Dear Beach Parents and Caregivers,
In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Day coming up this Monday, and in the spirit of reflecting on and appreciating the contributions of Dr. King, other well known Black heroes, and Black people in our own Beach community, here are just a few recognitions and highlights of people of color our staff have found inspiring in recent history.
As we all know, Tina Myers is our Principal’s Secretary at Beach. Tina commits to support and the lengths to which she’ll go in ensuring children and families feel cared for and supported is evident in any interaction with her. Tina builds positive relationships with all and wants our Beach front office to feel welcoming; no matter what she is working on or handling, she takes the time to make it so. Tina is calm, a good listener, very good at problem-solving on many levels and layers, is always thinking about ways to make things better for students and staff, and has so much integrity. She’s also very organized, asks important questions, and is an amazing multi-tasker who can consider all angles under pressure.. You may have noticed she’s also very fun to be around and work with! Before working at Beach Tina was a bookkeeper at Madison High School and Principal’s Secretary at Woodlawn Elementary; she also brings experience from previous roles at Hanna Anderson, Northwest Heating & Mechanical, FujiFilm, Kmart, and Schwabe, Williamson Wyatt.
Michelle DePass - I was honored to host PPS school board member Ms. Michelle DePass at our Back to School Night this year, and also that she invited me to a virtual coffee so we could get to know each other a little before-hand. This meeting was a highlight for me on so many levels; one is that it was so fun to learn that one of our current School Board members had attended Beach at one time! I am inspired by the amazing work Ms. dePass contributes to in our community in so many areas, including climate, sustainability and social justice. Check out: Feed the Mass. Black Sovereignty Food Network. Equitable Giving Circle. She offered to come share with our students, and I’m re-inspired to re-connect with her to set such an opportunity in action.
Ms. Mo, Michelle Lewis, Charles Hannah and Third Eye Books Accessories and Gifts LLC. Our staff is beginning a book study of City Schools and The American Dream 2: The Enduring Promise of Public Education. Ms. Mo was such an amazing and fun partner in our purchase of this title from the above local, Black-owned bookstore. And, Ms. Mo is an inspiration and support to our school and community on every level... supporting individual students and families in so many meaningful ways, supporting and contributing to our staff as a school partner and member on important teams such as visioning and co-leading our student unions, and of course, leading our SUN program and partnership with SEI.
Betty Ferguson - At Beach we are made up of not just teachers, staff, and students but also families and our larger community; Ms. Betty is a perfect example. She runs the Easy Spirit Day Care LLC just down the street from Beach Elementary and cares for many Beach students. She not only provides a safe and loving place for students to be so that their parents can return to work, but she builds relationships with the teachers of all the students in her care. Ms. Betty keeps the bar high and demands excellence from each and every student and teaches them self-respect and empowerment. She is a great example of a successful Black entrepreneur and wonderful caretaker here at Beach. The support she provides to Black families is especially important and she is a valuable member of our Beach community.
Danaya Hall - A parent at Beach and community member has been an essential contributor to forming the Alliance of Black Nurses Association- Oregon Chapter- Ms. Hall brings to our community a perspective of systemic racism in black communities health and healthcare. She is currently the president of the organization. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cinda Jackson- Some of you may remember Cinda as one of our previous SUN coordinators. Cinda now works as an SEI supervisor. In her current role, she still supports past Beach students at Ockley Green and at Jefferson and other high schools. I have known Cinda’s caring and connection to students to extend to even after high school. Cinda always brings a smile to the room and always has a positive attitude. She is a gem in our community, helping families and individuals, creating safe, supportive spaces, and sharing joy.
Cynthia MacLeod- In the past few years, Mrs. MacLeod has had a behind the scenes role supporting our school’s equity team. Mrs. MacLeod is a retired PPS principal. Her perspectives as a Black woman have been invaluable to my own growth as an individual and as an educator. Her calm, friendly, wise demeanor and her expertise have helped bring our collective work forward.
Ilza Pierre is our Beach colleague, REAP partner and serves on our school Equity Team. Our Equity Team (and our Site Council) has identified “literacy opportunity gap” as a problem we want to address. We decided to ask students “what do you need?” and “what are you passionate about?”. Ms. Ilza took those questions straight to our students in her REAP class and then shared back how incredible it was to hear the students’ perspectives. Her work is instrumental in helping us learn and center the voices of our Black, Indigenous students of color. This is Ilza’s second year devoted to developing relationships with our students to help them grow their levels of confidence and ability… it is heartwarming and inspiring to see her impact in our school community. We’re so fortunate to have her partnership!
Dear Beach Parents and Caregivers,
Especially since Wednesday but pretty often these past months, we must all be carrying many sets of feelings at the same time. This week I’ve felt such deep appreciation for the work, capacities and efforts of our staff and students. And, I’m grappling with current events and the act of white supremacy and domestic terrorism that took place in our U.S. capitol on Wednesday. The impact on our staff and families who moved to the United States to escape acts of terrorism and injustice in their home countries are especially on my mind and in my heart.
As a staff we know our students enter our virtual spaces with varying awareness, understanding and readiness to discuss and explore what our nation is experiencing; we are informing ourselves, reflecting, listening to students and individualizing responses and support. It is vital that when we talk about trauma, we do so with intention, care, and an explicit commitment to justice and equity. We are sharing resources with each other and between other schools. Some staff opened a conversation with a set of photos and questions; some used this picture book Read Aloud of The Breaking News by Sarah Lynne Reul;. This post Beyond the Spotlight is full of information and resources many of us are using. Here is a resource for parents from Teaching Tolerance (the same organization that developed the Social Justice standards we are teaching) to help in listening to and talking with your child: When Bad Things are Happening. Ms. de Boer, Mr. Rhys, Ms. Mo, Ms. Ilza, and all our staff are here for your child, you and your family ; please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or needs.
Thanks to the generous support of many Beach families, Ms. Mo, in partnership with Ms. de Boer and Mr. Rhys has been able to support over 150 Beach families using donations and also funds in her SEI Budget. The support is provided in the form of grocery store gift cards as well as limited rental assistance. The Beach Family Fund is in desperate need of replenishment.
If you would like to make a contribution to the Beach Family Support Fund, you can do so with the button on Ms. de Boer’s School Counselor website (accessed directly from our school website; click “Counselor” then “Beach Family Support Fund”. You can also send a check directly to SEI at SEI-Beach Family Support Fund, 3920 N. Kerby Ave., Portland, OR 97227. Make sure to write "Beach Family Support Fund Donation" in the memo line.
In order to honor family privacy, information/requests for assistance that are submitted to SEI will not be shared with Beach School personnel without prior permission. You can make a request for support by completing the survey linked via the button below. Monique Shellmire, Beach's SEI/SUN School Coordinator will contact you about your request and needs. You can also contact her directly via email at email@example.com or by phone at (503)890-0489.
Free Food Box Distribution!
Please see the flyer below on how to get a free food box.
Statewide Eviction Moratorium Information
Please see the attached document for updated information on the eviction moratorium being extended through June 30th in the state of Oregon.
This document includes; details of the moratorium, an FAQ on the moratorium, and the declaration document that folks will need to submit to their Landlord in order to access the protections from the moratorium.
Please see the attachment for more information.
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
Thank you for all your efforts in and ways of engaging as a school community. A beautiful event last night was our REAP students, families and leaders creating sparkle and spirit together, celebrating their processes so far and this Winter Season. Thank you for those of you taking part in our student unions and for our partners and staff who are leading them. (Consider joining in when January comes! While Asian, Latinx, Native and Black Student Unions are for people who identify accordingly, any/all are welcome to join our Gender Sexuality Alliance and Anti Racist Workshop.) And thank you to our amazing Beach staff and partners! I’m honored to be in service to our community’s children alongside such caring, skilled, spirited and brave educators.
We hope you will enjoy each other and some computer-free time over winter break. Restore yourselves from link fatigue! And stay healthy and safe.
Chess for Success
Awesome!! Parents, we have 30 permission slips turned in and only five registered (accurate through Sunday). The permission slip is not the registration. If you would like to fill the permission slip, please go here English - aquí Español After filling out it, you will be contacted by the Chess for Success Organizer and receive the link for registration.
We will be announcing the starting date for CHESS FOR SUCCESS in our first newsletter 2021.
Go Fund Me for our Beach Community Family
It is with deep sadness that I share that one of our first graders, Elanor Matheny, unexpectedly lost her dad, Justin Matheny, last week after battling an illness for several years. He was a wonderful father and was actively involved in his kids' lives despite health conditions that made this challenging. He loved his kids dearly. They all miss him so much.
If you would like to support Elanor, her 16-year-old brother, Devin, and her mom, Cyndi, a Go Fund Me has been set up by the Beach School PTA. Her family would greatly appreciate it.
ENDS SOON - Please see the link below, for this amazing fundraising opportunity for our school! Inside the link you will find a link for the raffle.
"Electric Island" will feature a first-of-its-kind charging station for electric commercial vehicles. Lucky raffle winners will have the opportunity to name one of the eight vehicle
The raffle closes on December 20, 2020 at midnight (12 AM PST). Winners will be chosen on Monday, December 21,2020, at noon (12 PM PST) in a live online drawing via Zoom.
100% of donations to this raffle will support the Beach Elementary School's Family Support Fund. Beach Elementary is located in the Overlook neighborhood immediately east of DTNA. This fund is unique because it directly supports families in the Beach community rather than school needs. For example, the fund has been utilized to purchase gift cards for food, clothing, and other essentials as well as provide additional gift card assistance for families during the holiday season. It has also been utilized for rental and utility assistance, to help with emergency assistance following a house fire, to purchase foldable shopping carts to help families without cars transport groceries, and to provide food delivery to grieving families and families facing medical challenges. This has been especially critical for families that are not able to access other forms of public assistance.
Dear Families and Caregivers,
It feels like a great time to celebrate even just a few of so many wonderful things happening across our school community, not only for fun, but to share about events or efforts that relate to our priorities and values -- creating connections, building trust, deepening relationships, centering humanity and culture. Our students, staff and families are so resilient, and we appreciate all the ways our community is working together.
Something to be truly admired is the positivity that beams from our Beach staff. Every week is an uphill battle to create curriculum and keep students engaged not just in the classroom, but in their everyday lives by giving them hope and optimism for the better days that are coming.
Our Student Unions are leading children and adults to take a deep breath together. Students are talking together, doing research, and interacting with materials together (for example, in the Latinx Student Union, traditional activities within families such as... pinatas! The leaders utilized another activity. A student chose a symbol from the New Mexico flag to represent and share about their identities. Then shared personal connections with her group.
As a staff we are studying ways to create conditions for Native American Tribal History to become shared history. Teachers thought deeply together this week about the Essential Understandings of Native Americans in Oregon (content created by the 9 federally recognized tribes in our area within efforts to build relationships between native people and school systems) in their grade level teams, and are planning ways to bring meaningful learning and understanding to students. I am so inspired and humbled by Beach teachers’ incredible combinations of deep levels of content knowledge, spirit for learning more, and commitment to finding and utilizing engaging instructional practices for our students. I learn so much from our staff, and our students too. A little highlight there- I was amazed listening to 5th graders discuss the news about the coronavirus vaccine with each other and their teacher this week. They were asked, what are you hearing, and how are you feeling about it? They had heard a lot (lots of it at home!) and their depth of insight and feeling was really touching.
As a staff we’re striving to listen to and learn from our students. We are interested in what they are passionate about and what they need. Ms. Ilza, our REAP partner, is on our Equity Team and took these questions to the students in her REAP class (see previous newsletter for more about REAP). It was powerful and inspiring to hear Ilza share about listening to students’ perspectives. We’re so fortunate to have Ilza and Anderson’s partnership in our school community. And, with that I circle back to all our community and the ways we’re all striving to support, build and deepen relationships across our community. Next week a group will meet to discuss and expand planning a schoolwide “global celebration” encompassing Black History Month, Chinese New Year, Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Hispanic Heritage Month after the new year-- a way to celebrate all we have in common within meaningful, beautiful differences. We’d love to hear your perspectives about anything!
Warmly, Tina, Esther and Lisa
I wanted to share a window into my work as a Reading Specialist. So, here you are.
A snapshot of an independent learner in 1st Grade: Last week when working with a 1st Grader, we wrote syllables on a white board. My student was connecting the first syllable we had written to possible words that started with these syllables and drawing pictures for them. I hadn’t asked him to do this, he was just motivated to do so on his own. When I asked him if he wanted to try writing out the multisyllabic, longer complete words for his drawings, he quickly went from serious and focused to playful and excited. He asked me to wait for him and ran off to find his notebook so he could keep his newly learned words in a permanent place. It is so exciting to see a student motivated by him or herself to learn something new. I am so fortunate to be in the position I am this year that I can more easily adjust to students' interest and respond to their lead. He reminds me that I need to take the time and ask all of my students, what words are important to you to learn? What words are you excited about owning as a reader?
Free Online Books!
Perfect and fun activity to do over the holiday break and beyond! All K-2nd grade students and students in Spanish Immersion classes have access to this free and amazing reading program.
Have your child log into Cleaver and search for the yellow robot icon called Learning A-Z. Here you will find hundreds of free books that can be read to your child and your child can record their voice as they read. Many even have a comprehension quiz after they read and children can earn star points to build their galaxy or robot! Check out below a parent tool kit that gives you and your child tips and tricks to practice reading.
Parent workshop on Early Reading Skills
What: Virtual workshop is designed to help you grow our child into a stron reader. This workshop will have ideas for making reading fun with the ultimate goal of reading by 4th grade. You will receive a parent workbook to use during and after this workshop.
We will be offering a session in Spanish and in English. Both sessions will be recorded.
Translation will be available in English session for Chinese, Vietnamese, & Somali families
Who: Parents with students en grades K-3
When: Friday. December 11, (English) 4:00 - 6:00 PM
Saturday, December 12 (Spanish) 10:00 AM - 12 M
How to Register? Go to https://bit.ly/3pcYpYw
DECEMBER MEAL SERVICES
The Nutrition Services department will be providing extra meals each service day to help keep our students with access to food as we head into the winter break. Each service day through December 16, we will be providing 3 days worth of meals for each child. On Friday, December 18, we will provide each child with a food box that will contain enough food for 7 days. We will not be serving or delivering meals on Monday, Dec 21 through Friday, January 1. Meal services will resume Monday, January 4.
Dear Beach Parents and Caregivers,
Thank you for your partnership during conferences the past few weeks, and for the resulting improvements for all our Beach students! Teachers have been expressing so much appreciation for the opportunity to hear from you, and for your help knowing the best ways to support each child. Several teachers were describing things parents thought teachers understood but teachers didn’t yet, and things they thought parents knew but parents actually didn’t yet. The result for children when teachers and parents are on the same page is always better for their learning (even though it usually means more effort required from them!)
Each week when teachers meet as grade level teams they share the main learning targets (what students should understand and be able to do after any lesson) for their students with our specialist team, so specialists can weave this content into their work with students, too. Here’s a snapshot for you of what’s happening across the grades in the area of literacy:
Kindergarten: Becoming a community as a reader; learning the “superpower” of pointing at words as you read and connecting images to words from the book
1st grade: Informational text and “how to” writing
2nd grade: Non-Fiction reading and writing, phonics assessment
3rd grade: Sharing a personal story that can turn into a personal narrative
4th grade: character’s identity
5th grade: Informational Texts for reading (comprehension focus) and writing (report writing); learning to take notes from videos of read alouds of informational texts
As a whole staff we have been reflecting about race and racism in our school community. We are working to know what we can dismantle and interrupt in our school systems as well as what we can own personally, and to grow our practices around personal reflection. We’re striving to hear and consider multiple perspectives, to speak and listen to each other about our perspectives and experiences honestly and with humility. And, to center each and every one of your beautiful children, who we love and who we can’t wait to listen to, support and hug in person. But in the meantime, we’re listening, supporting, and sharing our care in this new digital reality… please let us know if there is something we can do better for you or yours.
I also wanted to share a resource that might be helpful to you: one of our district teams is creating a series of short, concise resources to support families called 'At-Home Strategies for Distance Learning'. New tools are added regularly; by clicking the above link you’ll find tools for: Noticing My Emotions. Emotions Check-Ins, Emotion Labeling. Empowering Choice, Break Options. Visual Schedule, Alternative Seating. Calm Spaces. Also, I hope you’re utilizing our amazing School Counselor Ms. de Boer’s website for her weekly message and mindfulness exercise, links to our student unions (children are welcome to join in with a student union at any time; simply click the relevant link) and other resources.
Take good care of yourselves.
I hope you are all doing well!!! I am excited to share that Virtual Chess for Success is here!!!! It will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30p-4:30p with our awesome new coach, Honni Brown! Woohoo!!!
Here is an introduction to our community from Coach Honni:
Hi everyone! My name is Honni and I am so excited to start chess for success at Beach. This is my second year teaching chess, my first time over the internet. I’ve only been playing chess for about a year and half. I’m proof anyone at any age can learn and love it! I fell in love with the game and how it challenges my mind. I play almost everyday. I can’t wait to become part of the Beach family.
Beach rocks! Please see this flyer. The first step in signing up is the online permission slip at: Chess for Success Virtual Permission Slip or in Spanish at: Ajedrez para el Éxito Hoja de Permiso Virtual
Missing Wooden Earring found in Beach parking lot. Please reach out to the front office if you recognize it.
Dear Families and Caregivers,
A land acknowledgement is a way to recognize the people that came before you, to consider how you came to reside on that land, and to consider the historical context of where we all are now.
When I first started thinking about doing a Land Acknowledgement with my class, my concern was that it might not feel authentic and I didn’t want to create more misconceptions or for it to feel forced. My colleague, Mika Hilbers, showed me how important it is to just try it and then work with your class to make meaning of it together. I shared a Land Acknowledgement that I found from the University of Portland with my 2nd grade class, and then we worked together to understand it and make it our own. Each afternoon, we say our land acknowledgement to honor Native people that came before us.
I asked my students to share why they think a land acknowledgement is important and here is what they said:
-You have to be respectful to people and the land.
-We have to care for the land, because if we don’t, there won’t be anywhere to live.
-Native people rightfully cared for this land and without them we would have to be somewhere else instead of this wonderful city that we live in.
- When we think of this land we feel thankful for having a house and everything but we should actually be thankful to the people who were here first, not the people who think they “DISCOVERED” this land.
-If no one cared for this land it wouldn’t be as beautiful as it is now.
-Once you read a land acknowledgment, it’s good to realize it’s meaning and really get to know what it means so that you pay more attention to the message.
-All of us need to be thankful and keep caring for this land and honoring it- that is important.
-We can care for the world the way tribes before us and now care for it.
Here is a great resource if you would like to know more:
Anna Davila Marquez
Happy Fall Beach Families!!!
I hope you have all been doing well and have been staying safe, healthy and sane during this time! Please know that the Beach Family Support Form is still available and will remain open for families to fill out requests for support when you need! If you foresee you and your family needing additional support over the Holidays, you can also request Holiday support through this form as well as FredMeyer gift cards to help with your families needs. Please allow 3-5 business days for your gift card to arrive via USPS. This form also has a self service portal with information on SEI's Short Term Rental Assistance with a link to schedule your own appointment directly as well as SEI's Energy Assistance Hotline number. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org Have a great day!!!
You can fill out the Beach Family Support Form at: https://forms.gle/iQvx3oPpzfvYXh2t6
Today, November 20th, is Transgender Day of Remembrance. Today we hold in our hearts the many transgender lives that have been lost this year, and every other year.More transgender people have been murdered in the first 7 months of 2020 than were lost during the entirety of last year. And it is important for us all to remember that Black, Indigenous and Latinx transgender women face higher rates of violence than other trans people, or cisgender Black and Indigenous people.
Today is a day of mourning, and also a day to look to justice.
I am so grateful to be a part of the Beach community as we all work towards safer and more just communities.
In love and solidarity,
Rhys Hills, school social worker
Beach Parents and Caregivers, we hope you will join us for Topic Talk next week on either conference day! Several of our Beach staff and community partners would love to connect with and hear from you at either of two (virtual) Listening Sessions for families ~ one on Monday evening and one on Tuesday afternoon. Spanish speaking staff will break out to meet with any Spanish speaking families who attend. Ms. Mo (SUN), Ms. Ilza (REAP), Ms. de Boer (school counselor), Mr. Rhys (social worker), Ms. Tina (principal's secretary), Ms. Romero (school secretary), Ms. Megan (reading specialist) and I will be present in some combination at both meetings; we'll introduce ourselves and share a thought with you, then invite you to introduce yourselves and share any thoughts or questions. We'll take notes as we listen, then we'll all talk and connect on those topics.
Please simply click the date below to join the Topic Talk.
- 11/23 from 6-7pm (11/23 Topic Talk Link)
- 11/24 from 2-pm (11/24 Topic Talk Link)
I hope your child’s conference will be a time for you to pause and reflect on something to celebrate, no matter how small! There is a lot of hard work going on in your homes, and it’s a great time to pause and look at the growth that’s been made. If things really aren’t working for your student yet, we want to know if there is a way to create something they’d want to come to. All teacher’s links for conference sign-ups are located on our website. Parent Teacher Conference Sign up Link.
Thank you for all you do, and hope to connect with you at a Topic Talk/Listening Session next week.
Mark your calendars for another Beach restaurant night!
When: Thursday, December 3rd (4PM-close)
Where: Atlas Pizza at 710 N. Killingsworth (503.232.3004)
Atlas Pizza on Killingsworth has generously offered to donate 20% of all sales from 4PM-close on Thursday, December 3 to the Beach Elementary community.
Call and order for delivery or take out.
Help spread the word~ more pizza, more money!!
Free COVID tests are offered to families who believe that they were in close contact with someone who had symptoms or tested positive for COVID. We are including both Spanish and English flyers below.
This is a message from Katrina de Boer, Beach's school counselor. I want to let you all know that I am available to meet with families next week during conferences. I am happy to support concerns related to your child's health and well-being or school challenges as well as answer questions related to 504 plans, middle school choice, and other areas of concern. Feel free to call or text me at 503-908-9890.
Please also reach out if your family would benefit from a gift card to Fred Meyer over the extended times away from school in November and December. This includes families that would like support related to holiday giving for their children. Gift card requests can also be made from my school counseling website. If you would like to donate to the Beach Family Support Fund you can do that from my website as well.
Dear Families and Caregivers,
Thank you to you and your children for all of your effort and engagement in distance learning! It is such a joy to see children’s faces, or even their little icon when their cameras are off, as I join classes. I am so appreciative of the way our teachers are working together to design processes and content that will be meaningful and effective for children. Please let teachers, or any of our staff, know what is working and what you wonder or need.
Parent-teacher conferences are coming up November 23 and 24. Please check Remind or your email for an invitation to sign up through SignUpGenius that arrived this week (or in some cases, last week). Or sign up with this link through the Beach website Parent Teacher Conference Sign up Link. During conferences, we really want to hear and learn from you! We also have ideas and progress information to share with you. We are eager to learn strategies from you or develop them with you. We so appreciate your partnership. Please think ahead about what is going well, what your main hope or goal is for your child, and what you need from us.
On that same note, our office staff and several other staff and community partners will hold two (virtual) Topic Talk/Listening Sessions for families ~ one evening and one afternoon. We hope you will join us for either that works best for you! Spanish speaking staff will break out to meet with any Spanish speaking families who attend. Please simply click the date below to join the Topic Talk.
Schools can find their immunization reports for Spring 2020 on the PPS Health Services page under Immunizations: Student Success and Health / 2019-20 Immunization Rates. We will update again in Spring 2021. It’s important that your school makes this information available either by sharing a link on your school webpage or sending this information with the link out to parents.
Have you heard about the Beach PenPal Program? Ms. Mo is organizing this opportunity for any family to sign their student up to send letters back and forth with a Beach Buddy. This is such a great opportunity for students to connect with other students either within or across classes, grade levels, or programs. And, to practice communication and letter writing skills (drawing, too!) at the same time. We hope your child will join the fun! Rules: Once you fill out this form, please wait 3-5 business days to receive your Pen Pal Supply Pack with everything your student will need to write and send letters to their Buddy! Please send at least 1 letter per month. If you have questions, email- email@example.com
Sign your student up at: https://forms.gle/RbBokyDue31CR1ZV8
Here is some information from our school librarian Ms. Hughes:
You can provide input about the books that you receive in your bag by filling out this Google Form:
The Online Scholastic Book Fair has begun! It runs through 11/24. Proceeds benefit the Beach Library, there is free shipping on orders over $25, and all items ship directly to you! Check out the Book Fair Homepage for more information or Shop the Store directly.
ParentVUE Online Yearly Verification Reports
Dear Parent/Caregiver, Each year parents and/or guardians are asked to review and update the information on file for their children (students). This information can be reviewed, edited and submitted online via PPS ParentVUE. The Yearly Verification form is an Online process. We have a report that shows families who already Finished the Process, Started the Process, Changes Pending, Accepted and Not Started. Please visit the links above to to update your student/family information.
Dear Beach Parents and Caregivers,
Here are a few wishes and hopes for you today from our office staff: Wishing you small moments of hope and joy, even in times like these filled with uncertainty and stress. Our Beach community has shown resilience and strength in the face of adversity. We miss you all, and you are in our hearts. Our joy and hope from our families is to see them sharing their time to support kids whose parents are working and volunteering whenever we need their support.
A reminder that Parent-teacher conferences are coming up November 23 or 24. Your child’s teacher will be sending you an invitation to sign up through SignUpGenius by next week. We are hopeful that the process will be easy, but in case it’s helpful, here is a link to a document that shows you what to expect during the SignUpGenius process. During conferences, we want to learn from you as well as share with you; we are eager to learn strategies from you or develop them with you. We so appreciate your partnership.
There are some changes in the Let’s Get Reading schedule due to school day closures this month.
No School 11/11- Group B (last names N-Z) can come Monday 11/9 or Friday 11/13
No School 11/25- Group B (last names N-Z) can come Monday 11/23 or Tuesday 11/24
12/14 and 12/16- Group A (last names A-M) is scheduled, but Group B can come if they want new books before break
If families are interested in nominating their child for identification in gifted education, please e-mail our Gifted Education Facilitator, Veronica Hughes, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about when to consider gifted education identification is posted as a presentation on the Beach Library website in the TAG tab and will soon be available on the Beach TAG website.
*Please note that gifted education is also commonly referred to as TAG- Talented and Gifted-- but all children are talented!
There is still space available in our childcare at Beach School! Our childcare system is doing very well. Consider the requirements to qualify for financial assistance that we have recently come to understand. While the Employee Related Day Care (ERDC) state subsidy is generous to full-time working families, understanding these restrictive eligibility requirements can be challenging. We ask you to learn more about child care sites, registration, 211 and more, view the flyer below and the PPS Child Care Website.
Child care programs
- Accept children ages 5 - 12.
- Enroll no more than 30 students per school.
- Set aside 50% of the slots for families qualifying for state subsidies. State subsidy application is here.
- Enroll PPS students and children of PPS employees, regardless of which school children are enrolled in.
- Follow strict licensing guidelines including stable cohorts, face coverings, hand hygiene, routine cleaning and sanitation, parent drop-off/pick-up outside of the school building.
If your family is able to and would like to sponsor a family who needs childcare, but doesn’t qualify because they have not yet been able to find employment, please contact Monique Shellmire (email@example.com), Rhys Hills (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Esther Romero (email@example.com). The full cost of childcare is $300 per child, per week. We have a few families whose children who have recently realized they do not qualify for financial assistance, who cannot afford the fee, and who have had to stop attending.
“Student Unions are still occurring weekly on the GoogleMeet platform. All students will get a journal, pen and other prizes!! The schedule is as follows:
Monday: Asian Student Union- 2:30p-3:00p
Tuesday: Black Student Union- 2:30p-3:00p
Tuesday: Gender & Sexuality Alliance- 2:00p-2:30p
Tuesday: How to be Anti-Racist Workshop- 2:30p-3:00p
Wednesday: Native Student Union- 2:30p-3:00p
Thursday: Latino Student Union- 2:30p-3:00p
The meeting codes to join are:
ASU Code- BEACHASU2020
BSU Code- BEACHBSU2020
GSA Code- BEACHGSA2020
Anti-Racist Workshop- BEACHAR2020
Health centers for families through PPS schools Message from the District
We’re happy to announce that we have re-opened two of PPS’ school-based health centers to provide access to medical services for students while the district continues to hold classes remotely. School-based health centers offer quality, affordable health care by doctors and Family Nurse Practitioners for children and youth with no out of pocket cost.
Next week- do you know someone who would be able to go to a child’s house to help them log on/complete school
UPDATE: Google Meet Nickname links
Due to families’ concerns with students using Hangouts Chat unsupervised, it was suspended for students. Hangouts Chat will be turned off on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020 and the g.co/meet/nickname link will no longer work.
USE THIS URL FORMAT meet.google.com/lookup/nickname instead of “g.co/meet/nickname”, You will receive and email from your teachers with the new link to students and families.
Dear Beach Parents and Caregivers,
You are all so present in my mind and heart as we head into next week and an election day occuring amidst ongoing injustices, uncertainty and unrest. Especially, I know our students and families who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color experience the stress and anxiety related to our current climate differently and more intensely. As your Beach staff and as people who care deeply for each of our children and families, I hope it goes without saying that whatever the outcome of the election, our staff will draw on our reserves of resilience and are committed to supporting our students to understand the context around this election (as appropriate for their age of course… but even our youngest students will be aware of and possibly impacted by strong emotions.) I hope all in our community will come together to support one another-- today, next week and always. If any of you have ideas about what our school can do to best support our community with conversations, gatherings or events to help us all work together, please reach out to me or any staff to share your perspective and let us hear and learn from you. Our staff is committed to your child, and to teaching in ways so that each of our students are empowered and prepared for all the challenges before us.
Each Wednesday I join our teachers in their grade level team meetings, and I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to be part of their collaboration as they plan their work with, and analyze learning outcomes for, your children. Our staff has been focused on how we can make our school more just, equitable and safe through studying and teaching about identity, diversity, justice and action, four Social Justice Standards developed by the organization Teaching Tolerance. We are also focused on what student engagement looks like and what we can do to promote it in online learning. Parent-teacher conferences (or in some cases parent-teacher-child conferences) are coming up November 23 or 24, and we know we have as much to learn from you as we do to share with you. We are developing our online sign-up process (using Sign Up Genius) and will share sign-ups with you soon. We are eager to learn strategies from you or develop them with you, especially for our students who aren’t engaged or thriving in the virtual setting. We so appreciate your partnership and again, we are committed to your children, and to you. Thank you for being and raising Beachies!
Lisa and our Beach Staff
Digital Citizenship & Screen Time
Mr. Almazan, one of our 5th grade Spanish Immersion teachers, created this document for families (in Spanish and English) in response to questions about ways to control time and content on children's devices. We thought it might be helpful to others of you, too: https://bit.ly/3nKDxr1
Our TechSmart Integration Coach, Gretchen Sanders, has also been helping us with ways to support ever-important digital citizenship skills. We are thrilled to have Gretchen supporting us a day per week this year, and we are set to have her support next year as well. Here are some words from her on this topic:
Even when we aren't doing school through Comprehensive Distance Learning, students are often on some sort of device for many hours a day. Here are some resources from Common Sense Media for engaging families in this discussion. A family agreement is a great way to address limiting screen time. The lure of the screen is strong and it is helpful for students to understand what the expectations are and why. Also, although it is not the route I like to recommend from the start, families can remember that they can take devices away, turn off the wifi, or turn off data if they find devices are ruling their lives.
Tired of cooking? Then eat out on Wednesday, November 4th- from 4PM-9PM, at ¿por que no taqueria? on N. Mississippi Ave and support the Beach community.
¿por que no taqueria? has generously offered to contribute 10% of their sales from the evening (up to $300) to Beach students and staff. That’s all sales, including gift certificates and merchandise.
Order on-line and pick up at the N. Mississippi location or have Caviar/DoorDash deliver.
Thank you for supporting Beach and small business!
Dear Beach Community,
Parents or Caregivers of 329 out of 389 of our Beach students have been able to come by Beach and pick up the school supply kits our PTA are providing every child! We hope they have brought your child and family some usefulness and happiness. Thank you so much to our PTA for providing this resource for our students! One of our teacher teams commented during our staff meeting: “School supplies have created a sense of community because all students have the same materials.” If you haven’t yet been able to pick up supplies but would like to, please call the office between 8-3; Ms. Romero will assist you in arranging a pick up time. If your family needs delivery, staff will be reaching out to you to see if you give permission for a volunteer to be given your address and come onto your entry area to leave the supplies.
In addition, for those of you who celebrate Halloween, here are some tips on how you can have some fun while keeping your families safe and healthy this year.
PPS Nutrition Services
Updates to Meal Service as Weather Changes:
Starting Monday November 2, our grab-and-go curbside serving locations will be open from 3 to 4:30 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Some schools might shift their serving location on campus to help keep employees dry and visible. To see the full list of meal sites, please visit the Nutrition Sites During Distance Learning website.
PPS is re-opening access to home meal deliveries, a service for PPS families that are not near a meal site or need assistance accessing meals. To request meal delivery service, please complete the request form. We continue to assess the capacity of both the Nutrition Services and Transportation departments and will keep you apprised of any updates we make to our services.
If you have any questions about our meal service, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Restaurant Night at Por que No.
Tired of cooking? Then eat out on Wednesday, November 4th- from 4PM-9PM, at ¿por que no taqueria? on N. Mississippi Ave and support the Beach community.
¿por que no taqueria? has generously offered to contribute 10% of their sales from the evening (up to $300) to Beach students and staff. That’s all sales, including gift certificates and merchandise.
Order on-line and pick up at the N. Mississippi location or have Caviar/DoorDash deliver.
Thank you for supporting Beach and small business!
We’re thrilled to have our REAP partners returning to help us in providing meaningful, empowering learning experiences for our students. REAP is a multicultural non-profit community partner that has a focus on student leadership supporting mainly 3rd-5th grade students. Last year REAP provided two programs: Solutions & Reflections. This year, they will be providing just their Solutions program. They will work intentionally with 20 students, whose families will be invited directly. And, their partnership and work supports our whole staff and all of our students, whether directly or indirectly.
Solutions is an all day program as well as after school curriculum which develops leadership.
service learning projects, field trips, guest speakers.
Reflections: Restorative Justice program, keeps our students in school learning about leadership, communication, and conflict resolution skills, alternative to out of school suspension.
For more information, please read REAP’s flyer (attached).
Does your student need help with typing? With school being online these days, students are needing to know how to type more than ever. We have a solution, if you haven’t seen this already, check out this PPS approved APP called Typing Club. Many teachers already have this fun interactive APP on their Clever Page. If not, ask your student’s teacher to add it, or it is easy to find online, and it’s free. My second grade students used this typing APP last spring, and I received great feedback from both students and parents.
TypingClub helps students learn how to type while having an engaging and interactive experience. It features virtual keyboard and hand guides to show proper hand position, badges and stars to keep students motivated, games and videos to make learning fun, voice over that reads words aloud as you type them, and typing playback to view past performances. It also has a practice calendar which shows total practice time, number of attempts per day, and total attempts for each week, as well as a punchcard that shows activity by day and hour. TypingClub’s School Edition offers many lesson plans including keyboards, left and right hand typing, and many languages including Spanish, French, and Italian. This edition is also SSL secured, has no advertisements, and can be used on an iPad.
If you would like a printable keyboard for your student to color in and practice keyboarding, download and print this PDF document. Or you can pick up a printed copy the next time you pick up library books. Good luck and happy typing!
Dear Beach Families and Caregivers,
This week we have messages for you from our School Counselor, Social Worker, and Sun School Manager. Have a great weekend!
Hello Beach Families,
Many of you have already picked up or received your student’s school supply kit. Our amazing PTA has spent countless hours packing and distributing these. I sincerely hope that your child is finding joy exploring the contents. I want to bring special attention to the three pieces of cardstock in supply kits. One of the cards says “How is your engine running?” The other two say “How do you feel?” and “Calming Strategies.” You will also find a little paper arrow and a brass fastener. Have your child cut out the arrow with their new scissors and then poke a hole through the bottom of the arrow and then through the “How is your engine running” card where the 4 triangular pieces come together. Open up the back of the fastener so that it lays flat across the back of the card. This will make an emotion gauge for you and your child to explore along with the feeling card and calming strategies card.
I have heard from many families about frequent meltdowns and a lot of frustration at home that has intensified with the start of school. My hope is that you can regularly explore these three cards with your child. We know that kids really struggle to access coping skills when they are in the midst of meltdown. However, if they practice strategies beforehand, the chances of avoiding
meltdowns or recovering from them more quickly go up markedly. In addition, you may find some very helpful information on helping understand what is happening with your child during a meltdown and how you can be supportive in the moment from this recent New York Times article.
As always, please feel free to call me with any questions or concerns that you may have. 503-908-9690.
Katrina de Boer
Dear Beach families,
I've been working to set up a group for Beach students experiencing grief at the loss of a loved one. It would be a short, weekly meeting with myself and students. We would talk about our lost loved ones, about handling tough feelings like grief, and about ways of celebrating our memories. I really feel like this work is more important now than ever before!
I don't have any set days or times for the meetings yet-- I will figure that out once I know what students might benefit from the group. If you think your student would benefit from a grief and loss group, please let me know! You can reach me at email@example.com, or at (503) 679-8350.
Mr. Rhys, school social worker
Free meals provided by Airway Science through Fresh and Local for all youth under 18 years old! Only 100 meals are provided and it is 1st come 1st served!!
Monday: October 19th, 2020
Location: 3710 N Mississippi Ave Portland, OR 97227 on the corner of Beech and Mississippi in the Airway Science Parking lot!
10/24: Drive-Thru Play Ball: Free Play Ball Kit for Every Child Who Registers
Friends of Baseball is hosting an activity-packed Play Ball PDX Fall Classic Weekend Oct 22-25 with events, fun, & learning for the whole family.
The Drive-Thru Play Ball Portland events are being hosted in 4 locations of the Portland metro area on October 24th. Youth registered by their families will receive a Play Ball Kit with Franklin Bat & Ball sets provided by Major League Baseball, Dick's Sporting Goods Cinch Bag and water bottle, with Dry-Erase Clipboard, pen and activity sheets, baseball cards, See's Candies lollipop, Hillsboro Hops mascot bookmark and cardboard cutout, and Friends of Baseball wristband.
Register to visit a Drive-Thru Play Ball location near you:
10/24: Nikki Brown Clown FREE Virtual Story Time: Negro Leagues Baseball History edition
Friends of Baseball is hosting an activity-packed Play Ball PDX Fall Classic Weekend with events, fun, & learning for the whole family. Portland’s favorite Nikki Brown Clown is back with a Negro Leagues Baseball history and baseball-themed online storytime that is a culturally creative blend of picture books infused with sounds and activities for all. This will be an interactive online experience and participation is encouraged! All ages are welcome!
Storytime is FREE to attend. Register by Wednesday, October 21st.
Virtual Link to storytime will be provided after registration and a couple days prior to the event.
Register for FREE Virtual Nikki Brown Clown story time:
10/22: Other Boys of Summer Documentary Screening & Q&A with Seattle Mariner Kyle Lewis
Friends of Baseball is hosting an activity-packed Play Ball PDX Fall Classic Weekend with events, fun, & learning for the whole family.
Seattle Mariners On BASE and Key Bank Cares are partnering with Friends of Baseball and Baseball Beyond Borders to present a virtual screening of the documentary "The Other Boys of Summer", highlighting the rich history of Negro Leagues Baseball, followed by a Panel Discussion featuring Mariners standout outfielder Kyle Lewis and Mariners Broadcaster Dave Sims.
Recommended for students in grades 5th-12th and their families.
Register by Tuesday, October 20th at 5:00 pm to secure your child's seat.
Virtual Link to Zoom Screening provided prior to the event via email with link to view documentary provided in the Zoom meeting.
Register for The Other Boys of Summer Virtual Screening & Q&A
Dear Beach Community,
We hope this finds you well. I am so appreciative of all the resilience, effort and care happening across our community on so many levels. Thank you for attending virtual Back to School Night last week if you could; please look for an important set of slides sent by your child’s teacher, as well as our virtual all school address (English and Spanish versions) on our website if you couldn’t. Also, please look for the “Parent Feedback- Beach Instructional Schedule” form sent by your child’s teacher. We want to know what is working for your child, and what challenges they are experiencing. Please know that it’s important to support your child’s strengths and interests, in collaboration with classroom teachers or case managers (Ms. Helen, Ms. Amanda, Ms. Singer, Ms. de Boer) if some components of the schedule aren’t working for your child. We can and will individualize schedules for the individual strengths and needs of children! We know that for some children, our current learning environment feels supportive and for others, it really does not, hard as we’re trying to make it the best we can. There is no right or wrong and certainly no judgement; whatever your child needs and however your child thrives, we want to do our best to support them.
This week please find a series of important notes from various members of our school community-- PTA, Ms. Mo, Mr. Rhys, Ms. Hughes, and our office.
We are halfway to our goal of getting all our kids school supply kits and still need your help. We need to raise $6,000 more dollars to reach our goal.
An anonymous donor has graciously agreed to match all School Supply kit donations made between today and Monday, October 4th. Every dollar you donate will be matched up to $3,000. Please help! You can donate here
As a reminder, the teachers at Beach compiled a list of basic supplies for their students to help facilitate the distance learning. When all children have the same supplies, it is significantly easier for teachers to help students identify the tools they will need to use. Additionally, it ensures that ALL students have access to the supplies they need. The PTA is committed to helping get these supplies into the hands of every student. We have a number of families that could afford to purchase these supplies on their own. However, we have many more that may not have the disposable income to do so but may not feel comfortable asking for a donation. These supplies are not atypical of what the school generally asks for at the start of the school year. We, as a PTA, recognize that many families are facing financial hardship that prevent them from providing financial support in the form of school supplies for their children. This is one small and very meaningful way that the PTA can help. Additionally, there is something special for students about receiving a package of supplies from the school that says "you are important and your participation in school is important." That is a message that ALL students need right now.
Pick-up of school supply kits begins next Wednesday after school from 3-5, during the same time window as the Food Hub (3-5), and the first hour of Let’s Get Reading (3-4). Here are details on additional times for picking up school supplies:
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday, October 7
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Monday, October 12
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday, October 14
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Monday, October 19
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday, October 21
We hope all families who are able to pick up their supplies will do so. We are also organizing parent volunteers to help with delivery of kits for students whose families are unable to pick up the kits (and book bags, too).
Kelly Orehovec (PTA President) and Kate Bodane (Beach Parent Volunteer)
Good evening SEI SUN Parents!!
I hope you are all doing well!! We are looking for Beach Room Parents!
We need 1 per class and this year they will support the whole grade!
Why do we need room parents?
Our teachers work so hard (and even harder in the pandemic!). Room parents can help teachers focus more on the kids and less on how to get the word out to parents about change of schedule, supply or volunteer needs. Now more than ever, room parents can help create community, which in the past has happened inside the school.
Let’s help the teachers focus on what they love most...teaching our kids!
What does a room parent do?
-Once a month (sometimes more) you will receive an email with important reminders. Simply cut and paste into an email and send to your fellow parents.
-Work with your teacher to send additional communications as needed.
-Respond to teacher’s general classroom requests, such as supplies or volunteers
-Help create community across the three classrooms per grade. Break down walls.
-Communicate to the PTA about teachers’ needs that require additional support
-Help families to register and sign into Membership Toolkit- Online and App available. (This will help build a complete class directory for parents to use to contact classmates for birthday parties, play dates, etc.)
-Connect with your teacher to brainstorm additional ideas!
-Help others be heard! Use this channel to make sure all parents and children feel their voices are being heard.
Please reach out to
Judith Hochhauser Schneider (firstname.lastname@example.org) or
Ms. Monique Shellmire (email@example.com)
Thank you so much!!
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
I wanted to let you all know about the Student Unions we're getting started for students in grades 1-5. We'll be starting the week of October 12th. All student unions (except for the GSA) will be held 2:30-3pm.
Mondays, we'll be hosting an Asian Student Union.
Tuesdays, we'll have a Gender Sexuality Alliance during lunch, and two student unions simultaneously in the afternoons: an Anti-Racist Workshop and a Black Student Union.
Wednesdays, we'll have a Native Student Union.
Thursdays, we'll have a Latinx Student Union.
Rhys Hills, Beach Social Worker
Beach is a Food Hub!
Mondays and Wednesdays, 3-5
From Nutrition Services
There are several benefits for eligible families to submit a meal application this school year, even though meals are served at no cost to children ages 1-18 at several Portland Public School sites through December, To ensure eligible students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals continue to receive meals at no cost for the entire school year (past December)--
Families have the following options to submit a meal application:-Online at www.schoolcafe.com/pps.-Print, complete and mail back a paper meal application (https://www.pps.net/Page/2464) to PPS Nutrition Services, 501 N. Dixon St., Portland, OR 97227.
-Request a paper meal application be mailed to you at home from firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503.916.3402.
A reminder: meal services will not be open on the statewide inservice date, Friday, October 9th. For the week of October 5th, meals will be served and delivered on Monday, October 5th (3 days worth of meals per child) and Wednesday, October 7th (4 days worth of meals). Even with no service on Friday, there will be no change in the amount of food offered during the week. For questions about meal services, contact email@example.com
Don’t forget to participate in Let’s Get Reading! You can pick up a bag of books for your child every Monday and Wednesday, 8-9 am or 3-5 pm. Next week is students whose last names begin with A-M. Next week on Wednesday, we’ll have three services at once in our front yard -- meals, books and school supplies. Come by (with your mask) to take part!
Our Beach licensed emergency childcare program is open and going well, and still has room! Full financial assistance is provided for families who qualify. Click here for information and application procedures. Please note there are two steps to follow (links on the flyer): one for registration, one for financial aid.
Have a wonderful weekend Beach Bobcats!
I matter to Beach, Beach Matters to me!
¡A mi me Importa la Escuela Beach y Yo le importo a la Escuela Beach!
Dear Beach Parents, Caregivers and Community,
Thank you for joining us for Back to School Night last night if you could! It was a joy to see families connecting with staff. I heard our staff appreciating the flexibility and support they’re receiving from you, and you appreciating the incredibly creative, committed work of our staff on behalf of our students. Thank you. If you couldn’t make it and would like to meet with your child’s teacher or any of our specialists, pop into their office hours (see their schedule) or ask them for a time to meet. We are here for you. Also, be sure to check your email for the google slides presentation prepared for you by your child’s teacher. It is the way we distributed our content about end of year benchmarks, the way we are teaching and prioritizing social justice standards, when to expect newsletters, celebrations, etc. in order to ensure all families would have equal access to this information-- in case attending another virtual meeting at 6:30 pm wasn’t going to work well for your family.
Our “Back to School Night All School Address” was sent last night at 6 pm but if you missed it, it is posted on the main page of our website (if it’s helpful, you can click here for Spanish audio, here for English video with Spanish subtitles). Ms. Mo, Ms. de Boer, School Board member Michelle DePass, and I all share important school-wide, and district-wide, information.
Now that the distance learning schedule has been underway for two weeks, staff are considering elements that are working and those that might need adjusting. We want to hear what is working and what isn’t working for your child, from you, before we consider changes. Teachers have each sent their own copy of our school-wide survey (the first 3 questions are the same across the school) and have added classroom-specific questions if desired. If you haven’t received that survey from each of your child's teachers, please be in touch with your child’s teacher or our office staff, and please fill it out-- your voice and experience are very important to us.
A reminder to please fill out the U.S. Census if you haven’t yet! It is a once-per-decade count of every person living in the United States. It is so important that our whole community is counted. More than half of students in U.S. public schools belong to groups that risk being undercounted-- those groups are marginalized and vulnerable, but it is safe to fill out the census. There is no citizenship question, the information is confidential, individual names and addresses are secured for 72 years, and it’s a federal crime for census workers to violate the oath they take that they will protect personal information. The census determines how power and money are distributed for the next decade, including how many seats Oregon gets in the House of Representatives and how federal funding should be divided for schools and hospitals. Allocations are determined by population, and communities where everyone is counted see more dollars for public services.
Don’t forget about our school-wide school supplies drive! Our PTA president, Kelly Orehovec is organizing parent volunteers to distribute school supply kits to every student in our school for home learning. Teachers have determined a minimum, K-5 list that will help them teach and meet students’ needs, including headphones. We are grateful for any size donation you can contribute-- you might even share the link with grandparents or other family members? Thank you so much.
Please be sure to choose to ship to Kelly Orehovec which will show up as an option when you place your order. If you want to volunteer to distribute the school supply kits the week of October 8th, please email Kelly Orehovec at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pick up times will be the week of October 8th at book pick up and meal pick up.
Finally, but very important to know: Childcare is available at Beach beginning this Monday! We still have room, and if your family qualifies, you could receive full financial assistance through grants PPS has procured. To register for child care and financial assistance (2 separate steps), click on the flyer below.
Have a wonderful weekend, and thank you for being a Beach Bobcat!
Dear Beach Families,
Congratulations on completing our “Hard start” to the 2020-21 school year; virtually! The front office at Beach would like to show our deepest appreciation to all parents who are wearing multiple hats during this time, and working through the kinks that come with distance learning. We miss you all very much, and are hopeful that in-person connections will be made with our new students and families when it is safe to do so. As your office staff we are here to assist you with school related questions and issues, but we are also a resource for the community. Do not hesitate to reach out if you are in need of support. We are happy to help or connect you with someone who can. Things are a bit different this year, so to make it easier we’d like to break down some of our duties so that you may find solutions quicker. Ms. Esther, the school secretary deals with attendance, synergy, registration questions. Ms. Tina, the Principal Secretary, connects Ms. Hawking with families, tends to the needs of teachers and staff, and takes care of the Beach website and communications. If you are unsure of who to speak with please include us both via email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to an awesome year with you all, and encourage you to keep hanging in there; You are doing great!
Tina & EstherThank you so much Tina & Esther, and now a quick note from me about our School Supplies Drive and our Back to School Night this Thursday evening:School Supplies for Beach Students
Can you help with Donation &/or Distribution?
Our PTA president, Kelly Orehovec is organizing parent volunteers to distribute school supply kits to every student in our school for home learning. Teachers have determined a minimum, K-5 list that will help them teach and meet students’ needs, including headphones. We are grateful for any size donation you can contribute-- you might even share the link with grandparents or other family members? Thank you so much.
Can you contribute to the needed supplies Wish List for our Beach students? Please click the following link-- donation options range from just a few dollars, to larger contributions.
***It is vitally important to choose to ship to Kelly Orehovec which will show up as an option when you place your order. If you want to volunteer to distribute the school supply kits the week of October 8th, please email Kelly Orehovec at email@example.com. Pick up times will be the week of October 8th at book pick up and meal pick up.
Please join us this Thursday evening, September 24 for our
Beach Elementary School Virtual Back to School Night
We hope you will join us! This is such an important time to connect as a school community… to learn and to share. We want to hear from you as much as we have information to share.
In addition to the sessions below, each grade level team is preparing their own versions of our school-wide Google Slides presentation. Teachers will send their slides presentations out to families via email by Wednesday morning and will then work to ensure all families know about and received access; these slides are our core, consistent, school-wide distribution of Back To School Night content this year. Teachers are also ensuring access to the content in Spanish or other languages needed. Slide content will include grade level benchmarks, classroom schedule, home school communication plans and classroom routines such as volunteer opportunities and celebrations.
Please see below for details now, then look at our Beach Website for general meeting links on Thursday evening.
If you aren’t available to join us Thursday evening, please be sure to read the slides content that will be emailed to you by your child’s teacher(s) by Wednesday morning, and connect with your child’s teacher and any other staff for any questions or ideas you’d like to share with us (see our contact information and letters to students on our “Staff” page of our website. You matter to Beach, and we are striving to work and serve in ways that ensure we positively matter to you, and to your child.
Dear Beach Parents and Families,
Today was the first day of Soft Start for our kindergartners! A warm welcome to all our new Beach Bobcats. We’ve ordered each child and staff member in our school community a special bobcat sticker with our school motto (I matter to Beach & Beach matters to me!) and will be getting those to you soon! Somehow! Today was also Day 4 of Soft Start for our 1st-5th grade students. I hope your child and family have enjoyed a chance to talk with your child’s teacher, and that you are feeling connected with us and hopeful for a strong year of learning within the challenges we’re facing. We’re committed to that experience for your child!
We’re excited about a PPS library program called Let’s Get Reading. Starting the week of 9/14, you will be able to pick up pre-packed bags of books for your students. Each bag will contain books chosen for grades K-2 or grades 3-5 and can be swapped out every 2 weeks as long as we are distance learning. The full schedule is available on the Library website in the announcements or by clicking the "Let's Get Reading!" bag in Library at Home. Please contact Ms. Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or requests for home drop-offs. Book bags are probably where we will distribute our Beach Bobcat stickers (re, above) once they arrive!
I know you received information from PPS about school attendance, and I want to make sure you know that our top school priority is establishing positive relationships with your child and you, to ensure a sense of belonging for every student: this directly impacts strong academic achievement. The best way our staff (teachers but also our specialists, secretaries, and assistants) can connect and build relationships with your child, is if they get to connect with them via whole class and small group meetings. Following classroom schedules will be important, but we know there are so many challenges, from children’s individual preferences and needs, to the schedule itself. When/if it may become relevant, please remember the ultimate goal during distance learning is maintaining connection between family (child) and school. Again,even if your child ends up missing some days in a row, just reach out to the teacher or any staff member (please see our full list of staff and letters each staff wrote to students on our Teachers & Staff website link) so we can help determine which meetings or structures will be most workable for you/them.
If you can make time tonight, there is a Family Friendly March from Sunnyside Elementary tonight, Tuesday September 8, at 6:30. People gather at 6 to make signs. This march is posted on the Black Lives Matter calendar. We all need as much connection as possible and to connect as a Beach school community around committing to Black lives and equity is a most important way forward.
Beach Elementary has been approved as a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) site for this coming school year. This means students who are enrolled at our school automatically qualify for free meals. If students enrolled opt to request a home delivery, there will be no charge for their meals. The next meal service at Beach Elementary will be tomorrow, 9/9/20 from 3-5PM on the corner of N Concord and N Humboldt for walk up or drive thru. The Nutrition Services department will have meals available at each of the schools found through this link operating with grab and go meal services.
For families who are unable to get to the school to pick up food, we will offer meal deliveries to family homes. Deliveries are made possible by the transportation department. Meal delivery schedules are still being determined and will depend on the demand for the service. To sign up for home meal delivery, please click on the link here: Home Meal Delivery Link
In closing, we invite native Spanish speaking families to join us Friday, September 18 for Café en Español. We will share information about the services that Portland schools offer and answer your questions regarding the educational experience that your children are receiving these two weeks.
Here’s to a strong, final week of Soft Start and start to the “regular” school year next week. We’ll send another newsletter a week from this Friday (the 18th), and each Friday throughout distance learning. During regular times, we send our newsletters monthly.
Dear Beach Parents and Families,
Welcome to what is sure to be an adventurous 2020-21 school year! I hope you’ve been able to experience as much warmth and joy as possible this summer. I’m happy and honored to be entering my 4th year as your principal and you continue to have my full commitment in service to each and every one of our Beach children. It’s a year for creativity and persistence in finding ways to create opportunities for inclusivity, connection and exchange across our beautiful school community.
The first day of (distance learning) school for 1st-5th graders is Wednesday, September 2nd and for Kindergartners, Tuesday September 8. We will begin the school year with a “Soft Start” as you know from PPS Communications (if you are not yet receiving PPS messages, text “yes” to 68453 and click here for Soft Start info). Our staff will be trying out new, innovative ways to connect with, learn from and partner with you, to come to know and teach your children well, and we’ll evolve things as necessary.
I’m proud to announce some excellent staff members joining us this year! Each brings a commitment to building positive relationships, to best practices in teaching and learning, and to success, engagement and joy for each of our Beach children.
Seann Combs, Kindergartners (Mr. Combs’ joined us mid-September last year and is now a permanent member of our staff).
Wintry Whitt, 1st graders
Ms. Suta (Hara) 1st graders in Spanish Immersion (Ms. Suta was Ms. Fitzhenry-Jaurez’s long term sub last spring and is now a permanent member of our staff).
Gabriel Dominguez Lopez, 2nd graders; Spanish Immersion
Rhys Hills, Half-Time Beach Social Worker (K-5) (also finishing his MSW Program at PSU)
Veronica Hughes, Full Time Media Specialist/Teacher Librarian (K-5)
Ryan Duff, Half-Time Music Specialist (K-5; also Half-Time Music Specialist at Woodlawn School)
David Amundson, .1 PE (Monday afternoons)
Staff making changes…
Ms. Fitzhenry-Juarez returns from maternity leave.
Ms. Marquez will teach 2nd graders in Spanish Immersion.
Ms. O’Leary is our full-time Reading Specialist.
Ms. Hazard is our K-5 Student and Teacher Support (formerly School Climate Coach/Instructional Specialist)
Ms. Edwards will teach 1st graders at Ainsworth Elementary School in SW Portland, a school where a close colleague teaches and with which she’s had ties for many years. We wish her the best and will miss her very much.
Mrs. Seymour and her family moved back to Texas to be closer to their extended family. We will miss her and our other teachers who have made moves...
Ms. Herenandez-Solis will teach 1st graders at Atkinson where her own children attend.
Ms. Lockett will teach 2nd graders at Bridlemile, closer to her new home in SW Portland (you’ll find a message from Ms. Lockett further on)
Ms. Marwa Almahalawy will be EA at Cesar Chavez (we did not have enough FTE to keep her with us.)
Here are messages from many of our new staff:
Gabriel Dominguez Lopez
Hola me llamo Gabriel. I am a Master’s in Education candidate at Portland State University in the International Teacher Education Program. I taught elementary school education in Mexico for 11 years, and I came to California in 2005 as part of a binational cultural interchange to teach Art and Spanish to Elementary and High school level students. I called Oregon home since 2007. In Oregon, I had the opportunity to obtain a Bachelor's degree in Spanish with a minor in Elementary Education, both my passion. During my studies, I had the opportunity to work and volunteer in diverse schools, that included Spanish immersion settings. I worked with Preschool and first grade children in order to understand the development of the students during early stages of their life. I have also worked in the hospitality industry, which provided me with the scope of attending the public needs aiming satisfaction of expectations. All those skills led me into Portland Public School Dual Language Residency Program. My eagerness for teaching in the immersion setting was finally awarded with the Second Grade Spanish Immersion Students at Beach Elementary School. I am looking forward to hear from my students, the parents, teachers and the community to continue developing the Spanish language that bridge cultures.
My name is Wintry, and I am so excited to be a part of the Beach Community! I graduated from Concordia in December 2019 and started teaching first grade at Vernon in January. Prior to returning to school for my master’s degree, I ran a small non-profit, Peace Village Global, teaching children and youth conflict resolution and mindfulness. I love to travel, and I spent six years teaching in Kenya and traveling through eastern and southern Africa. I have two daughters, ages 10 and 12, and together we love to camp, hike, cook, and bake. I look forward to meeting and working with you all.
Hi Bobcats! My name is Veronica Hughes, and I am so excited to be Beach's new teacher librarian. I know I have big shoes to fill, and I'm ready for the challenge of both maintaining the strong library program in place and doing so digitally this fall. I moved out here from the Chicagoland area last fall after working at the same school for 9 years in both ELA and library. My experience has been predominantly in middle school, but I was offered the opportunity to work in Astor's library last school year and enjoyed working with elementary students so much. Outside of school, I love to read (obviously!), run, be outdoors, travel, and spend time with my husband Joe and dog Southpaw. The move west has brought so many new opportunities for personal growth and trying new things, and I am excited to add working at Beach to that list.
Hi everyone, I'm Rhys Hills (Mr. Rhys to the students). I had the opportunity to get to know a lot of you last year as an intern, and this year I am really looking forward to strengthening those connections as Beach's school social worker. I am working on finishing up my Master's degree this year, and in my spare time I enjoy art and family sitcoms. This upcoming year, I will be focusing a lot on students' mental health, particularly around issues of grief and anxiety. I am also really interested in finding creative ways to support the whole Beach community; I want to help continue to develop the resources available to us all, and I really want to help us build community connections like we did in-person. My last priority this year is around equity-- it is clear that coronavirus, as well as our current social environment, are disproportionately impacting Black, Latino and Indigenous families, and I want to do anything I can to lift us all up. I am so excited to be working with you all this year!
Hi everyone! My name is Ryan Duff and I am honored to join the team at Beach School as the Music Teacher. I look forward to working with all of you as we build the new music program at our school.I've been working in elementary schools since 2010 and have spent the last three years serving as music teacher at schools in Gresham and Woodburn. I am a proud graduate of Washington State University but I consider myself a life-long learner and strive to learn something new every day. As you might have guessed I have a deep love for music of all kinds but I have a special place in my heart for jazz music. In the past I have played clarinet, flute, and saxophone professionally in a military band. In my spare time I like to garden with my family and I keep honey bees with my father.
Here is Ms. Suta’s introduction to 1st grade families last spring: My name is Sujata Hara but I go by Ms. Suta. My parents are originally from Japan but moved to Hawaii where I was born and raised on the island of Maui. After graduating from UCSD, I went back to Maui but life took me to Spain where I met my husband (better known as Mr. Almazan at Beach) and stayed for 7 years (where I learned Spanish). We came to the U.S. almost 6 years ago now and landed in Santa Fe, NM, where I decided to get my teaching license. I started as a substitute teacher and was also a food educator for 1½ years for a non-profit organization called Cooking With Kids that helped teach kids and families to make healthy food and food choices. I also taught for 2 years in a computer lab class for students K-6th grades in a dual language school and after moving to OR, as a para-educator within PPS while waiting for my Oregon licensure to finalize. Some of my favorite things to do are photography and making art. I also play a bit of violin and like to bake.
My name is Seann Combs, and I am proud to be returning to Beach Elementary as a kindergarten teacher for the upcoming school year. While this is my second year serving in this role, I have over a decade of experience teaching students in third and fourth grade. I am a graduate of Saint Leo University in Florida and have a Masters Degree in Education Leadership. When I'm not inspiring tomorrow's leaders, I enjoy learning new recipes, reading, writing, and playing with my dog. I am looking forward to a wonderful year at this fantastic school!
(Here are farewell messages from Ms. Lockett and Ms. Edwards)
Dear Beach Community, I have some bittersweet news to share, as I will be leaving Beach this year. My family is relocating to SW Portland for my husband's job and as I'm excited about our next step, I am also heartbroken to leave all of you! Thank you for the amazing opportunity to teach your children and work with your family. The staff as Beach will always have a special place in my heart and I will miss them greatly as well. Thank you for your support and stay well! I miss you all already. Take care! Sincerely, Mrs. Lockett
Dear Beach Families, I leave Beach School with great memories of my time with the community the last 7 years. At the same time I am very excited to start a new chapter of my teaching experience, I’m also a little sad to leave. Beach is the school that I worked for the longest and I’ve enjoyed my time here. I will miss all of you and I hope that we can stay in touch in the future. Until our paths cross again! Hasta Pronto! Peace, Mila
Thus, here is our awesome Beach Classroom Teacher Staff for 2020-21!
Kindergarten: Seann Combs, Deisy Guzman, Jose Siam
1st Grade: Wintry Whitt, Sujata (Suta) Hara, AnnMarie Fitzhenry-Juarez
2nd Grade: Julianne Stevens, Anna Davila-Marquez, Gabriel Dominguez Lopez
3rd Grade: Cameron Shaw, Ani Ponz, Rodrigo Aguirre
4th Grade: Mika Hilbers, Kimmy Kenyon, Molly Sheean
5th Grade: Ali Piff, Oskar Almazan-Lopez, Stephanie Macdonald
How can I help during this most unusual start to the school year?
1. We are calling on all our Beach Families to engage in whole community care and connection. All have different strengths and capacities to exchange and share. Inequity results when some families can provide a privilege or resource for their child while other families can't (such as with learning pods), disadvantaging students and hurting our entire community. On this "Beach Parent Return to School Survey" you will find the question: Are there specific ways (skills, resources, time, opportunities, services, etc.) that you can volunteer to support our Beach community this school year? It's exciting to imagine parents across our community providing a meet for children to speak only Spanish (a Spanish speaker facilitates discussions or companionships), hosting virtual read alouds or book clubs on various topics, hosting game sessions, etc. -- and intentionally offering to invite children in (staff would facilitate the connections).
We encourage families with family members from all immigration backgrounds to share ways they can exchange services with other Beach families. We will never ask you to disclose your immigration status, and no particular immigration status is necessary to access any of these mutual aid resources from our community. None of your contact information will be shared with anyone outside of the Beach community, especially not immigration officials. Your information will only be used to connect you with resource offerings and requests within the Beach community.
2. In the interests of inclusion and connection for all our students we will create a Beach School Directory. You may "opt out" from sharing directory information on your child's registration form. Please be sure to go online and complete the yearly verification form. We are double-checking your preferences about sharing your contact information on our survey, and you can find information here: Directory information
3. Again, please complete our Beach Parent Return to School Survey. By doing this, you will make space for our staff to reach out to those who aren’t able to do so because of language, access, or other barriers. Here is what the survey will help us do:
Identify families who need assistance with technology
Identify safety preferences as we confirm class lists
Understand which families have various resources they’d like to exchange with each other
Identify which families are comfortable participating in a directory
Please apply for Free & Reduced meals even if you won’t be accessing school meals or don’t think you’ll qualify. The percentage of students who qualify for Free & Reduced lunch has a direct impact on the number of teachers with which schools are staffed. The application process and whether you qualify are strictly confidential.
Who will my child’s teacher be?
During the four days teachers are “back” before the Soft Start begins, we will consider additional factors and finalize class lists. This includes making note of families who are sharing childcare or have other requests due to the pandemic. This process will take some time and has many steps:
Removing students who have moved
Adding students who are new to Beach
Adding/Removing students who are transferring into other PPS schools
Balancing for gender, academic achievement, race, access, ESL, Special Education
Compiling and analyzing parent preferences from the parent survey
Reaching out to families who do not complete the parent survey
Because teachers return on August 27th, adjusting and finalizing placement can’t begin until just 4 days before school begins. I anticipate that class lists may be ready on September 1st; the classroom teacher’s name will be available on Parent Vue.
When and how does school start?
As mentioned above all PPS schools will have a soft start. For 1st-5th graders, this means that from September 2- 11, students will have a daily Google Meets with their homeroom teacher that will focus on community building and learning the technology tools. Students will be assigned just a few tasks to practice the tools. Full academic instruction will begin on September 14th and will include whole group and small group instruction, paper and pencil assignments and assignments online.
Kindergarten teachers will be reaching out to families September 2-4. Kindergarten Google Meets will begin on September 8th.
Attendance will be taken every day starting September 2nd. It will be important for your child to be ready to sign on with their class on time so they can experience the community connection and understand the plan (it’s confusing and less engaging for children to join in to their class meetings late, same as it’s challenging for children to arrive late to school. The soft start will allow staff to reach out to families and provide time to learn new tools and requirements for online learning.
Upcoming Events For Your Calendar (all events are virtual via Google Meet) --
Topic Talk: Kindergarten! Monday August 24 at 9:30 a.m.
Cafe en Espanol, Friday September 4 at 9:30 am, facilitated by Ms. Romero
Class Assignment available on Parent Vue & Teacher Letter sent via email by Sept. 1
1st Day of Soft Start Gr. 1-5: September 2
1st Day of Soft Start for Kindergarten: Tuesday September 8
Back to School Night: Thursday, September 24, 6-7 pm.
ESL Presentation 5:30-5:50 (will also be recorded/available on our website)
Gifted Education Presentation, 5:30-5:50 (same as above; available on website)
SUN Registration: TBA
All School presentation with staff introductions 6-6:10 and individual classroom presentations, 6:15-7
The Coronavirus pandemic has caused and illuminated so many challenges and injustices and we’re navigating a nationwide awakening to the persistent injustices of systemic racism. Within this time, I find myself so grateful to be part of our Beach community, for our caring, committed, skilled and joyful staff, and for you and your children. Together we can keep our children safe and teach them toward a better future. As individuals within our community we must pull together, support each other, and teach our children to see and name injustice, realize and question their own privilege where appropriate, and take action toward a more just society.
You are so important to us! We will do our best work in collaboration and partnership with you. If you have a comment, question or concern, please always feel welcome to call or email. A request: could you please put the words “message from Beach parent” in your subject line if you email me? This will help me search for and find you within my email.
Lisa Hawking, Principal
Hello Beach Parents and Families!
Our office staff is back on contract this week, and we are in process preparing for our (distance learning) start of the school year. I'll have a message for you by the beginning of next week, possibly sooner, even though we are still waiting for many details to be finalized within district and teachers union negotiations. I know you are all trying to figure out plans for your child for this year, from childcare, to considering learning pods, to how you'll manage within your home. We must address and plan for the needs of every child and family in our community. Two resources I've found of particular interest in the past weeks are the podcast "Nice White Parents" (I'm one of them, and the history of our impact on public school is important to understand) and the article Pandemic pods for kids will make school inequality worse. It doesn't have to be this way. Please check them both out, and I will have another message for you as soon as possible. Please also give your child a warm hello and smile for me!
June 25, 2020
Dear Beach Parents and Community,
I hope your family is doing as well as can be this 3rd day into your child’s summer vacation! Thank you for your partnership during our most unexpected end to the 2019-20 school year, and over the course of the whole school year as well. As we plan for the unknowns of next school year, know that I’m committed to and love this school and our community! While this year ended in an unexpected way and next year will begin in an unusual way, our staff will be ready to welcome your child and family into the new school year however it unfolds.
One of the many strengths of our staff is the love we have for our students and school community. We want Beach to be a joyful, inclusive, safe and engaging place for every child, we value partnering with you every step of the way throughout your child’s K-5 experience, and we are committed to facilitating strong learning outcomes and success, with racial equity and social justice at the forefront, for every one of our students. As a white principal, I want you to know I am committed to listening, reflecting, learning, and taking action to interrupt systemic racism, white bias and oppression in our own school and beyond. (Please let me know any thoughts, concerns, questions, etc..) Our staff’s love for our students and community is powerful when we come together as a team with a shared vision. We are committed to listening, reflecting, learning and taking action on behalf of each of your children next year.
Some specific actions we’re planning include
- Deepening and expanding the ways we reach out to, hear and support parents
- Black Family Affinity Group, Topicas Para Hablar, Topic Talk
- Listen closely to students in our circles (or solid rectangles). What are students telling us?
- Black Student Union, GSA (Gay Straight Alliance)
- Figure out new ways to be responsive and flexible in our responses to students
- Utilize Successful Schools Survey data to help us critically examine our practices and school environments. For example: what do our students need and want in order to feel a “sense of belonging” at Beach? What do words such as “sense of belonging”, “safe”, “respectful” mean to our students? To our families?
- Re-launch our “4 Be’s” (Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible) framework through lenses of equity, social emotional learning and needs, cultural relevance, and what it means to be anti-racist
- Evaluate our lessons, resources and practices utilizing a framework for anti-bias education
Some other quick updates for you:
- If you missed our student materials pick-up day last week, we’ll have your child’s paper bag of supplies for them in the fall. Staff (other than custodians) are not permitted to re-enter schools until a date TBA.
- If you saw the messaging from Mr. Ramirez last week about advocating for funding for PE, and/or if you advocated, please know that funding for PE to this year’s levels, as well as adaptive PE, was restored! The current plan is that our students will maintain the same amount of PE they had this year with Coach Ramirez and Ms. Orr.
- Last year’s school supply lists are posted on our website, with the most important items to focus on during summer sales for next year highlighted. Please feel free to hold off on purchasing the other items until we know more. We want to minimize school supply costs for families, but also ensure all students are ready with basic supplies for school and/or home, and don't want you to miss sales in the interim. If your budget is limited, please prioritize a good sturdy backpack big enough to zip around a pocket folder, pencils, markers, folders, and paper (see your particular grade level list for specific kinds of folder and paper requested). We will update the lists with additional needed items when we know what school will look like. Please don’t feel you must prioritize purchasing school supplies over basic needs for your family. We will partner with organizations and fund-raise as necessary to ensure all children have needed supplies next year. If your family is able to double up on supplies to provide them for a family whose resources have been more impacted during the COVID-19 crisis, please do! (Please just let the office know if you purchased an extra set of supplies, and for what grade level.)
- The “Grade Level Benchmarks” insert you received with your child’s report card, with sections called Academic and Social Behaviors, Writing, Reading, and Math, was our staff’s effort to provide you with a visual reference for what we’d hope students at each grade would be able to understand or produce by the end of a regular school year. I want to highlight the “Academic and Social Behaviors” section. Students need to understand those academic and social behaviors, as well as regular academic skills. Often, they need help mastering the academic and social behaviors before they can successfully learn academic skills. If you recognize skills your child needs to learn (which is pretty likely for many if not most students!), helping them practice this summer could have a huge positive impact on their academic learning next year.
If you haven’t yet read Ms. de Boer’s message about supporting children’s social and emotional needs, alongside helping them understand the significance of current events around racial injustice and police brutality (sent via school messenger June 9) please keep scrolling-- we have begun posting our school newsletters in chronological order under this tab. Her message as well as her linked reading/listening and website are amazing resources!
My very best wishes for all kinds of goodness for your family, and our world, this summer.
Dear Beach Families,
We are very near to the end of an historic school year on multiple fronts. In the midst of a global pandemic wrought with uncertainty, anxiety, and fear, school in its traditional sense was abruptly interrupted and the bulk of the work was suddenly thrust into your laps. This, for many families, was likely nothing shy of a nightmare. For others, your children thrived. No matter how this impacted your family, we made it to the end of the school year. That being said, the concerns regarding COVID-19 that closed schools in March remain unresolved.
With COVID-19 as a backdrop, we also find ourselves in the midst of another profoundly important and historic movement with people in our city, state, country, and around the world taking to the streets to protest racial injustice and police brutality. Conversation about race and racism are likely new to some families and for others this has been an ongoing conversation or a profoundly personal experience. Helping even our youngest students understand these concepts and the concept of white privilege and how to be an antiracist are critically important.
As we approach summer a whole new set of questions and concerns arise for me, especially around supporting the social and emotional needs of our kids while helping them understand the significance of the current events of today. Some ideas to support this work can be found below.
Take care of yourselves, be safe, and congratulations on finishing the school year. I will see many of you again in September.
How to talk to kids about race and racism and how to be an antiracist:
This open letter to White families from Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacob, a Black parent writing for Romper.com is a much better and much more personal explanation as to why this work is so important. I encourage you to start by reading her letter before continuing with my response below.
As a biracial Asian/White woman I will be the very first to admit that I am not an expert on this topic. My family is the beneficiary of many positive social determinants of health including a history of access to education including higher education, access to high quality health care, and financial security. With that caveat I am happy to share what my family is doing as we engage in the work of becoming antiracists. First and foremost, I need to continue to educate myself on the history of systemic racism that has been present in this country since it was founded so that I can understand how I have participated and caused harm. I do not feel that I can support my children’s growth in this area unless I am personally and actively engaging in this work. To do this I read/listen to books, podcasts, newspapers, and anything else I can get my hands on to help me better understand the experience of what it is like to be Black in the United States, on how to better understand my privilege, on how to be an ally and an antiracist. I talk to people about what I am seeing, hearing, and reading. I try to notice when I am uncomfortable around people that are racially different than me to better understand whether my own biases are causing this discomfort. My husband and I talk about what is in the news with our kids, and we talk with them about what it means to have white privilege. We talk about how their skin color is different compared to mine and to some of our friends. We take them to child friendly protests (with masks on) so that they have a physical experience of being part of this movement. We talk about how my interactions with and perceptions of the police are different from those of our Black friends. We read fiction and nonfiction books and movies together and separately and talk about them. We talk about stereotypes, race and racism in what we are seeing, hearing, and reading and in the context of when the movies/books were filmed and written and whether things are different now. When we were in Washington, DC a little over a year ago we visited the Smithsonian’s African American History Museum. My son was 7 at the time. It was too much for him to fully understand, but definitely planted a seed for having more conversations about what it is like to be Black in this country especially now in light of the long overdue reckoning for racial justice for Black Americans. It gave both of my children the opportunity to begin to understand the historical context of why and how we got to this place today. The link below is a great resource to start talking with your kids about race.
My child is having having big emotional outbursts and more behavioral concerns:
Recently many families have mentioned an increase in challenges managing emotions and the related behavior concerns. I want to take a minute to fully appreciate what we have required of our children. We told them that they couldn’t go to school, see their friends, and play sports or engage in other activities because of a virus that was making people critically ill. They saw parents staying home from work. They saw parents wondering how they were going to buy groceries and pay bills and rent. And now they are seeing and hearing protests for racial justice and against police brutality directed at Black Americans. They may be seeing images of George Floyd dying under the knee of a police officer, protesters being beaten with batons and gassed by police in riot gear. This is terrifying for adults, let alone children that have no locus of control and limited understanding of what all of this means. Remember this when your child acts out or is more emotional than usual. Their reactions are normal and expected. When responding to kids, ask yourself, ”How do I act when I am scared and anxious?” and “How do I want people to respond to me when I feel that way?” This doesn’t make challenging behaviors go away, but sometimes understanding why a child is behaving a certain way can be immensely helpful when trying to support them.
All students have been taught about their amygdala and prefrontal cortex. They know that the amygdala is the emotion center of their brain, and when activated by strong emotions, it can disengage from the rational prefrontal cortex. When we consider behavior in this regard, their occasional irrational behaviors often make a lot more sense. The key is to teach them skills to manage big feelings before they find themselves in a fight or flight state. My website has 42 days of very short mindfulness exercises that your kids can practice. They can be found here. I would encourage you to go through the archives with your kids to find some that work for your child. Scroll through the slides to see each day’s activity. Additionally, I have a series of lessons/activities on my website that focus on helping kids build resilience. They are linked here in English and here in Spanish. A book list with links to digital books to support emotional regulation and information about our brain’s emotion center can be found here.
How do I support my children’s need to be with friends during the coronavirus and social distancing?
There is no easy solution for this. Families need to decide what their personal comfort level is with the risk of seeing others. Younger kids especially struggle to maintain social distancing. It is not a natural way for them to play. I recommend reading to educate yourself on what is safer and more risky. Determining what you are comfortable with and having candid discussions with other families is of the utmost importance.
Personally, I am seeing that both of my children really need to be with their friends in some capacity. My middle schooler has been doing well through this crisis, but has not liked weekends. She is grumpy and sullen and complains that she has nothing to do without the structure of school. I anticipate that this will get worse as soon as school is over. I struggle to balance physical safety with the mental health and wellness of my children. We have been talking with other families about the possibility of letting the kids get together. For me that would likely mean outside only. I know that they won’t likely be able to maintain social distancing, but I do know that they will keep their masks on and use copious amounts of hand sanitizer. I also trust the families with whom we would do this to share the same expectation of their kids that I do and that they would practice similar social distancing expectations as my family when we are not together. This likely feels too risky for some families and ridiculously cautious for others. I want to acknowledge this openly because, again, there is not an easy answer.
Dear Beach Parents, Families and Community,
Our car parade and clap out for our 5th graders yesterday afternoon shone light on the love our staff and community has for our children. Thank you so much if you were able to help or participate. I hope your child had fun, and that you had fun! The end of elementary school and being promoted to middle school is such a big, emotional milestone. I hope you will take time to pause and reflect on all your hard work and effort as a parent, and celebrate what you feel most proud of. Remember to include your efforts to build strong relationships with your child’s teachers-- such an important component of children’s success in school, and an area in which our staff wants to do better. Each of our Beach students are beautiful and full of spirit, capacity, potential, and you have everything to do with that! Our 5th graders go out into the rest of their lives representing a very loved group of people from Beach Primary School. We’re still holding them tight right now though. Next Tuesday evening at 5 pm we’ll be posting a virtual ceremony for our whole community to enjoy, 5th grade or incoming K or anywhere in-between. In the video, 5th graders will share reflections, our student body will be represented in a photo clap-out, and many staff will share comments.
Many of us, including me, recorded our comments pre-Memorial Day, thus before George Floyd was killed. This has brought up some feelings. Our messages will feel cheerful and focused on celebrating our children. I’ve thought about re-recording my remarks, but we have two things running parallel right now-- love for and joyful celebration of our children. And, an urgency to respond to George Floyd’s murder as well as the innumberable Black Americans who have died due to police brutality.
Our community is resilient, empowered and incredible when we come together as a team to make something happen. As we celebrate the way that who we are, and what we can do together, played out yesterday, we can also carry our collective efficacy forward in the most important work we are doing in our own reflection and growth, as well as with our students, every day. Our staff is considering: What do our Black students need to feel safe and valued in their learning spaces? What do our non-Black students need, in order to better understand how to provide support and stand against injustice?
I believe in our staff and know we believe in each other, to carry our love, passion and our ability to do hard things that need our full commitment and a large, diverse collaborative team, forward. I was struck with the many effective and powerful ways that collaboration between family and school resulted in the amazingness of our car parade yesterday. Our collaboration, spirit, desire to make it happen well, willingness to take on the necessary pieces and belief in ourselves-- was why it worked. Let's remember the power of our collective efficacy as we prioritize racial equity for our school and for the world.
And now, an important logistic for next week (student materials pick up Thursday June 11) and also a reminder: Please join us for Topic Talk this afternoon at 4 pm.
Student Materials Pick Up Plan
Some students still have belongings such as water bottles, coats or beautiful work at school; others have everything from school already. If your child or children are in the first category, you will be able to come to school next Thursday at a scheduled time to pick up their materials (and drop off library books). Please know that PPS has decided parents and students are not permitted to enter school buildings for any reason. Here is how this will work.
- Teachers will still provide instruction to students next week. It is possible that there may be a day teachers provide an asynchronous activity vs. a classroom meeting. Your teacher will let you know their plan for students for next week, as always.
- Next week staff are scheduled at various times between Monday-Thursday to come to Beach following social distancing rules to organize student materials and their classrooms for summer break.
- Our staff will write student names,
teacher names, teacher’s room number, and student’s locker number if
relevant, onto paper bags, place all student materials (including
medication if relevant) in the bags, then organize them for delivery to
parents or designee (written permission required) in cars on Humboldt at
a time organized by student last name on Thursday (only):
- Student’s last name begins with A-H: 8-10 am
- Student’s last name begins with I-Q: 10 am-12 pm
- Student’s last name begins with R-Z: 12-2 pm
- Organizing bags and pick-up alphabetically by teacher enables parents who have children in multiple grades to pick up items from more than one class at the same time.
- Please pull up so you are facing the school-side of Humboldt: you’ll want to pull up to the curb facing forward toward Denver (not facing toward Concord/Interstate).
- Parents are encouraged to bring in library and textbooks and place them in a stack (or bins if it’s raining) by the main entrance; our staff will carry them to the library.
- Within your scheduled time (above),
please pull up on Humboldt, in front of the auditorium doors (right
between the main doors and the entrance closest to Concord).
- Please bring and hold up a paper out your car window that clearly names your child’s last name and each teacher’s last name so our staff can locate your bag(s) and carry them to the curbside, step back, and you will then pick them up.
- Parents and staff are asked to adhere to Social Distancing guidelines throughout the process.
- If we end up with confusion about locker items we will use this plan at the Pick Up location: a staff member will show the student/parent (who remains in their car) all of the items in the bag and the student can identify if items are theirs. Items that were in the bag but don’t belong to the student will be returned for retrieval by the student to whom they do belong.
- We are starting the day with a smaller band of names to allow us to see where the glitches are and make necessary changes before the next grade band.We hope you won’t have a long wait and apologize in advance if you do. Please plan to arrive during your scheduled time so we don’t end up with (even more) traffic congestion; if you come off-schedule we will have to work differently to find your child’s materials which will create delays.
- Neighbors, friends, family etc. can pick up items for other students as long as the parent provided a note (you could hold up a text requesting that you pick up, or hand staff a paper request, etc.) designating permission. Please communicate this and provide the note to staff when you pull up.
- Report cards will either be sent home in paper bags or be mailed the week of June 15. Many teachers will still be working on report cards through next Thursday June 11 (June 11 is a district work day intended for writing report cards). Thus, some report cards will be mailed home, but if teachers have completed theirs early, they will come to you in your paper bag.