"For our students,
school is a refuge from the trauma and hardships of poverty and
uncertainty—a place where they feel a sense of community and
belonging. This is a place where they have room to learn, laugh with
friends and build hope."
As all good Portland foodies know, Bar Avignon is one of the city's best casual, small-plate wine bars. And they are having a fundraiser for us on Wednesday April 24. They will give CTS 25 percent of the net revenue. From 5 to 10 p.m., Chef Eric Joppie and the crew will serve up some creative raw specialties, including Hamachi Crudo and Veal Tartare. If you prefer cooked, you can also order off of the regular menu of small plates, artisan cheeses and charcuteries and entrees. Bar Avignon is casual, classy, friendly and delicious. And they like to give back to the community! So, eat, drink and help support CTS. Bar Avignon is at 2138 S. E. Division St. See ya there!
Another reason to celebrate
April 24 is the day of the fundraiser, and it just happens to be our school's 5th anniversary at 6601 N.E. Killingsworth. Thanks to all who helped us build it and thanks to all who are helping us keep the doors open. We still love our bright and beautiful permanent school.
A whole lot of clams
Speaking of seafood, thanks to everyone who participated in Lompoc Brewing's Chowder Challenge in February. The kind and generous folks from Lompoc came by with a check from that event - for more than $3,000! Wow! That's a lot of clams! Congratulations to the restaurants with the winning chowders, too: the Ice Axe Grill, the Fifth Quadrant, Salty's on the Columbia and Tabor Tavern. They were all delicious.
Spring has come to CTS.
In between April Madness and hip-hopping frogs (see below) we are getting lots of work done. The little kids are advancing in math and reading. The middle school age kids are working on biographies. And the 5th-graders finished their projects on "what it means to be an American." One boy said: "To me to be an American means to have the right to express yourself in any way you want. To have the right to practice religion or not to practice religion. To be able to believe what you want to believe without anyone telling you not to." One girl said: "You can be whatever you want to be." That's pretty much the message we've been giving these kids for 23 years. They really can be whatever they want to be. But it will take some extra effort on their part to beat the odds against them. They need to learn to read and write, of course. But they also need to learn how to keep their eyes on the prize when the going gets rough. Thanks to all our friends who help us help them be what they want to be.
Once again, CTS students competed in April Madness. That's our checkers tournament, complete with brackets, and two teams, named Fire and Smoke. In this year's finals, an 8th-grade girl became champion, beating a 7th-grade girl. This cartoon of the checker tournament, by our own Tom Lechner, shows the game being observed by both Washington the hamster and Hip-Hop the frog. For more on our little zoo, see below.
More news from our little zoo
Washington the hamster, who lives in Cheryl's 2nd-5th grade class, had a little green friend for a while. One of Cheryl's students found a frog during recess. So, of course, Cheryl got the frog a cage and some worms to eat. The students had a contest to name the frog. It came down to a tie between Hip-Hop and Oregon. Why Oregon? Well, some of the students kind of forgot that the hamster is named for the Father of Our Country. They figured he was named for the state. Therefore, we should have a pet named Oregon to go with our pet named Washington. Which makes its own kind of sense. Anyway, it doesn't matter because the students voted to name the frog Hip-Hop. After a few weeks, though, Hip-Hop hopped away. Cheryl told the students he would be happier outdoors. Meanwhile, the CTS staff almost changed Washington's name to Houdini. The little escape artist started turning up all over the school. It turned out that Washington learned how to escape from his cage by squeezing through a slightly enlarged space between the bars. Tom, our general fix-it guy, wired up the space, so Washington's wandering days are over. But he still gets to roll himself down the hall and all over the school by running in his clear plastic ball. We don't think he misses Hip-Hop all that much.
April 05, 2013
If you are by the Gladstone Community Club (255 E Exeter St, Gladstone, 97027) on Saturday, April 6th, come in to a children's book sale! The Oregon chapters of Sigma Phi Gamma Sorority have organized this book sale as an event to benefit CTS. Bring books to donate, shop, eat some desserts, and maybe even get your face painted! Click here for a full flyer.
February 13, 2013
You are invited to Lompoc Brewing's Annual Chowder Challenge, a fun and yummy event that will warm your tummy and help CTS. Local pubs and restaurants will compete to see who serves Portland's best clam chowder. There's no admission fee, but if you want to participate in the blind tasting, you can buy a tray holding a dozen samples of chowder for $10. The winning chowder's restaurant will receive the coveted Chowder Cup. And CTS will receive all the money raised from the event. Lompoc's Chowder Challenge will benefit our school for the second year in a row. Festivities also feature a beer garden, live music, a kids area, a raffle and other food and drink. Minors are welcome at the family friendly event. It will be from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday February 23 at Lompoc's Fifth Quadrant, 3901 N. Williams Ave. More information: www.lompocbrewing.com Don't clam up! Chowder down!
February 01, 2013
Alas, poor Lincoln
Lessons come from odd places. Lincoln the Hamster came to live in Cheryl's 2nd-5th grade classroom one day late in January. Unfortunately, he died the next day. No one is sure why. Naturally, the students were shocked and sad about Lincoln's sudden demise. Cheryl immediately sent a staff member to the pet store to get a new hamster. The new pet is named Washington. The inspiration for a classroom hamster is Betty G. Birney's popular series of "According to Humphrey" books, which Cheryl's class has been reading. Humphrey the Hamster is the first-person narrator (first-hamster narrator) of life at fictional Room 26. A substitute teacher brought Humphrey there and told him, "You can learn a lot about life by observing another species." (As it turned out with Lincoln, the children also learned a little about death.) In the books, Humphrey manages to have lots of adventures despite his frequent naps. He keeps telling the reader, "Remember, hamsters are nocturnal." So, Cheryl's students were prepared to see Lincoln snoozing most of the day he arrived. Washington seemed perkier right away. We hope we don't have to name any more hamsters before Presidents' Day.
'We would always have food'
Cheryl asked her students to write about what changes they would like in their lives in 2013. One girl wants friends: "Then I'll have people to talk to at recess, lunch and partys. Then I won't need to be with my brothers anymore" One girl had her whole life planned out, starting with a successful school year, high school, college and a good job: "Then I have to save up money, and I want to buy my mom her dream. A restaurant. It would be wonderfel to see her surprised and happy." Hoping for better times for their families was common: "I want the year 2013 to be a year of change for my family... I would like my mom to have a job because if she gets one she would get more money and she can rent a house or duplex...I bet if my mom had a car and a drivers license we would always have food."
Classroom update: lots of learning going on
A person walking down the CTS school hallway this time of year can almost hear brain cells firing and light bulbs going on over small heads. We've been back from the long holiday break for a month now, and we are focused, focused, focused. Jennipher's 1st grade kids have gotten so good at math they are adding sums in their heads. Cheryl's students are interviewing adults and each other, asking what it means to be an American. Marna's class is reading "To Kill a Mockingbird." Reading novels is often a good introduction to history. And Marna's middle-school students are truly shocked at how different life was for African Americans in the 1930s, when Harper Lee set her novel. Marna is bringing in topics like Jim Crow laws to help understand the times.
Like we always say, it all adds up
For three months, we asked friends to shop at Whole Foods' Hollywood store, which has a shopping program that donates to charities. From December through the end of the year, people who brought reusable bags to shop got to donate 10 cents to our school per bag of groceries. Well! We just learned that all of those dimes added up to $2,867.20! Thanks to Whole Foods Hollywood and thanks to all those who gave. This is such a good example of "every little bit helps." But we also are grateful to all of our supporters who donated large or small amounts at the end of the year and all year long. That also adds up! We also thank those who donated clothes or toys for our students or supplies for our classrooms and office. That adds up, too, because we can use our funds for other things, like paying the utility bills and the bus expenses. And thanks to all who volunteered to deliver gifts on Christmas Eve, and to those who volunteer in the classrooms all year long. We literally couldn't exist without all of you.
Some of our students have been working on a community-wide project called "Let's Build Cully Park." They are lending their expertise in playing to the project by helping design a playground for the neighborhood park that is being created at 72nd and Killingsworth. A local nonprofit, Verde, is leading a coalition of 15 organizations to design and build the park on 25 acres that the city set aside 10 years ago. Leon Smith of Planet Earth Playscapes is helping children from four schools, including CTS, come up with playground designs. The schools will present paper mache models of their playground to the community in February. The CTS model playground includes a sun-clock, a sand pit, a climbing wall, a swirly slide, a jungle gym and a clubhouse/fort. Leon said ideas from each school will be part of the final design. You can learn more about the project at letusbuildcullypark.org.
Field trip time
Some of Marna's and Cheryl's students learned about Northwest Native American art in January, thanks to the Portland Art Museum docents. The docents did a great job, leading our kids through the museum collection, where they saw carvings, masks, and beaded bags, as well as contemporary paintings. A week before the trip, the docents came to CTS to introduce the children to the art and the cultures that produced it. The trip included some hands-on activities, including beading and drawing. Some of the students also practiced the ancient art of story-telling. Each student held a beaded bag and made up a story about it. Then, they told their stories to each other. Last year, the docents hosted a similar excursion, with portraits as the study topic.
These opportunities to see great art are rare for our students, so thanks to the docents!
November 28, 2012
Our favorite crafty lady, Phyllis Seeger, will be selling handmade ornaments at a show this weekend. And all of the proceeds will go to CTS. She'll be among 50 crafters at The Red Mitten Christmas Bazaar Nov. 29-Dec. 2 at the Warner Grange Hall, 10100 S. New Era Road, Canby (1/4 mile off 99E). Hours are: Thurs-Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat 9 a.m.-7p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Organizers of the bazaar also will be collecting school supplies for CTS.
Thanks to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and KGON
The holiday season got off to a great start thanks to our generous friends, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Every year, the TSO puts on two shows in Portland on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. And each year, the TSO donates $1 for every ticket sold to CTS. We are so grateful! This year, they also donated signed guitars for us to auction. Our good friends Amy Linford and Iris Harrison at KGON started this relationship. Amy and Iris really came through for us this year. They auctioned off the signed guitars at a party between the two shows. All of the proceeds go to CTS! But wait! There's more. They also organized a humongous food drive for us before Thanksgiving. Thanks to the Kidsgiving Food Drive, all of our students will have plenty of food at home over the long winter break.
We want dimes!
And finally, you now can help us if you shop at Whole Foods' Hollywood store. Through December, when you bring reusable bags to shop, you have the option of donating 10 cents per bag to CTS. Whole Foods' Hollywood store is at 4301 N.E. Sandy Boulevard. http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/sandy. Don't forget your bags!
October 31, 2012
Jennipher's Pre-K to 1st Graders had great fun making Halloween T-shirts this year.
They wore them to their annual trick-or-treat party that the PERS employees throw for them at their office. Cheryl's 2nd-5th graders also got to go to the PERS party and collect candy. And Marna's 6th-8th graders decorated their classroom and had their own party with pizza, candy, games and other treats (and tricks).
KGON's Kidsgiving Food Drive benefits CTS & Oregon Food Bank
Once again, our good friends at KGON Radio are holding an all-day food drive before Thanksgiving called Kidsgiving. This year's drive will benefit our school as well as the Oregon Food Bank. KGON will be broadcasting live from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Farmington Thriftway in Aloha, located at 17675 Southwest Farmington Road. Co-sponsors are Western Family Foods, Thriftway stores and Aaron's. Other participating Thriftway stores are in Canby, Hillsboro, Wilsonville and Salem. For times and addresses, go to http://www.kgon.com/pages/14656274.php.
A Holiday Tradition: Trans-Siberian Orchestra concerts benefit CTS
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra will be at the Rose Garden Arena for two shows on Nov. 25. As in past years, these generous musicians will donate $1 for every ticket sold to CTS. This long-standing arrangement is also due to our friends at KGON. So go to their website and buy tickets!
See you there! (http://www.kgon.com/pages/14211580.php)
October 23, 2012
Remembering John Gray
The CTS staff is sad to learn that John D. Gray died Friday. He was a good friend and benefactor. The well-known Portland developer and philanthropist gave millions to the Knight Cancer Institute, Habitat for Humanity and many other charities. He also liked our little school. He donated $250,000 to our capital campaign to build our school in 2006, and then he came back a few years later - on his own, without our asking - and donated $400,000 for a new classroom, when he saw we were already crowded in our new building.
Mr. Gray may have had a soft spot for us because his mother was a teacher in a one-room school and because he grew up poor during the Depression. He was modest and sincere in his giving. He came to have lunch of pizza sticks and pineapple with our students after the new classroom was built. He seemed to enjoy himself, but he would have preferred it if we hadn't called the Oregonian in to write about the lunch. "I don't want a fuss," he said, and he only agreed to the story after we convinced him it would be good for the school. We are among many people in Portland who are grateful to have met John Gray.
September 28, 2012
Save the planet and give us a dime
Great news! The Hollywood neighborhood Whole Foods Market has chosen CTS to benefit from its shopping bag donation program for nonprofits. Here's how it works: Whole Foods wants to encourage customers to shop with reusable grocery bags to help the environment. It also saves the store money, figuring the costs of disposable bags. When you bring your own bag to the Hollywood Whole Foods during October, November and December, you have the option of getting a 10 cent credit OR the option of donating 10 cents to CTS. That's per-bag, too! This can add up for us, especially during the holiday season. Whole Foods' Hollywood store is at 4301 N.E. Sandy Boulevard. Don't forget your bag!
August 31, 2012
School is in
Cheryl went over the rules of the school with the kids. And she told them, "You have the power to change your life." This year, we have a new concept called ABC. A is for Attendance, B is for Behavior and C is for Complete (as in, complete class work and homework.) Students who succeed in each category for a month get a free ticket to the clothes closet. We call it their Ticket to Success.
We finished the day with our traditional root beer floats and a toast to the new school year. After that, the kids filed out to the buses. One kindergartener was puzzled. "I didn't get my toast! I'm ready to eat my toast!"
Thanks to our neighbor at Crater Lake Soda for providing the root beer! This generous company also gives us the proceeds each summer from their root beer concession at the Oregon Brewers Festival.
We have a new teacher aide named Greg Robins. He is a retired teacher with more than 30 years of experience. He taught elementary and middle school students at public and private schools, has been a coach, and more recently, a substitute teacher in the Canby School District. He just really wanted to get back into teaching. He joins Hilda Barnhill, our aide for nine years. Together, they make it possible for our three full-time teachers to divide the students up into smaller learning groups. This is really important for children who have missed a lot of school.
Welcome student interns!
CTS also for the first time will have student interns from De La Salle North Catholic High School. The private school has a program that places its students in year-long work situations with area businesses and nonprofits.
Over several years, CTS has sent 8th grade graduates to De La Salle. It's a small school and most of the students are from low-income families, so it's a good fit for our kids. The school recently received a grant to establish more internships in the community. Because of our past relationship, De La Salle is making two interns available to help us this school year. One will work Tuesdays and one will work Thursdays. We are excited! They will provide needed help to our small staff and they will be fun to have around. In addition, they can be great role models for our own students. According to the De La Salle website, their interns receive academic credit and gain valuable real-world experience, equipping them for life beyond high school. More on our interns in a later blog!
What we need
We get a lot of calls this time of year asking what we need. Please consult our Wish List on this site. It is up to date and pretty specific. Some items, like backpacks, are marked URGENT! We will try our best to keep the list updated as the year goes along. And thanks so much to those who dropped off supplies this summer and during this busy first week of school.
August 30, 2012
Are you a school bus driver?
We are looking for a school bus driver for a regular route, starting right away! If you have driven school buses recently, and have the certifications please call us. You would be picking up kids all over the area, and ensuring they get back and forth to school. Please see here for more info.
June 28, 2012
CTS on TV Friday
We're on TV this Friday (June 29) at 7 p.m on Comcast Sportsnet Channel 37. The show is called "The Wild Life with Jeremy." In this show, the host Jeremy, wins prizes for charities by doing extreme geocaching in challenging outdoor sites. The adventure scenes are woven in with scenes of the charity he is raising money for. In this Friday's CTS episode, Jeremy had adventures in the Hood River Valley. These scenes are intercut with scenes of Jeremy visiting CTS and interacting with students and staff. So tune in if you want to see us! We had a lot of fun when the TV crew came.
June 07, 2012
We're all very proud of the four 8th graders who graduated from CTS on June 5. We had a great ceremony for them, with speeches and poems, cookies and flowers and lots of good feeling all around. At this year's ceremony, we also recognized other students for their good work and contributions. Students got rewarded for perfect attendance. Students in each class were recognized as those who most exemplified the nine "words of the month" that the students learn during the school year. The words are: ...Self-control, Responsibility, Cooperation, Commitment, Perseverance, Trustworthiness, Respect, Accountability and Integrity. And the students on the CTS Rockets volleyball team all got bronze medals for coming in 3rd in the Portland Parks and Recreation Youth League's tournament this spring.
Our featured speaker was Jamie Baldwin, a former CTS student who is graduating high school this spring and going to Portland Community College in the fall. She talked about her childhood, moving from place to place, and how CTS was always there for her. It was a special moment for all of the CTS teachers and staff. The teachers and some other staff members met Jamie in the 2nd grade, and they watched her grow up. Even as a very young girl, she was determined to get to school and to succeed. Now, she is a poised, intelligent young woman despite the difficult challenges she had as a child. We hope some of our current students listened carefully and realized that they could be successful, too, and break the cycle of poverty.
Our graduates also gave really nice speeches. Here are a few lines from each of them:
Austin: "I did not go to school for a year and a half. I have come to this school due to not having a stable home. And ever since I have come here no one has made fun of me. And everyone made me feel good about my situation. This school has inspired me to do something good with my life, including getting into a good school, graduate, and maybe help others in similar positions in the future."
Ashleigh: "I have been coming to CTS for five years. The challenges that I have been facing are being homeless and coming to school only a quarter of the time. It was hard for me because when I would come to school I would have work on my desk that had to be done by the next day. I would get some of it done but the part that wasn't done I would be in trouble for. I learned that I can't miss much school or I might get kicked out and when I am in high school I will have to get myself to school on the city bus. My goals in life are to finish high school, finish college and go to a culinary school."
Tatiana: "I've had a lot of challenges in my life and it's been hard moving a lot and making new friends and starting all over again at new schools. This is the third middle school I've been to this school year...I'm happy that I don't have to move anymore and that I'm going to high school. And that I'm graduating from CTS."
Emiliana: "My first challenge was living in Mexico for four years and I missed a lot of school. It was also hard for me to come back and start school...Reading has been a little hard for me because I sometimes don't know the words that are in the book, because I was used to always reading in Spanish. Another big challenge in my life is being the oldest of five children. Sometimes it's hard to take care of my younger siblings...I've changed homes seven times and I've changed schools five times...So, what I've learned from my challenges is being more responsible. It's easier for me to meet new people and I think I'm more confident about myself now. All these challenges and what I've learned from them will help me reach my hopes and dreams of becoming a lawyer. I see myself helping people who are in trouble and helping them to solve their problems."
May 29, 2012
Our CTS Rockets are "new and improved" this spring. This was the volleyball team's first spring season in the Portland Parks and Rec Youth League, and they came in third place! Although they have played in the fall season for four years, this was the Rockets' first spring season. Of course, the team goes through lots of changes each season because of our ever-changing student population. This spring, it was a mix of kids who played in the fall and kids who hadn't played before. And they did great. CTS staff and parents who attended the Saturday games really noticed improvement. They won some games, were able to return volleys and totally acted like a team. Special thanks go to the Portland Royal Rosarians, who sponsored this spring season.
You can color outside the lines
This is the time of year our students go on field trips. Marna's 6th-8th grade class went to the annual Women in Trades Fair to learn about career possibilities. They also went on two final nature field trips sponsored by the Columbia Slough Watershed Council. They went to Bull Run Reservoir and then they had a blast, canoeing down the Columbia. Our 3rd through 8th grade students went on a field trip to the Portland Art Museum in May. The museum's docents led the tour and they even came to our school before the trip to prepare the students for what they'd see. The tour topic was portraits. For example, the kids saw a traditional portrait of George Washington right along with a modern cubist take on the first president. They saw some sculpture, too, and many of the students were fascinated by "Dishwasher," a life-size and very real looking form of a full-grown man, dressed in real clothes, slouching on a chair. "Dishwasher" is a figurative sculpture by artist Duane Hanson (1925-96). Thanks to the docents!
An artist's depiction
of Officer Rico
We now say farewell and thanks to Portland Police Officer Julia Rico, who came to our school for 13 weeks to teach a gang-prevention program called G.R.E.A.T. At the end of the program, Officer Rico threw a "graduation" party for the students. They had pizza and got T shirts. Cheryl had her class write thank-you letters to Officer Rico. Here is part of one of them:
Dear Officer Rico,
April 27, 2012
CTS sends Jeremy off into the wild on TV
Turn on your TV to Comcast Sportsnet Channel 37 (in Portland) on Friday July 6th [Updated, as of May 24!] at 7 p.m. to see CTS on "The Wild Life with Jeremy." In this show, the host Jeremy, wins prizes for charities by doing extreme geocaching in challenging outdoor sites. In the CTS episode, Jeremy goes to the Hood River Valley, where he jumps off a train, climbs down frozen cliffs near large waterfalls, kayaks down frigid water and does some freehand rope climbing up vertical cliffs. These scenes are intercut with scenes of Jeremy visiting CTS and interacting with students and staff. It was a lot of fun having Jeremy and the crew here, and we got some cool prizes, too! Tune in and see us!
April 25, 2012
CTS College Scholarship
The after school program of the Community Transitional School is offering scholarships of $500 per academic term for the 2012-2013 academic year to qualified high school seniors. Scholarship funds will be distributed equally among three terms. The scholarship may help pay for books, and/or other academic fees which could include bus passes and lab fees. Students must maintain at least a 2.5 G.P.A. in order to remain eligible for the scholarship each term.
The kids of the afterschool program organize a weekly student store, the proceeds of which go into this scholarship fund. People can also buy greeting cards designed by the students, to add to the fund as well.
If you are a high school senior, and former student, feel free to get the application and apply!
April 06, 2012
Like us? We're on Facebook
Yes, CTS has a Facebook page! We will be posting information there as well as on this page. And, of course, you can like us on Facebook, too. For our first posting on Facebook, we congratulate our Rocket HEAT for participating in the Race for the Roses on April 1. Rocket HEAT is the name of our After School program's all-girl exercise club, last spring to get girls moving. Well, it's working. Five girls completed in the 5-K race, along with teachers Marna and Cheryl and Coach Lorie. Incredibly, it didn't rain on the morning of the race. The race helped raise money for Alberta Kerr Centers. The HEAT also raised money for the CTS scholarship fund. The After School kids will make their first scholarship awards from that fund this spring to former CTS students who are now graduating high school and going to college. The girls did really well on the walk and kept a good pace. Then they went out for a big after-race breakfast. So, Go HEAT!
March 23, 2012
Snow or shine, it's spring
Hard to believe, but spring break is next week. Maybe the kids will build snowmen! But the recent chilly weather has been good for learning. Not too many signs of spring fever yet!
Here's what's going on in the classes:
Cheryl's book group and some of the kids in the After School Program went to see the Oregon Children Theatre's production of "Locomotion." They read the book the play is based on, which is about a boy living in foster care. It's done in lyric prose, which made the play a good choice because Cheryl's class had been studying poetry. These kids loved their first experience seeing a live professional play. They were most fascinated that three actors played six parts in the production...Meanwhile, Cheryl's class has been working on biographies of a wide range of famous people, from Jackie Robinson to Leonardo da Vinci. They've also been studying the Oregon Trail. After the break, Cheryl's book group will read "Under the Blood Red Sun," about a Japanese-American boy who lives in Hawaii and witnesses the bombing of Pearl Harbor as well as the resulting discrimination to Japanese Americans that happened during World War II....In Marna's 6th through 8th grade class, the students are making up their own African folk tales, based on the real ones they read. They are illustrating them, too, and making them into little books. Then, they will read the books to our younger students. Marna's class is also doing pre-algebra. And her book group is finishing "Hatchet," a story about a boy who learns to survive in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. After spring break, the group will read Anne Frank's "The Diary of a Young Girl."
CTS Rockets blasting off this spring
CTS students in the After School Program are going to be getting their exercise this spring. Our After School Program girls' exercise club, the Rocket HEAT, will run in Portland's 5K Race for the Roses on April 1. They made T shirts for the race and they are collecting pledges for laps to add to the After School Program's CTS college scholarship fund for former CTS grads. But that's not all. The After School Program's venerable volleyball team, the CTS Rockets, will be competing in the Portland Parks and Recreation League's youth league as soon as spring break is over. The Rockets have played during the fall season for four years, but this will be their first spring. So, GO ROCKETS!
Happy Birthday to the Little Kids
Jennipher's annual birthday party for her prek-to-1st grade class happened on Friday before spring break. A lot of these kids don't get to go to birthday parties and don't have them, either. So, Jennipher has one each year for all her of class. The requirement to participate for each child is that they learn their actual birthdays. This year, because we got a big T-shirt donation, Jennipher made T-shirts for each child with their names and birthday dates on them. The office staff and other volunteers helped the kids play games like musical chairs and drop the clothespins in the bottle. All the kids got small prizes at the games. Then, they all got cupcakes with a candle and sang "Happy Birthday to Everybody" and they made their birthday wishes and blew out the candles. Finally, each child received wrapped presents with their names on them. The girls were thrilled with their Barbies. The boys loved their Hot Wheels. (Although one little guy said he didn't wish for Hot Wheels. Jennipher explained that it takes a while for birthday wishes to come true.) They ate their cupcakes and drank their milk and had a ball. Some staff think it's the best party of the year.
February 16, 2012
We've been celebrating
Thanks for sharing
CTS staff and students felt the love when the people of Anderson Krygier held a "share the love" fundraiser for us at their office in the Pearl District. The elegant after-work party on the Friday before Valentine’s Day featured art by our students and wonderful food and drink. The attendees generously gave asked-for supplies and money. Thanks to Elizabeth, Cherry, Mike, Karen and Abby!
We've been writing
We have been busy writing lately. Marna and Cheryl's classes wrote "I Have a Dream" speeches for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. Cheryl's book group, made up of 4th-7th graders, has been reading poetry. And they've been trying their hands at writing, too. Here are four Haikus from that group:
Even Jennipher's little kids have been writing. They have written thank-you notes to the people who donate new or gently worn clothes to the school. The illustrated thank-you notes are posted on our Clothes Closet door. Here are a few:
"Thank you for lating me
go and pik out my kloths."
"Thank you for the jakt."
"Thank you for the outfet. It is so
butuful. It is so butuful because
it has pokadouts on it."
We've been busy
A lot has been going on since we got back from winter break. Members of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony came and gave us a concert. Jennipher's pre-K through 1st grade celebrated 100 days with activities involving the number 100. Marna's 6th-8th graders went on a field trip and helped plant trees as part of the Columbia Slough Watershed education project.
January 10, 2012
A thousand thank-yous
Dreaming and beyond
Both Marna's and Cheryl's classes are reading Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and students in both classes are writing their own "I Have a Dream" speeches. Marna's class, made up of the 6th through 8th graders, is also reading a book to prepare for Black History Month. It's "Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry" by Mildred D. Taylor, and it's about an African-American family struggling with segregation and discrimination during the Great Depression. Marna's class is looking even further down the road...all the way to spring. Under the direction of their volunteer science teacher, they planted crocuses in a tray and will watch them grow and bloom.
Good morning class
"Good morning Kids and good morning Pencil.
Good morning Alfubet and good morning Desks.
Good morning Crayons and good morning Calendar.
Good morning Train and good morning Puzzles..."
There are lots more, but you get the idea. It's pretty great.
Time to give it away
The kids in the after school program, S.O.S., or Students of Success, have been raising money for several years with their student store and with handmade cards and necklaces they have sold. Now, it is time to start giving away what they have earned. The money is going to be available for the first time this spring in the form of college scholarships to former CTS students who are finishing high school. So, the S.O.S. students are going to concentrate on creating scholarship applications and criteria for granting the awards. That should be a fun and educational process in itself.
Speaking of former CTS students who did well, it's about time we got Patrick on the record here. Those of you who got our annual end-of-the-year letter already learned about Patrick. For those who did not, here's the story. Patrick Reynolds-Baird came to CTS in 2005 as a 6th grader. He surfaced last summer with great news. Not only had he graduated from Madison High School, with honors. He got a full scholarship to Willamette University. Furthermore, he said he owed his success to the time he spent at CTS. And he even wrote about that time on his applications to college. Here is a letter he wrote to us describing his life during the time he went to CTS:
Scared, friendless, confused, and feeling low, these are all words that could describe how I felt in the early fall of 2005. However, none of these words applied to me after a year at Community Transitional School.
December 01, 2011
Art on Broadway Gallery in Beaverton is showing and selling one-of-a-kind holiday tree sculptures created by local artists, with 20 percent of the sales going to CTS. The artists' reception is 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday Dec. 3 at the gallery, 12570 SW Broadway, Beaverton. Regular gallery hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
Another CTS shopping op
If you missed our friend Phyllis Seeger's craft booth at the Lake Oswego Farmer's Market, fear not! You can catch her and her homemade items for sale at the Lake Oswego Holiday Market Saturday and Sunday December 3 & 4 at the city's West End Building on Kruse Way. As always, all proceeds go to CTS.
November 15, 2011
She's back! Another craft shopping opportunity at Lake Oswego F.M.
Phyllis Seeger is bringing her craft booth back to the Lake Oswego Farmers' Market in Millennium Park Saturday November 19. All proceeds from the craft sale go to CTS. The occasion is billed as the Thanksgiving Reunion Market, which welcomes back market vendors for an opportunity for shoppers to stock up on edible goodies for Thanksgiving and the holiday season. While you are at it, you could purchase some crafty items from Phyllis for holiday gifts. Phyllis and her crafts are at the Upper Crust Bread booth.
November 04, 2011
Twix victorious, but Pop Rocks rock at CTS
The kids at CTS are no fans of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. As predicted, when voting for their favorite Halloween candy, children have a different view of things than adults. School had its own contest to choose the best Halloween candy, using the same bracket choices that the Oregonian ran in its paper leading up to Halloween. Jennipher, the PreK-1st Grade teacher, decided the school should do it after her son said the Oregonian's contest won't be a true measure of the most popular candy because it would reflect adult tastes.
Sure enough, the Oregonian winner was Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. But at CTS, Peanut Butter Cups lost in the very first round of voting - and to Pop Rocks! Furthermore, Pop Rocks went on to win in every round until the Final Two, when they lost to Twix, the ultimate winner. Skittles also made it far in the voting, beating out adult favorites like M&Ms.
It goes without saying that some of the CTS staffers were unfamiliar with some of the kids' favorite candy, including the near winner, Pop Rocks. And it's also true that the kids were unfamiliar with some of the adult favorites. For example, Cheryl figures that Heath Bars lost votes in her class because the kids read the name as Health Bars.
October 14, 2011
Will Gummi Bears bite Mr. Goodbar?
Our whole school is participating in a sports bracket-like contest to choose the best Halloween candy. Jennipher, the PreK-1st Grade teacher, borrowed/copied it from the contest the Oregonian is running. Jennipher decided the school should do it after her son, who is in high school, said the Oregonian's contest won't be a true measure of the most popular candy because kids will be less likely to vote than grownups in the paper's contest. His theory is that adults like chocolate and nuts. Kids like really sweet and fruity candy like Nerds, Runts and Laffy Taffy and, of course, Gummi Bears. We'll update you on the results.
We promise the Tooth Taxi that we are not giving candy away as prizes for the winner of the contest to choose the best Halloween candy. The Tooth Taxi spent a week at our school in September and came back for a few days in October. The dentists saw more than 50 students, cleaned teeth, filled cavities and did extractions or whatever was needed. The total value of services provided for free to the kids: over $17,000. This is the third year they have been to our school. The Tooth Taxi is a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Dental Association of Oregon. It sends dentists in a huge dental clinic on wheels to serve low income kids all around the state.
A special guest
We had a special guest for lunch on October 5. John D. Gray, the man who gave us the money to build our new addition, came and had lunch with Cheryl's class. He got to see the results of his gift for the first time - the sunny, roomy 1,000-square-feet classroom built onto the school this summer. He agreed it turned out well. The Oregonian wrote a story about the visit. Mr. Gray is a well-known Portland architect and developer responsible for Salishan, Skamania Lodge and Sunriver Resort. He's also given millions to OHSU cancer research and to other charities. He's been honored and feted by many important and powerful people. But as Tom Hallman of the Oregonian pointed out, he really seemed to enjoy his lunch with Cheryl's class. Mr. Gray ate all of his lunch: pizza sticks and canned pineapple. After lunch, he took his carton of milk and took a stroll outside around the school. Then he made sure to dispose of his empty carton before saying thank you to the office staff. Thank you, Mr. Gray.
Lots of kids
We really needed the new addition to our school that Mr. Gray made possible. Our enrollment increased last year. And this year seems to be heading in that direction. Enrollment hit the 90s the second week and it has stayed high, dipping into the 80s occasionally. In past years, fall enrollment has been in the 70s. That means all donations - supplies and money - are more important than ever to keep our doors open. See our Wish List for needed supplies.
In the classrooms
Just so you know it's not all candy and games around here, you should know that: Marna's 6th-8th graders are writing poetry... Cheryl's class read Beverly Cleary's books about Ralph the motorcycle-riding mouse and they are going to write essays that imagine a mouse that lives in their classroom... The Columbia Slough Watershed Council is taking our students on field trips to sloughs to study bugs and other watershed things. ..Jennipher's little kids are building volcanoes.... Everyone is going to their math problem groups and book groups, too.... Volunteers come daily to read with kids one-on-one.
Cheryl on TV
Cheryl did a great interview about the school with Comcast Newsmakers that is playing for a brief period in October in rotation with other interviews with nonprofits on CNN Headline News (Channel 45) at :54 after the hour (except prime time). If you miss it, you can also see it on this Youtube page.
September 20, 2011
Craft sale for CTS at Lake Oswego Farmers' Market
Our good friend Phyllis Seeger is selling all kinds of handmade items at the Lake Oswego Farmers' Market in Millennium Park Saturday September 24. All proceeds from the sale go to CTS. You can find Phyllis and her crafts at the Upper Crust Bread booth. Upper Crust Bread is owned by her daughter, Alice Seeger, who is also a good friend. They have a little yellow school bus for CTS donations set up all the time in their downtown Lake Oswego bakery, and Phyllis will talk up CTS at the drop of a hat. And you should see her hats!
September 02, 2011
CTS started its 22nd year of school on Wednesday August 31, 2011. We had 57 students enrolled, which is pretty good for a first day - especially when we're a week ahead of the public schools. They stepped off the buses with big smiles. Returning students couldn't wait to check out the new classroom in our building addition that was completed over the summer. New students began learning their way around and meeting new kids. Lunch was a hit - ravioli, salad and pears. And the little kids were really happy to get their school supplies, especially backpacks. The most sought after were Mickey Mouse, Spider Man and Tinkerbell. There was some anxiety among returning students, too. A 1st-grader was worried about the difficulty of 1st-grade math vs. kindergarten math, and he was afraid he forgot how to read. His teacher assured him it would all come back to him.
Cheryl held an all-school meeting to set the tone for the year. She told the students that this was the first day they would start writing their own histories. They could either get by and just do the minimum amount of what was expected of them - be chumps - or they could work hard and make the extra effort - and be champs. She said she and the other teachers couldn't decide for them which it would be. They had to decide for themselves. And then they had to work hard and not give up on themselves.
The last thing we all did before the students got on the buses to go home was toast the new school year with root beer floats. This long-standing tradition begins and ends each year at CTS. Then teachers and staff all sighed, except for the bus drivers, until the last child was delivered. Then we all got up and did it all over again.
Thanks and a note about donations/volunteering
Thanks so much to all who volunteered time and donated gifts to our school through the summer months. We're especially grateful, as always, to all who worked on the Argo/Grocer's Insurance golf tournament that benefits our school each summer, renamed this year for our late and dear board member and friend PK Wall. Thanks also to Schommer & Sons for their excellent and fast construction of our new John D. Gray Addition, which was open for business on Day 1 this year.
Now that we're up and running, here are some tips about helping out, if you are so inclined:
If you want to donate items, please click on our Wish List to see what we really need. We do update it, and we do appreciate your time shopping for these items.
If you have money to give, click on How You Can Help.
If you want to volunteer your time, call our volunteer coordinator, Noni Goodman, 503-292-4599. It's her home number, so leave a message. She's a volunteer, too.
June 14, 2011
The year ends with graduation, root beer and drama from the jungle
We wrapped up our 22nd year on June 8th with all students, teachers and staff outside, standing in a circle and toasting the year with root beer floats. That is how we start each year and that is how we end each year. Cheryl said she hoped each student had learned a lot, including things about themselves. Then the buses were loaded and off they went with much waving and some sadness. The end of the school year actually is hard on some of the kids, because they have little to look forward to in the summer. No structure, no activities, sometimes no regular meals. Some of the children will drift off with their families and we won't see them again. Some will come back in the fall. Of course, some of them are back much sooner - for summer school, which started Monday June 13th!
CTS graduated two 8th graders this year - Taz and Eleno. Both gave good speeches, thanking their teachers and telling of their plans for high school and college. The boys received gifts from the school and lots of applause and handshakes. Cheryl and Marna told them they would always be here for them if they had questions or just wanted to check back in and say hello. We are always proud of our graduates, who have many barriers to overcome to get as far as they do.
This year's graduation ceremony featured the S.O.S. Players' production of "Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock." S.O.S. stands for Students of Success, the name of our After School Program. The kids in the program are 6th-8th graders, and one of their projects this year was this play for graduation. The play was about Anansi, the traditional West African trickster spider, and several other jungle animals who Anansi tricks...and gets tricked by. Under the direction of their art instructor and coach, Lorie Bergstrom, the students spent a lot of time talking about the story and the folklore behind it. They also designed the set and made all the masks and props for the show. They all knew their lines, had a lot of fun, and did a great job. Encore!
More talent than a bedful of monkeys
Speaking of talent, CTS had its 4th annual talent show just a week before school ended. It was, as usual, a star-studded event. Stand-outs included several dance acts, a solo singer, a basketball dribbler and a live sketch artist. Many audience members fell in love with the first act, a lineup of kids from Jennipher's PreK-1st grade class and their outstanding interpretation of "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed." Of particular note was the doctor, a rather round young fellow, dressed in a tie and shirt as long as he was, who never missed a beat when his line came up (as it did, five times). He held the imaginary phone to his ear, shook his index finger and said: "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"
June 02, 2011
We are growing
As this blog has reported, this year's average daily enrollment has been about 80-85 students, an increase over the 70-75 average daily enrollment of recent past years. Space is at a premium for small learning groups or one-on-one sessions between volunteers and students. Sometimes these groups compete for space in the lunchroom or the hall or in the very small Title I room. Mr. Gray visited the school in the fall and saw this crowding and made his generous offer.
John Gray is a well-known Portland architect, developer and philanthropist. His development projects include Salishan Lodge and Salishan Hills on the Oregon Coast and Skamania Lodge in the Columbia River Gorge. He also contributed to our capital campaign to build our school in 2006. Schommer & Sons, who built the school, is also building the addition. It is expected to be finished in August, in time to begin our 22nd year of teaching.
Rosarians and Collins pitch in
When our new Resource Room (see above) is complete in the fall, it won't be empty. It will include tables and chairs for reading groups, desks and new computers. Of course, it will also have bulletin boards, white boards, shelves and other classroom necessities, like a clock and two flags (U.S. and Oregon) and a rug by the outside door. Funding has been found to furnish the room. The Royal Rosarian Foundation has generously donated $5,000, which the Rosarians raised for this purpose at their annual Hearts & Roses Benefit Auction. The Collins Foundation has also been generous, granting us $10,000 to furnish the room. The Rosarians are new friends. The Collins Foundation is a longtime supporter that also donated to us when we built our school. We are very grateful to both new friends and old.
Some flutes that tooted
Our lunchroom was alive with the sound of music recently, thanks to a visit by flutists from the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. They treated our students to an hour-long concert and also told them all kinds of flute facts. Students saw and heard several different sized flutes, from tiny high-pitched piccolos to very low-pitched, big bass flutes. The smallest child in the room couldn't get her finger in the hole of the piccolo. But lots of kids could get their whole hands into the bass flute. The bass flutes were made of big sections of PVC plastic piping. (Well, who knew?) And they sounded good, too!
May 19, 2011
Phyllis Seeger at the Lake Oswego Farmer's Market
On May 28, Phyllis Seeger will be selling hand knit hats, cotton dish cloths, and other home made items at the Lake Oswego Farmer's Market. All of her proceeds will go to the school, so head on down and get your craft on!
April 08, 2011
Early in the year, this blogger told you that CTS student enrollment started out high. (You can look it up!) This blogger told you to stay tuned. Well, enrollment was high on the first day of school and it has stayed high all year. As I write this, enrollment is 93 students, and we are expecting four more next week. We've been averaging 80-85 kids a day all year, compared with 70-75 in recent years. We have had 177 students so far this year, and we have two months to go until the end of the school year.
March Madness has come and gone at CTS. Oh, yes! We do that, too. But our tournament is a checkers tournament. Our rounds have names like "The First Move" and "The Thoughtful Thirty-Two." This was our second annual tournament. It was really exciting because last year's "Cinderella" winner was back, defending his title. Last year, he was just a fourth-grader and he beat a highly favored 8th-grader for the title. This year, the champ is in 5th grade, and the end game came down to him and a 6th grade girl. Well, the girl outmaneuvered him and won, so we have a new champ. These kids have fun and they actually deploy some strategy on "the boards." So, here's to our winner. We can hardly wait until next year's Madness.
The girls in our after school leadership program had a winning entry in the Oregon Youth in Action contest. As a result, they will receive funding for their new fitness club. As part of the award, the girls won a trip to Salem to be honored by the Legislature and a meeting with the governor. The girls in the leadership program called S.O.S. (Students Of Success) got the idea to create a club for girls because they realized that after about 5th grade, boys keep active but girls stop moving at recess. They named the club Rocket H.E.A.T. "Rocket" because our volleyball team is the Rockets. And H.E.A.T. stands for Healthy Exercise All Together. Members of the club will aim to be active for an hour a day, at recess, at track and outside of school. A personal trainer is volunteering her time to help the girls set goals, and members will be keeping track of their progress in journals. They'll have T-shirts, too.
Happy Birthday to all of us!
This was no joke. On April 1, Jennipher's Pre-School, kindergarten and 1st-graders had a big party to celebrate all of their birthdays because they have all learned their birth dates. A splendid time was had by all. We played lots of games, like pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and musical chairs and drop the clothespin in the jar. They all made their own birthday crowns with their names and their birthdays written on them. Then, they each got cupcakes with candles and stood in a circle. Jennipher told them to think hard about a wish while we all sang "Happy Birthday." They made their wishes and blew out their candles. Then they all got wrapped presents with their names on them, ate their cupcakes and drank their juice.
March 03, 2011
100 days and counting...to 100
Jennipher's class of pre-school, kindergarten and 1st graders celebrated 100 Day this week, in honor of the 100th day of the school year. So, all the kids did projects that involved counting to 100. They strung necklaces with 100 beads on them. They put 100 snacks in a bag. They also learned that the best way to count to 100 was with groups of 10. So, they made books with 10 pages of 10 things on each page - stickers and things. They decorated cookies, too, baked in the shapes of "1" and "0" and "0." But that's not all! One of Jennipher's volunteers arranged for a Skyping session with Ms. Silva's class in Farmington, Arkansas, which was also celebrating their 100 Day. Now, Ms. Silva's class was a 2nd grade class, so they were a bit more sophisticated in their questions and answers to our students. But our Little Kids seemed to enjoy communicating on the computer, even if they had little concept of Arkansas. And when one of Ms. Silva's students asked what our kids' favorite part of 100 Day was, one replied, "Recess!" without missing a beat. A good answer for any day!
February 01, 2011
Why teachers love January and other tidbits
It's a well-known fact that teachers love January. That's because kids have few distractions. Christmas is gone and done. And it's too early for any serious spring fever. Students are kind of a captive audience. So, there's been a whole lot of learning going on.
In Jennipher's class, the 1st graders are reading and the kindergarteners are rhyming, as in mop, stop, pop, hop and chop. They talked about the cold weather and made watercolor snowmen. And they're doing yoga, which is good for them because, as Jennipher pointed out, even our littlest kids are pretty sedentary, living as they do in shelters and motel rooms.
Cheryl's 4th and 5th graders studied South America and had guest speakers talk about Peru and Brazil. Now the class is studying Native American tribes. Her book group is reading "Dear Mr. Henshaw" by Beverly Cleary. It's about a boy who writes to his favorite author. The author writes back with questions for the boy, and that gets the boy thinking about the troubles in his life. Cheryl is having her group answer the same questions that Mr. Henshaw asked: "Who are you? What do you look like? What is your family like? Where do you live? Do you like school? Who are your friends? What bothers you? What do you wish?" Cheryl is asking for honest, thoughtful answers that go beyond superficial description. There could be a lot of rewriting in this book group's future.
Kids in the 6th through 8th grade in Marna's class have been busy, too. They are working on biographies of famous people and doing charcoal drawings of their chosen subjects, too, because they are learning charcoal drawing in art class. They are also studying biology, making a booklet about life forms like cells, sea stars and jellyfish. For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, they wrote essays about their own personal dreams. Most of the class wanted to go to college. A few wanted to be doctors and one boy wanted to be a chef.
The after school program, called S.O.S., or Students Of Success, has selected a play to perform for our 8th grade graduation ceremony. It's "Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock," a West African folk tale starring the trickster spider Anansi. The kids will make masks for the performance. The S.O.S. kids also are also starting up the student store again, which sells snacks and little toys to the students, as well as cards and necklaces to the public. Proceeds go into a student scholarship fund for a future CTS graduate.
A note for tax time
We are grateful to all of contributors during the holiday season and we are working like crazy to get you your thank-you notes and receipts.
By the way, at the end of the year, Community Transitional School was added to the Oregon Cultural Trust's list of eligible cultural organizations. This means that if you made a gift to the Oregon Cultural Trust in the same amount as your Community Transitional School contribution, you can claim 100 percent of your contribution to the Trust - up to $500 for individuals or up to $1,000 for couples filing jointly - as a credit. If you didn't do it for 2010, consider it for 2011. Go to culturaltrust.org for more information.
November 30, 2010
CTS Rockets had a blast
Our own Rockets volleyball team just wrapped up its third great season in the Portland Parks and Recreation's Youth League. They won some, they lost some. But boy, did they have fun! They had a great record for showing up on Saturday games! They worked together as a team! And they were definitely the most exciting players on the court with their turquoise shirts and their "GO ROCKETS" cheers. They had quite a following, too, of parents and little brothers and sisters who came to the games to cheer them on. And best of all, the players improved their skills as the season went on. Everybody got better!
What's your favorite place?
Cheryl asked students in her book group to write about their favorite place. The results are pretty interesting. Here are a few examples, along with the pictures they drew to go with the words.
"My favorite place is the library. I love all of the order - the books on the shelves. I love the quiet - the quiet when the people are reading their books. It smells good too and it smells like books. It tastes clean and it doesn't smell bad. I love this place - I don't feel bored and the whole world is there."
"The soccer field is my favoritest place to be. It makes me feel like I'm alive. I love the smell of the grass. It smells so fresh. I love the sound of the ball when it hits the net. The taste is fresh, dirty, grass all at the same time. It feels like I could stay and play forever. When I play soccer I can get my mind empty and just think about plans for the game. When I play I feel like I have the power."
"My favorite place I've ever been is the white house I lived in when I was five. I can still remember it. When you walked in you could see it was always clean. You could always smell chocolate chip cookies because my Mom loved to bake them. (They tasted very good too.) It made me feel like I had no brothers, there was so much space I could do anything and it felt good at my white house."
"Out of all the places I've been to my favorite would be wherever I have lived with just my own family. I love being with my mother and father. It feels like I am in the right place. In a shelter, I feel that I don't have anything that is just mine. In the shelter it can get very noisy at night. It can get very boring, too. You can't run, talk or laugh loud during certain hours. You almost can't do anything that's basically fun to a kid. In my own home I feel better. I can do more and spend my time with just my mom and dad. The shelter smells like diapers. My house smells like my family. I love having my own house."
October 22, 2010
Community Transitional School has lost one of its own
PK Wall passed away Oct. 1, 2010.
PK spent the last six-and-a-half years battling cancer with courage, energy and more humor than most healthy people can muster in a lifetime.
We miss her.
PK Wall (Phyllis Claire Kennedy-Wall) discovered CTS more than 20 years ago, when the school started at the YWCA. CTS became her passion. PK served on the CTS Board of Directors since 2001. She did many things for the school, from fund-raising to public relations. She never missed an opportunity to talk up the school, work out a special deal or find a new avenue for support. Even while struggling with cancer treatment, she insisted on coming to the school office to help the staff with projects.
PK's biggest contribution, in terms of impact on the school's financial stability, was Grocer's Insurance golf tournament. PK worked at Grocer's Insurance and she was responsible for CTS becoming one of the beneficiaries of the company's annual charity golf tournament. Eventually, CTS became the sole beneficiary. Each year, PK spent months gathering donations from Portland area businesses for the golf tournament auction, helping make Grocer's (now Argonaut) the school's largest corporate donor.
We miss her smile, her wry sense of humor, her love of life. In the end, the only thing PK asked us for was a dogwood tree planted on the school grounds in her memory. We planted the tree on September 15, the day before her 57th birthday, two weeks before she died. Some children helped plant it.
PK's husband Dave Wall has invited all of her friends to a celebration of the life of PK Wall from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday Nov. 7 in the main ballroom of Multnomah Athletic Club on Southwest Salmon Street in Portland.
October 19, 2010
Michael Allen Harrison in concert for CTS
Talk about classy! Classical contemporary pianist Michael Allen Harrison will play a benefit concert for Community Transitional School Wednesday November 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Peace Lutheran Church, 2201 N. Rosa Parks Way.
With Portland as his base, Harrison has released over 40 CDs and has performed worldwide with audiences that included President Clinton and the Dalai Lama. Harrison's music has ranged from classical contemporary to smooth jazz. But he is also a noteworthy philanthropist and he often performs in his home community of Portland. He has created the Snowman Foundation to support music programs in schools and youth organizations.
Peace Lutheran Church congregation members arranged this benefit for us and they will share part of the proceeds. A suggested donation for tickets is $20. For information or tickets email: Harrison.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-289-5330. Payments should be check or money order payable to "Peace Lutheran Church," and sent to the church.
September 30, 2010
We've had a record enrollment since school started a month ago on September 1. We've had 97 students total, although some have moved on. Most days we've had more than 80 students enrolled. Usually in the fall, enrollment is in the 60s. Is this a sign of the times? We don't know. It'll take some time to tell if these numbers hold up. But this high-enrollment fall does come after a spring that also had an unusually high number of students. So, stay tuned.
Everything you need and fruit, too
Marna's 6th-8th graders made posters for our school. One youngster's product is a bit wordy for a poster, but it shows a possible future in marketing:
"If you're wondering about sending your child to C.T.S. then wonder no longer, because can't go wrong at C.T.S.! You see, I am a student at C.T.S. and have been for quite some time now, and I garountee your child will enjoy this school as much as I have. Anything you need will be provided, such as back packs, clothes, supplies, etc. Also, kids will get breakfast and lunch, both including a healthy helping of fruit. An extra bonus is the teachers personalitys. They are always 100% nice but stern when they have to. So, if your thinking about sending your child to C.T.S. send them. Because your child will not only be provided for, he will have one heck of a time. C.T.S. is the school for you."
The deal goes on at Salvador Molly's
Salvador Molly's restaurant has extended its Kids Eat Free offer through October 31st to help our school. Just like in September, every kid's meal purchased with an adult entrée at Salvador Molly's will be free. And proceeds from every family check will be donated to the Community Transitional School. Yes! That's us! Salvador Molly's calls their cuisine "pirate cooking." It's African and Asian and Caribbean all fused together. So, get yourself to 1523 SW Sunset Blvd., Hillsdale (503) 293-1790. The offer is good from 4:30-7 p.m. seven days a week.
September 23, 2010
We're all smiling now because the Tooth Taxi spent a week at our school. The Tooth Taxi is a 38-foot dental clinic on wheels that goes from school to school all over Oregon and gives free dental care to kids that can't afford it. At our school, the dentists and staff screened 68 students and treated 41 of them. Some of the children had never been to a dentist and some needed a lot of work. The total value of the free services provided was $20,181. All of the staff were wonderful and they had a great time with the kids. The kids were very brave and even helpful. One young patient pointed out to his examining dentist: "That one you can't pull out because it's growing." The Tooth Taxi is funded by the Dental Foundation of Oregon. They came last year, too. We like them a lot.
September 16, 2010
Upper Crust Bread at the Lake Oswego Farmer's Market
On September 25, Upper Crust Bread Company, run by Alice Seeger, will once again be at the Lake Oswego Farmers' Market in Millenium Park Plaza, selling bread, and will be donating part of its sales to the school. Phyllis Seeger, Alice's mom, will also be selling hand knit hats, cotton dish cloths, and other home made items, with all proceeds to go to the school.
September 09, 2010
What a deal! We get donations & your kids get free meals
Salvador Molly's restaurant is celebrating Back-to-School by offering free meals for kids AND donating a portion of every family meal purchased in September to Community Transitional School. Yep, every kid's meal purchased with an adult entrée will be free all month. And a portion of the proceeds will go right to us. Salvadore Molly's is known for its global menu that combines Caribbean, African and Asian flavors. This offer is good every day from 4:30 to 7 p.m. through September 30. The place is 1523 SW Sunset Blvd., Hillsdale. (503) 293-1790.
If you want to check the menu, go to www.salvadormollys.com.
September 01, 2010
Got your backpacks and pencil boxes and notebooks? Our kids do. We handed them out today, September 1, as our buses rolled in for the first day of school. Yes, we're always a week earlier than most of the public schools. And my, the floors are shiny! And my, the books are neatly shelved! And my, the kids look a little scared and a whole lot excited and really ready to learn. No sleepyheads today. At the end of the last school year, Cheryl had her 2nd through 5th grade class write letters of advice to the new class starting today. Here are some excerpts. You may find some good advice here even if you're not in the 2nd through 5th grade:
Dear new second grader, I hope you get to learn alots of stuff like I did you will learn math alots of math and all kind of math and I will tell you a rule the first rule do not touch the walls because If you do you will leave hand prints on the walls. And an other rule is respect everyone but of course respect Cheryl because she is a verry nice person but whatever rule she tells you to follow you sould really follow It because It will really help you and alot.
Dear new 4th graders, I've learn how to do borrowing, multiplying, carrying, division. Some of the rules are pretty easy. When you come to 4th grade you are gonna go to Dazzaling Facts. You know to say the truth. some of the work is pretty hard and some of it not that much. please trust me. Its fun being a 4th grader some of the times they put us to play kickball.
Dear new Fifth Grader, Always bring a backpack your going to have lots of stuff to cary. When you go to Dazzling facts try to remember the facts. On the bus follow the rules or you will be sispended. Don't touch the walls. Always bring you're homework. You can only bring music on the bus.
Dear third grader, Don't be a chump be a champ because if you're a champ you get more smarter. Try to be determind to do math and read alot and then you can improve your writing and be an forth grader is very fun.
Dear New Fourth Grader, I learned how to do long division. I thought it was hard now its easy. I also learned cursive its fun. And there is lots of different kinds of books so you could chose from. And something fun I learned states and capitals, wich is very fun and hard. You are lucky to come here it's a great school here. But there's still more advice. Don't work in the library without asking, do not talk during math, reading or writing. Or when the teacher is reading a book to us. Don't punch or hit enyone. You will learn lots.
Dear New 5th graders, You might think it's hard in 5th grade but it's not. You just got to keep trying and not give up on your self. It's actually fun when you do hard problems because you learn better that way. You learn new things everyday.
What we need
Now that we're off and running, people have started to call about what kind of donated items we might need for our students. Please check our Wish List on this site. You may wonder why some items that it seems like we should need, like crayons or toothpaste, aren't on it. Well, it's probably because we have enough of that particular item right now. We try to keep the list up to date. That doesn't mean we're going to turn away your donation of crayons and toothpaste if you have already purchased them, because we will use them eventually. The list just is a guide to show you what we really need right now. So, use it accordingly.
We had wonderful groups do wonderful things for us this summer.
Big thanks go to:
Argonaut/Grocers Charity Golf Tournament for donations through their annual event and Fred Meyer for the generosity sponsoring the auction connected with it.
Portland Historic Races for sponsoring us at their annual event and for hosting our kids at a wonderful field trip at Portland International Raceway.
Oregon Brewers Festival & Mt. Angels Brewing Co. for donations through the Root Beer booth; and Deschutes Brewery for donations through the Brewers Breakfast.
Thanks to all of the volunteers who supported our summer program, too. Special thanks to the National Charity League women and their daughters who came to read with our students each day of class.
Fighting "the summer slide"
We expanded our summer session from five weeks to six weeks this year. In doing so, we joined a trend among educators who understand the importance of summer programs for low-income children.
The academics call it "summer learning loss" or "the summer slide." It's easy to explain. Kids who are middle class or well off have summers with lots of educational experiences even if they are not at school. They go to camp or go on vacation or go to museums or concerts or take art classes or play sports. But kids without money or resources sit in front of TVs or video game screens. They are not exercising their minds or their bodies. So they fall behind their more well-off peers. And they keep falling behind. According to one study, low-income students had fallen nearly three grade levels behind by the end of grammar school.
TIME magazine did a story about this phenomenon in their August 2 print and iPad editions. Our teachers see it every fall. The kids who go to summer session retain what they learned much better than the kids who don't. This summer, our students had reading and math, volleyball and soccer, art class and oral theater. Of course, they also got their two meals a day, bus rides and all the other usual CTS services. They had a place to come and play and learn, away from darkened rooms with glowing screens. We hope that adding a week helped just a bit in the fight against the summer slide.
Read old news...
The word of the month is
a 1st grader
had to say
word of the
Recess in verse!
Kick balls slamming
tether ball slapping
jump ropes rhyming
you want to do
until the whistle
blows recess' end