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Our Amazing & Creative Alumni: Frank Boyden '60

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Visual artist: ceramics, prints, sculpture, public art

By Nadine Fiedler

From the Summer 2011 Caller

The art of Frank Boyden ’60 derives its considerable soul from his powers of observation and thoughtful response to his environment. His particular environment happens to be spectacular—where the Salmon River flows into the Pacific Ocean in Otis, Oregon. The ocean-battered wood, the tracks of sea birds, the motions of fish, the gulls both alive and skeletal, the wind-swept trees and their gnarled roots all find their way into his huge body of work, from prints to ceramics, sculpture, and public art.
 
Frank’s works have earned him an international reputation as a ceramics master and an artist who conveys beauty, wit, and a keen sense of place. During his long career in the arts he has also garnered a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and an Oregon Governor’s Art Award, and his work can be found in museum collections worldwide. He brought all that attention right back home when he founded the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology in the place he loves. Walks on these local beaches, marshes, and tidal flats inspire Frank and lead him to think about art and creativity, and how we teach our children.
 
“While I walk, I observe what’s around me and try to be continuously cognizant of color, pattern, the density of darks and lights, what I’m about to trip over. I never know what I might find that’s worth exploring. Young learners automatically have that kind of attention, which you must reinforce and reinforce,” says Frank.
 

Vase by Frank Boyden '60
“You have to ask young learners, ‘Why did you pick up that stone? Was it because it was spiky, or smooth, or translucent?’ It’s because something inherent in you says that these surfaces or colors are important to you in this moment in life. A good teacher asks a child, ‘How do you translate what you’re seeing and feeling into a statement that allows you to speak about what you’re seeing and feeling about this object, or about the sky, or about the water?’
 
“A mature artist makes a sequence of work, one feeding into another, and another. Maybe we go and do something crazy that we haven’t done before. Maybe it’s an accident and we can see that it’s important for our work right now. That’s how we grow as artists. The work gets deeper and denser, so you can express ideas in a more encapsulated way, in a way that’s less complex, with a stronger statement.
 
“If you live someplace and want to creatively experience that place, you need to be as responsive as possible about it and highly observant. You have to look at what’s going on, what the causes and effects are of the dynamics of that space, whether it’s a city, a valley, or a kitchen. I base a lot of my work on how these things I observe work together. How can I use my experience to say something about the relationships or the object or the space that is new?
 
“It’s like poetry. A great poet will take an idea and express it with a set of words we all know, but you don’t have any choice but to see the idea in a different light. That’s what artists do. By painting or drawing in a certain way you demand that people see an idea in a brand-new light. You made it look new because you tried hard to understand it. You’re broadening people’s abilities to perceive. That’s the mission of building an arts center. You’re teaching kids to widen other people’s perspective on the world.”

"Catlin Gabel exposes people to all sorts of possibilities. To be versed in math or science you have to know the rules, but in the arts you don’t necessarily have rules. What we do have are ways of granting permission to students to think outside of what’s normally expected of them."

 

 

Our Amazing & Creative Alumni: Jennifer Choi '92

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New music and classical violinist

By Nadine Fiedler

From the Summer 2011 Caller

As a young girl, Jennifer Choi ’92 diligently practiced classical music on her violin. But when she’d go to the symphony with her parents, the unique, contemporary works were the ones that got to her. At home she’d pick out odd, atonal music on the piano, and revel in its coolness. That unconventional ear of hers has set the pace for her career as one of the most skilled and adventurous performers on the international classical and new music scene.
 
Playing in student groups at Oberlin and Juilliard, Jennifer continued to savor the works of new composers such as John Corigliano and John Adams, and innovative figures such as John Zorn and Wadada Leo Smith, who sought her out to play their works and honor her with solo pieces. Working with living composers brought a freshness and depth to her performances: “Being able to work closely with a composer so that you understand the sound concept he or she has in mind, and its meaning, creates a special bond,” says Jennifer. “After understanding a work so closely, the performances become more meaningful and animated.”
 
Jennifer’s career and critical acclaim continue to grow as she performs worldwide, both solo and with ensembles. The works she plays often demand that she break the bounds of conventional technique, often incorporating electronics and improvisation—the most exciting part for her. “Improvisation is the most creative thing a musician can do because it’s all about creating music in the moment and making it work.”
 
Jennifer is relieved that she finally acknowledged her natural gift for the avant-garde, after first struggling to embrace it, and glad to have avid listeners for the challenging music she plays. “Audiences have become much more open-minded and accustomed to multiple and cross genres, and as always appreciative of great art and great music,” she says.
 

“Catlin Gabel had a big influence in my musical choices: any project I take on has to be musically rewarding and at the same time enrich my life.”

 

Our Amazing & Creative Alumni: Eric Edwards '71

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Cameraman (aka director of photography, cinematographer)

By Nadine Fiedler

From the Summer 2011 Caller

The emotion of a film, the way a viewer is pulled in or made to feel a distance, has a lot to do with the way it looks. Imagine film noir in cheerful, gleaming light, or a feel-good movie done in dark, forbidding tones. The director of photography, working with the director’s vision, determines the look of a film. Eric Edwards ’71 is known for the skillful and creative way he interprets that vision, ranging from small indie films to big-budget studio features.
 
Eric loved photography and art while he was at Catlin Gabel. He and his good friend Gus Van Sant ’71—now a famed director—had the freedom to take over a room in the art department and produce screenprints together, including an eight-page centerfold for their yearbook. They did several short films together, including a 20-minute short for Winterim. Eric and Gus both went on to the Rhode Island School of Design, and after two years in photography Eric joined Gus in the film department. “My interest in film had something to do with my interest in cameras: I liked the mechanical as much as the aesthetic aspect,” says Eric. “And I remember Gus and me sitting in a cinema in Providence watching A Clockwork Orange and Mean Streets. In the early ’70s we watched lots of European films and cinema vérité and witnessed the greatest cinema you could look at. My attention to lighting and photography came from the Europeans.”
 
Eric returned to Portland and shot local indie films Property and Paydirt. A director named Eagle Pennell noticed his work at the 1982 Sundance Festival, and Eric shot two films for him that got a lot of press. Then Eric got an important break: he was invited four years in a row to the Sundance Institute June laboratory in Utah for intense workshops in filmmaking with actors and directors. “It was a heady experience for me, like summer camp with a dream team of seasoned people you’ve admired in film,” he says. “I got to witness the process thoroughly and deeply. After that, I was ready to move on with my career.”
 
Eric’s career did bloom after Sundance. Gus asked him to shoot My Own Private Idaho in 1991. “People hired me because of My Own Private Idaho,” says Eric. “It was a seminal film. I used natural light and timelapse photography, before a lot of other people used it, and extreme use of close-ups. My Own Private Idaho was Gus’s vision, but I responded to that. You’re only as good as your director and the people you’re with.”
 
Since that film Eric shot two more for Gus, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and To Die For. Many of the films he shot brought critical attention, and his reputation began to grow. Eric has since become accepted by Hollywood studios and in the past five years has shot enormous features such as The Break-Up and Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up, in addition to the small films he continues to enjoy. “In indie films you get to be original, stylistically explore different attitudes, and fail on a smaller level. But all my work is really creative,” he says.
 
“I’m driven by the directors I work with, and somewhat by the technical challenges. Every director speaks a unique artistic language. They’ve all been amazing and interesting on every level. It’s all still fascinating to me.
 
“I’m relied on to make judgment calls all throughout the making of a film. Lighting is an aesthetic choice, but it’s also technical,” Eric says. “But art in itself is technical. Every artist works through some kind of technology. It’s all a gamble, even with the guy with a paintbrush.”

"Catlin Gabel had a definite influence on what I do now. We learned a lot, especially from art teachers Kim Hartzell and Susan Barr Sowles."

Top photo: Eric Edwards '71 on the set of The Change-Up, directed by David Dobkin. Photo: Bob Mahoney/Universal Pictures

Arts Are at the Core

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By Nance Leonhardt

From the Summer 2011 Caller

In these troubled times “arts are at the core” are fighting words. My morning commute is peppered with reminders of the campaign to save the arts in schools. From the Campfire billboard offering to paste back what has been cut in schools, to my neighbor’s Subaru packed to the gills with supplies she’ll need to teach her son’s after-school art class, the evidence is clear: we are blessed to be at Catlin Gabel School.
 
Arts have been at the core of Catlin Gabel’s philosophical and pedagogical underpinnings since day one.
 
From Priscilla Gabel’s earliest writings: Let him daily tell or write or sing or dance or act or paint all that he has seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted. We aim to develop in each child an inquiring mind that wants to search out facts and truths about the world in which we live.
 
To Lark Palma’s current charge: We want to create conditions that support students to know the power of their own ideas, develop new-to-them ways of doing things, and be able to think inventively.
 
The arts are inherent to the culture of teaching and learning across this campus. The approach leaves an indelible signature on our alumni, many of whom may never set foot in a ceramics studio again, but when faced with a professional dilemma will conjure the memory of wrangling a shapeless mass of mud and water into a sleek vessel under Judy Teufel’s watchful eye. They will remember how the idea was so clear in their mind and slipped away so easily once the wheel began turning. The feel of the clay veering determinedly off course and then, with persistence and a steady hand, the sense of it righting itself as the circuit came to a close. They will not only remember the success, they will remember the journey and the dividends its lessons paid.
 
For some alumni, their Catlin Gabel arts education sparks something more, a lifelong commitment to the creative process. In addition to those profiled in this Caller, notable alumni include filmmaker Gus Van Sant ’71, opera director Elizabeth Bachman ’74, painter Margot Voorhies Thompson ’66, Broadway lighting designer Carl Faber ’01, and Pixar animator Nathan Matsuda ’03. We send an increasing number of students to colleges with exceptional (and competitive) arts programs: last year that list included the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the California Institute for the Arts, the University of Southern California Schools of Music and of Cinematic Arts, and Cooper Union. Our faculty would never claim these achievements as personal trophies, but like any parent we can certainly feel pride in our ability to cultivate talent and act as stewards of the values that enable these kinds of minds to grow and thrive.
 
Our 15-member arts department attests: from preschool through 12th grade the arts are alive and well at Catlin Gabel. Following Priscilla Gabel’s directive, we weave creative habits of mind into the daily experiences of our student body. Students learn to know themselves and the power of their ideas through our various disciplines. We identify with our students and have the unique opportunity to collaborate with them.
 
Last February I had the pleasure of sitting with my colleagues and devoting two days to exploring our professional practice. Rob and Elizabeth Whittemore, professors and parents of CGS alumni, led us through a series of discussions and reflective writing activities to help tease out our core values. We asked ourselves the big questions: What is the essence of what we do? How do we scaffold this individually and as a department? How do preschooolers with pipe cleaners and pine needles evolve into regional and national Scholastic Gold Key art award winners? How does the shy and awkward 6th grader leap on to center stage as a junior in The Fantasticks? In a program as rich and varied as ours, what are the universal truths behind our diverse methodologies and media?
 

Create , Perform, Respond

 
CPR are three little letters that communicate our directive to revive the imagination day after day, year after year. Our program is about process, the cycle of inspiration leading to action leading to reflection. Like the wheel in the potter’s studio, ideas follow a circuit, and results emerge before our eyes. We guide students’ explorations of the tools and skills needed to perform, and we offer prompts from various sources (art history, current events, poetry, student-generated themes) to draw out their unique points of view as thinkers. More specifically, we agreed that regardless of medium (instrumental music, film production, oil painting, woodworking, lighting design) we shelter our students’ development under the following core values:
 
Community building and trust
Creative problem solving
Collaboration
Risk taking and resiliency
Finding voice
Valuing process
 
How this plays out at the classroom level is as varied as our subject areas. In the Middle School, every student participates in a full complement of arts offerings annually, including instrumental music, fine art, theater, woodworking, and media and graphic arts. Our Upper School program offers more than 30 electives in the realms of drama, technical theater, narrative and documentary filmmaking, painting, printmaking, chamber choir, jazz band, photography, ceramics, and more.
 
Perhaps nothing espouses the value of community building and trust more than the Middle School theater program, developed by traditions of St. George and Gilbert and Sullivan, Middle Schoolers perform in more than 14 productions yearly. Deirdre Atkinson creates a safe, energetic environment that allows students to tackle everything from 20-minute renditions of Shakespeare to developing their own plays through a method called devising. When devising, an anything-goes approach allows students the creative space to brainstorm theme, share ideas on visual and auditory components, and physically construct a representation of their thoughts on the chosen topic. Whether it’s a piece on immigration, cyber-bullying, or gender identity, the students proudly step forth in front of packed audiences to share their message and engage the community in a wider dialogue.
 
In the Upper School, students in Laurie Carlyon-Ward’s honors art seminar engage in a three-semester quest to produce a portfolio of work that reflects the development of their voice as an artist. Visitors to the gallery in the Cabell Center foyer in May see the culmination of this process with displays that include self-portraits, figure drawing, journals, and a personal statement. Whether it’s Mary Bishop 11’s use of line and color to depict her musings on women’s Western attire, or the fleshy graphite textures of Kashi Tamang ’11’s portrait subjects, their voices are etched in the gallery space as distinctly as fingerprints on glass.
 

The Space to Collaborate and Connect

 
As colleagues we deeply value the collaborative avenues opened by the artistic process. For the Middle and Upper Schools, physical proximity places limits on the depth and frequency of our and our students’ opportunity to mingle creatively. We have moments of incredible synergy—like when a student in Mark Pritchard’s music composition class works on a score for one of my student’s films or sound design for one of Deirdre’s plays. Collaboration is a core value, yet restrictions of time and distance push these moments to the periphery.
 
As education theorist Heidi Hayes Jacobs observes, the most authentic integrations are those driven by the students themselves. Picture the student dance group working in conjunction with photographers to build a multimedia performance for the Diversity Conference, the painter developing a mural for the math building based on mathematical algorithms, a group designing sustainable furniture for community partners. Our students are already making these things happen—we’ve fostered that habit of mind in spite of limited physical space. The legacy of Priscilla Gabel is most alive in these moments. Imagine the future where our core values move to the physical core of our campus—a space where the creative process can be witnessed by our community at large, where distinct voices of student artists and musicians meld into a dynamic cacophony of inspiration, and where collaboration and creative risk-taking can thrive, unbridled.
 
Nance Leonhardt teaches Upper School media arts.  

 

A Campaign for Arts & Minds

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From the Summer 2011 Caller

In this issue you will meet some of our most creative and talented alumni, all of whom found their time at Catlin Gabel important to their creative development. Creative freedom takes place in the science lab as much as it does in the painting and drawing studio. The way the robotics team comes together to map out their technical strategy for competition is akin to drama students coming together to write, cast, stage, and perform their annual one-act plays. And the thought process a student uses to troubleshoot a buggy line of code in computer science class involves the same set of synapses as when that same student tries to figure out why her timing is off in her original film score.

Exercising the creative mind is at the core of a Catlin Gabel education. We are currently in the leadership phase of a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds to elevate this commitment to our students and their education. Catlin Gabel’s Campaign for Arts and Minds has two components: building our endowment, with special emphasis on financial aid, and building a new Creative Arts Center for the Middle and Upper Schools.
 
The campaign began quietly in the fall of 2007 and has picked up momentum during the past year. Our most loyal and engaged donors have stepped up to the challenge of investing in our students, their creative minds, and their bright futures.
 

THE ENDOWMENT

As the campaign continues, we will tell you more in future issues of the Caller about the enormous effect that our various endowed funds have on our community. With an emphasis on building endowed funds for financial aid and for general purposes, this campaign effort experienced strong growth over the past year with a lead gift from Phil and Penny Knight. As of June 30, all of our endowed funds were valued at $21,800,000.
 

THE CREATIVE ARTS CENTER

“The arts are a core of Catlin Gabel’s philosophy and are key to a well-rounded education. In no other discipline do critical thinking, problem-solving, predicting outcomes, analyzing, re-assessing, and creativity come together as they do in the arts. . . . The intellectual challenges posed by visual art, music, and theater facilitate learning in all other disciplines. These vital pursuits help make our children more thoughtful, interesting, and well-rounded—and create a life of more profundity and beauty for all of us.” —Lark Palma, head of school
 

As you’ll discover in this issue, Catlin Gabel alumni have the creative bug. They credit their time on campus, their teachers, and their progressive education for influencing their ability to create and innovate in life and in work. If organizations should play to their strengths, then Catlin Gabel’s commitment to building a creative arts center for the Middle and Upper Schools is our way of demonstrating how fundamental creativity is to our educational philosophy.
Above: Creative Arts Center facade; right, aerial view; below, lobby.

 

CREATIVE ARTS CENTER HISTORY

Catlin Gabel has dreamed about a creative arts center, one that consolidates the visual, music, and drama classrooms scattered around campus, for the last 20 years. In the late 1980s, then-headmaster Jim Scott spoke seriously about bringing all the arts under one roof. And ever since current head Lark Palma set foot on campus in 1995, it was abundantly clear to her, a veteran drama teacher, that the arts facilities needed updating.
 
And the need has continued to grow. During the past two decades, the school and our arts offerings have grown, but the square footage per student dedicated to the arts has decreased. The lack of adequate space for teaching the arts has been singled out as an important area for improvement in our last two accreditation reports by the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools.
 
Finally, in 2007, Lark and the board of trustees, with input from the Catlin Gabel community, decided we could not put this off any longer. Planning for a new Creative Arts Center began in earnest that spring, led by a committee of staff, faculty, alumni, and trustees. The arts department faculty developed a set of needs and a vision for the art curriculum. Committee members visited peer schools up and down the West Coast and gathered data on best practices. All of this good work informed the original building design presented to the community in the fall of 2008 (see that issue of the Caller). Unfortunately, efforts fell short of the mark, and this initial Arts Center design did not fulfill all the programmatic and aesthetic requirements.
 
As the designs were being finalized, fundraising began in early 2008 just as winds from the looming “Great Recession” began to stir. The weak economic conditions of 2008 and 2009 exacerbated the tepid community response to the initial building design, forcing the school to make the hard yet courageous decision to pause the project so we could reevaluate and regroup.
 
In early 2010, with a year passed and time to reflect on the initial launch, the school brought the project out of hibernation. The recession had officially ended, and both enrollment and the Annual Fund were healthy. This renewed economic outlook served as a signal for the school to refocus on the project and explore new opportunities.
 
With a chance meeting between former trustee Jim John and world-renowned Portland architect Brad Cloepfil (see “Allied Works,” at right), a new phase to the project began. Brad had just finished high-profile arts projects in New York City, Montreal, and Dallas and was looking for a project back on his home turf. Jim, a seasoned developer and builder, thought that Brad would be just the person to reignite our Arts Center with a fresh and inspired design. We hope you’ll agree, when you see the design renderings, that Brad and his team delivered the right design at the right time.
 

MORE ROOM FOR CREATIVE ARTS

For US visual art, US choir, US media arts, MS drama, MS music, MS visual art
Current Square Footage: 6,786
Future Art Square Footage: 20,000
 
Creative Arts Center Layout Main Level
Gallery
Courtyard (outdoor)
Media Arts
Theater Control Room
MS Visual Arts
US Visual Arts
Shared print room
3D Studio
 
Lower Level
Black Box Theater (two levels)
Theater Tech Space
Drama Classroom
Instrumental Room
Choir Room
Music Laboratory
Practice Rooms
Instrument Storage Lockers  

GROUNDBREAKING

We expect to break ground in the fall of 2012, and the project will take about 15 months to build. This timeline is dictated entirely by how quickly our community raises the funds for design and construction. The overall project budget is estimated at $6.9 million. Prudently, our board mandates that we raise 80% of projected costs in pledges in order to break ground. As of June 30 we are just shy of having raised half of this amount, with approximately $2.3 million to go. We will look toward leadership donors this summer and fall to get us there. Please contact development director Eileen Andersen, 503-297-1894 ext. 306 or andersene@catlin.edu, to to learn more about our fundraising efforts. Catlin Gabel funds major capital projects entirely through contributions.
 
The board and administration’s conservative fiscal management has positioned the school with zero outstanding debt after completing the major construction projects of the past 20 years. The Murphy Athletic Complex, Warren Middle School, the Beehive, and most of the Upper School buildings were built without incurring debt. While this is unusual in the sea of heavily financed cultural projects throughout the city and region, it’s a distinction that makes us proud and contributes to the school’s financial health.
 

LAUNCH OF THE NEW PROJECT

The original project phase used a “design-build” strategy, where the school would contract with one firm that managed both the design and construction processes. This contractor, the Arts Center design committee, and the greater Catlin Gabel community vetted and chose the original designer after a thorough series of design proposals and presentations from a long list of architectural firms. When this second phase of the project began in early 2010, all the criteria and specifications for the building established by the committee and arts faculty in 2007 could be transferred to the new architect. This streamlined the hiring of the current designer, Allied Works Architecture. More important, this allowed us to save on the normally high costs of the schematic design phase and significantly shorten the project timeline. With the new project phase ready to launch, the school sought more project control and opted to engage both the contractor and architect directly, using separate contracts. The new arrangement encourages a healthy tension between our builder and architect by forcing both parties to balance the budget.
 

James E. John Construction

James E. John Construction (JEJ), the project general contractor, is a subsidiary of C. E. John Company, Inc., a diversified real estate development and management firm founded in 1947. Although JEJ is known for its Class A office and retail projects, it became clear early in the process that the firm not only had the talent and the resources to build a Brad Cloepfil building, but a keen understanding of how the new classrooms and spaces fit the needs of students and teachers. Current parent and former trustee Jim John, the project principal, provides close and careful management.
 

Allied Works

We are privileged to have our building designed by a world-renowned museum and creative space architect. Brad Cloepfil and his Allied Works Architecture team developed what has been overwhelmingly received by our community as an inspired, practical, and beautiful design. Portland native Brad Cloepfil studied architecture at the University of Oregon and earned an advanced degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture. In fact, his teacher and mentor at Oregon was Thomas Hacker, the principal architect and master planner for much of the Upper School you see today, including the Miller Library and Hillman Modern Languages buildings. Since Brad founded Allied Works in 1994, he has won commissions for some of the highest-profile cultural projects across the country, from the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis to the adaptive reuse of Manhattan’s Museum of Arts and Design on Columbus Circle. His West Coast projects include the renovated headquarters of Wieden + Kennedy in Portland’s Pearl District, the Seattle Art Museum, and a recently completed expansion of the Pixar Animation Studios headquarters in Emeryville, California. Allied Works’ art education facilities include the award-winning Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas (alumnae include Nora Jones, Edie Brickell, and Erykah Badu), the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and the Caldera Arts Center in Sisters, Oregon. “Catlin Gabel’s project for the new arts building means a tremendous amount to me,” says Brad. “To build on that beautiful campus, with the legacy of great architecture by John Storrs and Thomas Hacker, is a true gift. We have worked with faculty and students to create a building that will be a beautiful catalyst for creativity, not only in the visual and performing arts, but for the entire curriculum of the school. It truly is a laboratory, one that will encourage the students to develop new ideas and forms of expression.”
 

 

Catlin Gabel students help Michelle Obama fight AIDS in Botswana

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Catlin Gabel students helped paint a mural to welcome First Lady Michelle Obama to Botswana. The First Lady visited the Botswana-Baylor Centre for Children’s Excellence to highlight the organization’s efforts to develop a new treatment and counseling facility for HIV+ teens.

Thirteen students assisted local artist Lesedi to sketch and paint traditional Botswana figures, designs and backgrounds on a 30m concrete wall. The group also developed educational play activities for HIV+ youth awaiting treatment and counseling appointments.

In addition to the Baylor Centre, Catlin Gabel students provided support to the Maru-a-Pula Orphans and Vulnerable Children Fund, SOS Children’s Village, a health clinic in Thabala, and high school students in Gumare. Students met with Dr. Ava Avalos of the Ministry of Health and Thobo Mogojwe of PING (Positive Innovation for the Next Generation).

The Botswana-Baylor Centre is one of many partnerships between the Ministry of Health and international organizations, part of a coordinated, national effort to combat AIDS. Approximately 30% of all adults in Botswana are infected with HIV.

Each year, Catlin Gabel welcomes one Maru-a-Pula exchange student to Oregon. Catlin Gabel students are currently traveling through Botswana as part of the school’s global education program.

Further information:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13910916
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/24/us-obama-botswana-idUSTRE75N6DA20110624
http://www.bipai.org/
http://botswanateenclub.wordpress.com/
http://maruapula.org/support-map/orphans-vulnerable-children-bursary-fund
 

"The Mikado" photo gallery

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8th grade musical

The 8th grade production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Mikado" was given an Anime treatment.

 

8th graders' films to be shown at middle school media festival in Seattle

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The films of 15 8th grade filmmakers from Catlin Gabel's media arts class were selected to screen on May 13 at the Middle School Media Festival at Seattle Country Day School. Congratulations to all!

Jarod Gowgiel & Zach Alan
Lily Burns & Elayna Caron
Chloe Smith & Sophie Paek
Larissa Banitt & Jillian Rix
Raina Morris & Nikki Nelson
Evan Chapman & Andrew Lee
Nicolas DeStephano, Joseph Endler & Nico Hamacher

Upside Down
By Jarod & Zach
http://blip.tv/file/4485860

Runaway
By Lily & Elayna
http://blip.tv/file/4485397

The Grey Cat’s Song
By Chloe & Sophie
http://blip.tv/file/4485780

I Love Talking
By Larissa & Jillian
http://blip.tv/file/4345016

Red Runs Away
By Raina & Nikki
http://blip.tv/file/4345076

Untitled
By Evan & Andrew
http://blip.tv/file/4345015

The Prank
By Joseph, Nico, and Nicolas
http://blip.tv/file/4854812

 

Students read their work at Powell's Books

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Sunday, May 22, 4 p.m.

The editors of Honoring Our Rivers Anthology of Student Artwork and Literature selected the work of three 5th graders and 29 6th graders for inclusion in this year’s collection. Students from across the state who are in the anthology are invited to present their work at Powell's on Sunday, May 22, at 4 p.m.

Students in kindergarten through college were eligible to submit their literature and artwork. Submissions focused on the relationship between people and the Willamette Watershed--the waters, weather, land, plants, animals, and habitats that make up this beautiful and fragile river system.

Congratulations to 5th graders Olivia Andersen, Macey Ferron-Jones, and Anaga Srinivas, and 6th graders Mo Alan, Carly Allen, Robin Attey, Hannah Cassin, Gracie Cavenaugh, Shinto Davis, Gus Edelen O'Brien, Beatrice Endler, Athena Erickson, Miguel Gachupin, Sophie Glew, Jasper Gordon, Ian Bryce Hoyt, Safina Lewis, Colin Mitchell, Darya Mojab, Conner Nelson, Sahil Nerurkar, Mark Nicholson, Lila Reich, Holly Sauer, Ryan Selden, Emily Slusher, Quinn Smesrud, Aidan Smith, Kenzie Stuvland, Grace Wong, Liam Wynne, and Jackson Zechnich.

Alumnus Ian McCluskey's short film recommended by Wall Street Journal

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Ian McCluskey '91's film Summer Snapshot is one of eight shorts the Wall Street Journal recommends viewers see at the Tribeca Film Festival. The WSJ calls the film an "Instagram-esque look at the summer day you wish you had had growing up. Nostalgic, wistful, perfect." Ian's film was selected for the festival, along with 60 others, from a pool of 2,800 submissions.

Eighth graders praised for their published poetry

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Experiential learning in the core curriculum

Eighth grade students in Glenn Etter's English class wrote poetry that connects to the missions of local businesses and organizations. Each student sent three poems to an organization and asked to have their poems displayed on a wall, thereby making the students “published” poets.

The response has been extraordinary! Two students are poets of the week at Powell’s Books. (Last week’s poets were W.B. Yeats and e.e. cummings!) Another student’s poem was forwarded and posted at flower shops in Paris and London. Several businesses have asked permission to frame and permanently display the poems.

Some replies

Hi Glenn,

I run the poetry section here at Powells, Cedar Hills. Recently, I received poems submitted by two of your students, Sarah Norris and Emma Marcus. I thought they were both terrific and well worth sharing with our customers.

I have posted them on the wall by the poetry section for people to enjoy. Each Monday, I also print up several copies of a "poem of the week" that customers are encouraged to take with them. I have printed copies of Sarah and Emma's poems to feature as our poems for this week. Most recently, we've featured W. B. Yeats and e.e. cummings, so they can be assured of being in good company.

Thank you for forwarding them to us.

Sincerely,
John Cabral
Powells, Cedar Hills Crossing


Dear Glenn,
My name is Frank Blanchard and I am a designer and Director of Business Development and Event Design here in Portland at Flowers Tommy Luke.
One of your students, Lauren Fogelstrom, sent us a poem she had written and I must say it couldn’t have come at a better time. Just wanted to let you know that we have not only shared it with Portland, but Lauren has officially gone “Global”. I posted her poem entitled “Daffodil” today on our Flowers Tommy Luke facebook page, my personal facebook page, and several of my floral industry friends pages in Boston, Georgia, Florida, California, and New York City as well as London and Paris. I think it was a bright spot a lot of us could use about now.
 

Thank You Lauren!
 

Sincerely,
Frank Blanchard, Director
Business Development/Event Design
Flowers Tommy Luke


Hello Mr. Etter. I am the manager of Everyday Music. I am writing to let you know we have received the poems by your students, and have proudly displayed them in our windows facing Burnside Street. Please let the students know that we thoroughly enjoyed reading them, and are so excited to have them up. So far, the staff favorite seems to be Johns! Thank you so much for thinking of us and sending them our way. If the kids ever want to come in and introduce themselves I will be happy to give them 10 percent off anything they purchase. Thanks again!

Auggie Rebelo
Store Manager
Everyday Music


Hello Mr. Etter/Glenn/Teacher!

Our optometry clinic received two poems today from Jillian Rix & Maddy Prunnenberg-Ross and we thought they were very well written. Our office specializes in primary care optometry catering to patents of all ages. These poems would be a perfect fit for our office and we were wondering if it would be possible to have both Jillian & Maddy hand wright the poems so that we can have them framed and displayed in our office for the public to enjoy? A 4X6 or 5X7 piece of paper would be perfect.
Please let me know when you have a chance. Thank you and have a great weekend!

Rob Phillips


Dear Mr. Etter,

Today we received a cover letter and a most wonderful and sensitive poem
from your student, Dylan Gaus. I will proudly display it in my flower shop studio and discuss it with
clients who come into the store. What a valuable experience you present to your students by encouraging them to share their art with the community. As a business owner and community activist, I am delighted to see creativity both supported and displayed as part of the learning process.

Thank you both.

Most sincerely,
Pat Hutchins and Mary Anne Huseby
Flowers In Flight
308 SW 1st Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97204


Greetings Glenn Etter,

I am the Sections Manager for the Blue Room (which contains our main Poetry sections) and I received a couple of poems and letters from two of your 8th Grade students. I was very pleased to see that you have created such a great class project around National Poetry month and that your students thought of us here at Powell's to share them with!
We have posted the poems of Garet Neal and Ashley Tam in a display case in the Pearl Room Gallery where we are also showcasing some of our customer's favorite lines of poetry this month.

Kudos to yourself and your team and good luck in the competition!

Sincerely yours in the appreciation of books, reading, and poetry,

Liz Vogan
Sections Manager, Literature and Humanities
Powell's City of Books
503-228-4651 x 1333


 

Hello, I will be posting the poem of Hanna Sheikh in our golf shop and I went one step past that. Her poem is also published on our website. You can find it here
http://claremontgolfclub.com/sites/courses/supersite.asp?id=908&page=63035

Please let me know if she prefers to have it removed from the site.
Thank you,
Kathy Wentworth
Claremont Golf Club
Golf Shop Manager
503-690-4589


Hello Catlin Gabel,

I received a poem from Raina Morris about "My Grandmother". I am the activity director at Beaverton Hills, I read the poem to my residents they all enjoyed it and we post it up in our community. Will you please tell Raina thank you for sharing her loving poem.
 

May Huff
Activity Director
Beaverton Hills


Dear Mr. Etter;

We have posted the poems that we received from the following students: Lauren Fogelstrom, Dylan Gaus, Sarah Norris, Kallan Dana, Mary Gilleland and Nikki Nelson. I admire their work, there is some real imagination and creativity there. I think they are fortunate to be learning from you.

Sincerely,

Bill Gifford
Gifford’s Flowers
704 S.W. Jefferson
Portland, Oregon 97201


Dear Mr. Glenn Etter-

I am writing to inform you that we have put on the wall 2 poems sent to us by students in your 8th grade class. Kallisti Kenaley-Lundberg and Max Armstrong can be proud "published" poets. I hope they get a chance to see their poems: If I Were A Watter Bottle and Snow on the wall at the store. They made us smile!

Thanks for thinking of us, Julie Watson, Next Adventure


Hello -
My name is Alta Fleming and I'm the manager for Ben & Jerry's on Hawthorne - just wanted you to know that I received Simon's poem and we've posted it on our wall. He did a great job!!

Thanks --
Alta Fleming
Ben & Jerry's
Hawthorne and Clackamas Town Center Stores


I liked very much the christmas poem by nicholas destephano.
we will post it somewhere in the shop.

best, ron rich
owner
oblation papers & press
516 northwest 12th avenue
portland, oregon 97209


Hello Mr. Etter,
We received a kind letter from your student, Maya Banitt, along with a very beautiful poem. At her request, I just wanted to let you know that we would be happy to post her poem in our offices. This poem is most appropriate for our business in designing fireplaces.

Please pass on our appreciation to her for sharing her work with us.

Warm regards,

Debbie

Debbie J. Webb, Office Manager
Moberg Fireplaces, Inc.
Cellar Building, Suite 300
1124 NW Couch St., Portland, OR 97209


Dear Glenn Etter,

We received the poem written by your student Jillian Rix today. We are posting it in the front area of our shop for customers to enjoy. Thank you for teaching, encouraging our youth and celebrating creativity!

Sincerely,

Lavonne Heacock, office manager
Ed Geesman, violin maker, owner
Geesman Fine Violins


Hi Mr. Etter,

I am Robyn Stumpf owner of Wild Iris Flowers & Gifts in Molalla Oregon.
I received a great poem from your student Daniel Chang and am writing to inform you we have posted it on our wall by our candy retail area! Title of the poem was fitting! CANDY

Thank You
Robyn Stumpf
Wild Iris flowers & Gifts
503-829-4747


Mr. Etter, I am writing on behalf of the Petco in Albany, OR. We received Aaron Shapira's poem, we thought it was wonderful and have it posted on our bulletin board out front and in the back room for our employees! Please pass on our admiration to Aaron, the poem is great! Thank you,
Keri Capen, Salon Manager Petco


Dear Mr. Etter,
I received a beautiful poem today from one of your students, Jarod. He did an excellent job writing it and I will hang it up in our store with pride. We are a seasonal farm store and will open up the end of August. Jarod's poem will be able to be viewed by all our customers this fall season. Please tell him thank you from all of us.

Kim
Oregon Heritage Farms


Dear Mr. Etter,

On Saturday April 16th, 2011, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue’s Station 65 received a letter and poem from a student of yours by the name of Jarod. As requested in his letter, the poem has been placed where all can read it and I just wanted to thank him and yourself for the poem. We will all enjoy the poem, “Jumping, Leaping”, and invite you and your class to come by the station sometime for a tour.
Recently, our station along with Station 60 located off Cornell Rd in Forest Heights, visited your facilities and had our own tour. Thank you again for including us as part of your community and thank you for the wonderful poetry project conducted by your students.

Respectfully,

Jerry Freeman II
Lt/Pm E-65 “C”
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue


Dear Maddy's teacher (Mr. Glenn Etter),

It was a pleasure to receive Maddy's sweet poem "Window". We posted it in our office and all our staff read it adn really enjoyed it. Thank you very much! Please say thank you to Maddy (we don't have her address or email).
Sincerely,

Dr. Friberg
--
Zuzana B. Friberg, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Uptown EyeCare & Optical, P.C.


Dear Glenn,
Your student Evan Chapman has his poem "crayon" on our wall at Gossamer.
Thank you, Rose Sabel-Dodge-owner of Gossamer

"The desire to create and craft is the antidote to alienation"
Be Creative & Crafty


I received Conner's poem today. What a wonderful poem. I put it up on the counter for all to see. You may tell Conner he is published.
thank you very much
Heather-Halloween warehouse


Hello Mr. Etter - My name is Kristi Erlich and I am the owner of Owls Nest North Therapy Collaboration. I received a letter and poem from your student, Hanna Sheikh, and am writing to acknowledge receipt of them. Please convey my sincerest thanks to Hanna for choosing our organization to be the lucky recipients of her poem and let her know that we are, indeed, most honored to post/publish it for our clients to be inspired by. Our clients come from all walks of life and are touched in many ways by the connections they make. Hanna's poem speaks to our intention to provide healing experiences through art and connection. Please thank her for sharing herself with our community.

Warmly,
Kristi


Dear Mr. Etter,

We recently received a letter from Victoria Michalowsky. She requested the opportunity to share her poem with our school. Victoria also wondered if we could post it at our school.

We would like to invite Victoria to read her poem to our kindergartners and then we would enjoy posting it so that others can read it.

Your name was given as the contact person. Please forward our invitation to Victoria.

Our office number is (503) 644-8407.

Sincerely,

Sarah Harris
Kathy Phillips
Co-Directors
A Child’s Way


Hi Glenn,
I am the owner and operator of the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Store in the Uptown Shopping Center. Hanna Sheikh was kind enough to send to us her recent "Ice Cream Poem ". Please ask her if it's ok to post this on our Community Board for all to see ? She did a great job and I thought that you should know. Please tell her that she is officially "published!" Please provide me with an address to send her a Free Ice Cream Cone Coupon for the good work.

Regards.
Peace, Love, and Ice Cream
Bruce Kaplan
Chief Euphoria Officer
Ben and Jerry's Portland
503 913-3094

 

Gambol a grand success, gross revenue up 20%

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Oh, What A Night it was!

The highlight of the April 2 auction at the Governor Hotel was a moving speech by Rachel Cohen ’90, who talked about being a Catlin Gabel "lifer." She spoke emotionally about how fortunate she was to attend Catlin Gabel thanks to financial aid. Rachel has spent the past 15 years working in international health and humanitarian aid, primarily with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Rachel joined Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) as the Regional Executive Director of DNDi North America in January. A great video about Rachel was produced for the Gambol.

» Watch the brief video about Rachel Cohen '90

Thank you to all the bidders, donors, volunteers, and supporters who made the Gambol festive and fruitful. We are pleased to share with you that the Gambol grossed $415,000 – a 20 percent increase over last year – for faculty professional development and the nearly 200 students on financial aid. We'll know net figures in late April when we finish accounting for expenses.

» Photo galleries of the party and the warm-up slide show of students of all ages

» Check out the online clearance auction — April 15 – 29
 

Catlin Gabel News Winter 2010-11

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From the Winter 2010-11 Caller

NEWS FROM AROUND HONEY HOLLOW

Nobel laureate poet Billy Collins visited this fall as the 2010–11 Karl Jonske Memorial Lecturer, surprising an English class with a visit before reading his poetry to all. . . . Students and teachers from Martinique and Gifu Kita, Japan, visited campus this winter. . . . Upper and Middle School students performed at Portland’s Winningstad Theatre during the Fall Festival of Shakespeare, a collaboration between Portland Playhouse and area high schools.
 

OUR GREAT TEACHERS

Upper School science teacher Bob Sauer was named an Outstanding Classroom Teacher in his region by the Oregon Science Teachers Association. The citation noted his ability to engender enthusiasm about science in his students and his international efforts for science education and experiential travel. . . . A paper co-authored by Upper School math teacher Lauren Sharesian on oscillators will be published by the prestigious journal Physical Review E . . . Woodshop teacher Michael deForest was this year’s Esther Dayman Strong lecturer and spoke on his apprenticeship to Ghana’s fantasy coffin-makers. . . . 4th grade teacher Mariam Higgins traveled to Haiti with a team of doctors to assist with surgical care and deliver medical and school supplies
 

ROBOTICS NEWS

The TechStart Education Foundation named robotics program director Dale Yocum Oregon’s technology educator of the year for inspiring passion and commitment and making technology accessible to all students; the award came with a $1,000 donation to the robotics program. . . . Catlin Gabel’s Flaming Chickens robotics team hosted the first annual Girl’s Generation robotics competition, and our girls team picked up the win. . . . Eighth grade Team Delta won the 1st place champion’s runner-up award at the state Lego robotics competition with an innovative research project on lower leg prosthetics for developing countries.
 

OUR AMAZING STUDENTS

Vighnesh Shiv ’11 earned the AP Scholar with Distinction Award for receiving and average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. Rohisha Adke ’11 earned the AP Scholars Award. . . . Samme Sheikh ’11 was named an outstanding participant in the National Achievement Program, an academic competition that recognizes African American high schoolers. . . . 768 pounds of produce gleaned by 3rd and 4th graders at Kruger’s Farm was donated to the Oregon Food Bank. . . . Casey Currey- Wilson ’13 won first prize in the teen category of the nationwide Canon Photography in the Parks contest. . . . Aditya Sivakumar ’18 came in 3rd nationally in the elementary division of the Music Teachers National Association music competition. Lauren Mei Calora ’20 and Megan Stater ’12 won their age group at the Oregon Music Teachers Association classical piano competition. Holly Kim ’12 was selected for the All-State and All-Northwest Honors Orchestras.
 

ATH LETICS and SPORTS KUDOS

Catlin Gabel won three state championships this fall: the boys and girls soccer teams, and the girls cross country team. McKensie Mickler ’11 was named volleyball league player of the year, and Joseph Oberholtzer ’11 was voted state soccer player of the year. Joseph and teammate Ian Agrimis ’11 made first team all-state. Boys golf coach John Hamilton was the Oregon nominee for the National Federation of High Schools “Coach of the Year” award. . . . Portland Tribune named three students athlete of the week: Zoë Schlanger ’13 and Ian Agrimis ’11 for soccer, and Esichang McGautha ’12 for basketball. McKensie Mickler ’11 was recognized as athlete of the week by the Oregonian. USA Synchro named Katy Wiita ’12 to the 2011 National Synchronized Swimming Team, which will compete in Shanghai, China. . . . Alex Foster ’11 was one of 150 students nationwide named to the 2011 McDonald’s All American games for basketball.  

 

Come to the arts building presentation for all parents

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Friday, April 8, from 7 to 8 p.m.

Join Lark Palma and board members in the Middle School commons for a casual conversation about the vision behind the proposed Middle and Upper School arts center.

Middle School parents are encouraged to swing by after dropping off their children at the dance.

What Has Changed in Teaching?

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Catlin Gabel teachers reflect on their careers working with students

From the Winter 2010-11 Caller

Why I Like Change
David Ellenberg, 8th grade history

In the minds of many humorists and some clever students, history is “just one damn thing after another.” As such, teaching this discipline involves the ongoing challenge of making coursework relevant. Perhaps this is most true with middle school students who are distinctly changeable in their approach to learning. When I began teaching in the 1980s, chalkboards and comp books were common; word processing and Google searches were not. We ordered educational films and showed them on 16-mm projectors. The vast array of web resources for locating film clips, most notably YouTube, was in the distant future.
 
Today, a plethora of previously unimagined futures are at the ready. Revision of student writing is far more streamlined, any geographic location on the planet can be easily examined with current maps, and historic events can be quickly viewed and analyzed using newsreel footage or fine documentaries. Despite the unfortunate aspects of the Information Age such as full inboxes, phony websites, and endless digital distractions, for a history teacher the Internet Age is a godsend. The advent of the World Wide Web enables me to teach students in new ways about accessing credible information for research. When introducing topics, I use written, video, and musical sources accessed through my laptop. Students have online interactions that even the playing field for all, quiet and loquacious alike. Using shared documents for editing and revision eases group work.
 
In addition to what I share directly with students, web searches also allow me to access an array of sources when planning lessons. For example, I routinely keep pace with new graphic memoirs that might be used during a global studies unit. When students access world events through artwork and family histories, learning is sparked. These true-life tales combine well with more traditional texts and expand student knowledge and understanding.
 
New approaches to accessing teaching resources complement traditional classroom work. Reading, writing, analyzing, and public speaking will forever be part of student life. These timeless skills are enhanced when positive aspects of technology find their mark. When I ask students to memorize a portion of a John Kennedy speech, how wonderful that they can easily find the president’s address on the Kennedy Library website. Speaking effectively in front of peers is a lifelong skill in any day and age.
 

The Traditional and the New in Art
Laurie Carlyon-Ward, Upper School visual art

Technology has affected art education in all parts of the curriculum—music, theater, and visual arts. Our students are able to create projects on a professional level now that we couldn’t have imagined five to ten years ago. The internet has given students greater knowledge of living artists, and they are being influenced by artists from around the globe. There’s still a great deal of joy here in making things by hand, and we give our students a chance to know how technology works in the world that they’re inheriting.
 
Enrollment in visual art classes at Catlin Gabel has increased over the past few years as students and parents become aware of growth in occupations such as animation, graphic design, film, and photography. Our students graduate, if they choose, with working knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite. It is also a necessary part of college studies in many fields such as architecture, film production, and photojournalism.
 
In our visual art classes, we still teach from a traditional curriculum, which balances skills like observational drawing with new technology. Landscapes, life drawing, and portraits are popular subjects in media such as charcoal, watercolors, and acrylics. We explore new painting mediums, too. We use water-based oils, which have a nice feel and good colors—with no turpentine or noxious fumes.
 
The curriculum is more flexible now. We no longer have a drawing and painting prerequisite for the honors art seminar. We encourage students who take photography or one of the media arts to build a portfolio and take drawing and painting to balance out their arts foundation and have a wider range of artistic skills.
 
It’s been an incredible pleasure for me to teach drawing, painting, printmaking, and digital photography at Catlin Gabel for 26 years. After all these years, I’m glad I realized I could fill the Dant House with student art. We can now have student work up all year long, and everyone loves it.
 

Growing as a Teacher
Maggie Bendicksen, 5th grade

In the nine years I’ve been in Catlin Gabel’s Lower School, I have felt so lucky to work with creative, brilliant, and fabulously kooky colleagues. We constantly question and learn from each other, especially in the areas of brain research and how kids learn best, and it has made an enormous impact on my teaching.
 
I feel that now that I have the curriculum under my belt, I can focus more on each individual kid, hearing them and seeing them for the gifts they bring. I’ve become more playful, truly willing to not know the answer before I ask the question, willing to be wrong as I puzzle over an equation in front of the class, or marvel at a student-originated strategy that I had never thought of before.
 
What I’ve learned from our learning specialist Sue Sacks and others, including 1st grade teacher Mimi Tang and Beginning School head Hannah Whitehead, is that the better we understand how different kinds of minds work, the better we can teach. Perhaps more important, though, we can help kids to know how they work best, how they can stretch in what we call the zone of proximal development (that space where work isn’t too easy, nor too hard, but just right) and ultimately advocate for themselves.
 
This fall, I was especially struck by how my 5th graders walked into the room already knowing what they needed to succeed. Their previous teachers had helped them know themselves so well. For instance, one of my boys knows he does best when he works and sits alone, another child wears noise-canceling earphones so she can focus, and another knows he needs to talk out his thinking before starting to work.
 
My teaching in math has changed, too. It’s no longer just in literacy and humanities where I can truly listen to students’ questions and their understanding of what will help them learn more. These days our best math workshops evolve from the kids’ theories, like Miriam and Nicolette’s partnership to find what makes equivalent fractions equivalent, or Macey’s burning question: “Is there something like a prime fraction? How could it exist?” There’s no better feeling as a teacher than when you see that intellectual energy buzz. It’s a privilege to work in a place where teachers are honored for saying, “You know what, Macey, I don’t know, but how do you think you can figure that out?”
 

Language Teaching Demands Evolution
Roberto Villa, Upper School Spanish

Language teachers have seen a significant evolution over the past few years. The advent of continually improving computing and technology tools have made it easier for to us to customize students’ learning based on their learning styles and differing abilities.
 
Some of us teaching Spanish no longer order printed books. We can get all the materials we need—grammar or literature— online, especially with what’s in the public domain. We can also order online textbooks for half the price of a printed version, and they do what paper books can’t. They feature links to hear audio or watch videos, tutorials that give immediate feedback, and the flexibility for students to paste in their own work and proceed at their own rate. We’ve seen many students focus better with these online tools.
 
At the same time that technology evolved, serious work in brain research began to be published. For us in language, merging the two allows us to individualize as much as possible, especially given Catlin Gabel’s small classes.
 
For example, we’ve always talked about shopping for food. Previously we used classroom visuals and vocabulary lists, and students role-played in the classroom. Now we can go to Hispanic supermarkets on the web to learn about products and prices, and we can submit an order. We also tour local Hispanic markets, and the students complete a specific shopping activity we’ve set up beforehand. This suits our educational philosophy: we provide students with real, authentic, hands-on opportunities to reinforce what they’ve learned in class, and they can each learn in the way that suits them best.
 
We’ve benefited from the evolution and growth of the local Hispanic community, which has grown from 40,000 when I began teaching to 360,000 today. Students now have many opportunities to experience the Hispanic culture and language firsthand. If a language teacher can help students grasp the relationship between what they learn in class and the reality of the world, then students learn better.
 
Students are learning faster and more amply now. They’ve moved up a notch from our expectations 20 years ago. One result of all this has been that next year we’ll have the first sizable Spanish 6 class. More Catlin Gabel students than ever before now take two languages at once.
 
The arrival of new technological possibilities gives me energy and motivation. I’m grateful to Catlin Gabel for reminding all of us of Miss Catlin’s philosophy of the school as a laboratory, which spurs us to try new ways of teaching. We’ve come a long way from the first internet cable on campus.
 

A New Teaching Experience
Joanne Dreier, kindergarten

Over the past few years, we have been developing a new studio component to Catlin Gabel’s kindergarten program. This year is the first time I have had the opportunity and privilege to be the studio teacher as part of the kindergarten team, and my experiences are teaching me more about how to teach, even after many years in the kindergarten classroom.
 
A set of questions to the children guide my work every day. How can we learn new things together? What can we do with materials? How can we organize them? What can we do with collections? How can we transform things? How can we see things in a new way?
 
As one example, students collected leaves, twigs, pods, seeds, pinecones, bark, moss, herbs, and more on autumn trips into the Fir Grove. They admired and handled the pieces over and over for many days, then used them as rich storytelling materials. A pinecone became a horse, twigs became bridges, and acorns became campfires. As materials continued to arrive, our containers could barely hold them all.
 
The conclusion of storytelling brought a time for individual close observations of a favorite piece of nature. Representations might begin with a drawing, but would then become a painting, clay piece, watercolor, or wire creation. Finally, several children created delicate sculptures that included the original piece of nature integrated with other objects found in proximity to it outdoors. The sensitivity and depth of relationship between the child and material as they are encouraged to work in this way can be breathtaking. The studio becomes silent, almost like a sanctuary of concentration and focus.
 
My role as a studio teacher is to enable and encourage the children to experience the many “languages” that are the domain of every young child. As the printed word in school can quickly become the most valued language, in kindergarten the child is welcome to use the vast array of materials that allow us to understand their important thinking. I create opportunities for them to pursue their own questions, and I encourage the natural collaboration that results from their explorations. Catlin Gabel’s Beginning School devotes itself to children and their experiences. As a result, I get to listen to all the stories and discoveries that our children eagerly share. What an enviable place to be!
 

PE and Sports Change, too
John Hamilton, Upper School coach and PE/ health teacher

Change hasn’t come only in the classroom, or from technology. Over the past 20 years we have seen many changes in the way we approach our coaching, teaching and mentoring in health, physical education, and athletics.
 
In the Beginning and Lower School we now have two PE specialists, which allows department members to focus more in their individual areas of expertise. Through a generous gift, our two specialists received training about core strength, and we were able to purchase the equipment to implement this new program. Our offerings for these young students now include a broader health curriculum.
 
Middle School health and PE has changed dramatically, promoting a healthier, more active life for our students. Class sizes, which have been reduced by half, meet every day. Upgraded facilities and higher-quality equipment allow a much more diverse range of activities. We encourage Middle School students to play on any of our numerous interscholastic teams. By the time students enter 9th grade, they have been exposed to a wide variety of activities and fitness options.
 
The Upper School has benefited from the addition of new sand-based soccer fields and an all-weather track facility. Gymnasium additions allow our teams to use their own locker rooms on game day. The upstairs classroom now hosts our health classes year round, and it has become a favorite site for department and team meetings. The weight room adds a new dimension to our curriculum and offers a great year-round training space for students, faculty, and staff. In addition to elective requirements, students must complete a lifetime fitness course and required health curriculum. In 9th grade we teach nutrition and human sexuality, and we teach sociology in the 10th grade.
 
Students show great support for our athletic program, and about half take an active role during the playing seasons. Over the course of the year we normally have 65- 70% of the student body participate on at least one of our athletic teams. Through the success we have achieved in the OSAA-sponsored state championship competitions over the years, Catlin Gabel has won the all-sports award for schools our size in nine of the last ten years.
 

Keeping Up with Technology
Bob Sauer, Upper School science

In my 27 years of science teaching I’ve seen amazing advances in technology used in the classroom. As I’ve worked to incorporate the good parts into my teaching, my students’ interest, involvement, enthusiasm, and learning have all increased. I strive to keep up with the advances, and the burgeoning, booming rate of development and my own expanding activities and responsibilities have made this effort increasingly challenging (but worth it!).
 
The greatest impact has been the rise of the personal computer. When I started teaching, my classroom had one dusty Radio Shack TRS 80 mounted on a square of particle board, with a cassette player for program and data storage, and 4 kilobytes of RAM. Within a few years I was excited to introduce an Apple IIe to my classroom. Collecting and analyzing data with computers has made laboratory work far more accurate, easy, and fun than it used to be. The more recent advent of laptops has facilitated the administration of my classes. I make syllabi, lab instructions, answers to homework, and practice tests all accessible online, making them easy for students to get, and difficult for them to lose. Originally I wrote my own grading programs in BASIC. More than once the custodian was shocked to find me still at school at 8 p.m., debugging the code. Now I use Excel spreadsheets that I can put together in far less time.
 
Another important development has occurred in projectors and smartboards. I started out showing 8 mm film loops of events like the Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse (resonance in action) and diffraction in ripple tanks. My first astronomy presentations were 35 mm film slides in a carousel projector. Now I assemble my digital photos along with graphics, highlights, and figures from the text in Powerpoint presentations for much more informative and instructive lessons.
 
I feel fortunate to have had my teaching career coincide with this blossoming of technology. I’ve been able to develop my strategies and abilities in instruction along with the expanding capabilities of technology. This synergy has kept my teaching fun and fruitful.
 

Building on the Basics
Mark Pritchard, Middle School music

I’ve always taught the basic components of music—composition, performance, and analysis—and will always teach them. But the way I teach now differs from how I was taught, mostly due to technological improvements in music equipment and software.
 
When I took composition classes in high school, I had to rely on my brain to “hear” all the parts of a composition. Technology has made composing much more immediate. Now 6th grade students can sit at the keyboard, use samples of many musical styles, hear immediately what they’ve composed, and make adjustments. The free music software GarageBand simplifies the technology to the point where kids without any musical experience can compose without being tech-savvy. Kids work at their own level in class, and they all can feel that they’ve accomplished something.
 
We’ve been providing music for all five drama productions in the 7th grade for the past six years. Students learn about different styles and elements such as overture, underscore, scene change, fight scenes, and sound effects. Once their music is finished, we go watch the actors rehearse with their musical cues. It’s great to see our students’ reactions when they hear their own compositions supporting the scene on stage.
 
Today’s amplification, mixers, and microphones allow us to produce a variety of music cheaper, better, and more accessibly. It’s changed my teaching. The 8th graders listen to and learn about rock and roll, and they compose and perform pieces on keyboards. We move all this wonderfully portable equipment into the Middle School commons and perform a rock and roll concert of our own compositions.
 
Kids in 6th grade are ready to take the knowledge, heart, and dexterity they’ve gained in Lower School and apply it to technology in a new, creative way. I still love teaching live music in class. The addition of technology allows me to extend beyond what I could teach before and opens up new styles and ways of composing.
 
Listening is important in understanding styles. Performing is important in making the style your own. Composing gets you to think about how the instrumental parts make a whole. It all goes back to the basics of musical analysis, performing, and composition. These will never change.  

 

Experiential Week: a short video of on-campus workshops

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Scenes from Experiential Week 2011 on the Catlin Gabel campus

From April 2011 Headlines

By Lark Palma, head of school

What kind of crazy school is this? Sometimes this question comes up when people meet our students and teachers during Winterim, Breakaway, and Experiential Days. And it’s a question we love to answer!

Catlin Gabel is a school that prizes deep, hands-on learning and innovation. We integrate experiential learning into our daily classes—and we dedicate one special week for alternative schooling that is totally experiential.

Our experiential week courses and affiliated trips offer between four days and two weeks of focused study, and a healthy break from routine. In the Upper School, students design the courses, and in the process they learn about planning and leadership. Course offerings for 1st through 12th graders this year ranged widely, from pirates exploring the Peter Iredale shipwreck at the Oregon coast to investigating Portland through photography, studying literary satire, and learning about coastal biology.

Perhaps you heard about the Middle School group traveling to Taiwan and their encounter with the aftermath of the massive earthquake in Japan. Their flight from the U.S. had been scheduled for a layover in Tokyo. After a long but uneventful flight across the Pacific, they learned of the earthquake when their plane began circling the Tokyo airport. The flight was diverted to a military base and the group was later flown to Osaka, where they were grounded for two days.

Despite exhaustion, hunger, and a night on the airport floor, spirits were high. The 10 students were philosophical about their circumstances. They knew a bit of discomfort and inconvenience paled in comparison to the horrors and sorrow facing the people of Japan. They passed the time playing cards and telling stories. Once flight arrangements were made for their continuation to Taipei, everyone’s thoughts turned to practicing the Mandarin language skills they would need during homestays in Taiwan.

I share this story with you to illustrate how experiential learning teaches self-reliance, resilience, and perspective. No other experiential week adventure could claim high drama, but during a week of miserable Oregon weather, I saw cheerful students and teachers return from adventures at Mt. Hood, the Oregon coast, Ashland, and downtown Portland. The cold and rain might have dampened anyone’s spirits, but our students and teachers carried on with joy and a sense of accomplishment.

When we ask alumni about their favorite Catlin Gabel traditions, Experiential Days, Breakaway, and Winterim top the list. Among the reasons they give for valuing this particular Catlin Gabel tradition are interacting with students and teachers they had not previously known and discovering they have a passion for something they had never tried before. Learning happens in so many ways, and discovering how to do new things, work together with new people, and brave the unknown is valuable for all our students. During experiential week, Catlin Gabel really walks its talk.

Experiential Days, Breakaway, and Winterim course sampler

Lower School: Walk Like an Egyptian, Super Sleuths, Hip Home Ec, Forts, Pets and Vets

Middle School: SeARTle, The River Wild, Shakespearience, Glass Fusion, Salmon Nation

Upper School: Urban Adventures, The Art of Movement: Parkour, Sailing in the San Juans, Cylinders, Pistons, and Crankshafts: Driving, Fixing, and Learning About Cars
 

Upper School Jazz Band opens for Portland rockers "Search Party"

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Fundraiser for Catlin Gabel's Jazz Band

Rock trio Search Party is recording a concert CD and Catlin Gabel's own Jazz Band is the opening act!

Don't miss this night of rockin' good music sponsored by Slipknot Productions.

Friday, April 22
7:30 pm. (doors open at 7 p.m.)
Cabell Center Theater

Advance tickets $5 (available through division offices)
Tickets at the door $10
Proceeds benefit the Catlin Gabel Jazz Band

Check out the video of Search Party in concert. Scroll down to sample their CD.

Audio: 

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