A Message from the Division Head

by Asha Appel

Need to Know for Friday, April 19

  • This week, we welcomed 16 visitors from France as the second part of our exchange program with the L’Internat Sainte-Marie La Verpillière school, which is located just outside Lyon. Program leader and French Teacher Katrina Perry, writes, "We would like to extend a huge MERCI to the 16 generous and welcoming families, both day and dorm, who are hosting our French guests." Despite the understandable sadness they feel this week given the fire in Notre Dame, the students and teachers have been upbeat on their adventures both in and out of school. We're excited that they will be in attendance for Culture Shock on April 25th, as this event aligns with the program's mission of inclusive education. 
  • May 2 is Senior Photo Day. Seniors should think about dressing a bit more formally than they do for the regular school day, as these pictures will join the other class composite photos dating back to 1881!
  • Spring sports action is in full swing. Click here to see some great photos from last week's home track and field meet. 
  • Howard Hiton, who spoke to 9th grade parents and kids back in the fall, is offering a workshop for parents of boys: Promoting Healthy Masculinity. Join Howard and two other counseling and psychology professionals at Catlin on Saturday May 11, 9:00am-4:00pm. Click here for more info. 
  • The OES Summer Program is offering two courses geared to supporting students in the college application process. You can learn more about How to Write a College Essay and Studio Art and Portfolio Building by clicking here
  • For those of you who missed the chance to see the documentary Angst at our last Parent U, it is also being shown to the public at two other local schools in Beaverton and West Linn. You can find that information on the Angst site under “Find a Screening.”  
  • Mt Hood Climb Service Day is coming on May 8. As is tradition, the day of service begins with a ceremony at the Bell Tower to honor those who lost their lives on the mountain in 1986. Families are welcome to attend and join in before the students and faculty head off to service projects around the Portland Metro area. 
  • In Chapel this month, the Very Rev. Nathan LeRud will preach at the Upper School Easter Chapel next week, and on Tuesday, April 30, Rabbi Barry Cohen, the newly-appointed (and newly-arrived to Portland) Jewish Community Chaplain, will explore themes of anti-Semitism. 
  • Big news from last week's Oregon State Science Fair, where many students took home significant awards: science teacher Bevin Daglen was awarded the Mary Omberg Teacher Award for Excellence. A well-deserved recognition!
  • Registration for the 2019-20 school year is underway. To prepare for the academic planning of upcoming Advisor Conferences (April 26), check out the Curriculum Guide, ask your child about last week's Curriculum Fair, reference the letter you received on April 1, and collaborate with your child on their customized registration sheet. 
  • Culture Shock 2019 is coming on April 25th! Click here to see the full roster of student-designed and facilitated workshops, the schedule of the day, and the beautiful student-created logo.
    • You should pay special attention to the information about the Holi celebration, which will close the day and involves experiential learning with the colorful paint that is part of the Hindu spring festival that recognizes the triumph of good over evil. The OSAsians, one of the US's affinity groups, has organized a special and joyful event that will be messy (yes, there's paint dust) and therefore requires some advance planning. 
    • Although there are no classes on this day, it is a school day and attendance is required. And please remind your child to sign up for workshops; those who don't sign up will have their day scheduled for them.
  • April 26 from 9-12 is the inaugural OES AP Reading Day for students in AP classes. In the spirit of the Community Study Hall, students in AP classes—the exams for which begin the following week—will be working both collaboratively and independently as well as with teachers (when they are not in Advisor Conferences) to get ready for those cumulative assessments.
  • Lots of College Counseling events coming up: 11th graders and their parents are invited to the annual Case Studies Program on Sunday, April 28 from 6:00-8:30 PM. And 10th grade parents are invited to the 10th Grade Parent Night on Tuesday, April 16 at 7 pm. 
  • Thanks to art teacher Sue Jensen for sharing this opportunity with the community: April 27 from 10 am-5pm, the Portland Art museum is offering free admission to celebrate the final weekend of The HeART of Portland, an arts showcase featuring 80 artworks by Portland Public Schools students inspired by the themes in the map is not the territory.


  • Thanks to Dori King and Phillip Craig for sponsoring the all community read of What If I Say the Wrong Thing?  by Verna Myers. All members of the OES community can pick up a free copy of the book and take part in this program by joining small book groups. As part of this initiative, Need to Know will include weekly quotes from the book. This week, Habit #1: But I’m Not a Racist! "Get out of the need to deny the isms or make a declaration about how “good a person” you are or how you love everyone. When people from a one-down group hear these things, they have a hard time seeing you as an ally. Start saying things like, “Well, as a straight person, I am sure I have some misinformation about gay people, but I am willing to unlearn it.” Or, “I grew up having more than enough, so sometimes I make assumptions about people who had less—I am sure I have no idea what it was like for you.

JELLY REC: book recommendations from US Librarian, Erika Jelinek

Sadie by Courtney Summers is a riveting revenge thriller that follows the same story from two different perspectives, and it's a story that is sadly too familiar out here in the real world: an impoverished teenage girl disappears without a trace, and the world shrugs. Sadie comes from sad circumstances. She lives in a trailer park in a depressed region of Colorado, and until recently had to be the parent for bother herself and her younger sister, Mattie, thanks to their mother's drug addiction. When Mattie is found brutally murdered in a local orchard, Sadie is broken, and her world narrows down to one goal: find the man who murdered her sister, and kill him. Sadie alternates between Sadie's own perspective as she embarks on her journey, and a Serial-like podcast called "The Girls," in which radio personality West McCray attempts to follow the scant breadcrumb trail Sadie left in her wake. The tension between the two perspectives is taut, with each successive chapter falling into place to complete the puzzle of Sadie's disappearance. This is another of those books that ended up on just about every "best YA of 2018" list, and it is great, but it is a tough read due to its unflinching treatment of both sexual and drug abuse. It's relentlessly dark without even a moment of levity to lighten it, but it also feels important. Summers shines a light on the people who fall through the cracks and society's overwhelming indifference to their pain. Sadie is an uncomfortable book, and that's exactly why it's so effective.

We're in This Together: Resources for Parenting Teens