Principal's Newsletter

Sam Barlow High School ~ June 2020


I hope this communication finds you all healthy and ready for the gradual re-opening of our communities. Like you, the COVID 19 stay at home orders have had an impact on my family and we are so hopeful that we can gradually reopen our economy and community without an increased rate of cases. I am sure this weighs on your mind as we really want to open school in September as we always have. I encourage all to follow the guidelines provided by the state and CDC so we have the greatest chance of keeping the highest number of people healthy and COVID free.

When we began the Distance Learning for All journey we established four key priorities. Over the last 12 weeks, the staff at Sam Barlow High School took this challenge head on and provided our students and families the best experience they could with the resources at our disposal. In my 27 years as an educator, I have never been more proud of the people I work with. Time and time again we found ways to exhibit Bruin PRIDE in our work, stay Bruin Strong, and understood that We Are All In This Together. Please see below as I would like to share some of our successes.

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

  • Communicating with Families: Our first goal was to reach out to every family at Barlow. Over the past 12 weeks we were able to contact all but two families. Think about that, we made at least one personal phone contact with over 1,650 students and families. In addition, we set up a support team that continued to reach out to families and provided resources for mental health services, food, technology, and critical care. We definitely met our goals of outreach.

  • Graduating Our Seniors: On June 4th we were able to host a graduation ceremony to recognize the Class of 2020. This year 320 students earned a diploma from Sam Barlow High School. There were 24 students who earned a 4.0 GPA and were named Valedictorians, 2 Salutatorians, and 79 Scholars of Distinction. Each of those accolades were record setters for a graduating class. Additionally, there was not a single student who was unable to finish their graduation requirements due to the shut down. Our staff did an amazing job helping our students finish their course requirements and our students did an outstanding job following through. Congratulations Class of 2020.

  • Advanced Placement Outreach: When the school closure began we knew we would have a major challenge preparing students to take AP Exams in May. However, through a committed effort from our teachers and students we persevered and coached our students through the new format for taking these high stakes tests. Over a two week period in May, 382 AP exams were taken to help students earn college credit while attending Barlow.

  • Developing Online Instructional Resources: Our teachers completely overhauled the way they develop and deliver instruction. Over the course of the school closure, teachers worked collaboratively to create Google Classroom pages, record video lessons, provide online supports, and engage students in a way they have never had to do before. While it may not have always been perfect, we found ways to provide a quality learning platform for our students and became better each week.

As I reflect on this school year, especially the school closure, I am proud of what we accomplished. I am thankful for the ongoing support of the Barlow Community and your willingness to understand that we were always working to do our very best. I am looking forward to the start of the 2020-21 school year and a hopeful that it will be the traditional start we are all desperately looking for.

Be safe, stay healthy and Go Bruins!

Semester Grades

Our staff is in the process of scoring all assignments and tabulating your student's final grade. As was described in a previous Principal's Newsletter, students will receive either a Pass "P" or an Incomplete "I". Our staff has been working so very hard to get as many students as possible over the bar and passing their classes.

The Oregon Department of Education has provided all guidance as it relates to grading and awarding credit. As such, we have worked as a District and School to follow those guidelines. A key guiding principle put forth by the State and subsequently adopted by the Gresham Barlow School District, was to "do no harm". That is, we were not going to set up systems that would place students and families in a position that would not account for significant challenges our community members were facing at this time.

Over the past twelve weeks, we have seen first hand the number of challenges that students and families have been facing. Whether that has been unemployment, becoming teachers for several students, needing older siblings to manage the household because their parents were essential workers, or students needing to work full time to help support their family. With this in mind, our staff has been very flexible in their grading practices, in accepting late work from students, and making accommodations for those in need. We have made every attempt to "do no harm".

This experience has pushed staff, and hopefully students and parents, to see the true value of the learning process. Often times we like to focus on "the grade" as the ultimate measure of success, when in actuality we should focus on the process of learning new content, new skills, engaging, and growing as individuals. Please take the time to think about that concept as you review your student's progress.

Returning Textbooks, Computers, and Picking Up Belongings

As the end of the year is quickly approaching, we need you to return all textbooks, computers, and other school technology. Please see the dates, times, and details below for this process.

Thursday, June 11th from 2:00pm-6:00pm

  • Students will be able to turn in Instruments, pick up projects and personal items from lockers, and turn in textbooks.

Friday, June 12th and Monday June 15th from 11:00am-6:00pm

  • Students will be able to return textbooks, Chromebooks, hot spots, and access their lockers to pick up items.

To ensure that this process follows current social distancing and CDC Guidelines, the following protocols have been put in place.

  1. You will enter the building at either the Gym Entrance OR the outside locker room entrances if you need to get into a PE locker. Boys by the Pool and Girls by the Softball Field.
  2. Students will follow the arrows down the Cafeteria Hallway to the Bruin Den. If you need to get into your locker you will be able to go down the 100 or 200 hall to get what you need.
  3. Students will stop by the TMC and return textbooks by placing them in the boxes located in the hall.
  4. You will turn in any technology that you have at the table in the Main Commons.
  5. You will walk through the Main Commons and exit through the West Entry to the main parking lot. (NOTE: Instrument drop off, and Art Project Pick-up will be located in the Main Commons).

Select this link for a detailed Nine Through Eleven Item Return Map

Final Senior News

Seniors who did not attend our graduation ceremony on June 4th can still pick up their diploma, diploma jacket, and any other awards or certificates. Please be sure to stop by the main office on either Friday, June 12th or Monday June 15th between 11am and 6pm.

All seniors need to download documents that they want to keep from their Google Drive account by June 26th. Please see the following information to help in that process: Transferring Files From Drive.

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