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Announcing 2013-14 PFA leadership

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Thank you, volunteers!

These are the PFA officers, division coordinators, and grade representatives for the 2013-14 school year.

Special thanks to Kayla Reich for her stellar leadership of the PFA for the past three years.

Vice President
Advisor to the Council
Communications Coordinator
Family Integration Coordinator
Spring Festival Coordinator

Beginning School Coordinator

Lower School Coordinator
1st grade
1st grade
2nd grade
2nd grade
3rd grade
3rd grade
4th grade
4th grade
5th grade
5th grade 

Middle School Coordinator
6th grade
6th grade
7th grade
7th grade
8th grade
8th grade

Upper School Coordinator
9th grade
9th grade
10th grade
10th grade
11th grade
11th grade
12th grade
12th grade

Pam Lloyd
Liz McClanan
Adrienne Hill
Kayla Reich
Ingeborg Holliday
Marjorie Dial
Scott Cooley

Maya Wells ‘89
Arah Erickson ‘87
Joanie Wardwell
Nicole Lee
Jen Yoken

Sarah Stascausky
Alayna Luria
Stacey Misakian
Adam Pushkas
Glenn Levy
Stacie Beckerman
Jill Eberwein
Colleen Maslen ‘88
Heather Renjen
Spitzi Barnicle
Alex Druker

Kirsten Brady
Melissa Naito
Courtenay Thompson
Scott Pozzi
Maria Hall
Bleu Blakeslee
Cath Swanston

Azin van Alebeek
Christine Carr
Zoë Edelen Hare
Laura Bueermann
Melissa Salvador
Betsy Natter
Elizabeth English
Wendy Whitsell
Meg Bishop

Freshman Lara Rakocevic wins state tennis championship

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Way to go, Lara!

From the Oregonian: "With the past three girls singles champions from the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A tennis state tournament in this year’s field, it could have been a daunting situation for a freshman.

"But Catlin Gabel freshman Lara Rakocevic showed uncommon cool for someone of her age, easily winning the girls singles title Saturday with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Valley Catholic’s Kaitlyn Lomartire at the University of Oregon.

"Rakocevic didn’t lose a set in four matches during a tournament that included two-time defending champion Rachael Nedrow of Oregon Episcopal and Lomartire, the 2010 winner."

» Link to the Oregonian's full coverage of the tournament

Oregon MathCounts team, including 8th grader Andrew Park, places 4th in nation

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Eighth grader Andrew Park made the four-member Oregon MathCounts team after his excellent finish at the state competition. The Oregon team came in 4th out of 56 teams competing at the national contest in Washington, D.C. Andrew was the third highest Oregon finisher at the national competition.

In addition to Andrew, the Catlin Gabel team members included 7th grader Sarah Daniels, and 6th graders Avi Gupta and Alexander Yu. They were coached by sophomore Valerie Ding, and juniors Joseph Hungate and Lawrence Sun. Math teachers Lauren Shareshian, Carol Ponganis, and Lynda Douglas served as faculty managers.

Student-produced math video in Dartmouth contest

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Sophomore Valerie Ding, junior Joseph Hungage, and seniors Casey Currey-Wilson and Lianne Siegel are finalists in Dartmouth's Math-O-Vision video contest with their video, "Math Addiction." You can view  the video under FINALISTS at the Math-O-Vision website.

Winning videos are selected by a combination of votes and judging. The panel of judges includes actor and director Alan Alda!

Caution: Voting requires sharing Facebook information.

Four student films named finalists

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Four student films made it to the finals in the International Youth Silent Film Festival. Three cheers for the filmmakers!

You can see the films at the Hollywood Theatre 

Wednesday, May 22, at 7 pm
Tucker Gordon '13 (Fetch)
Sadie Yudkin '14 (Picnic)
Tapwe Sandaine '14 (Jealousy)

Thursday, May 23, at 7 p.m.
Casey Currey-Wilson '13 & Terrance Sun '13 (Top Secret)

In a day and age when we are all using computers – is handwriting still relevant?

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by Vicki Swartz Roscoe
I have been asked this in recent months and must admit, it has really made me pause. Over the years I have seen the shift from daily handwriting instruction and practice to a more lukewarm emphasis in most schools. Keyboarding instruction often begins in about the third grade and students begin using the computer for more and more of their writing – certainly for their projects and reports -- by their middle school years. So is there still a place for handwriting in the curriculum? As a veteran elementary school teacher, I have had to candidly ask myself, “Is this the wave of the future?” Is this one of the areas of our curriculum that needs to flex in order to prepare our students more directly enter the world of technology? Lord knows we are constantly being asked to squeeze more into our already full curriculums, rarely with the luxury of nixing some content. Could handwriting perhaps be something that could be TAKEN OFF the overly full educational plate?
There is no doubt in my mind that children need to learn to write before they learn to keyboard. We are robbing children of an extremely important part of their development if we bypass handwriting and go straight to the computer. A stroke of a key by a five-year-old composing a sentence “I lost a tooth” will NEVER hold a candle next to that same child simultaneously sounding out the “t” utterance and forming the letter “T” on a piece of paper with a pencil. There is something so utterly delicious, so empowering, and so dynamic when oral language and written language converge!
Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I feel our kids don’t need more screen time – they need less of it. How many hours a day should children spend on the computer, texting, e-mailing, and watching TV? Don’t they already have enough screen time? An increasing number of high schools now require laptops and this makes sense to me. But is this what we want for our youngsters? Just because it may be what we are doing with the older students does not make it right for our elementary age learners.
Kids need to FEEL the letter “t”, which is distinctly different from a “S” or a “D”. No matter what letter or symbol you press on the computer keyboard, the “feel” is exactly the same. Read any book on child development, or spend time with any child, and you will be reminded that children are in a concrete stage of development at least through the age of eight. Their fine-motor coordination is developing and their early handwriting attempts move from scrawls on blank pages to letter likenesses (we call it “approximations”) on widely lined paper, to beautifully formed letters on paper with the width of the guiding lines at their stage of development.
Handwriting is also a symbol of our individuality. One’s personal “style” comes through as part of our uniqueness (think signature!) in a day and age when I daresay we are flooded in a world of word processing that will always conform to the limitations and sameness of keyboard writing. Even with the fancy graphics that computers can create, there is still a place for a handwritten note of apology, birthday card, expression of sympathy for a parent or friend grieving the death of a loved one, or a poem for someone special. The element of personalization that handwriting provides cannot be replaced – someone cared enough about me to write a sentiment by hand. (Which card will you save as a keepsake?)
In my job as an elementary principal I write a LOT and most of it happens on the computer. But as I composed this piece, I actually drafted the first few paragraphs with a pen and blank paper. I’m not sure I can explain it – and I doubt there is a body of research on it – but sometimes the sheer act of physically writing helps me to clarify my thinking and work through my ideas in a way that is more satisfying than whipping it off on a keyboard (and I type over 80 words per minute). Journaling can be a powerful process of reflection. Faster is not always better. In fact, I have come to realize that “slowing down” to squeeze all of the juices out of an experience, to take time to enjoy, smell the roses, explore and “be present” has come to be a focus for myself and in my work with others. Handwriting is only one small example of a much larger picture of a culture obsessed with efficiency and quantity. Indeed, a society that is in such a hurry may forget to savor.
Being a teacher in four states and overseas, I’ve taught all of the handwriting systems (Zaner Bloser, D’Nealian, “Commercial Cursive”, and Italic) to my elementary students. I must admit Italic is my favorite, which is what we teach here. I’ve learned that legibility is key. Italic cleverly eliminates the “loops” that cause illegibility; it is also a system where you learn only one set of letters, and then simply “connect” them for cursive rather than to learn a whole separate set of letter forms, requiring more instructional time and practice. Italic is also aesthetically beautiful, having come out of the Renaissance, with the eliptical letter shapes fashioned for natural hand movements.
Let’s face it, the goal is communication, whatever the means we use to get there. If we only learn to use computers, we won’t have an alternative strategy during a power outage or mechanical failure, or when we are sitting on top of a mountain, inspired to record our thoughts.
Computers are not always available when we need to write so we still need to be able to write ourselves. What about compiling your last-minute grocery list, writing a note to the painter, recording a phone message, or sending a note of encouragement to your child in her lunchbox? Imagine a CEO of an international company unable to write a thought when his/her Blackberry malfunctioned? Computers are a means to an end. Do we really want to rely on them as our only vehicle?
Handwriting still has a place in our lower school curriculum.

Sophomore Elli Wiita earns spot on junior national synchro swim team

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Well done!

Elli is one of 12 synchronized swimmers in the country who qualified for the 2013 U.S. Junior (13-15) National Team following the final stage of trials.

Seniors Marina Dimitrov, Ella Bohn and Casey Currey-Wilson win National Merit Scholarships

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The primary determining factor for winning the $2,500 scholarships was scoring very high on the PSAT, which they took in the fall of their junior year.

Parent Report - Class Placement 2014-15

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When creating class lists we spend a great deal of time considering the best placement for each child. We take into consideration the balance of gender, personality, friendships, learning style and special needs.

Please fill out this optional survey to provide information about your child that helps us make the final placement. It is due by Friday, June 6.

Keep in mind this is not a request for a specific teacher. Instead, you are giving us information that keeps us informed about your child as we go about creating two balanced classroom groupings.

Governor appoints alumna Rukaiyah Adams '91 to Oregon Investment Council

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We are proud!

The Senate confirmed the appointment on April 30. Rukaiyah manages the capital markets investment group at The Standard. Formerly, she was the chief operating officer and director of investments at IAM Asset Management. Rukaiyah was involved in the 2008 presidential election as a voter rights lawyer for Counsel for Change, the Obama campaign's legal team. She serves on the board of Portland Center Stage and the finance committee of Planned Parenthood, Columbia-Willamette Valley. Rukaiyah holds a BA from Carleton College, a JD from Stanford University, and an MBA from Stanford University.

Anthony Lin '09, now a senior at Duke, receives NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship

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From the Duke University announcement

Lin is a native of Portland, Ore., and has been a key member of the Duke fencing team over his four years. A three-time NCAA qualifier, Lin posted a career record of 181-56 as a member of Duke’s saber squad. He served as team captain as a senior, helping the Duke men post a 15-9 overall record and the sabers a 16-8 mark.

Lin is a three-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll and appeared on the Capital One Academic All-District III Team in 2011-12. A double major in neuroscience and computer science, he currently owns a grade point average of 3.855 and will graduate from Duke in May.

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the Association's most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship and/or emerging sports. Athletics and academic achievements, as well as campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership, are evaluated.

Freshman Anirudh Jain wins state Stockholm Junior Water Prize

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Anirudh was selected for the prize based on his science project “Sulfidation as a Novel Method for Reducing Toxicity of Silver Nanoparticle Pollution.”

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize is the world's most prestigious youth award for a water-related science project. The prize taps into the potential of today's high school students as they seek to address current and future water challenges. » Link to more information.


Tuition on the Track raises $65,000 – $15,000 over goal – for financial aid

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Letter of thanks from event organizers

Dear Catlin Gabel community members,

Thank you so much for your enthusiastic participation in Tuition on the Track. It was such a pleasure to see the entire community uniting to support financial aid. With your help we exceeded our goal of $50,000 and raised a whopping $65,000! We couldn’t have done this without our many sponsors and individual supporters — we really couldn’t be more grateful!

Having gone to Catlin Gabel for our entire lives, we have experienced firsthand the benefits of bringing together students from many different backgrounds. We are thrilled that the money raised will go to further this important school initiative.

» Link to more information on the history of this event

» Link to video and photo gallery of this year's event 

With great appreciation for your support,
Max Meyerhoff ’13 and Mira Hayward ’13, Tuition on the Track co-leaders

Update from head search chair Peter Steinberger

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Dear parents and guardians,  Upper School students, board members, and faculty-staff,

I’m writing to let you know that the head of school search committee and our search consultants, working in close collaboration, have now completed the school profile. This is the document that the consultants will use – indeed are using already – to introduce Catlin Gabel to prospective candidates. The profile has been posted on the school website, and we invite you to take a look at it. This document was the product of a great deal of careful thought. We feel it provides an honest and comprehensive picture of our school, and believe it will indeed be helpful in producing a terrific pool of applicants. We hope you agree.

The preliminary stages of the search have now been completed. To remind you of the steps so far:

• In various settings, the search committee engaged in lengthy and serious discussions about our ambitions for Catlin Gabel and for a new head of school.
• On the basis of an intensive and very competitive process, we selected outstanding search consultants.
• We solicited opinions and recommendations from the entire community regarding the search process and possible candidates.
• The consultants formally surveyed the community and also conducted a series of meetings on campus with a wide range of constituents.
• On the basis of all this information, we were able to develop a systematic view of community-wide opinion on a large variety of issues that resulted in, among other things, the profile.

The search is now entering what might be called its silent stage. For the next several months we will build the applicant pool. Our consultants will evaluate recommendations from any number of sources, both from within and outside the Catlin Gabel community, and will work with potential candidates to ascertain and, in many cases, encourage their interest. Much of this is, of course, behind-the-scenes work. It will be conducted largely in confidence, which is why there will be little if anything to report for several months. During the summer the search committee will identify and meet in person with a small number of especially promising candidates from which we hope to select our finalists. The plan is to bring finalists – perhaps three in number – to campus for interviews in mid to late September. At that point the silent phase will suddenly end. On-campus interviews will be public, and we intend to make them as inclusive as possible.

All of this means that – barring the unforeseen – you will next hear from me in late August or early September, at which time I will inform the entire community of the identities of our finalists and provide detailed information about the interview process itself. The search committee has worked together closely, very effectively, and, I must say, in a spirit of wonderful collegiality. We remain extremely optimistic and excited, and are already aware of a number of highly qualified people who are likely to become active and very strong candidates. On behalf of the committee, I can say that expressions of support and enthusiasm from the community have been most encouraging, and we greatly look forward to your participation in September as the final stages of the search unfold. In the meantime, and as always, thoughts, suggestions, recommendations, and the like will always be welcome and can be communicated to me at searchchair@catlin.edu.

Peter Steinberger, trustee, parent of alumna, search committee chair

Search committee members

Dave Cannard, Jr. ’76, trustee (1997-07), board chair (2004-07), current parent, parent of alumnus, alumnus

Li-Ling Cheng, Middle School Mandarin teacher, parent of alumna

Clint Darling, interim head of school (1982-83), Upper School head (1973-86), retired Upper School English and French teacher, parent of alumnae

Isaac Enloe, kindergarten teacher

Aline Garcia-Rubio ’93, Upper School assistant head, dean of students, science teacher, current parent, alumna

John Gilleland, trustee, board chair (2009-12), current parent

Alix Meier Goodman ’71, trustee, endowment committee member, board chair (2007-10), parent of alumni, alumna

Vicki Roscoe, assistant head of school and Lower School head

Eric Rosenfeld ’83, vice-chair and treasurer board of trustees, current parent, alumnus

Miranda Wellman ’91, director of advancement, alumna

Jim Wysocki, Upper School math teacher and department chair

Congratulations to Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson

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Adam Johnson has visited Catlin Gabel three times, twice as a visiting writer and once to deliver the commencement address. This photo was taken last spring in an English 11 class. During that visit, he gave a memorable reading from his novel The Orphan Master's Son at an Upper School assembly; this is the same novel that won the Pulitzer.