from Multnomah Education Service District
Winter Wonders and Year-End Cheers
As we enter the final month of this calendar year, it is with great pleasure that we welcome you to our December newsletter. This edition serves as both a reflection on the remarkable journey we have shared throughout 2023 and a glimpse into the exciting developments and festivities that await us in the coming weeks.
Thank you for your continued support and involvement in making our educational community truly exceptional.
MESD Communications Team
Blueprint'28 Alignment - Interview
This month, we have the opportunity to interview Jennifer Green, Co-Owner of Green Bean Books, and Lori Conner, Hospital Schools Teacher at Randall’s Children’s Hospital.
When did this collaboration start?
Jennifer - Owner of GBB: Gosh, I was trying to look back on my newsletter drafts and email and I think our collaboration has been happening since 2015, so quite a long time!
Lori - Hospital Schools Teacher: I agree with Jennifer. I think this collaboration started way back in 2015.
How did the collaboration start?
Jennifer: Lori has been a longtime customer at Green Bean Books. She’s always coming in and searching for books for her student-patients at the hospital based on their specific interests and needs. We are always happy to give recommendations and I know that our booksellers have loved talking books with Lori whenever she comes in. I think the collaboration began from a casual conversation during one of these drop bys.
Lori: Oh my goodness. 2015 is a long time ago and my memory is fuzzy. I know that the first time I walked into Green Bean Book I was greeted by one of their amazing booksellers, Earl, who took me on a guided journey through some of their favorite books. Green Bean Book sellers read the books and offer personal recommendations. Honestly, I haven’t found a book on their shelves that someone in the store hasn’t read. Over the years, I have either called, emailed or stopped by when we have needed a book for a scholar. Many of the recommended books are now classroom favorites. We were so honored and excited when Jennifer approached us about being the recipient of a holiday book drive. We look forward to their recommendations every year.
What happens with the donations/books?
Jennifer: Lori or another teacher from the hospital usually comes and picks them up after our book drive ends. The books then find a home on the hospital book cart on wheels so that they can be wheeled into patients rooms and they can choose a title to ready for themselves while they are being treated at the hospital.
Lori: Hospital teachers offer a book to every scholar and sibling we meet and sometimes more than one when students are hospitalized for an extended period of time. We used to roll a cart from room-to-room for patients to browse, but now bring a selection to choose from based on the reader’s interest. The Green Bean staff have taught us well.
In your view, what is the impact of this collaboration?
Jennifer: Our hope is that the books give them comfort, and possibly an escape from their health troubles!
Lori: The collaboration has made a huge impact on our ability to offer high quality and culturally responsive literature to our scholars/patients. The ability to have a giving library in the hospital setting provides comfort, gives opportunities for initial connections between patients and teachers, offers an alternative to tv and devices, promotes literacy and the love of reading and is a way to journey outside the walls while hospitalized.
Jennifer’s commitment to supporting Randall Children’s Hospital classroom since 2015 helped create the classroom’s reputation as a go-to location for highly quality and relevant literature.
Can you share with us a short story that brings joy to you related to this effort?
Jennifer: We’ve had a customer come in who said that their child had been comforted by a book on the book cart when they were at the hospital and that they wanted to pass a book forward to the next child!
Lori: Going back to the first year of the collaboration, one of our scholars/patients with a chronic illness ended up being hospitalized for at least a couple of months. She was faced with spending the winter holidays in the hospital and was struggling with a very lengthy hospitalization. When asked if there was a book she would like, she smiled and requested a very specific book about the art of calligraphy. It’s hard to describe the joy and appreciation this student expressed when she acquired a book that she had wanted for a long time. She immediately started reading the book and practicing calligraphy. The gift offered inspiration and a place to focus her energy on something positive and healing.
How do you select the books?
Jennifer: Lori always lets us know what themes and genres of books that the kids at the hospital are asking for and we make a recommendation list for her. She and the other teachers look over this list and approve the ones they like. They also put together their own favorites list that we go through to make sure we can get all the books on their list. Then we compile all the books from these two lists into one grand wishlist to share with our community.
Lori: We rely heavily on Green Bean booksellers to curate a list of books for the book drive. The Hospital School Program teachers usually have a running list of books based on student recommendations, OBOB books, and other favorite titles.
How can the public support this effort?
Jennifer: The public can support this project by going to the link to The Randall Children’s Hospital 2023 Wishlist on our website and purchasing books for kids there! They can also purchase books in our store for this cause when they are doing their regular in-person holiday book shopping. They need only let the cashier know the amount they’d like to donate and we will apply this to books on the official wishlist.
Lori: We need to acknowledge the generosity of Green Bean Books’ customers over the years. They need to know how much our hospital/school community appreciates their donations and how this collaboration wouldn’t be possible without them. Each and every book makes a difference.
Podcast: Leaders Build Leaders with Dr. Coakley
Did you miss our previous episodes? No worries! Catch up on all the inspiring conversations and subscribe to ensure you never miss a beat with "Leaders Build Leaders," MESD’s monthly podcast series hosted by Superintendent Dr. Paul E. Coakley!
🎤 November Spotlight: Dr. Charlene Williams
In our latest episode, we had the honor of sitting down with a true trailblazer in education—Dr. Charlene Williams, Director of the Oregon Department of Education and Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction. Dr. Williams takes us on a captivating journey through the intricate landscape of leading Public Instruction in Oregon. From navigating the challenges of education in the modern era to sharing insights on innovative strategies that foster student success, this episode is a treasure trove of knowledge for educators, parents, and community leaders alike.
🎤 October Spotlight: Sam Breyer
Sam Breyer, former MESD Superintendent and esteemed Education Leadership Coach, shares his path to leadership — offering valuable insights and lessons learned along the way. He also talks about the secret to building great leaders, the transformative impact of coaching on leadership development, and the broader educational landscape.
🎤 September Spotlight: Multnomah Chair Jessica Vega Pederson
Chair Vega Pederson delves into the intricacies of making impactful change within government structures. She shares insights about how collaboration can be a catalyst for positive transformation in our community.
Listen and subscribe to “Leaders Build Leaders with Dr. Coakley” on the following platforms:
Helensview Gratitude Feast
Gratitude Feast at Helensview is an annual special event for students, staff, families, special community partners, and honored guests to share food and express our collective gratitude for the privilege of serving our students and families toward more life opportunities.
The culinary team (chefs, students, and staff) brings their favorite foods for the delight of our guests. The celebration features student performances and a chance to enjoy the company. The dining tables are decorated by students and staff. This year Helensview hosted over 200 guests.
Student Leader Social Event at Ainsworth!
Fly U Event at Oliver Middle School
Dr. Coakley and Superintendent Owens (Centennial School District) joined Natasha Jackson at a FLY U morning practice at Oliver MS. The goal of this program is to use the ODE Every Day Matters attendance funding to test a theory of change idea and improve 45 students' middle school experiences. The program aligns with MESD's strategic plan and affirms our commitment to equity by increasing community participation to improve attendance and educational outcomes for our students.
🌟 Holiday Spirit
Community Caring Corner: Let's Share the Warmth! 🧤🍲
We're excited to announce a special initiative to spread warmth and joy within our MESD community!
🎁 Donation Boxes:
There are two drop-off locations—one right by the Equity office and another in the cafeteria at Ainsworth. Each box serves a unique purpose, allowing us to make a meaningful impact this holiday season.
🛍️ Knott Creek's Annual Holiday Store:
The box by the Equity office is dedicated to collecting gently used or new items for Knott Creek's magical holiday store. Every year, they create a wonderland where kids can shop for gifts to share with their loved ones. It's a heartwarming event, and your contributions will make it even more special!
❄️ Arata Creek Winter Essentials:
The cafeteria box is reserved for Arata Creek, where students are in need of winter clothing, hygiene items, and non-perishable food. Let's come together to ensure every student stays warm and nourished through the winter months. Your generosity will make a significant difference in their lives!
📅 Collection Deadline:
Both boxes will be open for your thoughtful contributions until right before Winter break.
Thank you for joining this heartwarming endeavor! Your kindness and generosity will make this holiday season brighter for our extended community.
December is also...
- December 2 - National Special Education Day
- December 3 - International Day of Persons with Disabilities
- December 10 - Human Rights Day
- December 18 - International Migrants Day
Help Us Improve the MESD Newsletter!
We want to hear what kind of content you would like to see included in the MESD Newsletter during 2024. This survey will only take three minutes. Thank you for your participation!
Share Your News with MESD!
Thank you to the MESD staff who shared their stories with us this edition!
We want to continue sharing your stories and happenings across our district. To submit photo(s) or content for consideration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by the 20th to be included in next month's newsletter.
MESD is Hiring!
Know anyone who would be a good fit for an MESD career? Share our current opportunities!