Grout’s Light is Bright: V17

Happy Saturday Grout Family,

We’ll say it again, we know this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. Studies show maintaining social connections improves our mental health. In that vein, please find this week’s edition of…

Grout’s Light is Bright: Volume 17

A weekly edition of your PTA + curated news to help keep us all connected during this COVID-19 pandemic and social justice uprising.

Let’s kick it with these 30 essential albums from the last 30 years. Which is your favorite? Mine, you ask. The Miseducation of Lauren Hill, hands down.

The upcoming school year is upon us!
The stress is real.
Emotions are high. Change is constant. Unknowns are aplenty. It’s time we lean on one another.

Do you need to chat or vent? A fellow Grout parent and policy advisor at NWEA, Christine Pitts posted this week about the need to connect during these uncertain times to help shake off the panic and it got me thinking. How can we as a community take a step towards each other, especially to meet new parents and support one another, even if only conversationally?

Long-term, I’d love to execute a massive outreach program but in the meantime what if we try going old school? I grew up in Wisconsin and I’m faintly remembering the “telephone tree” parents used when weather was bad and basketball practice was cancelled. There were no cell phones to text everyone at once. Every parent’s name and number were listed and handed out at the beginning of the season. No practice meant the first parent listed called the second, and he/she called the third and so on.

Grout Parent Support Network via a “Telephone Tree”

Let’s take this telephone tree concept and bring it to Grout. Let’s connect with one another, reach out to someone you may, or may not know and be the school that rallies together. I’ve created a simple form. Click Grout’s Telephone Tree Formto fill out—be sure to check the box that you approve your info being shared within our community, it will not be shared elsewhere. Also, if you have questions, interests or anything please do not hesitate to use the Comments section and we will get back to you. Let’s do this!

Grout PTA Secures $5,000 Food Security Grant!

Grout PTA has received confirmation that our grant submitted in July, with only 14% of applicants receiving funding, has made the cut and is on track to secure an additional $5,000 for food security! We are set to partner with Grout School, Grout SUN, (possibly) Katari Park and Groceries for Grout sponsored by Kenilworth Presbyterian Church to disseminate funds and resources. The funding is made possible by TikTok, a short-form video app and PTA Proud National Sponsor.  

Groceries for Grout Every Tuesday from 11:30 am – 1:00 PM

If you need a little extra grocery help now, they are continuing to provide items every Tuesday from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm at Kenilworth Presbyterian Church. Please bring shopping bags and egg cartons. For more information, please contact

Grout PTA Equity Committee Renamed to Grout PTA IDEA Committee & Secures Final Co-chair!

I’m thrilled to announce our 3rd co-chair position is now filled on our Grout PTA Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Committee. Please join me in welcoming Breanna Rodriguez! Breanna has been our Movie Night Chair, and I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know her and her fam this past year, and she simply rocks! Breanna also sits on the Equity Board at Prosper Portland, is a certified racial equity facilitator with over 2 years of training through the Center of Equity and Inclusion and has personally shared she is so excited to join this team. If you are interested in being a part of this team, you are welcome to join via the Konstella sign-up.

National PTA Hosts “Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in your PTA” September 14

Register here for this interactive workshop. I plan to attend to learn how we can use the tools provided to make our Grout PTA more equitable.

Grout PTA Collaborates with SE PDX PTAs and Secures Zoom Business Pro License at Significant Cost Reduction

We found many free platforms had reduced meeting maximums to 40 minutes making it difficult to accomplish tasks and discussions. Having initiated the SE PDX PTA Leadership Coalition in April the mission was to learn from each other with the hopes of creating efficiencies. This is a big win where we were able to join Atkinson PTA, Hosford PTA, Bridger PTA, Arleta PTA, Creston PTA, and Franklin PTSA to purchase a 10-license business pro account bringing a robust tool to our organization at a fraction of the cost.  

Grout Teachers Donors Choose Projects in Progress

Several of our Grout teachers have initiated Donors Choose projects, including Ms. Kirk, Hands-on Math and Basics are Essential; Ms. Williams, Art While Apart; Mrs. Hawksford, Diverse Books for Diverse Students; Ms. Karen, Diverse Books for Diverse Kids; Mrs. Crouser, Supplies for Home Learning and Ms. Lindstrom, Student Supplies for Success. If you can donate, links are provided. If you can’t, please consider supporting by promoting—copy link and share on FB, Instagram, Twitter or by emailing your contacts. Attention TeachersKathy Kershaw is your new direct social media promotional contact. Please email her direct and copy me for newsletter promo.

PPS Connect to Incoming Kindergarteners Monday, August 31

Monday, August 31, from 6:30-7:30 pm there is a virtual, districtwide information session for all families of kindergarten students. This session will feature a panel of principals, kindergarten teachers, parents, and support staff who will answer questions related to Kindergarten this Fall. Watch the live session by clicking this link If you miss it, they will be posting a recording at For more PPS references, please see below/scroll.

Grout PTA Kindergartener Connect

Do you have an incoming KG student, or know of a family that has one? Your Grout PTA has created a KG Connect FB group to provide support to KG parents. To find it on FB, search: Grout Kindergarten Connect 20-21. Need some help? Please contact our KG Connect Chair, Jamie Lyle at or at (503) 819-3688.

Grout PTA Board Workshop

We are looking to meet early September to streamline organization efforts with 3 goals in mind—build relationships, be equity driven and strategically focused.

Grout PTA Parent Communications Platform–Konstella

Konstella is the platform we use to communicate announcements, post volunteer sign-ups and structure committees. It is also where parents can talk with one another in social groups and teachers can create classroom pages asking parents to join and connect. Did you know that did you know this announcement can be translated in over 100 languages? Using your web browser, go to the bottom left-hand corner and click the arrow next to Select Language to choose your native language. Note, typically, we archive parent contacts to remove outgoing 5th grade families and enter all new incoming parents in August. Once we have information from the school, we’ll be able to complete necessary archival tasks.

Summer Thank You Announcements

Special shout out to all our volunteers who helped keep our Grout Learning Garden alive by watering this summer, in addition to, Grow Portland who has continued to manage the site. Also, a big thanks to Tom Gronke who continues to help spruce up Grout Grounds wherever he sees a need without even being asked. Kudos to you all!


In Closing…

The shooting of Jacob Blake rocked our news feeds this week. Igniting conversations about the police, about protests and about riots. His mother gave a heartbreaking speech calling for unity, not division. If you have a moment to listen, it is incredibly powerful. Here are some kid books about having tough conversations about racism, empathy, and many more.

I’m praying for us all as we head into this school year—financially, emotionally, politically and medically. I’m not going to lie as I started to plan out my schedule of grad class deadlines (why did I start a class in August?), PTA work and meetings plus thinking about schooling our 3 kids I felt overwhelmed. This isn’t unique to me and I get it. I started to pump myself up. I can do this. I can carve out time for work outs, grad school, PTA and my kids knowing my husband is slammed at work. I’m honored to be here with you all in this moment. I found Positive Parenting Solutions that offered 3 tips—adjust your mindset (if we have a positive attitude about kids distance learning our kids will pick up on it); prepare for a great day (get up early and “do you” before the kids wake if you can) and take time for training (ok, so this one they’re trying to sell you the Ultimate Success Plan for an Unpredictable School Year so whatever).

The point is let’s turn up that Swift Shake It Off song; laugh watching Dwayne Johnson lip synch the heck out of it and channel our inner Queen Bey (Beyonce) and be fierce. Let’s be a community charged, connected and ready to face what lies ahead–together.

Let’s turn this pandemic year into the one that brought our Grout Community together like none other.

Parents—we’ve got this. Teachers—we’ve got this. Kids—we’ve got this.

All my love. Text/call me anytime with your questions, comments, or concerns at 602-703-5854.


Xoxo, Jules

Your Grout PTA President


Your Grout PTA

Grout’s Light is Bright: Volume 17

#GroutElementaryStrong #GroutsLightisBright

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