The Mt. Tabor Tribune

Weekly Newsletter for the Mt. Tabor Middle School Community

A Message from the Principal

January 8, 2021

Dear Mt. Tabor Middle School Families,

As I welcomed in 2021, I thought just how much life has changed for us all in the last year, and how much of it remains the same.

On New Years Eve 2019, I stood in the still empty living room of my new house (I had just gotten the keys that morning and had spent all day shuffling furniture across town). I remember watching the fireworks exploding across the sky as midnight struck and I thought how the new year would fill up with things amazing and beautiful, just like the empty room I was standing in. And like I do every year, I had set an intention for myself for the new year: I always pick a word or a phrase that keeps me focused on the direction I'm going and what I am going to cultivate for myself in the coming year. For 2020, my intention was "new home, happy life."

And as I reflect back on the last year, it was easy to see the "new home" part being checked off. Because I was never actually able to leave my house, or so it seemed, I was able to paint and garden and renovate to my heart's content, really working to make my house a home. And when your physical home also becomes your work, your kids' school, and your everything, it certainly has a "new" feeling to it. Not one I was anticipating or dreaming for, but new nevertheless.

As far as the "happy life" part of the intention goes, I kind of have to stop and scratch my head. Was there happiness in my year? Absolutely. There were tremendous moments of joy and celebration. But there was also fear and sorrow, disappointment and loneliness. And it was all rolled up together in a year unlike any other that I have lived.

As I rang in the new year this year in that same living room with the same view, I thought about setting an intention for myself to help to guide me in the coming days. It didn't come to me that night, and I struggled for days because I just couldn't find the word or idea or vision about what I wanted to accomplish in a year following so much unknown. And I actually felt bad about that--about not being able to chart a course for myself.

I know part of my struggle was knowing how much and what kind change 2021 will hold on a national, state, local, and personal level. And it wasn't until I listed to an Instagram video the other day from author Glennon Doyle that I started to feel ok about being directionless and without my intention as I enter 2021. In this particular video, she talks in part about how she doesn't really have a word of the year, but if she did, her word for this year would be "STET." She explains how writers use this word on their marked-up manuscripts to indicate to their editors that they don't accept the changes suggested. She defines STET as "I said what I said. I meant what I meant. Let it stand. It's the word that signals to the powers that be that you're good...what you wrote is good enough. You trust yourself."

And then in the video, she challenges us to not just accept what the world tells us is best or what should be, but to look at what we have, what we have cultivated and just say "STET" instead. To let what we are stand and know that we are good. We are good enough.

Coincidentally enough, we will be hosting a very special Tabor Talks this coming week focused just on that--being Good Enough: Embracing the idea of Good Enough Parents - and Students! - during a Pandemic. This special session will run much more like a parent workshop with about a 15 minute introduction from Laura Alexander, a Child and Family Therapist at Trillium Family Services, followed by parent conversational breakout rooms to discuss struggles, experiences, and support. Randolph Carter from Eastern Educational Collaborative will also be with us to share about the impact of the pandemic on our BIPOC families and to host a BIPOC specific affinity space for conversation as well. These special workshops will run at our normal times (Tuesday at 8:00 am and Wednesday at 6:30 pm). We certainly hope you all will join us!

Wishing you all a lovely week ahead knowing you are good enough, just the way you are.

All the best,

Tonya Arnold

Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School

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Special Edition Tabor Talks January 12-13: Good Enough

We sincerely hope that our families join us for this incredibly special Tabor Talk. Our counselors have coordinated with our amazing partners at Trillium Family Services and Eastern Education Resources Collaborative to develop an host a parent education and conversation night.

The focus: embracing the idea of being good enough as parents and students during a pandemic. Not only will parents get some valuable strategies, they will also be able to discuss, parent-to-parent, in breakout rooms.

Tabor Talk Session #10 (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 12 from 8:00-9:00 am
  • PM Edition: Wednesday, January 13 from 6:30-7:30 pm

Support Novels for Semester 2 Instruction in ELA Instruction

Mt Tabor Language Arts teachers are determined to get books into the hands of our students in the 2020-21 school year, and we need your help to do so.

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 just over $600.

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

SPIRIT WEEK: January 11-15

It's time to kick the school spirit into high gear in 2021! Encourage your students to show up on screen in classes and to homeroom in the following ways on the following days:

Monday: Tabor Gear (wear MTMS gear or school colors)

Tuesday: Hoodie Day (bust out those hooded sweatshirts)

Wednesday: Movie Day (come as your favorite character or sporting movie swag)

Schedule for Week of January 18-22

To accommodate for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 18, classes will be held as follows using the typical bell schedule:

Monday, 1/18: No School

Tuesday, 1/19: Periods 4-6* and Homeroom

Wednesday 1/20: Periods 1-3 and Homeroom/Academic Support

Thursday, 1/21: Periods 4-6* and Interest, Allyship, and Affinity Groups

Friday, 1/22: Periods 1-3 and Homeroom

*Zero Period will meet on these days at its regular time.

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!

Schedule Adjustment for Period 0 Classes

After talking with students about the difficulty of having afternoon classes, the Health and PE Period 0 classes are adjusting their scheduled class times beginning on Monday, January 4.

Classes will be meeting on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings from 8:30-9:15 am.

For the full MTMS Instructional Schedule, click here.

High School Corner

Heading to Franklin HS in 2021-22?

Discover Franklin: webpage Launch January 7th

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

Welcome back! Check out the website for details on our upcoming General PTA Meeting. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 2, 2021 from 6:30pm-8:00pm, online of course. The topic of discussion will be the power of Restorative Justice and all MTMS families are welcome and encouraged to attend.

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

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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.

Teen Activities through PCC Community Ed

Are you looking for some engaging extra-curricular activities for your student? Check out the Teen Program offerings from PCC Community Ed on the flyer below.
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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 #10: AM Edition

Tuesday, Jan. 12th, 8am

This is an online event.

Join us at

Tabor Talk #10: PM Edition

Wednesday, Jan. 13th, 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