Dragon Tales

November 8th - November 12th (no school on 11th or 12th!)

Spoiler Alert: New quarter/classes starting on Monday, Conferences, BSU starting, Short School Week...

Good day, Dragon Families,

I hope you weren't swept away by the wind and didn't get too wet this weekend! I appreciated the rain, as it allowed me to slow and wind down a little, in order to prepare for the next quarter. Although, we have entered what many call, "No School November", we have much going on this month.

Last week, I mentioned preparing for our second quarter of the first semester - well, we are finally here! Please remind your kiddos to check their StudentVue and Canvas pages to remind themselves of the classes they have, as our quarterly classes refresh, starting Monday. Changes impact students cycling through the quarterly elective wheel.

We had a virtual assembly last Thursday to close our quarter. The focus of the assembly was mainly geared towards social emotional strategies to help center ourselves, as well as remembering to maintain a healthy, safe and thriving community. Thus, we shared a pre-COVID da Vinci compilation (which we are planning to recreate this year!) and reviewed expectations. Students had been out of school for so long; our staff hold compassion and are cognizant about the fact that students may require more positive modeling and reminders about da Vinci culture, than they may have needed before.

Moreover, on our end, we have a few things coming down the pike to support students through navigating middle school at da Vinci. Below are a few changes/revisions in the works:

  1. Revised staff duty schedule - increasing more adults and eyes in our halls, increased support for the first and last 7 minutes of the school day, and support at the intersection of 24th and Everett.
  2. Lunch recess, we will have more equipment for students to play with and opportunities to support more structured play.
  3. Tightened hallway pass school wide plan.
  4. In person Affinity Groups starting this month.

Let's make second quarter a great one! We greatly appreciate your continued support.

Thank you,

Principal Davis

Conference Information

Family (parent/guardian/caregiver and student)/Teacher conferences offer an invaluable opportunity to meet and discuss student progress and needs. These conversations are student-centered and we want students to participate. Because conference times are limited, we hope to prioritize families who need this time to connect with teachers. While teachers always enjoy talking with families, if your student is doing well, especially if you already know the teacher from last year, a conference may not be necessary.

Further, we understand our students come from different family structures and may have two households. If this rings true for your family, please work within your family to determine which adult(s) will attend conferences. Please know, unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to offer separate conference slots to families residing in separate homes. Thank you for your understanding.

When: November 22 and 23 from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM.

Teachers block off their meal breaks in advance and there may be some variation in availability. There are a couple of teachers with spots on alternate days.

Where: Our conferences will be virtual, using Zoom. As is typical, each conference slot is 10 minutes. These are scheduled without any transition time so it is imperative to start and end promptly. These slots usually do fill up so if you miss your time for any reason, we will not be able to accommodate schedule changes.

How to Sign up: If you feel a conference would be helpful, please use this site to pick times to meet with your child’s teachers.

  • Take only one slot per teacher per child for year-long classes, or semester Art classes. Coordinate with other adults to share the time or divide the meetings.

  • Teachers do not offer conferences for quarter-term electives, e.g., term dance/PE fitness, health, or the quarter of art or AVID for 6th graders.

The conference schedule website will go live for you to sign up at 4 PM on November 4th, 2021. It will be locked at 4 PM on Thursday, November 18th so teachers can prepare.

Sign up on MyConference Time:


> Register for multiple time slots

> Select the number of students you have

> Pick the teachers you need to meet with

> Enter your names and email address

> Pick a day that works best for you

> Select times and sign up

> Look for a confirmation email from Myconferencetime with the link for the Zoom meeting. You will also get a reminder two days in advance. If you need any help, contact sbryan@pps.net.

How to join Zoom, video tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgBBO-rbZ00&feature=youtu.be

  • Download Zoom in advance and become familiar with joining a meeting if you are not already.

  • There will be a waiting room for the teacher to let you in when it’s your time. Make sure your Zoom account name is recognizable.

  • You can use your student’s PPS Zoom account or a personal one.

  • If multiple people plan to join the meeting, make sure to let the teacher know to admit other participants.

Prepare for the meeting:

ASK- How is my student’s participation?

Share- what’s working/not working.

What do we need to know about your student?

How can we help your student to be successful?

Calendar Highlights

November 7th, End of Daylight Savings Time- Set your clocks back 1 hour!

November 10, BSU starts after school

November 10, 6 pm, PTSA Meeting on Zoom, see below

November 11, Veteran’s Day Holiday, NO SCHOOL for students

November 12, Teacher Planning Day, NO SCHOOL for students

November 19, NEW DATE, Picture Retakes

November 22 and 23, Teacher/Family Conferences

November 24-26, Thanksgiving Holiday, No School

November 29- December 19, Enrollment and Transfer Lottery Window for middle and high school next year. Information about the lottery for da Vinci for next year will be updated on our website

Student Clubs and Affinity Groups

BSU, Sponsored by Mr. Muhammad, Ms. Davis and Ms. Aja (from The Urban League)

Our BSU is starting Wednesday, November 10th from 3:15 to 4:00 pm. BSU will occur every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month (unless where a holiday/break occurs).

Latinx Student Union, Sponsored by Ms. Wilson

Please sign up using this quick form if you are interested in participating as a student and parent. Students, parents, and teachers can join!


QSA, Sponsored by Counselor Foxley

QSA has started and will meet on the 1st & 3rd Thursday of each month from 3:15 - 4:00 pm. Students can also find more information on the bulletin board across from Ms. Shannon's office (room 202).

Yearbook Club with Ms. Staurseth

Our Ceramics teacher, Ms. Staurseth is running a lunch club for students to work on planning our Yearbook. We’re looking for students that are organized and detail-oriented. Does your student love taking photos and making memories? If so, ask them if they might be interested and encourage them to talk to Ms. Staurseth.

A message from Nurse Cam

Hello families!

Many families are choosing to COVID test their children with any signs of illness. You may, however, be wondering when a COVID test is REQUIRED in order to return to school. Please read on for the answer and for a link for the latest OHA/ODE exclusion criteria.

When your child presents with any primary COVID symptom, they are excluded from school for 10 days. HOWEVER, this exclusion can be canceled with a negative COVID test. Primary COVID symptoms are fever, cough, chills, loss of taste/sense smell, or shortness of breath/difficulty breathing.

Where to find testing?

Oregon Testing Sites

School Based Health Centers

A link to the most current OHA/ODE exclusion criteria can be found HERE. Please reference pages 8, 9, 10, and 12 for the exclusion information.

Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need more information about testing.

-Nurse Cam



Picture Ordering and Retake Day -RESCHEDULED

We will automatically include any student not present on our original picture day. If you are not happy with your pictures and want your student to do retakes, please fill out THIS FORM.


Our tents are on the way! We will receive 6 tents that will be placed on our blacktop within the next few weeks. Once they arrive, we will share photos of our kids enjoying them.

Before and After School Expectations

Please remember, students should not be in the building before school begins and should leave campus immediately. Teachers make time to meet with students; however, this is done ahead of time, thus, if your student is meeting with a teacher, they will need a pass. Otherwise, the expectation is that they do not linger on campus before or after school.

Absence and Illness reporting

If your student is going to be late or absent for any reason, please notify us by email.

If your student is ill, notify the health assistant, Tul Laffitte, AND the attendance secretary, Sheli Byran. Tul will need to know the symptoms your student is experiencing and the best call-back number for follow-up if needed. If your student will be taking a vacation day, has an appointment, there is a family emergency, or needs a mental health day, you can email only Sheli Bryan.

Student Phones - Off and Away

Please remind your children that personal electronic devices such as cell phones and smartwatches should be off and away during the day, including lunch. If you need to reach your student, call the office and we can relay a message or call them to the office so they can call you. If students are on their phones during the day without permission, we will ask them to keep their phones in the office until the end of the day.

Prepare for the weather

We will be outside enjoying lunch recess as much as our weather will permit. Please be sure to send your student with gear suitable for the weather elements. When not pouring down, we will be outside - since we are entering fall, it will be colder.

Parking and Traffic Flow

There are still occasional jams and horns in the morning. Please remember to only travel headed east on Everett St. Pull over to the curb to let passengers out. Drive with care and yield to pedestrians. Also, please be courteous to our neighbors and do not block driveways, corners or the fire hydrant zone.


We understand that families have different balls to juggle. However, we ask, if possible, please be mindful of how early students arrive at school, as we have limited adult support to monitor students in the morning. The first bell rings at 8:40 AM and the late bell rings at 8:45 AM. Students who are grabbing breakfast should arrive between 8:20 AM - 8:40 AM. As a reminder, breakfast is served through the doors nearest to the courtyard and is to be eaten outside.

Thank you for helping us with discouraging students from crowding, by not having students arrive too early to school.

PTSA Corner

Poinsettia Sale- Our order deadline was extended one week so you can order through November 11th!

For each Poinsettia plant sold, da Vinci will receive a portion of the sales which will be used for the general PTSA fund. The PTSA fund is used to directly support our students and teachers and is necessary to sponsor the unique, arts-focused learning at da Vinci Arts Middle School. Please order today and share the news with family and friends. Orders are due by Thursday, November 11th, and plant pick-up will be held on the da Vinci campus on Friday, December 3rd.

Please visit our ordering site HERE.

With gratitude,

Da Vinci PTSA

November PTSA Meeting- all welcome to join, November 10, 6:00 pm on Zoom

Anyone is welcome to join the monthly general meeting. Meeting documents will be posted on the website in advance on the PTSA page. This is the Zoom link to join:


Volunteer Needs - In an attempt to foster community you will find sign-ups for the 4 PDX quadrants on the volunteer sign-up list HERE. I encourage those of you with time to consider signing up to volunteer! Opportunities and other school needs are listed HERE.

Please review the updated PPS guidelines for volunteering HERE.

Fred Meyer Community Rewards

If you have a Fred Meyer Rewards Card, you may link it to da Vinci PTSA and help raise funds for our school at no additional cost to you. In addition to still keeping your personal Fred Meyer Rewards, Fred Meyer will also donate to the charity of your choice. Learn how HERE.

Shop on Amazon & Support da Vinci Arts Middle School with Amazon Smile

Every time you purchase something off Amazon using the “smile” page, da Vinci Arts Middle School PTSA gets a 0.5% contribution, at no additional cost to you. Please take a few minutes to sign up using the instructions below and be a proud supporter of the da Vinci Arts Middle School PTSA today. Learn how HERE.


Did you know you can help raise money for da Vinci by recycling your bottles and cans without any extra cost to you? Learn how HERE.

Follow the PPS COVID-19 dashboard HERE for real-time data.

Counselor Corner

High School Forecasting Time

Hello, 8th-grade students and families!

While it may be hard to believe, high school will be here before we know it. As the school counselors for da Vinci Arts Middle School, one of our responsibilities is to help 8th graders get ready for high school, and answer any questions students and families may have. One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is, “Can I go to any high school I want to?” Just to clarify, a student is assigned to a neighborhood high school based on their primary address in Synergy, regardless of what middle school the student attends or which high school that middle school feeds into. High school forecasting will happen in January/February of 2022.

If a student wants to look into attending a high school other than their neighborhood high school, students/families can apply online during the open enrollment timeframe. This year's open enrollment is from November 29 – December 17.

In the coming weeks, you will receive notification in the mail from PPS identifying what neighborhood high school your student is slated to attend. The address that we have in synergy identifies what high school your student will be attending. If your student lives in two households that are within the boundaries of different high schools, please ensure that the address of the high school you’d like your child to attend is the one in Synergy. Make sure your address is correct and verified in ParentVue. Check-in with Sheli in the office about how to change addresses if there are two addresses and one or the other should be the primary one.

Very Important -If you live in the Jefferson HS neighborhood, you will be tagged "dual-assignment." This means that students get to choose which high school they want to attend: Jefferson High School or another identified PPS high school - Grant, McDaniels, or Roosevelt. Very soon, you will receive a letter in the mail from PPS regarding dual-assignment and families will be asked to choose one of these two high schools. If families do not choose by the requested date, the district will choose for families. It is your right to choose which of the two high schools is the right fit. Please be sure to fill out the form with your choice!

If your child is planning on attending a private high school, please forecast for your neighborhood school - this allows for any potential issue if they choose not to attend the private school. If you want to explore transferring to a non-neighborhood PPS high school, please contact enrollment and transfer directly.

Please feel free to reach out anytime with questions, especially regarding transitioning to high school.

Ms. Shannon (A - La) can be reached at sfoxley@pps.net, 503-916-5356, or texts to 971-231-5337

Counselor Heather (Le- Z) can be reached at: hmathewson@pps.net Google Voice: 971-245-2727 (call/text), or 503-916-5356 (call only)

Thank you!

Ms. Shannon & Counselor Heather

From our Library Staff- OBOB and Computers

OBOB (Oregon Battle of the Books) is coming to da Vinci! Information on sign-ups will be posted on the Library Canvas page (available soon). OBOB is a reading competition. Teams of five members read 16 books and answer questions in a "jeopardy style" format to win battles against other teams. Winning the school battles earns their spot to compete in the regional battles, and then hopefully to the state competition. Regional battles will be virtual this year. Students can begin forming teams of 4-5 teammates from grades 6-8 grades. The 16 titles are in our library now. Please look for more information during the first weeks of November.

Chromebooks ~ Please help students to bring their new Chromebooks to school each day. Make a habit of charging it at night and make sure you are plugging it in on the side with the button and the tiny light. No light = no charge. There are some available in the library but they must be returned at the end of each day.

November Art Opening

November will bring the first opening of Visual Artworks presented in over a year and a half! Here is the poster, designed by 6th-grader, Lila V. We look forward to sharing more of the works in weeks to come.

Big picture

2023 Travel Opportunities

Hello families! Are you looking for travel opportunities for your student? Heidi Sprecher, the drama tech teacher, leads trips during the summer through a company called EF. These trips are open to students at the middle and high school level, whether or not they attend da Vinci.

There is an info session coming up soon for an exciting theater-based trip to New York in the summer of 2023. Some of the exciting opportunities on the trip are that travelers will see multiple Broadway shows, participate in drama workshops, and have a meet-and-greet with a real Broadway professional.

If you are interested in learning more, please click on this link to be taken to a flyer with information on how to RSVP for the info session! Your student can also pick up physical flyers from room 106 (the drama tech room) at da Vinci. All questions should be directed to Heidi Sprecher (HSprecher@pps.net). Looking forward to seeing you there!

Please note: This is a non-district sponsored event. The school and the district are not responsible for conducting or supervising this trip."

Updates from Assistant Principal Ms. Wilson

TAG (Talented and Gifted) Nominations start now!

I believe all children are talented and gifted in many ways. I want to express how important it is that all students from various backgrounds can be nominated: TAG, ELL, SPED, Black, Native and Students of color. Read below for updates:

In case you were not able to attend da Vinci's TAG Info Night, here is the recording.

Carpool List and Family Directory

Carpool List and Family Directory If you want to be added to the directory, fill out this form. The sheet is only shared with those families that opt-in.

Free Lunch for ALL Students

PPS has announced that all students will have access to one breakfast and one lunch, per day, free of charge. This is huge in making sure every student has access to healthy breakfast and lunch options during an already tricky pandemic. Please note, you do not need to complete a free/reduce lunch application; however, if your family would like to determine other services you might qualify for such as reduced athletic fees, etc., you will need to complete the free/reduced lunch process.