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.
Off And Running
It has been a terrific start to the school year in Bethel. Each of our principals says so. The teachers I’ve talked with agree. I have also received numerous comments from excited parents.
There is a definite positive air of anticipation and eagerness to learn.
And we have seen an increase in enrollment. Willamette is boasting a large freshman class and some of our schools are not able to accept any transfers.
One thing remains consistent: your school and District staff are working hard. They unfailingly put our children first. It is not uncommon to see them at work at night and on weekends.
It is shaping up to be a great year, and I am honored to be a part of this Bethel Family.
More Promises Made…And Kept
The 2012 Bethel School Bond is continuing to bring improvements to the District. Thanks to incredibly careful spending Bethel was able to make the bond dollars stretch even further than promised, meaning more needs can be addressed.
This summer bond money paid for carpet replacements at Irving, Meadow View and Prairie Mountain schools.
More new student textbooks have been delivered, roofs replaced, additional security cameras at every school, new clocks have been installed, parking areas repaired, a fire alarm system updated, signage improved, fire sprinklers installed, and the Bethel Farm received a much-needed fruit and vegetable washing station. That’s only this summer!
And thanks to Bethel voters, there’s more to come…
Fresh From The Farm
The minds of Bethel students are being fed in the classroom, and their bodies are nourished with premium food in the lunchroom.
Fresh vegetables from the Bethel Farm are now being served in the cafeterias at every Bethel school.
Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and honeydew melons were the first to make their way to school salad bars.
The Bethel Farm is located between Kalapuya and Prairie Mountain schools, and serves as a working classroom for agriculture, sustainability, solar energy, and healthy cooking.
The fresh veggies from the Farm bolster Bethel’s already strong reputation for offering locally grown foods in school meals.
Carving A Reputation
Tom Lindskog. On the Food Network?
Willamette’s Woods and Metals teacher has some secret talents he shares every fall.
Lindskog is a master at carving pumpkins. His skills attracted the attention of the folks at the Food Network, which produces a show called Halloween Wars.
Tom was one of the team members competing on the show. They even videotaped him in class at Willamette last spring.
He can’t share any of the top-secret details of what happened, but Wil-Hi’s master carver can been seen on September 30th, at 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. on the Food Network’s Halloween Wars.
Oh, This Will Never Work
Okay, whose idea was this? 5th graders and kindergartners sharing a playground?
It was a happenstance in scheduling that put Fairfield’s big kids and little ones together at recess.
To everyone’s surprise they turned out to be a perfect match.
The 5th graders have taken on the role of playground assistants, helping the kindergartners on the equipment and making sure everyone is included and following the rules.
The 5 and 6 year olds look forward to being on the playground with their new older friends.
As we said, it was great planning!
Marching Off To Math
Every other day six Cascade Middle School students leave school for the one block walk to Willamette, where they take high school Geometry.
These kids have accelerated through the middle school math program since they came to Cascade as 6th graders.
Willamette students have welcomed the Cascade kids, including 7th grader, Wyatt Hurlimann.
Cascade students, and a handful from other Bethel middle schools, attend WHS for some courses each year and often are the top students in their Geometry classes.
A Journey For Geography
It was yet another summer of adventure for Willamette teacher Leslie Simmons. She took part in field study and a conference in South Korea.
An Advanced Placement Geography teacher at Wil-Hi, Simmons studied the territorial and geographical naming issues that have persisted on the Korean peninsula since the end of World War II. She presented a paper at the conference that she wrote on geographical naming issues in Eugene.
The Northeast Asian History Foundation sponsored the all-expense paid opportunity.
A summer of worldwide travel and study has been a common occurrence for Simmons, who has had other all-expenses paid study trips to Chile, Nepal, Wales, Botswana, Russia, Mongolia and China.
Spreading Joy at Shasta
The congregation from the Joy Church provided plenty of joy to the folks at Shasta Middle School.
85 church volunteers swarmed Shasta before the school year started.
For the second consecutive summer they spread bark in the gardens, replaced three well-used benches, painted the breezeways, and even brought a professional arborist to trim trees.
Church volunteers are making plans to return for some touch-up painting, and are already talking about coming back next August.
A Path To Fitness
90 tons of gravel – five dump truck loads – has been poured and packed into place to create Danebo Elementary’s new running path.
The quarter mile loop around the field next to the school provides a running track for PE and a walking path for the community.
Danebo used funds from a CATCH (Community Access to Child Health) grant to purchase the gravel and Bethel’s Maintenance staff did all the work.
The path should last for many years, and many miles.
Fun At The Farm
Gardening, cooking, arts and crafts, and enjoying fresh food. It was all part of the program at the Bethel Farm’s summer camp for 4th and 5th graders.
Bethel kids helped harvest potatoes, onions, beans and beets. They made natural dyes from vegetables, and ground their own flour for pizza that they baked with ingredients harvested from the farm.
Kalapuya and Willamette High School students served as camp counselors, and partners from the OSU Extension Service led nutrition and cooking classes.
Here’s a slide show of the first Bethel Farm Summer Camp.
Meals To Go
While school was out for the summer, Bethel’s Nutrition Services staff was keeping children fed.
Under the coordination of Prairie Mountain’s Cary Weeks, nearly 9,000 free lunches were served at State Street Park, Irwin Park, and four Bethel School District sites.
Sack lunches with a milk and fresh veggies from the Bethel Farm hit the spot.
Another 2,500 free breakfasts were also served to local children.
Bethel School District has been providing the free lunches for years as part of the USDA Summer Food Program, but this was a significant expansion of the District’s involvement in keeping kids fed.
Honoring Those Who Serve
Marking the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Cascade Middle School Leadership students brought a muffin basket with a card to surprised firefighters at Bethel’s Eugene Station 7.
It was a simple but heartfelt message of thanks for their service.
Although school has only been in session for six days, Cascade’s Leadership kids already have big plans for the school year. They include the Sandy Hook Promise program’s Start With Hello Week, in which students reach out to and include those who may be dealing with social isolation.
A Star In The Making
You have to watch this. Recent Willamette grad McKayla Webb was already known as a Renaissance student:
* On track to earn her full International Baccalaureate diploma
* Engineering, designing, welding and racing her own Electrathon car
* A two-time state wrestling champ!
But, hold on…McKayla also has serious musical talent. Here’s the song she wrote for and performed at Willamette’s graduation.
Sink Or Swim
Here’s a tradition like no other. Paddling a boat made of cardboard. Naturally, the kids love it.
Shasta Middle School 8th grade science students carefully climb aboard their cardboard creations and splash from one end of Echo Hollow Pool to the other.
Sinking is the fun aspect of failure.
The boat races are part of their studies, including learning about the Archimedes Principle: “The buoyant force on a body placed in a fluid is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.”
If sinking and swimming helps bring that idea to life, than this is a lesson well-learned.
What Goes Around, Comes Around
Here’s the story.
Superintendent Chris Parra helped a UO Doctoral student with his dissertation, refusing to accept any compensation.
Instead, that student found a way to pay it forward. He made a significant contribution to a Donors Choose project at Clear Lake Elementary.
Teacher Christina Cox is using books to demonstrate strong writing and language techniques, along with storytelling and character development.
The Donors Choose contribution helped her purchase more “mentor texts” for her students. As a result, her Clear Lake students are blossoming as writers and readers.
What goes around…
Singing With Heart
There was a tremendous outpouring of giving from the community, so Shasta Choir students were able to bring a massive supply of new toys to the young patients and their families at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.
The Shasta Choir has made this an annual event. They put on a half-hour performance at the hospital and presented the gifts for the staff to distribute.
Later they broke into a street performance at the bus/train depot for the wider public.
The choir members take pride in giving back, and it’s always a surprise how many of the students have had experiences with Doernbecher.
Doing The Grad Walk
For the third consecutive year, Bethel seniors enjoyed a full day of congratulations, emotional reunions, inspiration, and turning back the clock.
The annual Grad Walk took graduating seniors walk through all the Bethel schools to see former teachers and encourage young students to keep their eyes on the prize…the high school diploma, and beyond.
Next Stop: Kindergarten
They were off the charts on the cuteness scale.
Bethel’s youngest graduates took part in a personalized commencement ceremony marking their departure from Preschool Promise at Danebo Elementary.
Preschool Promise is a United Way program that gives children access to a high-quality preschool.
Bethel School District partners with United Way, the Early Learning Alliance, and Family Connections of Lane and Douglas Counties to offer the program for our pre-kindergarten students.
Art For Art’s Sake
Students were happy to stay after school at Cascade Middle School. They had a chance to take some Art lessons from teacher Meghan Hollis.
The goal was to create pieces for the annual NewArt Northwest Kids competition at the UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.
As a result, a pair of Cascade 6th graders’ art was selected to be displayed in the museum all summer.
Hailey Clay and Hunter Martin created beautiful paintings, then they had the additional honor of joining other Cascade students on a tour of the art show to see their pieces on display.
Inside Bethel’s Outdoor School
Next school year all Bethel 5th graders will be taking part in Outdoor School. This spring Meadow View and Danebo students laid the groundwork for the rest of the district.
They spent three days and two nights at Grove Christian Camp in Dorena. Kids learned about plants and people, water, animals and soil. And there was some fun along the way.
Rotary Delivers Again
The Eugene Airport Rotary Foundation handed out more than $100,000 in scholarships to local high school seniors and continuing college students, including students from Willamette and Kalapuya.
Willamette’s Jeremy Golliher, Ruben Gonzalez-Lopez, Rene Nagy and Roberto Perez, and Kalapuya’s Donae Borchers, Bailey Deverell and Grandon Overton each received $2,000.
Former scholarship recipients also came back for another $1,000 each, including WHS grads Allison Cook, Emily Eckart, Damaris Garcia-Rios, Megan Lloyd, Maggie McCausland, Kelsey Meng, Robin Nagy and Anna Swanson.
Loads of thanks to members of the Eugene Airport Rotary, a consistently effective and caring group.
Each year for 12 years Kalapuya High School has given out $5,000 to deserving non-profits.
The Community 101 grant funding comes from the Oregon Community Foundation and are intended to enhance student engagement in their community, polish their public speaking skills, increase their critical thinking, model philanthropy, and bring about positive change.
Kalapuya students advertise the grant opportunity, review the grant applications, interview the finalists, and then award the funds. They also have to break the bad news to non-profits whose applications are not funded.
The Making Of The Bands
Students’ creative buzz filled the music room at Fairfield.
Thanks to a grant from Northwest Community Credit Union, kids were composing songs right up to the final days of school.
Working in teams and using a GarageBand app on iPads, students created 8-bar songs. They chose the percussion instruments and rhythm patterns, a guitar chord progression and a keyboard melody.
Tying them all together, Fairfield kids ended the school year by sharing their new songs with classmates.
Learning by doing is true, especially in Music class.
In a few weeks they’ll be studying bioengineering, forensic psychology, computer science, medical anthropology, music, foreign languages, and more.
It makes sense. They have been diligent for four years, the top scholars in nearly every class.
23 Willamette seniors were recognized at the school’s 29th annual Scholar Awards.
They received the honor based on GPA, SAT or ACT scores, and completing their state Essential Skills.
Now the scholars are off to continue their education with a strong foundation in success.
Champions In Education
The teacher who helps other teachers become better at their craft. The classroom assistant who connects with students and families. The volunteer who has no grandchildren of her own, but considers the 425 at her school part of her family.
This year, rather than a community-wide recognition event at the Hult Center, Bethel’s ACE Awards were presented as surprises at each champion’s school.
Irving’s Debbi Holte was honored with the Teacher award. Debbi welcomes other teachers as part of the district’s Demonstration Classroom project, modeling excellent teaching techniques.
The ACE Award for Classified staff goes to Adriana Alvarez. Her ability to build trusting relationships with parents and students is making a real difference in students’ education.
And “Grandma Genee” Heinz has spent all day, every day, for 12 years volunteering at Malabon Elementary. She’s seen a whole generation of kids come through, students she considers her own grandchildren.
Congratulations to all these deserving ACE Award winners who were each presented with $1,000 to be used for the school program of their choice.
Career Day has a different tune when folks from the Grammy Museum are presenting.
Music industry professionals talked with Willamette students about careers in the music entertainment.
They offered the kind of advice they wish they had when starting out.
Students were told to always be looking for opportunities to perform because it’s the best path to success in music.
There was matter of fact straight talk such as don’t expect immediate success, it’s okay to struggle, and stick with what makes you happy rather than what you think might make your rich.
That’s sound advice regardless of one’s career path.
The Bike Show
Some were there for the obstacle course. Others were clearly there for the free bike tune-ups. And prizes kept a few folks around.
Another Bike Rodeo drew a large crowd at Meadow View School. Staged by Safe Routes to School, the event was an effort to encourage alternate transportation to and from school, including on bikes, scooters and skateboards.
Ding Ding Cycles offered the bike tune-ups, volunteers helped with the obstacle course, and Mother Nature provided the great weather to help reintroduce kids to a healthy way to commute.
Healthy Teens Night – The Good And Bad
Creating solutions and providing resources for teenagers needing mental health services. It’s one of the most difficult health challenges we face today.
Bethel’s Healthy Teens Night was an attempt to start that conversation. We hosted guests from Lane County Public Health, Ophelia’s Place, the Trauma Healing Project, and the REV Youth Leadership. They offered some options and insights for parents and guardians.
Yet, only a very small number of parents showed up, although those who did had a chance to get into depth with presenters, and listened and learned about the emotional, psychological and social realities of young people today.
It’s not the final answer to this difficult health challenge, but it’s a start.
Creating The Game Creators
Students are learning how to develop video games at Willamette High School. Teacher Matt Symonds was recently able to bring in the owner of a local video game company to expand students’ knowledge.
Vance is from Cercle Games, and has multiple projects that have reached “Top Games” lists on international platforms.
He introduced a new piece of free software that will be integrated into the curriculum for the Video Game Design class.
It’s all leading to the start of a Computer Science class and formal career pathway at Willamette in the fall.
Going Brain Bowling
Language arts, literature, math, science, history, geography, fine arts, and general knowledge.
Those are the subjects kids had to study to prepare for the annual middle school Brain Bowl.
The Jeopardy-like contest featured 28 7/8 grade teams from middle schools throughout the county, and a team from Shasta won it! They edged a team from Cascade Middle School in a tie-breaker.
The Shasta kids had been practicing during lunch for more than two months, and it was quickness on the response that won it.
Congratulations to team members Olivia Harris, Lily Halbrook, Dinya Khleif, Anthony Silva, Danny Mugleston, Jay Veach, Austin Campbell, and coach Allison Bradshaw.
Our Celebration Of Cultures
A magical display of colors, music, languages and lives mixed at Bethel’s annual Multicultural Fair.
Prairie Mountain School welcomed hundreds of people celebrating the diverse cultures represented in our community.
Among the popular performers were the Chinese Lion Dance Troupe sponsored by the Chinese American Benevolent Association. The active and entertaining lion dance is believed to bring good luck, prosperity, and happiness. It sure brought smiles and applause from all ages of the audience.
Others providing entertainment and awe at the Multicultural Fair included the West African Culture Arts Institute drummers, the U.S. Taekwondo College, Eugene Taiko drummers, and dancers from the Eugene Chinese School.
Recipe For Success
Willamette’s Culinary Team was cooking, finishing 6th at the national competition in Rhode Island.
The team was ecstatic with the outcome after aiming for a top-10 finish among the 46 teams from around the country and Guam.
Wil-Hi’s state championship team impressed the judges with their teamwork, sanitation, handmade pasta and the preparation of their pan-seared halibut.
Congratulations to teacher Martha Humphreys and team members Cole Barnhardt, Jessica Barnhardt, Tyler Livingston, Shane Wilder and Taylor Woolett. They represented Willamette, Bethel and Oregon well.
All That Jazz
There’s no shame in being humbled. After all, this is a festival that brings together the best in the northwest.
It’s understood that taking part in the annual Bellevue Jazz Festival near Seattle is a time for students to learn where they stand, and see how much more they have to improve.
Then Shasta’s Jazz Band went out and won the thing!
Being honored with a first place finish anywhere is the very best way for the band to wrap up a terrific school year, but taking the title at Bellevue is a moment the students and Band Director Mike Reetz won’t soon forget.
A Moment With The Gov
Thousands of students visit the capitol building in Salem each week. It’s not an everyday occurrence that the Governor has time for a sit down conversation with kids.
It happened to Meadow View 8th graders during their field trip to the capitol.
Before they knew it, Governor Kate Brown was taking questions from students who were invited to relax on the floor in her office.
Being able to connect the state’s highest political office with a real person is a powerful way to make social studies come to life.
New Faces In New Places
We are happy to share the news that after a thorough search, Tasha Katsuda and Kee Zublin have been selected for Bethel’s two very important soon-to-be open Curriculum Director positions. They will provide leadership in the areas of instruction, curriculum, assessment, and student learning across the District.
Tasha is the current principal at Spencer Butte Middle School. She is the former principal at McCornack Elementary, did district-level work overseeing federal Title programs, and was a classroom teacher of English language arts, Social Studies, Math, Science, Leadership, and electives. Tasha stood out with her knowledge of elementary and middle level instruction, curriculum and supports.
Kee has been with Bethel since 2006, first as a highly regarded teacher at Kalapuya, then as interim principal at KHS and assistant principal at Willamette High School. Kee has worked at the district-level as a Math TOSA, has taken part in state-level assessment work, and led our district-wide initiatives to develop and implement new classroom assessments to measure individual student growth.
The two Curriculum Director positions were held by long-time Bethel administrator and teacher Brian Flick, who is retiring in June; and Christy Gill, who has been an Administrator on Special Assignment, covering the position left vacant by the retirement of Lori Smith four years ago. Christy will be moving to Title I teacher at Prairie Mountain.
Growing Their Own
Organic vegetable starts, hanging fuchsia baskets, and perennial flowers were snatched up at the annual Kalapuya Mother’s Day Plant Sale.
Nasturtiums, pansies, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, lilies, and herbs were some of the plants available at Kalapuya High School.
They were all grown by students using the school’s industrial-quality greenhouse, where kids get their hands dirty to learn about agriculture.
All the proceeds to go right back into the Kalapuya program.
With A Little Help From Our Friends
Safe Routes to School is doing what it can to promote biking to school as a healthy and easy alternative for Bethel students.
Bethel’s SRTS coordinator Bob Beals managed to scrape together enough money to purchase a bike cover at Shasta Middle School.
Then Beals visited the fire station next door and discovered that firefighters were happy to help install the cover. Together they had it built and the bike racks in place in no time.
Now, Shasta students have a locked and covered bike parking area thanks to SRTS and our friendly neighbors.
The Big Cheese
For someone in his position, Jesus Mendoza’s visit to Bethel was way under the radar.
The USDA’s Regional Administrator for Nutrition Programs, Mendoza oversees programs throughout the west coast and the South Pacific.
At the Oregon Department of Education’s request, he came to Eugene to visit Bethel and get a close-up look at the Bethel Farm.
Mendoza talked with Kalapuya students who lead the Farm’s 4th grade field trips and who work at the Farm during the summer.
Then he helped distribute lunch at Prairie Mountain School, encouraging young students to try the kale salad, before sitting down to eat with the children.
The visit was an honor for the District and it’s top-notch Nutrition Services program.
Earth Day Messengers
Inspiration and creativity were on the wall at the Eugene Downtown library.
Award-winning posters by a pair of Prairie Mountain 5th graders were among those put on public display as part of the Earth Day poster Contest.
Katie Askew and Teah Brandt completed their posters in class and then learned that they’d won awards. Katie earned an Inspiring Action award and Teah was honored with a Creativity Award.
It was part of an assignment to show the students understood some of the impact of climate change. Each of them won a gift certificate to a local art store.
And, Teah is keeping busy; she’ll represent Bethel at the Lane County Spelling Bee this month.
Walking & Rolling
Every Bethel school took part in the Walk and Roll Challenge, with hundreds of students walking, biking, skate boarding and scooting to school.
Kalapuya and Meadow View even had events for the entire week to encourage kids to get out of their family cars.
Safe Routes to School also arranged to have Isaac Johnson from Ding Ding Cycles provide free bike tune-ups at Meadow View, Prairie Mountain and Willamette where free bike helmets were also given away.
Nothing wrong with using a few incentives to help create healthy habits.
The Addams Family On Stage
Uncle Fester, Morticia, Gomez, Lurch, and Wednesday were all there. Willamette’s annual spring musical was a good one: The Addams Family Musical.
Nearly 50 students in the cast, crew and band had been rehearsing since February to bring you this musical comedy. It centered around being truthful, keeping secrets, and self-reflection.
Drama teacher Tana Walker continued the recent tradition of including a live student band in the orchestra pit for this musical.
There were strong turnouts for the three-day run, concluding with well-deserved standing ovations for the performances.
Challenge In The Wind
Bethel’s annual KidWind Challenge brings 8th graders together to test their classroom-made wind turbines and determine which creates the most energy.
The annual event combines science, math, hands-on learning and real-world problems, and is made possible through a grant from EWEB.
Watch this video to get an idea of what the KidWind Challenge offers students.
Champions In Education
Here’s the hard part: selecting just four winners out of so many deserving nominees.
The annual ACE (A Champion in Education) Awards is now accepting nominations in four categories: Teachers (licensed staff), Classified staff, Administrators and Volunteers.
It’s the 13th consecutive year that the ACE Awards will recognize the incredible work of Bethel staff and volunteers. The stories shared in the nominations are inspiring. The dedication displayed by the staff and volunteers is humbling.
Our thanks to the Eugene-Springfield business community under the leadership of Oregon Community Credit Union, which sponsors the event.
A winning nomination requires some work, and the deadline is April 29th.
The deserving winner in each category will receive a handsome plaque and $1,000 to be used for the school program of their choice.
The Ultimate Field Trip
Now, this is how to stage a field trip.
Kalapuya students have returned from a nine-day field study backpacking through the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.
Students explored slick-rock slot canyons that narrowed to inches, formed by thousands of years of wind and rain.
They explored the petrified burnt orange sandstone canyons, learned about the geologic history of the Colorado Plateau, and studied the plant and animal adaptations that define desert ecosystems.
Students also delved into the contemporary debates that surround grazing rights, oil exploration, and the federal designations of National Monuments.
A Day In The Life
How quickly we forget what it’s like to be a high school student.
That’s why seven Willamette teachers and counselors spent a week immersing themselves in the bell-to-bell student experience: going to class, doing the homework, taking the tests, giving presentations, using the student restrooms, eating with teenagers, and socializing during breaks.
It’s a repeat of Wil-Hi’s Day in the Life experiment two years ago that opened eyes and increased teachers’ level of empathy for students while improving their own instruction.
Enhanced student engagement, more welcoming classrooms, improved relationships and collaboration in class; it was all reported by staff who spent a week as students.
Teachers will share their experiences in another video coming soon, with revelations from the adults who survived as teenagers for a week.
Emma’s Amazing Adventure
Emma Phipps, 4th grader at Meadow View School, and her uncle Rob Anderson have turned her real life story of adopting her dog into a book: Nala’s Adoption Adventure, now available on Amazon.
It started with Emma using Google Docs to write stories about animals. Uncle Rob suggested writing a real book, and they were off.
After school and on weekends they brainstormed, outlined the book, created a storyboard, hired an illustrator from Russia over the internet, and submitted the completed book to CreateSpace on Amazon. The book isn’t printed until it’s ordered, saving on up-front publishing costs.
Nala’s Adoption Adventure is the true story of the adoption of Emma’s dog. The book contains links for folks who want to adopt an animal.
There’s no telling if the book will take off, but It’s been a fun, challenging, and exciting experience for Emma. In addition, a portion of the profits from each sale goes to helping animals.
Hall of Fame
Brooke was a four-time Big Sky outdoor high jump champion, the only Weber State athlete in any sport to win the same event all four years. She still holds school records in the indoor and outdoor high jump.
She was an All-American indoors, and competed in the NCAA Championships twice.
These days Brooke’s on her toes helping to provide medical care for Bethel students and staff at the Health Center. Stop in and see her and the terrific team at the Bethel Health Center (entrance on the north side of Cascade Middle School.)
On The Radio
No one wants to talk about this, but 6th grade students at Prairie Mountain came right out and said it. Now it’s being shared on local radio stations.
Scoop the Poop is the message being broadcast as Public Service Announcements.
Prairie Mountain students studying water quality and healthy watersheds created their own PSAs to encourage dog owners to clean up after their pups.
The City of Eugene selected two teams’ messages to help prevent dog waste from making its way to streams and rivers. Now the voices of Mitul Ramani and Caiden Hanna, and Le Tran and Hayden King can be heard on local radio stations.
It’s been a lesson on the direct link between classroom studies and real world issues.
Unsere Deutschen Freunde
Enrollment at Willamette High School grew by 16 after spring break.
Students from Mainburg, Germany attended classes for two weeks as part of the German American Partnership Program (GAPP).
They’re from the same town where 12 WHS students traveled to take part in a similar exchange last summer.
The German visitors stayed with generous host families, experienced the Oregon coast, visited the UO, and even volunteered at Food for Lane County.
The guests gave presentations in Willamette classes about their culture and school life, and then it was time to return to Germany.
The exchange has been taking place for 13 years, and some lifelong friendships have been made.
Science To Go
Discovering how water makes turbines move, what creates static electricity, and how to move magnets. It’s why they call it the Discovery Lab, portable science lessons for hands-on learning at the elementary grade level.
Meadow View School students had an entire gym filled with stations featuring paper cup windmills, magnet mazes, UV bracelets, and more.
A whole generation of Bethel students has experienced the traveling science labs. For 18 years an EWEB Education Grant has been providing the kits’ supply funds, supporting teaching and learning in the areas of energy and water.
There are 12 program areas covered in the EWEB grant, something for every age student from kindergarten through high school.
It was more of a status report than a competition. Shasta’s Session Jazz Choir took part in the Clackamas Vocal Jazz Festival in Portland.
The choir received high marks in Musicianship and Stage-Presence and happily placed 3rd in the highly competitive middle school division. They also had the opportunity to work with some of the finest clinicians in Oregon, so it was a valuable learning experience.
The Session Choir has taken part in the Clackamas Festival for 12 years, and they’ll soon perform at the annual Pleasant Hill Jazz Festival.
Now there’s a new gig they have scheduled in May that could be the most rewarding event of their year: a trip to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland to sing for the kids who are receiving medical treatment.
Following The Path
Ana de la Paz, Rachel Camarena, and Adriana Alvarez are on their way. All three Bethel Educational Assistants are part of the Pathways Program, with a goal of becoming a classroom teacher.
Pathways is a joint effort by Bethel, Eugene 4J and Springfield school districts, with LCC, UO, Pacific and Northwest Christian Universities.
Together they identify and support potential teachers who speak multiple languages and are culturally diverse. Candidates receive scholarships from $2,500 – $15,000 toward their studies to become teachers.
We need teachers who speak multiple languages and can diversify our teaching staff to better reflect our student population.
Ana, Rachel, and Adriana are on their way to doing just that.
Sowing The Seeds Of Peace
Training students how to help other kids settle disputes and avoid conflicts sounds like a good idea.
That’s why Bethel partnered with the Center for Dialogue and Resolution to bring in professional facilitators to teach mediation skills to students.
A Seeds of Peace grant provided training of small groups of kids at Willamette, Kalapuya, Cascade, Prairie Mountain, Meadow View, Malabon and Danebo schools.
Students even came in on no-school days for the training. Now kids from different peer groups are helping to mediate disputes and prevent conflicts. At Prairie Mountain and Cascade they’re leading school-wide positive climate campaigns.
The work has been well-received, and more training is being planned.
A Pageant With Purpose
And, the winner is…children! The Wolverine Pageant also managed to crown Bellamie Curyea as the winner of Willamette’s 25th annual school spectacle. It culminated months of pageant rehearsals and fundraising by WHS student contestants and their organizers.
Together they raised close to $25,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network.
Willamette’s is one of 16 area pageants that creates school pride, builds lasting friendships, and raises funds to provide supplies and equipment for the PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center pediatric unit.
A $20,000 grant will soon send Kalapuya High School students out in the field for a mapping project with the Army Corps of Engineers.
The grant from the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund will provide handheld Geographic Information System (GIS) computers via a partnership with the National Science Foundation. It will be administered through the Bethel Education Foundation.
Kalapuya students will assist with a comprehensive mapping of invasive species and culturally important plants around Fern Ridge Reservoir. They will also monitor the ecological restoration projects KHS students have completed in recent years.
They will stream the GIS data back to the Army Corp, getting literal hands-on training with emerging GIS technology, which could be a new career path.
Kalapuya’s is one of only 14 projects in five American cities funded by the latest Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund.
Artist In Residence
The talent on display is impressive.
Willamette senior Rylee Schuch has been awarded First Place at the LCC High School Art Show.
The painting is beautiful, and there’s more that makes it really interesting.
Rylee’s watercolor was painted on a “found background” – an old map donated by a history teacher.
Rylee is an Advanced Fine Arts student working towards her Advanced Career Endorsement.
Playing To Learn
This event is an annual highlight for some school bands from throughout the state.
The Shasta Invitational Concert Band Festival welcomed 17 school bands to perform before expert clinicians.
One of the most appreciated aspects of the Shasta event is the opportunity for bands to get one-on-one learning time from the clinicians. The experts give sophisticated tips on the bands’ performances, identifying small but important improvements to their music.
Shasta’s is among the largest invitational concert band festivals in Oregon, and it’s been going strong for more than 20 years.
To College And Careers
It’s true. In only their second year of competition, Willamette’s Robotics team has captured a state championship.
It’s a testament to the students and their Robotics instructor Chris McGowan. They put in extra time to get their bots built and programmed, then practiced maneuvering them with remote controls.
Programs like Robotics can capture a student’s interest in Engineering and Computer Programming, enhancing what’s taught through a textbook.
We’re proud of the kids who brought home some hardware at the state championships. We’re even more pleased to see so many students becoming engaged in Robotics and its related fields, perhaps leading to a career they previously had not considered.
Continuing School Safety
You see in the news each week about another school shooting. It’s why all Bethel schools conduct safety drills. More than the usual fire drills or earthquake drills, Bethel schools practice lockdown procedures multiple times each school year.
Our teachers have scripts that remind students of the scenarios and protocols for a severe emergency. That allows all Bethel students to have shared expectations. We also created age-appropriate safety training videos that teachers can share with students to prepare for lockdown drills.
Back in 2014 Bethel was the first district in Oregon to train all staff in the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) safety concepts. It is important knowledge on procedures we hope are never used.
Whipping Up A Winner
11 years since Willamette’s last state championship, the WHS Culinary Team is preparing for another appearance at the Oregon ProStart Culinary Competition. Here’s a quick look as Taylor Woolett, Tyler Livingston, Cole Barnhardt, Shane Wilder and Jessica Barnhardt practicing to prepare a 3-course gourmet meal from scratch in one hour using only two propane burners.
UPDATE: WHS has won the state championship! They will travel to Providence, Rhode Island in April to compete against the champions from all the other states in the country!
A Quilt Of Kindness
It started as pieces of butcher paper and white cardstock triangles.
When they were finished, Meadow View students had created a giant Kindness Quilt made up of adjoining triangles.
Students wrote, drew, painted, and otherwise decorated their individual triangles with pictures, poems, messages, and images of hope and kindness.
They matched up with students from another grade level and worked in 2-person teams.
The completed project serves a reminder of a fun and meaningful day for students, and a long-lasting message to carry on the values on the quilt.
Start Your Engines
How they’re able to do this is pretty impressive.
Willamette students design, engineer, weld, test, and race three-wheeled go-cart style battery-powered vehicles. Taking on students from other high schools, Willamette’s Electrathon teams go wheel-to-wheel all spring in Oregon and Washington.
The Industry and Engineering program at WHS is a perfect example of CTE (Career Technical Education) courses that provide students with real-world hands-on learning that can lead to a career or further study.
Come see the cars for yourself. The first race of the season is Saturday at LCC. The flag drops at 11:00 a.m. and it’s free for all spectators.
It’s About The Books
There were costumes, arts and crafts, storytelling, and all of it based on books.
Danebo Elementary’s Literacy Night had something for everyone, with reading as the central theme.
Students and their families had a chance to make fun bookmarks, use goofy props in a photo booth-style set-up, and share the love of reading through storytelling.
Activities were tied to specific books, like making aliens where books about outer space were featured.
Everyone went home with a Dr. Seuss book bag, a book of their choice, and a pizza coupon. Free food, entertainment, and souvenirs. Danebo knows how to do it right!
Willamette High School’s new Mock Trial Team came within a whisper of advancing to the state competition.
The strong showing at the regional competition at the Linn County Courthouse is encouraging for Wil-Hi’s young legal minds because this was their very first competition.
The team’s impressive performance is the first tangible result of having an Intro to Law class as part of the school’s Social Studies curriculum.
Congrats to team members Kiana Abarca, Natasha Abarca, Tylan Britten, Dorena Glynn, Jared Doerner, Ashley Reinoehl, Jason Dardis, Jasmine Ortega, and the only senior Andrew Connor. Coaches are teacher Dain Nelson and Clinton Tapper, of Taylor and Tapper Attorneys.
She is an acclaimed author of novels for kids, and she loves sharing her techniques with children.
That’s why Rosanne Parry held an assembly and then a writing workshop at Meadow View School.
The Portland writer is notable for her award-winning novels and for the fact that she prefers to write in her backyard tree house.
Parry explained that she likes to take real-life events and build fictional stories around them.
Meadow View students took notes, asked good questions, and left thinking more deeply about their storytelling because they heard it first-hand from a writer they admire.
A Chamber Choir
This opportunity doesn’t come along every day.
Willamette’s Topnotchers choir was invited to the Oregon capitol building to sing America the Beautiful to open a session of the state senate.
Senator James Manning, a Bethel resident and big Bethel believer, welcomed the Topnotchers to his home away from home.
Their moving rendition of American the Beautiful brought a standing ovation and an invitation to come back any time.
The experience also proved to be a team-building experience for the choir members, who were outstanding representatives of WHS and Bethel.
Walking The Talk
Callyn and Maren Widmer have gotten used to this. The sisters join their mom and a couple of friends walking to and from Meadow View School every day.
Their commute is quick and easy, only a quarter mile. Walking also keeps them safely away from the overflowing school parking lot where cars and pedestrians are in a daily dance. Walking means fewer cars added to the parking lot scrum.
Parents are encouraged to consider having their children walk or ride bikes to school in groups like the Widmer’s. It’s called a Walking School Bus.
Changing habits can be a challenge, but the Widmers are one example that it can be done. They are now full-time walkers, rain or shine.
Bethel Band Festival
Five Bethel schools, 350 students, side by side under the direction of Dr. Rodney Dorsey.
The Director of Bands at the University of Oregon took is all in stride at the guest conductor for the annual Bethel Band Festival.
Dorsey worked with each school band separately, then brought them together for a powerful series of songs.
It’s an annual opportunity for the younger musicians to show what they can do, and also see what the future could hold as high school band members.
Back On The Farm
The Bethel Farm has broken ground on the community garden plots that had been in the planning phase of the Farm’s development.
The Farm has partnered with Huerto de la Familia in an effort to reach more Bethel families and offer opportunities on the farm.
The 15 x 15 plots offer Bethel families the opportunity to grow food for themselves at a very low cost: $40 annually and $15 for low-income residents.
In order to help families be successful with their garden, all the gardeners will take a “Seed to Supper” intro to gardening class.
For more information, please contact Danielle Hummel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buddy Day Is Back
“This was the greatest day ever!” A second grader at Danebo shared that enthusiastic declaration after his Buddy Day activity with a kindergartner.
Danebo’s Buddy Day had a kindness and friendship theme, with teams of students school-wide creating beautiful sections of a giant mural.
Kids chose different medians of art such as crayons, watercolors, pencils and mixed craft supplies, with the plan to put them together in sections, display them in classes, and eventually join all the class projects as one giant mural.
It’ll be a lasting reminder of that greatest day ever.
The chance to perform with an internationally known band on stage at the Hult Center? A group of Willamette band students jumped at that invitation.
Matuto, a band from New York known for its fusion of jazz, bluegrass and Brazilian music, came to Willamette and worked with a select group of students in the IB (International Baccalaureate) Music class.
Then, that night the band welcomed the WHS students onto the Hult Center stage to join in the final songs of the concert.
That could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the Willamette students, or maybe just the beginning of their musical careers.
This was a first. The Willamette Chess team hosted the State Championship Tournament when the original host school had to back out.
Chess team advisor Mike Myers put together a team of volunteers, utilizing his extensive knowledge of how to run a good tournament.
The two-day tourney welcomed 140 students from 16 schools around Oregon. And after the trophies were handed out – including a second place for Willamette’s JV Open team – the chess has continued at WHS.
8th graders are already attending Willamette’s Wednesday after-school practices, and Sunday meets are continuing at the school through June. There’s more at http://blogs.bethel.k12.or.us/mmyers/
Party Like A Kindergartner
These kids know how to celebrate! Kindergartners in Jacquie Bratland’s class at Irving had been counting the days for this opportunity.
The 100th day of school is a big deal – and a big number – for kindergarten students. They marked that milestone the way 5 and 6 year olds might.
Students counted out 100 fruit loops and made necklaces. Jewelry that looks good and tastes good…what could be better?! Kids also counted out 100 snacks and had a celebration at the end of the day.
Kindergartners wore 100th Day crowns and had a special visit from Zero the Hero, the masked crusader who has been made famous in books and song. For our youngest students, celebrating at school doesn’t get much better than this.
Preparing For The Big Move
Advancing from 8th grade to high school is a giant leap for some students. Bethel’s 8th graders got an early introduction to Willamette High School with a tour of classrooms and a peek at particular programs during the school day.
The orientation was followed by an evening event with parents and the opportunity to learn more about specific courses.
Preparing students for the transition to high school starts in their 8th grade classrooms, where teachers continually emphasize the need for students to work on their responsibility, perseverance, and time management skills.
Expectations change in 9th grade, and the road to high school success for the Class of 2022 is paved with good preparation.
The Governor With A Mandate
Oregon has a Kid Governor, and he had a message on a stop at Prairie Mountain School: Stop bullying.
11 year old Dom Peters was “inaugurated” in January after being elected by fellow 5th graders from around the state. 5th graders at Prairie Mountain watched the inauguration live online.
As Oregon’s Kid Governor, Dom has no real authority but he does have a voice.
Now he’s spreading the message that students need to be kind to each other and work together. Like a true politician, he has his own blog. And at his school in Brooks, near Salem, Dom started a Super Kind Helpers’ Club to identify and stop bullying.
Sharing that message with students around the state would make his term a success.
A Place To Call Home
This really happens.
Imagine as a high school student you’re worrying about where you’ll sleep, where your next meal will come from, how you can wash your clothes or take a shower.
Getting homework done, completing an assignment, or taking part in clubs or sports fall way down your priority list. Too many high school students in Bethel are living like this.
It’s why we’re celebrating the opening of the St. Vincent de Paul Youth House for high school girls.
Although it’s in south Eugene, Bethel girls will be living there, too. Homeless and at-risk girls ages 16 to 18 will receive the secure housing, casework, mentoring and other resources they need to stay in school until graduation.
Now we’re working with St. Vinnie’s to create a similar facility in Bethel for boys. It’ll be a lifeline for students and a valuable addition to our community. Stay tuned.
Fly Eagles, Fly
From Willamette High School to the Super Bowl championship!
Just nine years ago Spencer Phillips was quarterbacking the Wil-Hi football team. After playing small college football, he was a volunteer coach at the high school and small college level for three years, sometimes not knowing where his next meal would come from.
A bit of serendipity in 2016 led to a meeting with new Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who ended up offering Spencer a job as Coaching Assistant, Pederson’s right hand man.
During the Super Bowl Spencer helped with defensive game cards and joined the quarterbacks in identifying nuances that could help the Philadelphia offense.
When the Eagles won the Super Bowl, he joined family and girlfriend Keely Bertak (WHS ‘10) for an emotional on-field celebration.
Spencer is grateful for the support he’s received from so many people during his journey, as evidenced by the nearly 500 text messages waiting on his phone after the game.
And, a final bit of good news: he’s just received a well-deserved promotion to Assistant Quarterbacks Coach.
The New Cool In School
No One Eats Alone is a program that makes inclusion “the new cool in school.”
Middle school students at Cascade and Meadow View learned about social isolation and how they can help ensure no one is left lonely at lunchtime.
Teachers received a curriculum, courtesy of Trillium, and prepared kids for No One Eats Alone Day. They learned how social isolation can have a negative impact on a student’s health and academic performance.
8th grade facilitators encouraged 6th graders to join groups at lunchtime and engage in discussions. Students also talked about ways to continue taking action to reduce social isolation at school.
One way is the next event: No One Learns Alone.
Job Skills For The Real World
A presentation from Archimoto, a local start-up company that makes electric cars, included the job skills they’re looking for in employees.
It wasn’t a big leap to envision the Willamette students working for Archimoto.
Because, while CTE classes are becoming all the rage, Career Technical Education courses have been a staple of the curriculum at Willamette for decades.
CTE courses at Wil Hi are offered for college credit in Digital Arts, Business Management, Health Occupations, Multimedia Arts, Design and Manufacturing, Culinary Arts, Metals, Digital Manufacturing and Robotics, and Early Childhood Education.
WHS students have the opportunity to learn valuable and marketable job skills so they graduate ready for a career or continuing education.
From Beijing To Bethel
They live half a world away, but there’s not a world of difference between them.
Students from Beijing visited Shasta Middle School again. It’s an exchange that’s been going on since before these students were born.
Shasta’s principal Brady Cottle and a Bethel contingent returned the favor by visiting Beijing four years ago and learned how they approach public education.
The students from China spent time in classrooms, performed in the choir room, played games in the gym, and questioned each other about their everyday lives.
It turns out they share common interests in cell phones, pop stars, and shopping. Go figure.
Robotics On A Roll
Willamette’s Robotics program is beginning to make a name for itself.
A few weeks after two teams from WHS shared first place at the West Salem Robotics Tournament, Willamette hosted a Robotics competition of its own for 38 teams from a dozen schools in Oregon and California.
A Wil-Hi team claimed second place, and now they’re all gearing up for the state tournament in Salem this spring under the leadership of teacher Chris McGowan.
Here’s a quick look at the WHS Robotics competition.
Bringing The Best To Bethel
More than 150 of the best chess players will soon descend on Willamette High School for the State Chess Tournament.
Wil-Hi’s coach Mike Myers stepped up to host the tourney after problems developed with the initial host site.
Willamette’s chess team seems to be peaking at the right time. Although standing third in the Midwestern League, Wil-Hi has beaten the first place team…twice!
If there’s a Cinderella story this year, WHS would be happy to play that role.
They could use a little volunteer help with the state tournament on March 2nd and 3rd. Contact Mike Myers at email@example.com
More Of A Good Thing
For the fourth year in a row, the Shasta Jazz Band was invited as one of the exceptional bands to perform at the evening concert of the Oregon Jazz Festival.
While the Festival is not a competitive event, three Shasta players were also awarded Outstanding Musicianship awards.
And eight Willamette High School musicians were selected to perform in the Festival’s All-Star Big Band with renowned guest trumpeter Terrell Stafford.
It was another big night for Bethel students at the Oregon Jazz Festival, and a tradition we’d like to see continue.
The Road To Success
Time is flying by, and soon they’ll be on their way to a high school diploma.
That’s why students at Prairie Mountain School – and their parents – turned out for the Path To Graduation Night.
Administrators, counselors and students from Willamette High School explained what it’s really like in high school today; the electives, course work, challenges, expectations, and potential pitfalls.
The event became a real eye-opener for many parents and students because high school in Bethel offers so much more than some folks realize.
Rounding Up The Recyclables
Folks have been squirreling away an amazing amount of electronics. A lot of it was turned in at Willamette’s annual community-wide Recycling Round-up.
National Honor Society students accepted old VCRs and TVs, computer monitors and radios.
Exercise equipment that must have seemed like a good idea at one time. Old mattresses that weren’t good enough for the guest room. Styrofoam, hairdryers, coffee makers and cell phones.
It was all collected and taken away by St. Vincent de Paul and NextStep.
The annual event is one of the reasons why WHS was named a national Green Ribbon School Award winner in 2014.
On The Safe Side
Not all the learning in school is confined to the classroom.
All Bethel second graders are learning to look both ways, multiple times, before crossing a street.
Clear Lake kids were the first in the district to take part in this spring’s Pedestrian Safety Education made possible by Safe Routes to School.
This is an important lifelong skill, and if it helps more students start walking to school then that’s an additional benefit.
The education that starts in the classroom and ends with a neighborhood walk will continue with Bethel’s other 2nd graders next month.
A Little Help From Our Friends
You have to hear about this. It’s a perfect example of how strong partnerships are making a difference for Bethel students.
Through a grant from Lane STEM, Irving and Malabon 4th and 5th graders are learning computer coding. A Coder-in-Residence from the local tech industry is teaching students about robots, software, and how to become more digitally literate.
As you can imagine, the kids are incredibly engaged.
We have other partnerships with a wide variety of groups like St. Vincent de Paul, NAACP, Ophelia’s Place, the University of Oregon, Oregon Social Learning Center, Stand For Children, Kidsports, Downtown Languages, Bridgeway House, Airport Rotary Club, and so many more.
We are grateful to be working with our many partners who are friends of Bethel School District, students and families.
Flurries Of Kindness
The forecast called for flurries, but Malabon saw a downpour.
In the school’s Flurries of Kindness campaign, paper snowflakes were handed out for a variety of kind and respectful actions by students.
For two weeks each day had its own focus, such as helping, listening, complimenting and politeness.
Students were caught in the act displaying these virtues. Eventually, all the awarded snowflakes were taped to the wall of windows in the school cafeteria, showing kids how many times they were caught in the act of random kindness.
The long range forecast calls for continued flurries at Malabon.
It is our desire to keep students and staff as safe as possible. That’s why practically all Bethel staff have been trained in the principles of ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.)
The District has worked with the Eugene Police Department’s certified ALICE trainers to provide eight staff training opportunities over the last four years in a desire to keep everyone – including new district employees – trained in the latest school safety protocols.
The ALICE strategy empowers individuals with more options during a life-threatening emergency, the kind we all hope never happens.
The Seeds Of Success
Bethel’s already strong Farm to School program just got a $66,000 boost.
We’re the only district in the entire county to be awarded one of the competitive grants from the Oregon Department of Education. The new state funds will strengthen and expand Bethel’s existing Farm to School program and provide year-round learning opportunities at the district-owned Bethel Farm.
Students will be able to experience farm-based sustainable agriculture classes during the school year, and some will be selected for a summer internship program that offers career preparation in agriculture and culinary arts.
Bethel will also collaborate with several community partners to offer family programming and a farm-based Summer Youth Camp for elementary students.
Hundreds of students saved a trip across town when the museum came to them.
Danebo welcomed the UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History to their classrooms.
4th and 5th graders examined artifacts, held ancient tools and learned about how Native peoples hunted and harvested.
3rd graders handled fossils and learned how they were formed and the clues they provide about life in Oregon.
And the youngest Danebo students are being introduced to how Native peoples used engineering and science for generations.
Thanks go out to the Danebo PTO for helping to make the museum’s Classroom Outreach Program possible.
Those private images sent to that special someone? Chances are greater than 50-50 that the special someone will share the images with others.
Your statements posted on social media and then deleted? They are not completely deleted and could come back to haunt you.
Information like that gets the attention of 7th graders, as it did at Meadow View School.
A presenter from Ophelia’s Place offered good advice about wading into social media, mistakes to avoid, and situations to consider.
Nearly all the students had some kind of presence on social media and awareness of the potential problems is a good first step toward protecting our kids from a social media mess.
You may have seen this: an inordinate number of kids with their noses in novels.
OBOB – the Oregon Battle of the Books – is approaching, and students are reading and re-reading the 12 selected novels used in the competition.
Kids from throughout the state form 4-person teams and prepare to answer quiz-show style questions about the OBOB books. In a few weeks, each school will send its best team to regionals, and the winners advance to the state tourney.
The bottom line is students are reading – and lot – and are being introduced to a variety of books and authors. Teamwork, comprehension, and fun competition is the bonus of OBOB.
The food does not grow itself at the Bethel Farm. Seeders and spreaders, tomato twine, hoes, and shovels (some sized for first graders) and a new tiller were needed to keep thousands of pounds of produce coming out of the fields every year.
Thanks to the ongoing support of the Oregon Black Education Foundation and a generous $500 contribution of Don and Anne DeZarn, the Bethel Farm is now better prepared for the spring season that’s about to get underway.
Senator James Manning, representing the Oregon Black Education Board, presented the check to the Horticulture class at Kalapuya.
By the way, Manning was a Bethel believer before he became a state senator, and he’s developed a strong connection to Kalapuya.
Special thanks to Senator Manning, the Oregon Black Education Foundation, and the DeZarns for their generous support.
Students As Teachers
Learning by doing applies to personal health, too.
Students became teachers in Introduction to Sports Medicine, a new Health class at Willamette. The content includes the life-long benefits of fitness and nutrition.
Along with being introduced to healthy foods, students are learning practical ways to stay active.
That’s where the yoga idea was born. When teacher Devon Vendetti admitted he’s never taken a yoga class, some students volunteered to introduce their classmates to a few yoga moves.
It was a big hit: fun, instructive, and invigorating.
Now Vendetti is considering ways to include more student-led instruction as an engaging approach to teaching and learning.
Weather Or Not
Now’s the time to follow me on Twitter at @Bethel_Supt . With the weather turning cold I’ll provide all the updated school closures and delays.
You are also encouraged to download the FlashAlert app. This is the same system we use to notify local media of closures and delays.
And finally, you can always check the district web page or your school’s web page for the very latest information.
If you hear nothing about weather-related closures from any of these sources, even local media, it means school is operating on its regular schedule. No news is good news.
After last year’s rash of icy weather, we want you to be prepared. Now, if Mother Nature will just cooperate….
Friends Bearing Gifts
It’s getting to be a habit for Fairfield music teacher Stacie Wicks. For the second time in a matter of weeks, Wicks’ class was interrupted by people bringing gifts.
Northwest Community Credit Union’s CEO John Iglesias and friends presented Wicks with nearly $1,000 worth of the musical instruments she’d requested in a grant application. Then they splurged, handing over an extra $1,000 in cash so she could do even more for her students.
Just a few weeks before, Wicks had accepted nearly $1,300 from the Bethel Education Foundation for iPads to create a music composition center in her classroom.
NWCU’s Project Community mini-grant program is delivering $58,000 to schools throughout the region. Kate Aly-Brady at Danebo, Jacquie Bratland at Irving and Dain Nelson at Willamette also received NWCU grants.
We are deeply grateful to NWCU (and the BEF) for the genuine caring and support for Bethel students.
Middle School Opportunities
Bethel 8th graders will soon be able to take CTE (Career Technical Education) courses in Culinary Arts, Robotics and Digital Design.
A $332,000 grant from the state is making it possible.
The “CTE Cruise” program starts next fall, opening up after-school classes for 8th graders at Cascade and Shasta Middle Schools, and Meadow View and Prairie Mountain K-8 Schools.
The 12 week rotations will feed directly into the established and popular Culinary, Robotics and Digital Design classes now being offered at Willamette High School.
So, 8th graders will have a chance to try them out before reaching WHS.
In addition, the CTE Cruise courses will serve to attract more girls to the CTE programs in which they have traditionally been underrepresented, such as robotics.
Sprinkles From The Bike Fairy
While students were in school, the Bike Fairy from Safe Routes to School was leaving special gifts on bikes parked outside.
Bags that included a bike headlight, granola bar, sticker, and a thank you note were left on bikes and scooters at Cascade Middle School and Prairie Mountain School.
The random act is intended to encourage continued riding among students, even during the winter months.
The Bike Fairy (SRTS’s Carolyn Chase) promises to be back, leaving surprises among the bike racks as incentives for students to choose their feet or wheels to get to school.
The All-Star Band
This is a special year for the Willamette Jazz Band. Their music is terrific. And now, this.
The Wil-Hi performers will take part in workshops with world-class educators before performing with Stafford.
WHS was awarded eight of the 18 available spots in the All-Star Big Band, despit hundreds of students from throughout the Northwest auditioning.
Honors go to Wes Georgiev, Isael Alvarez, Eric Deaton, Micah Fuller, Jeff Mugleston, Sam Prentice, Cedaira Thomson, and Bailey Williams.
Doing The Double-Check
This is a team effort. It has to be in order to check out more than 400 students.
Bethel’s annual Health Screenings includes all Kindergarten – 5th grade students.
Bethel’s nurses are joined by Lions Club volunteers, dental hygienists and assistants from the Community Health Centers of Lane County, students from Willamette High School, and parent helpers.
The state requires dental screening for our very youngest students, but all of Bethel’s K-5 kids were checked. If hygienists see a potential problem, White Bird Dental Clinic contacts parents about their free dental services scheduled at the Bethel Health Center twice a month. Vision screening by the Lions can also lead to a referral.
Keeping children healthy and ready to learn. It’s a win-win effort.
Singing Their Praise
Eight Willamette singers have been selected to the All-State Choir, the most that anyone can remember coming from WHS in a single year.
It’s a strong senior class: Daniel Gerlach, Megan Sherman, Camille Nash, Moura Stewart, Colin TaylorMays and Elena Zilar were chosen, along with junior Clara Lloyd and sophomore Cormac Gill.
The Willamette singers will attend the All-State Festival during MLK weekend in January, culminating with a concert at the Hult Center on Sunday January 14th.
The Bethel tradition of strong music programs continues.
Face To Face
It’s one of the most important times of the school year. Parent-teacher conferences provide the opportunity to talk one-on-one, uninterrupted, with the focus solely on the child.
The just-completed conferences in grades K-8 followed the November conferences at the high school level.
At conferences, Bethel’s On-Track For Success Report is shared with parents. It’s a long-term look at student achievement, and how today’s progress is leading to graduation.
Ideally, the communication between teachers and parents is ongoing and a partnership is strengthened, with everyone working for the child’s successful school experience.
Listening To The Community Voice
Measure 101, supports for children, voter participation, homelessness, and Career Technical Education. Those were some of the topics discussed at a Bethel Town Hall meeting hosted at Willamette High School.
State Representative Julie Fahey invited Senator James Manning, City Councilor Greg Evans, Mayor Lucy Vinis, County Commissioner Pat Farr, and Bethel School Board Chair Dawnja Johnson.
Wil-Hi’s horseshoe-shaped tiered lecture hall was the perfect venue and it was nearly filled with community members looking for answers.
Even after 90 minutes of questions and answers, the elected officials stayed around another half-hour talking with folks one-on-one.
Bethel School District was happy to host the Town Hall and welcomes more opportunities for our community to be heard.
Drop By Drop
This all began with kids studying a biography about baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente and learning what character traits make a hero. Clemente died while helping earthquake relief efforts in Nicaragua in 1972.
A 3rd grader at Danebo casually suggested they should be like Roberto Clemente and help Puerto Rico’s hurricane relief efforts.
And just like that, kids in Crystal Strege’s class began a coin drive. It was truly student-driven, showing their compassion, empathy, and willingness to give to others.
What started with a few pennies ended with $471.
Now their collection is headed to United for Puerto Rico.
It may be a drop in the bucket of what’s needed, but as Danebo kids can tell you each drop helps fill a bucket.
Playing The Big House
Backstage at the Hult Center is a wall of signatures, featuring hundreds of the entertainers who’ve performed there.
One of them reads: Shasta Middle School Winter Concert, 1989.
The tradition continues. Eight Shasta bands and choirs took turns on the Hult Center stage, performing before an appreciative crowd at the annual Shasta Winter Concert.
It is a rare opportunity when students can take the same stage where world-class entertainers have performed. Shasta’s kids rose to the occasion…for the 29th year in a row.
A Family (Science) Festival
In a perfect complement to Parent-Teacher conferences, the Irving Elementary PTO brought in an OMSI presentation for kids and parents to visit before or after meeting with their teachers.
OMSI set up numerous tables with scientific puzzles and challenges guaranteed to have parents and children working side by side to solve.
There were also tables of animal pelts and bones for kids to feel and move.
It was a unique opportunity in the afternoon and evening for families to drop-in and experience together.
The Promise of Oregon
What does graduation mean to students? How does it feel to reach that milestone?
Learn from two Bethel students from the Class of 2017 in this Oregon School Boards Association video. It is now being promoted statewide through their Promise of Oregon campaign.
See for yourself that Willamette’s Jesse Gerlach and Kalapuya’s Alyssa Smalling are outstanding representatives of Bethel School District students.
And then consider graduation day for your own children.
A $37,000 Parade
This never gets old.
More than $37,000 in Bethel Education Foundation grants has been delivered to surprised teachers throughout the District.
The 38 grants will fund a wide range of proposals, from Chromebook computers to field trips to cooking utensils and music equipment.
The BEF works year-round to raise funds for projects that enhance educational opportunities for Bethel students.
You can help. Click here to donate to the BEF.
So, This Is The Bethel Farm
You will be amazed at this incredible resource in the heart of Bethel School District.
Learn all about the Bethel Farm by watching this video.
Support For Bethel Bikers
Another 120 Bethel students have taken Bicycle Safety classes this fall.
The Bethel Safe Routes to School program got Danebo and Irving students rolling again with training on how to commute safely on a bike.
The program has also picked up more community support with Sanipac donating $1,000 to help continue the good work. The company is also wrapping some of its garbage trucks with a Safe Routes message.
Sanipac joins Jerry’s Home Improvement, Chambers Construction, The Duck Store, Image King Signs and Stuff2Color as local businesses providing support for Bethel’s program.
Meanwhile, Pedestrian Safety classes will continue in January with Bicycle Safety resuming in the spring.
A Fish Story
Just as the salmon return each year, Bethel sixth graders return to the Coast Range for their annual Salmon Watch field trips.
They study the life cycle of a salmon, the parts of a salmon, and dangers to fish in their native habitat.
Kids wade into Whittaker Creek to capture and identify bugs. They test the water’s temperature, clarity, oxygen, and PH levels. They also witness salmon spawning.
Volunteers with Oregon Trout’s Salmon Watch explain the importance of protecting our waters, and how salmon are an indicator of watershed health.
It is a learning experience all Bethel sixth graders continue to enjoy every fall.
Straight From The Source
There’s nothing like diving right into a project.
6th grade students at Prairie Mountain didn’t exactly dive, but they were thigh-high in water while studying the water quality of the Amazon Canal as it flows toward Fern Ridge Reservoir.
The Stream Teams conducted 11 tests to better understand the health of the water. One of them included students straining the water with giant nets, during which some kids decided to walk right into the canal.
Students conducted the same tests during their Salmon Watch field trips in order to compare the water quality of the Amazon Canal to that of Whittaker Creek.
The equipment and transportation was funded by a generous EWEB grant. And the data collected can be part of longitudinal data that has been collected by other 6th grade classes over many years.
Expression Through Poetry
He has a way of connecting with students. That’s why Myrlin Hepworth was welcomed back to Bethel to conduct poetry writing workshops for high school students at Willamette and Kalapuya.
Hepworth is an educator, writer, and hip hop performer, and he has worked with Bethel students for the past five years.
He shared his poetry and challenged students to find their own voice and express their thoughts, ideas, and feelings through poetry.
Through his engaging presentation, students wrote their own poems, were able to present their poems in front of a whole-school audience, and were invited to a poetry workshop at the end of the week.
Accepting The Challenge
There’s been a 45% increase in the number of students eating school breakfast at Meadow View School.
35% more kids are having breakfast at Prairie Mountain School.
Breakfast is free for all students throughout Bethel School District, and to encourage more kids to take advantage of the free, healthy and nutritious food, Meadow View and Prairie Mountain are part of the November School Breakfast Challenge.
Throughout the month Bethel’s Nutrition Services department is offering random prizes, hot chocolate days, new menu items and competitions to encourage participation.
A number of scientific studies conclude that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If the studies are correct, more participation at breakfast is a good thing for kids’ minds and bodies.
Let’s Be Buddies
Each year Prairie Mountain K-8 students are introduced to one another through a school-wide community-building event called Buddy Day.
Older students are partnered with the younger kids to work on a special life skill.
The school’s life skill focus this year is empathy, aligning with the Social Skills curriculum in the middle school grades.
Buddy groups work together to define empathy and talk about a time when they showed empathy to others or someone showed empathy to them.
Some students took part in a joint craft project to facilitate the discussion.
Buddy Day happens year-round and is always a popular event for kids in all grades.
BCTN On The Big Screen
The local Sprout Film Festival (celebrating the diverse lives and creativity of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities) recently included a film created by a UO Practicum student, Rachel Juth. It features students in the Bethel Community Transition Network (BCTN) program.
Watch the following short film to get a better understanding of the important training and loving support students receive through BCTN.