The Mt. Tabor Tribune

A Weekly Newsletter for the Mt. Tabor School Community

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A Message from the Principal


Good morning, MTMS Families,

This newsletter was all but ready to come your way after a a busy afternoon as our office staff and teachers geared up for Parent-Teacher Conferences. Ann and Tania in the main office had been creating signs for teacher conferencing stations and printing out report cards and MAP reports galore. I had been making plans with my admin partner-in-crime, Evening Krauel, to come in on Sunday to move tables and chairs into position. I know teachers were busy checking their virtual conference schedules and prioritizing the information they want most to share with you.

And then we had to do something that I thought was in the past--contact tracing. You see, when a school or grade level's absence level reaches 20% or higher, it automatically triggers a review of absences--who is gone, at what level, and for what reasons? Are the students marked out ill clustered in the same after-school clubs, class periods, etc? Are any of the illnesses due to reported COVID-19 cases? So Ann, Evening, and I spent an unexpected chunk of our evening looking at all of these factors for our 8th grade cohort and submitting information to the MESD. Given that this is the first time this has happened this school year under the new guidelines, I'm not sure what the next steps will be, but I do know this: it is still incredibly important for families to call in and let us know why your students are out of school every day they are out. And that if your student does test positive for COVID-19, you let us know as quickly as possible. The good news--we did not have any reported cases of COVID-19 in grade 8 in over 9 days--so may it's just a case of the-day-before-fall-break sickness?!?

This morning, though, as we await any next steps, my mind is back to parent-teacher conferences and the work that lines behind us...and the weekend hustle of what lies before us so that we are prepared to welcome you all in on Monday afternoon.

It's all worth it, though. The truth of the matter is, teachers really do love having conversations with students and their families about their growth, their strengths, and successes, and we know how precious the gift of time is to actually be able to sit down as a community in pursuit of a shared goal--the education and well-being of our children. I know that our teachers have much to share with you, and I hope that you have much to share with them so that we all can continue to work together.

I have had many students and families ask if students should come with their families to conferences. While I know that bringing your child is not always possible, it is so important at this age that students are part of this conversation. After all, we are talking about them, and they are decidedly the most important factor and influence in their own academic success. I truly believe that when young people are included in these conversations, it demystifies what school and education are about, gives insight into what their teachers see in them, and leverages them as decision makers and trajectory changers in their own educational careers. It's powerful stuff.

We have a lot of support and information available for parents as well. When you come in at the main entry (for those of you attending arena-style conferences), we will connect you with a copy of your student's report card and their fall MAP assessment scores. Our counseling and administrative staff will be on-site to talk with families, and a representative from the district's Enrollment and Transfer office will be here as well to talk with families about high school feeder paths and upcoming changes to Mt. Tabor MS as a result of boundary and program changes that go into effect in Fall 2023. I am exceptionally grateful for their presence and ability to answer questions for you onsite.

I look forward to seeing many of you in just a few short days, and for those of you who won't be joining us for in-person conferences, I want to extend my best wishes for a lovely week with your children for fall break. I know that as I personally reflect on those things in my life for which I am grateful, being part of this teaching and learning community is near the top of my list.

All the best,

Ms. Tonya Longo

Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School

MTMS Parent-Teacher Conferences: What to Expect

The staff at Mt. Tabor Middle School is excited to be able to talk with you at Parent-Teacher Conferences on November 21-22, 2022. We truly value the opportunity to talk with our families about student strengths, growth, and areas for continued development, and we value your partnership in supporting their education.

This year's parent-teacher conferences will provide families with both VIRTUAL and IN-PERSON ARENA conferencing options. Regardless of the format that works best for you, we want to remind families that the number of slots available for conferences cannot accommodate the number of families served by each teacher. In fact, teachers only have time to meet with the families of approximately half of the students they serve during the two days of conferences.

We want to emphasize that families are not obligated or required to attend conferences or to meet with all teachers. In fact, we ask that families prioritize ONLY those teachers where additional support, clarification, or connection is needed for your student's success. If your student has earned a PR or HP in the course, there is likely little reason for you to have a conference with that individual teacher, but if your student has earned a CP or DP score in a course, these are the teachers we would encourage you to set up conferences with. Additionally, if your student has just begun a quarter-length course, take into account that the teachers have just begun to teach your student and may not have a great deal of information to share with you at this time.


Registration for new virtual conferences is closed at this time. Families who registered for virtual conferences prior to 11/17/2022 should be receiving a reminder email for those conferences later today. Those reminders should have the links to each individual teacher's virtual Google Meet sessions so that you can attend conferences.


In-person arena conference sessions will be available on November 21-22 from 1:00-4:15 pm and from 5:15-8:15 pm in the MTMS gyms. These conferences are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and families should expect each conference to last an average of 5-8 minutes to ensure that teachers have the opportunity to meet with as many families as possible. Parents who attend may need to wait to conference with their desired teachers, especially in content areas such as Math and Language Arts, so please pack your patience and plan accordingly. We will have chairs available in the gyms. Evening conferences are typically more heavily attended and have longer wait times.

We HIGHLY encourage families to bring their students to conferences, whether those conferences are in person or virtual. Middle school is the time when we want students to be aware of their progress, strengths, and areas for growth. Their involvement in their education is essential!

SEGC Representative in attendance at Parent-Teacher Conferences

We have been getting an increasing number of questions from our community in preparation for the changes to the Mt. Tabor Middle School enrollment area and the shift of Spanish Immersion to Kellogg for Fall 2023. We know there are many questions that families may have, and reached out to the Enrollment and Transfer Office.

A representative from Enrollment and Transfer will be here during each afternoon and evening session of Parent-Teacher conferences next week to help you understand the shifts, options, and processes.

We hope you will stop by their table (next to conference check in at the main entrance).

No School Friday, November 21-25 for Fall Break

There will be no school Monday, Nov 21 through Friday, Nov 25 to support Parent-Teacher Conferences and Fall Break. We look forward to welcoming students back on Monday, November 28.

Best Wishes to Ms. Hilary Smith

It is with a heavy heart that Mt. Tabor Middle School bids goodbye to Ms. Hilary Smith. Ms. Hilary has served as a counselor to our current 8th grade students since they began at MTMS in the midst of the pandemic and has supported them (and all of us at MTMS) with such grace, humor, and compassion. We know that our staff and community wish her well as she heads to Chicago later this month.

While we wait to post and hire (hopefully) for her position, our two remaining school counselors, Mr. Cady-Russell and Ms. Emory Oeding, will be dividing up the 8th grade class. Those students who would forecast for Grant HS (mostly our Japanese DLI students) will be working with Mr. Cady-Russell, while all other students forecasting for Franklin (including our Spanish DLI students) will be working with Ms. Emory Oeding.

Please feel free to reach out to either of them for additional support.

Volunteers Needed: Library Clean-Out

We are doing some winter cleaning in the library and our textbook room! We need some helping hands to haul outdated textbooks to a recycling bin. Please contact Annie Licurse, librarian, if you are able to help December 13-16 at Many hands make light work, so even an hour of time is greatly appreciated as we clear out room for new materials. Thank you!

Join the MTMS Site Council

For the last several years, we have combined the roles of our MTMS Site Council and Climate Team into one super committee. But, as we work to really dig into both of these pools of work and at the ask of district leadership, MTMS is establishing our own separate Site Council.

The Mt. Tabor Middle School Site Council is established pursuant to the Oregon Educational Act for the 21st Century for the purpose of helping improve student achievement. In compliance with the Act, Site Council membership is made up of at least one administrator or designee, a classified staff representative, elected faculty representatives, elected parent representatives, and one MTMS student representative as well.

Responsibilities of the Site Council include conducting monthly meetings in order to:

  • Focus on improving student achievement.
  • Contribute to the school improvement plan.
  • Foster family engagement and school-home communications
  • Explore improvements to the school’s instructional program.
  • Support the professional growth of the school’s staff.

The MTMS Site Council meets on the first Wednesday of every month from 8:15-9:00 am in the Library. These meetings are open to the public. Below you will find the list of meeting dates for the 2022-23 school year:

December 7, 2022

January 4, 2023

February 1, 2023

March 1, 2023

April 5, 2023

May 3, 2023

June 7, 2023

We are currently looking for one 7th grade family member (to serve the remainder of this year and for the 2023-24 school year) and one 6th grade family member (to serve the remainder of this year, next year, and the 2024-25 school year). All of our family representatives must be voted upon by the MTMS parent community.

If you are interested in running to serve on Site Council, please contact Principal Tonya Longo at

Support the MTMS Circle of Giving

Dear Mt. Tabor Middle School Community,

Like many communities, Mt. Tabor Middle School families are experiencing an increased need for help. As we do every year, we are inviting families to participate as receivers or givers, creating a community of support through winter break.

This year we are asking families who are able to help to purchase Fred Meyer Gift Cards (Kroeger Co. Stores). As a team, we will work together to distribute raised funds equitably and with anonymity.

Here's how it works:

  • If you're experiencing hardship, or just need a bit of help through the winter break:
    • Please fill out this online form
    • If you prefer, you can contact your student’s counselor
    • We handle giving and receiving with discretion and all recipients' names remain confidential
    • Please complete the form as soon as possible so we can work as a team to provide the support you need
  • If you're able to help:
    • Purchase online
    • OR the next time you are at the store...
      • Step 1: Purchase a Fred Meyer or QFC Gift card
      • Step 2: Drop off gift card donations to the main office at
        • Mt. Tabor Middle School - 5800 SE Ash Street, Portland, OR 97215

Thank you for everything you do to help our students and for allowing us to participate in their learning.

With gratitude and appreciation,

Mt. Tabor Middle School

Leggings Needed

Our school nurse is in need of gently used middle school sized leggings that can be given to students needing a change of clothing. If you can donate, please drop them off in the main office.

Recess Equipment Donations

Do you have extra footballs, basketballs, playground balls, soccer balls, tennis balls, or other gently-used sporting equipment hiding out in your garage or storage space? Our students utilize equipment daily at recess (and seem to lose it as well), and we would happily put equipment to use. Simply send your equipment to school with your students--we will be accepting donations in the main office.

Please Help the Portland Council PTA Clothing Center!

The Portland Council PTA Clothing Center provides clothing for students and families needing assistance. It is solely operated by volunteers and, therefore, the only way we are able to service all the children that request assistance is by schools sending volunteers to help. Your support of our work is greatly appreciated as ALL student self-esteem increases, and as a result, so does their performance. We need each school to send 5-6 volunteers per day; Mt. Tabor Middle School's two designated volunteer dates are Monday, Dec. 12, 2022 and Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023. The hours are from 9:30am-1:30pm.

The clothing center is located at Marshall (Benson HS) Campus, 3905 SE 91ST, Room B-60, Portland. OR 97266 – cross street is SE Powell.
For information, contact: 503 293-0783 or In addition, please follow this link for more volunteer information.

8th Grade Families: High School Lottery Window to Open This Month!

The High School Lottery Window opens November 15, 2022 to December 16, 2022. During this time, Students from across Portland Public Schools can apply to lottery slots at our three focus options high schools:

  • Benson Polytechnic High School
  • Jefferson High School-Middle College for Advanced Studies
  • Metropolitan Learning Center

Learn more: Application and other information

8th Grade Information Nights

'Tis the season for a host of information nights for our high schools across the district. Please check the High School Information Page at the the complete list of upcoming dates (see below) and video/informational resources for all PPS high schools.

If you have questions about 8th grade transition to high school, please reach out to Hilary Smith, the 8th grade counselor here at MTMS.

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Student Groups in Full Swing

We have a host of student groups that are already underway this school year. If your student is interested in attending and participating, they can catch the details on the weekly announcements regarding meeting times and locations:

  • Gender Sexuality Alliance: Wednesdays from 8:30-9:05 am; rotating grade level meetings on Mondays during lunch
  • Black Student Union (BSU): Thursdays from 8:15-9:00 am
  • Students Organizing for Leadership (SOL): Mondays during Grade 7 and 8 Lunches
  • American Sign Language (ASL) Club: Tuesdays during 6th grade lunch, meeting every other week

TAG Referral Process Open

Refer a student for TAG Identification

What is TAG?

TAG stands for Talented and Gifted. TAG students have the capability to perform at higher levels compared to others who are the same age, are in the same environment, or have the same experience.

What are TAG Services?

In PPS, classroom teachers provide TAG services through instructional practices that meet the rate and level of student learning needs. The PPS Instructional Framework identifies the components and indicators that every PPS student should experience.

If you think your child may need support to learn at their appropriate rate and level, start a conversation with your child’s teacher. The referral window will be opening on October 17 and closes on December 2.

For more details on the TAG Referral Process, see the resources on the PPS TAG department website at

Your Weekly MTMS PTA Update!

The midterm elections are over, but the fight for public education continues. That’s why the MTMS PTA is here: to help our school community thrive no matter who is in office. We’re in this together! There are many volunteer opportunities and easy ways to support the PTA. Among the easiest ways to engage with the PTA is to attend the in-person general meeting. The next general meeting, on December 7 at 6:00 p.m. in the MTMS library, will include some exciting PTA updates and a report from Principal Tonya Longo. Facetime (for real) with Tonya!

Eating Out for MTMS

Thank you so much to families who have visited one of our restaurant partners. You just helped raise $825 from Tabor Tavern. Thank you Tabor Tavern (we love you!) and a huge thank you to Blind Onion Pizza & Pub, which donated $500 to the MTMS PTA.

New MTMS Gear

Support the MTMS community and show your love of student learning by wearing some cool school merch. The new T-shirts and cozy hoodies featuring a maskless eagle are available now, just in time for holiday gift-giving. Merch can be picked up or shipped. Order here:

Other Ways to Stay Connected

Give us a shout with questions, concerns, ideas: Visit the PTA website at for weekly updates. Follow along on Facebook:

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Opportunities for YOU!

Below you will find a listing of flyers approved for distribution by PPS:

----------FOR YOUR REFERENCE----------

Feeling Under the Weather? When to Stay Home....and for How Long?

Over the last two years, health guidance on when to stay home has become of the utmost importance. Below you will find the most updated guidance on when your student should stay home with specific symptoms and for how long. We appreciate our families screening their students to symptoms and keeping them home according to these health guidelines.

Pay Your Community Supply and Activity Contribution AND Purchase 2022-23 Yearbooks

For the 2022-23 school year, MTMS shortened the list of student-provided materials considerably and are working to provide community supplies to ensure that all students have access to these tools. We are asking that families contribute $15-$25 toward the purchase of these community supplies.

It is also time to purchase your 2022-23 Yearbook. Every year come June, students and families are disappointed because we run out of extras for sale. This year's book with cost $20.

You can pay your community supply contribution AND purchase your yearbook by scanning the attached QR code.


MTMS 2022-23 School Climate Handbook

Every year, PPS schools publish their updated school climate handbook detailing our policies and practices as a building. To see this year's handbook, please click here or visit the MTMS website.

MTMS Parent-Student Handbook for 2022-23

For all of our school information and policies, see this year's updated parent and student handbook by clicking this button or visiting the MTMS website.

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 for contacting families
  • Saves paper and time

Pay for School Lunch the Easy Way: Use SchoolCafe

While you or your student is welcome to bring payment to the office or the cafeteria to pay for school lunch, you can make payments easy by signing up for School Cafe.

At PPS , we use SchoolCafé to:

  • Make Payments
  • Set up Auto Pay
  • Get Low Balance Alerts
  • Submit Meal Applications
  • View Letters
  • View Purchases
  • View Menus

You can sign up at

Free and Reduced-Price Meals

The nationwide waiver to provide all K-12 students free meals regardless of income expired June 30, 2022. Meals will no longer be free to all PPS students in the 2022-23 school year. Eligible families can submit an online or paper Confidential Family Application to see if they qualify for free and reduced-priced meals.

Applying Online:
  • Click the Apply Online link or download the mobile app to complete and submit an application via SchoolCafe.

Two Step Process to Submit an Online Meal Application with SchoolCafe:

  1. Create a SchoolCafe Account. You can use this account each school year to submit an online meal application.
  2. Complete and submit the online application. You can check the status of the application and even print out the approval/denial letter.

Applying with a Paper Application:

To submit a paper application, click on the 2022-23 Confidential Family Application for Free and Reduced Priced Meals below.

Then, print out and complete the required information and mail the application to the PPS Nutrition Services Department, 501 N. Dixon St., Portland, OR 97227. To request one to be mailed to you, please fill out the online request form or contact the PPS Meal Benefits Office at 503.916.3402 or email

If families do not qualify for free and reduced-price meals, a meal application can be submitted any time during the school year. This means if circumstances change that allow families to meet the income guidelines, they can submit an application at that time.

Welcome to a new school year from the AVID/TAG Department!

If you are a new or returning family to PPS, there are some important TAG opportunities and deadlines to know about.

Learn more about TAG

TAG Family Night

Each school will schedule a TAG Family night to share information about TAG identification and services. Check your school website for the date and time. At Mt. Tabor, our Family Night will be on Thursday, October 13 in the MTMS Cafeteria.

TAG Office Hours

On the 4th Wednesday of each month the AVID/TAG Department will host family office hours. Information will be posted on district and school websites with the time and link to join.

TAG Website

More information about TAG can be found on the PPS TAG Website:

TAG Plans

Each school has a TAG plan for identifying and providing services to TAG identified students. Building TAG Plans are found on the district and school websites.

TAG Facilitators

Each school has a TAG Facilitator. Their name and contact information can be found on the district and school websites.

Refer a student for TAG Identification

What is TAG?

TAG stands for Talented and Gifted. TAG students have the capability to perform at higher levels compared to others who are the same age, are in the same environment, or have the same experience.

What are TAG Services?

In PPS, classroom teachers provide TAG services through instructional practices that meet the rate and level of student learning needs. The PPS Instructional Framework identifies the components and indicators that every PPS student should experience.

If you think your child may need support to learn at their appropriate rate and level, start a conversation with your child’s teacher. The referral window will be opening on October 17 and closes on December 2.

Mt. Tabor Middle School

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