Principal's Newsletter 12.15.2023

Sellwood Principal’s Newsletter – December 15, 2023

Greetings Sellwood Community,

In a typical year, today I would be wishing you a wonderful winter break.  Since this year has been anything but typical, I will instead say, “Hope to see you next week!”

Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey about next week’s expected attendance and your date, time, and format preferences for parent teacher conferences.  We had 375 responses, which is pretty robust for a school of 570 students.  Based on the responses here are our predictions for student attendance next week.

  • Monday: 87%
  • Tuesday: 87%
  • Wednesday: 83%
  • Thursday: 80%
  • Friday: 73%

Thank you for also sharing your feedback about your hopes and concerns regarding school next week.  There were a wide range of thoughts and feelings revealed in your comments.  I shared a sampling of the comments (anonymously of course) with the staff, and we had a good discussion about next week.  Teachers will be doing their best to provide engaging instruction throughout the week.  Most of the work will be building upon and deepening content knowledge, and where there is new content teachers have a plan in place so that students who are not attending will not be left behind.  It is a challenge to balance the wide range of needs next week, but we will do our best.

As for teacher attendance, we have only two teachers who will be out all week, and 5 teachers who will be out between 1-3 days.  At this time, all of those absences have substitutes assigned.  Of course, there may always be unexpected absences or substitutes who cancel at the last minute, but at this point we seem to be in pretty good shape.

Based on your preferences for times, dates, and format for parent/teacher conferences, we have decided on the following dates and times for conferences.

  • January 11: 5:00-8:00 PM – Virtual
  • January 16: 5:00-8:00 PM – Virtual
  • January 17: 5:30-8:30 PM – Virtual
  • January 25: 5:00-8:00 PM – In-person

On Monday, I will be sharing the conference sign-up document with links to all of the teachers’ conference calendars.  We wanted to give teachers a few days this week to have advanced sign-up for any students who have priority based on academic need.  Also, keep in mind that we have fewer total hours available for conferences this year.  While teachers would like to meet with all families, conferences are not a requirement.

Finally, a shout out to the Southeast Soccer Club’s 12U Boys Champions, the Whitecaps.  All but 1 are 6th graders at Sellwood!  Go Whitecaps!

Have a great weekend and we hope to see you next week :-)  If you are starting your winter break, I hope it is enjoyable.


Jeandré Carbone

Sellwood MS Principal


Sellwood PEAK Winter Session Registration opens Tuesday 12/19 9am! 

The PEAK Program is a series of in-person after school classes open to all Sellwood students.  The PEAK program is totally independent of Sellwood Middle School and is under the jurisdiction of PTA. Scholarships are available as the PEAK goal is to include every SMS student.  

Register for classes at  If you are a first time user you will need to create an account for your student.  **If you are already taking a class in the fall you DO need to register again for Winter Session**

Scholarship request form is here: **The scholarship request deadline is Sunday, December 17th at 5pm.**

Please email with any questions.

Classes open for registration at 9am 12/19:

  • Playwriting & Performance - Rogue Theater Collective
    • This class will teach all the skills necessary for writing a notebook’s worth of monologues and one-act plays! You will learn the fundamentals of playwriting from characters and dialogue, to dramatic structure and stage directions. You will also learn about basic stagecraft: from set design and props to directing. We’ll explore writing exercises and discuss plays by genre, from tragedy to comedy to contemporary realism. In this fun and encouraging environment, you will learn tools and tips on how to construct a short play. Each playwright will select one piece for a dramatic reading, followed by a critique and performance. *BONUS: everyone will get a free Moleskin Notebook to write in and keep!
  • Web Dev: My First Website
    • Designed for beginners, this course introduces students to the basics of web technologies (HTML, CSS, and Javascript). Students learn concepts, such as HTML tags, CSS properties, and Javascript Functions and Event listeners. They build simple but beautiful static websites and fun browser games, such as the Meme Spinner and Cookie Clicker. By the end of the course, students know how to design a web page, write codes to display and style web content, and add Javascript codes to add interactivity to the website.
  • Chess Club 
    • We play chess after school on Mondays! We improve our chess skills by playing as much as possible, solving puzzles, and learning basic strategies. Our after-school program focuses on basics but we hope to develop a more competitive program. We meet on Mondays that school is in session. Note that this is a year-long club.
  • Choir
    • This is a student-led choir class provided by the Cleveland Choir Department, and the Cleveland Youth Choir (CYC) team. With the support of the Cleveland Choir director, Cleveland Choir students will lead a class filled with fun singing activities, practicing musicality skills, and learning about other cultures and stories through song! It is not only an educational opportunity, but a performance opportunity. Students who participate will have an opportunity to perform with the Cleveland Choir at one of our events. 
  • Speech and Debate
    • The Cleveland High Speech and Debate team is one the largest and most successful programs at the school. Find out why these students love it so much, and build your own debate skills. You will practice speaking and debating skills in preparation for local middle school competitions The Sellwood team will be coached by team captains from Cleveland.


Join the Spark! Ignite Opportunities at Sellwood Middle School

Your chance to make a difference is here! The Sellwood Middle School Foundation's Annual Giving Campaign is in full swing, and we need your support to achieve our goal of $50,000.

Why Give?

Your generous donations directly fuel essential aspects of our student’s education, including:

- Two Dedicated Teacher's Aides

- French Class

- Culinary Class

- Technology Class

Benefit from Tax Deductions and Matching Gifts!

All donations are tax-deductible, amplifying the impact of your support. Plus, every dollar you give will be matched, doubling the power of your contribution.

Our Goal: $50,000

Help us maintain current courses, support our incredible staff, and introduce exciting new opportunities to our middle school students.

How to Donate:

Visit and be part of the movement that lights up possibilities for Sellwood Middle School. Your support transforms dreams into reality.

Let's make this year the most vibrant and enriching one yet!

With gratitude,

Sellwood Middle School Foundation Board


Please follow the link to read about Sellwood’s Read the World Passport Program 2023/24.

Read the World PASSPORT program 2023-2024


Oregon Battle of the Books is coming back to Sellwood Middle School and will be organized by parent volunteers for the 2023/24 school year.   Now is the time to start organizing a team.  Once you have a team, you can register them here.  If your student would like help finding a team or an additional team member, fill out this form.  If you have questions, email

OBOB is a program where teams of students read an amazing selection of books and then compete with other teams in Battles to recall details from the stories.  Battles will be organized at the school level in February 2024.  Teams are usually made up of two to four members, with one optional alternate, for a total of no more than five members. 


PIL sports registration, schedules and calendar found HERE. Sellwood falls under the "Cleveland Cluster". If your student is playing a sport or any extracurricular activity outside of the PIL, we would love to support them as well. Send an email to Mr. KB ( including the schedule, including playoff information, and team pictures. Thank you 


Who wants a yearbook at the end of the year?  It turns out, pretty much everybody wants one!  Each year, we set aside some time for students to commemorate the end of the school year with a yearbook signing ritual.  However, not everyone orders a yearbook, often because they are busy and don’t realize until after the ordering deadline.  Sometimes students don’t think they want a yearbook, but when they see them, they realize they really do want one.  The truth is, there are many reasons why families don’t order yearbooks, and we never have enough yearbooks for everyone who wants one.  We do not like to disappoint students and families.  So, what if we ordered yearbooks for every student?    In fact, if we order more yearbooks, the price per book will go down.  We envision the last day of school when every student has a yearbook to sign!  However, we will need your support in order to make this sustainable.  We are requesting a suggested $20 donation to our Sellwood Yearbook Donation account in School Pay (the price for a yearbook was $25 last year).  You can donate more, especially if you have more than one child at Sellwood.  We hope that our “Yearbooks for All” plan will make for a more enjoyable and equitable end of the year experience for all.  Thank you for your support.

Here's the link to SchoolPay.  If you need assistance with SchoolPay, the SchoolPay parent help

phone number is 833-731-2600.


Students with last names A-L: Mr. KB –

Students with last names M-Z:  Ms. Katie –


The best way to reach us is by email.  

  • Melissa Whiteside ( is our school secretary and registrar.  
  • Claire Howard ( is our principal’s secretary and bookkeeper.
  • Our Sellwood website ( has many “Quick Links” to help you immediately.   

The Office Phone Number

The office phone number is 503-916-5656.  

When prompted:

  • press 4 for Melissa;
  • press 3 for Claire 
  • press 2 for all Attendance matters. 
  • press 5 for Records, Registration.
  • press 0 for the front counter; however, students may answer this line.  Do not discuss anything confidential or leave any confidential messages.  

Secured Building 

Sellwood is a locked and secure building.  

Please ring the doorbell to the right of the main doors to reach the office.  We will guide you accordingly.

Parent/Student Requests:  

Please email both Melissa and Claire for student pick up or if you must get a message to a student.  For student pickup, advance notice is strongly recommended to minimize classroom interruptions. No pickups/dismissals will be allowed after 3:30 pm.

Guides to Help you:

To access your student’s attendance in Synergy: Log into ParentVue. 

To make changes to your student’s registration in Synergy:  ParentVue/StudentVue

Please email Melissa Whiteside ( for:

  • Passwords:  If you have forgotten your password, have been locked out of your account, or do not have login credentials
  • ParentVue (if your account has been disabled).   


Please email Claire Howard ( for:

  • School Pay/Bookkeeping/accounting issues.
  • Administrative Support:  Messages or matters of support to the principal or assistant principal.



  • December 18-22: Make up days (previously week 1 of winter break)
  • December 25-January 1: Winter Break
  • January 11: Parent Teacher Conferences – Virtual – 5-8PM
  • January 15: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – NO SCHOOL
  • January 16: Parent Teacher Conferences – Virtual – 5-8PM
  • January 17: Parent Teacher Conferences – Virtual – 5:30-8:30PM
  • January 25: Parent Teacher Conferences – in-person – 5-8PM
  • January 26: Make-up Day (previously not a school day for students)
  • February 19: Make-up day (President’s Day – previously not a school day)
  • Spring Break: March 25 to March 29
  • April 8: Make-up Day (Previously not a school day for students)
  • May 27: Memorial Day – NO SCHOOL
  • June 12-14: Make-up Days
  • June 14: Last Day of School


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