Hello, da Vinci family! My name is Suezann Kitchens and I am serving as your Assistant Principal this school year. I am thrilled to join this amazing arts community!
I am originally from Texas where I taught drama, language arts and reading in various public schools. I also opened a theater with a focus in educational programming for all ages in drama, musical theater and music. I have been in Portland for the past 12 years where I began as a teacher/director at Northwest Children’s Theater and School. From there, I grew into the Educational Outreach Director, which worked with numerous PPS schools, and then became the Education Director. I was lucky enough to work with many da Vinci students and families through NWCT programming.
After NWCT, I went on to work for Rosemary Anderson High School as an Academic Counselor then Assistant Principal. Last year, I opened up the first RA Middle School and also served as principal. I always made sure I was still leading a drama class at least once a week! I believe the arts are vital to our children's education and their journey in becoming global citizens.
Outside of school, I love to spend time with my 8 year old daughter, husband and two kitties. Together, we love to visit the coast, go bowling and karaoke as much as possible! I am an avid reader and love to end each day with a good book.
I am extremely excited to meet everyone and support this wonderful and creative school!
August 12, 2019
Dear da Vinci Families,
I hope you are all thoroughly enjoying the last weeks of summer, staying cool, and having a lovely time with family and friends. Our summer has been productive. Thanks to our custodial team, our building is gleaming- Thank you Terry, Jada, and Roland. We are super excited to welcome all students and families to the 2019-20 school year!
I am very pleased to announce the following new staff members who are joining our da Vinci Arts community family. Susan Goetz will be our new CB Team Teacher/Program Director. As a Special Education teacher at Hayhurst elementary, Ms. Goetz gained extensive experience working with students experiencing a variety of academic and social emotional needs. Before coming to Portland, she did an outstanding job teaching students on the spectrum in the Bay area.
Alan Burnce most recently taught at MLC, and he will be our new 7-8 Social Studies teacher. We are extremely fortunate to have Heidi Sprecher teaching a section of Drama Tech while Ms. Accuardi teaches a section of Health. Da Vinci graduate Anna Rudinsky is looking forward to working with Sara Martins and Andrea Thompson in the Dance Department.
I am honored and thrilled to welcome our new Assistant Principal, Suezann Kitchens to da Vinci. Most recently Suezann was a teacher, academic counselor, Assistant Principal, then Principal at POIC/Rosemary Anderson. Prior to that she was Education Director at Northwest Children's Theatre where she worked with a number of our da Vinci drama students. With her arts and administrative background, Suezann is very excited to join us!
New for next year, are some important curricular changes. All sixth grade students will take one quarter of AVID that is designed to help them with organization and other tools for academic success. All students will take grade level health for one quarter, and all students not taking Year-Long Dance, will take a quarter of Dance to satisfy their state PE requirements. Please look for an upcoming email regarding our new Electronic Devices policy. We are looking forward to your feedback so that we can implement a new policy from day one of this school year with clear expectations and broad family support.
On Saturday, August 24th we will participate in the PPS Project Community Care event, working together to clean up our grounds to get ready for the start of school. I welcome you to bring your gloves and garden tools (if you have them) and join us in this effort from 9 am to 12 noon. The first day of school will be August 28th for NEW students only as an orientation day. August 29th will be the first day for ALL students.
Thank you in advance for welcoming our new da Vinci colleagues. Please introduce yourselves as we begin a great 2019-20 school year!
Fred Locke, Principal
1/28/2019Dear da Vinci Parents/Guardians and Friends,I hope you all are well. Last week we had much to celebrate.Geo BeeOn Wednesday, the following students representing their Social Studies class competed in our annual Geography or GEO Bee: Ruby Mae East, Marina Streich, Will Lemen, Isold Styrmisdottir, Sawyer Locken, Myah Konz, Elias Norwood, Walker Ferguson, Trey Wasson, Enzo Ungar-Gutierrez, Isaac Lyon, Jack Gallagher, Tesla Chin, Eban Dreher, Laila Deweese. Each year the Bee is a fascinating test of the knowledge and reasoning skills of our students. All students successfully completed the first two rounds, and then more difficult questions narrowed the field. In Round five, Elias Norwood and Walker Ferguson faced off and Walker won. Congratulations to Ms. Savage, Ms. Fournier, Mr. Gershuny, Walker Ferguson, and ALL our GEO Bee finalists!Scholastic Art Awards
This year, 2,604 students entered 7,007 individual pieces in the statewide Oregon 2019 Scholastic Art Awards. da Vinci visual art students, 13 years or older, including Textiles, 2D art, and 3D art students, were awarded a total of 92 scholastic awards: 49 Honorable Mention awards, 38 Silver Key awards, and 5 Gold Key awards. Special congratulations to the students whose gold key work will be exhibited at the Pacific Northwest College of Art from Thursday, February 7th – February 22nd. Sarai Ballerstedt, drawing, Grim World; Harrison Boutillier, mixed media, Divide; Charlie Gullung, sculpture, Mr. Incubator; Luci Kennedy-Wong, weaving, Demand; and Kiran Sharp, mixed media, Remembering. Congratulations Jessica, Kelda, our winners, and all students who submitted Scholastic work!
Young Playwrights for Change
This year we are thrilled to announce that nine da Vinci students are regional finalists in the annual Young Playwrights for Change competition. Congratulations to the following students for their outstanding dramatic writing: Quiet, by Indie Brakken; Rising, Never Falling by Brooklyn Glennon; I’m Fine by Curtis Madlangbayan; Alone Beneath the Border by Lucy Mason; You are Enough by Kylie Moller-Pape; Socks With Sandals by Olivia Sanchez-Bishop; Dem Gay Boyz by Malaika Wandugu; Friends by Penelope Ware; and A Life Through Jewish Eyes by Abby Wendroff.Concert Honor Band
On Wednesday evening, after two full days of rehearsal, the PPS Middle and High School Honor Concert Bands performed at Jefferson High School. Five da Vinci students participated, and according to Mark Gerolami, the performance was excellent! Mr. G. also shared that the High School Honor Band was performing for the first time in 40 years, and included a number of da Vinci graduates. Congratulations to Mr. Gerolami and our da Vinci Honor Concert Band students: Sethen Wendrow, Lucy Price, Trinna Conroy, Emma Laus, Leah Abramson-Slater, Aidan Bagby, and Sebastian Struve! Kudos also to our dV graduates in High School Honor Band: Chloe Huskey, Maura McQuillen, Kai Hayes, Jackson Peters, and Nick Berkson.
As Quarter 3 begins, and 8th graders are making high school-related decisions, this is a fresh start for all to consistently do their best work.
Thank you, parents, for supporting your awesome children!
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 FireOkailey 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: http://allhandsraised.org/ 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