Local Courses for 2016

New to Portland: The Refugee Experience 

Meet the newest Portlanders.  While we won’t be traveling internationally, this course has a deeply international focus.  Refugees from many parts of the world are relocated to our city throughout the year and are immediately faced with the challenges of navigating and belonging to a new land.  We will delve into the experiences, needs and challenges of refugees in Portland by readying an apartment for new arrivals, participating in an airport welcome, providing cultural orientation classes, and simply spending time together sharing our stories and lives.  We will further engage in discussion with resettlement agencies and community leaders who are working to positively impact these vibrant and unique communities that are invaluable to our city.  

NOTE: There will be a few days where we will shift our schedule in order to participate in late afternoon activities with refugee families.

  • Enrollment: 6 students
  • Cost: Free (except for some money for a few lunches out)
  • Course leader: Tyler Green

Maker, Fitness and Service 

Are you inspired by the MAKER movement? Do you have the desire to complete one of the many cool MAKER projects from the infamous MAKE magazine but don't have the time or resources?  How about combining this with some physical activity and service?  If so, this Winterim is for you.  We will exercise our mind by spending 5 days completing MAKER projects while taking breaks to challenge our physical beings.  On the final day, we will share our creations with the local community.

  • Enrollment: 10-16
  • Cost: $75 (this is for supplies for the Maker activities)
  • Course leaders: Catherine Molloseau and Jacqui Gardner

Habitat, Housing and Whole Communities 

For the first half of Winterim, we’ll spend time learning about the lack of affordable housing and gentrification issues that Portland faces. We’ll explore communities in Portland that have changed drastically and those for which changes are quickly coming. For the second half of winterim, we’ll address these issues by helping to build a house for a family in need. After a winter of school work, imagine how great it’ll feel to pick up a hammer and build something—work with your hands and see the fruits of your labor! We’ll team up with local Habitat volunteers on a construction site near OES, carrying forward the steady work of raising a house; we’ll also spend time helping out in a Habitat ReStore, which sells donated home furnishings. If you’ll be sixteen or older, you are eligible to join us; if you’re wondering where to find that really cool service project, look no further! Come learn more about the challenges facing Portland and make a difference in somebody’s life!

  • Enrollment: 18 students (MUST BE 16 YEARS OLD BY MARCH 20, 2016)
  • Cost: Free (except for some money for a couple lunches out)
  • Course leaders: Lauren Shareshian, Katrina Perry, Mike Gwaltney, and TBD

Head Start Helper 

Head Start is a federally funded preschool program for low-income families. Their mission is to provide a safe, nurturing, caring, and culturally sensitive environment for their young students. As a Head Start Helper, you will read to children, play educational games, assist the teaching staff with classroom activities, and help supervise outdoor play. You will have the opportunity to interact and develop meaningful relationships with young children from very diverse backgrounds. Participants in this Winterim will earn service learning hours and may turn the experience into a service learning project.

  • Enrollment: 6-7
  • Cost: Free

Starting a Business - Lessons from Entrepreneurs

Ever thought of starting a business?  Have a great idea, but not a clue about what it takes to make that idea a reality?  Each morning of this Winterim course, we will discuss important foundational topics like idea evaluation, building a sound business model, writing a business plan, forming a team and raising capital.  We will draw on selected books and case study material as needed, and discuss startup ideas that students may have.

Each afternoon we will sit down with an actual entrepreneur from the Portland area to hear directly how they succeeded…or failed…in building their business.

Have a great idea?  Bring it.  Don’t have an idea, but think you might want to be an entrepreneur some day?  Join us.

  • Enrollment: 12
  • Cost: Free
  • Course leaders: Jack Phillips and other local entrepreneurs, and VJ Sathyaraj

Brick Oven Pizza Build and Cooking  

Help us build a portable, wood-fired pizza oven from the ground up. Masonry ovens are one of the oldest cooking technologies around. Wood-fired ovens are great for baking breads, pizzas, roasting meats and vegetables.A well-crafted masonry oven, once heated stays hot for hours, allowing one to bake bread for a village. Try your hand at design, masonry, construction, and wood-fired cooking and baking. We will visit with professional craftspeople and artisan bakers to help us design and build a working oven for the OES village.  

  • Enrollment: 6-12
  • Cost: Free, with the exception of a few lunches out
  • Course leaders: Deri Bash, Brad Hoffman and Peter Buonincontro

Get in the Swing: The Basics of Golf

This course is designed to teach the basics of golf, and is intended for beginning and intermediate golfers. Each day our group will go to a local course, where students will receive instruction on the full swing, chipping, and putting. There will be ample time for practicing these skills, but we will also provide plenty of opportunities to take your skills out on the course. Golf etiquette will also be emphasized, so you will always be welcome at any course you visit. During the week we will play at least 36 holes of golf on full-size courses. Depending on weather and the interests of this year's group, we might do some mini-golf as well. Sustenance is an important part of every golfer’s game, so daily visits to the snack shack or a nearby eatery will also be a priority.

  • Enrollment: 14
  • Cost: $150 plus some spending money for snacks
  • Course leaders: Joel Gray, Cameron Jack

Lower School Interns  

Have you always dreamed of going back to your 1st grade classroom? Thinking about being a teacher someday? Here is your opportunity to explore those dreams and return to the Lower School for the Lower School Internship program. You will be spending time with our young OESians, helping them out in the classroom or other activities, such as P.E., science or art. You will be able to choose the age group and specialty. These children will know and love you forever!

  • Enrollment: 8
  • Cost: Free
  • Course leader: Robin Weitzer

Being Vegan - Delicious Food and Compassionate Action 

This course is designed to introduce students to what veganism is, and how it is more than just a dietary choice. Students will learn about and cook delicious foods (many of which they might already enjoy, such as hummus) as well as what veganism means in terms of lifestyle choices and activism.

The course will include at least four days of cooking, complete with basic skills development and common techniques used in all kinds of cooking (how to hold a knife, peel garlic, measuring, etc.). Students will learn how to prepare several different dishes including snacks, appetizers, main courses and desserts. One day will feature instruction by local chef Aaron Adams, founder and owner of Farm Spirit, a local reserved single-seating multiple-course restaurant that serves vegan meals (http://farmspiritpdx.com/). Two days will also be spent volunteering at local farm sanctuaries, places where animals typically raised for food purposes are rescued and brought to live out cruelty-free lives. This type of work includes things like barn work, simple animal care, basic building maintenance and other work that needs to be done on a farm.

The week will culminate in an evening’s meal at Farm Spirit on Wednesday, March 23 at 7pm to see chef Adams and his team in action.

NOTE: Participation in this course will include Saturday, March 19.

  • Enrollment: 6-10
  • Cost: $300
  • Course leader: Adam Steele

Environmental Art: Outdoor Mosaics 

In this Winterim we will work together to create a mosaic art piece here on campus. We will decide as a group whether we want to create a colorful mosaic bench, a series of Mexican pebble mosaic pavers, or a mosaic mural on one of the many blank outside walls around campus. (Or perhaps we’ll divide into teams and create more than one campus project!) We’ll also make sure to set aside time for each participant to make at least one mosaic piece to take home. We’ll take a couple field trips to seek materials and inspiration, and of course we’ll sample some of Portland’s famous food-cart cuisine while we’re out and about. If you’d like to learn an art form that stretches across many cultures, to make something new and lovely for yourself, and to literally leave a beautiful mark here on campus, sign up!

  • Enrollment: 6-10
  • Cost: Free plus some money for a few lunches out and perhaps some scrap tile for a personal project
  • Course leader: Tna Meyerhoff

Game Play and Design

This course introduces students to the various game-playing genres of card and board games. Students will play mostly unfamiliar games that require them to think strategically, collaboratively, and creatively.  After building a level of competence and discovering the game mechanics they enjoy the most, the goal will be to combine their favorite features and design their own game.  In addition, students will receive instruction from a professional game designer and take a trip to a game museum.

  • Enrollment: 12-18
  • Cost: Free
  • Course leaders: Gabe Edge, C.T. Henry

Still Life With Duck

We will explore the culinary arts through the lens of food preservation. Together we will make feta cheese (a form of salt preservation), learn the art of pickling and canning various vegetables and fruits, and then turn our attention to ducks. Students will learn how to butcher a duck and make duck confit, a fascinating (and delicious!) method of preserving meat by submerging it in it’s own fat in order to protect it from air and bacteria. The class will culminate in a festive meal: students will plan and prepare an elegant dinner for their parents, dorm parents, or guardians. Bon appetit!

  • Enrollment: 10-12
  • Cost: $500
  • Course leader: Kara Tambellini and Julie Sikkink, with local butcher Camas Davis

Portland: Then and Now - Digital Photography

Portland has earned a reputation as one of the country’s most progressive cities, with a population on the go, and yet it is also a city with a past, a past that was not always as progressive, not always as creative, a past whose story needs to be told and understood if we are to address some of the city’s more persistent challenges. In this all-day Winterim we invite students to develop and apply their creative skills to explore and capture Portlanders in action, past and present, through the medium of digital photography. We will explore the equipment, techniques, and potential of digital photography at OES, employing the studio facilities of the theater lab and the editing equipment of the OES Mac Lab (including Adobe Photoshop Lightroom); we will head downtown and to various destinations around town before returning to OES to edit, critique, print, and curate exhibition of our work. How can a photograph capture time? What does it mean to represent the present, to represent the past? What is/was going on in Portland? What creative things can one do with digital photography and with exhibitions?

  • Enrollment: 12-16
  • Cost: Free
  • Course leaders: Jordan Elliott and John Holloran

Create and Awesome Quilt 

Quilting is a great opportunity to explore your artistic side as you learn a new skill and create something that is uniquely yours. Learn to sew with a machine or sharpen skills that you already have as you create and construct a pillowcase and a full size quilt. This beginner’s class will teach you how to use a sewing machine and cut material with a rotary cutter. We will head to the fabric store on our first day together and buy our quilting supplies. In addition, we will work as a team to complete a service quilt that will be donated to a local agency that serves children and adults with physical and emotional needs. Sewing machines will be available to borrow if you don’t have one. You will also earn a few on or off-campus service hours. If you discover that you really enjoy quilting, you can explore opportunities for a Service Project that could be completed after our Winterim course.

  • Enrollment: 6
  • Cost: $95
  • Course leaders: Sandi Lillievik and guest instructor Cathy Diss

Play in a Week: “Bah! It’s a Flesh Wound!”

In one week, we will produce a theatrical version of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” to be presented on the final day of Winterim to whatever audience shows up. Students will be actors, costumers, prop collectors and builders, musicians, technicians, and set constructors. No prior Python knowledge required! If you have no horse, bring a coconut.

  • Enrollment: 10-16
  • Cost: Free
  • Course leaders: Debby Schauffler and Art Ward

Woodworking: Repurposing and Hand-Tool Use

Guest artist Amy McAuley, creator of the new OES cross and owner of Oculus Fine Carpentry, will teach students how to create a simple and beautiful piece of furniture from repurposed wood using only hand tools. We’ll begin by designing individual projects, seek out salvaged wood from various sources around Portland, and learn the honored craft of creating a piece of furniture with your own hands. We’ll seek inspiration from nature, other artisans, and the wood itself. You’ll walk away from the week with a lovely piece and a new respect for the furniture you use every day!

  • Enrollment: 6-10
  • Cost: Approx. $100 for materials and instruction
  • Course leaders: Tna Meyerhoff and guest teacher Amy McAuley

Helping Hands  

Six days of service to the community and learning about how our community supports those in need. This year we’ll focus on the experience of homelessness, and explore different points of view: adults, families, children, youth, homeless advocates and allies, and even our homeless canine & feline friends. Students are encouraged to take a leading role in planning our activities. Participants earn 20-30 or so hours of off-campus credit in the week, or can get a good start on a long-term SL Project. Plus, you'll reap the great rewards of doing something to help others, and learning a lot in the process. Daily reflection time, posting to a group blog, and planning for future service are all part of the schedule. And, it’s fun!

  • Enrollment: 6
  • Cost: Free
  • Course leader: Robin Schauffler

All Things Fire!

Come explore the arts centered on the theme of FIRE! We will cook with fire, go to a glass blowing studio and make hand-blow glass with fire, learn how to enamel and make artistic jewelry, paint with candles and fire, and learn how to do the Flame-nco! We will also visit a fire station and see what professional fire fighters do to work safely in the unpredictable nature of fire. A special highlight of the week, will be a field trip to see the Museum of Glass and the Hot Shop (where they kilnfire glass) and Dale Chihuly’s famous bridge with art glass in Tacoma, Washington.

  • Enrollment: 14
  • Cost: $160
  • Course leader: Sue Jensen and Tanja Horvat


Discovery is a 5 day, 40 hour apprenticeship opportunity open to 10th-12th graders who want to create their own individualized learning experience. The deadline for submitting an application to do a Discovery during Winterim 2016 was November 13, 2015. Students who have not already submitted an application may not register to do a Discovery during Winterim 2016. If you are interested in setting up an apprenticeship for the future, and would like to learn more about Discovery, please click here http://www.oes.edu/us/discovery/

  • Dates: Winterim or spring break 2016
  • Enrollment: Open to students who have already completed the proposal process
  • Cost: Free
  • Course leaders: Dana Mosher Lewis, Corbet Clark 

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