The Mt. Tabor Tribune

Weekly Newsletter for the Mt. Tabor Middle School Community

A Message from the Principal

January 22, 2021

Dear Mt. Tabor Middle School Families,

The last couple of weeks at MTMS have felt simultaneously like a spring and a marathon. In just the last two weeks, we have been navigating behind the scenes in all of the following ways:

  • Planning for an intentional, joyous, and action-oriented Black History Month
  • Arranging for a whole-school virtual field trip in February
  • Creating Homeroom lessons to support students in thinking about national events
  • Training staff in and scheduling MAP Reading and Math Assessments (see more below)
  • Touring model sites and developing plans to bring small groups of 6th grade students back to campus for limited in-person instruction (LIPI)--more info should be coming from the district in the coming week on this topic.

And just today, we all received updates on the assignment of schools to Kellogg and realized that, should the board approve the proposal, that our Spanish DLI program will remain at Mt. Tabor for at least one more year.

All that to say, it's been busy, folks. And this week's newsletter is packed with information, hence why I'm keeping my letter to you brief. I'm hoping to be able to get all of these metaphorical ducks of mine back in line so that I can share with you a really concise and thorough update this week during Tabor Talks about all the amazing and wonderful things happening during the month of February.

Wishing you all a fantastic weekend.

All the best,

Tonya Arnold

Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School

SE Guiding Coalition Updates: Feeder Paths for Kellogg Middle School (and the implications for Mt. Tabor)

We want to update you on changes we have made to the Enrollment and Program Balancing proposal for Southeast Portland schools. The initial proposal (see a summary), drafted after months of Southeast Guiding Coalition meetings, was presented to the Board of Education at its January 12 meeting.

After receiving testimony and feedback, the Board discussion included asking staff to consider options that would assure Creston 6-8 students would have access to comprehensive middle schools next year.

The key changes to the proposed resolution are:

  • The Spanish Immersion program at Mt. Tabor Middle School will remain there instead of moving to Kellogg and will be considered in the Phase 2 middle school balancing.
  • Creston will convert to a K-5 next year. Staff will meet with Creston middle grades families starting next week to talk about middle school assignments for their students.

The Board will consider the modified proposal at its meeting on Tuesday, January 26, starting at 6 p.m. (meetings are being held virtually because of the pandemic). If you would like to offer feedback:

Volunteers for Phase 2 of the Southeast Guiding Coalition Needed to Represent MTMS

As you are aware our SE Guiding Coalition Phase 2 is quickly approaching, and the district wants to make sure that our schools and programs have adequate representation.

For MTMS, we still need two representatives: one from our Japanese Immersion program and one from our Spanish Immersion program. Ideally, we need families of 6th and 7th grade students as this work will begin shortly and continue through next school year. We are particularly seeking BIPOC parents/guardians who bring a good understanding of the school community and can also be district-wide thinkers and collaborators. We welcome individuals who speak other languages and can provide language access services.

Southeast Guiding Coalition Meetings will be held every other Thursday evening from February 25 through the end of the school year and then resume September-October.

If you are interested in serving for either our Japanese Immersion or Spanish Immersion representative positions, fill out this Google form to helps us understand demographics, age of students, programs they are involved in, and a section for them to express their interest in being a part of our coalition.

The district is hoping to identify good candidates in the next few weeks, so if you are interested, please fill out the form as soon as possible.

*The district is also looking for one family member to serve as a representative for Glencoe Elementary as well, and you can use the link above to submit interest in that position as well.

MAP Reading and Math Assessments Coming February 8 & 11

On February 8 and 11, Mt. Tabor Middle School students will engage in the MAP Reading and Math assessments. You may remember that these tests were pushed back from their normal first administration in the fall.

These tests provide our teachers with clear data about student strengths and areas of growth and will allow us, as a school, to hone our instruction and identify where additional support may be needed. Likewise, data from these tests has been used to identify students for TAG and Compacted Math placement in middle school, thereby adding an additional layer of importance on these exams.

On Monday, February 8, all students will report to their Period 1 class and take the MAP Reading exam, proctored by their Period 1 teacher. Students will have all morning to take and complete the exam (9:30 am to 12:15 pm). Students will not attend period 2 or 3 on this day.

On Thursday, February 11, all students will report to their Period 4 class and take the MAP Math exam, proctored by their Period 4 teacher. Students will have all morning to take and complete the exam (9:30 am to 12:15 pm). Students will not attend period 5 or 6 on this day.

Students who are absent from the exam or who need additional time to finish the exam(s) will be scheduled for make-up sessions proctored by MTMS staff later in the month during asynchronous learning time.

If you have questions about the MAP Assessment schedule at MTMS, please contact Dave Llewellyn at

Tabor Talks January 26-27: Fabulous February

With so much happening to close our Quarter 2 and begin quarter 3, we wanted to take the opportunity to just share the many happenings in a more personal setting than the newsletter, because we know you all MUST have questions.

Join us for Tabor Talks this week to discuss all the things coming up in the fabulous month of February,. Topics will include:

  • MAP Reading and Math Assessment
  • Successful Schools Surveys
  • Black History Month
  • Limited In Person Instruction: Initial Planning

Tabor Talk Session #11 (AM and PM Edition)

Please mark your calendars for our upcoming Tabor Talk Sessions. Every Tabor Talk session can be reached at

  • AM Edition: Tuesday, January 26 from 8:00-9:00 am
  • PM Edition: Wednesday, January 27 from 6:30-7:30 pm

Library Book and Art Supply Distribution for Quarter 3

We are doing another book distribution!

When: Wednesday February 3 from 2:15-3:15, OBOB book distribution 3:15-3:45 (will coordinate with coaches regarding this)

Where: Front of the school Ash street entrance (near the library)

What: We will have "themed" bags for checkout as well as random bags. PLEASE RETURN any library materials (textbooks or books) that you have at this time as well. If you took a bag of books on one of our prior distributions please bring these back before taking a new bag.

Remember: Wear your mask and please observe safe social distance while picking up your bags. Thank you!

Closing In On Our Goal: Novels for Semester 2 ELA Instruction

Thank you so much, MTMS Families for your support in our fundraising for novels for all of our MTMS students. We have passed the halfway mark in fund collection, but we still need your help to raise the last $2,500 needed.

As ELA teachers, we know that reading not only supports academic growth; it also helps us build community and expand our understanding of the world. Stories are windows into different cultures and experiences; we selected books that reflect our district-wide goals focusing on social justice education. Stories also teach students about themselves, and offer them mirrors through which they can examine their own experiences. Needless to say, distance learning has made it difficult to get great reading material, especially actual physical books, distributed to students, but we have a plan!

We would like to buy three sets of novels (one for each grade) to analyze and enjoy later this year. In order to do this, however, we need to raise some money. Please consider donating to our MTMS Book Fund to get books into our students’ hands this year.

Our total fundraising goal for this Book Fund to cover the cost of books for ALL MTMS students is $5,500.00. To date, we have raised $3,061.19!!!

Check out the amazing titles below, and donate at
Contribute to ELA Book Purchase

Contribute here to ensure physical books end up in student hands as part of learning for Quarter 3

Student Verifications

If you haven't yet completed the online Student Verification form for your student, please go to your ParentVue to do so. If you need a ParentVue activation key, please contact Ann Pinzelik at

Quarter 2 Ends on Thursday!

There are only four more schools days until the end of Quarter 2!

For the week of January 25-28, students will attend their regular Monday-Thursday courses. There will be NO SCHOOL ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 29 for the teacher grading day.

Additional Academic Support Time: Monday-Wednesday in Homeroom

Students will have additional academic support time during homeroom this week as well. After checking in with their homeroom teachers, we encourage students to visit classes where they may need additional support to end the quarter strong. We encourage students to drop in on their teachers for additional explanation for the current week's assignments and for support in classes where assignments are still able to be turned in for Quarter 2.

Virtual All-School Field Trip on Feb 9

On Tuesday, February 9, all Mt. Tabor students, as part of their Period 4 class, will be participating in a amazing Virtual Field Trip put on by Nat Geo (National Geographic) Live.

We will be using a special schedule on this day to ensure students will be able to attend their full 45 minute classes AND take part in this amazing opportunity. Details about the week's schedule will be sent in next week's newsletter. Our amazing science department will work to prepare students for this experience and provide debrief as well.

Want to learn more about the upcoming experience? You can read more below.

Nat Geo Live: Scientific Exposure with Anand Varma and Prasenjeet Yadav

Natural history photographers working with National Geographic have often emerged from scientific backgrounds, enabling them to reveal wildlife and our natural world in surprising ways. Molecular biologist- turned-photographer Prasenjeet Yadav combines his experience in research with his photography skills to highlight natural history and science stories in Asia. And Anand Varma has developed innovative techniques to create stunning images of creatures whose details are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Join them for stories and conversation on the intriguing intersection of science and photography.


The Humanities Department is offering a virtual workshop in collaboration with the Oregon Historical Society on Jan. 27, 2021 designed to help parents understand how both racism and justice are at the heart of Oregon’s history and are crucial to our ability to build a better future. For more information including a flyer and the registration, click here.

Big picture

Families Needing Continued Support

Last month, with the help of our PTA, we were able to help many of our MTMS families who needed financial assistance, but we know this isn't the only time of the year where help might be needed.

If your family is in need of support, we want to know how we can help. Simply fill out the form below, and our team and community partners will work with you to see how we might be able to support.

My Family Needs Support

If your family is in need of financial or other support, click this button to complete the form for assistance.

Art Supply Fundraiser

Immense gratefulness and humbleness to all of our community who donated money to our art supply fundraiser. Our neighborhood family-owned art supply store I’ve Been Framed set up this donation opportunity, and matched all the donations we received in November. So far we have raised over $3000, which has paid for art supplies for over 600 Art students to keep in their homes.

I’ve Been Framed is keeping the donating opportunity open, at this link:

Order your 2020-21 Yearbook

It is a year to remember--so make sure you order your 2020-21 yearbooks today!

High School Corner

No matter where you are heading for high school in Fall 2021, we have the resources here, all in one place. Check out this link to go directly to each high school's forecasting information.

Heading to Franklin HS in 2021-22?

Discover Franklin, traditionally, has been a preview day for 8th graders where they learn about our course offerings, and other school programs, resources, and supports; to assist them with forecasting for their upcoming 9th grade year. This event was typically held in the evening where we invited families and 8th grade students to join us. Due to the complexity of families and 8th graders trying to navigate multiple links in order to attend live presentations from teachers about elective offerings, we are opting to create a Discover Franklin website instead. This site will have pre-recorded videos that students and families can view at their leisure and serve as references as they forecast for classes or just get general information about our school. Teachers and Staff will be sharing their contact information on the webpage as well so families can reach out and ask any questions.

Heading to Cleveland HS in 2021-22?

Cleveland High School has posted information for 8th graders coming to Cleveland next year on its website. Parents of 8th graders who are interested in attending Cleveland next year can access the information., or you can learn more by watching the Bridging the Gap Video linked here.

Your Weekly PTA Update

There are several items in the PTA post this week that you will want to check out and add to your calendar. We have two restaurant partner events scheduled and another Dream Dinners fundraiser. Don’t forget the general PTA meeting February 2nd. All MTMS families are welcome at the meeting from 6:30pm - 8:00pm via Zoom. Starting at 7:00pm, we will have two speakers discussing Restorative Justice.

Join the MTMSPTA

We still need you! Our PTA helps to fill needs that our school budget just cannot. We support programming, the purchase of teacher supplies, and a host of other things that truly make a difference for our students. Becoming a member is easy, and your membership dues help support our efforts at MTMS. To join, simply sign up at

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 weekly updates (beginning the next couple of weeks) and following our page on Facebook at

Questions? Ideas? Concerns? Want to volunteer?

Write us at

Big picture

Support the MTMS PTA: Order your Tabor Gear Today!

It is a great time to purchase some cozy sweatshirts and hoodies to keep your students (and you!) warm this fall and winter. A portion of the sales come back to the PTA, which in turn is used to benefit the Mt. Tabor Middle School community. It is a win-win-win. Get some warm gear, raise funds for the PTA, and show some school spirit!

Items are available in youth and adult sizes and include short sleeve t-shirts ($20), crew neck fleece sweatshirts ($30), and hoodies ($35).

Items are ordered on demand from a 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:

----------ADDITIONAL RESOURCES----------

Math Resources Now Available

We have been asked by many parents for additional resources to support math learning at home. Our amazing Math Instructional Specialist has created a resource for us on her webpage (located at Linked there are digital copies of math textbooks and answer keys and Khan Academy resources by course and unit (viewable by clicking on the links on the left side of the page).

We sincerely hope these resources will provide students and families with solid reference and reteaching materials as needed at home. Students and families can also expect to see these resources linked in their Canvas pages as well.

Suggested School Supply Lists

To view this year's suggested school supply list for MTMS, click here.

My Child Was Marked Absent: What Do I Do?

Teachers look at three basic factors for determining whether your students is in attendance on any given distance learning day. Those three factors are:

  • Attendance in the Live Class Meeting
  • Submission of assignment for the class in Canvas
  • Direct teacher contact on the day in question (typically via email or discussion board)

Students who engage in one of those ways should be marked as present.

If you believe there was an error in attendance, please use ParentVUE to look up the course the absence was marked in (you can watch this video tutorial to see how you can find this information in ParentVUE).

We are asking all families to contact the teacher of the course if you believe there is an error. where the absence occurred first as they will have the best knowledge of student attendance measures. From there, they can make the change or contact our front office to change attendance if the mark was made in error.

If you know your student will be gone in advance or was sick, please follow the standard protocol of calling into the office to excuse the absence.

Parents: Connect to Canvas

Parents can get in on the Canvas platform and "observe" their student to allow for both transparency and support. For instructions on how you can get started, click here:

Learning Technology Training and Support from PPS

If you or your student is still struggling with any of the aspects of learning technology, we hope you will call the PPS Technology Help Desk, which is open from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on school days. We will answer your questions and share information and helpful tips about anything related to distance learning technology. The Technology Help Desk is available in all PPS-supported languages.

Email or call us:

  • English: 503-916-3375
  • Español: 503-916-3582
  • 中文:503-916-3585
  • Tiếng Việt: 503-916-3584
  • Soomaali: 503-916-3586
  • Русский: 503-916-3583

Computer distribution, exchanges, service, and returns

If you need to exchange a Chromebook or Hotspot, the BESC (district office) can help every day!

  • When: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Where: PPS district office (501 N. Dixon St). Please go to the lower level parking lot, which has an entrance on N. Larrabee Ave.
  • Please bring: Your student’s school ID or ID number. If you are exchanging or returning a device, please bring the device and charger with you.
  • Please be aware: We are asking everyone to use recommended social distancing practices, keeping at least 6 feet of space between groups and wearing a facemask or face covering, if possible.

Please note that if you have a technical issue and are not sure if you should exchange a computer, you can also:


Tabor Talk #11: AM Edition

Tuesday, Jan. 26th, 8am

This is an online event.

Join us at

Tabor Talk #11: PM Edition

Wednesday, Jan. 27th, 6:30pm

This is an online event.

Join us at

Mt. Tabor Middle School

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