Grout’s Light is Bright: Volume 33

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 our summer volume of

A summer edition of your PTA + curated news to help keep us all connected.

Grout PTA Vision
Collective-collaborative action on a continuum to pivot our non-profit, volunteer-led organization towards a place where everyone feels valued, voices feel heard, and we break down barriers to participation.
Since 2020, we have communicated the goals of our PTA are structured into 3 main areas that are relationship based, strategically focused and equity driven.


Hello Grout Family!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer! I’d like to take a moment to thank all volunteers and our amazing Grout teachers and staff from last year before we launch into this year’s announcements—you all rock! Thank you, thank you! Also, I’d like to say thank you as your outgoing PTA president for allowing me the opportunity to serve this wonderful community the past 2 years.

Even amidst facing a global pandemic, wildfires, distance learning and embracing how we can honor, support, and stand with one another during the social injustices our world embodies this Grout family stood strong, stood together, and continued to find ways to connect. We almost doubled our budget in the past 2 years as we found ways to grow, thinking outside the traditional fundraising box, through grants and opportunities that doubled down on our social media reach lessening the burden on our immediate community members. While apart, we sought ways to synch with the larger Southeast Portland PTA community developing a coalition that created broader support while gaining efficiencies, like partnering to purchase 1 business Zoom account that reduced our cost considerably. We went ultra conservative on our budget the moment COVID entered our collective landscape while saying committed to support our teachers, garden program and food security efforts. We worked in lockstep with Grout S.U.N. (Chelsea, my friend, you are fierce!) and Groceries 4 Grout (shout out to Laura Schaeffer for always getting it done!) to make sure not only our Grout families in need were fed but expanded it to our Southeast Portland neighboring schools—starting the first ever Grout Food Security partnership. We kept our pulse on the issues facing our education system considering all sides, but always acting on behalf of what we believed in our hearts to be best for our Grout kids.

I’m incredibly proud to have been a part of it all.  My family is moving in just a few days, but I am stoked to announce your outstanding new PTA board for the upcoming school year. Please do keep in touch as I’d love to stay connected. Until then…

Hugs and love,

Jules Bolstad, outgoing PTA President or 602-703-5854


Please join us in welcoming our new Grout PTA President, Antonia Maurer, and 2021-22 board members! To learn a little more about each member, read on! A special thank you to our outgoing board members from last year including Sue Ledgerwood, Charlotte Hales, Christine Barlow-Reed and Benjamina Balmer.

Tonight, will be the first board meeting of the year, a friendly meet and greet with a light agenda. All are welcome!

Aug 3, 2021, at 7:00 PM. Click here to join the Zoom Meeting.

Antonia Maurer, President

Hello to all Grout families,

My name is Antonia Maurer, and I am the guardian/aunt of a (soon to be) 3rd grader. I am excited to serve as the incoming PTA President for the 2021-2022 school year. I am looking forward to being able to connect more both in person and via Zoom with all families next school year. We have an amazing group of people who have volunteered to take on key positions on the PTA Board for next year, but we always have room for more. So, if you have an interest, a passion, or a desire to help, we are looking forward to working with you this school year. We would love for all of you to be involved in helping us shape our mission and to help us reflect the diversity of our Grout community. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me or anyone else on the Board. We are here to serve all Grout families and support teachers and staff to ensure our students are successful. I hope you all have a great summer and look forward to seeing you in the fall.

All the best,

Antonia, President, Grout PTA

Kim Koch, Vice President

Kim has been looking to get more involved in the PTA now that her 3 kids are of school age. She was an active member of our IDEA committee last year. Kim has been an OBOB coach before and was excited to see the program continue. She likes to organize so the clothing swap was a great fit and was happy to pick up the Ice Cream Social because she loves the idea of an end of year celebratory event for the kids. Her interest in the VP role was such a bonus! She’s committed to attending board and general meetings and willing to help in additional ways making her board interest, commit to chairing 3 committees and the VP role a perfect fit.

Elizabeth McPherson, Treasurer

Elizabeth served as our Treasurer trainee last year attending board meetings and getting brought up to speed by our then Treasurer, Kim Robinson. Kim did an amazing job organizing and aligning all our paperwork, including creating valuable how-to documentation to ease Elizabeth into the role. Elizabeth is excited to jump in and we are honored!

Brianna Smeds, Secretary

Brianna served as our Classroom Connect Lead, was the trainee of the Dine-outs role in addition to participating on the IDEA committee last year. She and her husband have 2 boys attending Grout in the Fall and are just loveliest family. Brianna is excited to be involved and we couldn’t be happier to have her!

Kathy Kershaw, Communications Coordinator

Kathy is our fearless comms and social media guru bringing structure and strategy to events and promotional activities. She has been an integral member of the board bringing calm. with an equity lens on all subjects, and a fun sense of humor. We are grateful to have her leadership on the board another year!

Trina Marmarelli, Auction/Fundraising Co-chair

Trina works at REED College in IT and while she is happy to co-chair the Auction (running the software and procurement side of the house as we work to gain an event planning co-chair) she is equally, if not more, excited to pivot and be our Fundraising Coordinator. More to be discussed on that front naturally, but we are excited to have Trina join.

Erica Keeley and Mary Hayes, Garden Club Co-chairs

Erica has served as the Garden Club co-chair for the past 2 years and is excited about bring Mary into the green fold! They look forward to continued management of the Grow Portland relationship, community outreach events, such as grounds clean-up and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Erica’s massive efforts years past to secure grants and funding to rejuvenate the Grout garden. We are massively grateful and excited to have them both!

Christine Pitts, IDEA Chair

Christine has helped prop up this year’s IDEA committee and is excited to continue the work next year. We are hoping to secure a BiPOC volunteer for the remaining co-chair spot. Christine is a former classroom teacher and is an education policy leader working for PPS. I just learned via LI that has been selected as the 2020-21 Emerging Education Policy Scholar at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute (way to go, Christine!). Her insights and dedication to students is priceless. She and her husband have four children at Grout.

Anna Giles, Member-at-Large: Fall Festival Co-chair

Anna and her family were new to Grout last year, and Portland, having moved here last November from Georgia. They’ve lived in CA and WA and even amidst the pandemic are loving Portland our Grout community. She was looking to get more involved. While also interested in Movie Nights and the Book Fair, she loves all things Fall and felt the festival would be the best fit. She is also looking for a co-pilot, if you’re interested! We are still determining how this event will shake out, but it is such good fun!

Ryan Phillips, Member-at-Large: Movie Nights Chair

Ryan and his family were new to Grout last year, and Portland, having moved here last Summer. He has been looking to get more involved in the PTA. Reviewing the list he thought Movie Nights would be a great fit for his bandwidth.

Ryan’s background is in higher education. They have two children at Grout entering 1st and 4th grade. He believes it will be easier collaborate on Movie Night planning by being a Board member attending meetings and is looking forward to meeting more families at Grout and would like to help garner more male representation in PTA efforts.

Sharese Jewel, Grout Teacher Representative

Sharese is ONE of our amazing teachers at Grout and loved by all (that’s right, I said it – she rocks). She is our FIRST EVER teacher representative on the PTA board. Given most of our meetings are now virtual, she has volunteered to participate and will bring priceless value and perspective.  


Grout’s Light is Bright: Volume 33

#GroutElementaryStrong #GroutsLightisBright
Connect with us – Like Us – Follow Us:
: @GroutSchoolPTA
Instagram: grout_pta
Twitter: @grout_pta

Konstella, Grout PTA’s Parent Communication App
MemberHub, Grout’s Membership Store

PTA EVENTS – Save the Dates!

To synch on your device, go to Konstella’s Calendar and click ‘Synch to My Calendar.’

  • Every Friday: Groceries 4 Grout 10:00-11:00 am
  • Please check out Konstella for the latest list!


Do you want to connect with other families at Grout but not sure how?
Grout PTA can help through its secure online communications platform called Konstella. On the Konstella website or phone App, you can connect with other Grout families and find out the latest PTA news at Grout- all you have to do is sign-up! Here’s how:

  • Get Started: Go to
  • Language Settings: There is an option from the website to select a language (at the bottom of the page), and once that is done the website will always show up in that language.
  • Assign: Assign your child(ren) to their classroom 

Open PTA Board and Committee Positions

We worked hard to recruit board members and committee leads for this coming school year last year, but there are still awesome spots left! Are you interested in building relationships with fellow Grout parents/caregivers and engaging in rewarding-fun efforts to benefit all our Grout kids? Check out open spots below and contact us today at to learn more details. *Indicates 1 co-chair is already committed, and we are actively seeking 1 more to share responsibilities.

  • Auction Co-chair*
  • Fall Festival Co-chair*
  • IDEA Co-Chair*
  • Teacher Appreciation Fall and Spring Week Chair
  • PTA Kids Club Chair
  • Classroom Connect Leads Chair and Leads by Classroom


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 Dad/male. If you have questions about something and would love to connect with other parents–this is a great way to start! To sign up, please visit Konstella here.

  • Kindergarten CCL: Heather Kalowsky, or 503-515-4797
  • 1st Grade CCL: Open Volunteer Role
  • 2nd Grade CCL: Open Volunteer Role
  • 3rd Grade CCL: Open Volunteer Role
  • 4th Grade CCL: Open Volunteer Role
  • 5th Grade CCL: Open Volunteer Role
  • Grout Dads Group Outreach Coordinator: Benjamin Tarne,

Groceries 4 Grout

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 in 2021. Questions? Please contact Laura Schaefer by email at for more information.

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: You can now donate directly online via the GIVE NOW button on the Kenilworth Church website.

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