The Caller Magazine, Summer 2018 - Read the entire issue online

Driven by student inquiry, the treehouse project incorporates engineering, design, math, art - and lessons for life

By Jennifer Marcus '73, Beginning School Woodshop Teacher

Henry, a five-year-old kindergartener, walked up to me and, with his hands in his pockets, declared, “I know what we should build next.”

I waited and thought: Space ship? Sail boat? Ping pong table?

“A tree house,” he said. Then he asked, “Where do you think we should build it?”

Surrounded by kindergarteners at our lunch table, I floated the idea to see if a tree house project would garner enough support. I asked, “Does anyone know about tree houses?” This produced many excited responses. The next question for the group was, “How do we build a tree house?”

I teach by asking questions. I try to understand all of the information that is informing students’ comments or inquiry, and how I can help them to build on that. So, when a student makes a comment or asks a question, I very rarely respond with a statement. I ask another question, and the cycle of inquiry continues. Whenever a child says, “I want to build something,” my response is always, “Well, I wonder how you do that?”

Later that afternoon in the woodshop, another student said, “We should start with a plan sheet.” Several children drew their ideas. “It needs a ladder!” “...a slide” “...a bathroom.” Everything was discussed. Other students did research using the book House Building for Children. They were thrilled to more in The Caller and see images of the finished treehouse

Head of School Tim Bazemore's Blog

Follow him on Twitter @TimBazemore.

Creating An Inclusive Learning Environment

"I come from a diverse background, being half-Mexican and half-Cuban, not being born here, and of parents with immigrant stories. That made my experience very different as a kid in an independent school...An important aspect of our work as an independent school is the ability to think through how we can provide these types of incredibly powerful learning experiences to a wider array of students from different backgrounds. It’s important to me because, of course, I was one of those kids who got to experience something incredible that my family certainly couldn’t afford, and that has clearly propelled me to being here today."

Read the full interview

From Your Admission Team

The School Search - Plan to visit!

Navigating the school search process can feel very overwhelming! Starting early allows time to explore many avenues to find the right fit for your child and family.

At Catlin Gabel, we believe that visiting campus during a regular school day is by far the best way to learn about any school. Catlin Gabel’s website and printed materials capture the school’s essence to a certain degree, but spending time on campus allows visitors to see firsthand how our community engages in lively discussions, how teachers and students collaborate with each other, how students “learn by doing,” and how our 67-acre campus enhances their experiences. Visitors will also have opportunities to witness some “aha” learning moments and feel the positive energy that permeates the campus.

Catlin Gabel provides a number of ways for prospective families to spend time on campus:

In addition, the Catlin Gabel admission team will be out in the community at the Portland-Area Independent & Private School Fair at OMSI. Your school search process should help you imagine your child in a particular environment and address your core questions, such as: Would my child be nurtured and challenged here? Will my child fit in well with the other students? And ultimately, will they be happy here? We hope you will take the next step to investigate whether Catlin Gabel is right for your family. Visit the Ravenna website to create an admission profile.

Meet the team. Ask us questions.

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Financial Assistance

Financial assistance allows for a wide range of tuition levels across the school. Many families earning up to $150,000 or more per year qualify for tuition assistance at some level. For 2018-19, we allocated nearly $4.5 million in financial assistance to families with annual household incomes ranging primarily from $15,140 to $285,355. Assistance grants ranged from $7,200 to $32,550 and averaged $21,700.

The Average Tuition tables show profiles for current Catlin Gabel families receiving financial assistance based on income and the number of children in tuition-charging schools/institutions.

Applications for the 2019-20 school year open October 2, 2018.

Contact Mary Yacob with questions.

September on Campus

Fall sports kick-off for all soccer, volleyball, and cross-country teams. Athletics Schedule

Middle School Discovery Days ease the transition into a whole new world.

Upper School class retreats help students reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

Friday Sing provides an opportunity for Beginning School parents, students and teachers to come together and sing.

Back to School Nights allow parents & guardians in all grades to visit classrooms and experience their child's day.

Homecoming weekend brings together alumni and current families to reminisce, celebrate, and cheer on our Eagles!

An independent preschool through 12th grade day school in Portland, Oregon
8825 SW Barnes Road,
Portland, Oregon 97225 |
503-297-1894 |

Explore why Catlin Gabel is a national leader in progressive education.

We welcome more than 100 new families annually to our inclusive community from the Portland area and beyond.


A demanding and engaging program in which each student is the unit of consideration

Playing sports involves life lessons in determination, grace, and resilience. We invite everyone to be part of a team.

Extensive support ensures our students are successful.

Learn about Catlin Gabel news and events on campus and beyond.

We foster a community that appreciates our differences and recognizes our essential unity

Every gift benefits our students. Every volunteer hour builds our community.

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