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Clint Darling Fund for financial aid reaches $22,000

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More than 100 generous donors have contributed $22,000 to the Clint Darling Fund for financial aid. This is a remarkable outpouring of support for one of the school’s highest priorities and a permanent need about which Clint is most passionate. Our goal is to raise at least $25,000 to establish an endowed scholarship in Clint’s name. We are so close! To honor Clint, make your gift today: call 503-297-1894 ext. 310, or donate online. Thank you!

Senior Yale Fan qualifies for 2010 U.S. Physics Olympics

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American Association of Physics Teachers announces the 2010 U.S. Physics Team Selection

Out of more than 3,000 students who undertook a rigorous exam process, Yale emerged as one of 20 students from across the U.S. who now make up the 2010 U.S. Physics Team.

The team training camp, which is a crash course in the first two years of university physics, is an integral part of the U.S Physics Team experience. Yale will attend the training camp for his senior project. Students at the camp have the opportunity to hear about cutting edge research from some of the community’s leading physicists. At the end of the training camp, five students will be selected to travel to Croatia for international competition, where more than 400 student scholars from 90 nations will test their knowledge in physics, competing with the best in the world.

The U.S. Physics Olympiad Program was started in 1986 by AAPT to promote and demonstrate academic excellence.

Read the Oregonian article from May 19.

Senior prank turns Upper School quad into petting zoo for younger students

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Bunnies, goats, lambs, chicks, a pony, and an alpaca, oh my!

Putting their own spin on the annual senior prank, the class of 2010 pulled off a stunt for the ages: a petting zoo in the middle of the quad! 

The seniors started with two simple questions: How can we turn the senior prank tradition into a community-builder?  How can we channel mischief toward a gift of generosity?

After several brainstorming sessions they had an epiphany: Petting Zoo! Quad!

During an Upper School assembly, a handful of seniors secretly zipped around putting down hay, erecting a tent, fencing off an area, and bringing in animals.

The hoax, funded entirely by the class of 2010, was a huge success. Weeks of planning paid off when hundreds of students and teachers passed by the surprise menagerie smiling and congratulating the seniors on their inspired idea. And the seniors thoroughly enjoyed bringing preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students to their magical on-campus surprise!

Click on any photo below to begin the slideshow of seniors and their first grade buddies at the petting zoo.

 

 

 

 

 

So Why Experiential Days?

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Notes from Vicki - So Why Experiential Days? 

In many ways, Experiential Days is the epitome of what we believe about teaching and learning. We are humbly aware that in future years, Experiential Days will be remembered amongst your children’s favorite Catlin Gabel memories. This same type of multi-day experience is called “Breakaway” in the Middle School and “Winterim” in the Upper School (by which time students may actually design their own classes).
 
*Children learn experientially. They learn by doing and benefit enormously by hands-on experiences. Progressive educational philosophy embraces experiential learning vs. pre-packaged, textbook learning. We also believe that it is more important that children learn how to learn than it is that they master a tightly controlled set of predetermined, isolated skills. This may involve building forts, identifying plants on a hike or making Chinese dumplings. This is a chance for children to network with the broader community by visiting companies, restaurants, parks, camps, etc. One student in “Homemade Grocery Store” repeatedly exclaimed “I’ve never tasted this before! I’ve never done this before!”

*Children learn by interacting with others as well as their teachers. The social context of learning cannot be underestimated. Experiential Days is a time when we experience the richness of mixed aged groupings. The “youngers” are inspired and stretched by the “olders” who are given leadership and teaching opportunities. It is an opportunity for staff, faculty and parents to share their talents and interests and for the children to see a different side of us. Genevieve and Julie shared their love of sewing in "Hip Home Ec"; Guimin and Peggy McDonnell shared their love for Asian culture in “Asian Cultural Adventures”; Stephen and Leslie shared their love for games in "Games Galore”.
 
*Each child’s relationship network is broadened. Students are given the opportunity to deepen relationships with peers and teachers and build new ones. They are open to new interactions and friendships. The children’s relationship with their Experiential Days teachers and peers is “forever changed.” The experiential groupings love reconnecting to work together for Campus Day that will be the afternoon of April 11.
 
*We believe that students should be given opportunities to choose what they want to learn. It is powerful when students consider the options and make four choices they know they’ll be happy with. We want the drive to learn to be intrinsic and not extrinsic. You learn because it feels great to learn, and you want to learn and do your best. It may have been tempting to try to micromanage your children’s four choices, but it is important that their voice be heard. 


 
*Learning is about risk taking and Experiential Days affords the opportunity to try something new or stretch in some way. Think about it – all new learning involves taking risks and we want our students to be comfortable and confident in doing so. This may involve making your own marshmallow and then roasting it over an open fire, hiking further than you’ve ever hiked before or trying knitting for the first time. Maneuvering overnight experiences symbolizes great growth on the part of a number of our youngsters.
 
*Experiential learning fosters independence. Children are involved in organizing and packing their own gear, planning and cooking a meal, or dressing for a day of fly fishing. If you wake up early you have your book right by your sleeping bag so you can read quietly while respecting others’ sleep. Overnights help children build confidence in their ability to be independent.
 
*Uninterrupted blocks of time lead to deep engagement. Experiential Days involves four consecutive days, and in many cases nights as well, of focus on a topic of interest without any schedule interruptions! Students can even enter “flow” – when they are so engaged they literally lose track of time. This might happen as they study stopmotion technology in “I'm in a Movie”, create animal figurines out of chocolate in “Animals and Arts” or learn about airplanes.

 
*Sometimes students get a new image of themselves. Children who may struggle in the regular classroom often blossom during Experiential Days. They may find a new niche within a new social grouping, or connect intimately with a newfound interest or passion. Some children surprise themselves and their teachers with the success they experience during Experiential Days!
 
There are probably as many reasons as there are children, but these are the main ones. Every year the staff and faculty are reminded about how much extra work and hours are involved in planning and organizing these courses… and every year, after they are over, our commitment grows and we agree wholeheartedly that Experiential Days are worth it!
 

 

Viola Vaughn from Sénégal to speak at Catlin Gabel on April 7

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Vaughn, a CNN "Hero," is founder & director of 10,000 Girls, dedicated to the education of girls

Viola Vaughn, founder and executive director of the nonprofit 10,000 Girls (http://10000girls.org) in Kaolack, Sénégal, West Africa, will speak at Catlin Gabel on Wednesday, April 7, at 12:45 p.m. in the Middle School Commons during her tour of the United States.

Dr. Viola Vaughn

Vaughn is an American with an Ed.D. from Columbia University who received a CNN “Hero” award in 2008. She is a social entrepreneur who has built 10,000 Girls from an idea to a vibrant program currently serving 2,567 girls in 10 towns and villages in rural Sénégal. She periodically tours the U.S., speaking and participating in conferences to raise awareness of her organization's success in helping West African girls succeed as students and entrepreneurs. During her time in Portland Vaughn will also speak at Portland State University.

Video of Viola Vaughn #1          

Video of Viola Vaughn #2            

Video of Viola Vaughn #3

Viola Vaughn and the 10,000 Girls Project from Memory Box Productions on Vimeo.

10,000 Girls has two primary programs: after-school education and skill-building, helping girls stay in school and complete their educations; and entrepreneurship, teaching a craft or trade and business basics to older girls who have already left school and need life skills to become self-reliant. The educational component provides tutoring and resources to help girls succeed in school. Older girls, who are no longer in school, learn sewing, baking, and other marketable skills, creating products such as dolls and table linens, which they sell locally and online. The girls also grow, harvest, and produce hibiscus, which they transform into tea and hope to export to the U.S. as Certified Organic. The girls in the entrepreneurial program have decided to donate nearly 50% of their earnings to the program, making 10,000 Girls entirely self-sustainable. In Sénégal – where 54% of the citizens live below poverty and 48% are unemployed  – 10,000 Girls transforms the lives of  participating girls and their families.

The dynamic Viola Vaughn, a long-time resident of Sénégal, dramatically describes the challenges and joys of running 10,000 Girls and speaks with passion about her organization's mission. She can relay fascinating stories, including how she convinced banks to open accounts for young girls, a first in Sénégal; why the girls chose to bake and sell cookies to raise money (like America's Girl Scouts); and the what poignant questions the girls pose at summer Democracy Camps in  Sénégal. 
 
In Portland, Violla Vaughn hopes to connect with individuals and organizations interested in the education of girls, as well as with businesses that might want to sell 10,000 Girls' products. She will also encourage individuals intending to volunteer for 10,000 Girls in Senegal.

 

Students, teachers, and staffers blog about their work and travels

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Classes, groups traveling near and far, and individuals are publishing on the website to share their work with the Catlin Gabel community or other specific audiences.

Any student, teacher, or staff member can maintain an individual blog or contribute to a group blog on the Catlin Gabel website. Some blogs are open to everyone visiting our website. Most blogs require login.

You can always find blogs from the Quick Links menu. Happy reading!

 » Link to all blogs

Links to specific blogs

Nepal 2010
Japan 2010
Cuba 2010
Senior Projects

Urban Studies

Honors Art Seminar
Science Projects
Spanish V Honors
French 2

External blogs
Paul Monheimer in Israel
The Catlin Coverslip

Richard Kassissieh, for the education technology community

Classroom pages
Middle and Lower School teachers use classroom pages more often than student blogs. The function is similar.
Second grade
Fourth grade

Fifth grade

Sixth grade
Lower School French

Seventh grade

 

Mock trial team wins state championship. Next stop: nationals in Philadelphia

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Competing against high schools many times the size of Catin Gabel, our Blue Team prevailed at the state competition. Congratulations to co-captains Eli Coon and Becky Coulterpark, and team members Talbot Andrews, Conor Carlton, Nina Greenebaum, Andrew Hungate, Grace McMurchie, Kate McMurchie, Megan Stater, and Leah Thompson.

Many thanks to volunteer coaches Bob Bonaparte '73, Nell Bonaparte, Cheryl Coon, Jim Coon, Barb Gazeley, Anushka Shenoy '09, and Pat Walsh.

» Link to Portland Tribune story

Musicians Of the Sun

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Le Petit Chaperon Rouge

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March 12, 2010 Community Meeting

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Soccer player & scientist, 5th grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: soccer, science

“Soccer’s great because you can socialize and make new friends. It relieves stress and helps you to not burn out and get tired in the rest of your life. I started playing classic soccer late this summer. It’s a more competitive form of soccer that’s played mostly year round, and all outdoors in all seasons. We do two practices a week after school. We have a game on Saturday, and sometimes on Sunday. I really, really love it.
 
Two friends and I were playing recreational soccer and we switched to classic soccer. It’s more physical and more demanding. The coaches train us hard on all the skills, like shooting, passing, and defense.
 
I also love science. When I grow up, I want to be a brain surgeon and fix things when people have problems. I’m interested in the brain because it uses up the most energy in the body, and it controls everything.
 
At home my mom is teaching me Japanese, and it’s hard. I’ve also been taking Chinese for four years. Learning Japanese makes Chinese easier because the characters came from Chinese, and the sounds are similar. We visit Japan most summers, and it’s fun. I speak Japanese with my relatives, and I’m pretty comfortable with it. By being with relatives I get to see the whole culture.

Having something you like is good for you. It makes life easier and more enjoyable.”

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Ballet dancer, 3rd grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passion: ballet
Interests: reading, piano

“I started formal dance training at 4, and started in the Oregon Ballet Theater at age 7. The first time I saw the Nutcracker it grabbed me and it didn’t stop. I auditioned for the Nutcracker, and I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
 
Dance brings out people’s souls. You can express your feelings in ways that don’t hurt other people. You can bring out your emotions in dance. Movement brings you into the dance. It feels like you’re flying, like you’re whirling. It can be colorful and fast, or slow and sad. It’s really about moving, and then music winds in and brings extra color to the dance.
 
We train really hard, three times a week. The teacher is very strict, which is traditional for ballet. You have to work hard to stay on top of the pack.
 
The fun time in class is when we’re warming up, when we all share with the other dancers and help each other stretch or learn a step. We have to work together as a community, and the teacher doesn’t interfere during the warm-up. No one likes it when the teacher yells, so you want to do well to make her happy.

I put my head and shoulders and heart and soul into dancing. It’s a hard life, but rewards come in dancing and performance. The costumes, music, and community come together to make a wonderful experience.”

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Math & puzzle problem solver, 5th grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: math, puzzles, soccer
Interests: acting, music

“I’ve loved math since 2nd grade. I do a lot of Sudoku, and now I’m working on the harder ones. I like all kinds of puzzles, and math and logic games.
 
I like the mindset of having to figure out where to put something. You can really feel it when you’ve accomplished something. I like logic puzzles. I like following a train of thought.
 
We’re doing multiplication and division in 5th grade, and I like the problems. I go for the challenge math in my homework, which has percents or fractions or logic.
 
I play classic soccer year round, and it’s really fun. It’s one sport where your size doesn’t matter and you have to work as a team. Where you are when you don’t have the ball is as important as when you do. It’s a thinking game: where should I be? Where’s my mark?

I also take some acting classes and did improv classes over the summer. I enjoy memorizing the script line by line, and it sticks in my head. I work to project, stay in character, and not make nervous gestures. Acting can help in life. It helps you get confidence in speaking in front of an audience. I’ve learned to focus on myself and what I’m doing. Then I’m not so nervous.”

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Chess player & chicken steward, 2nd grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: chickens, chess
Interests: reading, writing, drawing, soccer

“I live in a place my grandpa used to live, where there were different kinds of chickens 55 years ago. Now I have four chickens and a rooster, and I think they’re interesting. I made a movie about them when we were learning about farms in 1st grade. The film had seven chapters, including how to clip a chicken and how to find eggs. It had lots of information. I really like getting eggs in the morning and visiting the chickens. Sometimes they like to listen to you, but sometimes they’re scared. I play ‘Oh Come Little Chickens’ on my violin to them.
 
I play in chess tournaments with my school team. The best players think a lot about all their moves. I love to think and think deeply about chess.
 
I like to think about books I’m reading, too. I make up stories in my head, and sometimes I write them down. I wrote the eighth book in the Harry Potter series, which I called ‘Harry Beats Up Voldemort.’ It’s seven pages long, with eight lines on each page.

I draw pictures. I’m not good at drawing Harry Potter but I’m really good at drawing monsters and things I make up. And I play soccer, too.”

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Great reader, 4th grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: reading, writing
Interests: science, art, collecting, music, my cats

“Reading is my favorite thing. I love to curl up on the couch with a book. I read fiction mostly, mysteries, and Indian mythology, which I read as books and in graphic novels. In the graphic novels I know the story already, but I can see it unfold before my eyes.
 
I started wanting to write my own poems after the poetry units in 2nd and 3rd grade. All the reading I’ve done has given me a vocabulary that makes it easier to write. I also like writing folktales. One I wrote, ‘The Quest for Light and Water,’ told how light and fresh water were first brought to earth.
 
I’ve been taking piano lessons for two years. I made up a song with my cousin in India, and we recorded ourselves playing a tiny keyboard and maracas. I love Indian classical music and can figure it out on the piano.
 
In 4th grade we do imaginative writing each week. Sometimes it takes me a while to think of an idea, but when I get it, the story just unfolds. I like that we are made to write in class. It’s an opportunity for our interests and talents to develop.
 

I like everything at Catlin Gabel. I like the Fir Grove, my teachers, and my friends.”

 

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: An active mind, 5th grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: science, history, math
Interests: family winery, politics

“Science is my biggest passion. I like doing tests and calibrating things. You can apply science to winemaking, which is my family business. I learn how to make wine from my dad and help with bottling, cleaning filters, and picking grapes. When I grow up I want to be a winemaker and continue the winery and also be in my dad’s testing lab business.
 
I read a lot of historical books and look at history web pages. Lately I’ve been reading about the Romans and Greeks. I read books about older wars, because during warfare so many new technologies are invented. I have a good memory for facts and like the way things fit together.
 
I like math. I like learning all the formulas for geometric shapes, like Pi and Pi-R squared. I try to figure out on my own what the formulas are for geometric patterns. When we start a unit it jump-starts my brain and I look stuff up on the internet.
 
I follow politics somewhat because I’ll have to vote when I grow up, and I like how complex it is. I watched the Presidential debates last year and looked at polls about the elections.
 

I like my active mind.”

Follow Your Passions!

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By Lark P. Palma, PhD, Head of School

From the Winter 2010 Caller

Five o’clock on a South Carolina summer morning. My rounds started early, for a young girl. First I took care of my horse, Cricket—feeding, mucking, a ride on the beach, then out to pasture. Then I attended to my 35 rabbits, gathered eggs from the six red hens that scratched around the house, and released the ducks to the creek. Finally I wrangled Thistle the collie and Ginger the lamb for walks on their leashes.

Animals were my first great passion—and my parents allowed me to have them if I cared for them well and showed responsibility. I was filled with the same passion when I first played school in my room, lining up all of my stuffed animals and dolls, assigning arbitrary grades from A to F and relegating some to smart status, some not so smart. At school I watched with rapt attention how my teachers would teach us. At home I would either try to do it the same way or try to modify the techniques that didn’t work for my little class.

It was not until I became a teacher myself that I understood that, as someone with a passion for teaching, I could go beyond what’s expected and work with students to realize their own personal goals and passions. I finally saw that the very best model for teaching and learning centers on the relationship between the student and the teacher. What happens collectively as a class is important, but the one-on-one time a student and teacher have together is the most critical element.

It was a breakthrough for me when I realized that and learned—thanks to Roland Barthes, John Dewey, and others—that children are not receptacles for knowledge from adults, but teeming petri dishes of their own ideas and imaginations. How little my teachers in the fifties and sixties understood that—although teachers in Ruth Catlin and Priscilla Gabel’s schools certainly did get it.

Catlin Gabel is a school where teachers are drawn to teach, and we select them to do so, because they understand how children’s minds work, and they want to be surrounded by colleagues who feel the same.

This Caller is filled with stories of alumni and students who have pursued interests, passions, and yes, even obsessions. Graduates who fall into this category are legion, and the students and alumni represented here are just a small sample. Why would a school of this size produce so many people who lead with their passions and know themselves well enough to do that?

For one, Catlin Gabel provides an unfettered, free-ranging approach to solving problems, approaching assignments, and celebrating process over product. I learned to be a good rider because I studied my horse, paying heed to her temperament and the look in her eye, and treating her in a way that reflects that knowledge. In the same way, the students profiled here, whether involved in a sport, an academic pursuit, or an art, learn the value of deep concentration and focused attention. For example, visual artists, like the ones you’ll read about, see relationships among all disciplines, in color and in shapes, and takes those elements to create an original. But mostly, we at Catlin Gabel encourage students fully and unabashedly to follow their passions. And of course, there is the child herself, who has the gift inside. Parents, teachers, and the overarching ethos of the school only undergird those passions.

Alumnus, alumna, or current student, their uniqueness binds us all together and makes for a very, very interesting place to teach. Enjoy these stories.

 

Mock trial team advances to state

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Both the blue and white mock trial teams had a great day at the 2010 regional trial. The Blue Team advances to state to compete against the best teams in Oregon. This year’s case, State v. Lane, is a criminal case where the defendant, a rap artist, is charged with inciting a riot and arson.

Congratulations to Catlin Blue team members Talbot Andrews, Conor Carlton, Becky Coulterpark, Eli Coon, Nina Greenebaum, Andrew Hungate, Grace McMurchie, Kate McMurchie, Megan Stater, and Leah Thompson.

Catlin White team members include Rohisha Adke, Amanda Cahn, Rachel Caron, Audrey Davis, Layla Entrikin, Brian Farci, James Furnary, Mira Hayward, Thalia Kelly, Jackson Morawski, Grant Phillips, Charlie Shoemaker, Henry Shulevitz, Curtis Stahl, Lynne Stracovsky, Terrance Sun, Karuna Tirumala, and Michael Zhu.
 

Students lead CG response to Haiti earthquake, community raises $28,000

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The world looked on in horror when the January 12 earthquake rocked Haiti. Immediately, Catlin Gabel students of all ages got to work organizing fundraisers to help the devastated island. Alumna Caitlin Carlson ’00, communications officer for Mercy Corps, came to campus to talk to about the essential need for cash in the coming months. We set up a web page aimed at inspiring students and consolidating our community efforts. Student-led bake sales and the Lower School read-a-thon raised $28,000 for Haitian earthquake relief. Our contributions will make a difference in Haiti: $16 provides a child’s "comfort kit” that includes a blanket, sketchpad, crayons and toys, $43 buys 110 pounds of rice, and $75 equips a Port-au-Prince resident for two weeks of recovery work.