Grout’s Light is Bright: V28

Grout’s Light is Bright: Volume 28

A weekly edition of your PTA + curated news to help keep us all connected during this COVID-19 pandemic, social justice uprising and distance learning.
We have some exciting virtual events happening this week!

Tomorrow (1/24, via Zoom) there is a 1st grade coffee chat for caregivers happening at 10 am.
Monday (via Zoom) Ben Tarne will kick-off the first-ever Grout Dads Group at 7 pm. The Dads Group welcomes all Dads and caregivers identifying as a Dad/male and offers the chance to connect.
Tuesday, please join us for our next General PTA Meeting at 7pm via Zoom! We will hear from Principal Denise, about the launch of Grout’s Site Council including an overview, timeline and how to engage.
The IDEA committee meets Wednesday via Google Meets and is open to all starting at 4:30 pm and
Kim Koch will close out the week via Zoom next Saturday with the 3rd grade coffee chat at 11:30 am.
Did you know you can easily synch all Grout PTA events to your calendar? Yep, that’s right folks—easy peezy. Here’s how: go to Konstella’s Calendar and to the right of the month/year you will see a link to ‘Synch to My Calendar.’ While you’re at it, check out the Konstella Committee page and think about what you’d like to help with next school year—let’s use Spring 2021 to start effectively planning for an amazing 2021-22 school year for our kids and grow our PTA to truly reflect our diverse population. For those that have already raised their hand, thank you, you will be contacted soon to discuss!

Grout PTA Event List (Konstella Calendar)
Every Tuesday: Groceries 4 Grout 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Tomorrow! Sunday, January 24 – 1st Grade Chat 10 am
Monday, Jan 25: Grout PTA Dads Group 7:00 pm
Tuesday, Jan 26: PTA General Meeting 7:00 pm
Wednesday, Jan 27: IDEA Committee Meeting 4:30 pm
Saturday, Jan 30: 3rd Grade Chat 11:30 am
Thursday, Feb 4: Dine-out for Grout at Dairy Hill (Ice Cream) 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm (Hawthorne & 36th)
Staying Connected

The Classroom Connect Leads (CCL) are volunteers available to parents, caregivers, and teachers alike to serve as a resource by grade. We also have a Dads Outreach Coordinator that spans every grade. The Dads Group welcomes all Dads and caregivers identifying as a Dad/male. If you have questions about something and would love to connect with another parent – this is a great way to start!
Kindergarten CCL: Jamie Lyle, or 503-819-3688
1st Grade CCL: Heather Kalowsky, or 503-515-4797
2nd Grade CCL: Brianna Smeds, or 510-282-9528
3rd Grade CCL: Kim Koch, or 925-667-1246
4th Grade CCL: Leila Murphy, or 503-709-9539
5th Grade CCL: Open Volunteer Role
Grout Dads Group Outreach Coordinator: Benjamin Tarne,
Leveraging Resources

Library with Miss Lynn offer kids informal time together to connect, lunch and listen to a book.
Did you know that under the program through the USDA, all PPS students and children ages 1-18 in Portland can receive free breakfast and lunch? Grout is a pick-up site offered outside Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 3 to 4:30 pm. You can find more details online.
If you feel you’re needing a little extra grocery help, please visit the walk-up Groceries 4 Grout pantry every Tuesday at Grout from 11:30-12:30 pm.
Rob Nosse will be hosting a Virtual Town Hall on January 31 from 10:30-12:00 pm and again from 3:00-4:30 pm to talk to voters in district about his work this session and what to expect out of the legislature in the coming months. You must register, please click here to learn more.
MAP Testing Updates

Grout Elementary PTA stands in solidarity with all Grout Teachers in opposition of the MAP test during Comprehensive Distance Learning and we have started a petition on Please consider signing our petition to Portland Public School District if you agree this that this testing should be stopped until students return to buildings. You can read more and sign the petition here:
January Dine Out at Atlas Pizza Results Are in and Dairy Hill Confirms February Grout Dine-out!

Thank you to all who dined out and helped raise $624 on January 7th. Our next dine-out will be at Dairy Hill on February 4. Our Dine-out Chair, Christine Barlow Reed is working hard to secure dine-outs for March. If you know of a restaurant you think might be willing, please contact her at

Thank You Messages

We’d like to thank Christine Barlow Reed for continuing to confirm Dine-outs to strategically fundraise in a mindful manner and Brianna Smeds for already committing to take on this role for next year. Additionally, we’d like to thank Erica Keeley, the Garden Club including active Grout Teachers for rolling out the Grout Garden Design Survey as they work towards replacing the current garden beds that are rotting out and in need of being rebuilt. Lastly, it was fantastic seeing Briana and Mike Mitchell at our Board meeting last week—thank you both for attending!
Groceries 4 Grout Continued Efforts

Groceries 4 Grout (G4G) is an organization that started as a small backpack initiative at Kenilworth Presbyterian Church that provided extra food to Grout Elementary School’s most vulnerable families over extended breaks. What started as a passion project is now a combined community strong effort with regular Food Security Stakeholder meetings and strategy sessions. G4G is currently seeking recurring donations to sustain current needs and expansion into 2021.
Here are some ways you can donate to the organization:

Food Donations: If you are interested in donating food resources, please contact Grout SUN Coordinator, Chelsea Kimura, at or call/text 503-278-1017.
Monetary Donations: We are encouraging all wishing to donate funds to do so through Brooklyn Action Corps who is currently conducting a 1:1 matching drive up to $750! Here’s how:
Mail a check to: Brooklyn Action Corps, PO Box 42341, Portland, OR 97242. Please add “G4G” in memo line.
Donate via PayPal: Brooklyn Action Corps site will direct you to donate through SE Uplifts donation page and you must indicate it is for BAC c/o G4G.
Questions? Please contact Laura Schaefer by email at for more information.
On the Horizon

We were just able to retrieve all Grout Elementary t-shirts stored at the school and inventory of sizes is underway. We can’t wait to coordinate getting our Kindergarteners and new-to-Grout students their free school spirit soon! Also, your Grout Grounds Committee has been working behind the scenes to do all they can with our vendor, Pacific Sports Turf, and PPS to ensure fixing the field can resume seamlessly once restrictions are lifted. Plus, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by OnPoint Credit Union about our $5,000 grant award for the field and we’ll be getting some press which is always nice. Auction Chair, Antonia Maurer, and leads have been reconfirming past-procured items to verify expiration extensions, etc. and are looking forward to making an announcement soon. Finally, succession planning is underway and it is exciting to see so many new faces interested!
In closing, and worth mentioning because I think it speaks to 1-of-3 identified core objectives we have as a PTA this year, to strengthen the relationship with the school and PTA, and it hits on part of our nations new President, Joe Biden’s, inaugural speech to listen to one another even if we disagree. I deeply respect our school Principal, Denise, and this week we both shared our perspectives on MAP testing which are different. The PTA has taken a stand in opposition and the District is directing our schools to administer them. We discussed the perspective, as was shared in today’s school news that it isn’t high stakes and its one of the ways to measure vs. the only way to measure to help give the administration some data in which to help plan future budgets, etc. The opposition positioned in the petitions argues that conducting the test during CDL does not produce enough pros to outweigh the cons and the inequity it poses is a major concern. My point is, while we may disagree with one another, no respect has been lost, and if anything, I believe it has been strengthened, and for that, on behalf of the PTA and our community, am grateful. No matter what, Grout’s Light is most definitely Bright.
Hugs and Love,
Jules Bolstad, Grout PTA President
Grout’s Light is Bright: Volume 28
#GroutElementaryStrong #GroutsLightisBright
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Twitter: @grout_pta
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MemberHub, Grout’s Membership Store

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