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Lemelson-MIT program announces $10,000 grant to student engineering project

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Congratulations, engineers!

Catlin Gabel’s Global Community Engineering Club is one of 15 teams across the country that was awarded $10,000 through the Lemelson-MIT 2013-14 InvenTeam initiative. Thanks to the grant, the team now takes the new name, Catlin Gabel InvenTeam.

The Catlin Gabel project, ScumBot, addresses the real-world problem of duckweed infestation in Aspen Lake in Sunriver, Oregon. ScumBot is an autonomous robot that propels itself around inland bodies of water collecting algae and duckweed and depositing that cargo in designated areas. With the grant money, the team will work to build the Scumbot under the leadership of Alexandra Crew '16, president; Anna Dodson ‘16, communications manager; Max Armstrong '15, mechanical manager; Jacob Bendicksen '16, control systems manager; and Vincent Miller '15, software manager. For more about the project visit the Catlin Gabel InvenTeam website

A respected panel of invention and academic leaders from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Lemelson-MIT Program, industry, and InvenTeam student alumni selected the InvenTeams from a national pool of applicants.

Members of Catlin Gabel’s InvenTeam will travel to MIT’s EurekaFest  in June to present their project, meet other teams, get behind-the-scenes tours of MIT labs, and engage in hands-on challenges.

Dale Yocum is the dedicated faculty advisor of Catlin Gabel’s InvenTeam. “InvenTeams isn't a competition, it's more of a celebration of the creative spirit,” said Dale.

“Our team is thankful for the support of Lemelson-MIT in bettering our local Oregon community through invention,” said CG InvenTeam president Alexandra Crew. “We are proud to be doing our part to help the environment.”


Writing Lab Meets in the US Library!

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Catlin Gabel names Timothy Bazemore new head of school

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Board chair Steve Gordon's letter to the community

Dear Catlin Gabel community members,

At the recommendation of the head search committee and on behalf of the board of trustees, I am delighted to announce that we have appointed Timothy Bazemore the next head of Catlin Gabel School.

Tim is currently the head of school at New Canaan Country School, a preschool–grade 9 coed school for 630 students in Connecticut. He is a proven leader with invaluable experience as both a classroom teacher and an administrator in independent schools. He brings to Catlin Gabel an exceptional background in progressive education and commitment to our lasting values: diversity, sustainability, and innovation in the classroom. During his interactions with the search committee, board, students, parents, faculty-staff, and alumni Tim demonstrated outstanding communication and interpersonal skills with wisdom and humanity. We are confident that Catlin Gabel will continue to serve as a national model for progressive education and to flourish in ways that are right for our school under Tim’s leadership.

Tim will begin his tenure as head of school on July 1, 2014. We look forward to a seamless transition, thanks to Lark Palma’s continuing leadership, our strong and seasoned administrative team, and our world-class faculty and staff.

“I am tremendously excited and honored to join the Catlin Gabel community next year,” wrote Tim. “During the search process, I was impressed by the energy, joy, and sense of purpose shared by everyone I met on campus. Under Lark Palma’s inspired leadership, the faculty and staff have created an extraordinary learning environment. I look forward to working in partnership with teachers and parents to ensure that every Catlin Gabel student benefits from a dynamic progressive education in the years ahead.”

Tim has been the head of New Canaan Country School since 2000. Through his work as vice chair of the Independent School Data Exchange (INDEX), Tim is leading the national conversation about progressive education and student skills assessment. Born and raised in Lewiston, New York, Tim graduated from Hotchkiss School in 1978. He earned a BA in history from Middlebury College and an MA in history from the University of Pennsylvania. He began his career as a 6th–12th grade humanities teacher at Chestnut Hill Academy, a K–12 school of 550 students in Philadelphia. During his 13 years with Chestnut Hill, Tim assumed increasing responsibility, moving from classroom teacher to director of middle and upper school admission, and then to head of the middle school. He and his wife, Lisa, have two sons, Luke, 15, and Tyler, 23.

The board and I are extremely grateful to the head search committee, chaired by Peter Steinberger, for leading a meticulous and inclusive process in which all voices were heard.

Thank you to the many parents, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends who participated by attending presentations and providing feedback. Community devotion to Catlin Gabel’s future was fully evidenced by your more than 1,000 survey responses, all of which the search committee read thoroughly.

We look forward to welcoming Tim and his family to Portland and Catlin Gabel.

Sincerely,
Steve Gordon, MD, board chair

>Link to Oregonian article

Video about Drawing Together Day and installation in Creative Arts Ctr.

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Inspired by former arts faculty members, Drawing Together Day on September 9, 2013, brought back a tradition to campus: a time when people of all ages take time to draw. When the drawings were done, they were assembled into a chandelier-like structure and installed in Catlin Gabel's new Creative Arts Center. Visitors to the building are inspired by the demonstration of creativity, and the school's commitment to the arts. And the students love to find their drawing hanging there!

US Library Celebrates Banned Books Week!

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Farewell to our Retirees

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From the Summer 2013 Caller

Ron Sobel retired after 42 years at the school. Although most recently he has taught Upper School Spanish, he has taught several other subjects in both Upper and Middle School; served as head of the Middle School; directed admission and financial aid, international programs, and summer programs; and coached several sports. For many students and alumni, Ron was a huge part of Catlin Gabel.
 
“Catlin Gabel has been a very large part of my life both personal and professional. I began here as a young enthusiastic recent college graduate and spent much of my life on this campus. I have always loved it here, and am so appreciative of what the school has given my family and me. I shall miss the daily inspiration and laughter of my colleagues and students, and of course this amazing piece of land, which I have had the privilege of calling home for much more than half my life,” he says.
 
As for his retirement plans, Ron thinks he may become active in the National Association on Mental Illness’s program that supports families who struggle with adult mentally ill loved ones. “All kinds of things are flying through my head as great possibilities,” he says.
 
Michael de Forest retired after 17 years of teaching Lower School wood shop. “Wow!” wrote Michael. “Seventeen years at Catlin Gabel! I never imagined I would teach my craft in such an exceptional place. I have found eager girls and boys coming into our space enthusiastic about learning and making things. Almost every child I have met in our woodshop couldn’t wait to create! What a great setup for a teacher.”
 
Allen Schauffler retired after 45 years at Catlin Gabel. Since coming to the school in 1968 she has taught preschool and kindergarten as well as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades, and served in many positions, including acting Beginning School head and director of multicultural affairs.
 
“I have loved being so well supported professionally. I have loved spending my days with so many good, kind, sharp, funny, generous, flexible, professional, sometimes off-the-wall kids and adults who are embarked on a journey that I find endlessly fascinating—with all its twists and turns. And when in need, I have loved knowing that the wagons were circled,” she says.
 
“I have helped to launch, formally, something over 880 kids and who knows how many others around the edges,” she says. “I have written at least twice that many reports. I have held the hands of parents through naughty child moments, great highs, great lows, births, deaths of pets and close family, divorces, and, yes, even in vitro fertilizations. With the help of fabulous colleagues with whom I have disagreed, agreed, fought, and danced, I raised my children here. So, thanks for a most enlightening experience. It has played a huge role in shaping who I am.”
 

More Room to Make Art!

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A student's view of the new Creative Arts Center

From the Summer 2013 Caller

 
Every week last year I watched as the new Creative Arts Center evolved from a hole in the ground to a beautiful building I cannot wait to explore. I like to do artwork involving found materials and fashion. This year, I made a dress out of plastic bags, as well as a vest out of pencils in my 3D arts class. Although working in the 3D studio in the science building this year has been great, I look forward to being able to spread out a bit more on larger surfaces. I wanted to bring my dress form and sewing machine into the studio this year while I was working on the pencil vest, but I didn’t think there would be enough space. I am excited for the new facilities, because I think the spacious building will inspire students to bounce around ideas and create.

One aspect of the Creative Arts Center that excites me is that different art types will all be together in one building. This close proximity opens up a chance for crossover between the arts. I got a little taste of what this might be like as the 3D class worked on natural outdoor sculptures inspired by Andy Goldsworthy. We worked with media arts teacher Nance Leonhardt to combine sculpture and photography by photographing our works and keeping the pictures as our final product. Photography and sculpture is just one combination, and I am eager to see how other arts can overlap in the CAC.

 
Art is a fundamental piece of who I am, and I know that other Catlin Gabel students feel the same passion. With all the highway bustle of academics, art for me is a garden pathway urging me to slow down and appreciate.  

New Opportunities for Learning: Charles Walsh, music

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Creating Art Defines Our Souls

From the Summer 2013 Caller

Serendipity. My first year at Catlin Gabel has been amazing, and I am thrilled to return this fall to work in a brand-new arts building. I have been overwhelmed by the welcome and support of the people here. It feels like a home.
 
The story of my path to Catlin Gabel reveals some of the many reasons why I am so happy to be here. My college roommate at Kenyon College in Ohio in the late 1990s was a CG alumnus, Trace Hancock ’96, and from him I endured numerous stories about this wonderful place. I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, and had never been west of the Mississippi, so I really could not picture what would be so great about a school on a farm in Portland, Oregon. But I went west after graduating from Kenyon and found myself in a teaching program at Western Washington University. My mentor, Kate Wayne, also attended Catlin Gabel. At our last meeting together she told me: “If you ever get a chance to look into teaching at Catlin Gabel, I think you would really like it.”
 
When I interviewed at Catlin Gabel last summer I had spent five years in Portland trying to find fulltime employment teaching high school music. I had given up and taken a job in Bellingham, Washington, to teach math, when the Catlin Gabel job opened up. I came to the campus with a sense of destiny, and to discover that a new arts building would be built made things nearly surreal.
 
I worked on the Campaign for Arts Funding that ultimately instituted the Portland citywide arts tax, an awesome statement by this community to support arts when funds are tight. As the victim of cuts in arts funding in public schools, I was heartened to see that the arts are important to people here, and they are willing to give the arts the role I think they deserve. As much as anything we do as humans, I think creating art defines our souls and makes us amazing.
 
This year my colleagues and I will be able to collaborate in the same building and create our curriculums in a more organic way. We’ll have the spaces to serve our students’ needs, in contrast with the situation now, where they must compete for insufficient practice spaces. Arts at Catlin Gabel will move from the periphery to the center. Our students are so talented in so many ways, and it has been exciting to be able to give them the opportunities to shine in music. The new building will be a hub, and I believe it will absolutely blossom the arts programs. Students create thoughtful and beautiful art at the school every day. Now all the arts will be seen as they should, which is a necessity for the entire artistic process. The school is at a turning point, and the new possibilities are as endless as multiple spring sunny days in a row.   

New Opportunities for Learning: Elizabeth Gibbs '04, theater

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Come Together: The new arts building will be a boon for collaboration

From the Summer 2013 Caller

Theater is a collaborative art form. It is not made by a single person alone in a studio: it is forged through personal interaction, group experimentation, and the collective expertise of innumerable individuals. Visual artists conceptualize the setting, costume, and media elements, technical artists wire the electrics and create the lighting and soundscapes, performing artists embody characters and employ their vocal and physical talents to bring a show alive. This variety of artistic talent can be found at Catlin Gabel, both in its students and its faculty, and with the new performing arts center the possibilities for meaningful collaboration will be hugely increased.
 
Arts classrooms are currently spread across the campus, with students trekking from Choir class by the barn, to Acting in the Cabell Center, to 3D Art in the science building. Visual artists are geographically separated from performing artists, and opportunities to hold casual conversations and informally experience each other’s work are therefore reduced. The new arts building will centralize all of these classrooms, bringing the different art forms under one roof. Not only will the students be able to more seamlessly connect their work in media arts to their work in theater and music, but the arts faculty will be more connected to each other and more aware of the possibilities for collaboration and joint exploration.
 
This past year, my Acting II students have each spent time in residency with drama teacher Deirdre Atkinson’s 7th grade class, working as assistant directors and helping mentor these up-and-coming performers. This experiment in cross-divisional learning is a small taste of the possibilities that will become available when Middle and Upper School students are sharing space in the arts building. Middle schoolers will have a clearer picture of what goes on in Upper School art classes, and high schoolers will have the opportunity to share their knowledge and skill with younger students.
 
As I picture the new arts center this year, my ideal is that it will exist as a fertile ground for expansion of ideas and imaginations. I hope that it will provide the opportunity to expand the boundaries of all our disciplines, encompassing new ways to teach art, as well as broadening the possibilities for collaboration between students and faculty. In this beautiful and warm building, I imagine that students will be inspired to create innovative and exciting art, in any and all disciplines.  

New Opportunities for Learning: Chris Mateer, visual arts

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It Just Blew Me Away

From the Summer 2013 Caller

The fact that Catlin Gabel was building a new center for the arts absolutely influenced my decision to join the faculty. Learning that the community was coming together and undertaking such a sizeable expansion for the arts just blew me away. It seemed like it would be a pivotal time, with lots of possibilities. For teachers (and students) these kinds of opportunities are rare, and when they do come along, it is usually once in a lifetime. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it all.
 
I came to Catlin Gabel this past year to teach both 2-D and 3-D art. My 2-D art classes were held in the current art building, behind the Dant House. But since there wasn’t a 3-D studio, the science department offered me a classroom to use. Working there really helped expose art projects and the curriculum to many students. When the new building is complete, the current 2-D art building will become a 3-D art studio. The redesign will bring an assortment of new tools and materials, as well as independent studio spaces for students. I am excited to expand the curricular program in new directions, and am eager to design the studio so students can explore a wealth of materials and processes.
 
In between the Upper and Middle School art studios will be a printmaking shop! By having a designated print shop, we’ll be able to elevate the awareness of just how great making prints can be (and why it is one of my favorite processes).
 
The Creative Arts Center will also bring a much more connected sense of community. I am looking forward to being neighbors with Middle School art teacher Dale Rawls. It will be great for all the students in grades 6 to 12 to see what everyone else is making. That kind of artistic and communal interaction is going to be something very special. Oh, and we’re going to have an art gallery too!
 
Starting this year, the arts programming is going to open up so students can experiment and develop skills in a variety of areas. By having so many different modes of creativity under one roof, students are going to be exposed to so many new ways of thinking and expression. Filmmaking, photography, dance, music, theater, painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and so much more will be happening in and around the building. It is going to be amazing.
 
I want students in the new space to have fun, work hard, learn a lot, and bring their friends and families into the art studios to share the incredible work being made. The more we can connect as a community, come together to participate in creative processes, and develop our modes of self-expression, the better we can all communicate as people in the world and increase inclusivity.  

Creativity—The Commerce of the 21st Century

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From the Summer 2013 Caller

By Nance Leonhardt

When people ask me what my best subject was in school, they don’t expect me to say science. Although I’d always loved making art, when I grew up I’d planned to be a veterinarian or a zoologist. My high school offered an amazing science curriculum that was rich in experiential learning. From raising and training a baby goat in biology to using ballet to explore physics principles, science inspired my imagination.
 
Later when I began studying art intensively in college, it was the scientific aspects of the field, observation and engineering, that drew me down the rabbit hole. Watching chemistry transform the surface of silver gelatin-laced paper, soldering brass and copper fittings, devising a way to project video inside the pouch of a kangaroo—I love the problem-solving that artmaking requires.
 
Arts & Sciences: Blame it on Sputnik
In truth, art and science were inextricably linked for eons (#DaVinci). And yet somewhere between the Renaissance and modern times, the two fields diverged—at least in the United States. The sciences became the bailiwick of tomorrow, and the arts were relegated to an indulgent pastime.
 
I blame it on Sputnik. A lot happened to our country during the period between the industrial revolution and the space race. We outlawed child labor, we created a middle class, we mandated a free public education for all our nation’s children, and our national identity and economic welfare became tied to the outcome of our educational system.
 
In taking that penultimate step, we opened the dialogue about what the goal of our education should be. Late 19thcentury philosopher John Dewey maintained that schools should prepare students for participation in community and society. Curriculum and pedagogy should be emergent in that the school evolves and innovates around the climate of society. Dewey-based schools are often places where art and science coexist symbiotically and still occupy important real estate in the core curricula. Many independent schools, including Catlin Gabel, are deeply informed by Dewey’s original goals.
 
By contrast, public schools latched onto educational psychologist Edward Thorndike’s “law of effect.” A contemporary of Dewey with diametrically opposed views regarding the function of schooling, Thorndike believed skills and concepts must be laid out incrementally and mastered over a prescribed timeframe. Thorndike further posited that the function of schooling should be preparation for the workforce and that people should be trained along vocational tracks. Imagination had no place in Thorndike’s mechanized system—how could innovation be standardized or assessed?
 
STEM, STEAM, and the Teaching of Arts
We’ve all heard of STEM, a movement to improve the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and math. One of the core pieces of STEM philosophy is that 21st-century thinking will best be done by people who can engineer and research problems in order to develop solutions.
 
John Maeda, the president of the Rhode Island School of Design, has been a fervent advocate of converting STEM to STEAM—adding arts into the equation. The central tenets of his argument are that any advance is useless unless it can be communicated, and that flexible thinking, risk taking, and problem solving are essential to any kind of innovation. Those attributes are exactly what is nurtured in a rich and rigorous arts curriculum. In essence, Madea’s argument is that creativity will become the commerce of the 21st century.
 
The mechanics of art production are the methods for expressing ideas. Just as in organic chemistry or calculus, the greater your fluency is with the methods, the more you can bend it to explore ideas and concepts. As a society we have failed to take the fluency and methodology of the arts as seriously as literacy or numeracy. Students have not been given equal time to develop their arts skills so they can feel in command of those skills.
 
Building Skills, Drawing on Creativity
One of our jobs as arts educators is to give students command of the medium, whether that is playing an instrument, working in theater, controlling lenses and apertures in photography, or drawing. With continued scaffolding and building relationships with students, we can help them build skills over time, so that we see kids who can dig deep and explore huge ideas through these mediums.
 
A good arts education will help kids unpack the messaging that the culture gives them about societal norms and values. The work of Matt Junn ’13 is a shining example of that. He learned to render early on, but it took nurturing in the studio to get him to apply those skills to analyze a bigger idea (see his self-portrait at left). He’s now digging into his identity as a Korean American, learning to control and appropriate images to unpack what they mean to him and what is expected of him.
 
Elliot Eisner, a leading researcher in arts education at Stanford, gives strong arguments for the value of arts education that are relevant to our teaching—and the reasons why Catlin Gabel has just built a new Creative Arts Center.
 
• In the arts you can put together your work in an infinite variety of ways. The artist must make sense of these choices.
 
• In the arts, you can head in a direction, but when things happen along the way you have to make judgments to adapt. It can send you in a whole new direction. That’s innovation. It’s where you make a discovery (#breadmoldpenicillin).
 
• How something is said is part and parcel of what it says.
 
• We can experience things in art that go beyond what we can articulate. It helps us live in a bigger place. A recent exhibit at Mercy Corps featured a mural project where the faces of abused women in Rio de Janiero were phototransferred in giant scale on the buildings of the steeply terraced city by French artist JR. The images bore witness to the atrocities faced by women who had been formerly voiceless in that region, and change began to unfold.
 
• The arts are a special form of experience because of the intense engagement of the creator with the work. People think this is all art is, but it is just what makes it unique. The material resists you, and you have to get it to perform a task or deliver a message.
• Art must explore through the constraints of its mediums. If we don’t create possibilities for fluency in the range of mediums, we are preventing ourselves from living fully in the realm of big ideas and being able to solve problems creatively.
 
The Arts are Transformative
Just as babies are born with a scientist’s hunger for inquiry, so too are people are born to be creative. Equipping our students with a rigorous education in the arts teaches them about methodology, purpose, understanding their audience, and communicating that message. We arm them with guitars and hammers, poetry and cameras. We help them give form to ideas, to innovate and to connect. Our students will be the change in the 21st century.
 
Nance Leonhardt is Catlin Gabel’s Upper School media arts teacher and the head of the arts department.  

The Power of Creativity: Catlin Gabel's New Creative Arts Center

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From the Summer 2013 Caller

The new Creative Arts Center will foster interdisciplinary work in the arts and collaboration among disciplines, teachers, and students in grades 6 through 12. We hope that, ultimately, the creative practices engendered in this building lead to innovative thinking in all disciplines, and our students’ ability to make their way in the world in whatever career they choose, armed by the creative thinking habits they’ve honed here.

The space to create

US visual art, US choir,
US media arts, MS drama,
MS music, MS visual art
Current arts square footage: 6,786
CAC square footage: 20,000
 
Creative Arts Center Upper Level
Gallery
Outdoor plaza
Media arts
Theater control room
MS visual arts
US visual arts
Shared print room
3D studio
Art Walk
 
Lower Level
Black box theater (two levels)
Theater tech space
Drama classroom
Instrumental room
Choir room
Music laboratory
Practice rooms
Instrument storage
 

“A truly outstanding school excels in all areas of curriculum. A well-balanced course of study allows students to develop the wide variety of skills needed to succeed once they leave school. A robust arts curriculum is crucial in fostering those creative skills that are increasingly in demand in the 21st century workplace.” —Dan Griffiths, Upper School head
 
“We have often said that we have the teachers, we have the program, but we just have never had the facility to help our children become leaders who can think abstractly and outside the box. Now we will have a first-class building to house this exciting program. It has been a joy to be part of a team that is finally seeing a vision come to life for an amazing school.”—Craig Hartzman, campaign co-chair, parent & donor
 

“It’s only in retrospect that I truly appreciate how definitive my exposure to the arts at Catlin Gabel was for my career and myself. Honing my artistic side made me more explorative, creative, imaginative, and probably a super-spoiled brat.”—Megan Amram ’06, Harvard College graduate & professional comedy writer

 

ARTS CLASSES & SAT SCORES: A POSITIVE LINK

Math teacher Kenny Nguyen and two of his statistics students, Siobhan Furnary ’13 and Lianne Siegel ’13, analyzed data for 422 Upper School students from 2005 to 2013. They found that taking more Upper School arts classes was correlated with higher SAT scores—an expectation of 22 points for every arts class taken.


Did you know?

“John Maeda, the president of the Rhode Island School of Design, has been a fervent advocate of converting STEM to STEAM—adding arts into the equation. The central tenets of his argument are that any advance is useless unless it can be communicated, and that flexible thinking, risk taking, and problem solving are essential to any kind of innovation. Those attributes are exactly what is nurtured in a rich and rigorous arts curriculum. In essence, Maeda’s argument is that creativity will become the commerce of the 21st century.”—Nance Leonhardt, arts department chair  

"The Learning is in My Hands"

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The Catlin Gabel journey of lifer Qiddist Hammerly '12, now at Northwestern University, was made possible through financial aid

From the Summer 2013 Caller

Catlin Gabel helped me develop skills in organizing, fundraising, and creating projects that were my own, because it gave me the freedom to take an idea and run with it. My projects in Lower School included an Environmental Friends club, a huge potluck and tree planting, and a tsunami relief fund and walkathon—I even had an opportunity to go on the local news to talk about that. I’ve continued to use those skills.
 
In the Catlin Gabel community there’s a lot of trust and respect, both among peers and between peers and teachers, that inform how students learn and give them the ability to succeed both in school and out in the real world. Teachers hold you accountable for your own learning and give you a lot of responsibility, whether that’s teaching a class or creating a class discussion that engages your peers. The level of trust allows students to take safe risks in the classroom and when they leave the school. I always think back to what my 1st grade teacher Zalika always said: “Your worth is not bound in your performance.” You learn that you’re not always going to do perfectly, but you’ll push yourself to strive for something. You learn that it’s more about the learning and not about the grade.
 
Going through Catlin Gabel has helped me to not be afraid to try something new at Northwestern University, or tackle something that might be really hard. Catlin Gabel has taught me that if I’m interested in something, I should put my all into it, and that it’s worth the challenge. I’m majoring in social policy; I’m interested in education and education policy, and working with youth in the criminal justice system. I have a job working in a 1st grade classroom, teaching reading and writing skills. I’m also doing a mentorship at a youth detention center in Chicago, with its music program.
 
Talking to students from other schools, I’ve found that it’s a uniquely Catlin Gabel thing to have such a close and personal relationship with your teachers. That’s something that the school does really well. That connection outside of the classroom has been really beneficial to me.

Catlin Gabel teachers and the school push you and encourage you to make your learning your own, and they give you the ability and the freedom to create your own experiences. If you have an idea, you have the power to turn that idea into a reality. As a kid, for me that was the coolest thing. I have the power to create what I want to do? The learning is in my hands? That’s what made Catlin fun for me, whether it was volunteering in Middle School at Albina Head Start, or a research project as an intern at OHSU, or going on a trip to Botswana.

My parents didn’t really expect to send me to Catlin Gabel: financially, it didn’t seem like an option. Through the combination of the sacrifices that they made throughout my time here and the generous scholarships I received, I was able to stay all the way through. I am grateful to everyone who made it possible for me to stay here, both to the donors and to my parents. I’m also grateful to my teachers, because I was here from such a young age. Catlin Gabel made me who I am.
 
Excerpts from an interview with Qiddist conducted in February 2013.

Scholars Program Named to Honor Lark Palma

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The first step in a year of celebrating Lark's leadership

From the Summer 2013 Caller

By Steve Gordon, chair of the Catlin Gabel board of trustees 

This is a year for celebration—a celebration of where we’ve been, where we’re going, and Lark Palma’s contribution to our journey. This is Lark’s last year as Catlin Gabel’s head. For nearly two decades, she has completely dedicated herself to guiding the school to the fullest expression of its mission.
 
Honoring Lark this year begins with a fitting tribute from Phil and Penny Knight—the renaming of the Knight Family Scholars Program to the Palma Scholars Program. The Knights appreciated Lark’s vision for innovating curriculum and broadening our admission reach. In Phil’s own words:
 
“In celebration and recognition of Lark Palma’s remarkable career at Catlin Gabel and the legacy she leaves, as she embarks on her final year as head of school, the Knight Family Scholars Program will now and forever be referred to as the Palma Scholars Program. To be consistent with future recipients and to not confuse the community, all eight prior recipients will be deemed to be the Palma Scholars. Congratulations to Lark.”
 
The Palma Scholars Program brings in exceptional 9th graders—excelling in academics, athletics, leadership, and service—and provides all Catlin Gabel Upper School students with new ways to learn based on collaboration and creativity. The program prepares tomorrow’s leaders with an inspired curriculum that we hope will serve as a model for our nation’s high schools.
 
Lark’s expansive vision for education has also focused on increasing the availability of a great education. From the start of her teaching career she has believed in the importance of financial aid and the necessity for a school community that would represent the wider community. “We could not deliver the kind of education we want to without diverse voices,” she says. “I am confident that through all means possible, including increased financial assistance, the school will continue to incorporate this wide range of voices and cultural values.
 
”When Lark was told about the honors planned for her, she said, “I’m proud to have my name on the Scholars Program for 9th graders, and to be associated with our general financial aid endowment benefiting students of all ages. All my life I have believed that the best way to provide equality is to provide access to education. This is an irrefutable truth.”
 
To kick off this celebratory year and acknowledge Lark’s abiding interest in financial aid, the board and I invite you to join us in honoring Lark in one of these ways:
 
• Make a gift to the Palma Scholars Program to benefit Upper School students
• Make a gift to Catlin Gabel’s general financial aid endowment fund for students of all ages demonstrating need
 
These are fitting tributes to Lark, who has dedicated her career to attracting excellent students regardless of their ability to pay tuition, and creating an innovative and vibrant curriculum and a secure financial future for Catlin Gabel.
 
Please join us this year as we continue to recognize Lark’s extraordinary leadership. To make gifts to the Palma Scholars Program or Catlin Gabel’s financial aid endowment in Lark’s honor, please email Miranda Wellman ’91, director of advancement, or call 503-297-1894 ext. 398.

The Allen Neill Schauffler Financial Aid Fund

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Fundraising has begun to honor this longtime teacher

From the Summer 2013 Caller

Allen Schauffler retired this summer after 45 years at Catlin Gabel. Her dedicated service to the school included positions as preschool and kindergarten teacher, Beginning School head, and director of multicultural affairs. She also worked in financial aid, and it holds great meaning for her.

 
“Those of you who know me well know how passionate I am about the importance of financial aid at Catlin Gabel,” she says. “The Beginning School is unique because the whole Catlin Gabel community trusts us to build the core group of a class that we hope remains together for 14 years. One of the most important pieces we think about when we enter this process is how to make the class as diverse and inclusive as possible.
 
“Financial aid dollars provide a key ingredient in helping to build a group of students who bring with them a world of culture, race, gender difference, socioeconomic strata, and physical difference. My dream for financial aid at Catlin Gabel is that any child who qualifies for admission in any division be granted the full amount of demonstrated need,” she says.
 
A new fund for financial aid has been established to honor this beloved teacher, parent, and longtime member of the Catlin Gabel community. For more information or to participate in the fund, please email Marianne Falk.

Financial Aid is Absolutely Critical to Catlin Gabel's Health

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The Campaign for Arts & Minds supports increased endowment, which directly increases the school’s financial aid budget

From the Summer 2013 Caller

By Sara Nordhoff, admission and financial aid director

“An effort shall be made to have students of the school represent a cross-section of American life, having various economic backgrounds and religious beliefs, and chosen for their promise in qualities of character, intelligence, responsibility, and purpose.” —founder Ruth Catlin, 1928  

Catlin Gabel has funds right now to offer financial aid to 26 percent of our students. If we had $250,000 more each year for financial aid, we would have had enough funds to admit the following students—but we could not: Kids from schools in neighborhoods that would add more diversity to Catlin Gabel’s community, kids at the top of their classes with passions they pursue in meaningful ways, competitive athletes, excellent artists and writers, scores of siblings and legacies, kids devoted to service, and many more deserving, wonderful students who would have an enormous impact here and beyond—kids for whom a Catlin Gabel education would change their lives.

Faculty feedback on students we could not admit: “this is one of the best candidates I’ve ever seen,” “I would love to have this student in my classroom,” “admit this incredible student!”

Some examples of students we had to turn away:
A published author at the age of 10
An athlete who would have been a game-changer in our Upper School girls basketball program
A competitive chess player and violinist with one of the highest SSAT scores of the pool
An accomplished ballet dancer
A Parkour champion
A young martial arts master
A brother and sister, both at the top of their class
A three-sport athlete completely devoted to community service
A top gymnast with international living experiences
 
Catlin Gabel is affordable to only about three to five percent of the greater Portland population. In order to attract the very best and brightest students and live out our mission, we must sustain our commitment to a strong financial aid program. Our goal is to make a Catlin Gabel education accessible to as many qualified students as possible, regardless of socioeconomic status. Our discussion- and team-based learning environment is successful only when disparate voices and viewpoints are heard. We devote a greater percentage of our budget to financial aid than many of our peer schools. Catlin Gabel grows as our commitment to financial aid grows. Reaching out and enrolling a diverse population is a high priority for our enrollment strategy. We think of diversity as having a broad definition, including socioeconomic, ethnic, and geographic diversity. We’ve made strides towards broadening our reach to a larger population of families, in large part due to our stronger commitment to financial aid. Catlin Gabel will flourish, along with its students, with a financial aid budget that allows us to admit all the students we’d like to admit—with mitigated concern for their ability to pay tuition. A successful finish to the Campaign for Arts & Minds will supply the $250,000 per year we need to make this happen and keep Catlin Gabel healthy and relevant.
 
• The average financial aid award has increased from $14,430 in 2010–11 to $16,200 in 2013-14
• In 2013–14 CG allocated $3.3 million in tuition assistance, out of an entire budget of $17 million
• Families who received awards had annual household incomes ranging from $8,400 to $168,000 (CG uses a national formula to determine aid awards that takes into account income and variables such as the number of children in tuition-charging schools, including colleges. Awards at the higher income levels are smaller and do not include books and laptops.)
• Average grant: $16,200
• Awards range from $1,800 to $25,750
• Tuition ranges from $19,200 to $25,850
• Our ultimate goal is to admit all students without regard for their family’s financial situation, but that would require more than $50 million in new endowment funds. The steps we take today are important in moving us toward that future.
 
% OF FAMILY NEED THAT CATLIN GABEL MET
2009–10 (92%)
2010–11 (93%)
2011–12 (92%)
2012–13 (90%)
 
% OF STUDENTS RECEIVING ASSISTANCE
2009–10 (26.25)
2010–11 (27.8%)
2011–12 (25.7%)
2012–13 (25.8%)
2013–14 (27.4%)
GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR FINANCIAL AID
• We create classes that lead to diverse viewpoints in the classroom
• We grow financial aid responsibly, meeting need in a sustainable way
• Relevant independent schools keep financial aid at the forefront
 

"My story, like the stories of many others who have received financial assistance at Catlin Gabel, is a testament to the power of philanthropy. . . . Without a Catlin Gabel education, my life would have looked drastically different. The growth each student experiences here is indescribable. In fact, without the financial assistance that allowed me to receive such an enriching education, I’d probably still be the same shy child I was seven years ago. But today I can tell you with all sincerity that Catlin Gabel has changed me. It’s given me the opportunity and support to redefine myself in ways I never thought possible. Catlin Gabel equips its students with everything we need to face the future."
—Anthony Lin ’09, graduate of Duke University in neuroscience and computer science

"Running a high-quality, progressive, independent school is an expensive proposition, and thus tuition remains beyond the reach of many. To match reality and idealism, Catlin Gabel must have a robust endowment for financial aid, to open our doors to every deserving, qualified student regardless of her family’s means. Without this, our school’s expressed commitment to our ideals and our community becomes hollow and less meaningful. Catlin Gabel without generous financial aid would not be the Catlin Gabel we chose as the right school for our children. It would become a more homogeneous community, less interesting and vibrant. It would ignore the reality of economic diversity that all of our children must understand and appreciate. It would shield our children from the “real world” in which they will all live and work as adults. It would deny the value and contribution of children from all walks of life, from a wide range of circumstances."
— Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, trustee, parent, donor

The Campaign for Arts & Minds

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What sets Catlin Gabel apart?
Campaign Components
Creative Arts Center
This new building fosters the ability to create and provides the encouragement to be original. It brings multiple disciplines inside one facility for intense, collaborative teaching and learning. Students will experiment in the black box theater, hear each other play instruments, view and critique each other’s work in the school’s first proper gallery, and learn from guest artists.
 Expanding Our Endowment
Launching new programs, admitting more students with financial need, and compensating outstanding teachers requires stable and robust funding. We must pursue these initiatives with the confidence that they can be sustained. The campaign for the endowment is how we’re doing it.

 

CHRIS PARK ’14
Senior, student body president

"Catlin Gabel gave me confidence in my own thoughts, while not completely blocking out those of others. It taught me that there are often more perspectives to every situation than what one might initially think. The confidence I gained from our small class discussions encouraged me to take part in our school’s student government. This school has given and taught me more than I could possibly repay."

MIRA HAYWARD ’13
Entering Harvard College

"As my class prepares to leave for college, the mark that Catlin Gabel’s holistic approach to education has left on us shows clearly: our strong academic skills are matched by our strong characters; our passion for learning matched by our passion for life."

BRIAN GANT
MS life skills and PE teacher

"Catlin Gabel takes pride in supplying students with a quality, well-rounded education. Students learn to take ownership of the direction of their passions, as well as to respect and appreciate individual differences." 

ALLEN SCHAUFFLER
Longtime preschool teacher

"Do you wish that you had attended a school where you were asked to examine 60 acres, be stretched to discomfort, navigate the idea of community, have fun with the basics, and use what you know to serve? Imagine a place children come each day, where what they bring with them is treated as the fertile ground of possibility rather than something to correct or change."  


 

ALINE GARCIA-RUBIO ’93
US science teacher and assistant head

"At Catlin Gabel we teach how to sing, how to talk to a crowd, welcome others, disagree, advocate for ourselves, talk to adults, write our congressional representatives, read between the lines, learn what’s not in front of us, include others in play, weave and intersect with other cultures, and find balance in our lives. We learn from our students every day. We educate whole children. We educate ourselves. Every day.

TONY STOCKS
US English teacher

"Whenever visiting writers come to share their work with our students, or parents attend Back-to-School Night, or folks new to the school come to Open House, they always say: ‘Wow!! I wish I could have gone to high school here.’ They see the school’s serious, but freewheeling, intellectual atmosphere, the strong bonds it forges between teachers and students, its deep commitment to building a community of trust and mutual support, and realize what a special place this is to be a teacher or a teenager."

NADYA OKAMOTO ’16
Sophomore, Malone Scholar

"I love Catlin Gabel not only for the friends I have made and the resources it can provide, but also for the atmosphere of support, in-depth curiosity to learn, and a rigorous and beneficial learning experience. It also served me as a second home and support system as my family went through a major move." 

RIVFKA SHENOY ’09
Student at New York University Medical School

"After Catlin Gabel college seemed easy. At Catlin Gabel I didn’t just learn the facts, I learned how to learn and use those facts in novel and creative ways. The biggest lesson I learned, which I always carry with me, is that education and ambition are not accessed passively, but instead actively.