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Sunnyside Environmental School

Fostering responsibility, excitement for learning
and respect for all living things.

3421 SE Salmon StPortland, OR 97214Ph 503-916-6226Fx 503-916-2676

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Sunnyside School

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  • August 18, 2016

    Dear Families,

    We hope all of you have had a wonderful summer. We are preparing for the arrival of your children on the first day of school...creeping up early again this year! The building has been under construction all summer; our piping is being replaced, coincidental but unrelated to the current PPS water issues, and as that project is finishing up the building is starting to get busy with the familiar bustle of the school year.  Teachers are setting up classrooms, students are stopping by to say hello, and new families are registering each day, excited to join our Sunnyside community.  

    We do realize that the weeks leading up to the return to school can be an exciting and happy time for kids and families, but we also know that the transition can be overwhelming for some kids and adults. You will likely receive a lot of paperwork and/or electronic communication from the school in the coming weeks; however, for the sake of clarity, this particular letter contains three, important pieces of information:

    1. Welcome back to school! We missed you! Our staff is looking forward to the arrival of your students at 8:40 am on August 29th. Attached you’ll find your child’s assigned classroom teacher for the coming year. A lot of time, effort and thought goes into our class placements and teacher assignment. We will not be making any changes to teacher assignment at this time. Incoming kindergarten families will be assigned a teacher after all of the introductory kindergarten meetings are completed (another letter is coming that will outline this in detail for the families of our little ones).
    2. We will not be using our drinking fountains this fall. Please send your child to school with a refillable water bottle if you have one. Additional information about the current state of PPS water systems will be coming home with your student in a packet on the first day.
    3. See our staff changes. Some staff announcements were made last spring and other staff were added over the summer. An updated list of staff changes is outlined below.  

    Michael Jansa, middle school Year of the Mountain and 7th grade Spanish classes:  Michael has been a teacher at SES for several years, but last year he took a study leave of absence for one year. We are thrilled that he is back with us!  

    Heidi Wigman, middle school Year of the River, 7th and 8th grade math: Heidi comes to us, most recently, from Benson Night School and St. Matthew School in Hillsboro. She has also taught in various public schools in Hawaii, and has a passion for outdoor, place-based education. We are thrilled to welcome Heidi to our SES team.

    Ashley Bevan, .5 counselor: We recently hired Ashley to replace Rebecca Cohen as she is now full-time at Ainsworth.  Ashley moved to Portland a couple years ago and comes to us with prior experience as a counselor.

    Colleen Cash, .2 PE: Colleen was a student teacher for Dian last year and a long-term sub for her when Dian had knee surgery.  We are fortunate to have her fill in a year-long one day per week leave of absence for Dian, our current PE teacher.

    Angie Schar Becker, school psychologist: Angie will be working at SES part-time. She has been working in PPS as a school psychologist and we are excited to have her here at Sunnyside.  Angie will be at Sunnyside 2 full days per week, mainly supporting staff, students and families who are involved in our special education program.

    Michelle Schaefle, principal’s secretary: We are overjoyed to welcome Michelle Schaefle as our new secretary in the main office.  Michelle is a parent to two SES graduates and she has always been a superstar volunteer at Sunnyside.  Most recently she was at Sabin as the school secretary.  

    Sarah Conley, paraeducator: Sarah was placed with us last year as a “workload” educational assistant, extra support for a kindergarten and some larger classes in the lower grades. We loved her so much that we asked her to stay! She will be a paraeducator working in special education this year.

    Christina Wolfe, nutrition services: Christina was recently hired in PPS as a kitchen lead after working in various PPS school kitchens last year. In addition to her PPS experience, Christina is a hospice nurse in Portland

    Staff moves/changes:

    • Marcy Berkowitz has moved from middle school to KG
    • Eric Fass has moved from 4th grade to the 1st/2nd grade
    • Aziza North has moved from 1st/2nd grade to 4th grade
    • Levia Friedman has moved from KG to 3rd grade
    • Sarah Wagner (Bacus) will be full time this year: science lab and middle school math


    We truly looking forward to a fantastic year, excited about our new staff members and the gift of the different perspectives and talents that each of them brings to our (already) exceptional staff. Please enjoy these last few days of summer; see you all on August 29th.

    With gratitude,

    Amy Kleiner and Alexa Pearson


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  • PPS High Schools Welcome 8th Grade students

    Русский Soomaaliga Español
    Prospective high school students can visit their neighborhood high school or a focus option school at information sessions being held district-wide November through February.
  • Next Steps: Enrollment Balancing

    Dear Portland Public Schools Community,
    I accepted the role of Interim Superintendent of Portland Public Schools (PPS) at a challenging moment in time. During my first month on the job, I initiated an assessment of the programmatic and system priorities identified by the Board of Education for the 2016-17 school year. After these priorities were established, a number of additional priorities emerged that also require attention:

  • Indoor rowing education comes to Portland Public Schools

     Recent Erg Ed event in Seattle WA.
    PPS has been awarded the 2016-2017 Erg Ed Grant. This grant provides erg equipment, access to the Erg Ed Curriculum, and comprehensive teacher training throughout the year.
  • PPS employee recognized as a hero

     Bryan Meyers (left) and Steve Barton (right), courtesy Gladstone Fire Dept.
    Union painter Bryan Meyers has received a Citizen Life Saving Award from local Gladstone police. Bryan’s quick thinking and actions saved his neighbor’s life during a cardiac arrest earlier this year. Click more for a local news story that includes gripping audio of the 911 call.
  • more

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