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 head Michael Heath accepted the award given for Catlin Gabel's support of Bienestar, a nonprofit community development corporation serving migrant families in the Hillsboro area. Catlin Gabel students serve as volunteer tutors, have made donations of clothing and household items, and the entire school recently held a book drive that collected more than 3,000 books for Bienestar children. Former teacher Mark Lawton and Spanish teacher Roberto Villa were honored for their three years of support and dedication to the partnership between Catlin Gabel and Bienestar.
Read the Oregonian article.
The Oregon Regional FIRST Robotics competition engages high school teams from around the northwest in a competition that's a blend of rock concert, sporting event, and science fair. Catlin Gabel's Upper School robotics team, 1540 the "Flaming Chickens" will compete along with 60 other high school teams. Each team spends six weeks designing and building 120-pound robots for the competition. Catlin Gabel's robot is completely student designed, programmed, and built by students.
This is our homecoming, senior night and rivalry game all rolled into one! If you're there, be sure to come down to the pit to say hello, we always love visits from our supporters!
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.
Congratulations to team members Leah Thompson, co-captain, Grace McMurchie, co-captain, Talbot Andrews, Rachel Caron, Lauren Ellis, Mira Hayward, Andrew Hungate, Josh Langfus, Eli Wilson Pelton, Megan Stater, and Karuna Tirumala.
Special thanks to adviser Lauren Shareshian and coaches Bob '73 and Nell Bonaparte, Jim Coon, and Scott Thompson.
Both the blue and white mock trial teams had a great day at the 2011 regional competition. The Blue Team advanced to the state finals on March 11 and 12 to compete against the best teams in Oregon. This year’s case, State v. Freeman, is a criminal case where the defendant, a chef, is charged with murder by locking her business partner into the restaurant’s walk-in cooler.
Congratulations to Catlin Gabel Blue Team members Talbot Andrews, Rachel Caron, Lauren Ellis, Mira Hayward, Andrew Hungate, Josh Langfus, Grace McMurchie (co-captain), Megan Stater, Leah Thompson (co-captain), Karuna Tirumala, and Eli Wilson Pelton.
White Team members include Audrey Davis, Layla Entrikin, Brian Farci (co-captain), Ian Fyfield, Andrea Michalowsky, Fiona Noonan, Chris Park, Nick Petty, Nama Rosas, Henry Shulevitz, Emily Siegel, Curtis Stahl, Lynne Stracovsky (co-captain), Terrance Sun, and Mary Whitsell.
I am excited to announce that Barbara Ostos will be our new Middle School head starting July 1.
(Editor's note: Current MS head Paul Andrichuk will lead our Teaching and Learning Center starting this summer.)
After an extensive search, including appraisal of many résumés and Skype interviews with several top candidates, we brought three superb finalists to campus. All three finalists could have served our Middle School and the community well. After careful review, consideration of community feedback, and thoughtful discussion, the search committee members and I were unanimous in our support of Barbara’s appointment.
Barbara is currently the middle school dean at her own alma mater, the Francis Parker School in San Diego, a school with many similarities to Catlin Gabel. She has been a teacher and administrator for 10 years, as 7th and 8th grade history teacher and as diversity coordinator, among other responsibilities. She developed a character education curriculum and led a board committee that did a positioning study for the school. Francis Parker School has more than 1,000 students in kindergarten through high school housed on two campuses. The middle school has more than 300 students.
Barbara expects to complete an EdD in educational leadership at the University of California, San Diego, by December. She earned an MA in nonprofit leadership and management from the University of San Diego, and an AB in government from Harvard University. Barbara’s family came to the U.S. from Cuba, and she is the first person in her family to attend college. She speaks fluent Spanish and French. Barbara will move to Portland with her husband, Carlos, and their infant daughter, Lydia.
Extensive references were consistent in their praise of Barbara as an educator, administrator, and colleague. Her current school head said, “Her interaction with the students is fair, balanced, and very appropriate. Her work with faculty is collegial, and her commitment to the job unyielding. She is bright, engaging, determined, and respected by her peers and parents alike. Barbara is a professional, a dedicated leader, and a committed member of the Francis Parker community. I could not be more impressed.” Others said, “killer sense of humor,” “seeks and values advice before making a decision,” “works hard to get to know students and parents,” and “not afraid to draw the line and make a difficult decision.”
Barbara will be in Portland with her family the week of April 6. If you have not met her, there will be opportunities to do so during that week. Stay tuned for her schedule.
My sincere appreciation goes to the search committee for an inclusive process and their thorough examination of feedback from all constituencies. I thank Chris Bell, Ann Fyfield, Erin Goodling ’99, Kristin Ogard, Tom Tucker ’66, Becky Wynne, and especially David Ellenberg, who chaired the committee. It is rewarding to see such a remarkable process yield the right person for this time in Catlin Gabel’s and the Middle School’s history.
by Karen Katz '74, communications director
Catlin Gabel plans to build a new Middle and Upper School arts facility, something the school has needed for a long time. So far architect Brad Cloepfil and his Allied Works team have developed preliminary designs, and we are in the leadership stage of fundraising. Here Lark answers some important questions about the project.
Why we are building an arts center
What are the educational benefits of studying art, especially if you aren’t an artsy person?
Beginning School parent, noted artist, and Rhode Island School of Design alumnus Michael Lazarus explained it beautifully when he said, “We are developing one of the most important tools: a creative, problem-solving mind. The process of art making is great practice for life!”
We know that art education strengthens overall academic achievement and school success. Studies show that young people who participate in the arts are:
- Four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
- Four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair
- Four times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem
And, compared with their peers who do not take art classes they:
- Read for pleasure nearly twice as often
- Perform community service more than four times as often
In a still challenging economy, can we afford to invest resources in the arts?
One hallmark of a Catlin Gabel education is innovation. Another is our dedication to a comprehensive liberal arts and sciences curriculum. The arts are central to innovation and a well-rounded education. We cannot afford to ignore the arts. Can you imagine Stanford or MIT neglecting the arts? That would be unthinkable! In fact, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Pomona are raising money for arts facilities. We’re in fine company. Don’t think of this as investing in a building; we’re investing in our students.
What are the arts requirements at Catlin Gabel?
The arts are integral to our program schoolwide. Creative study is central to our mission. We require all students to be involved in the arts throughout their time at the school. Beginning and Lower School students take art, music, and woodshop. Middle School students rotate through a full complement of arts classes in drama, music, woodshop, fine art, and media arts. Upper School students are required to take at least two years of art — many take three or four years — and choose from a wide array of classes.
What does the future of the arts look like at Catlin Gabel?
Lower School head Vicki Roscoe is leading a two-year curriculum review of the arts. Arts teachers are working with Vicki to investigate best practice in arts education, examine the role of technology in the arts, and explore the role arts play in cross-disciplinary studies. We are excited that the curriculum review coincides with the arts center project, because it allows our teachers to think big.
Project nuts and bolts
I thought the arts center was going to be built two years ago. Why was the project delayed?
The economy! While a handful of generous families stepped forward, the downturn in the economy delayed the larger fundraising effort.
Where are we in the process?
We have selected an architect, approved a preliminary schematic design, formed a volunteer campaign committee, and secured some important lead gifts. Fundraising is one of my top priorities this year.
When will shovels go in the ground?
The board of trustees determined that we would only break ground when 80 percent of the funds are raised. The facility will cost $6.9 million total. We need about $4.1 million more to proceed. We hope to break ground next year; construction will take about 15 months.
Tell us more about the architect.
Brad Cloepfil and his team at Allied Works Architecture are known nationwide and are becoming internationally known for designing facilities that fuel creativity. An early local project example is the Wieden + Kennedy Agency headquarters in Portland. Current parent Renny Gleeson, global director of digital strategies at Wieden + Kennedy, describes their building as a spa for the soul. Allied Works also designed the Seattle Art Museum expansion, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, and the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas.
Brad Cloepfil studied with Thomas Hacker, who created Catlin Gabel’s master plan in 1996, designed most of the Upper School buildings and grounds, and remodeled the Beginning School. It is fitting that Tom and Brad’s teacher-student relationship will be reflected on our campus.
How would you describe the early schematic design?
Brad Cloepfil and Allied Works has sketched out an elegant yet simple, open facility that will attract spectators, art dabblers, and serious artists alike. We’ve joked about naming the building the Magnet! The design includes an outdoor courtyard that mirrors the Upper School quad and an indoor gallery, both of which will serve as community gathering spots.
What will the new arts center house?
Middle and Upper School classrooms, including fine arts and media arts studios, vocal and instrumental classrooms, a computer music lab and music rehearsal rooms, a gallery, and an intimate black box theater with a spring floor for classes, rehearsals, and performances. The facility will be a great venue for interdisciplinary studies, collaborative project work, and independent study.
How will the building accommodate changes in the arts curriculum?
Allied Works is especially thoughtful about how arts education has changed and will change in ways we cannot even predict. Their design emphasizes flexibility so that different disciplines can be accommodated. The plans call for raw studio space that is like an artists’ retreat. The students and teachers who use the spaces will influence how they are used. A studio might house a filmmaking class one year and a painting class the next. The black box will be a haven for drama, dance, and music. For the first time students will be able to collaborate across disciplines on a single project, in the same space.
The Cabell Center is in great shape. Why do we need a black box theater?
The Cabell Center is in high demand for performances, classes, lectures, formal presentations, meetings, assemblies, rehearsals, and community events. It doesn’t accommodate our needs the way it did when it was built in 1973. For example, the Cabell Center is not available for the 19 performances produced by Middle School students each year. They make do in Chipmunk Hollow, a cramped and inadequate “temporary” building that was put up 42 years ago. The Middle School drama program will move to classrooms in the new arts center. Upper School students will also take classes in the new classrooms. Students in grades 6 – 12 will perform in the black box. The intimate size and flexibility of a black box is something we’ve needed for a long time, and will open up possibilities in our theater curriculum.
What is the location for the new arts center?
The building site is west of the Dant House and adjacent to the Middle and Upper School areas of campus. The building will link the Middle and Upper Schools, benefiting older and younger students academically, artistically, and socially. For the first time, Catlin Gabel will have a building that allows the arts faculty to work together in a central location. (Scroll down to see PDF of current arts facilities across campus.)
Will the new building free up space for other programs?
Most immediately, our computer science classes will no longer share space with media arts classes in the lower level of the library. It’s premature to make plans for the other 4,200 square feet of classroom space that will be vacated. We need to carefully consider what the greatest needs are before determining what programs move into current spaces such as Chipmunk Hollow, the Middle School art classroom, and the choir room.
Are we going to increase the size of the school when the arts center is built?
No, we are not planning to increase enrollment.
Funding the arts center
Is the new arts center a real need or a luxury?
Upper School students cannot paint on large canvases or do large three-dimensional works, because the art studio is too small. Film editors and composers collaborating on a project, for one example, must work separately in classrooms that are across campus from each other. Bringing the arts together in one facility will provide proximity, stimulating collaboration and increasing creativity.
During the past 17 years, the school has grown, but the square footage per student that is dedicated to the arts has decreased. The lack of adequate space for teaching the arts has been singled out in our last two accreditation reports as an important area for improvement. This project is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. We owe it to our students.
Have we secured any lead gifts?
Being in the leadership phase of fundraising means we are seeking families who are willing to be the first, and in some cases the largest, donors to the project. I am happy to say that several donors have stepped up with lead gifts. Campaign volunteers, trustees, the development team, and I are working hard to secure the 80 percent of funding we need to break ground.
Will everyone be asked to give?
In due course, we will ask all parents, alumni, faculty-staff, and friends to participate in supporting the arts campaign. I love how campaign co-chair Craig Hartzman talks about the responsibility shared by all community members to invest in our school’s future, just as others have done before us. People who cared about the future funded every building on this campus. That is what community responsibility is all about.
Does this mean the Annual Fund and the Gambol auction will ease up?
Absolutely not. Our first priority is to fund the operating budget, which includes $1.5 million in essential annual gifts. Historically, capital campaigns strengthen overall giving to programs like the Annual Fund and the auction.
Find out more
How can people see for themselves what our arts program is about?
The arts faculty welcomes drop-in visitors. They are very proud of the program and are eager for parents and friends to see why our students deserve better facilities. We want parents, especially of younger students, to see the amazing array of talent and artistic pursuit in our upper grades. Please e-mail or call arts department chair Laurie Carlyon-Ward to arrange for a tour, email@example.com or 503-297-1894 ext. 402.
Can you share the architect’s schematics?
We are not posting the current schematic design on the website because it is a preliminary plan, and building plans tend to evolve. We don’t want people to become wedded to something that could change significantly. But we are presenting the designs at a Lower School coffee on Monday, March 7, at 8:30 a.m.; at a Beginning School coffee on Friday, March 18, at 9:15 after Friday Sing; and at a yet-to-be-scheduled PFA meeting in the spring. Join us!
We are delighted to announce that alumna Rachel Cohen ’90 will speak on behalf of the special appeal for financial aid at this year’s Gambol. Rachel brought down the house when she accepted the Distinguished Younger Alumni Award during last June’s alumni weekend. We knew then that Rachel’s story and voice should be shared more widely. “Rachel’s not just changing lives, she’s saving lives,” says Lark Palma. “Gambol attendees will be inspired not only by this alumna’s many accomplishments at a young age, but also by her engaging style and wit.”
Rachel Cohen joined Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) as the regional executive director of DNDi North America in January 2011.
Rachel has been working in the global health and humanitarian field for more than 15 years, primarily with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Most recently, she served as head of mission for MSF in South Africa and Lesotho, where she oversaw numerous medical programs, primarily focused on HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis treatment in rural and peri-urban settings; primary health care for Zimbabwean refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants; and emergency care for survivors of sexual violence.
Before working for MSF in the field, Rachel was the U.S. director for MSF’s Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines in New York, directing policy advocacy activities related to drug pricing, intellectual property, and medical innovation for neglected diseases.
Prior to joining MSF, she was the director of foundation and corporate giving at Housing Works, the largest minority-controlled AIDS service organization in the U.S., and before that served as the program coordinator for the US+Cuba Medical Project, where she directed medical aid programs and carried out educational and advocacy initiatives about the impact of U.S. foreign policy on the health of the Cuban population.
Rachel now serves on the board of directors of MSF’s operational center in Brussels.
Rachel earned a master's degree in public policy with a certificate in health and health policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Join Rachel in supporting the special appeal for financial assistance!
All parents and guardians interested in a leadership position with the PFA can put their names forward. Go ahead, nominate yourself! Serving in a leadership capacity with the PFA is a great way to get to know fellow parents, work with the faculty, and feel connected to Catlin Gabel.
The PFA welcomes parents who are new to the school and parents who have not considered leadership involvement before. We also value experience and try to put together class teams of parents who are new to volunteering at the school and those with prior experience. Generally, we recommend starting out by volunteering as a grade representative before serving on the executive council. Nominating yourself is strongly encouraged.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate a candidate (including yourself) for any of the following positions
- Grade representatives (preschool through twelfth)
- Volunteer coordinator
- Spring Festival coordinator
- Advisor to council
- Beginning School coordinator
- Lower School coordinator
- Middle School coordinator
- Upper School coordinator
- Vice president
Nominations will be accepted until April 15. The PFA nominating committee – PFA president, advisor, vice-president, and two parents from the community – will review the applications and generate a slate of officers for the executive council. The executive council election takes place at the May general meeting, Thursday, May 19, at 8:30 a.m. in Gerlinger Multimedia Auditorium. All nominees for executive council and grade reps will be contacted by May 1.
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
Dayton High School
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.
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!
Our 2011 course catalog will be available in early March.
Class offerings range from arts and music, to sports, modern languages, writing, SAT prep, outdoor education, service and more.
The dates for most 2011 summer classes are July 5 – August 5 and serve preschool through high school students.
» For information, e-mail or call Len Carr, Summer Programs director, email@example.com, 503-297-1894 ext. 406
PLACE — Planning & Leadership Across City Environments
June 20 – Juy 15
Grades 10 – 12 and recent high school graduates
PLACE is a unique program, run by Catlin Gabel School in partnership with the greater Portland community, that focuses on how we relate to our urban environment through smart planning and effective leadership.
Outdoor Program Summer Trips
Rafting, hiking, camping, climbing, backpacking, biking and exploring. A great way to meet other kids and challenge yourself in NEW ways
Catlin Gabel offers a number of outdoor adventures.
Elana Gold '93 Memorial Environmental Restoration Project
June 17 – 22
Grades 9 – 12
Established in 1993 to carry out land restoration projects in the Barlow Ranger District on Mt. Hood National Forest.
Two anonymous donors have generously established the 2011 Annual Fund Challenge. They will match gifts up to $35,000 to generate new dollars to the Annual Fund and increase participation from community members.
$15,000 to go!
You have the opportunity to DOUBLE YOUR DONATION and DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT. What a remarkable way to make a difference now for our current students! It’s easy!
Make your tax-deductible gift online, by telephone to 503-297-1894 ext 310, or by mail to 8825 SW Barnes Rd, Portland OR 97225.
You also can help by spreading the word. Tell five friends or family members how important Catlin Gabel has been to you and how they too can double their dollars by making a donation. Learn more about the challenge. Thank you!
Great schools don’t just happen. We make them so.
The Catlin Gabel 2010-11 Annual Fund
Will you rise to the Challenge?