dV Weekly Newsletter, Dragon Tales

February 27th - March3rd, 2023

Spoiler Alert: Spring Musical Countdown, Snow Day Recovery, PSA on Vaping, ...

Dear da Vinci Families,

Surprise! We had another long weekend due to the unexpected snow. I hope you were able to get through it all safely and that we can get quickly back into the groove for a full week ahead. We understand Wednesday was hectic with early pickups and thank you all for the patience shown as we tried to manage the early dismissals and relaying of messages. This week we will make some adjustments in the schedule to recover time to finish up Black History Month activities and missed play rehearsal time. We understand that continued weather or hazardous road conditions may still be an issue this week. If your student is going to be absent for any reason, please email sbryan@pps.net (attendance secretary). You can also enter attendance in ParentVue or call the main office at 503-916-5356.

If you are not already, be sure to opt into the district's emergency messaging system by texting YES to 68453. More information about closures and delays is HERE.

Be safe out there!

Beauty & the Beast, March 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 & 18

Ticket links are on the da Vinci website or you can pay at the door. We need volunteers for each show. If you can help, please sign up HERE..

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PSA on Vaping

Here is some information from our counselors on vaping and why it’s important to talk to your student about vaping/e-cigarette use.

Know the facts…

What is Vaping?

  • E-cigarettes/vapes are electronic devices that heat a liquid that produces an aerosol.

  • E-cigarettes/vapes can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

  • The act of using an e-cigarette is sometimes called ‘vaping’.

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What is in E-cigarette Aerosol?

  • A lot of individuals assume that e-cigarettes are actually flavored water vapor that the user will inhale, then exhale from the device, however that is not the case.

  • The product that the user is inhaling and exhaling from the device is called aerosol.

  • Aerosol can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including:

    • Nicotine

    • Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled into the lungs

    • Diacetyl (a flavoring linked to serious lung disease)

    • Volatile organic compounds

    • Cancer-causing chemicals

    • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead

  • The Aerosol that the user inhales and exhales from the e-cigarette can not only be harmful to them, but can also expose individuals around them to harmful substances.

Why is Nicotine Unsafe for Kids, Teens and Young Adults?

  • Recent reports from the CDC have indicated that most e-cigarettes/vapes contain nicotine; 99% of the e-cigarettes sold in assessed venues in the U.S. contained nicotine (Marynak KL, Gammon DG, Rogers T, Coats EM, Singh T, King BA.).

  • Nicotine can harm the developing adolescent brain, specifically the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control (Taylor G, McNeill A, Girling A, et al.).

  • Nicotine can also change how synapses in our brain function (synapses are the connections that are built between brain cells when we learn new skills).

  • Using nicotine in adolescence may increase the risk of future addictions to other drugs.

  • Adolescents who vape may experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms which may include: irritability, feeling anxious or depressed, restlessness, trouble sleeping, problems concentrating, and craving nicotine.


Marynak KL, Gammon DG, Rogers T, Coats EM, Singh T, King BA. Sales of Nicotine-Containing Electronic Cigarette Products: United States, 2015. American Journal of Public Health 2017; 107(5):702-705.

Taylor G, McNeill A, Girling A, et al. Change in mental health after smoking cessation: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Medical Journal 2014;348:g1151.

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Knowing is one thing… Taking action is another. What can I do?

It’s important to talk to your children about e-cigarettes/vaping. Ask your children if they, or a friend they may know, has ever used e-cigarettes, or if they have witnessed e-cigarettes being used.

This may be a hard conversation to bring up, and may lead to a lot of questions. KNOW THE RISKS has a great parent tip sheet to follow when talking to your child about e-cigarettes. The American Lung Associations has a great fact sheet for teens as well, if additional information is needed.

What is happening at my students' school to help prevent vaping?

Due to the increase in vandalism and vaping within bathrooms, da Vinci is:

  • Regularly monitoring the halls

  • Regularly checking bathrooms when students are out of class for prolonged periods of time

  • Keeping bathrooms locked during passing periods to minimize vandalism and drug use

  • Using ‘check out’ forms for bathroom use during classtime

What support can I receive through PPS, if my student is using e-cigarettes or I have concerns of substance use?

Portland Public Schools has Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC), that can help support the needs of our families.

PPS: Self-Request for Substance Use Support Services Form.

PPS also has Insight Classes as well for families and students to attend.

  • Insight class is an educational program designed for students in grades 6-12 and their families who are seeking information about the impact of alcohol and other drugs on youth.

Forecasting for Current 6th and 7th Graders

If you have a rising 7th or 8th grader, we need their elective choices registered in StudentVue. Please check in with them to see if they have completed this step. If you look at StudentVue with them, you can see their selections. This information will help guide our scheduling and staffing decisions.

HERE is our guide and course description.

HERE are the instructions for how to enter choices in StudentVue.

Parents & Guardians- Successful School Survey Link

The survey is now open and our goal is for 95% participation for family members to complete it. Your input is valued and shapes our work to serve all students better. Please open, click "take the survey" and select Da Vinci Arts M.S. to begin.

Outdoor School Information- Please return the paperwork!

We are still missing paperwork for a handful of students. Please get these in ASAP if you have not yet. Please review the information carefully, fill out and return them to the main office this coming week.

HERE is the packet if you did not get it and wish to print it out. We also have extra copies in the office. If you have questions or special needs, contact Ms. Shanon sfoxley@pps.net.


Save the Date for our next Dine Out Event at Chipotle

March 8th is our next event. Dinner is easy and you can support the PTSA at the same time. See the details on the flyer above. Note you need to bring the flyer or enter the code when ordering online.

Auction help needed!

Please volunteer to help with our biggest fundraiser, the da Vinci Arts Middle School Auction. This exciting event will be online from Friday, April 21st – Sunday, May 7th and supports our da Vinci students and staff!

We definitely need help from our da Vinci community! Ways to help:

· Do you have a vacation home that you are willing to donate?

· Are you interested in hosting a party or event to auction off?
- Do you have a business that you would provide a gift certificate or item to donate?

· Are you interested in reaching out to businesses for donations?

To DONATE an item directly to the da Vinci Arts Middle School Auction, click HERE!

Please click HERE if you are interested in helping with the Auction this year and we will be in touch. The Auction is typically the largest fundraiser for the PTSA and these funds raised go directly to our teachers and students. We also will need volunteers to help with soliciting donations, picking up donations, marketing/social media, organizing the items for distribution and other details to make our Auction a success. Thank you for considering being a part of this fun event!

HELP IMMEDIATELY needed for Lunch and Recess Volunteers!

The school needs volunteers during both lunch/recess times to supervise students. If you can sign up to assist our Admin in this task, it would be greatly appreciated. They are seeking help for the following times for the rest of the school year, listed below.

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 11:15 – 12:45
  • Wednesday 11:30 – 1:00 (SEL schedule days)

These shifts will be covering locations to keep our students safe outside on the perimeter of the school or inside on the 1st floor hallway in front of Room 103. Whether you can commit to a weekly shift for the rest of the school year or can sign up a few times here and there, please know that it is appreciated and needed for our da Vinci community. Please click HERE to sign up for a Lunch/Recess shift.

Spring Plant Fundraiser – help volunteer!

We are having the da Vinci Spring Plant Fundraiser in May and we need volunteers to help on Plant Delivery Day on Tuesday, May 9th and then again after school on May 9th, 10th and 11th to help with Plant pick-ups. These plants and herbs from New Leaf Greenhouse are great quality and will arrive just in time for planting season so please sign up HERE if you are interested in helping with this fundraiser.

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PTSA Website!

This is the spot to join the PTSA, shop the online store, sign up to volunteer and more.

Sign Up Genius Volunteer Site for the PTSA

This site has all the volunteer needs listed for the PTSA. Check it out.

Please see the following instructions for setting up your own account to track assignments and monitor progress. If you have multiple children in PPS, you can set up one account and then add additional students with a separate code for each student.
Apply for Free and Reduced Price Meals

Please see the PPS Nutrition Services website for information about meals. You can apply at any time through the year.

School Cafe- Meal Payments

If your student is eating breakfast or lunch at school, you can send a check or cash to the kitchen and Georgie will put the funds on your student's account, or you you can put money on the School Cafe site yourself.

Volunteer Clearance Process

We welcome volunteers! If you are interested in volunteering in the school, you must have a current background check on file. These are good for three years. Go ahead and follow these steps if you are not sure of your status.