Bethel School District Eugene OR

Bethel B-mail: October 2019


Skill Builders: A Bold Move

Sarah Doty, the Skill Builder at Fairfield Elementary, is creating relationships with students in order to teach them how to better manage their emotions at school and home.

We’re breaking new ground for the benefit of children. That’s why Sarah Doty is the new face at Fairfield Elementary, part of a pilot program embedding Skill Builders in each Bethel elementary school.

Sarah and the other Skill Builders could literally change the trajectory of children’s lives.

A Skill Builder is a Qualified Mental Health Associate trained by Direction Service to work one on one with children. They help students de-escalate and teach the skills kids need to better regulate their emotions.

Skill Builders also hope to connect families to wrap-around support services outside of schools.

This is in response to the increase in escalated emotions among students the last few years, particularly among our youngest children.

The Bethel Education Foundation received a $220,000 grant from the Trillium Innovation Fund and the Oregon Community Foundation’s Wellness fund to help make this possible.

There’s anecdotal evidence that Skill Builders are already making a difference in the lives of our students. I’ll keep you posted.
Chris Parra
Bethel Superintendent


One On One

Volunteer mentor Nancy Read is hoping to support middle school students by listening, talking, and being there for them.

Nancy Read wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. Now retired, she heard about the new Middle School Mentor Program starting in Bethel and knew this was how she could make a positive impact in the community.

It’s a pilot mentor program at Shasta and Cascade middle schools that pairs dedicated volunteers with middle school students who would appreciate talking with a trusted adult.

The mentoring is designed to facilitate one-on-one conversations during lunch, once a week. The intent is to improve socialization skills, self-esteem, attendance, and students’ outlook on life.

Nancy Read is among the mentors happy to have discovered this program. You can have the same opportunity; to request an application to the program or for more information, email


Cooking With A Pro

Susana Sharp demonstrates ways to fold Wontons as part of the after school Culinary class at Meadow View School.

Her resume is pretty amazing.

Susana Sharp has been an Executive Sous-Chef in charge of a $3 million budget and has led kitchens around the world in luxury hotels and Michelin star restaurants. With a Masters degree in Contemporary Fine Dining, she’s studied in Spain, Dominican Republic, and Hong Kong.

But, to Meadow View’s 8th graders she is simply Ms. Sharp.

Susana and co-teacher Lee Ann Erickson are leading Meadow View’s after school Culinary class twice a week. It’s part of Bethel’s 8th grade CTE (Career Technical Education) program that also includes Digital Design and Robotics.

Students have already made Thai Curry Soup with Shrimp; Crab, Pork and Veggie Wontons; And Chicken Alfredo and Pasta Primavera. At the end of the course there will be a Master Chef Showdown where kids use a mystery ingredient and come up with their own recipe based on what they’ve learned.

All the 8th grade after school courses in Bethel lead into similar CTE programs at Willamette High School, but Meadow View 8th graders would be advised to soak up all they can from Ms. Sharp.


Knowing The Code

4th graders in Rachel Hsieh’s class at Malabon make changes to the computer code to adjust the movement of their Lego robot.

It’s a six week crash course that has grabbed kids’ attention.

The Coder in Residence program underway at Malabon Elementary matches a female computer professional from the workplace with 4th and 5th grade teachers to lead a hands-on robotics and computer programming curriculum.

Using Lego Mindstorm robots, the program promotes problem solving, collaboration, and effective communication while building students’ computer science skills and comfort working on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) projects.

The combination of computers, robots and elementary students has become a winner. The program, offered by the Lane Education Service District, has already been in more than 50 classrooms throughout the county, including classes at Prairie Mountain and Fairfield.


A Trip To Remember

Irving students crank the handle and press fresh apples to make cider as part of their Bethel Farm field trip.

Kids climbed into bee suits or harvested corn kernels and popped them moments later. It was clear this field trip was something different.

The field trips to the Bethel Farm are hands-on opportunities to learn, discover, delight and amaze.

Each Bethel elementary school’s 3rd or 4th graders are coming to the Farm this fall or next spring.

The Bethel Farm is a valuable source of healthy fruits and vegetables for Bethel school meals.

And, when children get a close up look at a live honey bee hive or press fresh apples for cider, the Farm transitions from a production garden to an effective outdoor classroom.


Sit Down With The Senator

After their meeting, Kalapuya’s Nate Tena gets up close and personal with Senator Ron Wyden while Willamette’s Ethan Hand and Megan McCoy wait to speak with the Senator.

It’s a chance not many people ever have; a meeting with a U.S. Senator to problem-solve a current national issue: the rise in vaping among young people.

Nate Tena from Kalapuya brought a personal perspective to the student round table meeting with Senator Ron Wyden. As a former smoker, Nate knows how easy it is to start and what it takes to quit.

Students, including Willamette’s Megan McCoy and Ethan Hand, gave Senator Wyden an idea of the scope of the problem in our area. They also offered proposals on how to address it, including an increased tax on vaping products, social media campaigns featuring youth voices, and banning flavored vaping products.

Nate also mentioned the support provided Bethel high school students who have access to drug and alcohol counselors.

Wyden says he wants to reconvene the group at some future date. Nate and the others will be ready.


On The Road Again

The fall weather cooperated nicely during the Bicycle Safety neighborhood ride for Danebo students.

On the surface, it seems so simple. But, every year a new class of students learns something new: how to safely navigate streets and paths while on a bike.

5th graders at Danebo, Irving and Prairie Mountain took part in Bicycle Safety classes this fall. Students at other schools will get their chance in the spring.

It’s like their first Drivers Ed course. Kids learn about using hand signals, right of way, and how to make sure a bike is ride-ready.

Under the leadership of the staff from the City of Eugene’s River House Outdoor Center the classes culminate with a neighborhood bike ride, where students get a chance to put practice to the pedal.


A Center For Learning

Leanna Stevens prepares the SLC at Malabon, a room dedicated solely to helping students learn how to recognize and manage their emotions.

Students arrive at their scheduled time and go through the process.

Malabon’s Skills Learning Center (SLC) helps students identify their emotions and learn how to manage their feelings.

Students go through some calming breathing exercises, then select one of the six calming centers: Reading corner, rice table, fidgets, fish tank, art, and dark space.

A 6 minute timer keeps them on schedule as the kids identify which tools in the SLC are effective in helping them self-regulate their emotions.

A Malabon staff member checks the student out and gathers data to share with classroom teachers so they can build a similar soothing environment in their classroom’s Calm Corners.

It’s just the beginning of the SLC at Malabon but so far, as a teaching tool, the results are promising.


Backing the BEF

Community members filled the gym at Meadow View School for the annual BEF Breakfast, donating more than $25,000 to support the Foundation.

More than 150 folks poured in to the Meadow View gym to show their support for Bethel kids.

The annual Bethel Education Foundation breakfast raised more than $25,000, and served as an opportunity for community members to learn more about the District, the BEF, and our students.

The BEF has provided more than $200,000 to support classroom initiatives, and this year alone the Foundation has received more than a quarter million dollars in grants to continue supporting Bethel programs like Skill Builders, Artists in Residence, Kids in Transition to School, and high school food pantries.

The BEF has more big ideas in the works. If you’d like to help, click here to donate.


Walking And Rolling

Kids and parents throughout the district parked the cars and used other wheels to commute to school on Walk and Roll to School Day.

They came to Danebo Elementary in all modes: on foot, in buses, and riding scooters, boards and bikes.

Walk and Roll to School Day saw students getting out of their cars and trying other transportation to and from school.

All Bethel schools took part in this annual nationwide event, encouraging students to commute in groups as a walking school bus, or with friends and classmates.

Each middle and elementary school had a table with incentives for those who took part, like drawings for scooters and skateboards. Willamette included a drawing for bike lights and locks.

Incentives help ideas become habits, promoting healthy and effective choices for transportation among Bethel’s 5,400 students.

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