Bethel B-mail: October 2018
Every Day Matters
Attendance matters, that includes Kindergartners and especially 12th graders.
Being absent just two days a month means a student will miss about a full month’s worth of school by the time June rolls around.
Kids simply cannot learn – and cannot keep up – if they are not in school. Chronic absenteeism (missing 10% or more school days) is an early indicator that a student will eventually drop out.
While our schools are reminding students and families about the value of being in school, Bethel has joined other school districts in promoting improved attendance throughout the county.
Look for billboards along Beltline, highways 126 and 58, and other busy roads.
Finally, students who are absent not only miss school, they are missed at school. Attendance matters to everyone.
Going With The Flow
Now, this is a field trip!
Kalapuya High School students paddled 32 miles down the Willamette River, from Salem nearly to Portland.
Navigating tandem and triple canoes for three days, students covered small rapids and swift moving water while keeping an eye out for Osprey, Bald Eagles, Kingfishers, and Blue and Green Herons.
Their service-learning project was coordinated by the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps with Oregon State Parks and Willamette Riverkeepers.
Students camped on the riverbank, weeded and mulched native plants in a restored river floodplain, and even went elbow-deep into mud to harvest Wapato bulbs, a Native American food source that the students roasted over a campfire.
Along the way they learned about the ecological impact of intact waterways, and were enlightened on the historical uses of the river.
The Piano, Man
It’s not an every day occurrence. A parent calls and says he wants to make a donation to the Shasta band program…what do you need?
In no time, a new Kawai UST-9 piano was carefully delivered to the school’s band room. This institutional (school) piano is a big step up from Shasta’s 1950’s Wurlitzer.
The proof is in the sound. Students are already amazed at the difference, agreeing that it is a significant upgrade.
The generous donor wishes to remain anonymous, but wished to help the program as a show of thanks for what it did for his child, who thrived in the Shasta band program.
Start With Hello
December will be the 6th anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting.
Several family members of the victims founded the Sandy Hook Promise, and one of its efforts is to end students’ social isolation in schools.
Leadership students at Cascade Middle School decided they should take part in Start With Hello Week, the organization’s project to reduce social isolation and reduce school violence.
Each day of the week had special events promoting inclusion and kindness. One day featured Mix It Up at lunch. Another day included rewarding kids who committed random acts of kindness.
It’s a Cascade student-led effort to reach out to all students and make them know that they belong and are noticed.
The Outdoor Classroom
This is the place for kids to kids learn about soil science, weather, pollination, engineering, plant growth, microorganisms and decomposition.
All 472 Bethel 4th graders will get introduced to the District’s hidden gem, the Bethel Farm, this fall or next spring. Teachers and students consistently say it’s one of their favorite field trips.
There’s a cooking activity using Bethel Farm produce and locally sourced veggies. And, students learn a farming task, typically harvesting or planting.
They also discover the ecosystem within the Farm, including owls, bats, mice, insects and microorganisms.
Community members are welcome to volunteer during the field trips or the Farm’s harvest season by emailing Amy Ropp.
Paying It Forward
A teacher changed the course of her life. That is why Heidi Gerlach is back on the stage at Willamette High School where she starred just a few years ago.
After Willamette, Gerlach quickly earned a pair of degrees from Eastern Oregon University and returned to Bethel to be closer to family. She was also invited to work alongside her impactful WHS drama teacher, Tana Walker.
Gerlach credits Walker with being a positive influence, recognizing and encouraging the skills that made Gerlach love the theater.
Now she is able to give back to her teacher and the theater program by being Co-Director of the upcoming WHS production of My Very Own Story.
Too often teachers have no idea how much they influence students. Heidi Gerlach is letting everyone know by shining the spotlight. Take a bow, Tana.
The Backup Plan
More than 130 community members turned out for the test of EWEB’s first Emergency Water Distribution Station.
In a partnership with Bethel School District, EWEB has boosted the output from the Bethel Farm’s well so they can tap into the well in case a major emergency interrupts normal water service.
The test was an unqualified success; the system works. EWEB also gave away 3-gallon water jugs as incentives to get folks to participate in the test.
Proving it can work at the Bethel Farm, EWEB will now move ahead with plans for more emergency water stations around the community.
Walking & Rolling
More than a thousand students – kids at every school – took part in the annual Walk & Roll Challenge.
Kids walked or rode their bikes, scooters and skateboards to school. In large groups and small, with siblings, friends, parents or teachers.
The event reminds everyone of the simple joy of walking to school, the health benefits of regular daily activity, and the need for safe places to walk and bike. And, it reduces the number of vehicles on the road and weaving through school parking lots.
Students were rewarded with incentives, and they received reminders that walking and rolling to school can be an everyday experience.
Math In Real Life
A grant-funded project is helping to answer this familiar student question about math: When will I ever use this?
The Willamette Math department is working with the CTE (Career Technical Education) department to demonstrate math’s application in real world – and real work – situations.
Geometry students toured Western Shelter in Eugene, and measured one of the company’s tent structures.
On a daily basis staff at Western Shelter use their knowledge of angles, area, and planes, the same subjects that students are learning in Geometry class. The company provides tent-like structures for natural disaster response, wildland firefighters, the military, and other important customers worldwide.
The Willamette project is proving math’s application to actual jobs and valuable skills.
The Arts Education Challenge
Some strong Bethel School District supporters have raised more than $14,000 to bring Arts Education to every Bethel elementary school. They’re about halfway to their goal.
And, here’s a challenge from restaurant owner and Bethel parent Martha Schuetz.