Bethel School District Eugene OR

Bethel B-mail: November 2019


Easing The Tax Burden

Bonds that paid for the new Willamette science building have been refinanced, saving taxpayers nearly $2 million.

Taxpayers, here’s some great news. Bethel School District is saving residents nearly $2 million in taxes by refinancing its bonds.

These are the bonds that were used to build Malabon and Fairfield elementary schools, and Willamette’s Science building.

Similar to restructuring the mortgage on a home, refinancing at lower interest rates means the bonds can be paid off quicker and pay less on interest over the long-term.

Bethel School District has a history of seeking to reduce the tax burden on its residents. Similar restructuring saved Bethel taxpayers $1.5 million in 2011 and $780,000 in 2016.

The current school tax rate for Bethel residents is about 40% lower than what it was 10 years ago.

Bethel has a well-earned reputation for being good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and this refinancing is yet another example of that commitment.
Chris Parra
Bethel Superintendent


It’s About (More Than) The Shoes

As part of the Doernbecher Freestyle program, WHS freshman Zion Thompson’s first shoe sold for $23,000.

A routine sports physical led to a diagnosis of Hodgkin‘s lymphoma. Willamette freshman has been receiving treatment at Doernbecher Hospital in Portland.

That’s how Zion was selected to take part in the annual Doernbecher Freestyle program. Six young patients teamed up with Nike staff to design special edition shoes as a fundraiser for Doernbecher.

Click here to see Zion’s shoe and the entire Nike Freestyle 2019 collection.

The shoe design program is wildly popular with shoe collectors. The first pair of Zion’s shoes was signed by basketball legend Michael Jordan and sold for $23,000.

The Freestyle program has been a thrilling and uplifting opportunity for Zion and the other Doernbecher patient designers.


Salmon Watch

There’s nothing quite like being there. Bethel 6th graders have been traveling to the coast range to experience Salmon Watch.

Kids take their classroom studies into the wild, learning more about watershed ecology at Whittaker Creek in this annual field trip.

Here’s a glimpse at Meadow View students, among the first to take the Salmon Watch trip this fall.



The Chicken Project

Prairie Mountain students get a close-up look at chicks hatching in an incubator at Kalapuya High School.

The eggs came before the chickens in the Kalapuya Chicken Project.

Kalapuya High School students are raising a variety of chickens for the Bethel Farm next door.

They invited second graders from Prairie Mountain School to walk over and watch the hatching. Now the project has Buff Orpington, Rhode Island Red, Delaware, and Wyandotte varieties of chickens.

They will be self-sustaining. Eggs can be used in Kalapuya cooking classes, while the chickens will provide manure and natural pest control at the Farm.

Finally, any leftover eggs will be available for the weekly Bethel Free Farmers Market at the Farm.


Best Of The Best

Willamette’s All-State Band selections are (l-r, front) Sam Prentice, Jay Veach, Luke Turner; (back) Caleb Davis, Christian Ruiz Martinez, Eric Deaton and Jacob Stevenson.

It’s almost embarrassing. Willamette’s Jazz Band will not only be represented on the All-State Jazz Band, they’ll dominate it.

Seven WHS musicians have been chosen for the All-State Honor Bands, six of them for the Jazz Band.

Sophomores Caleb Davis and Jay Veach, juniors Christian Ruiz Martinez and Luke Turner, and seniors
Eric Deaton and Sam Prentice make up one third of the All-State Jazz Band.

They’ll play at the Oregon Music Education Association Conference in Eugene in January.

Junior Jacob Stevenson was selected to the State Symphonic Band and was also invited to play in the Western Invitational Band Clinic Honor Band in Seattle.


Band On The Rise

The Meadow View Jazz Band earned a standing ovation at the Oregon School Boards Association state conference.

Not to be outdone by the Willamette Jazz Band, the Meadow View Jazz Band has been coming on strong.

They were invited to play at the Oregon School Boards Association state convention in Portland, where they received a standing ovation from hundreds of school board members and administrators.

Meadow View’s band has been making a name for itself in recent months. They finished third at the NW Jazz Festival at Mt. Hood Community College in May, they performed at the Bethel Education Foundation fundraising breakfast last month, and they’ve also been asked to play at the Oregon Music Education Association state convention in Eugene in January.

We hear you, Meadow View!


The 1Million Project

Four cell phones

Bethel high school students are now using these new Samsung phones for free through the 1Million Project.

Nearly 80 new cell phones are in the hands of Bethel high school students, free, courtesy of the 1Million Project.

The idea behind the 1Million Project non-profit organization is that free, mobile, high-speed connectivity is a powerful teaching and learning resource.

Students with limited or no internet access at home are provided a free Samsung phone, 10GB/month of free high-speed wireless data, free hotspot capability on the phone, unlimited domestic calls and unlimited texts, and free care and tech support.

The phone and data are theirs for as long as they are enrolled in Willamette or Kalapuya high schools.

Eligible students were identified through a school-wide survey. Those who believe they might qualify for a 1Million Project phone should contact their high school counselor.


Providing A Lift

Kalapuya’s Naz Zydycryn and Rich Dambrov show the giant checks presented by Northwest Community Credit Union’s Ryan Young and Jan Griffin.

This is the kind of surprise teachers and students can get behind.

Kalapuya High School received two grants from Northwest Community Credit Union’s Project Community.

Naz Zydycryn was surprised with a giant check for $1,100. His Hot Sauce Club (students make hot sauce from peppers grown at the Bethel Farm) is looking to help students sell their sauce as real business start-ups.

Rich Dambrov received $1,450 to purchase new bee keeping suits, including gear for young students to wear during their field trips to the honey bee hives at the Farm.

Out of 370 submissions for Project Community grants, there are just 68 winners, and Kalapuya’s are the only ones awarded in Bethel.


Going Local

A representative from Emerald Produce helps Irving students discover the healthy local veggies that were part of Bethel’s Oregon Harvest Day.

Teriyaki Chicken and Rice and Oregon Gourmet Grilled Cheese topped the menu on Oregon Harvest Day.

For the 7th consecutive year, all the school lunches throughout the district on Oregon Harvest Day consisted solely of products from Oregon farmers, dairies, growers, mills, vineyards, and our own Bethel Farm.

Oregon Harvest Day is an annual opportunity for Bethel’s Nutrition Services department to highlight the abundance of fresh, healthy, tasty and locally grown foods typically served in our school meals.

Representatives from Franz Bakery, Emerald Produce, Riverwood Orchard and the Bethel Farm helped serve the lunch at Irving Elementary.

According to Kindergarten teacher Briony Mcfarland, the kids’ reviews of the lunch included, “The grilled cheese sandwich was yummy,” “I liked the chicken and rice,” and “I tried the (roasted red) beets and I kind of liked them and kind of didn’t.”


Barker Book Giveaway

Author Maryl Barker (with her dog Max) not only reads to kids in classrooms, she’s just donated her books to every Bethel first grader.

As a local author of children’s books, Maryl Barker has long been interested in engaging stories for young readers.

Now, she’s putting her books in students’ hands…for free.

Barker is donating a set of three books and an accompanying CD to each Bethel first grader. The Gracie’s Great Adventures series of stories have special meaning to Barker. Gracie was her dog and the subject of the stories that she read to children during classroom visits.

These days during classroom visits Barker brings her dog Max, who is the subject of her newest book.


Strengthening The Supporters’ Supports          

Bethel’s adult advisors take part in a refresher course to better implement Sources of Strength in middle and high schools.

This has become a powerful program in our high schools and middle schools.

Sources of Strength is a suicide prevention program that uses peer support to redirect thinking, particularly among young people.

A refresher course of SoS adult advisor training has taken place in Bethel, which adopted the program last year, starting with middle and high school staff and high school students.

Sources has since been introduced in all Bethel middle school grades. A curriculum is now being developed for the elementary level.

By increasing awareness, building skills, and openly addressing the issue of suicide, the district’s goal is to provide hope and strength for those who are facing personal challenges.


A Check Run

First graders at Prairie Mountain School help BEF’s Dawnja Johnson receive a check from SELCO’s Ashlee Jacobson.

The big check is appropriate for the large donation.

SELCO Credit Union has presented a $2,500 donation to the Bethel Education Foundation.

The BEF was founded in 2009 by a group of active and dedicated parents for the purpose of enhancing the educational experience of Bethel students.

It has invested more than $160,000 in Bethel schools by backing projects and supplying classroom grants.

That’s something SELCO can support.


Beyond Their Differences

Facilitated by Sources of Strength students, Meadow View 5th-8th graders used prompts to get to know each other at lunch during a Beyond Differences activity.

Meadow View middle schoolers got out of their comfort zone.

As part of a Beyond Differences activity, 5th through 8th graders sat at lunch with fellow students they didn’t know so well. Kids in the Sources of Strength student group facilitated table conversations in the culminating event to Bully Awareness Month.

The goal is to help end social isolation by empowering students to become activists, enabling them to change the sometimes cruel culture of middle school.

The positive focus at Meadow View is primarily on prevention rather than intervention. Students are learning that they have the power to initiate change, beginning with how they treat each other at school and online.

The lunchtime Know Your Classmates activity was the first of three initiatives planned at Meadow View this school year.

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