January 22, 2019
Dear Wilson Families,
It is my great pleasure to announce that Brian Covey, a teacher leader here since 2015, will be joining our administrative team as Interim Vice Principal. He will be moving into room 139 and handling discipline for students whose last names begin with “A” to “L” in addition to other duties as assigned.
Mr. Covey came to us from California where he taught a variety of social studies courses at the secondary level and played a key role expanding access to his school’s Advanced Placement (AP) program. Additionally, Mr. Covey served as department chair, CTE Pathways Academy lead, and led curriculum work at the district level for the two years prior to joining us at Wilson. He has also taught undergraduate history courses and a post-graduate teacher preparation course at the university level.
Mr. Covey will continue the work he began this year as a teacher leader on the PPS curriculum development team and remain connected to the Freshman Success Team (FST) as an administrator. Jay Rishel, the English teacher in their 9th Grade Community team, will step into the teacher leader role created by moving Mr. Covey.
Mr. Covey’s courses will be taught by Kurt Weist, who has graciously substituted in long-term positions at Wilson several times over the last several years. Mr. Weist is excited to spend another semester at Wilson and to join a great 9th grade team.
Please join me in welcoming him to his new role.
Wilson High School
November 26, 2018
Dear Wilson Families,
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are all well-rested and excited to be back at Wilson with your children.
If you weren’t able to see the teachers you hoped to during conferences, please contact them with any questions or concerns you have through email. All staff emails are available on our website. We are also seeking feedback about conferences to inform next year’s planning and would like to ask for yours while the experience is still fresh. There are two simple questions in a Google Form at https://goo.gl/forms/mpoEt6BdckFezgRG2.
We had our first scheduled Lock Out drill this morning at 10:30. All went well. “Lock Out” is the emergency drill we use when there is an issue outside the school that has the potential to impact our building. Most often, schools are informed of such situations by Portland Police. All doors are locked and manned while school goes on as usual inside our walls. Please let me know if you hear any concerns from your child(ren) about today’s drill.
Wilson High School
October 28, 2018
Dear Wilson Families,
Parent/student/teacher conferences take place Monday and Tuesday, November 19 and 20. Students are expected to attend conferences at this stage of their academic careers.
In an effort to meet the needs of everyone, we offer three types of conferences: Individual, Arena, and Priority Conferences. Please know that you may contact our teachers at any time throughout the year and are not limited to these conference times.
- Individual Conferences are ten minutes long and take place in the privacy of each teacher’s classroom. Individual Conferences can be reserved online from 5:00pm on November 8 until 10:00pm on November 14. The link to the sign-up will be available on the Wilson website on November 8.
- Arena Conferences are five minutes long and take place on Monday and Tuesday evening from 6:00-8:00pm. Most of our teachers will be present in the gym. For students who are progressing well in their classes, the arena is a great venue for quick check-ins with teachers. If you have issues to discuss with your child’s teachers that are more involved or require privacy, please reach out for a separate time to speak to them. Counselors are a great resource to include in the conversation.
Our 9th-Grade Community teachers would like to make themselves available in their teams (i.e., MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT) to meet with parents and students who have not been scheduled for Priority Conferences. During Monday night’s arena conferences, 9th-Grade Community (English, Modern World History, and Physics) teachers will be in classrooms in the hallway just outside the gym. These conferences will be limited to ten minutes and are first-come, first-served. We will have Chromebooks available in the hallway to look up your student’s grades on ParentVue and password assistance to access the system if needed.
- Priority Conferences are reserved for a small number of students with whom we would like to meet as a team. Wilson staff members identify students for Priority Conferences and will contact parents to schedule them. Freshmen struggling with the transition to high school, seniors in danger of not graduating, and students with special needs are our priorities for these conference times.
Dates and Times:
Monday, November 19 8:15-11:25am
Priority and Individual Conferences
Priority and Individual Conferences
Arena Conferences in the gym
9th-Grade Community teachers together in classrooms
Tuesday, November 20
Priority and Individual Conferences
Priority and Individual Conferences
Arena Conferences in the gym
Instructions for scheduling Individual Conferences will be posted on the WHS website by November 5, and the link to schedule Individual Conferences will become active on November 8. Please take the time to read the instructions regarding scheduling Individual Conferences online before calling the office for help.
SENIORS WHO STILL NEED TO MEET ESSENTIAL SKILLS
We are hosting opportunities for seniors who need to complete their Essential Skills graduation requirement on Monday, November 19, and Tuesday, November 20, from 8:30-11:30am and 12:30-2:30pm in the auditorium foyer.
There are no classes during scheduled during conference week. We look forward to seeing you at Wilson!
Wilson High School
January 3, 2018
Dear Wilson Families,
Friday, January 12, Wilson is holding a Forecasting Fair during Tutor Time, which coincides with the forecasting presentations currently being made by our counseling department in students’ English classes. Forecasting is the name of the process we have for students to sign up for the classes they will take in the next school year. As the school has grown over the last several years, we have added many electives and programs that students may not be aware of. In addition, we have added several more new electives for the coming year in the fine arts; created a new CTE program that prepares students for potential careers in education; and have reintroduced a number of other elective classes such as Anthropology, Advertising, Finance, Science Research, French Film and Social Justice to name a few. We have added this event in the hope that students will look more closely at their options and make informed decisions when choosing their program for next year.
Participation in the Forecasting Fair is optional. While it is going on, the majority of the staff will be conducting Tutor Time as usual, and your students will be expected to be in attendance starting at 8:15am and use the time to their best advantage. This is the ONLY remaining Tutor Time before finals, as we have an all-school assembly planned for Thursday, January 11, to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday.
It is important to note that we will have an altered schedule for the day. Tutor Time will be moved to the beginning of the day from 8:15 to 9:07am. The full day’s bell schedule is included below. By moving to the beginning of the day, we have made it possible to include our incoming 8th graders if they wish to participate before their school day begins.
Special Schedule for January 12, 2018
Forecasting Fair/Tutor Time
8:15am – 9:07am
9:14am – 10:31am
10:38am – 11:55am
11:55am – 12:27pm
12:34pm – 1:51pm
1:58pm – 3:15pm
*The only change is that we moved Tutor Time to the beginning of the day.
Thank you very much.
Wilson High School
September 7, 2017
Dear Wilson Community,
I sincerely hope that the start up of the 2017-2018 school year has been smooth for your family. We are still very much in the beginning stages, establishing classroom routines and expectations, so don’t hesitate to communicate with teachers, counselors, our office staff or the administration if you need anything at all.
Wilson High School continues to grow in size. Our projected enrollment for the year was 1480 students, an increase of about 60 students from last year. At present though, we have 1538 students enrolled. The unexpected increase has put some pressure on our counseling department to work with students that want to change classes or that are coming to us brand new and wanting electives that are already completely full. I really appreciate the level of maturity and patience that our students have shown in the last few days as these corrections and adjustments have been made.
In order to lower class sizes in some of our most impacted classes, we have already added two additional sections of US History, a section of introductory Video Production and a section of Graphic Design. This week we are moving ahead with adding two additional sections of Spanish (1st-year and 3rd-year), another section of US History, and one section of Sophomore Language Arts. This will result in a significant number of students, primarily in the sophomore class, receiving schedule changes as we move students into these new sections. I know that changing classes and upsetting the new routine is problematic, but doing it sooner rather than later is the consolation I can offer.
Important Priorities at Wilson High School
- Regular attendance in school is the most important criterion in school success. We believe that every student is able to learn, grow, and find success. Students will be pushed to achieve to their highest potential, but they have to be present everyday to see that potential realized.
- We need parents/guardians to excuse their child’s absences, when appropriate, within 3 days and ideally before they miss school whenever possible.
- Wilson is a place of acceptance and inclusion for everyone, not simply tolerance. Harassment, discrimination or bullying, in all its forms, will be addressed and corrected.
- Our school is a place that exists to serve young people, to educate and develop their MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT as they become responsible adult citizens. In all circumstances our staff will strive to build meaningful relationships with students, to listen before assigning judgement or blame, and will seek solutions in student’s best interests with compassion, empathy, and respect, utilizing a lens of equity.
- Students are expected to keep their phones and electronics OFF and AWAY during classes at Wilson. Parent support and reinforcement is appreciated.
- Tutor Times, held during the school day, are an important feature of our academic program. Students are expected to utilize this time to keep current in all their classes and are NOT permitted to leave campus.
- All students leaving school for appointments, or any other reason, should check out in the main office.
- All parents and students can and should use the ParentVue/StudentVue Application to access grades, attendance, and other information. We will not be printing 1500 student schedules on BTSN!
- Back to School Night is Monday, September 18
- The last day for students to add or drop a class is September 19
- September 22 is the Homecoming Football game – September 23 is the Homecoming Dance
- October 11 is a two-hour early dismissal for staff development
- October 13 is a non-school day
Please don’t hesitate to contact me personally if you need an ear to listen or a problem that needs solving. Thank you for entrusting Wilson High School with your children and partnering with us in their education.
April 29, 2017
Dear Wilson Community,
Thank you to everyone who made last weekend’s auction the most successful ever for Wilson High School! Over 300 guests helped us earn $110,000 for the Wilson Foundation, student clubs and teams, the Art Department, the College & Career Center, and classroom technology, among others.
If you were not able to attend the auction, please consider making a contribution to the Wilson Foundation. As I shared in an earlier email, the auction paddle raise generated more than $40,000 for the Foundation. Any amount in addition to that would help reduce class sizes and increase course offerings for next year. A generous Wilson family has agreed to match donations in the month of May up to an additional $8000. Donate online or write a check to the Wilson Foundation and send it to the school. It is also possible to set up a recurring monthly donation, which is how my family has chosen to support the Foundation.
Also, If you want to partake in some of the activities from the auction, like signing up for a hosted party, there will be another opportunity for you to do so. Watch for an email early next week with information about the follow-up online auction. After the online auction concludes we will have more specific details on how much each group/team earned.
The auction would not have happened without the many hours of hard work put it in by our many volunteers and sponsors from the community. Please join me in thanking the following:
Betsy Kauffman, MC
Jessica and Trent More, PDX Sports Center
Roger Devine, SchoolAuction.net
Jeff and Kath Axline, Symbiosis Printing
OnPoint Community Credit Union
David Rose, John Schulte, Julia Taylor (student speaker)
Roger Devine, Erica Meyers, Valeurie Friedman, Jessica More, Jean Hinkley, Kari Smith Haight, Kathy Spencer, Rosita Bromley, Melissa Rubin, Lisa Sloan, Hilary Conway, Meagan Tuhy
Mary Bessette, Amy Blumenberg, Keith Brown, Jennifer Cleary, Joe Conway, Karen Coodley, Deb Cox, Emily Decarlo, Walker Devine, Shannan Fasold, Laura Foran, Estelle Gilbert, Adam Grimshaw, Tony Hansen, Sandy Herrle-Hartzog, Michelle Holmes, Brenda Jamsgard, Kendall Kic, Matt Laas, Sarabeth Leitch, Sarah LeMier, Elsa and Emile Lemoine, Erika Luther, Shanie Mason, Dina Nieri, Cathy Petrecca, Vincent Pimont, Michael Pinney, Curtis Roth, Kathy Russo, Ursula Schwantag, Rosemary Schwimmer, Noel Springer, Lisa Sloan Strom, Doria Stellmacher, Hang Taylor, Janet Tingey, Katie Unflat, Leanne Van Horn, Kathy Weeks, Heidi Worden
Kathy Alverez, Carla Asplund, June Bremmer, Keith Brown, Mary Jo Cohen , Kim DeNeffe, Georgea Edwards, Julie Fleming, Sheila Kendall, Kim Meyers, Kelly Milford, Kate Morgan, Lisa Nelson, Charli Nesbitt, Diana O’Connell, Teresa Panet-Raymond, Teri Price, Melissa Rubin, Jenn Satalino, Carole Schmidt-Davis, Ava Schnoll, Mary Scriven, Sue Stahl, Joan Stein, Collin Trummel, Katie Unflat, Linda Venti, Kathryn Wolff, Crissy Woodland, Heidi Worden
Please forgive me if your name is spelled incorrectly or was accidentally omitted.
April 24, 2017
Dear Wilson Community,
What fun it was to see so many of you at the auction this weekend! We will be sending information shortly about the totals raised and items that are left that you can bid on online. In the meantime, I wanted to share some news about the Foundation.
The paddle raise at the auction raised more than $40,000 to pay for staff! This is an all-time record, during a year of very significant budget cuts, so I thank all of you who donated for your generosity. For those of you who were unable to attend on Saturday, there is still time to contribute to help reduce class sizes and increase class offerings for students next year.
We are hoping to raise at least another $5,000 for the Foundation to help to restore some class sections and electives, and we are asking those of you who haven't donated yet to do so now. You can click here to make your contribution (be sure to designate Wilson HS as the recipient), or you can write a check payable to "Wilson Foundation" and drop it off to the office. No amount is too large or too small as our combined efforts have impact.
I continue to feel so fortunate to be part of this school community that works together to support our students. Thank you for all of your contributions.
April 10, 2017
Dear Wilson Community,
I expect that you all have heard about the budget shortfall PPS is facing for next year. I won’t go into the details here, as I think the circumstances of the State’s financial problems have been well communicated. For Wilson, the reduction in staff is mitigated somewhat by the fact that we are projected to grow from 1415 students to 1480 students next fall. However, even with the addition of 65 students, we still were asked to cut 6.01 FTE from our current staffing.
Below I have outlined the departments/areas that we have chosen to cut staff and where appropriate, provided some of the rationale for the reduction and the impact it will have.
Cuts to Wilson Staff
- Language Arts 1.0 – This is our largest department. Cutting one teacher means that class sizes across the department will be incrementally larger at all grade levels. No courses or programs have been eliminated.
- Social Studies .5 - Curricular changes are taking place at the sophomore level, regardless of the budget cut, resulting in a one year loss of AP US History, but no other electives are impacted. Again, class sizes will be incrementally larger.
- Science .5 – With a full-time retirement in the department, we have decided to only replace that loss with a half-time replacement. We have significant changes next year in our course sequencing in science as we move ahead with the district adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). All of our elective science courses remain intact, though class sizes will be impacted by the loss.
- CTE 1.0 – We have chosen to eliminate the Graphic Design and Digital Media CTE program next year. The enrollment interest has been low the last few years; unfortunately, we need to let some electives go to preserve staff in other areas. We also reduced our Video Production program by one period.
- Library Media Specialist .5 – With the retirement of our current Library Media Specialist, we decided to reduce the position by half to preserve other core staff and programs. I plan to re-allocate other staff to ensure the library is open, supervised and functioning for our students and staff everyday. This is definitely a compromise, and I have agreed to restore the position if more funding comes.
- Mandarin – I have worked to improve our World Languages offerings at Wilson in the last few years by starting Mandarin. Unfortunately, only four students out of over 400 freshmen have forecast to take it next year, which left little choice but to let it go. Were the budget circumstances different, I may have tried to promote it and build it up this spring to give it a fighting chance, but I am required to make reductions. We also cut one section of American Sign Language, reducing the teacher from six sections to five.
- Dance – Two years ago, we created a partnership with the Portland Ballet in Hillsdale to use their studio for our new dance classes. This program has served a modest number of students but provided an avenue for students to either earn PE credit or to pursue their passion for dance and choreography. Unfortunately, it needs to be cut to preserve staffing for the required PE and health courses. We also cut two additional sections in PE/Health from our in-building staff, reducing a teacher from five sections to three.
- Classified/Secretarial Staff – We have cut our full-time testing coordinator position and will distribute the testing workload onto various other staff members. We cut the secretarial position from the athletics office; we cut a part-time secretary who does filing and copying support; and we reduced our bookkeeper to half-time.
- Mindful Studies – I did not intend to cut this program and, in fact, have allocated staffing from my budget to keep this program next year. The PPS Office of Equity and Partnerships has chosen to cut the entire contract and funding for our partner organization, Peace In Schools, which enables the co-teaching model in these classes. The other high school principals and I have met with our PPS supervisor to advocate for this funding to be restored. At this time, the future of Mindful Studies is up in the air.
- Site Technology Coordinator – This full-time position at Wilson is controlled by the IT Department at PPS. The funding for an IT professional at each high school has been cut for next year.
There has also been a significant reduction in staffing and funding of services at the PPS central office. I do not yet know how those cuts will impact the services offered by Wilson High School. Our recourse to try to restore these lost positions and programs is to fundraise in our community through our school’s Foundation. The Wilson HS auction, sponsored by the Wilson High School Foundation, is Saturday, April 22.
Feel welcome to contact me if you have questions or require further clarification.
March 24, 2017
Dear Wilson Families,
It is my privilege to announce the hiring of two new head coaches at Wilson.
Mark Mendek: Mark joined us last year as an assistant coach and has been promoted to run the program at Wilson in the fall. Congratulations Mark!
David Kilpatrick-White: David has most recently been coaching at Mountain View HS in Vancouver after moving to Portland in 2016. Previously he was the head coach at Hazen High School in Renton, WA, and prior to that coached for several years at Bothell High School, in Bothell, WA. Welcome David!
We are excited to see what these two new coaches will bring to Wilson athletics next fall. Information about spring and summer workouts will be coming out soon. Mark has already met with volleyball athletes at Wilson and David will be meeting his future players on Tuesday, April 4 at lunch. A football parent meeting is planned for April 11 at 6:30pm. Look for more details about both programs in the daily announcements or contact our athletics director, Mr. Easton.
Have a great Spring Break!
February 13, 2017
Dear Wilson Families,
It’s time again for our community to come together to make sure Wilson High School remains an excellent place for our students to learn and grow--It’s time for an auction!
Following the auction two years ago we made the decision to take a year off. The auction was a hugely successful fundraising and social event, and after many years of declining school funding, things were looking up. Almost two years after our last auction, however, our teams and clubs are feeling the financial pinch. Above and beyond those predictable needs, we now find ourselves in a new cycle of budget cuts that are likely to result in significant reductions in staff at Wilson next year.
Now you know the bad news. But the good news is that Wilson has never been stronger. As I shared just recently, our graduation rate far exceeds district and state levels at more than 90%, our enrollment continues to grow and is on track for healthy increases for several more years, and we have an exceptionally strong teaching and counseling staff in place to keep our students learning, achieving and on track to reach their post-graduation goals. Wilson has recently achieved a historically high success rate for students taking and passing AP exams while nearly doubling the percentage of students leaving Wilson with passing AP scores. Wilson also has six finalists in 2017 for the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying competition. Wow!
I know the tendency for all of us to wait until the last minute to buy tickets to the auction. I need you all to commit to making our auction a success for Wilson. Please go to the website and buy your tickets right now. We have all the pieces in place to bring you a great event full of fun, fundraising, and community building; all we need is YOU!
Date/Time: April 22, 2017, 6-10pm
Location: PDX Sports Center, 8785 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy
Ambience: Very casual!
Tickets: $40 includes dinner and two drinks; price goes up to $50 after February 27
Buy online now
As in the past, funds raised through the Wilson auction will benefit student teams, clubs, and activities, as well as important resources for the school: the Wilson Foundation, classroom technology, and the College and Career Center.
February 6, 2017
Dear Wilson High School families,
Wilson High School’s overall graduation rate for the class of 2016 was 90.32%. This is the second consecutive year that WHS has exceeded 90%. Our graduation rate has steadily climbed from 77% in 2011. We are extremely proud of our work here at Wilson to improve outcomes for all our students. The bar at Wilson was set particularly high by our African-American student population which had a 100% graduation rate!
What is not reported in this measurement of high school success is what happened to the 30 students in a class of 310 who did not count as graduates. Of those 30 Wilson students, three completed either an "extended diploma" or "alternative certificate" which are awarded to students who complete four years in our Intensive Skills Center. We are proud of their accomplishments and want to be sure to acknowledge their work and growth as part of the class of 2016. In addition, there were five students who completed a GED through Portland Community College and eight students who have returned to Wilson for a 5th year to complete their diploma requirements. That leaves just fourteen students who did not finish high school, most of whom were not enrolled at Wilson for their senior year. We won’t be happy until we succeed with every Wilson student, but we recognize that, due to a variety of circumstances, some kids need more time and sometimes a different environment to both see, and eventually to reach, their potential.
PPS’s graduation rate has now exceeded the state’s graduation rate and continues to climb. The added investment in the PPS high school system, added credit recovery opportunities and support classes during the regular school day, innovative programs like Mindful Studies, a wider array of hands-on, engaging CTE, dual credit, and AP classes made available through our eight period schedule, have truly benefitted our kids.
The Wilson teachers, counselors, and support staff deserve the credit for our school's success. We are extremely lucky to have such a dedicated, caring and professional group of educators working here at Wilson. We have embraced a philosophy of collaboration and shared leadership to ensure that passion, innovation and multiple perspectives are valued and encouraged and that we continually strive to improve our school to attain more equitable outcomes for all our students. Great job and congratulations!
PPS Avg. %
English Language Learners
Students with an IEP
Talented and Gifted
Wilson High School
November 13, 2016
Dear Wilson Families,
First let me thank you for your participation and engagement in our fall conferences. At Wilson we do conferences a little differently than other high schools. Perhaps it seems a bit complicated, but given the investment in time and human resources, we feel that it’s essential to make the biggest impact possible for student success with these two days. If nothing else, I hope you recognized during those short meetings the level of commitment and professionalism from our staff and saw evidence that we truly put the needs of students first.
With that said, I now must address the elephant in the living room, which due to the timing of the election with our five-day weekend has left us in a strange waiting game thinking about how the new national political landscape will impact our young people and their school. I am aware of plans that students across the city of Portland are planning to walk out of school tomorrow. If this action does take place, and students decide to leave the school, I need you to know that neither I, nor any of my staff, will be able to participate or monitor the situation to ensure their safety. Given the last few nights of protests and the raw emotions that the political campaign and election surfaced, I think the risks far outweigh the benefits for students. Please have a conversation with your son or daughter tonight and carefully consider together what’s at stake.
Despite the divisiveness and unmasked bigotry that has been publicly attributed to our president-elect and his vision for our future, I want to reassure everyone that nothing will change in either policy or practice at Wilson High School. Our commitment to student safety, both physical and mental, to teach and model empathy and respect for all, will only get more attention and intention in the coming months. I hope that the deep and old wounds that have been torn open in our society once again will help our children now see, and do more, than perhaps my generation has done to deal with the systems of oppression, the marginalization of the LGBTQ community, women and minorities, that exists in America, in Portland, Oregon, and within our school community.
We have experienced and responded to anti-muslim harassment at Wilson prior to November 8, 2016. We have also dealt with homophobia, sexism, racism and every other kind of bigotry and harassment that exists elsewhere in America. We will continue to work through and disrupt the ignorance, fear and selfishness that plagues our society and our school community that has been normalized recently. As an alternative to walking out of school and thinking of these problems as happening somewhere else, by someone else, I will ask our student leaders and their various clubs and organizations to come together, inside our building this week, to create a pledge against bigotry and hate—to fix ourselves first. The recent election and the struggle to determine our country's values is an opportunity to turn into the mirror and ask ourselves tough questions about the society we want for our children, the school we want for ourselves and what we are willing to do to make things better. I have enormous faith in our young people, as should you, to move forward in positive, inclusive and productive ways.
Lastly, I realize that in this message I may have revealed my personal beliefs and political dispositions, which under ordinary circumstances would be considered inappropriate for a principal. But these circumstances are far from ordinary. I don’t want any student, including those students whose parents and/or family may have voted for and support the new president and his vision for America, to feel marginalized or unwelcome at Wilson. I realize that there are many factors that American voters had to consider in choosing the next president beyond the social agenda that I focus on here. However, my first obligation as a school principal is to defend everyone’s right, regardless of their views on tax policy, trade agreements or environmental regulations to be treated with dignity and respect in my school. So while we may debate and respectfully disagree on many elements of our nation’s policies, when it come to hate speech, discrimination and a stated agenda that is harmful to youth, there can be no debate, as these are issues that as a principal I can not and will not accept or ignore.
Wilson High School
September 25, 2016
Dear Wilson Families,
Parent/teacher/student conferences take place Wednesday and Thursday, November 9 and 10. At Wilson we hold three types of conferences: Individual Conferences, Arena Conferences and Priority Conferences.
- Individual Conferences are ten minutes long and take place in the privacy of each teacher’s classroom. Individual Conferences can be reserved on-line beginning at 5pm October 31 and continuing through November 7. The link to the sign-up will be available on the Wilson website on October 31.
- Arena Conferences are five minutes long and take place in the gym on Wednesday evening from 6pm to 8:30pm. All our teachers (except some part-time) will be present. For students who are progressing well in most or all of their classes, the arena venue makes for a fast and convenient way to check in with most teachers. What is lost is the privacy and confidentiality for discussing problems or struggles.
- Priority Conferences are reserved for a small number of students that we believe can benefit from a team approach. Wilson staff have identified students for Priority Conferences and will contact parents to schedule a time and date (our focus is on 9th-graders, seniors in danger of not graduating and students with IEP’s).
We are expecting students to participate in conferences. In high school we expect to see students gradually assuming control of their academic lives. Their presence and active participation in discussing their own progress in classes is part of the process toward becoming self-directed, responsible scholars. If you, as a parent, need to have a private conversation with a teacher about your child, this is not the purpose of this venue. The Wilson staff can be reached by phone and email throughout the school year, and if necessary, will meet with you in person to discuss specific matters one-on-one. Our counselors are a great resource for facilitating conversations with teachers about personal matters.
The specific schedule for both days of conferences is currently available on the WHS website.Please take the time to read the instructions regarding scheduling Individual Conferences on-line before calling the office for help.
Wilson High School
September 1, 2016
Dear Wilson Community,
The new school year has begun, with new routines for everyone. As we all settle in to new faces and new experiences, please take a moment to think about how you can support and enhance the learning environment for your student or students with a donation to the Wilson Foundation. While we have several support organizations at Wilson (and I hope you will support them all), Foundation is the only one that is able to raise money to hire more staff, increasing the academic opportunities available to our students and reducing class sizes—Foundation impacts every student in the school.
A little every month adds up to a lot of support for Foundation so we encourage you to make a recurring monthly donation to the Wilson Foundation of $10 or more. For recurring donations of $20 or more we have a special gift: a year's worth of free admission to all PIL athletic events (admit one). The number of these passes is limited, so establish your recurring donation soon if this is something you are interested in. We have an additional Wilson High School gift for every recurring monthly donation just to express our appreciation for your support.
Many local employers offer matching programs that could double your contribution. See below for a partial list and check with your employer to see if they offer this benefit. Our goal with this direct appeal is to raise $1,000 in monthly contributions. If every Wilson family donated just .70 cents a month that goal would be in sight, so please consider what you can afford and support Wilson Foundation.
To establish a recurring monthly donation or make a one-time donation, click here.
Please also save the date for the Foundation House Party Extravaganza on October 15, 2016. In addition to being a fun social event and community-builder, this is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Foundation. More information on how to RSVP will come soon from the Foundation Committee, but please mark your calendar—I hope to see you there!
Principal, Wilson High School
Local Employers with Matching Programs:
Grand & Benedicts
Hoffman Construction Company
Oregon Mutual Insurance
Weiden & Kennedy
Nike Employee Match: The WE Giving portal is the website that Nike employees use to make donations and receive corresponding matching funds from Nike Inc. The WE Giving portal is only accessible by Nike employees who use a designated login to access the site. Go to https://nike.benevity.org/user and look for Wilson as one of the choices.
If a Nike parent has already donated this year, they can go into the We Giving website and scan a picture of the check or credit card number to get the matching donation. Nike raised their total matching amount for each employee from $2,500 to $10,000 in 2015.
August 18, 2016
Dear Wilson Parents,
This communication is to inform you of a significant shift at Wilson to a more consistent policy and practice in our hallways and classrooms concerning the use of cell phones and other personal electronics.
As an adult that did not have a cell phone in high school, because they did not exist yet, my feelings about their use and utility to students has certainly evolved as I’ve seen how electronic devices have transformed the landscape of personal communication, particularly for this current generation. The cell phone of today is an amazing device, and I certainly don’t need to tell any of you how important they have become to today’s teenager. But, sometimes, and in some cases, they have become so important and are accessed so much that they can become an impediment to giving one’s attention to just about anything else. Throw in an earbud and a favorite song playing in the background, and it is very hard to compete.
My staff has spoken to me about this issue many times, and I have pushed back over the years, suggesting that they are in charge of their classroom and can and should make a clear policy and enforce it consistently. But, despite many excellent teachers’ best laid plans, students are still accessing their cell phones in class and causing teachers to stop their work and address the issue far too frequently. The problem of cell phone overuse is preventing students, even those with excellent intentions and solid academic skills, from focusing and is dividing their attention, resulting in an undermining of the classroom environment and their own learning.
Other schools and districts have already taken a more aggressive stance on cell phones and electronics, and I now believe that this is the time for Wilson to follow suit and to ask more and expect more from students on this issue.
Below are the changes that students can expect in EVERY CLASSROOM at Wilson when they return:
- Cell phones and other electronic devices are to be OFF AND AWAY when in a classroom unless a teacher has specifically asked for students to use them in some way or for some purpose related to instruction. It will not be enough to lay the phone on the desk face down or to subtly have it tucked down in one’s lap. An earbud snaking up through a jacket and deftly camouflaged behind one’s hair will not be ignored or allowed.
- There will NOT be a mixed bag of different expectations with some teachers who are “cool about it” and others who are more strict. All our staff will have the same expectations regarding cell phone use in class and students are expected to understand and comply.
- We will address individually every instance where a problem arises and, if necessary, follow our progressive disciplinary policy that will most certainly start with a phone call to a parent. Our last resort will be to confiscate a student’s cell phone and keep it until the end of the day. If a parent conference becomes necessary to discuss a cell phone issue, we’ll let you know
- The school office is equipped with telephones should you need to contact your student for some unforeseen emergency. If you call us, we will get a message to your student’s classroom in just a few minutes.
- Students will be permitted to use their phones and check their messages before and after school, at lunch and during passing times insofar as they are not delayed in getting to class on time. During class time, using cell phones in the hallways or walking-while-texting on the way to the restroom will also be strongly discouraged.
We want to foster a learning environment at Wilson that is exceptional and supports the learning needs of all our students. Our motivation behind this action is to raise the bar, not to clamp down or to demonize electronics. Your understanding and support in creating this change in behavior will be greatly appreciated.
Wilson High School
May 19, 2016
Dear Wilson Families,
This Saturday, May 21, we will be hosting our Junior/Senior Prom at the Melody Ballroom. We are anticipating having over 300 students attend. The theme for this year's prom is Midnight in Paris.
The hours for the event are 7 to 10pm. Students must arrive at the venue not later than 8pm unless prior approval has been granted by an administrator. Students and their guests must show a picture identification to enter. All non-Wilson HS guests should already be cleared with by a completed guest form from their high school. The Oregonian will have a photographer covering the Prom. Please help spread the word that students, staff and parents can use #PDXprom on Twitter and Instagram to add their photos to the coverage at http://www.oregonlive.com/prom.
The Prom is a Wilson High School event and will be supervised by administrators, school staff and parent chaperones to ensure that it is safe and enjoyable for everyone. Alcohol and/or drug use, possession of drugs or alcohol or behavior that is indicative of drug or alcohol impairment will be cause for immediate removal from the event and will include school consequences in keeping with the PPS Drug/Alcohol Discipline Policy. Seniors are also subject to the "60 day rule," which can put their participation in the graduation ceremony in jeopardy if they are found under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Teens experience considerable pressure to drink or consume drugs at Prom. I have sat many times with distraught teens awaiting their parent's pick-up who chose to drink before or during Prom. School staff will not look the other way or tolerate any level of intoxication. Getting sent home from Prom is humiliating for students and their parents. Please speak with your son or daughter and take steps to prevent alcohol or drug use. Please speak to your child's date and/or their parents about your expectations. Address the issue with the limousine driver and give him/her explicit instructions not to make unscheduled stops. Ask him/her to search any bags or purses that students bring along, or do it yourself.
We also will have parent volunteers administer a breathalyzer test to every student that asks. This test is voluntary from the school's perspective, but as a parent you certainly can make it obligatory. Students can snap a "selfie" at the breathalyzer station and send it to you to verify that they are sober. We also ask that students participate to show their support and commitment to having a safe and sober Prom. We never want to deal with an alcohol or drug related injury or death after Prom—which happens far too often.
Thank you for your support of a safe and enjoyable Prom.
Wilson High School
May 6th, 2016
Dear Wilson High School Community,
Wilson High School has come to a crossroads. As I consider the growth and transformation of the school over last four years and compare that process with what I believe lies ahead in the coming years, the opportunities I see for Wilson students and families are so exciting. Four years ago Wilson had dipped to about 1100 students and was projected to go even lower, leaving in doubt the efficacy and viability of our academic, elective, extracurricular and athletic programs. Now, four years later the school is on a completely different trajectory. By 2020, Wilson is projected to be one of the largest, if not the largest high school in PPS.
Being the right size is only one of the challenges a high school faces, but it is an important one, because we all know that resources follow the students. Growing in size, though, can also create its own challenges. Moving into next year and beyond, we will be focused and deliberate to cultivate and maintain a positive, equitable, inclusive and learning-centered school culture at Wilson, and we will be mindful of the challenges that having more students and more staff will bring. I will share more about the specifics of our plans in the future. We will also continue to innovate our teaching methods, curriculum and course offerings to keep current with the skills and content your children will need to successfully move beyond high school. As we grow from 1300 to 1500, and eventually to near or above 1800 students, we will not lose sight of what makes Wilson a great environment for its students, staff and the community that surrounds us.
One of the cornerstones of a great school community is the support and engagement of its parents and families. Wilson is a great school today because of your involvement, advocacy and support for the work we do on behalf of the students. The call to action that I mention in the subject of this message today is a request and invitation to parents, guardians and other invested adults that support Wilson students to get even more involved next year. The opportunity to make a difference at Wilson, to be part of the renaissance of this school community, is at hand. Please consider volunteering at Wilson in one of the following ways:
- The Wilson Boosters Club—nearly every position in the Boosters is up for reelection, including president. The Wilson Booster Club supports through fundraising all of our athletic teams, extracurricular activities and clubs. Members of the Boosters Board are able, through their work, to positively impact the experience of nearly every student in some way.
- The Wilson Foundation—our current Foundation co-presidents, who have served for several years together, are ready to pass the torch to the next person or persons with the passion and energy to pick up this important cause. The Wilson Foundation raises money for additional teachers that allow for lower class sizes and additional electives. The Foundation's annual “House Parties” have gotten better and more successful every year…and are a lot of fun as well!
- The Wilson PTA —This organization is one that we all are familiar with from the K-8 experience. The Wilson PTA is looking for numerous board members for next year. I am looking for an active PTA that sees the needs inherent in a large, vibrant school community and will help bring to light the voice of the whole community in support of our students and teachers.
- Wilson Site Council—For the first time in my 20+ year career in education I feel like the true intention of the Site Council as a governing body for school improvement is in place and capable of providing that guidance and oversight for Wilson. This spring we will be electing three new parents to participate on the Site Council. Parents and community members are elected for two-year terms and will have an opportunity to shape the direction of the school in profound ways.
I am committed to seeing Wilson High School be not just a good school, but a great school! At this crossroads, as Wilson grows, I am asking for your commitment to support me as a parent leader and volunteer in one of the available opportunities. The time is NOW to step forward and declare your interest. I am willing to talk through the time commitment necessary for all of these roles and to introduce you to the other Wilson parents that can help you in the transition. Don’t hesitate to call, email, drop by the school for more information or seek out the contact information for the specific organizations and parent leaders on the Wilson website.
January 28th, 2016
Dear Wilson Community,
This morning, the Oregon Department of Education released official graduation data for the class of 2015. Of all the measures, metrics and milestones that are used to track our schools’ progress over time, high school graduation is the bellwether for the health and viability of the system on the whole. As we know, Oregon has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country, which is due in large part to our per-pupil funding languishing in the bottom third nationally. In our case and in our state, it is evident that you get what you pay for. I am not running for political office, nor will I ever, so I will get off my soap box and get to my point. When I was hired as principal at Wilson in 2012, PPS had just spent eight consecutive years cutting school budgets and retracting services that students and families need (not their fault). For years, as a school administrator it was part of my job to cut teachers, classes, programs and services to students while simultaneously attempting to keep a positive attitude and promote an optimistic vision of our district. The district’s graduation rate was terrible; below that of the state, and was even worse for vulnerable communities and populations of traditionally underserved families. Since 2011, resources and revenue have returned to PPS along with economic recovery in Oregon. It has truly been a privilege to be principal of a large, comprehensive high school like Wilson during these past 3+ years of recovery and rebuilding. We have taken Wilson High School, whose once strong reputation and academic prowess was doubted by many, and returned it to being a strong, vibrant and coveted institution. The renaissance of Wilson High School is not about any one person or new program, though; it is 99.9% attributable to resources. What we’ve had all along are committed, creative and passionate teachers and staff at every grade and in every school in our cluster. We have amazing families and communities who have stayed committed to public education and the values and ideals that it represents. What has been missing is a system and commitment to adequately fund our schools. The evidence is crystal clear!
In 2011, Wilson’s cohort graduation rate was 78%. More than one in five students did not graduate. The cost of that waste of talent and creativity to Oregon’s economy is not measurable. And Wilson was by no means on the low end of the spectrum for schools in Portland. Fast forward now to 2015: Wilson’s cohort graduation rate was 91%. What’s more, if after factoring in students who completed HS with a modified diploma (serving students with disabilities is something we are known for and proud of at Wilson), or who received a GED, our success with the class of 2015 was 94%. Think about how in just four years a school and system failing one in five students is now closer to one in twenty. When you sit with your neighbors and friends talking about your children, their futures and the society that you want them to inherit, a society in which you will age and retire, it should be clear and unequivocal how we make it happen.
The opportunities that are currently available for students at Wilson High School have never been greater; the support and commitment to serve ALL students at Wilson has never been stronger; and, speaking for the entire staff of Wilson High School, we thank you for your engagement, trust and partnership. Also, we expect the class of 2016 to do even better!
Wilson’s Winter Formal Dance is taking place this Saturday night at the Hilton Hotel downtown. Please make it a point to discuss your student’s itinerary to prevent drug and/or alcohol consumption. We are committed to having safe and sober events, and we know that teens experience considerable pressure to use, especially at dances. We will have breathalyzers at the dance and encourage all attendees to demonstrate their sobriety, however it will remain voluntary. I suggest that it not be voluntary for you, though. Have your son or daughter take the test and send you a selfie as evidence that they arrived at the dance safely and sober.
The second semester has begun. Grades have been finalized and submitted and should be visible on Synergy ParentVue. Please take some time to review with your child their progress, their study habits, their class attendance and their commitment to doing their best. Your words of encouragement and support, as well as your help with building their habits and routines, is very important. Our counseling department and staff will also do their best to reach out to students who are struggling. Don’t hesitate to reach out and partner with us to send supportive and positive messages to our teens and help them get on track to do their best.
In November Wilson added Maureen Brennan, a full-time social worker to our staff. We are still working out all the ways her expertise can be harnessed to support students and families at Wilson. However, what is sure is that if your family is struggling to meet any basic needs, or simply lacks the information of where to turn for help, don’t hesitate to call her for assistance.
The Wilson Foundation will be losing its Chairpersons, Linda Venti and Valeurie Friedman, this year. We are looking for the heir apparent(s) to replace them and sustain or accelerate the momentum Val and Linda have built in the last 3+ years. There are also supporting roles in the Foundation, the Booster Club and the PTA that are available to motivated volunteers.
October 5th, 2015
Dear Wilson Families,
Today is the first day for our new math teacher, Abby Lenneberg, hired with additional FTE we received after “Fall Balancing”. Ms. Lenneberg will be teaching Algebra 1-2 and co-teaching in our Algebra Support classes. Schedule changes will occur today and tomorrow for those students who have been switched. We have taken care not to switch any other teachers for students that are changed to the new Algebra classes. Switching teachers may be a temporary challenge for some students. We are very aware of this, but over time we feel the reduced number of students per class will help all students to be as successful as possible.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this change please communicate with your student’s counselor and math teacher. I have asked Ms. Lenneberg to communicate with her student’s families to establish lines of communication as soon as possible. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wilson High School
September 28th, 2015
Dear Wilson Families,
Tonight at 7pm in the Library is the first PTA meeting for the ’15-’16 school year. In addition to all the PTA events and news I will be there to share the work of the Wilson Site Council, specifically, Wilson's school improvement goals for this year. I will also share other details regarding upcoming staffing changes due to our unexpected increase in enrollment.
Also. . . Wilson's annual College Information Night is coming soon! Please mark your calendars and plan on attending Tuesday, October 6th at 7pm. We end at 8:30 and you can attend up to three workshops. We have a special workshop for students and families in the 9th and 10th grades, which will be very helpful for planning and understanding the big picture. We also have the following workshops: Public University Admissions, Private College Admissions, Two-Year College Options, College Essay Writing, Choosing a College, College Interviews and Visits, and How to Minimize Tuition and Maximize Financial Aid. We will meet in the cafeteria at 7pm and then move to workshops from there.
Also. . . All Sophomores and Juniors will be taking the PSAT during school on October 14. We have compiled some helpful information on our website for students interested in preparing for the test. Seniors and Freshmen will have separate activities taking place in the morning while testing is taking place. Attendance is obligatory, like any other school day!
Also. . .This coming Friday morning at 9:15am in the Auditorium Foyer we will have our second Coffee & Conversation. This week’s topics are “Athletics and Title IX”, along with "Activities and Extracurriculars". Mike Easton, Wilson Athletics Director, and Ayesha Freeman, Vice Principal, will be hosting. Speaking of extracurricular activities, on this same morning, the Wilson Club Fair will be going on from 9:35-10:39am (Tutor Time) in the cafeteria. Encourage your student(s) to attend the Club Fair and get involved in extracurricular activities this year. Ms. Freeman says there are many new clubs, over 60 this year!
Wilson High School
September 11th, 2015
Dear Wilson Families,
While the early start to school this year may have been a shock to the system, everyone seems to have adjusted smoothly to the routine of another school year. We try earnestly to make our processes of enrollment, registration and the associated communications as clear and concise as possible. We hope you feel this in your connections or experiences with the staff, and notice the thought and care we take to make things work well for your family. We know that the school is more than a building or an institution; It’s an ever-evolving community and, as such, change is constant. Your support, participation, volunteerism and feedback is absolutely essential to making Wilson the best it can be for all of us. I hope it goes without saying that if you have concerns, questions or suggestions to lend, we welcome them.
Updates and important events:
- Wilson’s enrollment is once again significantly higher than was projected. We were staffed for 1253 students this spring and currently have 1337 enrolled. We have seen transfers from many local districts, move-ins to Portland from other states, and in general, a population boom in all parts of the city. This growth trend is expected to continue in future years. Some class sizes in specific subjects have grown, and yet we still have relatively few classes with more than 30 students. Despite the "best guess" enrollment of 1253 from PPS, Wilson has grown unexpectedly over the summer each of the past two years. We took action early on to create class sizes in the low 20’s for all core subjects to make sure we didn’t end up with overcrowding should the enrollment trend continue. If/when PPS provides us with additional staffing to correct for our actual enrollment, we will use it for strategic and targeted purposes rather than damage control and wholesale class switches. I will share more about those ideas in the coming weeks.
- Back-to-School Night is right around the corner. Next Wednesday, September 16th, at 6:30pm, the program will begin in the auditorium. Continuing a Wilson tradition, the Booster Club will sell pizza on the front patio for busy families that are coming straight from work. Pizza sales will begin at 5:30pm. Daycare can be provided—please email Erica Meyers so we can plan for numbers.
- This Sunday, September 13th, is the third annual Trojan Trot. The Trot is not competitive. It’s all about building community and acknowledging the healthy and active lifestyle that benefits each of us. It also is a fundraiser for the Wilson Booster Club, which uses its money to support extracurricular activities, clubs, and sports. There are many walkers, so don’t worry if you can’t run a whole 5K!
- The Wilson Foundation has its annual House Parties fundraiser coming up in November. Information about hosting or attending a party has recently been sent out. More reminders will come, but I want to share my hope that more families will participate this year. In high school, parents need to know their kids' friends’ parents. The house parties are a great way to meet other Wilson parents, particularly if you’re new to Portland or a first-time Wilson parent. It’s a relaxed and fun evening and the fundraising pitch is “give if you can”.
- Hopefully you’ve had a chance to see our new Wilson Field House located adjacent to the stadium. This project was a collaboration of many people: supportive alums, local businesses, contractors and many Wilson parents who donated to the various 'turf field' fundraisers. The Wilson Booster Club and their president Jolene Schmidt-Howard have overseen the construction and myriad details needed to bring the project to fruition. Lastly, our main benefactor in the construction of the Field House has been David Andersen, owner of Andersen Construction. Thank you all.
- In partnership with the non-profit organization Peace In Schools, we again are offering "Mindful Studies" for Wilson students. This year the class has expanded to Cleveland and Lincoln high schools in hopes of expanding district-wide. Some people I’ve spoken to aren't aware of what this class offers teens. Many others have heard of, or have personally experienced, the many benefits "mindfulness practices" provide. On Saturday, September 26th, I am hosting a “friend-raiser” with Peace In Schools at my home. All the families with students currently participating or who took the course last year have been invited to attend via Evite. If you are interested in coming and learning more about Peace In Schools and the Mindful Studies class at Wilson, please let me know and I will share the invitation with you.
- There are so many incredible things happening at Wilson High School . . . 1337 of them to be exact! I look forward to seeing you all at BTSN next week and at the many events yet to come this school year. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Wilson High School
April 23rd, 2015
Dear Wilson Families,
This Saturday, April 25, we will be hosting our Junior/Senior Prom at the Ambridge Event Center. We are anticipating having nearly 400 students attend. The theme for this year's prom is Suit and Tie.
The hours for the event are 7 to 10pm. Students must arrive at the venue not later than 8pm unless prior approval has been granted by an administrator. Students and their guests must show a picture identification to enter. There is a Blazers game that night only a few blocks away so traffic and parking will be an issue. The Oregonian will have a photographer covering the Prom. Please help spread the word that students, staff and parents can use #PDXprom on Twitter and Instagram to add their photos to the coverage at http://www.oregonlive.com/prom/photos/?.
The Prom is a Wilson High School event and will be supervised by administrators, school staff and parent chaperones to ensure that it is safe and enjoyable for everyone. Alcohol and/or drug use, possession of drugs or alcohol or behavior that is indicative of drug or alcohol impairment will be cause for immediate removal from the event and will include school consequences in keeping with the PPS Drug/Alcohol Discipline Policy. Seniors are also subject to the "60 day rule"—which can put their participation in the graduation ceremony in jeopardy if they are found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Teens experience considerable pressure to drink or do drugs at Prom. I have sat many times with distraught teens awaiting their parent's pick up who chose to drink before or during Prom. School staff will not look the other way or tolerate any level of intoxication. Getting sent home from Prom is humiliating for students and their parents. Please speak with your son or daughter and take steps to prevent alcohol or drug use. Please speak to your child's date and/or their parents about your expectations. Address the issue with the limousine driver and give him/her explicit instructions not to make unscheduled stops. Ask him/her to search any bags or purses that students bring along, or do it yourself.
We also will have parent volunteers administer a breathalyzer test to every student that asks. This test is voluntary from the school's perspective, but as a parent you certainly can make it obligatory. Students can snap a "selfie" at the breathalyzer station and send it to you to verify that they are sober. We also ask that students participate to show their support and commitment to having a safe and sober Prom. We never want to deal with an alcohol-or drug-related injury or death after Prom—which happens far too often.
Thank you for your support of a safe and enjoyable Prom.
Wilson High School
February 3rd, 2015
Dear Wilson Community,
The first semester is now behind us; grades are being finalized this afternoon. Hopefully your son/daughter is achieving to her/his fullest potential and enjoying student life at Wilson. There has been a tremendous amount of change at Wilson this year with many exciting and engaging new classes and a long list of new instructors and staff. I hope that your family is enriched by your collective experiences with us and that your conversations about what is happening at Wilson are positive. If you have any problems or concerns regarding the first semester grades or second semester schedules, please communicate directly with your child's teachers or counselor. We will be putting in place additional academic interventions and credit recovery options in the next few weeks to ensure that all students continue to make progress moving forward into the second semester.
- The Oregon Department of Education released high school graduation data recently. Hopefully, you had a chance to see how well Wilson is doing. Wilson's graduation rate has climbed from 78% in 2011 to 87% in 2014. Though statewide the overall graduation rate is still about 72% and PPS as whole is 70%, as you can see, Wilson is graduating a much higher percentage. In addition, when we look at our 5-year completion rate from the class of 2013 (non-grads from last year who finished their diploma or completed a GED since then), 95% of the students in Wilson's cohort who began with us in the fall of 2009 completed high school. That is the highest percentage in Portland Public Schools. The credit for this accomplishment goes to the Wilson teachers, support staff and administrators, and of course, to our amazing students and families.
- This Thursday night, February 5th, at 6pm, Wilson is hosting an information session regarding the Smarter Balanced Assessments. All parents and students are welcome to attend. This year's juniors will be taking the assessments in math and English/language arts. The assessments are significantly different from the OAKS assessments that students have taken over the years. We will provide you with information about the assessments and our plan for administering them. The assessments will be administered to students this April and May.
- Forecasting for the 2015-2016 school year is coming up soon. We are working on updating our course guide and will make it available online to students and parents soon. Rising juniors will be the first to forecast during the week of February 23rd. We will finish forecasting with our incoming 9th-grade class in mid-March when we invite all our future Trojans to our Spring Pep Assembly on March 19th.
- To parents of seniors: June 3rd has been added as an additional instructional day for seniors. We moved senior final exams back a day as well. The school calendar, available online, reflects the corrected dates. The Senior Assembly and picnic remains the same and will occur Thursday, June 4th.
- 8th-Grade Family Night is Wednesday, February 11th, at 6pm. Tour the school, visit classrooms, hear about programs and opportunities at Wilson.
- Take the PPS Successful Schools Survey. The school board and district administration will be looking closely at the results of this survey. Please take the time to communicate to the district leaders your feelings about the culture, focus and direction you experience at Wilson High School. Often the school board and central administration do not hear from the many families that are enthusiastic, or at least those that are satisfied, with the service and environment we provide. Let your voices be heard in the Wilson cluster.
January 9th, 2015
Dear Wilson Families,
Tomorrow evening is our annual Winter Formal Dance. This year's theme is "Baby It's Cold Outside". The event is happening at the Tiffany Ballroom in SW Portland, near Lincoln HS. Students need to arrive at the venue by 8 pm to be admitted and are not permitted to leave and reenter the event. Parking in the area is sparse. We recommend having a parent drop-off and pick-up to simplify that part of things. There will be a DJ playing music that has been approved for appropriate lyrics and content and we will have numerous staff and parent chaperones present to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.
The Winter Formal is a school function in every sense. We expect students to conduct themselves with dignity and class, follow applicable behavioral expectations, and to have fun and create positive memories with their friends and classmates. There is pressure to attend school dances under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. We will be closely monitoring students as they enter and throughout the night to prevent this from marring the event. There is no acceptable amount of alcohol or drugs, or level of intoxication, that is tolerated. Students suspected of using drugs and/or alcohol will be removed from the event and parents will be called to take them home. Depending on the circumstances the police may also be contacted.
As has become our practice at dances, we will have a voluntary breathalyzer station near the entrance. We will encourage students to take the breathalyzer test before they enter to demonstrate their commitment to a having a safe and sober event. As parents, you can insist that your child participate in the breathalyzer test, and use your influence to help us have an incident-free Winter Formal. Students can take a "selfie" taking the breathalyzer test and text you to verify that they participated. We will also provide prizes as incentives for students to participate.
I would also like to share a concern about the use of limousines and party buses in case your child is part of renting one of these. In my experience, the drivers do not closely monitor the behavior of students and they will make stops at the student's request at places where alcohol or drugs are received or used. Alcohol and/or drug use in the limousine can lead to unwanted entanglements and removal from the dance for students who don't intend to be part of an alcohol or drug activity. I recommend making clear instructions to the driver and insisting that all bags and purses be searched prior to departure if you are the parent responsible for the rental. An ounce of prevention and some awkward moments are well worth it to prevent the mess we will have to deal with after the fact.
Thanks for helping us keep these events positive and safe for everyone.
October 17th, 2014
Dear Wilson Families,
The schedule for conferences has shifted significantly this year. Conferences have moved up in time from late November to Wednesday, October 29th, and Thursday, October 30th. This shift to earlier dates will hopefully make the conversations and discussions more about proactive ideas and goal setting than scrambling for solutions to established problems.
Wilson will be scheduling "priority conferences" again for struggling students and for students who would benefit from a team approach. Our counselors, teachers and special educators will be helping us identify students who would benefit from a team conference, which we will begin to plan and schedule next week.
Also, based on feedback from last year's conferences, we decided to add back some time for "arena" conferences. Arena conferences will take place in the gym. All of our teachers (except some part-timers) will be in one location. Though the environment creates less personal conversations, and the time allowed will be just five minutes, it is an efficient way to meet each teacher and make a connection.
The majority of the time our teachers will be holding 10-minute conferences in their own classrooms. All conferences will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. After we have scheduled priority conferences, we will give teachers their schedules of open times and allow them to manage their remaining availability. We expect to turn over conference schedules to our staff on Monday, October 27th.
We are expecting students to participate in conferences again this year. Every academic department has been asked to communicate how they would like their students to participate in a conference. Bringing samples of their recent work, talking about course standards and explaining ways that they can receive extra help in each class are examples of how students will be expected to participate. We also hope this will be a good opportunity for students to share their goals and to take ownership in their own educational experience. If you, as a parent, want to have a private conversation with a teacher about your child, this is not the venue. The Wilson staff can be reached by phone and email throughout the year, and if necessary, will meet with you in person to discuss specific matters one-to-one.
October 29, 2014
- (Regular Wednesday Schedule - periods 5-8)
- 3:45 – 5:00 PM - Student-led, 10-minute conferences in classrooms and priority conferences
- 5:00 - 6:00 PM - Dinner break for teachers
- 6:00 – 8:30 PM - Arena Conferences in the gym
- October 30, 2014
- (No School for students)
- 8:15 – 11:30 AM - Student-led, 10-minute conferences in classrooms and priority conferences
- 11:30- 12:15 PM- Lunch break
- 12:15 – 5:00 PM - Student-led, 10-minute conferences in classrooms and priority conferences
- 5:00 - 6:00 PM - Dinner break
- 6:00 – 8:00 PM - Student-led, 10-minute conferences in classrooms and priority conferences
September 30th, 2014
Dear Wilson Families,
We began the process this week of adding additional course sections with staffing that has been given to Wilson by the Superintendent and school board to lower class sizes.
- In math we've added: 1 section of Geometry, 1 section of Algebra, 1 section of Advanced Algebra and 1 section of Geometry support
- Spanish : 2 sections of Spanish 1-2
- English: 2 sections of English 7-8, 1 section of English 5-6
- Science: 2 sections of Biology and 1 section of Foundations of Physics and Chemistry
- We are still looking to add more (we have more FTE to use) in either math or English depending on finding an excellent teacher in one or the other.
We know that making class changes at this time is disruptive. Getting used to a teacher's style and classroom expectations, then suddenly switching classes, can cause considerable stress. If a teacher switch is creating a major problem, please communicate with your child's counselor. We may not be able to change what's happened, but we are sympathetic and want to be aware of the situation to provide support if needed.
In most cases, the new sections are small, usually less than 20 students. The opportunity to learn in an environment of that size is a rare privilege that has not been a reality in many years. Please take that into consideration if your child is placed into a new class with a new teacher.
Thank you – I'll keep you informed as the final changes are decided.
September 9th, 2014
Dear Students, Parents and Staff,
This Thursday is the first tutorial period of the year. One change from our previous schedule is that we now have only one tutorial period each week. This time is embedded in the academic day between first and second periods. There are many different ways that students can use this time, but the overarching expectation is that it is academic time made available to support student achievement.
- All students are to remain on campus during tutorial. Students with no first period are encouraged to attend tutorial. Once a student arrives on campus they must remain with us.
- Tutorial is 47 minutes long (9:37 to 10:24 AM). Students can use the restroom, socialize, make a plan, update their friends on Instragram until 9:50. At 9:50 we will ring a bell and expect all students to be somewhere, out of the hallway, for the last 35 minutes.
- Teachers will be in their classrooms and available to work with students during tutorial. Teachers should notify their students about the types of supports they provide for students during tutorial and share that information with parents at Back to School night. A few of our part-time staff do not work on Thursday and will not be available during tutorial.
- The library, computer labs, and the college and career suites will be open to students. Access to the internet and printing is available in all these places.
- The cafeteria will be available for students to congregate and buy a coffee from the Green Scene Café. Talking will be permitted, so students can work together on group projects, practice their Spanish/French flash cards, or have some down time and socialize. The cafeteria will also be supervised.
- We expect students to use this time to their advantage, to address their most pressing academic needs, and/or to make up work they happen to miss from absences.
- At times, students can be required to attend a certain teacher's tutorial. Ideally, we want students to manage this time themselves, but we reserve the right to step in when necessary.
- Parents, please help us deliver the message of tutorial expectations to your child. I spoke to a few hundred students this morning to share our plan for this year, and I will continue to communicate with students to set the tone and expectations.
September 4th, 2014
Dear Wilson families,
The first two days have been busy, but really exciting. Our new staff have been fabulous and well received by students. Our new programs and classes have been a hit. I hope that we have been able to correct many, if not all, of the scheduling issues, locker issues and other unexpected setbacks your children may have run into. There is still a sifting process happening with electives, study hall and some core classes. If your son/daughter still needs a counselor's attention to fix her/his schedule, make sure to communicate with them.
Our enrollment has continued to increase this week. Last week we had 1284 students. This week we show 1296. I have received some additional FTE to hire more staff in math and Spanish. Our new hire in math, Mr. Winicki, will be joining us soon. He will be teaching Geometry and Advanced Algebra. We will be doing some schedule changes to add students to these new sections, which will reduce class sizes for everyone. This shifting will take place when Mr. Winicki is officially on board at Wilson. Stay tuned.
We are currently looking for a Spanish teacher, and I can use your help. We are looking to hire an excellent candidate for up to 3 sections of Spanish. If you know someone, certified to teach HS Spanish, who is open to a part-time teaching assignment, please have her/him contact me.
I will be asking for more FTE to add additional class sections and further reduce class sizes in the next couple weeks. I believe that our increased enrollment (if it holds steady or increases) warrants more than what we have been given so far. My next priority, should I receive the added FTE, will be to reduce the size of the freshmen community courses.
On another topic, one of our new teachers, Mr. Campeau, has been talking with students in Government and Economics classes this week in an attempt to build back a We The People (constitutional law) class. We offered this class last year, but it didn't forecast well enough to continue this year. Mr. Campeau has experience teaching this course from his prior experience at Grant High School. His class in 2007 won the state competition and took second in the nation that year. We need to make a decision soon, so if you think your child might enjoy this intense and rewarding class, s/he needs to let her/his counselor know ASAP.
Finally, the Latin class I have discussed previously will be offered without cost to Wilson students. If you were excited to take Latin as an elective, but chose something else because of the cost, you now can take it like any other class for no charge. Please communicate with your counselor if you want to participate in Latin.
Working at Wilson High School is a privilege and a pleasure. Serving students' needs is the number one priority of this school. Please communicate with me either in person or by email if you need my assistance.
August 25, 2014
Dear Wilson Families,
Sadly, this spectacular summer break has run its course, and the time has come to get back to a more scheduled and industrious reality. The teenagers languishing in your homes —up all hours, asleep until midday, hanging on the refrigerator door—will soon have new found purpose, wanting for a good night’s sleep and a balanced and nutritious meal. The Wilson faculty and staff will happily take them off your hands and put them to fecund and noble purposes again. We will ask for and expect their attention, and we will demand they turn off their phones and focus. Welcome back to school!
Thank you all for your patience with registration last week and a big thank you to the parent and community volunteers that made it happen. The logistics are never quite perfect, but we do our best to try to make it as easy as possible to get families in and out with a schedule, books, locker, ID and any other needs handled. I would like to briefly address some concerns that were raised regarding the “fees, costs and contributions” that are part of registration. Wilson HS doesn’t operate differently from other public high schools or from other high schools in PPS for that matter. I’ve purposely referenced “fees, costs and contributions” because there is a combination of all these in that long list you received. We don’t intent to mislead parents, and we don’t want families to feel guilty or ashamed if they can’t afford to contribute to all of the groups and courses listed. The unfortunate fact is that the operational budget for the school does not cover all the costs of making our academic programs, electives and extra-curriculars happen. We need your support; we count on it, but there is some sticker shock. We leave it up to each individual family to decide how much they can comfortably contribute. If that wasn’t clear in the materials and communication we created, I will look into how to make it plain for the future.
On another urgent topic, registration revealed that for the second consecutive year our enrollment is significantly higher than projected! This is great news for Wilson. When I began as principal, Wilson’s enrollment had dipped below 1100 students, the lowest it had ever been in our 56-year history, and projected numbers looked like we hadn’t quite reached bottom yet. When I left the school Friday, we had 1284 students enrolled in Synergy, 74 students higher than our 1210 projection for the ’14-’15 year. The reemergence of Wilson as a premier public school in Portland is at hand, and I want to thank you for trusting in our promise of excellence and our goal to do our best by your children. This surge in enrollment has complicated an already complex process of scheduling students for the electives they asked for and providing everyone with eight engaging and productive classes. I will need more FTE (i.e., teachers) to meet the needs of all our students, and I have requested more from my Regional Director. The areas I plan to increase are math, science, Spanish, language arts, social studies, health/PE as well as an additional support staff person to help us manage our many obligations to students that the district and the Oregon Department of Education are asking this year. In the meantime, counselors will do their best to make the changes you’ve requested and take care of the scheduling issues that they are able to fix. When we do receive the funds to hire more staff, which I am already planning for, unfortunately, some student’s schedules will change again.
As I previously mentioned back in the spring, Wilson will have quite an array of new names and faces on staff. Due to a large number of retirements and the budget relief from PPS, Wilson has hired eighteen new teachers and counting. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to welcome them all on their first day at Wilson tomorrow. The infusion of new talent, full of enthusiasm and energy, combining with our already stellar cast of dedicated teachers, is something I’ve looked forward to for months. I really do expect great things from this faculty.
Now, some important updates and events:
- The first day of school, Tuesday 9/2, does not have a late opening. First period starts for all students at 8:15, and the day is an A block day, periods 1-4.
- Every student should pick up a new schedule when s/he arrives at school on the first day on the front patio. Please arrive early to avoid long lines at the last minute.
- Our bell schedule has changed from last year. Please be aware that we have tutorial only once per week, on Thursdays, from 9:42 to 10:24 AM. All students are expected to remain on campus during this time. We will also hold all of our assemblies throughout the school year at this time.
- On Tuesday evening, 8/26 at 6:00 PM, I will be hosting a Freshmen Parent Orientation in the gym. Immediately following, at 7:00 PM, our athletic director, Mike Easton, will be holding an informational meeting regarding the athletics programs here at Wilson. All parents, not just freshmen parents, are invited to participate.
- On Thursday evening, 8/28 at 6:30 PM, I am also hosting an informational meeting for students and parents scheduled into our new Mindful Studies program — student schedules show it as Yoga. Wilson's partner organization, One House of Peace, will have their staff present to explain the curriculum and the goals and hopes for the program. We also will explain the research study that OHSU is conducting on the impact of this program for students. Dr. Anna Wilson will be present to talk about why OHSU is excited to partner with Wilson High School and One House of Peace in this unique endeavor. Participation in the research will be voluntary, and we want to make sure that you have a full understanding of this course and the research study before we ask for your and your child's consent. You can get acquainted with the new program at peaceinschools.org.
- Back to School Night is on Wednesday, 9/17 starting at 6:30 PM. The program will begin in the auditorium.
- The construction taking place in the stadium will be wrapping up soon, but not before the start of school. The fencing will remain in place until 9/12. Please factor this into your routine if you are used to entering the parking lot from Capitol Highway.
- The field construction is on schedule and looking great. If all continues to go as planned, the first football game on Friday 9/19 at 7 PM will be the official grand opening party. It will be a great night to have the entire community show up and support the school.
In closing, I want to acknowledge all the volunteers that helped beautify the campus at our Project Community Care day this Saturday. We transformed the north entrance of the school from a bare patch of weeds to a landscape befitting the work we do in this building and the community it serves. I could not have done it without you! There are many new changes to the school's interior as well. If you've followed us on Twitter or Facebook you've seen pictures of the teachers, students and volunteers working during their vacation to make things look great and function smoothly for this school year. I'm really looking forward to showing you around so you can see the opportunities that we're making available at Wilson for your children. Thanks for reading this long email. Welcome again to the new school year!
Brian Chatard, Principal
July 9, 2014
Dear Wilson Families,
We have arranged to offer a Beginning Latin 1-2 course next year at Wilson. The course will be taught by Mr. Michael Reinbold. Mr. Reinbold recently retired from teaching Latin and other subjects at St. Mary's Academy and he is open to working with Wilson students next year. At this time, Wilson does not have the resources to hire Mr. Reinbold, so interested students would need to pay a tuition for the instruction directly to the instructor. The details of the final cost to students are still being negotiated. The cost of the course will vary, though, depending on the level of interest: the more students, the lower the cost per student. Our hope is to keep the cost reasonable and that it would cost far less than taking it on-line or through a university. We already have a small number of interested students, but we are able to take several more.
We have arranged to offer the course here at Wilson during first period to be as convenient as possible for those who are interested. Students taking Latin from Mr. Reinbold will receive HS credit if they take and pass the SLIP test (proficiency-based assessment) at the conclusion of the course.
At this point, all we are asking is that students interested in taking Beginning Latin communicate their interest to me or my secretary, Kathy Kersey. Click here for documents that outline the course in detail.
I need to finalize the list of students by August 11th so our counselors can arrange the schedules of students who choose to take advantage of this opportunity.
Principal, Wilson High School
June 20, 2014
Dear Wilson Community,
In the midst of all the end of year busy-ness, behind the scenes I was interviewing and hiring new teachers for next year. With 8 retirees and additional staffing from PPS, we are adding 16 new people to the staff! On the Wilson web page we have created a link to introduce all the new staff where we allowed them to share with you a few words about who they are and where they're coming from. Collectively, this influx of new teachers make up almost a third of the entire staff, making this perhaps the most significant turn-over of staff at Wilson in decades. I am so excited for our students to meet all their new teachers, and just as excited for the new teachers to meet our amazing students and to either begin, or continue their teaching careers, here at Wilson High School. These new teachers are a mix of new, middle career and senior teachers and most of them are coming from outside PPS. Two new hires are coming most recently from teaching experiences in international schools in China. Two of them are moving to Portland from the Hawaiian islands and the rest are coming from other cities and districts in or around Portland. I am very excited and confident that next year will be a fantastic year for Wilson!
In conjunction with the new faces, there are also new programs and classes coming back to Wilson that had been either previously cut or that are newly created by making innovative changes to tired curriculum. The English department is adding AP Language and Composition and Film as Literature as electives. Social Studies is adding Philosophy and Ethics. We are bringing back Business Marketing and Entrepreneurship as an elective for all grades. In the Performing Arts department we are building a recording studio out of a storage room off the cafeteria and will be teaching a Sound/Audio Production course. We also are adding a Video Production program and hiring an industry-seasoned instructor through the Oregon Department of Education CTE certification process. American Sign Language is coming next year as an option in the World Languages department, and I am looking for students that are interested in taking Latin as a non-credited elective for a fee during 1st period next year. (Send me an email if you are interested in more information about taking Latin) Last, but not least, we've made many exciting changes to our PE and Health offerings. We have a very popular Yoga/Mindful Practice course, Nutrition and Healthy Eating, Sports Medicine, Health Occupations, Lifetime Fitness, Personal Fitness, Team Sports and a female-only Strength and Conditioning course. All of this comes on top of the many fantastic courses and programs that Wilson has maintained through the leaner years. Sorry parents, the new courses are open to high school students only!
Another important development for next year is that our bell schedule will undergo some adjustments to comply with the state law for instructional hours. We will stay on the same "Skinny Monday" block schedule, but there will only be one tutorial period each week, on Thursday. Class periods will be 3 minutes longer, 90 to 93, and a few minutes have been shaved off lunch. The full version of the schedule will be posted on the web site so you can get a better sense of it. With a shorter lunch, some additional attention will need to be paid to making sure students are getting to class on-time and some lunch behaviors will need to change. With all the options in Hillsdale and the food carts being fully occupied with great new choices, the need to drive off campus for lunch becomes an unnecessary use of mom and dad's gas card.
For now, don't spend too much time thinking about next year, just enjoy the summer break and the opportunity to spend time together as a family.
Now for a few additional updates:
- The field construction will start Monday, June 23.
- The "Bricks" sale for the stadium plaza continues. Information about buying a brick for the family or soon-to-be graduate is here.
- There is summer reading for all new and returning students. These lists, by grade level and course, have been updated and are located here.
- The master schedule will be completed soon. You will get your preliminary schedule in the mail some time in July. Don't wait…start reading!
- With all the new electives, we will be looking to students with incomplete schedules and asking them to fill open periods with electives or peer mentoring classes. We have made several one-semester courses that we hope will allow students to sample things and spend their school day engaged in learning from 8 to 3. Study Hall will also be improved and more structured to allow students who need a time to complete homework the opportunity to do so in a conducive environment.
- The school is open during the summer (summer hours will be posted on…good guess!), so if you have questions or need to talk with an administrator we will happily take time to meet with you.
- Summer athletics information is also updated, but if you have any questions please give us a call.
Thank you for choosing to send your child to Wilson High School. The Wilson HS community is a fantastic place to live and raise your children and we are grateful to have your trust and support. Together, we are making the changes needed to ensure that Wilson is the best high school it can be.
Principal, Wilson High School
June 11, 2014
Dear Wilson Community,
With the construction of the new field set to begin at the end of the week it is a great time to update you on the details.
- The field and track will be closed soon…and throughout the summer.
- The operation of the Wilson Pool will not be impacted, but the parking situation will be. Please be sure to respect any signs or barriers that are put in place to keep the construction site safe. Do not park illegally as the construction crew must have unimpeded access to the site at all times. Vehicles will be towed.
- The north entrance to the Wilson parking lot on Burlingame Terrace will be open, as the usual entrance from Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy will be used for construction traffic.
- The high school will be open this summer. Students and a limited number of staff will be using the building and specific assigned parking spots at the south entrance/staff parking lot area will be used during the work week. We will do our best to clearly identify the needed staff parking. We don't ever want to tow cars, so please respect clearly marked spaces… "Principal Parking" for example!
- There are fewer street parking spots on Vermont avenue. The south side of the street is now a bike lane and cars parked there have been ticketed. So, consider carpooling, or take Trimet on those hot days in July!
Later in the summer we will begin construction on a new concession building and a "plaza" entrance to the stadium. In our fundraising campaign last year we sold over 250 engraved bricks that will be used for the plaza. Thank you!
- If you didn't get a chance to buy a brick and still want one, we will be selling them again for a limited time! Click here for an order form to fill out if you want a brick for your family/graduate/alumni/future Trojan, to be included in the new plaza.
- Click here for an artist's rendering of the plaza and concessions area as it was originally designed. (Plans are now being updated, but you'll see the general concept.)
Thank you! Enjoy the summer.
Principal, Wilson High School
April 6, 2014
Dear Wilson Families and Friends
This past week the PPS board of directors approved the plan to install turf on the Wilson stadium field. In addition, new fields will be installed at Madison, Jefferson and on the Marshall campus where Franklin and Grant students will be located as their buildings are renovated in coming years. The construction will begin in June and is expect to be completed as students return to school this fall.
In addition to a new field at Wilson, additional improvements will be made in the space between the stadium and the school, adjacent to the pool area. These will include a new concessions building, storage room for athletic equipment, and a new field house/meeting room. These buildings will be constructed around a spacious new plaza-like entrance. Also coming with this new construction will be brand new track and field equipment, new soccer goals and nets, and new goal posts. To complete the package, we have been working with PPS athletics and facilities staff to install a modern scoreboard as well, though there are still details to be worked out with the City on that front.
This commitment from the Board and all the community partners who supported this effort is a huge step forward for Wilson student athletes, as well as for all the families in the area that will be able to use this field for their soccer, lacrosse, football and other youth sports activities for years to come. I truly believe that this day would not have come as soon as it did if this community had not taken the initiative and made the effort that we did last year to fundraise and bring the awareness of this need to the forefront. After it taking over a decade for the Grant community to succeed, the push made here at Wilson to show both the interest and need for a new field convinced PPS and our community partners that it was time to take action and acknowledge the importance of sport, fitness, high school athletics and the general health and wellness of our city's youth.
I would like to thank each person in this community that donated to the campaign, regardless of how much you gave, and those that supported us with marketing materials or other in-kind assistance. Specifically, I would like to thank the community members and parents that participated on the planning committee, The Wilson Fields Improvement Committee: Sue Brent, Erica Meyers, Scott Aker, Lori Hesse, Bernt Jacobson, Neal Japport, Steve Conklin, Mike Bottinelli, Angela Duarte, Cameron Vaughan-Tyler, Dara Wilk, and Brian Price.
Principal, Wilson High School
February 5, 2014
Wilson is sponsoring a series of drop-in parent meetings to discuss concerns and issues related to teen drug and alcohol use. They're called "Staying Connected."
Maija Ryan, LCSW from Bridging Families, PDX, will be here to facilitate these discussions along with members of our counseling department. Potential topics include:
- Recognizing the signs of substance use
- Knowing the local trends of teen drug use
- Importance of parental guidance and strategies to influence teens
- Tips for communicating tough issues with teens
- Links to community resources
It is always better to be on the leading edge with your son or daughter on this issue than to be finding out about it after a problem develops.
The meeting is tonight, February 5, at 6:30pm in room 117. Please attend and demonstrate to your son or daughter that this is an important topic to your family. This opportunity is made available by a grant from the Wilson HS PTA. . . thank you.
January 22, 2014
Dear Wilson Community,
There are some changes taking place that may affect your student's second semester schedule that I need to make you all aware of. Wilson has been given some additional staffing to accommodate an influx of new students this semester. These new students are residents of the recently re-constructed Stephens Creek Crossing development located on Vermont Avenue. Stephens Creek Crossing consists of 122 units and is expected to be completely occupied by May. Wilson is projected to receive approximately 40 new students in the next few weeks.
My administrative team and I created a plan to use this new staffing to lower class sizes in math and in our freshman communities and add interventions, supports and credit recovery opportunities in Math, Science and Language Arts.
The students impacted by added course sections will primarily be in the 9th grade. We are building a new community in periods 2, 7 and 8 with Mr. Shetler for Modern World History, Ms. Quigley for Biology, and Ms. Dakin for English. Ms. Dakin retired from Wilson in 2013 and had taught 9th-grade English at Wilson for many years. Our counselors will be looking through student's schedules in all our current communities to identify those who could easily be switched to this new grouping. We realize that changing teachers mid year can be disruptive but we are confident that our new community is excellent. We will make every effort to maintain the rest of a student's schedule if they are moved to the new community. If for some reason your child is open to moving to the new community, let us know, we will try to make it happen. When these changes are complete, we expect all our freshman community classes to be in the low to mid twenties.
If you have questions contact your child's counselor or an administrator.
- Brian Chatard
- Principal, Wilson High School
December 19, 2013
Dear Wilson Families and Supporters,
Amazing things are happening at Wilson! Momentum is a powerful force and is starting to build in this community. I have talked about my hopes for Wilson at every opportunity and plans are in motion to make them happen. Academically we're reaching goals that hardly seemed possible, but last year 98% of our freshmen class met the PPS Milestone and passed at least 6 classes. When the School Board and Superintendent Smith say the words, "Every student by name will . . . " at Wilson we made it happen! It's huge, it didn't happen by accident, and to keep this kind of momentum going I am asking for your help.
You already know that we have a broad array of electives that appeal to students' interests, career aspirations and personal passions. I have plans to continue to enhance or expand our offerings in every academic and elective area. State funding has stabilized, but is still the lowest it has been in over a decade. Money donated to the Wilson Foundation is the only way to pay for teachers. When you donate to Foundation, I can hire more teachers, expand course offerings and reduces class sizes.
Many of you have already donated to Foundation this year; at registration, through monthly automatic withdrawals, and at the house parties in October. Together we have raised over $22,000 since school started just three months ago! Thank you all for your contributions so far! Our goal for this school year is to raise at least $100,000.
Our ability to offer more while reducing class sizes for students relies on your continuing support. As the end of the year approaches, please consider making a tax deductible donation that will really impact your student’s education and opportunities going forward. Send a check to the school office or visit www.allhandsraised.org to donate via credit card or set up a monthly contribution.
Your donations support Wilson, but they also help raise the level of education in high-needs schools across the city. One-third of the funds raised (after the first $10,000) at local school foundations is dedicated to the PPS Equity Fund and distributed based on a data-driven formula that ensures the funds are reaching the highest need schools. Last year over $1 million was granted to schools in Portland—we can be proud of our contributions to this cause!
Happy holidays and stay warm,
November 17, 2013
Dear Wilson Families,
On Monday, November 25, and Tuesday, November 26, there will be no classes held at WHS. During these two days the Wilson staff will be available for student/parent/teacher conferences. Our goals in using these instructional days to hold conferences are to facilitate stronger home-school partnerships and to allow for frank and productive discussions of each student's academic progress.
There are many different formats for holding conferences at the high school level with pros and cons that vary with each model. After last year's conferences I conducted a survey of parents and staff about the structure and implementation of Wilson's methods. Knowing that there is no way to accommodate everyone's ideal wish list I have chosen a schedule and process that I believe serves the students and families who need this face time with teachers as the academic intervention it was first conceived to provide. Next, I want to bring back into conferences the people who most need to be involved in these timely and informative discussions, the students. It is imperative that we protect the spirit and intent of this time to accomplish its purpose as an opportunity to right the ship for students who can ill afford to fail in their high school education.
To that end, our process and our structure has changed this year. Please take note of those changes below.
- We expect students to attend the conferences with their parent(s)/guardian and to engage in the discussion of their progress in each class.
- We accept that this may not be possible in every situation so we are willing to make exceptions.
- Priority Conferences, 30 minute long group conferences with many, if not all, of a student's teachers present, will again take place. This more intensive alternative will be offered exclusively to 9th-grade students and students with IEP's.
- Wilson teachers and counselors have identified students needing Priority Conferences and will be calling this week to schedule with families.
- Priority Conferences will be held on Monday, November 25, only. This is to ensure that all staff are available on Tuesday.
- There will NOT be any arena-style conferences in the cafeteria as is years past.
- All teachers will be holding conferences in their classrooms.
- Conference appointments will be 10 minutes long. Each teacher will have a schedule outside their classroom for parents/students to reserve a time. This should reduce the time wasted standing in a long line. You can reserve your 10-minute time slot and move on to another teacher(s) that may be available immediately.
- There isn't enough time even in two full days for most teachers to see all of their students. Families should focus their conference appointments in classes where a collaborative discussion in needed. Remember, there are many other times and ways where communication with teachers can occur.
- The schedule:
- On Monday, teachers that primarily work with 9th-graders will have significant blocks of time where they are not available due to Priority Conferences. However, all other teachers will be available throughout the day on Monday to meet with families.
- Any teachers who work part-time will notify their students and parents when they will be available. We will also post their availability in the main office.
- On both days conferences will begin at 8:15 am. There will be a lunch break from 11:30 am –12:00 pm and an afternoon break from 3:15 – 5:00 pm. Conferences will end on Monday at 8:30 pm and on Tuesday at 8:00 pm.
As always, if you have any questions you're welcome to contact our secretarial staff, counselors, teachers or administrators. We look forward to meeting with you soon in support of your children and their academic success at Wilson.
Principal, Wilson High School
October 14, 2013
Dear Wilson Families,
Are you intrigued by the idea, but are wondering what this night of fun is all about? What is a House Party?? On November 2nd, multiple house parties will be held across the Wilson area. Hosts have offered to open their homes to Wilson supporters—friends, staff, community members, families—to raise money for the Wilson Foundation (. . . the only way to pay for more teachers). Each party is different. Each host determines what his/her party is all about; some will include Wilson staff, others might offer student entertainment, another a sit-down meal, while another focuses on dessert and wine. EVERYone is invited! Hosts have supplied us with information about their Wilson connection, whether that means a sophomore son who plays in the band, likes to larp, and is on the wrestling team . . . a senior daughter who plays lacrosse, runs track and dabbles in drama . . . a Wilson alumnae who graduated in 1978 and appreciates his/her alma mater . . . you get the point. The unifying factor is that ALL parties are in support of Wilson’s Foundation.
What do I do now? When YOU respond to email@example.com that YOU would like to attend a party, you also let us know how you are connected to Wilson (through students, activities, history, or other) and we’ll match you up with the perfect party. Your host will contact you to give details specific to the party you’ll attend: the exact time, address, and what you can expect.
You have two jobs:
- Email us to let us know that you want to join other Wilson supporters on November 2nd
- Don’t forget to bring your checkbook to the party!
Brian Chatard and the Wilson Foundation Committee
October 10, 2013
Dear Wilson Families,
Yesterday Wilson was given additional staffing to reduce class sizes and teacher workloads. Wilson's enrollment is up approximately 40 students from spring projections! This process of correcting staffing allocations based on actual enrollment is known in PPS as "Fall Balancing". It is a great development to be a school with increased enrollment because it means we are doing something right at Wilson. But, in order to add class sections now there will be a time of adjustment and change for many students who are comfortable with their current schedule and teachers. These changes unfortunately cannot be avoided. We will do everything we can to only move students to new sections that can easily switch their schedule. It is not our plan to have any students switching most or all of their schedule or teachers.
We have used our new staffing to add sections of English 3-4 Honors, English 5-6, AP English, Forensic Science, Health and US History. These new sections will impact students in every grade level but primarily 10th, 11th and 12th grades. Also, some students may remain in the same class during the same period but will have a new teacher (PE). We will be working tomorrow and over the weekend to make the changes so we will be ready to notify students of their new schedule (if needed) on Monday. Remember, Monday is a block schedule for periods 5-8. We (counselors and administration) will come to classes that have changes and notify students in person of the changes throughout the day. We will do the same on Tuesday for changes that impact periods 1-4.
Superintendent Smith also announced a number of other exciting developments and new staffing that will impact K-5, K-8 and middle schools, and shared that an additional $900,000 was going to be allocated to high school athletics to support coaches, athletic trainers and transportation. At Wilson, where over 50% of our students participate in athletics, this is a HUGE win. Please join me in thanking the Superintendent, the Board, Director of HS Trip Goodall, and our new Athletics Director, Marshall Haskins, for making this happen so fast.
Please don't be anxious or concerned about what will come on Monday. We have put a great deal of thought and effort into making these changes work both for students and for our amazing teachers. We are committed as well to working out any issues that may arise that need to be addressed.
Have a great weekend.
P.S. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @principalBchat
October 7, 2013
Dear Wilson Families,
There are three new opportunities for students this year that I want to inform you about.
Student Yoga and Mindfulness Course
Through the non-profit organization One House of Peace we are excited to offer this opportunity for students. Their program, Peace in Schools, empowers students to reach their full potential through discovering a healthy mind and body—experiencing connection with themselves, each other and their environment through mindful practice. Through Awareness Practice and Yoga, Peace in Schools is pleased to be creating curricula for schools and other educational centers throughout Portland. Join us as we connect, energize, and create. Benefits of Yoga and Awareness Practice: Body awareness; strength and flexibility; concentration, focus and attention; tools to identify negative thought patterns; understand how to deal with stress; finding healthy motivation; confidence and healthy self-expression; conscious, compassionate, communication skills; environmental awareness and community mindfulness.
One House of Peace has worked with students in Health classes at Wilson, with our Leadership Class and with our Peer Counseling class and the feedback from students has been extremely positive. This course will be held during 5th period, on Wednesdays from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m. for eight weeks. This first course is only available to students who do not currently have a 5th-period class or who are enrolled in a study hall. Students will continue to attend study hall on Monday and Friday for the duration of the course. The course has a small cost associated that is dependent on the number of enrollees but will be less than $10/class. Anyone interested in this opportunity that is unable to pay is still welcome to fully participate. A sign-up sheet will be on the counter in the main office. Enrollment is limited to 45 students. This course in not for HS credit. The first class and subsequent dates will be scheduled when we have solidified a list of committed participants. This is a great opportunity and a needed element in the life of a busy and stressed teen-ager.
Trojans Technology Team
Wilson has a full time STC (Site Technology Coordinator) on staff this year. His name is David Rose. Mr. Rose is responsible for supporting our academic use of technology both as a technician and as a support to teachers bringing innovation to their classroom. We want to add a team of students to be Mr. Rose's assistants in his work. This is an excellent opportunity to use those techie skills (that as parents we hoped might someday help our kids be employed) in a practical, work-like environment. Openings are limited, but can fit into many times in the day that students are "free" currently. Interested students should sign up with Mr. Rose in room 209.
Wilson Robotics Team
Organizational Kickoff Meeting on Wednesday, October 9th, from 6-8pm in Room 27 of Wilson High School. Please bring either a journal or sketchbook so you have something in which you can take notes and jot down your ideas. Any students interested in robotics are invited to participate in this exciting new team/activity. Robotics covers a bunch of fields of study including: science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM subject areas). We're going to need team members who are strong in each of these specialties. So keep that in mind. We are especially interested in attracting a balance of boys and girls to the team—so please know that we strongly encourage girls to participate.
Parents and other interested adults are also encouraged to attend. We are looking for some adult mentors/coaches for the team as well. You don't need any experience to become a mentor. Enthusiasm and a positive attitude go a long way. That's not saying we wouldn't love to recruit some people with some serious expertise (building, making, programming, problem-solving, engineering, etc.). The first meeting will last the full two hours, there's a lot to cover.
Please email Matthew Johnson to indicate if you will be attending and how many additional people you will be bringing.
Let me know if you have any questions about these opportunities listed above.
Wilson High School
September 24, 2013
Dear Wilson Families and Supporters,
The Wilson Foundation's annual House Parties fundraiser has a new date. The event will take place on Saturday evening, November 2, 2013. Several families have already volunteered to host a party, thank you. We are still looking for additional families that are willing to host a party that evening. The Wilson Foundation board is able to provide both moral and material support to those who are new and/or unsure. Hosting a party can be a great way to meet other Wilson families in your child's grade level, on his/her athletic team or with whom you've lost touch with as your children have grown.
Obviously raising money for additional staffing at Wilson is the primary goal, but engaging socially with others who are sharing the Wilson High School experience will help make our community a richer, safer and more rewarding experience for everyone involved.
If you're not interested in hosting a party, please make a point of being a guest! Email if you would like more information on hosting or if you would like to rsvp to attend.
Principal, Woodrow Wilson High School
August 30, 2013
Dear Wilson High School Families,
This Labor Day weekend concludes what has been a very eventful week at Wilson. Last Saturday was our end of summer Project Community Care Day. Despite still being in the midst of roofing and other construction our many volunteers got busy tending the grounds in preparation for the start of school. Also on Saturday was the Wilson Youth Football Jamboree. The campus was absolutely packed with people jockeying for parking between the construction fencing either clipping weeds or heading over to the gridiron for a game. It was quite a day. Then on Sunday we held the inaugural Trojan Trot 5K to raise money for the Wilson Fields Improvement campaign. We had nearly 200 runners, many young and some less young, take on the hills of Terwilliger Boulevard in support of the eventual construction of a turf surface for the Wilson stadium. In each of these three events there were scores of Wilson families and community volunteers working, running and sweating to support the goals of this school. Not wanting to be the principal that talks about building a strong community from the sidelines I was proud to be out there side-by-side hacking weeds and chasing your kids down at the finish line. I want to thank you all for your work and commitment and also your support and trust in the future that we are building together for Wilson High School. We have a special community and I perceive a great sense of pride in being a Wilson Trojan from each person that I meet and talk to.
On Wednesday the staff returned to work with a great energy and enthusiasm for the 2013-2014 school year. We have 11 new staff and possibly more to come as we work out the final details of our enrollment. Initial reports indicate that we have a significant increase in students this year from what we were projected to have last spring. I can't be sure exactly where we stand until we see who shows up next week but right now things look great. The word apparently is out that Wilson High School is a great school—which we've known all along—and people who had for one reason or another chosen other options have decided to come back. Thank you! It's our job now to deliver for every one of you who have given us your trust. I told my staff in an email Monday night that it remains my goal to make Wilson High School the best high school in Portland but it is only through their professionalism, hard work and commitment, not mine, that this will be realized. I pledged to have their backs and support them in every way I can but I will not be satisfied with excuses, mediocrity or success for some students at the expense of others. A great school means great for EVERY student.
In a nutshell this week of preparation and transition has been fantastic. I know next week will only be better.
Sorry for being so long winded, but there is more to share. Please read the following other important pieces of information.
The roof construction is almost completed. What was supposed to be a two-year project to complete is ahead of schedule and under budget. Kudos to our partners at P&C Construction and the PPS Office of Facilities and Asset Management. The remaining construction on the north side of the school will be completed in the next couple weeks. The construction fencing, building materials and machines will be reduced and repositioned to minimize any disruption to classes.
You may have noticed that student schedules have an additional class listed called "Homeroom." All Wilson students have been assigned to a teacher for Homeroom. In our new "Skinny" schedule you may have noticed that our Tutor Time periods are now on Thursday afternoons following 4th period and on Friday mornings between 5th and 6th periods. During Tutor Time on Fridays, in an effort to reduce interruptions to instructional time, we will hold the majority of our assemblies. Also, on specific Fridays we will require all students to attend their Homeroom. In Homeroom we plan to provide information and deliver services that in the past would often occur during English, Health and Social Studies classes. Again, to preserve instructional time we are planning ahead and using Tutor Time on some Fridays to deliver this information/service efficiently to all students. Specific examples include class meetings, elections, Naviance instructions, filling out required surveys, filling out ACT/PSAT test sheets, transcript analysis, and discussions of school rules and policies. I expect that as the year goes by we will find many additional school practices that can be efficiently taken care of during Homeroom. Attendance will be taken during Homeroom to help us monitor the delivery of the information I have mentioned and we expect all students to be there as they would for any class. In the first semester, Homeroom will be held on the following dates: September 13, September 20, October 4, October 25, November 15, December 13 and January 10.
Our expectation is that Tutor Time will be used by all students as frequently as they need to keep up with all their courses. Teachers will be available to work with students, administer tests/quizzes that may have been missed due to absence or just to explain things again that may require a one-on-one conversation. Once again this year freshmen are required to be on campus and studying, either in a classroom or in the library, during every tutor time. Parents may of course excuse their freshmen student for occasional appointments or family obligations but we will not unilaterally excuse any freshmen from tutor time.
Freshmen students will adhere to our ongoing closed campus policy. However, we will permit this year's sophomore class to leave the campus for lunch. With freedom and privilege comes responsibility. I will be closely watching how things go in and around Hillsdale to determine if this change will remain in effect. I am confident that our rising sophomores will represent themselves and Wilson High School well.
Trojan Trot Raffle
As promised, we have selected three students who gathered at least $100 in pledges for the Trojan Trot to excuse them from paying the $200 athletics participation fee.
Those three students are Zach Iddings, Evan Shreeve and a third that I am trying to track down through their sponsorships—right now it's still a mystery. Congratulations and thank you for stepping up to support our "field".
Football Tonight at Lincoln @ 7 PM
Need I say more?! Everyone that is able to get over there tonight should be out supporting the team in their first game against our PIL rival Cardinals. Get on it!
August 16, 2013
Dear Wilson Community,
I hope this email finds you well and enjoying the warm, beautiful, Oregon summer.
I owe thanks to all the Wilson High School student athletes and coaches that came together last week to support the Wilson Field Improvement Project at the Wilson pool. I asked our teams to spend a few hours every day last week passing out information and registration forms to pool patrons in the hopes that we would have a fantastic turn out for our 5K walk/run—the inaugural Trojan Trot on Sunday, August 25th. You all did a great job and I thank you for your service in support of our new field.
I know that there are other events next weekend such as the Hood to Coast and long planned family vacations and camping trips planned that will keep many of you from being able to participate in the Trojan Trot. I completely understand and encourage you to soak up the sun and fun wherever you'll be. However, if you are a Wilson student, parent, alumnus, future Trojan or a family that fits any/all of these categories, and you're in town next weekend, I want to personally invite you to participate in this event. Whether you run, walk, jog or push a stroller, your participation and support in this event will help us raise the money we need to finish this fundraising and make the "dream of fields" a reality.
My expectation is that all Wilson student athletes whether they play on the field or not will use the pledge form to get $100 dollars in pledges…run the race and make your mark in this project. Years from now you'll be able to tell your family how you played a part in bringing this amazing new field to your alma mater! Maybe you'll run in the 10th or 15th Annual Trojan Trot to support another worthy cause with your family?
Students, collect the money/checks from your pledges, turn it in with a registration form on the morning of the race and get a Trojan Trot t-shirt and a chance to win a special prize to be announced at the race. The cost of the race is $15 for students, which is waived if you gather the $100 in pledges. Students can also use paying participants (at $35 each adult/$15 students) as part of their pledges. Get mom, dad and uncle Bob out there for the run and put them down on your pledge sheet and you're good to run for free.
Also, I want it to be clear that any Wilson, Robert Gray, Jackson, Rieke, Markham, Hayhurst, Bridlemile, Stephenson, Capitol Hill or Maplewood student is both encouraged and invited to get pledges and participate as well.
Every dollar we raise in this event will be matched up to $100,000. This is an amazing opportunity to get some exercise, catch up with neighbors and friends but also to support the community and the school with this important project.
Following the run/walk on the Wilson field we will have live music from The Magnets. They will be busting out the classics from the last 40 years. Hopefully there will be something for everyone to enjoy and dance to! Bring a blanket and a lawn chair, get a bite and a cold drink from the Wilson Booster's snack shack and have some fun catching up with friends.
All of the materials and information you need about this event, the matching donation and the field improvement project in general is attached to this email and is available online.
Thank you for for your support of Wilson High School. I look forward to having a great day. See you there!
Wilson High School
August 3, 2013
Dear Wilson Families,
I trust that each of you is taking advantage of the beautiful Oregon summer. The fabulous weather this July has our bond-funded roof and ADA accessibility construction off to a great start and I’m happy to report, on schedule. Much of my energies these past few weeks has been focused on next year’s schedule and the hiring of new staff—not to mention enjoying time with my family! As you may be aware the additional FTE moved to high schools in PPS made it possible to both mitigate some of the losses Wilson was facing from declining enrollment and also to add incrementally to our elective offerings. Some of the changes coming next year include the following:
- Wilson will have a new art instructor, Matthew Carlson, who will be replacing Susan Parker. Susan announced her retirement near the end of the school year. Susan worked as an art instructor at Wilson and several other Portland area schools for 34 years. Her contributions to arts education in PPS and specifically to Wilson HS are immeasurable. Mr. Carlson has very large shoes to fill, but we feel strongly that he will do an incredible job. Farewell Susan, our admiration and appreciation go with you. . . Welcome to Wilson Mr. Carlson!
- Also, coming new to Wilson next year is Morgan McFadden. Morgan will be teaching 9th-grade language arts and adding her talents and experience to our theater arts program. Morgan will be teaching Advanced Stagecraft (costume design, hair, make-up, etc.) next year as we move ahead with adding to this thriving program at Wilson for the future. Morgan has prior experience both as a teacher and as a professional actress and, as some of you may remember, worked at Wilson in 2011-2012 as a long-term substitute teaching 9th-grade language arts. Welcome to Wilson Ms. McFadden.
- Wilson’s Graphic Design and Digital Media program is also expanding next year. We are investing in this program with all-new technology and software, as it is my belief that technology fluency is as much a core competency for students as reading, writing and mathematics. Follow the link for an informational flyer for the program. There is space available for both beginning and advanced-level students that we hope to fill as the school year nears. Please contact your counselor to see about adding Graphic Design/Digital Media to your son/daughter’s program.
- We are also moving forward with adding a Health Occupations class. This class will focus on medical terminology, human anatomy and physiology as well as a general look at the health care field. We hope to offer a basic CPR/First Aid Certification to students in the class as well as the HIPPA Certification needed to work/volunteer in the field. The second semester will be focused on real-world field experiences in a variety of medical environments. Enrollment will be limited and available to juniors and seniors only. Contact your counselor to express interest. More details to follow!
In the coming weeks we will continue interviewing for other openings and later on in the summer I will let you know all the changes to staff that have taken place.
On another note I’m pleased to share that our capital campaign for improvement of the Wilson stadium field is doing very well. Starting August 1 and going through September 30 we will be ramping up our fundraising to take advantage of a $100,000 matching donation that has been received. Every dollar we raise in these two months will be matched 100% up to the full $100,000. Amazing! At the link is a description of our plans this summer to spread the word throughout the community via the Wilson pool, as well as information about our major fundraising event scheduled for Sunday, August 25th—The Trojan Trot. We are planning a 5K fun run/walk for this day followed by food, live music and other entertainment in the Wilson stadium. We will be asking all our students, but particularly our athletes, to participate by soliciting pledges from their circle of family and friends. Everyone interested in participating is welcome whether you’re a runner or not. Every dollar we raise will be matched, putting our new field that much closer to becoming a reality.
I’m excited to say that we have a great year in store at Wilson High School. For now, though, enjoy your summer break and all the opportunities it affords.
May 22, 2013
"Skinny 8" Bell Schedule for 2013-2014
Dear Wilson Community,
After considerable debate and many strong arguments on both sides, I have concluded that a switch to the "Skinny 8" bell schedule for next year best serves the Wilson community. There were nearly 200 responses to the survey I sent out, and the majority of those who responded prefer the benefits of the skinny schedule over the current schedule. Also, the Wilson staff strongly favors making a change from the current Alternating A-B schedule to this other model. The skinny schedule has strengths as well as potential pitfalls, and I agree with the majority opinion that its strengths outweigh its weaknesses. For those of you who took the survey and/or wrote to me about the schedule, thank you!
- All students/classes will have a known and consistent weekly schedule
- All classes will have three contacts each week
- Tutor Time will be preserved (though it too will be tweaked)
- Any holidays or staff inservice on Friday will cause Monday to be replaced with the Friday blocks
- I will work with staff to explore the most productive ways to use Monday class periods, though it was only two years ago that the majority of classes at Wilson were taught in 50 minutes
- Students will be able to more readily participate in internships, take classes at PCC/PSU/Reed and/or hold jobs after school
- The potential for creating partnerships with businesses and local universities will be enhanced
Take specific note of the following:
- Tutor Time will be held on Thursday and Friday next year
- Friday Tutor Time will be held following 5th period and will become a time used by all students for multiple purposes:
- Assemblies will occur during this time rather than cutting out instructional time from classes to accommodate them;
- Important administrative interruptions (district surveys, college speakers, Naviance training, PSAT/ACT details, forecasting, OAKS testing, class meetings, etc.) will be scheduled to take place during Friday Tutor Time, preventing repeated interruptions and loss of instruction in core classes;
- It will be my expectation that all Wilson students will be on campus and engaged in meaningful pursuits, using this time productively;
- Freshmen will continue to be required to attend Thursday Tutor Time. As was the case this year, some students will be assigned to a specific teacher to more closely monitor their productivity. 10-12 grade students will use Tutor Time as needed;
- Thursday and Friday block periods will be 80 minutes next year. The additional 5 minutes makes up for lost time on Monday with the additional passing periods.
If you have any specific scheduling concerns that are unique to your situation please contact your counselor and talk through possible solutions.
May 2, 2013
Dear Wilson Community,
Please share this conversation about bell schedules with your high school student(s). In the next two weeks I will create opportunities for students to express their thoughts and opinions about the possibility of changing the bell schedule as well as to ask questions. I encourage all members of your household who wish to respond to the Skinny 8 survey to do so.
Skinny 8 Block Schedule
- In this schedule, one day each week (in our case it would be Monday) has all eight classes. The length of the classes on the "skinny" day can vary depending depending on how long we give for passing time and the lunch break. Each class would be approximately 45 minutes long.
- The other four days of the week (Tu – Fr) would have block periods similar in length to what we currently have.
- The order of class periods would change from the current schedule; Tuesday and Thursday would have periods 1-4, and Wednesday and Friday would have periods 5-8.
- Each course taken by students in this schedule would meet consistently three days each week: one 45-minute class on Monday, one 75-80 minute class on Tuesday or Wednesday, and one 90-minute class on Thursday or Friday.
- On Mondays following school holidays or non-school days on the previous Friday, the skinny day would be replaced with a block period to keep instructional time equal for all courses.
- There are many pro's and con's to both our current schedule and the skinny schedule. For some, the advantage of a non-alternating schedule is not worth the stress of revisiting a school day with all eight classes. For others, having a predictable schedule with three class contacts each week outweighs the confusion of a different schedule every week.
- Please look at the model of a Skinny 8 Block Schedule.
At this point I have not decided to change the bell schedule for next year. I am interested in hearing your questions and allowing your opinions and thoughts to inform this decision. The Wilson staff has discussed the Skinny 8 schedule and based on two surveys are in favor of switching, though it's by no means unanimous or overwhelming. I look forward to your input.
April 29, 2013
Dear Wilson families,
I have concluded the budgeting and staffing process for next year. While we did take a significant reduction in staff (6.64 FTE) the Superintendent released just over 11 FTE on Friday to the high schools to help us staff our buildings appropriately. In years past these resources were held back until August and sometimes September or October to help balance shifting enrollments at the last minute. Many people, including the high school principals, successfully argued to get these funds released early this year to prevent unnecessary staff cuts and to allow schools to schedule more students now for 7 classes. Wilson's share of this was an additional 1.38 FTE.Thanks go to Carole Smith and her high school directors (Trip Goodall and Greg Wolleck) for taking this action now! This FTE allowed me to balance a very challenging budget, keep intact all of our electives in the arts, and to make some small but targeted additions to our applied/industrial arts and graphic arts programs. I could always use more but I'm grateful to have received enough to maintain our current academic program.
Of course there were several teachers at Wilson that I unfortunately had to un-assign which was hard news for them to hear in a year that we hoped would see an end to staff cuts. I want to thank each of them for their service to Wilson and commitment to this community. You are appreciated and will be missed!
At the end of the day though, now that the smoke has cleared, while we have lost some great staff through these cuts and through retirements, our program at Wilson remains strong: rich in electives, loaded with AP rigor and still able to meet the needs of our at-risk and special needs students. We will move on confidently toward the 2013-2014 school year in hopes of continued prosperity and economic growth in Oregon.
Onward and upward,
- Despite great progress toward implementing a pilot program in PPS for using breathalyzers at our Prom next Saturday we just ran out of time. I am not deterred, however, from making this Prom safe and sober. We are going to go ahead and purchase two breathalyzers and ask students to volunteer to take the test when they enter the dance. When students purchase tickets this week at school they will receive an invitation to participate in the Breathalyzer Pledge to show their support and commitment to a sober event. Students who choose not to participate will not be denied access to the dance. As always, any student who smells of alcohol, appears intoxicated or is acting erratically will be questioned and examined by staff and school police, whether or not they took the breathalyzer test. Please encourage your son/daughter to participate.
- Thank you to all the patrons, organizers and donors to our recent PTA auction. We took in nearly $70,000 for Wilson clubs, sports and the Wilson Foundation. Your generosity is very much appreciated!
- The Wilson staff has been looking at the possibility of a new bell schedule for next year. The schedule we are considering is called a "Skinny 8 Block Schedule". In a nutshell, Mondays would be the "skinny" day where students would attend all their classes for approximately 43 minutes rather than having 90-minute blocks. With Monday always being an 8-period day, then Tuesday through Friday blocks would always stay consistent—no more alternating and trying to remember what day it is. Block periods 1-4 would be Tuesday and Thursday; block periods 5–8 would be Wednesday and Friday. All I ask for now is that you think about how a schedule like this would impact your child. Later this week I will send out a survey to gather your thinking about it. I will also try to flesh out the concept of the "Skinny 8 Block Schedule" including a model of a possible bell schedule for you and send that out soon as well. If you know families at Lincoln and/or Grant you can ask them how it works—they switched to it this year and have lived with it for the last 7 months.
- The Wilson Fields Improvement Committee has recently launched a donor's plaza brick fundraising campaign. We are selling bricks that will be engraved with family names or other messages that will become part of the new field complex when it is completed. Go to wilsonfields.org for details. Other good news about the field campaign will be coming soon!
It's good to be a Wilson Trojan! I'm proud everyday to be the principal and to have the opportunity to work with your bright and talented children. Thanks.
April 19, 2013
Dear Wilson Families,
Despite what may appear to be an improved state budget proposal for k-12 education, the reality for PPS is still far from adequate and stable, and we certainly will not be able to restore any of the losses suffered over the last several years.
It seems surreal to me to once again be in a position where I am cutting a significant number of staff. As much as I must keep a brave face as your principal, exude confidence that I can make this budget work, and still meet the needs of all of my students, I am also a parent and citizen and am disillusioned and embarrassed at what continues to happen to public education. There is no way to spin this situation to make it palatable. Please take action and contact our elected representatives and urge them to think hard about the consequences that this disinvestment in education and our children will have for Oregon and the country.
Wilson is in a temporary enrollment decline. I have known this since I arrived and anticipated that cuts in staff would follow. In 2013-2014 we are projected to fall below 1200 students. The loss of students, coupled with a recalculated student to teacher formula of 30:1 from 28:1, means I will be cutting 7.14 FTE (full-time equivalent) from this year's staffing. Wilson will be adding a Site Technology Coordinator to support computer labs and technology in the building that we don't currently have on staff. This new .5 FTE addition for each high school means our net cut in staff is 6.64 FTE.
I have spent this week contemplating how to make these cuts by looking closely at the forecasting numbers for next year. This afternoon I finalized what I expect to cut and next week I will notify the staff affected by the cuts. When that process is complete, I will publicize the cuts to you.
I wish I had better news to share.
Thank you for your continued support.
April 15, 2013
Dear Wilson Families,
2013 WILSON HIGH SCHOOL AUCTION—A HUGE SUCCESS!
This year's fundraising auction was held last Saturday night at the MJCC. The sold-out event raised considerable resources for Wilson's athletic programs, extra-curricular activities and school Foundation. The beach theme was a lot of fun as was the time spent mingling and socializing with friends and neighbors.
There are many who are responsible for the success of the auction. The many donors of course gave generously of their beach houses, services, bottles of wine, gift baskets and myriad items to bid on—thank you all.
Our parent community came out in force and despite perhaps not really needing everything they were bidding on, generously competed and upped the ante for the cause—thank you as well.
- There were many volunteers who came to set up, check people in, swipe credit cards and keep things moving smoothly—thanks to all of you.
Lastly, the organizers of the event, the PTA auction committee, did an amazing job putting everything together and seeing it through to the huge success it was—THANK YOU!
Speaking personally, I very much enjoyed hearing the kind words and encouragement from so many Wilson parents. I can't express enough my appreciation for your support of the school both in the time you give to it and the resources you're willing to give to keep it moving in the right direction. Again, thanks to everyone involved.
April 5, 2013
Dear Wilson Families,
There are two major events that are rapidly approaching.
The first is the PTA-hosted Auction on April 13, "Life's a Beach" at the MJCC.
The event includes a nice dinner and adult beverages and an opportunity to socialize and connect with other Wilson parents and supporters, but more importantly, it's the single most critical fundraiser for Wilson High School. While I realize there are countless other fundraisers and it might seem that some organization is asking for your money at every turn, a successful auction is how our athletic teams and extra-curricular activities are seeded and sustained for next year. I will also be making an appeal at the auction for your support of the Wilson Foundation. Through the Foundation, I am able to keep important electives alive and to reduce class sizes for all students. The bottom line here is that I am asking for your participation. Tickets are $50 and the last day to buy them is Wednesday, April 10. Please use this link to sign up today and make a commitment to be there.
The other major event is Prom. Prom is Saturday, May 4 from 7-10 PM at the Portland Art Museum. Prom is an American high school tradition and a night for young men and women to celebrate their collective identity at the end of their time together at Wilson. It is seen as a "right of passage" and involves considerable mythology and an intensely perceived significance for students to be a part of. When we talk about Prom we afford it a place of reverence. Prom will continue to be part of Wilson High School tradition.
Prom is also an event that brings with it a high level of pressure to drink alcohol and to participate in other risky behaviors that, for good or bad, are undeniably linked to this ritual and celebration.
As the principal of Wilson I am responsible for this event. I want Prom to be a success and for our seniors to remember it for the fun they had and the positive impression it leaves in their minds. I want it to be safe and I expect our students to be sober 100% of the time. I need the involvement and support of both my students and their parents to ensure that the night is not marred by incident that will both ruin their Prom but also jeopardize their ability to participate in the commencement ceremony.
I have openly expressed my concerns about school dances and their connection to underage drinking since this year's Winter Formal dance and in fact for quite some time before I ever arrived at Wilson. I am actively pursuing the adoption of a PPS policy that allows me to test students for alcohol use when they enter the dance and I'm hopeful for that adoption prior to this year's Prom. It would be a significant relief to be assured that all students entering the event are sober.
The problems associated with underage drinking are not solely confined to the dance however. Parties before and after are commonplace at Prom and as a Wilson parent the potential for a devastating event on Prom night should be a major concern of yours as plans are made for the night. I would like to invite the parents of our seniors to a discussion of this year's Prom (though anyone including students are welcome to attend). This discussion will be at Wilson at 6 PM on Thursday, April 11, in the library. I hope to see a room full of concerned individuals to discuss with me the ways in which we can make this Prom a great success.
Thank you for sending your children to Wilson and for your trust in me and my staff to deliver both a quality education and a positive environment for their growth and development as young adults.
February 26, 2013
Dear Wilson Families,
I would like to thank those of you who have sent me emails and/or called to share your interests and opinions about the World Language program at Wilson. It has been truly inspiring to hear from recent Wilson grads sharing how learning German or French has been so important in their personal lives, college experiences and in some cases their chosen professions. I've also heard some strong opinions from parents and future students about the importance of learning a second language in a world that is ever-shrinking and interdependent. I share your interest and passion about the opportunity to study another language and to learn more about other cultures and ways to live. Thanks, too, to the Wilson Site Council for their participation in the process of thinking through this choice for Wilson.
I have surveyed both the Wilson community and the communities of Jackson and Robert Gray middle schools. I have taken a close look at what other schools in PPS and the surrounding area offer their students and listened to feedback about the sustainability of their programs from their administrators. I have taken a good long look at all the elective offerings currently at Wilson that compete for limited staffing and my plan for NEXT YEAR is as follows:
- Wilson will continue to offer Spanish up to the 5th year – AP Spanish Language. This is a thriving program at Wilson and is supported by both of our main feeders.
- Wilson will recommit to offer French from beginner up to the 5th year. Depending on the forecasting information we gather in the next few weeks certain levels may be combined into one section. We will also collaborate with PSU to offer college credits for 5th-year students through the PSU Challenge Program.
- German will not continue to be a language offered at Wilson after the 2013-2014 school year. We will, if the budget allows, offer a section of third-year German for students currently enrolled in German this year.
- We will not add any new languages such as Mandarin, Arabic or others mentioned or discussed at this time. With a budget shortfall predicted it is not practical to consider adding a new language to our program. I will continue to look for ways to find community partners and/or grants that can help fund additional programs or staffing.
Our counselors will be taking care of forecasting students for classes in the next few weeks. They are aware of these changes and should be able to properly place your son/daughter in a world language course and answer your questions. As always, if you have questions or feedback for me I welcome your emails and calls.
February 8, 2013
- Dear Wilson Families,
- Welcome to the second semester. The weeks and months are going by in a hurry and the winter darkness is slowly lifting as we begin looking forward to the spring. These next six weeks are a long, important stretch for students as expectations continue to rise and assignments become more challenging as we move toward Spring Break. Our seniors, while they bravely attempt to appear fully engaged in the present, will begin to grapple with growing anticipation from a rapidly approaching and cathartic end to their childhood. Our juniors are writing their Junior Literary Analysis Paper (JLAP), preparing for the ACT, signing up for AP tests and managing stress, focused but appropriately under pressure. Sophomores and freshmen are finding their place among their peers, growing up in front of our eyes and digging in to the classes and activities that stimulate their curiosity and ignite their interests. They learn as they go that hard work and commitment will yield success inside and out of class. We support them and encourage them to take risks and think about their world in new ways. Wilson High School is a dynamic place, renewed every day, alive with possibility. Thank you for your support of Wilson High School and for trusting us with your children’s education.
- B. Chatard
Graduation Data – Now 84.4% at WHS
- Recently released graduation data from the state indicated that Wilson HS had a 7% increase in graduation rate from 2011 to 2012. This is a remarkable increase considering how high Wilson’s rate was in 2011. My administrative team will be looking closely at the data and the individual students who didn’t receive diplomas in hopes of replicating these gains and keeping our current seniors on-track in the second semester.
- Unfortunately, what is not told in the graduation rate story is that there is no hope of reaching 100% success as the State of Oregon doesn’t consider the Modified Diploma received by students with significant learning challenges or the other types of high school completion certificates for students with disabilities as graduates, regardless of whether that diploma or certificate was the appropriate option for those individuals. We are proud of our work with differently-abled students at Wilson and question the logic of setting a 100% graduation goal that realistically can never be attained.
- Additionally, despite the fact that a GED is not by most measures as rigorous or desirable as a regular diploma, many of our “non-graduates” were enrolled at PCC in their senior year and received GED’s last spring. Factoring in Modified Diplomas, and completed GED’s in last year’s graduation rate leaves us with less than 5% of the class of 2012 who have nothing yet to show for their high school education. This is a far cry from what the media suggests are the pathetic outcomes of a failing system. Celebrate Wilson’s success with us!
Some Changes for 2013
- In planning for next school year there are a few programmatic changes to share.
- Wilson is adding a Peer Counseling class. This class will provide the participants with skills and experiences for future study in career fields helping and supporting others, such as teaching, counseling, social work, medical, etc.. The class will also provide a network of trained peer counselors to work with students here at Wilson and to support future Trojans at our feeder elementary and middle schools. This class supports our school-wide goal of having a healthy, positive and supportive school culture for everyone who works or studies inside these walls.
- Community Mentors – Using a successful model from other Portland high schools, participants will receive training to be mentors and effective tutors within our 9th grade community classes. More than just TA’s, these students will work with struggling students and support the instructors in making the community a successful transition for ALL our freshmen. It also will provide seniors a vehicle to “give back” to the school that made them a success.
- Elementary Teaching Assistants – This successful Wilson program where students walk to Rieke Elementary for a period to work with and support classroom teachers is expanding next year. We will recruit students interested in working at both Jackson and Robert Gray middle schools.
- Computer Science Courses – Next year, Computer Science 3-4 and above will be aligned with curriculum from Portland State University. Students can choose to pay a greatly reduced fee to PSU to receive transferable college credits for these courses.
- Graphic Design/Digital Media/Web Design – While these electives are currently available, we are expanding the program with a new lab to provide access for all students to their own computer. Next year the instructor will be able to teach a beginning level course separate from the intermediate and advanced levels enabling more students to enroll and achieve success. The work place today requires computer literacy well beyond the basics, and Wilson will meet that need.
- New Social Sciences course sequence – Juniors at Wilson will no longer take Government and Economics courses. These required courses will now be taken in the senior year. This change happened for the following reasons: to make the senior year more meaningful; to connect learning to the adult transition our seniors will make (voting, living on their own, becoming independent citizens, etc.); to leave the junior year open for taking social science electives and/or AP courses.
- All sophomores will take US History. AP US History will become an elective in the junior year. Only 44% of sophomores who took AP US History and sat for the AP exam passed with a score of 3 or higher. Statistics show that more students will pass the exam and potentially earn college credit taking AP courses in their junior year with another year of preparation under their belts.
- “We The People” – Constitutional Law class – Wilson will join other Portland High Schools by offering this rigorous and exciting program as a class next year. This course will satisfy Government and Economics requirements and next year will be open to both juniors and seniors. This class will be limited to just one section so a selection process will be involved.
- World Language Department – This year Wilson offered Spanish only for incoming students with no prior world language credit. German and French courses were only available to students continuing from prior coursework. Next year we will commit to another world language for beginners. This decision has not yet been made but will be coming soon.
Life’s a Beach – 2013 Wilson High School Auction
- This annual event is taking place April 13 at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center. We need your participation and involvement to raise the money needed to ensure all the opportunities currently available at Wilson can continue next year. Volunteers are needed, as are donations of auction items. If nothing else, buy tickets and come to the event to support the causes that the auction funds. For more information contact Peggy Dorf at firstname.lastname@example.org or navigate over to the Wilson High School web page.
- – In the coming months we will begin assessing our juniors in reading, writing, math and science using the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS). Wilson students are required by state law to participate in OAKS assessments at the specified grade levels. Families may choose to opt out of state assessments under Oregon law based on “disability or religion” only (OAR 581-022-1910). Despite many strong arguments that standardized assessments are too costly and potentially biased we at Wilson expect students to participate in these assessments and to do their best. The information we gain from these assessments allows us to evaluate our instruction, identify struggling students and keep visible unwanted learning gaps between different groups of students. At this point too, it should not go unsaid that Oregon uses these assessments to rate schools following federal mandate. In a competitive environment we want prospective families to be secure in the knowledge that Wilson High School is an OUTSTANDING school.
January 25th, 2013
Dear Wilson Families,
I would like to say "Thank You" to everyone who donated and/or pledged money for the "Run for the Field" I made on New Year's Eve day. The support I received showed me once again what a generous and strong community this is. My goal was to raise $12,000 and I accomplished that goal! That one event raised approximately $12,500 for the Wilson Field Improvement Project. I ran exactly 40 laps around the Wilson High School track with my friends, family, Wilson staff, students and other Wilson supporters at my side or cheering me on. Maybe this spring we can do it again?!
December 14th, 2012
Dear Wilson Families,
Words cannot express how shocked and upset this situation has left me. I have avoided reading the details simply to keep myself emotionally able to get through this last day of school. Our counseling and support staff met earlier and mobilized to be available and present in the halls and classrooms this afternoon to help students process what's happened as the news of the tragedy spreads around campus. There is no way to make sense or logic out of what has happened but it is important to at least listen to our young people and find ways for them to express their thoughts and emotions.
Have a safe and restful winter holiday break with your friends and family.
A resource for talking to your children about violence.
The following is a message from our Superintendent:
Our hearts go out to the victims and families of the terrible incident at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.
Student and staff safety is a priority every day for us. Incidents like this remind us how important it has been for our all of PPS’ principals and teachers to have trained for emergencies of all kinds and to continue to regularly practice their emergency team response with students.
We work proactively with Portland Police to share information and we support our schools with training and tools so they are equipped to handle a variety of emergency situations. Events like these are also an important reminder for families to make sure they have provided schools with updated contact information file.
Superintendent Carole SmithDecember 13, 2013
Dear Wilson High School Community,
As the school's principal, the co-chair of the Wilson Field Improvement Project committee and as a parent of future WHS students I feel its time for me to do my part in the fund raising that will make this major capital improvement a reality.
I am making two pledges of support to the project. The first is a pledge goal made on behalf of the faculty and staff of Wilson High School. I will ask the teachers, secretaries, administrators, custodians and support staff to join me in raising $2000. I will get it started by pledging the first $250. Though $2000 is a modest amount considering the total fund raising goal, it is a significant gesture of support for the project from the staff who have given their lives and talents to the students of this community.
The second pledge is intended to be a more personal statement of commitment to the goals of the "fields" committee. I will call it "Run for the Field" for lack of a better name. I will ask Wilson parents and friends, students--past, present and future--to sponsor ME to run as many laps around the Wilson track as I can until I raise $10,000 for the new field. I think its plausible that I might be able to run 40 laps or 10 miles without causing myself irreparable harm. If every person in the community that sees this project as a "must have" for Wilson agrees to sponsor me even a small amount, say 50 cents a lap, $10K will be easy to reach. I plan to ask my family and personal friends from Portland and beyond to step up as well to support my goal of adding $10K to this project.
Taken together these two pledges constitute 1% of the total cost of the field and will hopefully galvanize the greater effort to reach the goal of 1.2 million by this spring. I plan to make my "Run for the Field" on New Year's Eve 2012. That will make your donation tax deductible this year so you can donate again in 2013!
If you want to make a pledge of support to my run you can print out the attached pledge form and return it or email it to me Wilson High School. If you would prefer to just pledge a lump sum you can do so at wilsonfields.org using our PayPal account. Under "Add Special Instructions" on PayPal write in "Run for the Field."
If you want to offer up some incentives for me to run more laps to get more money put it out there and I will go as long as I can. What I really hope is each person who contributes will encourage others to join in as well. On the day of the run I would like to see students, staff and community members come out and run with me as a show of support even if you can't donate money to the cause…just don't expect me to be running really fast!
Have a wonderful and restful winter break!
Principal ChatardOctober 31, 2012
Dear Wilson Families,
It is with great pride today that I report out our fall season athletic prowess at Wilson High School.
- Our Cross Country teams had a great season. They both finished 3rd in a very strong PIL this year. Please follow this link to a video that should change your appreciation for this sport forever.
- Our Volleyball team was the PIL Co-Champion and unfortunately lost yesterday in the playoffs to Mountain View HS of Bend.
- The Men's Soccer team, PIL Co-Champions, has a "home" playoff game this Friday against Bend HS at 2 PM.
- The Women's Soccer team, undefeated in the PIL and solo Champions this year, has a "home" playoff game this Saturday against Sandy HS at 1 PM.
- Our Football team, undefeated PIL Champions, is also hosting a playoff game next Friday night, November 9…our opponent is still unknown pending this week's play-in games.
Congratulations to you all for your hard work and dedication and for the months of preparation and commitment that have gone into your success!
Because of the fall weather and heavy rains that have soaked our home field, it's probable that NONE of these games can/will be played at Wilson High School! The only game that is still in question is the football game next Friday. If the rain holds off and things dry out we might try to make a go of it…if not, all of these games will be played at Cleveland High School on their all-weather, artificial, turf field.
As our wise teenagers would put it, "that really sucks!"
I bother to say all of this to you, and I hope it doesn't come as a surprise, because the Wilson Field Improvement Project is currently fund raising the 1+ million dollars needed to get our own all-weather, artificial, turf field installed here next summer. We need your help and support, your contacts and if appropriate your money to right this wrong that once again has Wilson athletes driving across town to play the most meaningful and memorable games of their high school careers.
October 11, 2013
Dear Wilson Families,
Don't let it go unnoticed that Wilson High School is once again recognized for academic excellence. I congratulate your amazing children for their hard work and commitment and the Wilson faculty and staff for their dedication in the face of ever declining resources. I believe that Wilson High School is setting the standard for large comprehensive high schools. I am so proud to be its principal!
I hope to see many of you at the "House Parties" this weekend.
October 2, 2012
Dear Wilson Families,
The incident last week involving an internet posting of a threat to harm students at Wilson was thankfully a hoax. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the law enforcement officers in several jurisdictions, but especially here in Portland who immediately went to work investigating the on-line post. Within hours of my initial notice of the threat, police had tracked the computer used and had an address in the Wilson area. It took me no time using our school database to identify the student responsible, sending the officers on their way with the information they needed to proceed with their work.
I want to acknowledge their hard work because had they not been able to identify the source of the threat so quickly the decisions I would have had to make on Thursday morning would have been very different.
The police do not believe the student responsible is a threat to the school or to any of its students. The safety and well being of students at Wilson remains my primary concern. I will continue to work with PPS officials and the Portland Police to ensure that appropriate actions are taken with the student. It is my responsibility to keep this student's identity and disciplinary information private, as we do for all students. However, it is also my responsibility to make sure that students involved in the disciplinary process are able to recover from their mistakes, learn valuable life lessons and move forward with their education. I ask that you please trust me that appropriate action will be taken in this case.
To my students…
When you walk the halls of this school and attend to the daily routines of your lives, pay attention to the kids on the "outside". When you look out on the cafeteria and see a person eating alone everyday, do you think about how a kind word or a friendly gesture might help that person not become someone who stops caring about and valuing their contribution to this school? Speak and act kindly to each other. Look out for each other. Support kids who are going through a tough time. Talk to counselors and teachers about things you hear or see from peers that seem angry, violent or hopeless. We didn't have a shooting at Wilson. That doesn't mean though that there aren't kids here, your friends and classmates, that are hurting, angry, lonely and disconnected. Help me reach out to them and to make this school a place that everyone can feel a part of.
Brian Chatard, Principal
Dear Wilson Families,
Now that the training wheels are off of the 2012-2013 school year it is time for the annual switch from getting acclimated to school to digging in and getting focused. Having just started my freshmen year as principal this switch is exactly what I am feeling and contemplating. The past few days I have been in Bend with several hundred other principals from around Oregon learning, discussing and thinking about what it takes to foster improvement and success for a student/school/district. I have a list of little things, nuggets I like to call them, that I’ve taken away from the conference but listening to Mike Schmoker’s keynote address made the conference worthwhile for me. Mike Schmoker is a nationally known researcher and writer about K-12 education. In a nutshell he explained that the recipe for success is far less complicated and more attainable than one might think from listening to the media or educational reform junkies. The path “through the woods” will not be revealed through new national standards. Nor will it come from a new standardized assessment based on the new standards. It’s far more simple and obvious than all that. It will come from having a challenging and guaranteed curriculum in all classes at all levels and from a focus on TEACHING the curriculum using proven and time honored strategies to every student in every classroom. When put in simple terms like these the job of ensuring success for ALL students doesn’t feel like chasing a mirage.
For those of you reading this, regardless of your profession or field, I suspect you also have come to realize that the key to success and finding the right direction to lead your company, your employees, your family comes from focusing on a few simple things - key principles - core values. Having this kind of focus for Wilson is what I’ve come away with.
A few days away from the “busy-ness” of the school provided me an opportunity to step back and take account of what has happened and what I’ve come to know about Wilson High School so far. I’m happy to report that I am still feeling very fortunate to be here. I continue to be amazed by the involvement and generosity of the parents and community members who support this school. I love the enthusiasm, creativity and positive energy of my students. And, I am confident that the teachers and staff of Wilson have the skill and commitment needed to inspire and engage them all. I believe that when capable learners are provided with excellent materials and quality teachers, good things happen. If I’ve failed so far to explain my vision for Wilson High School, there you have it. I am looking forward to the days and challenges ahead. Please feel welcome to contact me if you need anything.
Brian Chatard, Principal