• DEI Mission Statement

    Formed in 2017, our goals are to: 
    • Increase racial and ethnic diversity, and improve gender balance at ACCESS; 
    • Ensure equity of opportunities and participation in ACCESS events and programs; and
    • Promote a climate of inclusion for students of diverse race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation and social identities, as well as for those with physical differences (such as hearing, vision or mobility), and invisible differences such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, asthma, or allergies.

    2020-2021 Co-Chairs: Amber Keller and Tanya Schaefer, access.pta.dei@gmail.com 

    Thank you to founder and 2017-2019 chair Lina Reiss 


    Are you interested in helping to ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment at ACCESS? DEI Committee membership is open to all; the more perspectives the better. Please contact DEI Co-Chairs Amber Keller and Tanya Schaefer if you are interested in joining, or have questions or suggestions. access.pta.dei@gmail.com


    Recent Activities:

    2019-202 Enrollment and Outreach

    DEI representatives collaborated with TAGAC and the District to improve gender balance, diversify enrollment and connect interested families with current ACCESS families.


    February 2020

    Janet Hamada gave a personal and historical presentation on the generational impacts Japanese Internment camps had on her extended family in the Pacific Northwest from WWII to the present for both ACCESS@Vestal’s 4th and 5th graders and ACCESS@Lane’s 8th graders.


    Renée Watson visited ACCESS, October 2019 

    Renee Watson at Vestal Auditorium

    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.”

    Cityscape inspired by Harlem's Little Blackbird

    Prior to her visit, students at both campuses read, discussed, and responded to her work through poetry and art in Homeroom/Language Arts, Library and Art. Dozens of elementary students submitted poems, drawings, and a small sculpture (!) inspired by her work for a chance to win a signed copy of her book. (The winners of this random drawing were Olive B. (McShane), Nora K. (Millis), and Emmett R. (Evans).) First and second grade students also created a cityscape inspired by her picture book, Harlem’s Little Blackbird, about African American singer, dancer and comedian Florence Mills.

    Students responding to Renee Watson's presentation at Vestal.

    At ACCESS@Vestal, Ms. Watson read some of her poetry and excerpts from her most recent middle grade novel, Some Places More Than Others, spoke about her writing process, and answered questions from the audience of ACCESS 1-5 students and Vestal’s 4th and 5th grade classes. When it came time for Q&A, hands shot up all over the auditorium; students wanted to know where she got her ideas, what she was working on now, how she deals with writer’s block, and more.

    Renee Watson speaking at Lane Middle School

    At ACCESS@Lane, Ms. Watson was welcomed by student ambassadors from ACCESS@Lane and Lane. These volunteers helped plan aspects of her visit with librarian Sara Raspone. She spoke to students from both middle schools about her Coretta Scott King Award-winning YA novel Piecing Me Together, answered questions about her writing process, and signed bookmarks for interested students after her talk.

    Students listening to Renee Watson's Presentation at Lane Middle School.

    It was an honor to have Ms. Watson visit, and we’re grateful to the many teachers, staff and parents from ACCESS and our co-located schools who worked together to make this experience meaningful for our students.

    Renee Watson with Lane Librarian, former ACCESS DEI Chair, and ACCESS Principal


    Summer 2019 recommended reading for diversity and inclusion

    Community summer reading list of books recommended by ACCESS parents and/or kids, centered around inclusion of diversity of all kinds - race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender including lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer (LGBTQ), physical disabilities, and learning differences such as autism/sensory disorder/ADHD and dyslexia.


    April 2019

    Janet Hamada gave a personal and historical presentation on the generational impacts Japanese Internment camps had on her extended family in the Pacific Northwest from WWII to the present at ACCESS@Lane.


    April 2019

    First ACCESS DEI Book Discussion: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson.


    2018-19 - Enrollment and Outreach

    DEI representatives are collaborating with the ACCESS Advisory Committee, TAGAC and the District to improve the admissions process, diversify enrollment and connect interested families with current ACCESS families.


    Summer 2018 recommended reading for diversity and inclusion

    Community summer reading list of books recommended by ACCESS parents and/or kids, centered around inclusion of diversity of all kinds - race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender including lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer (LGBTQ), physical disabilities, and learning differences such as autism/sensory disorder/ADHD and dyslexia.


    February 6-7, 2018 - Courageous Conversations about Race, Rose City Park Auditorium

    A group of parents/guardians, teachers and administrators met with a facilitator from the PPS Department of Equity and Partnerships over two evenings to learn about the Courageous Conversations protocol. The protocol emphasizes the importance of staying personal, local and engaged while accepting discomfort and non-closure in order to facilitate conversations about race and racism.