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.
Hello ACCESS Families -
As we begin semester two this week we will also begin administering the winter MAP assessment for reading and math in grades 3rd through 8th. Because of our walk-to-math program in our lower grades this will include all students in grade 3 math regardless of their homeroom. Our lower grades will spend a little time practicing this coming week and the actual testing sessions will begin the week of February 8th, 2021. Our middle school grades will start the test in Language Arts classes first and then move to Math. The testing window is open the whole month of February, so teachers and students have amble time to complete.
I am sharing a parent guide to MAP testing. Because of CDL, there are a few things that are important to do in preparation for the actual testing session. For those students using devices not issued by PPS, please review TEST Preparation section on page 2. There's an introduction video as well as a practice test.
2020 MAP Remote Testing Parent Guide: https://docs.google.com/
Our team finds that the MAP test provides helpful information regarding students proficiencies and skills. We are excited to have good, standardized assessment data. We realize administering the MAP test remotely comes with different challenges and that you are parents have the option to not have your student take the assessment. Please, please, please share any concerns or ask questions of your students teacher this week so we can best support your student in being able to take the MAP test. This is not a timed test. Students can take a break and take the test over more than one day. It is really low stakes.
Of course we ask that you speak with your student about test integrity given the nature of CDL. Teachers will do that same. You will receive more detailed information from teachers.
Thank you all! Be well, Ginger
Good Afternoon ACCESS Staff, Students, and Families -
You should expect to receive a district communication regarding Limited In-Person Instruction this evening prior to the PPS school board meeting. Building leaders around the district are beginning to outline the details for engaging small cohorts of students back in the building starting as early as next week. ACCESS is in the "Phase III" group, and we are tentatively working toward a start date the first week of March. We will begin with a very small student cohort (10-12) in mixed grades 1-3, possibly 6th grade too. Both staff and students who are to participate do so voluntarily. CDL programming will continue as scheduled. LIPI will take place in the afternoon. We will start with one day per week. More details to come...
Educators are just beginning to receive appointments for their first round of vaccinations.
While their are many details to outline, we are excited about the opportunity to have students back in buildings in the coming weeks! In anticipation of your questions and concerns I will host a Principal Chat this coming Friday, January 29th from 2:00pm - 3:00pm. Please join me if you are able!
Happy Friday ACCESS Families!
As we move into the 3-day MLK Holiday weekend, I continue to reflect on the state of our Nation and the overwhelming Global Pandemic. Martin Luther King Jr was unrelenting in his pursuit of racial justice for Black communities across our country. The same systems of oppression that Dr. King railed against during the Civil Rights era still have a strong hold in our communities of color. There are a new generation of Freedom Fighters and one way that we are able to join them in the fight for racial justice is to learn about Dr. King’s teachings, challenge systems of oppression, racist speech, and interrupt decision-makers that serve to perpetuate the “racial divide”.
The MLK holiday weekend has for many years, asked people to gather in ways that we are able to “serve” our communities. A day of service. This year, with COVID-19, creates challenges. Be intentional this weekend. We have much to learn!
Virtual MLK Jr celebrations, service opportunities, and resources (to highlight just a few)
This & That….
Our ACCESS Talent Show audition sign up deadline has been extended to January 24. Please encourage students to SIGN UP. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
ATTENTION 8th GRADERS
High school forecasting (choosing classes) will be happening over the next 3-4 weeks. The timing depends upon the individual school. This spreadsheet includes links to high schools and their forecasting information, if available. Contact email@example.com with any questions.
Congratulations to the following spellers who will advance to the school-wide “spell off” on Friday, February 5, at 9:30 am:
Semester One ends January 28th, 2021
There are two weeks remaining for first semester. Teachers will spend the planning day, January 29th , assessing student works and finalizing grades. Please take time with your student to review CANVAS and SeeSaw, catch up with communications from teachers, and ensure assignments are completed and turned in.
Enjoy the weekend.
Be well, Ginger
Dear ACCESS Community, Faculty, Staff, & Families –
The range of emotions I have felt throughout today as I witness what is happening in our Nation’s Capital are incredible. I quickly think about how our students are processing and trying to make sense of what is going on and what the implications are for how our current government operates. I worry that once again, students are feeling anxious and unsafe. Their emotional threshold for anxiety, stress, fear, and uncertainty, when paired with the extended isolation of this global pandemic are a test of our resilience as a people and educational community like I’ve never experienced.
I will share that reflection, open dialog, and listening to understand are invaluable steps for making sense and settling emotions. We will continue to navigate such disruptions and uncertainty like professionals. We have an awesome team of educators at ACCESS! We are blessed this way. Lean on each other as adults; reach out to counseling and admin teams for support, questions, or concerns. We are great thought partners and problem-solvers.
As adults and particularly as educators it is important to make space for individual student voice and establish norms that help to guide discussions. Assist with words and language that are supportive of our community. Challenge and interrupt hate, bias, and discriminatory comments. Our ACCESS community is so caring. Thank you all!
This is not about politics. This is about safety: physical, spiritual, and emotional. It is about respect and civility. This is about systems of white privilege and oppression. These are big issues, complex, and very challenging to navigate in conversation, classroom lessons, and day-to-day living.
Teachers will do everything possible to be adaptive and provide for students needs to talk and process. Our counseling team is ready to support and provide safe spaces for students as well. They will visit community meetings for our elementary students in the morning and open drop in meeting links for students who need to access them outside of class. Please let us know if your student needs individual support right away.
ACCESS support team:
Stay safe, Be Well. We care about you and your students, Ginger & Team
Wanting to learn more? Below are some additional resources for helping students process the current turbulence in Oregon and the U.S.
As Teacher and School Administrator Appreciation Week comes to a close here at Portland Public Schools, I want to share an additional personal note of gratitude to all our hard-working and dedicated professional educators and school leaders. While your commitment to our students is always evident, this past year with all of its challenges was truly unlike any other in our careers. The impact of this pandemic, economic crisis, and racial uprising, has required incredible flexibility, adaptation, and perseverance on your part.
Dear High School Students and Families,
Students 16 and older at Portland school districts, including PPS, are being offered a new opportunity for free-of-charge COVID-19 vaccinations, starting this week at the Oregon Convention Center. If your 16+ student has not yet been vaccinated, we hope you will take advantage of this opportunity.
Dear High School Students and Families,
Students 16 and older at Portland school districts, including PPS, are being offered a new opportunity for free-of-charge COVID-19 vaccinations, starting next week at the Oregon Convention Center. If your 16+ student has not yet been vaccinated, we hope you will take advantage of this opportunity, which is also available to family members.
Dear PPS Community,
Portland Public Schools is in the process of developing and finalizing our 2021-22 budget for approval by the Board of Education, and we want to hear from you. Please join us for a virtual session:
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM Board Policy Committee Meeting
6:00 PM District Board Meeting
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM Board Intergovernmental Committee Meeting
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM Site Council
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM Board Audit Committee Meeting
7:30 PM - 8:30 PM ACCESS PTA General Meeting
6:00 PM District Board Meeting
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Community Meeting - Terwilliger Site Design
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM School Improvement Bond Committee Meeting