Upper School science teacher Veronica Ledoux volunteered this summer for Teachers Across Borders South Africa, working for three weeks with 200 South African math and science teachers from rural schools to help update their skills. South Africa has identified the teaching and learning of math and science as national priorities.
Project founder Yunus Peer praised Veronica for her contributions, noting that she is personable, professional, and passionate about her work. "She made a positive difference for teachers who did not have the same academic experience that we are privileged to in the United States," he wrote to Catlin Gabel head Lark Palma.
"As institutions of higher learning, with such talented faculty, I believe the least we can do is share the knowledge we have about our profession with colleagues in the developing world who so desperately need help with content, methodology and the pedagogy of the subjects they teach, under the most challenging conditions," wrote Yunus. "I know that Veronica's presentation will inspire your faculty with the possibilities of service that advantaged private schools like ours can undertake, and by example, will highlight the values we want our students to embrace, too."
From the Summer 2012 Caller
By Christa Kaainoa
From the Fall 2011 Caller
Every year the alumni association recognizes former Catlin Gabel students for their life work and accomplishments. Through their unique contributions, these alumni embody the school philosophy in “qualities of character, intelligence, responsibility, and purpose.” The 2010–11 honorees were recognized during Alumni Weekend at the celebration of leadership and service event in June.
Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award: David Shipley ’81
Distinguished Alumni Service Award: Roz Nelson Babener ’68
Distinguished Younger Alumni Award: Dr. Angel M. Foster ’91
“I feel very privileged to have grown up in environment that was at once intellectually challenging and nurturing, that set high expectations for all students and supported us to exceed them, and that valued critical thinking, exploration, and debate but demanded this take place in the context of respecting others. And I feel especially grateful to have been part of a community that placed primacy on creativity and individual expression, and supported all of us to undertake our various journeys.” —Dr. Angel M. Foster ’91, distinguished younger alumni award recipient
Joey Day Pope ’54 Volunteer Award: Brenda Miller Olson
From the Fall 2011 Caller
By Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
ABOUT LAUREN REGGERO-TOLEDANO
Lauren Reggero-Toledano received a bachelor's in education (elementary education and Spanish) from the University of Miami, followed by a master's in Spanish language and cultures from the University of Salamanca, Spain. In August 2009 she was awarded a Teacher Fellowship Grant by the American ImmigrationCouncil for a Spanish V class project, “The Hispanic Presence in Oregon: During the Great Depression and Today.” For the last five years she has made a concerted effort to make service learning in the local Hispanic community an integral part of the Spanish V curriculum. Visit her Spanish V class page for more on the service component in Lauren’s class.
ABOUT NAIS AND THE TEACHERS OF THE FUTURE PROGRAM
The Klingenstein Foundation offered NAIS a generous grant for the Teachers of the Future program through which each teacher will receive a $1,000 stipend for participating in the program.
The National Association of Independent Schools, based in Washington, DC, is a voluntary membership organization for over 1,400 independent schools and associations in the United States and abroad. Independent schools are distinct from other private schools in that they are independently governed by boards of trustees and are funded primarily through tuition, charitable contribution, and endowment income. To be eligible for membership in NAIS, schools must be accredited, nondiscriminatory, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations.
Sophomore Perla Alvarez has been elected co-chair of the Multnomah Youth Commission. She has volunteered more than 300 hours serving on the commission for two years, is a member of the youth gang violence task force, and works closely with Mayor Sam Adams and city commissioners. Junior Ramtin Rahmani has been elected co-chair of the Mayor's Youth Advisory Board of Beaverton. The board promotes youth involvement in civic affairs such as volunteering and participating in government-sponsored actions.
From the Winter 2010-11 Caller
Some longtime Rummage volunteers have stepped in to help Community Warehouse, the NE Portland service organization run by Roz Nelson Babener ’68 that collects household items for families in need. After the last Rummage Sale they offered their skills to Roz, resulting in a volunteer-run garage sale area at the Warehouse location that raises funds for the organization. Roz and crew are now also collecting donations in a Westside dropoff location on SW Canyon Road. Household items that client families need are sent to the Warehouse, and other items will be sold in a rummage-type sale in November. The volunteer spirit abides!
From the Winter 2010-11 Caller
The Catlin Gabel Service Corps debuted in October with three community-wide days of working together for the greater good. The Service Corps emerged from our community process to figure out “What’s Next” after the Rummage Sale. As we examined what we would miss most about Rummage, we came to consensus around several essential ingredients for developing a new tradition: multigenerations working side by side and having fun together, serving the greater Portland community, student leadership, and demonstrating who we are at Catlin Gabel. The Service Corps was developed with these elements in mind. You can find out more on our website. Since those fall service days, the Service Corps has also gathered 50 boxes of books from our community for children at Bienestar, a migrant worker housing complex in Hillsboro where our students help with their Homework Club. More events and projects are in the works—and we encourage all our community members, past and present, to come and pitch in, work together, and have fun.
The Energy and Fun of Volunteering
By Qiddist Hammerly ’12
As a Catlin Gabel student, I’ve participated in many activities at the Oregon Food Bank. In Lower School, we collected food during the fall harvest festival. In 8th grade, we participated in monthly service at the Food Bank, and in high school we often ask the students for food donations. These ordinary and expected contributions have made the Oregon Food Bank a familiar name to all Catlin Gabel students, yet I have never experienced it in the way I did with the Catlin Gabel Service Corps in November. As part of this year’s initiative to provide cross generational, community-building service opportunities, more than 75 students, parents, alumni, and faculty-staff joined together for a day of packing pasta— and it was anything but ordinary.
If one thing was exceptionally exciting about this service activity, it was the palpable energy of the kids. Eagerly running back and forth and lifting boxes almost bigger than themselves, the kids probably worked the hardest of anyone. For close to three hours, we packed boxes of various kinds of pasta in two-pound bags. At any given table, students, parents, teachers, and siblings worked side by side. Some kids eagerly scurried back and forth, providing each table with more empty boxes, and taking the full boxes to the growing tower of pasta.
The tangibility of our work made it appealing and rewarding for everyone; at the end of the day, we could look over and see just how many pounds we packed, and how many families we were feeding. One Lower School student checked the weight of each bag meticulously to make sure no one family would receive more food than another. Some of the adults, who seemed apprehensive about letting the kids handle tape guns and carry heavy boxes, grew impressed with their unfaltering persistence. Everyone joked and laughed while scooping bag after bag, and we even participated in some friendly competition, betting on whose table team could pack their boxes of pasta the fastest.
After we were done packing, we enjoyed a group lunch at McMenamin’s. It was only then that I realized how rare it is to see so many different Catlin Gabel constituencies in one place. I had the chance to catch up with one of my 1st grade teachers, make a new friend, and chat with parents. Enjoying lunch together wrapped up the day in the perfect way. Too often when we engage in service, we simply break off and return to our daily work without any processing or reflection. Having a relaxed meal together allowed everyone to reflect on the day, catch up, and enjoy each other’s company.
What made this day so successful was the connection we felt as we volunteered. We weren’t simply packing boxes of pasta: we were engaging with each other and observing the product of our work. I think this service experience provides a glimpse into the future possibilities of multigenerational service at Catlin Gabel, both on our own campus and in the greater community. Despite the occasionally excessive use of the word “community” in our, well, community, engaging in service as a community truly is a unique experience that exceeds the benefits of individual volunteerism. Looking back over my 12 years at the school, some of the memories that stand out most to me are the engaging service projects I participated in with my Catlin Gabel family. At the Food Bank that day I could clearly see in our students’ eyes that very same engagement and motivation.
Qiddist Hammerly is a junior at Catlin Gabel and a Malone Scholar. She has been involved for years in community service.
Connecting Through Tree-planting
By Markus Hutchins ’02
Markus Hutchins ’02 is the alumni board president and a member of the school’s board of trustees.
From the Winter 2010-11 Caller
It is a pilot program for the Upper School faculty to explore a new model for high school education and attract outstanding new high school students. The gift funds an endowed faculty member to direct the program and teach in the Upper School. In the anticipated inaugural year, 2012–13, we hope to enroll about four Knight Family Scholars as fully integrated members of the Upper School student body who benefit from our exceptional curriculum. The Knight Family Scholars Program is similar in concept to the Rhodes Scholar program in terms of the caliber of students who will qualify.
The current generation of students is far more sophisticated than previous generations. Their educational needs are evolving quickly. Educators must ask, what more can we do to prepare them? How can we ensure that they have a great liberal arts and sciences foundation for success in college, plus the experience and skills to thrive in a workforce and world that will change in ways we cannot imagine? Catlin Gabel teachers have envisioned a high school that is more real world, project based, experiential, and interdisciplinary—but limited resources have stymied our progress toward this goal. Now we can take some big steps in building on our curricular innovations and evolve more quickly. As a new Catlin Gabel faculty member, the Knight Family Scholars Program director will collaborate with our high school teachers and students to develop methods of teaching and learning that respond to the changing educational environment.
The genesis for the program stems from the Imagine 2020 conference held in the spring of 2006. A lasting idea that emerged from the conference was to enrich Catlin Gabel’s educational offerings by taking advantage of what our great city and region have to offer— using Portland as a learning laboratory. Bringing students together with creative, analytical, medical, political, entrepreneurial, and science leaders would further our experiential and progressive education goals. The intent is to get our students “off the hill,” as one alumnus put it in 2006. Our global education and PLACE programs, and the urban studies class in the Upper School, also stem from the Imagine 2020 conference.
As I got to know Phil, our shared interest in improving education emerged as a vitally important theme. Phil and Penny Knight are long-range visionaries and Oregon’s most generous individual education philanthropists, which is humbling and exciting. We talked about Ruth Catlin’s vision of modeling for others and how, because of our relatively small size, our success, and our focus on progressive education, we are the ideal school for innovation. I described some of the seminal ideas that emerged from the Imagine 2020 conference and how hard our teachers work to implement those ideas.
The faculty and the program director will have the opportunity to advance the exchange of ideas in seminars taught by a network of community experts, including some of our talented and notable parents, alumni, and grandparents. The seminars, both on and off campus, will examine topics that emerge from the shared interests of the students and the director as they move through the program together. The seminars will also respond to the availability of influential mentors, speakers, and guest instructors. Upper School students, not just Knight Family Scholars, will be able to attend seminars. It is vitally important that this is open and inclusive, and that we prevent any kind of “us and them” dynamic. We also expect that as the program grows, it will include opportunities for the Knight Scholars to travel nationally and abroad for summer learning.
The research is clear: high caliber students raise the level of learning for everyone. The positive peer effect is evident throughout our school. Students in our supportive, noncompetitive environment engage more deeply when their classmates are excited about the lab, discussion, problem solving, or literary analysis at hand. And, naturally, teachers are at their best when their students are highly engaged.
Prospective Knight Family Scholars Program participants will stand out in four key areas: academics, community service, athletics, and leadership. As Knight Scholars they will receive tuition assistance funded by the program’s endowment. The amount of assistance will depend on their families’ need. The program will attract well-rounded students who will inspire their peers, take advantage of everything Catlin Gabel has to offer, and go on to serve their communities.
Current and former Catlin Gabel students are ineligible to become Knight Scholars because one objective of the program is to attract new students and deepen our pool of admitted students. The Knight Scholars Program will raise the profile of our excellent Upper School and entice students who will be wonderful additions to our community.
The faculty, admission office, and a new program director will decide whom we accept.
Typically, when donors make large gifts to institutions they fund a position to oversee the program. We will launch a national search for a Knight Family Scholars Program director to fully realize the vision of this program. The director will be Catlin Gabel’s first endowed faculty member. This turning point for Catlin Gabel could very well lead to additional endowed faculty positions.
First and foremost, the director will find the right students for the program. A big part of the job is outreach and making a wide range of communities aware of the program and our school. As the program spokesperson, the director will bolster the Knight Family Scholars Program and our overall admission program. The director will also lead the scholars’ seminar and teach other Upper School classes so he or she is fully integrated into our faculty. We will hire a dynamic educator who becomes a vital member of our school community.
When we laid out strategic directions in 2003, one of our top three goals was to strengthen our identity and visibility in the community. We set out to identify and attract qualified, informed, and diverse applicants and to increase our applicant pool, particularly in the Upper School. The Knight Family Scholars Program will move us quickly and decisively towards these goals.
In 1987, the school received a $3.6 million bequest from the estate of Howard Vollum that allowed Catlin Gabel to establish an endowment fund. His foresight and generosity moved the school beyond a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.
The Knight Family Scholars Program raises our visibility as one of the leading independent schools in the country. On a purely financial and pragmatic level, the program releases financial aid dollars for students in all divisions. On a more philosophical and curricular level, the Knight Family Scholars Program will stretch us to take some risks about how we teach. All Catlin Gabel students will benefit from the innovations we pilot through the program. On a grander scale, my dream is to model innovations that can benefit students nationwide. We cannot underestimate the value of raising our profile, too. What’s good for Catlin Gabel’s reputation is good for Catlin Gabel’s students and teachers. As far as fundraising goes, this is the tip of the iceberg for all programs and needs of the school. I know Phil and Penny Knight’s generosity and confidence in Catlin Gabel will inspire others to give. In fact, two other donors are planning to contribute to this program. We anticipate a positive overall effect on admissions and on our ability to attract phenomenal student applicants. Some great young people, who perhaps don’t qualify as Knight Family Scholars, will still apply to our Upper School when they learn about Catlin Gabel’s curriculum, meet our faculty and students, and hear about our generous financial assistance program.
In the past three years, the Knights have quietly and generously funded other immediate needs that I identified. They were instrumental in our ability to provide financial aid for families who have struggled through the recession. I am so honored that they have put their trust in me and in Catlin Gabel.
Upper School head Michael Heath accepted the award given for Catlin Gabel's support of Bienestar, a nonprofit community development corporation serving migrant families in the Hillsboro area. Catlin Gabel students serve as volunteer tutors, have made donations of clothing and household items, and the entire school recently held a book drive that collected more than 3,000 books for Bienestar children. Former teacher Mark Lawton and Spanish teacher Roberto Villa were honored for their three years of support and dedication to the partnership between Catlin Gabel and Bienestar.
Read the Oregonian article.
All parents and guardians interested in a leadership position with the PFA can put their names forward. Go ahead, nominate yourself! Serving in a leadership capacity with the PFA is a great way to get to know fellow parents, work with the faculty, and feel connected to Catlin Gabel.
The PFA welcomes parents who are new to the school and parents who have not considered leadership involvement before. We also value experience and try to put together class teams of parents who are new to volunteering at the school and those with prior experience. Generally, we recommend starting out by volunteering as a grade representative before serving on the executive council. Nominating yourself is strongly encouraged.
Please e-mail email@example.com to nominate a candidate (including yourself) for any of the following positions
- Grade representatives (preschool through twelfth)
- Volunteer coordinator
- Spring Festival coordinator
- Advisor to council
- Beginning School coordinator
- Lower School coordinator
- Middle School coordinator
- Upper School coordinator
- Vice president
Nominations will be accepted until April 15. The PFA nominating committee – PFA president, advisor, vice-president, and two parents from the community – will review the applications and generate a slate of officers for the executive council. The executive council election takes place at the May general meeting, Thursday, May 19, at 8:30 a.m. in Gerlinger Multimedia Auditorium. All nominees for executive council and grade reps will be contacted by May 1.
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The Service Corps book drive for Bienestar was a great success. Executive director Karen Shawcross writes, "Thank you for the awesome donation of 50 boxes of books to the children of Bienestar! These are going to our community rooms where children of farmworkers and working poor families will enjoy them in four homework clubs and our Summer Reading Safari and Born to Learn programs. We are touched by this generous outpouring of gifts from Catlin Gabel families, and want you to know how much they will be enjoyed by children who have no books at home!"