - Oly’s Pizza
- May 16th, 17th, 18th - Spaghetti Factory
PTA General Meeting, Tuesday, March 15th
The next General PTA Meeting will be held Tuesday, March 15th online via Zoom. The meeting is 6:30-8:00pm. We are working to finalize speakers for this meeting and will share the meeting topic and speakers next week. Everyone is welcome to the General PTA meetings, where we provide information, education, and discussion for the whole MTMS community.
Alpenrose and MTMS Partnership
Are you tired of running to the grocery store for milk and other groceries? Sign up for Alpenrose grocery delivery. New customers will receive $30.00 off their first order and free home delivery of groceries. All your future orders over $15.00 will also receive free delivery. For each new customer that signs up, using the MTMSPTA code, Alpenrose will donate $50.00 to MTMS PTA! This is huge! This will contribute to funds that we greatly need to meet the needs of teachers and students at MTMS. The flyer below contains more information and a QR code to the ordering website. Use code MTMSPTA when checking out to receive your discounts and free delivery.
Check out the options for Mt Tabor Middle School gear on our online store. T-shirts and hoodies are available in two different designs. Items are ordered on demand from the local company, Big Frog. 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: https://mttabormiddleschool.itemorder.com/shop/sale
HS Graduation Requirements Feedback Opportunities
Oregon’s Kitchen Table is working with ODE to gather input from people across the state about this topic from mid-February to mid-March 2022. We are planning different ways for people to share what they think. OKT will be working with community organizers to do culturally specific outreach and engagement and holding listening sessions and interviews for communities who have not been well served by the education system, including students with disabilities, English language learners, immigrants and refugees, students who move frequently, and Black and Native and Indigenous students and other communities of color. We'll also be hosting an online statewide survey in 7 languages as well as regional community conversations in each of the state's 19 Educational Service Districts. Statewide online survey (open through April 15th).
Regional community conversations: You can also attend one of the community conversations we will hold for families in each of Oregon's 19 Educational Service Districts. These forums will be on Zoom. If you have any questions, please contact Oregon’s Kitchen Table (email@example.com).
These sessions are for families and community members in each region. If you would like to attend an upcoming community conversation in your region, please click on the Zoom Registration link next to the county / ESD where you live to register and get Zoom information to join. Multnomah County: March 8, 6-8pm, Zoom Registration
Current Quarantine Guidlines
Upload your COVID-19 Vaccination Cards Into Parent VUE
Sign Ups Still Available for Asymptomatic Testing Program through OHSU
With the new variant surge, we have been asked by many families about whether they can still sign up for the weekly testing program through OHSU. Families are still able to sign up. Information about the program can be found at the links below:
If you have not yet had an opportunity to sign your student up for this free testing service, you can still do so. Simply complete the BOTH of the forms below and have your student bring them to the main office:
Our schedule here at Mt. Tabor will be for students to return tests every TUESDAY to the cooler outside the main office when they arrive on campus. Tests are collected in the morning by the OHSU courier.
If you have completed the form for your student and has not received testing kits and labels, it may be that OHSU has not yet processed your application--there seem to be significant delays. Please feel free to check in with Tania Trujillo in the main office to make sure that we have received your paperwork and requested your labels.
We appreciate your patience and participation.
Ongoing Family Immunization Clinics
The Multnomah County Health Department is offering twice-weekly Immunization Clinics for families and children to obtain COVID-19 and school-required vaccines. Clinics will be held on Wednesdays from 11 am - 2 pm & 3 pm - 6 pm at the Gateway WIC Building, 131 NE 102nd Ave., Portland; and on Saturdays from 9 am - 12 pm & 1 pm - at the NE Health Clinic, 5329 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. #322, Portland.
Appointments are required for children aged 5 - 11. No appointment is required for family members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and flu shots.
Call 503-988-8939 to make an appointment. More info is available at: multco.us/vaccineclinics.
Impacted by COVID-19?
My Child Is Out Sick
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.