Bethel School District Eugene OR

Bethel B-mail: September 2017


Scuttlebutt From The Portside

It’s all business on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. From the flight deck to the bridge, Chris Parra (right) had to wear a heavy-duty helmet and ear protection.

Landing on an aircraft carrier is a thrill ride in itself. Yet, that was only a brief part of a unique trip experienced by Superintendent Chris Parra.

Invited with other school superintendents from throughout Oregon, Chris paid her own way to take part in the Navy’s Distinguished Visitor program.

While aboard the ship, she watched from the flight deck, and visited the Bridge, Flight Control, and other work centers on the USS Theodore Roosevelt (sailing somewhere off the California coast.)

Mostly she talked with sailors, at every opportunity, learning how their education prepared them and what schools could have done better or differently.

The Navy officers also wanted to know what they could improve to better prepare young women and men for service.

After 24 hours it was time for another thrill ride, the catapult launch off the ship in a Navy C-2 Greyhound.


Something Fishy Going On

After just 3 weeks in the aquaponics system, Connor Hartley’s small basil plant will grow to the size being held by Jessica Kucera.

No. It does not smell fishy.

The aquaponics system now in place in a large shed at Willamette is clean, efficient and effective.

Water from a fish tank is recirculated through a vegetable growing bed. Nutrients from the fish waste feed the plants, and the plants filter the water to keep the fish healthy.

Students in YTP – Youth Transition Program – are growing lettuce, celery, tomatoes, and basil. Some of the veggies will be used in school meals and some in the YTP Bakery, which is yet another on-campus work experience for students.

YTP provides services for students to help them be prepared for the job market. They learn job skills like dependability, integrity, work ethic, professional behavior, resume writing, and anything that might help them earn and maintain a job.

Aquaponics is part of the training. Further proof that after 25 years at Wil-Hi, YTP continues to develop creative opportunities on campus helping prepare students for success.


Chalk One Up

Students and parents enjoy the welcoming messages in chalk on the first day of school at Clear Lake Elementary.

Most of us were squeezing out the last hours of the Labor Day holiday, while staff at Clear Lake Elementary were working on their hands and knees.

The night before the first day of school, they used sidewalk chalk to create fun pictures and warm messages for the students who would arrive just hours later.

When kids approached Clear Lake they were greeted with dozens of colorful drawings and statements welcoming them to their school.

The idea sprang from the staff who wanted everyone to know that they’re happy to welcome all kids at Clear Lake, from the first day to the last.


Summer In The Country

While bringing school supplies to a local school, three children and a teacher delighted the WHS students by coming out to greet them.

35 Willamette students and five teachers had the trip of a lifetime this summer, spending two weeks in Costa Rica.

Led by Spanish teacher Joy Hatch, they explored the country for one week, then spent the second week attending school and living with Costa Rican host families.

They went zip lining through a rainforest, took a boat tour spotting monkeys and sloths, visited an active volcano, explored an iguana reserve, and navigated daily life using their Spanish.

They also brought school supplies for Costa Rican children, painted the community rooms of a church, and planted trees and bushes in a local park.

The Wil-Hi students are part of the Spanish program at Wil-Hi, and spent more than a year earning money for the trip. The Bethel Boosters generously provided the group with $1,000 to help cover expenses.


Home Grown

Rows of crops are nearing harvest at the Bethel Farm, where more than two tons of produce have already been picked.

Visitors who see this place for the first time are always amazed.

The Bethel Farm is cranking out produce again on the land between Prairie Mountain and Kalapuya schools.

An initial harvest collected more than 100 pounds of red and green peppers, 240 cucumbers, 175 slicer tomatoes and 168 pints of cherry tomatoes.

More than two and a half tons of produce has been collected.

It has gone straight to the salad bars at every Bethel school and the Food for Lane County and Bethesda Lutheran Church food sites.

There’s more still to be harvested, along with kale, lettuce, sunflowers, zucchini, garlic, onions, and eggplant.

While students will start field trips to the Bethel Farm soon, the general public is encouraged to get involved. Check out the free Cooking Class, the free Gardening Class, and the Green Apple Day of Service to help the Farm.

Things are growing, and you can be a part.



T-Crew used ice-breakers to help calm nerves and introduce 9th graders to the school and each other.

The transition from 8th grade to high school can be especially challenging. The academic expectations, the social pressures, and the idea of approaching adulthood can all be intimidating.

That’s where T-Crew comes in. Transition Crew is Willamette’s select group of students who work to create a welcoming atmosphere for the school’s 9th graders, especially on the first day of school which was reserved just for newcomers.

T-Crew offered fun, entertaining performances and games, designed to make the class of 2021 feel at home.

While showing students around their new home, T-Crew was able to ease some anxiety and set 9th graders straight about life at Wil-Hi. That can go a long way in making the transition to high school a little bit smoother.


Grüße aus Deutschland

Willamette students joined some German teenagers in traditional dress at a city parade. Exploring the country and attending school made the trip complete.

Spending two weeks of summer in school classrooms was part of the fun for 13 Willamette students…in Germany.

They took part in a long-running student exchange between the WHS German Language program and a partner school in Mainburg, Germany.

For a week the Willamette kids explored Frankfurt and Munich before moving in with host families in Mainburg.

The WHS students attended classes and gave presentations on life in American schools.

Their language skills improved considerably but they also represented Bethel well, dispelling the Ugly American myth with their polite and respectful behavior.

And newly formed friendships can be renewed in April when German students visit Willamette again.


The Bethel Boutique

Diana Renn from the Bethel Boutique collected dozens of large bags of lost and found clothes from Bethel schools. It has all been laundered, sorted, and offered a second life at the Boutique.

The amount is impressive year after year.

Bags and more bags of clothes are hauled away from Bethel schools every summer.

The unclaimed Lost and Found clothes are picked up by volunteers from the Bethel Boutique at Bethesda Lutheran Church. It’s all cleaned, sorted, and given new life.

The Bethel Boutique offers Bethel families the opportunity to “shop” for free, lightly used clothes in a confidential and welcoming setting.

Vouchers for the Boutique are available through counselors at every Bethel school.

The clothes that were once forgotten now have a meaningful future.


Project Hope

Volunteers wait for the crowds to arrive at Willamette for the annual Project Hope event. More than 300 backpacks full of school supplies were given away.

This is an event that gets more impressive every year.

Project Hope, a combined effort by area church congregations, gave away 350 backpacks full of school supplies at Willamette High school.

Children also received socks and shoes, a free meal, and even haircuts.

Meanwhile, other volunteers turned out with tools, equipment, and smiles at Clear Lake Elementary.

About a dozen members of the Vineyard Church took time to spiff-up the grounds at Clear Lake.

The volunteers did plenty of painting and cleaned out and around the planter beds in the school courtyard.

Project Hope is an incredible effort that has far-reaching effects throughout the community.


Making Things Clear

Once overgrown with bushes, the district property between Clear Lake school and the Beltline highway has been cleared, creating a much safer area for users of the bike path.

There’s a whole new look along the bike path next to Clear Lake School.

The brush has been cleared, blackberries cut back, and trees trimmed.

The area had become an unwelcomed camping spot for folks who left garbage behind.

The campers were notified ahead of time that the area was going to be cleared, giving them the opportunity to take their belongings.

The district has received a number of thanks from bike path users because clearing the overgrown land has improved the security along the path that parallels Beltline highway.

2 Responses to Bethel B-mail: September 2017

  • Bethel rocks!

  • Wow, I am so proud to be a part of a school district that offers such a wide variety of educational opportunities for our students. These wonderful, exciting experiences extend across the board, beginning with our primary kiddos, right to the top with our superintendent.

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