Sellwood School News
Sellwood Principal’s Newsletter – September 17, 2021
Greetings Sellwood Community,
We have reached the end of our first full week of school. Today we dodged a potential rainy day, and were able to continue with our outdoor lunch routine. Lot’s of parents have asked me about our plan for when the weather turns and we need to eat indoors. First, I would like to say that it will take more than a sprinkle or a few showers for us to eat indoors. I recommend you make sure that if there is a chance of rain or cold weather, that your child come to school dressed warmly and with appropriate rain gear in case of showers. I also recommend a cushion for eating outdoors, such as this one. I see that many students already have these folding mats, and they will become more useful as the weather gets chillier. Even when it is not raining, the ground can be cold and sometimes wet. I believe the safety benefits of being outdoors are worth minor discomfort. During the pandemic, many of us came to appreciate dining at our local eateries under chilly, damp, tents. Honestly, people can get used to anything, and children are even more resilient and flexible. Also, please be aware that classroom teachers will be keeping windows open for increased air flow. We encourage students to dress warmly and in layers.
As for eating indoors, you can read Sellwood’s Meal Safety Plan here.
Vandalism at Sellwood! You may have heard of the TikTok challenge encouraging students to vandalize school bathrooms by ripping down soap dispensers and otherwise trashing them, and then posting the videos on TikTok. This TikTok challenge has spread to schools across the country, making a difficult school year even more challenging to manage. Unfortunately, we have had at least one bathroom vandalized every day, and have had some days when we have had to close and lock several bathrooms, both boys and girls, due to them being vandalized. Please talk to your children about this matter. I am sure that this vandalism spree is driven by just a handful of students, but it is impacting everyone. If your children have any information about who is behind this, please encourage them to talk to their counselor or administrator. We never share where we have received our information.
Finally, some of you have voiced concerns or had questions about what happens if there is a COVID positive case at Sellwood. Fortunately, we have not had that happen yet at Sellwood. Some students have become alarmed when their classmates are out sick and have speculated that a student has COVID-19. It is only natural for students to speculate when someone is absent, and even come up with their own conclusions in the absence of information. However, there are many reasons why a student will miss school due to health reasons. I work very closely with our school nurse and the health experts at MESD to review the health information of any student who is ill. We follow a strict protocol to collect information and follow up on students who are ill (with any illness) or exposed to someone who is COVID positive. In the event of a positive COVID case at school, MESD will provide me with expert advice, and within 24 hours I am required to contact any students or staff exposed, as well as send a general communication/notice to the entire Sellwood community.
Please read on below to find more information about: Library at Recess and Back-to-School Night.
Sellwood MS Principal
Sellwood Principal’s Newsletter – September 12, 2021
Greetings Sellwood Community,
It was wonderful to see many of you in person last Thursday at our Ice Cream Social. It was a simple event, but it was so lovely to have parents, students, and staff together as a community for the first time in 18 months. I enjoyed myself, and it looked like others were having a good time.
As you may have noticed, our long-awaited new security system was finally installed. The improvements are video cameras at the front door and side entrance along with an intercom and buzzer system to open the front door. Also, our school-wide schoolwide announcement and emergency intercom system is much improved; areas that previously were unable to hear emergency announcements, such as the gym or hallway, can now hear the announcements very clearly. In fact, one could say the announcements are downright loud. We have also discovered that any school-wide or emergency announcements are also projected outside the school at high volume, of which anyone living near the school is already aware. We apologize for the loudness, and we are trying to minimize the number of school-wide announcements we make. Because the system is used for emergency notifications, the external speakers cannot be turned off or down.
The front door intercom and buzzer system allows us to keep all school doors locked at all times, which is a great upgrade, keeping us all safer. Unfortunately, the front door intercom/buzzer system takes a lot of time and effort for our front office staff to manage, so much so that they are sometimes unable to do much more than respond to the front door. As the year goes on, we anticipate that the attention needed at the front door will lessen, but we are hoping that family members visiting the school can help us with this process in the following two ways, if at all possible.
Picking students up early
We recognize that there are many reasons why families need to pick students up early for medical and other appointments. We ask that you limit early dismissals to those that are absolutely necessary, and that you notify the school by 8:45 that day. That will help us with planning and a smooth dismissal. Please send an email to both Claire Howard and Melissa Whiteside in the morning or the day before. email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org If the office is not made aware in advance that you are picking up your child for early dismissal, it may result in a delay.
Sometimes, students forget their lunches at home. As someone who has left her coffee thermos at home, I can absolutely relate. If it is at all possible, rather than bringing the lunch to school, consider having your child eat the school lunch that day. This year, lunch is free for everyone. That being said, I know that some students are on specialized diets. That’s ok; please bring the lunch. However, if your child is able to eat the school lunch for a day, why not save yourself the trip?
Thanks for considering, and I know our two hardworking secretaries will absolutely appreciate it.
Please read on below to find more information about: joining the first Sellwood PTA meeting, Sellwood’s lost and found, COVID-19 symptomatic testing, vaccine clinics, and more.
Sellwood MS Principal
Sellwood Principal’s Newsletter – September 3, 2021
Greetings Sellwood Community,
It feels amazing to be back at school with all of our wonderful teachers and students.
So far, things have been going pretty smoothly, with the exception of a very bumpy start for bus transportation. I am sorry to hear about the missed stops, overcrowding, late buses, and students left waiting. I have strongly communicated the concerns parents have raised with the transportation department and district directors and I will continue to apply pressure until bus service improves.
This newsletter will be a bit shorter this week, but if you need any of the information shared last week, you can always find the old newsletters on our website under the tab, Sellwood School News.
We started distributing Chromebooks to those who need them, but were not able to get very far because we were so busy with start up. However, 1st period teachers will be giving Chromebooks to those who need them on Tuesday. Keep in mind, in October, or possibly before, all Sellwood students will receive a new CTL Chromebook, and turn in any current PPS Chromebook they are now using.
Also, please remember that students will use one of 4 entrances based on how they came to school: by bus, drop-off, walking, biking, or skating. Please refer to the everyday map below.