Fred Locke, Principal
I am very pleased to be the principal at da Vinci Arts Middle School.
If you ever feel the need to contact me you can reach me via email < firstname.lastname@example.org >
or though the school's main phone line (503) 916-5356.
But don't be surprised if when you call I am out and about visiting classrooms.
It's one of my favorite duties.
If I haven't already done so, I hope to meet you soon!
Current articles by Principal Locke:
"I move therefore I am"
Smiles, Tears, Kudos, and Shakespeare!
November 2, 2015
Dear da Vinci Families,
As the buses unloaded on Friday, I loved that smiles and Welcome Home hugs topped the list. As a tired but cheery Katie Loewen put it, "my kiddos did not want to leave and they cried and sang all the way home." Ms. Shumway, Ms. Stevens, Ms. Wright, and Mr. Gershuny offered similar praise, as they described that despite the formidable Oregon rain, our 6th grade kiddos did five full days of great learning at Outdoor School and loved it! Given our busy urban world, the importance of spending five days learning to appreciate Oregon's natural beauty is special indeed. To our first five-day ODS class in years, Brava, Bravo! We can't wait to hear your stories and see your pictures.
On Monday, I was fortunate to visit Camp Cascade, that is tucked away off Route 20 about an hour NE of Salem. I had never been to this camp before, and it was beautiful. I arrived in time for lunch and the grill cheese sandwiches and salad sure tasted good! The "Cabin Inspection" song that was a top 40s hit (The Munsters) in my day, was sung numerous times and individual Cabin leaders shared their cabin cleanliness scores of thumbs up, sideways, or down. Responding to the friendly high expectations most cabins did well, and it was clear that the week was getting off to an enthusiastic start! That morning, in brilliant sunshine, our students learned about animals, while the other schools did soil or water.After lunch, students had "Cabin time" and were reportedly working on skits that they would present later in the week. As my usual three camp tour in one long afternoon/eve was not possible due to a mandatory principals' meeting about the new Boundaries on Thursday, I was sorry to have missed the other camps, but happy for my Cascade experience.
The Outdoor School culture of accepting and supporting all students as they take risks in a new setting, aligns with our hopes here. Mr. Gershuny shared that one of his students was recognized by his peers for his courage after making outstanding progress throughout the week. Understanding soil, water, and animals in there natural setting is huge, and equally compelling are the forged bonds through learning with peers, ODS staff and our teachers. A special SHOUT OUT to all Campers and da Vinci ODS Staff…you all ROCK!!!
In other news…this Friday, November 6th from 3:15-4:15, please come and support our visual artists as they pay tribute and celebrate the lives of our loved ones that have passed. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday that has been celebrated in central Mexico for hundreds of years.
We are also proud of our very own Mr. Mark Gerolami who has been invited by the U.S. State Department to travel with his band, “The Student Loan Stringband”, to the Dominican Republic to perform artistic and cultural diplomatic outreach around the country. The Student Loan Stringband is a Portland-based progressive bluegrass band, which Mark was a co-founder of over 10 years ago. In addition to a busy domestic performance schedule, they have performed and taught for the U.S. State Department in 16 different countries including Yemen, Myanmar, Cyprus, and several others that are off the beaten path.
During this week long trip to the Dominican Republic Mr. G and the band will be conducting classes and workshops for students at the Bi-National Center High School in Santo Domingo, the Bi-National Center in Santiago, to over 400 public school students in Sosue, and to 150 music students from the Fundacion Fedujazz Cabarete, a non-profit organization giving free music lessons to impoverished youth in the Dominican Republic. In addition to teaching, The Student Loan will have a performance at Casa de Teatro in Santo Domingo and will be one of the headliners at this year’s Dominican Republic Jazz Festival. For more information about the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival and the work of the Fundacion Fedujazz you can visit their website at http://drjazzfestival.com Congratulations Mr. Gerolami, and thank you for representing da Vinci internationally!
A huge THANK YOU to all pizza lovers that supported Pizzicato's Dough for Dollars on Tuesday, October 20th. By purchasing and enjoying Pizzicato's delicious pizza, you raised $629.85 for the da Vinci Foundation. For more information on how you can support the da Vinci Foundation please stay tuned.
Don't miss our fall drama production Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream that opens this Thursday (11/5) at 4:30 pm, with additional shows Friday at 4:30 pm, and Saturday at 2:00 p.m. It will close the following weekend with shows also Thursday-Saturday.
Finally, a HUGE THANK YOU to all families that have turned in their Run for the Arts Pledge form with cash and/or checks. As these funds are a vital support to our program, and your students did an excellent job running or walking, PLEASE complete and turn in your form and funds to Sheli ASAP.
Thank you for your wonderful children, and we look forward to a second quarter of outstanding focus, growth, and learning!
A very proud Superintendent Carole Smith choked back tears as she came on stage to address our dancers. The traditional Shim Sham concluded three arresting performances, and all the dancers were momentarily at rest. There were tears all around, of accomplishment, of brilliance, and of Carole’s gratitude in sharing this special evening with her.
Dance is fleeting. Carole shared how enthralled she was with their performance, and got smiles in return. Yesterday, I got a Thank you note from Carole, who shared, “Thank you so much for inviting me for the Saturday night performance so I could see the eighth graders last dance. I was so moved by the whole evening—the incredible talent of every student, the magnificent choreography and story of each piece and the amazing community that is da Vinci.”
The da Vinci Spring Dance Concert is a tradition that helps define our arts community. For students, it is all the dedicated hours of practice, during class, after school and on Saturdays, which resulted in three, gorgeous shows. Parents thank you for keeping your children healthy, participating 110%, and completing their homework.
A huge Thank you to the community that makes this all possible. Staff and parent volunteers who give up an evening or more and do whatever is necessary make this real. From the deliberateness of the Green room to the hoots, hollers, and Bravos on stage—all the effort is worthwhile! For the 8th grade dancers, the Saturday night show was a right of passage. It culminates three years of study, and for some Segway’s into their Capstone performance. As Haruki Murakami says, “I move therefore I am.”
Dance staff Katie Staszkow, Sara Martins, and Claire Olberding have been amazing, supportive, and selfless. Their work with students this year has been outstanding, and with guest artists Terry Brock, Eowyn Emerald Barrett, and Tracey Durban, they produced choreography that was moving, beautiful, poignant and fun.
Finally, PPS Arts TOSA Kristen Brayson was also in the audience and got a huge round of applause and appreciation when Dance Chair Claire Olberding thanked her for building such a fabulous program, and for taking arts programming district wide to a new level. That we all have come to expect excellence was very evident to Carole Smith, and it happens because of your generosity and support.
We are a village, THANK YOU PARENTS for your wonderful children whose learning and work inspire our best.
SmART 2015 et al!
On Saturday, April 18th there was not a better place to be than the da Vinci Auction! As an Arts Focus School, Bodyvox’s gorgeous studio and performance space was the prefect setting, and in true da Vinci fashion, merriment ensued, wonderful items found excited new homes, student presentations, performances and artwork were brilliant, and needed funds secured for the 2015-16 school year.
We did not have Auction magic, but absolutely something better. An active community that believes passionately in the power of arts education! Here are a few Thank yous that go way beyond what my words can adequately express:
To our sponsors, braces by joe, Lake Grove ENT, Steven Richeson at Windermere Real Estate, Barista, Shakti House Yoga, Turnstone Environmental Consultants, Walsh Construction, and all the businesses and people of the da Vinci community for your generous donations…THANK YOU, your support made our success possible!
As Stephanie Featherman said to me, “we had fun, and worked really well together.” Well said, and the Auction was only possible because a NOT SO small group of amazingly dedicated volunteers, under the exceptional and fearless leadership of our Auction Chair, Melissa Gaddis made it all happen! Melissa, Anne Huffington-Carroll, Kim Stewart, Sheli Bryan, Stephanie Featherman, Claire Olberding, Maren Sinclair, Diane Zipper, Gina Bjorvik, Krista Klemroth, Billy Miller, Judy Zawatzky, and ALL the Volunteers who tirelessly created and gave us a memorable evening, THANK YOU! BRAVA, BRAVO, Melissa & Team…you ROCK!
After the Silent Auction and a buffet dinner, da Vinci’s exponential impact and worth became apparent. Eighth grader Arden Butterfield’s Prezi presentation took the lead. Art teacher X.K. Austin said “Arden presents it like a piece of performance art, IT IS MIND BOGGLING!" As a historical documentary, as humorous as it was informative, Arden told the story of George Howell Jones, the gentleman architect that built our beloved da Vinci home at 2508 NE Everett. For his brilliant research and presentation, Arden received resounding applause. To all da Vincians, Arden’s presentation is a MUST SEE! Wonderful work, Congratulations Arden!
Following Arden isn’t easy, but Jefferson High School standout junior, Sekai Edwards lit up the room as she described her da Vinci experience. From 6th grade angst, to her Auction appearance three years ago with her Slam Poetry piece Cut My Budget Sekai’s current list of accomplishments and summer plans, will put all the very best resumes combined to ask for a rain check! Thank you Sekai, we are so proud of all your passionate work, and many accomplishments—Your star shines bright!
Following Sekai was Interlochen Performing and Visual Arts High School full scholarship recipient Duncan Sennett, who performed his audition piece to Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changin. Dance 3’s moving performance of Soldiers of Art choreographed by Dance Chair Claire Olberding, in a word inspires! The opening monologue performed by Zakia Elazami embraces you and frames a voice that celebrates art and movement that leaves you soaring! Congratulations students and Claire!
Our students reminded us of why da Vinci is such a special place to learn and grow. Our distinguished PTSA President Mr. Don Gavitte then introduced an award that was long overdue. Don presented our own Sheli Bryan with the Oregon School Volunteer of the Year Award for 2015!!!!! As Buckman’s PTSA President, and then ours, and also now very active at Grant, to quote Don, “Sheli has done it all and done it all so well!!!!!!!!!!!!” Sheli, Thank you for all these years of outstanding effort, excellence,and service, Congratulations!!!
In introducing the Special Foundation Appeal, Connie Cheifetz shared her reflection on the absolute necessity of continuing to sustain da Vinci’s unique arts focus mission, and how that responsibility is unequivocally ours. The response, buoyed by the tremendous generosity of four individuals that gave $1,000 dollars or more, resulted in, the da Vinci Foundation raising $12,475 in about ten minutes. THANK YOU Connie and to ALL 41 donors who gave so generously! If you have not contributed this year, we need your support at whatever level you are comfortable giving. Please visit following link, choose da Vinci and make your tax deductible contribution today: https://allhandsraised.org/donate/ Connie’s ASK was $22,000, and we are more than half way there. With your support we CAN MEET her goal. Politely, we need 100% participation!!!
Many hands made clean up go quickly, and all the hours of preparation and planning made for a successful event. The PTSA raised over $22,000, which goes directly to pay for classroom budgets and other arts related costs.
There are still Post Auction items available this week, so PLEASE BID on SOMETHING wonderful and support our PTSA. Here is the catalog link: Bidding opens today, Monday, April 27th, and runs through Sunday, May 15th! There are still some great Seussical items to be had including the puppets! https://davinci.schoolauction.net/auction2015/catalog
On Thursday May 21st, the Oregon Alliance of Black School Educators (OABSE), will hold their 33rd annual Banquet to honor outstanding African American 8th and 12th graders. OABSE raises funds to offer outstanding seniors college scholarships, and it is a great evening of celebration! This year I am pleased to announce that Natalya Peterson, and Yasmine Wyatt will represent da Vinci. Both ladies are excellent students, have taken on leadership rolls in our community, and are outstanding citizens in all regards. Congratulations to Natalya and Yasmine!
To close on a celebratory note of a different kind, da Vinci parent and filmmaker Dina Gruenfeld presented her work One of Eleven on Friday evening. It is a tribute to her Dad, a Holocaust survivor, who went on to become a Cornell professor. Da Vinci 7th grader Elliot Callaway, introduced her grandfather’s film, and her younger brother was finally old enough to see it for the first time. At the conclusion of the documentary, the gathered crowd asked great questions about Dina’s process. The film will be entered in the upcoming Northwest Filmmakers competition, and all agreed this is an important screening for such a moving documentary. Congratulations to Dina, and Thank you for sharing!
I hope you all enjoyed our weekend of typically mixed Oregon weather--brilliant sunshine, wind, and rain. As we close out quarter three, much has been accomplished, and there is also lots of important learning ahead. During a Saturday evening dance rehearsal, I took time to savor some great art infused learning. I wonder how many other schools have Saturday night rehearsals for anything, and art that seamlessly mixes with math and science? That we do, sets us apart. That there is a feast of art, matters here at da Vinci—we are indeed fortunate.
In the office, Gallery, and hall, are wonderful watercolors, prints, and delectables. Missed lunch? As visual arts teacher Kelda Van Patten describes, “Come visit the da Vinci art gallery to see the new FEAST exhibit!! There are cakes, donuts, hamburgers, pizza, a giant Oreo, a turkey, sushi, sandwiches, and more! Exhibit includes works from ceramics, printmaking, textiles, and painting students.” The images and fired pieces invoke their own dialogue, pose great questions about food and art where imaginative humor rules. The juxtaposition of rich hues, animals, fruit, flowers and humans beget questions of realism, fascinating and fun. Congratulations students, Kelda, and Austin!
Thanks to parent Cameron Vaughn-Tyler, please enjoy a new sculpture that was generously donated to us from the estate of international artist Jan Zach. Zach, a renowned sculptor born in Czechoslovakia, joined the U of O faculty in 1958 and influenced many students during his tenure for the next 21 years. His piece’s simplistic elegance and metallic lines seem a perfect da Vinci fit, as it will enhance any and all student work. Down the hall Julie Wright’s class offers three pieces of Geometric art that remind us that math is everywhere! Thank you Cameron, Jan and students!
When Ashland Trippers returned they were tired but ecstatic! Zakia Elazami was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the casts. As she describes, “In Much Ado About Nothing, a number of the couples were mixed, and the male character of Don John was played by a female paraplegic.” All three students concurred that the production quality and overall creativity were impressive. “The not extravagant and yet functional sets added to the very compelling contemporary production of Much Ado,” said Zakia. Jonathan Price and Xavier added that they loved the sets and set changes. “ The lighting and sets evoked different emotions,” said Xavier, and Jonathan loved that in “30 seconds you were transported from urban New York to the Bahamas, and from above ground NYC to its sewer system. The musical Guys and Dolls added variety, and in short, it was wonderful to experience Shakespeare from a fresh and contemporary perspective. Ms. Wasson said “the group was awesome and received many compliments for their audience etiquette and outstanding behavior.” Jonathan said, “He would be privileged to go again!” Thank you Ms. Wasson, Nona, Katie and students for an outstanding trip!
Downstairs, students using their knowledge of Energy Transfer and Transformation created whimsical Rube Goldberg like machines to pop a balloon in 8 Steps. With uncanny ingenuity, using different forms of energy transformation and Newton’s Laws, the sequenced contraptions used electrical, kinetic, potential, gravitational potential, thermal, and chemical energy to pop a balloon. I marveled at how the creative and detailed scale drawings were clever and informative--Way cool!
Upstairs, Novel Characterization Projects by Ms. Fournier’s Core offer you a sumptuous array of insightful quotes and corresponding images that ask to be read. Novels depicted include The Help, The Honest Truth, Wildwood, Maze-Runner, Lord of the Flies, Go Ask Alice, The Book Thief, Dealing with Dragons, Twilight, The Lost Hero, Swindle, and The School for the Good & Evil and more. The stark images and well-chosen quotes arrest and entice your attention. Is this your next read?
Outside Ms. Wasson’s room layered relief maps of China are fascinating! The color-coded layers give you a clear visual of the topography, and notes clarify what the land promotes or discourages. Summer and winter temperature ranges and precipitation cylinders complete these informative graphics. How does our environment influence and sustain us? This age old open-ended question continues to be newsworthy.
Back in the main hall, Intaglio prints are etched plexiglas “and the incised lines hold the ink” describes Elizabeth Loomis. These realistic images each have written statements that describe their process and intent. For Elizabeth, “The seagull is a metaphor for freedom. …Through this artwork I aim to suggest that you should be free.” What is the role of art in our collective quest and struggle for freedom?
Over Spring Break 8th grader Oscar Clark traveled to Western University for the State Geography Bee Finals. He earned this privilege by earning a high score on a written examination after becoming our school champion. Arriving at 9:30 on a Saturday and starting at 10:00, Oscar and 140 other contestants competed in 8 Preliminary rounds. Each round getting progressively harder, and if you got two wrong answers you were out of the competition but could still could answer. Oscar answered correctly through all 8 rounds and made it into the first of two championship rounds with 32 other students. Congratulations Oscar for a great competition and for representing da Vinci so well.
Last weekend, at Southridge High School, our da Vinci destino dancers competed in the small division of the State Junior Dance Team finals. After placing second in state last year, the girls were disappointed to place 4th this year, but they danced beautifully for a standing room crowed that was very appreciative of all the effort, talent, and camaraderie that were displayed by all teams. In the final individual Drill Down competition, all contestants listen and move according to the directions. On the honor system, with one wrong move you are eliminated. In approximately five minutes of commands, 250 dancers were gradually reduced. 7th grader Kaia Berger was excused with 13 girls remaining, and the last 10 received medals. To medal at state for two years running is a significant accomplishment! Congratulations dancers and destino Coach Beverlee Tuyub for a wonderful year of competitive dance and learning!
Finally, as I have shared, many of students were recognized for creating 109 Scholastic Art Awards (Gold Key, Silver Key, and Honorable Mention). Last year, for the first time ever, two da Vinci students were nationally recognized. This year we had five national winners! At our Spring Talent Show, the following four Silver Key National Scholastic Art Award winners Mimi Smith, Brooke Waxman, Arlyss West, and Madeleine Wonacott, and Gold Key Award winner Maisie Siegel were all recognized and given Gift Certificates donated by our PTSA. A slide show afforded the whole school a chance to appreciate their art. Congratulations ladies for your outstanding achievement!!!
Thanks to the dedicated work of staff and students, Smarter Balanced testing is going smoothly. This Saturday, at Bodyvox in Northwest Portland, our annual da Vinci Auction will be a fabulous evening! This year’s theme, all kinds of SmART, certainly fits with what happens in our building everyday. Sponsored by our PTSA, many volunteers have worked tirelessly for months to ensure it is an evening to remember. This key fundraiser, that supports the PTSA and the da Vinci Foundation are huge to sustain what we all love and expect from the best middle school in the state of Oregon!
TICKETS are still available, so PLEASE JOIN US and actively support our outstanding SmART community! With 100% participation, our da Vinci will continue to nurture and inspire your children like no other school can. For your convenience, here is the link to Auction tickets from our website:
Saturday, April 18th - 6 p.m. at Bodyvox.
You won’t want to miss it!
See you on Saturday!
Scholastic Art, Drama, Chess, & Dance Accolades!
For the last 19 years, da Vinci has offered students amazing opportunities to explore, create, and learn through art alongside their rigorous academic studies. We are fortunate to have strong teaching, outstanding student effort, awesome parent support, and passion on all sides. With this is in mind, as a community we are deeply grateful to all the students who took the time to turn in over 300 Scholastic Art Award submissions, write their own plays, practice chess or rehearse for dance competitions or performances. Your collective efforts are impressive and define us as those who love and seek art. We pride ourselves on producing wonderful and compelling art, and we rely on your creativity and hard work. To all of you, as Austin shared... “we believe in your talent, and you inspire us each day!”
Drum roll please. With distinct pleasure I am honored to announce our 2015 da Vinci Scholastic Art Award winners. This year, under the tutelage of Kelda Van Patten and XK Austin, 72 of our 7th and 8th grade visual art students received 109 awards in 9 different mediums (Ceramics and Glass, Digital Art, Drawing and Illustration, Fashion, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture).
18 students won 25 Gold Key Awards, many students won more than one award, including 2 American Vision nominees. Each Gold Key Award student will select one piece to be exhibited at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) and go on to be juried for national awards. Congratulations to the following Gold Key Winners: Anna Christen, Rosa Christen, Helena Guerrero-Sullivan, Oscar Harold, Lindsey Hausafus, Bijou Holiday, Mackenzie King, Eva Ladd, Avery Marlia, Maude Neretin, Owen Posey-Scholl, Iris Siegel, Maisie Siegel, Shea Van Butler, Brooke Waxman, Arlyss West, Mimi Smith, and Madeleine Wonacott. Special congratulations to our American Vision nominees Rosa Christen for her painting, Island, and Lindsey Hausafus for her ceramic piece Drip. National qualifiers will be announced on February 18th at the Portland Art Museum.
37 students won 47 Silver Key Awards in the mediums listed above. Please Congratulate the following Silver Key Winners: Lupine Aldana, Jack Barrett, Ava Bayley, Olivia Bell, Priya Boucher-Colbert, Karter Bryan-Hart, Arden Butterfield, Anna Christen, Annaka Cornell, Olivia Craig, Ruby Dean, Scotty Douglass, Lev Eisenbah-Budner, Lindsay Faust, Anderson Fletcher, Emma Freedman, Oscar Harold, Sydney Haswell, Ava Hergenhan, Andres Herrera, Bijou Holiday, Selah Johnson, Henry Jordan, Maeve Kelly, Jaymes Logan-Harryhill, Taylor Marrow, Arlo Miotel, Pedro Perez, Izzabella Perini, Katarina Pokorny, Owen Posey-Scholl, Solomn Price-Blaze, Lucy Sennett, Dehlia Shaw, Lilly Warren, Sir Xavien Woods, and Eleanor Zaerr.
33 students won 37 Honorable Mentions in the following 8 mediums (Ceramics and Glass, Digital Art, Drawing and Illustration, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture). Congratulations to the following Honorable Mention Winners: Anna Christen, Eban Corona, Carter Crabb, McKenna de Paz, Sylvia Goldrich-Middaugh, Carson Grosse, Maya Gueissaz-Daoust, Ruby Hale, Sydney Haswell, Jaxon Hearst, Haley James, Henry Jordan, Eli Karn, Maeve Kelly, Liam Krug, Isabel Mace-McLatchie, Caroline, Maclean, Ciara Marcell, Asher Marlin, Taylor Marrow, Natalie Merwin, Maude Neretin, Eli Pearson, Pedro Perez, Izzabella Perini, Natalya Peterson, Lyric Ramaekers, Lucy Sennett, Dehlia Shaw, Maisie, Siegel, Lily Tewfik, Luke Walker, and Eleanor Zaerr.
18 of 25 Gold Key pieces will be showcased at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) and go on to be juried for National awards. The Scholastic Exhibition is open to the public and runs from Monday February 2nd - 26th. The Scholastic Opening Reception at PNCA is on Thursday, February 5th from 5-7 pm—we hope to see you there!
Our 18 Gold Key Award Winners will be honored at the Metro Scholastic Art Awards Ceremony on February 18th at the Portland Art Museum in the Grand Ballroom from 6:30 – 8:30. This is by invitation only. To Kelda, Austin, and all Scholastic Winners Wow…great effort, great work, congratulations!
From Art to Drama…EXTRA, EXTRA!!! News from Drama teacher Nicole Accuardi is equally compelling. Anjali King, Ainsley Leof, Annie Dynes, and Uma Frost-Hausman have all been selected as finalists for the Young Playwrights for Change Competition. Four of Ms. Accuard’s classes wrote ten minute plays to submit. There were six finalists selected, and four are from da Vinci! Our students will now work with professional playwrights on their scripts. Congratulations to Ms. Accuardi and her outstanding playwrights. As Ms. Accuardi says, “Feeling proud!”
The da Vinci Chess Club also has great news. In a recent Regional Tournament, our team placed 4th and two of our students qualified for the State Tournament. The da Vinci Chess Team includes: Haydn Bocian, Daniel Duyvestein, Will Faust, Ashton Fuller, Jonathan Price, Duncan Robbins, Lexington Russell, Somes Schwinghammer, and Valen Wilcox. Congratulations to the entire team, and especially to our two state finalists Haydn Bocian, and Ashton Fuller.
Finally, the da Vinci destino dancers went to a qualifying regional competition over the weekend and performed the first section of their dance. Out of six teams, they placed third! At the PIL Middle and High School Dance Team Championships on Saturday, February 28th, they will perform their entire dance.
Parents, thank you for your wonderful children and for your support of our fabulous arts program.
TONIGHT… come see the Dance 3-4 Winter Showcase. At yesterday’s Teaser, our dancers were awesome! Tickets are $ 5.00 and we hope to see you at 7:00!
At your service!
Letter to the Superintendent and the School Board concerning SACET recommendations
(Superintendent's Advisory Committee on Enrollment & Transfer policies)
Originally the board was scheduled to vote on this issue January 13th, but the vote has been delayed.
Information about the SACET recommendations can be found here:
A da Vinci Moment!
December 12, 2014
Dear da Vinci Students, Families, and Staff,
For those of you who braved the elements and shared in what was, hands down, a magical evening of dance last Thursday —Thank you! Parents, your students were fabulous, and their uber enthusiasm, learning, and skill, were readily apparent for all to appreciate. Congratulations dancers, Claire Olberding, Sara Martins, and Katie Staszkow, for a job well done!
If you were unable to see the performance, the Dance 1 and 2 Winter Showcase, is a rehearsed, yet “informal” showing of classwork. Dance 1 students, the majority of whom have not had formal training before, demonstrated basic movements in Ballet, Jazz, and Tap. The Dance 2 students showcased an expanded repertoire of steps in each discipline, and the further complexity and focus were clearly evident. The stage brimmed with enthusiasm and the unabashed joy of moving through space. Warm and encouraging teacher-student relationships enhanced learning, and the result was delightful for all. At the show’s end, accomplished dancers and proud parents headed home into the blustery night.
Dancer-generated magic was present throughout both shows, but there was a singular moment during the first performance that will make the da Vinci archives as both typical and special. Other schools were forced to cancel their events, but we proceeded. At the start of the show, we paid homage to the wind gods, and, with fingers crossed, began the show with the simple beauty and challenge of classical “plies” (to bend). All was well until mid-way through the across the floor segment of Jazz when the lights went dark and the sound stopped. From training and focus, the dancers kept going, and in a matter of seconds the auditorium was illuminated by cellphones so the dancing could continue. After a very long minute, first the lights were restored, and then eventually later the sound. As if scripted—this spontaneous support meant the dancers didn’t miss a beat!
From the beginning, da Vinci has revered and relied on its parents’ educational, artistic, and financial support. To verify this you need only visit the office, our Library, classroom book groups, or any performance to understand this formidable and willing commitment of joy and service. That said, the lighting of our dark auditorium so the Showcase could go on, was a true gift.
The leadership of the Dance 4 students earned a special Shout Out! Their Green room support ensured that the performers stayed focused and both shows ran smoothly. To close the second show, along with Claire and Sara, Xavier Warner and Duncan Sennett made an impassioned Dance Department funding appeal. All in all, a special night, congratulations!
As we continue to bring in da Vinci holiday cheer, don’t miss The Winter Music Concert, this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium.
Parents, your gift of light and dance time were common da Vinci brilliance. Thank you! I believe that Stephen Hawking would smile—you’re the best!
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State of the School PowerPoint Presentation
presented at the PTSA Meeting on November 18, 2014
SACET UPDATE November 17, 2014
Good morning da Vinci Families and Staff,
I hope you are well, warm, and enjoyed this cold and beautiful Sunday.
Having attended the School Board meeting to hear the SACET Committee's presentation on Monday, and read the full final report, I wanted to give you another update. For interested parents and staff, I have attached the Final SACET Report, and the Q and A transcript from the Focus Option meeting we hosted on Monday Nov. 3rd. To contextualize this important equity work and the thinking and evidence behind the SACET recommendations, time permitting, I suggest you read the full final report, or minimally read recommendations 3 and 5 as they will most directly impact our community.
As the SACET Report is complex, here is a brief overview:
The report recommends "revisions to enrollment and transfer policies to improve alignment with PPS's strategic framework and Racial Board Educational Equity Policy" (SACET, p.3). These changes are intended to improve equity of program offerings across neighborhood schools and improve access for historically underserved students, while minimizing any adverse impact on neighborhood schools. If adopted, the proposed lottery priorities for da Vinci would "add low income preference and geographic preference" (SACET, p. 33). This would increase our students on Free and Reduced Lunch to a maximum of 45% (The district average), and da Vinci students would be selected through a revised lottery system from all geographic areas of the district. Tomorrow, Monday, November 17, the Superintendent will present a timeline and an indication of which components of SACET recommendations need board approval and which do not.
As part of my State of the School address on Tuesday night, I will share information on the SACET recommendations. Judy Brennan, Director of Enrollment & Transfer, is also happy to come to da Vinci in the near future to discuss the finer details of how the recommendations may effect our learning community.
For your information, I have attached the following, and outlined the sections that directly pertain to da Vinci:
Final SACET Report
- The Six Recommendations, p. 14
- Recommendation 3: Implement a quality review process for focus option schools, p. 20
- Recommendation 5: Modify the Focus Option Lottery System, p.23
- Recommendation 6: Supporting students receiving special education services, p.27
- A revised Q & A Transcript.
- Comparison model by High School Cluster (da Vinci is to the right of the middle).
- Comparison model by Free & Reduced Price Lunch (FRL)
SACET's goal, is to ensure equity of access for all PPS students and families. This is critically important equity work. I have every confidence that we can clearly define our purpose as a culturally relevant arts focus option program, and work with all of our students to prepare them to succeed in high school, post secondary studies, and professionally. Our da Vinci Arts middle school program is VALUE ADDED, and as a focus option program it is critical that we equitably serve the district as a whole.
If you wish to write a letter to the Superintendent and/or the School Board expressing how you value da Vinci's unique art infused academic program, I am sure they would appreciate hearing from you. My hope is that these proposed changes will strengthen our ability to align with the district equity policy, and afford us the opportunity to remain an outstanding choice for PPS families for years to come.
I hope to see you at my State of the School address on Tuesday evening starting at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium.
Be Well! Fred Locke
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The Winter’s Tale, Talent, and SACET
November 10, 2014
How now da Vinci Parents!
With a cordial tone and wit to quick for capture, I beseech you gentle ladies and men to not remiss the fair treason, intrigue, love, death, and startling wonderments as our actors ply their wares to grant you pleasure and delight. With sharp tongues, dressed to match their station, and a marbled floor, may your appetite for Shakespearian drama find your calendars next Thursday and Friday at 7:00, and a final show on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Ms. Connie can ticket you. You may lessen your purse for $15.00 (Reserved) or $7.00 for general admission. Delight at these prices, complete with tricks and skills you will rarely find on middle school stages, Ms. Accuardi’s players’ urgency is you a smile bring. Come ye one and all, this merriment and noble tale bears your witness for full satisfaction! To both casts, guest Director Catlin Fisher-Draeger, Ms. Accuardi, and the entire stage crew wonderful work as our stage radiated with your Shakespeare offering!
If The Winter’s Tale was our only game, I would brag less, but in recent weeks, mastery and talents of our students have lived up to high da Vinci standards of excellence. Friday afternoon, directly after school, Kelda, Austin, and visual art students had their first, First Friday! The rich Gallery display of gorgeous original batiks, colorful prints wrapped with text, fully captured half-drawings of a beguiling photo, ceramic cups and mugs of all persuasions, and stunning photos offer something for everyone to enjoy. I especially enjoyed the batik artist statements that described their artistic process. Unfortunately a principals SACET meeting kept me from attending, but I hear the Art Opening was well attended and appreciated by all. Kelda, Austin, and visual art students—your work speaks to your creative spirit, emerging skill, and dedication. The year is young, and your offerings bode well for a wealth of learning and growth as the year progresses. Congratulations to all!
The week before Halloween, our Spooky Talent Show was one to remember! The variety was refreshing and our student’s performance skills impressive. Twins 6th grade sisters (Maura and Siobhan McQuillen) played a lovely violin duet, and 8th grade twins Rosie (vocals) and Ben Folger-Vent (guitar) performed an excellent Halloween offering. Other memorable moments included a lovely song by Franny Cabler-Welch, Zoe Ridgell who danced a moving pointe solo, the da Vinci destino dancers, and Arden Butterfield’s riveting solo cello composition closed the show with an outstanding performance. Ms. Wasson did a wonderful job reminding the audience of their important supportive role to all performers, and Dave Myers and Sara Daley’s able humor helped them be masterful MCs. In short, da Vinci’s visual and performing arts are thriving! Thank you to all, as this excellent work demonstrates the power of collective commitment to providing outstanding and varied authentic artistic learning opportunities for our students.
To all who attended conferences—thank you! We hope they afforded you a snapshot of your child’s progress, and offered you valuable insights and feedback about your student’s strengths and areas for growth and improvement. We strive for open and timely school family communication, and we urge you to use Synergy/ParentVUE to track your student’s progress. Please ensure that they always do nightly homework, and remain current in all assignments. Please contact teachers directly if you have questions or concerns.
Last Monday evening, da Vinci hosted a Focus Option School SACET meeting with three SACET members and Enrollment & Transfer Office Director, Judy Brennan. Approximately 100 parents representing all of the focus option schools listened and then had a chance to ask a number of salient questions. The SACET Committee explained their charge to review the role of focus option schools, and to make recommendations such that focus option schools fully align with the PPS Racial Equity Policy by mirroring district demographics. Regarding how the recommendations may directly impact their school community, many questions were asked and as time ran out, questions were recorded and collected. Although less of an issue for da Vinci, sibling preference was a recurring theme.
Tomorrow night, Monday, Nov. 10th, at around 7:45 the SACET committee will present their recommendations to the PPS School Board at the BESC. I will be there, as this is an excellent opportunity to hear from SACET directly, and to listen to the Board’s questions and subsequent dialogue. The Board will not make any decisions tomorrow night, and there are no public comment slots available for testimony, but you are welcome to attend. At Friday’s focus option principal meeting with Area Regional Directors, Jon Isaacs of Communications, Judy Brennan, and Superintendent Carole Smith, the following Timeline was shared. After tomorrow’s public SACET’s presentation to the School Board, Superintendent Smith will take approximately two weeks to review and then share with the School Board her Policy recommendations and implementation timeline. Judy Brennan is happy to come to da Vinci to answer questions about how the Superintendent’s recommendations and timeline will impact our da Vinci community.
One important aspect of this dialogue, is that our current Free and Reduced Price Lunch (FRL) is 24% compared to the district average of ~45%. My understanding is that our da Vinci community will have the opportunity to do the following: 1) Clarify our “purpose” and value added to the district’s overall portfolio of schools; 2) Attract through the new Lottery system enough FRL applicants to mirror the district’s demographics; and 3) Ensure that our rigorous art infused and strong arts academic curriculum prepares all of our promoted students to be high school ready. Thank you for your patience and we will let you know as more information becomes available.
Supporting your amazing children as they discover and learn in our art infused environment is inspiring and important work! We are honored to serve your children!
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SACET Update (Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Enrollment and Transfer) -
Dear da Vinci Parents,
After Judy Brennan, the Director of PPS Enrollment & Transfer joined us at our PTSA Executive committee meeting, I wanted to provide some background information, and give you an update on the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Enrollment and Transfer (SACET) committee’s work.
Brief Background Information
From the Preliminary SACET Report Executive Summary it states, "The Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Enrollment and Transfer (SACET) is a standing committee of 15 community members whose purpose, since its inception five years ago, has been to advise the Superintendent on enrollment and transfer issues to improve equity, program access and educational achievement for all students. SACET broadly represents diversity in gender, age, ethnicity, and geography. It contains veteran and new committee members, including alumni of Portland Public Schools (PPS), community members, teachers, parents, and a student representative."
SACET focus & School Board presentation
For the last fifteen months, the SACET committee has been meeting to finalize their recommendations to Superintendent Smith on different issues. One of their main objectives is to strengthen neighborhood schools and to “align enrollment & transfer with the racial equity policy.” They are scheduled to present their recommendations to the School Board on Monday, November 10th.
At next week's PTSA meeting, time will be set aside to learn more about the SACET recommendations and discuss how we can work with the district to embrace these racial equity recommendations and advocate for da Vinci to remain one of a number of outstanding PPS Focus Option schools.
We have been in touch with a Winterhaven parent has been working with Judy Brennan to schedule a meeting for Focus Option parents to understand the SACET committee’s recommendations, ask questions, and offer feedback. That meeting is scheduled for November 6th, and we will let you know as soon as they decide on the location and time.
On Wednesday, October 22, at Grant High School, there is a Portland PTA Council meeting that may focus on boundary issues and overcrowding at Beverly Cleary, but may also address the SACET recommendations. Some of us from the PTSA Executive Committee plan on attending, and will share any new information that becomes available.
After the SACET committee reports to the PPS School Board on November 10th, their recommendations will be considered by Superintendent Smith, who will then make final recommendations to the PPS School Board at a later date.
To learn more about SACET here are some additional resources that may be useful:
The following links provide additional information that may be useful:
This YouTube video on SACET was created by PPS. The site has as other related documents:
Since understanding the SACET committee recommendations are critical to da Vinci and other focus option communities, I will update you as more information becomes available.
At your Service!
Fred Locke email@example.com
GRACED! September 22, 2014
Dear da Vinci Families,
Greetings, and welcome to week 4! Thank you for meeting with teachers on Back to School Night. I appreciate any and all feedback, and am glad that you took the time to get to know our terrific and dedicated staff. Your children inspire us, and together, we want to afford them the very best da Vinci education possible!
For those of you not familiar with the da Vinci Community Pledge it begins with these words: “Today is a new day. Today I am the possibility of da Vinci. The possibility of a mind open to learning the secrets of life.” Studying passionately, persevering through challenges, and investing in one’s dreams affords us the chance to realize “the possibility of da Vinci.”
Last Spring, two of our 8th grade students Amelia Muldrew and Alisa Folen, won National Scholastic Art Awards—a da Vinci first! Amelia’s Gold Key award was for her ceramic mask Mad Bunny, and Alisa’s Silver Key award was for her photograph Captured. Both girls accepted their awards at Carnegie Hall in New York City in June, and this short video will give you a glimpse of their art.
“PPS story is featured on Northwest Cable News Website, which means it aired in Portland, Seattle, Idaho and parts of California and any other NBC affiliate along with way,” writes Christine Miles.
Over the summer, Amelia received a congratulatory letter from Senator Ron Wyden, and she was also invited to a “celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building, last Friday in Washington, D.C.” Her Mad Bunny mask has been selected for display at the U.S. Department of Education as part of a special, two-month exhibition featuring student work from the Portland Metro Region of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
In other National news, da Vinci Alum Viktor Usov, a Northwest Dance Project dancer, was recently awarded the 2014 Princes Grace Award! As was reported in a local paper, “Named after Grace Kelly, it is awarded to emerging U.S. artists in dance, theater, and film. Usov is among eight choreopgraphers and dancers to win the award this year. Born in western Ukraine, he moved to Portland when he was nine. In applying for the award, Usov had to explain his greatest obstacle to becoming a dancer. Usov, who says he’s been called “too short and stocky,” said his was overcoming expectations. “How I found to do that “ he says, “was to try to understand why I was dancing onstage. And for me, being onstage is the most honest thing I have ever done in my life.” At da Vinci aspiring to, and helping dreams become reality is part of our school culture. Congratulations da Vinci Alums, Amelia, Alisa, and Viktor!
To support all our Vinci students, our PTSA and our da Vinci Foundation work tirelessly throughout the year. Last Spring, when we needed funds to ensure that we could maintain 15 sections of Core, as a community your response was overwhelming. In May and June, we raised $39,411. With special thanks to Paul King and Walter Jaffe of Whitebird, our Final ASK winners, will each be awarded 2 prime seats for the following shows: Congratulations to current parent Kimberly Stewart who will receive 2 tickets to BalletBoyz, in November, and Rebecca Dobkins (parent of a da Vinci graduate) who will receive 2 tickets to Alonzo King and Ballet Lines in February.
Your support of our da Vinci PTSA and Foundation are huge. Tomorrow night, Tuesday, September 23rd, is your first chance! PLEASE STOP at PIZACATTO, support our Dough for Dollars da Vinci Foundation fundraiser AND bring your pizza pie over to our first PTSA meeting in the da Vinci Cafeteria beginning at 7:00! At the meeting we will review and vote to adopt our PTSA budget, and Conference Sign Ups will be available at the end of the meeting. See you tomorrow night!!!
We are GRACED with your children—Thank you!
At your Service!
Fred Locke firstname.lastname@example.org
Recommended Parent Resources:
- How Children Succeed Grit