The Mt. Tabor Tribune
A Weekly Newsletter for the Mt. Tabor School Community
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A Message from the Principal
Good evening, MTMS,
I hope you are enjoying this amazingly beautiful winter weather--and by that I mean the blue skies, mild temps, and gorgeous sunshine. It's hard to believe that it was this time just a year ago when our campus trees were snapping under the weight of so much ice. What a difference a year makes. I for one am grateful for these conditions and the ability to keep our students enjoying lunch and recess outside!
While things are busy here with forecasting and staffing for next fall, we took some time out this week to have a bit of fun reteaching some of our school-wide expectations. Mr. Dave Llewellyn, our amazing School Climate Specialist, dusted off his best acting skills and donned middle school attire as he transformed into Devious Dave, the star of our very own mini-move, "A Day in the Life of Dave." Mr. "Rowdy" Roger Groom and our favorite crossing guard/assistant principal, Ms. Jill Liddle, rounded out this start-studded cast.
It was amazing to hear our students laughing, applauding, and booing as we circulated during Homeroom on Monday, and it was good for all of our souls to have a creative and fun outlet to talk about some of the frequently occurring behaviors we are seeing on campus. I even got to dust off my limited iMovie skills in post production--a definite treat for me. I've attached this sure-to-be Emmy nominated cinematic masterpiece below if you need a chuckle or want to review expectations with your own student.
In other news, the Southeast Guiding Coalition is drawing closer to a decision regarding school enrollment and program placement for the 2023-24 school year. Of note in the newest set of proposals (Scenario F), Atkinson neighborhood students would feed to Harrison Park for Middle School and Atkinson Spanish DLI students would feed to Kellogg. The changes leave Mt. Tabor with Glencoe and Richmond as feeder schools with a significantly reduced population to leave room for potential new feeders when the North/Northeast Guiding Coalition work begins. For more details and meeting videos, visit https://www.pps.net/enrollmentbalancing.
With that, I wish you all a lovely weekend.
All the best,
Ms. Tonya Arnold
Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School
6th and 7th Grade Forecasting Slated for Next Week!
Below you will find links to these documents for your reference....or in case your student loses them between school and home. Current 5th grade students and families should receive this information from their current 5th grade teacher in the next several weeks as well.
For Current 6th Grade Students/Families
For Current 7th Grade Students/Families
Zero-Period Questions: Why the Changes?
When zero period classes originally began at Mt. Tabor MS, their intent was to provide access to band courses for our students in immersion programs. When the school was required to change from a 7-period day to a six-period day in the fall of 2018, immersion students were unable to participate in any choice elective due to all six periods needing to be occupied by required courses. This change devastated our band program in particular.
In Fall 2019, zero period was introduced to provide students in immersion classes the opportunity to take Band and Spanish 1-2, but no other electives. The change was enough to bolster our band program and help it to continue with its current staffing level. Zero period classes were appropriate sized, and things worked effectively. Classes were small enough at that time to allow a small number of neighborhood students to take zero-period as well.
During the current 2021-22 school year, our team at MTMS decided to open up the ability for zero period only DLI, ELD, and SPED students to take any elective courses they choose. We did not anticipate the large response (nor having to turn families away when the courses became large). Our zero period classes quickly reached a point where enrollment made learning difficult. Below you will find the number of students per grade level who are attending zero-period classes this year:
- 6th Grade: 65
- 7th Grade: 47
- 8th Grade: 40
The overloaded zero period classes had another impact: increasing the need for electives throughout the rest of the schedule. Most traditional "seat" courses (like art, social studies, and science) we try to keep below 35 students. But our performance based classes, like band and PE, can actually absorb additional enrollment more easily, sometimes in excess of 50 students. The rates of students taking band did not adversely impact those classes, but they did create more need for other electives to be offered, and many students did not get the electives they forecasted for due to a lack of room.
Going into this year--where all indications from across the state indicate that enrollment will be down--our team here at Mt. Tabor made the difficult decision to limit our zero period enrollment at this time just to students interested in taking band. As we go through the master scheduling process, we will keep our eyes on the enrollment in zero period and other non-band electives and, should there be space in these programs, we will conduct a lottery for DLI students who are interested in those classes where space still exists.
We recognize that the zero period itself is an equity issue, as is the inability for all of our middle school students to access academic support courses and engaging electives at the heart of a robust middle school experience. While our staff continues to raise these issues in advocating for a different schedule and staffing level, we will not be able to make the most important changes until these shifts come to pass.
Thank you for your understanding as we navigate these uncertain times and face difficult decisions.
New Water Fountains Being Installed: Please Send Students with Reusable Water Bottles
Families, please be sure to send your student to school each day with a reusable water bottle. We are going through cups and cones for water at a high rate, and these open containers lead to spills in classrooms....and on Chromebooks. We appreciate any support you can give to us reducing our ecological footprint as well as saving us from the daily spillage.
Students Issued Chromebook Cases this Week
We recognize that these cases may be best used to provide extra protection for devices while being transported to and from school in backpacks, and that they may be less useful for students transporting devices between classes.
If your student would rather not keep their case, they can return it to the main office and the district will send someone to remove them. However, it does seem that the cases may be useful as ground covering for students to sit on for less-than-dry lunches outside.
Mark Your Calendars: 8th Grade Promotion is Friday, June 10
Your Weekly PTA Update
Your Weekly PTA Update
The PTA is still working to raise funds for alternative seating options in MTMS classrooms. We will keep you up-to-date on our progress. We have a slowly increasing fund and thanks to those who were already able to donate. If you are able, we would greatly appreciate any contribution…no amount is too small or too big. Our GOAL is to purchase 100 wobble seats!!!! Donations are being accepted through SchoolPay. The link to donate to this fundraiser is https://www.schoolpay.com/pay/for/Classrooms-in-Motion/SCiuLo.
We have had great success with our first two Restaurant Partners this year. Fire on the Mountain was a delicious treat this week and we are so thankful for their generous partnership. We continue to add locations, so continue to mark your calendars!
- March 20th - Leikum Brewing
- April 12th - Tabor Tavern
- April (date to be determined) - Oly’s Pizza
Alpenrose and MTMS Partnership
They have more than just milk!!! Alpenrose is partnering with MTMS to offer a great deal for you and for the PTA. New customers will receive $30.00 off their first order and free home delivery of groceries. All your future orders over $15.00 will also receive free delivery. For each new customer that signs up, using the MTMSPTA code, Alpenrose will donate $50.00 to MTMS PTA! This is huge! This will contribute to funds that we greatly need to meet the needs of teachers and students at MTMS. The flyer below contains more information and a QR code to the ordering website. Use code MTMSPTA when checking out to receive your discounts and free delivery.
The sun is out… spring is on the way. It’s a great time to for a new t-shirt or hoodie. The new design is really cute. Check out the Mt Tabor Middle School spirit wear at the following link. T-shirts and hoodies are available in two different designs. Items are ordered on demand from the local company, Big Frog. 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: https://mttabormiddleschool.itemorder.com/shop/sale
Current Quarantine Guidlines
Upload your COVID-19 Vaccination Cards Into Parent VUE
Sign Ups Still Available for Asymptomatic Testing Program through OHSU
With the new variant surge, we have been asked by many families about whether they can still sign up for the weekly testing program through OHSU. Families are still able to sign up. Information about the program can be found at the links below:
If you have not yet had an opportunity to sign your student up for this free testing service, you can still do so. Simply complete the BOTH of the forms below and have your student bring them to the main office:
Our schedule here at Mt. Tabor will be for students to return tests every TUESDAY to the cooler outside the main office when they arrive on campus. Tests are collected in the morning by the OHSU courier.
If you have completed the form for your student and has not received testing kits and labels, it may be that OHSU has not yet processed your application--there seem to be significant delays. Please feel free to check in with Tania Trujillo in the main office to make sure that we have received your paperwork and requested your labels.
We appreciate your patience and participation.
Ongoing Family Immunization Clinics
The Multnomah County Health Department is offering twice-weekly Immunization Clinics for families and children to obtain COVID-19 and school-required vaccines. Clinics will be held on Wednesdays from 11 am - 2 pm & 3 pm - 6 pm at the Gateway WIC Building, 131 NE 102nd Ave., Portland; and on Saturdays from 9 am - 12 pm & 1 pm - at the NE Health Clinic, 5329 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. #322, Portland.
Appointments are required for children aged 5 - 11. No appointment is required for family members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and flu shots.
Call 503-988-8939 to make an appointment. More info is available at: multco.us/vaccineclinics.
Impacted by COVID-19?
My Child Is Out Sick
It is also essential that you notify the school if your student has a positive COVID test or is a close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive. Please call the school office, and they will connect you with our School Health Assistant, Julia Mudgett; our school nurse, Catrina Luna; or Principal Tonya Arnold to follow up with you on these protocols. If you need to reach someone after hours, please email email@example.com.