Principal's Message

  • da Vinci Celebrations!

    Dear da Vinci Families & Friends,

    I hope you are well. Thank you Capstone A performers and staff for an amazing show! Connections beautifully showcased your talent, creativity, compassion, humor, and ensemble. Your extraordinary effort and risk-taking make us proud.  Visual Art students, your work added another dimension. Congratulations all!

    Dragon’s Fire, da Vinci Arts Middle School’s Literary Review is brilliant! Now on our website, it includes superb writing and artwork from over 90 students. Congratulations also to our twelve Creative Writing Capstone students: Alex Barry, Nick Berkson, Elliana Hanna, Delilah Hartwell, Olivia Nally, Sierra Nelson, Lilith Neuse-Kartmazov, Gabriel Robinson, Jack Schneiger, Silas Schoenborn, Ella Van Schoick, and Vince Wilson. To all Dragon's Fire writers and artists, thank you for sharing your imagination, wisdom, and skill. Special Thanks to Advisor and Editor Alison Lanigan and her husband Steve Lanigan for the formatting. Brava, Bravo All!  Enjoy, here is the link: Dragon's Fire

    Okailey Afroso and Ana Paloma Whiteman were recently honored at the Oregon Alliance of Black School Educators Banquet (OABSE) at Concordia College. Guest speaker Lou Radja, Executive Director of EduCongo was truly inspirational as he talked about the critical importance of education. Caleb Washington was similarly honored at PPS’s K-12 celebration of Young, Gifted & Black last Wednesday evening. Congratulations, and thank you for being outstanding da Vinci students and citizens.
    The annual da Vinci Spring Music Concert was awesome! Each year, as a team, Music Director Mark Gerolami, Sara Daley, and African Drumming Teacher Hakim Muhammad, have taken our music program to new heights. Beginning Band, Jazz Band, Trogdor, African Drumming, Choir and Advanced Band shared their talents complete with Mr. G. donning a Star Wars cape and helmet for the final selection. Awesome work, Thank you all!
    Special thanks to Melissa Mulder-Wright, Kelda, Jessica, and students who are continuing to make our da Vinci Dragon the talk of the town!  

    Thank you to Jason Hieggelke, a community volunteer, Sheli and Jim Bryan, parents, and students for clearing blackberry bushes from our da Vinci Water Garden.

    The da Vinci Foundation is over half way to reaching our goal of raising $15,000 by Friday, June 8th. As your gift will still be matched up to $5,000, PLEASE HELP us meet or exceed our goal. 

    1. Donate directly (A recurring Monthly donation OR a One Time Gift) through All Hands Raised using the following link:  Click on the red DONATE button and make sure you “Select” "da Vinci Arts Middle School” OR 

    2. Write a check made out to the “da Vinci Foundation” and give it to Liz or Sheli in the Main Office.

    Enjoy our last week, and thank you! 

    The da Vinci Foundation

  • Foundation News Flash!


    Dear da Vinci Families,

    I hope you are well. 

    News Flash: From our Fall ASK Campaign, our Hamilton Ticket Raffle, and our da Vinci Auction, your generous contributions have helped the da Vinci Foundation raise ~$58,576! Wow, …THANK YOU so much for believing in our vibrant arts focus option program. It is your voices and donations that enable da Vinci to thrive. 
    As our PTSA and Foundation shared in response to Superintendent Guerrerro’s email, your powerful and respectful advocacy was huge and so appreciated! To secure additional funding for staffing for the 2018-19 school year, our goal is to raise $15,000 by June 8th. 

    Our Incentive: Two very generous donors have given us a $5,000 Dollar for Dollar Match! 
    • 8th grade families, please consider Paying it forward;
    • 7th & 6th grade families, please consider investing in your child’s future; 
      • Up to $5,000 your donation will be matched dollar for dollar.       
      • All donations, large and small, help us towards our goal: 
    Here are two options:
    1. Donate directly (A recurring Monthly donation OR a One Time Gift) through All Hands Raised using the following link:  Click on the red DONATE button and make sure you “Select” "da Vinci Arts Middle School” OR 
    2. Write a check made out to the “da Vinci Foundation” and give it to Liz or Sheli in the Main Office.

    Thank you for making our community a special place to learn and grow. 
    The da Vinci Foundation
  • Visual Art & Writing Capstone!

    Dear da Vinci Families, 

    On Wednesday afternoon, with roses for every Capstone student, parents, grandparents, siblings and friends, celebrated the prolific and wonderful work of our 8th grade Visual Arts and Creative Writing students. In addition to their vibrant, colorful artwork and prose, every artist and writer wrote a statement describing themselves and their art. Their writing is real, humorous, and profound.  The 2D and 3D art embraces you with color, skill, and wonderings. Thank you all for your bold, expressive imaginations and creative talent. Congratulations, Brava, Bravo!

    Earlier on Wednesday, for our May heArt Learning, Advanced Drama students took original monologues by Creative Writing students and created a compelling piece about school cell phone and technology use. The humor, ambiance, and poignant thought-provoking moments captivated the audience. That night, the documentary film Screenagers was very well attended and gave us all excellent information and strategies to find a healthy screen-time balance. Thank you, students and our PTSA. 

    Ms. Wasson’s Ashland Trippers were lauded again for their outstanding behavior and enjoyed three incredibly amazing productions at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival last week. The 6th graders and staff had a great week at Outdoor School as learning and building community took center stage.

    Deputy Superintendent Curtis’ email yesterday was a welcome summary of the continued ACCESS process. From attending the PPS School Board’s Budget Listening session at Martin Luther King (MLK) Elementary on Tuesday evening, I gained a new appreciation for the particular complexity of this important decision. MLK staff and parents implored the Board to move forward with the North and Northeast boundary review process and a Focus Option school review, as current boundaries keep MLK’s enrollment small. Comments from the Boise Elliot-Humboldt community also echoed the persuasive theme that a truly equitable high-quality education is only possible when right-sized schools are a reality. Currently, until these issues are addressed, it’s schools with predominantly underserved Black and Brown students who are most impacted by the need for right-sizing. Compounded by the recent Bond shortfall, and significant cuts to the PPS Central Office, the School Board is grappling with numerous hard choices.  

    Thank you for ALL your advocacy and letters on behalf of keeping da Vinci a shining arts focus option school without having to share our building space. To continue to respectfully advocate for the ACCESS community to be housed elsewhere is entirely appropriate and recommended until a clear decision has been made that enables all school communities to move successfully forward. 

    Thank you for your patience, for expressing your belief in our unique community, and supporting an outstanding and equitable education for all PPS students. 

    Have a great weekend, and strongly encourage your students to do their very best work in our remaining three weeks. 

    Finish strong!




  • Instagram Posts

    Dear da Vinci Families,

    At 7:15 am this morning, the School Board, the Assistant Superintendent, and the Deputy Superintendent were sent an email message by an ACCESS parent that states: "da Vinci students are posting cruel messages about ACCESS kids on Instagram."

    This unfortunate development in our otherwise heartfelt messages in support of our community is extremely disappointing. To help ALL our students understand that our words and actions matter greatly, I shared this information with our staff. Our Social Studies teachers agreed to share and discuss this with their students today. Specifically, I asked them to HELP ALL of their students UNDERSTAND the following: 

    —It is critical that as an entire community (24/7), our words and actions are respectful, Safe, Fair and Friendly.

    —This unacceptable posting (and any other such negative commentary) critically hurts da Vinci AND IS hurtful to others. 

    Thank you in advance for reinforcing the importance of positive messaging. This is a great learning opportunity for us all. 

    With the recent Spring Dance Concert, the Musical, the GSA Summit, the Visual Art Capstone, and Spring Music Concert on the horizon, we have so much to celebrate. Help us ensure that our art and academic learning speak for themselves, and this always includes our compassion and empathy for all.

    Finally, it behooves us to be positive, patient, and give the district time to respond. As more information is available, I will share it.  

    Thank you for your children, and all you do for our community.


  • 1st Period Message to Students

    Good morning da Vinci Families,

    I hope you are well, and enjoying this gorgeous sunshine.

    I wanted to share with you that immediately after the daily Bulletin is read this morning at 8:45 am, I am asking teachers to read the following to our students:

    Good morning da Vinci. Today is the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine School shooting. The act of violence resulted in the deaths of 12 students and one staff member. On March 14th, PPS supported students in visibly and safely honoring lives lost to gun violence as a school community. The message from the district about today is different. 

    As the Deputy Superintendent wrote, 'When students choose to leave or walk out during the school day, we are not able to guarantee their safety.' Furthermore, we will be supporting the important learning activities that are planned in classes throughout the day.

    To be clear please understand the following:

    1)     For any student who leaves the building today, an Unexcused Absence will be recorded;

    2)     Any student who impedes the functioning of our school and classroom activities (for example, making a lot of noise so it is hard for others to concentrate) risks having their family called to pick them up;

    3)     Any student who is disruptive today, may lose the opportunity to represent da Vinci in public, such as upcoming field trips like Alvin Ailey, Ashland, and the Eight-Grade Trip.   


    Please know that I value your perspectives, respect your passions, and genuinely believe that you will fully respect one another and our school community. Thank you in advance for being Safe, Fair, and Friendly.     --Mr. Locke 

    Families, thank you in advance for your support.


  • Friday, National School Walkout Day

    Dear da Vinci families, 
    I hope this finds you well. I am writing to check in regarding this coming Friday, April 20. It is the anniversary of the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, and some groups have designated this as a National School Walkout Day. It is my understanding that a number of da Vinci students are planning to participate. As Deputy  Superintendent Yvonne Curtis shared with you in her email on Monday, "safety is our top priority, however, we are not able to authorize activities in which students leave campus." 
    Should your student choose to leave class and the building, it will be recorded as an “unexcused absence.” Furthermore, I will be requesting that all students respect the rights of one another and understand the importance of not disrupting learning. As we live in a residential neighborhood, my hope is that da Vinci students will be respectful of our neighbors and local businesses. PPS will have a central "hotline” for parents and others to call with questions or concerns: 503-916-6600. Please monitor communications in the event that you are notified to pick up your student(s). 
    We would very much appreciate if you will talk to your student(s) about your expectations for them this coming Friday, 4/20. Today our heArt Learning guest artist Leslie Lee addressed this topic and is having students make a small paper soul box in remembrance of a victim of gun violence. The “Soul Box” Soul Box Project is a powerful artistic response to gun violence, and we hope to add to the 8,000 soul boxes that have been made thus far and will be displayed at the State Capital in Salem. 
    Thank you for your amazing children.
    Fred Locke
  • See YOU at the AUCTION- Get your tickets NOW!

    Good evening, da Vinci families, 

    We're just FIVE DAYS AWAY FROM OUR ANNUAL AUCTION and I hope to see many of you there. This is always a spectacular event and its importance for our fundraising efforts for the year is HUGE. There is something for every budget and tickets are just $35, which covers dinner and drinks. There is amazing entertainment lined up thanks to our Arts staff and student groups. 

    Many thanks to our auction volunteers for managing all the details involved. It's sure to be a fun time. Please get your tickets today and plan to join us: 

    Sunday, 4/15, 5 to 8 pm at BodyVox, 1201 NW 17th

    Get your tickets HERE

    Thank you in advance! 

    Fred & Auction Team

  • Once Upon a Mattress, WOW!

    Dear da Vinci Families and Friends, 

    I hope you are well. It is da Vinci Spring Musical time, and you won’t want to miss the delightfully brilliant Once Upon a Mattress! 

    Enjoy the fantastical dreamy set, musical accompaniment, and wonderful performances by ALL cast and crew! This “Castle in the Clouds” will warm your heart, mesmerize you with charm, beguiling humor, and sheer fun that is a total 10! 

    An absolute MUST SEE, don’t miss da Vinci Arts Middle School’s Once Upon a Mattress!!!

    Tonight, Friday at 7:00 pm

    Tomorrow at 2:00 pm

    Thursday, 3/15 at 7:00 pm

    Friday, 3/16, at 7:00 pm

    Saturday, 3/17 at 2:00 pm

    Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance for $10.00. It is only with these funds that we are able to bring you outstanding dramatic productions. Thank you in advance.

    Congratulations to Ms. Accuardi, Sara Martins, Chrissie Roccaro, Ted Gold, Allana Hylton, Sara Estrella, Brett Wilson, and Heidi Specher, for a wonderful show!


  • Bee, Honor Band & Choir, Jazz, and Master's Drama

    Dear da Vinci Family and Friends,

    Art excellence surrounds us at da Vinci. Sixth-grader Eben Dreher, last week won our 2018 Scripps Spelling Bee with assured confidence against a very talented field. Congratulations to Eben and ALL spellers, Ms. Young for her organization, and Ms. Wasson, Ms. Lanigan, and Judy Holmes for hosting our Bee.

    Last night at Madison High School, a number of our students participated in the PPS Honor Band and Choir. Kudos and Thanks to Mr. Mark Gerolami for his organization. Guest Choir Conductor Jason Sabino led Eva, Gemma, Lauren, Nola, Kiya, Callan, Alayja, Keya, Yukpa, Megan and other members in three beautiful pieces. Guest Band Conductor Mandy Burton, led Autum, Josephine, Silas, Abigail, Lincoln, Ibrahm, Kai, Gus, and Nick with well over 100 other Band members to rousing applause. Congratulations students, parents and Mr. Gerolami! 

    This morning, PDX Jazz announced their winners for their “Jazz in the Schools” education outreach program.  150 judges, including our own Liz Robbins, chose the most outstanding art created by 2,000 students in 14 schools and six school districts. Congratulations to Edith Crever of Ockley Green Middle School, whose art was chosen as the Grand Prize Winner!  Her brilliant work is now the commemorative poster of the 2018 Biamp PDX Jazz Festival and is the very first student-inspired PDX Jazz Festival poster. 19 da Vinci students were semi-finalists, and 3 of the 5 Middle School Finalists were da Vinci students. Congratulations to ALL semi-finalist, and Eleanor A, Daniel, and Aoife as finalists for their compelling pieces (please see attached image). 

    Tonight, don’t miss the last performance of Master’s Drama The Girl Who was 100 Girls by Finegan Kruckemeyer.  Yesterday’s riveting Teaser offered us a glimpse of the emotions experienced by a teenage girl whose sister is abducted. To close, Drama teacher Nicole Accuardi reminded us of the positive power of art to heal in response to the Florida high school tragedy. She reminded us of the importance of coming together in support of our amazing students and their art. We are all so fortunate to have each other, our community, and art.  

    Thank you All for your wonderful children.


  • Dance, Writing, & OCT Awards for 2018!

    Dear da Vinci Families,

    I hope you are all well. How many middle schools in the Pacific Northwest offer such a robust and compelling program? Coupled with strong academics and our nurturing learning environment, da Vinci continues to be a leader in arts education in the state of Oregon. Our focused and creative students demonstrate the power and importance of learning through art. 

    Dance Showcase

    If you attended the Dance 3-4 Showcase last night, the level of commitment, passion, and skill was inspiring. Deftly demonstrating three styles, our students shined in ballet, tap, and jazz as their teachers offered the enthusiastic audience a sampling of classwork and two performance pieces. Congratulations Dance 3 and Dance 4 students and Andrea Thompson, Sara Martins, and Claire Olberding—wonderful work!  Special thanks to graduate student Heidi Sprecher and students for their tech support. Parents, thank you for your talented and amazing children! 

    Scholastic Writing Awards

    As English and Creative Writing Teacher Alison Lanigan shares: “These awards are not JUST state awards, but they represent what Scholastic calls the 'West Region at Large.' The list of award winners includes 7th-12th grade students in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Montana.  In addition to our three Silver Key winners: Olivia Nally, poetry, "What She Took”; Twylo Landey, essay/memoir, "Love Letter”; Chloe Isaacman, short story, “Louisa”; outstanding da Vinci alumna and current Benson HS ninth grader Mac Bixby, won a GOLD KEY!!! Congratulations Ms. Lanigan and students!

    OCT's Young Playwrights for Change Regional Finalists

    Six da Vinci students are among eight regional finalists. Laila Vickers, Juni Muellner, Milan Clark, Silas Dermer, Nancy Malone Martin-Ptacin, and Zoe Hertlein have all been selected as finalists in Oregon Children Theatre’s (OCT) 10-minute playwriting competition! Congratulations ALL—GREAT WORK!

    As we continue to prepare for the da Vinci Auction, PLEASE consider becoming a Monthly Recurring donor. It is simple. Make a monthly donation of your choice, and it is automatically deducted from your checking account. For example: 

    • $5 monthly results in a $60 annual da Vinci Foundation tax-deductible contribution.
    • $10 monthly results in a $120 annual contribution.
    • $20 monthly results in a $240 annual contribution.

    da Vinci takes a village. Visit the All Hands Raised website and click on the red DONATE button. Make sure you select "da Vinci Arts Middle School.” 

    THANK YOU in advance. 

    The da Vinci Arts Middle School Foundation Team
  • EXTRA: Scholastic Visual Art & Writing Awards!

    Dear da Vinci Families and Friends, 

    Last week our visual arts teachers Kelda Van Patten and Jessica Hickey learned that their students won a total of 152 Metro Scholastic Art Awards including one American Vision Award. Our students won: 32 Gold Key Awards, 62 Silver Key Awards, and 58 Honorable Mentions in the following categories: Ceramics & Glass, Digital Art, Drawing & Illustration, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture. Congratulations ALL! 

    In conjunction with the Oregon Art Education Association, the non-profit Little Bird Arts organizes the annual Scholastic Art Awards to showcase outstanding K-12 visual art. As their website shares, “We believe in every student artist. We believe in the power of the arts to change lives. We believe in providing opportunities for student artists in our region to celebrate their creative talents.” 

    Now in her fourth year at da Vinci, please join me in also congratulating Ms. Kelda Van Patten, who was honored on Saturday, October 14, as the 2017 Oregon Art Education Association Middle School Teacher of the Year!  Kelda, who collaborated with X.K. Austin and the late Jasmine Spiegel for three years, and now Jessica Hickey, has ensured that visual arts instruction at da Vinci remains creative and inspiring.  

    Ms. Lanigan is also very pleased to announce that the following Creative Writing students all won Silver Key Scholastic Writing Awards: Olivia Nally, for her poem, "What She Took”; Twylo Landey, for his essay/memoir, "Love Letter”; and Chloe Isaacman, for her short story, “Louisa.” Congratulations!

    With equal excitement, special Kudos to eighth-grader Zoe Wright, who won an American Vision Award.  American Vision awards are considered to be the Best of Show.  Each of the category judges nominates 5 - 10 of what they consider to be the 'best' works in their category. The American Vision works are selected from those nominated Gold Key works. The American Vision works are selected by a separate jury of three. There are only a total of 5 American Vision awardees for the state, so this award is a tremendous honor! Congratulations to Zoe!!! You can view photos of the American Vision awardees and view all Scholastic Art Awards. 

    For further information on the different events honoring all Scholastic winners, including the Gold Key Award exhibit and reception at PNCA, and the Award Ceremony for all Scholastic winners (which is in Tualatin this year), please see the Little Bird Arts website. 

    Congratulations Kelda, Alison, Jessica, Zoe, and ALL! 


  • Holiday Greetings!

    Dear da Vinci Families,

    I hope this finds you all well and that you are thoroughly enjoying your holiday. I was fortunate to visit my mother and sisters family in Philadelphia, and connecting with loved ones here has been equally special. On Christmas Eve, I attended Oregon Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker, and want to give a shout out to our student performers for a wonderful production.  Congratulations to all students who participated in holiday performance.

    With the Arts Fair, Dance 1-2 Showcase, Winter Music Concert, and Talent Show, December showcased the artistic passion and talent of our students. Coupled with our strong academic program and supportive parents, I am continually thankful and proud to be a part of our vibrant da Vinci community. 

    Foundation update

    To all our 2017 donors, your generosity has been outstanding—THANK YOU! 

    As we look towards the New Year, if you have not already done so, PLEASE become a da Vinci Foundation donor, it feels great! Help us reach our 2017-18 goal of raising $85,000 to maintain our current program—one donation at a time. ALL donations made by December 31, 2017 are tax deductible

    Incentives: A year long recurring monthly donation of $10 and above or one-timeme donation of $50 and above will qualify for one of the Whitebird pair of tickets to either Jessica Lang Dance or Compañia Jesús Carmona

    Donate directly through All Hands Raised.  Click on the red DONATE button and make sure you “Select” "da Vinci Arts Middle School” 

    Happy Holidays & Happy New Year! 

    The da Vinci Foundation


  • AWESOME Music & Giving!

    Good morning da Vinci Families,

    Last night, Mark Gerolami, Sara Daley, Hakim Muhammad and da Vinci music students treated a full house to an outstanding evening of music! Beginning Band, Jazz Band, Trogdor, African Drumming, Choir, and Advanced Band shared their considerable talents and love of music in a wonderful mix of traditional, classic, fun and holiday tunes. In four years, Mr. Gerolami has challenged and supported students to create and enjoy being part of these special ensembles! Congratulations to ALL, and THANK YOU for sharing your musical gifts!

    Foundation update

    An enormous THANK YOU to ALL who have contributed to our FALL Ask campaign thus far.  

    To reach our da Vinci Foundation FALL Ask goal of raising $20,000 we are close but still need $2,800 by December 31st. As today is the last day you can drop off checks made out to the da Vinci Foundation, please join us”it feels so good to give and support our amazing students and community!”  —Claire Olberding

    By donating at the levels described below by December 31, 2018, you have a chance to win a pair of Whitebird tickets to see JESSICA LANG or COMPAÑIA JESÚS CARMONA in March, 2018.

    1) A year-long recurring Monthly donation of $10 and above OR 

    2) A One Time donation of $50 and above will qualify for one of the Whitebird pairs of tickets to either JESSICA LANG or COMPAÑIA JESÚS CARMONA.

    We are a creative and impressive village. It is only with your support that da Vinci remains an exceptional arts focus middle school. Please join us at a level that works for you:

    1.    Donate directly through All Hands Raised.  Click on the red DONATE button and make sure you “Select” "da Vinci Arts Middle School” OR

    2.    Write a check made out to the “da Vinci Foundation” and send or deliver to the da Vinci office (by December 31, 2017).

    Happy Holidays & Thank you!

    The da Vinci Foundation

  • News Flash!

    Dear da Vinci Families and Friends,

    On Friday, the two Dance 1-2 Showcases were fabulous! Congratulations to Claire, Sara, Andrea and participating students. The demonstrated skill and shared enthusiasm were priceless. It was another typically proud da Vinci evening. 

    On Saturday, December 2, our annual da Vinci Arts Fair was equally brilliant! Student and professional artists wowed and enticed shoppers to benefit our PTSA. As I shared at the Showcase, a hard working and talented group of parent volunteers made this happen. Please join me in giving a huge thank you to our Arts Fair Committee…you’re amazing! 

    Arts Fair Committee

    Chair/Communications - Shannon Rhoads

    Co-chair/Finance and Food - Vicky Medley

    Artist Liaison - Alison Schneiger & Diane Zipper

    Student Artist Liaison - Anne Taylor

    Volunteer Coordinator - Sabrina Henley

    Signage, Decorations, Music - Sierra Nash Bird

    Donations - Jennifer Heilbronner

    Thank you Gifts - Noemi Hicks

    Miscellaneous Support - Pam Grahn

    da Vinci Foundation FALL ASK NEWS FLASH!!! 

    On Friday, we secured a dollar for dollar match for up to $3,000. As Dance Department Claire Olberding shared at the Showcase, “it is not great that we have to ask, but it is our reality and it feels sooooooo good to give.”   

    Please join us, double your gift, and help us reach our Fall ASK campaign goal of $20,000 by Friday, December 15. 

    Added Incentives: 

    By donating at the levels described below by December 31, 2018, you have a chance to win a pair of Whitebird tickets to see JESSICA LANG or COMPAÑIA JESÚS CARMONA in March, 2018.

    1) A year-long recurring Monthly donation of $10 and above OR 

    2) A One Time donation of $50 and above will qualify for one of the Whitebird pair of tickets to either JESSICA LANG or COMPAÑIA JESÚS CARMONA.

    We are a creative and impressive village. It is only with your support that da Vinci remains an exceptional arts focus middle school. Please join us at a level that works for you:

    1.    Donate directly through All Hands Raised.  Click on the red DONATE button and make sure you “Select” "da Vinci Arts Middle School” OR

    2.    Write a check made out to the “da Vinci Foundation” and send or deliver to the da Vinci office (by December 31, 2017).

    Prior to the Showcase, the da Vinci Foundation has raised: $10,788.  Double your contribution and help us reach $20,000 by Friday!  To maintain current levels of staffing, our 2017-18 goal is $85,000. 

    A HUGE THANK YOU to ALL our donors, you’re AWESOME! 

    The da Vinci Foundation 

  • dV Foundation's GIVING TUESDAY!

    Dear da Vinci Families and Friends,

    It is “Giving Tuesday” and as part of our dV Foundation FALL ASK campaign, we are asking for your support. In return, here two wonderful incentives. 

    By donating at the levels described below by December 31, 2018, you have a chance to win a pair of Whitebird tickets to see Jessica Lang or Compañia Jesús Carmona in March 2018.

    • A year-long recurring monthly donation of $10 and above OR 
    • A one-time donation of $50 and above will qualify for one of the Whitebird pairs of tickets to either Jessica Lang or Compañia Jesús Carmona.

    To maintain our current program, each year our goal is that 100% of our families donate at a level that works for them. Here are two options:

    • Donate directly through All Hands Raised. Click on the red DONATE button and make sure you select "da Vinci Arts Middle School” or
    • Write a check made out to the “da Vinci Foundation” and send or deliver to the da Vinci office (before December 15).

    Thank you, Walter Jaffe and Paul King of Whitebird Dance!

    Thank you, da Vinci Families for supporting our wonderful community and enabling us to maintain current levels of staffing.

    Yours sincerely,

    Beth Woods with Melissa Gaddis, Brian Schaeperkotter, Lara Raban, and Fred Locke

  • Valuing Multiple Perspectives

    Dear da Vinci Families, 
    I hope you are all well and enjoying this season of giving, love, and thanks. I am so grateful to be part of the da Vinci community. Collectively we have many strengths, and the recent performances of Romeo & Juliet brilliantly captured our passion for arts education and our need to lead with love. Historically we have always prided ourselves on our ability to be a caring and inclusive community that openly embraces and celebrates our differences and respects differing opinions.
    It was recently brought to my attention that some students, on social media, are being mean-spirited toward our student protester. This is not the da Vinci way. During this time of Thanksgiving, I hope that we can all value and respect one another. 
    Wishing your families the very best for this lovely Thanksgiving Holiday!
  • Fall Foundation ASK Campaign

    Dear da Vinci Families:

    Greetings! The da Vinci Foundation is excited to kick off their Fall ASK Campaign. With amazingly generous support from all grade levels, last year, the da Vinci Foundation raised $84,655.  Our short term goal is to raise over $20,000 by Friday, December 16th.  This year, Foundation dollars are supporting the following critical positions: 

    • Dance position
    • One section of English Language Arts
    • African Drumming
    • Maintaining our Tech Support position 

    Since July 1, through recurring monthly donations, Challenge Pot Sponsors (donations from $200-2,000), and one time donations, our current 2017-18 Foundation total is $8,255.38. 

    On behalf of all da Vinci students and staff, please join current donors and make a donation today! For the Challenge Pot Sponsor funds to be matched, we need 50 families to join us.  

    Here are viable options:

    Donate directly to All Hands Raised or write a check made out to the “da Vinci Foundation” and give it to Liz or Sheli in the Main Office.

    To use the All Hands Raised website, click on the red DONATE button and make sure you  select "da Vinci Arts Middle School;” You may then chose to either give a:

    • Recurring Monthly Donations: deduct the amount you chose to give ($10, $20, $50 etc.); 
    • One Time Donation: You give an amount that fits your budget 

    Why give to support all da Vinci students? 

    Only with your support are we able to maintain our incredible program beyond PPS staffing allocations. Beth Woods, our da Vinci Spring Auction, and 2017-18 Foundation Chair describes it this way:  

    "This is our family’s sixth and last year at da Vinci. For us, this community is very special and unique. Students are respected and safe, learning is challenging and adaptive, and students experience art as a means to thrive, grow, find their own voices and experience empowerment. Over the years, I have heard countless stories about kids who have come to da Vinci and experienced school differently for the first time in their lives: some find success for the first time; some are seen for the first time; others have their  passion for learning ignited and still others develop deep and lasting friendships for the first time in their lives through shared experiences. At da Vinci, school is more than a learning institution; it is a community where the whole child is recognized. I hope you will join me in helping to continue this for our students today and help build its legacy for future students."

    On behalf of the da Vinci Foundation and all our very deserving students, thank you. It takes a village, and as Nicole Accuardi shared last night at Romeo & Juliet, we are all so fortunate to be part of our amazing communityJoin us, as a proud contributor to the da Vinci Foundation 2017-18 Fall ASK Campaign. 

    Yours Sincerely,

    Beth Woods, Melissa Gaddis, Brian Schaeperkotter, Lara Raban and Fred Locke

  • October 10, 2017

    Good Afternoon da Vinci Parents,
    This morning I was alerted by a parent that some students were talking about a document they had seen online about a Fred E. Locke, Jr. whose educational license had been suspended by the State of Washington. Given the name likeness, I can understand why students would have been interested. However, please be assured that this case is about a different person. I also want to thank folks for bringing the issue to my attention and sincerely appreciate the concern. 
    If your child brings this up, please assure them that this information is about another person. 
    Thank you,
    Fred W. Locke, Jr.
  • Getting Ready for Locker Painting!

    Good morning da Vinci Families, 
    A huge THANK YOU to ALL the amazing volunteers who helped prime student Lockers last Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  Ms. Shumway’s 6th grade classes ALL wrote Thank Yous, and here two. Thank you to all of Ms, Shumway’s students for writing such thoughtful letters—they are wonderful! 
    “Dear Locker Priming Parents,
    Thank you for taking your own time to come and help us in the process of painting our lockers. Now everyone has a blank canvas and an opportunity to create art. We appreciate you coming so much. Thank you, we are extremely grateful."
    "Dear Locker Priming Parents,
    Thank you so much for creating a white canvas for us to paint our locker designs on. You guys really helped this happen and it means so much to us. Thank you for spending you time and contributing to the da Vinci community."
    To protect the floors from paint, TARPING is essential. We have tarps and tape, it is a big job, and so far we only have 6 folks signed up. 
    We would love to have your support; Here is the LINK to sign up OR just come and join us!!! We will start at 3:30 and work until we are finished. If you can spare an hour or more we love to have you join us. Many hands make light work. 
    We hope to see you After School.
    Thank you much,
  • September 27, 2018

    Dear da Vinci Families,
    Thank you for coming to Back to School Night, It was great to see you! I know teachers were excited to share an overview of the learning your students will engage in this year, and I appreciate the poise, and sense of being part of our da Vinci family that has emerged in these early weeks.  Collectively, we all make this a special place for your children to learn, work diligently, and grow. If you were unable to attend, here is the link to my Google Slides presentation. Here is a link to Counselor Katie Loewen’s webpage.
    With Locker Painting coming soon, here is some critical information. 
    Painting Lockers is a storied da Vinci community building tradition. As the upstairs lockers are old and have been painted for 21 years, to preserve them, we have been advised that we must strategically treat our one of a kind painted lockers with love and care. In addition to having broken lockers repaired, we are making slight adjustments to our “Locker painting” process. Your support and cooperation is critical as we move forward. On Friday, when students get their Locker Painting Design sheets, they will be asked to incorporate the following slight changes:   
    1. Students will ONLY DESIGN and PAINT the door of their locker;
      1. If students design more than one locker as a group, they will be allowed to carefully paint the adjacent frames.
    2. After students have finished painting, volunteers will paint the locker frames black to frame their design. Our hope is that this will minimize paint dripping and sticking the lockers shut, and it should also make it easier for students to open and close their doors. Our plan is that the black frames will not have to be painted each year, but only touched up. 
    3. ALL 3rd floor LOCKER HANDLES will be TAPED and NOT PAINTED prior to student painting. The 1st floor combination space will also be taped and is NOT to be PAINTED. By not painting 3rd floor locker handles, they should continue to function as is--without undue stress.  

    When: Friday,  Sept. 29th
    What: During 1st period students will learn about how to correctly design and later paint their Lockers.
    Monday, Oct 2:
    1. All CLASSIC Lockers and any other Lockers that are not to be primed MUST have SIGNS on them. 
    2. At 3:15 pm ALL students with Lockers on the 3rd Floor, will be asked to Take their locks and ALL valuables HOME. We NEED to have Locker Doors OPEN to prep them. 
    3. As soon as their locker door is primed, they will be able to use their Locker again.  
    When: Monday, Tuesday & Wed Evenings, 3:30 onwards (Oct. 2,3,4)
    What to bring: Painting clothes, favorite brushes, and painting rags
    We have: Primer, rollers, some brushes, and tape. 
    Our TASK:
    1. We will PRIME ALL non CLASSIC locker doors with white primer (as described above, the Locker frames will be painted AFTER students have finished painting their locker doors.  
    When: Tuesday, Oct. 10th, 3:30 onwards 
    1. TAPE ALL THE TARPS DOWN to protect the floors; 
    2. On Tuesday, TAPE ALL the 3rd Floor LOCKER HANDLES in preparation for painting on Wed.
    Thank you in advance for signing off on your student’s Locker Design, and supporting this exciting process.
    PLEASE SIGN UP to help PRIME or TARP at the following LINK:
    —Last year we had a wonderfully awesome and efficient team—it is TOTALLY fun! 

    Your support makes this great artistic learning experience possible. 

  • Principal's Welcome Week Letter to Families

    Dear da Vinci Families,

    Welcome to the 2017-18 school year! We hope you are well and had a wonderful summer and Labor Day. Thank you to all families for a very smooth start! Special thanks also to our amazing Main Office staff, Principal Secretary Liz Robbins and Student Secretary Sheli Bryan, for supporting enrollment/registration and new-school-year info packets coming home this week, Assistant Principal Alicia McMillen for addressing student schedule concerns and helping to balance class sizes, and the team of Counselor Katie Loewen and teacher Daniel Boettcher working with our totally awesome LEO Leaders for the fabulous Jump-Start Welcome for our newest students on Wednesday. We appreciated having the time to orient them to da Vinci, and families, we so appreciated the time you made to meet with us in the Library on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Please consider joining me each quarter for a family 'coffee-chat' in the Library. Keep your eyes open for dates, and we hope to see you there!
    As a staff, we are excited to reconnect with returning students and build supportive academic and artistic relationships with all our students. Across content areas, we strive to help students find their voice, and we know they thrive when they feel safe in a stimulating, challenging, and supportive learning environment. We trust that our arts-focus program and daily school-wide mindfulness practice will help us all maximize student learning across ALL disciplines.   

    This week, all students will learn or revisit our three guiding community school rules, "Be Safe, Be Fair, and Be Friendly.” through our annual Community Expectation Rotation Talks. When consistently practiced, these six words powerfully support our community. 
    On Wednesday and Thursday this week, 6th and 7th-grade students will rotate to different areas of our school to understand and internalize our high expectations, while 8th graders will meet with Arts teachers to review 8G Leadership Expectations and Capstone experience planning. Rewarding outstanding da Vinci citizenship is part of our school Climate and Culture work, and we appreciate the learning opportunities that exist through our restorative practices when words or actions that harm members of our community need to be addressed and resolved through repair of relationships and agreements for moving forward together. 
    Here are a few summer notables. 
    • At the Portland Drammy Awards, Nicole Accuardi received the  "Mary Brand Award from the Portland Civic Theatre Guild on behalf of da Vinci Drama in the amount of $2000 to purchase an electric piano for the department.” At the ceremony, composer Michael Allen Harrison offered to replace some of our older pianos through his non-profit Play it Forward. 
    • Tap teacher Sara Martins, whose Spring Musical and Dance Concert choreography is exceptional, choreographed and did a cameo dance performance in the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus The Divos. 
    • Promoted 8th grader Elizabeth Loomis won Young Audience’s annual Tee-shirt design contest. Kudos also to Jake Wooley, Sylvia Amoruso, and Lena Gonzales (who was among the top 7 finalist for the second year in a row). Congratulations all! 
    Please help me welcome the following new staff members. Francesca Wrobel will be teaching Math7 and Compacted2 for Kerry Bayne while she is on maternity leave. We are fortunate to have Jessica Hickey join us as our new 2D Visual Arts teacher and Andrea Thompson teaching Balletjoining Claire and Sara in the Dance Department. Finally, special thanks to our great Custodial Crew (Terry, Jada, and Bob) who worked tirelessly through the heat to ready our building for this exciting 2017-18 school year.   
    Thank you for your wonderful children, and for actively supporting our arts focus option learning community.   
    Fred Locke

  • Capstone & Foundation ASK...

    Dear da Vinci Families, 

    I hope you are all well.  

    Visual Art and Creative Writing Capstone 

    Yesterday afternoon, the Connie Cheifetz Gallery in the main Hall was a buzz of excitement and celebration for the 8th grade Visual Art and Writing Capstone exhibition opening.  Each Capstone student received a rose, and as students, parents, teachers, and friends mingled, the celebratory atmosphere was joyous and fun! Numerous parents commented on the outstanding work, and the rich diversity of expression and talent. From artist statements that described process and inspiration, to favorite destinations captured in black and white images, weaving, ceramic pieces, sculptures, painting, drawings, prints, prose and poetry, this accomplished work was outstanding!  Congratulations students and staff, Brava, Bravo! 

    Foundation ASK…

    As I shared at the Music Concert, this year budget cuts have demanded that we dig deep to retain as much of our current program as possible. The good news is that we have raised $69,163. This exceeds our initial goal of $60,000 but falls short of our revised goal of $80,000, once the extent of the cuts were known. 

    In the next two weeks, e hope to get as close to $80,000 as we can. To be specific, for the 2017-18 school year, our Foundation funds will help support the following positions: Math, English Language Arts, Dance, African Drumming, Library and a half of a secretarial position. Simply put, we need your continued support, and any and all donations: $10, $25, $50,  $100, $500 or more make a huge difference. 

    As outgoing 8th grade families have been particularly generous, having new 6th grade families join us to achieve 100% participation would be awesome! 


    • Paul King and Walter Jaffee of White Bird have generously donated a pair of excellent tickets to an upcoming show for their 2017-18 Whitebird Season. For any donation that is $100 or over, your name will be entered into a drawing that will take place on Monday, July 3, 2017.

    I strongly believe in our art focus da Vinci community. Please join me in writing another or a first Foundation check, and asking a relative or friend to match your donation. Donations to the foundation can also be made online.

    Thank you for your amazing children, and thank you in advance for supporting their most valued da Vinci education!



  • Musicians Shine & Capstone Opening!

    Dear da Vinci Families,


    Last Thursday, Beginning Band, Jazz Band, Trogdor, African Drumming Ensemble, Choir and Advanced Band, skillfully played and sang their way into the hearts of a large, appreciative, and enthusiastic crowd. The wonderfully eclectic Spring Music Program was memorable. 


    As Music Director Mr. Mark Gerolami shared throughout the concert, “each ensemble made great gains and collectively they were a pleasure to work with.” The level of difficulty by both Beginning and Advanced Bands was impressive, and it was very cool that 7th grader Mason McKinney-Best conducted the Beginning Band in Baroque Celebration. African Drumming students played great, and having teacher Hakim Muhammad join them for the finale was special! Spring Trogdor showcased new and familiar faces, and Sara Daley and Mark did a fabulous job showcasing their considerable talents. The Choir, singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah to closing with The Parting Glass arranged by Audrey Snyder received roaring approval as sonorous soloist and ensemble harmonies filled the auditorium. Brava, Bravo Mark, Hakim, Sara, and students for a brilliant evening of music!


    Today, from 3:30-4:30 PLEASE JOIN US for the 8th grade Visual Arts & Creative Writing Capstone Opening! 82 Visual Artists, and 10 Creative Writing students have created and presented their best work and it is exceptional! Meera Kreitzer, our Senior Director, after touring the exhibition, said “it was amazing, and the whole show should be on display at the BESC district administrative building.” She loved the richness, the distinctiveness of the art work, and the informative artist statements. She was equally impressed by the powerful, humorous, and raw heartfelt creative writing that goes far beyond their years. CONGRATULATIONS, and ultimate Kudos to Kelda, Jessica, Alison, Jasmine, Chelsea, Austin, and students for a wonderful exhibition. The team is dedicating this show to our beloved Jasmine R. R. Spiegel, and her parents will be in attendance. Awesome! 


    In other news, a huge THANK YOU to ALL of the eighth grade parent chaperones that made the Great Wolf Lodge Trip a major success. With high expectations, and friendly reminders from me and Sheli Bryan, Daniel Boettcher, and Heidi Sprecher, our students were strong da Vinci ambassadors and had a great time. Staff and parents completely appreciated the good spirits, cooperation, and fun that was had by all! 


    Don’t miss performing arts Capstone Show A from 1:00-3:00 pm Friday, June 2, and Capstone Show B on Friday, June 9th, at the same time. 


    Thank you for your wonderful children, and please help them finish strong!





  • A Perfect 10!

    Dear da Vinci Families,

     24 student poets, two rounds of amazing slams, five awesome judges, one entertaining Emcee, and a super supportive audience;  da Vinci’s Poetry Slam 2017 was a perfect 10!!!!

    Brava Ms. Wasson! Assembling an all-star crew of former students as judges, recruiting student Emcee Gabe Rosenfield, and Katie Loewen and Daniel Boettcher to compute scores—the cast was set. As is tradition, sacrificial poet Eli Carey set a high bar and there was no looking back! As Ms. Wasson shared after the first round, "these brave poets made us all laugh or cry!" 

    "It IS about the poetry not the points," reminded Gabe. CONGRATULATIONS poets: Sara Ownby, Skye Eichmiller, Hannah Ernst, Julian Geary, MJ Sasse, Lelya Vickers, Amber McConnell, Laila Deweese, Mia Miles-Avery, Telia Quiroz, Sophia (Thea) Morris, Meg Redwine, Nora Smith, Elsa Norling, Mac Bixby, Autumn Bascue, Yukpa Wright, Zadie Jones, Dashiel Rucka, Ollie River Satalich, Sarina Sanders, Alayja  Turner-Moore, Erandi Jones-Vega, and Mila Aldridge. THANK YOU for your eloquent, gutsy, heartfelt, funny, and thought-provoking words, you all were awesome!

    The second round, featuring the 10 highest scoring poets, competed for top honors. Like the first round, ALL the poets were outstanding and their slams, on topics ranging from race, semi-colons, sexual identity, social justice, to gut wrenching disappointment, featured stark and truthful words that rang true. The top three places went to five students. Tied for Third place were: Yukpa Wright and Dashiell Rucka, tied for Second place were Erandi Jones Vega and Hannah Ernest; and our da Vinci Arts Middle School Poetry Slam 2017 winner was MJ Sasse. Congratulations ALL!

    To conclude, Ms. Wasson asked the audience to give a rousing round of applause to the judges (Nona, four former students, including Alex Hernandez (our 2016 Winner), and a guest, Meredith Stewart (a friend of Mr. Boettcher’s). She also thanked Gabe, Katie and Daniel, student tech crew, staff members (many of whom coached some of the poets), and the audience for their wonderful and inclusive support. 

    Finally, the Slams this year were outstanding. Never before had their ever been a tie, and this year there were two. As Ms. Wasson shared, "It is a testament to how close the scores were," and the superlative quality of writing and the performances. “The poets were that GOOD!” 

    Brava, Bravo Ms. Wasson and ALL! THANK YOU for your tenacious and creative voices!  



  • Visual Art & Writing Capstone 2017, Brilliant!

    Dear da Vinci Families,

    After winning 155 visual art Scholastic Art & Writing Awards school-wide, it is not surprising that the 8th grade Capstone Show is outstanding! 

    Kelda, Jessica, Chelsea, Alison, Austin, and eighth grade Visual Arts and Creative Writing students invite you to enjoy the 2017 da Vinci Arts Middle School Capstone Exhibition. Now open in the Connie Cheifetz Gallery, the rich and creative artwork and artist statements are inspiring. The 2D images, the 3D soft and hard pieces, textile work, photography and creative writing, collectively speak to the time, passion and importance of sharing art. The teachers have a simple request: “Think about what these young artists and writers are communicating through their work.” Absorb their honest, fun and profound insights—their hearts and minds are open. 

    This year’s Capstone Exhibition is dedicated to our loving teacher, friend, artist, mentor, and colleague Jasmine R. R. Spiegel. In short, Jasmine would be thrilled with this "wonderful outpouring of creativity,” writes Kelda. Their collective work tells their story. With themes like “abstract nature, animals, playlist of songs, color, study of the face, fantasy, characters, magic, surrealism, fiber, global faces, moods and emotions, and with inspiration from Ansel Adams, the Renaissance, Vivian Maier, and Diego Rivera the pieces demonstrate creativity, skill, research and voice. 

    On Sunday, April 30, two da Vinci visual art students were honored by the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. Eighth graders Sophia Date and Tess Kelleher won First and Second Place respectively in the Middle School competition. The Sala Kryszek Art and Writing Contest honored 20 middle and high school students who responded to the following prompt: How could the Holocaust happen in a country like Germany, a country with abundant education and people who achieved great advancements in science, art, music, literature and philosophy? Do you think that something like this still happens in the world today? What steps can you take now and in the future to offset these events from taking place? Using what you have learned about the Holocaust, create a piece of writing or a work of visual art that reflects your response to the above questions. The resulting art and writing was powerful, evocative, and stunning. Notablely, Jasmine Spiegel’s aunt, Elaine Bacharach Coughlin, is the Board President of the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. Thank you for your excellent art and scholarship, and congratulations to Sophia and Tess. 

    The Capstone Reception Celebration is on Wednesday,  May 31, 3:30-4:30 pm. Please join us! In addition, the visual art and creative writing students have collaborated with performing art students on the Capstone Performance this year. In the Capstone Performances on June 2nd and June 9th, you may notice that many of the props, visual projections, song lyrics, costumes, theatrical lines, characters, settings, masks, wigs, etc. are contributions from the visual art and creative writing students. Please use this link to check out some of the work you might see in the performances this year here. 

    We hope you enjoy the Capstone Exhibit and Capstone Performances this year! We can’t wait to share our collaboration with you! 

    Check out the visual art portfolios on the links provided below. Kids love and value your feedback, so please share your thoughts! 

    Austin's website, 2D art Capstone Portfolios, and Instagram

    Kelda's Website, 3D art and Textiles Portfolios, and Instagram



  • Pure Magic!

    Dear da Vinci Families,

    “Pure Magic” is how Dance Department Director Claire Olberding described this weekend’s Spring Dance Concert, 2017. Thanks to the compelling choreography of Karida Griffth, Eowyn Emerald Barrett, Oluyinka Akinjoila, Tracey Durbin, Renee Meiffren, Sara Martins, Claire Olberding, and ALL the dancers, each performance was superb. Brava, Bravo choreographers, the entire production crew: Heidi Sprecher, Lighting  Sara Estrella, Costumes,  MJ Sasse, Stage Manger, Snowzie Vinar Costume Assistant, Pamela Kruetz Parent Volunteer Coordinator, ALL the teachers and parents who volunteered to make this happen, and the first-time-ever brilliant student Tech Crew, Gabe Porath, Kain Ashford, Simon Carr, Julian Geary, Evan Grosse, Piper Haswell, and Elizabeth Loomis. It was a total team effort, and I am sooooo proud of this community for producing such fine work—congratulations ALL!

    Through dance, we mourned the loss of and celebrated the lives of two special da Vinci community members. On Friday night, Jay Harris and his wife Mary attended as Claire shared that for 20 years, Mary’s mother Winnie Scott had come to every single da Vinci performance. A Winnie Scott plaque will honor her on a chair, and the family has started a fund with a generous donation towards auditorium improvements. Thank you, Winnie, for your love and exuberance, as you cheered many generations of da Vinci performing artists. They go forth, honoring you. 

    At each performance, Sara Martins shared our love and admiration for the inspiring and courageous life of our dear former colleague Jasmine R R Spiegel. Jasmine’s husband and her parents honored us all by attending the final show and agreed that Jasmine’s signature smile would have approved. The heart, dedication, technique, artistry and beautiful gutsy voices of each dancer came together to say a collective “Thank you, Jasmine, for inspiring us!”  

    Finally, thank you da Vinci parents for your amazingly wonderful and talented children. As Jasmine’s mother shared in an email to me: 

    "Please convey our family's appreciation to the staff and students at da Vinci.  We were so impressed with the remarkable capstone projects of the students and with the wonderful dance concert.  It was noteworthy to us that these fine displays of talent were from middle school students; their maturity was evident in the presentations!   And we felt humbled by the dedications to Jasmine- that was so beautiful and touching."

    As Sara described, in her short 29 years, Jasmine taught us all to love, listen, speak and express our voices loudly through art and scholarship. Her expertise, tenacious inquiry, courage and love of life will forever be remembered.

    The da Vinci Spring Dance Concert DVD pre-order

    As announced at the concert, DVD proceeds will go to the da Vinci Foundation. You can order a DVD online for $20 or through a paper form which is available in the office.

    Pizzicato Dough for Dollars is this coming Tuesday, May 9 at the Laurelhurst location!

    Enjoy lunch or dinner from the 28th and E. Burnside location and the da Vinci Foundation will get back 20% of the proceeds. Take out also counts, so order ahead and pick up dinner on the way home. Here is the menu to make it easy. Pizzicato is a great neighborhood supporter. Be sure to thank them when you stop in.  

    A huge Shout Out to the Dance and Visual Arts departments, congratulations ALL, and thank you for making da Vinci such a special and rare community.  



  • Thank you! Dance Concert, Weekend Updates

    Dear da Vinci Families,

    I hope you are well. Although this has not been an easy week for our community, on behalf of the staff, thank you so much to ALL those who contributed time and delicious treats to make Staff Appreciation Week special. Your caring and supportive energy were huge. 

    Ms. Spiegel’s passing rocked our community to our core. Thank you to all staff, families, and students who honored her Family at Jasmine’s moving funeral on Sunday. The district support on Monday, helped us all cope with this untimely and tragic loss. Her love of teaching at da Vinci, her genuine enthusiasm for the arts, and her amazing ability to connect well with students will be remembered and missed forever. She touched us all and will remain in our hearts and minds. Thank you to all who were able to honor her short, but wonderfully rich life! 

    An Auction Update

    Our very successful Auction was a tremendous boost to our PTA and da Vinci Foundation—Thank you! Our Foundation balance is now just over $60,000, and to fully restore two sections of English Language Arts and two sections of dance, our goal, by June 30, 2017, is  $80,000. 

    Is this doable? We think it is. If you missed the event, there are still some FANTASTIC items to bid on here including tickets to the Pendleton Round Up, a NEW Wine Tasting Party and an old FAVORITE, Margarita Mamas 

    If you have not had a chance to give this year, now is your perfect opportunity. We are hoping for 100% participation as Foundation dollars impact every student in the building. Join the hundreds of parents, grandparents, and friends who have supported the da Vinci Foundation this year. Join us by clicking the Red All Hands Raised button now and make a direct gift (choosing da Vinci) or better yet, set up a monthly recurring gift. Every gift from $5 or $5,000 makes a difference.

    Attend our next Dine Out this coming Tuesday, May 9, at Pizzicato (28th and Burnside). 

    Don’t miss the Dance Concert tonight at 7:00 or tomorrow, Saturday at 3:00 or 7:00! Celebrate our amazing dancers and staff!

    Thank you much! 


  • da Vinci Auction Thank You!

    Dear da Vinci Families, 

    THANK YOU so much to all those families and friends who attended last Sunday’s awesome da Vinci Auction at Bodyvox! Congratulations to YOU for raising $39,661  at our annual event that benefits our da Vinci PTSA and our Foundation. This is an amazing accomplishment and could not have been done without the participation and help of so many!

    If you missed the event, there are still some FANTASTIC items to bid on here including tickets to the Pendleton Round Up, a NEW Wine Tasting Party and an old FAVORITE, Margarita Mamas

    Want to give directly to support our staff? Click the red Donate button at All Hands Raised here:

     —Make sure you choose da Vinci Arts Middle School.

    Finally, these are the folks that made this event happen! Please give them a warm thank you next time you see them:

    Beth Woods, Auction Chair

    Melissa & John Gaddis

    Stephanie Featherman

    Susan Freedman 

    Don Gavitte

    Claire Olberding

    Mark Gerolami

    Elizabeth Skelding

    Foukje Douyvestien

    Becky Grosse 

    Mike Marshall

    Jeff Miller

    Linda Hush-Loomis

    Judy Holmes


    And a HUGE thanks to our night-of volunteers:

    Sheli Bryan

    Liz Robbins

    Amber Wagner 

    Alicia McMillen

    Jack Mille

    Nicole Edner

    Fauad Wadeh

    Kristina Holmes

    Maren Willette

    Jeannie Frederick

    Cecilia Gassa-Sena

    Lindsay Streich

    Kate English

    Todd Woodley

    Cris Keirsey

    Maggie Vera

    Kari Williamson

    Jennifer and Mike Heilbronner

    Heather Russell 

    Liz McCue 


    Thank you Beth, Auction TEAM, and ALL, for an amazingly successful event! 


    Best to all,






  • Muses, Budget, and RAFFLE!

    Greetings da Vinci Parents,
    Last Thursday and Friday evenings, da Vinci Masters’ Drama students, were “front, center, and brilliant!"
    Nine Muses
    Performing five hours of tragedies and comedies, that the students edited and directed, Masters Drama students entertained and amused their audience with wit, humor, and beguiling plots as they performed Nine Muses: Modern Plays From Classic Myths by Wim Coleman. As Ms. Accuardi explained on Thursday evening, most students played three or four roles, and with costumes, lights, and sound, their performances were terrific! The maturity, skill, staging, and costuming transported you to Ancient lands where Gods and Goddess’s ruled, and mortals merely existed. The twists and turns of Coleman’s fantastical journeys was from start to finish delightful brilliance.  Brava, Bravo Ms. Accuardi and students, THANK YOU All for your amazing, and inspiring work! 
    District Funding 2017-19 
    I wanted to share that the Governor’s proposed Budget, followed by the January 19th “Co-Chairs” budget for the 2017-19 Biennium is substantially less than what educators hoped for. 
    To maintain the current level of service across the state would require a $8.4 billion budget. Governor Brown’s December Budget was just over 8.0 billion, and the Co-Chairs January budget was just 7.7 billion. This proposed budget decrease is significant. School districts are lobbying hard for a budget increase for the 2017-19 biennium but it is widely expected that all schools will be forced to make cuts to make up for the state budget deficit.  Within the next two weeks, principals are expected to receive their PPS staffing allocation for the 2017-18 school year. I will keep you posted as I am able. 
    Supporting the da Vinci Foundation & RAFFLE Update! 
    In the past, the da Vinci community has generously rallied to ensure that we can maintain current levels of staffing. Where are we now?
    1. BEFORE the budget shortfall, to maintain present levels of staffing our goal was to raise $60,000. 
    2. As of January, we have raised $25,000. 
    3. If we sold all 1,000 RAFFLE Tickets, we would raise an additional $9,000. 
    4. We have sold 275 Raffle Tickets. 
    With your support, we can sell 1,000 Tickets: 
    1. If you have NOT entered the drawing to win $500, $250, or $100, the Main Office will happily sell you tickets. 
      1. IF EVERY da Vinci family does this, WE CAN support our amazing school and reach our goal of selling all 1,000 tickets.
    2. PARENTS, PLEASE TAKE TICKETS TO WORK, and give your co-workers a chance to support your amazing children and Win Cash!
      1. One parent has taken 100 tickets and is confident that she can sell them all. The Main Office is happy to give you tickets to sell. 
    3. FAMILIES, in support of your children, sell them to your friends and neighbors.  
    What does your support buy? 
    1. Feel great by joining our Foundation TEAM of contributing members. You will have done your part to keep da Vinci a thriving arts focus school.  
    2. Keep three styles of Dance…Every year the Foundation funds our Dance Program and other staff;
    3. Maintain reasonable class sizes. 
    4. Incentive: Any Family that sells 50 tickets will earn a $50 Gift Card. 
    Do your part and BUY TWO OR MORE RAFFLE TICKETS TODAY! EVERYONE wins, as we maintain our amazing school community!
    The drawing is Friday, March 3, at 4:30 pm. You need not be present to win. 
    Thank you in advance,
    The da Vinci Foundation Team
  • Fabulous Arts Fair, Awards & Bees!

    Dear da Vinci Parents and Families, 

    Come to the 2017 da Vinci Arts Fair! On two floors, the student and professional artists have wonderful work to offer you. In a word, it’s fabulous!!!!! 

    Please check out the 14 amazingly generous arts raffle baskets donated by different artists. Tickets are only two dollars each or three for five. These gorgeous baskets will bring a smile to your face every day as you support the da Vinci Arts Fair and our PTSA. Please see our links on Instagram @davinciartsfair and Facebook:

     As da Vinci students continue to amaze, I am privileged to share the following: 

    Last year, three students, Thisby Loomis, MJ Sasse, and Ainsley Leof were all finalist in the Oregon Children’s Theatre's (OCT) Young Playwrights for Change 10 Minute Play competition. For 2016, MJ Sasse’s play Wartorn was named the National winner. This year, Tamara Carroll of OCT, just announced the seven finalist and five of them are da Vinci students! Please help me congratulate Nicole Accuardi who read all ninety 10 minute plays of her students, and our outstanding five playwrights! As Tamara shared in an email to Nicole, "The plays were quite strong and we struggled to pick just 6…in the end, we decided to choose 7.” These seven plays will be read at OCT on May 21st. 

     1.       Monsters Under My Bed by Annika Duyvestein – Regional Winner!

     2.       It’s Hard to Understand by Kate McStay

     3.       Boys Cry by Estacada Thorsen

     4.       What Makes a Bully by Riley Cook

     5.       It’s a Two-Way Street by Hazel True

     6.       Berlin 1933 by Holland Roads

     7.       Never Enough by Julian Geary

     Annika, Kate, Riley, Holland, and Julian, Congratulations for your wonderful writing! 


    Geography Bee

    On Wednesday, January 25th, our Social Studies Department (Ann Fournier, Erin Savage, Chelsea Blair, Jason Gershuny and Lewis & Clark student teacher Haverty Brown) produced our annual National Geographic Geography Bee. First, to all the Social Studies class winners who competed in the Bee: Helen Kenny, Milan Clark, Fox Knapp, Cole Hagedorn, Jack Dahl, Liam Kay, Raya Vinar, Evan Grosse, Melody Kostek, Finn Dills, Maura McQuillen, Daniel Duyvestein Mac Bixby, Alexander Dowie, and Henry Boyer…Congratulations, you were awesome! From four rounds of challenging questions about states, continents, and Weird But True, two finalist Raya Vinar and Mac Bixby emerged.  After giving two correct answers in a row, eighth grader Mac Bixby prevailed and is our da Vinci’s 2017 Geography Bee Champion. Mac, representing Ms. Savage’s 4th period class, travels, enjoys geography and knowing about the world. She will now take a paper test to qualify for the State Bee. Congratulations Mac, we are very proud of you! 


    Scripps Spelling Bee 

    Megan Young, with support from Shannon Wasson, Alison Lanigan, Lori Shumway, and Chelsea Blair, staged our annual da Vinci Scripps Spelling Bee. Our English Language Art class winners, were Aoife Brogan-Marshall, Delilah Hartwell, Jack Dahl, Poppy Schoedinger, Zaydah Wadeh, Simon Carr, Austin Frost, Leah Abramson-Slater, Paige Blair, Hannah Ernst, Irina Klippert, Anne Dynes, Beck Waxman, Eli Jones, Archie Rohden, Kate McStay, and Jasper Jordens. Over six engaging and increasingly difficult rounds, these brave spellers vied for the top spot. As Ms. Young explained, consider spelling a word you have possibly never heard before, out loud, into a microphone with 450 peers, parents, and teachers watching. That is nerve racking! Congratulations to all our spellers, great work! Representing da Vinci at the next level, please help me congratulate our 2017 da Vinci Arts Middle School Scripps Spelling Bee Champion, seventh grader Simon Carr!  


    Scholastic Art Award: Best in Grade

    For the first time, Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) is offering a new award this year called Best in Grade.  They give the award at Nationals and PNCA is thrilled that they now offer it. For her collage, Orangie Gets Hit On, da Vinci student Violette Miller was honored at the PNCA Awards Night for Best in Grade for the 7th grade, Congratulations Violette! 

    The Scholastic Gold Key exhibition will be at PNCA (Pacific Northwest College of Art, 511 NW Broadway) until Saturday, February 25. As Austin said, "it is a remarkable show." Honor our students and enjoy this great exhibition of award winning art! CONGRATULATIONS ALL!!!"

    Upcoming Events:

    On Thursday and Friday don’t miss the Master’s Drama Showcase from 4-6 in the auditorium.

    Enjoy this gorgeous Oregon sunshine, and see you at the Arts Fair!



  • da Vinci Founder's Day

    Dear da Vinci Parents and Families,

    I hope you are well. February 2nd is Connie Cheifetz’s Birthday and da Vinci Founder’s Day. In keeping with Connie’s vision, on Thursday, Dance 3-4 students treated their parents and friends to a wonderful informal showcase that included class work and performance “works in progress.” The latter, fully costumed by da Vinci parent Sara Estrella, delighted and entertained in three different styles. 

    Renee Meiffren’s ballet piece starts casually in a diner, and then bursts into action with a lively mix of jukebox jive and ballet! Blending technique is challenging, and her students demonstrated skill and energy! Claire Olberding’s piece began with Gabe Rosenfield playing a solo Conga drum, and then it transitioned into fluid movement that matched the percussive sounds. On the floor, moving through space with jumps, turns, and elegant moves the dancers tell their own story. Sara Martin’s piece, to the music Pack Up the Louie by Caro Emerald, transports you to 1940’s train station. With luggage in hand, the dancers weave a tale of travel and personal stories. Each piece, using small groups, ensemble, and an occasional solo, is skillfully choreographed and, and entertained the appreciative audience. 

    The pieces were showstoppers, but what made it all look so easy is the daily, serious classwork that undergirds every movement. Dance, da Vinci’s Physical Education, is physics in motion—an exacting science and art. It takes 10 years to train a dancer, so every minute of class time matters. An American Ballet Theatre Certified Instructor, Ms. Meiffren is teaching a refined syllabus that builds healthy stance and muscle memory so that students gradually develop the correct muscles needed for classical technique. Straight knees, extended spines, and correct turn out from the hip are essential elements. With only one ballet class a week, students are making excellent progress. 

    Dance Department Chair, Claire Olberding explained how the Luigi technique came to be because gifted dancer Luigi suffered a serious car accident, and as rehabilitation created a movement style that "never stops moving." The movement is sinewy, grounded, bold, and subtle, teaching students nuanced refinements that help them expressively move. The Luigi technique demands strength and ease as students work hard to make this lyrical and challenging style look easy. The blend of tempos, levels, basic and complex movements expose students to a wonderful array of movement vocabulary. 

    Now in her third year at da Vinci, Sara Martins, teaches her students the "best of the best!”  As part of her curriculum, Sara skillfully blends the outstanding work of Brenda Buffalino, Honi Coles, Steve Condos and other great Tap Masters. These intricate, fun, rhythms have the dancers focusing and smiling as they navigate the subtle syncopations. As Ms. Martins explained, for “stamina, her students will repeat these combos faster until their muscles ache.”  

    The Dance 3-4 Showcase offers a snapshot of daily da Vinci dance training. Few middle schools have such a comprehensive program. A former principal dancer with Oregon Ballet Theatre commented on the "great teaching and the skill of the dancers.” Congratulations ladies and students, and stay tuned for May’s Spring Dance Concert for much more! 

    Scholastic Writing Awards 

    Despite the December inclement weather, Ms. Lanigan managed to motivate 11 students to submit 14 pieces. As she describes, "Personally, I was grateful the paperwork even got to NYC as I mailed the packet of money and forms (via overnight mail) as snow began falling the Wednesday before Christmas. Everything was due that Friday."

    Congratulations to Ms. Lanigan, Amber, Gabriel, and Ella who won four poetry awards.

    Amber McConnell, Silver Key for "What He Took With Him"

    Amber McConnell, Honorable Mention for "What We All Are"

    Gabriel Robinson, Honorable Mention for "Sorrow Home"

    Ella Van Schoick, Honorable Mention for "An Inevitable Falling" 

    An Introduction and correction

    With great pleasure, I want to introduce Textile teacher Jessica Hickey.  Jessica works with Kelda Van Patten during our period 1 Textile class and her expertise and passion are inspiring our students to new heights. When I previously announced the Scholastic Art Awards, I failed to include Jessica. I apologize for my omission.  Please enjoy a brief summary of her experience: 

    Jessica Hickey lives and works in Portland, OR. She received her Master of Fine Arts in contemporary art practice from Portland State University, and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Oregon in fibers and ceramics. Currently, she is the Fibers Studio Manager at Oregon College of Art and Craft. Hickey has taught textile, ceramic, and mixed media arts courses for Oregon College of Art and Craft, Nike Design Atelier program, Eugene Metropolitan Parks District and more. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally utilizing hand woven textile, sculptural, and installation methods. We are so pleased to share Jessica’s background and so fortunate to have her working with Kelda and our students — Thank you, Jessica! 

    Corrected "Brava, Bravo Scholastic Art Awards!"

    I am thrilled to share that this year, our visual art students taught by Kelda Van Patten, Austin, Jasmine Spiegel, and Jessica Hickey earned 153 Scholastic Art Awards (24 Gold, 29 Silver, 90 Honorable Mention). Working with these inspiring teachers and mentors over the last three years, our students won 109 Awards in 2015, 92 last year, and this year 153 awards. This success speaks to the exceptional support, teaching and student creativity that is da Vinci. Kelda, Jasmine, Austin, Jessica and students, congratulations!  Here is a slide show of the Gold Key awards: View our slideshow.

    From Kelda, Austin, Jasmine and Jessica:

    "Congratulations to ALL students who entered artwork into the Scholastic Art Awards, and thank you, Liz, who supported students in the process of submitting their work. We love you all and your work is amazing! 

    The Scholastic Gold Key exhibition will be at PNCA (Pacific Northwest College of Art, 511 NW Broadway) from Jan.29-Feb.25. 

    It’s da Vinci 2017 RAFFLE time!  Our Foundation Raffle is Win-Win! 

    • Every ticket sold supports da Vinci staffing for next year, AND
    • Every ticket is eligible to win either $500, $250, or $100 respectively. 

    Our Goal is to sell 900 tickets by the drawing on Friday, March 3, at 4:30 pm.

     Each ticket costs $10. 

    • If every family bought 2 tickets ($20), the Foundation will make over $8,000, which would be a RAFFLE first! With the State budget for K-12 Education lower than anticipated, we need your support to supplement our district staffing to maintain our incredibly rich arts and academic program. 
    • Our families’ generosity makes this happen. 

    Here is the positive impact:

    • Reasonable class sizes
    • Outstanding arts electives in Drama, Dance, Music, Visual Art, and Writing
    • Our amazingly caring da Vinci staff

    Here’s how, it is quick and easy:

    • The Main Office will sell tickets during the day. If you or your student wishes to purchase multiple tickets to sell to neighbors, friends, or on FACEBOOK, that has been one of the most successful strategies used in the past. 
    • Mr. Locke will sell Raffle Tickets each morning outside at DROP OFF.
    • For each ticket you fill out your Name, Phone number, and your child’s 6th period class if known. 
    • Winners will be contacted by phone, so you need NOT be present to win. 

    THANK YOU in advance, we sooooo appreciate your support :) …all contributors win the da Vinci Raffle!

     The da Vinci Foundation Team


    Thank you, parents, for your wonderful children, and your continued support of our da Vinci Arts program.



  • Musicians Shine!

    Musicians Shine!
    Dear da Vinci Families,
    In a very full auditorium last Wednesday evening, with exuberance and skill, da Vinci music students gave a memorable performance. Beginning Band set a high standard as it played four eclectic selections and all other groups followed suit. Playing their instruments for the first time, Mr. Gerolami commended his Beginning students for their accelerated learning. The After School Jazz Combo, produced a rich sound that showcased considerable talent and groove. Trogdor,’s renditions of Feel the Pain by Dinosaur Jr., The Beatles’s A Day in the Life, and Heart of Glass by Blondie, had many in the audience keeping time in their seats to exacting chords and clear, heartfelt vocals. To close the first half, Term African Drumming students played Sinte: Celebration Rhythm from Guinea. Playing by themselves, the polyrhythms were crisp, sharp, and played with focus, smiles and flair.
    After Intermission, the 41 voice Choir offered the audience a gentle, soothingly sonorous sound. The blended harmonies and dynamics showcased the skill and focus of this talented group. With  The Water is Wide, Maybe I’m Amazed, and One Voice, they established subtle clarity while singing out in full voice. Closing with the beautiful and rich Africa, reminded us all of the simple elegance of collective choral voice. 
    After a lovely duet by Hannah Ernst and Anja Zehntbauer, the Advanced Band closed the show. The varied selections played with assurance, skill and fun, demonstrated how, over three years, Mr. Gerolami has grown a formidable and pleasing sound. From James Bond, to Zydeco Cajum Crawdad DanceThe Tempest, Challenger Point and finally Freedom’s Light, the Advanced Band showed breadth, poise, and the enjoyment of a schooled ensemble.  
    Special Thanks to Ms. Daley, Julie Wright, Elaine Ko, Alicia McMillen and Kevin Conroy whose Green Room supervision made the Concert possible, and congratulations to  Ms. Daley who helps with Trogdor, Hakim Muhammad for African Drumming, and Mr. Gerolami whose international teaching and performing experience is growing and building da Vinci’s unique and impressive music program. 

    On Friday, Dance 4 students enjoyed a wonderfully challenging Master Class by two of the professional dancers from Ballet Boyz. Don’t miss the Dance 3-4 Showcase this Thursday, 2/2 at 7:00 pm which showcases our upper level students in an informal Lecture Demonstration setting. 
    Brava, Bravo music students and staff…Thank you for such a great evening of music!

  • January 24, 2017

    Dear da  Vinci Families,

     da Vinci teachers regularly support students to take risks and go above and beyond the ordinary. The artifacts of this work are many: letters to the editor of The Oregonian, travel brochures advertising colonial states, Rube Goldberg machines, posters celebrating famous African Americans, digital presentations that offer insights about science topics, Pecha Kucha presentations about famous artists, visual arts exhibitions in the Connie Cheifetz Gallery, the annual Dragons’ Fire literary review, and more.  And just in the past week, students have been honored beyond the school walls for their outstanding artwork—including through publication in the New York Times and through regional Scholastic Art Awards.

     On Wednesday, January 18, 6th grader Emma Laus’s portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama were published in the New York Times. Emma’s work illustrates the article To Obama with Love, and Hate, and Desperation which describes eight years of Presidential mail and the process by which interns chose 10 letters for the President to read each day. 

     Emma, your portraits are gorgeous, and we are so very proud of your work, congratulations! Here is the article link (double click), and thank you, Judy Holmes, for creating our website banner honoring Emma and the Gold Key Slide show! 

    Brava, Bravo Scholastic Art Awards!

    I am thrilled to share that this year, our visual art students taught by Kelda Van Patten, Austin, and Jasmine Spiegel, earned 153 Scholastic Art Awards (24 Gold, 29 Silver, 90 Honorable Mention). Working with these inspiring teachers and mentors over the last three years, our students won 109 Awards in 201592 last year, and this year 153 awards. This success speaks to the exceptional support, teaching and student creativity that is da Vinci. Kelda, Jasmine, Austin, and students, congratulations!  Here is a slide show of the Gold Key awards: View our slideshow

    From Kelda, Austin, and Jasmine:

    "Congratulations to ALL students who entered artwork into the Scholastic Art Awards, and thank you Liz who supported students in the process of submitting their work. We love you all and your work is amazing! Please stay tuned as the Scholastic Writing Awards will be announced in February.

     Students who won Gold Key, please be sure to bring your work to your art teacher ASAP and no later than Thursday. The Scholastic Gold Key exhibition will be at PNCA (Pacific Northwest College of Art, 511 NW Broadway) from Jan.29-Feb.25. ALL participating students & families are invited to the reception at PNCA on Thursday, February 2nd, 4-7pm. In addition, if you won Gold Key, please check your email or talk to your art teacher about how to get your tickets to the Gold Key CEREMONY at the Portland Art Museum. CONGRATULATIONS ALL!!!"

    Winter Music Concert! Tomorrow, Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm. Enjoy Beginning and Advanced Band, Choir, African Drumming, After School Jazz Band, and Trogdor. See you there!  



  • November 10, 2016

    Dear da Vinci Families,

    I hope you are all well, and we soooo appreciate ALL of you who were able to support your students by attending Conferences. This morning, PPS Communications sent out the email below to all PPS Staff addressing possible concerns that some staff, students, and families may have as a result of Tuesday’s election. If PPS Communications sends out a similar message to families, then I am risking that you will get it twice. That said, because the information is timely and useful, I am sending it to you as written, in the hopes that aspects of it may be helpful. 

    Furthermore, if you or your students have specific questions or concerns, please feel free to respond. We have had an excellent first quarter, and there is much excitement on the da Vinci horizon. Tonight, Portland Playhouse opens with a Shakespeare Evening, and our production of Macbeth will continue tomorrow at 6:00, Saturday at 2:00 pm, and next week as well. We hope to see you there!  

    Have a wonderful long weekend!



    Dear PPS Staff: 

      This was a divisive election, and we have heard that many students and families are feeling concerned and unsafe. At Portland Public Schools, we believe in equity and the human dignity of all people and our main responsibility is to ensure the safety of our students and staff and we will continue to work hard to fulfill that responsibility to our kids. 

    As we move forward, you may be trying to figure out how best to support your students and colleagues. We have put together a few suggestions and resources about how best to respond to concerned staff, students, and families with their feelings after the election.  

    As school staff, this could be an opportunity to discuss how to disagree and resolve conflict respectfully. More specifically, this is a time to reinforce a caring community in our classrooms and schools.

    Please think about how you can listen, show compassion, and create space for students and families. They may need resources, time to connect with one another, assurances from staff that they are welcome and valued members of your community.

    Additional articles/lessons:
    •    What Do We Tell The Children? (Huffington Post)
    •    Election Emotions: Sharing and Community Building Circle (Morningside Center for Social Responsibility)
    •    Experts Weigh In: How to Talk to your Kids about the Election Results (Today)
    •    Election 2016 Resources (Teaching Tolerance)
    •    The Election Is Over, But for Teachers, Hard Conversations Are Just Beginning (Education Week)
    •    In other election news: First Somali-American Muslim Woman LegislatorFirst Formerly Undocumented Immigrant in Congress (and First Dominican-American), Three Asian American Women in the U.S. Senate (First Thai American, First Indian American, Second Black Woman in the Senate), First Latina in the Senate

    Supports and Resources
    •    Human Resources and the Employee Assistance Program for staff related issues
    •    Student Services for student support needs
    •    Office of School Climate and Discipline for school climate and disciplinary issues

    Antonio Lopez 
    Assistant Superintendent, Office of School Performance

    Chris Russo
    Assistant Superintendent, Office of Teaching & Learning

  • November 16, 2016

    Dear da Vinci Parents and Families,
    At da Vinci we are “Safe, Fair, and Friendly.”  Since the election, locally and nationally our guiding premise has been challenged. PLEASE KNOW, that as an inclusive community we model and live to empower our students to make choices that honor and celebrate our differences and ensure that we ALL feel safe and welcome. 
    We strongly believe in the power of art, to inspire, and teach us to embrace multiple perspectives that support the uniqueness of each of us in a respectful manner. It is through compassion, empathy, active listening and cooperation that together we create and sustain a community that is support and safe for everyone. 
    We are working together to support positive change. On Monday, I visited classrooms and asked staff to share the inspiring words of two or our graduates. Lilly Sasse, Grant Student Body President, and Christina Depinto, Grant Vice Student Body President, who worked hard all weekend with district administrators to craft a message of hope. We shared the following excerpt from the Portland Metro High School Youth Alliance: 
    "We need to be strategic in the way we voice our frustration and passion and to do this, it will take planning. It is also important that we organize in a way that allows every student, teacher and community member to be involved without feeling alienated. Leaving our valued education is not the way to send that message. Again, we are strongly discouraging students from participating in the walkout as we have come up with a call to action that involves positivity moving forward. The reality is this isn’t ending now, our work has just begun. This political climate will be our reality for the next 4 years, so let’s unite, support and protect each other. This is our voice. This is our future.


    We will start within our schools, gaining traction to reach a point where students, district wide, can physically come together all the while staying on track with our message of strength, security, and unity. We hope to send our message nationwide to sister districts in other major cities. Our message is strong, and it continues to gain strength as it gains support. We must start somewhere in order to grow and we encourage each and every student’s involvement.



    Student Body President, Lilly Sasse and Student Body Vice President, Christina DePinto” (Please see attached to read the whole Statement)

    A few students did participate in the protest. To reassure students that at da Vinci they are safe, loved and protected, teachers did a great job.  Here is one example from English Language Arts teacher Jasmine Spiegel who wrote her students a letter (Excerpts shared with permission). 

    "To My Students,

    First, you may not need this letter. That’s okay. I felt I needed to write it, mostly so I could make sure you all know the following four things. You are loved. You are not alone. I am here to help. I am here to protect you. If I could say these things to you a million times, I would…

    (To read then entire letter please see the attached).

    With Love,

    Ms. Spiegel”

    I shared a similar sentiment with the students I spoke with on Monday  and today, at the conclusion of our Macbeth Teaser, I will reinforce that sentiment. As a school learning community, we use restorative practices so that we are supporting all students, and helping them to consistently make informed and respectful choices. This is ongoing serious work helps us grow positively as a community that cares and celebrates the well-being and importance of each individual in our arts focus setting. Together, we will continue to make da Vinci a safe place for every student and staff member. 

    Today, at 3:00 and 3:15 respectively, our QSA and our BSU and Students of Color meet. 

    Tomorrow, Thursday students are encouraged to participate in a District wide unity day by wearing black. 

    Friday: will be Post-it Note Positivity — Throughout the day (Before School, Lunch, and After School) students may stop by the Cafeteria and write a positive message that’ll be put up around the school.

    TONIGHT at 7:00 in the Library, ALL are WELCOME, to discuss the impact of race in our lives and the lives of your children at da Vinci.  

    —What does it take to empower ALL students to feel safe and secure throughout their school day? 

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR CHILDREN. Please know we are committed to doing everything we can to help your child have an AWESOME da Vinci experience that challenges and supports them to be their best each day!



  • November 20, 2016

    Dear da Vinci Families,
    Good evening, and I hope you are well.  Earlier today, all PPS middle and high school families received the email in green below. PPS recognizes the right of students to demonstrate in support of their concerns. However, our expectation is that students remain safely in school actively engaged in their classes. To further clarify our  expectations, please review the following: 
    • Students will be told to stay in school and those who do choose to walkout will be marked absent. 
    • Staff will not be participating in any walkout. Students leaving school assume responsibility for their own safety. Families releasing their students for participation in a walkout assume responsibility for their safety. 
    • We do encourage students to express their concerns through discussions, research, testimony, lobbying, petitions and demonstrations outside the school day. Teacher facilitated in-class discussions may also be useful, but are at the discretion of the individual teacher. 
    Thank you in advance for your cooperation, and please know that we want your amazing children to be safe.
    Dear PPS Middle and High School Families,


    We are thankful that this week’s student walk out was safe. While we support our students’ right to exercise their free speech, we want to notify you that our partners with the Portland Police Bureau approached us with concerns that there are some outside organizations encouraging students to participate in additional protests next week.


    The police are concerned about the safety of our students if they join any of these outside organizations in their demonstrations. We encourage open debate and dialogue, but in a non-violent manner. 


    We will work to create these opportunities for our students within our schools and encourage you to discuss with your students how to exercise his or her voice in a way that is consistent with your family values and supports our efforts to create safe learning environments for all of our students.


    Thank you in advance for your attention to this important matter,


    PPS Comms



    Antonio Lopez

    Assistant Superintendent

  • December 5, 2016

    Dear da Vinci Families, 

     In the first five days of our da Vinci Foundation Fall ASK, 21 families contributed $2,085, and 8 of those donors were recurring monthly gifts! To ALL our da Vinci families that donated—THANK YOU!  You are keeping da Vinci strong! 

     If you have not donated, the time is now. PLEASE read the following and help us INCREASE OUR da Vinci Fall ASK success! In five days…

    • Our donations jumped from $7,700 to $11,785!
    • 8 more families became “Recurring donors” raising our total from 10 to 18! 
    • To reach our goal of 50 or more donors, we still need 29 families to donate at a level that works for you!
    • Another wonderful Shout Out to Por Que No! and our 21 families that had their donations matched up to $2,000. 
    Why give to our Fall ASK? (two perspectives from da Vinci parents)
    “After being a da Vinci parent for 4 years now, each and every student is such an important part of our da Vinci community. The staff and teachers are experts at understanding our children’s strengths, helping them find their way into the community, and positioning them to flourish during their time at da Vinci.” -Beth Woods

    "We are joining the Fall ASK challenge because what da Vinci has given our family is truly priceless.  Our daughters thrive at da Vinci!  Here they are given tools to learn in a way that makes sense to them.  They see that doing their best work brings success and the feeling of pride that comes with that effort is its own reward.  Keeping arts integration at da Vinci strong is important to our family, our community and, education as a whole.   -Jill & Jason Trinchero

    Join our FALL ASK and give now . Even better, become a monthly donor. Monthly donors are especially valuable to the Foundation because they provide a consistent and reliable source of income. And, monthly giving allows you to spread a larger gift out over the course of a year. It’s easy to do, just sign up online here

    Two incentives, Win Win!  

    If you sign up as a monthly donor through the month of December, we will put your name into a raffle for some excellent gift certificates from local businesses. How does $30 to Staccato Gelato sound? $50 to East Burn? All current and new monthly donors have a shot at winning one of these prizes!

    Make a donation right now to support da Vinci! go to:  

    Thank you!

    Da Vinci Foundation Team

  • December 12, 2016

    Dear da Vinci Families, 

     In the first two weeks of our da Vinci Foundation Fall ASK, 42 families have contributed $3,150. 

    This is AWESOME! THANK YOU to ALL our da Vinci families that have donated to our Fall ASK…Every donation matters, you are keeping da Vinci strong! 

    Last year, during our Fall ASK OVER 90 FAMILIES contributed over $10,000. 

    JOIN US…Here’s why:

    The money you donate to the da Vinci Foundation directly impacts teaching positions and our ability to maintain our current, unique, arts-focused curriculum that makes our school such an amazing place.

     As a parent of a seventh grader, I’m so grateful for our supportive and talented teachers and staff. My daughter is flourishing at da Vinci because her school day is infused with creativity through illustration and dance that keeps her head — and her heart — engaged in learning. —Brian Schaeperkoetter

     Other families, who have chosen to join us as Fall Ask donors agree:         

     “After being a da Vinci parent for four years now, each and every student is such an important part of our da Vinci community. The staff and teachers are experts at understanding our children’s strengths, helping them find their way into the community, and positioning them to flourish during their time at da Vinci.” — Beth Woods

     "We are joining the Fall Ask challenge because what da Vinci has given our family is truly priceless.  Our daughters thrive at da Vinci!  Here they are given tools to learn in a way that makes sense to them. They see that doing their best work brings success and the feeling of pride that comes with that effort is its own reward. Keeping arts integration at da Vinci strong is important to our family, our community and, education as a whole.”   — Jill and Jason Trinchero


    JOIN US…our goal is to have 30 more families donate by Wednesday, 12/14.

    Please Join our FALL ASK and give now . Even better, become a monthly donor. Monthly donors are especially valuable to the Foundation because they provide a consistent and reliable source of income. And, monthly giving allows you to spread a larger gift out over the course of a year. It’s easy to do, just sign up online here

    Two Incentives to Win

     If you sign up as a monthly donor through the month of December, we will put your name into a raffle for some excellent gift certificates from local businesses. How does $30 to Staccato Gelato sound? $50 to East Burn? All current and new monthly donors have a shot at winning one of these prizes!

    Make a donation right now to support da Vinci! go to:  

     Beth Woods, Jill and Jason Trinchero, Brian Schaeperkoetter, da Vinci Foundation Chair

    Claire Olberding & the da Vinci Foundation Challenge Pot Sponsors

  • December 27, 2016

    Dear da Vinci Families, 

     I hope you are all well and Happy HolidaysI am writing from Philadelphia and want to update  you on our excellent progress.  

     As of Monday, 12/12, 42 families had donated to our da Vinci Foundation Fall ASK;

    As of Wednesday, 12/14, 65 families had donated;

    As of Thursday, 12/22, 96 families have donated! 

    51 families have now made one time donations;

    33 families have now made recurring gifts;
     —12 families 
    have written checks or given a cash donation.   

    To ALL our 96 Fall Foundation ASK donors, …youre awesome--Thank you! 

    More than our words can express, please know that your generous contributions are so appreciated. 

    Our hope: 

    With over 460 families, to keep our arts focus community vibrant with present levels of staffing, our hope and need is that ALL da Vinci families can contribute at a level that works for them. 

    Why give?

    ·         Foundation funds support our arts program and therefore ALL da Vinci students;

    ·         At the Dance 1-2 Showcase, Claire Olberding, Dance Dept. Chair, shared that if you paid for similar dance training at a private studio the cost, over three years, would be over $5,000.  

    ·         With your support we can continue to have amazing teachers & amazing arts offerings. 

    Our 2016-17 Goal:

    ·         To maintain our current program we need to raise $60,000 by June, 2017

    ·         Every donation makes a difference! 

    ·         Recurring donations thus far have ranged from $10, $25, $50 to $100 per month

    ·         One Time donations have ranged from $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 and $2,000

    ·         What level works for you?

    All donations are tax deductible:

    ·         To meet our goal of $60,000 by June 2017, we need 100% of our families to make a tax deductible donation. 

    ·         When you give, All Hands Raised sends you are receipt in the mail. 

    ·         YOUR DONATION supplements our PPS budget, AND 

    ·         Keeps our arts program vibrant for YOUR CHILDREN; 

    ·         8th grade families…Your support over three years has been awesome, Thank you!  

    ·          6th & 7th grade families…the arts program your children enjoy next year, depends, in part, on your contributions;

    ·         KEEP da Vinci strong, DONATE TODAY!  

    It FEELS GREAT to be a PROUD da Vinci Foundation donor… JOIN Beth, Jill, Jason Brian, and the other Challenge Pot Sponsors and the 96 donors because 

    “After being a da Vinci parent for four years now, each and every student is such an important part of our da Vinci community. The staff and teachers are experts at understanding our children’s strengths, helping them find their way into the community, and positioning them to flourish during their time at da Vinci.” — Beth Woods

    "We are joining the Fall Ask challenge because what da Vinci has given our family is truly priceless.  Our daughters thrive at da Vinci!  Here they are given tools to learn in a way that makes sense to them. They see that doing their best work brings success and the feeling of pride that comes with that effort is its own reward. Keeping arts integration at da Vinci strong is important to our family, our community and, education as a whole.”   — Jill and Jason Trinchero


    As a parent of a seventh grader, I’m so grateful for our supportive and talented teachers and staff. My daughter is flourishing at da Vinci because her school day is infused with creativity through illustration and dance that keeps her head — and her heart — engaged in learning. —Brian Schaeperkoetter


    give now . Even better, become a monthly donor. Monthly donors are especially valuable to the Foundation because they provide a consistent and reliable source of income. And, monthly giving allows you to spread a larger gift out over the course of a year. It’s easy to do, just sign up online here


    LAST CHANCE to win two incentives:

     If you sign up as a monthly donor through the month of December, we will put your name into a raffle for some excellent gift certificates from local businesses. 

    ·         How does $30 to Staccato Gelato sound? 

    ·         $50 to East Burn? 

    ·         All current and new monthly donors have a shot at winning one of these prizes!

    Make a donation right now to support every da Vinci student and our amazing teachers! 

    go to:  


     HAPPY HOLIDAYSand thank you in advance for joining us !!!

    The entire 2016-17 da Vinci Foundation Donor Family 

  • January 23, 2017

    Dear da Vinci Families,

     I hope that as temps climb, you are well. As the weather has forced us to change performance dates, we appreciate your patience and flexibility. Unequivocally,  it is wonderful to have your children back in school! 

     As we honor Dr. King’s legacy, I offer you two NPR arts related segments. In a brief four minute interview, Photographer Bernard Kleina shares how he documented King’s Chicago Freedom Movement through color photos by accident, as all professional photographers of the day used black and white images for publications. His intent was to clearly demonstrate the peaceful nature of Dr. King’s social justice activism. As he shares, "In Chicago, I was involved in some of the marches and in other marches, I tried to document what was going on," Kleina recalls. "There was a great deal of criticism of Dr. King, saying that he was the one causing the violence, so I wanted to show the truth of what was going on.” He adds the importance of seizing the moment: "I definitely didn't realize at the time I was photographing Dr. King that history was being made," Kleina says. "Even now, it kind of surprises me when I look back at my own images. But I like to tell people that if you wait until you're completely qualified for something, maybe it's too late.” I suggest you listen to the short interview with Kleina and then double click on the Title 

    When King Came To Chicago: See The Rare Images Of His Campaign — In Color and it will open to amazing images of Dr. King.

    The second segment, hosted by Michel Martin Going There, is a longer segment on the housing crisis that Dr. King and others chose to fight in 1966 and the impact of their efforts fifty years later. She begins by featuring the Chicago Children’s Choir who sing three outstanding and moving tributes. The “Children” of the Choir look more like high school students but their music is superb so I wanted to share it with you. To listen to the Choir, do the following:

    1) Double clicking on the link,  and then click to start Michel Martin’s show. 

    2) After starting the program, then fast forward to 4:15 into the program when she introduces the choir’s three songs. —Enjoy!  

    In tribute to Dr. King’s dream and tenacious work, I share these photographs, songs, and narrative. I am equally thankful for your children, as their vitality, energy, hope, and love of artful learning inspire us. They are our collective future. 

     Here are a few important updates:

    —Our Geography Bee will be on Wednesday, January 25 before lunch.

    —Our Winter Music Concert will be on Wednesday, January 25, at 7:00 pm.

    —The Dance 3-4 Showcase will be on Thursday, February 2, at 7:00 pm.

    —Please see our website Calendar for additional dates and changes. 


    dV Foundation update: 

    Thanks to our generous Challenge Pot Sponsors AND 105 families our da Vinci Foundation balance is now $20,481. 

    --Donations ranged from $5 to $2,000. A very SPECIAL  Thank you to ALL DONORSll!!!

     As "Recurring monthly donors,” 43 families were eligible for our drawing: 

    Congratulations to our randomly selected winners! 

    Wendy Wilcox wins a $30 Gift Certificate Tokens at Staccato Gelato.  

    Debra Michelson is our East Burn winner! 

    To ALL who donated to the da Vinci Foundation this year THANK YOU, your support is awesome and vital to maintain our current program.  

    —If you have not donated yet, every donation helps us reach our 2016-17 goal of $60,000 by June, 2017.

    -- Make a donation right now to support da Vinci (Make sure you choose da Vinci Arts Middle School). 

    This weekend, as I updated my presentation for incoming 6th grade Information Sessions, I loved incorporating new student work. The art and academic work speaks to the passion and richness of our curriculum and the quality of creative learning that is da Vinci.  


    Thank you for your talented children, and for helping to make da Vinci a special place. 


  • November 14, 2016

     Dear da Vinci Families,

     I hope this finds you well, and that you enjoyed your Veteran’s Day Holiday. 

    If you have not see Macbeth, it is brilliant, and will keep you entertained, participating, and absorbed from start to finish! Today at 2:00, and next Thursday and Friday at 6:00, and Saturday at 2:00! 

     As a school community we pride ourselves in being open, inclusive, and forward thinking. As growth minded individuals, we seek opportunities to strengthen our resolve to continue to evolve as an outstanding arts community that celebrates and values all individuals. Beyond the excellent instruction da Vinci students receive on a daily basis, there are other opportunities for our students and families to learn, and share their experiences in a safe and supportive setting. I encourage you and your student to consider the following:

    This coming Wednesday, November 16th please note the following After School meetings:

    QSA (Queer/Straight/Alliance)

    -- Meets twice a month.  Late opening Wednesdays (or where they would be if there are no late openings) from 3:00-4:00 and one Wednesday lunch meeting a month (two weeks afterward).
    -- Lead by teacher Erin Savage and counselor Katie Loewen.  
    - All LGBTQ+ students and their allies are welcome to join.
    -- Snacks provided. Meetings offer a safe space to de-brief life and plan schoolwide actions and events.

    --Room: 207  at  3:15 –4:45 p.m.


    **BSU/POC (Black Student Union and People of Color) 

    --Meets once per month

    Cafeteria at 3:15 –4:45 p.m.

    —African Drumming teacher Hakim Muhammad will facilitate for the 2016-17 school year. Interested parents are welcome to join him.

    --Pizza will be provided

     --All People of Color (Students and parents) are welcome to attend and join the conversation. This time affords People of Color the chance to connect and talk about school and life celebrations and issues in a safe and supportive environment. 

    **Please Note: In December and going forward, the BSU/POC will meet on a different Wednesday than the QSA so that students may choose to attend both. 

    Guest Speaker: Noni Causey, M.ED

    Executive Director, Black Educational Achievement Movement (BEAM)

    Ms. Causey will be sharing information on the 2nd Annual Middle Passage to Education Summit, which is a day long event on Friday, December 16, 2016 at the University of Portland. Attending students of African American descent, will participate in four workshops: 1) Positive Identity Through Black History; 2) Financial Literacy; 3) Personal Responsibility; and 4) Social Justice and Civic Engagement (See attached flyer).

    da Vinci Courageous Conversations About Race

    Wednesday evening, 7:00-8:30 in the Library; Light snacks will be provided, and ALL students and parents are welcome and encouraged to openly talk about race. 

    As an outcome of our first evening talking about race, la week ago, I was extremely fortunate to attend August Wilson’s Red Door Project as they presented the New Black Fest’s HANDS UP 7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments, directed by Kevin Jones. Beginning with Darrell Grant’s inspirational arrangement of John Lennon’s Imagine, which was followed by four other brilliant pieces that opened each half of the program, the evening was beyond powerful. The jazz music and singers gracefully framed the seven monologues, that each shared their perspective and experience around race. The entire evening was riveting, compelling and humbling.  Here is the link to the Red Door Project. IF you have not seen Hands Up, I strongly urge you to see it if it is offered again: 

    The August Wilson Red Door Project  

     The mission of the August Wilson Red Door Project is to change the racial ecology of Portland through the arts.

    We hope you will take advantage of these great learning opportunities. 

     Thank you for reading, your voices, and most of all, your wonderful children!



  • November 7, 2016


    Dear da Vinci Families,

     I hope you are well. If you have any last minute election questions, I strongly suggest you consider talking to our 7th and 8th grade da Vinci social studies students. For the last two weeks they have immersed themselves in national and local campaigns, issues, and ballot measures.  Social Studies teachers Ms. Savage, Ms. Fournier, and Ms. Blair, gave all 7th and 8th graders a candidate or an issue to research, understand, and write a factual persuasive speech. As students shared, "it was really hard to argue for a candidate I don’t agree with” or “find accurate information on a lesser known candidate” but, by design, that was part of the challenge. Armed with fact checked evidence, Ms. Fournier’s students presented their speeches with corresponding power points, and Savage/Blair students honed their persuasive pitches to win you over. 


    Teaming with Mr. Gershuny extended this timely learning opportunity to ALL 6th grade students. LastThursday, as practice before presenting to their peers and teachers, the 7th and 8th graders sharpened their skills by presenting to different groups of Mr. Gershuny’s students as they rotated through the classroom. Armed with a recording form, 6th graders took copious notes that helped them distinguish between the opposing views. 


    To deepen their understanding, many 7th and 8th graders wrote a letter to the Editor. Ms. Savage selected a number to be sent to the Oregonian, and yesterday, five were published! Grace Riley argued for tighter gun control, Carson Viggiano shared her concerns about the tone of the Presidential Election, Paige Yerton and Nina Schroeder took opposing sides of Measure 98 and Olivia Nally wrote a compelling piece on why a “Yes” vote on Measure 97 may support future generations of public school children. Impressive? You bet! Here is the link:


    Judge for yourself, but in an election season that has been frought with challenges, these five young scholars demonstrate the power of speaking their minds with researched acumen. Additionally, three more students will be featured in a special section of Tuesday’s editorials, stay tuned! Congratulations to Ms. Savage, Ms. Fournier, Ms. Blair, Mr. Gershuny, and ALL 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Social Studies students for seizing this great learning opportunity—all for good!


    Finally, mirroring Oregon’s election process, the social studies teachers organized da Vinci’s Mock Election. To vote you had to register, and at lunch on Tuesday all votes cast will be tallied and before school is out our da Vinci results will be announced.  Stay tuned, and great work Social Studies teachers and students!


    In MY LAND/YOUR LAND, visual art students offer us a provocative and gutsy Exhibition. As Austin and Kelda describe: "The November art exhibition is now open in the Connie Cheifetz Gallery. The title of the new exhibit is "My Land/Your Land." Through visual art, students were asked to express and voice their opinions about politics, social justice, protest, current events, and/or the current Presidential election. There are a variety of different opinions expressed in the artwork. We ask that you respect points of view that may differ from your own. The show includes plaster masks, screenprinted T-shirts, and drawings/paintings. Please go check it out!"   THANK YOU Austin, Kelda and students for sharing your truths—Congratulations!



    Finally, on Thursday, October 27, Executive Director of Young Audiences Cary Clarke was our Principal for Half a Day! His interest and exuberance for our academic and arts program was inspiring, and he loved spending the morning meeting teachers and connecting with our students. Here is his "Thank You” to staff:


    Team da Vinci,


    I don't want to overcrowd your inboxes, but while I have you on the line I just wanted to say how impressed I was by your work today. I saw so much energy, creativity, heart and dedication in your classrooms and I have been truly buzzing all day since. Thank you for so graciously welcoming a stranger into your midst today!




    Parents, Thank you for your wonderful children, we are so proud of their effort and commitment to learning and growing each day!


    See you at Conferences on Wednesday and Thursday. 






  • September 29, 2016

     Dear da Vinci Families,

    Last night at our first PTSA meeting, we elected new officers, adopted our 2016-17 budget and generated excitement about how we best continue to serve and support our wonderfully special da Vinci Arts learning community.

    Our students are extremely fortunate to attend school in such a generous community and benefit greatly from your many contributions of time and money. Our exceptional arts-infused program is not possible without support beyond what Portland Public School District provides.

    Our PTSA and our Foundation coordinate fundraising, and we want to share with you their  unique roles. Here is an overview of fundraising for the 2016-17 school year:


    da Vinci PTSA

    Purpose: The da Vinci PTSA raises funds to supply arts materials and academic enrichment for students. This includes staff classroom budgets, planners, library books and special events. Additionally, we hope to focus on increasing our da Vinci technology.

    Goal: $50,000

    2016-2017 Fundraising:

    • Scrip: on-going throughout the year
    • Fred Meyer Rewards: link your card one time and a portion of everything you buy at Fred Meyer will be donated back to the school.  Easy!
    • Chinook Books: Fall 2016
    • Arts Fair: February 11, 2016
    • da Vinci School Auction (Spring date TBA, shared event with Foundation)


    da Vinci Foundation

    Purpose: da Vinci Foundation funds are the only way to provide additional staff (PEOPLE) for our school, above and beyond what the district allocates each year.  For this year, Foundation funds have afforded us with three essential staff positions. 

     $60,000 is our fundraising goal. To meet our goal, we need 100% participation. 


    2016-2017 Fundraising:

    • One-time donations and/or monthly contributions can be received at any time through All Hands Raised. Click the donate button and be sure to pick da Vinci in the recipient menu
    • Restaurant/community partnerships: Pizzicato Night, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016
    • Fall campaign (November/December)
    • Selling roses at major school performances
    • Shopping at When you use our link on da Vinci’s homepage. A portion of your purchases will be donated back to the school.
    • Raffle (three winners at $500, $250, & $100)
    • da Vinci School Auction (Spring date TBA, shared event with PTSA)


    Run for the Arts Next FRIDAY, October 7th!

    Purpose: Run for the Arts is an annual fundraiser that allows da Vinci students to fundraise directly for staff & supplies to further our arts education goals at the school. Students solicit contributions from sponsors for each lap they complete on Friday, October 7th  

    Goal: $12,000 

    • Pledge Forms went home on Tuesday, 9/27;  also, an online Enroll a Runner page is here and if everyone uses this, we can easily collect pledges from family and friends far and wide online.
    • Completed forms with collected funds are due Monday, Oct. 24th.
    •  There are many ways to contribute, and we NEED and value your SUPPORT FOR EVERY da Vinci student!

    We hope you will add your voice to our PTSA as a voting member, and stay tuned to the Scroll for our next meeting. Sheli or Liz have PTSA envelopes in the main office.

    Our first da Vinci Foundation meeting will be Monday, October 3rd from 7:00 pm to 8:30 at Migration Brewery, 2828 NE Glisan. If you are unable to make it but would like to join our Foundation Team, please email Foundation Chair Brian Schaeperkoetter or Principal Fred Locke.



    Don Gavitte & Howard Freedman, PTSA Co-Presidents

    Brian Schaeperkoetter, Foundation Chair

    Fred Locke, Principal