• Principal's Newsletter 8.28.20

    Sellwood Principal’s Newsletter – August 28, 2020

    Greetings Sellwood Community,

    I hope this email finds you well.  In this newsletter, you will find the latest information regarding the PPS schedule for the “soft start” during the first two weeks of school, information about special materials distribution, supply list, the PPS Middle School Bell Schedule (with screencast video), the new PPS Reading program called “Let’s Get Reading”, and Chromebook or Hotspot delivery for those who were not able to pick-up their Chromebooks this week..

    I am very happy to announce that Sellwood has a new assistant principal, Kirsten Letofsky.  Following the Important Dates to Remember section, please read the short introductory message from Mr. Letofsky (Mr. L). We are thrilled to add such a skilled and passionate educator to our team.  He is just getting started and eager to learn about all things Sellwood.

    Join me in giving a hearty welcome to our new AP, Mr. Letofsky.


    Jeandré Carbone

    Sellwood MS Principal



    Important Dates to Remember

    August 31 & Sept 1 – Chromebook and Hotspot Delivery

    September 2: Soft Start - 6th-grade only jump start

    September 3: Soft Start – First day of distance learning for 7th & 8th graders

    September 7: No school – Labor Day

    September 8, 9, & 10: 1-4PM – Special Materials Distribution

    September 14: Regular distance learning schedule begins

    September 23: Virtual Back-to-School Meeting 6:30 to 8:00 (new date)

    October 9: No school

    November 6: End of 1st quarter

    November 11: No school – Veterans Day

    November 23 &24: Parent/Teacher conferences

    December 21-January 1: Winter Break

    Introducing New Sellwood Assistant Principal, Kirsten Letofski

    My name is Mr. Kirsten Letofsky and I will be joining the Sellwood community this year as the new Assistant Principal. Go Panthers! I am a lifelong educator passionate about ensuring a just and equitable world. I am originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota but visited Oregon for over 20 years before making the move 5 years ago. I appreciate the landscape and love to spend as much time as possible walking along the coastal sand. I live with my husband Nathen, 19-year-old son Kaleb, a sophomore at PCC, 17-year-old daughter Isabella, a senior at Westview High School, and 2 pound Yorkie Rose; yes, she runs the house.

    Professionally, I am currently working on a PhD from New Mexico State University’s online program in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Educational Leadership and Critical Pedagogy. I have worked in Portland Public Schools for 5 years. For the past two years, I was the K-8 Instructional Specialist at Lent K-8 and prior to that a K-8 District Literacy TOSA. In addition, I am an adjunct professor at Portland State University teaching courses to preservice and inservice teachers in the areas of literacy and culturally responsive instruction. In the past I was a classroom teacher and instructional coach in Minneapolis Public Schools and wrote science curriculum at the Lawrence Hall of Science.

    I look forward to building relationships with all members of the Sellwood community. I am passionate about teaching and learning and can’t wait to collaborate with everyone to acquire the skills, mindsets, and actionable skills to be the change agents of a socially just future.

    Soft Start – Schedules for the First Two Weeks of School:

    Please note: September 2nd, the first day of the school year, has been designated as a 6th-grade only “jump start” orientation day.  7th and 8th graders will begin on September 3rd.

    Soft Start Schedule – September 2nd to September 11th.

    On Monday, the district will send the “Family Modules for the Digital Toolkit”, which will provide information about how to log-in and use the digital tools and platforms. In addition, the school will send instructions and virtual invitations to class meetings for the opening events of the Soft Start Schedule.

    PPS Middle School Bell Schedule

    Earlier this week, the PPS School Board approved a common middle school bell schedule for all middle schools to use during distance learning.  A team consisting of district educational leaders, principals, assistant principals, and teachers created the schedule using the Oregon Department of Education’s guidelines on distance learning.  I will share a link to the schedule here.  In order to explain more about how the schedule works, I made a short screencast video, which is linked here.  The distance learning common schedule will begin September 14th.

    Special Material Distribution

    Last week I shared with you the district’s plan to make “Home Classroom Supply Kits” available to all students in the district.  While I understand that these kits will still be created and distributed eventually, it may be some time before that comes to pass.  So, we have decided to hold some special materials distribution events at Sellwood for a few essential and hard to find materials. Your optional donations to the SchoolPay math account and art account will help offset the cost of these materials to the school.  Finally, below the information about materials distribution, I have posted a general back-to-school supply shopping list.

    Materials Distribution Dates

    6th-grade – September 8, 1-4PM

    7th-grade – September 9, 1-4PM

    8th-grade – September 10, 1-4PM

    Materials that will be distributed

    For all students:

    • Quad rule spirals – graph paper for math

    • One mini-whiteboard

    • Two whiteboard markers

    For all students taking art

    • One art kit with essential materials to be used for art during distance learning

    A planner for those who still need one

    A Chromebook or Hotspot for those who still need one or both

    Books from the "Let’s Get Reading" program described below

    Textbooks for classes where used.


    Back-to-School Supply Shopping List

    3-4 inch 3 ring binder

    6 tab binder dividers

    3-ring pencil pouch



    Ballpoint pens: black, blue, red

    Small pencil sharpener

    Big eraser

    College-ruled notebook paper


    3 glue sticks

    Colored pencils

    100 sheet college-ruled composition book

    Scotch tape

    3X5 index cards


    Let’s Get Reading

    What is Let’s Get Reading!?

    Let’s Get Reading is a program designed by our PPS teacher-librarians with the goal to get physical books into the hands of students as quickly as possible. Some students may not have touched a physical book for over six months!

    This program involves creating and loaning library bags of 5-10 books to each student to have at home to read with their families, friends, or even a pet!  At a designated time and location a family would pick up a book bag to enjoy, or in some cases, a bag could be delivered to a family.  A couple of weeks later, families would return their book bag and receive a new one. This process rotates each week:  pick up a bag, return it, pick up a new bag, return it, and on.

    The types of books in the backs will initially vary, but over time can be created to respond to student requests and teacher-for-student requests. Library book bags will also include a Q&A about the process, a list of Conversation Starters, and an interactive handout on Genres to encourage reading engagement. These are the types of books a student might find in a bag:  

    Grade 6 & Above

    • Fiction book

    • Nonfiction book

    • Graphic novel 

    • Biography 

    • World languages (Bilingual book or a book in another language)

    • Diverse book

    • We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.         -- weneeddiversebooks.org 

    Questions can be directed to the library staff in each building, or to 

    PPS Library Services at ppslibraries@pps.net.  


    Main Office:

    Fall pictures and student IDs will be delayed until we resume in-person instruction.

    Office support staff are working from home so the most efficient way to reach us is email. For matters concerning registration, enrollment, and ParentVue send emails to mwhitesi@pps.net

    The best way to enroll your student is by going to the PPS website: https://www.pps.net/Domain/182 

    To make changes to your student's registration in Synergy please log-in and use ParentVue.

    If your Parentvue account has been disabled please email Melissa Whiteside mwhitesi@pps.net

    We wish all of you a great "soft start" to the new school year.

    Re: Student Activity Fee

    $20.00 Suggested Donation.  

    Go on-line to School Pay, Select: School Activity Fee


    How to get to School pay?  Go to Sellwood Middle School website, under "Quick Links" select School Pay.  Follow the directions.  


    School pay accepts credit/debit cards or electronic checks.  No cash at this time please.   

    In School Pay, you'll also notice that you can donate to additional school funds such as:

    • Math account: Will offset some of the cost of graph paper and whiteboards distributed.
    • Art account:  Will help offset the cost of art material kits distributued.
    • Principal's Discretionary Account:  To help students as the principal sees fit.
    • Chrome Books - Technology:  We can also use more!
    • Marimba:  Great program.  Help keep with tuning or repair of instruments and more!
    • Band:  Great program:  Help keep it amazing! 
    • Library:  Love to Read?  The Library can always use support.

    Browse the list... there's more ways to help!  

    Chromebook & HotSpot Distribution

    If your student needs to check out a Chromebook or HotSpot, we will be delivering Chromebooks and HotSpots to homes on August 31st and September 1st.  If you have requested a Chromebook or HotSpot and did not pick one up during the distribution on Tuesday, I will be in touch about a good drop off time/day.

    Race, Racism, and Racial Equity Resources

    Guidelines for Being Strong White Allies https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/kivel3.pdf

    Resources to Support Children’s Emotional Well-Being Amid Anti-Black Racism, Racial Violence, and Trauma, Published by ChildTrends, June 23, 2020 https://www.childtrends.org/publications/resources-to-support-childrens-emotional-well-being-amid-anti-black-racism-racial-violence-and-trauma