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Community Link Spring 2024

Two girls smiling while playing on the playground of their preschool

The Finish Line is Near

Even if your family no longer has school-aged children, you can almost hear the cheering in the distance this time of year for student accomplishments…the finish line of another school year is drawing near. When our students and families took their first steps on this yearly marathon back in September, they likely didn’t know what was ahead of them during this 2023-24 journey.
While nobody could’ve predicted the challenges we’ve faced (a weeklong ice storm in January?), we’re so grateful to NCSD families for trusting us—your teachers, your paraeducators, your counselors, your coaches, and your district office support staff—as we’ve run alongside to support and learn from you throughout the year, helping you up when you fell and giving you bursts of encouragement to keep going. The finish line is now in sight, so I encourage you to keep up the pace during these last weeks of classes, take rest breaks when you need them, but concentrate on finishing this school year strong and proud of all your achievements throughout the year!   
Like a marathon, navigating a school year is not an easy task. You need a team—to guide you on your path, to help you reach your goals, and to cheer you on every step of the way. In North Clackamas, our most valuable teammates consist of our families and community partners as you’ll find in our Strategic Plan’s Family & Community Collaboration section. (Show graphic off to side)
Throughout this school year, we’ve continued to stride toward ensuring two-way communication between families, schools, and the district. Thank you to all families and community members who attended our “Community Conversations” throughout the school year, where we conducted open, honest discussions about topics ranging from kindergarten readiness to high school rigor. We’ve also initiated a new weekly video series called “5 On Friday,” where I step out of my comfort zone on camera to give you a “behind the scenes” look at the most interesting people and places throughout our district.    
The Family & Community Collaboration section of our Strategic Plan also states that we’ll “Create new and nurture existing community partnerships that advance the school district mission and vision.” Three such partnerships immediately stand out and continue to thrive. First, we’re so grateful to work side by side with the North Clackamas Education Foundation, which recently raised $125,000 in its “Let’s Grow” Gala in April, all of which will be invested in NCSD staff and students. Second, our partnership with Clackamas Community College continues to allow our students to earn college credits on their transcripts before high school graduation, while our Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Technical Center provides students both high school and college credit options in 18 different career fields. Finally, we’re proud of our continued cooperation with the Clackamas Workforce Partnership to help build an inclusive staff that reflects the diversity of our students and families.
The end of a school year is a finish line and should certainly be celebrated, but all of us in NCSD are already lacing up our shoes and getting ready for new challenges ahead in 2024-25. As we continue working together with families and community partners, we know we’ll always help each other finish strong!
Dr. Shay James
North Clackamas School District

Interested in reading, seeing, and even hearing more amazing stories about NCSD students and staff across our school district? We encourage you to subscribe to our YouTube Channel (North Clackamas Schools) and download the NCTV app, where you'll find the latest episodes of NCSD NEWS and "5 On Friday With Dr. Shay James."  You can also find and subscribe to our "Proud To BE NCSD" podcast on nearly all podcast providers.

Group of middle school students.


Dual Language Immersion Says ¡Hola! to Rowe Middle School

As a student at Seth Lewelling Elementary School, fifth grader Krystal Miralrio has the unique ability to speak English throughout the school day with her teachers and friends, then talk about her day in Spanish when she returns home to her Spanish speaking parents. But Marcos Miralrio wanted to make sure his daughter continued to build her Spanish skills while learning in English. "It's about the roots," said Marcos. "If you're going to open doors in the future, it's important to have both languages."

That's why when NCSD announced an expansion of its Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program to Rowe Middle School starting this fall, the Miralrios immediately signed up Krystal to join sister Alexia, who already attends Rowe in 7th grade. "We were thrilled to hear about Rowe," said an excited Marcos. "The girls speak English to each other, but my wife and I want them to keep learning Spanish."

NCSD’s Spanish DLI program began when El Puente Bilingual School opened 20 years ago. Starting this fall, students can enroll in DLI programs at Rowe and six other school locations, including Riverside Elementary, Milwaukie El Puente Elementary, Lot Whitcomb Elementary, Alder Creek Middle, and Rex Putnam High School.

With the DLI program's goal of all students becoming bilingual and biliterate by 12th grade, kindergarten students receive 80% of instruction in Spanish and 20% in English. Gradually, students receive more English instruction until it is about 50% Spanish and 50% English in 4th and 5th grade. Only one language is used at a time and is not translated. 

In middle school, students in the DLI Program attend 3 of 10 class periods in Spanish. High school students have the opportunity to continue their education in Spanish at Rex Putnam, where in 9th and 10th grade,they can take advanced Spanish reading and writing courses. International Baccalaureate (IB) Spanish is available in 11th and 12th grade, which is a two-year honors program teaching college level content for potential college credit. 

“Something that I liked [about the DLI program] is having a connection to my culture,” said Rex Putnam Senior Leslie Osorio. “I remember, I think it was first or second grade, we had a cultural day, so everybody brought their own food, like tamales, whatever it was from their culture. And it was just very interesting to see all these people come together and make food.”

With this fall’s expansion, DLI students living within the Alder Creek, Happy Valley, and Rock Creek attendance areas will continue attending Alder Creek Middle School, and families who live within the Rowe boundary will now be able to attend their neighborhood middle school. 

The Miralrios recently attended a DLI Welcome Night hosted by Rowe staff and students, including Alexia who performed in a dance group. The school plans to offer more opportunities for students from different elementary schools to meet.

"The Rowe staff is honored to be chosen as the next Dual Language Immersion School," said Principal Emily Moore. "We have been meeting as a staff and with 5th grade families to make sure everyone's feeling confident and prepared for the fall."

Click here to find out more information about NCSD’s Dual Language Immersion Program.

Find out more information about NCSD’s Dual Language Immersion Program

Group of students holding flags from various latin-american countries.
Group of middle school students.
Group holding the Mexican flag.
Three girls in Sabin's automotive class.


Girl Power Soars In SSC’s Automotive Class

Take a tour through any of NCSD’s Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Technical Center’s campuses during a school day, and you’ll likely see students precisely measuring wood angles and pouring over architecture plans as part of their Building Construction class…or students in full welding gear igniting sparks as they finish a project in their Manufacturing & Engineering class…or even students analyzing the profit margin of the center’s snack bar as part of a course in the Business & Management program.
Then there are juniors Emma Wesley, Maya Shearer, and Bella Dickerson, who each found a passion for fixing and maintaining cars in Sabin-Schellenberg’s Automotive program, inspiring them to create an after-school club aptly named, “Girls Get It Done." Their first order of business during a recent meeting? Changing the oil step-by-step of a Ford Fusion on campus. "That was pretty easy for me," said Dickerson, who attends Rex Putnam. "I think the hardest part was teaching and having to explain the steps so people could understand. I believe it's an incredible skill to know and could save people a lot of money if they knew how to do it themselves, especially with how much prices have gone up nowadays."
The Automotive curriculum certainly isn’t the only program in Sabin-Schellenberg’s impressive list of skills and trades inspiring NCSD students like “Girls Get It Done” year after year. When the campus opened in 1967 as the Owen Sabin Occupational Skills Center, it offered just three programs for juniors and seniors. Today, more than 3,400 9th-12th graders shuttle back and forth from their home high schools each day to Sabin-Schellenberg’s North and South campuses in Milwaukie, along with the Land Lab near Clackamas High School, allowing them to learn skills working with flat irons in Cosmetology to tire irons in Automotive…and from conducting live interviews in Broadcasting & Journalism to raising live animals as part of the award-winning Agriculture program.

"One of the biggest benefits of our program is that kids get to experiment with different things that may not be the career they eventually want," said Principal Ajai Huja. "And they learn a little bit more about what actually working in those fields are like, and they're able to rule out things, which I feel is a hidden benefit of our program. So a lot of our students take courses across multiple programs, which allows them to really understand what it is they want out of a work experience."
Eighteen different Career Programs are currently listed on the center’s website (see the full list below), and NCSD students say every course teaches invaluable skills for any career path post high-school.
"I plan on taking Diesel next year alongside Bella, and Programming and Coding," added Clackamas High School's Wesley. "It’s important to me to take both of these classes to hopefully have a leg up in the future, as I want to combine automotive and programming skills in my career."

Dickerson says NCSD students are lucky to have SSC as part of their high school experience. "I think the classes at the SSC campuses are a great experience and also offer tons of opportunities for people," said the 16-year-old. "We all are incredibly lucky to be able to have these programs and I think people take them for granted. You as well meet some incredible people from other schools in the district which I think is pretty cool."
"One of the great joys of my job is to go around and see students engaging in all of the different experiences that lead directly to work," added Principal Ajai Huja. "I tell people all the time that I get to walk around and see the magic happen every day, and I feel very proud to do that."
Want to learn more about each of Sabin-Schellenberg’s amazing programs? Visit

Three students and teacher at skills competition.
Student working in construction.
Two students working together.
Three girls in Sabin's automotive class.
Girl working in automotive program.
Three students with sign that says be positive.


All Signs Lead to Spreading Kindness

When Jake Lee asked his kindergarten students at Scouters Mountain Elementary about ways they could spread kindness throughout local neighborhoods, all 24 of his enthusiastic five- and six-year-olds immediately signed up.
And by “signing up,” that meant putting motivational signs up at landmarks all over the Scouters Mountain and Happy Valley area, including walking trails, parks, and even the local library.
“We were talking a lot about community helpers after reading a story in class,” said Lee, who like most NCSD kindergarten teachers, leads group discussions after reading picture books with students on a classroom carpet space. “I wanted the kids to realize that they’re also community helpers by spreading kindness across the community, and we came up with the signs and the messages of kindness on them.”
The signs’ messages are all colorfully decorated by “Lee’s Bees,” a nickname the teacher gave his busy, hard-working students at the beginning of the school year. Each eye-catching banner brightly displays a bee pun giving reminders to community members such as “Bee Brave” or “Bee Unique,” then asks them to snap a smiling photo with each sign they find during their outdoor activities. “We came up with the messages and they hand drew the bees,” said the proud teacher. “Then I was able to place the signs around town so the kids can not only find the sign, but also find their bee.”
And it didn’t take long for the bee-themed Kindy Kindness Photos to create quite a buzz on social media. “It makes my day every day,” said Lee, “Every day different kids and families find one and they love to email them to me with kindness quotes in the caption. Some of the parents are tagging on social media if they have the accounts, and I’ve been challenging them to expand it by telling friends and neighbors to find the signs as well.”
Just about every day, Lee shows his eager students how the project continues spreading, such as when a post comes in from students’ neighbors out walking their dogs or even Scouters Mountain teachers who live locally and come across signs during evening hours.
Lee and his kinders proudly bee-lieve they’re helping spread kindness throughout the community one photo at a time. “I found like ten of them,” excitedly shared six-year-old Parker Woodfill. “The signs help our community be kind to each other and that makes us happy, and then we can tell other people to find them.”
“The best part is that we’re filling people’s buckets up,” said 5-year-old Elina Volvovic. “That means we’re making people happy.”
“I feel like kids in kindergarten just get it still,” summed up Lee. “Like they’re still at that level where it just comes from inside of them so naturally, so to include them in this project has just been awesome. I just hope more people go out and find the signs and the more people who are tagging it, my kids will feel like they’re making more of an impact.”
Signs are located throughout Happy Valley and can be tagged on Instagram at Kindy_Kindness_Signs. Want to learn more about the story that inspired the project?  Check out Ordinary Mary and the Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson.

Girl standing behind kindy kindess sign.
Girl standing with kindy kindness sign.
Two boys standing with kindy kindness sign.
Two girls standing with kindy kindness sign.
Young girl standing with kindy kindness sign.
Boy and girl with kindy kindness sign.
Woman taking photo with kindy kindness sign.
Boy holding peace sign with kindy kindness sign.
Boy and girl hugging with kindy kindness sign.
Bobbie Reed with Students.


"Every School Should Have A Bobbie"

It was near the start of the school year in 2007, and as school buses filled with eager kids criss-crossed the neighborhood streets around her home, Milwaukie resident Bobbie Reed said she was “in a funk.”  The Chicago native and former Portland Public Schools librarian was mourning the recent loss of her mother and says she spent six months without any feeling of purpose or accomplishment. 
A persistent neighbor finally convinced Reed to visit a nearby elementary school. “And so it was like, OK, time to get out of my own way,” remembers Reed, who entered the school doors hoping she could maybe volunteer a few hours on a couple days each week.

Linwood Volunteer Bobbi Reed.

Luckily for Linwood Elementary staff members, students, and families, those few hours quickly turned into eight hours every day, and Reed’s outgoing personality has been a daily fixture at Linwood for the past 17 straight years…and counting!
“At first they hustled me down to the library because of my librarian experience,” recalls Reed. “But then I noticed all the laminating that teachers didn’t have time to do, so I learned how to laminate. Then it just kind of developed into taking care of the printing for teachers, or I cut squares of paper for art projects, and now I sub on the playground or in the cafeteria. I fill all the little cracks around the school.”
And every day for the past 17 years, Reed has been filling in those cracks to the delight of Linwood students and staff members, who still can’t believe how lucky they are to have such a dedicated volunteer among them every day, which is why they claim “Every school should have a Bobbie.”
“She’s like a friend who never leaves,” said a smiling Maeve Donahoe, whose third grade class sees Reed every week when they visit the library. “I like how she reads books to us and makes different voices for each character.”
And the voices of Linwood staff members are filled with admiration for their beloved volunteer colleague. “When I first got here, I was taken aback by having someone here all the time, just ready to help,” explained Instructional Coach Vickie Beraka. “She’s always asking if I have anything for her and I’m often giving her projects like organizing materials to help staff and students, and she gets it done that day. And if I don’t have something, she’s disappointed,” Beraka laughs.
Reed never feels any disappointment about taking those first steps through Linwood’s doors 17 years ago. “You know how you have a distant cousin who all of a sudden shows up? That was kind of how it was. They took me in and said, ‘You’re a part of us now.’  We’re family. We help each other, and it just makes life so much easier,” said Reed, tears welling up in her eyes. “Like yesterday I had a birthday, and I got a card from everybody. I just love it here.”
So how much longer can students and staff count on seeing Mrs. Reed in the hallways? “Oh I don’t know,” Reed giggles, “since I don’t consider myself old yet. I have no idea, but I’ll be here until either they don’t need me or I just get old, I guess.”  Linwood community members shouldn’t worry-- neither of those scenarios seem likely anytime soon.

Linwood volunteer helping student in library.
Students sharing books with Linwood volunteer.
Linwood volunteer helping check books in a the library.
Linwood volunteer surrounded by stuents.
Three New Urban graduates.

New Urban Celebrates 20 Years

Once a single computer lab within the Sabin Schellenberg Career Professional Center, New Urban High School is now celebrating 20 years as a model learning environment for students seeking a more individualized high school experience. 

The school opened in 2004 as a magnet school on the Schellenberg campus to provide an innovative educational approach for high school students. The newly-created school was funded by the Bill Gates Foundation's technology and small schools grant, which provided a computer for each student.

Within the small computer lab, New Urban’s founding teachers were able to create a school culture that fostered creativity, teamwork, and a little friendly competition. 

“New Urban High School emerged as a beacon of educational innovation for non-traditional students who many labeled as disenfranchised, where the pursuit of knowledge was synonymous with collaboration, creativity, and a relentless commitment to pushing the boundaries of traditional schooling.” wrote Kirstan Fangler, who teaches science at New Urban.

The school has now grown into its current location, a beautifully reconstructed building on the former site of the original Oak Grove Elementary. While the location has changed, New Urban’s culture of care, innovation, and a more personalized learning experience for students continues 20 years later. The innovative high school still focuses on project based learning, and finds opportunities for students to explore more individualized interests while meeting academic standards. 

School traditions have emerged over the past 20 years, including a Student Exhibition of Learning event twice per year, allowing students to celebrate and showcase what they’ve learned over the semester with friends, family, and community members. These exhibitions focus on academic and personal growth, allowing students to reflect on their academic accomplishments, identify areas of improvement, and celebrate the milestones along the way. February's exhibition allowed staff and community members to celebrate their two decades of accomplishments.

"It is an honor to lead such a special school and staff community," said Principal Celeste Pellicci. "Every day I see our students growing and flourishing with our care and attention. Twenty years is an exciting milestone. I look forward to our continued success!"

New Urban’s second Student Exhibition of Learning takes place on Thursday, May 30th, where community members can view the many impressive projects students have been working on throughout the spring semester. 

New Urban is accepting applications for the 2024-2025 school year!  You can find more information about the application process online.

Four debate team finalists

No Debating These Talented Cavs!

Not all state championships are won during athletic events. Congratulations to the hard-working members of Clackamas High School’s Speech & Debate team, who competed among 58 schools and 451 entries in April’s OSAA State Speech & Debate Championships. Senior Zoe Klawetter was crowned state champion in Radio Commentary and a finalist in Lincoln Douglas Debate. Senior Elizabeth Tran won the state championship in Dramatic Interpretation. Senior Rainie Chan, junior Hai Nguyen, and sophomore Ethan Parker also reached the semifinals in several events. All five will take their talents to the National Championships in Des Moines, IA in mid-June.

Student wearing red blazer holding medal.
Boy holding medal from speech and debate competition.
Girl smiling and holding medal from speech and debate competition.
Student holding medal.
Speech and debate student.
Group of speech and debate students.