Bethel School District Eugene OR

Bethel B-mail: February 2020


Straight From The Sources

Senator Wyden was interested in how to enhance mental health supports, so he listened to Willamette High School students in the Sources of Strength program. 

Word got out that Bethel was doing some good things around student mental health, so Senator Ron Wyden came to Willamette High School to learn more.

Senator Wyden met with nearly 20 Willamette students who are in the Sources of Strength class. Sources of Strength is a program that teaches students how to recognize and develop their own tools of support to help them through difficult times. It’s now implemented throughout Bethel at the middle and high school levels.

The Senator listened and learned as students shared what the Sources of Strength program has done for them and other students in Bethel.

Wyden was surprised by the unexpected benefits of the program – improved academic success for some students who were previously struggling.

I’m proud Wil-Hi students were able to tell their truth and that Senator Wyden was willing and eager to listen. More good things could come from this meeting.
Chris Parra
Bethel Superintendent


Stride To Ride

Kindergartners in McKenzie Bryant’s class at Prairie Mountain are learning to ride bicycles in PE.

It started at home. When McKenzie Bryant witnessed her 3 year old son learning to ride a bike, she wanted to bring that fun to her own kindergarten students at Prairie Mountain School.

Bryant applied through All Kids Bike, seeking 22 Strider bikes (no pedals attached) and helmets.

Her family and a stranger chipped in to support the project. Then a dear family friend, who had lost his bike-loving wife to cancer, donated $3,000 in her honor. Within a month the proposal was fully funded.

Now Bryant’s kindergartners can be found coasting in the school gym during PE. This teacher’s wish has come true, and her students are absolutely loving it.


Rising From The Ashes

The long wait for a replacement playground structure is over for students at Meadow View.

Patience has been rewarded at Meadow View School.

Since their playground structure was destroyed by arson last May, kids have been waiting for a replacement where they could climb, slide and swing.

But, adult complications got in the way. Investigations, insurance, bidding, designing, manufacturing, and finally the weather.

Now the new play structure is up and open to the delight of Meadow View students and neighborhood families.

It is bigger and better than ever, and it’s still not complete. When the weather warms on a consistent basis, the temporary wood chips will be removed and a permanent pour-in-place rubber landing surface will be installed.


Lunch Buddies

Shasta 8th grader Olivia Bondio leads a lunchtime discussion during No One Eats Alone Day.

For some, lunch is an eagerly anticipated time. For others, it’s a dreaded and lonely part of the day.

No One Eats Alone is a student-led national program to address the problem that not all kids are feeling included and accepted at school.

Shasta Middle School students in the Sources of Strength program jumped at the chance to show that all the kids at the school are valued.

Kids were separated into random lunchtime groups with the Sources students facilitating conversations.

One day of mixing groups at lunch won’t work miracles, but acknowledging the issue and trying to address it is a strong step in the right direction.


Turning The Tables

Having won the Midwestern League championship, the Willamette Chess team advances to the state tournament.

They’ve experienced the thrill of victory, not long after they suffered through the agony of defeat.

The Willamette Chess team has won the Midwestern League championship after winning only one match a year ago.

The worst-to-first turnaround now leads to the state tournament in Cottage Grove.

It won’t be anything new for some of these players. Wil-Hi’s chess team hosted the state tourney two years ago.


The Universal Language

Buddy Day at Meadow View allows older students to serve as leaders while giving younger peers someone to look up to.

Kindness was in the air at Malabon as students took a week to emphasize friendship and service.

Danebo’s focus on kindness is month-long with students encouraged to be the “I” in kind.

Kindness Week at Meadow View wrapped up with Buddy Day, always among the school’s most popular activities. Older students paired with younger peers for fun activities and an opportunity to make new friends.

Being compassionate, sympathetic and thoughtful is a lesson students are consistently taught, but having a school-wide focus on kindness helps kids become more aware of their actions and their effects.


Playing Around

Shasta’s Jazz Band started the competition season with a strong showing at the West Salem Jazz Festival.

It’s in the spring when trophies start sprouting in the Shasta Band room.

The school’s renowned Jazz Band started the competition season with a strong second place finish at the West Salem Jazz Festival.

Under the guidance of teacher Mike Reetz, the Shasta band performed at the Oregon Jazz Festival at the University of Oregon in January. The judges staged an evening concert and Shasta was one of the two “star” bands from the festival welcomed back to open the night’s show.

It’s a young group, with 7th graders making up nearly half of the Jazz Band. They’ll get put to the test at their own Shasta Invitational, followed by competitions in Pleasant Hill and Bellevue, Washington.


Safety First

Kids practice crossing the street in the final lesson from their Pedestrian Safety class.

Use your head before your feet. That’s part of the message shared in the Pedestrian Safety class offered Bethel students by the City of Eugene’s River House Outdoor Center.

In partnership with Bethel’s Safe Routes to School, Pedestrian Safety is a 2-session unit that teaches students the basics of safe walking, street crossing, and the importance of road awareness.

Classroom learning is put to the test in a walk around the school’s neighborhood. Kids practice where to look and what to listen for, and utilize signals to show a driver of the intention to cross. They even learn to identify whether it’s safe to walk behind parked cars.

The training has started with all Meadow View second graders and will make its way throughout the district this spring.


Prime Time Players

When they took the stage, about half of the Oregon Jazz Festival All Star Big Band was made up of Willamette musicians.

Luke Turner, Brody Gilbert, Sampson Prentice, Israel Alvarez, Christian Martinez, Eric Deaton, Caleb Davis and Jay Veach were selected to the festival’s elite band to back-up guest trumpeter Sean Jones from New York.

On this piece you’ll see solos by Davis on trumpet and Turner on alto sax.



The Honor Of The Honor

Kendra Jagger receives a certificate and $100 from Tim Fox and Bill Barrett, hosts of the KKNU morning show.

A couple of local radio personalities were spotted at Prairie Mountain School.

It turns out a parent was so thankful for what teacher Kendra Jagger did for her child that she nominated Jagger for an award.

That’s was brought Tim Fox and Bill Barrett from New Country 93.3 to Jagger’s class, presenting her with a certificate for Excellence in Education and a $100 check.

In conjunction with Northwest Community Credit Union, KKNU’s Excellence in Education award is presented monthly to an individual who is making a difference in our schools and community.

The award is something to be proud of, but equally rewarding for Jagger is the fact that a parent took the time and trouble to nominate her for recognition.

If you want to get in on the fun, you can submit an award nomination here. 


Future First Citizen

WHS senior Elizabeth Ortiz was honored with the Future First Citizen award from the Chamber of Commerce.

She’s been a Bethel student since she enrolled as a kindergartner, fresh from Mexico and not speaking a word of English.

Today, Willamette senior Elizabeth Ortiz is the winner of the Future First Citizen award, presented by the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce. It recognizes one local high school senior who has made notable contributions to our community.

Along with being Wil-Hi’s senior class president, Elizabeth is a peer tutor, a PeaceHealth volunteer, the Head Coordinator of the Wolverine Pageant, the Willamette student representative to the School Board, and is involved in a number of other groups, clubs and activities at school and in the community.

With that impressive resume, there’s no surprise that her long-term goal is to become a neonatal surgeon.

It’s clear that Elizabeth is an outstanding representative of Bethel and the City of Eugene.

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