Volunteering

Syndicate content

Science teacher Veronica Ledoux's work with Teachers Across Borders South Africa

Send by email

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."

Comments

The difference she made in the lives of teachers and students was remarkable. She lit up the room and sparked a deep interest in the minds of her many students katalog stron

I was part of Veronica's team in South Africa and I just want to add to the school's comments. Veronica's hard work, dedication and positive energy made a huge impact. The difference she made in the lives of teachers and students was remarkable. She lit up the room and sparked a deep interest in the minds of her many students. Jane Heimerdinger (`Iolani School, Honolulu, Hawaii)

Thinking About Hunger, Acting Against Hunger

Send by email

From the Summer 2012 Caller

By Christa Kaainoa

About 50 of us are on the yellow school bus on a Wednesday morning in April—45 students and 5 teachers—headed to the Oregon Food Bank for our monthly Middle School service day. On the way, students shout out guesses about what we’ll be packing: onions, apples, cereal, potatoes, rice, granola bars . . . we’ve packed them all before and wonder what this day will bring.
 
We arrive at the Food Bank and are ushered in to a large, clean workspace, where Kyle, one of the friendly volunteer coordinators, welcomes us and explains our project for the day. We don hairnets, aprons, and gloves, then assemble in small mixed-grade groups around five workstations and begin our work.
 
On this particular day, I stand shoulder to shoulder with a 6th grade girl, at the edge of a waist-high vat of dry oats. I grab a plastic bag from a stack and peel it open. I hold it open for her, and she pours in two heaping scoops of oats. Peel, open, scoop, pour. Peel, open, scoop, pour. Then I hand the bags to another student for weighing, he passes them on to two others to be twist-tied, they pass them to an 8th grade girl who packs them into boxes, and then another student seals the boxes with packing tape and finally hands them off to a group of three 7th grade girls who stack the boxes, seven layers high, onto palettes. We operate like a machine, filling and passing the bags, packing and stacking boxes, and all the while, students socialize with each other and with their teachers. Conversations shift from weekend plans to class assignments, and sometimes, even, to the value of our work at the Food Bank.
 
I like working next to this particular student on this particular day because she gets tired early on, and I love that because I am her partner, she feels pressure to press on, scoop after scoop.
 
“I’m hungry!” she tells me. “I know, me too!” I answer, “And just think, there are kids in Oregon who feel this way EVERY DAY, and what we’re doing RIGHT NOW will end their hunger for a whole meal! Isn’t that cool?!” The student doesn’t really know how to respond to my enthusiasm, but she smiles, and then she leans down and starts scooping again. We’re both hungry, but we’re in it together, and what we’re doing matters.
 
After two hours of work, it’s time to clean up. We put supplies away, push tables to the side of the room, sweep the floors, and assemble to hear our grand totals for the day. We packed 5,610 pounds of oats. That’s 5,178 meals! Kyle explains that individually, each of us packed approximately 208 meals. We all clap and cheer, and exchange high fives. We say goodbye to Kyle, and file out the door and back to our school bus, proud of our accomplishments, and ready to come back and do it again next month.
 
Christa Kaainoa has been teaching 7th grade English at Catlin Gabel since 2004. Her daughter Amare ’24 just completed kindergarten at CGS.
 
For more information about the Oregon Food Bank, check out this video.

 

Annual Alumni Awards

Send by email
Distinguished Alumni Awards

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

The Catlin Gabel alumni board chose David Shipley ’81 for the distinguished alumni achievement award because of his significant accomplishments as a writer and editor on a national platform. David is executive editor of Bloomberg View for Bloomberg.com and the author of SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better with Will Schwalbe. Previously he was op-ed editor and deputy editorial page editor of the New York Times. Before taking over the op-ed page in 2003, he held several other positions at the New York Times, including national enterprise editor and senior editor at the magazine. From 1993 to 1995, he was executive editor of the New Republic magazine in Washington, DC, and from 1995 to 1997 he served as special assistant to the president and senior presidential speechwriter in the Clinton administration.
 
David is a Catlin Gabel lifer and a graduate of Williams College. In 1985–86 he received a Watson Fellowship, which is a one-year grant for independent study for travel outside the United States awarded to graduating seniors nominated in participating institutions. David lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is the son of John and the late Joan Shipley (former trustee and development director), and brother of Ann ’83 and Tom ’87, who is married to Megan Sullivan Shipley ’87.
 

Distinguished Alumni Service Award: Roz Nelson Babener ’68

The distinguished alumni service award was presented to Rosalind “Roz” Nelson Babener ’68, founder and president of the Oregon Community Warehouse. Roz is a graduate of Occidental College. She was a teacher until 1989, after the birth of her third child. In 2001, Roz and several other volunteers opened Oregon Community Warehouse. Its mission was to address the needs of low-income people. OCW, now named Community Warehouse, is a nonprofit organization that has grown to become the “furniture bank” for the Portland metropolitan area, serving clients of more than 110 agencies, and furnishing more than 45 households per week with the basic necessities: beds, tables, and chairs. Roz’s long-term focus and unselfish dedication have created an enduring legacy to the Portland community. Roz’s husband, Jeffery, has been an active supporter of the Community Warehouse and involved in its creation. All three of their children, Rebecca ’01, Jeremy ’03, and Rachel ’07, have attended Catlin Gabel. Roz is the daughter of Madeline Brill Nelson ’42.
 

Distinguished Younger Alumni Award: Dr. Angel M. Foster ’91

The alumni board was proud to recognize Dr. Angel M. Foster ’91 for her international leadership in reproductive health. A 1996 Rhodes Scholar, she received her doctor of philosophy degree in Middle Eastern studies from Oxford University. Grounded in the fields of medical anthropology and public health, her doctoral and postdoctoral research focused on women’s comprehensive health care in Tunisia and involved more than two years of fieldwork. Angel also holds a doctor of medicine degree from Harvard Medical School and both a master’s degree in international policy studies and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and biology from Stanford University.
 
Angel joined Ibis Reproductive Health in 2002 and leads a program of work dedicated to reproductive health issues in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work at Ibis includes social science and health policy research on reproductive health, particularly emergency contraception and abortion, young women’s sexual behaviors and practices, and health professions education. She also works with the development of Arabic-language health education materials for both patients and health service providers. She divides her time between the Middle East and the United States. Her home is in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her partner, Eddy Neisten.
 
Angel wasn’t able to be at the award presentation, but she sent a video with remarks and thanks for the award. “I’ve been working with partners in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and the U.S. for over a year to organize a conference on public health and health policy in North Africa. And the conference is taking place here in Tunis this weekend,” she said. “It is thrilling to be convening this international event in post-revolution Tunisia, but I’m sorry that the timing prevented me from being able to be in Portland in person.”
 

“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

The Joey Day Pope ’54 Volunteer Award was established in 1992 to honor its namesake, an outstanding volunteer. This award is given each year to a Catlin Gabel community member who personifies volunteerism within our community. 
 
Brenda Miller Olson stands out for her long span of service to the school’s athletic program. She has been an enthusiastic and committed three-season fan and team parent, has represented Catlin Gabel at countless school’s gyms, tracks, and fields, and has provided unparalleled support for Eagle athletes, parents, and coaches. Brenda has steadfastly given the gifts of time, talent, and food: her cookies are legendary. Her children are Eloise ’11, Isabelle ’09, Madeleine ’07, and Harry ’05. “I can’t even imagine another parent giving as much heart, mind, and effort over such a long period of time,” says John Hamilton, coach and PE teacher. “Brenda is in a class by herself.”  

 

How to Match Reality & Idealism

Send by email
A trustee & parent on why she supports financial aid

From the Fall 2011 Caller

By Elizabeth Steiner Hayward

Knowing that I’m violating a cardinal rule of writing, I’ll start this piece with several rhetorical questions. Why did our family choose Catlin Gabel as the right school for our children? What has inspired us to volunteer our time, energy, and financial resources for the school? What are the values that Catlin Gabel holds dear that we believe should resonate throughout our community and the broader Portland community? A straightforward answer suffices; Catlin Gabel inspires all of us to show our best selves, to reach deep inside and ask tough questions, to accept and rejoice in our commitment to the world around us, to “make the world a better place” (to quote the Girl Scout law).
 
Ideally, this inspiration must be accessible to as many children and families who would benefit from it as possible. Yet economic reality compromises idealism; running a high-quality, progressive, independent school is an expensive proposition, and thus tuition remains beyond the reach of many. To match reality and idealism, Catlin Gabel must have a robust endowment for financial aid, to open our doors to every deserving, qualified student regardless of her family’s means. Without this, our school’s expressed commitment to our ideals and our community becomes hollow and less meaningful.
 
Catlin Gabel without generous financial aid would not be the Catlin Gabel we chose as the right school for our children. It would become a more homogeneous community, less interesting and vibrant. It would ignore the reality of economic diversity that all of our children must understand and appreciate. It would shield our children from the “real world” in which they will all live and work as adults. It would deny the value and contribution of children from all walks of life, from a wide range of circumstances.
 
For the Catlin Gabel community to thrive, we must walk the walk. It is for this reason that our family is so committed to supporting the endowment for financial aid, and that I volunteer on the major gifts committee for our Campaign for Arts & Minds. I love telling others about why we believe so strongly in financial aid, to make Catlin Gabel accessible to the diversity of children and families around the Portland metro area.
 
The Campaign for Arts & Minds is ambitious. We aim to raise funds to build a desperately needed Creative Arts Center, and to fund a thriving, sustainable endowment with special emphasis on financial aid. This endowment will open our doors to many more children who would benefit from attending Catlin Gabel, and would benefit our school from their contributions to our community. However, tuition support alone is not enough. The endowment would also support global education, the teaching and learning center, robotics, outdoor education, and so many other special programs that all our students should benefit from, regardless of their family’s economic reality.
 
We ask a lot of our families at Catlin Gabel. We ask them to engage closely with the school as partners in educating our children, to volunteer time in the classroom or chaperoning dances, to contribute to the Annual Fund. All of those are critical to our children’s success, yet without also contributing to our campaign, without helping open our doors to students who otherwise would be shut out of the Catlin Gabel experience, we are in fact short-changing all our children. Please join me in supporting Catlin Gabel’s future by contributing to our financial aid endowment. The rewards are infinite, and you will make the world a better place.  

 

Zoe Frank '12 breaks world record for balance board; raises $$ to help African women

Send by email

Zoë Frank ’12 has traveled to Africa four times, moved by the plight of women in Africa with devastating childbirth injuries. She’s learned to assist her father, an OB-GYN, in surgeries in Cameroon, Zambia, the Republic of the Congo, and Chad to correct obstetric fistulae, a condition affecting many poor and young women in which the organs of elimination are torn when they attempt to deliver a stillborn baby. Although the condition is treatable, there are not many hospitals or clinics that help these women who become shunned by their communities. "In the bush, if you have hands and a brain, you jump in and help," says Zoë.
 
As another way of helping out, Zoë raised money for Zambia’s Monze Fistula Trust in many ways—asking for donations, babysitting, selling her possessions—and vowing to break the world’s record for time spent on a balance board. She broke that record, and entered the Guinness Book of World Records, this summer with a time of 2 hours and 6 minutes, beating the previous world record by more than 11 minutes. Zoë has so far raised $2,400 from sponsors to bring back to the clinic in Monze, Zambia, next summer.
 
For more on Zoë’s efforts, visit http://monzefistulatrust.com/.
 
 
 

 

Spanish teacher Lauren Reggero-Toledano named "Teacher of the Future"

Send by email
 
Lauren Reggero-Toledano, a teacher of Spanish at Catlin Gabel’s Upper School, was selected by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) as part of the 2011-12 Teachers of the Future program. The NAIS Teachers of the Future were selected from a large pool of nominees who inspire academic excellence in students and who serve as opinion leaders among their colleagues and peers. The Teachers of the Future were also chosen for their expertise in particular areas—environmentalism, globalism, technology, and equity, and justice—that NAIS believes are hallmarks of a high-quality education for the 21st century. As one of only 25 teachers nationwide chosen for the program,Lauren will lead an online discussion forum designed to share innovative ideas and teaching techniques, and she will create a demonstration video to inspire others.

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.

 

Comments

Wonderful news, Lauren. You are most deserving of this award. Thanks for your years of service to the school and our wonderful children.

Great job, Lauren! We are very proud of you!

Perla Alvarez and Ramtin Rahmani elected to top civic youth advisory jobs

Send by email
Student leaders in the community

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.

 

Community Warehouse Aided by CGS Volunteers

Send by email

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!  

 

What's Next? The Catlin Gabel Service Corps Begins!

Send by email
A student and an alumnus talk about the joy of volunteering as a community

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

After the revelry of the previous night’s Homecoming victory (we defeated OES 2–0), I was excited to spend the day with fellow Eagles at the inaugural Catlin Gabel Service Corps outing to Mary Woodward Garden Wetlands. When we arrived, my parents and I were greeted by a warm cup of coffee and a big hug from Middle School head Paul Andrichuk. We introduced ourselves to our fellow and future alumni, received our assignments, and then headed out into the wetlands.
 
The tools were heavy but effective, and the task was hard but rewarding: removing non-native invasive plants and replacing them with native species and trees. Working alongside former teachers, parents, and current students was a pleasure, and providing our service to the greater community reminded me of the core values of Rummage. The clearing and planting activity was not limited to the Catlin Gabel community, so having the opportunity to work with others for the benefit of the great Portland ecology, knowing we represented one of our school’s core principles, was a positive experience and wonderfully rewarding.
 
Nostalgia was in attendance as well; while clearing ivy, a little girl shared her excitement about the 1st grade overnight. My own overnight trip was more than 19 years ago, yet I still remember my tentmates, where we camped, and the fun we had. Experiences outside the classroom are the fibers that shape Catlin Gabel. Similar moments and conversations always remind me how fortunate I am to have Catlin Gabel as the foundation of my education.
 
After the work was completed, our troop of volunteers piled back onto the school bus and shared lunch at a nearby restaurant. While relaxing and enjoying the sunny setting, I spoke with English teacher Art Leo and some parents of current students. We discussed Catlin Gabel, college admissions, sports, my career path, and a host of other topics. I found that sharing my own experience at the school, and its lasting impact on my life, was extremely rewarding. The parents seemed appreciative of the opportunity to speak in a relaxed forum. They asked many thought provoking questions, even some I later shared with fellow classmates. Crossgenerational discussions are unfortunately rare, but I hope that with the continuation and future growth of the Catlin Gabel Service Corps, these can occur on a more regular basis.
 
As I reflect on the day, I am thankful on multiple levels. Providing service to the community, interacting with current students and alumni, and sharing the experience with faculty and staff made for a true Catlin Gabel experience. I look forward to participating in many more Catlin Gabel Service Corps events in the future.
 
Markus Hutchins ’02 is the alumni board president and a member of the school’s board of trustees.

 

 

Catlin Gabel launches the Knight Family Scholars Program

Send by email
A new program for the Upper School will bring talented students and an emphasis on experiential learning

From the Winter 2010-11 Caller

This past fall, Phil and Penny Knight honored Catlin Gabel with the largest gift in the school’s history—a multimillion- dollar contribution for the new endowed Knight Family Scholars Program. The Knight’s unprecedented generosity is a tremendous vote of confidence in our school from world leaders in philanthropy.
 
“My goal is to honor the progressive ideals articulated by school founders Ruth Catlin and Priscilla Gabel—not by resting on our laurels, but by continuing to progress,” said head of school Lark Palma. “Phil and Penny Knight have given us the financial ability to try a new teaching and learning paradigm, see how it works, evaluate the program, and refine it over time. We have been given the opportunity to research, experiment, and stretch our wings in pursuit of improving education. We can be bold, like our students.
 
“The Knight Family Scholars Program will benefit all students through the innovations we pilot,” continued Lark. “The program also catapults Catlin Gabel’s visibility as one of the leading independent schools in the country, adds to our financial aid corpus, and will undoubtedly have a positive overall effect on admissions and on our ability to attract phenomenal student applicants. I could not be more delighted.”
 
“The Knight Family Scholars Program quite simply opens doors,” says Michael Heath, head of the Upper School. “It is a chance for us to grow as a school, to stretch our preconceptions of education and our assumptions about those we are educating. The scholars who attend Catlin Gabel every year will gain much from their opportunity, but I think we will learn as much from them, if not more.”
 
This Q&A by communications director Karen Katz ’74 with head of school Lark Palma explains more about this new program.
 
What is the Knight Family Scholars Program?
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.
 
What is your vision for how this program will affect Catlin Gabel?
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.
 
Where did the idea for the program originate?
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.
 
How did this gift come about?
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.
 
Can you give us an example of a program feature from Imagine 2020 that this gift allows us to implement?
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.
 
How else does the program benefit current students?
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.
 
What are the student qualifications for the program?
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.
 
Can current Catlin Gabel students apply for Knight scholarships?
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.
 
Who determines who qualifies for the program?
The faculty, admission office, and a new program director will decide whom we accept.
 
Who is the Knight Family Scholars Program director and how is the position funded?
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.
 
What are the director’s responsibilities?
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.
 
How will this historic gift change the school?
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.
 
Has Catlin Gabel ever received a gift of this magnitude?
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.
 
What other benefits does the Knights’ gift offer?
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.
 
Is this Phil and Penny Knight’s first gift to Catlin Gabel?
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.  

 

Bienestar honors Catlin Gabel with Community Partner of the Year award

Send by email

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.

PFA seeking volunteer leadership for the 2011-12 school year

Send by email
Family involvement and communication are critical to the overall success of the school

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 pfa@catlin.edu to nominate a candidate (including yourself) for any of the following positions

  • Grade representatives (preschool through twelfth)

Executive Council

  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Spring Festival coordinator
  • Advisor to council
  • Beginning School coordinator
  • Lower School coordinator
  • Middle School coordinator
  • Upper School coordinator
  • Treasurer
  • 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.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact anyone on the current PFA council, or e-mail pfa@catlin.edu

 

Services, sales, and trades posted on our Bulletin Board

Send by email
Check out Catlin Gabel's Craigslist

Find a babysitter! Buy, sell, and trade anything from tickets to cars!

Login required to gain access to the Bulletin Board.

Help the Bulletin Board catch on — the more people use it, the better.

The Bulletin Board is just a click away from the Quick Links menu on the home page.

.

Service Corps donates books to working poor families

Send by email
Bienestar thanks the Catlin Gabel community

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!"

Read more (Kids Helping Kids) on the Bienestar website.

Service Corps book drive, January 10 – 21

Send by email
Community-wide sorting party on January 22

January 15 sorting party canceled

Please collect children's and youth books to contribute

We are excited to announce the next CG Service Corps activity: a book drive benefiting Bienestar, a nonprofit housing and service organization serving Washington County’s Hispanic community.

Upper School students have been volunteering at the Bienestar homework club for three years. Our book drive will further cement a wonderful partnership and boost Bienestar’s mission to educate the migrant labor population they serve.

Cross-divisional teams of Catlin Gabel students and faculty-staff will collect and presort donated books between January 10 and 21.

Parents, students, faculty-staff, and alumni are invited to two sorting parties in the barn on Saturday, January 22.

We will load books onto the retired Rummage truck for delivery to Bienestar.

Details about book drop locations to follow.

“If there’s one thing Catlin Gabel families have in abundance, it’s books!”
—Service Corps Core Steering Committee