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 (7 yrs.) and Rowan (4 yrs.) and one amazing granddaughter (2 yrs.). God is good!

This is my forty-third 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 as our part time instructional aide. She will be working each day till 12:45 p.m.  Also joining the second grade team is Miss Mykaela Onishi. She is a senior at the University of Portland and will be completing her Student Teaching experience here in order to fulfill the requirements to become a certified teacher. 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:

School Picture Day ~ Wednesday, September 28

Field Trip to Plumper Pumpkin Patch ~ Thursday, October 6th



                                                                                                                                Let us not grow tired of doing good.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Galatians 6:9

Look what second graders are learning now . . .


  • We will begin the year by familiarizing ourselves with the Alive in Christ textbook resource
  • Next, we will explore Unit 1: Revelation. The essential question is, "How does Jesus help us find our way to God the Father?" In this first unit, the focus is on appreciating the many gifts that God has given us, especially Jesus, God's only Son. We'll also experience Bible stories that teach us about God's unconditional love.


  •         Students will be completing a diagnostic assessment that aligns with the i-Ready Math curriculum.
  •         Unit 1 math lessons will concentrate on numbers within 20 (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 many other resources are utilized to help meet the needs of all the students. Electronic books are also utilized during reading time. 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 school-wide 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. Writing conventions such as capitalization, punctuation and spelling is on-going. In grammar, we're reviewing nouns.
  • Second graders will study Rebecca Sitton's 170 Core Words for Level 2 in 27 units throughout the school year. Spelling Core Words-Grade 2
  • Second graders are practicing manuscript, or print, handwriting skills. We use the Zaner-Bloser handwriting style. Later this fall, students will be introduced to cursive handwriting!


  • We are investigating what our world is made of - matter! Solids and their properties are the main focus.

Social Studies

  • Students practice geography skills daily by reading maps and answering questions related to them.
  • We are also learning about the Schoolwide Learning Expectations and how each member of our learning community has rights and responsibilities.


  • Seasonal projects and the exploration of line and shape in art are incorporated into lessons.


The Second Grade Buzz Newsletter~ Click to read the latest classroom news!


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


Second Grade Back-to-School Information_2022-23 ~ Click here for the pdf of the booklet shared at Back-to-School Night.


Book orders are optional each month.

Use this link to place your Scholastic Book Order online. The class code is L448K.

Book orders are due by Wednesday, October 12th.


Holy Cross Religious Education Registration 2022-23(Sacramental Preparation) ~ Click here for info and forms.

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 make second grade an extra special year!

First Holy Communion Photo Gallery for 2022

Congratulations to MaryAnne and Johnnie who received their First Holy Communion on April 24th at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church.

Blessings to Clara who received her First Holy Communion on May 1st at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church

Felicidades to Mateo who received his First Holy Communion on May 14 at Holy Cross Church

Hooray for Harper, Dominic, Carson, Petrona, Siobhan, Jack, and Josie S. who received their First Holy Communion on May 21 at Holy Cross.




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.