Vestal Voice--Current School Newsletters
Letter From the Principal
September 4, 2013
Dear Vestal families,
I’m pleased to welcome you (or welcome you back) to what promises to be a very exciting year at Vestal!
As most of you know, I am new to the Vestal community. I have spent the summer getting to know the Vestal teachers and community and I have been thrilled with what I’ve found. I want to take a moment to share with you some of the things that have already impressed me the most about our school:
· A team of experienced and extremely dedicated teachers and staff members who are deeply committed to knowing, supporting, and teaching your children;
· A beautiful facility complete with auditorium, gym, two computer labs, indoor play space, outdoor play spaces, and a thriving Community Garden;
· A thriving Achievement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program in the middle grades that prepares our 6th-8thgrade students with College Readiness skills;
· A range of community partnerships to enrich our core academic program including SMART (reading buddies), ETHOS (after school music classes), LEGO Robotics (after school club), Right Brain Initiative (artist residencies), YMCA (before and after school care), and more!
Over the summer, I have also spent time working with the staff to identify some goals for the year. Those include:
· Continued focus on strengthening our core academic program and academic interventions to move ALL students toward academic proficiency;
· Focus on tightening routines and expectations to ensure a safe, productive learning day for ALL students;
· Family and community outreach to (1) give ALL families a voice in the Vestal community, (2) bring increased community resources in to support student and family needs, and (3) ensure that the larger Portland community sees and understands the strengths and successes that make Vestal shine.
As we move into the school year, I look forward to getting to know you and your children. My personal goal is to know each child by name before the end of the school year. Please make an effort to stop in and say hello so I can get to know you too! If not sooner, I look forward to seeing you at Back-to-School Night on the evening of September 26th. More information about that event will be coming soon.
Please take time to review the contents of this 1stday packet. We appreciate your cooperation with completing and returning the enclosed forms ASAP. Feel free to call at any time with questions and concerns. Here’s to a GREAT new year!!
School News & Announcements
Welcome to our new Dean of Students, Mr. Rowell!
In November, Michael Rowell joined us as Vestal's new Dean of Students. Mr. Rowell has over 20 years of experience working with PPS schools, students, and families. He will be working closely with Ms. Glasgow to help ensure that every Vestal student reaches his/her full potential.
Pressure Point Assembly
On October 22nd, our 4th-6th grade students participated in an interactive assembly called The Pressure Point. This three-person show (brought to us by the Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater Program in collaboration with the Oregon Children's Theater) focused on positive strategies for managing stress, prioritizing responsibilities, and navigating complicated social situations.
On October 16th, our 6th grade students went on a 3-day/2-night science learning adventure at Outdoor School. They had a terrific time learning about plants, animals, water, and soil in a real nature setting. Welcome back, 6th graders!
SMART (Start Making a Reader Today)
On October 14th, we started our 2013-2013 SMART Reading program. Through this program, several of our students get the opportunity to read 1:1 with a caring adult once or twice a week. Thank you to all of our local volunteers who are giving time every week to read with a Vestal student--your time and attention makes a huge difference! If you're interested in volunteering as a SMART reader, call 971-634-1616 or visit www.getSMARToregon.org.
On October 12th, teachers, students, families, and commumunity members joined forces to clean up the Vestal Community Garden as part of the city-wide 1st annual Parke Diem event. Thank you to everyone who came out to help!
VESTAL VIKING STORE
On September 26th, we opened the new Vestal Viking Store! Each day, students who do outstanding things are rewarded with Vestal Viking Bucks. At the end of each month, students have an opportunity to spend their Bucks at our Vestal Store. See the picture below of middle school students going "shopping!"
BIG BUDDY PROGRAM
This year, we have kicked off a Big Buddy Program for every classroom. All K-4 classrooms are paired with 5-8 classrooms. Buddy classrooms meet at least once a month for a buddy activity (i.e. buddy reading, buddy art, buddy field trip, etc.). See pictures of Big Buddies in action here.
Thank you to all of the families who joined us for Back to School Night and a BBQ on September 26th! We had over 400 people present for the event. It was great to see you all here!!
Read about the ongoing improvements to the Community Garden. http://www.vestalcommunitygarden.blogspot.com/
On Friday, November 8th, Mr. Lind took our LEGO Robotics team on a field trip to the OSU Waves and Robotics Lab.
ADOPT A CLASS
Volunteers from Unitus visited their little buddies in Mrs. Thompson's 3rd grade class before Halloween to carve pumpkins and do Halloween crafts.
Mrs. Biello's 2nd grade class goes "camping" in the classroom (an activity aligned with their Reading Street story on camping).
New Vestal Principal
Please help Vestal welcome Emily Glasgow, our new principal. Read more about her here.
PPS Parent Academy
Please check out the PPS Parent Academy!
Please read about the Superintendent's Budget Update. This information is available in several languages.
New online parent tool
Starting in the 2013-14 school year, PPS families will have access to student progress information in a new online tool called Synergy ParentVUE. ParentVUE will be available in multiple languages and also as a free mobile app.
Families will receive log-in instructions to Synergy ParentVUE and links to online support materials in Fall 2013. For more information, please visit http://synergyspotlight.pps.net