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,

As I sit down to write this, I have an email message in the back of my mind. It came in from a parent today, and it made it laugh out loud in my office--a laugh that I absolutely needed. And while I will not reveal the author of this fine email, I will share an excerpt from the message with you all.

The message read, "I used to enjoy getting emails from you. Now I just dread them. Haha...."

Friends, let me tell you that the number of COVID notification and close contact emails that I've had to send over the past two days fills me with dread every time I have to click "send." Because the truth is COVID-19 is scary, the new variant is highly contagious, and we are seeing spread in our community at rates not previously matched in this pandemic. When I have to send six notifications of positive cases on campus in the span of just a few short days, it gives me pause as well.

We are working hard here at MTMS to notify our staff and families within 24 hours of an on-site exposure, and so far, we have been able to keep up with the cases. Our teachers are being asked multiple times each day about their contact with students, masking, physical distancing, and the like so that we can identify close contacts and determine their next steps. We are working as quickly as we can so that we can slow any potential spread and arm families with timely information to make decisions about their own health and well-being.

I want to encourage all of our families to please keep your children home if they are sick, to call the office and let us know when your child is sick and what their symptoms are, and to follow guidance about when your student can return to campus after quarantine. Parents also have the ability to upload a copy of their student's COVID-19 vaccination card into the Yearly Verification section of ParentVUE to help our school team prioritize our communication efforts. I know, as a parent and school employee, that keeping kids home from school when they have the sniffles is a burden, but it is important that we all do our part to self-screen daily and stay home when we are ill. These measures go a long way in keeping potential exposures down in our school buildings.

I know that the temporary return to distance learning for Cleveland and McDaniel High Schools has sent a ripple through school communities about whether our school will be next. I can honestly say to you all that I have no indicators at this point that our school is slated for distance learning anytime soon, but we are working to make sure that if such a closure is necessary that we are prepared. We asked students today in Homeroom to fill out a survey about their technology and other needs should we have to pivot to online learning. We are also asking students to get in the habit of taking their PPS Chromebook to and from school daily, just in case.

I promised myself, given that my written correspondence of late is of the "doom and gloom" variety, to keep this message short and sweet. I have clearly failed at that. But I do want to highlight some of the content in this newsletter.

  • What is Test-to-Stay and how to access it
  • COVID-19 Asymptomatic Testing
  • Southeast Guiding Coalition (SEGC) Updates
  • PAT General Meeting re: SEGC boundary proposals

And while I want to promise you all that you won't have any more yucky email from me this weekend, I can at least wish you all plenty of rest and health.


Ms. Tonya Arnold

Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School

Thank you, MTMS Community

Thank you to our entire Mt. Tabor Middle School community for coming together for our Circle of Giving fundraiser. We raised over $6,000 to directly support our Mt. Tabor community. With those donations, we were able to support almost 50 families including at least 100 children directly connected to Mt. Tabor Middle School.

Thank you for all you continue to do to make Mt. Tabor Middle School feel like a family.

With Gratitude and Respect,

The Counseling/Social Work Team

Winter SUN School Begins Jan 10.

Is your child interested in participating in our Winter SUN School programs here at Mt. Tabor? Registration is currently open with new classes starting Jan. 10.

To register, please do the following:

  1. Complete the paper registration packet (pdf attached below for you to print at home; paper copies are also available in the main office). Homeroom teachers distributed these packets on December 1.
  2. Complete the online registration process at using the course registration numbers.

If you need help with registration, please reach out to Jeff Persell, our MTMS Sun School Program Manger at 503-916-2915.

New Bus Route Serving Mt. Tabor MS

We now have a new bus serving MTMS - #336AM. This route replaces 146A and 148A. Prior to this, route 148A was consistently 20 minutes late to MTMS, so many families did not use the bus. This new route is scheduled to arrive at Mt. Tabor soon after 9:00am. For full details on times and stops, see the PPS transportation page linked below.

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:

Test to Stay Program Will Allow Asymptomatic, Unvaccinated Students to Remain in School after COVID-19 Exposure

As part of our ongoing commitment to increase in-person learning for all students, we are pleased to announce that in partnership with OHA/ODE we have started the Test to Stay program this week at MTMS.

Given the historically lower level of COVID-19 transmission in schools, students exposed at school now have the opportunity to stay in in-person learning and minimize the impact quarantine has had on their education. This is called a modified quarantine and requires students to continue to wear masks during any activity that does not require its use, for example band, athletics, etc., until day eight (8). Students must remain symptom free and will be provided two tests during their quarantine period. You can help expedite the process by signing and returning the consent form for the BinaxNOW rapid nasal swab test, unless you already did it this year. Forms are available in the front office of each school, and digital copies are linked below.

For students who were exposed outside of the school day (at home, extracurricular activities, etc), we will have available the Test to Return process. This process will allow students to return on Day 8 after an exposure with any negative antigen or pcr COVID-19 test performed between days 5-7.

As always, vaccinated students who do not have symptoms do not have to quarantine or Test to Stay. 5-Step Process for Parents and Families


​Consent form for parents and guardians of students under 15:

For more information, visit

Impacted by COVID-19?

Has your family been impacted by a positive COVID-19 case, quarantine, or COVID-related issue? Our social worker has compiled a list of resources that may be helpful, from rental and utility assistance to food resources. You can find details below, or reach out to the MTMS Social Worker, Maureen Brennan, for more information.

Asymptomatic Testing Labels Coming Home on Monday

All students who have been registered in the OHSU Symptomatic Testing program will be receiving a full sheet of labels from their 6th period teachers on Monday, January 10. There will be enough labels for students to complete 12 weeks of testing, so it is important that families find a safe place at home for the labels. We will be distributing tests to students every Monday afternoon for their return on Tuesday mornings.

It's Not Too Late to Opt In to Weekly Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing

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 two forms below and bring them to the main office:

OHA Consent Form

OHSU Authorization Form

To learn more about the program and collection process, see the Welcome Letter and Test Collection links and spit collection videos below:

Welcome Letter (English) (Spanish)

Test Collection (English) (Spanish)

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.

If you have completed the form for your student and did not receive testing kits and labels, it may be that OHSU has not yet processed your application. Please feel free to check in with
Ann Pinzelik or Tania Trujillo Morales in the main office.

How to collect spit for Oregon's K-12 COVID-19 testing program
Cómo recolectar la saliva para el Programa de pruebas de COVID-19 para K-12 en Oregón

My Child Is Out Sick

If your child is feeling under the weather and is missing school, please be sure to call the MTMS Attendance Line. If you leave us a message, please give us a list of your student's symptoms as we are tracking these as part of our health and safety protocol. A member of the office or admin team may call you back regarding the symptoms you report.

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

Southeast Guiding Coalition (SEGC) Updates

Dear PPS Community,

The second phase of Enrollment and Program Balancing is underway and we are making sure community voices are heard, particularly those who have a history of being underserved by our education system.

In February, the PPS Board of Education charged staff to work with the Southeast Guiding Coalition (SEGC) and accomplish several goals:

  • Convert Harrison Park from a K-8 to full middle school and create feeder patterns for it
  • Find a site for Harrison Park’s K-5 students

  • Increase enrollment at Lane Middle School

To ensure we reach our overarching goal that "every student has a robust academic experience in each school," we have targeted a minimum enrollment of 500 students per middle school, and 270 students at each K-5 school. We believe the numbers will lead to more equitable programming that includes enrichments and core academics. Boundary changes between neighborhood schools and program relocations will be proposed to help achieve these goals.

The SEGC has received a lot of information from community members and wants to make sure that they have time to work together to come to the best decision. The coalition will now be making a decision in February, rather than January to account for the time it will take to review the breadth of information gathered from surveys, listening and learning meetings, coffee talks and more. In addition, program changes will not come into effect until the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

There are still plenty of details to work out. The SEGC will continue to talk about both the positive and more concerning attributes of draft proposals, so they can pull the best ideas from each into a final recommendation and limit the drawbacks of any of these decisions.

We continue to take the time to make sure everyone's voices are being elevated and considered, not just the ones we hear the most often. Equity and inclusion are at the forefront of our decision making process, but there are still some voices that are not heard as often, specifically from the Black families in our communities. We appreciate all the time our community members have spent in this process and towards meeting the goals of this project.

Proposal and community input details are posted on the Enrollment and Program Balancing webpage. The final board decision on boundaries, enrollment and program locations will be made in February.

Mt Tabor MS PTA General Meeting: SEGC and Changing Boundaries

The Mt. Tabor Middle School PTA will be hosting their general meeting on Tuesday, January 18. We have invited Judy Brennan from Enrollment and Transfer and Kristyn Westphal, the area senior director serving Mt. Tabor to share with us about the work of the coalition to date and to answer questions. The session will be held from 7:00-8:00 pm via Zoom.

In addition, Principal Arnold and the SEGC reps for Mt. Tabor are willing to host breakout sessions after the meeting to listen to our MTMS families in the Japanese, Spanish, and Neighborhood programs about the proposals. More information, including the Zoom link, will be coming in next week's newsletter.

Mt. Tabor Middle School

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