Dragon Tales

October 25th - October 29th

Spoiler Alert: MAP Testing, Spirit Week, Talent Show, Affinity Groups, 2023 Travel Opportunities, Counselor Corner, PTSA Corner...

Greetings Dragon Families,

I hope the weekend was good to you and that you and your family took time to rest up! This week is going to be a busy one and we have a lot going on. This week we will enter and complete MAPS testing. All work and no play makes for an interesting time; thus, we get to indulge in some fun at da Vinci with both, a virtual student Talent Show and Spirit Week. See below this message for additional details on how to support your student with preparation for this week.

Speaking of fun and student engagement, our Affinity Groups are starting during the first week of November. We are bringing back our BSU, QSA, and new to da Vinci, Latinx Club. A schedule and more information will be soon to follow.

A special thank you to our two Parent Volunteers. Thank you for spending time with a lot of (but very neat) Middle Schoolers and for holding us down during our lunches. With staffing being limited, we are forever grateful for your consistent support and warm spirits!

Enjoy the week,

Principal Davis

Meet Ms. Georgie, our Nutrition Services (Cafeteria Staff)

Please allow me to introduce Ms. Georgie, our one and only cafeteria staff. Ms. Georgie is our cook. On a daily basis she cooks and prepares lunches for our students. Throughout the last month, Ms. Georgie has provided nourishment for many of our students (and will continue to). Currently, she has two student helpers who support with serving lunches to their peers. Students have the option of the hot entree or a cold lunch option. Ordering for inconsistent numbers of students who want to eat school lunch has been tricky; however, Ms. Georgie has let me know that she has her formula down and has ordered enough hot lunch food to be prepared for our students. If you have questions about lunch options, availability, etc., please send me an email and I will connect with Ms. Georgie.

Please meet, Ms. Georgie (photoed below).

Big picture

Save the Date

In a Nutshell Dates (see below for additional details on events):

October 25-29, Spirit Week! See below for details

October 27 and 28, MAP Testing, in AM with first-period classes. We will follow a special schedule for the remainder of the day.

October 29, Spooky Talent Show, Virtual at end of the day with 6th-period classes, special schedule.

October 31, Deadline for Yearly Verification in ParentVue

November 4, Last day of Quarter 1

November 5, Teacher Planning/Grading Day, no classes for students

November 11, Veteran’s Day Holiday, no school

*November 12, Pending School Board vote on 10/26, Teacher Planning day, no school for


November 19, NEW DATE, Picture Retakes

November 22 and 23, Teacher/Family Conferences, details to come soon

November 24-26, Thanksgiving Holiday, No School

Spirit Week is ON-

Monday, 10/25- Favorite color/monochrome

Tuesday, 10/26- da Vinci Day (dress up in green & purple, or as a dragon, or as Leonardo da Vinci, or as your favorite teacher, or something else inspired by dV!)

Wednesday, 10/27- PJs & plushies

Thursday. 10/28- Throwback Thursday (dress from the past, from Renaissance to 90s and anything in between)

Friday, 10/29-

Halloween costumes (no Halloween masks - students need to continue to wear their regular Covid masks, no weapons of any kind, no excessive gore and must align to the PPS Dress Code).

The Spooky Talent Show will be shown at the end of 6th period in class on Friday. There will be a 30-minute assembly schedule

MAP Testing on 10/27 & 10/28

Map testing is scheduled for this coming Wednesday and Thursday. All students will participate in our district benchmarking assessment (there is no opt-out process). During the Math and ELA testing, we will have a special schedule. Our special schedule includes two 2-hour testing blocks on both days. Please note, students will have the rest of their classes on each day - times will be different for instruction.

Picture Ordering and Retake Day -RESCHEDULED

We will automatically include any student not present on our original picture day. If you are not happy with your pictures and want your student to do retakes, please fill out THIS FORM.

Family/Teacher Virtual Conferences

Conferences will be held on November 22nd and 23rd.

Our schedule is being created and will be ready for families to sign-up. Sign-ups will be shared via our newsletter.


1:1 New Chromebooks, Reminders

Last week students received their new Chromebooks. Please review information on this program and responsible use guidelines. Help them to remember to bring their computers to school each day, charged and safely transported. If your student goes between households, help them learn to bring the charge cord between homes. We have a limited number of devices available to check out for daily use if students forget theirs. From this point forward, students should be using a PPS device at school unless it is specifically written into an IEP or 504 plan for them to use a personal device.

Absence and Illness reporting

If your student is going to be late or absent for any reason, please notify us by email.

If your student is ill, notify the health assistant, Tul Laffitte AND the attendance secretary, Sheli Byran. Tul will need to know the symptoms your student is experiencing and the best call back number for follow up if needed. If your student will be taking a vacation day, has an appointment, there is a family emergency, or needs a mental health day, you can email only Sheli Bryan.

Google Chat: Google Chat has been disabled for da Vinci due to inappropriate use. It is part of the Google Education Suite, however, we found the majority of use was non-academic. Students can use GMail or Canvas for student/teacher communications.

Off and Away: Please remind your children that personal electronic devices such as cell phones and smartwatches should be off and away during the day, including lunch. If you need to reach your student, call the office and we can relay a message or call them to the office so they can call you. If students are on their phones during the day without permission, we will ask them to keep their phone in the office until the end of the day.

Prepare your Student

We will be outside enjoying lunch recess as much as our weather will permit. Please be sure to send your student with gear suitable for the weather elements. When not pouring down, we will be outside - since we are entering fall, it will be colder.

Also, please only send your student with the essential items. But, please don't forget to have them bring their filled water-bottles. and remember, cellphones are not permitted during school hours. If you need to connect with your student, please call our front office, we will help you connect with them or you are welcome to leave them a message. Thank you.

Parking Asks

da Vinci Families, I have received a few emails about traffic flow. Please remember that you may not park in areas that prohibit parking. We are getting complaints from our neighbors. This year this is more traffic due to families not always feeling comfortable with carpooling. We know there is a need for a different or revised traffic plan at da Vinci. If you have ideas or suggestions, please email Ms. Davis at rdavis@pps.net. Thank you.

Please remember to travel headed east on Everett St. in front of the school at drop-off and pick-up times. Drive safely and be courteous of our neighbors. Never block driveways or the fire hydrant zone.

Additionally, the have been reports about families blocking the bike lane on Couch. Please remember that many of our students bike to school. Please do not idle and block the bike lanes.


We understand that families have different balls to juggle. However, we ask, if possible, please be mindful of how early students arrive to school, as we have limited adult support to monitor students in the morning. The first bell rings at 8:40 AM and the late bell rings at 8:45 AM. Students who are grabbing breakfast should arrive between 8:20 AM - 8:40 AM. As a reminder, breakfast is served through the doors nearest to the courtyard and is to be eaten outside.

Thank you for helping us with discouraging students from crowding, by not having students arrive too early to school.

2023 Travel Opportunities

Hello families! Are you looking for travel opportunities for your student? Heidi Sprecher, the drama tech teacher, leads trips during the summer through a company called EF. These trips are open to students at the middle and high school level, whether or not they attend da Vinci.

There is an info session coming up soon for an exciting theater-based trip to New York in the summer of 2023. Some of the exciting opportunities on the trip are that travelers will see multiple Broadway shows, participate in drama workshops, and have a meet-and-greet with a real Broadway professional.

If you are interested in learning more, please click on this link to be taken to a flyer with information on how to RSVP for the info session! Your student can also pick up physical flyers from room 106 (the drama tech room) at da Vinci. All questions should be directed to Heidi Sprecher (HSprecher@pps.net). Looking forward to seeing you there!

Please note: This is a non-district sponsored event. The school and the district are not responsible for conducting or supervising this trip."

Updates from Assistant Principal Ms. Wilson

Latinx Student Union

Hello Parents, Students and Teachers,

Please sign up using this quick form if you are interested in participating as a student and parent. Students, parents and teachers can join!


TAG (Talented and Gifted) Nominations start now!

I believe all children are talented and gifted in many ways. I want to express how important it is that all students from various backgrounds can be nominated: TAG, ELL, SPED, Black, Native and Students of color. Read below for updates:

In case you were not able to attend da Vinci's TAG Info Night, here is the recording.

Counselor Corner

Brain Development for a Middle Schooler

After the last year and a half of unprecedented challenges, we have asked a lot of our students in terms of maturity. We have asked young kids to push themselves in their executive functioning, and to learn new skills through digital means. Now that they are back at in-person school, it is good to remember where their brain development is at.

  • Adolescents on average misinterpret emotions and instructions up to 40% of the time.

  • Middle schoolers’ average attention span is about 10-12 minutes, and can retain 5-7 bits of information at a time.

  • Due to the brain’s development, this can often be a time of recklessness, emotional outbursts, and poor decision making.

  • Their brain may be developing at a different rate than their peers. This is usually noticed between the developing male brain vs. female brain, where the female brain hits the halfway point of development at about 11, while the male brain doesn’t typically reach the same state until 15.

  • During their adolescence, kids become egocentric, meaning they spend a great deal of time intensely thinking about themselves and what others think of them. This egocentrism is a key part of developing their personal identity. But also, this can lead to being challenged to see from other points of view.

  • Peer relationships are of high importance for students at this age. They tend to choose peers who are similar to themselves, and then are influenced by the peers they have chosen to have close friendships with. That said, since this is a time of self discovery, sometimes students will change friendships, when they realize that their personal identity is no longer in line with their peers’ identities.

  • Brain development and hormonal changes also make this a key time when adolescents are practicing independence from their parents. How they want that independence may not be clear, which can cause conflict with their parents and/or guardians. This may be especially stark after they were in distance learning for a year.

  • Dips in self-esteem can often occur during adolescence with the largest dip averaging at 12 years old. After this dip, it will begin to rise.

  • Dips in self-esteem can lead to emotional challenges, such as depression. If you are concerned about your student, please reach out to their school counselor.

Middle school is one of the most fascinating times for human development. Students are still able to engage with many of the fun things from their childhood, but are also pushing boundaries to help them develop their sense of self. For more information on the adolescent brain and how to best help their growth, please click here.

Be well,

Counselor Heather & Ms Shannon

PTSA Corner

Hello Families,

On Wednesday, I and Claudia Contreras - Peters, our Communications Director handed out blue bags for the BottleDrop program and chatted with students and family members. It felt really good to be on campus as school let out and our kids were buzzing around.

With COVID it’s tough to build community and get to know one another. In an attempt to foster community you will find sign-ups for the 4 PDX quadrants on the volunteer sign-up list HERE.

Please review the updated PPS guidelines for volunteering HERE.


Elena Rotondi, PTSA President

PE Equipment and Board Games

Does your family have gently used PE equipment (balls, hula hoops, jump ropes, etc) or intact and complete board games that can be donated to da Vinci? Staff are looking for ways and activities to keep our kids busy during lunch/recess. Reach out to davinciptsa@gmail.com to coordinate a drop-off.

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.

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.


Bottle Drop

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.


OHSU COVID-19 K-12 Testing Program

Consent forms with information are being sent home with students on Friday. The primary target for this program is unvaccinated students for screening of asymptomatic cases of COVID. You can opt in by filling out and returning the forms. The implementation of this program is coming but due to supply chain issues getting all of the materials, we do not know the exact timeline. More information will be coming as we receive it but you can send in the consent form now if you are interested. The yellow consent form is for in-school testing in the event your student has symptoms while at school. If you have already turned this form in, you do not need to complete it again. Check all three boxes on the back side of the yellow form if you give consent for those options.

Weekly vaccine clinics at the Multnomah County Student Health Centers:

Multnomah Early Childhood Program Flier (Spanish)

Carpool List and Family Directory

Carpool List and Family Directory If you want to be added to the directory, fill out this form. The sheet is only shared with those families that opt-in.

Free Lunch for ALL Students

PPS has announced that all students will have access to one breakfast and one lunch, per day, free of charge. This is huge in making sure every student has access to healthy breakfast and lunch options during an already tricky pandemic. Please note, you do not need to complete a free/reduce lunch application; however, if your family would like to determine other services you might qualify for such as reduced athletic fees, etc., you will need to complete the free/reduced lunch process.