Vestal Elementary School

Our richly-diverse community nurtures life-long learning to support all students
in achieving their very highest educational and personal potential.

161 NE 82nd AvenuePortland, OR 97220Ph (503) 916-6437Fx (503) 916-2679

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Community News

  • Hello all, happy Thursday! 

    This week has been full and busy! It has been wonderful to get into so many classrooms and watch your children engage in learning! I bet most of your kids are tired out when they arrive home as they are being asked to do a lot of rigorous thinking and new learning every single day!

    Tomorrow is Friday already! We will have the spinny wheel at lunch! Please wear clothing that supports Vestal and social justice tomorrow!

    February is Black History Month! We will be highlighting different people and events around Black History Month all month long, but especially at Townhall! You may want to ask your child about the importance of BHM! Sometimes students need a reminder about why we celebrate certain months. I find this article to be super helpful in explaining the importance of setting aside time for black history month given the complicated and often very hurtful history our country has with slavery and racism. My experience has been that children are often more ready to talk about hard truths than adults, so this article can help provide guidance.

    Also, please put our next Community Dinner on your calendar…it is next Thursday, starting at 6:00! Watch for a flyer with details coming soon!

    We are going to serve PANCAKES for DINNER!! (Wear your PJ's if you want!!)

    Have a wonderful evening, Sabrina

    From PTA-

    We are so excited for another Community Dinner next Thursday, February 15th. In addition to some details already shared by Ms. Sabrina, I’d like to tell you about something new we’re trying. We’ll be having a raffle with some exciting prizes like the chance to be “Art Teacher for a Day”, “PE Teacher for a Day”, and even “Principal for a Day”! Everyone at the dinner will get a raffle ticket, with the opportunity to buy more, and all money raised will go back to supporting Vestal.


    In addition, next week is our February PTA Meeting. We’ll be building off a great conversation last month and talk about how we can improve communication with the community. All community members are welcome to attend:


    February PTA Meeting

    Tuesday, Feb 13th, 6:30pm

    In person in Room 210 at Vestal & online on Zoom

     (details to be sent out shortly, or email with any questions)


    Hope to see you next week!


    From Mr. Williams*** Music

    For Black History Month this February, all of our Vestal classes are learning about influential Black musicians and activists who have shaped music and American history. This week, we are learning about the American singer and songwriter Jon Batiste. With a combination of jazz rhythms and melodies mixed with modern pop styles, Bastiste's music has been described as soulful and vibrant, with a focus on expressing the Black experience in America. Some of his more famous songs include FREEDOM and I NEED YOU from his 2022 Grammy Album of the Year "We Are". I highly recommend giving any of his music a listen!  

    In our K-2 classes, we are strengthening our singing skills. We are working on singing in patterns of 2 and 3, with our 1st and 2nd graders practicing using Solfege, a music education sight-singing tool. 

    In our 3-5 classes, we are continuing our work towards playing in an ensemble format. 3rd and 5th graders will be moving to our new school marimbas in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, our 4th graders are preparing for our Link-Up concert, sponsored by Carnegie Hall, that will take place on Friday, May 3rd. Click on the attached link to learn more about this awesome opportunity and check your emails for more details in the coming months!

    Musically Yours, 

    Mr. Williams

District News

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  • How Do You Measure a Year: The Annual District Calendar

    At first glance, the annual Portland Public Schools district calendar might seem to fulfill one crucial function: to alert students, staff, and families to the days when school is in session and when it is not. 

    If that were the case, crafting the calendar would be the work of days, if not hours. In fact, the calendar is a multipurpose living document that involves meticulous planning and careful forethought to ensure the best possible outcomes for students and staff. It also reflects the needs and observances of the many diverse communities the district serves. 

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  • Compacted Math Changes Coming in 2024-25

    Ethan Kramer, Beaumont Middle School’s assistant principal, sees middle school math as so much more than 2x + 3y = 5. 

    “It’s helping to build the logic center – the prefrontal cortex – in analysis and processing,” he said. Given this, Kramer and others believe that middle grades instruction must lay a strong foundation to support more challenging math concepts in the future – first high school, then beyond.

    But what are the components of that foundation? And how is it best established?

    The district’s middle grades core academics team and its grades 6-8 math committee have spent the last year weighing these questions in tandem with educators and community stakeholders. Their goal: a comprehensive math curriculum that challenges students without rushing or skipping over key concepts.

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  • To Close or Not to Close? The Many Factors that Go into an Inclement Weather Decision

    In meteorological terms, Portland’s first big weather event of 2024 has been the definition of a perfect storm. Frigid temperatures and high winds combined with snow and ice to bring down tree limbs, close roads, scramble traffic, freeze pipes, and knock out power for tens of thousands of residents.

    It’s been a metaphorical perfect storm for Portland Public Schools as well. Fallen trees cut power to multiple schools and others have suffered water damage from broken pipes. Lack of heat is also a problem, and impassable roads, paired with snowed-in and icy parking lots, have made it impossible for buses to run safely. Those same conditions have limited how the district’s facilities and operations teams can even assess the scope of the issues, let alone begin working on solutions. And icy sidewalks mean walkers have no safe route to school.

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  • McDaniel Students to the Rescue

    In a dark corner of a dilapidated house, several young people work together to locate a baby in distress. A few hundred feet away, a second group uses cribbing techniques to free a man from a 2,000-pound slab of concrete. Nearby, a third learns how to use a multi-tool to turn off a leaking gas line.

    Thankfully, none of it – the ailing baby, the crushed man, the gas leak – was real. Rather, each scenario was part of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training for students from Darshanpreet Gill’s biomedical innovations class.

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