Bethel School District Eugene OR

Bethel B-mail: November 2018


A Solid Foundation

Bethel Superintendent Chris Parra with BEF Exec. Dir. Dawnja Johnson

Superintendent Chris Parr and BEF Executive Director Dawnja Johnson share a common goal: providing an excellent education for Bethel students.

$26,415.  That’s how much the Bethel Education Foundation will be handing out in a few weeks to teachers who applied for classroom grants.

The funded projects will enhance the learning experience of students at all Bethel schools. But, the BEF wants to do more.

The group is examining an idea to start and sustain an Electrician Training program at Willamette High School. It would give students a head start into a trade that provides steady, family wage jobs.

Founded in 2009 by a group of dedicated and determined Bethel moms, the BEF will also continue its popular grant program. On November 28th they’ll surprise 23 teachers with grants up to $1,500.

You can help the BEF help our students: Donate here.

Chris Parra
Bethel Superintendent


The Good Word

A students checks envelopes on the wall.

Students in Molly Schulze’s classes check their envelopes for messages of support from classmates.

A simple idea has become a big success. Willamette teacher Molly Schulze wanted to create a more friendly, welcoming and pleasant learning environment in her classes.

So, she had her English students decorate their own envelopes that now cover a wall in her classroom.

Every week or two students are encouraged to write a short message of support to a classmate. Schulze reviews the cards, drops them in the individual student envelopes, and kids read them privately during the next class.

The comment cards have worked. Students know each other better, are more polite and kind (to each other and their teacher,) and some have said it’s now their favorite class.

Just simple comment cards. That’s all it took. How about that?


Going Gaga

Students playing Gaga Ball on the playground.

Danebo students play an energizing game of Gaga Ball, the school’s new and popular recess activity.

It’s all the rage on this elementary school playground.

Gaga Ball is pretty simple, like a kinder and gentler dodgeball played in an octagon. Anyone touched with a ball below the knee is knocked out until there’s one person remaining.

Danebo Elementary pioneered the game in Bethel after last year’s 5th graders played it at Outdoor School. Members of the Fairfield Church of the Nazarene built the octagon as a community service on the Day of Hope in August, and kids have been packing the pit ever since.

The word is Gaga is Hebrew for touch-touch, meaning players touch (or slap) the ball and hope that it touches someone else.

The game keeps kids active, everyone has a chance to win, and disputes are worked out with a rock-paper-scissors. No wonder Danebo students have gone gaga over this one.


Sowing The Seeds Of Peace

Students role play

Malabon 5th graders participate in role playing as part of the peer mediation training.

Trained mediators are teaching Bethel students how to resolve conflicts, enhance communication skills, and improve socialization.

A Seeds of Peace grant from the Center for Dialogue and Resolution has brought mediator training to Malabon, Meadow View and Cascade. Willamette and Kalapuya are still to come.

5th graders at Malabon were the first to give it a try. The entire grade took part in the 6-hour training that includes the concepts around peer mediation, role playing, and practice at resolving differences.

The programs teaches how to intervene and help peers who are having disagreements, and how to resolve conflicts in ways that consider everyone involved.

It’s a life skill that can lead to individual growth and an improvement in the climate school-wide.


Jazz Jams

Students on stage at the Jazz Station

Prairie Mountain music teacher Jessika Smith (right) prepares Bethel students for a jam session at the Jazz Station.

It’s takes some courage to get up on stage and start riffing jazz notes. Bethel middle and high school musicians took part in a Sunday Learners Jam at the Jazz Station in downtown Eugene.

It was the idea of Prairie Mountain music teacher Jessika Smith, who is a professional saxophonist, composer, and band leader.

Band students throughout the district were invited and after preparing by studying a dozen songs they performed with the house band, which included an opportunity for solos.

They’ll have another Bethel Jam on December 9th, but students can also sit in on a Monday night Jazz Orchestra at the Jazz Station, playing with some of the best musicians in town.

Bethel students are being given exciting, real-life musical experiences, which only reinforce what they are learning at school.


On The Safe Side

Students in a classroom

Students ask lots of questions during a debrief following a Lockdown drill at Prairie Mountain.

No one likes the fact that these lessons even exist. Everyone hopes the training is never needed.

At least twice a year each Bethel school takes part in Lockdown drills. Many schools pair the training with earthquake and fire drills.

Bethel School District was the first in Oregon to have all staff trained in the ALICE safety protocols: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.

We’ve also created training videos for middle/high school and elementary students. Teachers are provided age-appropriate scripts (K-3, 4-5, 6-12) to better uniformly teach students what to do in the event of a major emergency.

Bethel is trying to be prepared for a worst-case scenario, and doing its best to make sure the lessons never have to be put into practice.


Early Career Connections

Students preparing food

Meadow View students take part in an after school Culinary class as part of Bethel’s CTE offerings for 8th graders.

Students are volunteering to stay after school. Robotics, Culinary, and Digital Design courses are being offered for Bethel 8th graders. Kids were surveyed and selected these three courses as part of the state’s Measure 98 funding for CTE (Career Technical Education) courses.

Bethel chose to use the state funds to create unique opportunities for 8th graders, courses that intentionally feed directly into established CTE programs at Willamette High School.

All Bethel 8th graders will get a chance to take Robotics, Culinary and Digital Design because the courses will rotate among the schools after each trimester.


Real World Studies

Students taste So Delicious frozen treats and take data as part of Willamette teacher Angie Weyand’s chemistry class lessons.

As if the school year wasn’t busy enough, Willamette chemistry teacher Angie Weyand spent six weeks during the summer on two externships at So Delicious and Forrest Technical Coating paint shop.

She learned that the process for making frozen desserts and paint are similar. Weyand’s plan was to create a chemistry lesson about the similarities and differences in how the two products are created.

It’s all about giving students experiences that connect the content being taught in the classroom with real world applications.

Weyand’s externship was made possible by Elevate Lane County, a coalition of 16 school districts, industry, and economic development dedicated to connecting students to careers in high-demand, high-wage jobs.


A Friend Indeed

Kalapuya students Nathan Tena, Delaney Aguirre and Orion Trent receive laptops from State Senator James Manning, courtesy of NextStep recycling.

State Senator James Manning was just elected to a four-year term as Bethel’s advocate in the Legislature, but he wears another hat: Supporter of Kalapuya High School.

It was in that role that Manning presented refurbished laptops to Kalapuya students Nathan Tena, Delaney Aguirre and Orion Trent.

They were among a dozen KHS students who wrote short essays that described their future career ambitions, explaining how owning a computer would help them on their path.

Manning contacted NextStep Recycling and before long he had three laptops to award. KHS is continuing to work with NextStep so that all 12 students who took part receive their own computer.

We are grateful for friends like these.

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