By Middle School head Paul Andrichuk and communications director Kitty Katz ’74
We’re going to cut to the chase and announce the What’s Next plan, then we’ll review how we got here. After months of consensus building, research, and input, we are excited to launch the Catlin Gabel Service Corps: Multigenerations Working Together for the Greater Good. The Service Corps preserves many of the best attributes of Rummage, is sustainable and doable, and is consistent with the mission of the school. We are not replacing Rummage, which had become unsustainable. We are doing something new.
The Catlin Gabel Service Corps initiative will take time to grow and become an institutional tradition. After all, Rummage began when one parent organized a small secondhand sale to meet the Catlin-Hillside School’s budget shortfall in 1945. The sale was not immediately embraced as an annual ritual: it grew over time.
A Corps Core group of faculty, staff, and volunteers will work on the details and long-term planning for the CG Service Corps. The Corps Core will be composed of can-do people who have demonstrated leadership in community service.
How did we get here?
Readers of this newsletter will recall that early in the school year we announced that the Rummage Sale would retire after 65 years. The people closest to the sale had concluded that it was not a sustainable operation, when it raised only 7 percent of our financial aid budget and volunteer numbers were declining. After the final sale was over, the What’s Next process began. A steering committee with representatives from all school constituent groups led the consensus-building efforts. At a community-wide workshop on January 23, more than 100 people generated four ideas for the steering committee to consider. (People who could not attend were invited to send ideas via the website.)
• Expand campus days to include a bigger work force that would encompass parents and alumni. Out-of-town alumni would be invited to volunteer in their communities on the same day(s) in solidarity with the events on campus.
• Enhance the current garden projects to engage people of all ages year round and cultivate more produce to use in the Barn.
• Create a multigenerational Catlin Gabel service corps to volunteer in the Portland community as well as on campus. Again, out-of-town alumni would be invited to represent Catlin Gabel in their own communities. We imagine that Catlin Gabel volunteer T-shirts would be an important part of this initiative.
• Find opportunities for the community to “barn raise” on campus, such as building a greenhouse, painting classrooms, or replacing siding. The Lower School playground project is the model for this initiative.
The steering committee broke into four sub-committees to research the ideas and explore the feasibility of launching them. The committee members met again after spring break to report on their findings and determine what needs to happen, so that Catlin Gabel can officially adopt one or more of the big ideas. The ideas were brought to Lark, division heads, and department heads for their input and reaction.
School leadership response
All-School Campus Day
An all-school campus day was initially appealing, but further investigation and input from the grounds crew caused us to reconsider. The current campus days are very successful and provide important services (leaf raking and bark chip distribution). Finding work and managing larger numbers all on a single schoolwide campus day could compromise the success of what we currently do. Working toward increased participation from parents and alumni and adding a celebratory element are positive outcomes of this investigation.
Garden Project and Fall Festival
The garden project is taking off, which is a great thing for our community. As the garden expands there will be more opportunities for planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting. However, there is not enough work for masses of people all at once. The idea of a harvest festival is very attractive, but fall of 2010 may be too soon. Perhaps Spring Festival could include a homegrown food and garden component.
We are keeping our eyes and ears open to opportunities. However, there is not a large-scale on-campus project suitable for a significant crew of volunteers to undertake at this time. Building codes and safety regulations make this a difficult undertaking.
Community Service “Job Fair” (offshoot idea from the Service Corps subcommittee)
There was limited interest in a service fair and adding an event to our calendar. Students would not likely get this project off the ground without a great deal of supervision and staff support. However, if the Service Corps concept outlined below takes off, we can imagine adding a Service Job Fair to expand our reach and diversify our service.
Catlin Gabel Service Corps
This proposal gained the most traction with the admin team. It seems to best embrace the Rummage attributes we hold near and dear. The leadership team pursued the Service Corps proposal with greater specificity and looked for ways to combine it with other ideas such as campus day, the service fair, and a food festival or potluck.
Creating a Service Corps Committee (the “Corps Core”) of representative constituents was proposed. This long-term group will consider schoolwide themes, establish guidelines, and set school community goals that chart our progress.
What? Another committee?
Funny, yes. The What’s Next steering committee’s assignment is complete. They were charged with getting us to this point. Forming a new group to manage the Catlin Gabel Service Corps is essential for this initiative to successfully take root. the Corps Core will begin their work this summer. (It is premature to announce the members, but we have some great folks on the invite list.)
We are excited about the possibilities and know many Catlin Gabel community members will have great ideas for the Corps Core to consider. Here are a few suggestions the steering committee kicked around: How about a specific day when local community members and alumni around the world serve on behalf of Catlin Gabel? Drop everything and serve. Let’s kick off the Catlin Gabel Service Corps idea homecoming day – we’ll have a built-in celebration! Students could have a Rummage contest knockoff with blue and white teams collecting on behalf of the Oregon Food Bank or the Community Warehouse or Outside/In. We hope you are as enthusiastic as we are about the What’s Next: the Catlin Gabel Service Corps.
Urban studies student presentation impresses at PSU graduate school, come see for yourself at public forum
Students in the PLACE urban studies class have been working with Portland State University graduate students on a food security project involving Zenger Farms in outer southeast Portland. The students will report their findings at a public meeting for planning professionals and community members on Wednesday, June 2, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., at Portland State’s Smith Union, room 238. Food and drink provided. Come early to get a seat.
The audience raved about how well prepared and engaging our young community stewards were when they presented their findings and recommendations to professors and students in the PSU School of Urban Studies and Planning.
This is the first time high school students have collaborated with graduate students on an important community project. Come support our students and our city. For more information about PLACE, contact George Zaninovich at PLACE@catlin.edu.
Kevin Ellis and Yale Fan each received prizes of $50,000 from the Intel Foundation at the world’s largest pre-college science competition
Kevin developed a method to automatically speed up computer programs by analyzing the programs while they are running so that work could be divided across multiple microprocessors. Yale’s project demonstrated the advantages of quantum computing in performing difficult computations.
“The 1,600 youths from around the world who attended this week’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair showed me that the next generation of scientific and technological innovation is exciting and thriving,” said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini. “I hope that the energy these high school students exhibit about math and science will inspire yet another generation of innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs which will improve our world.”
This year, competition consisted of 1,611 young scientists from 59 countries, regions and territories.
Photo: Yale Fan, left, and Kevin Ellis celebrate their win in San Jose. Photo by Intel.
Catlin Gabel won the district title at a two-day tournament at Quail Valley in Banks. Individual honors include league MVP for senior Matt McCarron, first-team all league honors for junior Philip Paek and freshman Conor Oliver, and second team all-league honors for sophomore James Furnary, and co-coach of the year for John Hamilton.
The Eagles established several records on their way to state. In round two the team recorded Catlin Gabel’s lowest 18-hole score of 311 breaking last year’s 315. Combined with the day one score of 330 the team achieved a new 36-hole record of 641, eclipsing last year’s 658 record. Matt McCarron shot a sizzling 69 on day two beating the previous record held by Gary Coover ’00, who shot a 71 at the 2000 state tournament.
More than 100 generous donors have contributed $22,000 to the Clint Darling Fund for financial aid. This is a remarkable outpouring of support for one of the school’s highest priorities and a permanent need about which Clint is most passionate. Our goal is to raise at least $25,000 to establish an endowed scholarship in Clint’s name. We are so close! To honor Clint, make your gift today: call 503-297-1894 ext. 310, or donate online. Thank you!
Last year I applied for a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching. Much to my amazement, I was awarded a grant to study for a little over three months in Israel. On the application, I wrote a proposal for connecting students using graphic arts software to help overcome language barriers. How naïve I was. The first issue my mentor, Jay Hurvitz, pointed out was that I had hardly proposed a topic which could be researched. No problem, I countered. Being a mentor teacher in the United States, I was more than willing to look at how student teachers were being trained to teach with modern technological tools. In my mentoring, I had discovered that student teachers were proficient at using technology, but had little training in how to teach with technology. I told Jay I was also interested in how veteran teachers were acquiring the new skills necessary to teach with emerging technology.
I was not a researcher prior to this Fulbright Award. I teach children. I have done so successfully by most measures for nearly thirty years. Teaching is about building relationships. My students learn because of the relationship I have with them. In order to learn about the state of technology in Israeli education, I began developing a personal learning network (PLN.) I created a blog that, according to Google Analytics, has received more than 700 visits. Each visit lasted an average of 2:36. Clearly, people are reading what I have written.
Actually doing research was my problem. I was going to be in Israel for 102 days. I spent a week getting acclimated. 95 days left. Israeli universities have a semester break in February. Down to 80 days left. K-12 students have a spring (Passover) break. That left 70 days for me to complete my research. I learned a great deal while in Israel. Yet I am just now beginning to understand how little I know, and I will be teaching Catlin Gabel seventh graders in 14 days. As a wise Israeli fifth grade teacher reminds her students, “When you travel, you learn a lot about other cultures. But, you learn more about yourself.” What did I learn about the Israeli education system? What did I learn about myself?
I was eager to begin my research into the Israeli school system, but I don’t read, speak, or write Hebrew very well. I needed to talk to people who spoke English, read articles in English, etc. But Hebrew is an important part of Israeli culture. It is one of the ties that bind people. Speak Hebrew and one is seen as an Israeli or at least trying to be part of the culture. Speak English and people might be tolerant or even translate, but I was still an outsider. Fortunately, I met many people who talked to me in English, newspapers such as Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post have online English editions, and both Google and Microsoft have passable translators. Technology became my lifeline. It kept me afloat, yet did not quite allow me to swim. I could translate Hebrew into English, verify my understanding with Israeli colleagues, and e-mail people on my laptop. I had a cell phone for person-to-person conversations and interviews. I learned that Israeli educators deal with many of the same issues facing American educators. Finding similarities eased my language anxiety a bit and allowed me to focus more on some of the differences.
Education in Israel is a complex enterprise. I divided my study between higher education folks and K-12 schools. Beyond this basic divide, there also are secular schools, religious schools, ultra-religious schools, and Arab schools. Funding and political power are unequal. While much funding is federal, schools are administered by municipalities, which means wealthier neighborhoods have schools with more resources, parental involvement, etc. There are areas where the school is the only building in a village with electricity. I visited one Bedouin school, near Be’er Sheva, where a generator the size of a camping trailer was providing the school with electricity. Residents, by contrast, relied on solar power, if they had electricity at all.
Israeli schools are faced with a wide spectrum of issues. Often, technology isn't a high priority. I wanted to talk about technology and how teachers were being trained in its use and using it with kids. But I kept reading about violence in schools, poorly paid teachers, high teacher turnover, lack of qualified teachers, curricular differences between religious, ultra-religious, and secular schools, and schools refusing to teach certain students. Perhaps most importantly, education in Israel has to deal with security measures unlike any I have ever experienced as a teacher in America. Every school in Israel is not only fenced, it has an armed guard at the gate. The guard won’t actually admit anybody, but will allow visitors to contact the office. Even when I visited schools as part of a team of Israeli educators, we still had to be admitted by someone who worked at the school, not the guard. Schoolchildren on field trips are accompanied by at least two armed guards the entire time. While no one mentioned the effect of security on kids and most Israelis take security precautions in stride, it has to affect the kids and the adults. Learning about Israeli schools is, as the ogre, Shrek, says, “Like an onion. Peel it back one layer at a time.”
A good mentor tries to develop independence in his charge, and Jay was an excellent mentor. He accomplished four major tasks with me. Jay helped me become independent as a traveler. Israel has a terrific bus system, but it took a number of trips before I felt comfortable. I am now able to travel to any part of Israel to meet educators, visit schools and colleges, and return to Jerusalem safely. Jay introduced me to a few educators who are doing unbelievable work in the field of education technology. Sometimes he attended these meetings, other times I met with people on my own. I joined Israeli educator forums, which required more Google/Bing translation work, and I have been a contributor to these forums since my arrival. One of my suggestions is currently being tried out on Edureshet, a Ning group of technology-using educators. Jay also introduced me to a group of college instructors who were learning how to use technology in their courses. My skills as a technology director and technology-using teacher came in handy, as I was able to participate in class even though my Hebrew was not up to the level it needed to be to participate fully. More than once, after I made a comment, someone would remark, “Oh, so you understand Hebrew.” I didn’t and still don’t, but I understand what is on a screen and have been a presenter often enough to correctly guess what was going on. Lastly, under Jay’s guidance, I attended conferences at Mofet, a unique Israeli institution. Meeting colleagues of all stripes at these conferences was a highlight of my time in Israel, and I look forward to keeping in touch with many of the fine educators I met. While I know Jay did his best to broaden the circle of people with whom I met, and even though he knows, in one way or another, many educators active in the education technology field, my exposure to these people was inevitably influenced by his circle of friends and acquaintances.
More than anything else, I treasured the time I had to read, think, and write. I have followed a few blogs for a number of years, but my blogroll has now grown substantially. Speaking with Israeli colleagues and observing teachers in their classrooms piqued my interest in areas of technology to which I had not previously paid much attention, including ways to incorporate Facebook, Diigo, and other social networking sites, Google forms, and submitting assignments via Moodle. School visits caused me to reflect on my own teaching methods and curriculum. Reading what others wrote on the subject and commenting on posts connected me to educators not just in Israel, but the entire world. I’m not sure where I will find the time to continue all of the reading, but I suspect I will find ways to keep up, or I will join the legions of tech folks who have way too much to read. Thinking about my own teaching, how I approach learning, how I incorporate programs such as All Kinds of Minds, how I utilize the rich resources available to today’s students and teachers, and which skills I want kids to have when they leave my class are all areas I have been lucky enough to explore during my Israel Fulbright. I have shared some of these thoughts in my 33 blog posts.
Now that I am preparing to return to the US, what have I learned about the topics I wanted to explore? There are some Israeli schools engaged in global sharing projects. Perhaps Catlin Gabel will join the growing list of schools participating in global sharing when I return. Some of the software I wanted to share does not “accept” Hebrew input. I have an ongoing correspondence with three software companies encouraging them to tweak their programs to accept Hebrew characters. According to the Israelis, it should be no problem.
There is an ongoing program in Israel, the Athena Fund, whose stated goal is to address the current poor state of the education system, wherein a gap of digital understanding exists between teachers and students, teachers showing fear of computers and not using them for the purpose of teaching and communicating, and their general status in the eyes of their students is at its lowest. The Fund's main project is "a laptop for every teacher."
The Athena Fund aims to complete its work by 2012. From my limited observations, most Israeli schools have a long way to go. Israeli student teachers are not part of the Athena Fund program. This is unfortunate because, if they were, they might be ready to teach with technology when they began their own teaching careers. Instead, they become part of the program only after completion of their training. If I could make one recommendation it would be to give every teaching candidate a laptop at the beginning of their training. Teacher training is stuttering. Early adopting teachers are moving ahead, but many teachers are simply hoping, “this, too, shall pass." What few in the education community are talking about is that Israeli kids already bring cell phones to school and the phones are creating the same problems as cell phones in schools do in the US – distraction of peers through inappropriate use, ringing during school time, class distinctions between students who have “cool” phones and those who do not, etc. There are so many “turf battles” being waged in the education sector that it is difficult for all the folks involved to move in the same direction.
Cutting-edge teaching is always inspiring! I visited schools where creative teachers were involved in innovative programs. I observed students in middle schools where each family had purchased a laptop for their child to use, conduct research, create tables in a word processor and upload the document to Moodle, all in a 45-minute period. I met teachers whose students were creating audio files to go with their stories, which they then used as part of an English lesson. I brainstormed with teachers who were setting up a program to get parents more involved in their local school by having parents and children learn together about using computers. I learned more about the importance of social networking in education than I can possibly recount. This is, of course, a two-edged sword. Students enjoy social networking because they use the tools all the time, they are familiar with them, and they don’t seem like “real work.” But teachers need to help students understand the responsibilities involved in using social networking sites in classes. This includes focusing on school projects, not just updating status, checking on friends, etc. The issues surrounding “proper use” of social networking are not limited to Israeli or American schools/students. Increasingly, corporations are either filtering or intensively monitoring what employees are doing/viewing/ while connected to the corporate network.
Teaching is about making connections. I have done that during the past three months in Israel. Current technology will allow me to stay in touch with the educators and students I have met here. As a Fulbright Distinguished Teacher, I have learned new ways of looking at my teaching, improved my teaching, and I have been fortunate enough to have begun working with others to collectively improve education in both the United States and Israel. As Brian Jones stated after he and his partner had just completed the first around-the-world balloon flight, “I am an ordinary person to whom something extraordinary has happened.”
Out of more than 3,000 students who undertook a rigorous exam process, Yale emerged as one of 20 students from across the U.S. who now make up the 2010 U.S. Physics Team.
The team training camp, which is a crash course in the first two years of university physics, is an integral part of the U.S Physics Team experience. Yale will attend the training camp for his senior project. Students at the camp have the opportunity to hear about cutting edge research from some of the community’s leading physicists. At the end of the training camp, five students will be selected to travel to Croatia for international competition, where more than 400 student scholars from 90 nations will test their knowledge in physics, competing with the best in the world.
The U.S. Physics Olympiad Program was started in 1986 by AAPT to promote and demonstrate academic excellence.
Putting their own spin on the annual senior prank, the class of 2010 pulled off a stunt for the ages: a petting zoo in the middle of the quad!
The seniors started with two simple questions: How can we turn the senior prank tradition into a community-builder? How can we channel mischief toward a gift of generosity?
After several brainstorming sessions they had an epiphany: Petting Zoo! Quad!
During an Upper School assembly, a handful of seniors secretly zipped around putting down hay, erecting a tent, fencing off an area, and bringing in animals.
The hoax, funded entirely by the class of 2010, was a huge success. Weeks of planning paid off when hundreds of students and teachers passed by the surprise menagerie smiling and congratulating the seniors on their inspired idea. And the seniors thoroughly enjoyed bringing preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students to their magical on-campus surprise!
Click on any photo below to begin the slideshow of seniors and their first grade buddies at the petting zoo.
The Upper School Environmental Club raised money through a series of bake sales and by selling smoothies at Spring Festival last year. The proceeds were used to purchase a water sanitation unit for a middle school in Najaf, Iraq. Here is a thank you letter and photo.
April 24, 2010
Dear students of Catlin Gabel School & the Environmental Club,
I am excited to inform you that the students of Najaf Middle School for Boys in Najaf, Iraq, now have clean drinking water because of your generous donation! Our partner organization in Iraq, the Muslim Peacemaker Team, has overseen the installation of a water sanitation unit which provides 641 students with safe and healthy water.
Rose, would you please pass on these photos and our message of thanks to your students? I understand that some of the students that worked on this gift may have graduated. Would you please pass along our deep appreciation and gratitude for all of the work they did as well? All of their support is not only improving the health, and lives, of hundreds of children, but they have helped to make the person to person connection that makes peace possible. Thank you so much!
Reconciliation is where we begin to imagine a better world. Reconciliation means opening ourselves to another person, another culture. It means economic and social connections that improve lives and create the substance of peace. Your gift is a catalyst for reconciliation, enabling Iraqis and Americans to connect and transform our societies – and the world – into communities of peace.
Thank you for supporting the work of the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project. Your donation makes our reconciliation work possible.
Water for Peace
Viola Vaughn, founder and executive director of the nonprofit 10,000 Girls (http://10000girls.org) in Kaolack, Sénégal, West Africa, will speak at Catlin Gabel on Wednesday, April 7, at 12:45 p.m. in the Middle School Commons during her tour of the United States.
Vaughn is an American with an Ed.D. from Columbia University who received a CNN “Hero” award in 2008. She is a social entrepreneur who has built 10,000 Girls from an idea to a vibrant program currently serving 2,567 girls in 10 towns and villages in rural Sénégal. She periodically tours the U.S., speaking and participating in conferences to raise awareness of her organization's success in helping West African girls succeed as students and entrepreneurs. During her time in Portland Vaughn will also speak at Portland State University.
10,000 Girls has two primary programs: after-school education and skill-building, helping girls stay in school and complete their educations; and entrepreneurship, teaching a craft or trade and business basics to older girls who have already left school and need life skills to become self-reliant. The educational component provides tutoring and resources to help girls succeed in school. Older girls, who are no longer in school, learn sewing, baking, and other marketable skills, creating products such as dolls and table linens, which they sell locally and online. The girls also grow, harvest, and produce hibiscus, which they transform into tea and hope to export to the U.S. as Certified Organic. The girls in the entrepreneurial program have decided to donate nearly 50% of their earnings to the program, making 10,000 Girls entirely self-sustainable. In Sénégal – where 54% of the citizens live below poverty and 48% are unemployed – 10,000 Girls transforms the lives of participating girls and their families.
The dynamic Viola Vaughn, a long-time resident of Sénégal, dramatically describes the challenges and joys of running 10,000 Girls and speaks with passion about her organization's mission. She can relay fascinating stories, including how she convinced banks to open accounts for young girls, a first in Sénégal; why the girls chose to bake and sell cookies to raise money (like America's Girl Scouts); and the what poignant questions the girls pose at summer Democracy Camps in Sénégal.
In Portland, Violla Vaughn hopes to connect with individuals and organizations interested in the education of girls, as well as with businesses that might want to sell 10,000 Girls' products. She will also encourage individuals intending to volunteer for 10,000 Girls in Senegal.
|Co-chairs Heather and Gina
Link to Gambol photo gallery
The 2010 Gambol at the Nines hotel offered something for everyone: mingling, shopping, bidding, dining, and dancing to music by the Upper School jazz band.
The event highlight was a moving speech by Derrick Butler, M.D. '86, who talked about coming to Catlin Gabel as a "fat little 7th grader from a single-parent household in an under-served neighborhood." Derrick, who became student body president his senior year, credits Catlin Gabel with giving him the confidence, sense of community, and academic tools to succeed in college and beyond. Today, Derrick is a family practice physician specializing in AIDS treatment in South Central L.A. His special appeal at the Gambol elicited a standing ovation and a frenzy of bidding in support of financial aid.
Thank you to all the bidders, donors, volunteers, and supporters who made the Gambol festive and successful. We'll have final figures in April when we finish accounting for expenses. In the meantime, enjoy the photo gallery.
Dear Catlin Gabel alumni, families, and friends,
All campuses have their cast of characters, those idiosyncratic individuals who lodge in the mind, who transform through their teaching, whose lessons resonate years after the fact. Catlin Gabel certainly has had a few, including the author of the above quotation, Clint Darling, from his commencement speech to the Class of 2008.
Before retiring in 2009, Clint served this campus for 40 years as a French and English teacher, interim headmaster, head of the Upper School (for 13 years) and the English department, as well as a parent and friend. To honor his longevity and connection to our school, the Clint Darling Fund has been created in support of financial assistance, one of Catlin Gabel’s highest priorities. It is a fund dedicated to a permanent need about which Clint is most passionate.
This academic year, Catlin Gabel increased its financial award dollars by 40 percent, assisting 28 percent of our families. Given the state of the economy and the operating costs of independent schools today, these numbers inevitably will increase.
The goal of this initiative is to raise at least $25,000, at which point an endowed scholarship will be established in Clint’s name. What an extraordinary way to pay tribute to a devoted community member and ensure that Catlin Gabel students represent a “cross-section of American life” (Ruth Catlin’s philosophy, 1928).
To honor Clint, make a gift today: call 503-297-1894 ext. 302, or donate online.
Thank you in advance for your generous support,
Rukaiyah S. Adams ’91
John Chun ’87
Tom Tucker ‘66
Dave Corkran, retired Upper School history teacher
From the Winter 2010 Caller
From the Winter 2010 Caller
From the Winter 2010 Caller
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