The Mt. Tabor Tribune

A Weekly Newsletter for the Mt. Tabor School Community

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A Message from the Principal

8/20/2021


Good evening, MTMS Families,


I hope that you and your students are growing excited about the return to school--it is hard to believe it is only a week and a half away. My children have been dreaming about their lunches and lunch boxes, wondering if their wardrobe needs some sprucing up after such a long stint at home, and picking out school supplies. We are all learning about these things again after our hiatus from "normal" for the last 18 or so months.


I know for many of you and your children, you are wondering about much more--what those first days of school will be like, how they will find their way around the cavernous halls, and whether you can feel safe about where and how they eat lunch on campus. My children have many of those questions as well. We are spending much time in conversation, exploring their excitements and fears, and working together to address their worries and anxieties. While your process with your own children may be different, I encourage you all in the coming week to begin opening those conversations. Start small and positive, and spend some time listening to what they have to say. I have faith, after years of working with adolescents, that they will be honest about their feelings. All we have to do is be open to listening and affirming their feelings.


I know that as parents and families that care about your students, you have feelings as well. And right now, it may feel like our schools and district have not had enough of a chance to listen to you about how you are feeling so we can address your concerns. I am hopeful that I get a chance to talk to you,--but more importantly, listen-- during our Tabor Talk this coming week and share with you the plans we have in store for the upcoming school year. I know our team is committed to continuing to listen and do our best to serve our students and families in the year to come--and every year to follow. That is what it means to be in relationship with each other and part of a true community, both of which I am committed to developing and growing here at MTMS.


This week's newsletter contains additional information that you will need to help prepare your students for the first days of school, much like the last newsletter. If you did not catch last week's newsletter, don't worry. I am trying to leave a running collection of information in this week's as well, just in case. You can find that additional information in the IN CASE YOU MISSED IT section after this week's content.


Some of the information we shared with you just a few short days ago is already needing to be updated as we have received additional guidance and directives from the district. In these cases, I will be sure to call out those as "Updates" in the title of the newsletter section. Please read these sections carefully.


In this week's edition, you will find information about:


  • The schedule for the first day of school on Wed., September 1
  • Grade Level Entrances
  • Updated regular building bell schedules
  • Our newly revised Lunch Plans
  • Upcoming Events: Tabor Talk & Project Community Care


Sending you best wishes for connected conversations and excited preparations in the coming week.


All the best,


Ms. Tonya Arnold

Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School

First Day of School: Wednesday, September 1

Unlike in year's past, ALL STUDENTS will begin back with us at Mt. Tabor MS on Wednesday, September 1.


WHAT TO BRING:

Regardless of their grade, students need only to bring their lunch (if they would like to bring one from home), a filled water bottle, a spare mask (just in case) and a writing utensil to their first day at school--backpacks and individual school supplies can wait until Thursday, September 2 with Chromebooks coming the following week.


WHAT TO EXPECT:

  • 6th grade students and first-time students to MTMS will begin their middle school careers beginning at 9:15 am. Students will be able to enter the building at the NE doors beginning at 9:00 am prior to the start of our orientation at 9:15 am.. During our programming, students will work with 8th grade WEB leaders to build community and comfort at MTMS in a brief outdoor (socially distanced and masked) assembly and in small group activities. Students will receive printed copies of their schedules as well.


  • 7th and 8th grade students will begin their school day at 11:15 am. Students will be able to pick up a printed copy of their schedules at their designated grade level entrances before they enter the building. They will meet their Period 4/Homeroom teacher who will escort their classes in beginning at 11:10 am.


  • During the afternoon, all students will have time in homeroom, take a campus tour, eat lunch in their assigned lunch period, and run through an abbreviated schedule where they will learn to navigate to their classes, meet their teachers, begin to build their learning communities, and build knowledge about some of our school expectations & safety protocols.


WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE?:

You can find all the day's scheduled activities by grade level by clicking the big blue button below.

UPDATED: Bell Schedules for 2021-22 School Year

The bell schedules, originally published in the first newsletter, has been updated to support increased social distancing and limit exposure for students during the lunch hour. Our new plan reflects best practice suggestions from the district and should allow us to reduce the number of students in the cafeteria at one time to 120 students or less.


This new schedule features 6 separate grade-level lunches and Homeroom sessions daily. You can view these updated schedules below, or click on this link if you or your student would like a physical copy. These schedules will also be included in the Parent Student Handbook that will be distributed next week as part of our Digital Back to School Packet.

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UPDATED: Let's Talk Lunch

We have revised the lunch plans we presented to families earlier this week to be in compliance with additional best practices and requirements from PPS. You will find the finalized plan for lunches in the bulleted list below. We believe our plan will provide the maximum amount of space for students in the lunchroom,. ensure small and stable lunch cohorts to minimize exposure and maximize safety, and provide for the least amount of disruption to our academic schedule.

OUR PLAN:


  • We will be offering six discreet lunch periods, two for each grade level. Time in the cafeteria will be limited to 16 minutes as the recommendation for students being unmasked indoors while eating is 15 min or less.
  • Students will be assigned a lunch based on their Homeroom (Period 4) Teacher. To see what lunch your student will have, find their Period 4 teacher and look them up under your student's grade level at this link. The revised bell schedule above will show you when their assigned lunch and recess will be. These assignments are stable and we cannot make accommodations for students to attend the "other" lunch for their grade level.
  • Each Homeroom will determine set table groups for each quarter, and students are required to sit of their assigned table to minimize exposure and allow for accurate contact tracing.
  • Staff on lunch duty will be checking for table attendance to ensure students are seated at their correct table and will be addressing any issues directly with students and families.
  • We will be labeling tables with their table numbers and marking cafeteria tables so that students have physical indicators of 3 feet of physical distance.
  • Students who need additional time to finish their lunch will be able to take it outside to recess and can finish it, unmasked and physically distant from their peers. Student who are assigned first recess are welcome to begin eating their lunch outside to minimize unmasked time in the cafeteria.
  • Students will be taught and encouraged to keep their masks on when not actively eating in the cafeteria to limit exposure.


WE WANT YOUR HELP, BUT...

New information from the district on Wednesday evening stated that only essential volunteers without direct contact with students would be allowed to serve on our campuses. Given that lunch duty does have such contact, we will have to pause on bringing in parent volunteers at this time. Many thanks to the amazing family members who signed up to help support our lunchtime efforts.

Before and After School Programming with SUN School

We have had many inquires from parents regarding our capacity at MTMS to offer before-school programming in addition to our after-school offerings. We have been working with our SUN School Director at Mt. Tabor, Jeff Percell, to see if the before school program, which had at one time been funded by our now inactive Foundation, could fall under the umbrella of services and programs offered at Mt. Tabor.


Mr. Percell is currently in conversation with the larger SUN School program and working to identify/hire staff that would be able to help us get this program up and running. We know that should we be able to offer the program, it would most likely not open until October with the rest of the Mt. Tabor SUN after-school programming and would be fee-based to cover program expenses. We promise to keep our community updated about SUN progress toward these goals.


WHAT ARE SUN COMMUNITY SCHOOLS?

SUN Community Schools offer opportunities that support healthy child and youth development and family stability.


At SUN Community Schools, the collective efforts of youth, parents, businesses, faith communities, libraries, and community organizations create a network of supports that ensure youth academic success and that communities thrive.


SUN Community Schools have:

  • After school programs
  • Quality instruction, enrichment, and extra-curricular activities
  • Links to food, shelter, and help with energy bills.
  • Many sites have on-site food pantries or Harvest Share
  • Connection to health and mental health services
  • Some sites have on-site school-based health clinics
  • Adult education and recreation such as English classes, computer skills, and Zumba
  • Parent and family activities and events

Pick up and Drop Off Routes at MTMS

Last year, our building partnered with Safe Routes to School, a program with the City of Portland, to examine our school arrival and departure routes and processes as we returned to campus for hybrid instruction. The goal of our transportation plan was to help ease congestion around the school and create safe, predictable routes to school for all students, whether they were arriving by foot, bike, by car, public transportation, or school bus. We deployed staff members to arrival points to ensure students could cross neighborhood streets safely and directed traffic to take the newly designed routes.


We were so appreciative of the support we received from our parent community and the response to the changes from the homeowners in our neighborhood. And given that we always want to provide safe and appropriate routes to school that ensure the safety of all an alleviate congestion, we will be implementing the same transportation plan for the 2021-22 school year as we had during hybrid.


Staff will continue to be out before and after school to assist students and direct traffic, and we sincerely hope that all will politely work with them as we continue to implement this approved arrival and departure plan.


Below you will find an image of our transportation routes to help you in planning for the start of the school year.

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A Message from Safe Routes to School

Preparing for your trip to school


Have you thought about how you are traveling to school? Let's continue taking care of each other and our kids as we start the new school year. If your family is getting to school by car, remember to drive carefully on your way to and from school and look out for kids crossing.


Help reduce traffic around the school by walking, biking, taking transit, or carpooling whenever you can. No matter how your family gets to school, be sure to obey all traffic laws and road signs. Be aware of your surroundings and take it slow as you travel to school. For more information on how to walk, bike, or take transit, visit saferoutesportland.org.



Back to School Text & Win Campaign


Let’s Go Back to School Stronger in 2021! Back to school will look different this fall. Due to hybrid and remote learning, many students have not traveled regularly to campus in over a year. Thinking ahead can help make our first days back less stressful.




Let us share some simple ideas for a fresh start to your 2021 school year, like packing bags the night before or making sure your bike tires have air! Signing up enters you into a raffle for grocery gift cards and other fun prizes.


  • (Grades PK-5) Parents and caregivers: text SCHOOL to 888-520-0526
  • (Grades 6-12) Students or caregivers: text BACKPACK to 888-520-0526


Expect one text a day as we prepare and jump into the school year, and you can opt out at any time.


Safe Routes to School is a City of Portland program working to support students and families in traveling safely to school. See website for more program details.


Spanish translation: Regresemos a clases Más Fuertes en este 2021
Simplified Chinese translation: 让我们在 2021 年更坚强地回到学校
Russian translation: в 2021 году давайте вернемся в школу лучше подготовленными!
Vietnamese translation: Hãy Trở lại Trường Mạnh mẽ Hơn trong năm 2021

Tabor Talk #1: Back to School Basics

Last year, we begin hosting frequent parent presentations online to make sure that parents had accurate information, were kept updated to things happening at school, and provide ongoing opportunities for families to engage in workshops or connect to resources.


We plan to continue with this virtual tradition during the 2021-22 school year as well. And to kick things off, we are going to do a review of some of the details regarding the start to the school year: safety protocols, what your student can expect, etc.


Our first Tabor Talk will be on Wednesday, August 25 from 6:30-7:30 pm and can be accessed using the button below (which will take you to our Zoom meeting) or at https://bit.ly/TaborTalk.


We hope to see you there!

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Join Us for Project Community Care on August 28

After going on hiatus during the COVID-19 shutdowns, Project Community Care will return in 2021 on Saturday, August 28 from 9:00 am-12:00 pm. and we are excited to come together as a Mt. Tabor community--staff, students, and families--to really beautiful our outdoor school spaces.


Project Community Care is an annual tradition where community volunteers come out to schools and help clean up the school grounds prior to the first day of school. And given that we plan to outdoor options for lunches, having our grounds looking great is fantastic. As you can see from the picture to the right, our interior courtyard can definitely use some TLC, as can the rest of our outdoor spaces.


Please bring a face mask, gardening/work gloves and your own water bottle. If you have other gardening implements (gas-powered weed eaters, rakes, wheel barrows, etc.) please feel free to bring them.


We will be coordinating efforts with our PTA to get the word out and recruit volunteers to help us in our efforts. We sincerely hope that you will consider joining us.

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One-to-One Technology Coming to MTMS this Fall

With voter approval for the 2020 School Bond last fall, PPS will continue the vital work of improving the health and safety of our aging school buildings with new roofs and mechanical systems, seismic retrofits, plus accessibility and security upgrades. Additionally, this Bond provides our students and staff with new textbooks, curriculum materials and new technology to support classroom and distance learning, while updating classroom and district technology devices.


As a result, PPS will be a 1:1 Chromebook district in the fall. Students in grades 3-12 will be provided and assigned a Chromebook to use for both in-school and at-home work. Students in grades K-2 will have devices in the classroom at a ratio of one device to every two students. This will leverage co-use instructional strategies in K-2 and the devices will remain in the classroom.\


Currently, MTMS is slated for student distribution on October 20, 2021. This date may change depending on the supply chain.


Until device distribution happens, students are asked to bring their current PPS Chromebooks with them, fully, charged, to campus each day beginning Tuesday, September 8. If your student does not have a PPS device but has a personal device you are comfortable sending them to school with, please do so. Those students without a device will have a older PPS Chromebook assigned to them from the supplies left in our building from hybrid. Students will return their old PPS Chromebooks on distribution day.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Student Schedules Available in ParentVUE and StudentVUE

Student schedules are now viewable in StudentVUE and ParentVUE for 2021-22 classes. Students can access their StudentVUE accounts using their PPS login and password information. Parents with previous activated ParentVUE accounts should also be able to view their student's schedule. If you do not have your ParentVUE access key and need to activate your account, please reach out to our main office beginning on August 9 so that we can assist you. You can log in to both of these resources at https://www.pps.net/Page/2341.


We also want to remind families about current PPS middle school policy surrounding class change requests. We are not able to make changes to student schedules except in case of an error (duplicate class, wrong grade level class, student doesn’t have prerequisites for class). If you believe an error of this nature has been made, please contact Assistant Principal, Jill Liddle at jliddle@pps.net.


We suggest that families review their student schedules in the coming week and reach out as soon as possible if you discover an error so that we can work to make adjustments.

School Supply Lists for 2021-22

You can find updated school supply lists below for the 2021-22 school year. A few things to note:

  1. There is a general list of school supplies for all students in all grades for families to purchase.
  2. There are grade-level specific supplies for each grade level.
  3. Instead of having families drop off community supplies, we are asking for families to contribute $15 via SchoolPay to cover the central purchase of needed supplies for the school year. The SchoolPay link for Community Supplies payments will be open the week of August 9.


School Supply List 2021-2022 (English)

Lista de suministros escolares para 2021-2022 (Spanish)

学用品リスト 2021-2022 (Japanese)

学校耗材清单 2021-2022 (Chinese)

Danh Sách Dụng Cụ Học Tập 2021-2022 (Vietnamese)

Complete Your Student Verification Form!

Each year parents and/or guardians are asked to review and update the information on file for their children (students). This information can be reviewed, edited and submitted online via PPS ParentVUE.


Benefits of verifying online via ParentVUE:

  • Complete yearly verification of your student's information
  • You can update your communication and language preferences
  • Ensures your school has the most up to date information
  • Saves paper and time

Still Need to Pick Up Your 2020-21 Yearbook?

If you ordered and have not yet had a chance to pick up your yearbook from last year, you are welcome to come by the building to pick it up beginning Monday, August 16. Simply buzz in at the main entry, and someone in the office will answer to help you out.

Bus Route Information Available on 8/24

The bus routes and times for the 2021-22 school year will be posted on 8/24 and available at https://www.pps.net/bus. If you have questions or need help accessing your route information after that date, please contact Tania Trujillo Morales in the office at ttrujillomorale@pps.net or at 503-916-5646.

Mt. Tabor Middle School

Home of the Eagles. Be sure to follow us on Instagram at mttabormiddleschool