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 Chief Joseph Elementary Families,

    As we wrap up this school year and move into summer, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours the very best. May your summer be a safe, healthy and happy one! 

    We would like to congratulate our students on completing another successful school year, and wish our outgoing 5th graders the best in their future endeavors and academic pursuits. We are very proud of our students.  I also want to share my appreciation for all of the hard work, dedication and perseverance that our teachers and staff consistently demonstrate to the children we serve. We accomplished a lot this year and will continue to build on the strength of our community. It truly is special to attend a neighborhood school where your classmates are your neighbors, and families come together to build a community within the school as well as the larger surrounding community.  A special thank you to families, who continue to support our school at home, and through communication and volunteering with the school.

    The academic calendar for the 2024-25 year is out and posted on the district website. The first day of school for our 1st- 5th grade students will be Tuesday, August 27th.  Parents should expect to receive a welcome back letter from the school in mid August with preliminary class placements and back to school information.  


    Kindergarten will have a ramp-up schedule to help with the transition to school during the last week of August; this schedule will be mailed to families in August.  The first full day for all kindergarten students is Tuesday, September 3rd.


    The district has set the Community Care’s day where we will have a work party at the school on Saturday, August 17th from 9am – noon. We hope that you can mark your calendar and join us for this annual tradition.  


    I also want to remind parents of the big shift in the student day.  Next year, the student day will begin at 8:00 am, with the doors opening at 7:55.  Breakfast will be provided in the cafeteria beginning at 7:45.  Due to the change in start time, we will no longer have morning supervision on the playground and ask that parents supervise students before school.  Students not with an adult will be asked to go to the cafeteria where they can be supervised.  


    We will continue to be a CEP school, which means breakfast and lunch will continue to be free for all students.  There are still a number of moving parts when it comes to staffing, as we are impacted by layoffs and seniority across the district.  I will be able to tell you more in August.



    Amber Gerber



District News

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  • McDaniel Junior Takes Top Honors in State Solo Music Contest

    When Beckham Weatherby picks up his tuba, the rest of the world falls away. 

    “I don’t get that nervous and I don’t get stage fright at all,” he said. “I guess I got lucky with how my body reacts to performing in front of crowds.”

    Which is something the McDaniel High School junior has done quite a bit of lately. Not only is he a member of the prestigious Portland Youth Philharmonic (PYP) and the PYP conservatory orchestra, but he recently earned first prize in the tuba solo performance category at the Oregon State Solo Music Championships.

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  • Bon Voyage, Miss Ellie: Teacher Retires After 50 Years at PPS

    Miss Ellie helps students hold a chick.

    The first things you notice when you walk into Ellie Jensen’s classroom at Boise-Eliot/Humboldt Elementary School are peace and warmth. Then you hear the laughter of children. Then you just might see two posters hanging on the walls that tell you a great deal about the kind of teacher she has been for the past 50 years. The posters simply say, “Leave a little sparkle wherever you go” and “Be a friend.”

    Jensen, known as “Miss Ellie” to the hundreds of students she has taught in her half a century as a Portland Public Schools educator, can’t help but light up a room. And she is a friend to all children. 

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  • Food Pantry Gets a Makeover, Courtesy of McDaniel’s CTE Art Students

    We dare you to drive by the Mainspring Food Pantry on the corner of 82nd Avenue and Fremont and not do a double take. Or a triple take. 

    Students from McDaniel High School’s art-focused Career Technical Education (CTE) class have spent the last four weeks turning the exterior walls of the pantry into one, huge, joyful mural as part of the course’s exploration of climate justice and community engagement.

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  • Earthstock Brings the Joy to the Crystal Ballroom

     Two students dance at Earthstock 2024.

    A little over 30 years ago, a Madison High School student named Joseph Janson had a simple wish. He wanted to go to a dance. But nothing was simple for Joseph, who was born with Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy and was confined to a wheelchair. 

    He confided his wish to Tony Nitz, who at that time was an educational assistant at Madison (now Leodis V. McDaniel High School). Tony had been working one-on-one with Joseph for months and he immediately went about making the young man’s dream come true.

    “The truth is, I would have done anything for Joseph,” Nitz said. “He was a unique person, and we had a very special bond.”

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