The Mt. Tabor Tribune

A Weekly Newsletter for the Mt. Tabor School Community

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A Message from the Principal

March 5, 2021

Good evening, Mt Tabor MS Families,

I write to you this evening in a space balanced between certainty and uncertainty. And like a tight-rope walker, every moment I find myself checking my balance as the uncertainties of life try to upset that delicate balance. And for someone who wants, like many of us, to feel in charge of her life and direction, uncertainty is anything but comfortable.

I think many of us have lived on this tightrope for the past year, not knowing what the next day, week, month or year might have in store. To be fair, none of us ever really knows, but when things feel far removed from normal, it is even harder to live in a state on constant ambiguity and change. And the longer we live in that state, the more difficult it becomes.

In just the last two weeks, the conversations I have had with staff, students, and families have all communicated a sense of weariness, exhaustion and worry. We are like marathon runners that have hit the dreaded wall at about the 20-mile mark of our 26-mile journey. We have used up our stores of glycogen in our muscles and have had to slow down, almost to a walk. The finish line is so close, but still so far away. The fatigue hits, and hits hard.

I want to reassure you that even now, when as we all feel like we might now have the strength to take one more step that indeed we can. The return to something that feels more normal (or at least different) is imminent. We know that with the governor's announcement today about the return to in-person or hybrid instruction by April 19, and PPS's timeline of middle and high school's returning by April 12. There is still much to do before then, and we continue to move forward as a district and a school. We know that we have, to date, had a successful start to our LIPI program, and we believe that we can building on that success in the days to come.

One more change, I know, feels like a lot, especially when we don't know what it is. But we will continue to navigate this together. In the words of Gilda Radner, “Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next."

I wish you all a lovely weekend.


Ms. Tonya Arnold

Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School

Talking About Race In Your Family: A Family Workshop for Parents, Caregivers, and Students

Talking about race with our middle school students is not just a luxury--it is a necessity. But not all of us know exactly where to start these conversations, how to frame them, and what is most important to share at this age.

In this special edition Tabor Talk, Dr. Randolph Carter (see his bio and credential below) and our MTMS staff will guide parents, caregivers, and students in an exploration of what our Mt. Tabor students say about talking about race & provide some suggestions and space to discuss how we can address race, culture, and racism at home with our families.

This presentation is meant to be inclusive of our entire Mt. Tabor Middle School community, and we encourage families to attend together--parents, caretakers, and students.

Join us on Tuesday, March 9 at 8:00 am or Wednesday, March 10 at 6:30 pm to join in the conversation at


Dr. Randolph Carter is the founder and associate director of the Eastern Educational Resource Collaborative (East Ed). As a member of the Black Panther Party, Randolph has devoted his career to promoting equity and diversity in education and communities. He was a Fellow in the Harvard University School Leadership Program, Graduate School of Education, where he received a master’s degree in education with a school leadership qualification. He is currently a doctoral student in the School of Education Leadership and Change at Fielding University. He was a middle school reading specialist, a school administrator, and while at the National Association of Independent Schools, he directed their equity programming and founded two of their signature projects: People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Conference. Randolph has also served on numerous school boards, including Fielding Graduate University and the Institute for Community Enrichment. He is a member of the Education Committee of the New Press. His publications include peer-reviewed articles and book reviews published in national journals.

Tell Us About Your Experience at Mt Tabor Middle School

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “successful schools?” We believe that successful schools are safe, healthy and welcoming learning spaces that are inclusive for all students. But we want to hear your thoughts. So far we have only heard from 79 MTMS families, and we really do value your input.

We are excited to announce the 2021 Successful Schools Family Survey. When you take the survey, you help us understand your experience as a parent or guardian. This important information will guide us as we determine the future of our schools. The survey launches today and will be available for the next four weeks.

Take the survey today! You can complete the survey from a computer, tablet, or smartphone. It should only take 15-20 minutes of your time. Select the school your child attends and answer the questions for that school. If you have children at more than one PPS school, please complete one survey for each school your children attend. If you need help taking the survey please contact your teacher or principal.

Thank you for being part of the PPS family!

SE Guiding Coalition Update: March 5, 2021

The start of Phase 2 of the Enrollment Balancing process has been delayed until at least after

April 15th.

The Board of Education met on February 22 to discuss phase 2 of PPS’ enrollment and program balancing. Here is the “February 22, 2021 Work Session Agenda.” The focus of the 3-hour work session was to:

  • Identify the most critical issue(s) the School Board believes are the most important to address in the next 12-months on Enrollment and Program Balancing.
  • Identify the policies that require clarification, so that the PPS school district staff (and the Coalition) can effectively and clearly complete Phase 2 of its work.
  • Clarify what PPS believes to be the most important focus areas in the next 12-months.
  • Articulate the successes and opportunities they look to see executed as we plan student, family, school and community engagement on Enrollment and Program Balancing.

District staff are continuing to engage with the Board to finalize the Phase 2 scope of work with a commitment to center the lived experiences of our students and their families, especially our communities of color.

An update of the Phase 2 scope and schedule will be shared in April.

A full archive of Southeast Guiding Coalition (SEGC) meeting notes, presentations, meeting

videos and links are available on the PPS Enrollment and Program Balancing website.

Update from our School Nurse: Missing Immunizations

Families may have received a letter stating that their child does not have an immunization record on file or is incomplete. If you have received this letter, please have your child receive the necessary immunizations, complete a Certificate of Immunization Status, and submit the record to the school.

If your child does not receive the necessary immunizations or complete the necessary steps for a non-medical exemption, they will not be allowed to attend in-person instruction. If you have any questions about this information, please contact your school nurse, Mitchell Henderson at

Below is a list of clinics where families can go for vaccinations (excluding COVID) for their K-12 students:

David Douglas High School
Health Clinic Building
1034 SE 130th Ave, Portland
Phone: 503-988-3554
Fax: 503-988-4225
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:45am-4:45pm

Parkrose High School - Open
12003 NE Shaver St, Portland
Phone: 503-988-3392
Fax: 503-988-3580
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 8:45am-4:45pm,
Monday, phone and video appointments only

Roosevelt High School - Open
6941 N Central St, Portland

Phone: 503-988-3909
Fax: 503-988-5907
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8:45am-4:45pm
Friday, phone and video appointments only

Reynolds High School - Open
1698 SW Cherry Park Rd, Troutdale
Phone: 503-988-3340
Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri | 8:45am-4:45pm
Thursday, phone and video appointments only

Forecasting for MTMS Classes: Due Today!

Do you have a current 5th, 6th or 7th grade student who will be attending MTMS for the 2021-22 school year? If so, please make sure that your student has submitted their preferences by the end of the day today.

Please note: to ensure you are looking at the correct information, click on the sheet that indicates your child's grade level NEXT YEAR, not the grade they are current in. There are some big changes, so I encourage families to look at the charts regarding the program for our neighborhood and immersion students.

If you have questions or concerns about forecasting, please email Jill Liddle, Assistant Principal, at

Yearbook Submission Due Today!

Today is the deadline for students to submit their words and images to the MTMS 2020-21 Yearbook. Check out the file below for links to the submission forms. If you still haven't completed this yet, the complete instructions are in the Yearbook Survey Intro slide deck linked below.

Order your 2020-21 Yearbook

This year, yearbooks will need to be purchased by each family. Yearbooks may be purchased using Schoolpay for $15. We will not be able to provide a free yearbook to each student as we have in the past. Thank you in advance for understanding.

If your family needs financial assistance purchasing a yearbook, please reach out to your child's counselor.

6th - @Hilary Smith

7th - @Emory Oeding

8th - @Michael Cady Russell

Mid-Term Progress Reports

Progress report grades are available to view in ParentVUE and were mailed out this week to families.

What Happens if They Fail?

Our administration and counseling staff have been asked by many parents what the implications are if students fail courses this year--will they be held back or have to repeat content?

The answer is no. Just like in elementary school. students advance to the next grade and do not make up middle school courses that they fail as research indicates that retaining students can be detrimental in many cases, especially as children age. And unlike high school, these classes are not required to earn credits toward a diploma. Students may, however, need additional supports in the coming years to help them accelerate and continue to achieve in their grade level classes, and we are working to create courses for next year to continue to support this growth. Likewise, the district is planning for "learning accelerations" on a grander scale to help students reconnect and boost their academics--more on these plans will be coming in the upcoming months.

While we always want our students to do their best, we wanted to make sure that families understand what may (or may not) happen in these situations.

Your Weekly PTA Update

At the start of the school year, we weren’t sure we would be able to offer any of those PTA fundraising events we have become accustomed to like Restaurant Partners. The fact that we have been able to offer a few events already and have a few more coming up this month is lifting our spirits and creating some hope. Being able to offer these events to our MTMS community and partnering with our larger community brings back some normalcy and enables the PTA to do what it is meant to do - support teachers, staff, and students. Thank you for continuing to engage with us! We have a lot coming up in March and are starting to plan for Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week.


Help the school community say thank you to teachers and staff and let them know we appreciate all they do for our students. The PTA is planning for Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3rd - May 7th. We are asking for monetary donations, which will help expand the activities were are planning for our dedicated and hard working staff and teachers. If you are able to contribute, donations can be made through SchoolPay at the following link:


Wednesday is for tacos, right? Por Que No? is our Restaurant Partner on Wednesday, March 10th. They are open from 4:00pm-9:00pm on Wednesday. No code needed. Simply place an order on Wednesday, March 10th and 10% of all sales will be donated to MTMS PTA. You can pick up your meal for carry out or have it delivered using DoorDash or Caviar.


Dream Dinners is accepting orders. Dream Dinners generously donates $10.00 to the MTMS PTA for every order placed during this event. That is a 20% return on your sale, most Restaurant Partners offer 10% of sales. Thank you Dream Dinners, we appreciate your generosity!!!

The details: Three meals for $50.00. Each meal serves 2-3 people. If you have a larger family, you can place an order and in the comments note that you want to double the order. In this case the cost will be $100.00 for three meals that serve 4-6 people. Meals are prepped and packaged with instructions and are easy to finish cooking or heat up. The deadline to order for Thursday, March 18th pick up is Wednesday, March 17th at 12:00am. The deadline to order for Saturday, March 20th pick up is Friday, March 19th at 12:00am.

Dream Dinners March 18th link

Dream Dinners March 20th link

Join the MTMS PTA Board for 2021-2022 School Year

The PTA is working to fill positions that will be vacated at the end of the school year. Unfortunately, kids are growing up and moving on to high school and their parents and guardians are going with them. If you have any interest in joining the PTA in a volunteer position, please reach out to us at our email listed below and ask us some questions. We have several positions opening: Secretary, Vice President/Fundraising Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, Student Store and Bottle Drop Coordinator, Spanish Language Program Representative, and Hard of Hearing Program Representative.

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 and following our page on Facebook at

This week’s post can be seen at

It’s never too late to join the PTA as a member. 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

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----------

LIPI Parent Meeting

If your student was identified for Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI) at Mt. Tabor MS and you were unable to attend the family information session on Wednesday, February 17, we recorded the meeting and have uploaded it to our YouTube Channel (these resources are also linked below).

We are asking that LIPI students and their families review the video and slides prior to their first day on campus. If you still have questions about transportation, please reach out to Tonya Arnold or Jill Liddle via email.

- YouTube

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.

High School Corner

Thanks for our amazing 8th Grade Counselor, Mr. Cady Russell, all of the forecasting and high school information you could need is consolidated at this link.

Student Verifications

If you haven't yet completed the online Student Verification form for your student, please go to your ParentVue to do so. If you need a ParentVue activation key, please contact Ann Pinzelik at

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.

My Child Was Marked Absent: What Do I Do?

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:

Mt. Tabor Middle School

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