• While we were away: Jason Lee wins award for focus on health; Blazers’ Seth Curry supports students; and more

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     Jason Lee students run in rain

    Even a little rain didn't keep Jason Lee students from participating in the school's weekly Morning Mile. (Photo by Beth Conyers)

    PPS Pulse took a two-week hiatus for spring break, but activities in our district kept right on churning before and after the break. Some of the things that happened since our last issue:

    Jason Lee recognized: Jason Lee Elementary became one of three schools in the state to earn a 2018-19 Oregon School Wellness Award from the Oregon Department of Education. The honor rewards "outstanding efforts to improve child health and make the connection between nutrition, physical activity, and academic achievement."

    Representatives from the ODE and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council presented a $2,500 prize to Principal Isaac Cardona and his staff at a ceremony Friday.

    Principal Cardona has incorporated physical movement into various parts of the school day. He used a grant to hire two physical education teachers, allowing the school to have dance and regular PE classes. One benefit has been that the school has reduced its number of student exclusions (also known as suspensions) from 103 five years ago to none this year.

    “We used physical activity as a way of getting kids' energy out,” Cardona said.

    The school stages a “Morning Mile” every Friday at 7:30 a.m., when students and parents run or walk a mile before school.

    “Parents love getting in steps with their kiddos before school starts,” Cardona said. (See more photos from last week’s Morning Mile)

    The school also is starting programs to allow staff and parents to engage in physical activity, including yoga classes for SUN parents, and child care to allow parents to participate in a run club.

    Jason Lee is the sixth school from Portland Public Schools to win the award, which started in 2008. Previous PPS winners were Abernethy Elementary, 2007-08; Sabin K-8, 2010-11; James John Elementary, 2011-12; Benson High, 2012-13; and Robert Gray Middle, 2014-15.

    Seth Curry supports students: Portland Trail Blazers guard Seth Curry showed his support for our students in two appearances.

    On March 21, Curry went to Cleveland High School to visit the classroom of special education teacher Dominic LeFave, who also is a Special Olympics basketball coach. LeFave's students and members of his team got to meet and take photos with Curry. (See photos from the visit)

    The next day, Curry went to Lane Middle School to meet the AVID students of teacher Lisa Coffman. The students are part of a program called "Venture: Business Entrepreneurship," in which they create their own food truck business. (See photos from the visit)

    Harrison Park Multicultural Festival Harrison Park Multicultural Festival: The Southeast Portland K-8 school held its annual event on March 21. It featured multiple performances that showcased for the cultures of a diverse student body that in 2017-18 was 27 percent Asian, 22 percent black and African American, and 19 percent Hispanic. (See photos from the event)

    Grant, Cleveland robotics teams advance: The Grant High School robotics team gained a spot in the FRC Pacific Northwest Championship for the first time, earning it with a victory in a district event at Clackamas Academy in Oregon City. The win was the first for the Generals, who were founded in 2011.

    The Grant team, which is coached by Alex Luboff, was joined by Pigmice, the team from Cleveland High School, at the Pacific Northwest Championship last week at the Tacoma Convention Center. Pigmice, coached by Cindi Carrell, also competed at the regionals last year, when it was held at Memorial Coliseum, and competed in the 2016 World Championships.

    Tree planting at Marshall campus: Grant High students will leave the Marshall High School – their temporary home for two years during construction of their own campus – at the end of this school year, but they left something behind for the next residents of the Southeast Portland campus: new trees.

    About 18 Grant students, most from teacher Walt Holland’s Environmental Science class, with help from a volunteer with the Oregon Department of Forestry, planted five trees at the Marshall campus last week. After Grant students leave, students from Madison will move to Marshall for two years as their campus undergoes construction to modernize the campus.

    The planting effort by the students was part of planting about 30 trees at the Marshall campus by Urban Forestry of Portland Parks & Recreation. Urban Forestry has done similar plantings at other schools and typically tries to provide an opportunity for students to take part. (See photos from the tree planting)