• Greetings ACCESS Families, 

    If you would like to nominate your child for TAG in an area in which they are not already identified by the district, please fill out this form. Nominating your child is optional. Please know that if we do not already have scores for them, they would need to be tested to add TAG identification. 
    Comments (-1)

ACCESS Academy Alternative Program

An Accelerated Program
for Highly Gifted Students

Vestal • Grades 1-5: 161 NE 82nd AvePortland, OR 97220Ph (503) 916-6483Fx (503) 916-2483

Lane • Grades 6-8: 7200 SE 60th AvePortland, OR 97206Ph (503) 916-6482 Fx (503) 916-2482

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School News

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  • ACCESS ACADEMY Summer 2021 Virtual Events!

    On behalf of our entire community, the ACCESS Academy PTA would like to welcome you to our school and invite you to connect with other ACCESS families over the summer! Please click this link for the Google document. 

  • ACCESS Academy Students Win C-Span Competition

    C-SPAN has announced the winners in their national 2020 StudentCam competition. ACCESS Academy students Dorothy Swanson Blaker, Malia Lee and Ania Leonardo are third prize winners and will receive $750 for their documentary, Renewable Resolutions: Solar 2020 (watch it at viddler.com/v/31e14be6).
    Learn more in the SE Examiner Article
  • Dr. Garcia-Arriola named to Circle of Excellence by OnPoint CCU

    Dr. Garcia-Arriola, middle school science teacher at ACCESS Academy, was named to the Circle of Excellence by Circle of Excellence by OnPoint Community Credit Union. This award comes with a $1,500 cash prize for Dr. Garcia-Arriola and a $1,000 donation to ACCESS Academy. Congratulations, Dr. Garcia-Arriola, on this recognition of your outstanding work as an educator! See the full article here
  • Writer-in-Residence Rosanne Parry

    Award-winning local author Rosanne Parry will be Writer-in-Residence at ACCESS Academy for elementary grades throughout the Read-a-thon, providing writing workshops and culminating in a Family Literacy Celebration on Friday January 31 from 6:30-7:30. 
  • 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.”

  • Inclement Weather Policy

    There are three ways we send messages to families about delays, closures and other weather-related decisions:

    • Phone calls: Automated calls, in all supported languages (Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Russian and Somali), will be placed to the primary number listed on each student’s registration. If you’ve changed your number recently, please update it with your school.
    • Email: An automated message will be sent to the email address you listed in your child’s registration. The message will be translated into our five supported languages.
    • Text message: You will receive a text message on your cell phone, but first you’ll have to opt in to the SchoolMessenger system by texting “Yes” or just “Y” to 68453. If you opt in, you will still receive an auto-dialer call. Texts go to parent and staff phone numbers registered with the district.

    We also post updates online:

    • Twitter: Follow our account, @PPSConnect.
    • Facebook: Connect with us at facebook.com/pps.homepage.
    • Our website: Go to net and look for a yellow bar across the top of the page. That’s where you’ll find more detailed information, such as snow routes for buses. Messages will be translated.

Principal's Message

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  • Map Assessment

    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/document/d/1sTF7oyHC9lE6JtSXUsbzyH82FUeDlJUm/edit

    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

  • Principal Chat -LIPI Limited In-Person Instruction

    Español| Tiếng Việt| 中文| Soomaali| Русский

    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! 

    Be Well!


  • Virtual MLK Jr celebrations, service opportunities, and resources

    Español| Tiếng Việt| 中文| Русский

    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)

    • Portland’s own The Skanner Foundation will stream the 35th Annual  Martin Luther King Jr Breakfast on Monday, January 18th, 2021 @ 9:00am. Please register here for this free event.
    • World Arts Foundation Inc presents the 36th Annual Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” from Noon-5:00pm. Free event.
    • HandsOn Greater Portland no events planned this year, but information for other organizations and events found here.
    • SOLVE: Taking Care of Oregon has a few projects listed. Pre-registration required.

    This & That….

    Our ACCESS Talent Show audition sign up deadline has been extended to January 24. Please encourage students to SIGN UP. Email dharkness@pps.net with any questions.


    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 dharkness@pps.net with any questions.

    Spelling Bee

    Congratulations to the following spellers who will advance to the school-wide “spell off” on Friday, February 5, at 9:30 am:

    4th grade:

    • Dahlia C
    • Myles D
    • Phoebe N
    • Evelyn N-G
    • Gar P
    • Cormac R

    5th grade:

    • Corey C
    • Emily D
    • Ramona S
    • Peiyi W

    6th grade:

    • Talla B
    • Eric C
    • Finley C
    • Zan O'L
    • Daniel P
    • Colin Y

    7th grade:

    • Raphael B
    • Nate C
    • Kirin C-S
    • Manu I
    • Eliot L

    8th grade:

    • Jenny C
    • Sophie J
    • Oscar J
    • Finnian R
    • Ashley R


    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

  • Our Country Today

    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.

    • Helping Students Process the 2020 Elections - Approaches to having difficult conversations with students:


    • Helping Students Process the 2020 Elections Best Practices and Resources


    • Difficult Event: Community Circle Discussion Plan


    • Morning Meeting following a Difficult Event


    • Teaching Tolerance: Let’s Talk: Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics with Students


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