Ogden students plant native species; Grant to fund book club at Kraxberger; Middle school teaching kindness

Forty students in the Outdoor Education and Survival Skills course at Ogden Middle School tackled an environmental restoration project behind their school in partnership with the Greater Oregon City Watershed Council (GOCWC).

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Sixth-graders Miriam Storey and Michelle Leon from Ogden Middle School plant native shrubs as part of a watershed restoration project near their school.After invasive Himalayan blackberries were removed, the students planted 10 varieties of native plants to encourage biodiversity and soil retention on the hillside. The effort was organized by the GOCWC to help restore a healthy ecosystem in the Abernethy and Newell creek watersheds.

The students, mostly sixth-graders, planted western red cedar, grand fir, ocean spray, Oregon grape, vine maple, red flowering currant, snowberry and sword fern. GOCWC provided 125 plants, mulch, shovels, gloves, and buckets for the effort.

"This course fosters a sense of stewardship and conservation for the natural world," said teacher Kevin Grove. "Students have been working throughout the term on stewardship projects in the forests behind school, including removal of invasive species and trail maintenance. They are learning to identify common native and invasive species in our forests, and to understand the impact of invasive species on native ecosystems."

Grant to fund book club at Kraxberger

A $1,000 grant from First Book will provide novels for a new book club at Kraxberger Middle School. The volunteer-led group will discuss award-winning young adult novels. Students who participate will get to keep the books for their personal collection.

The book club is one of many new options the school is offering throughout the year. The clubs have the goal of connecting students with a positive peer group and an adult mentor while they build new skills and explore personal passions.

Kraxberger teaches kindness

Knowing the challenges of middle school are social as well as academic, the staff at Kraxberger Middle School is taking a proactive approach to focus students on kindness and ways to prevent bullying.

The school's Kindness Week Challenge encouraged students to write compliments about their classmates, posting them on bulletin boards throughout the school.

This week all sixth-graders participated in an Above Between Below assembly. The educational theater program invites students to identify their personal values and explore ways to put them in practice both in person and online.

The workshop allows students to build skills in conflict resolution, self-management and empathy for those with different perspectives. It also includes social media topics such as identity, privacy and how to contribute to a healthy online community.

"We want students to understand how their actions can have unintended consequences," said Principal Len Reed. "They need to be aware what happens when social media is used as a tool for gossip and public shaming. The goal is to encourage each student to take personal responsibility for their own power to harm or help others."

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