Principal's Newsletter

Sam Barlow High School ~ March 1, 2021


Over the past year we have faced significant challenges. Many of those challenges have nothing to do with distance learning, but rather, being disconnected for almost a year. So much of what we do as a school, as people, and as a community is connect. Wether that be through reading about great things going on at school, attending a play, band concert, or a sporting event, finding ways to connect and enjoy a common interest and place is just so powerful, so grounding, so essential to community.

Because we have been unable to connect as a school community it becomes very easy to lose site of the fact that we feel the same pain and struggles that you and your student face. Trust me, every teacher, administrator, coach, and classified staff member miss being at Barlow. We miss the connections we make with students, seeing their faces as we teach something new and exciting, seeing them upset at a close loss in a game, and the joy they experience after an amazing performance. This is hard for everyone.

This situation will not last forever and we are getting closer and closer each day to returning to school. Sometimes when we "see the light at the end of the tunnel" after an extremely trying situation it becomes easier to lash out, to critique, and to react out of emotion. This is part of the human condition because holding all of that in during the crisis helps us survive, push through, and make it through alive. As we push through the greatest challenge most of us have ever faced, I ask you to show grace, patience, and understanding. We, like you, have never been in this situation and are going to do our very best to give your student the best experience we are able to provide..

Another Successful Year With Our Graduation Rate:

For the past five years we have been working very hard to make some key changes in order to increase the success of our students. Fortunately, that work is beginning to really pay off. The Class of 2020 posted a graduation rate of 89.5%. This is especially impressive when you consider the fact that we closed our doors and shut down school just short of a year ago. At that time our seniors lost so much, yet found ways to push themselves to finish. That drive, along with some amazing teachers and dedicated staff, Sam Barlow posted the highest graduation rate ever.

While one could say it was a "COVID Graduation", I would argue that not to be the case. You see, other schools saw an increase in graduation rates of maybe 3% while Barlow's graduation rate jumped 6%. We saw our Hispanic students out perform all others with a graduation rate of 90% and both our Special Education and English Language Learners saw increases of 25% and 23% respectively. Another group to show a major increase were Male students who went from a graduation rate of 77% to 89%. We made huge strides with populations of students that traditionally struggle and it was not because of "lowering the bar". Every one of these students had to earn 24 credits, pass all core graduation requirements, and finish. Our staff stepped up, our parents stepped up, and of course the Class of 2020 stepped up. This is a major point of pride for our school.

I wish you all the best as we begin to chart a return to more normal times. Please stay safe, stop the spread by taking proper precautions, and let's hope we can get our students back into classrooms, on our fields, and feeling connected once again.


On Wednesday the Sam Barlow staff graded work that had been submitted for the first half of Quad 3. While these are not your student's final grade for the Quad, they are representative of where they are in terms of performance. As you know, the grading periods are much shorter, which means there is much less time to raise grades if needed. This is especially important to track if you are the parent of a senior. Please be sure to check ParentVUE so you can see how your student is doing. Also, consider the following:

  • If your student has been successful in classes be sure to congratulate them on their performance. It is important that they know you are watching, monitoring progress, and aware of the work they are doing.
  • If you student has not done well and needs to improve their grade take some time to sit down with them and ask what happened. Trust me, this is way easier to write than to make happen. Regardless, taking a few minutes to have a conversation that is about problem solving versus accusation is a great place to start. Asking the question "why" is always the first step at solving a problem.
  • No matter if your student has earned all "A's" or all "F's" take some time to set some goals with them. For the "A" student, some goals may revolve around turning on a camera in class, participation, doing some extra research or work. For the student who needs to improve, those goals might look like completing work at the end of each day rather than putting it off, watching an extra video, going back over notes, or using a calendar to chart assignments. Everyone needs to set goals.
  • If you have questions or concerns reach out to your student's teachers and/or counselor. We are here to help. If you find that is not working, then get ahold of an Assistant Principal or Mr. Schmidt. They are also always willing to step in and help whenever possible.

For all of you senior parents out there we will be monitoring student performance very closely so do the best we can getting them over the finish line. We want to make sure every senior can graduate and that will take the effort of all of us. Please know that we will begin calling home on a regular basis if seniors are not passing the classes they need to graduate.


After almost a year out of school we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of COVID shutdowns. The metrics around Case Rates and Positivity Testing continue to drop, more people are getting vaccines, and we have found ways to reduce the spread of COVID. As a result, the Gresham Barlow School District is working to bring more students back into the building.

On Friday you received an email asking you to choose if you would like to have your student continue with Comprehensive Distance Learning (eGBSD) or if you would like them to engage in a Hybrid Model. Based on the email I have received, there seems to be a bit of confusion about what this will look like, please see below for some clarifying details.

There are two options moving forward, eGBSD or a Hybrid Model

  1. eGBSD Model - Students who choose this model will continue their learning through online-only instruction for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. Students will stay with the same teachers they have now.
  2. Hybrid Model - This model is a blend of online learning and in-person instruction.

Details about the Hybrid Model

  • All students will be online five days each week
  • All students will attend synchronous lessons via Google Meets in the morning for all classes.
  • Half of the students will attend in-person on Monday and Tuesday in Cohort A and the second half will attend on Thursday and Friday in Cohort B.
  • Students will only attend in-person two days per week for 2.5 hours a day.
  • Students will physically move to each of their classes while in the building
  • Students will get additional help/instruction from their teachers when rotating from class to class.
  • Students do not need to attend the hybrid model to participate in sports/activities.

At this time we have not settled on a "bell schedule" or the lengths of class periods, however we are very close with those details. We need to know by Friday March 5th which model your student will choose. We need to know who is returning so we can complete the planning process as there are several details we need to consider based on the total number of students returning.

If you have not yet completed the survey for your student, please do so by going to the link below that best meets your needs:


We are excited to announce that Season 2 competition begins at Barlow on Monday, March 1. During Season 2, Boys and Girls Soccer, Cross Country, Volleyball, and Football teams will be competing over a six-week season. This will not look like a typical season as many of our games will be with teams outside of the Mount Hood Conference and there will be no Conference Champions or State Playoffs to attend. However, this is a great opportunity for our student athletes to connect with each other, their coaches, and represent their team and school while competing. That is Awesome!

Although our teams will be competing, there will be limited opportunity for Spectators at Season 2 Events. At this time, spectators are only able to attend competitions in our Stadium and they must receive a ticket from a player in order to attend. Currently the metrics only permit us to host spectators at Soccer matches. As the metrics change we will work to get more spectators into the stands to enjoy the community that athletics and activities build. Look for updates on our Athletics Web Page.


One of the most significant benefits our students have is the Sam Barlow College & Career Center. Patty Neuenschwander, LindaLee Frazier, and Tia Molony work tirelessly to find college and career resources and opportunities and bring them directly to our students.

From college applications, scholarship opportunities to career exploration and internship possibilities, they have the resources and support available to help your student make their post high school plans.

Please read the College & Career Center Newsletter to learn more about what is being offered.




Seniors should now be completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aide (FAFSA) or Oregon Student Aide Application (ORSAA) for financial aid opportunities with their college education.

To determine which application to do, visit this site:

If you (the student and the parent) will complete the FAFSA, you must first create a secure FSA ID. Go here to do this:


Next, complete the FAFSA here:


If you will complete the ORSAA, go here:

There are also some great upcoming workshops for families that will provide extra support for completing the FAFSA. If you are interested in attending a "virtual drop in" on one of the dates and times listed below, select the link to register.

Dates and times of the events:

  • March 6th at 12-1:30 PM
  • March 10th at 10-11:30 AM
  • March 11th 3:30-5 PM and 6-7:00 PM
  • March 13th at 12-1:30 PM

Link to the Registration Form


We will be distributing Yearbooks on Wednesday, March 3 from 6:00pm-8:00pm at Sam Barlow High School.

Please enter the building at the WEST ENTRANCE (facing the football field) from the Main Parking Lot. Don't forget to wear a mask!


Parent Requests For IN-DISTRICT Transfers

Requests will be accepted March 1-31, 2021 * Deadline is March 31, 2021

The Gresham-Barlow School District will accept in-district transfer requests for the 2021-2022 school year during the month of March only.

If you live within the Gresham-Barlow district and want your child to attend a Gresham-Barlow school outside of your attendance area, you need to request an in-district transfer. If your student currently has an in-district transfer and is moving from elementary to middle or middle to high, please submit a new request.

A digital transfer request form will be available on the Transfers section of the district website, The link to this form can also be emailed to you directly if you request it from any GBSD school or district office. Forms must be submitted by March 31, 2021.

You will be notified in writing after review of all requests. Please note: kindergarten and first grade requests may not be decided upon until late summer after elementary registration. For further information, contact the Gresham-Barlow School District Office at 503-261-4575.


CAL is offering in-person tours its facility to prospective students/families on Wednesday, March 3rd. Students/families must sign up for a tour time slot, are expected to wear a mask covering both the nose and mouth and practice social distancing. We ask folks to share the program they are most interested in during registration, and it will be included in their tour. Tours are staggered and will be directed by a CAL staff member.

To sign up for a tour, click the link below:


Each year the Barlow Booster Club is responsible for planning the all-night party celebration for our graduating seniors. This year, while we are hopeful that a party happen, we have had to shift our focus. We are working hard to create new, safe, and meaningful memories for our seniors this year. These new programs will be passed down from year to year and eventually benefit all Sam Barlow Students.

Here is a quick update on all that is going on and how you can help.

Fundraise for FREE!!! Shop with Scrip!

Scrip is simply a gift card that you buy and spend at face value. We receive a rebate on each gift card purchased. And to make things even easier you can do it all from your phone using eGift cards that are available immediately! There are over 200 stores available as eGift cards including Amazon, Starbucks, Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Khols, and just about every national restaurant you can imagine.

No hassle, no waiting - just shopping with one extra little step.

You can also have physical gift cards sent directly to your home to use in person or give as gifts. This even includes VISA gift cards!

Please download the RaiseRight app today and join our program using our group code


It's that simple.

Local retailers like Fred Meyer and WinCo will be available soon on our website

The website also gives important information about all the other fundraisers and activities that we have going on. Things like monthly cooking classes with our very own Chef Sam, a Jazzy Bagle bread fundraiser, Rocky Mountain Chocolates Christmas fundraiser, and monthly restaurant fundraisers.

You can follow us on Facebook or Instagram using #SBHS2021.

Thank you for your continued support of our amazing seniors!


In order to connect with our school community, Principal Bruce Schmidt will be hosting a monthly parent meeting on the fourth Monday of each month. During this meeting, Mr. Schmidt will present on a variety of topics to inform participants of what is taking place at Barlow. These meetings are never "one way" as Mr. Schmidt will gather input from parents and guardians to help make the Barlow experience quality for all.

The meeting dates for the 2020-21 school year are: 3/29, 4/26, and 5/24. The meetings begin at 7:00pm and end at 8:30pm and will be conducted virtually through the use of Google Meets. Each month an invitation will be sent to you with an agenda via email outlining the topics for discussion along with the link to the Google Meet. We look forward to seeing you at the end of this month.


Sam Barlow Social Worker Kim Louvin is working with a team to help families have access to the most up to date information on Community Resources and Assistance Programs. If you are interested in receiving more information about any of these programs or are in need yourself, please answer the questions below and information will be sent to you via email, text message, and/or phone call.

If you need help applying for any of these programs, Ms. Louvin will do her best to contact you individually and walk you through the process or help you make connections. These are HARD times and we are here to help you. This information will remain confidential and your information will not be distributed to anyone at the school district.

To notify Ms. Louvin of your needs, please complete the information held in this link and she will get back to you as soon as possible: Community Resource Needs.


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 Michelle Kahan

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