Newsletter January 15th 20211/15/2021
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!