Grout Elementary School

An Excellence in Education
Award-Winning School

3119 SE Holgate BlvdPortland, OR, OR 97202Ph (503) 916-6209Fx (503) 916-2632

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  • Grout's Virtual Back to School Night


    September 24, 2020

    We are excited to host you at our first ever Grout “Virtual” Back to School Night.  Tonight, Thursday, September 24, we are offering a menu of Google Meets to see and hear about Grout.  Below is a table with times and grade level or teacher codes.  

    The Grout school-wide meeting at 6:00 pm will be presented through Google livestream.  To access the school-wide meeting:

    1. Log into your student’s PPS account 

    2. Find the posting or announcement on your student’s Seesaw page

    3. Click on the link provided in the table

    To access the classroom, counselor, or TAG meetings: 

    1. Log into your student’s PPS account

    2. In Clever, click on Google Meets icon (green circle with camera in center)

    3. Enter the meeting code from chart below (no spaces)

    6:00 pm - 6:30 pm

    School-wide Welcome

    ~ Includes Title 1 Parent Meeting

    6:30 pm - 6:45 pm

    Kindergarten - Crouser


    Kindergarten - Lindstrom


    Kindergarten - Retherford

    Mr. Retherford will schedule his meeting when he returns.

    First Grade - Jewel & Wager


    Second Grade - Hawksford & Liao


    Third Grade - Mulvihill, Van Clock, Williams


    Fourth Grade - Mowe & Solitaria


    Fifth Grade - Fischer & Kirk


    Counseling - Frankunas

    ~ Family supports and resources


    6:45 pm - 7:00 pm

    Repeat same sessions as above

    See code above

    7:00 pm - 7:30 pm

    TAG Meeting


    Principal Open House - Q & A only


    Denise Self                    Katy Vawter

    Principal                        Assistant Principal     

  • 9/4/20 Grout Announcements

    Grout Elementary Announcements Header


    Sept. 7    No School - Labor Day                   Sept. 9    Set-up for Success 

    Sept. 8    First Day of Soft Start for               Sept. 14   Full-Day Distance Learning Starts

                   Kindergarten                                   Sept. 24  Virtual Back to School Night

    September 4, 2020

    Dear Grout Families,

    We would like to start out by thanking each of you for your incredible patience and support as we dive into the beginning stages of the “Soft Start.”  Everyone has been excited to connect in the class meetings this week and begin to explore some short lessons and activities in Seesaw.  We hope things went smoothly for you, but technology can be tricky so hang in there and let us know if you continue to have challenges.  

    Last week our dedicated Grout staff met to collaborate, plan, and engage in professional development. Our agenda was full, but included how to insert Racial Equity standards in our classroom instruction, best practices in distance learning, setting expectations for a virtual classroom, and grade level schedules and planning.  

    Even though this start of the school year is like none other, and there is a sadness that comes with not seeing everyone in person, we are continuing to work with our staff, district supervisors, and community partners around options for socially distant in-person engagement.  We will be sure to share out any information regarding this as soon as we can.  In the meantime, your child’s teacher will be reaching out to say hello and check-in. 

    Denise Self                           Katy Vawter

    Principal                               Assistant Principal                      


    Set-Up for Success

    Mrs. Self, Principal,  and Ms. Vawter, Assistant Principal, are excited to host a virtual community gathering to hear and exchange ideas around setting your child(ren) up for success during this unique start to the school year.  As parents and educators, Denise and Katy understand the challenges of navigating this new “normal.”  The goal is that you find connection with other Grout families and leave with some helpful strategies.  Please join them Wednesday, September 9th at 1:00pm and/or 5:30pm.  The code for the Google Meeting is:  GroutFamilies


    Technology Distribution/Pick-up 

    We have distributed over 120 Chromebooks and technology devices this week.  If your child needs a Chromebook or WiFi Hotspot, please email Maria Carpenter at, or Emelie Alvarado at  We will make sure that we have what you need in inventory and schedule a time for pick up. You can also leave a message on the office phone at (503) 916-6209.  


    Student Daily Schedules

    As you probably know, we will continue our Soft Start schedules through next week.  Beginning on Monday, September 14, students will have a full day of instructional activities.  While this does not mean they will be sitting in front of video lessons for the entire day, there will be synchronous lessons, small group instruction, and independent activities.  Our day will begin at 8:00 am and end at 2:15 pm, just like our regular in-school schedule. Your child’s teacher will be giving you a more detailed schedule by early next week after we take one more look this weekend and make sure all of the pieces are included and fit together.  



    Attendance in this virtual learning environment is important, but we understand the conflicts that can arise for families.  Teachers will be taking attendance each day, but this may look different for each family.  To be marked present, students will need to do one of the following:  attend the class meeting or synchronous lesson with their classroom teacher, attend a small group synchronous meeting, communicate with their teacher by phone or email, or turn in an assignment.  If you have any questions about attendance, please reach out to your child’s teacher.  


    Breakfast/Lunch Pick-Up at Grout

    Starting next Wednesday, September 9, Grout will be serving meals on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  This is a slight change from previous announcements, but Nutrition Services was able to expand what they are offering.  Any child, ages 1 - 18, can come to Grout for a meal.  This is just like our summer program.  They will provide two meals on Monday, two meals on Wednesday, and three meals on Friday.  

    Online Schooling Resources for Families

    Please visit This page gathers resources for families and students to help you navigate distance learning during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Resources include how-to videos and documents to help you and your student access Clever, Seesaw, Google Meets, and more. It also has information on using PPS Chromebooks and links to other useful resources.


    PPS Curriculum for Parents on Atlas 

    Families have the opportunity to view Portland Public Schools curriculum in Atlas by visiting


    Meet and Greet our PAL Team (PE, Art, and Library teachers) for New Students to Grout

    Our PE teacher, Mr. Kreuz, our Art teacher, Ms. Yao, and our Library teacher, Ms. Lynn are all excited to meet incoming students new to Grout. They invite all Kindergarten families and new students in other grade levels to 'Meet and Greet' for a brief 15-minutes during a Google meeting. We believe that personal connections will greatly enhance our learning experiences with all students.

    You will get 'Google' Meet experience from your classroom teacher and use the same method to attend this quick hello.  Sign up and read detailed instructions at this link:   Please note your sign up day, time, and meet code since a reminder or confirmation will not be sent to you. Please also do not change any appointments on this shared sign up sheet.  If you can’t make the meeting times in the link, you can Meet the PAL team on Youtube:

    All returning Grout students, we also look forward to more "face" time online with you and will communicate open online office hours in an upcoming communication.

  • Welcome Back Letter

    August 17, 2020

    Dear Grout Students and Families,

    We have missed you!  You all have been in our hearts and minds.  It is our hope that you have stayed safe and healthy during this extraordinary time. Needless to say, we are really looking forward to seeing each of you and connecting, even through our computer screens. Moving forward, we honor and understand the uneasiness that comes with this major transition. Please know that we are keeping our students and families at the center of our next steps.  With that said, we appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through the details.  We also know that the situation we find ourselves in with the Coronavirus pandemic and continued civil unrest around racial and social justice in our city and country has shaken us all.  Katy and I are committed to the social and emotional wellness of our community, as well as working diligently to dismantle racism. Together we will work through this crisis and become stronger and more united because of it.

    This is the “robust” letter that we promised last week.  It is long, but has important information and we strongly encourage you to read it all the way to the end.  

    Staff Updates and Classroom Assignments

    As you know, we have a dedicated and caring staff who are committed to supporting the students and families at Grout.  You will see some familiar faces teaching new grade levels, as well as new staff members.  Staffing allocations were readjusted during the summer to meet the new budget realities. What follows is a list of our updated changes:

    • Kindergarten:  Julie Crouser, Kari Lindstrom, Chris Retherford

    • First Grade:  Sharese Jewel, Wendy Wager

    • Second Grade:  Angie Hawksford, Karen Liao

    • Third Grade:  Michele Mulvihill, Lisa Van Clock, Jamie Williams

    • Fourth Grade: Jackson Mowe, Michael Solitaria

    • Fifth Grade:  Jonathan Fischer, Karey Kirk

    • K-2 CB:  Susan Gaudreau

    • 2-5 CB:  Ruthie Finnigan

    In an email last week, you were introduced to our new Assistant Principal, Katy Vawter.  Katy and I have hit the ground running and are excited to be working together.  We have already started planning and coordinating our efforts to get Grout off to a strong start.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to either of us.  

    While some other staff assignments are still being determined, we can also introduce you to our new school social worker, Kate O’Brien.  Kate has a strong passion to support all students with a clear and vocal lens for equity.  Kate has a wide variety of experiences working with children and is looking forward to being a part of Grout’s team.

    Some of our staff have left Grout and we wish them all the best on their new adventures.  In addition to the retirements from last spring, Elizabeth Israel-Davis, Tyler Riggs, Brian Schalk, and Devin Gallagher will be teaching in new schools this fall.  We will also miss Sophie Collins, Sue Ledgerwood, and Gwen Welch, but we hope to see them again soon.  

    Classroom Placement

    Teachers, specialists, and administrators have worked collaboratively with thought and care to look at the needs of each individual student and place them in the classroom environment that we believe will help them to be the most successful.  There are many factors that go into these decisions and while we believe it is important to support families as much as possible, we will not be able to switch students into other classrooms.  We appreciate your understanding as we focus on continuity of care for each student.

    Commitment to Equity 

    In May 2020, Superintendent Guerroro shared the following statement regarding Racial Equity, “ commitment as an anti-racist educational leader is that we will work to educate our students to be critical thinkers, prepared to lead in a more socially just world.”  These words continue to hold true as Katy and I prepare for the new school year.  A Racial Equity and Social Justice lens will be at the forefront of all we do, from curriculum, professional development, to community events.  During the summer, many of our staff read and discussed “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo.  We will continue to read, learn (unlearn) and grow in our collective anti-racism work, specifically amplifying Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) educators, thought leaders, and activists.  Katy and I are dedicated to this work and will be updating the Grout Community on our clear next steps and actions.

    Distance Learning Update

    Tomorrow marks three weeks since the district announced the decision to move to distance learning.  Many decisions and supports have been put into place behind the scenes.  As I write this, administrators and district staff are working on a revised and focused curriculum.  They are also figuring out logistics, such as technology use and distribution, nutrition and food services, and building access and safety. Teachers return on August 27 and we will then have their valuable voices and input on remaining decisions.  

    Here is what we know: 

    • Grout will be using a full-time distance learning model through at least November 5.

    • The newly designed model will include a more consistent schedule and daily contact with students.  Grades and attendance will be taken.  This model will meet more rigorous and specific instructional expectations.  It will look and feel different than this spring, but we are still committed to supporting students and families through the process.

    • School begins for Grades 1 - 5 on September 2.

    • School begins for Kindergarten on September 8.

    • School will begin with a “soft start” schedule.  This means there will be daily contact with the teacher in the form of a check-in lesson that is focused on supporting social emotional learning.  During this time, teachers will also be reaching out to individual families, planning, and participating in professional development. 

    • All K-5 classrooms will be using the platform Seesaw.  Grades 6-12 will be using Canvas.

    • Decisions about extending distance learning past November 5 will be made and communicated by October 10.

    • With this new model and schedule each student will need access to a Chromebook or computer.  Technology will be provided to students as needed.  

    As we move into this year, some families have asked about support in creating “learning pods.”  As parents, Katy and I understand the impact on families and the importance of creating a network of support.  From an equity lens, we, along with PPS and the Grout PTA, believe this opportunity would have to be provided to ALL students.  Grout administration, staff, and the PTA will work together to support all of our families, however, we are unable to take part in the creation and/or implementation of the learning pods.  

    Technology Needs

    Technology distribution will be site based and available directly from Grout.  We are currently trying to determine how many computers will be needed and working with the district to get this inventory on site.  After these numbers and dates are determined, we will communicate with families on where and when to pick up the devices.  This distribution will take place between August 24 and September 2.  We will have multiple times available to accommodate families’ chedules.  In the meantime, please send an email to or call (503) 916-6209 and leave a message if you need to check out a Chromebook. Please include the name of the Grout student(s).  If you need a wifi hotspot or or have any other technology needs, please let us know.  

    Grout Parent/Guardian Orientation

    In addition to the district provided orientation for parents and guardians, we will have our own orientation for Grout families.  Families will learn how to use the virtual learning technology, hear suggestions for helping students be successful, and meet Katy and I.  This will also be an opportunity to ask questions and share your thoughts.  We will offer a morning and an evening session the week of September 3.  Please stay tuned for details.

    Nutrition Services

    Grout will continue to be a food distribution site with “Grab and Go” breakfast and lunch provided free of charge for Grout students.  Beginning September 2, lunch and breakfast will be provided on Mondays (2 meals) and Wednesdays (3 meals) between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm.  The last day for summer meal distribution will be August 20.  

    In the Works: 

    As you can imagine, with every solution we discover new questions.  Ideally, we would have every detail sorted out.  This is what we are still working on:  

    • We are scheduling a virtual Back to School Night on Thursday, September 24.  Mark your calendar.  More details to follow.  

    • Daily schedules are still being drafted.  While these schedules will be individualized by the classroom teacher, the district will be sharing a schedule that clarifies expectations for time and instruction. They are planning to share these schedules this week.  

    • With the virtual learning environment, we do not yet know what school supplies students will need.  As teachers return and get a better idea of what the new distance learning model looks like, they may have a request, but most students will be safe to start the year with paper and pencil.  We will support any student who needs school supplies.  

    Upcoming Dates

    • September 2 - Schools starts, grades 1-5 

    • September 2 - Grab & Go meals begin at Grout

    • September 2 to September 11 - Soft Start

    • September 8 - School starts, Kindergarten

    • September 14 - Full day distance learning begins

    • September 24 - Virtual Back to School Night

    • October 10 - District announcement about continuing distance learning

    • November 5 -  End of distance learning, unless extended by the district

    Again, we know this is a great deal of information and thank you for your perseverance.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  Please know that at the center of all of this work is the safety and well being of our students and families.

    Stay safe!

    Denise Self                Katy Vawter

    Principal                     Assistant Principal 

  • 4/23/20 Thursday Notes

    April 23, 2020

    Hello Grout Families,


    The educators, Mrs. Self and I thoroughly enjoyed driving through the Grout neighborhood last Thursday.  It was such a joy to see students, parents, grandparents and neighbors.  We all miss you so much! 


    The most recent, exciting news to me came late on Friday afternoon when Mrs. Self was named as the new principal for Grout Elementary.  She has done an amazing job as our assistant principal this year and is more than ready to step into the principalship.  Congratulations Mrs. Self!!!


    I have had the opportunity to sit in on many class meetings and small group meetings and am so amazed at how well students are doing with distance learning.  I know our educators are working and planning to give your children social emotional support as well as providing academic instruction.  Much of the instruction is through many of our online programs including Zearn Math, ST Math, Dream Box Math, Lexia CORE 5, Epic Books, MyOn, Newsela, SeeSaw and other online platforms.  This is the best way for educators to support your children from a distance.  Speaking on behalf of the Grout staff, I want to thank all of the families that are supporting their children with their learning at home.  We cannot do this without you and your support.  As the saying goes, “It takes a village.” 


    I know many families are wondering when we can let you back into the school to get your children’s items left in lockers and desks.  PPS is taking direction from Governor Brown and is working on a plan for when we are given the go ahead to let families retrieve items.  I’m guessing that the restrictions will stay in place until the Stay Home, Stay Safe requirements are lifted.


    If you need any support, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


    Most sincerely,

    Annie Tabshy, Principal                    971.712.6144

    Denise Self, Assistant Principal       503.867.3289 





    Hello Grout Families! 

    This is Miss Madeline, the Grow Portland School Garden Educator at Grout.

    It's been my pleasure to teach your students in our garden classroom, and now I would like to support you as you guide their learning at home.

    I'm excited to share with you the Grow Portland Google Classroom, where you will find garden-themed lessons and activities you can do with your child at home -- no garden required. I will be adding video updates of what's happening in the garden, and possibly some live meets in May!

    All you need to access the classroom is a Google/Gmail account:

    Go to:

    Click the plus sign (+) to join a class

    Enter the class code: asibzjm 

    The theme for April is Insects and Pollinators  . We will be adding more lessons through the end of May. 

    You can also find more fun garden content on our website at:  -or- -or-



    Madeline Miller, M.S.Ed. 

    School Garden Educator 

    Grow Portland



    Chromebooks are still available at the BESC, 501 N. Dixon, from 9am to 1pm.  If you have one that is not working properly (broken keys etc.), you can exchange for a working chromebook.

    Meal pickup locations:

    Breakfast and lunch are still being served at Grout from 11 – 1 daily.

    PPS Student page:

    Corona Virus:



    If you need assistance with food, please reach out to Chelsea Kimura with SUN, Mr. Frankunas, Principal Annie, Ms. Self   Grout PTA is also supporting assistance with food and has been in contact with us and Chelsea.


  • Coming Soon!

District News

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  • Update on Enrollment and Program Balancing

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    Enrollment Balancing banner

    Dear PPS Families,

    We want to update you on our progress on the Enrollment and Program Balancing project we have undertaken. As we have previously announced, our initial work is focused on schools in Southeast Portland in advance of the reopening of Kellogg Middle School.

  • Important Update Regarding MAP Assessments

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    Dear PPS Families,
    Whether in more typical circumstances or during our current Comprehensive Distance Learning mode, it’s important for our educators to have the best possible understanding of their students’ learning needs (this is one of the reasons we began the school year with our soft start, which prioritized student-teacher connections). One of the tools PPS uses to help teachers with that understanding is the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment. 
  • Clarifying Expectations for Middle School Instruction

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    Dear PPS Middle School Families,

    We apologize for the confusion many students and families are feeling with regard to middle school schedules and expectations for distance learning instruction. We have worked with educators and administrators throughout this week to come to a more clear understanding related to middle school learning experience, and want to make sure you know what to expect as well.

  • MAP Assessments for PPS Students: September 28-October 23

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    Dear PPS Parents and Guardians,

    As we welcome students back to the new school year, an important step for teachers is to understand your student’s most essential learning needs. To collect this valuable information, students will take Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments. The MAP assessment is a low stakes test – this means that the results are not used for grading students or for school accountability purposes. 


Grout Upcoming Events

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