Principal's Newsletter

Sam Barlow High School ~ May 1st, 2020


As we finish our third week of Distance Learning for All and a full school closure, the reality of our situation is starting to feel a bit more real. At the onset of these decisions the focus was on making a shift to online learning, working through the immediate emotions of closing a school, understanding what it meant to lose out on a spring sports and activities season, and of course, the loss of end of year celebrations and activities for seniors. With all those things happening at once there was no real processing time and we just had to "get things done". Now that the dust has settled, and we are moving forward, the weight of each of those impacts is truly being felt and we are left to pick up the pieces.

As I write this message I know there will never be a way to fully understand what our students and families are going through. We will never understand what it is like to lose a season of baseball or golf or track. We will never understand what it is like to be a senior and not be able to say our formal goodbyes in the halls that were traveled for four years. We will never understand what it is like to be a teacher scrambling to change a curriculum that was designed to take place in a classroom rather than on a computer. What we do know is that we need to approach all of these feelings with empathy, openness, and grace. Everyone is working their hardest to manage unique situations, emotions, and do the very best they can with what they have. We are all working to be the best, and do the best for our students.

As I reflect on the past three weeks I could not be more proud of being a Bruin. We have found ways to connect with students and families at an unprecedented level in order to provide support, deliver information, console in times of need, and share congratulatory messages for seniors who have completed their coursework to earn a diploma. Our staff has worked collaboratively to create an online learning system, and my administrative team has taken this challenge head on and lead our staff in a way that always put students and families first while supporting teachers. I am proud and blessed to be the principal of a building that is willing to set aside the idea of "me" and focus on "we". We are in fact BruinStrong, exhibiting BruinPRIDE, and have settled on the fact that we are AllInThisTogether.

I hope this message has found you safe, staying healthy and as a Proud Bruin!

Teacher Appreciation Week May 4-May 8

I wanted to take a quick minute to thank our teaching staff for the countless hours they invest in providing a quality experience for your student(s). The staff at Barlow cares about kids, they are proud of their school and community, and have done some pretty amazing work over the course of this school year.

If you have the time, I encourage you to send a quick email to a teacher who has made a positive impact on your student. I know each teacher will truly appreciate those uplifting notes at this time.

Class of 2020

I am happy to share that every one of our senior families received a phone call this week in order to inform you about your student's graduation status. We were pleased to be able to contact families to let them know their student had completed all of the required credits to earn a diploma. Our staff shared that often times these were emotional calls with parents getting the official word that their senior was going to graduate. What a great feeling!

We were also happy and excited to contact families of students who need to finish up those last credits to graduate. We know the end of a 13 year adventure is not the same for everyone, but the outcome can be the same and end with a high school diploma. We have almost five weeks for students to finish up. There are AMAZING credit recovery options and supports for seniors in need right now. Please be sure to work with your student's counselor to get this done now. We are here to help.

We were also happy to share a video that our staff put together for the Class of 2020. Please select this link to see the video: Thinking of You Seniors.

  • A special thanks to Dan Dalzell, our Activities Director, for editing this video.

Fee Statements

Last week fee statements were mailed to all students in order to inform families of the amount they could potentially owe if Barlow property is not returned by the end of this school year. We understand that many are still using textbooks for classes as well as Chromebooks and we anticipate you will use those until the end of the school year. Just note that we will need all items returned in June.

On May 11th and 12th we will be working with Seniors so they can go through the clearance process. At that time, Seniors will be able to return all school items on their fee statement as well as pick up belongings that were left behind due to the school closure. Details for clearance will be sent to Seniors by Wednesday, May 6th so we can give a clear description of the process and ensure all social distancing guidelines are followed by those who need to visit Barlow.

Students in grades 9-11 will have the chance to get into the building on Thursday May 14th and Friday May 15th. At that time students will be able to pick up their belongings left behind due to the school closure and drop off any items from the fee statement they are no longer using. We will be sending out specific details about this process by Friday, May 9th. After collection, revised fee statements will be generated and sent out with registration packets in August.

Grading System for Distance Learning

Currently teachers are in the process of updating their grade books with assignments that have been turned in over the past several weeks to include work that has been turned in during the shift to Distance Learning for All. At this time, we have gone to a school wide grading system so there will be consistency between all classrooms. Please see the details below:

  • All students will be graded using a Pass "P" or Incomplete "I".
  • When you look at ParentVUE or StudentVUE, you will still see a letter grade: B (85%), but when we post final grades, that will be shown as a "P". No letter grades will be given.
  • A student will receive a "Pass" by earning at least a 60% of the total points available in the class.
  • If a student was not passing at the March 13th progress report, teachers will be working with them so they can earn at least a 60% by the end of the year and Pass the class.
  • ALL late work will be accepted for grading. An assignment is considered late if it is turned in one week after the due date. IF a teacher assigns a penalty for late work, they can only take away 10% per week up to a maximum of a 40% deduction of points.
  • Neither a Pass or Incomplete will factor into a student's GPA. A Pass will not improve their GPA and an Incomplete will not lower it. A student's cumulative GPA will be calculated through the first semester of the 2019-20 school year. When we return next fall, and go back to traditional grades, the calculation for GPA will restart.

Attendance during Distance Learning for All

Attendance during this time is all about student engagement. We are working to ensure that students are able to access both learning and contact with both teachers and peers online. Each seven day period we will be taking attendance in every class. The way a student is considered to be "Present" is if they have been engaged in a class at least twice within those seven days, including weekends. Examples of engagement are:

  • Participation through Google Classroom
  • Completing an assignment
  • Attending an online class meeting
  • Responding to a discussion thread
  • Meeting with a teacher during office hours
  • Sending an email to their teacher / Responding to an email form their teacher
  • Connecting with a GBSD staff member over the phone

We know that when students are connected they are more successful. We want to see your students during a Google Meet, making comments in a chat, or contacting us via email or by phone. Those connections are important as both a social outlet and for getting additional help with their work.


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 three weeks the Gresham Barlow School District worked to distribute Chromebooks to families who needed a computer(s) to access our Distance Learning for All model. If you are still in need of a computer, please contact us at 503.258.4850 and we will find a time when we can get that resource to you.

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.

Phone Calls

Please know that all calls coming from teachers will 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.

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


Media Center Resource Link


A-G Celeste Pellicci

H-O Melanie Marrone

P-Z Kelly Hart