La Gazette

La Gazette highlights the variety of stories happening in our FAIS community every day—from moments in the classroom and around campus to service projects and off-campus activities.

Usually published twice per month during the school year, La Gazette is shared via email with current families and staff. It can also be found here, in our website archive. 


3rd-5th Graders Hold FAIS Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB) Virtually

FAIS held our 3rd-5th grade Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB) battles this week by Zoom. We had 29 students participate virtual, with teams reading 16 books and answering book-based trivia questions in a double elimination style tournament.


OBOB is a statewide reading competition that encourages students to read a variety of genres and authors. Teams (made up of four students) compete against each other for the chance to represent FAIS at the OBOB Regionals tournament in March.  State and Regionals were not held this year due to Covid. 


The winners… drumroll, please… were a team of 3rd graders, with the team name Book Battlers. Congratulations to the winning team, and a big round of applause for all the students who participated!


Our deep appreciation goes out to OBOB coordinators Margo Litwin, Kelly Post-Lewis, and Lubna Qureshi, as well as team parent-coaches, volunteer scorekeepers and moderators, and our school library team of Elizabeth and Giulia!

Reopening: Week 1

This week, we welcomed over 120 students back to campus for in-person classes! 


Toute Petite Section (early preschool for 2 1/2 year-olds) through pre-k returned to full days, five days per week. K/1st grade started with half days, and will transition to full days on March 1 (after ACE Week). It has been truly joyous to hear so many students around the campus. In previous posts, I have written about the cadence of the year for a school person like me. The opening of school is truly my New Year, and I am far more excited for September than January. I will admit that I had the same excitement and butterflies this past Monday as we welcomed our youngest students back. My silver lining during this supremely odd year? I get to experience three New Years (I know, a bit of a stretch)!


It has been a long (and winding) road to get here, but we have arrived here together because -- despite being physically distanced -- we continued to come together in spirit as a community. Thank you to our facilities team, Nurse Amanda, and all of our teachers, aides, and support staff for being such amazing stewards of our community’s safety and well being... and for helping to provide our students with a steady sense of “normal” during a time that has been anything but normal. 


Finally, thank you to all of you -- our families -- for your partnership. On behalf of all of us at FAIS,  it truly is a pleasure to work with your children, and witness their resilience. 


This is Week 1 and a first step. We are also committed to supporting students remotely who are not yet ready to return. I look forward to eventually welcoming all of our families back to campus. 

Middle School Students Organize Food Drive


Thank you to everyone who participated in last Friday’s food drive with LIFT Urban Portland.

Six 7th grade student volunteers helped unload donations...

Six families volunteered to drive donations to the warehouse...

And 1,467 pounds of food was donated by FAIS families to further LIFT Urban Portland’s mission to help reduce hunger and improve the lives of low-income residents in Northwest and Downtown Portland.

The Tilt

One of my favorite lessons when I taught middle school science was “Why do we have seasons?” It was always fascinating to watch kids’ faces as they contemplated this idea, then discovered it through a variety of activities. Why did we just move from summer to autumn last month? It’s the Tilt. Our Earth is tilted 23.5 degrees, and this subtlety along with our revolution around the sun creates beautiful and predictable change this time of year--it’s the Tilt. 


Right now, life seems tilted far past the normal 23.5 degrees. Kids are at home all day, we are all on endless Zoom calls, and our typical and predictable routines and activities are neither typical nor predictable. We have all had moments in the past two months where we wondered if the Tilt was so severe that we would simply fall off the proverbial edge. But we didn’t (thankfully!). 


The leaves have changed, the air has cooled, the pumpkins have arrived, and our first virtual Fete du Vin was a success. These are all proof that our planet is not tilted 180 degrees, 50 degrees, or even 24 degrees. Earth is still at 23.5 degrees, and it will be for a very long time. 


We are in a moment, longer than we hoped, that is wobbly, unmoored, and tilted at times. But, it is temporary and it is important to notice the predictable things around us -- like the change in the color of the leaves and the frost in the mornings. We also have our community, our children, our families, and friends to keep us on our axis and revolving around the sun. This gives me great joy and comfort, and I hope you all find the moments to remind yourself of these things.

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