North Star News

October 2021 - We Reach! We Rise! We Shine!

Mark Your Calendar

10/18 SUN Fall Session Begins

10/18-11/1 PTC Fall Catalog Fundraiser

10/19 PTC Virtual Meeting 6:30 p.m.

10/21 Great Shakeout Drill

10/25 Virtual Award Assembly

11/11 Veteran's Day - NO SCHOOL

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Principal's Message

Dear North Gresham Families,

Perspective: It has been great to have students back in the building full-time. Watching them work hard, socialize with friends, and reconnect with teachers has been a bright spot for all of us.

Students have also missed out on the consistency of how to "do school" (see above photo). Year after year, as students get older they become pros with routines and expectations and are able to model for younger students.

Areas that we are working on at all grade levels are keeping hands to self, following expectations of bathroom behavior, and finding the balance of eating and socializing during lunchtime.

Parents, how can you help?

Please talk with and remind your child to:

  • Keep their hands to themselves. Innocent "horseplay" often turns into more aggressive behavior and can result in a student being injured.
  • Quickly and quietly use the bathroom (not talking to others or playing around), wash their hands, and return to class.
  • Sit on the yellow dots on the seats in the cafeteria. These dots keep students spaced 6 ft apart.
  • Talk less and eat more during lunchtime. After being away from friends for so long, students are excited. While we want students to enjoy their friendships, the priority during lunchtime is to eat while still enjoying conversation with their classmates at their table. Students have recess before lunch, so they have plenty of time to play and socialize.
  • Now, more than ever, please don't share food with their classmates at lunch.

Thank you for your continued support!


Shawnda Sewell


Welcome 1st Graders!

What's Going On In 1st Grade?

This fall, first grade learners have been focusing on routines and procedures as we engage in reading, writing, math, science, and art. Strong, predictable procedures allow our learners to be independent while strengthening individual academic needs. We have created two art pieces, one a self-portrait and one a fall creation, using painted and cut paper (gotta strengthen those fine-motor muscles!).

Small reading groups are up and running and we are tackling our iReady reading and mathematical goals. As we enjoy the last two weeks of October, we will wrap up the month with a 2-week study of pumpkins.

Our first grade Dual Language Immersion (DLI) class with Dr. Molina is also off to a great start! They have also been focusing on routines and procedures, engaging in reading and writing in Spanish, art, P.E., music, and more! They're also learning about Hispanic Heritage Month and Día de Los Muertos.

Your first grade kiddos are already making such progress and we are so happy to have them in class!


Ms. Ageno, Mrs. Long, Dr. Molina, and Ms. Verdoorn

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Important Health Reminders

As a reminder, it is important that if a student feels sick prior to coming to school, they should stay home. Keeping sick students home will minimize our need to quarantine students exposed to COVID-19.

Above is a graphic showing some of the symptoms of COVID-19. Please be sure to check your student for symptoms each morning and have them stay home if they aren’t feeling well or exhibiting symptoms. Thank you for partnering with us in this effort!

If your student is sick:

Please keep your student home and call the school office to let them know your student is sick. Leave a message if you call outside of school hours. When you call, you will be asked your student's symptoms, date they began, if you've had any known exposures to Covid, and if your student has been tested and/or you plan to get them tested (if necessary).

When your student is sick, we will fill out a Symptom Tracking form with their symptoms. This goes to our MESD nurse, who will then contact you for more information and let you know when your child can return to school. All return dates come from Multnomah County (not your student's doctor or the CDC), so please be patient as we obtain this information. If your student will be out for more than a few days, you can email or message your child's teacher and request a packet of work for your student to do at home.

If you take your student to get Covid testing, please contact the school nurse or the school office with the results before sending your student back to school. Even with negative results, your student will need to be cleared to return.

Thank you for working with us during this time. It is our goal to have students in school as much as possible while still taking all the proper precautions for the health and safety of all.

Counselor's Corner

It's Ok to Ask for Help.

The Gresham-Barlow School District is committed to the well-being of our students, staff, and families to create a safe and healthy learning environment. In support of our ongoing commitment, we partnered with Care Solace to provide an additional layer of care for our community.

Care Solace helps individuals find mental health care providers and substance use treatment centers. Their Care Companion™ team is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and 365 days per year to quickly connect you to carefully verified providers in your community.

Students, staff, and families may access Care Solace services in two ways:

  • Call (888) 515-0595 at any time. Support is available in 200+ languages. A dedicated Care Companion™ will help you every step of the way to research options, secure appointments, and follow up to make sure it is a good fit.

  • Visit to start an anonymous search. Answer a few questions to get matched with an extensive list of care providers.

  • Contact your school counselor or social worker for additional information and to be connected with Care Solace.

Care Solace is now available for use at no cost to you. They will connect you with providers accepting all medical insurances including Medicaid, Medicare, and sliding scale options for those without insurance. All information entered on the Care Solace tool is completely confidential and securely stored.

Please note, this service is an optional resource available by choice and is not mandatory to use. Care Solace is not an emergency response service or mental health services provider. In the event of a life threatening emergency, please call 9-1-1 or the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255.

If you are interested in counseling-related services for your child, yourself, or another family member, please contact Care Solace for valuable assistance.

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PBIS with Mrs. Reed

For the month of October, we're practicing Happy Habit 1 - Be Proactive. Be Proactive means to take responsibility for your choices and behaviors. Habit 1 is the key to all of the other habits; that’s why it comes first.

Be Proactive says, “I am in charge of my own life. I am responsible for whether I am happy or sad. I can choose how I react to other people or situations. I am in the driver’s seat.” Young children can easily learn to understand that different choices yield different results. The goal is to teach them to think about those results before they decide what to do.

Discussions can focus on taking care of themselves, taking care of their things, reacting or not reacting to others’ behavior, planning ahead, and thinking about what the right thing to do is. With your child, think of ways to Be Proactive at home.

Do you want to learn more and have free access to the downloadable PDF parent's guide? Visit this link!

Assemblies, Attendance Challenges, and Morning Announcements

We are so excited to bring back our assemblies, attendance challenge rewards, and morning announcements! Here's how they work:

Award Assemblies & Spirit Days

Each month, teachers will award one or two students from their class that are exemplifying the Happy Habit of the month. We will create a virtual assembly video where the teachers name their students who've earned the award, and that video will be shown to students in their classroom. This month, the virtual assembly will be on 10/25. All assembly videos will be posted on our website and Facebook page, so families can watch and join the fun!

Everyday, North Stars have a chance to earn Star Bucks. These are slips of paper, or tickets, that staff can write out to students who are showing that they're responsible, kind, safe, and respectful. Star Bucks go into buckets in each classroom. Then, at the end of the month they are put into the large school bucket. When they reach the top, they earn a spirit day! Spirit days could be pajama day, or dress up like a superhero day. We will show their progress on the assembly video, and if they've reached the top we will announce when spirit day is!

Attendance Challenge Rewards

Attending school each and everyday is important. Of course, if students are sick they should stay home. Being healthy and well comes first, but when they're healthy and well, we want all students to show up ready to learn each and everyday. Each month, our North Stars have an opportunity to vote on and earn an attendance challenge reward if they meet the attendance goal of 85% attendance for the month.

For October, students are voting on whether they want to earn a whole school impromptu dance party (we will play music at random times during the day, and everyone gets to stop what they're doing a take a dance break), or if they want to see our principal, Mrs. Sewell, dress up in a goofy outfit and hair and wear it all day. If students meet their goal, we will announce it on the assembly video!

Weekly Morning Announcements

Each Monday, students get to see a morning announcements video for the week. They join Mrs. Reed, Ms. Thomas, some super awesome 5th graders, and other special guests as they share announcements, updates, and how to display the happy habit of the month. If you want to share in the fun and stay up-to-date, our weekly announcements are published on our Facebook page and website. Visit them here:

From Our PTC

Our School Fall Fundraiser starts on Monday Oct 18th to Nov 1st & packets due on Nov 1st. Shop online at Catalog & online orders will be combined for prizes. If your student sells at least 10 items, please fill out the t-shirt order form. Checks payable: North Gresham PTC. Participation is not required but appreciated.

This month's PTC meeting is Oct 19th at 6:30 pm. Login with your non-school email account at or watch online at search North Gresham PTC.

Email us at for any questions or concerns. Check out our website and our Facebook page

Remember, to scan your grocery receipts using the Box Top App (After you scan the receipt, click on the STAR “Credit”, and put in your child’s teacher’s last name to give Credit to that teacher. Yes! We will have competitions.) You can also give back with (North Gresham Grade School Parent Teacher Club) and Fred Meyers Community Rewards (North Gresham Parent Teacher Club). All funds go back to the school and support our students!

SUN News

Our fall after school program dates are October 18th - December 9th, Monday-Thursday from 3:00pm-5:30pm. Our program spots are limited, so if your student is able to attend SUN, you will receive a letter or phone call from our SUN team.

If your student won't attend SUN afters school for the day, please contact the school front office at 503-661-6415 before 2:00 p.m. to make a change of transportation.

If you have any questions, please email our SUN Site Manager Yessica Ramirez at, or call/text 503-519-8523.

Also, we are aware that times are tough and many are still struggling with the financial effects of the pandemic. I want to remind you that the SUN program is available to connect you to local resources and to help provide assistance with utility bills, food, clothing, school supplies, etc. Please reach out to our SUN Site manager or to our school counselor if you are in need of any assistance. Our services are completely confidential.

From your SUN Program team!

Does Your Child Spend Time on TikTok?

There continue to be new monthly challenges posted on TikTok encouraging students to do various things at their school, such as vandalize bathrooms, slap a teacher, etc. We ask that all families take time to talk to their children about these "pranks" and why they shouldn't participate in them.

Thankfully, our North Stars have exemplified responsible behavior, but it never hurts to have continual conversations with your children about what they're exposed to on social media. For tips and resources on how to teach your children to use social media safely and wisely, visit:

The Great Shakeout Drill on October 21st

On October 21st, our district and many schools across the nation will participate in the Great Shakeout Drill. Students will learn and practice how to correctly Drop, Cover, and Hold On in the event of an earthquake. There are already 6,354,964 registered participants for this year's drill! For more information, visit:

As part of our standard safety procedures, we also practice other drills throughout the year. These include fire drills, lockouts, and lockdowns. Safety drills are essential and being prepared is key to staying safe in the event of an actual emergency. With that being said, drills can cause some apprehension, so we encourage you to talk to your child about the importance of safety drills and help ease any concerns they may have. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have additional questions or concerns about our safety drills.

Annual Title I Slideshow and Parental Involvement Plan

Please view our Annual Title I informational Slideshow and Parental Involvement Plan by clicking the links below!

Annual Title I Slideshow

Parental Involvement Plan

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Reminders from the Office

Contacting the Office

You can reach the office staff by calling our school at 503-661-6415, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can also email our office team at any time. Nina Thomas at, and Yuli Nolasco at


Please call in your student's absence before 8:35 a.m. (9:35 a.m. on Wednesdays). Leave a message if you call outside of school hours. Please let us know your student's first and last name, teacher/grade, and the reason for the absence. Students not present by 8:35 a.m. (9:35 a.m. on Wednesdays) will be marked absent. Students that arrive late will receive a tardy slip, and their absence will be adjusted in the system to a tardy.

Changes of Transportation

If your student will go home differently than normal, including if they will not attend SUN after school, please contact the office to make the change. Dismissal is a very busy time, so we appreciate you calling no later than 2:00 p.m. to make any changes.

Early Student Pick-Up

If you want to pick your student up early, we encourage you to do so before 2:30 p.m. Dismissal gets very busy, and this will ensure that you don't have an extended wait due to dismissal traffic, etc. When picking your student up early, please ring the bell at the front doors. The front office will buzz you into the lobby and have you sign your student out for the day.

Remind App

Sign-up for the Remind app to keep in touch with your student’s teacher! No matter where you are or what you’re doing, get important school updates right on your phone. More information and sign-up here.


Register for ParentVue to view your student’s attendance, grades, and make changes to your contact information. If you need assistance with setting up ParentVue, please call the school at 503-661-6415. You can also email our secretaries at or Visit the ParentVue web page to login or sign up: