Bethel School District Eugene OR

Bethel B-mail: March 2018


To College And Careers

The Willamette Robotics team won a state championship in the Gold division, the first in school history.

It’s true. In only their second year of competition, Willamette’s Robotics team has captured a state championship.

It’s a testament to the students and their Robotics instructor Chris McGowan. They put in extra time to get their bots built and programmed, then practiced maneuvering them with remote controls.

Programs like Robotics can capture a student’s interest in Engineering and Computer Programming, enhancing what’s taught through a textbook.

We’re proud of the kids who brought home some hardware at the state championships. We’re even more pleased to see so many students becoming engaged in Robotics and its related fields, perhaps leading to a career they previously had not considered.
Chris Parra
Bethel Superintendent


Continuing School Safety

Principal Erika Case checks classroom doors to make sure they are secure during a lockdown drill at Meadow View School.

You see in the news each week about another school shooting. It’s why all Bethel schools conduct safety drills. More than the usual fire drills or earthquake drills, Bethel schools practice lockdown procedures multiple times each school year.

Our teachers have scripts that remind students of the scenarios and protocols for a severe emergency. That allows all Bethel students to have shared expectations. We also created age-appropriate safety training videos that teachers can share with students to prepare for lockdown drills.

Here are the Elementary and here are the middle and high school videos.

Back in 2014 Bethel was the first district in Oregon to train all staff in the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) safety concepts. It is important knowledge on procedures we hope are never used.


Whipping Up A Winner

11 years since Willamette’s last state championship, the WHS Culinary Team is preparing for another appearance at the Oregon ProStart Culinary Competition. Here’s a quick look as Taylor Woolett, Tyler Livingston, Cole Barnhardt, Shane Wilder and Jessica Barnhardt practicing to prepare a 3-course gourmet meal from scratch in one hour using only two propane burners.

UPDATE: WHS has won the state championship! They will travel to Providence, Rhode Island in April to compete against the champions from all the other states in the country!


A Quilt Of Kindness

Aliza Brown and Evan Parker admire the giant Kindness Quilt created by Meadow View students. Covering most of a wall, each square is made up of triangles created by different students.

It started as pieces of butcher paper and white cardstock triangles.

When they were finished, Meadow View students had created a giant Kindness Quilt made up of adjoining triangles.

Students wrote, drew, painted, and otherwise decorated their individual triangles with pictures, poems, messages, and images of hope and kindness.

They matched up with students from another grade level and worked in 2-person teams.

The completed project serves a reminder of a fun and meaningful day for students, and a long-lasting message to carry on the values on the quilt.


Start Your Engines

Colton Hartley and McKayla Webb begin attaching the body to the frame of their Electrathon racing car.

How they’re able to do this is pretty impressive.

Willamette students design, engineer, weld, test, and race three-wheeled go-cart style battery-powered vehicles. Taking on students from other high schools, Willamette’s Electrathon teams go wheel-to-wheel all spring in Oregon and Washington.

The Industry and Engineering program at WHS is a perfect example of CTE (Career Technical Education) courses that provide students with real-world hands-on learning that can lead to a career or further study.

Come see the cars for yourself. The first race of the season is Saturday at LCC. The flag drops at 11:00 a.m. and it’s free for all spectators.


It’s About The Books

Reading a book in Vietnamese bridges the generation gap at Danebo’s Literacy Night.

There were costumes, arts and crafts, storytelling, and all of it based on books.

Danebo Elementary’s Literacy Night had something for everyone, with reading as the central theme.

Students and their families had a chance to make fun bookmarks, use goofy props in a photo booth-style set-up, and share the love of reading through storytelling.

Activities were tied to specific books, like making aliens where books about outer space were featured.

Everyone went home with a Dr. Seuss book bag, a book of their choice, and a pizza coupon. Free food, entertainment, and souvenirs. Danebo knows how to do it right!


Class Action

Willamette’s new Mock Trial Team has seen rapid success. The team is a direct result of Wil-Hi’s new Intro to Law class.

Willamette High School’s new Mock Trial Team came within a whisper of advancing to the state competition.

The strong showing at the regional competition at the Linn County Courthouse is encouraging for Wil-Hi’s young legal minds because this was their very first competition.

The team’s impressive performance is the first tangible result of having an Intro to Law class as part of the school’s Social Studies curriculum.

Congrats to team members Kiana Abarca, Natasha Abarca, Tylan Britten, Dorena Glynn, Jared Doerner, Ashley Reinoehl, Jason Dardis, Jasmine Ortega, and the only senior Andrew Connor. Coaches are teacher Dain Nelson and Clinton Tapper, of Taylor and Tapper Attorneys.


Telling Stories

Author Rosanne Parry shared with Meadow View students that she sometimes builds her fictional stories around real life events.

She is an acclaimed author of novels for kids, and she loves sharing her techniques with children.

That’s why Rosanne Parry held an assembly and then a writing workshop at Meadow View School.

The Portland writer is notable for her award-winning novels and for the fact that she prefers to write in her backyard tree house.

Parry explained that she likes to take real-life events and build fictional stories around them.

Meadow View students took notes, asked good questions, and left thinking more deeply about their storytelling because they heard it first-hand from a writer they admire.


A Chamber Choir

Invited to sing on the floor of the state senate, the Topnotchers turned in a performance that earned a standing ovation.

This opportunity doesn’t come along every day.

Willamette’s Topnotchers choir was invited to the Oregon capitol building to sing America the Beautiful to open a session of the state senate.

Senator James Manning, a Bethel resident and big Bethel believer, welcomed the Topnotchers to his home away from home.

Their moving rendition of American the Beautiful brought a standing ovation and an invitation to come back any time.

The experience also proved to be a team-building experience for the choir members, who were outstanding representatives of WHS and Bethel.


Walking The Talk

The Widmer girls and mom Kate join two friends to form their own Walking School Bus, choosing to walk to and from school every day.

Callyn and Maren Widmer have gotten used to this. The sisters join their mom and a couple of friends walking to and from Meadow View School every day.

Their commute is quick and easy, only a quarter mile. Walking also keeps them safely away from the overflowing school parking lot where cars and pedestrians are in a daily dance. Walking means fewer cars added to the parking lot scrum.

Parents are encouraged to consider having their children walk or ride bikes to school in groups like the Widmer’s. It’s called a Walking School Bus.

Here’s another Bethel example of a Walking School Bus.

Changing habits can be a challenge, but the Widmers are one example that it can be done. They are now full-time walkers, rain or shine.


Bethel Band Festival

The Director of Bands at the University of Oregon, Dr. Rodney Dorsey, conducted 350 Bethel students at once.

Five Bethel schools, 350 students, side by side under the direction of Dr. Rodney Dorsey.

The Director of Bands at the University of Oregon took is all in stride at the guest conductor for the annual Bethel Band Festival.

Dorsey worked with each school band separately, then brought them together for a powerful series of songs.

It’s an annual opportunity for the younger musicians to show what they can do, and also see what the future could hold as high school band members.


Back On The Farm

24 community garden plots at the Bethel Farm will be available for Bethel families to grow their own produce.

The Bethel Farm has broken ground on the community garden plots that had been in the planning phase of the Farm’s development.

The Farm has partnered with Huerto de la Familia in an effort to reach more Bethel families and offer opportunities on the farm. 

The 15 x 15 plots offer Bethel families the opportunity to grow food for themselves at a very low cost: $40 annually and $15 for low-income residents.

In order to help families be successful with their garden, all the gardeners will take a “Seed to Supper” intro to gardening class.

For more information, please contact Danielle Hummel at


Buddy Day Is Back

Kindergartners and second graders became fast friends at Danebo’s Buddy Day, celebrating kindness and friendship.

“This was the greatest day ever!” A second grader at Danebo shared that enthusiastic declaration after his Buddy Day activity with a kindergartner.

Danebo’s Buddy Day had a kindness and friendship theme, with teams of students school-wide creating beautiful sections of a giant mural.

Kids chose different medians of art such as crayons, watercolors, pencils and mixed craft supplies, with the plan to put them together in sections, display them in classes, and eventually join all the class projects as one giant mural.

It’ll be a lasting reminder of that greatest day ever.


Stage Hands

A group of Willamette IB Music students rehearsed with Matuto in the afternoon before taking the stage with the band at the Hult Center that night.

The chance to perform with an internationally known band on stage at the Hult Center? A group of Willamette band students jumped at that invitation.

Matuto, a band from New York known for its fusion of jazz, bluegrass and Brazilian music, came to Willamette and worked with a select group of students in the IB (International Baccalaureate) Music class.

Then, that night the band welcomed the WHS students onto the Hult Center stage to join in the final songs of the concert.

That could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the Willamette students, or maybe just the beginning of their musical careers.


Chess Success

140 students from around the state gathered at Wil-Hi for the Oregon Chess Championships, the first time it’s ever been held at Willamette.

This was a first. The Willamette Chess team hosted the State Championship Tournament when the original host school had to back out.

Chess team advisor Mike Myers put together a team of volunteers, utilizing his extensive knowledge of how to run a good tournament.

The two-day tourney welcomed 140 students from 16 schools around Oregon. And after the trophies were handed out – including a second place for Willamette’s JV Open team – the chess has continued at WHS.

8th graders are already attending Willamette’s Wednesday after-school practices, and Sunday meets are continuing at the school through June. There’s more at


Party Like A Kindergartner

What could be better?! Kindergartners celebrate with Fruit Loops to Mark the 100th day of school.

These kids know how to celebrate! Kindergartners in Jacquie Bratland’s class at Irving had been counting the days for this opportunity.

The 100th day of school is a big deal – and a big number – for kindergarten students. They marked that milestone the way 5 and 6 year olds might.

Students counted out 100 fruit loops and made necklaces. Jewelry that looks good and tastes good…what could be better?! Kids also counted out 100 snacks and had a celebration at the end of the day.

Kindergartners wore 100th Day crowns and had a special visit from Zero the Hero, the masked crusader who has been made famous in books and song. For our youngest students, celebrating at school doesn’t get much better than this.


Preparing For The Big Move

During 8th grade orientation, teacher Chris McGowan doesn’t miss an opportunity to sell soon-to-be freshmen on his Women in Engineering class.

Advancing from 8th grade to high school is a giant leap for some students. Bethel’s 8th graders got an early introduction to Willamette High School with a tour of classrooms and a peek at particular programs during the school day.

The orientation was followed by an evening event with parents and the opportunity to learn more about specific courses.

Preparing students for the transition to high school starts in their 8th grade classrooms, where teachers continually emphasize the need for students to work on their responsibility, perseverance, and time management skills.

Expectations change in 9th grade, and the road to high school success for the Class of 2022 is paved with good preparation.


The Governor With A Mandate

Oregon’s Kid Governor takes questions from his peers, 5th graders at Prairie Mountain School.

Oregon has a Kid Governor, and he had a message on a stop at Prairie Mountain School: Stop bullying.

11 year old Dom Peters was “inaugurated” in January after being elected by fellow 5th graders from around the state. 5th graders at Prairie Mountain watched the inauguration live online.

As Oregon’s Kid Governor, Dom has no real authority but he does have a voice.

Now he’s spreading the message that students need to be kind to each other and work together. Like a true politician, he has his own blog. And at his school in Brooks, near Salem, Dom started a Super Kind Helpers’ Club to identify and stop bullying.

Sharing that message with students around the state would make his term a success.

One Response to Bethel B-mail: March 2018

  • I had NO IDEA that Bethel has integrated so many new innovative concepts into the lives of our students. I am proud to say that I worked for Bethel Schools for 38 years (now retired) and can still see firsthand novel ideas and approaches which will impact the lives of students. Perhaps they will follow studies to lead them into such areas. Be it in science, food prep, robotics, electric car design, and so forth. So many, cannot list them all.

    GREAT JOB EVERYONE!! I am cheering you on from the sidelines.

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