December 10, 2018

The Owl Weekly Parent Bulletin 12/10/2018

The Owl Weekly Parent Bulletin

5th Grade Lion Dance Performance

Last week, TIS 5th graders across all language tracks presented their Lion Dance Project to the school. In collaboration with  Susan Kennedy, Music and Movement Specialist from the Chinese American International School in San Francisco, the students created a performance in the Feng Shui tradition of lion dancing, which involves drumming, movement, and dramatic play.  Chinese language connections were made through the ceremony, and instruction included history and cultural practices related to lion dancing.

On Friday morning, the students performed an “Eye Dotting Ceremony”, where the lion heads were blessed for performance by community elders. Doug and Frey Stearns, founders of the school, and Yu Yen Lee, now retired from many years teaching in the Chinese track, “dotted” the costumes. The students then presented their dances for their younger peers across the school.

This lion dance is now a living tradition at TIS, and will be performed by 5th graders at various events throughout the year.  5th graders will pass down their knowledge to the next class of 5th graders each year.

Special Thanks to:

  • Peter Musselman, TIS Music Specialist, whose idea, guidance, and leadership made this entire event happen

  • Kathy Jorgensen, grandma to lowK student Luca M – she sewed all the red sashes from scratch in a very short turnaround time!  

  • All the parents who helped carry equipment across campus

  • Janice Ng for volunteering throughout the day

  • The School’s Education Leadership Team, Candy Trujillo, Mark Usher, Amber Oerther, Shelley Arnold, and Coach Robert, and Sarah Harpole

and finally to Susan Kennedy, who shared her extraordinary knowledge with the whole school.

TIS 2018-19 Reading Challenge!

We are excited to launch the 2018-2019 TIS K-5 reading challenge!  This year’s reading challenge theme is One Nation, Many Voices. In such a wonderfully diverse country, there is no way that we could include books reflecting every culture and perspective, but we hope that these lists will prove to be a good starting point for sparking conversation and building empathy for ourselves and for each other.

This year we made three reading lists by types of book, along with grade level recommendations, though students may choose to read books off any of the lists:

Picture Books and Early Readers (K-2),
Picture books and chapter books (3-4),
Mature chapter books (5).

Some of these books touch on serious themes that could bring up questions for students and adults, which makes them excellent books to read and discuss as a family and as a community!

To participate, your student(s) may get books from the TIS library, your public library, or your local, independent bookstore.  Students who wish to earn a prize need to read at least six books from these lists, and turn in their reading list along with a writing or art response to the library between February 21 – March 11.  Some of the titles on the list are OBOB titles so that interested students may participate in both programs. 

Additional information went home with your student(s) last week. If you have any questions, you may contact the librarian at

Read in Your Pajamas This Week!

It’s an English class tradition! On the last days before Winter Break, students at The International School roll out of bed and straight to their classroom – pajamas and all! Our Annual Read In Your Pajamas Day is a student favorite. It’s a celebration of reading for the joy of reading. 

1st through 5th Grade students can come to school in their pjs to participate.*  Packing a set of regular clothes is recommended.

Read in Your Pajamas day will be spread across two days as it was last year. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grade Parents and other caregivers are invited to join us during your child’s English class. Bring a favorite book, wear your pajamas too, and spend some time reading to kids or being read to! Super simple, super wonderful.  4th and 5th Grade students have voted to read on their own this year (sorry, parents!)

Dec 13th – Read In Your Pajamas Day for 2nd & 4th Grades (Times and locations for 2nd Grade parents to join us will be confirmed by your child’s English Teacher)

Dec 14th – Read In Your Pajamas Day for 1st, 3rd, and 5th Grades (Times and locations for 1st and 3rd Grade parents to join us will be confirmed by your child’s English Teacher)

*Is your child in PreK-K? Some classes participate in their homerooms; ask your child’s teacher!

Strategic Plan Survey: Goals and Action Timeline

UPDATE: We have received 90 responses to our survey so far! Let’s get to 100!

Last November, we asked the TIS parent community for your feedback on the updated Vision, Mission, Values and goals of TIS as part of updating the school’s Strategic Plan. The Board of Trustees, Senior Management Team (SMT), and the all-volunteer Strategic Planning Group (SPG) have been working diligently since then to further refine the school’s Strategic Plan, including timing to achieve the goals.

We would greatly appreciate your feedback about these goals and the action timeline. The survey will take 15-20 minutes of your time. Your feedback is vital to ensure that the school’s activities for the next 10 years are truly the vision of its community. DIRECT LINK TO SURVEY (Survey closes on Wednesday, December 19)

Complete the survey for a chance to win a TIS insulated wine/picnic tote valued at $85!

New Caruthers Street Mural!

Have you seen the wonderful new mural on Caruthers Street, across from Learners’ Hall? Music, Mountains, Robots, and Animals!  The mural is the work of TIS parent Phil Haleen. He – along with renowned Portland muralists Notes and Kango – wanted to thank us for the providing them space for the collaborative mural on Water Street. They donated ALL of their own time and paint for this most recent project.

The artists wanted to create something that would give the wall a sense of depth, location and a glimpse into a secret world. It is already capturing the imagination of our students, many of whom stopped by last Friday to ask questions as one of the artists was putting the final touches on the piece. We want to extend a special thank you as well to Kristen Stowell who helped secure the permits to paint this wall and to Eric Wiseman who prepped the wall for painting.

Lost and Found Reminder / Please bring ALL personal items home!

Please bring all personal items home for break! This a good time to give everything a nice wash! This will also assist us when we do our thorough classroom cleanings. Let’s start the new year fresh!

Missing something? Please check the Lost & Found!  We have bins located just outside the Music Room at Hilltop, the front desk at Stearns and just under the stairs at Learner’s Hall.  If items are labeled with a child’s name they have a much better chance of getting back to their owners.

Any remaining items will be donated to charity during Winter Break!! 

Grade 5 Happenings this Week

Head of Elementary Coffee.  5th Grade Parents: please join Head of Elementary Bodo Heiliger for the final coffee of 2018. They give members of the community an opportunity to come and hear about developments in the school, as well as provide an open forum to ask questions or voice concerns.  December 12th, 8:10-9:00, Learners Hall.

Keepin It Clean Campus Walk. The International School is surrounded by several open areas. While they are not part of campus property, we would like to help keep them clean and safe. As such, TIS has “Keepin’ It Clean” walks that operate in partnership with Friends of Riverplace (a neighborhood organization) and the City of Portland’s Office of Community and Civic Life.

Each scheduled “Keepin’ It Clean” walk has been assigned to a grade. These are not required, but we hope to encourage TIS parents, relatives, or caregivers to walk together, socialize, and to keep our campus safe and clean. Gloves, pickers, and trash bags provided. 5th Grade: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 – 8:15 am to 9:15 am; meet at Hilltop front gate.

Your help is needed! BOTH events count towards parent volunteer hours! Adults only.

TIS Community Challenge Update

So far, our amazing community has donated $13,690 towards our $20,000 challenge!  Three families – an alumni family, current parent and grandparents – are collectively challenging  YOU to donate to the Global Citizens Annual Fund. They will match all year-end donations dollar-for-dollar up to $20,000!

BONUS: every donation gives you FIVE CHANCES to win a campus parking space.  Yep, FIVE chances! Since the biggest campaign push for the Global Citizens Annual Fund will end December 31, we will take all of the donations given during the month December and draw five winners who will be able to use a campus parking space for a entire month.  We will pull one winner each for January, February, March, April and May – meaning one donation during the month of December gives you five chances to win month of campus parking AND doubles your dollars with our matching gift challenge!

Donate today for your chance to win a month of campus parking AND double your dollars all at the same time:

Auction Gala Tickets are on sale now!

Tickets can be purchased at
Thank you to this year’s TIS Presenting Event Sponsors, Bales and Lamb’s Marketplace and LegitScript!

Because of the generous support from our sponsors, every single dollar raised at TIS fundraising events will directly benefit students and teachers. This is an outstanding show of support for The
International School, and we encourage our community to support our sponsors whenever possible!  If you have any questions about becoming a TIS Event Sponsor, please contact Lisa Olivares at

Auction Sneak Peek:

Check out the Northwest from a different perspective!  Enjoy a plane ride for two (2) down the Columbia River Gorge, see Multnomah Falls from the air then head north to Mt. Saint Helens.  View the inside of the crater and make a complete 360 degree tour of it. Absolutely spectacular view on a clear day and sure to please anyone with the love of flying or someone dreaming of becoming a pilot.  Depart and return from Troutdale Airport. Ride time approximately one hour plus.

Must book at least one week in advance.  Please note that weather (rain/storms) could delay or postpone the flight to another date.  Pilot will notify passengers 24 hours in advance should this become and issue for the date scheduled.

Thank you to Scott and Lisa Brock! 

Thank you, Auction Basket Leaders! Psst…Enter your Volunteer Hours!

We would like to extend a huge and heartfelt thanks to our auction basket volunteers! Our offices are now filled with beautiful class artwork and truly exciting packages. You all worked hard, and it shows. We truly appreciate your contributions to the auction – and to the school’s fundraising efforts.

Reminder to ALL volunteers: please record your hours if you’ve helped out on campus this year! You do NOT need to be specific about dates/and times. A monthly lump estimate is fine! You can record them here:

Looking for Holiday Gifts? Check out the TIS Spirit Store!

Did you know that TIS has a Spirit Store? We do – and have filled it with lots of new goodies this year! Check it out this week for last minute gifts.  We’ll deliver to the TIS front desks for free! Just get your order in by Thursday, December 14. Visit the TIS Spirit Store now!



Keepin’ It Clean Campus Walk – 5th Grade Join fellow 5th Grade parents as we walk the perimeter of the school picking up trash, removing graffiti, cutting back invasive plants.  Trash bags, pickers, gloves, graffiti removal supplies provided. Adults only.  8:15 – 9:15am, Hilltop Gate. 



Head of Elementary Coffee – 5th Grade. Please join Head of Elementary Bodo Heiliger for a coffee. This will give members of the community an opportunity to come and hear about developments in the school, as well as provide an open forum to ask questions or voice concerns. Open to parents of students in 5th grade. 8:15-9:15am, Learners’ Hall



Read In Your Pajamas Day for 2nd & 4th Grades (Times and locations for 2nd Grade parents to join us will be confirmed by your child’s English Teacher) 

*Is your child in PreK-K? Some classes participate in their homerooms; ask your child’s teacher! 



Read In Your Pajamas Day for 1st, 3rd, and 5th Grades (Times and locations  for 1st and 3rd Grade parents to join us will be confirmed by your child’s English Teacher)

*Is your child in PreK-K? Some classes participate in their homerooms; ask your child’s teacher!



SOLVE, TIS Cleanup Event.  The neighborhood is cleaner thanks to Friends of Riverplace, SOLVE, and The International School community! All ages welcome.  No pets please. Gloves, tools, trash bags and pickers provided. Please record your volunteer hours for participating in this event! Meet near the TIS playground. 10am-2pm



Winter Break! We hope that you have a wonderful holiday! See you in January!

Mandarin Language Classes for Adults

Learn Mandarin Chinese with a program designed for your busy schedule. Effective Chinese was started by a TIS parent and a TIS Chinese track teacher in 2007, and has been growing ever since. We offer many levels of classes from beginner to advanced.

Evening classes at two convenient Portland locations, mobile study tools, and excellent instructors, all make it easier for you to succeed!

From a current TIS parent:

I started off with zero Mandarin last year. From drop-off and pick-up and dinnertime family talks, I learned a handful of Mandarin last year. From the ten week class that just ended, I learned 137 words!! It is possible. It is exciting. It’s a great way to support my kindergartener’s education at TIS. They teach at Lloyd Center and Beaverton. I highly recommend it for any parent with the time.

I am enrolled in Mandarin two for January. I like the online course page. I can view the slides from class, watch bonus videos and listen to the week’s vocabulary in between classes. 

To see the class schedule and to register, visit: