The Least Bad Choice
We can agree on one thing: there are no easy answers.
I’ve been waiting for the state legislature to settle on school funding for the coming year, hoping for at least $8.4 billion for K-12 education in Oregon.
Now that they’ve appeared to squeeze out $8.2 billion, it means Bethel should be able to get by with five budget reduction days instead of 10.
With increasing costs (utilities, pensions, etc.) taking a chunk out of our budget, state funding is inadequate and we have to balance the books with reductions somewhere. We decided that fewer days in school is a better option than cutting teachers and increasing class sizes.
Here’s the new calendar for the 2017-18 school year. Note: If we do receive more funding from the state our first priority will be restoring the remaining budget reduction days.
Physical activity and social action combined in Charissa Nelson’s 3rd grade class at Malabon.
As part of a UNICEF program called Kid Power, a sponsor provided each student with a fitbit-style activity tracker.
The more active the students, the more “power points” they earn. The power points unlock highly nutritious food packets called RUTFs (Ready to Use Therapeutic Food) which are given to malnourished children around the world.
Each year Nelson tries to have her students take part in an activity that benefits someone else without personal reward or acknowledgement.
She says students learned a little bit about the world through the educational materials provided by the Kid Power program, and a lot about their own love for helping others.
A Gift From The Ford Family
Willamette High School senior Damaris Garcia-Rios has been awarded a Ford Family Foundation scholarship.
Combined with other scholarships Damaris has earned, the Ford Family Foundation award ensures that all of her expenses will be paid at the University of Oregon.
Damaris just graduated as a full International Baccalaureate student, a member of the National Honor Society, and she will be the first in her family to attend college. She intends to further her studies in the medical field.
The Ford Family Foundation renewable scholarship was created by Kenneth Ford, the founder of Roseburg Forest Products. The program pays for 90% of a student’s expenses and helps those attending an in-state college who would otherwise find it difficult to obtain a college degree without financial assistance.
Having A Blast
They had been working for this moment since winter break. Irving 5th graders wrapped up their math, science and technology project by launching model rockets in front of the entire school.
It took scientific inquiry, invention, innovation, research and development, trouble-shooting, problem-solving, testing, and refining. Students studied gravity, force, friction, acceleration, Newton’s Laws, Bernoulli’s Theorem, and Boyle’s Law. Then they had a chance to blast off!
Auf Wiedersehen Für Jetzt
Addy Fulks is about to be saying her goodbyes. The Willamette High School 16 year old is leaving soon to spend her junior year attending school near Munich, Germany.
Addy has been awarded the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship, a prestigious opportunity funded by the U.S. and German governments. Another WHS German language student, Brielle Waff, won this same scholarship two years ago and she’s now studying German at the University of Oregon.
Her first month will be spent in a German Language camp, then Addy will move in with a host family and immerse herself into school and the culture.
Meanwhile, 13 other Willamette students will spend a few weeks attending school in Germany this summer as part of the German-American Partnership Program. It’s a continuation of years of successful exchanges between WHS and German schools.
Looking Back While Moving Ahead
In its second year, the Bethel Grad Walk has already become a popular tradition. Seniors from Willamette and Kalapuya High Schools wear their caps and gowns and walk through each of Bethel’s other 9 schools. It’s an opportunity to thank the teachers who helped them over the years, and to motivate young students to aim for graduation and beyond.
What I Did On My Summer Vacation
Summer break is a winter in Chile for Willamette social studies teacher Leslie Simmons.
She’s been selected to travel to northern Chile this summer with the Center for Geography Education in Oregon.
Simmons and a small group of Oregon teachers are now exploring the geography, and visiting major cities and small towns, historical sites and geographical regions.
Then the educators will prepare model lessons for use by teachers throughout Oregon.
Simmons has traveled extensively for her studies: Nepal in 1998, Wales in 2001, Botswana in 2006 and Russian, Mongolia and China in 2013.
She uses these travel experiences to enrich her students’ understanding of geographical concepts, saying it brings her curriculum to life.
Class In The Great Outdoors
These are the trailblazers. While Oregon voters approved Measure 99 supporting Outdoor School next year, 135 fifth graders from Danebo Elementary and Meadow View School took part in Outdoor School for the second consecutive year. They showed what the experience could look like for other Oregon students with three days of Outdoor School at Grove Christian Camp east of Cottage Grove. It was an experience the kids won’t soon forget.
Planting The Seed
The secret of the Bethel Farm is slowly being shared.
School field trips this spring brought Bethel elementary students to the Farm, located between Prairie Mountain and Kalapuya schools. A $100,000 USDA Farm to School Grant will introduce even more kids to the Farm next school year.
The City of Eugene and University of Oregon brought a contingent for a tour in June, amazed by what the school district has developed, and eager to make connections with the Farm for UO learning opportunities.
Meanwhile, Kalapuya students have received grants from the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps, paying them to work on the Farm this summer. And a produce-washing station will be installed so the food grown on the Farm can be properly cleaned and used in Bethel school lunches.
Stop and see for yourself; the Bethel Farm is a growing story.
On The Beat
They may not seem like law enforcement-types, but these members of Bethel’s Maintenance crew leapt into action when Eugene Police needed some help.
That’s why Skylar Fairchild, Pat Bradshaw, Terry Thorn and Tim Nash recently received the police department’s Citizen Service Award.
Back in January, the Bethel boys helped EPD corral three teenagers who were spotted hiding out under Willamette’s football grandstands. One of them was an Oregon Youth Authority escapee. The youngsters ran when police were called.
Here’s how police describe the Maintenance crew’s actions, all without leaving the comfort of their trucks:
They used their vehicles to set up a perimeter while continuing to communicate their positions with each other and the officer. They were able to contain the suspects to a limited area until additional officers arrived and took the youths into custody in the backyard of a home. This team displayed an uncanny ability to communicate and work together.
Now the Bethel team has some fancy awards hanging up at work, and a new story to tell.
20 seniors accepted their diplomas as living proof that hard work pays off.
They are Kalapuya’s graduating class of 2017.
All KHS grads leave school with college credit or a real-life internship to help them take the next step toward a career or continuing education.
At commencement staff members talked about each individual senior, sharing their accomplishments along with the challenges that have been overcome.
Kalapuya’s a special place, providing opportunities to students to find success. The Class of 2017 has done just that.
Real Work, Real Results
Graphic Design is among the most popular classes at Willamette High School. Students are learning real-world skills.
Those talents were on display when Wil-Hi and Churchill advanced design classes teamed up in a logo design challenge for two clients.
Kids presented their logo designs to the owners of Waterbury Farm in Eugene and Studio 4, a recording and engineering studio.
In professional dress, the students revealed their proposals, created PowerPoint presentations and displays on backboards, and explained their rational for the design directions they chose.
In the end, logos created by Willamette teams were selected by both business owners.
It’s a big step up from a classroom project, and an accomplishment that the students can legitimately use in their professional design portfolios.
Taking On Water
This is a sure sign for Shasta students that summer is just around the corner. And it may be the world’s most effective way to learn about the Archimedes Principle: “The buoyant force on a body placed in a fluid is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.”
Shasta 8th graders tried to cover the length of Echo Hollow Pool in the annual Shasta Cardboard Boat races. Success has a fluid definition.
The Final Frontier
She’s flown on four Space Shuttle missions, logged more than 1,200 hours in space, but now here’s an update for the resume for astronaut Wendy Lawrence: she’s taught middle school kids.
For the second consecutive year, Lawrence visited Shasta Middle School science students.
She took time to teach physics and math to Shasta students by using simple toy rockets.
After some pointers on trajectory and lift, kids built their rockets and tried to get them launched as far as possible.
The result didn’t matter as much as the process…and the teacher.
Completion With Distinction
The gym was filled with cheers, but this time it was academic all-stars receiving the acclaim.
Willamette’s annual Academic Awards assembly brought all students into the gym as exemplary students were honored.
Outstanding Business Student, Outstanding Geometry Student, Outstanding IB Student, and so on.
49 individual awards were presented, along with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma candidates, Honor Society members, and more.
All the scholarship recipients were recognized, topped by Kareem Khalifeh’s $250,000 full-ride scholarship to USC.
Academic achievement celebrated by the whole school. How about that!
Rising To The Kidwind Challenge
Willamette High School juniors Helen Lucas and Allison Sanders finished 6th at the 2017 National Kidwind Competition in Anaheim. They were one of 25 teams from across the country to assemble wind turbines and take part in two days of knowledge and skills testing at the American Wind Energy Association’s National Convention.
Lucas and Sanders’ turbine scored high in energy production, and the students tested well on their knowledge of wind energy, including windfarm siting. The students also learned that opportunities for career paths within wind energy are many and varied.
The team’s trip to Nationals was sponsored by EWEB, Bethel Boosters, and several individuals who contributed through Go Fund Me and private donations.
The season can’t start until the song is sung.
The Eugene Emeralds opened the Northwest League baseball season only after Cascade’s Vox Novus choir sang the National Anthem. And because the Ems were playing Vancouver, the a capella group also sang O, Canada.
Vox Novus is an after-school-practice-only choir, so it includes kids who really want to sing.
They belted out the National Anthem at an Ems game last season, and were invited back to perform at the season-opener, which is quite an honor.
Only one in five plastic water bottles makes it to the recycle bin. The rest end up in the landfill, or worse, our rivers and streams.
It will take about 450 years for that plastic to decompose.
That’s why first graders from Danebo, Irving and Meadow View took part in the Monster RE-User program, courtesy of the City of Eugene’s Waste Prevention department.
Students received reusable water bottles back in September, and were encouraged to use their bottle all year long at school and at home.
75% of the kids were still using their bottles in June, and some took a trip downtown and presented to Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis what they had learned. It’s a lesson they will likely not forget.
The Wide World Of Us
Bethel is a happily diverse school district. That is made very clear at the annual Bethel Multicultural Fair, which celebrates our many backgrounds, nations and customs.
Entertainment at the Multicultural Fair included bands, dancers, martial arts, and Chinese Lion dancers.
Families browsed among a selection of food, displays, and colorful dress.
The fair represented some of the many languages and cultures brought to school by students in Bethel, including African dialects, Russian, Korean, Spanish and Chinese.
Thanks go out to the families, local organizations and staff who helped showcase the wide world of culture in Bethel.
After four years of consistently high academic achievement, 21 Willamette seniors were honored at a special awards dinner, the Willamette Scholars Awards.
They combined high SAT or ACT scores with impressive grade point averages, and all of them had met all the Oregon Essential Skills graduation requirements.
They will attend USC, UCLA, BYU, Utah, Oregon, and Oregon State, among others. They will study subjects that include medicine, business, meteorology, fashion, zoology, cinematography, music, and engineering.
It is a very impressive group that can make all of Bethel proud.
Safely navigating the streets on a bike is an important skill all Bethel 5th graders have now learned.
The instruction is part of the Safe Routes to School program, which starts with classroom lessons and culminates with a neighborhood ride.
Wearing orange vests, the 5th graders are tested on merging with traffic, following road rules, and using hand signs.
The annual program is funded by the Oregon Department of Transportation through its support of Safe Routes.
Making A Turn
Their stories are about overcoming obstacles that most of us might find insurmountable. Some of their circumstances would set the strongest person back a step.
The annual Turnaround Achievement Awards recognizes students who have found a tremendous amount of resilience and are getting their lives back on track.
Colleen Bellotti and her husband Mike, the former UO football coach, created the Turnaround Achievement Awards 22 years ago to shine light on students who have walked a sometimes dark path.
Shasta’s Travis Sabine, Cascade’s Hannah Neal, Brenton Mourer from Meadow View, Ryan Stolsig from Prairie Mountain, and Willamette’s Eric Diehl received the 2017 award.
Sincere congratulations to each of them. Well done.
Meeting The Need
$89,000 in scholarships was handed out in a matter of minutes.
In one morning, the Eugene Airport Rotary Club presented college scholarships to dozens of local high school seniors – including five from Willamette and two from Kalapuya – and to 30 college students whose scholarships were renewed after receiving awards last year.
The Airport Rotary works year-round raising money to support local students and educational projects, and Bethel students have been on the receiving end for 21 years.
During that time $144,000 in scholarship money has been awarded to deserving Bethel students. A tip of the cap to the good folks at Airport Rotary.
Growing In Popularity
Chalk up another remarkable achievement for Kalapuya horticulture students. They planted and grew hundreds of plants that were quickly snatched up by the public at the school’s annual Mother’s Day weekend plant sale.
In their professional-grade greenhouse, KHS students nurtured an impressive array of flowers in hanging baskets. The annual plant sale is becoming a well-known event, and the hanging baskets go fast.
In addition, they sold vegetable starts like peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and cucumbers, along with herbs, melons, and nearly everything you would want for your garden.
The $2,000 raised will go back into the school’s program, and will help with KHS field trips around the state.
Leaving Their Mark
The new Fairfield school is already getting a new look. An artist-in-residence guided Fairfield students in the painting of a mural in the school’s main hallway.
The project sprouted from a $1,000 donation from Essex Construction, the contractor that built the new Fairfield.
Matching money came from the Bethel Education Foundation and a school fundraiser.
The artist, Steven Lopez, designed the mural of a Fairfield Falcon with the school’s expectations: Be Safe, Be Respectful, and Be Responsible, in English and Spanish.
The painting should last long after the students have moved on.
We Are Bethel
The Meadow View and Shasta Jazz Bands took the stage again.
The Danebo Dancers made another colorful appearance.
But new this year to the annual We Are Bethel Celebration was a Bethel elementary choir.
Made up mostly of kids from Irving and Danebo, the elementary choir came together for the first time at the Celebration after working on their songs independently at each school.
Now that they’ve proven that combining school choirs is possible, who’s to say what next year’s We Are Bethel Celebration could bring.