The Mt. Tabor Tribune

Weekly Newsletter for the Mt. Tabor Middle School Community

A Message from the Principal

December 11, 2020

Dear Mt. Tabor Middle School Community,

There is something magical about the power of food. It has this ability to bring people together in ways that few other things do. It supports relationship and health, togetherness and warmth. Celebration and sustenance. And, this time of the year, it can magically pack on the pounds too. But I'm going to ignore the tightening of my own waistband and focus on the joy that cooking and baking for those I love brings instead. The waistband will wait until New Years.

Even back in middle school, food was this mysterious and wonderful thing. I remember oh so fondly lab days in home economics. You could smell whatever it was that classes were baking all day long in the hallways--warm carbohydrates and simple suppers and chocolate chip cookies--we could salivate in science class just smelling the warmth and deliciousness floating down the hallway.

Maybe this fascination with food (and eating it) is a middle school thing. Maybe it's the time of the year. Maybe it's the fact that we have fewer places to go and more time at home, or maybe its just that the magic never really left, but we have seen a strong resurgence in the baking bug at MTMS this week.

When we surveyed students back in October about what interest groups they would be most interested in participating in, I was shocked to see over 90 students proudly proclaiming the baking/cooking group as their first choice. And my goodness, is the group going strong. It was delightful to see a post on our own Mt. Tabor Middle School group of the cupcakes created and shared within the 7th grade baking/cooking group and hearing that they swapped tips and recipes this week during their meeting time.

Throw in the December Cake challenge that was featured in Homeroom as well. Students voted on the theme and the announcements team of Arnold, Liddle, and Llewellyn whipped up Star Wars masterpieces in true Nailed It! style. All three creations went forward to the student body to vote on their favorite Chewbacca, Princess Leia/Stormtroopers, and R2D2 creations and declare a winner. And while none of us celebrity bakers are giving up our day jobs of running a middle school in a pandemic, we all had a great time messing up our kitchens with our own families.

While I know that it is sometimes hard to find the fun in our physically-distanced world, we hope that our December Baking Challenge, unveiled to students on Wednesday during the announcements, will give our MTMS families a fun distraction and a reason to recapture the magic that only baked goods can provide. If you want to learn more about the December Baking Challenge, you can view the segment from our Homeroom Announcements from Monday--remember, that only students can submit their yummy or creative baked creations on Flipgrid from their account, so families will have to rely on their technical expertise when submitting their creations at

While we we understand how important it is for all of us to stay focused and productive during our distance learning, part of staying grounded and happy is taking care of some of those other needs we have--like licking frosting off the rubber spatula, sitting on the floor peering into the oven, and wondering if those cookies will even be done. And if I can speak from my own experience, making that cake with my kiddos was some of the best and most fondant-frustrating fun I have had in a long time.

I wish you all a lovely weekend, and hope to see you this week at Tabor Talks! Sweet baking dreams, MTMS families!

All the best,

Tonya Arnold

Principal, Mt. Tabor Middle School

Quarter 1 Celebration Slideshows

We have had many requests from families for access to the Quarter 1 Celebrations featuring our perfect attendance, honor roll, and teacher's choice award winners. While the slide decks are not nearly as entertaining as the live sessions featuring the banter and jokes of our administrators and teachers, they are worth looking at nonetheless. We have made edits to these presentations to ensure that those who have asked to not have their photos shared publicly have their privacy maintained.

Library Book Bag & Art Supply Distribution

We are doing another book distribution!

When: Thursday December 17 3-4 p.m.

Where: Front of the school Ash street entrance (near the library)

What: We will have "themed" bags for checkout as well as random bags. PLEASE RETURN any library materials (textbooks or books) that you have at this time as well. If you took a bag of books on one of our prior distributions please bring these back before taking a new bag.

Remember: Wear your mask and please observe safe social distance while picking up your bags. Thank you!

** Ms. Renauer's Quarter 1 Art Classes can pick up supplies during this time as well and will be sharing in classes this week where they can collect their supplies**

Tabor Talks December 15-16: A Path Forward

Every year, the staff at Mt. Tabor Middle Schools sets goals to improve our practices in an effort to center on improved student opportunities and achievement for all students. And while this year is a year unlike any other, our drive to get better does not change.

Join us at this week's Tabor Talks and explore our goals for the year, share the challenges and areas of success you see, and provide input on what we can continue to do to serve the diverse needs of our community and our students.

Tabor Talk Session #9 (AM and PM Edition)

Please mark your calendars for our upcoming Tabor Talk Sessions. Every Tabor Talk session can be reached at

  • AM Edition: Tuesday, December 15 from 8:00-9:00 am
  • PM Edition: Wednesday, December 16 from 6:30-7:30 pm

SE Guiding Coalition Update from 12.10.2020 Meeting

Last night (Dec 10), the Southeast Guiding Coalition met to continue to narrow and refine Kellogg options using the Racial Equity and Social Justice lens. Next week will be the final meeting for phase one of this process where the Coalition will work to finalize a recommendation to the School Board. If you would like to watch next week’s meeting, you can view it live on Dec 17 at 6 pm here. You can also always watch later at the same link.

The decision for phase one of this process focuses on the enrollment structure for the opening of Kellogg Middle School and takes place in January so that Kellogg Middle School can open by Fall of 2021.

Next steps:

On January 12, the Board will review, discuss the proposal, and have an opportunity to request more info from Southeast Guiding Coalition. The Board will vote on January 26.

Phase two of this process begins in the spring.

Stay involved:

Families can still offer feedback and find out more information about the SE Guiding Coalition on the enrollment and program balancing page.

WEB Lunches!

One of the most important supports that our WEB leaders offer our 6th grade students is ongoing opportunities to connect and just BE MIDDLE SCHOOLERS.

Our amazing leaders have determined the dates for their upcoming WEB Lunches on WEB Wednesdays. All of these meetings happen at 12:30 pm. Students should check with Gmail account for event invitations!

  • December 16
  • January 20
  • February 17
  • March 17
  • April 21
  • May 19

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Nutrition Services for December-January

From PPS Nutrition Services: Each service day through December 16, we will be providing 3 days worth of meals for each child. On Friday, December 18, we will provide each child with a food box that will contain enough food for 7 days. We will not be serving or delivering meals on Monday, Dec 21 through Friday, January 1. Meal services will resume Monday, January 4.

What to Expect from Quarter 2 Grades

Some of you have asked questions of admin and counselors about what marks you could expect from grades. This week, the district announced the following changes to the grades that will be issued during Quarter 2.

The only grades allowable for middle school are letter grades A-F or proficiency grading (HP/PR/CP/DP). NG (no grade), which was given during Quarter 1 when teachers did not have enough work completion/evidence to issue a grade, will no longer be an option for Q2-Q4, except for quarter-based elective courses and Health/PE.

OBOB Deadline Extended

Calling all readers! If you are interested in OBOB please go to the library website's OBOB page for more information about the program and to register. We extended the deadline until December 17th. You do not need a team to participate, we are happy to find you one! OBOB is a great way to read some awesome books, meet new people, and have some seriously fun battles. Please visit the library website at Mt Tabor Library OBOB Please email Ms. Licurse with questions at

Middle/High School Transfer Deadline Extended to 12/18

The Middle and High School transfer deadline has been extended to December 18, including submission of dual assignment choices for all 8th grade students living in the Jefferson cluster. PPS Enrollment & Transfer will provide results in mid-January. Lottery and dual assignment applications are available at; you can also contact your school counselor.

High School Corner

Heading to Franklin HS in 2021-22?

Discover Franklin: webpage Launch January 7th

Discover Franklin, traditionally, has been a preview day for 8th graders where they learn about our course offerings, and other school programs, resources, and supports; to assist them with forecasting for their upcoming 9th grade year. This event was typically held in the evening where we invited families and 8th grade students to join us. Due to the complexity of families and 8th graders trying to navigate multiple links in order to attend live presentations from teachers about elective offerings, we are opting to create a Discover Franklin website instead. This site will have pre-recorded videos that students and families can view at their leisure and serve as references as they forecast for classes or just get general information about our school. Teachers and Staff will be sharing their contact information on the webpage as well so families can reach out and ask any questions.

Heading to Cleveland HS in 2021-22?

Cleveland High School has posted information for 8th graders coming to Cleveland next year on its website. Parents of 8th graders who are interested in attending Cleveland next year can access the information., or you can learn more by watching the Bridging the Gap Video linked here.

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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.

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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:

Your Weekly PTA Update

Your Weekly PTA Update

A big THANK YOU to the Mt. Tabor Middle School community for participating in the Winter Drive for Families in Need. We could not have done this without your generous contributions! The drive will end this Friday, December 11th. If you have not donated, please consider giving at

Fundraiser: Dream Dinners

Dream Dinners is partnering with the MTMS PTA in a curbside pick-up fundraising event. Order three delicious meals through Dream Dinners (links providedin the PTA newsletter linked below) and a portion of your order will be donated back to the MTMS PTA. Meal pick-up dates are December 17th, 6:30pm - 7:30pm, and December 19th, 9:00am-10:00am.

Are you tired of planning meals, grocery shopping, and all the prep with homemade meals? Then check out this link for details on Dream Dinners and links to order for next week. You pick-up the meals and cook them in the safety and comfort of your kitchen.

Join the MTMSPTA

We still need you! 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

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 (beginning the next couple of weeks) and following our page on Facebook at

Questions? Ideas? Concerns? Want to volunteer?

Write us at

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Free Parent Workshop

Big Village and Volunteers of America are offering a free workshop on parenting through the holidays during a pandemic on Thursday 12/10/20 from 6:00-7:30. It will include brief presentations, resources and strategies and break out groups for parents to connect and share with other parents. Questions? Please contact Mary Krogh by email or at 503-577-6104.

Teen Activities through PCC Community Ed

Are you looking for some engaging extra-curricular activities for your student? Check out the Teen Program offerings from PCC Community Ed on the flyer below.
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Suggested School Supply Lists

To view this year's suggested school supply list for MTMS, click here.

My Child Was Marked Absent: What Do I Do?

Teachers look at three basic factors for determining whether your students is in attendance on any given distance learning day. Those three factors are:

  • Attendance in the Live Class Meeting
  • Submission of assignment for the class in Canvas
  • Direct teacher contact on the day in question (typically via email or discussion board)

Students who engage in one of those ways should be marked as present.

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:


Tabor Talk #9: AM Edition

Tuesday, Dec. 15th, 8am

This is an online event.

Join us at

Tabor Talk #9: PM Edition

Wednesday, Dec. 16th, 6:30pm

This is an online event.

Join us at

Mt. Tabor Middle School

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