Getting to school! Community
Transitional School
Providing important educational services to children who are homeless or otherwise at risk of school failure.




The Tall Girl








"For our students, school is a refuge from the trauma and hardships of poverty and uncertainty—a place where they feel a sense of community and belonging. This is a place where they have room to learn, laugh with friends and build hope."
—Cheryl M. Bickle, Principal and Teacher



September 16, 2014
  Eat, drink, and be donating!
McMenamins Kennedy School is having a friends and family night for CTS next monday, September 22. Have a meal at the Kennedy School Courtyard Restaurant From 5 pm to close. The Kennedy School will donate 50 percent of all food and beverage sales to CTS. This will be our 2nd annual. Join us at the Kennedy School at 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave.





August 28, 2014
  25 Years and Counting!
Welcome to our 25th year teaching homeless children. CTS started in 1990 as a small program at the downtown Portland YWCA. The founders knew that homeless children have a difficult time getting an education and are at great risk for school failure. They wanted to create a stable place where the students could learn the academic and personal skills they need to eventually escape lives similar to their parents. Our goals at 25 are the same. CTS students learn how to read and do math. They also learn that their teachers have expectations of them. Barriers are recognized, but homelessness is not an excuse for giving up. Some of our former students who spent their childhoods sleeping in homeless shelters and cars are now creating their own futures in high school, college and beyond. We will continue to help at-risk children take charge of their futures -- with a lot of help from you. So, Happy New (School) Year to all of our friends.

  Day 1
CTS started the 2014-15 school year on Wednesday August 27th. Fifty returning kids and new kids arrived on our buses looking excited, curious and a little nervous, but mostly happy. Happy to have some routine in their lives. Happy to see old friends and make new ones. Happy to get their new school supplies and backpacks. Happy to have breakfast and lunch. The little kids learned how to line up, keep their hands to themselves and pay attention to their teacher. No one cried and no one threw up. The 2nd-5th graders learned about Pacific Northwest Indians and the evolution of whales. The older kids wrote poems and learned about Cubism and exponents. Lunch was meatball sandwiches. At the end of the day, students and staff trooped outside to participate in the CTS annual First Day tradition, a toast to the new year with root beer floats. Before the toast, Principal Cheryl Bickle told the students that this was the beginning of the school's 25th year. She asked everyone to take a minute to think about their hopes for the year. We slurped down the floats. The kids got on the buses. We are launched!


  Summer thanks
Before Summer 2014 fades into memory, we need to get our appreciation on the record:

Thanks to all who donated money and supplies.

Thanks to Argonaut and the PK Wall Charity Golf Tournament.

Thanks for the $20,000 from Yoshida's Sand in the City event.

Thanks for the $2,023 from the Oregon Brewers Festival, all proceeds from the Crater Lake Soda root beer tent.

Thanks to all the great volunteers who gave part of their summer to us and made our summer school session and our fund-raisers successful. We couldn't have done it without you!

  Attention CTS shoppers
There's a certain kind of person who loves to shop for school supplies every fall. Are you that kind of person? Great! Our Wish List on our website is updated for the fall. (You can also donate office supplies, clothes, cereal and more.) There is another kind of person who hates to shop and would rather give gift certificates. Great! our Wish List also has suggestions of stores we like to receive gift certificates from. Bring all donations to CTS between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. M-F. One other important thing: THANKS!

  Save the date
Get ready for the second annual Friends and Family Night for CTS at McMenamins Kennedy School! On Monday September 22, McMenamins will donate half of the sales from the Kennedy School Courtyard Restaurant to CTS. Join us between 5 p.m. and midnight and enjoy a meal. Last year's fun and tasty event raised $2,155. So, let's do it again and try for even more! See you after school at Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave.

  More money from Fred's and you
Our latest Community Rewards check from Fred Meyers came this summer. It was $324.63, thanks to all our friends who have signed up to have Fred's send us a donation when they shop there with their Rewards Cards. So, sign up, if you haven't yet, for this easy way to donate. You will still get all of your rewards, and CTS will get a little something, too. Just link your Rewards Card to Community Transitional School online at Community Rewards.


June 30, 2014
How can it be? The 24th CTS school year is over. Our four 8th-grade graduates are high school bound. But somehow, we are not lonely. Maybe it's because we have 36 kids and a hamster keeping us busy during our six-week summer school. Cheryl and Jennipher are the summer teachers, assisted by teacher aide Hilda, PE/Art instructor Lorie, and several of our outstanding CTS volunteers. Tom is manning the office and making the buses run on time. Summer school ends July 17th. But wait! there's more! We hope you can come to one or both of our fund-raisers coming up in late July. You can read about them below, along with more about graduation and summer school. By the way, we have few volunteer spots open for both fund-raisers. Let us know if you are interested. And a big thanks to those who signed up!


  'CTS, my safe haven'
Some people think the ceremony that celebrates the passage from 8th grade to high school should be called "promotion," not "graduation." The thinking is it's not as big an accomplishment as completing high school or college. But each year at our own ceremony, we are reminded that it is a really big deal for our 8th graders. Some will be the first in their families to go to high school. All of them had big barriers to overcome to get this far. We like to think we helped them develop the determination to do it. So, congratulations to the Class of 2014. Here is what one of our high school-bound graduates said at our celebration: "When I came here they told me that I wasn't doing well, but they didn't give up on me. Instead, they pushed me to do better, not for them, but for myself...During my three and a half years here I have changed a lot. I am doing much better in school, and I know I have a bright future ahead of me...Without the support of CTS, my safe haven, I would not be here, right now, giving this speech."

  Listen! It's the sound of brains at work
It's quiet at CTS this summer. But if you walk down the hall and listen closely, you can hear 36 kids' brains thinking hard. (We have a hamster, named Roosevelt, but you can't hear his brain at all.) Our summer session is mornings, four days a week, for six weeks. But we are really packing in a lot in that short time. The students are in book groups. The older kids are reading Harry Potter. The younger kids are reading Calvin Coconut. The older kids are working on math and American history. Younger kids are doing projects on snakes and sharks. They are writing in journals. They are painting sunflowers. They have PE. They have breakfast and lunch. And when school is over for the day and the buses take them home...they have homework!


  It's hot! It's sandy! It's art!
The giant sand art will last for a few days. The donations can permanently change lives. CTS is one of five charities that will benefit from one of Portland's most popular summer events. Each summer, Yoshida's Sand in the City raises funds for children's programs while they turn Pioneer Courthouse Square (Portland's living room) into a giant sandbox. Volunteers from businesses form teams and spend hours in the sun carving big and crazy sand sculptures. There's music and kids' activities, too.

This is the first year CTS has been invited to be a beneficiary. So come on down! Bring the kids! It's July 18, 19 and 20. Suggested donations to enter are $4 for individuals, $10 for a family of any size. All the money goes to the charities.


  It's cool! It's wet! It's root beer!
The Oregon Brewers Festival celebrates craft brewed beverages at what has become in 27 years the largest festival of its kind in the nation, drawing up to 80,000 visitors each July. Minors are welcome when accompanied by a parent. And minors don't have to go thirsty. They can drink handcrafted root beer at the Crater Lake Root Beer Garden. It's free for kids and designated drivers, and a buck for others. Those bucks go to CTS. Some of us will be around to help pour root beer and encourage donations. There's music and food, too. It's July 23-27 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Admission to the festival is free. If you want beer, you have to buy a tasting glass and wooden tokens. The root beer booth will happily take cash.

  Reminder
Sign up, if you haven't yet, to have Fred Meyers send a donation to CTS every time you shop there with your Rewards Card. You will still get all of your rewards, and CTS will get a little something, too. Just link your Rewards Card to Community Transitional School online at Community Rewards.


May 30, 2014
  Science matters

Tom Lechner, Senior CTS Cartoonist, drew the Rube Goldberg device at the right to celebrate the science fair. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist who was famous for depicting complicated devices that performed simple tasks in convoluted ways. As you contemplate this drawing, you may recognize important CTS elements and mascots: a CTS recess ball cart, Roosevelt the hamster, and popcorn, which is popped fresh weekly by the older students for Popcorn Fridays.

CTS students used pinwheels, sugar in colored water, pop cans and tinsel to illustrate concepts like energy, density and static electricity at the science fair. Other popular topics included How to Make a Moose Call and Your Beating Heart. Of course, every science fair needs a little dry ice. Science Fair Coach Sandy Miller was in charge of that. Sandy, a former science teacher, has been bringing science into the 6th-8th grade class for several years in the form of M.E.O.W. (Mini Experiment of the Week). Thanks, Sandy, for your volunteer time and for helping the class take their interest in science to the next level. Let's keep that dry ice smoking!

Fair face



And another

Cheryl's class wrote letters thanking the older kids for inviting them to the science fair. Here are some excerpts.

"I liked the Science Fair. I liked the Moose call We put the string in the water then we scratched it and it made noice."

"It was interesting to hear all of these things that we did not know all of these years in life."

"I learned a lot of facts. Next year when I'm in sixth grade, I don't think I can do better."

"The science fair was really fun because they explained how the stuff works."

"I love the part when I got to see the swishing bottles and when I got to do one too."

"I like the moose call and the one that tells you about your heart."

"I like the bubble thing and the one with the ice."

"I liked the moose noise. You can hunt moose with noise."

  Reminders
Sign up, if you haven't yet, to have Fred Meyers send a donation to CTS every time you shop there with your Rewards Card. You will still get all of your rewards, and CTS will get a little something, too. Just link your Rewards Card to Community Transitional School online at Community Rewards.


May 16, 2014
  Lake Oswego Farmer's market
This Saturday May 17 (8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.), Phyllis Seeger will again have a booth at the Lake Oswego Farmer's Market to raise money for the School! She will also have some of the few remaining cookbooks full of Phyllis' favorites.




February 28, 2014
Happy almost-spring!
We're saying goodbye to February. This short month sure has been busy. We all survived Snowpocalypse. We celebrated Presidents Day and Valentine's Day. Our friends at New to You Simply Posh, a high-end second-hand store in Lake Oswego, celebrated the Super Bowl for us by having a sale on game day for those who prefer to shop. They made $400 for us. CTS staff, volunteers and friends had a great time at Lompoc Brewing's "Chowder Challenge," a contest to determine who makes Portland's best clam chowder. Lompoc and the chowder heads raised $3,500 for CTS. Here's some photos of Valentine's Day and snow.






February 19, 2014

  Sustainable shopping AND funding for CTS

Modified Style Portland is having its annual Clothing Swap, a benefit for Community Transitional School and p:ear. It is from 3-7 p.m. March 2 at Bridgeport Brewing Company, 1313 N.W. Marshall St. Bring a bag of gently used clothes and/or fabric and $5. You can go through all the tons of stuff others bring and take home anything you want. If you don't bring things to exchange, the cost is $10. If you like to dig through bags of clothes, shoes and accessories, and enjoy a no-host bar, this is the event for you. And in the fall, Modified Style Portland will hold its annual fashion show featuring new designers using recycled fabric - also a benefit for CTS and p:ear. We'll keep you posted.


January 31, 2014
Yikes! Where did January go? We're just barely making deadline with this update. But we've been so busy! There's so much learning going on, you can hear the kids' brains working. Jennipher's 6th-8th graders did a power point presentation about the war in Sudan, after reading "A Long Walk to Water," by Linda Sue Park. One of the characters is one of the Lost Boys, and another is a girl who spends most of each day getting water from a well miles from her home. It was an eye-opener for our students and it made them feel grateful. They all said if they had lots of money, they'd help build wells in Africa. In our class of little kids, Akina's Pre-K and kindergarteners have gotten all the way through the alphabet, and they can all count by 10s. Now they're working on rhymes and counting by 5s. See stories below for more classroom news, future fundraisers, a call for volunteers and a new way to support CTS by shopping at Fred Meyers.


  Happy Vietnamese New Year
Minh Trang Nguyen spoke to Cheryl's 5th and 6th graders about Vietnamese New Year customs and traditions. Dressed in a festive red ao dai for the holiday, Minh brought treats for all to taste, including lotus seed, dried flavored coconut and a rice cake wrapped in banana leaves. Minh also talked about her experiences growing up in Saigon and immigrating to Portland with her family when she was 10. Minh has five daughters, and four are at CTS. One of them, Lien, is among the students in Cheryl's class who have been reading "Inside Out & Back Again" by Thanhha Lai. It's about a Vietnamese girl who immigrated to Alabama in 1975. Some of the character's experiences are similar to what Minh went through. (Minh's littlest daughter is pictured with her mom.)

  CTS wants you! In July!
CTS needs help with two big fund-raising events during the last two weeks in July. One event is July 18,19 & 20. And one is July 23-27. Both will be downtown. We're just checking now to see how many people might be available. We don't need a hard and fast commitment. But if you think you could help out for a shift or two, or want to know more, send an email to Marcia at marharris@comcast.net. Thanks! And don't accuse us of not thinking ahead.


  Budding writers
In Akina's class, the 1st graders are keeping writing journals. They have special journal-writing pencils and they have a list of writing topics to choose from. Here's one about a girl's favorite food, vegetable tacos. (And it's illustrated, too!)
My fanrit food is tokcow with no mete in it
I like tokocows because it teaseis like vechbol tokow
and that is wiy I like tokcows so much.

In Cheryl's class, the 5th and 6th graders wrote free-form poems titled "Wishes I Keep to Myself." Here are excerpts from four of them:
Wish I was a normal girl
in this world
Someone who has
a dad, lives in a house
and has a friend.

Wish I didn't have to worry
if me and
my family will find somewhere
to sleep tonight.

Wish to be appreciated for the way I am --
the guy who likes the
opposite of everyone else.

Wish mom had a job
to care for us,
and to have money to live
in this heavy town.


  Save the date: Chowder Challenge
Are you ready for some chowder?

Our friends at Lompoc Brewing are holding their 8th annual Chowder Challenge from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday February 22. For $10, you can help judge samples of chowder from a dozen of Portland's brewpubs and restaurants, all vying for the coveted Chowder Cup. It's all tasty, and people last year had a great time. Best of all, the money goes to CTS. The family- friendly event includes live music, a tented beer garden, a kids' area and raffles for food and drink. It's at Lompoc's Fifth Quadrant, 3901 N. Williams Ave. See you there!

  Attention Fred Meyers shoppers!
If you shop at Fred Meyers and have a Rewards Card, you can sign up to send CTS a little money under Fred Meyers' new program. Just link your Rewards Card to Community Transitional School online at Community Rewards. You can search for us by name or by our nonprofit number (93396). Then, every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you will help CTS earn a donation from Freddy's. And don't worry: You still earn all of your Rewards points, fuel points and rebates.


  RIP Washington. Hello, Roosevelt!
Finally, some sad news and some happy news. Students and staff were sad when Washington, the CTS hamster, died this month. Washington was as friendly a rodent as you'll ever meet. He really seemed to enjoy the attention he got, living in Cheryl's classroom, playing with the kids and having the run of the whole school in his big plastic ball. After a proper mourning period, Cheryl got her class a new hamster. In keeping with our tradition of naming hamsters after U.S. presidents, we now have Roosevelt (Franklin, not Teddy). Roosevelt is kind of shy, so far. He is white and rust-colored. He looks like Humphrey the hamster from the books that inspired the kids and Cheryl to get a classroom hamster. Washington, pictured here, was black and white and furrier. Stay tuned for more about Roosevelt, as he settles in and gets used to his new home.


January 15, 2014
  A new way to donate!
You can help Community Transitional School earn donations when you shop at Fred Meyer with your Rewards card. It's easy and actually costs you nothing. Sign up for Freddy's new Community Rewards program by linking your Rewards Card to Community Transitional School at www.fredmeyer.com/communityrewards. You can search for us by our name or by our non-profit number (93396). Then, every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you are helping CTS earn a donation! You still earn all of your Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates.


November 27, 2013
  Craft sale for CTS
Multnomah Friends Meeting's annual holiday craft sale will be Sunday Dec. 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 4312 S.E. Stark St. A CTS volunteer will have her popular photo cards for sale. All proceeds will benefit CTS. Questions? Contact Elizabeth at 503-830-1691.


November 20, 2013
  Get into the holiday spirit and benefit CTS

Lots of holiday stuff is coming up! Here's a short list:

Kidsgiving: Entercom Radio's annual food drive is Thursday, Nov. 21, at Aaron's stores throughout the Portland area. This year's drive benefits both CTS and the Salvation Army. Radio personalities from five Entercom stations will be at different Aaron's sites at different times during the day. The details are on the Kidsgiving web site. And if you bring your food to the Aaron's in Clackamas from noon to 2 p.m. you can enter to win tickets to one of this Sunday's Trans-Siberian Orchestra concerts.


Trans-Siberian Orchestra: For many Portlanders, the annual T.S.O. concerts kick off the holiday season. The high-energy shows always bring a message of peace and good will. Best of all, this band doesn't just talk the talk. They walk the walk. Each year, the T.S.O. donates $1 to CTS for each ticket sold. The afternoon and evening concerts are Sunday, Nov. 24 at the Moda Center (formerly the Rose Garden). For ticket information, see the KGON web site.

Special Auction for T.S.O. fans: But wait! There's more! KGON is having a T.S.O. Between-Concerts Party that will feature a silent auction of five gorgeous electric guitars, signed by the group. All proceeds go to CTS! The event, which includes other auction items and prizes, will be from 5-7 p.m. in the Moda Center's Suite 130, right by the fountains near the south entrance.

The Red Mitten Christmas Bazaar: One of the region's best craft sales is having a preview night Dec. 4 from 5-8 p.m. that benefits CTS and Eternal Impact Ministries. Admission is $3 or school supplies for CTS. The preview is at the Warner Grange Hall, 10100 New Era Road, Canby. The actual Red Mitten Christmas Bazaar is two weekends, Dec. 5-8 and 12-15 at the Grange Hall.

  We spy pie
Cheryl recently created Pie Day for her book group, after the group finished reading "Pie" by Sara Weeks. It's the story of a girl who is grieving for her late Aunt Polly, who happens to be a world-class pie maker. It took the group several weeks to read the book, and they were getting hungrier with each chapter. So, as a surprise, Cheryl asked volunteers to bake pies and bring them for the kids to sample. We had 11 pies! We had apple, sour cherry, all kinds of berry, chocolate cream and pecan...and more! We even had a peanut butter-raspberry cream pie, which was a recipe from the book. Other classes and the staff got to sample the pies, too. After a very short time, there were just a few crumbs left, along with some very content children. (And adults.) Now, we're all in practice for pumpkin pie next week!


  Rockets forever!
The CTS Rockets Volleyball Team just finished their sixth season in the city parks and rec fall youth league. This is really a big deal for our students, who typically have no experience with team sports. The Rockets experience will help them when they transition to public schools and want to play on teams. And Rockets team members also benefit while they play because they have to keep up their grades, attendance and good behavior to stay on the team. They also get exercise, which means they can eat more pie! Thanks to all of our friends who helped fund the Rockets' 2013 fall season. And thanks to Coach Lori and Assistant Coach Mac.


  All we need is movies
Students in our After School Leadership program have gone into the popcorn business. They are making and selling popcorn on Fridays at school. They also are learning about pricing, marketing and the other ins and outs of running a business. Our 5th-8th grade students can sign up for the program and commit themselves to staying after school one day a week to hone their leadership skills while working on special projects. Past projects have included making greeting cards to sell, putting on a play for the 8th grade graduation ceremony, and getting Nike to send soccer equipment to children in a poor Nicaraguan village.

  Give while you grocery shop
If you shop at Safeway stores, you can register to have Safeway send CTS a percentage of what you spend each time you shop. The program is called escrip, and all supporters have to do is register their Safeway Club Cards and choose CTS to be their preferred organization for contributions. One small inconvenience is that purchases made with a credit card do not earn contributions. But just about any other kind of payment is fine, including debit card, check, cash and gift card. Sign up at the escrip web site (click on supporters, then on sign up.)


October 31, 2013
Happy Halloween!




October 18, 2013
Our Quaker friends are having a fundraiser for CTS this Saturday. Stop on by, if you can. Family-friendly (Friendly)!




October 04, 2013
  More crafts for CTS
Our friend Phyllis Seeger will have her last-of-the-season craft booth open for business on Saturday October 5th at the Lake Oswego Farmers' Market. Phyllis has been running the craft booth for us for many years. All proceeds go to CTS. You can also catch Phyllis and her crafts at the Red Mitten Craft Bazaar at the Grange in Canby in December. The Red Mitten people are also friends, and they will collect school supplies for us at the Dec. 4th preview party to the sale. (We'll remind you!)


September 25, 2013
  Like to stretch? Like to support CTS?
You can do both at the same time.
Grab a towel and head down to Bikram Yoga Fremont Street for a hot yoga class at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 29. Director J. Michael Langenes is featuring CTS as its charity of the month. The studio is at 4831 N.E. Fremont Street #2. Classes start on time, so come early. There is no charge for the class, but donations of any amount to CTS are welcome. Bring your own towel and mat, or rent them for a small


September 18, 2013
  It's a school night: Kennedy School benefits CTS
Come join us for dinner at McMenamins Kennedy School Courtyard Restaurant on Monday, September 30. The generous people at the Kennedy School will donate 50% of all sales from food and drinks purchased between 5 p.m. and midnight on that evening to CTS. It's called Friends and Family Night. So, bring your friends! Bring your family! And if you haven't been there, you'll enjoy wandering the old school halls and looking at the artwork. The restaurant is transformed from the old school's cafeteria, and it offers burgers, sandwiches pizza, salads, tater tots, pasta and more, including, of course, McMenamins handcrafted ales. It's at 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave. See you after school!


September 04, 2013

  We're back
We saw some really happy faces when our 24th year of school started on Wednesday August 28th.
We had 64 kids enrolled, and 63 showed up. Lunch was sweet and sour chicken. We toasted the new year with root beer floats, as we always do. Jennipher's 6th-8th graders were in charge of making the floats. At least one middle school age child was shocked to have homework on the first day. Cheryl and Jennipher's classes watched the Martin Luther King "I Have a Dream Speech." And the little kids - well, the little kids learned about walking down the hall to the lunchroom in a straight line, while not touching the walls or each other. Everyone learned which school bus to get on to get home.

  Welcome, Akina
CTS has a new full-time teacher. Akina Kawauchi is teaching our Pre-K through 1st grade class. She's new on our staff, but Akina already knows many of our students because she was the CTS part-time federal Title I instructor for three years. Akina is teaching the class that Jennipher Cochenour has taught for 20 years. Jennipher is now teaching the 6th-8th grade, replacing Marna Tisdel, who retired in June after 23 years at CTS. Akina says she is thrilled and honored to join the CTS team. "Boy, I've got some big shoes to fill! As the 'newbie,' I'm looking forward to learning from Cheryl and Jennipher, the veterans, and from my students."

  What we need
Our Wish List has been updated for fall. Some things are marked URGENT! These are things we can't seem to get enough of. They are usually boring (plain white copy paper, ice packs) and sometimes pricey (lice shampoo, printer ink). But they are what we need. There are lots of other options, too, which are more fun to buy and also needed, from colored pencils to shoes. So, it's up to you. A bit of explanation about clothes: Underwear and shoes must be new. If you buy shoes, please choose athletic shoes that have a bit of style, the kind a kid would actually want to wear. All other clothes can be new or gently used. You can bring your donations to our office between 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F. One other important thing: THANKS!

  Thanks for helping this summer
We have lots of thanks to give to summer helpers, including: the volunteers who worked with the summer school kids; all who donated money and supplies; our friends at Argonaut for holding the annual PK Wall Charity Golf Tournament for us; and to those volunteers who helped us raise $3,361 for the school by pouring root beer at the five-day Oregon Brewers Festival. Special thanks go to the Festival sponsors and to Curt Gouverneur of Crater Lake Soda, who supplied oceans of root beer for the festival. He also donates root beer twice a year to CTS for our school's first-day-of-school and last-day-of-school root beer float toasts tradition. See above!


Read old news...








Friendship
The word of the moment is
Friendship


Here's what
a 1st grader
had to say
about another
word of the
month:



Recess in verse!
Recess is
 laughing
 jumping
 Recess Queens
 Recess King
 Screaming
 crying
 Teachers talking
 ropes slapping
 friends chasing
 Kick balls slamming
 tether ball slapping
 jump ropes rhyming
Doing anything
you want to do
until the whistle
blows recess' end

Contact the school at ctschool@comcast.net