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Some Remarkable People Are Retiring

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From the Winter 2010-11 Caller

JOHN WISER

John Wiser has taught at Catlin Gabel for 40 years in history, English, theater, and science, and he also coached basketball and soccer. John is humble about his retirement: “People and institutions live, breathe, and go on. I don’t believe much in legacies, and so much of what I’ve done has been an act of faith. If it mattered, it will be in the occasional memory of the students and colleagues I had the pleasure to work with. What is important to me is that others realize that I did the best I could with what I have, and that I had enough respect for my students to set the bar high.”
 
His colleagues are more willing to laud John. Science teacher Paul Dickinson had this to say: “This is truly the end of an era. John leaves a legacy of principles he clarified and championed for the benefit of us all. For one, he taught me the important concept of a student’s engagement with ideas, rather than just moving their eyes over the words as they try to complete their reading. Helping them realize the difference helps them to improve their skills as readers, their gathering of facts for knowledge of the subject, and their sophistication as literary analysts.
 
“John was one of the major producers of Catlin Gabel’s reputation as a school where students learn to write exceptionally well. He will be gone next year, wandering about Europe taking in many of the sites of the famous events in European history about which he taught for years, accompanied by his multilingual guide (and wife) Harriet. The skills he taught and his attitude toward intellectual endeavor will remain with many of us, young and old, his students.”
 

MIKE DAVIS

Mike Davis has become an unforgettable and beloved figure in his 24 years at Catlin Gabel as soccer coach, PE teacher, and athletic director. He came to the school with an extensive background in coaching and education, including a PhD in physical education, beginning in his native England and extending into local colleges and universities. His students speak best about the lasting effect he had on their lives:
 
Roger Gantz ’89 wrote, “On behalf of all your players, thank you for fostering the best and purest sporting experiences in which we will ever participate.” Peter Gail ’96 says, “I still play and coach soccer. It’s a huge part of my life, but I just can’t seem to get enough. In many ways, I still feel like that 16-year-old kid, the ‘junkie for the game’ sprinting through the Catlin forest to get to those majestic fields below. And I owe this passion for the game, in many ways, to Mike Davis. He fostered a love of the game, and my development both as a soccer player and a young man. I wish to thank him for that.”
 
And Greg Bates ’96 wrote, “Unequivocally, I can say Mike was one of the great influences in my life. He was a fantastic coach and mentor. Mike brought out the best in his players. (Sadly, very few coaches actually do that.) Mike had a way of getting his teams to play as one, to make the last player on the team feel just as important as the MVP. The life lessons we learned running hills, playing keep away, of beating OES, stay with me today. Mike is one of a kind. Cheers, Gaffer.”
 
 

KATHY QUALMAN

Kathy Qualman, director of Catlin Gabel’s learning center, is retiring after 20 years at the school. Kathy has special thanks for one way Catlin Gabel provides for faculty-staff: “What has kept me up to date meeting the needs of today’s students has been my professional development education, particularly conferences on learning and the brain. I’ve learned from these how to explain to students what’s happening with their brain circuitry. Professional development keeps teachers on top of their game.”
 
She wrote to her faculty-staff colleagues, “Thank you for the intellectual richness and joy that I have experienced with you these past 20 years. We have shared a precious vision of how children can be nurtured, challenged, and encouraged as they grow into capable active and moral citizens of the world. What a mission we are living. Some people retire from a joyless job. I am retiring from a joyful one.”
 

 

BETSY McCORMICK & SUE HENRY

Kindergarten teachers Betsy McCormick and Sue Henry are retiring, Betsy after 28 years and Sue after 17 years with Catlin Gabel. They sent a joint note about their transition: “We met when our sons were in the Middle School here at Catlin Gabel and we’ve taught together ever since. . . . . As we looked around on Grandparents’ Day, we realized that we were older than many of the grandparents, and that it truly was time to pass the kindergarten program on to a new generation of teachers.”
 
Betsy McCormick came to Catlin Gabel, with experience teaching in public schools, when her youngest child was a kindergartner. “Five- and six-year-old children have such a wonderful perspective on life in general—their desire to make and be friends, understand their world, and spend part of each day with a sense of laughter and creativity has always inspired me,” she says. “I also feel blessed to have had my two sons be CGS lifers.”
 
Sue Henry taught kindergarten at several schools before starting at CGS. “An important reason I love teaching here is having the autonomy (which includes the challenge to ‘think out of the box’ and the vital collaboration of my colleagues) to design and implement a curriculum that supports the many ways young children develop and learn. Catlin Gabel is a school where children are given many gifts by caring teachers and staff, and I am so grateful that my youngest son, Travis ’95, was able to attend Catlin Gabel from the seventh grade until he graduated. The education he received helped him become the capable and caring adult he is today.”
 

EVIE WALTENBAUGH

Director of human resources Evie Waltenbaugh is retiring after 30 years at the school to travel with her husband and spend time with her family. Her positions have included Upper School administrative assistant, receptionist, and assistant to past headmaster Jim Scott. She was the school’s first dedicated human resources professional. “Catlin Gabel will always occupy a large place in my heart, the quality of education provided for my children, the wonderful colleagues I have had the privilege to know and work alongside, and a very special place to work,” she writes. “It has truly been a great journey!”
 
If you would like to make a gift in honor of any of these retirees, please call annual giving program director Sara Case at 503-297-1894 ext. 423.  

 

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.  

 

Catlin Gabel launches the Knight Family Scholars Program

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

From the Winter 2010-11 Caller

This past fall, Phil and Penny Knight honored Catlin Gabel with the largest gift in the school’s history—a multimillion- dollar contribution for the new endowed Knight Family Scholars Program. The Knight’s unprecedented generosity is a tremendous vote of confidence in our school from world leaders in philanthropy.
 
“My goal is to honor the progressive ideals articulated by school founders Ruth Catlin and Priscilla Gabel—not by resting on our laurels, but by continuing to progress,” said head of school Lark Palma. “Phil and Penny Knight have given us the financial ability to try a new teaching and learning paradigm, see how it works, evaluate the program, and refine it over time. We have been given the opportunity to research, experiment, and stretch our wings in pursuit of improving education. We can be bold, like our students.
 
“The Knight Family Scholars Program will benefit all students through the innovations we pilot,” continued Lark. “The program also catapults Catlin Gabel’s visibility as one of the leading independent schools in the country, adds to our financial aid corpus, and will undoubtedly have a positive overall effect on admissions and on our ability to attract phenomenal student applicants. I could not be more delighted.”
 
“The Knight Family Scholars Program quite simply opens doors,” says Michael Heath, head of the Upper School. “It is a chance for us to grow as a school, to stretch our preconceptions of education and our assumptions about those we are educating. The scholars who attend Catlin Gabel every year will gain much from their opportunity, but I think we will learn as much from them, if not more.”
 
This Q&A by communications director Karen Katz ’74 with head of school Lark Palma explains more about this new program.
 
What is the Knight Family Scholars Program?
It is a pilot program for the Upper School faculty to explore a new model for high school education and attract outstanding new high school students. The gift funds an endowed faculty member to direct the program and teach in the Upper School. In the anticipated inaugural year, 2012–13, we hope to enroll about four Knight Family Scholars as fully integrated members of the Upper School student body who benefit from our exceptional curriculum. The Knight Family Scholars Program is similar in concept to the Rhodes Scholar program in terms of the caliber of students who will qualify.
 
What is your vision for how this program will affect Catlin Gabel?
The current generation of students is far more sophisticated than previous generations. Their educational needs are evolving quickly. Educators must ask, what more can we do to prepare them? How can we ensure that they have a great liberal arts and sciences foundation for success in college, plus the experience and skills to thrive in a workforce and world that will change in ways we cannot imagine? Catlin Gabel teachers have envisioned a high school that is more real world, project based, experiential, and interdisciplinary—but limited resources have stymied our progress toward this goal. Now we can take some big steps in building on our curricular innovations and evolve more quickly. As a new Catlin Gabel faculty member, the Knight Family Scholars Program director will collaborate with our high school teachers and students to develop methods of teaching and learning that respond to the changing educational environment.
 
Where did the idea for the program originate?
The genesis for the program stems from the Imagine 2020 conference held in the spring of 2006. A lasting idea that emerged from the conference was to enrich Catlin Gabel’s educational offerings by taking advantage of what our great city and region have to offer— using Portland as a learning laboratory. Bringing students together with creative, analytical, medical, political, entrepreneurial, and science leaders would further our experiential and progressive education goals. The intent is to get our students “off the hill,” as one alumnus put it in 2006. Our global education and PLACE programs, and the urban studies class in the Upper School, also stem from the Imagine 2020 conference.
 
How did this gift come about?
As I got to know Phil, our shared interest in improving education emerged as a vitally important theme. Phil and Penny Knight are long-range visionaries and Oregon’s most generous individual education philanthropists, which is humbling and exciting. We talked about Ruth Catlin’s vision of modeling for others and how, because of our relatively small size, our success, and our focus on progressive education, we are the ideal school for innovation. I described some of the seminal ideas that emerged from the Imagine 2020 conference and how hard our teachers work to implement those ideas.
 
Can you give us an example of a program feature from Imagine 2020 that this gift allows us to implement?
The faculty and the program director will have the opportunity to advance the exchange of ideas in seminars taught by a network of community experts, including some of our talented and notable parents, alumni, and grandparents. The seminars, both on and off campus, will examine topics that emerge from the shared interests of the students and the director as they move through the program together. The seminars will also respond to the availability of influential mentors, speakers, and guest instructors. Upper School students, not just Knight Family Scholars, will be able to attend seminars. It is vitally important that this is open and inclusive, and that we prevent any kind of “us and them” dynamic. We also expect that as the program grows, it will include opportunities for the Knight Scholars to travel nationally and abroad for summer learning.
 
How else does the program benefit current students?
The research is clear: high caliber students raise the level of learning for everyone. The positive peer effect is evident throughout our school. Students in our supportive, noncompetitive environment engage more deeply when their classmates are excited about the lab, discussion, problem solving, or literary analysis at hand. And, naturally, teachers are at their best when their students are highly engaged.
 
What are the student qualifications for the program?
Prospective Knight Family Scholars Program participants will stand out in four key areas: academics, community service, athletics, and leadership. As Knight Scholars they will receive tuition assistance funded by the program’s endowment. The amount of assistance will depend on their families’ need. The program will attract well-rounded students who will inspire their peers, take advantage of everything Catlin Gabel has to offer, and go on to serve their communities.
 
Can current Catlin Gabel students apply for Knight scholarships?
Current and former Catlin Gabel students are ineligible to become Knight Scholars because one objective of the program is to attract new students and deepen our pool of admitted students. The Knight Scholars Program will raise the profile of our excellent Upper School and entice students who will be wonderful additions to our community.
 
Who determines who qualifies for the program?
The faculty, admission office, and a new program director will decide whom we accept.
 
Who is the Knight Family Scholars Program director and how is the position funded?
Typically, when donors make large gifts to institutions they fund a position to oversee the program. We will launch a national search for a Knight Family Scholars Program director to fully realize the vision of this program. The director will be Catlin Gabel’s first endowed faculty member. This turning point for Catlin Gabel could very well lead to additional endowed faculty positions.
 
What are the director’s responsibilities?
First and foremost, the director will find the right students for the program. A big part of the job is outreach and making a wide range of communities aware of the program and our school. As the program spokesperson, the director will bolster the Knight Family Scholars Program and our overall admission program. The director will also lead the scholars’ seminar and teach other Upper School classes so he or she is fully integrated into our faculty. We will hire a dynamic educator who becomes a vital member of our school community.
 
How will this historic gift change the school?
When we laid out strategic directions in 2003, one of our top three goals was to strengthen our identity and visibility in the community. We set out to identify and attract qualified, informed, and diverse applicants and to increase our applicant pool, particularly in the Upper School. The Knight Family Scholars Program will move us quickly and decisively towards these goals.
 
Has Catlin Gabel ever received a gift of this magnitude?
In 1987, the school received a $3.6 million bequest from the estate of Howard Vollum that allowed Catlin Gabel to establish an endowment fund. His foresight and generosity moved the school beyond a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.
 
What other benefits does the Knights’ gift offer?
The Knight Family Scholars Program raises our visibility as one of the leading independent schools in the country. On a purely financial and pragmatic level, the program releases financial aid dollars for students in all divisions. On a more philosophical and curricular level, the Knight Family Scholars Program will stretch us to take some risks about how we teach. All Catlin Gabel students will benefit from the innovations we pilot through the program. On a grander scale, my dream is to model innovations that can benefit students nationwide. We cannot underestimate the value of raising our profile, too. What’s good for Catlin Gabel’s reputation is good for Catlin Gabel’s students and teachers. As far as fundraising goes, this is the tip of the iceberg for all programs and needs of the school. I know Phil and Penny Knight’s generosity and confidence in Catlin Gabel will inspire others to give. In fact, two other donors are planning to contribute to this program. We anticipate a positive overall effect on admissions and on our ability to attract phenomenal student applicants. Some great young people, who perhaps don’t qualify as Knight Family Scholars, will still apply to our Upper School when they learn about Catlin Gabel’s curriculum, meet our faculty and students, and hear about our generous financial assistance program.
 
Is this Phil and Penny Knight’s first gift to Catlin Gabel?
In the past three years, the Knights have quietly and generously funded other immediate needs that I identified. They were instrumental in our ability to provide financial aid for families who have struggled through the recession. I am so honored that they have put their trust in me and in Catlin Gabel.  

 

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
 

Middle School boys basketball team wins league championship

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Blue Team victory!

Their stunning and convincing victory is a testimonial to their hard work, scrappy play, and tenacity. Thanks got to their coach, David Smith, who prepared the team members positively and encouraged them to play at the top of their game. Fan support was tremendous – thanks to everyone.

We have every reason to be a proud Eagle community!

 

MS boys basketball team playing for league championship

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Eagles vs. Kingsway

Come cheer for this exciting young team!

Thursday, March 3

5:45 p.m.

Location: Southwest Christian School

Middle School boys basketball team faces OES in league semifinal

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Tip-off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1, in the CG gym

Winning team plays for the championship on Thursday. Please join the fun and support your local Eagles! They’re a super exciting teamthat plays high-tempo ball. They would love your fan support – it’s FREE.

 

Eagles basketball in the news »

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Oregonian article, February '11

»

Eagles play in first round of state basketball playoffs on Friday

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Catlin Gabel Eagles vs. Dayton Pirates

Our #15 ranked boys basketball team faces the #2 ranked Pirates of Dayton in the first round of the state finals playoffs.

Friday, February 25
7 p.m.
Dayton High School

Admission $4

Please do not bring balloons, banners bigger than 8” x 11” or any form of noisemakers, and please make sure all cheers and chants are in support of our own team and in no way negatively directed at our opponents. » Learn the Catlin Gabel sprit song.

Go eagles!

Boys basketball team wins League playoffs. Next stop: state!

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On Thursday, February 17, the the Eagles stunned the Lewis and Clark boys basketball league when they won their third playoff game to advance to the first round of the state playoffs on Friday, February 25.

You think the Blazers have had it tough this season? How about three Eagles sitting on the bench wearing plaster casts around their wrists? How about defeating three teams that had swept the Eagles home and away during the regular season? How about three road games in four nights as the #6 Eagles defeated the #5 Cardinals at Corbett on Monday, the #4 Warriors at Warrenton on Wednesday, and the #3 Cougars at Portland Adventist last night?

Mark your calendar for Feburary 25. Don't miss the Eagles first state playoff game in 28 years when they turn the statewide basketball scene upside-down. We don’t yet know where they will play or which team they will play, but right now nobody wants to play the Eagles!

Fall athletic awards and records

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Eagles win state championships in boys and girls soccer, and girls cross country

Boys Soccer

State Champions, overall record 16-0-2
League Co-Champions, overall record 6-0-1

Individual Honors
Ian Agrimis – First Team All-League, League MVP
Joseph Oberholtzer – First Team All-League
Graham Fuller – First Team All-League
Will Caplan – First Team All-League
Anders Perrone – Second Team All-League
Spencer Fuller – Honorable Mention All-League

Girls Soccer

State Champions, overall record 14-2-3
League Champions, overall record 5-0-3

Individual Honors
Taylor Smith – First Team All-League League MVP
Rebecca Lazar – First Team All-League
Nina Greenebaum – First Team All-League
Emma Ronai-Durning – Second Team All-League
Alex Henry – Second Team All-League
Leah Thompson – Second Team All-League
Cydney Smith – Second Team All-League
Hannah Rotwein – Honorable Mention All-League

Girls Cross Country

State Champions
District Champions


Individual Honors

Eloise Miller – First Team All-State, First Team All-District
Rebecca Kropp – Second Team All-State, First Team All-District
McKenzie Spooner – Second Team All-State, First Team All-District
Hannah Rotwein – Third Team All-State, Second Team All-District
Sarah Koe – Second Team All-District

Boys Cross Country

Fourth at District

Individual Honors
Parris Joyce – Third Team All-District

Volleyball

Seventh at State, overall record 20-8
Third at League, overall record 9-3 

Individual Honors
McKensie Mickler – League Player of the Year, First Team All-League, State All-Tournament Second Team
Sabin Ray – First Team All-League
Rachel Savage – Honorable Mention All-League

Video of state championship goals

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Highlight reel shot by Jennifer Davies, parent of alumni

The girls defeated St. Mary's of Medford, 2-0, to win the 2010 title. » Read the Oregonian story

The boys beat St. Mary's of Medford, 1-0, in double overtime. » Read the Oregonian story

 

Boys win state soccer championship!

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Yee haw!

The Eagles beat St. Mary's of Medford, 1-0, in double overtime.

» Read the Oregonian story

Jubilant Eagles celebrate their double overtime victory

Girls win state soccer championship!

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Congratulations!

The Eagles beat St. Mary's of Medford, 2-0, to win the 2010 title.

» Read the Oregonian story

Girls and boys soccer teams advance to state finals

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Go Eagles!

Both the boys and girls soccer teams play in the state finals on Saturday at Liberty High School! The occasion is made even more momentous because it marks Mike Davis’s final game as boys head coach. He retires in June after 23 years at Catlin Gabel. 

A strong showing of Catlin Gabel fans at the championship games would be awesome.

Come cheer on the mighty Eagles as they play back-to-back games for the state championships.

State Finals

Saturday, November 20

Girls vs. St. Mary's of Medford at 10:30 a.m.

Boys vs. St. Mary's of Medford at 1 p.m.

Google map link to Liberty High School in Hillsboro

You can watch both games with the same admission price of $8 for adults and $5 for students.


Can't make it to the games in person?
Watch the action streaming live or keep track of the stats online

Girls stats: http://w3.osaa.org/scorecenter/gsc/10-11/brackets/live/3A-2A-1A
Streaming video:
http://www.osaa.tv/events/13253

Boys stats:  http://w3.osaa.org/scorecenter/bsc/10-11/brackets/live/3A-2A-1A
Streaming video:
http://www.osaa.tv/events/13248 


» Link to highlight reel of Mike Davis's final home game. Thank you, Jennifer Davies, for taping, editing, and posting video.

Boys soccer win in the news

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East Oregonian article, November '10