Principal's Newsletter

Sam Barlow High School ~ April 2020


As you are all aware we are facing some significant challenges as individuals, as a school, as a community, and as a nation. We are in a time where things that we held as constant are changing on a regular basis. Businesses are closing storefronts, restaurants can provide dine out only options, health care and emergency responders are being pushed harder than ever, and of course schools are closed. These are trying times for sure and we are all doing the best we can to navigate these waters. I hope to send more regular communication to you all to keep you informed regarding the work we are doing at Barlow to provide the best educational experience we can for your student.

As we work to establish our school in the “virtual world” we have set five Key Priorities.

  • Communicating with Families: We will be contacting every family in our building through teachers’ fifth period classes this week. Some teachers have large classes and others in the building will be calling students to help them out so some of you may hear from a person different than your fifth period teacher (ex. Band, PE, and IS). The goal of these calls is to check in with you, determine how we can support you, and to answer basic questions about the upcoming weeks. To date, we have contacted over 1,000 families and expect to have all calls made before Friday, April 3rd.

  • Graduating Our Seniors: We are actively reviewing all Senior credits, transcripts, and grades to make sure we can provide everything we need for them to graduate. I know there are other experiences that are on hold right now, but our primary goal is to make sure they have what they need to graduate and be successful after Barlow.

  • Forecasting: We were not able to complete forecasting with our current ninth graders or our incoming eighth graders. As a result, some of our work will include talking to students about completing forecasting and submitting their course requests. Counselors may need assistance inputting course requests, reaching out to students, and ensuring that students have completed the work we will need done to build our Master Schedule.

  • Advanced Placement Outreach: We will be reaching out to our AP students to review essential content, discuss testing options, their needs to take home based AP Exams, and identifying the technology resources they will need to complete this task.

  • Developing Online Instructional Resources: Our teachers will be divided into teams to develop supplemental resources for students to access online through Google Classroom Pages. We plan to have our first round of materials posted on Monday, April 6th. During that week, we will continue to develop online content and prepare the shift to “Distance Learning for All” presented by the Oregon Department of Education.

Please be sure to read through the full newsletter, as there are several details in subsequent sections that will provide some much needed detail. I am sure there are more questions than answers at this time, but we are hoping to get as much information to you as possible so you can begin working with your student at home. Even though the times are uncertain, I do know that “Stay at Home, Save Lives” is the best thing we can do at this time to prevent the spread of COVID19. We will do our very best to provide what we can so our students are able to progress through their classes, earn credits towards graduation, and gain the skills they need to be successful after high school.

Be safe, stay healthy and Go Bruins!


I am sure this is NOT how you envisioned your student’s senior year ending. Trust me, this is NOT how I envisioned the end of the year for the Class of 2020. I think back to 2018 when my son was a senior at Barlow and know how crushed I would have been as a parent seeing those monumental opportunities vanish as the days without school pass. Athletic competitions, social events, band, choir, dances, finishing those last classes to graduate, the list goes on. I have been an educator for the last 26 years, 23 at the High School level. All of these events and experiences are at the core of what I do and have shaped me as a young adult, a parent, and a professional. I empathize with you and feel your pain as well. As more and more clarity comes to what we can and can’t do, understand that I am not making these decisions on my own. Everything we do is based on guidance from the State and District. Just know that no matter what, I am going to be looking for and fighting for ways to engage your student any way we can so their memories of the 2019-20 school year go beyond COVID19.

Jostens Graduation Order Pick-Up for Seniors

Your graduation orders from Jostens are on their way! Thankfully, we are still set to have you pick up your orders on Thursday, April 9th. Brian Coushay, our Jostens representative, will be hosting a “drive through” pick-up in the Mt. Hood Lanes parking lot at 2311 Powell Blvd. in Gresham between the hours of 10am and 2pm on April 9th. Brian will be giving out a free pass to bowl compliments of Gresham Lanes when you pick up your order.

Supplemental Distance Learning

Beginning on Monday, April 6th, the Barlow staff will be pushing out our first digital lessons to students through Google Classroom. These initial lessons are designed to get students familiar with using an online system, checking in with them to see how they are working through the school closure, and to provide some review material to get them ready for the Distance Learning for All program. Your students will need to check their school Gmail accounts for communication from their teachers as that is where they will be given everything they will need to get started.

While we will be providing work from each class, we are still in the process of developing strategies for teaching performance-based electives in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) such as Woods and Metals as courses in this department require specialized equipment, shops, and computers. As a result, we are researching ways to provide experiences for students online, but that will take us a bit longer to develop. Regardless, we are going to provide opportunities for your student. Other courses where this format poses a challenge are in our Band, Choir, Art, and Theater courses, as well as our World Language classes. Even though that is the case, each of these teachers is working very hard to organize meaningful experiences for your student.

We know how important personal contact with a teacher is, so we have developed a schedule that will provide your student with just that. During this first week, your student will meet with each of their teachers one day of the week. Understand that the teacher may not be “online real-time” with students every day, but students should be working on projects from each class daily. Staff will also be holding office hours for two hours per day where they will be responding to student questions, providing individual support, and reaching out to families.

Please see the schedule below:

Distance Learning for All

As previously mentioned, Sam Barlow High School is moving to a distance learning model until students are permitted to return to the building. That means we will be posting classroom assignments, hosting classroom discussions, videos, and teacher lectures online. Students will be able to access this material through their teachers’ Google Classroom pages. These in-depth online classes will be available to students beginning Monday, April 13th. Once we begin the Distance Learning for All program, all assignments will be graded, tests and quizzes administered, and we will be working to provide our students with a quality educational experience to prepare them for the future.

The biggest question you may have is, “When will my student ‘go to school’”. I wish I could answer that at this time, but the Gresham Barlow School District has yet to develop a schedule for this learning modality. We will be working on that for the next week so we can communicate what to expect when we make this shift from supplemental materials to new content.

Google Classroom for Parents

We are going to be using Google Classroom to deliver all of our instruction. While your student may be familiar with this, I know many of us parents are not. I have included a short tutorial video that will give you a general background, and hopefully an understanding of the Google Classroom platform. After watching the YouTube video from the link below, I think you will be much more comfortable with this system. Here are a few things to know prior to watching this video:

  • Your students already has a district Gmail account with a username and password. This is what they will use to login to the system.

  • Your student may have already had teachers set up Google Classroom pages and could be experienced in this platform.

  • While we want your support and help with your student, classroom activities are still classroom activities. Please allow your student to participate in "live" classroom lessons independently as if they were in a classroom.

  • If your student does not know, or can’t remember their district email information, please have them contact Teresa Juden at for help.

  • Google Classroom Tutorial for Students and Parents

Technology Resources

Over the past two weeks the staff of Sam Barlow High School and the District set an outreach plan to identify how we can support your family. We are currently using the information that you submitted, or we collected to determine who will need technological resources to access class content. The Gresham Barlow School District intends to distribute technology to families in need beginning Wednesday, April 8th. They plan to distribute Chromebooks to families on a 2 to 1 ratio (two students per Chromebook per family). So if you need a computer and you have between one and two students, you will get one machine. If you have three to four students, you will get two machines, and so on. More details will be coming from the District to describe how machines will be distributed to families.

Please understand that these resources are a huge part of what we do at Barlow on a daily basis. We are proud to be able to push these out to our families knowing that it will put kids in positions to be successful. However, it is critical that these return in good working condition so they can be used in future years for daily instruction. To ensure this happens, please make sure your student is taking care of the computer and treating it respectfully. Thank you for your support.

Digital Citizenship

As we move to an online format we need to reinforce the idea of being a good citizen while online. Often times it is very easy to say things through chat posts or messages that we would never say in person. Also, there are some definitive norms when working in an online platform in a professional setting. While our students are online quite a bit, they are not often online in a school or professional setting; this is not Fortnight, Modern Warfare, or a Rocket League lobby or play space, we are in “classrooms”. Please be sure to go over the following Bruin PRIDE Netiquette Norms with your student to make sure they understand our common expectations about working in their digital classrooms.

Spring Sports and Activities Championships

At this time the Oregon Schools Activities Association (OSAA) is still holding dates for all spring sports and activities championship events. So until further notice students will be able to participate in, and compete in, our spring programs once we return,. The OSAA has developed specific policies regarding practice schedules, making sure athletes are ready for competition, and that all programs “ramp up” after having a lengthy break in participation. We will keep you posted on details once we return to school. However, this brings a bit of hope to all those students who participate in our co-curricular programs.

Who can help?

If you have concerns about your child’s schedule or other issues, the following are the staff to contact. Email is a quick way to get answers to the questions you might have.


A-E Katie Ann Beam

F-J Erin Boelow

K-Ra Oscar Rethwill

Re-Z Molly Ninneman


Kimberly Louvin


Paul Quirke


Karen Galicia


Ryan Alexander


A-G Celeste Pellicci

H-O Melanie Marrone

P-Z Kelly Hart