OES Upper School Voice Newsletter

A Message from the Division Head

by Asha Appel


Need to Know for Friday, September 18

  • Happy Rosh Hashanah, the time of reflection at the Jewish New Year. This week's Chapel, the first of the year, centered on this theme and was attended by more than 300 Upper School students and faculty from around the world. US Chaplain Katie Seltzer planned a global interfaith experience that included a piano interlude from China, and spiritual readings from the Buddhist, LDS, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Muslim faiths.
  • This week saw the first of two Getting to Know You Wednesdays, for which we carved out time for students and teachers to meet one-on-one in order to build relationships and learn about each other. 
  • As long as the Portland air quality improves, small cohorts of student-athletes will be on campus beginning the week of September 21 to train for their seasonal sports.
  • As part of the Sophomore Cultural Event, the 10th grade kicked off the introduction to US History I with a screening of the musical Hamilton, which was planned by Grade Dean and history teacher, CT Henry. 
  • Orientation week ended with a student-run Fun Lunch, where almost 60 students played online games and connected in small group breakout sessions. Thanks to our Student Government for making this happen!
  • And speaking of Student Government, 9th grade elections are happening with available leadership positions for Honor Council, Policy Board, and Community Board.  
  • Our active student leaders worked hard to build a hub of communication for announcements and US news, and their Virtual Great Hall launched this week. This site is only open to those in the OES domain, so ask your child to show it to you!
  • Friday, September 18, is the date for all students in the Pacific Time Zone to sign up for a first semester Activity, which is a required part of the US program. Click here to watch a short video from Dean of Student Life Kara Tambellini, who oversees the Activity program. 
  • Mark your calendars for the annual College Financial Aid NightMonday, October 5, 7:00-8:00 pm. Leslie Limper, Director of Financial Aid at Pacific University, will speak. 
  • Upper School Back To School Night is September 30 from 6:30-8:40 pm PT. Families who are able to attend will go through a shortened schedule of your child's classes (10 minutes each) to get a taste for the teaching and learning that's happening. You will receive a customized list of class links the week before, so be on the lookout; we hope you can make it to this joyful night. Teachers will share recorded sessions for those who are unable to attend. 
  • And make sure you know that there is no school for students on Friday, October 9, which is the state of Oregon's fall Professional Growth and Development day for teachers, or on Monday, October 12
  • Finally, remember that we have a dedicated and expert tech support team. If your student needs any tech help, they should contact OES Help. The Divisional Tech Coordinators are part of an all school initiative, the Digital Innovation Team, which is headed by Cameron Jack and also includes our amazing EC3 teachers and librarians. Built on top of solid pedagogical approaches, this team is curating and supporting digital tools/resources to augment remote learning. 

Jelly Rec: Book Recommendations from US Librarian Erika Jelinek

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

As our country erupted in a wave of civil unrest earlier this summer, I did what I often do in times of uncertainty and looked to the past in order to make sense of the present. James Baldwin wrote The Fire Next Time, a pair of unflinching epistolary essays examining race and racism in America, in 1963; they are just as searing now as they were fifty-seven years ago. Baldwin was a gift to our whole entire planet, and whether it's time for a revisit or you've never had the privilege of reading him before, his work remains essential American reading. For a chaser, try The Fire This Time, a contemporary collection of essays and poems on race with Jesmyn Ward at the helm, and I Am Not Your Negro, Raoul Peck's documentary inspired by James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript, Remember This House.

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