Gladstone schools boost safety programs; SMART program expands to John Wetten Elementary; Help CCC tackle hunger; Gladstone launches monthly parenting classes; Free meal program serves more OC kids

After testing new secure entry systems at every school last spring, the Gladstone School District will continue using the buzz-in entry systems during school hours this fall.

PHOTO COURTESY: LESLIE ROBINETTE - Gladstone Schools tested a buzz-in entry system using video monitors last spring and will continue using the entry security systems this fall.When school visitors arrive at the locked school entry, they push the buzzer to speak with staff, who can see them on a computer monitor. Approved visitors are buzzed in to get a visitor badge in the front office.

"We ran a three-week test of the system to see how it would work for us," said Operations Director Samantha Nelson. "Students quickly adapted to the new entry procedure, and parents have told us how much they appreciate the added security this provides."

The district recently implemented several other safety and security initiatives to protect students and staff.

Last winter, the district trained a threat assessment team that quickly provides in-depth evaluation of individuals who make or pose threats in close collaboration with the Gladstone Police Department, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, the Department of Human Services, and the County Juvenile Department.

Given the recent rise in youth depression and anxiety, the district also built partnerships with several mental health providers, including Trillium Family Services, Western Psychological and the Gladstone Health Clinic. The partners provide a streamlined referral process and quick access to intake appointments when a student is in crisis.

"The increasing frequency of violent acts across our nation caused us to expand the systems we use to keep students safe in school," said Superintendent Bob Stewart. "From Run Hide Fight training to our School Resource Officer, we are better prepared to detect threats and prevent school violence than ever before."

More information about safety and security efforts is available at

SMART program expands to John Wetten Elementary

Start Making A Reader Today [SMART] is a nationally recognized reading program that pairs children in kindergarten through third grade with adult mentors who share the joy of reading one-on-one for an hour each week. After serving kindergarten and preschool students for the past few years, this fall the Gladstone program is expanding to serve grades 1 to 3 at John Wetten Elementary.

"SMART provides a fun, child-guided experience that builds reading skills, self-confidence, and a love of reading, said program coordinator Nathan Buck. "Children in the program receive 14 new books throughout the school year to keep and read with their families."

The new program will run from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. To volunteer at John Wetten Elementary as a reader or site coordinator, call Nathan Buck at 971-634-1607 or visit

Help CCC tackle hunger

Clackamas Community College will host vendors and provide music and an assortment of snacks for a Community Fair and Expo from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, on its Oregon City campus, 19600 Molalla Ave.

Vendors and attendees are encouraged to bring donations of nonperishable food items to help restock CCC's Food Pantry, which benefits students and the community.

Vendors are being sought. Past community fairs and expos have featured local artists, craftspeople, public agencies and retailers.

Vendors are needed for a smaller version of the fair and expo from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, 7738 S.E. Harmony Road, unincorporarted Milwaukie.

For more information, contact Michelle Baker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-594-3041.

Gladstone launches monthly parenting classes

Help is available to parents of children 6 and under thanks to a series of monthly parenting classes at the Gladstone Center for Children & Families.

All classes are free, with free dinner and child care provided. Each class runs once a month from 6 to 8 p.m. September through June at 18905 Portland Ave. To register, call Chelsea Hamilton at 503-367-9116 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Courses include:

Beautiful Babies: Meeting every first Thursday, this class is for moms and dads who are expecting or have children under 18 months old. Topics include child development and milestones, parenting styles, self-care, sleep, feeding and playing with your baby.

Terrific Toddlers: Meeting every second Thursday, this class is for parents with children 18 months to 3 years old. Topics include toilet training, child safety, positive discipline, learning through play, and encouraging language and social development.

Growing Up: Meeting every third Thursday, this class is for parents with children age 3 to 6. Topics include school readiness and adjustments, healthy screen time, nutrition, love languages and positive sibling relationships.

Free meal program serves more OC kids

The Oregon City School District's summer food program served nearly 16,000 free meals this year, including 12,002 lunches and 3,818 breakfasts at seven school sites, which is a 35 percent increase from what the federally funded program provided three years ago.

"Every child should have nutritious food so they can grow and learn and play," said Food Service Director Chris Davidson. "We were able to help more kids this year by increasing the number of food sites, making bus transportation available, and linking the program to summer enrichment and education programs."

The bilingual summer jumpstart program at Candy Lane provided education, enrichment and two daily meals to the 85 children who participated.

"Kids can't learn if they're hungry," said Principal April Albers. "Having meal service as part of our program meant students could focus on classroom activities to prepare them for the new school year."

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