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LeVar Burton brings Reading Rainbow to Liberty Elementary

Posted on: September 16, 2016

Liberty Elementary students enjoyed a special assembly on Friday with a very special guest. Actor, author, TV celebrity and reading activist LeVar Burton visited the school to read to students.

Burton hosted the early childhood reading show, “Reading Rainbow,” for 26 years, making it the longest running children’s program and earning more than 200 awards.

He entertained the students with story time and Reading Rainbow Video Fieldtrips, including, “How Do Astronauts Poop in Space?” and “I Love My Job Because.”

Burton said he gets a lot of space related questions because of his work on the TV series Star Trek.

The assembly also included a reading of Burton’s new book, “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm” and active dance and movement time, led by Kindermusik teacher Sue Hardin.

The school assembly was brought to Liberty by an anonymous donor who sponsored assemblies at five schools around the country.

Read more in the Democrat-Herald.

Calapooia CLIMB inspires students to reach educational goals

Posted on: September 15, 2016

Calapooia Middle School Cougars are Courageous, Leaders, have Integrity, have a positive Mindset, Belong at the School.

These character traits spell out CLIMB, a new student engagement initiative that uses mountain climbing as a metaphor for overcoming obstacles and reaching goals.

The program is a new idea from teachers Stephanie Watson and Margo DeYoung. “Our teachers and administrators were looking to change our school climate, increase students’ engagement in school, and re-imagine our character education goals,” said Watson.

In a presenation to students, they explained why they chose the mountain as a metaphor:

“Mountain climbing is an amazing challenge that pushes people to their absolute limits. Anyone who conquers a mountain comes away as a changed person. But the mountain can also represent the journeys we take in life. Most of us will climb several “mountains” in our lives. Some people will be too afraid to ever try. What are some “mountains” you hope to conquer?”

Over the summer, Watson said, a group of five teachers came together and wrote Base Camp (advisory) lessons for 6-8 grade that they felt would help meet goals and student needs at the school.

“Our number one goal was to create an experience and environment in which students to want to engage in school and in which students have a vision of the future that inspires them. Our hope is that this proactive approach decreases our need to be reactionary in our management.”

CLIMB kicked off with a student assembly where students learned their mountain climbing goals and received team t-shirts.

Learn more about Calapooia CLIMB. 

SAHS construction students take orders for garden sheds

Posted on: September 13, 2016

The GAPS community can support students and get a new garden shed. South Albany High School building technology students are taking orders now for high-quality, low-cost wooden sheds.

If interested, contact Construction and Metals Technology teacher Matt West at or 541-979-3433.

Ordering information from Matt:

My name is Matt West, and I am the Construction and Metals Technology teacher at South Albany High School. At this time, I am offering to all an opportunity to use my Building Technology students’ talents to build your new shed, at the very low price of only the cost of materials and a donation. We are willing to work with our customers to build custom, made-to-order items at a bargain prices.

Our prices will be about a third to half of the cost that you would typically pay for a similar sized and quality wood shed at a commercial location. Most importantly, if you are concerned with the potential quality of a student-created project, rest assured that I will personally oversee every step of the process and I have over 20 years in the construction industry, and I know quality and will only accept professional work from my students.

Lastly, if you do not currently have a need for a quality built shed/etc, will you please pass this email along to local friends and family. They may contact me via email at or phone at 541-979-3433.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Matt West

Kindergarten students start school today

Posted on: September 12, 2016

Today was the first day of school for kindergarten students in Greater Albany Public Schools. More than 700 kindergartners showed up for class at the District’s 14 elementary schools.

Kindergarten is an important introduction to school. Students learn social and academic skills and how to be successful in the school system.

Kindergarten instruction is designed to help students meet state standards in language arts, math, science and social sciences. Read about Oregon kindergarten standards. 

Enrollment in Greater Albany schools is up this year in almost all grades. This is the second year of full-day kindergarten in the District.