Principal's Newsletter

Sam Barlow High School ~ September 18, 2020


With full cooperation from Mother Nature, we will be kicking off our school year on Monday, September 21st at 9:00am. I know the message last week to postpone the start of the year must have come as a shock. However, we had several Barlow staff members affected by the fires with many having to either evacuate their homes or be ready to evacuate. Additionally, we had other staff members who had family and friends moving in as they had been evacuated from impacted areas. The situation was, and still is very challenging, and our hearts go to all those affected by the wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.

If you drive by Barlow you will notice that the parking lot, bus loop, and fields are full of equipment, people, and tents. The Southwest Area Incident Management Team 1 is currently using Sam Barlow High School as their central command post to help with all Pacific Northwest Fires. They have mobilized hundreds of staff to provide support to families in our area and we are so proud to host them at this time. The best thing we could do for our community was to open our doors and assist with the infrastructure needed to help our neighbors.

Over the past few days I have had the chance to touch base with several parents regarding concerns around distance learning. Much of those concerns revolve around managing student learning and their ability to also work and maintain a household. As a parent myself with a high school aged child, and working from home, I fully empathize and understand your position. Just know that we will do whatever we can as a school to provide clear, consistent, and reliable information and classwork, and strive to build quality relationships with our students to keep them engaged. While we may not always have the answers, we are going to work our hardest to adapt to the needs of our students and families. This year will be much better than last spring, and we will continue to improve over the course of the year. As always, our goal is to provide the best experience we can for each of our students.

Be safe, stay healthy and Go Bruins!


Since last June, the Gresham Barlow School District has been working to develop a daily schedule for students and staff that would provide everyone the greatest opportunity for success. We learned last spring that we had to find ways to shrink the number of classes for both students and staff as managing learning online is quite different than face-to-face in a traditional classroom.

When you review the SBHS 20-21 HS Distance Learning Bell Schedule you will note that there are distinct periods and times for students to be in class. Each class period has been divided into Synchronous (Live) and Asynchronous (Independent Learning) Instruction. It is the expectation that all students attend classes as scheduled. While that is the case, teachers will be recording synchronous lessons to post online so students are able to access the material at a later time. While they are able to access that material, students will not be able to benefit from class discussions, small breakout groups, or small group support that our teachers will be providing during class time. We want kids in class based on this "bell" schedule.

This schedule is very different than last spring. Students are taking fewer classes and therefore will be expected to do much more work in each class than last year. We will be monitoring screen time and that is the primary reason for having Applied Learning partnered with lunch. This will provide students a mid-day break to eat, work independently, and step away from their screen for a bit.

You will also see that the end of the day for formal instruction is at 3:35. After this time, students will need to manage their evening and homework time accordingly. When you see Applied Learning, that is time when students are working independently without the need to login to a live lesson or class period. This time provides freedom and flexibility for students. We encourage them to use this time to do homework, exercise, step away from their machine, or work with friends on a project. Applied learning is simply time for them to apply what they have learned in class.


Students schedules were made available on the afternoon of Friday, September 11th. Since that time we have continued to work on balancing classes, make adjustments, and finalize all classes before we begin classes on Monday, September 21st. Please be sure to have your students check their schedule to ensure they are aware of any changes that may have been made.

If there are mistakes in your student's schedule, they will be able to submit a Schedule Change Request Form that can be found on the Counseling Department Web Page. Students will complete and submit the form and their counselor will contact them to discuss the change as needed. Course changes will not be made to electives, for teacher preference, or to withdraw from an Advanced Placement course. We realize that not all electives are "ideal" during distance learning, however, staff are finding some amazing ways to teach their content in an online system so give them the chance to show their stuff.

Please understand that there are 1,732 students at Sam Barlow High School. We do our very best to give each student their first choice electives and classes. However, sometimes we do need to go to alternates a student listed during the forecasting process. There are also times when two course conflict and students need to choose between one of them. These conflicts occur most often with electives that are only taught by a single teacher and for a single period. Again, we do our best to account for all of these variables, but sometimes there are constraints that we just cant control. Our counselors will be working very hard these next few weeks to get back to all students regarding change requests. Please be patient as this takes time.


As we learned last spring, virtual home classrooms present a whole new list of challenges for students, parents, and teachers. In a traditional world, our kids get ready in the morning, head off to school, and classrooms, a bell schedule, and the school day provide the structures and routines needed for students to feel that sense of place leading to success. However, that is no longer the case when home becomes the classroom.

I have included a link to an article that provides some great tips and strategies families can use to set up a classroom like environment at home. This does not mean anyone has to go out and spend lots of money on fancy desks or chairs, but rather, taking some time to think about how spaces can be set up during the school day that provide kids a structured place to work. I know when I was a kid I did my homework and schoolwork at our kitchen table with my two older sisters. So even if you live in a small house or apartment, there are some things you can do to develop routines, structures, and conversations that will help your student in this environment.

See: Parent Tips and Tricks for Online Learning


Attendance during online learning is very important for your student’s academic success and connections with peers. In accordance with ODE guidelines, attendance will be taken on a daily basis for each scheduled class. Daily participation is expected in online synchronous class sessions.

Please contact the main office at 503.258.4860 if your student is not able to participate during a daily synchronous session.

If your student is unable to attend the synchronous session on a given day, here are other ways they can be marked as attending:

  1. Watching a recorded lesson and then completing the work that goes along with it later that same day.

  2. Communicating with the teacher via email, phone call, chat, or text message (two-way). If your student is in grades K-5 and possibly 6-8, this communication will count if it is between parent and teacher.

  3. Posting completed work online.

For a student to be marked present, they must participate in one of the above ways during the 24 hours (12:01 a.m.-11:59 p.m.) for each scheduled class.

If your student is marked absent for any single period of a day, you will receive an automated phone call. If your student is absent for more than one day, you may be contacted by a staff member to see how the school can support your student’s attendance.


Textbook and Resource checkout has been scheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 23rd between 12pm-6pm. There are a limited number of classes that will require the use of a textbook or additional materials as many resources can be found online and teachers who are requiring students to check out a textbook will let them know in advance so arrangements can be made.

Students who do not own a graphing calculator, or can not purchase one of their own can check out a TI-84 on either of these two days. Your math teacher will let you know if you will need this type of calculator for the class you are enrolled in.

Please see the Textbook and Resource List to determine if you need to visit Barlow to get a textbook or other resource for your student.


This year we are encouraging all students to use a Gresham Barlow School District device for distance learning. Please see below for the key reasons why:

  • First, we can provide necessary support for the device such as troubleshooting problems, pushing apps & services, and repairing items that may not work.
  • Next, when we move to a hybrid model your student will not be transporting their personal equipment back and forth to school. Also, personal devices will face network limitations that the District devices won't have.
  • Finally, we know with a District device all users will have the same equipment and we can assume they have a camera as needed for class.

If you have not picked up a device there is till time to do so. We are distributing Chromebooks on Friday, September 18th from 8:30am-2:30pm at Sam Barlow High School. Drive into the main parking lot off of Lusted Rd. and head towards the Main Office and we will take care of the rest.

If you are unable to get to Barlow on Friday, please contact us to make an appointment so we can get your student a device. All you will need is your Student's ID numbers and a Photo ID to pick up Device(s). There are enough devices for each student to have their own computer.


Last spring we discovered that a major stumbling block for students and parents was the variety of layouts found within Google Classroom Pages. Specifically, your student went from class to class and found that every teacher had organized their Google Classroom Page differently, which made it hard to find information. We also found that students were navigating several links, platforms, and applications to complete a single assignment. Because we listened to your feedback, we have made some changes to ensure that navigating our Classroom Pages will be much easier for students and parents. Here is what you should see when going to Class:

  • Classroom Pages will be divided into "Topics" by week. That means all assignments, topics of discussions, and information will be organized by week so students can always see what they need to do very easily.
  • Each week, all teachers will post a Weekly Playlist that outlines the work and expectations. This will include the title of each assignment, due dates, and a description of what students are to learn. Finally, the Playlist can be downloaded so you can track what your student needs to do in class.
  • Each teacher will post a short video that goes over the Weekly Playlist to point out essential items and assignments that students need to focus on during the week. This will be a general video and is designed to clarify what students are supposed to be working on during the week.
  • All work will be assigned on Monday with due dates throughout the week. In doing this, students know what they need to accomplish over the course of the week and can choose to work each day to complete and submit work, or work at a faster pace and complete work in advance. No matter what, you will know what your student must complete each week on Monday.
  • Each Google Classroom page will have a Resource section that will include links to additional supports that students might need to complete work or to access extra help and support.

Please have your student check their District email to find their Google Classroom Codes. By this time, each teacher should have sent your student a welcome message and the Google Classroom Code to begin class on Monday morning.

We hope that these consistent systems provide the structure that both you and your student will need to navigate the learning management system this year.

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 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