Bethel School District Eugene OR

Bethel B-mail: December 2019


Planning Ahead

Members of the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee are taking a look at the district’s immediate and long term building needs.

Election Day is nearly a year away, and here’s why that’s important now.

Members of Bethel School District’s Long Range Facilities Planning Committee are busy studying enrollment trends, the district’s facilities needs, and school bond options. They’ll come up with a recommendation on whether the district should consider asking voters to approve a school bond measure next November.

A series of meetings started in October and will conclude in April. The committee will make a proposal to help me determine what to bring to the School Board.

Bethel last passed a bond in 2012 with a 73% Yes vote. It resulted in two new elementary schools, the science wing at Willamette High School, improved safety and security, updated textbooks and technology, and a whole lot more. See the list of bond projects here.

I’ll keep you in the loop as our committee completes its task.
Chris Parra
Bethel Superintendent


The Prize Patrol

Prairie Mountain’s Rachel Gillis reacts after being surprised with a Bethel Education Foundation grant to fund her students’ Art/Science project.

Giving away more than $22,000 is an incredible experience.

The Bethel Education Foundation’s 10th annual grant award parade surprised 33 grateful, tearful, and cheering teachers. There was at least one grant award winner at each Bethel school.

The 2019 grants will fund requests such as graphic novels, weighted vests, gardening equipment, yearbook cameras, Ozobots, music programs, and cooking materials.

Here’s a look as some of the awards were being presented.


Stop the Bleed

Malabon staff work on manikins, practicing how to stop the bleeding from a deep wound.

Someone could faint. It was a warning shared at the beginning of the Stop the Bleed training for educators at Malabon Elementary.

According to Homeland Security, Stop the Bleed is intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

Eugene-Springfield firefighter Nathan Kunasek led Malabon staff through training on the use of tourniquets and bandages, how to pack a deep wound with gauze, and how strategically placed body weight can help control a bleed.

Burrito Amigos heard about the training and is generously purchasing a Stop the Bleed emergency kit for the classroom of each Malabon staff member who completed the course.

It’s hoped the kits will never be needed.


Home Again

Marine Corps veteran Bradley Stenson pauses with Bethel School Board members Alan Laisure, Debi Farr, Greg Nelson, and Superintendent Chris Parra outside of his new home.

Life has come full-circle for retired Marine Corps veteran, Bradley Stenson. The Willamette grad has returned to the neighborhood, living right next to Wil-Hi.

Stenson is the latest resident in the Veterans Housing Project, a program that provides affordable housing for military veterans.

Bethel School District owns four of the 11 houses in the Project. They’re across the street from Willamette and have been purchased over the years with the idea of possible future expansion at Wil-Hi. The Veterans Housing Project renovates the homes and St. Vincent de Paul manages the program.

It’s a win for the district as it plans for long-range needs. It’s a win for the neighborhood as the homes are renovated. It’s a win for the greater community as more affordable housing is being made available. And, it’s certainly a win for Bradley, who is grateful for an affordable place to live in a neighborhood filled with memories.


Wild Wild Weather

Danebo students heat up a hot air balloon to show how warm air in the atmosphere rises, which affects the weather.

The wonder of weather captivated Danebo students. An OMSI assembly had kids oohing and aahing about the science behind changes in our weather.

They learned how warm air rises and what happens when it meets cold air (clouds and rain.)

Kids discovered how static electricity is similar to lightning.

And, they saw that when cold and warm water meet, they mimic cold fronts and warm fronts.

The decision to bring the OMSI weather assembly to Danebo was made by the school’s Curriculum Committee. Judging by the kids’ reactions, that decision was a winner.


Master Chef Showdown

Culinary teacher Susana Sharp inspects the home made pasta 8th graders made as part of the Master Chef Showdown.

Parents, you may not believe this. These kids not only washed the dishes, they created the dishes.

The Master Chef Showdown culminated the 8th grade after-school Culinary course at Meadow View School.

Nine teams of students had to use techniques they’ve learned in class: frying, boiling, searing, etc. They were also judged on flavor, recipe coherence, and presentation.

Broccoli was a required main ingredient as students created dishes from scratch. One team even made their own pasta during the competition.

Among the dishes were a seared Ribeye salad with sesame stir-fried sauce and fries, an omelet with crunchy bacon bits, a fresh slaw with roasted lemon broccoli, rice and beef, and lemon chicken soup.


Ticket To Ride

Willamette students wait for their opportunity to sign up and receive free LTD bus passes as part of the new TouchPass program, introduced first in Bethel schools.

They lined up for this freebie. More than 600 Willamette students have received a free bus pass, allowing them to ride any Lane Transit District bus at no charge. 50% of the students at Kalapuya High School also signed up.

Bethel’s high school students have become early-adopters of the TouchPass system. LTD is just now rolling out the program after receiving funding from the state, and Willamette and Kalapuya students are the first in Lane County to access the system.

Most of the students chose a card, while some downloaded an app on their phones and then had the school activate the free feature.

Students at WHS and KHS can still get the free TouchPass card or phone app by visiting their school’s front office, and soon Bethel will be rolling out this opportunity to middle school students.


The Tribes of Oregon

Flags of the nine federally recognized Tribes of Oregon line the wall in the front office at Meadow View.

This was a combined History, Art, and Culture lesson.

5th graders at Meadow View researched the nine federally recognized Tribes of Oregon. It’s part of the state’s updated curriculum, which makes perfect sense; how can we study the state’s history without including Native Americans?

The research led to students recreating the tribes’ adopted flags. The 5th graders’ pride in their new knowledge is evident in the flags, which are now displayed in the school’s front office.


Donor Drive

Dozens of Willamette students took the time to donate 42 units of blood.

126 lives saved. That’s how Bloodworks Northwest calculates it.

Willamette High School students donated 42 units in the first blood drive of the school year. Each unit donated is divided into three componets: red cells, platelets, and plasma, which can help three different patients.

72 students registered, with 42 able to give blood. Teenagers are often deferred due to a low Iron count or a low pulse.

The Willamette blood drive came at an important time. This is a high-demand season for blood in our area due to surgeries and more people injured in traffic accidents.

WHS students will get another chance to save lives when Bloodworks returns in February.


For The Health Of It

State Senator James Manning was among the volunteers using the a Spot Vision Screener to check students’ vision.

Keeping children healthy and ready to learn. That’s the goal of Bethel’s yearly Health Screenings.

Each fall, all elementary grade students have their vision checked and their teeth examined.

Bethel nurses are helped by dental hygienists and assistants from the Community Health Centers of Lane County. If they spot a dental problem, White Bird Dental Clinic follows up with parents and offers free dental services twice a month at the Bethel Health Center.

And the Bethel Lions Club shows up in force each year, using a Spot Vision Screener that can detect eye issues like near or farsightedness and blurred vision.

So, while the flu is making its rounds, Bethel nurses are looking out for other preventative measures to help kids stay healthy and in school.


Grad Party

Members of the Pilas class proudly display their certificates after graduating from the language-development class.

This is a real reason to celebrate.

Pilas, an English language literacy program run by Downtown Languages, has recognized all the adults who completed its fall term.

Parents learning English have been coming to Fairfield Elementary two nights a week for 10 weeks. While the adults attend class, their school-aged children have their own English class, and the youngest children take part in Kindergarten-prep activities.

The benefits of the grant-funded Pilas program is clear: The youngest children are preparing for a more successful introduction to kindergarten; students are gaining language skills which helps them in school and socially; and parents’ improved language skills help them economically and they become more involved and engaged in their children’s school.

Pilas will resume in the Spring, continuing the successful partnership with Fairfield and the District.


Lending A Hand

Hunger is a persistent problem, but Bethel students are unfazed.

Willamette High School Leadership students collected thousands of items and stocked the school’s food pantry. Kids in the Sources of Strength class at Meadow View led a campaign, and in a matter of weeks they hauled in 6,000 pounds of food. All of it – and $50 gift cards – went to families in-need. (See video below.)

Irving and Clear Lake also conducted food drives. Malabon students collected products to support families experiencing homelessness. The Shasta Shines project saw students purchase $3,000 in items for Bethel families in need. Giving stores were set up at Fairfield, Cascade and Malabon.

In their own way, each Bethel school has reached out to support the community that has always supported them.



Give And Take

Fairfield teacher Jennifer Muzzana goes over student data with parents during the recent conferences.

A face-to-face meeting can be powerful and productive. It’s what makes Parent-Teacher Conferences so valuable.

Parents get a chance to hear about their child’s strengths in school, their relationships with adults and other students, any behavior concerns, the special services that are available, and any number of other topics.

It’s also an opportunity for teachers to learn more about their students and families.

Conferences have proven to be a time when parents can reset expectations and become more involved in their child’s education. The goal is to have everyone working together for the child’s successful school experience.


Hands On

Tanner Adams (in white) and two classmates work to complete another teacher desk as part of their Design and Manufacturing class.

The quality of their work is impressive. A group of Willamette High School students in the Design and Manufacturing class has been building teacher classroom desks.

The desks were designed by senior Tanner Adams and are being built with wood that, before it was donated to the program, was about to be thrown out.

Students are using table saws, band saws, pocket cutters, an in-line boring machine, routers, sanders, pin nailers and screw guns.

It’s the kind of hands-on learning and knowledge that can last a lifetime.

One Response to Bethel B-mail: December 2019

  • I always enjoy seeing how the District is utilizing its staff and resources, to the benefit of our students. These stories lift my spirits, and make me proud. Proud in part, knowing that for a time, I had a part in this. Not from any of the aspects any of these or other stories tell, but being supportive from the background, and being not only a Willamette alumni, but also an employee for 38 years.

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