One day in late October, second grader Carter Lee Buyas grabbed a pair of pom poms from a pile of objects laid out on a bench in the Kelly Elementary School courtyard.
“I like the sound pom poms make,” Carter said. “I like how they shake, shake, shake. Maybe I’ll mop with them. You know, clean the ground. Or I could be a cheerleader.” He pointed to a group of three girls doing a lively cheer on the sidewalk. “Or I could plant them. The pom poms could be flags. Or plants.”
He paused and looked thoughtful. “They can be whatever I want them to be.”
Last spring, when Portland Public Schools moved to ensure that every middle school in the district had an active advisory program, the focus was on relationship building and giving students and teachers the tools needed to nurture a sense of belonging.
The goals for the advisory programs were clear. What the district had yet to arrive at was a curriculum that would help everyone achieve those goals.
Harrison Park, which transitioned from a K-8 to a middle school this fall, recently held a school-wide vote for a new mascot. According to Principal Leah Dickey, these first few months as a middle school have been pivotal for students as they navigate the new exciting normal and establish an identity as a school and community. Picking a mascot has been an important part of that journey.
Principal Phu Dao is many things to the students and staff of Roseway Heights Middle School: mentor, role model, champion, friend. Ask anyone who has learned from and worked with him and they will tell you that he has dedicated his entire career to advocating for students, families, and educators. And now he’s being honored for that dedication.
Courageous Conversation, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that works with individuals and institutions to address racial disparities through sustained, fruitful dialogue, has named Principal Dao this year’s recipient of the Dr. Charles Hopson Racial Equity Principal Leadership Award.
Dr. Aaron V. Martini
Principal's Admin. Asst. I
School Admin. Asst. II
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