July 22, 2019
Dear ACCESS Community,
I am pleased to announce that Ginger Taylor will become the new principal of ACCESS Academy. Ginger is a veteran educator who has worked in Portland Public Schools for 15 years, and she brings a deep background as a counselor and student advocate and is dedicated to equity of educational access for all students.
Ginger will succeed Krista Blovad, who served as principal this past school year. We thank Krista for her leadership.
The last three years, Ginger served as vice principal at Lincoln High School, where she lead work focused on Multi-Tiered System of Supports and intervention, dropout prevention, school climate, special education and English Language Learners programs. She worked collaboratively with Lincoln’s Whole Child stakeholder groups, site council, equity team, and PLC leaders to pair the strong IB academic programming with evidence-based academic and social-emotional supports and interventions for students.
From 2010-2012, Ginger served as the vice principal of Summer Scholars, becoming the administrator for both Portland Evening and Summer Scholars programs in 2012. PESS programs support on-time graduation, enrolling over 1,700 students from across 20 different high schools and programs. Under her leadership, PESS was credited with increasing the PPS graduation rate by 3% each year.
Ginger served as a school counselor for eight years, starting at Harriet Tubman Middle School before settling in at Benson Polytechnic High School, where she served from 2005 to 2012. As a school counselor leader at the district, state, and national levels, Ginger served on several advocacy teams with the College Board. Ginger helped shape and deploy the first national survey of school counselors sponsored by the College Board. The results of this national survey have resulted in elevating the work of school counselors.
Before moving into education, Ginger was a certified therapist and case manager for many years, working with adolescents in dual diagnosis day and residential treatment.
Ginger earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology from Western Oregon State College, a Master of Education and School Counseling from Lewis & Clark College, and completed her School Administration program at Portland State University. She has deep ties to Portland and attended K-12 at PPS schools, and is a graduate of Jefferson High School.
Ginger is married to a math teacher-turned-school administrator, and they have two grown daughters. Ginger loves everything having to do with the outdoors, traveling, classic rock and roll, and shares that “family is everything!”
You will have a chance to meet Ginger on Wednesday, Aug. 21, when she hosts a meet-and-greet in the Lane cafeteria starting at 5:30 p.m. Please join me in welcoming Principal Taylor to ACCESS Academy.
Keeley Simpson, Ed.D.
The DEI Committee invites all members of the ACCESS community to join in bi-monthly book discussions to explore issues of race, class and other identities through fiction and non-fiction. The reading selections are often designed for adults, but students are welcome to participate. Drop-ins are welcome, and you don’t need to have finished the book to attend; a willingness to discuss the topic is all that is required. We are using the Courageous Conversation about Race Protocol as the foundation of our discussions, and a volunteer attendee acts as facilitator on a rotating basis. We meet every other month from 7:30 to 9 p.m. This Thursday's discussion is being held at a parent's home in N. Portland; please contact access.pta.dei@gmail.
Upcoming Book Discussions:
Thursday, August 22, 2019, 7:30-9 pm: White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
Thursday, October 24, 2019, 7:30-9 pm: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson [note: young adult version available]
The 5th grade ACCESS Girl Scouts spent this year talking about human energy--the power they have inside of themselves and what they're capable of doing with it. The girls decided that for their Bronze Award project that they wanted to spread a positive message with their energy. The idea was simple: paint positive and inspirational quotes in the ACCESS girls’ bathroom at Vestal. They met several times with Byron Booze from PPS Facilities to discuss how to do the project properly. They researched and selected quotes they thought would be inspirational for elementary-school girls (drawing on the multi-lingual ACCESS parent community to translate one of the quotes into seven languages). They submitted their ideas for approval. And finally, they worked long Fridays to get the quotes painted onto the walls.
Thanks to all who attended the first ACCESS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Book Discussion on April 18. We discussed The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson and established the format for further book discussions.
DEI book discussions will be bi-monthly and explore issues of race, class and other identities through fiction and non-fiction. Drop-ins are welcome, and you don’t need to have finished the book to attend; a willingness to discuss the topic is all that is required. We are using the Courageous Conversation about Race Protocol as the foundation of our discussions. We hope you'll join us for one of our upcoming book discussions:
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
David and I are excited to share our work with Young Audiences and our Arts Coordinator, Genevieve Stevens-Johnson, who is in charge of booking amazing opportunities for arts related opportunities for our students. She has been hard at work researching potential author visits, trips, residencies, and enrichment for our students that align with curriculum, access for all students, focus on diversity, and shared events for ES and MS. We are thrilled with what we have on the calendar so far and also for events in the works.
I asked Genevieve to share a bit about herself and the work she is engaged in for us. She will also be coming to staff meetings in January at both sites, to get input from staff around class and grade level trips.
My name is Genevieve Stevens-Johnson and I could not be more pleased that I've been asked to serve as the arts coordinator for the Access program. A little of my background:
I have taught K-5 general music, choir, and strings in public schools for seventeen years. In addition, I have experience performing professionally in both music and drama. I love serving in a coordinating capacity and have served on several non-profit boards, including as the treasurer and member-at-large for Vibe of Portland. I am currently the President Elect for the Southern Washington and Oregon Kodaly Educators (www.swoke.org)
My passion lies in promoting and finding ways to provide music and arts to the widest possible audience of children, with a particular focus on addressing issues of equity and inclusion.
I am excited to work with staff and families to organize arts experiences for the students in the Access program. My goal is to provide experiences across all grade levels, including several opportunities for all students to come together. I've already had a chance to meet with some teachers and staff members, as well as parents, and our work is moving forward beautifully. Please see the list of upcoming booked events and field trips below, and keep an eye out for updates as more events are verified in the coming weeks.
Karida Griffith (Performer, Instructor, Choreographer) is a Portland native who has established an extensive dance career in New York. A student of the one and only Sally Mack, Karida’s dance career took off when she was cast in the European tour of the Broadway hit Black and Blue, working with the great Henry LeTang, Dianne Walker, Bunny Briggs, Germaine Goodson, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and others.
After completing her business degree at NYU, Karida became a Radio City Rockette, where she performed in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Sinatra, on The Today Show and The Tony Awards. Karida was also a dancer for Cirque du Soleil, and was a featured dancer in multiple episodes of the HBO hit series Boardwalk Empire.
Currently a member of the critically-acclaimed tap dance company Dorrance Dance, Karida was also honored to be a member of select companies including the Cotton Club Sophisticated Ladies with Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, T.A.D.A.H. with Jared Grimes, Mable Lee’s Ladies, Barbara Duffy & Company, and has also performed with Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies. In addition, Karida was the producer of Creations: Choreographic Introductions, which featured her own choreography along with early works of Dana Foglia, Mishay Petronelli, Chloe Arnold, Michelle Dorrance and Claudia Rahardjanoto.
Karida has been on the tap dance faculty at the renowned Broadway Dance Center in New York, and a Professor in Pace University’s cutting-edge BFA Commercial Dance program. She has taught at festivals and conventions throughout North America.
Based again in Portland, Karida is the founder of the annual PDX Tap Intensive, is a performing artist for Young Audiences of Oregon, and a member of the West African Dance Company, Sebe Kan. As she has for the past 16 years, Karida continues to work with the The Children’s Theatre Company, a non-profit organization which fosters the belief that, through the arts, children can become agents of positive change and healing in the world.
We are looking at setting up a Girl’s on the Run team for ACCESS @ Vestal. We need coaches to make this happen. The time commitment would be 90 minutes twice a week after school from March to May with one Saturday. If you are interested please send David an email. For more information please visit this website: https://www.girlsontherun.
David and I set up the "Coffee with David & Krista" dates for the rest of the year. We varied the days, locations, and times up the days and times in response to family requests. We also coincided them with other events that families would already be at, to lessen travel times.
Attached are the dates, times, and locations for the remainder of the year. Our next coffee will take place on Monday, December 10th from 5:30-6:30 in the Lane cafeteria. Please feel free to bring any treats/baked goods to share. We will provide coffee and tea!
Childcare will be provided for evening Principals' Coffees.
We apologize for any confusion over the date for November and want to clarify that there is no admin coffee tomorrow, 11/30. We hope that having all the dates and times in advance will allow for more parents to attend.
ACCESS 8th grade students are assigned--by default--to their neighborhood schools in Synergy. Therefore if you want your student to attend their neighborhood school, no action is required by families. There is one exception to this is- if students live in a dual-assignment area such as the Jefferson boundary, you will need to choose between Jefferson and the dual assignment school, OR you will need to make another one of the available choices listed below.
Visit https://www.pps.net/Page/2343 for more information on high school choices. Students also have guaranteed transfer option to Grant High. If families choose this option, you will need to fill out the transfer petition on https://pps.schoolmint.net/.
PPS High School Options for ACCESS Students-
The Lane PE Teacher has been out with an injury and as soon as he returns, we will begin shared PE for 4th and 5th periods. The only reason this can’t happen for 6th grade/3rd period is that ACCESS wanted an earlier start time and we shifted our schedule. The desire of the ACCESS Community to start and end earlier than Lane affected our PE for period 3. This was a decision made by ACCESS and requested by families prior to the start of the school year. Unfortunately all aspects and effects of the schedule shift were not initially obvious and now we know. With our shift, our 3rd period moved to coincide with Lane’s entire student population recess, and the gym is their primary recess location.
The PE requirement is for one full quarter of PE for MS students each year. Our goal is 2 with our 3 or 2 week sessions, depending on cohort. Next quarter 6th grade/period 3 will be focused on Health, so gym space is not an issue until 3rd quarter. I am looking at schedule shifting options 3rd quarter to allow for gym use for all grades, all PE focused quarters this year. Next school year, I will look to shifting periods of PE for ACCESS students so that it does not fall during 3rd period/Lane lunch and recess. But again I want to reiterate that this was only due to ACCESS switch of instructional day in response to Community request, not due to any lack of support from Lane administration or collaboration between us. Jeandre Carbone has been nothing short of gracious and open to positive problem solving from day 1! Thank you Jeandre.
Last weekend, our side entrance window was vandalized by a pellet gun. It was immediately replaced by facilities. It is unfortunate that vandalism occurs, particularly at a school. But I would like to thank our custodian Tim Curtin for fast action in contacting facilities to repair the window within 24 hours.
Teachers and students had discussions around cell phone use and policy in our advisory classes, then had student representatives from each class help construct the plan as group. I think it was an incredible process and way for students to take ownership of their own digital citizenry, as well as protected the rights, safety, and comfort of all individuals. The final policy summary is that students can use phones in passing times and at lunch, with an absolute rule being no filming or pictures of anyone else at the school. Phone use in class is determined by the teacher and academic purpose. Each teacher has outlined the policy and posted it in their own classroom. Violations of any teacher, or school policy result in a warning to put the phone away, a second ask would result in the student giving the teacher the phone for the period, and any repeat/concern over a phone issue would proceed to a meeting between teacher, myself, and students to find a solution.
Students in 1-8 have been engaging in the MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) testing the last 2 weeks. Testing is MAP/NWEA. It is a PPS internal adaptive growth assessment that is used to see where students are now in Math and Reading and a number of skills within each subject. It allows teachers, parents, and students to see the data, work together to set goals based on their strengths and areas for growth, and support targeted grouping for differentiated instruction. It takes the place of the EasyCBM that has been used in the past. Here is the link for parent information and resources. Teachers will be sharing the data with you as ONE peice of your child’s progress at conferences. It is important to remember that any assessment is one piece in a larger “body of evidence” and the puzzle that encompasses your child as a learner, person, and global citizen. I have worked with this assessment tool since 2006 and love the information, reports, and growth data it provides. It is used extensively at international schools and I’m thrilled that PPS has adopted this assessment tool.
Tara Sylvester, our new Special Education teacher at Vestal. She comes to us from Baton Rouge and is dual certified in SPED and Gifted Education. She will be spending her first 2 weeks with us meeting with each family she services, to get to know the students, their IEPs, and their unique needs and talents. David and/or I will be attending many of these meetings as well. Welcome Tara!
Corrie Chambers, our new EA at Lane will also be adding FTE from our Foundation Funding to spend time at Vestal each day. She is a local parent and PTA member, who has children in PPS. She will be starting her days at Vestal and will head over to Lane each day to support our lunch and recess. Thank you for taking on this additional role and getting to know and work with students at both ACCESS campuses Corrie!
Aurel Coste, our long awaited Math teacher at Lane will be joining us at long last, next Thursday! His priority coming in will be to connect with students and send a survey to families to determine where students are and share with families the curriculum and plan for his courses. Welcome Aurel!
August 17, 2019
Hello ACCESS Community!
We have been hard at work preparing for the start of the 2019-20 school year and have so many things to share with you!
New to the ACCESS Team
Glenn McCormick - .5 PE, @ Lane site. Glenn is moving to ACCESS from Lincoln HS (Yes, we have worked together the past few years!). Glenn is a veteran teacher with lots of experience and creative ways for engaging all students in developing life-long fitness goals. Glenn has children in PPS. He loves, loves fly fishing and anything having to do with the outdoors.
Carrie Hutchinson – 1.0 Learning Center Specialist, @ Vestal site. Carrie has been with PPS for a few years, and comes to us after working in a variety of schools around the district. She is a strong systems thinker and has had good outcomes in the schools where she has worked. Carrie also has children in PPS and personal experience with ACCESS Academy.
Ruth Tessema – 1.0 school counselor, @ Vestal site. Ruth is moving to ACCESS after working in two different schools in PPS the past few years. She brings strong pedagogy for classroom guidance and teaming with teachers for supporting all students. She is so excited to spend all of her days with our elementary students and families!
Kirsten Crombie – firstname.lastname@example.org Principal Secretary, ACCESS @ Lane (sub). Kirsten has already been engaged in a two day district on-boarding PD, and has the office organized and everything on-line ready for work to begin. Kirsten comes with a strong recommendation as an experienced admin assistant. She is a go getter, great communicator, and is excited to be with our team for the duration. Kirsten also has children in PPS.
Summer Building Projects
ACCESS @ Vestal - Many windows have been replaced and they are beautiful! Several room tiles have been replaced as well, and there is now a permanent wall in the 3rd grade classroom. It looks so great! The asbestos abatement is almost complete. Cleaning crews are working day and night to have everything cleaned up and welcoming by the start of school. Our Learning Center has been relocated to room 206 and is no longer a shared space with Vestal teachers.
ACCESS @ Lane - The entire ACCESS hallway and rooms have beautiful new floor tiles after the asbestos abatement work has finished. I can't believe how shiny the floors are with a fresh coat of wax! Mr. Coste will move downstairs into room 129 (I think that's the room number?), and our new Spanish teacher will be upstairs in room 228.
Thank you to our hardworking and dedicated custodial and maintenance teams!
8/21, 5:30-7:00pm - Principal Taylor meet & greet. Please join me. I will share a little about both my personal and professional journey and I am so excited to meet everyone! Light refreshments will be provided.
8/24, 9am-Noon - Community Care Day.
@ Vestal, we will help with a number of outside projects, so bring your gloves and gardening tools.
@ Lane , we will need Community Care Day volunteers to help get classrooms Earthquake Ready -- we will be using items purchased by the PTA to reduce the chance children will be hit by falling objects. (We will follow-up this effort at Vestal.) We cannot do this without support. If you can help at either location, please contact the PTA Emergency Preparedness Coordinator through the PTA: email@example.com. Thank you!
8/26, 4-6pm @ Vestal & 8/27, 5-7pm @ Lane - Ice Cream Social. Please join us! Principal Taylor will be there hoping to meet you all! We will have bus tags ready for students, and you can drop off school supplies, meet classmates and any teachers who are around, ane learn about after-school activities adn other ACCESS community groups and clubs.
8/21 - ACCESS @ Vestal teacher/student assignment letters go in the mail.
8/22 - ParentVUE activated
Buses - Susie Fung, firstname.lastname@example.org is hard at work coordinating with district transportation for the start of school. By the end of next week I will share a google survey asking for bus and after-school care information. Again, bus tags will be ready at the ice cream socials. Thank you Ms. Fung!
Welcome packets will go in student back packs on the first day of school.
Student Planners - Our dear Mr. Johnson has been hard at work these past few weeks creating an incredible student planner that is 8.5" x 11", spiral bound, and three hole punched so it fits nicely in student binders. Our hope is to have them back from the district print-shop by the first day of school. Middle school students will each get one, and our rising middle schoolers (5th graders) will have a chance to use them as well. Planners are great tools for supporting executive functioning skill development. Thank you Mr. Johnson!
Enjoy the last few days of summer break. We are really looking forward to having our students back in buildings! Ms. Taylor & Mr. Corona
July 30, 2019
Hello ACCESS Community,
I am so very excited to join the ACCESS Academy team as principal! I am looking forward to meeting you and your students beginning with our “meet & greet” August 21st @ 5:30pm in the Lane MS cafeteria. I spent a little time on the phone with David Jamieson last week as he transitions to a new job with ODE starting later this week. David and I plan to meet up later next week to further prepare. David has worked very hard and thoughtfully to ensure a smooth “hand off” to me. Thank you so much David! I have also exchanged several e-mails with teachers and have times scheduled to meet with some teachers once I am back in town.
(warning: this is the first Schoolmessenger I have ever sent, so forgive me if my embedded links do not come through.)
From David Jamieson – “I hope summer is treating everyone well. I know I am enjoying the extra time I get with my family over the break. I wanted to take the time and space to give you an update on schedule and class placements, hiring and introduce you to some of our new learning community members.”
ACCESS @ Vestal families: we have finalized class placements and will be sending out a letter to each student by the end of next week.
A note about elementary school placements: this coming school year there will be some shifts in staff and student placements. These shifts were made based on input from teachers, specialists, and families. Please know the shifts were made in the best interest of all students. Most notably are the shifts in 4th & 5th grade next year. We are happy to report that Joyce McShane will be with us next year in a new position as a classroom teacher! In looking at the needs of our students, current staffing, and the invaluable input from both John Blanck and Teri Geist, our 4th grade team next year will be Ms. O’Hagan and Ms. McShane and our 5th grade team will be Ms. Byrkit and Ms. Egan. There were many factors that went into this decision, but I can tell you the ultimate determining factor is that we believe this shift is best for ALL students. Also, because there will be a new 5th grade team we will be adjusting the cohort of students a bit for best fit. These moves do not mean the end of looping at the elementary level. They are meant to ensure curricular stability across the 4th/5th grade band for next year. Every elementary family will receive a letter in the mail soon with class placement information.
ACCESS @ Lane families: I have also just finished building individual schedules for each middle school student. Middle school student schedules will be available through ParentVUE and StudentVUE on August 19th when the district rolls over the new schedule allowing access.
As of today, here are the new staff members joining us, as well as our remaining hiring needs:
Assistant Principal – Gabriel Corona: Mr. Corona comes to us from Tigard-Tualatin Schools, with a teaching and counseling background. We have worked together in the recent past at PPS Summer Scholars, and Mr. Corona has worked a several PPS schools prior to TTSD. I am so excited to have Mr. Corona on our team! His bi-lingual and bi-cultural perspective will be a wonderful addition to our ACCESS community.
Elementary PE - Yishan (Michael) Chen: We have a new placement for our PE position, Mr. Chen is coming to us from Jason Lee School. He is originally from Kunming, China. Mr. Chen spent three years at the University of Idaho where he earned degrees in PE & Health. At Jason Lee, Mr. Chen taught PE & Dance. Before he got into Physical Education Mr. Chen played professional basketball in China for 10 years!
4th Grade Classroom Teacher - Joyce McShane: Ms. McShane joins us next year as a classroom teacher. Last year she worked with ACCESS students in math and drama. Ms.McShane is excited to join the staff in her new position and we are all very happy and excited to have her back!
Currently posted with interviews & hiring pending:
Ginger Taylor, incoming principal & David Jamieson, outgoing assistant principal
June 19, 2019
Hello ACCESS Community,
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. I wanted to provide some information regarding After-School Care options for next school year.
YMCA Care at Vestal:
If you prefer to attend child care closer to home, first confirm that PPS provides a bus to the school. If that school is listed on the Student Transportation website, please reach out to the child care provider of your neighborhood school.
The YMCA will be holding four spots at its Tabor Heights location for ACCESS families in case there is not enough demand to run a program at Vestal school.
To explore other options, contact 211info. This agency holds the data base for all licensed and registered child care programs and can inform you if a child care provider has bus or van service.
This information will also be shared with incoming families in the very near future.
May 24, 2019
Dear ACCESS Academy Staff and Families,
I wanted to share with you that ACCESS will have a new principal next school year. We thank Ms. Blovad for her service in her time at ACCESS, and we will now begin the process to identify the next ACCESS principal.
As we enter the summer months, David Jamieson will be the ACCESS administrator. Pam Joyner and John Blanck have been wonderful interim leaders for ACCESS, but they are not available during June and July. David is an experienced administrator and I am confident that he will be an effective leader and familiar face while we search for a new principal.
In the coming days, we will invite staff, parents, and students to attend meetings to understand the process for selection of next year’s principal and to get your feedback and input. We want to hear what you think is special about ACCESS and the characteristics and skills you would like to have in your new principal. The full hiring process will also be explained at the meetings. A survey link will be sent to staff and families next week to allow those who are unable to attend the meetings to give their input. Your voice and feedback in this process is absolutely critical to help create the principal profile unique to ACCESS.
Staff Meeting for Principal Hiring Input
Date: Thursday, May 30th
Time: 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: ACCESS @ Lane Room 131
Community Meeting for Principal Hiring Input
Date: Thursday, May 30th
Time: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: ACCESS @ Lane Library
I look forward to seeing you all on May 30th.
Keeley Simpson, Ed.D.
Area Assistant Superintendent
May 24, 2019
Hello to you all in the Access Community,
Today is my last day as the Interim Principal of Access, and was planning on writing a long message reiterating that I was hoping that some resolution or certainty would be coming your way for your next leader. Then saw the message from Keeley Simpson today, with the news that a new Principal would be sought. I am now hopeful, and gratified, to see the extent that they will have the community involved in the selection of your next Principal.
My main hope for your next leader is that this leader be given as much support as you showed me in my time here. I have been truly delighted at what these wonderful students have been accomplishing, and have learned so much from you all, and from the dedicated and creative staff. I am grateful to more people than I can name here today, but your warm offers of help and guidance to me were so helpful.
I have been so impressed with the quick and confident replies from David Jamieson, and his reassurances to me that he could handle things (which he invariably did). I also have to mention my appreciation for the efforts Keeley Simpson has made to provide support and understanding of the needs of the students here, in unusual and trying contexts. Pam Joyner did such an amazing job of helping us get on track.
I am happy to head to my time with three of my Grandkids, who are heading here from Atlanta soon for some summer fun in the Columbia Gorge, where I'm building my house.
It is easier to leave here knowing that Teri Geist will be here beginning this Tuesday, the 28th, and be here through the last day of school. If you need to reach her, you can contact her at Access at Lane, or by emailing her at email@example.com .
My best and warmest wishes to you all.
This is a brief note to remind you of some important information:
With warmest regards,
March 8, 2019
Hello ACCESS Families,
Thanks to all of you that participated in the Successful Schools Survey. The district wide goal for family participation was 50%, we exceeded that number with 63% of our families taking the survey.
I also appreciate those of you that have been waiting patiently for us to confirm the date for 8th grade promotion. It will be June 5th at Franklin High School. There will be more details in the coming weeks.
I know many of you have been concerned and had questions about our staffing numbers for next year and the impact of the 17 million dollar district shortfall on our program. Like many schools in the district we are facing a cut. The good news is that our initial cut has been significantly reduced down to -.40 FTE. We are going to use Foundation funds to offset this reduction in FTE in order to keep our current staffing in place.
Final Staffing Summary
Promised district supports as a result of the co-location are continued this year:
Elementary teaching staff kept in tact pending closure of the lottery. We will need 20+ new 4th and 5th graders to be staffed for 7 teachers. If we fall short, we would be facing a cut of one FTE and need to create three sections of 4/5 blends.
Middle school staff kept in tact as long as Foundation keeps pace with their 3-year historical fundraising numbers. We are planning to pay for a .35 FTE to keep staffing the same and class sizes small.
.35 FTE towards a teacher in order to keep middle school classes small, allow for current differentiated math levels, and keep current elective program in place.
.1 FTE added to elementary physical education, making the position half time
1.0 FTE for two half time educational assistants to support academic and social emotional needs in the elementary grades
While I consider all of this very good news, our work is cut out for us to attract additional students in 4th and 5th grade, as well as raise lots of money at the auction for our FTE needs. We want to keep this program stable and growing!
Pam Joyner, Interim Principal ACCESS Academy
February 16, 2019
Hello ACCESS Community,
We have been very busy both with the day to day, but also with an eye towards what is coming up. We also want to express our gratitude to all those who are supporting staff and students. The PTA potluck for staff was a recent example of the kindness of this community, and I know that we are all deeply appreciative.
Pam and John
February 8, 2019
Hello Access Families,
I have enjoyed meeting many of you since officially becoming the interim principal on February 1st. I want to thank you for all the support and encouragement that I have received already. For those who were not able to attend the meet and greet on Wednesday night, I would like to give you a brief introduction to my background.
I have been in PPS for many years as a teacher (Madison HS and Grant HS) and administrator and have considerable knowledge of how the district operates. I am also a parent, with three adult children who went all the way through PPS schools, so I bring that perspective as well.
As an administrator I have been at all levels K-12:
I was a vice principal at Cleveland High School
Principal at Lane MS and Hosford MS
Retired as the principal of Metropolitan Learning Center K-12 Alternative School Retired is a relative term, since officially “retiring” a year and a half ago, I have been working as a mentor to six new administrators (who are in their 1st or 2nd year as leaders) while also subbing in buildings as my schedule allows it.
In the past few weeks (before admin went on leave) I have had the opportunity to sub at both ACCESS sites. I have been impressed with the professionalism and resilience of the staff. They are very student-focused and many have leaned-in to help in ways that have allowed me to get on board quickly and understand the needs of the school.
I will be serving as the interim principal ACCESS for the month of February, my goal is to lead and manage the school while the Krista is on leave.
This will include being responsive to the day to day needs of staff, students, and families.
Ensuring that there is clear communication along the way. I consider myself someone who listens to lead.
I will also make sure that priorities such as teacher evaluations, professional development for teachers, and Open Houses are effectively scheduled and completed on deadline.
I will also be looking ahead at the calendar to make sure that events such as the talent show, auction, and 8th grade promotion are on track for Krista’s return. On a side note, I very much enjoyed the poetry slam that I attended this week.
I also want to say that I feel very comfortable working with John Blanck who is the interim assistant principal. I believe he has the right expertise and temperament to be the acting admin at the Vestal site. Area Assistant Superintendent Keeley Simpson and TAG director Linda Smith (who I met with last week) have also been tremendously helpful.
Finally, I can’t say enough about the parent community, you all are amazing. Thanks to those of you who came today to help with our Open House and for the lunch provided for staff at both sites. I admire your generosity and passion for the ACCESS learning community.
Pam Joyner, Interim Principal ACCESS Academy
February 8, 2019
Hello to the Access at Vestal parents and community!
My name is John Blanck, and I am happy to be the Interim Assistant Principal here during the leave for David Jamieson. During my first two and a half days here, I have been trying to jump in immediately to be of help to the staff and students. I have also been looking at ways to get you as much information and communication as possible. I really appreciate the patience and understanding that you have shown me in my brief time here.
Communication to you can come in many ways, and I am working to find the best ways to do that. In the meantime, I want to at least give you some preliminary thought and information. So as a very brief start, I want to at least let you know about the following:
· My background related to ACCESS: I have 4 adult children, and two of them attended a program very similar to ACCESS while in elementary grades in Illinois. I remember well my nervousness and the advocacy I needed to get them into that program (for example, in spite of my years experience as a School Psychologist in that district, and my usual calm demeanor, I’ll never forget my impatience in the eligibility meeting for my first daughter, waiting to hear them agree that she should be eligible for that TAG program and placement!). It was a wonderful experience for my kids. I have worked as a School Psychologist in public schools for 24 year (including about 7 years assigned to that TAG program my daughters had attended). I then went directly into Elementary Principalship at Maplewood Elementary near Multnomah Village in 2000, and stayed there 11 years. I retired as a Principal, but have continued in part time work supporting the Principal hiring process for PPS which included my facilitation of the meetings held to hear what the community wanted in their next Principal. I conducted those meetings at Sabin and at Rose City Park when there was administrative changes there for Access. (I remember those meetings well and what people were asking for, and remember thinking to myself that I’d love to be an administrator for Access.) I have been mentoring new administrators for PPS schools for the last 4 years, as well. When I was asked very recently to take on this interim role here, I did commit to continuing my work as a mentor, but making those appointments with them happen after school hours as much as I can.
· My time here at Access: I don’t have any information about how long Mr. Jamieson will be out, but I sure sympathize with the need for continuity, so I made the commitment to be here full time, as long as needed. So far, I am trying to address the immediate needs of the students, and the staff, to keep things working smoothly, and happily. I am confident in, and enjoy, helping in this way. I also want to assure you that I have great respect for you, the parent community, and always like to help facilitate your generous offers of time and help, which are very appreciated and welcome.
· Communication and Emails – I will be working to give you as much information as efficiently as possible. To those who have emailed me about upcoming events, etc., I want to thank you for your patience. I want to get to the immediate concerns first. In my career tried to reply as quickly as possible, but I know that I just haven’t gotten to some of the longer-range issues as yet. Regrettably, I know there is a backlog, but I promise you I am working on it as quickly as I can. I am also working closely with the Interim Principal, Pam Joyner, who I know well and respect immensely, to try to keep things working smoothly. I believe in healthy communication, which includes the concepts of assumption of positive intent, transparency, and integrity.
· Events – I enjoyed meeting some of you at the “Meet and Greet” and was delighted to catch most of the Poetry Slam last Wednesday night. I really appreciate Keeley Simpson, and the parents who coordinated the thought-provoking and mindful Slam. I am going to gather more specifics on many of the immediate and future events, including Author Visits, Talent Show, Movie Night, Tours, Taiko Residency, and other special offerings. I will get those dates and information out to you as soon as I confirm them (I really don’t want to send out incorrect or misleading information.)
· As I write this on my third day, I also know that the forecast makes us anticipate the possibility of another snow day, possibly on Monday. Please watch for messages from PPS and the media for information about that.
Interim Assistant Principal, Access at Vestal
August 13, 2018
Welcome to the 2018-19 school year families and students!
It is our absolute pleasure to welcome everyone to the start of what we deeply believe will be an incredible school year for us all. We know it is a year of significant change and apprehension as to the future of the program and school. We understand many of the complexities and emotions involved, due to so many of you reaching out to us and sharing your experiences. We also know that the driving force behind everything is the success and growth of the children who attend and depend on ACCESS to serve their unique talents and learning pathways. Individualized education that accounts for who each student is, what they are passionate about, where they come from, and who they want to be- is what we want to be a part of together.
We are co-located in 2 spaces, but often barriers provide opportunities for us to overcome them and become even stronger in spite of them. We also have a unique opportunity to grow skills around collaboration and learn from communities that are new and may be very different from us. My hope is that we find those things that unite us are as strong as those that define us individually. Knowing that there will be challenges has us embracing the belief that the only way we will address them is together, which includes student involvement and input.
David and I are thrilled to be in this with you. We will be the ACCESS Community's supporters, advocates, leaders, learners, and thought partners in the journey. When Dr. Curtis called me to offer me the opportunity and privilege to come to ACCESS, my response was, “Absolutely. Let’s do this!”
That is how David and I have been diving into it all, along with everyone else we have been working with since we came on board. We ask you to adopt this “Let’s do this”, mindset alongside us and the ACCESS staff. We know and honor that there is a special history and culture that comes with you. Most of all, we want work with you to make the ACCESS Community even stronger as it moves forward.
Thank you for allowing us into your community. It is truly an honor!
-Krista & David
July 3, 2018
Hello ACCESS families of 1st through 5th graders and welcome to the Vestal Campus! We are excited to have you join us at our amazing school.
David Jamieson has been named the Assistant Principal for ACCESS. He will have an office here at Vestal. Many of you got a letter from me in May sharing some of what we knew then about our co-locating plans. David and I have spent some time meeting and we are able to share more of what we now know. Our intention is to share another letter in August. Once the school year begins, our intent is for David to share a weekly newsletter with ACCESS families and I will send a weekly newsletter to Vestal families.
Here are a few more things we can share as of July 3rd:
This is a lot of information and I know it doesn’t answer all of your questions, but again our plan is to share another similar letter in August.
We hope everyone is having a fun summer! Know that we are working together to make the Fall welcoming and enjoyable!
Sabrina Flamoe and David Jamieson
June 22, 2018
Dear ACCESS Community,
I hope that this finds you enjoying your summer. I have been busy working hard with the district and the principals of Vestal and Lane on the transition of ACCESS to our new school campuses. More staffing information will be shared as it gets finalized, but I am happy to announce that Mr. David Jamieson will be the new Assistant Principal of ACCESS. He will have an office at the Vestal campus.
Mr. Jamieson joins the ACCESS community having served as an Assistant Principal at both Beach K5 and Ockley Green. During that time he has enjoyed the opportunity to learn from many mentors, lead a co-located Spanish DLI school, open a middle school and get to know the people in PPS who serve as resources to school leaders.
Before moving to Portland, Mr. Jamieson served as an administrator at a high-performing charter school in Los Angeles. While there he saw a 100% graduation rate for all students as well as the development of a school and instructional culture of acceleration, differentiation, creativity, and critical thinking.
Born in Portland and an Oregon native, his love of travel and diverse culture began as a child while his father volunteered as a doctor in the Philippines and Hawaii. Traveling throughout Central America and living in Costa Rica while studying Spanish in college shaped his early career path which lead him to pursue his Teaching Certificate at San Diego State University. He then obtained a Masters of Education Teaching English as a Second Language as well as a Masters of Education in Leadership. Mr. Jamieson’s career experience spans sixteen years of working in private, public and charter schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels. He also has international teaching experience at an IB school in Xiamen, China.
In his free time, he enjoys snowboarding, fly fishing, surfing, reading and spending time with his wife Sara, their son R.E and daughter Finley.
Mr. Jamieson looks forward to getting to know the ACCESS community and being part of the school’s next chapter.
Please join me in welcoming Mr. Jamieson.
Anh Nguyen-Johnson, Principal
June 15, 2018
Hello ACCESS families of 1st through 5th graders and welcome to the Vestal Campus! We are excited to have you join us at our amazing school. Vestal is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse schools in the city. We have about 68% of our students receiving free or reduced price lunch, which qualifies us as a Title 1 school. We have some unique programs due to our Title status. We also made the community wide decision to be a school that explicitly focuses on social justice starting in the Fall.
My name is Sabrina Flamoe and I am just wrapping up my first year as principal of this wonderfully diverse and beautiful school. Previous to Vestal, I was the principal at Laurelhurst K-8, right down the street, and previous to Laurelhurst I was a teacher of grades 3rd through 8th, then an instructional coach.
I wanted to share a few things we know for sure for Fall 2018:
While we can all agree co-locating comes with challenges, please know we believe we can do this well, even knowing there will be challenges! We invite you to join us in positive problem solving and assuming positive intent that this can be beneficial to all of our students, families, and staff!
If you have ACCESS specific questions, please contact ACCESS administration. If you’d like to connect with Vestal’s PTA, please contact our PTA president Galen Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much, I wish all of you a very enjoyable summer,
June 1, 2018
Dear ACCESS Community,
The final five days of the school year are here! How did we get to the end of the year so quickly? Next week will fly by!
On Wednesday we learned about our co-location sites and now the work of transitioning and preparing for the 2018-19 school year begins, as we also try to close out this year and finish strong. There is a lot to do and so I will be out of the building for some meetings next week to plan with the principals and the district for next school year.
As I mentioned in this morning’s Principal’s Coffee, we have been on a wild roller coaster ride this year and I want to thank you all for staying on this ride with us. As our learning community expands onto two campuses and includes two other communities, we will be working on ways to help everyone with this transition.
Our staff is still evolving as the year comes to a close. I have already shared the changes that we have so far in previous communications, but there is one more change that has come about in the last week. We also still have a few vacancies which we hope to fill by the end of June.
Please also see the message below from Principal Lawler:
Being principal for the day was a lot of fun. It includes lots of learnings about being a principal today with Ms. Nguyen-Johnson. It was really fun being able to be in her office, walk around the school and eat in the teacher’s lounge. A principal's job takes a lot of responsibility. It is to take care of a lot of things and a lot of people. They help with activities, paperwork, meetings, answering questions, talking to people. A principal has their own office and is very busy.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Anh Nguyen-Johnson, Principal
Year End Cafeteria Account Balances
Any remaining account balances (positive or negative) on students’ meal accounts at the end of the year will be automatically held for students at their current school or transferred to students’ new schools within the district. If your student is leaving the district, then you may call Robin Cafeteria Lead at Access and BC@RCP to arrange for a refund. Donations are also accepted for helping cover owed money on student meal accounts. Visit our department webpage www.pps.net/nutrition to make a donation.
Lost & Found
All Lost and Found items are on display at the main entrance of school until the end of the day on Monday, June 11th. Please take a look for any items you may be missing. All unclaimed items will be promptly donated to the PPS Clothes Closet the following morning.
8th Grade Picnic
Hello 8th grade families! Hopefully you’ve heard about the picnic following the 8th grade promotion. Here are details:
There will be an 8th grade potluck picnic at Rose City Park (the actual Park at NE 62nd Ave and Tillamook- we will set up on the 62nd side around the picnic tables) directly following the 8th Grade promotion ceremony on Friday, June 8th. This is not a school sponsored event, so students will need to be signed out by a parent or guardian at the office before leaving (or have a note from home with permission to leave school and go to the park). Students can return to school to catch their bus.
We will provide meat and cheese deli trays, bread, and fixings for sandwiches as well as a vegetarian option. Signup genius link is https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0d4aafaf2cabfb6-8thgrade. It includes spots to sign up to contribute $ toward party trays as well as set up and clean up.
Hope you can come help celebrate the last day of eighth grade!
May 11, 2018
Dear ACCESS Community,
This week also flew by! We have four weeks of school left. The last day of school for 2017-18 remains June 8 - please see the message from the district that was shared with the PPS community earlier this week.
A huge thank you to the PTA and the families of ACCESS Academy for making the staff feel appreciated during Staff Appreciation Week this week! We were well fed, ready to go with morning beverages, and showered in notes and flowers. We also thank you all for the generous gift cards.
The latest staffing updates:
Also, we still anxiously await a decision on our location(s) for next school year.
Enjoy the sunshine this weekend!
Anh Nguyen-Johnson, Principal
May 4, 2018
Dear ACCESS Community,
It is hard to believe that May is already here...the time has been flying by!
I will continue to share staffing updates as they become finalized. In addition to the ones that were shared last week, here are the latest:
Also, we still await a decision on our location(s) for next school year. There were two communications sent out this week from the district, and in case you did not receive them, I have linked to them below:
Anh Nguyen-Johnson, Principal
Safe Routes to School Bike Fairy Week
The Bike Fairy will be visiting the Rose City Park Campus on Wednesday, May 9 and leave a small surprise on all the bikes parked on campus.
Oregon Health Plan
Starting Jan. 1, 2018, the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) is available to more children and teens younger than 19, regardless of immigration status. OHP is free health coverage for Oregonians who meet income and other criteria. It covers many health care services such as check-ups, tooth fillings, glasses and prescriptions. It also covers labs, x-rays and hospital care. It even pays for rides to and from the doctor’s office. Apply to see if you qualify. Help is free. A trusted and OHP-certified community partner nearby can help you apply. You can find one by calling 1-800-699-9075 or 711 (TTY). You can also go online at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/HSD/OHP/Pages/OHPcoversme.aspx
We are excited to announce two key additions to the Business & Operations team. Marina Cresswell joins us as Senior Director of the Office of School Modernization (OSM), and Debra Giles will be Director of the Client Services Division in the Office of Technology and Information Services (OTIS). Marina and Debra are accomplished professionals who we feel will be major assets to our students and staff.
Every year, one group of students in Portland Public Schools starts the new school year with the finish line of their K-12 education in sight. And as classes begin on Aug. 28 for the the 2019-20 school year, the end is closer than ever for the students who will start their senior years.
I am pleased to announce that Dr. Tania McKey will join Portland Public Schools as Senior Director of Humanities. Tania brings 23 years of experience in education to the position, which will be in the Office of Teaching and Learning.
I am pleased to announce Patrice Woods as the new Portland Public Schools Director of Mathematics in the Department of STEAM Education. She will take the lead for the continued work around transforming mathematics teaching and learning to best meet the needs for our students in grades K-12.
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM New Principal Ginger Taylor Meet-and-Greet
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM DEI Book Discussion
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM Project Community Care
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Back-to-School Ice Cream Social: Grades 1-5
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Back-to-School Ice Cream Social: Grades 6-8
6:00 PM District Board Meeting
6:00 PM District Board Meeting