ACCESS @ Vestal Elementary
ACCESS @ Lane Middle School
Thurs – Nov 21, 2019
Wed – Feb 5, 2020
6:00pm – 7:00pm
Wed – Feb 12, 2020
6:00pm – 7:00pm
Thurs – March 5, 2020
6:00pm – 7pm
Thurs – March 12, 2020
6:00pm – 7:00pm
Mon – April 6, 2020
6:00pm – 7:00pm
Mon – April 13, 2020
6:00pm – 7:00pm
Wed – May 6, 2020
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Thurs – May 14, 2020
3:30pm – 4:30pm
Award-winning author Renée Watson gave presentations at both ACCESS campuses in October. Ms. Watson is a Portland native whose writing focuses on the lived experiences of black girls and women and explores themes of identity, home, and the intersection of race, gender and class. As she explained to students at Vestal, she writes “so girls who look like me can see themselves in books, and so people who don’t look like me can get to know girls who look like me.”
There are three ways we send messages to families about delays, closures and other weather-related decisions:
We also post updates online:
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 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.
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!
February 21, 2020
Good Morning ACCESS Families –
I am scheduled to be out on medical leave for (hopefully) four to five weeks starting Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 following a total joint replacement in my left knee. My goal is to return Monday, April 6th, 2020. Pain management, swelling, and mobility are the key factors that will drive my return date. This is a long time coming, after nearly six years of managing the arthritis following arthroscopy, with a regimen of pain injections, and physical therapy.
In my absence, I have two very strong retired administrator, Sarah Lewins, firstname.lastname@example.org and Marylyn John, email@example.com who will take the lead with day-to-day operations. Both had commitments to work around so coverage will be as follows:
My connections to both date back many years. I was the school counselor for Ms. Lewins son when I was at Benson HS, and Ms. John and I were both PPS school counselors together before moving in to school administration. I feel very at ease knowing they will look after things while I am away.
Ms. Lewins has been the school principal for several PPS schools, last at Rieke elementary, and Roseway Heights K-8 prior to that. She has a strong background in teaching and Special Education.
Ms. John spent many years as the assistant principal for both Hosford and Sellwood Middle Schools before retirement. She has a strong school counseling background, with leadership amongst the MS team. Last I remember she rode a Harley.
Ms. Lewins, myself, and Mr. Corona met this week to review key important events, dates, discuss communication practices between buildings, student supervision, met several staff, and tour the building at Lane MS. Ms. Lewins plans to spend the afternoon on Wednesday, 2/26 at Vestal to do the same thing with Mr. Corona. Mr. Corona will continue in his role full-time at our Vestal location.
Key work that will continue in my absence:
Of course, Kathleen Ellwood, firstname.lastname@example.org my direct supervisor will be in close communication with the administrative team while I’m out. Susie Fung, email@example.com , my assistant will keep me informed of things. I expect after a few weeks that I will be able to monitor e-mail to some degree. No promises. Recovery is my priority!
Thank you all for your support and active engagement! I will communicate again next week with additional information. Ginger
January 30, 2019
It is that time of year when perspective families and students are considering school options and we have scheduled several information meetings/open houses. See schedule:
ACCESS @ Vestal ACCESS @ Lane
Wed - Feb 5, 2020,6 – 7 pm
Wed - Feb 12, 2020, 6 – 7 pm
Thurs - Mar 5, 2020, 6 - 7 pm
Thurs - Mar 12, 2020 6 - 7 pm
Mon - Apr 27, 2020, 6 – 7 pm
Mon - Apr 13, 2020, 6 – 7 pm
Wed - May 6, 2020, 3 - 4 pm
Thurs - May 14, 2020, 3:30-4:30 pm
We will have a set of slides to guide our presentations and offer a tour. We will use the library for our meeting space at both locations. I would love to have parents, students, and staff participate. Please let me know if you or your student would be interested in speaking to our visitors and I will share the talking prompts so you are able to think about how you will share about your experience with ACCESS Academy. firstname.lastname@example.org
Your intentions for next year, 2020-21 School-year.
I am sharing the link to an internal survey. We are headed into staffing, budget, and transfer season and your intentions with regard to whether or not you plan to continue at ACCESS will help us as we prepare. The form will only allow one response per person, so if you have already done so there is no need to do this again. A few of you have asked to speak with me. My goal is to make these calls by end of day Friday.
Link to form https://forms.gle/
PPS Successful Schools Survey: Family Feedback (Please take a few moments to provide PPS with your feedback)
Dear ACCESS Families,
Thank you so much for participating in our annual Successful Schools Family Survey. Your responses will help your school understand your experience and use them to set goals and plan for next year. The survey will cover topics on school safety, school climate, barriers to family engagement, racial equity and inclusion as well as how well your school fits your student’s needs. Please be honest and thoughtful, and take your time to read and respond to the questions.
Please visit the link below on a computer, tablet, or smartphone and select the school your child attends. If you do not have access to a computer or internet, please contact your school office so we can provide a way for you to take the survey. Thank you so much for your time and feedback!
Thank you! Ginger & Gabriel
January 25, 2020
Happy long weekend, again....!
These last few weeks have been super busy so things I want to share have been long in coming...
First, I'd like to congratulate our master spellers!
Congratulations to the following students in grades 4-8 who will advance to the school spelling bee! There was some fine spelling in the classroom bees this week and last. Special shout out to Ms McBride's 5th period 7th grade ELA class, who got deeper into the word list than any other class. (List is attached) Student List.xlsx
The school bee will be on Thursday, January 30, 9 am in the Vestal auditorium. Parents are welcome to attend. Middle school contestants will be bused over from Lane first thing in the morning (so don't be tardy!) and eat lunch before returning.
Winner of the school bee will advance to the Regional Spelling Bee at the Hollywood Theater on Saturday, March 14 at 9 am. Winner of the regional bee will win a trip to Washington DC to compete in the National Spelling Bee! An ACCESS student has qualified for the national bee in two of the last four years.
Contact JaneAnne Peterson with questions, email@example.com.
Spanish @ Vestal - after a few stops and starts with teacher candidates we are finally welcoming Peter Gawronski. Mr. Gawronski is a current halftime Spanish teacher in the afternoons at Creston School . We are very excited to have Mr. Gawronski as part of our team. He not only is fluent in Spanish, but he has varying levels of proficiency in other languages as well: Mandarin, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian. Mr. Gawronski is participating in district sponsored professional development on Tuesday, so his first day will be Wednesday, 1/29.
PE/Health @ Lane - we are sad to share that Mr. McCormick is moving to a new school for the remainder of the school year. It is a long story involving state and district requirements for specific content licensing requirements. We have explored a variety of solutions thus far with district HR and Labor Relations, resulting in us holding off on teaching Health until second semester hoping we could make it work. In order to meet state requirements we have to switch to our Health curriculum starting Tuesday, 1/28. We will have a great guest teacher, Louie Sloan. Mr. Sloan has been in our program serving as guest teacher in a few classes these past few weeks and is excited to be with us for the short-term. We will work to secure a teacher for the remainder of the school year quickly.
I have had district PE/Health program administrator, Jenny Withycombe, prepare our Health lessons, including providing class sets of materials as well as securing guest facilitators for our units on sexual health. Mr. Harkness, counselor and Ms. Raspone, media specialist, will both co-facilitate lessons throughout the semester. More to come, once we get going with second semester.
World Language switch in 6th grade - reminder that 6th graders will swap from Spanish to Mandarin and visa versa starting Tuesday, 1/28.
8th Grade Promotion - we have reserved the auditorium at Franklin High School for 8th grade promotion on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020 for a 6:30pm ceremony. We will secure a reception space at Franklin as well. Most likely the cafeteria. Please let me know who are our parent volunteers charged with helping plan for this much anticipated event.
MAP Assessment - teachers are seeing good growth for many students as they finish up with winter MAP assessments. We will share details in a few weeks.
Lastly, we want to welcome the Chinese New Year! 2020 is the year of the Rat. https://chinesenewyear.
January 13, 2020
Good Morning -
Many staff and families have asked if there is a way to assist the Stiles family from Vestal, so I am passing along the gofundme link should you feel compelled to contribute https://www.
We will continue to hold a space in our hearts for this family and our Vestal partners. Please let use know if our students are needing extra support or space to talk, write, draw, and process. Thank you to our strong team of educators at our Vestal location for supporting each other and our students throughout the day yesterday. Ginger and Gabriel
January 12, 2020
Dear ACCESS Community -
We learned from our Vestal partners today that a Vestal first grader Lola, her younger brother William, and their father Jeremy were walking onshore near Cannon Beach on Saturday when they were swept suddenly into the ocean. Rescuers pulled Lola and Jeremy from the water and they were taken to a local hospital in Seaside, where Lola was pronounced dead. Coast Guard rescuers continued to look for William, spending nearly five hours scouring the ocean Saturday afternoon. They called off the search after dark. You may continue to hear reports and information on the news and through social media.
Our Vestal partners are doing everything they can to care for and support students, families, and staff tomorrow and throughout the week. We are all very sad for our Vestal partners, and for Lola’s family. Please hold them in your hearts, be strong for our Vestal partners, and support each other. Ms. Tessema will hold her office as a space for student support today where students can talk and write/draw cards.
***This part of the message (above the line) will be shared with ACCESS @ Vestal students in the morning in classrooms at the discretion of their teacher.
For our Vestal partners who may need additional support, members of the district crisis recovery team will be on site all day and will help to set up a safe space in their Wy' East room for Vestal students and staff. This space will be staffed by members of Portland’s Trauma Intervention Program (TIP's) and the Vestal counselor, where students can talk, write cards, and get support. Our ACCESS team is also encouraged to visit with a TIP's staffer should they need support.
Your student might want to talk about this news with you at home. Below are some resources that might be helpful:
We are devastated to hear about the Stiles family and the impact to our Vestal partners, and we will be here to support each other. If you have concerns or questions, please contact either Gabriel or myself:
Please know that if your child is struggling at school, we will call you right away.
Sincerely and with a heavy heart, Ginger and Gabriel
January 12, 2020
I hope the break was relaxing, fun, and refreshing and that everyone is ready to be back to school. Winter break and the start of a new calendar year always provides for a bit of time to reflect before looking ahead to the rest of the school year.
As Gabriel and I have listened, observed, and learned as much as we can about our ACCESS community these first four months we have realized the uniqueness of our program. We have parents who are passionate about their child's educational experience, staff you are equally passionate about education and for providing for the needs of all students. We have also realized that with the changes that have occurred over the past handful of years (transfer process, administrative turn over, relocating to a split campus model) that we have work to do. I want to briefly offer some insights into things that are in motion with regards to "our work":
Additionally, PPS will undergo an audit this spring evaluating TAG Services which will include school and classroom visits. Both ACCESS campuses are slated for full day visits in April. Our TAG department will be collaborating, teaming with staff, and visiting classrooms in the coming weeks starting with our elementary location.
We are also anticipating to have a "first look" at the work happening with regards to district space and facilities use being conducted by the district's space committee.
The Successful Schools Survey will open at the end of this month as well and will provide an opportunity for families to give feedback.
We have Family Information & School Tour dates set for both locations. We will be asking parents, staff, and students to participate in the coming weeks as we engage inquiring families. I will send a separate survey to our current families this week asking about intentions for the 2020-21 school year so we can set our open spots by grade level for the enrollment lottery.
We are moving into staffing and budget season as a district as well, and I will share details once they are released.
***Tuesday's, 1/14 8:45 am @ Lane MS principal's coffee will focus on 8th grade transition and the upcoming lottery activities. Of course I always welcome any topic or questions that families may have.
Please watch for communications regarding inclement weather being predicted this week https://www.pps.net/Page/
Happy New Year to you all! Gabriel and I will continue to push forward with "our work". Thank you to families, staff, and students for always doing your best in this regard. Ginger & Gabriel
November 26, 2019
Long days and nights of successful conferences is a great way to slide into the Thanksgiving break. Thank you to all of you for your active participation and engagement with your students school experience. The ACCESS community is a deeply caring, passionate, and caring group. Your students are fortunate to have you all as parents and advocates.
I also want to extend a HUGE shout out to our team. The preparation, care, and attention to detail that goes into bringing personalized academic information in the form of assessment results, feedback, and insights that build on the strengths each and everyone of our students is no small undertaking. Two, twelve hour days is mentally, emotionally, and physically taxing, and educators are known for their stamina!
A last appreciation for all of the food and goodies the last two days. This is a tremendous amount of work and so, so appreciated by our team! THANK YOU!
A bit of business before I sign off. We have four new staff on our team.
Heading home for the night and to the coast for the break. Take care, rest, sleep in, eat lots of great food, and hug your kiddos!
Ginger and Gabriel
November 26, 2019
Good Morning -
Day one of Parent-Teacher conferences was very busy and I observed lots of smiling faces, laughing between parents and teachers, and many collaborative and productive sessions. A HUGE THANK YOU to all of the parents who brought the amazingly delicious food! We ate from lunch all the way through the end of the night, with lots left for tomorrow. It really is appreciated by teachers and staff.
Math changes at our ACCESS @ Vestal location
It is always tough to find the balance with decisions that impact a few and the need for all to know. The use of social media for information sharing makes it very challenging to strike this balance. For those that need to know, Mr. Jacinto and has resigned his position. After many weeks with different substitute teachers and Mr. Corona stepping in to prep and teach this math class, as well as administer the MAP assessment we are forced to fold one math class and shift some students. I understand the implications for this decision, and trust that this transition will go smoothly.
Add to this that Mr. Zollinger often stepped in to prep and teach Spanish too. These are not long-term solutions, and it is not sustainable to have our Assistant Principal and School Climate Specialist serve as teachers.
I can tell you that there is a shortage of math teachers around our state, and to find someone at this point in the school year that can teach Spanish and Math in the middle of the day as a half-time teacher would be virtually impossible. The time it would take to recruit, interview, reference and background check, and process through HR would be many, many more weeks, if there is such a candidate.
I do plan to work with our Dual Language Immersion and the teacher pathway programs to hire a Spanish teacher. I expect this will move quickly.
Mr. Corona is honoring conference times for parents that have scheduled. Mr. Corona and homeroom teachers are able to share the student shifts with those effected. Student shifts will occur Tuesday.
My wish is that day two of conferences goes well for those scheduled with us. Thank you, Ginger
November 15, 2019
Site Council membership is as follows:
We will continue to solicit for support staff participation and will discuss community membership. Thank you to everyone in your engagement with our process. We will hold our first meeting Monday, 11/21 @ 3:30pm at our Lane location.
Enjoy the weekend! Ginger
November 6, 2019
Please take time to read this in its entirety. Thank you! Ginger
Background: We are forming a new site council, which will consist of me as principal, at least two teachers being selected through a similar process, a classified employee, and parents. No more than half of the membership can consist of either teachers or parents. Additional community members will be selected by the site council itself once it is formed (please see the full text of ORS 329.704 below for details). Please note that teachers and classified staff participate as volunteers and are not compensated for their time.
We are seeking at least two and no more than four parents to represent the ACCESS parent community on our new site council. Site council is about making our school the best it can be, and we need and want the diversity of voices and perspectives within the ACCESS community represented. With our current split campus configuration it is critical that we have representation from both campuses.
Self-Nominations: Interested parents should email Ginger Taylor (I would much prefer this all be managed by parents so we are in keeping with site council rules) with a brief statement (no more than a short paragraph) about your background and why you are interested in serving in this valued role.
Please email your statement no later than Tuesday, 11/12 by NOON, firstname.lastname@example.org . All interested parents submitting a statement will be included on a Google voting form, which will be emailed to all parents (this must be managed by parents). Parents will then be able to vote for up to four candidates to serve on the site council. In the event there are fewer than four candidates, all candidates will be automatically accepted.
Initial Site Council Priorities:
Site Council Meetings: First meeting, Monday, 11/18 @ 3:30 p.m. @ Lane MS
Monthly meetings going forward, 3rd Monday of the month 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. @ Lane MS. This gives Vestal reps time to travel.
Expectations: Attendance at monthly meetings and participation in any work group(s) that may form once site council is up and running in order to accomplish specific tasks between meetings.
Please contact me with any questions, and thank you all for considering! Ginger, email@example.com
A brief insight into the role of site council:
School Site Councils were mandated in 1991 by the Oregon Legislature with the passage of the “Oregon Educational Act for the 21st Century.” ORS 329.704 states:
To fulfill the mandate of the state legislature, the Site Council has developed and will approve a School Comprehensive Improvement Plan (SCIP).
The Plan will:
The Site Council will:
October 29, 2019
Greetings on this bright, blustery, and chilly morning!
Just a few reminders regarding Spirit Week/Halloween costumes and "calling a handful of volunteers" to assist with furniture moves this week at our Vestal location.
Spirit Week - ACCESS @ Vestal
Halloween Day - ACCESS @ Lane
Costumes should be safe to move about the day, up and down stairs, outside, lunch/recess, etc... Please, no face masks/face coverings, simulated weapons, or super gory make up. Also be mindful to consider costumes that may depict insensitive or racist images, or are reflective of cultural appropriation.
Have a great time with family and friends, be safe, sleep in on Friday!
Library Furniture for ACCESS @ Vestal - a few volunteers are needed to help with this 3-step project:
The Harvest Festival and Haunted House this past Sunday were a great success! Huge THANK YOU's to everyone who helped with set-up, engaged with families and students on Sunday, and then stayed to tear-down and clean-up. Such a fun activity and the community spirit warms my heart:-)
Enjoy today! Ginger & Gabriel
October 24, 2019
We plan to have a site council formed soon and hope to hold the first meeting on the third Monday in November; 11/18 @ 3:30, but first we need to select our council members, and parents are valued stakeholders.
***I would like to meet with a small group of parents on this coming Monday, 10/28 @ 3:30pm at our Lane location to review priorities and develop a nomination form that can be shared out electronically.
A brief insight into the role of site council:
School Site Councils were mandated in 1991 by the Oregon Legislature with the passage of the “Oregon Educational Act for the 21st Century.” ORS 329.704 states:
To fulfill the mandate of the state legislature, the Site Council has developed and will approve a School Comprehensive Improvement Plan (SCIP). The Plan will:
To fulfill the mandate of the state legislature, the Site Council has developed and will approve a Comprehensive Improvement Plan (SCIP). The Plan will:
The Site Council will:
Thank you all for considering! Ginger
October 19, 2019
Happy Weekend! We made it through our first middle school social last night. Students had a great time, and a HUGE thank you to all of the parents who helped with decorations, food, supervision, and clean up!
Tuesday, 10/22 8:35 - 9:35am Principal Coffee @ Vestal location. This coincides with All Hands Raised sponsored Principal for Almost a Day citywide event. I will be hosting Brenden Butler Community Development Officer for Umpqua Bank, Oregon Corporate Responsibility https://www.
Sunday, 10/27 2pm-4pm Harvest Festival/Haunted House @ our Vestal site: Details found in the Atomic Flyer https://accesspta.
Spirit Week - ACCESS @ Vestal
Spirit Week for ACCESS @ Lane is being finalized this week by student council. Stay Tuned for details!
Library Furniture @ Vestal - a few volunteers are needed to help with this 3-step project:
Spanish instruction for ACCESS @ Vestal: Mr. Zollinger will support our guest teacher(s) with lessons, direct instruction, and enriching engagement experiences in Mr. Jacinto's extended absence. We hope for his quick return. Thank you Mr. Z!
October 17, 2019
Good Morning ACCESS Families -
We wanted to share a few quick tips for communicating with us when your student will be out of school. with Janae Merritt being with us full-time at our Vestal location and Susie Fung now at our Lane location full-time please note when sending e-mail messages of these location changes. Absences, dismissal changes, etc... are best routed directly to the location where your student attends. Additionally, there are specific e-mail accounts per location for attendance. These attendance e-mail accounts are the first checked in the morning. I am not sure how widely this is known so want to share them here.
@Vestal location: Janae Merritt, firstname.lastname@example.org, School Secretary
@Lane location: Susie Fung, email@example.com, Principal Secretary
ACCESS Attendance link from web page: https://www.pps.net/
We are heading into cold and flu season. Many staff and families have already suffered colds. Please remember to wash hands often! Also, both locations are accumulating a heap of jackets and sweatshirts in the lost & found. If you are missing things please take a few minutes to check here.
Buses: PTA met with representatives from PPS Transportation and Student First at last nights monthly meeting to problem-solve a few chronic issues and clarify communication protocols. PPS Transportation will be utilizing Schoolmessenger directly for late buses. We will come behind with another messenger in the afternoons. We really appreciate the opportunity to partner and problem-solve.
National Shake Out Day: both locations practiced an earthquake drill today as well as an evacuation drill.
Have a Great Day! Ginger & Gabriel
October 7, 2019
Principal coffee @ Lane is tomorrow and it is at the same time as the 6th graders' Run for ACCESS session. We will start our coffee meeting @ 8:45am and maybe we can end a bit early to go out and cheer on the last few laps. Will see how our conversation is going.
Topics to cover this month: site council membership & date/time, MTSS - multi-tiered system of support
Run for ACCESS
Tues, 10/8 @ Lane - zero (6th gr), 1st (8th gr), & 2nd (7th gr) periods. It looks like a fair chance of rain so please plan accordingly. A change of clothes/shoes may be a good idea.
Thurs, 10/10 @ Vestal - ACCESS & Vestal students will run together
Good News! We finally have a school secretary, Janae Merritt. We are so excited to have Janae join our team! Janae is coming to us after many years in Early Childhood Learning Centers where she served in both Assistant Director and Director roles. Janae and Susie are working together for a few days at the Vestal location this week and then Janae will be at our Vestal location full time and Susie will shift over to our Lane location. We are so thankful to finally have a permanent secretary! Thank you all for being tolerant, adaptive, and forgiving as we went many days at our Lane location without anyone stationed in the office.
It's a short week with Friday being a Statewide Inservice Day. Enjoy! Ginger & Gabriel
September 29, 2019
I want to reflect on this very busy past week and look ahead to coming weeks....
Thank you to families who came out to our Vestal location for Back-to-School Night. We are so excited to get to know new families and for you to hear from teachers about what your students are experiencing. We have many new staff at our elementary site and it was great to have them be able to meet so many parents. Also a HUGE thank you to our 8th graders who came over to fund-raise for their class trip. The pizza and treats were delise!
Communication - I will do my best to share information on a weekly basis via Schoolmessenger. As things come up you can expect more frequent communications. PTA mtgs and twice monthly principal coffees are other opportunities to connect with me.
With school underway and B2SN events past, I would expect that you will hear from teachers on a more predictable cycle. Knowing about google classrooms, teacher web pages, etc... will hopefully give insights that you find helpful and hopefully serve to minimize the need for individualized communications. Please mark your calendars for parent-teacher conferences Nov.25th & 26th.
Safety Drills - this past week seemed to be the week for all things safety. Both locations had building and bus evacuation drills. Other drills to anticipate throughout the school year:
We coordiante drills with our co-located partners and do our best to give staff a 'heads up' for drills so they are able to prepare students.
OATAG Conference - the Oregon Association of Talented & Gifted annual conference is Saturday, October 26th from 8:30am - 4:00pm at Clackamas Community College. This years theme: Celebrating Neurodiversity. I plan to attend as do several staff members. I know parents are invited as well.
School Secretary position - I think we have finally found a strong candidate to fill the school secretary position and am hopeful that HR will process the hiring quickly. I will introduce our new staff person once things are official. In the meantime, Susie Fung has already been promoted to principal secretary, and while remaining at our Vestal location since the start of school, Susie will move over to our Lane location with me once our new hire is on-boarded and trained. The timeline is pending.
Technology policy for middle school - Mr. Zollinger, Mr. Harkness, and myself have been working with student focus groups to review the cell phone policy and compare to the language in the revised PPS Students Rights, Responsibilities Handbook to develop a more relevant use policy for middle school students. We will be collaborating with our Lane media specialist to implement regular "digital citizenship" learning opportunities. Technology is a part of everyday life and integral to learning and career paths. We think it's important to help students develop good habits with it's use and learn how to grapple with the ethics associated with the power technology provides.
ACCESS Academy Middle School Technology policy - https://docs.google.com/
Other translated versions can be found here - https://www.pps.net/domain/
I think fall is really here. While I am a summer lover, the cooler weather feels more like school is in session.
Have a great week! Ginger & Gabriel
September 23, 2019
Good Morning ACCESS Families!
Just a quick note to everyone who participated in Friday's climate strike. Thank you to parents for letting us know of your intention to either keep your student home, or that you intended to come to school to collect your student in order to participate in the climate strike and climate festival sponsored by OMSI. The communication made for a smooth day with regards to attendance, student movement leaving school, and participation in the days events. A huge thank you to Mr. Harkness for is willingness to be at the demonstration and the festival. He was able to connect with many of our students and families throughout the day.
Follow us on:
Twitter - @ACCESS_PPS
Instagram - ppsaccess
A few things for your information....
New para-educator @ Vestal location – Felicia McCoy-Kojac is taking the place of Steven Morgan (he has been accepted to nursing school) and begins with us on Monday. Felicia comes highly recommended. She was with ACCESS @ Vestal last year as a contracted employee, so should be familiar to many. Please welcome Felicia.
School Secretary – We have interviews scheduled for the school secretary position being vacated by Susie Fung. Yes, Susie has been promoted to Principal’s secretary and will eventually shift over to the Lane location. Susie has been invaluable to Gabriel and I as we are learning our new roles and how to best support staff, students, and families.
Principal’s coffee – Tuesday, 9/24 8:35am @ Vestal location in the staff lounge. No agenda, no pressure or expectations. I plan to listen and answer questions. Mr. Corona will stop in as well.
Back-to-School Night @ Vestal location – 6:00pm – 7:30pm. Childcare drop off, along with pizza and treats for sale beginning @ 5:30pm. Childcare is being provided by ACCESS and YMCA staff. No charge for childcare. Some of our ACCESS Academy 8th graders will be on hand to assist with check-in of out younger students and help with dismissal at the end of the night. The pizza and treats are a fundraiser for the 8th grade class trip in the spring.
A schedule of the evening events will be available for pick up, but plan begin with a welcome and introduction by myself and Mr. Corona, followed by sessions for meeting your students homeroom teacher, "specials" and math teachers.
Bus Evacuations drill @ both locations – Friday, 9/27 @ 9:45am. I will follow up Friday evening with a update as to how the drill went.
Have a great week! Ginger & Gabriel
September 18, 2019
We had a wonderful turn out on Tuesday evening this week for the Back-to-School Night event at our Lane location. Thank you to our 8th graders who provided pizza for a reasonable price and baked yummy treats for sale. I hear that they raised a good chunk of money for the class trip this spring. A huge shout out to those who came early for pizza and home baked treats! I also heard from many parents regarding how happy they are with their students experience thus far this school year. It has been a great start to the school year!
ACCESS teachers at our middle school location were very happy to see so many parents. Thank you all again! If you were not able to be with us for B2SN this week, please do contact your students teachers to learn about any teacher web pages, google classroom details, course syllabi, etc...
ACCESS @ Vestal
Tuesday, 9/24 8:35am - 9:35am - Principal Coffee. No agenda, no pressure. I will be available to chat, answer questions, hear ideas. I realize with B2SN later in the evening folks may need to make a choice. Or consider that you have two options in one day to connect with me! Mr. Corona will join us as well.
Tuesday, 9/24 6:00pm - 7:30pm - Back-to-School Night.
5:30pm pizza and treats for sale in support of the 8th grade class trip. Check in for childcare (not confirmed as of 9/18 evening).
6:00pm - Introductions and Welcome. Sessions to follow for:
See you all next week!
For all - just a quick note regarding the planned Climate Strike Friday 9/20, around the World! We have had some families contacting us regarding their plan to not have their student(s) in school on Friday 9/20 in order to be able to participate in the Climate Strike. We really appreciate this prior notice of your intentions. I am attaching the guidance sent by PPS Communications for your review. Climate Strike message to families.docx
I must say that the call to action being generated by our youth on behalf of our precious planet is noble, impressive, exciting, and promising. I often tell students that they will change the world, and the activation and determination I see in our youth with regard to the health of our planet gives me much hope! Thank you! Ginger & Gabriel
September 12, 2019
WOW! Our first full week of classes and the weather changes too. I am not ready for fall.... Students are settling in, building strong community, becoming active with clubs and leadership activities, and beginning to show what they know academically. I am very excited about things to come....
@ Lane location - 9/17 6:00pm - 7:45pm (time adjusted just a bit). We will begin in the cafeteria with a short welcome, introductions of staff, the run of the B2SN schedule, and then parents will dismiss to follow their students schedule. 10 mins with each teacher. There will be food for sale, pizza by the slice and cookies, in support of the 8th grade trip from 5:15pm - 6:00pm. No child care will be provided. We will have your students schedule ready for pick up when you arrive. Teachers are super excited to have you all in to really get our school year off the ground!
@ Vestal - 9/24 6:00pm - 7:30pm Details to come next week.
9/24, 8:35am - 9:35am Coffee with Principal Taylor & Assistant Principal Corona. We will go ahead with our first coffee as scheduled knowing that Back-to-School Night is the same date. Thank you to those parents who were able to stay for the Lane location coffee this week.
Middle School Spanish
I have spent a good chunk of my day sorting through what the issues are for mostly our 8th gr cohort in Spanish. In speaking with Profe Gonzalez a few times to hear his professional assessment of students readiness, as well as talking with Michael Bacon, Assistant Director for Dual Language Immersion, and having exchanged a few e-mails with Profe Salmon, we now understand the scope of what needs to happen to adjust for rate and level, and make the needed adjustments to Spanish 3-4. I'm so grateful for the hard work of Profe Gonzalez with his pre-assessment work with students and his proactive work to begin preparing for the needed adjustment.
Assistant Director Bacon is going to track down the STAMP results from last year, and conduct a double review of the results (standard protocol) before we issue high school credits. I’ll figure out whether or not the current 9th gr cohort needs this as well.
Profe Gonzalez is working closely with Profe Marisol Keuzer, district Spanish Language Specialist, to adjust for Spanish 3-4 with our current 8th gr cohort. They plan to meet Friday to outline what is needed in terms of curriculum planning. The textbooks have already been requested, and Profe will have a high school course syllabus ready for back-to-school night. I will have a firmer timeline by the weekend regarding curriculum, but expect by Monday 8th graders will .
I have to confess that the turnover in administrators for ACCESS the past few years, including the TAG Director, on top of moving to a split program is presenting a level of challenge I did not anticipate. I share that because it adds an additional layer to my learning. Trying to stay ahead of things, such as this issue with Spanish that has taken many days to “unpack” all-the-while managing day to day things, etc...
I understand the scope of the issue with regards to Spanish, we now have a plan for getting things on track. Profe Gonzalez and I will talk with students in class on Friday (I am out of the building all day tomorrow). Profe Gonzalez and I spoke about B2SN as well. Thank you all so much for your questions, inquiries, assistance with providing past practice, and ALWAYS staying immersed in the ACCESS mission!
Walk-to-Math @ Vestal location - WTM has begun, with few exceptions. Teachers will be in contact (if not already) to introduce themselves as your child's math teacher. We will build into the B2SN schedule a session to hear from your students WTM teacher.
Thank you! Have a great Thursday! Ginger & Gabriel
September 6, 2019
Just a few items to pass along...
Chess Club is open for Fall 2019. First session: Sept 9th, Monday 3:15pm - 5:15pm @ Lane location. Bus #335 from Vestal to Lane location.
Please welcome our second coach (and new ACCESS parent) Chad Lykins to chess at ACCESS- yes, we'll have two chess coaches this time.
Back-to-School Night (B2SN) - several of us realized there were lots of conflicting times for B2SN in various locations. After consulting with a few folks we will hold both B2SN events from 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Details to come next week.
From ACCESS Academy PTA - There are still about 20 families who are not yet in the PTA database. We hope all families will participate as there is lots of information, opportunities for students and families, and is our main vehicle for communication. https://accesspta.membershiptoolkit.com/home Please join us!
ACCESS @ Vestal location
Dismissal Safety Protocol (2:00-2:45)
If you are picking up a student at dismissal please park first (outside of the school black top), then walk onto the black top to meet your student.
We will try our best to put up a big whiteboard sign reminding people...no driving on the black top when students are getting dismissed.
Enjoy the coming weekend! Next week is our first full week of classes. Ginger and Gabriel
September 5, 2019
Good Morning ACCESS Families!
I am seeing lots of progress with getting bus routes sorted out and am hopeful that district transportation will be operating at a much more efficient level. Pass along some appreciation if you feel compelled too. I know folks are appreciative. I learned today that some of the routes with new drivers have had bus assistants these first few days to help support students with expectations while the driver is learning the routes and other nuances of pick up and drop off. I am not sure which routes these have been, and the assistants positions will end this Friday. Mostly we wanted to pass along the information in case your students are talking about having an extra adult on the bus this week.
ACCESS @ Vestal - several pieces of information to share.
1. Walk to math will begin Friday. A "soft start". Teachers will continue to assess students in these next few weeks and may have a few adjustments to make. Placement changes will be reflected in ParentVUE by Monday, although I expect teachers will be in communication directly as well.
2. Counseling programming. Ms. Tessema has a great web site https://sites.google.com/
3. An update in reference to a situation we have been working on with the Vestal admin team since before school started this year. There are multiple cars/garbage/cooking devices and people that have set up a camp of sorts right outside of a vacant house at 8036 NE Flanders. We have been working with the Madison school cluster School Resource Officer (SRO) and other Portland Police, as well as the PPS security team to try and help resolve the challenges presented by this camp being so close to school. As of today, the police have towed one car, and noted about 6 others that are abandoned or in disrepair and will work to have these removed quickly. We have learned that the house is being remodeled and the owners have now been notified. The SRO, Parking Patrol, and PBOT have added this location to their regular patrols.
Portland Police have asked that staff and parents continue to call non-emergency ((503) 823-3333), or 911 in emergency circumstances, so that concerns are both documented and officers can respond as soon quickly.
We have been assured that the police will be working to try and uproot the issue to ensure that all of our students and families feel welcome and safe.
If you have any questions, please reach out...and please do not hesitate to call the non-emergency number. We know that the squeaky wheel gets the attention, so we will stay squeaky as long as necessary!
ACCESS @ Lane
A quick reminder from our library that this Friday (9/6), we'll be celebrating the ACCESS MS students who earned a t-shirt through the Multnomah County Library Summer Reading Program.
Many clubs and activities are getting up and running during lunch/recess this week. I am so pleased to see the level of participation from our students! Thank you to teachers who are graciously hosting groups in classrooms, and to Mr. Harkness for getting the word out and encouraging involvement.
We also started morning announcements using the phone intercom system during advisory. Our two 8th grade student leaders, Ania and Gwen lead the charge. A more formal way for students to submit items for announcements will be forthcoming before Tuesday next week.
MAPS testing has begun. You are able to access information for MAPS at this parent link https://sites.google.com/
Coffee with Principal Taylor. Time is moving so quickly, that I am finding myself remiss with getting a few of my "promises" formalized. With input from a few folks these past few weeks I will host 2 coffees each month. One at Lane and one at Vestal. All available staff are welcome to join us. Dates as follows:
I will secure a location in the buildings and share that out before the weekend. Coffees are a casual opportunity for me to chat with and get to know ACCESS families. There are no prepared agendas, nor any pressure.
A few other dates to get on your radar:
Have a great rest of the week. Next week begins our full week of classes. It has been good to build our stamina for full time school again with two short weeks. Now we will dig in and get to learning lots! Ginger and Gabriel
August 31, 2019
Good Evening Everyone!
I just have a few brief things to offer as we go into the Labor Day weekend.
Transportation - I am seeing Teri Brady from transportation services, responding to your inquiries and concerns regarding long bus rides home after school. She is including both Mr. Corona and myself on her e-mails. I appreciate her keeping us in the loop as they work to solve issues, and I am hopeful they will have things smoothed out come Tuesday afternoon.
School Supplies - A huge thank you to Marian Berger for spending time today sorting and organizing donated school supplies at our Lane location. We are grateful for everyone's generosity!
Walk to Math - I was able to get over to the Vestal location in the late afternoon and Mr. Corona and I met with teachers to review placement, assessment use, and anticipated start for students. It will take a few more days to assess our new students. Teachers are reviewing MAP and SBAC data as well. Our soft goal is to begin the walk to math schedule by the end of next week. Teachers are feeling pretty excited by students high level of engagement and attention to doing their best work!
I will offer a more thoughtful and detailed message regarding math assessment practice, the ACCESS walk to math model, and a bit about data sources considered throughout the year, later next week. I must share that I am completely in awe of the high level of commitment, intelligence, and thoughtful practice each of our ACCESS teachers demonstrates everyday. I have much to learn from them!
I have seen several teachers sending all class communications home to families to welcome you all into the school year. I expect this will be the case through next week. Do not hesitate to contact your students teachers directly to offer support and insights specific to your student.
It has been a great start to the school year for everyone on staff at both locations. Mr. Corona and I have received lots of positive feedback from both staff and families. Thank you all for your patience, flexibility, and commitment to not only your exceptional student(s), but the ACCESS community as well! Enjoy the long weekend! I am at the coast for the lowest tides of the year! Wifi access will be really spotty. See you all Tuesday! Ginger & Gabriel
August 29, 2019
Good Evening ACCESS Families!
Your student(s) should have a "welcome packet" in their backpack from this week with a variety of items in it. Please take a few moments to review the materials, update, sign, and return the registration pages, the walking field trip form, and any other items we need for our records back at school. If for some reason your student did not bring home a welcome packet , please notify Susie Fung, firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get one together and send home right away.
All students at both the locations have been issued lockers as of today. Some may have opted out of wanting a locker. If your student is one who opted out, but later decides they would like to have a locker please let us know and we will accommodate. Many of our middle school students were so excited to have a locker today I noticed some coming to their locker between every class. With a three minute passing time it will be important for students to consider how to best organize their school materials and be good time managers. One suggestion would be for students to have all of the morning classes items with them until lunch and then to switch out for the afternoon, circling back at dismissal to ensure they are taking what they will need at home. It is so fun to see the look on their faces once they understand the nuances of a locker combination!
I was able to get over to the Vestal location this afternoon and pop into all of the classrooms today. Students were busy drawing and learning the continents with Ms. Byrkit, holding a community circle with Ms. Evans, and discussing what they would like to write about in Ms. O-Hagan's class, "something special that represents your summer". Ms. McShane's class was on their way to art, and Ms. Ryneal's class was cleaning up before dismissal. I was able to stop down with Ms. Webb's class and just chat for a few minutes with students. I missed Ms. Millis' class because they were already out to art.
I want to introduce Renee Takara, email@example.com or 503.916.6482. Renee will be with us at the Lane campus for several weeks while we work with HR to get a secretary vacancy posted, interview, and fully on-board. Thank you so much Renee for coming to support us at ACCESS!
Community school supplies. It would be great to have one or two volunteers to help sort and organize the school supplies in our very small closet next to our office at the Lane location. If you have a few hours to spare (even tomorrow, Friday) let me know. I think most of the supplies are either in my office or down the hall with Ms. Szok in the art room.
Social media platforms. I have to confess that I am fairly new to using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but really see the value in these outlets for highlighting and celebrating day to day learning. Many schools and programs do so throughout the day. I was able to finally set aside some time today to get Twitter and Instagram accounts activated and shared a few photos and messages.
Twitter - @ACCESS_PPS
Instagram - ppsaccess
Facebook - waiting for approval
Another good day!
-Principal Ginger Taylor
August 28, 2019
Good Evening ACCESS Families-
Day one is in the books! It was very nice to have students in the building. Welcome Back! As I popped into middle school classrooms throughout the day I heard lots of sharing about summer experiences, new friendships forming, promises of interesting novels to be read, a science activity involving assumptions, inferences, and evidence collecting, with a fun surprise to make a point about scientific methods by Dr. Garcia! There were cooperative games in PE this morning, and in the afternoon I heard lots of Spanish being spoken with our new teacher, Mr. Gonzalez.
We will begin issuing lockers with our 6th graders during 0 period in the morning. Any community school supplies can come to the ACCESS office @ both locations and we will get the closet organized for teachers. We appreciate your generosity!
I heard from many people, both staff, some parents, and district supports at both locations that buses went much smoother then last year. I have no frame of reference for this, and also know that transportation is working to get every route and drop off location right. Please continue to communicate directly with transportation regarding your needs. Student Transportation, (503) 916- 6901, firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do everything we can in the afternoons to communicate what we know.
Our middle school students and staff gathered at the end of the day for a quick welcome assembly and then processed out to the bus pick up area for the ACCESS Academy Arch of Friendship for our new students and staff. What a sweet tradition. I will get over to the Vestal location on Friday this week to stop into classrooms and say hello to students. Cooler weather is coming!
Thank you for entrusting your students to us. Ginger Taylor
Hello ACCESS @ Vestal families.
I wanted to take a moment to let you all know how good today felt. I am grateful for parent and district staff supporting our first day and making sure students felt welcome and knew where they were going. I also want to thank you for your patience and flexibility with transportation services. They are working stops in their system and bus drivers are becoming aware of all the new stops on their routes.
Overall, students were here, excited and ready to learn. Good job parents on setting the stage. As I visited classrooms students were learning about each other and our classroom routines. We were also able to practice and model some of those school wide expectations. We even got to walk out The Arch of Friendship, to honor all new ACCESS people to our community. Students were having fun and were reminded to drink water often. You may want to send a water bottle with them for the next few days.
On a different note, math assessments for new students will be taking place this week. We will finalize the math levels and have students walk to math by the middle of the next week. Returning students have already been placed, unless your student worked extra hard on math this summer. If so, contact the teacher for a possible new assessment.
Have a great evening! Gabriel Corona
August 27, 2019
Hello ACCESS Academy Students & Families!
Tomorrow is the first day of school! We are really looking forward to having students back in the building on Wednesday! Teachers and other staff & faculty are ready to greet their smiling and eager faces.
Bus Transportation announcement
Please be aware that Transportation Services is adding stops and changing times throughout the day. Visit the Transportation website frequently. https://www.pps.
If you are a parent who received an email confirmation with a stop and no bus number or time. There will be a bus tomorrow to take your student to school, those are being put in their system.
Also please fill out our google form titled, ACCESS @ Vestal After-School Plan. This will inform us of your plans so we can coordinate your child’s transportation at the end of the day. Fill out even if you are planning to pick them up. https://forms.gle/
We are so sorry that arranging transportation has been so frustrating. For peace of mind as parents, it may make sense to drive your student(s) to school the first day?
Middle School schedules
We will have middle school schedules at the ice cream social tonight, but if you are looking in StudentVUE you can see the A/B schedule for PE/Art as follows:
Meet Days: “ABWHF” classes meet every day. “A” and “B” classes (PE and Art) meet every other day. The first day of school, Wednesday, August 28th is an A day. The following day is a B day, then an A day, and so on throughout the year. A sign will be posted each day in the hall outside the ACCESS office to remind you whether it is an A or B day.
Period 10 = 0 period (1st class of the day). Everyone reports to their 0 period class for advisory and stays for 0 period.
My hope is that this information provides some clarification and reassurance. Please trust that we will have "all hands on deck" this week to smooth out any issues that arise. I expect that I will send a daily messenger for the first week or so.
Thank you and we are really looking forward to getting the school year underway! Ginger & Gabriel
August 24, 2019
We have been hyper focused on preparing for your students to be with us in just a few short days. Team bonding, community agreements, tightening our commitment to a positive school climate and culture with a lens for dismantling practices of oppression and challenging bias, digging into refreshed scope & sequence with district GVC (guaranteed viable curriculum) implementation, student planners for middle school, and room arrangements on shiny new floor tiles, so I am just catching up to e-mails...
ACCESS @ Vestal location: teacher-student assignments (aka "who is my teacher"). Hard copy letters went in the mail today. You should have also received a short welcoming e-mail from your students teacher (3rd, 4th, & 5th anyway), and we will have hard copies of class lists to reference at the ice cream socials on Monday & Tuesday.
Who is teaching what again?
1st/2nd blend - Mr. Ryneal
3rd - Evans & Millis
4th - McShane & O'Hagan
5th - Byrkit & Webb
All staff are listed on web site https://www.pps.net/
Abigail Webb will be stepping in for 5th grade this year while Ms. Egan is out on leave. Ms. Webb is so excited o be joining the ACCESS team! She has many connections with the ACCESS community. Abigail and I worked together many years ago at Oregon City High School. She has taught Spanish, ESOL, and has been a grade level teacher is several schools around the Portland area. Please welcome Ms. Webb!
Mario Gonzalez will join the ACCESS @ Lane team to teach middle school Spanish. Mr. Gonzalez is a world traveler who enjoys blogging and photography as ways to engage in his travels. He has taught in Japan and Peru, and has last served as an educational assistant at Sitton School here in PPS. Please welcome Mr. Gonzalez!
Spanish/Math at ACCESS @ Vestal location. Gabriel and I just interviewed a strong teacher candidate that we think will be a great fit for our younger students. We have made our recommendation to HR, and hope things will move quickly.
Buses - update We've heard from many families that the bus departure and school dismissal times do not align.Transportation is aware and Susie Fung our secretary, has spoken with them several days ago, as well as again today. They have reassured us that buses will not depart without students on them and that they are working to change the times in the system.
Enjoy the weekend and hope to see many of you at ice cream socials! Ginger & Gabriel
August 23, 2019
Good Morning ACCESS Community!
Teachers are back! I am so excited to meet our team of educators and spend the today in community reaffirming why we all love education and serving ACCESS students! We were provided with a delicious meal for lunch on our first day, prepared with love by two fabulous parents, Natalie and Liz. Thank you so much! I was overcome by the care, and preparation that went into you responding to our request.
It was also very nice to meet many families and a few students, at the principal meet & greet Wednesday evening. Thank you all for coming to welcome me and assistant principal Mr. Corona!
Details as I know them
Bell Schedule - found on the ACCESS web site. https://www.pps.net/
Transportation - Bus Schedule: https://www.pps.net/
ACCESS @ VESTAL bus and after school form. Please take a few moments to provide us with your students after school plan. https://docs.google.com/
School Supplies- Families can find a link to the requested school supplies for ACCESS Academy at https://www.pps.net/domain/
All ACCESS families and staff are encouraged to register with the new ACCESS PTA website to be part of the school directory and bus, class, grade and special event message boards. You can also order t-shirts (free to all new students and staff), sign up to volunteer, donate and more! Create your account today at https://accesspta.
Please contact Phoebe Shen (email@example.com) with any questions.
8/24, 9am-Noon - Community Care Day. Project-Community-Care-Flyer-
@ 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. Thank you!
8/26, 4-6pm @ Vestal & 8/27, 5-7pm @ Lane - Ice Cream Social. Attached is information about our ice cream social events for each ACCESS @ Vestal and Lane locations. Please join us! Principal Taylor will be there hoping to meet you all! We will have bus tags ready for students
Vestal Location teacher assignments - Letters will go in the mail tomorrow, and we will have a hard copy of class lists at both ice cream socials.
ParentVUE - We will activate ParentVue by the end of the day on Monday.
Lastly, I want to share that although it has been incredibly challenging and often stressful to step into my new role and as principal for the ACCESS Academy community and begin to learn how to navigate all of the details and nuances of the operations side of things, Mr. Corona and I are feeling very supported, and loved by all of the families and now the staff. We cant wait to meet all of our students next week! Enjoy the last weekend of summer break!
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
Benson Polytechnic High School is a long-standing neighbor of Portland’s Lloyd District. Like good neighbors, some of Benson’s students are pitching in to improve the livability of the area.
Cleveland continued its run atop Portland Interscholastic League wrestling, using its depth and titles in two weight classes to win league’s district tournament for the ninth year in a row. The Warriors piled up 324.5 points at Marshall High School to outdistance runner-up Grant by 93.
Newspapers might be sputtering around the country, but at high schools in Portland Public Schools, the fourth estate isn’t just surviving, it’s thriving. In various formats – printed, online or a combination of both – our budding reporters are telling the stories of their campuses and beyond.
6:00 PM District Board Meeting
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM DEI Book Discussion
6:00 PM District Board Meeting
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM A@V Family Info Session/Tour
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM ACCESS Community Event: PSU Viking Gameroom
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM PTA Meeting
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM A@L Family Info Night
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM Site Council Meeting
6:00 PM District Board Meeting