Principal's Newsletter

Sam Barlow High School ~ September 7, 2020


“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” – Winston Churchill

Well, this quote about sums up the experience we had last spring and the process of preparing for the start of the 2020-21 school year. After spending the last 28 years as an educator I have poured my life into providing the best educational experience possible for students and have pushed myself to be a lifelong learner. However, there is nothing that has prepared me to work in times of a pandemic, to become an online school principal, or develop a platform to guide teachers through the process of shifting from classroom teachers to online teachers. Granted, I may have not liked being "taught" many of these lessons, but I will say, I have enjoyed the challenges, the outcomes, and the tenacity and dedication of the Sam Barlow High School staff. Last spring, and as we prepare this fall, they have kept a clear focus on providing the best educational experience possible for our students. Even though this fall will not look like any other, it will in fact be a great start for all of our students. I am excited to share the work we have been doing these past weeks and we are looking forward to welcoming our Bruins back to Barlow.

As we approach the first day of school I know there will be anxiety, anticipation, and excitement as there always is for the start of a school year. As the parent of a sophomore I know exactly how you feel right now. I am sure you are thinking things like: What will online instruction look like for my student? How will it be different than last spring? Will they get everything they need to be prepared for college and careers? How will I manage my life with my high school student in the house instead of at school? These, along with countless other questions are almost impossible to answer. However, I am quite confident that if our students get online, engage in the process, and give this an honest chance, we will be very successful. While online learning will never be a substitute for face-to-face instruction, we can still provide outstanding opportunities for learning, connection, and preparation for the future. I encourage you to push your student to take that first step in joining us on this journey.

The information shared in this newsletter will hopefully answer many questions that you have about the start of school. Typically, this would have been sent in early August, however, I wanted to make sure I could share the most accurate and up to date information with you. Considering that school will begin on Monday, September 14th, I don't anticipate any of this changing. So while it is later than usual, it is nice to know you can now solidify your plans for starting school. Thank you for your patience and grace.

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.

The eGBSD High School Schedule was built with the following goals in mind:

  • Reduce the number of classes for both students and staff.
  • Reduce class sizes for more effective remote learning.
  • Extend class time with each class to provide more flexibility with synchronous instruction and small group work.
  • Develop a system that provides key Social Emotional Learning needs for our students and a direct connection to staff.
  • Meet guidelines outlined by ODE for Comprehensive Distance Learning.

As you look at the schedule you will see that students are only attending class Periods 1-4. In order to reduce the number of classes, the year has been divided into four "Quads", or quarters. Each Quad is nine weeks in length and will cover a semesters worth of standards. Class periods have been extended to 65 minutes each and will meet in person four days per week (M, Tu, Th, Fr) with students working independently one day per week (Wed.). With this schedule students will meet the state requirements for instructional minutes and will be taught the essential standards needed to be successful in each class and in preparation for future classes, college, and careers. A daily schedule for Quad 2 will be sent out in the November newsletter as we get closer to switching schedules.


Students schedules are in the process of being finalized. There were some last minute changes made to our daily schedule and academic calendar that required us to make major modifications in early August delaying the release of schedules. All students schedules will be available on the afternoon of Friday, September 11th.

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 (the form will be available after 9/11). 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.


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.


This year students will earn a letter grade in each content class they take. Grades will be A-F as they have been in the past. Teachers will be discussing how that looks in each class as well as posting key information for parents so everyone knows the expectations for earning a grade.

As always, students and parents will be able to monitor progress through both StudentVUE and ParentVUE. If you do not have a ParentVUE account at this time, please email Brandie Seibel, our Student Management Secretary, at: She will be able to get you an online access key to sign up for this amazing resource.


One of the greatest goals we set each year is to build meaningful relationships with our students. This year we are taking extra steps to focus on establishing critical relationships as we know how important it will be to provide those social-emotional connections that have been missing. If you look at the Relationship Pyramid, you can see that the foundation for everything we do is based on relationships. Ultimately, student outcomes such as credits earned, grades, and graduation rate are all based on the relationships and connections students have to Sam Barlow High School. Our students are accustomed to developing online relationships through social media and various gaming communities so it is our goal to tap into those mediums and find ways to connect with students.

In order to facilitate these relationships, we are implementing the use of a daily Advisory. Each teacher has been assigned a student group that they will meet with synchronously (live) for twenty minutes each day of the week. The purpose is to provide a community which allows for student discussions, academic support, social emotional learning, social interaction, and distribution of school news and important documents. Advisories are:

  • Grade level specific, some lessons will be grade level and some school wide.
  • Develop relationships with all students inside Advisory.
  • Contact all students and families of Advisory students initially and throughout the year.
  • Provide routine check-ins with Advisory students- academics, attendance, SEL.
  • Provide Academic and Organizational supports
  • Provide Parent support where needed.
  • Provide awareness and create a safe space for students to share and discuss relevant current events.

Expect to be contacted by your student's Advisor this week. Please know that all calls coming from teachers may be from a "Blocked" or "Restricted Number". I know there is quite a bit going on, but if there is a way for you to change your phone settings at this time to receive calls from these options that would help us to communicate with you more effectively. If you do not want to change those settings, please call us back and give a time that would be best to connect with you. That way, when you get the call, you will know it is us.


Textbook checkout has been scheduled to take place on Monday September 21 and Tuesday September 22 between 12pm-6pm. There are a limited number of classes that will require the use of a textbook 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. We will send out specific details about textbook checkout as those dates approach.

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.


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. You can check out devices at one of four locations. Student ID numbers required to pick up Device(s). There are enough devices for each student to have their own computer.

Pickup Dates and Times:

Tuesday, September 8, or Wednesday, September 9.

For your convenience, each location will be open from 10 am to 5 pm each day.

Pick Up Locations:

  • Powell Valley Elementary School
  • Hall Elementary School
  • North and East Gresham Elementary Schools

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