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Experiential Days 101

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Are you new to “Experiential Days?” If so, read on – this may answer some of your questions.

What are “Experiential Days?” Experiential days involve mixing up our students into small groups focused on a topic of interest with caring adults with whom they may not otherwise get to know. Deep learning that is experiential in nature is the goal, with long uninterrupted blocks of time over the course of four days. The groups are intentionally small and mixed age.
When are Experiential Days? This year they are Mar. 17-20. We schedule them for the four school days prior to spring break.
What is the student/teacher ratio? We strive for an average of 7 students per adult and value this amazing ratio.
When do the students find out which group they’ll be in? Fri. Feb. 28 the students find out their groupings (yes, there is palpable excitement in the air that afternoon) and meet for 40 minutes with their group leaders for a preview of the week. At that time the students will receive parent letters with a daily detailed itinerary of their 4 days together.
What about safety/behavioral expectations? Safety is of paramount importance and students are given explicit instruction in safe behaviors such as listening when in new places, staying close to the group, etc. Our teaching staff establish relationships quickly with children and are astute in making sure everyone is where they should be. Fortunately this is a part of the culture of the whole lower school; our children have already practiced safe behaviors on their many field trips. Every employee at Catlin Gabel is trained in first aid and CPR. We are also trained to drive the mini-vans and other rental vehicles that we use for transportation. The adults keep your child’s medical/emergency forms with them on all trips.
How should parents prepare for Experiential Days? Read the parent communication from your trip leaders carefully so that you know which days to pack lunches/snacks, what clothing is needed for certain trips, etc. Show interest in your child’s Experiential Days class and help him/her to develop independence by participating in the preparation for each day.

Do the students always get one of their four choices? Yes! Learning that you don’t always get your first choice, or the choice you were hoping to get to be with a close friend, is part of learning resiliency and parents can model/guide this along with the teachers. What we have learned is that no matter which Experiential Days class a child is in, s/he somehow “loves” it by the end of the week – it’s the magic of this type of learning experience. In fact, whenever we interview upper school students and alumni of Catlin Gabel, it is clear that their Experiential Days classes are something burned into their memories forever.
What if my child has an allergy or special need? Just talk with your child’s group leaders; you will find them to be sensitive, helpful and flexible.

Freshman Daniel Chiu wins 1st place at regional U.S. history bee, advances to nationals

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Way to go!

This is the first year of this new, individual competition, which asks questions about American history. The regional competition drew students from Oregon and Washington. Daniel will compete at the national U.S. History Bee in April.

Ice dancers Chloe Lewis '18 and Logan Bye '16 finish in 6th place at U.S. National Championships, featured on KGW news

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We are so proud of ice dancing partners Chloe and Logan. They nailed an impressive 6th place finish in the junior level at the U.S. National Championships in Boston. They have been recognized as Olympic hopefuls for 2022, and maybe even 2018 at the rate they're going!

Medals were awarded at the senior, junior, novice, intermediate, and juvenile levels. The results will be part of the U.S. selection criteria for the 2014 Winter Olympics, 2014 World Championships, 2014 World Junior Championships, and 2014 Four Continents Championships.

Portland's KGW TV featured a news story about Chloe and Logan on January 22.

Middle School robotics team wins first place in state competition

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Team Startstruck won first place in the software category at state and glowing praise from the judges! They are 7th graders Amber Merrill, Sujala Chittor, Natalie Dodson, Hannah Fisher and 6th graders Ava Pritchard, and Aarushi Phalke. Sophomore Jacob Bendicksen is their coach.The team created a sophisticated software that goes beyond programming missions. They created a system for training the robot what to do via Bluetooth and then playing it back.

Junior Valerie Ding and senior Kristin Qian among 11 winners in the Van Buren Concerto Competition

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Niel DePonte, artistic director and conductor of the Young Artists Debut! Concert, announced the 2014 winners of the annual Van Buren Concerto Competition. The 11 soloists were selected from 28 semifinalists. Winners will perform with DePonte and an orchestra drawn from the ranks of the Oregon Symphony and Oregon Ballet Theatre orchestras on Tuesday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the Newmark Theatre. 

Both Valerie and Kristin are three-time winners of the Young Artists Debut! Competition.

Valerie will perform the first movement of St. Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 2. Kristin will join two others in performing the first movement of Bach's Triple Violin Concerto in D Major. 

Catlin Gabel News, Winter 2014

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From the Winter 2014 Caller


The Oregonian published an opinion piece by Vicki Roscoe, head of the Lower School, about the importance of teaching and learning handwriting. . . . Officials from the U.S. Department of Education came to campus (left) as a result of Catlin Gabel’s recognition as a Green Ribbon School. They saw how the school excels in wellness, environmental education and impact, and STEM education. . . . Catlin Gabel hosted two regional robotics events, the Girls’ Generation and the Rookie Rumble, designed to raise awareness of and student confidence in science and engineering.


Stanford University’s Teacher Tribute Initiative recognized three Upper School teachers for their positive impact on Stanford first-year students: English teachers Leanne Moll and Ginia King, and history teacher and PLACE director George Zaninovich. . . . MS Mandarin teacher Li-Ling Cheng is co-author of Language through Culture, Culture through Language: A Framework for K-8 Mandarin Curriculum published by Peking University Press. . . . US math teacher Kenny Nguyen is a reviewer for the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education and also reviews manuscripts and conference proposals for the Journal for Mathematical Behavior, Cognition and Instruction; the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics; and the International Conference of the Learning Sciences. . . . US history teacher and PLACE director George Zaninovich was selected for the Portland Art Museum’s education department teacher advisory council. . . . US English teacher Leanne Moll was an adjunct professor of education at Portland State University last summer and teaches online graduate-level curriculum, instruction, and reading courses for Read Oregon. . . . US history teacher Meredith Goddard presented at the Center for Geographic Education’s annual conference at PSU on student-centered strategies for teaching the geography of Afghanistan. . . . Fifth grade teaching assistant Katie Boehnlein published an article about 6th grade English teacher Carter Latendresse and Catlin Gabel’s beekeeping program in Clearing magazine.


A team of Upper School students won a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT grant, awarded to innovative student engineering projects nationwide. Their robotics project, “ScumBot,” addresses the realworld problem of algae and duckweed infestation in a central Oregon lake. They will travel to MIT’s EurekaFest in June.


The US cross country coaching team of Chris Skrapits, Dave Corkran, Anna Connor, and John Hamilton was collectively named district Coach of the Year. . . . Sandy Luu was named to the Oregon Athletic Directors Association executive committee and serves on committees of the National Athletic Directors Association.
Several students have won national recognition in their sports: Mahala Lambert ’24, taekwondo; Connor White ’21, Mo Duk Pai Kung Fu; Omeed Azari ’21, taekwondo; Adrienne Tam, swimming; Miguel Gachupin ’16, fencing; Luke Selliken ’16, kart racing; Ethan Hanson ’15, triathlon; and Elli Wiita ’15, synchronized swimming.

Oregon Book Award winner Willy Vlautin, author of The Motel Life, worked with US students in English and music

Winter assembly photo gallery

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Happy holidays!

The whole school came together for the annual winter assembly. This year's celebration was dedicated to Lark Palma. After a wonderful and joyous mix of singing, dancing, and storytelling, Lark said for the 19th and final time, "Let the winter break begin!"

Ski program information 2014

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Let's hit the slopes!

Carefully review this article, download the emergency medical and behavior agreement form posted at the bottom of the page, register online with Mt. Hood Meadows, and turn in forms and payment to Kathy Sloan, ski program coordinator.

The Catlin Gabel ski bus runs on six Saturdays: February 8, 15, 22, and March 1, 8, and 15.

The Catlin Gabel ski program is supervised by faculty members from all divisions. Mt. Hood Meadows ski and snowboard instructors teach the lessons. The program is open only to Catlin Gabel students in 5th through 12th grades. The transportation and chaperone fee for the six-week program is $150, payable by check to Catlin Gabel. Lift, lesson, and rental fees are payable to Mt. Hood Meadows through their online registration.

Transportation and supervision

Catlin Gabel buses transport participating students to and from Mt. Hood Meadows. The bus drivers are Catlin Gabel employees. Chaperones ride each bus and are available in the lodge at most but not all times.

Buses leave Catlin Gabel at 6:30 a.m. sharp. At the end of the ski day, the buses leave Mt. Hood Meadows at 3:30 p.m., returning to Catlin Gabel by 5:30 p.m.

All students must return via the Catlin Gabel bus unless parents or guardians prearrange alternative transportation. Chaperones must receive a note signed by a parent or guardian detailing the alternative transportation arrangements.


There are two separate components to registration: Mt. Hood Meadows registration and Catlin Gabel registration.

Mt. Hood Meadows Registration 

♦ Go to Mt. Hood Meadows' registration website

♦ Enter the GO code for Catlin Gabel in the GO code Box. Our GO Code is: 1024713 

♦ Select the package you wish to purchase.

• Grades 5-8 are “Trailblazers,” grades 9-12 are “High School.”
• Trailblazers MUST sign up for lessons. This is a Catlin Gabel requirement.
• Note: there is a Beginner Special for first-time skiers and snowboarders that is significantly less expensive. 

♦ After registering, you will receive a confirmation email from Mt. Hood Meadows and required forms.

Catlin Gabel Registration

Four forms in hard copy and payment are due to Kathy Sloan in the Upper School by Wednesday, January 22

♦ Catlin Gabel medical release and behavior agreement form posted below

♦ Mt. Hood Meadows release form 

♦ Mt. Hood Meadows medical form

♦ Mt. Hood Meadows rental form (if renting equipment)

♦ Check for $150 made payable to Catlin Gabel.

Financial aid is available directly through the ski bus program for students who need it and are committed to attending all six weeks. It is available for Catlin Gabel’s transportation and chaperone fee, as well as a portion of the Mt. Hood Meadows packages. Please contact Kathy Sloan directly to inquire about financial aid.

Drop-in skier information

Transportation and supervision are available to skiers who can only attend one or two Saturdays. However, we recommend signing up for the full program if you plan to ski more than twice because the unused days on the tickets are good until the end of the ski season.

The drop-in fee is $30 payable in cash or check on the day of attendance. Drop-in skiers must purchase their own lift and/or lesson tickets. Please rent equipment in advance in the Portland area. Beginning and first-season skiers are not permitted to use the drop-in system.

The Catlin Gabel emergency medical and behavior form is required for all drop-in skiers. Extra forms are available in each of the division offices and posted at the bottom of this page. The form may be filled out ahead of time or brought with the skier on the day of attendance. We cannot accept phoned in permission.

Program guidelines – read these carefully!

Both students and parents are responsible for reading this information.

Be on time. Please arrive at 6:15 a.m. to load skis and get seated on the bus. The bus leaves campus promptly at 6:30 a.m. and returns to Catlin Gabel by 5:30 p.m. Parents/guardians, please be on time to pick up your skier(s) at the end of the day.

Lessons are required for all participants in 5th through 8th grades. They are optional for high school participants. Lessons are approximately two hours and happen on each of the first four Saturdays, but not the last two. Prior to and after lessons, participants are “free skiing.” Although program rules require skiing with a partner, participants are not supervised by chaperones while on the slopes.

Skiers are required to travel both directions on the same bus. There will be chaperones on each bus and in the lodge at most but not all times. In the morning, buses drop students at the lodge, and at the end of the ski day students walk to the buses parked in the parking lot by 3:15 p.m. Failure to return to the bus on time causes worry and delay for everyone. Late skiers could be dropped from the ski program the following week.

All skiers are expected to honor the rules and regulations governing the use of lifts, slopes, and lodges as posted by Mt. Hood Meadows. Failure to comply will result in dismissal from the program. All skiers are expected to honor Catlin drug and alcohol policy. Failure to comply will result in dismissal from the program and disciplinary action taken at school.

We strongly encourage all skiers and snowboarders to wear helmets although this is not mandatory. Helmets come with the Trailblazer rental package.

Loading and unloading equipment and cleaning the bus at the end of the day is everyone’s responsibility. No one should leave the campus until the buses are empty and cleaned.

Concern for others is an essential part of the ski program while on our way to and from Mt Hood Meadows and while at the ski area. We have been justifiably proud of the Catlin Gabel students in the past and have had numerous great seasons. We hope you can be a part of the best season yet!

We ask all students and parents to join in our commitment for the safest and most enjoyable ski program possible.

Ski program leaders: Kathy Sloan, Len Carr, Chris Bell, Peggy McDonnell, Bob Sauer, Larry Hurst, Paul Monheimer, Aline Garcia-Rubio, and Spencer White


Two Middle School robotics teams qualify for state

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Congratulations to Team Starstruck and Team Quantum!

Team Starstruck won both the Core Values Award and an ACE Award for all around performance. Starstruck is coached by sophomore Jacob Bendicksen '16. The members are 7th graders Amber Merrill, Sujala Chittor, Natalie Dodson, and Hannah Fisher, and 6th graders Ava Pritchard and Aarushi Phalke.  "Their software is some of the most sophisticated ever developed by a Catlin team," said robotics program director Dale Yocum. "They're going places."

Team Quantum entered the competition with something to prove as they didn't have a terribly successful season last year. They won both the Project Award for their proposal of a natural disaster warning and survival app, and an ACE Award. "A fantastic turnaround for a team of very talented guys," said Dale. The members are 7th graders Avi Gupta, Matt Leungpathomaram, Tyler Nguyen, Quinn Okabayashi, and Kian Palmer. They are coached by sophomore Jake Hansen.

Our rookie 6th grade team, the Teeny Beanie Burritos, had a great season. Though they didn't make it to state (that's tough to do for a first year team) they won the Core Values award for their superb work as a team and respect for one another.  Of this rookie team Dale said, "They'll be a force to be reckoned with next year!" Coached by sophomore David Vollum, the team members are Liam Wang, Maansi Singh, Jimmy Maslen, Emma Latendresse, Lauren Mei Calora, aMadeleine Herbst.  

"St. George and the Dragon" photo gallery

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The class of 2018 dedicated their performance to Lark Palma

A hero, a dragon, girls acting dippy, and boys in tutus. This decidedly 8th grade show is a perennial favorite that has been performed to the delight (and horror) of Catlin Gabel audiences since the 1940s. Borrowing from the same basic plot (we use the term loosely), each class reflects its own personality in St. George and the Dragon. Highlights this year included a feminist Egyptian princess, the re-branding of Miley Cyrus, a unicorn dancing to "What Does the Fox Say," jugglers, and, of course, a suave Turkish Knight, a noble St. George, a fearsome dragon, and a guest appearance after the show by our next school head, Tim Bazemore. 

Click on any image to enlarge or download the photo, or to start the slide show.

Weather-related school closures and bus service suspension

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General protocol

When school does not open in the morning or opens late due to inclement weather, we notify the media before 6:45 a.m. We update the school website as soon as possible. We also send an email with closure information to the parent and faculty-staff email listservs.

We do not notify the media when school runs on a normal schedule.

We will post a newsflash on the website alerting families that we are open when conditions are uncertain.

The school avoids mid-day weather closures whenever possible.

Catlin Gabel does not necessarily follow the decisions made by Portland Public or Beaverton schools because our students come from a wide geographic area.

Who decides?

Plant manager Eric Shawn and assistant head of school Vicki Roscoe make the decision to close school or delay opening based on conditions on campus and throughout the metro area.

Bus service

Sometimes school is in session, but we suspend one or more of the bus routes because of hazardous road conditions (typically at higher elevations). We post a message on the website as soon as decisions are made. We will send an email with bus cancellation information to all families and faculty-staff. If buses are canceled in the morning on a given date, they are also canceled in the afternoon, regardless of weather conditions.
Personal decisions

The safety of students is our primary concern. Parents should make personal weather-related safety decisions for their families. If it does not seem safe where you are, keep your children at home. If conditions deteriorate in your neighborhood during the day, you may pick up your children early (making sure to notify the division administrative assistant).

Revels 2013

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Revels is just around the corner!
Excitement is in the air!

Revels – Wednesday, December 18, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, Cabell Center Theater

Our students have spent the last month rehearsing for Revels. They have learned songs in Spanish, Latin, Chinese, Swahili, Hindi, Arabic and Hebrew. Revels and the rehearsals that lead up to it are aligned with our broader aims that include:
1) Furthering the musical education of our students
2) Honoring the diversity within our school
3) Fostering a sense of school as a community by asking all students to work together towards a common purpose.
A winter festival, common to cultures throughout the world, offers a perfect opportunity to further the children’s education by focusing on these three aims. We deliberately include music that has cultural and historical significance. Each year Peggy selects a few new musical pieces and the children help with the choreography on all but a few numbers. Other selections stay the same, serving as anchors of familiarity and predictability for the children. We hear anticipatory exclamations such as, “You get to do the sword dance in the fifth grade!” It is also interesting to note that every child has an opportunity to sing, dance and or  play a musical instrument over the course of the program. All children learn all parts!
Thank-you, parents, for your support of the effort that goes into Revels and for your celebration of the children in the larger context of the world during this holiday season.

Helpful Tips You Need to Know for Revels

Please read the following “tips” to help this year’s event go as smoothly as possible.
*Dress Code for Revels

First - Your best pajamas without feet attached
Second, Third and Fourth grade:
    • Boys – Dress pants, collar shirt – tucked in – if the pants require a belt please wear one
    • Girls – dresses, skirts or very dressy pants
Fifth grade – Black dress pants and a white turtle neck
*Limited seating: Because seating is limited, we would appreciate you inviting immediate family only. We have 607 seats available -- this means that we only have about 3 seats per family.  You may consider leaving babies, toddlers and older siblings at home.  If you will be bringing Middle School age siblings, they must sit with you during the performance. Fire Code requires that we not overcrowd the theater. Seats will be on a “First Come, First Served” basis. Please do not “save” seats for other families.

*Recording: We are happy to announce that once again the performance will be professionally videotaped. Copies of the DVD will be for sale for $30.00 and will be charged to your account. Sit back and enjoy the show! (If you wish to video the performance, please be considerate of other fellow parents in the audience and sit in the back row of the theater.)
*First and Second Grade sections: We have reserved sections on the main floor for parents and siblings of each of our first and second graders. We are assuming the 1st graders will sit on a lap.

*Third Graders in balcony:
We ask that third graders and their parents sit upstairs in the balcony. The students will be cued as to when to come downstairs to perform.

*Fourth Graders to be seated in the aisles:
We invite the parents of the 4th graders to sit in the seats nearest their 4th graders at the beginning of the show. Fourth graders need to meet in the Beginning School at 6:30 pm.
*Fifth Graders will be sitting in the aisles along the perimeter of the theater while they are not performing (not with their parents). Parents of fifth graders may sit in any of the unreserved seating areas. Part of the center section on the ground floor will be available to fifth grade families.  Seats will, also, be available in the balcony.  Fifth graders need to meet in the Beginning School at 6:15 pm.
*Where should we sit if we have kids in two grade levels? If one of your children is in the fourth grade, we ask that your family sit in the assigned aisle seats nearest your fourth grader. Otherwise, you may simply choose which grade level you want to sit with. Make this decision now, as the first grade class literally counts how many seats will be needed and exactly the right number will be reserved. Don’t worry about your children missing their cue to go on stage — the announcements will be very clear. There will be time for students to make their way down the stairs if they are seated in the balcony.

Please carpool if at all possible, as parking is limited.

*Pre-performance wait time:
You may be bringing your student early to get ready for the show. The doors open at 6:00 pm.

*Honoring the performers:
To honor the performers, please turn off cell phones and remain seated during the performance. Bathrooms are located behind the theater for emergencies. Please encourage children to visit them before the show begins!
*Young children: We ask that you keep your children (other than the 4-5th graders) with you during the evening. You may wish to bring something quiet to do with your child while you are waiting.  We ask that very young children sit in your laps.

*What happens if it snows? No worries – an alternate performance date will be announced. Please check the web site to see if Revels is cancelled.

*The day after:
Coming to school Friday morning after Revels may be delayed a bit if you like, a tradition at the Lower School! Of course teachers will be here at the usual time.

DVD  of Revels

We will have a professional videographer to tape Revels again this year. If you would like to purchase a copy of the Revels DVD please email Julie Higgins in the LS office and let her know how many you would like. Your account will be charge $30.00 for each DVD.

Practice the Revels Spanish Song

My little plains donkey – El burrito sabanero (Adapted Version)

Con mi burrito sabanero voy camino a mi hogar.
Con mi burrito sabanero voy camino a mi hogar.
Si me ven si me ven voy camino a mi hogar.
Si me ven si me ven voy camino a mi hogar.
El lucerito mañanero, ilumina mi sendero.
El lucerito mañanero, ilumina mi sendero.
Si me ven si me ven, voy camino a mi hogar.
Si me ven si me ven, voy camino a mi hogar.
Tuqui Tuqui Tuqui tuqui.
Tuqui tuqui Tuqui Ta
Apúrate mi burrito
que ya vamos a llegar.
Tuqui Tuqui Tuqui tuqui.
Tuqui tuqui Tuqui Ta.
Apúrate mi burrito
Vamos a una fiesta .
Con mi burrito sabanero voy camino a mi hogar.
Con mi burrito sabanero voy camino a mi hogar
Si me ven si me ven voy camino a mi hogar.
Si me ven si me ven voy camino a mi hogar.
Tuqui Tuqui Tuqui tuqui.
Tuqui tuqui Tuqui Ta
Apúrate mi burrito
que ya vamos a llegar.
Tuqui Tuqui Tuqui tuqui.
Tuqui tuqui Tuqui Ta.
Apúrate mi burrito
Vamos a una fiesta.

History Bowl team advances to nationals

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Catlin Gabel's inaugural History Bowl team, at its first competition, qualified for the National History Bowl by placing 2nd in the junior varsity division at regionals. Team members Adolfo Apolloni, Daniel Chiu, Ian Hoyt, Julian Kida, and Andrew Park (all 9th graders) will travel with club advisor Peter Shulman to the national competition in Washington, D.C., in April.

The team members also participated as individuals in the closely related History Bee, and all five qualified for the national History Bee. Daniel Chiu placed 3rd and Ian Hoyt placed 5th.

BS and LS Grandparents and Special Friends Day photo gallery

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Thank you for spending some time with us!

Click on any photo to enlarge it, download it, or start the slide show.