• Welcome Letters 2022-23

    Kindergarten: Christi, Karen & Lauren

    Dear Families,

    Welcome again to Creative Science School!  We are your kindergarten team - Christi Braun, Lauren Wahl-Stephens, and Karen Hadley - and we are so excited about the year ahead! We have two kindergarten classes, led by Lauren or Christi, with Karen supporting both groups. Look for an email in August letting you know who your child’s teacher will be.

    Kindergarten is such a magical time of growth and exploration.  We strive to create classrooms that are play based,  constructivist learning spaces, grounded in strong relationships.  Kids are active learners, empowered to ask questions and solve problems together.  We will support their growth as independent thinkers and caring community members.  We look forward to partnering with you on this journey. 

    To help us get off to a smooth start, our year will begin with a virtual orientation meeting for adults, individual visits for each child and family and a first day of school with a smaller group of classmates. 

    • Virtual Kindergarten Orientation meeting for adults - August 29th
    • Kindergarten Ramp-Up: August 30th-September 2nd:
    • Individual visits (child/family and teacher) - August 30th-31st
    • Half class attends for a full day - September 1st
    • Other half class attends for a full day - September 2nd
    • Full class attends together - beginning on September 6th

    In late August, we will have more details to share about the virtual orientation meeting, signing up for individual visits and a schedule for who attends on each of the half class start days.  (In case you are already thinking about school supplies- all your child will need is a backpack, water bottle and lunchbox.)

    In the meantime, you're invited to summer park playdates hosted by the CSS PTA!  This is a great way to connect with kids and families in our school community.  K-1 playdate schedule 2022

    We are excited to begin our kindergarten adventure together!


    Christi Braun, Lauren Wahl-Stephens and Karen Hadley


    1st Grade: Sharon & Wade

      June 14th, 2022

    Hello 1st graders and families, 


    Welcome to 1st grade! The first grade team is  so excited to get to know you all very soon! This will be our second year working closely together as a 1st grade team, and we will be continuing to develop our curriculum collaboratively around a constructivist philosophy. 


    We take learning and teaching very seriously and with that, we believe learning should be fun! In first grade we will have plenty of fun together reading, writing, creating and questioning the world together. We will invest time into the start of the school year to learn more about ourselves, each other, and our shared space. We will set up our classroom to be the shared space we ALL feel safe, valued and seen in.  We will focus on identity and valuing who we are and who our classmates are, appreciating our likes and differences and the gifts each and every student brings to the classroom community.  We will also be continuing along our path of literary growth and mathematical thinking- picking up from wherever we are right now. Our goal is to meet your child wherever they are and support them to continue moving forward. We will do much of this through a constructivist lense as we strive to think critically, be courageous problem solvers, and continually ask questions and challenge the thinking of ourselves and others.


    Have a wonderful summer and we can’t wait to meet you all in the fall,




    Sharon Mendels (Pronouns: She/her) 

    Wade Kelley (Pronouns: He/him)

    (See back for information about supplies) ⇢


    1st Grade Supplies


    CSS first graders use community supplies. In order to take advantage of teacher and bulk discounts, we ask for monetary donations for supplies instead of families going out and purchasing items individually for their child. Our suggested donation is: $30.   (see SAMPLE list below – please do not purchase supplies). 


    Any and all donations will be deposited into our class accounts and used for supplies for our 1st grade classrooms throughout the school year. If you prefer, you can directly deposit through:

     https://pps.schoolpay.com/link/Supplies-Sharons Class




    The two things we do ask every 1st grader to have for the first day of school is:

    - a backpack labeled with name (please, no wheels)

    - a plastic or metal, easily-opened-and-closed water bottle labeled with name (please have your child practice opening and closing, as well as refilling!)


    Sample list of what a 1st grader would need for one school year’s worth of supplies (please do not purchase supplies; this is for reference only! *Prices from Target):


    12 yellow #2 pencils (Papermate/Dixon Ticonderoga) $2.79

    24 count box Crayola crayons $2.99

    24 count box Crayola colored pencils $2.99

    10 count box Crayola broad line markers $3.14

    10 count box Crayola fine line markers $3.14

    2 black Sharpies “The Original” $1.97

    6 Elmer’s non-jumbo glue sticks $2.91

    1 box Scotch tape dispenser refill $2.39

    1 roll masking tape $2.44

    1 roll duct tape $2.39

    1 large box tissues $1.57

    1 box gallon Ziploc bags $2.99

    1 box sandwich Ziploc baggies $2.29

    Total = $34!!

    Thank you so much for your support!

    Sharon and Wade


    2nd Grade: Brandi & Molly


    2nd grade

    2nd grade

    Hello families! 


         Welcome to 2nd grade!  My name is Molly Mac Neill and I will be your child’s second grade teacher. This will be my sixteenth year teaching and my eigth year at CSS.  Previously, I taught 2nd grade at Rigler Elementary in Portland and 4th grade at Ruus Elementary in San Francisco.  

         I have 3 children of my own.  Callum just graduated from the University of Oregon and is back at home figuring out next steps.  Cade is attending Portland Community College and Charlotte will be a senior at Grant High School.  Our house is full of humans, but that is not all.  We have 2 dogs and 2 cats, too!   Our pets are pretty great.  You will hear about them alot this year.  Their names are Dillon (dog), Boone (dog), Molly (yes, my cat’s name is Molly 😀), and Katie (cat).

         I love teaching at CSS for some many reasons.  Of course, the kids make it great!  Couple that with supportive families and the collaborative staff and this place is wonderful.  What drew me here in the first place is the constructivist philosophy as well as the use of Storyline to implement the curriculum.  Constructivism is at the root of my teaching and learning.  It drives my planning and my reflection every day.  And, Storylines are fun and engaging.  2nd graders loves stories!  What better way to learn the curriculum! 

        2nd grade is the best!  In our class we will play and we will learn.  We will ask questions and explore.  We will look for opportunities that excite us, and solve all kinds of problems as we learn and grow.  In our class, we will work together to create a warm and caring classroom community where everyone feels supported, validated, trusted and connected.  In our class we will have fun! 

        I hope you all had a wonderful summer.  I am looking foreward to seeing you all soon!



    Molly Mac Neill



                                               2nd Grade Supply List  

    Hello Families,


     Instead of sending you to the store to get classroom supplies which can end up being a lot, I am asking for $35 to go towards class community supplies. This way I can purchase specific items we need all year long. Also, I just don’t have the space to store all of the great stuff all at once.


    This is a suggested donation. If it is too much for your family, just give what you can. If you are a family that can give more, extras can make up for those who can’t.  

    Cash or checks written to CSS can be given to Lacy in the office or you can pay by visiting school pay at: https://pps.schoolpay.com/link/MollySupplies 


    Here are the items I purchase throughout the year with your generous donations: Crayons, pencils, pencil sharpeners, colored pencils, glue sticks, erasers, post it notes, markers, dry erase boards, folders, and composition books. 


    Hopefully, this will reduce the stress of back to school shopping.


    If you would rather buy other items for the classroom instead, here is a list of additional items I could use:

    • Boxes of tissues

    • Cleaning Spray

    • Hand sanitizer

    • Band-aids

    Thank you so much for your support!




    3rd Grade: Katie & Allison





    4th Grade: Megan & Katy

    4th grade



    5th Grade: Lydia & Laura

    Hello 5th grade families-

    We want to introduce ourselves as your fifth grade team.  We are so excited to meet you in August.  Look for a postcard from CSS with your teacher assignment. We can’t wait to hear all about your summer.

    My name is Laura Bullard and this will be my third year teaching 5th grade at Creative Science school. I came to CSS because of our mission and vision.  Constructivism is at the core of my teaching and learning, and I am really excited to continue working on writing and implementing curriculum through the Storyline method.  Fifth grade has a lot of wonderful units of study.  We will do so many cool projects in science, read tons of amazing books, do lots of writing, and of course explore many complex math concepts.  I have one son, Leo, who will be a fourth grader when I meet you all, but he doesn’t go to CSS.  We are on three different school schedules because my husband, Travis, is also a fifth grade teacher. It can be hectic, but we love our school holidays together and summers.  We do a lot of camping, paddle boarding, canoeing, taking our dog, Echo, to the river, and lots of playing in our backyard in the summer.  I also love to garden and catch up on my own reading in the summer.  A few things that I love most about  fifth grade is reading aloud to you all and science inquiry.  I know we are going to have a wonderful year together and I can’t wait, well, I mean after we all rest up over the summer! 

    Hello, my name is Lydia Barnhart, this is my first year at Creative Science and I’m really excited to join this community and honor the CSS vision. I was last teaching fourth grade at Vestal Elementary, so I look forward to moving into fifth grade with you with a strong understanding of what you were just learning. I’ve been a part of the Portland educational community in a variety of ways and have experience with outdoor education, early learning, and was a camp director for years, so I enjoy bringing skills from those experiences into the classroom. In my free time I love to hike, read, and paint. I look forward to learning more about all of you and your interests! See you in the fall!

    Instead of sending you to the store for school supplies, we’re asking for a $30 donation for supplies for the year.  This will go towards items like composition books, markers, colored pencils, folders, pencil pouches, etc.  If this is too much, please donate what your family can and if you can donate more, that will help balance the cost. Please use School Pay, which is located under Teachers & Staff on our school website or send a check addressed to CSS to the office (please indicate supplies for Lydia or Laura). 

    We hope you all have a wonderful summer!  

    Laura & Lydia




    Hello CSS families and students,

    As a new teacher, it was a pleasure to meet your students in my science classes and CSS families during conferences. We had over 24 CSS students as members of the Chess Club in 2021-2022. The upcoming 2022-2023 school year will provide an opportunity to study new units in my science classes. Below is a glance at what we will cover for 7th and 8th grade science:

    Q1: Chemistry of Materials

    Unit Question: What are the environmental impacts of producing, using, and disposing of materials?

    Students develop and use models to describe the composition of different materials and how those materials respond under various conditions. 

    Q2: Land, Water and Human Interactions

    Unit Question: Which areas of Boomtown are the best choice for construction?

    Students construct explanations based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface.

    Q3: Geological Process

    Unit Question: Where should we store our nuclear waste?

    Students learn about both gradual and sudden changes to the Earth’s surface, what causes them, and how they are monitored. They also explore how different kinds of rocks are formed and learn about some natural resources, where we find them, and how we use them.

    Q4: Ecology

    Unit Question: What are the effects of introduced species, and what can be done about them?

    Students explore  potential impacts of ‘introduced species’ through the use of models and by analyzing and interpreting data on introduced species. Finally, they consider potential solutions for controlling invasive species.


    We also look forward to hosting Chess Club again, starting in the Fall 2022 with the same organization “Chess for Success” guiding the chess program.

    Have an amazing summer!

    Warm regards,

    Ms. Senge