• 10/9/20 Family Newsletter



    Oct. 15     Principal’s Chat 

    Oct. 16     Principal’s Chat

    Oct. Principal’s Office Hours



    Last week PPS announced that distance learning will extend through January 28, 2021, the end of the second quarter.  Decisions about distance learning after January 28 will be announced when we return from winter break.  

    I know this is not the result we were hoping for and we would all prefer to get back to in-person instruction.  However, this announcement gives us the opportunity to settle into the rhythm and the plan that we have worked so hard to implement.  I know this will get better.  It will also get easier.  We will continue to work together to find ways to focus and simplify so that what we are doing is sustainable in the long run and we can accomplish the real work (and joy) of teaching.  


    Michael Wehrli, Director of New Moon Productions, and I met last week to discuss options for a “virtual” drama opportunity.  We would like to gauge interest in an elective “after-school” class.  Please see Michael’s message below and respond to the Google survey if interested by clicking on this link:  Drama Class Survey  (This survey does not commit you to participate, but gives an idea of how many students to include in our planning.)  

    Hello Parents!  For 17 years, New Moon Productions has offered a Comprehensive Theater Program for Grout students.  And we will be continuing! 


    Our plan is to offer Online Theater Classes for the following grade levels:  1, 2/3, 4/5.  Each class will meet once a week for one hour, sometime in the afternoon (after your student’s regular online school time). We intend to start the program in early November.


    We need to know how many students/parents are interested in participating in this program! 


    Thank you!


    Our next Principal’s Chat will be Thursday, October 15 at 4:30 pm (this is a revised time) and Friday, October 16 at 9:00 am.  In this week’s presentation, I will share information about the different platforms we are using in distance learning.  The code to access the meeting will be:  meet.google.com/dgx-jkgq-iun.  


    Thank you to those of you who attended our Grout Back-to-School Night.  Google If you were unable to attend, we recorded the presentation and are making it available at this link:  Back to School Night Presentation Video.  

    Ms. Yao would like to share this video in our Back-to-School information:  Ms. Yao's Back-to School Art Video


    This week’s library book distribution schedule for Kindergarten, Second, and Fourth grade:  

    • On the sidewalk on 31st Avenue

    • Monday, October 12, 2:00-4:00 pm:  Last Name beginning with A-L

    • Wednesday, October 14, 2:00-4:00 pm:  Last Name beginning with M-Z

    Please remember to return any books that were previously checked out to you.  



    The Enrollment and Program Balancing process continues as Kellogg Middle School opens in 2021 while a second comprehensive middle school, Harrison Park, also opens in 2022. The focus of this phase of the process is beginning with the Southeast community around:

    • Reopening Kellogg Middle School 

    • Converting Harrison Park from a K-8 to Middle School

    • Identifying their feeder patterns and engaging the school communities that may be potentially reconfigured from K-8’s to K-5’s

    Work recently began with a committee called the Southeast Guiding Coalition for Enrollment and Program Balancing to guide the process this fall, with a recommendation to the board of education in early 2021. This committee consists of Southeast community members, school principals and district administrators. They held their third meeting last week.  

    At that meeting, the coalition received an introduction to data used to evaluate enrollment and program balancing options and began to review a draft springboard presentation of possibilities. This is a starting point of possible options for the Southeast Guiding Coalition to think about,  and they will continue to work together in October to ask questions and develop additional versions of a possible plan.

    As a community, you also have opportunities to give feedback and input.  Starting October 2, some families will receive a phone call to take a survey to help inform the process. The Coalition is approaching this work through the lens of racial equity and social justice. Therefore, the target segments are grades 5-8, students of color, and students enrolled in dual language immersion. 


    There will also be an opportunity to take the survey online soon. The SE Guiding Coalition will host Virtual Open Houses on October 22 and December 3, 2020 so you can see and respond to the proposals they have developed. I will share more info next week with details of how to join those meetings and links to the survey. 


    I will provide regular updates on the SE Guiding Coalition’s progress.  You can also stay informed by reviewing materials posted on their website and livestreaming their meetings. 

    Reminders from previous newsletters:  


    We are excited to announce that Grout has been selected to participate in a district-wide student delivery pilot program.  The district has been searching for a way to support families who are not able to come to the school to pick up curriculum, materials, supplies, or library books.  Over the next couple of weeks we will begin utilizing this system for anyone that is unable to come to the school during classroom or library book distributions.  If your family is unable to come to the school to during school pick-up events and would benefit from this service, please send an email to Maria Carpenter at mcarpenter@pps.net.  When contacting Maria, please include the delivery address (if this is different from your home address) and what you would like to have delivered (i.e. library books, classroom curriculum, etc.).   


    While meals are served at no cost to children ages 1-18 at several Portland Public School sites through December, there are several benefits for eligible families to submit a meal application this school year.  

    • 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 approved for free and reduced-price meals may be eligible to receive future potential government assistance such as Pandemic EBT benefits.  

    • Families may be eligible for other benefits such as school related fee reduction or waivers, low cost internet and health coverage.

    There are also important benefits for Grout that are a direct result of our community assistance needs.  The percentage of families eligible for free and reduced meals is used to provide Grout with additional resources, including support staff, additional supplies, materials, technology, and staff professional development.  It is really important that we have an accurate representation of our community’s eligibility for free and reduced meals.  

    Families have the following options to submit a meal application:

    1. Online at www.schoolcafe.com/pps.

    2. 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.

    3. Request a paper meal application be mailed home from mealbenefits@pps.net or call 503.916.3402.

    Families do not need to submit a meal application if any of the following apply:

    •  A meal application has been submitted and approved for the 2020-21 school year.

    • The household received a 2020-21 Direct Certification Approval letter.

    • All students in the household attend a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school (list located online: https://www.pps.net/Page/2088) where students eat meals at no cost.

    • The household does not meet the Oregon Expanded Income Guidelines

    For meal benefits related questions, please call 503.916.3402 or email mealbenefits@pps.net.


    I will be hosting office hours on Fridays between 1:00 and 2:00 pm.  There will not be any presentations during these office hours, but I will be available to check-in, answer any questions, or just generally chat about what is happening.  

    Because it is difficult to use a meeting nickname, while students are using their PPS accounts for school, we will use this code for all of our office hour visits::