SES Messenger for September 13 20199/13/2019
Inside this Issue:
- School News to Know
- Upcoming Dates
- Websites to Know
- After School Supervision (NEW)
- Middle School New Attendance Policy (NEW)
- Middle School Field Study Emergency Chaperone List
- Picture Days
- Back to School Night
- News from SESPTSA (NEW)
- Middle School Fall Musical (NEW)
School News to Know
We had another wonderful week of school this week. Thank you!
I apologize ahead of time for this long newsletter, but I wanted to share some important information about changes to our partnership with the Sunnyside Community House, located in the Methodist Church on 35th.
The brief history:
- As a school community, we have partnered with the Hard Times Supper at this location for the duration of the time we have been located at Sunnyside. This relationship was established at the inception of the school, long before I became principal here. We have been in partnership for over 15 years.
Every week for these 15+ years, a staff member or volunteer picks up a large amount of donated food and our middle school students make sandwiches and other portable meals for the folks who attend the Hard Times Supper. Our students and families also volunteer their time to serve food there on evenings and weekends, and in the past we have also partnered on art projects, clothing and supply drives, and gardening projects.
The Hard Times Supper has/had been serving meals in this location for 38 years, most of that under the leadership of Pat Schweibert. Last year, John Mayer—SES parent and neighbor—joined Pat in leading this program. Over the last year or so, our unhoused neighbors or neighbors in need had access not only to food, but also to showers and hygiene needs, medical services, educational and religious groups, as well as assistance with housing opportunities, work/income opportunities, and help with other basic and societal needs. As I shared last year, during the 2018-19 school year our documented number of incidents during the school day, incidents where someone reported unexpected behavior in the park area, garbage, drug paraphernalia, waste, etc. was at an all time low for Sunnyside. Simultaneously, our high trust neighbors who are unhoused were reporting a strong sense of community and purpose because of their connection to the Sunnyside Community Center, the Hard Times Supper, and, frankly, because of the support of John and Pat. To restate, as principal I certainly do not know all of the folks who attend(ed) the Supper; however, I do know many of them and have for years. They are friends and neighbors with whom I have developed a relationship, and I have several, detailed examples of times where they, specifically, have kept myself, our staff, and/ or our students safe from a dangerous situation. I’ve referred to these folks as the “eyes and ears” of our park space for many, many years.
The current situation:
Last spring, a new congregation took over the leadership at the Sunnyside Methodist Church location. The Hard Times Supper and all of the programming affiliated with this was evicted from the location once leadership changed. For me, personally, it was very heartbreaking to hear that this program had been evicted after 38 years of service to the neighborhood. It was also very unexpected that no one from the new congregation asked our families or our students about their experiences with this long term partnership. To this day I have yet to receive communication from any leadership at the church; I’ve been made aware of this situation through Pat and John and our friends who frequent the Hard Times Supper. In June, out of the blue, I received word that they had 90 days to fully leave, and the program has been slowly vacating since July 1. They are required to be out completely by September 15th.
The impact of this displacement has been hard on the community. Many of the folks who were the “eyes and ears” of the park have physically left, and they’ve shared that the dissolution of this community has caused additional, compounding trauma. Additionally, several families who live nearby have reported an increase in unsafe behavior on the corner. While we have not necessarily seen this during the school hours, I want to affirm that I, personally, feel the loss of community and some of the folks in the park are unfamiliar to me at this time. For me, an unintended consequence of the displacement of the program is actually the loss of the connection to John and Pat. This has led to more trash and debris piling up, as well as a sentiment of fear and uncertainty among the folks on the corner.
Your students’ safety is our highest priority and we take this seriously. Thus far we have not had incidents during the school day. To be transparent, we have had incidents of housed neighbors using profane language or destroying the property of unhoused folks in front of children. We have had incidents of housed neighbors filming on our property and harassing unhoused folks. We are in communication with the police about these situations and are committed to the safety of our students.
I am unsure if the new congregation will be offering meals and services for those in need in the neighborhood. There are some people who, literally, have attended the Supper for 38 years and they report that the displacement is incredibly traumatic for them. As a school we are committed to the care and support of all of our neighbors, housed and unhoused, and will continue to live into this belief system. We are working hard to support our long term partners from the Hard Times Supper and remain in partnership with these folks. The location of this partnership is TBD.
Please read the attached communication from John Mayer. It outlines next steps for this community, and also ways you can help and share this widely with your own networks.
Lastly, please come celebrate 38 years of the Hard Times Supper Community in the basement of the Methodist Church on Sunday, September 15 at 4 pm. This will be the very last time this group will be physically at this location.
Message from John and Pat and the Hard Times Supper:
As we move out, our ongoing work with homeless and marginalized folks will be known as Beacon PDX. We are a project within the Metanoia Peace Community work and are committed to fostering connections with the friends we already know. The heart of our work has always been the individuals we support. It’s Dondee that desperately needed a shower today when the park closed theirs for the season. It’s Lorrie who works the midnight shift at Freddies and needs a place to lay his head during the day time. It’s Val who lives in a tent near 205 who needs a meal. It’s Leroy who had an infection in his eye before we got him to a doctor. This we can do without a roof over our head. This we can do with creativity and dedication. This, we can do with your support.
A core team of volunteers made up of individuals from across the city and from each of our partner congregations will each be taking a few friends into our ‘family’. We will:
Offer supportive relationships
Commit to regular meeting
Help in making and keeping appointments
Aid in filling out paperwork
Help navigating city services
Connect people with needed health care
Provide an address for mail and obtaining IDs
Host regular support group meetings
Support in goal-setting and making plans
Meet people where they are without judgement.
We will start with a number folks who we have already been supporting outside the walls of Sunnyside. We will be advocates and informal case managers without any of the bureaucracy that so often gets in the way. We will give hugs when needed, provide transportation without trouble, and a listening ear without judgement.
Additionally we will find our way into parks and community centers for pop-up meals and offerings to a larger community. This will continue to be a way for our friends to come say hi and get a meal, to touch in and ask for help if needed. Over time we will take on more family members as our trainings and volunteer pool increases and our ability to help folks gets increasingly streamlined.
But what we really want, is a home—a stable place where we can tell people, ‘You are supposed to be here’. Where we can meet them where they are and help folks find a new sense of stability and possibility.
Why should you support? Why should you spread the word? What do we do?
Portland is in crisis and more Portlanders are forced to live in crisis because of it. A recent report estimated that there are at least 38,000 people living on the streets in our area last year. On any given night there are upwards of 4,000 people sleeping outside in our city. There are not enough beds, not enough shelters open, not enough supportive services, and nowhere near what we need in terms of mental health care for people living on the margins.
The primary experiences for folks living on Portland’s streets, on sidewalks, in parks, in cars, and on friends couches is one of displacement and impermanence. We work to counter that experience by offering a consistent place of connection and community where all are welcome and our goal is to meet the basic needs of our neighbors in need.
We know we can’t solve homelessness, but we do what we can to meet the needs of those we know; always with our attention on affirming the humanity of our friends and neighbors.
Will you help us continue? We need $30,000 to do what we want in the short term (at least a year). But we will always dream big. We have a dream of a permanent home for which we need 1.5 million. Can you help us? Every dollar counts...give what you can. Throw a party with your friends, commit to helping find 10 or 20 or 50 thousand in your network. Ask your neighbors if they will match your donation. Spread the word! The work is essential so we need to keep doing it. How can you help?
When we can reach $500,000 from around the city and the country, we will know that the support is there to go and find a home to call our own. And we will pursue making our big dream manifest. In the meantime, the work is not done and we are not done with the work.
With a home we will expand upon the good work we know how to do so well...showers, food, clothing, medicine first; next support groups, counselling, and goal setting with those that are ready. Eventually helping people to attain a version of stability that makes sense to their context, whether that be housing, a job, social security payments, or treatment for an ailment untended. This is the work we have been doing at Sunnyside and the work we desperately know we need to continue. We know that consistency matters
Checks should be made out to Metanoia Peace Community UMC and can be mailed to 2116 NE 18th Ave Portland, OR 97212. You may direct any questions to John Mayer (503 382 9607; email@example.com) or Pat Schwiebert (503 706 6583; firstname.lastname@example.org). If you or somebody you know is able to support us in a large-dollar amount and would like to give directly to us, please be in touch. All donations are tax deductible.
We would also love ‘pledge donations’ wherein you give us assurance that if we reach our goal, you are in. For instance, a friend told me, “I want to give you $10,000 but only if it means you can get that permanent home.” So I can count on my friend to be a part of the total goal, but if we don’t make it, he can spend his money another way. If you are interested in this, please give one of us a call.
Online donation option:
Our website (in development, check back often)
Check the district online calendar here
Monday, September 16 Dick's Kitchen PTSA restaurant fundraiser Wednesday, September 18 Picture Day #1 Thursday, September 19 Picture Day #2 Wednesday, September 25 Class Photo Day Thursday, September 26 Back to School Night, K - 8, 6:00 - 7:45 Sunday, October 6 Garden Day, 9:00 - 1:00 Friday, October 11 Statewide Professional Development (no school) Sunday, October 13 6th Graders Leave for Outdoor School
Websites to Know
Middle School New Attendance Policy (NEW)
This year our middle school has moved to Period Attendance. Teachers take attendance for each class of the day- at 8:50, 9:30, 10:35, 12:15, 1:20, and 2:35. Once a teacher has completed attendance they are unable to make updates, only office staff can change an absence to a tardy. Please encourage your kiddos to sign into the office if they are tardy to any class, even if it is after the start of the day, to avoid the automated attendance call home. An absence in just one period will result in the robocall.
If you expect your child will be absent or late to school, please call our attendance line at 503-916-6227 and leave an absence Reason to prevent the automated attendance call.
Middle School Field Study Emergency Chaperone List
Because middle school classes travel every Thursday, and because each trip requires chaperones, a PTSA volunteer maintains an emergency chaperone list for middle school teachers. Some classes are flush with chaperones, while others struggle to find them. Each MS teachers would have a copy of the list so they could call any one of us to fill needed chaperone slots. Volunteers will get to know new kids, parents and teachers, all while saving the day for a MS teacher. Willingness to fill spots in classes other than your kiddo's is much appreciated—you don’t even need to be the parent of a middle school kid to volunteer. Would you be willing to put your name on the last-minute chaperone list? If so, contact email@example.com. Thanks so much!
This year, our student picture days are on Wednesday, September 18 and Thursday, September 19. Our class photos will be taken on Wednesday September 25.
Back to School Night K - 8
Back to School Night this year is on Thursday, September 26 from 6:00 - 7:45. We will host all K - 8 families, with the schedule below:
6:00 - 6:45 - K- 5 Overview in Auditorium
6:50 - 7:45 - K - 5 Families in Classrooms
6:00-6:30 - Middle School Families in Core
6:35 - 6:45 - MS Families to Period 5
6:50 - 7:00 - MS Families to Period 6
7:05 -7:45 - MS Families in Auditorium
School Picture Day Volunteers Needed Sept. 18 and 19 (NEW)
Can you help on school picture day(s)? We need 5 volunteers throughout the day on 9/18 and 9/19 from 9-2:30. We need runners to get the kids, people to help the kiddos look like themselves (comb managers), and people to help manage the lineup of kids so the process is efficient. This is a pretty fun and social volunteer activity with lots going on. Sign up here.
This year, we will be embarking on another completely original, fall middle school musical! This show will be created with the students who sign up to be in and help out with the musical. This production will be for students grades 6-8 and together, we will come up with a theme, a storyline and a script as a whole group. For more information, please contact Mo Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org and Caitlin Quinn at email@example.com..... Click to Open Middle School Musical Flyer
Box Tops Collection (NEW)
It's time to collect those Box Tops for Education you've been saving all summer. Please bring your clean and unexpired Box Tops to the Library to be counted and submitted by October 18. Also, Box Tops has created a new app for easier submissions. Check out this quick video for more information and to get started :: Box Tops New App: Scan for your School Until the all Box Tops are updated with the Scan Your Receipt option, Box Tops is promoting "double dipping" by accepting cut Box Tops and scanned receipts. And if your family, friends and neighbors want to continue to donate, all they need to do is get the app and choose Sunnyside as their school to donate to.