Admission News

Spanish teacher Lauren Reggero-Toledano named "Teacher of the Future"

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Lauren Reggero-Toledano, a teacher of Spanish at Catlin Gabel’s Upper School, was selected by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) as part of the 2011-12 Teachers of the Future program. The NAIS Teachers of the Future were selected from a large pool of nominees who inspire academic excellence in students and who serve as opinion leaders among their colleagues and peers. The Teachers of the Future were also chosen for their expertise in particular areas—environmentalism, globalism, technology, and equity, and justice—that NAIS believes are hallmarks of a high-quality education for the 21st century. As one of only 25 teachers nationwide chosen for the program,Lauren will lead an online discussion forum designed to share innovative ideas and teaching techniques, and she will create a demonstration video to inspire others.

ABOUT LAUREN REGGERO-TOLEDANO

Lauren Reggero-Toledano received a bachelor's in education (elementary education and Spanish) from the University of Miami, followed by a master's in Spanish language and cultures from the University of Salamanca, Spain. In August 2009 she was awarded a Teacher Fellowship Grant by the American ImmigrationCouncil for a Spanish V class project, “The Hispanic Presence in Oregon: During the Great Depression and Today.” For the last five years she has made a concerted effort to make service learning in the local Hispanic community an integral part of the Spanish V curriculum. Visit her Spanish V class page for more on the service component in Lauren’s class.

ABOUT NAIS AND THE TEACHERS OF THE FUTURE PROGRAM

The Klingenstein Foundation offered NAIS a generous grant for the Teachers of the Future program through which each teacher will receive a $1,000 stipend for participating in the program.

 The National Association of Independent Schools, based in Washington, DC, is a voluntary membership organization for over 1,400 independent schools and associations in the United States and abroad. Independent schools are distinct from other private schools in that they are independently governed by boards of trustees and are funded primarily through tuition, charitable contribution, and endowment income. To be eligible for membership in NAIS, schools must be accredited, nondiscriminatory, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations.

 

Homecoming 2011 photo gallery

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Alumni, friends, families, and great soccer

Thanks go to media arts teacher Brendan Gill for taking these great photos of the community gathering in the Barn, fans at the field, the jazz band at halftime, and awesome JV and Varsity girls soccer.

Interview with new Middle School head

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Meet Barbara Ostos

How is Portland treating you?

Really well. We’re definitely still tourists. The other day I was able to navigate from my house to Sauvie Island and back successfully. I’m beginning to understand how the 405 freeway loops around. Every week we try to do something new, which is easy here.

I hear you are a dancer. Tell us more.

I love to dance for that feeling you get when movement takes over. My husband and I met at a salsa club, and we used to go salsa and merengue dancing a lot. We choreographed and practiced a dance for our wedding reception. Dancing is a big part of who we are. Lydia loves to dance. [Lydia is Barbara and Carlos’ toddler.] One of my favorite moments during Discovery Days was square dancing with 6th graders. It was great to see them take the risk, especially given the whole boy-girl dynamic at that age.

Can you reflect on a couple more highlights of your time here at Catlin Gabel?

Two Fridays ago at assembly a group of teachers—Tom Tucker, Deirdre Atkinson, Mark Pritchard, Spencer White, and Brendan Gill—played musical instruments and led 185 kids and 30 adults in a community sing. The high level of participation and incredible vibe was impressive. I’m going to make sure we have many opportunities for group singing.

Another standout moment was at Back-to-School Night. I tried to get around to see bits and pieces of all the teachers’ presentations. I sat in the 6th grade classroom filled with parents listening to the teachers talk about their work with students, and the real trust that we ask of parents. That was inspiring. And hearing about the teachers’ expertise and experience, not just the teaching and pedagogical experience and all that good stuff, but the life experience, too, kind of brought me to tears. I’ve really joined an outstanding faculty.

The spirit of team work and shared responsibility for everything we do—which is something I philosophically believe in—is a highlight that repeats itself over and over multiple times on any given day. Everyone pitches in, and there’s no sense that it’s any one person’s show. We're doing this together for the benefit of the kids.

What is your educational philosophy?

At the core I think the purpose of school goes much further than teaching reading, writing, math, and science. The fact that our students spend the great majority of their waking hours here on this campus with us implies a responsibility not just as educators but also as mentors in guiding young people to become socially responsible adults. The job of every teacher in our community is to engage with students and help them understand that they can pretty much do anything they want, but that they need to understand that there is right and wrong and they have a responsibility to each other. Maybe 96.12 percent of the time it’s not what you do but how you do it.

Our goal is to engage students in fully participating in everything we do. You’ll never have 100 percent participation, but schools should create an atmosphere where students can take risks, even pretty high-altitude risks, and feel safe trying.

This morning we saw a great example of high-altitude risk taking. A 6th grade girl had the lead part in a skit at assembly. I thought, wow, here’s a girl who’s been in this building fewer than 3 weeks and she’s putting herself out like that, not just in front of 6th graders, but 7th and 8th graders, too.

In terms of curriculum the idea of progression and partnerships is vital. Sixth, 7th, and 8th graders are all in such different places. Great schools and great educators meet kids where they are. It’s about the progress, not necessarily about the final outcome, because each one of our 7th graders is starting at a different place and ending at a different place. It’s about knowing our students well enough to recognize where they started and to give them support and kudos as they grow and progress.

We also need to teach kids that we’re not perfect, and everyone isn’t great at everything all of the time. It can be hard to give kids that kind of honest feedback, but that’s life. The bottom line is that we’re preparing these kids for life, not just for the next grade level. Sometimes people choose independent schools for the bubble it creates, and that makes it even more onerous on us to prepare them for life. Competition exists, and you’re not always going to be the best at what you’re doing. The way students can grow and really become better is through the critical feedback we offer them. It doesn’t serve anybody to always hear that they’re doing a great job. We can create an atmosphere where hearing supportive and empathetic criticism is the norm because our students understand everyone wants you to improve. Catlin’s narrative reports are a good piece of that, and I’m just discovering what those look like.

What are the academic tools Middle School students need for success in high school?

The ability to put thoughts together and connect ideas, which leads to critical thinking and comparisons. The ability to analyze, speak, and write clearly about ideas. The ability to put things together, figure things out creatively, and use core scientific inquiry skills, which of course includes math. The ability to be thoughtful in everything you do.

How do we reach students who have a wide range of skill levels at a stage in their lives when their maturity levels are so varied?

You need to meet students where they are. We can’t have the same expectation for every single 7th grader, because some kids will end up feeling like failures. No two people are the same, and if we don't recognize the individual child as the unit of consideration then we’re doing them a disservice. If they’re writing an expository essay about a hero in their life, for instance, and we know where that child started and ended, we can provide effective relevant feedback about their work. If they don’t feel like we are taking the time to really see what they’ve produced and offer them immediate feedback, then they wonder why are they really doing this.

Commenting about where a student started and ended is meaningful to them. At this age you really need to be concrete. You can’t just say, “Great job.” You have to say things like, “I’m impressed by how you used alliteration,” or “I noticed you connected this unit of math to what we did three months ago.” It’s very important to be specific both in accolades and in comments for improvement.

With all the distractions of adolescence, how do you keep Middle School students focused on school work?

You have to get them engaged. If they’re not bought into what is going on then it’s not meaningful. So the real question, and the challenge for each of us, is how to make something meaningful for a kid—especially in Middle School! You can make a student sit down and do 26 million math problems and lose their attention, or you can ask them to work out five math word problems that bring in things they actually care about. Then they’ll be interested and think through the problem. In language classes, you could have them fill out worksheets where they enter the right verb, or you can make their learning relevant by asking them to write about what they’re going to do this weekend. Connecting academics to their interests is something we really need to keep in mind, because Middle School students perceive themselves as the center of their universes. We need to be very clear about what we’re asking them to do, or the academic engagement isn’t meaningful to them. Does that mean that every single assignment in every single class is going to do that for every kid? No, that’s not realistic. But that should be our goal and our constant aspiration as educators.

What do you think of the myth that our math and science programs are not as strong as our writing and humanities?

Our math and science program is really strong. We need to do a better job of talking about what it is and being very clear about what we do in classes. I’ve noticed it’s a little ingrained in the culture of our teachers to be very humble about the work they do with kids. What’s happening in classrooms is amazing—and that includes math and science. There’s always room for improvement, but one of my goals this year is to tease out and share the excellent work we’re doing in math and science.

Do you have thoughts about our 8th graders considering other schools for their high school experience?

It would be my hope that all of our 8th graders move on to our 9th grade. While the school is broken up into four divisions—and appropriately so for children’s developmental stages and from a teaching and management point of view—I really hope that people see Catlin Gabel as a preschool through 12th grade program. I see it that way! It’s pretty amazing to have a place where you can be one school that is connected and interconnected in so many ways while appreciating the differences of age and what that brings.

As an aside, I am really impressed that the Beginning School is its own division. Science tells us there is a significant developmental difference between kindergarteners and 1st graders. That was one of the things I found very attractive about the school and its thinking about what’s best for kids.

Getting back to the 8th to 9th grade transition, it’s important to recognize that Catlin Gabel, just like every other school, may not be the right place for every student. The desire to look around at alternatives is something that’s probably natural to some. But I really caution against making decisions around assumptions. I’ve already had conversations with a number of 8th grade students and their parents where they have inaccurate assumptions about the Upper School.

Families that are considering other options need to keep in mind a few things. Don’t make decisions about what you think our Upper School program is. Look at our Upper School program and make informed decisions. Talk to US teachers, talk to me. Research Catlin Gabel as well as you research the alternatives you’re considering. Also, the decision to leave should not be solely made by the student or by the parent. Decision-making at this age really needs to involve parents and students in a way that all voices are heard. Parents must try to understand why students want to leave and consider if the reasons are good ones, and visa versa.

What is your hope for our graduates?

My dream for all seniors going to college, not just Catlin Gabel students, is that they are fully prepared, they know how to carry themselves, they understand how they learn, and they understand the space they take up not only in their school, city, and state but also in the world. We teach those things extraordinarily well and differently than other places. What is it to be a global citizen? Answering that question well is a really important 21st-century skill.

 

Second graders share insights about how the brain works

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John Mayer’s students had a conversation about how they think the brain works as they launched into a lesson about neurons, dendrites, and axons.

"I know there are different sides of the brain. Maybe it's that all the stuff you do know is one side of the brain and all the stuff you don't know is on the other side. So then the more you grow and learn, it's like a wave goes over your brain from one side to the other."

"That’s right. There are sides of a brain but I think it's different. It's like you do reading from here, riding your bike from there, and like math from over here (pointing to different spots all over her head). So it's like a highway between cities to connect them. Sometimes there might be something on the road…"

"Or the road got washed out."

"Yeah, or the road got washed out and that's the stuff you don't know. Then maybe you learn stuff and the road gets fixed."

John: "Hmmm… I guess we have a lot of thinking to do. Should we start by trying to figure out more about how our brains are put together?"

 

Five seniors named National Merit Semifinalists

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Congratulations!

Five seniors have been named semifinalists in the 57th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The students are Ilana Cohen, Zoë Frank, Holly Kim, Dylan Shields, and Jeremy Wood. They are among 16,000 semifinalists nationwide who are eligible to compete for 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $34 million that will be offered in the spring, according to a release from the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

To qualify as semifinalists, about 1.5 million high school students took a qualifying exam during their junior year.

From those, the highest-scoring entrants from each state, who represent less than 1 percent of all U.S. high school seniors, were chosen. The number chosen per state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors, according to the release.

To be considered for a scholarship, semifinalists have several additional steps to complete. Each must be endorsed and recommended by his or her high school principal. Each student and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application including the student's essay and information about his or her participation and leadership in school and community activities, the release states.

About 15,000 semifinalists will be notified in February that they have been granted status as finalists. Scholarship winners will be selected from this group.

 

Sophomore Jonathan Cannard competed at the Youth Laser 4.7 World Championships in San Francisco

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 Jonathan sailed his 14-foot rig alongside the top 113 boys and 52 girls from 48 countries including Japan, Peru, and Australia.

Arts Are at the Core

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By Nance Leonhardt

From the Summer 2011 Caller

In these troubled times “arts are at the core” are fighting words. My morning commute is peppered with reminders of the campaign to save the arts in schools. From the Campfire billboard offering to paste back what has been cut in schools, to my neighbor’s Subaru packed to the gills with supplies she’ll need to teach her son’s after-school art class, the evidence is clear: we are blessed to be at Catlin Gabel School.
 
Arts have been at the core of Catlin Gabel’s philosophical and pedagogical underpinnings since day one.
 
From Priscilla Gabel’s earliest writings: Let him daily tell or write or sing or dance or act or paint all that he has seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted. We aim to develop in each child an inquiring mind that wants to search out facts and truths about the world in which we live.
 
To Lark Palma’s current charge: We want to create conditions that support students to know the power of their own ideas, develop new-to-them ways of doing things, and be able to think inventively.
 
The arts are inherent to the culture of teaching and learning across this campus. The approach leaves an indelible signature on our alumni, many of whom may never set foot in a ceramics studio again, but when faced with a professional dilemma will conjure the memory of wrangling a shapeless mass of mud and water into a sleek vessel under Judy Teufel’s watchful eye. They will remember how the idea was so clear in their mind and slipped away so easily once the wheel began turning. The feel of the clay veering determinedly off course and then, with persistence and a steady hand, the sense of it righting itself as the circuit came to a close. They will not only remember the success, they will remember the journey and the dividends its lessons paid.
 
For some alumni, their Catlin Gabel arts education sparks something more, a lifelong commitment to the creative process. In addition to those profiled in this Caller, notable alumni include filmmaker Gus Van Sant ’71, opera director Elizabeth Bachman ’74, painter Margot Voorhies Thompson ’66, Broadway lighting designer Carl Faber ’01, and Pixar animator Nathan Matsuda ’03. We send an increasing number of students to colleges with exceptional (and competitive) arts programs: last year that list included the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the California Institute for the Arts, the University of Southern California Schools of Music and of Cinematic Arts, and Cooper Union. Our faculty would never claim these achievements as personal trophies, but like any parent we can certainly feel pride in our ability to cultivate talent and act as stewards of the values that enable these kinds of minds to grow and thrive.
 
Our 15-member arts department attests: from preschool through 12th grade the arts are alive and well at Catlin Gabel. Following Priscilla Gabel’s directive, we weave creative habits of mind into the daily experiences of our student body. Students learn to know themselves and the power of their ideas through our various disciplines. We identify with our students and have the unique opportunity to collaborate with them.
 
Last February I had the pleasure of sitting with my colleagues and devoting two days to exploring our professional practice. Rob and Elizabeth Whittemore, professors and parents of CGS alumni, led us through a series of discussions and reflective writing activities to help tease out our core values. We asked ourselves the big questions: What is the essence of what we do? How do we scaffold this individually and as a department? How do preschooolers with pipe cleaners and pine needles evolve into regional and national Scholastic Gold Key art award winners? How does the shy and awkward 6th grader leap on to center stage as a junior in The Fantasticks? In a program as rich and varied as ours, what are the universal truths behind our diverse methodologies and media?
 

Create , Perform, Respond

 
CPR are three little letters that communicate our directive to revive the imagination day after day, year after year. Our program is about process, the cycle of inspiration leading to action leading to reflection. Like the wheel in the potter’s studio, ideas follow a circuit, and results emerge before our eyes. We guide students’ explorations of the tools and skills needed to perform, and we offer prompts from various sources (art history, current events, poetry, student-generated themes) to draw out their unique points of view as thinkers. More specifically, we agreed that regardless of medium (instrumental music, film production, oil painting, woodworking, lighting design) we shelter our students’ development under the following core values:
 
Community building and trust
Creative problem solving
Collaboration
Risk taking and resiliency
Finding voice
Valuing process
 
How this plays out at the classroom level is as varied as our subject areas. In the Middle School, every student participates in a full complement of arts offerings annually, including instrumental music, fine art, theater, woodworking, and media and graphic arts. Our Upper School program offers more than 30 electives in the realms of drama, technical theater, narrative and documentary filmmaking, painting, printmaking, chamber choir, jazz band, photography, ceramics, and more.
 
Perhaps nothing espouses the value of community building and trust more than the Middle School theater program, developed by traditions of St. George and Gilbert and Sullivan, Middle Schoolers perform in more than 14 productions yearly. Deirdre Atkinson creates a safe, energetic environment that allows students to tackle everything from 20-minute renditions of Shakespeare to developing their own plays through a method called devising. When devising, an anything-goes approach allows students the creative space to brainstorm theme, share ideas on visual and auditory components, and physically construct a representation of their thoughts on the chosen topic. Whether it’s a piece on immigration, cyber-bullying, or gender identity, the students proudly step forth in front of packed audiences to share their message and engage the community in a wider dialogue.
 
In the Upper School, students in Laurie Carlyon-Ward’s honors art seminar engage in a three-semester quest to produce a portfolio of work that reflects the development of their voice as an artist. Visitors to the gallery in the Cabell Center foyer in May see the culmination of this process with displays that include self-portraits, figure drawing, journals, and a personal statement. Whether it’s Mary Bishop 11’s use of line and color to depict her musings on women’s Western attire, or the fleshy graphite textures of Kashi Tamang ’11’s portrait subjects, their voices are etched in the gallery space as distinctly as fingerprints on glass.
 

The Space to Collaborate and Connect

 
As colleagues we deeply value the collaborative avenues opened by the artistic process. For the Middle and Upper Schools, physical proximity places limits on the depth and frequency of our and our students’ opportunity to mingle creatively. We have moments of incredible synergy—like when a student in Mark Pritchard’s music composition class works on a score for one of my student’s films or sound design for one of Deirdre’s plays. Collaboration is a core value, yet restrictions of time and distance push these moments to the periphery.
 
As education theorist Heidi Hayes Jacobs observes, the most authentic integrations are those driven by the students themselves. Picture the student dance group working in conjunction with photographers to build a multimedia performance for the Diversity Conference, the painter developing a mural for the math building based on mathematical algorithms, a group designing sustainable furniture for community partners. Our students are already making these things happen—we’ve fostered that habit of mind in spite of limited physical space. The legacy of Priscilla Gabel is most alive in these moments. Imagine the future where our core values move to the physical core of our campus—a space where the creative process can be witnessed by our community at large, where distinct voices of student artists and musicians meld into a dynamic cacophony of inspiration, and where collaboration and creative risk-taking can thrive, unbridled.
 
Nance Leonhardt teaches Upper School media arts.  

 

A Campaign for Arts & Minds

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From the Summer 2011 Caller

In this issue you will meet some of our most creative and talented alumni, all of whom found their time at Catlin Gabel important to their creative development. Creative freedom takes place in the science lab as much as it does in the painting and drawing studio. The way the robotics team comes together to map out their technical strategy for competition is akin to drama students coming together to write, cast, stage, and perform their annual one-act plays. And the thought process a student uses to troubleshoot a buggy line of code in computer science class involves the same set of synapses as when that same student tries to figure out why her timing is off in her original film score.

Exercising the creative mind is at the core of a Catlin Gabel education. We are currently in the leadership phase of a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds to elevate this commitment to our students and their education. Catlin Gabel’s Campaign for Arts and Minds has two components: building our endowment, with special emphasis on financial aid, and building a new Creative Arts Center for the Middle and Upper Schools.
 
The campaign began quietly in the fall of 2007 and has picked up momentum during the past year. Our most loyal and engaged donors have stepped up to the challenge of investing in our students, their creative minds, and their bright futures.
 

THE ENDOWMENT

As the campaign continues, we will tell you more in future issues of the Caller about the enormous effect that our various endowed funds have on our community. With an emphasis on building endowed funds for financial aid and for general purposes, this campaign effort experienced strong growth over the past year with a lead gift from Phil and Penny Knight. As of June 30, all of our endowed funds were valued at $21,800,000.
 

THE CREATIVE ARTS CENTER

“The arts are a core of Catlin Gabel’s philosophy and are key to a well-rounded education. In no other discipline do critical thinking, problem-solving, predicting outcomes, analyzing, re-assessing, and creativity come together as they do in the arts. . . . The intellectual challenges posed by visual art, music, and theater facilitate learning in all other disciplines. These vital pursuits help make our children more thoughtful, interesting, and well-rounded—and create a life of more profundity and beauty for all of us.” —Lark Palma, head of school
 

As you’ll discover in this issue, Catlin Gabel alumni have the creative bug. They credit their time on campus, their teachers, and their progressive education for influencing their ability to create and innovate in life and in work. If organizations should play to their strengths, then Catlin Gabel’s commitment to building a creative arts center for the Middle and Upper Schools is our way of demonstrating how fundamental creativity is to our educational philosophy.
Above: Creative Arts Center facade; right, aerial view; below, lobby.

 

CREATIVE ARTS CENTER HISTORY

Catlin Gabel has dreamed about a creative arts center, one that consolidates the visual, music, and drama classrooms scattered around campus, for the last 20 years. In the late 1980s, then-headmaster Jim Scott spoke seriously about bringing all the arts under one roof. And ever since current head Lark Palma set foot on campus in 1995, it was abundantly clear to her, a veteran drama teacher, that the arts facilities needed updating.
 
And the need has continued to grow. During the past two decades, the school and our arts offerings have grown, but the square footage per student dedicated to the arts has decreased. The lack of adequate space for teaching the arts has been singled out as an important area for improvement in our last two accreditation reports by the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools.
 
Finally, in 2007, Lark and the board of trustees, with input from the Catlin Gabel community, decided we could not put this off any longer. Planning for a new Creative Arts Center began in earnest that spring, led by a committee of staff, faculty, alumni, and trustees. The arts department faculty developed a set of needs and a vision for the art curriculum. Committee members visited peer schools up and down the West Coast and gathered data on best practices. All of this good work informed the original building design presented to the community in the fall of 2008 (see that issue of the Caller). Unfortunately, efforts fell short of the mark, and this initial Arts Center design did not fulfill all the programmatic and aesthetic requirements.
 
As the designs were being finalized, fundraising began in early 2008 just as winds from the looming “Great Recession” began to stir. The weak economic conditions of 2008 and 2009 exacerbated the tepid community response to the initial building design, forcing the school to make the hard yet courageous decision to pause the project so we could reevaluate and regroup.
 
In early 2010, with a year passed and time to reflect on the initial launch, the school brought the project out of hibernation. The recession had officially ended, and both enrollment and the Annual Fund were healthy. This renewed economic outlook served as a signal for the school to refocus on the project and explore new opportunities.
 
With a chance meeting between former trustee Jim John and world-renowned Portland architect Brad Cloepfil (see “Allied Works,” at right), a new phase to the project began. Brad had just finished high-profile arts projects in New York City, Montreal, and Dallas and was looking for a project back on his home turf. Jim, a seasoned developer and builder, thought that Brad would be just the person to reignite our Arts Center with a fresh and inspired design. We hope you’ll agree, when you see the design renderings, that Brad and his team delivered the right design at the right time.
 

MORE ROOM FOR CREATIVE ARTS

For US visual art, US choir, US media arts, MS drama, MS music, MS visual art
Current Square Footage: 6,786
Future Art Square Footage: 20,000
 
Creative Arts Center Layout Main Level
Gallery
Courtyard (outdoor)
Media Arts
Theater Control Room
MS Visual Arts
US Visual Arts
Shared print room
3D Studio
 
Lower Level
Black Box Theater (two levels)
Theater Tech Space
Drama Classroom
Instrumental Room
Choir Room
Music Laboratory
Practice Rooms
Instrument Storage Lockers  

GROUNDBREAKING

We expect to break ground in the fall of 2012, and the project will take about 15 months to build. This timeline is dictated entirely by how quickly our community raises the funds for design and construction. The overall project budget is estimated at $6.9 million. Prudently, our board mandates that we raise 80% of projected costs in pledges in order to break ground. As of June 30 we are just shy of having raised half of this amount, with approximately $2.3 million to go. We will look toward leadership donors this summer and fall to get us there. Please contact development director Eileen Andersen, 503-297-1894 ext. 306 or andersene@catlin.edu, to to learn more about our fundraising efforts. Catlin Gabel funds major capital projects entirely through contributions.
 
The board and administration’s conservative fiscal management has positioned the school with zero outstanding debt after completing the major construction projects of the past 20 years. The Murphy Athletic Complex, Warren Middle School, the Beehive, and most of the Upper School buildings were built without incurring debt. While this is unusual in the sea of heavily financed cultural projects throughout the city and region, it’s a distinction that makes us proud and contributes to the school’s financial health.
 

LAUNCH OF THE NEW PROJECT

The original project phase used a “design-build” strategy, where the school would contract with one firm that managed both the design and construction processes. This contractor, the Arts Center design committee, and the greater Catlin Gabel community vetted and chose the original designer after a thorough series of design proposals and presentations from a long list of architectural firms. When this second phase of the project began in early 2010, all the criteria and specifications for the building established by the committee and arts faculty in 2007 could be transferred to the new architect. This streamlined the hiring of the current designer, Allied Works Architecture. More important, this allowed us to save on the normally high costs of the schematic design phase and significantly shorten the project timeline. With the new project phase ready to launch, the school sought more project control and opted to engage both the contractor and architect directly, using separate contracts. The new arrangement encourages a healthy tension between our builder and architect by forcing both parties to balance the budget.
 

James E. John Construction

James E. John Construction (JEJ), the project general contractor, is a subsidiary of C. E. John Company, Inc., a diversified real estate development and management firm founded in 1947. Although JEJ is known for its Class A office and retail projects, it became clear early in the process that the firm not only had the talent and the resources to build a Brad Cloepfil building, but a keen understanding of how the new classrooms and spaces fit the needs of students and teachers. Current parent and former trustee Jim John, the project principal, provides close and careful management.
 

Allied Works

We are privileged to have our building designed by a world-renowned museum and creative space architect. Brad Cloepfil and his Allied Works Architecture team developed what has been overwhelmingly received by our community as an inspired, practical, and beautiful design. Portland native Brad Cloepfil studied architecture at the University of Oregon and earned an advanced degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture. In fact, his teacher and mentor at Oregon was Thomas Hacker, the principal architect and master planner for much of the Upper School you see today, including the Miller Library and Hillman Modern Languages buildings. Since Brad founded Allied Works in 1994, he has won commissions for some of the highest-profile cultural projects across the country, from the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis to the adaptive reuse of Manhattan’s Museum of Arts and Design on Columbus Circle. His West Coast projects include the renovated headquarters of Wieden + Kennedy in Portland’s Pearl District, the Seattle Art Museum, and a recently completed expansion of the Pixar Animation Studios headquarters in Emeryville, California. Allied Works’ art education facilities include the award-winning Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas (alumnae include Nora Jones, Edie Brickell, and Erykah Badu), the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and the Caldera Arts Center in Sisters, Oregon. “Catlin Gabel’s project for the new arts building means a tremendous amount to me,” says Brad. “To build on that beautiful campus, with the legacy of great architecture by John Storrs and Thomas Hacker, is a true gift. We have worked with faculty and students to create a building that will be a beautiful catalyst for creativity, not only in the visual and performing arts, but for the entire curriculum of the school. It truly is a laboratory, one that will encourage the students to develop new ideas and forms of expression.”
 

 

A New Creative Arts Center– Now is the Time

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By Lark P. Palma, head of school

From the Summer 2011 Caller

Our alumni will tell you: Catlin Gabel taught them habits of thinking and new ways to question their world—and new ways to practice and develop their innate creativity. These skills of thinking and creating serve them well as the basis for fulfilling careers and satisfying lives. And in fact these days, as the world quickly changes, creativity is fast becoming the skill that colleges, graduate schools, and employers look for first. In a time of rapid change, those who adapt and flourish best are those flexible thinkers who are not afraid of innovation.
 
There is no discipline better than the arts to encourage and develop creativity. Our classes in music, theater, visual art, media art, and woodshop call upon our students to stretch themselves, take enormous leaps, and learn to express themselves through mediums that are often unfamiliar, and scary at times. A blank canvas, a role in a play, an assignment to make a music video, an instrument they’ve never played before—all demand courage and a connection between brain, hand, and heart.
 
We’ve done amazingly well at Catlin Gabel over the years in providing places for creativity to take hold. But we can do better. You’ll read in this issue about our plans to build a new creative arts center. And I couldn’t be more thrilled to present these plans to you. I believe that this is what Catlin Gabel needs most right now, and I hope that my conviction and enthusiasm for this project will grab you, too.
 
As you walk our campus, you see students of all ages benefiting from the facilities we’ve built, such as our light-filled Miller Library, our Warren Middle School with its wonderful gathering space, the well-loved Lower School Art Barn, and Upper School science labs where authentic, original research is taking place. But our Middle and Upper School arts programs sorely lack the facilities they need to best help our students expand their creative skills.
 
We all gladly do what we can with what we have on campus. But it makes my heart sink to see our Middle Schoolers performing in the tiny, dilapidated Chipmunk Hollow, or watch Upper School students painting, printmaking, and drawing in a room that can’t accommodate a large work of art. It’s time for us to provide something more in keeping with our ambitions for our students.
 
By providing a center for creativity, we will send our students out in the world prepared to navigate a new landscape. Last year Newsweek published a feature story about the creativity crisis, noting that the U.S. is losing its status as the nation of ideas that others imitate. Fortune 500 companies must know it, because many now administer creativity tests to future employees. Colleges and universities realize this: among others, Princeton, Brown, Pomona, and Stanford are also building creative arts centers. Important discoveries in science, exceptional business models, and successes of all kinds are born from the wellspring of creativity—the new, the great idea.
 
In our new creative arts center, the free flow of thought, creative energy, and mixture of all the arts in true collaboration will help forge the kinds of minds that generate big ideas. Our students will build on those habits of creativity and confidence to be poised for innovation—in fields that include science, math, technology, and engineering. We have to make sure that our children can create jobs for themselves that don’t even exist yet, and that they have the fire and drive, fueled by creative thinking, to make a difference in this world. Let’s give our students the creative boost they need to succeed.

 

 

Summer Programs has a few spaces available

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Classes begin Tuesday, July 5

Classes for kids of all ages!

Review our catalog (below) for course descriptions. 

Enroll today! Tell your friends!

Contact Len Carr, program director, for additional information.

Summer Programs ~ our difference is learning

Catlin Gabel students help Michelle Obama fight AIDS in Botswana

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Catlin Gabel students helped paint a mural to welcome First Lady Michelle Obama to Botswana. The First Lady visited the Botswana-Baylor Centre for Children’s Excellence to highlight the organization’s efforts to develop a new treatment and counseling facility for HIV+ teens.

Thirteen students assisted local artist Lesedi to sketch and paint traditional Botswana figures, designs and backgrounds on a 30m concrete wall. The group also developed educational play activities for HIV+ youth awaiting treatment and counseling appointments.

In addition to the Baylor Centre, Catlin Gabel students provided support to the Maru-a-Pula Orphans and Vulnerable Children Fund, SOS Children’s Village, a health clinic in Thabala, and high school students in Gumare. Students met with Dr. Ava Avalos of the Ministry of Health and Thobo Mogojwe of PING (Positive Innovation for the Next Generation).

The Botswana-Baylor Centre is one of many partnerships between the Ministry of Health and international organizations, part of a coordinated, national effort to combat AIDS. Approximately 30% of all adults in Botswana are infected with HIV.

Each year, Catlin Gabel welcomes one Maru-a-Pula exchange student to Oregon. Catlin Gabel students are currently traveling through Botswana as part of the school’s global education program.

Further information:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13910916
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/24/us-obama-botswana-idUSTRE75N6DA20110624
http://www.bipai.org/
http://botswanateenclub.wordpress.com/
http://maruapula.org/support-map/orphans-vulnerable-children-bursary-fund
 

Alumni Weekend 2011 Photo Gallery

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June, 17, 18, 19

On Friday evening we honored award recipients Brenda Miller Olson, David Shipley '81, Roz Nelson Babener '68, and Angel Foster '91 followed by a festive dinner in the Barn. Unfortunately, Angel Foster was unable to attend the event, but she accepted her award via audio recording sent from Tunisia.

Despite steady rain on Saturday, the alumni soccer game in honor of retiring coach Mike Davis drew a crowd of players and fans. Lunch in the Barn was a drier affair.

Members of the class of 1946 came together for Sunday brunch in the Dant House.

Click on thumbnail to view images at larger size and download pictures.

Video: student-faculty Frisbee game in the Paddock

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Teachers and students challenged one another to a lively Frisbee game on the day before school ended in June 2011.

Kindergarten Olympics 2011 in 1 minute

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At the end of the school year annually, our kindergarteners enjoy their own Olympics with many fun events. The sun shone on them in 2011, and they had a great time.