Chief Joseph Elementary

A strong, diverse and respectful community
where we make learning creative and fun

2409 N. Saratoga St.Portland, OR 97217Ph (503) 916-6255Fx (503) 916-2618

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Chief Joseph
School News

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Principal's Message

  • Dear Families,

    Welcome to the 2020-21 school year. As a staff, we are extremely excited to reconnect with our community and build new relationships. It is our hope that through these turbulent times, you were able to both strengthen your ties with loved ones and work to heal the inequities that exist in our society.

    Many people are curious about staffing. We have a number of new staff members joining our team this year. I am excited to welcome Suzanne Cooper, who will be teaching kindergarten. Alec Brown is returning to join the second grade team. Anna Cornett is joining the 1st grade team. Jane Strugatsky is the newest member of our Support Team, serving as .5 Social Worker. Jenica Castillo-Harden is the newest addition to our specialist team; she will be teaching .5 art. Brandi Hall will be with us full time this year. In addition to teaching library half time, she will be teaching math intervention groups. Currently, one 4th grade position and 2nd grade Educational Assistant positions are vacant; I will let you know as soon as the positions are filled.

    We have had a few shifts in positions; staffing for the 2020-21 school year is as follows:

    Kindergarten: Ms. Cooper, Ms. Larsen, Ms. Pearson
    1st Grade: Ms. Cornett, Ms. Peake, Ms. Pinder
    2nd Grade: Mr. Brown, Ms. Ferguson
    3rd Grade: Ms. Michels, Mr. Wolfe
    4th Grade: Ms. Shutt, TBD
    5th Grade: Ms. Brislin, Ms. Martinez
    PE: Ms. Nguyen
    Music: Ms. Schrepping
    Media: Ms. Hall
    Art: Ms. Castillo-Harding
    Counselor: Ms. Spiers
    Social Worker: Ms. Strugatsky
    School Climate Coach: Ms. Whitaker
    Learning Center: Ms. Lopez
    Speech Pathologist: Ms. LeMeune
    ELL: Ms. Routtenberg
    Reading Intervention: Ms. Bush
    Math Intervention: Ms. Hall
    Paraeducator: Ms. DeRuiter, Ms. Wilson
    Educational Assistant: Ms. Newton, TBD
    Library Assistant: Ms. Woodward
    School Secretary: Ms. Holm
    Principal’s Secretary: Ms. Pettit
    Custodian: Ms. DeWeese, Mr. Herring

    Distance Learning - This year we are beginning with distance learning. This year will be much different from distance learning in the spring. All K-5 classrooms will be using the SeeSaw platform to organize assignments, activities, and information. All students will be meeting as a whole group every morning, followed by small group instruction and independent practice opportunities. Students will have a consistent schedule, including regular meetings with their teacher. In our continued effort to better prepare our 5th grade students for middle school, we will be departmentalizing. Students will be assigned a homeroom teacher, however, will have both teachers for academic content. Ms. Brislin will be teaching math, science and health. Ms. Martinez will be teaching reading, writing, and social studies. You will receive specific information about your students schedule, academic expectations, and how to communicate with the teachers as we approach the first day of school. The first day of school for grades 1-5 is Wednesday, September 2nd. The first day of kindergarten will be Tuesday, September 8th. The first two weeks will be focused on building classroom community and helping students and families understand the learning platforms and expectations. I highly recommend a device for each student in your home. If you would like to check out a Chromebook from the district, please email or text me., 971.284.7108

    School Supplies - The supply lists for in person learning are available on our website. However for distance learning, the basic supplies are all that is necessary:

    ● Writing Journal (K-2: pages have space for drawing and lined to support handwriting) ● Pencil ● Paper ● Colored Pencils ● Crayons ● Post-Its ● Scissors ● Glue Sticks ● 4 Folders

    If you are able, some items that are nice to have include: watercolor paints and paper, small white board and markers, highlighters, and markers. If you need support in getting supplies, please contact Ms. Spiers at

    Free and Reduced Lunch - Families that were on free and reduced meals last year should have received information from Nutrition Services about necessary steps to renew. If you did not receive this information, please contact Nutrition Services. If interested in applying for free or reduced meals, you can apply online by going to: If you’re having difficulty with the process don’t hesitate to call nutrition services at (503) 916-3399, or call us.

    I am extremely excited for the upcoming year and look forward to continuing to build community, advance social justice issues, and improve learning.

    Amber Gerber
    Principal, Chief Joseph Elementary School

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