Dragon Tales

February 14-18, 2022

Spoiler Alert: Black History Month, New Community Partners, Dance Concert Video Link , Fun for the Arts Dance Party ...

Happy day, da Vinci Families,

I trust you had a nice weekend. When I think about the theme for this week, the word that comes to mind is, “service”. A few days ago, our Leo Leaders had a candy sale and made “bank”! The proceeds will go to support houseless youth in our very own community. I am so proud of our kids! Thank you to our families who donate candy to help the cause.

This week, our students and staff will be on a special schedule, as we engage in learning about Black pioneers, celebrate Black excellence and learn Black (everyone's) history. Our students and staff are entering the 1st Annual da Vinci BHM (Black History Month) door decorating contest! We are so excited about showing off our art skills and creativity while learning about important history.

Moreover, as we continue to grow as a school community, I would like to mention that we will be exploring opportunities to plant seeds and grow our students’ minds. With this new day and age, the ways that we support sometimes need to shift a bit. I see a need for our students to continue learning how to be advocates for racial equity and social justice. I have connected with district supports to investigate strategies to strengthen our community. More to come soon!

Be well,

Principal Davis

Black History Month Highlight

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Avel Gordly was born in Portland on February 13, 1947. She graduated from Girls Polytechnic High School in 1965 and worked at Pacific Northwest Bell until 1970. That year, she enrolled at Portland State University, where she earned a degree in the administration of justice. After graduation, she worked for the Oregon Corrections Division as a women’s work-release counselor and later as an adult parole and probation officer.

A key activist affiliation for Gordly was the Black United Front (BUF). In addition to handling media work for the group, Gordly coordinated the Front’s Saturday School, whose African American history program was tied to curriculum reform in the public education system.

In 1979, Gordly redirected her professional energy through the Urban League of Portland as director of youth services and head of its Youth Service Center. In 1983, AFSC hired her to lead their Southern Africa Program, which was focused on anti-apartheid and refugee relief, and she made national headlines when she was promoted to regional director. Gordly was resident coordinator of a safe-haven program for youth at the House of Umoja in northeast Portland when she was tapped to fill a vacancy created by a retirement in the legislature in 1991.

Gordly was subsequently elected state representative from north and northeast Portland in 1992. Her legislative record includes an array of initiatives that focus on cultural competency in education, mental health, and criminal justice.

She has received awards from groups such as the YWCA, the NAACP, the Oregon Youth Authority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Girl Scouts, and the Oregon Commission for Women.



Meet Our New Community Partners

Latino Network

My name is Kratna Ramirez Hernandez and I will be the new SOL facilitator at Da Vinci. My family and I are from Mexico City but have lived in Portland and Vancouver B.C. for many years. I graduated from the University of British Columbia and have been working with youth ever since! Exploring, celebrating, and preserving my heritage and family’s culture is very important to me. I love doing this through cooking and eating delicious food, spending time with family, watching movies, visiting museums, listening to a lot of reggaeton, and also traveling to Mexico. I am so excited to be able to share some of my passions with da Vinci students and have the opportunity to support them in developing curiosity about their own heritage and culture!

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Urban League

Trayla Lomax is a native of Portland, Oregon. Trayla is a Community Development Advocate who specializes in outreach and engagement. She is the founder of Purpose Driven Enterprise whose organization mission is to “See a Need and Meet A Need”. Her background includes servicing the houseless populations and advocating and providing resources for those affected by homicide and mass incarceration. Her passion is to enhance the wellness of all people. She currently occupies the Youth and Family Specialist position with the Urban League of Portland. Their objective is to offer support and services to culturally specific populations of the schools.

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Calendar Highlights

February 14-18, Special schedule for Black History Month

February 16, General PTSA Meeting on Zoom, see link below

February 21st, No school for President's Day Holiday

February 22nd, Black and Brown Family Night

March 4th, Fun for the Arts! Details coming soon

March 9th, All day pullout for Musical cast and crew

March 10, 11, and 12, Spring Musical Revue

March 10th, PPS Middle School Band Festival, Advanced Band trip

April 8 and 9, All-City Honor Band, invitation

April 27th, PPS Choir Festival

June 8th, Portland Jr. Rose Festival Parade

BSU Lunch Bunch

BSU is increasing our student-facing time (thanks to our community leaders at Urban League). BSU will now meet during lunch, every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month, as well as our previously scheduled times on every 1st and 3rd Wednesdays. After-school meetings will continue to be reserved for students who identify as Black; however, BSU Lunch Bunch is open to Black students and their conspirators.

Call for Spring Talent Show Acts

Spring is just around the corner, which means it's time for another talent show! Upload show-ready acts through this link The audition window will close on Friday, March 11th. Start rehearsing!

Dance Showcase Video

If you missed the Dance concert or just want to see it again, here is the video from our PPS team: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWqCJ4AHeHo


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Fun for the Arts, March 4th

On your mark! Get set! Go! DANCE!! We are getting ready for Fun for the Arts. This year’s theme is, Dance Party! Da Vinci is planning an all-school event on March 4th and we need and want your support! We hope all students will join us by registering with an online donation page HERE.

We would also like donations of individually packaged snacks, juice pouches, and small bottles of water. In addition, if you have the flexibility, we would love volunteers to help us cheer our kids on and motivate them as they dance the day away- save the date and we'll post a sign-up soon.

PTSA Corner

PTSA General Meeting

Join the PTSA this Wednesday at 6 pm to learn about current volunteer, community, and fundraising opportunities plus have a chance to hear from and ask questions of Principal Davis. https://pps-net.zoom.us/j/84506436915

Urgent PTSA Support Needed for Auction Planning and Procurement. Sign up to support fundraising HERE. Take a look at the volunteer/community sign-up list, there is no shortage of tasks to be filled!

Passive Fundraising through Fred Meyer Community Rewards

If you have a Fred Meyer Rewards Card, you may link it to da Vinci PTSA and help raise funds for our school at no additional cost to you. In addition to still keeping your personal Fred Meyer Rewards, Fred Meyer will also donate to the charity of your choice. Learn how HERE.


Did you know you can help raise money for da Vinci by recycling your bottles and cans without any extra cost to you? Learn how HERE. If you are in need of a blue bag, send your student to the office to pick one up!

Shop on Amazon & Support da Vinci Arts Middle School with Amazon Smile

Every time you purchase something off Amazon using the “smile” page, da Vinci Arts Middle School PTSA gets a 0.5% contribution, at no additional cost to you. Please take a few minutes to sign up using the instructions below and be a proud supporter of the da Vinci Arts Middle School PTSA today. Learn how HERE.

Updates & Reminders

Chromebook Cases Coming Soon!

Shout out to parent volunteer, Rebecca Martinez Griffin for spending hours packing and sorting new cases for all students. We'll soon be distributing them through first-period classes for students to more safely store and transport their devices. Please help your student with the daily routine of charging and packing up their device for school each day.

Special Schedule This Week

As mentioned in the intro message, this week we will be on a special schedule, as we dive into explicitly learning about Black history (everyone's history)
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Safe Oregon

SafeOregon is a program created for Oregon students, parents, school staff, community members and law enforcement officers to report and respond to student safety threats. Please see this brochure for information about how to share information.

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Covid Testing at School

If your student needs a kit for Tuesday morning, have them stop by the office to pick one up! Be sure to follow the directions carefully and label the test sample AND the bag with the label provided by OHSU.

The OHSU screening program is available for weekly testing for asymptomatic students. Samples are collected each Tuesday morning. If your student has tested positive in the last 90 days, they should not be participating in this screening. If you do not need more kits or you have any questions, please let Sheli Bryan in the office know. To opt-in, we need the OHSU form and the general consent form with the third box on the back page checked. The consent form with the other boxes checked is for on-site testing for students who become ill at school or are exposed while at school as part of the test-to-stay program.

Sample collection instructions

Link for OHSU weekly screening

Link for information

Link for General Consent Form

Attendance Reminder

If your student will be late or absent for any reason, please notify the main office at 503-916-5356 or email the attendance secretary, Sheli Bryan at sbryan@pps.net. Because we receive a high volume of calls and the front doorbell also rings the front office, an email notification is preferred. Please let us know the reason for the absence and if your student is ill, a brief explanation of symptoms. We will follow up if needed.

Family Resources