Second Grade,
Ms. DeVaney-Wilkes, (Ms. D.)

"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."

~ Saint Teresa of Calcutta

My name is Suzanne DeVaney-Wilkes, but I'm better known as Ms. D. at Holy Cross. In my family, I'm also known as Grandma Suzy. I have two awesome grandsons, Xander (6 yrs.) and Rowan (4 yrs.) and one amazing granddaughter (1 yr.). God is good!

This is my forty-second year of teaching, my thirty-fifth at Holy Cross. I can hardly believe how quickly time has passed! Most of my career has been spent teaching second grade. It's such an incredible year of academic, social, emotional, spiritual, and physical growth. I still have fond memories of being a second grader myself in Mrs. Edlund's class at The Madeleine School in Northeast Portland. My hope is that your child will feel the same way I did, and still do, about this special year of elementary school.

We all know that it takes many hands to make the work light! I am thrilled to have Mrs. Jen Washburn join the second grade learning community as our part time instructional aide.  Mrs. Washburn and I worked together several yeas ago, and I can hardly believe that I'll have this wonderful opportunity again.  What a blessing for all of us at Holy Cross!

Students need a safe, respectful, and faith-filled classroom environment where they can feel comfortable and confident in their learning. Effective classroom management directly enhances the learning environment. Students who consistently demonstrate behaviors that reflect the Schoolwide Learning Expectations (SLEs) become Busy Bee Self-Managers. The children really take these expectations to heart and do their best to become Busy Bees!

Second graders who have been baptized have the opportunity to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist during the school year. Please contact Andrea Swanson, the parish Director of Religious Education, if you are interested in having your child participate in the parish program. This is an important mission of the parish. We hope to deepen the children's knowledge of Catholicism and put their faith into action. The children come with open minds and hearts in order to more fully participate in the Church, the Body of Christ. Even though I am no longer directly involved in teaching the Sunday sacramental preparation classes, I will offer support by planning with Mrs. Swanson and teaching lessons about these Sacraments in the classroom.

It's wonderful to be part of the Holy Cross community. It feels like a home away from home, and there's no place I'd rather be!

Contact Ms. DeVaney-Wilkes


Important Dates:

Statewide Teacher In-service (No School) - Friday, Oct. 8th

Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences - Wednesday evening from 4:00-7:30 p.m., Oct. 20th (Regular School Day)

Thursday, Oct. 21st, all day beginning at 10:00 a.m. ~ No School for students

Friday, Oct. 22nd, 9:00 a.m. till noon ~ No School for Students


                                                         May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing as you trust in him.                                                                                                                                                                                             Romans 15:13

Look what second graders are learning . . .


  • Archdiocesan religion standards and the aligned text, Alive in Christ, will guide our lessons this year. Students will also have daily opportunities for prayer, living their faith, and participation in planning and hosting several school children's liturgies.
  • The first unit of study, Revelation, focuses on God's gifts to us, his promises, and his Word in the Holy Bible.
  • Here is the essential question explored in Unit 1: How does Jesus help us find our way to God his Father?


  • The i-Ready Classroom Mathematics curriculum, aligned with the Archdiocesan math standards, will be utilized to provided a framework for daily math instruction.
  • Unit 1, Numbers Within 20, focuses on addition, subtraction, and data.

Language Arts

  • Students are reading a variety of texts from different genres this year. The biggest shift in second grade is reading to learn, instead of learning to read. That being said, I understand that each learner is unique. Small guided groups enable the teacher to provide the targeted instruction that students need in order to be successful. The Journey's reading series and additional resources are utilized to help meet the needs of all the learners. Electronic books are one of these supplemental supports. Students may access these books at home by clicking on this link My teacher name on the login page is sdevaneywilkes. The school has purchased a license for classroom and home use. Please take advantage of this great resource!
  • The 6+1 Traits of Writing model is used schoolwide to teach and assess student writing. Second graders are currently utilizing the writing process of focusing their ideas, writing a rough draft, revising, editing, and publishing. Students are working on personal narratives based on a writing prompt. In grammar, we're learning about nouns,  and  we continue to review writing conventions such as capitalization, punctuation and spelling.
  • Students will practice Rebecca Sitton's 170 second grade core words. Direct instruction, practice, and weekly assessments all lead to the application of conventional spelling in every day writing.

  • Second graders will review the manuscript alphabet at the beginning of the school year before being introduced to cursive letters and joins! The Zaner-Bloser handwriting style will be used for both manuscript and cursive handwriting.


  • We will be investigating matter this trimester! Learners will identify the properties of solids, liquids, and gases and be able to explain what materials would be best for specific purposes.

Social Studies

  • Students practice geography skills daily by reading maps and answering questions related to them.
  • We are also studying our Schoolwide Learning Expectations and how they help us to be our personal best so we can be positive members of the second grade's learning community.


  • Second grade artists will be exploring line, shape, texture, and color this year. We will also have fun with seasonal arts and crafts projects. Sugar skulls were painted to honor the festival of the Day of the Dead (Oct. 31-Nov. 2).


The Second Grade Buzz Newsletter- Click here to read weekly highlights


Second Grade Back-to-School Information - Click to access the pdf.

2nd Grade Goals - Click for kid-friendly versions of math and language arts goals.

Children's books to help further conversations about race:


Book orders are optional each month.

Use this link to place your Scholastic Book Order online.

Due November 5th. 


2021-2022 ~ Sacramental Preparation Information for Families ~ Click here. 

Interested in having your child celebrate their Sacraments? This would include Baptism, First Reconciliation, and First Communion. Children can be baptized at any age. Any children who are in second grade or older are able to celebrate First Reconciliation and First Communion. Please join us for one of these two informational Zoom calls:
  • Sunday, October 24th at 6:00 pm
  • Tuesday, October 26th at 7:00 pm
Zoom information:
Meeting ID: 878 1024 2130

Passcode: HCSacPrep

If you have any questions, please email Andrea Swanson at Thank you!

Andrea Swanson

Director of Religious Education

Holy Cross Parish, North Portland

(503) 206-8069


Faith Formation

Learning about and having the opportunity to fully participate in the wonderful sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist makes second grade an extra special year!

First Holy Communion ~ Memories from the 2020-2021 school year

Congratulations to Evie who received her First Holy Communion on April 24th at St. Wenceslaus Church.

Congrats to Wesley, Luke, and CeCe who received their First Holy Communion on June 5th at Holy Cross Church.


Many thanks to Fr. Mark and Andrea Swanson!


Service Projects

The second grade works with the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry with whatever they may need. We also provide service to the parish by making various projects and writing notes to the homebound.