Whitman Elementary Newsletter



February 15: No School

February 26: Spirit Day & Assembly - Dress to Impress!


Dear Whitman Community

We hope you are doing well during this continued challenging time in our world! We have many topics to share information about this month.

Limited In Person Instruction (LIPI)

You may have heard that some schools will be opening for very small numbers of students to be taught in person. We don’t have a lot of information about this yet, but I do know that Whitman is not scheduled for LIPI to start before the end of February. These classes are meant to be supplemental for students that are struggling and will not replace regular Comprehensive Distance Learning online classes. We will share more information as soon as it becomes available. We should have more information to share in the next 2-3 weeks.

MAP Testing

Please see this message sent from our Chief of Schools, Dr. Shawn Bird, to all families via email last week. Your classroom teacher in grades 3-5 will be reaching out to you about MAP testing plans in the next few weeks.

Dear PPS Families,

In early February, schools will offer students the opportunity to take the MAP assessment in grades 3-8 to understand progress they have made during this extended period of Comprehensive Distance Learning. We understand that students have been working under extraordinary circumstances since last March. The MAP assessment will give you, students, teachers, and administrators valuable insight into areas where students are meeting learning targets and areas where we will need to design programming in order to help students catch up upon our return to school.

The data gathered from this assessment is in no way designed for high-stakes decisions on individual students or to pass judgment on teachers. Instead, we will use this data to design learning recovery programming for our students across schools and the district. Simply put, MAP assessment data will be important to our decisions about where and how to direct resources to best support students--this is especially important to know in February, as we work through budget planning for next school year.

We understand that administering an assessment in a non-school physical environment is not ideal. We do, however, believe it is important to go forward with the MAP assessment, particularly given the likelihood that SBAC testing will not take place in Oregon this year. We plan for this year’s MAP schedule to be more abbreviated than in years’ past, with students being asked to spend only one to two hours taking the assessment.

We thank you for your continued flexibility and understanding.

Civil Unrest Resource

Please see this message sent from PPS via email about a resource you may find helpful to talk with your family about the civil unrest we have seen in our country.

Dear PPS Families,

We are so grateful to our educators and our community who have continued to support our students through these times of transition this year. The presidential election and its fallout, especially the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, have been disturbing and unsettling for all of us, and the feeling of unease continues as next week’s inauguration of Joe Biden nears. We know it can be an especially difficult time for our students and we remain optimistic about the power of democracy and education as they try to make sense of the events and issues.

To help families support your students in navigating these challenges, we have gathered a pool of resources focused on the election and its fallout. They can be found on this webpage:


In the left column of the page, you will find resources intended for students and families, with translations in all five of our supported languages. You also will find a full “Civic Engagement and Unrest Tool Kit.” While intended as a resource for PPS staff, this PDF contains information that could be valuable for families and community members, as well.

The social and political unrest that our country has witnessed has led to the violent and ultimately failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. We know that our students and the community are experiencing the traumatic effects of these events, which are aggravated even more during a pandemic. We want you to know that we are here to support one another.

We encourage you to use all the resources we have available to help, including speaking to your student’s teachers and school staff. Please know that our top priority is always your student’s well-being.

Thank you, and please stay safe.

We hope you continue to stay safe and we miss all of you!


Stephanie Murdock and Celina Garrido

PPS Successful Schools Survey

Families, starting February 8th, you will be able to give your feedback about the following topics (school fit, school climate, barriers to engagement and school safety) for the 2020-2021 school year. The PPS Successful Schools Survey can be taken on a computer, tablet or smartphone. You can go to: surveys.panoramaed.com/portlandor/ppsfamily

or for QR code & clickable links in multiple languages, click here to take a survey.

Once you are at the Panorama survey site, you will see a list of all PPS schools -- select Whitman and complete the survey. Please be sure to hit the blue “Submit” button to enter your survey, otherwise responses will not be saved. Your feedback is very important to us and we appreciate your time and voice! If you have any questions or need support please contact our Assistant Principal, Celina Garrido at cgarrido@pps.net .

From the Office:

Spirit Days are back!

Spirit Days will take place on the same days as our assemblies! Assemblies are at 9am on the following days:

Feb 26:Dress to Impress

March 30:Crayon Day

April 30: Sports day/Athletic wear

May 28: School Spirit

Report Cards

We are excited to share with you the new K-5 Report Card. The report card has been revised by a committee of teachers and parents with one of the main goals being to help families more easily understand how your students are doing as they progress through the elementary grades. Click here to see the new report in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Somali, and Chinese. A highlight of the new report card is that there is now only one marking system for grades (E/M/CM/N/NE) and the +,V,/,-- system is now only for characteristics of a successful learner

Teachers will be using this new report card for Quarter 2 reporting. And you will receive the report card via mail in early February.


While meals are served at no cost to children ages 1-18 at several Portland Public School sites this year, there are several benefits for eligible families to submit a meal application this school year.

  • Families approved for free and reduced-price meals may be eligible to receive future potential government assistance such as Pandemic EBT benefits.

  • Families may be eligible for other benefits such as school related fee reduction or waivers, low cost internet and health coverage.

Families do not need to submit a meal application if any of the following apply:

  • All students in the household attend a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school (list located online: https://www.pps.net/Page/2088) where students eat meals at no cost.

  • A meal application has already been submitted and approved for the 2020-21 school year.

  • The household received a 2020-21 Direct Certification Approval letter.

Eligible families who would like to submit a meal application have the following options:

  1. Online at www.schoolcafe.com/pps.

  2. Print, complete and mail back a paper meal application (https://www.pps.net/Page/2464) to PPS Nutrition Services, 501 N. Dixon St., Portland, OR 97227.

  3. Request a paper meal application be mailed home from mealbenefits@pps.net or call (503) 916-3402.

For meal benefits related questions, please email mealbenefits@pps.net or call (503) 916-3402.

Whitney Ellersick, Senior Director, Nutrition Services, wellersi@pps.net

From the Counselor:

Counseling Office Hours

Please note starting February 1st I will have new Office Hours.

Monday & Wednesday at 1:15-2:00

If you or your student need a check in at another time please reach out! I can be reached at jlocarno@pps.net or at 971.231.9144 (text or call)

5th Grade Counseling Lessons

Each Tuesday a Riding The Waves Lesson will be posted to my SeeSaw for 5th Graders (Ms. Locarno~Counseling). These lessons include a google slide presentation with audio as well as a SeeSaw template to be completed. The goal of these lessons is to help our students build upon their toolbox for coping with stress.


Search "youth resource app" on the Apple app and Google Play app stores.

The Youth Resource App is a free resource for all Portland area youth, funded by PPS and created by the PPS mental health advisory team along with 100+ PPS students. PPS does not specifically endorse any of the listed agencies. Each organization has their own independent mission and vision.

Black Youth Crisis Recovery Group K-12

PPS is now offering a Black Youth Crisis Recovery Group for all K-12 Black Students.

The purpose of this group is to create a safe affinity space for Black Students to process and unpack the trauma and grief they may be dealing with as a result of police brutality, opposition to the BLM movement, seeing fellow Black people lose their lives without consequence, the pandemic etc. Please see this flyer for more information. Feel free to contact the facilitators for more information Maurice Phillips at mphilli1@pps.net and Jonica Shelton at jshelton@pps.net

Kimochi Corner

During the month of February we will be exploring the Kimochi Kotowaza "It's more fun when we make room for everyone". This ties into our Whitman Value of Empowerment. We want our students to look out for one another and speak up when someone is feeling left out.

From the Library:

Whitman and PPS are continuing to provide Tuesday morning bus delivery of library books and school supplies. Weeks one and three are for families with last names from A-L and weeks two and four for M-Z.

There are a limited number of spaces, and priority is being given to families that have a difficult time getting to school. We will continue to have library book handouts at school on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8-9 and 2:30-3:30, and school supply handouts will be announced.

If you are on the bus schedule and would rather not be, or would like to be added, please email me: gbutler@pps.net.

Thank you!

Grace Butler, Whitman Teacher-Librarian

From the School Nurse:

A Note from Your School Nurse

Warm greetings from your School Nurse Shannon! As we all roll into the winter, and with so much COVID-19 information coming at us all, I wanted to remind everyone about WINTER SAFETY as well. There are many seasonal accidents that cause us harm as well. So as you all go out to enjoy the season, please stay safe! Here is a link to the Tom Sargent Safety Center with safety information for the season, including information such as sledding safety, signs of frostbite, and holiday decoration safety. https://www.ohsu.edu/doernbecher/holiday-and-seasonal-safety

How to Be COVID Conscious and CONNECT by Nurse Shannon

It may seem so hard these days to connect with one another. Here are a few tips to keep you safe while also CONNECTING. This is so good for your body and mind! So get out there and make someone’s day, including your own!

ü Get outside for a walk, wear a mask, stay a cow’s length away from others outside your household (that's 6 feet), AND SMILE at SOMEONE! We are all learning what “smiling” eyes look like, and you will make someone happy with giving them a smile.

ü Have a game of HOPSCOTCH with a friend or sibling. Draw 2 hopscotch patterns with chalk, a cow’s length apart from each other, make sure you and your friend still wear a mask, and see how many squares you and your friend can hop.

SUN School:

Eviction Moratorium Extended! Please visit www.oregonlawhelp.org to see if you qualify. More information included below.

Call, text or email Laurelee Wells: lwells@impactnw.org 503-290-8058 if you have additional questions.

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Child Care

Our contracted child care programs are currently operating in 9 schools and many of them are under-enrolled. One of the programs, Art4Life would love to enroll more families at Winterhaven. Because child care is a much needed resource for our PPS families, it is crucial that we spread the word about availability.

Child care programs are a wonderful resource for families, and a great support for students during distance learning, especially for new Kinder families and students with lower attendance rates.

  • Now that Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) has increased income limits to 250% of the poverty rate, many more families are financially supported with most or all child care costs. It is important to note that eligible families must be employed to receive benefits. Refer to this link to access more information.

  • And, please view the PPS Child Care website to find the child care flyer and the ‘Family and Navigator Resources’ tab.

  • Lastly, here is the Release of Information. This document helps families who are in need of a representative to assist in the process.