The Mt. Tabor Tribune

Weekly Newsletter for the Mt. Tabor Middle School Community

A Message from the Principal

September 18, 2020

Dear Mt. Tabor Middle School Community,

In the words of M. Scott Peck, "“If we know exactly where we're going, exactly how to get there, and exactly what we'll see along the way, we won't learn anything. ” By his measure, we sure are learning a lot right now.

At home, I know I am learning a great deal about how to support my own children. All three of them are different, and all three of them need a different level or support and have their own flow to this comprehensive distance learning experience. One is highly motivated to get in and get things done--sometimes I wonder if he is too motivated to finish fast and move on that he's missing things. But he's super structured, lives by his watch and color coded schedule, and independent. Another seems to be embracing the structure of her class meetings but needs some downtime in the afternoon before she is willing and able to reengage with schoolwork later in the evening. And I'm seeing her advocate for her own tech support when she needs it. For once, I think she believes her mom actually knows something! And my third child--well, it doesn't matter how many alarms I set, how many schedules I print--she somehow manages to miss class sessions, get upset when I have to provide her reminders, and then has to invade my only quiet space in the house to listen to her instructional videos at full volume.

Truth be told, as a family, sometimes it is hard to know where we are going minute to minute or how, exactly, we are going to get there. But we sure are learning a lot about each other and growing together in some unexpected ways. I'm sure you are learning a lot in your homes as well.

As as staff, we are learning about things like how authorizing Google Drive can be problematic, how there is a big red "late" flag that shows up in Canvas that sends everyone into a panic. We are learning about the power of consistency and working our way toward developing more and more of it as the days go by. We own that we don't know what we don't know yet.

All in all, though, we managed to have a lot of fun this week as well. We got to see the antics of "Distracted Dave" Llewellyn, our School Climate Specialist, and "Lazy" Jill Liddle, our assistant principal as they showed students what to do and not do in the distance learning environment. We will be finishing our series of lessons and videos on Monday in Homeroom, and I hope that students have a very clear picture of what it means to be safe, respectful, and responsible in our distance learning platforms.

I hope the information in this newsletter is helpful in providing some needed guidance on our direction from here, and I continue to invite you all to continue to engage with us on this journey. While we may not have arrived at distance learning perfection yet (if there is such a thing), I think we learn more and get closer to it every day.

All the best,

Tonya Arnold

Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School

Back to School Night on Thursday, September 24

Mark your calendars. We will be hosting our virtual Back to School Night on Thursday, September 24 beginning at 6:00 pm. We will be sending out full details for the night on Tuesday. The event will feature a welcome from administration, our PTA, and PPS school board, TAG Parent Information, and live sessions for families with students in our ELD and DHH programs. Families will also be able to hear from their student's teachers about their courses. we truly look forward to having you join us.

Don't Hate the Late & Other Canvas Tidbits

As a teaching staff, we have made several adjustments to how we are using Canvas, and we wanted to alert families so that we can be efficient in supporting out students. Teachers are making changes and adjustments to their courses as we speak.

1. Where to find assignments:

Moving forward, students will use their Modules tab in the course menu to find their weekly assignments. These assignments are broken down by each session they attend (Live Class, On My Own, or Small Group). This should clear up some confusion about where students will be able to find all of their coursework. Items for submission will automatically populate on their Canvas Calendar.

2. Due Dates:

It is important for students to submit work on time on the due date. When students submit work on time, our teachers can mark accurate attendance and analyze these responses and adjust instruction. On-time completion also allows students time in the week to revisit and resubmit before moving on to the next module.

Due date submissions for all assignments will be set at 11:59 pm on the day an assignment is due. This is NOT to encourage students to delay in submitting their work or stay up late, but rather to provide families flexible work times to complete assignments in the evenings.

3. Assignments Marked as Late:

After the due date has passed, the Canvas program automatically marks student submissions as "Late." This includes the revision/resubmission of assignments made after the due date. We as a school and district do not have the ability to change this setting. However, all students will have the ability to submit/revise/resubmit their work after the due date and until Sunday evening at 11:59 pm.

A "late" mark given for work completed before the next module is released on Monday does NOT mean that students will automatically receive a grade reduction, nor does it mean that they are unable to complete or revise the assignment. It is simply an indicator that the submission was made after the assignment was set to close. Please ignore this marker as an indicator of student work being scored down during the week-long window.

Students who are receiving special accommodations and modifications through special education and 504 plans will have their assignment dates adjusted according to their individual plans.

Once the next week's module has started, students may not be able to submit their work or will only be able to do so with a late penalty (depending on the course and teacher). If you want to know more about your teacher's late work policy, please reach out to them directly.

Homeroom: What Is It For?

This week, your students started on their adventure with their newly-formed Homeroom classes. These are listed as a separate course on Canvas and all students are scheduled with a teacher that they see somewhere else during the course of their academic day.

If you look closely at the revised schedule, you will notice that we are holding homeroom four days a week beginning next week (Monday-Thursday). Each day in Homeroom has a different focus. In addition to being the primary location where we can share all-school news, we will be using this time to engage in community circles, delve into racial equity and social justice topics, practice mindfulness, and continue to engage in social emotional learning. And did I forget have fun? That's also a goal of this class: to provide space and time for the fun aspects of school.

Next week on Thursday, students will begin to learn more about our Thursday Homeroom options. As a school, we believe it is important that we provide students with some more social spaces in which students can talk with others about topics and experiences that are important to them. These spaces will vary and include interest groups, alliance groups, and affinity groups. Students will learn more next week in their Homeroom classes about their options, and sign up to ensure that we have the right number of sections available for students.

These Homeroom sessions are not optional, and teachers will be reaching out to students and families where we see attendance issues surface. It is a required live class session, and our faculty looks forward to seeing your students there daily.

Sign in with the StudentVUE Portal

Navigating the distance learning environment can be complicated, but it does not have to be. For students, start each day with a visit to the Student Portal at From there, they can log into Canvas, where their daily work and meetings can be found, or into Clever (where learning applications like DreamBox, Gmail, and others can be found as well). There are even links to help with resetting passwords.

Changes to Instructional Schedules

We have made some small changes to our instructional schedule beginning Friday, September 18. These changes were to ensure that all students have access to the same amount of class time and that breaks would be provided between classes on Friday afternoon.

We do not anticipate needing to make additional changes to this schedule for the remainder of the time we are in distance learning. Thank you for understanding and remaining flexible with us.

Dreambox in the Math Classroom and at Home

Starting next week in math, all students will be using DreamBox as one of their asynchronous lessons per week. Teachers will be introducing this tool to students before they are expected to begin using it.

DreamBox is an online math program that is both engaging and proven to boost your student's math performance. Whether your learner is a math whiz or needs help filling in some gaps, the DreamBox platform provides your student with the individualized lessons they need to succeed. Below are some resources about the program.

If you have any general questions about DreamBox please contact our math coach, RaeAnn Suckow at If you have specific questions about your student, please contact their math teacher.

WEB Lunch on Wednesday

The WEB program at Mt. Tabor isn't just for orientation. Our 8th grade WEB Leaders will be working with our new 6th grade students all year long to support their connection and success at MTMS.

WEB Leaders will be hosting a "WEB Lunch" on Wednesday, September 23 at 12:30 pm. Students should check with Gmail account with their login (this can be accessed through Clever). WEB Leaders will be sending out emails, email reminders, and making phone calls.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

Suggested School Supply Lists

To view this year's suggested school supply list for MTMS, click here.

Book Drop Off and Pick Up

Families-we will be collecting overdue textbooks and books outside and safely socially distant on two occasions:

  • Thursday October 1: 1-3 pm in the south side staff parking lot (near the soccer field)
  • Friday October 2: 10 am to 12 noon same place

We will have carts for you to place your books on.

And...we will be distributing bags of library books for students to take home! We will put together a small bag (4-5 titles) for students to keep until the next exchange date. We are unable to create custom bags, but promise we will fill the bags with awesome books! Students are expected to still care for the books as if they would any other library book, and they are to be returned to school in the bag they were borrowed in. We will communicate the next exchange date where the bag can be returned for another different bag of books.

Updates from Our School Nursing Staff

Meet Julia Mudgett, MTMS School Health Assistant

Hello, MTMS families. I am so excited to support you all this year as your school health assistant. I have been a School Health Assistant since 2017. I married my 2nd grade sweetheart and have a year-old son. I love to watch football and basketball with my family. Also, I love to make origami in my spare time--I learned how when i was in 4th grade by my teacher, Mr. Miles at Irvington Elementary School. I am here to help and support not only the students but the staff as well.

Notifying the School About Chronic Health Conditions & Medication at School

For more information, please click on this link:

Student Health Center @ Roosevelt HS now open

This fall, while schools are engaged in Comprehensive Distance Learning, PPS Roosevelt Student Health Center will be open starting Monday, September 14th for phone, video and in-person visits. Monday-Thursday 8:45 am-4:45 pm and Friday for phone and video appointments only. Call 503-988-3909 to make an appointment.

Any Multnomah County K-12 youth can visit the center and there are no out of pocket costs. We also can connect students and their families with community resources for food or help with medical insurance.

Student Health Centers at David Douglas & Parkrose high schools are also open. For more information visit Stay connected via Facebook and Instagram.

Link to fliers in multiple languages: English Spanish Chinese Russian Somali Vietnamese

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: Recordings and Upcoming Sessions

Tabor Talk Session #4 (AM and PM Edition)

Please mark your calendars for our upcoming Tabor Talk Sessions.Every Tabor Talk session can be reached at This next session of Tabor Talks will feature our school counselors and their comprehensive counseling plan and support for students, even in distance learning. They are truly excited to share with you.

  • AM Edition: Tuesday, September 22 from 8:00-9:00 am
  • PM Edition: Wednesday, September 23 from 6:30-7:30 pm
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Your Weekly PTA Update: First General Meeting Sept 15

Thank you to everyone who attended this week's PTA General Meeting. There was a lot of good discussion about the PTA budget for the year, and we got several PTA board positions filled. It was also one of our largest meetings in recent history.

Who are the dedicated folks who are part of the PTA Board?

Seth Shikora, President

Rebecca Morris, Vice-President

Jodi Tanner-Tell, Secretary

Rebecca Hoffenberg, Treasurer

Jennifer New, Treasurer-Elect

Jon Holt, Equity Chair

Jaina Kapranos, Japanese Immersion Program Representative

We are still looking for a Communications Chair, Spanish Immersion Representative, and an Deaf and Hard of Hearing Representative

Join the PTA!

We 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


Tabor Talk #4: AM Edition

Tuesday, Sep. 22nd, 8-9am

This is an online event.

Join us at

Tabor Talk #4: PM Edition

Wednesday, Sep. 23rd, 6:30-8:30pm

This is an online event.

Join us at

Back To School Night

Thursday, Sep. 24th, 6pm

This is an online event.

Stay tuned for digital meeting invites for the evening's events.

Mt. Tabor Middle School

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

UPDATED: School Supply Lists

This week, the district provided us a comprehensive supply list for students grades 6-8. We have added some specific items to our list at district request. Please take a look for recent amendments to the item list.