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Lark's parent book group

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Parents schoolwide are encouraged to read Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World by Tony Wagner. In this book, education expert Tony Wagner explores how schools and parents can cultivate the next generation of creative thinkers and doers who will drive our economy.

Lark will lead a discussion on February 13 at 8:30 a.m. (stay tuned for location). Lark highly recommends this book, even if you are unable to attend the discussion.

Limited copies of the book are available in our bookstore in the lower level of the Barn. It is also readily available at Amazon.

Link to Tony Wagner TED talk



Middle School robotics teams take 1st and 2nd place at regionals, qualify for state

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Way to go!

Congratulations to the RoboSNAILS for their 1st place win in a tough competition against 20 teams. The team members are 8th graders Robin Attey, Matt Maynard, Grace Wong, Liam Wynne, and Sage Yamamoto. They are coached by senior Tucker Gordon. The RoboSNAILS’ research project was designing a website and iOS app to help senior citizens prepare nutritious meals and build community.

Team Sigma came in 2nd with 8th grade members Adolfo Apolloni, Ian Hoyt, Ryan Selden, and 7th grader Roy Stracovsky. Team Sigma had an over-the-top research project with a working model of a walker that senses the user’s location helps guide them. Junior Elyssa Kiva is their coach for the second year in a row.

Our two rookie teams also competed at regionals. Starstruck won the rising star award for the new team with the most promise. They are 6th graders Sujala Chittor, Natalie Dodson, and Amber Merrill. Their research project featured a puppet show presentation of a device that changes light bulbs. Senior Martina Dimitrov was their coach.

Sophomore Rushdi Abualhaija coached team Delta with 6th graders Avi Gupta, Tyler Nguyen, Quinn Okabayashi, Kian Palmer, and Spencer Shoemaker. Their research project was a working model of an Internet-programmed medication dispenser.

The state competition is on January 20. Good luck to the RoboSNAILS and Team Sigma!

St. George and Dragon 2012 Photo & Video Gallery

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The class of 2017 tore it up!

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

Catlin Gabel News, Autumn 2012

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From the Autumn 2012 Caller


The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust granted Catlin Gabel $200,000 for the Campaign for Arts and Minds. The funds will support instructional technology in the Creative Arts Center, including innovations such as energy-saving LED stage lighting. . . . The school completed a comprehensive self-study in preparation for an October visit from a volunteer team from the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools. Visiting team members, including school heads from Lakeside and University Prep in Seattle, Duke School in Durham, North Carolina, and Marin Country Day in Corte Madera, California, will write a report with recommendations for improvement that Catlin Gabel must implement for continued accreditation. . . . The Middle School organic garden is now known as the Tucker Garden, in honor of wood shop teacher Tom Tucker ’66. Tom contributed much to the garden’s utility and beauty, including sheds, gazebos, and artworks. . . . After the April announcement that Catlin Gabel was named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School, the Oregon Department of Education announced the school’s 2nd place award for Oregon Sustainable Schools, as well as the Pillar Award  for minimizing environmental impact.. . . US science teacher Veronica Ledoux spent three weeks with Teachers Across Borders South Africa, helping math and science teachers from rural schools update their skills. The project director praised her for her personableness, professionalism, and passion for her work. . . .  MS Chinese teacher Li-Ling Cheng participated in a summer residential workshop for master teachers in Worcester, Massachusetts, sponsored by the Chinese Language Teachers Association.


Catlin Gabel’s FIRST Robotics Team 1540, The Flaming Chickens, demonstrated their robot on KGW-TV’s early morning newscast in September to promote the OMSI Mini Maker Faire in September. They also showed off the program at a summer technology camp hosted by IBM Beaverton. . . .  Associate IT director Daisy Steele spoke on a KATU-TV newscast about internet safety for children.  .  . The school’s Creative Arts Center, now under construction between the Dant House and  Middle School, was featured in articles in the Oregonian and the Daily Journal of Commerce. . . . Julien Leitner ’15 was featured in the Oregonian for sitting in at Portland’s Pickathon with Abigail Washburn and  her band. Julien’s Archimedes Alliance raises funds for charities and nonprofits, asking $2 from each person, from as many people as he can reach.


Freshman Anna Dodson won a Nook tablet as a semifinalist in the America the Beautiful writing contest, sponsored by Rand McNally and USA Today. . . . Senior Marina Dimitrov was an intern this summer in Seattle at the University of Washington’s Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering. As part of their inaugural Young Scholars Program, she received a stipend from the National Science Foundation for her work on a small quadrotor helicopter for autonomous flight.


Doug Heymann ’18 represented Oregon at the Western zone age-group swimming championships in Grand Junction, Colorado. . . . USA Synchronized Swimming named Elli Wiita ’15 to the 13–15 national team and duet team for 2012. She competed this summer in the Pan American Age Group Championships in Colombia, where she placed 1st in the figure competition and won gold medals in duet and team competitions. During the summer, she trained with Team USA at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and in New Canaan, Connecticut.    

Our Inspired Teachers: Dale Rawls

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Every day Catlin Gabel teachers inspire their students. 16 faculty members talk about how they came to teaching—and what they love about their craft

From the Autumn 2012 Caller

Dale Rawls, MS art

Bachelor's in art, Portland State University. Master's in education, Lewis & Clark College. At CGS since 1989.

The summer of 1973 I was studio assistant to Ray Grimm, who was head of ceramics at PSU. One of the pieces I was excited to help make was a pot made with 50 pounds of clay. Ray explained to me that we would center and throw this big, low, wide pot together.
Before we began Ray said, “Watch my hands and do what I do.” We dry-centered the big mound of clay until it looked like a low cake about to rise. We used our fists to open up the center and move the clay out to the edges. I still can hear the rhythmic pulse of our fists against the clay as the potter’s wheel turned slowly. Ray reached for his sponge in the water. I was surprised to feel my hand wet with my own sponge rinsing down the clay. Ray then began to compress the giant rim of clay that would soon become the walls of the pot. He began to push in with the heels of his hands. I felt myself inhale and hold my breath at the same time Ray did. The piece grew as we compressed the walls and we shaped the form.
We said nothing for quite some time. Ray handed me the end of a long cutting wire. We cut the pot and lifted the finished piece off the wheel. Ray looked up with just a smudge of clay on his forehead and said—matter-of-factly—that now it was time for lunch.
I had never had an experience like this before.

That summer I realized I wanted to be like Ray: a teacher who continued to make art, and whose work was a reflection of his life. He has continued to be with me when I enter my studio, get on my bike, or work with students making art. His life, his love of problem solving, and his emphasis on process and creativity is a legacy that I hope my students carry into their lives.   

Our Inspired Teachers: Carol Ponganis

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Every day Catlin Gabel teachers inspire their students. 16 faculty members talk about how they came to teaching—and what they love about their craft

From the Autumn 2012 Caller

Carol Ponganis, 6th grade math

Bachelor's in biology, University of California, Santa Cruz. Master's in education, Portland State University. At CGS since 1988.

The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau was in full swing when I was a middle schooler, and it inspired me to want to become a marine biologist. As a senior in high school I did an internship with the Sacramento Science Center, which offered a marine biology outdoor school program on the Mendocino coast for 6th graders. I set up a marine biology research project at the coast, which I monitored while the staff taught the outdoor school. I shadowed the director one day as he introduced the students to various aspects of coastal ecology. He was an amazing model of how to present information in an engaging, interactive style. The Science Center needed another teacher to fill in, and they asked me if I could do this on the side while my research project was running. I got hooked on teaching and ditched my research project. I loved marine biology. But I discovered that when you are able to share your passion with someone else, it makes it twice as good. I knew then that I wanted to become a science teacher. And I know that my teaching style today was directly influenced by the methods I observed from the director of the outdoor program.
A veteran teacher once told me that the ideal job was one in which you could keep learning and trying new things. He said: “Do you want to teach for 30 years, or do you want to teach one year, 30 times?” Taking that advice, I have tried to switch my position every four to seven years. I have taught from 6th grade to 12th grade, from astronomy to oceanography to physical science to forensics, and now I am teaching math! The opportunity to be a lifelong learner has been one of the greatest benefits of being a teacher at Catlin Gabel.  


Our Inspired Teachers: Brian Gant

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Every day Catlin Gabel teachers inspire their students. 16 faculty members talk about how they came to teaching—and what they love about their craft

 From the Autumn 2012 Caller

Brian Gant, MS health and PE

Bachelor's in geography, Simon Fraser University. At CGS since 1984.


I am very fortunate, as every morning that I venture out the door I don’t see myself going to work, but instead pursuing my passion.
I was raised in Burnaby, British Columbia. My teachers were outstanding, and I formed a strong bond with many of them. I was always excited when my social studies teacher would appear on the sidelines of my club soccer games or ask me on a Monday how the game went. They were far more than just teachers and knew me well beyond the classroom. It was around 7th or 8th grade that I started to see teaching as a potential career, and I began my academic preparation.
After receiving my teaching degree from Simon Fraser University, my career was diverted for 10 years as I played professional soccer in Portland. We trained at Catlin Gabel, and I met students, teachers, and thenheadmaster Schauff. When my soccer career came to an end, the school asked me to coach and fill in for a teacher for a year. I saw this as an opportunity to see if this was what I still wanted to pursue as a career.
Twenty-eight years later, I am still here. What I have come to believe is that it is very much like my experiences as a youth. I came from a strong, tightly knit community where teachers and parents cared and looked out for the well being of each kid. Teachers, coaches, administrators, volunteers, interns, office staff, food staff, maintenance staff, alumni, and parents all play a role in the daily education of the students. It is most definitely a community that is raising the child.
Years ago former headmaster Jim Scott would constantly remind the student body “that you are receiving a gift with your education at Catlin Gabel.” I have found that this also applies to teaching in this community. 


Our Inspired Teachers: Tom Tucker '66

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Every day Catlin Gabel teachers inspire their students. 16 faculty members talk about how they came to teaching—and what they love about their craft

 From the Autumn 2012 Caller

Tom Tucker '66, US and MS woodshop

 Bachelor’s in design, Marlboro College. At CGS since 1979.

 What really informed my practice as a teacher was “Faculty Flip Day,” an event invented by then-head of school Schauff (Manvel Schauffler). Each teacher spent that day teaching in an entirely different grade level and discipline. I found myself in Bob Kindley’s Upper School math classes. The idea was not so much to take Bob’s place as it was to see what it was like to be in another teacher’s shoes. I tried to add what little knowledge I had about higher math in the form of an explanation of Pythagoras’s Rule of the 18th (fret positions for stringed instruments) and the trigometric functions that might describe the angles of a podium I had recently built. Mostly what I did was experience Bob’s life as a US math teacher through his students and his room. And the same could be said for whoever replaced me in the shop. What I learned from the experience was simple, and for me, profound.

All of us engaged in the profession of teaching, it seemed to me, are really bent on the same task: engaging students to notice the details and aesthetics of their lives and environments, and the cultures that surround them. I do it through woodworking and the application of tools, wood, and considered thought. Bob did it through the wonders, magic, and discipline of math, and all my colleagues do it through their individual passions and exquisite knowledge of their fields of expertise. But what it basically boiled down to, for me, was that we are all educating our students to be thoughtful, respectful, caring, and aware of this society and planet that we inhabit. Each age will have its challenges in the tools of its time. The important elements are the reasoning, skills, sense of responsibility, and heart that underlie the use and purpose of those tools. 



Halloween photo gallery

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Mostly Middle School

We lead with the preschool masqueraders and our spirited Barn crew. Then the Middle School costume competition takes center stage. Click on any picture to enlarge the image, start the slide show, or download a photo.

Photo gallery posted: seniors and 1st graders carve pumpkins

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So fun – and it didn't rain!

 Click on any photo to enlarge image and start the slide show.