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North Clackamas schools seek AVID tutors; Promise of Oregon project features Gladstone students; Promise of Oregon project features Gladstone students; Elementary students tour advertising studio

Even as a retired teacher, Happy Valley resident Angela Forsyth was a bit hesitant three years ago when she saw that the North Clackamas School District was hiring AVID (Achievement Via Individual Determination) tutors.

COURTESY PHOTO - Students in the North Clackamas School District participate in a tutorial through an Achievement Via Individual Determination program.Forsyth was looking for a part-time position and wanted to take an active role in the school district her three grandchildren attend, but figured she didn't have enough expertise in certain subjects like math. She learned that being an AVID tutor is different from what she, like most people, expected.

"The secret is I don't need to know the answers," Forsyth said. "I just need to guide the group to find an answer."

Forsyth shared that secret because the school district currently is hiring AVID tutors to work with middle and high school students beginning in October.

The function of an AVID tutor is to help facilitate a small group tutorial where one student presents a problem they're struggling with from one of their classes. With the help of the tutor, the group works together to help that student figure out the solution themselves, mostly by asking questions.

"The assistant principal told me, 'Talk less and listen more,'" said Inna Petrovskiy, who served as an AVID tutor at Milwaukie High School last year. "They want them to lead. The kids feel some authority to do something themselves with just an adult watching and pitching in with questions. They found it very helpful because the questions made them think further."

Like many AVID tutors, both Forsyth and Petrovskiy were looking for part-time jobs in the district and found the flexible hours and opportunity to work with students attractive.

Last year, Forsyth worked at three NCSD schools for a total of nine hours a week. In addition to the manageable hours, both women keep returning because working with the students is fun and rewarding.

"It is a very satisfying program," Forsyth said. "By the end of the year, you can see how mature the students are. I think it's very worthwhile."

The application process involves an interview, and newly hired tutors will participate in a full-day paid training session Friday, Oct. 11, but the district accepts applications throughout the school year because demand for tutors is high.

Petrovskiy, for example, started midway through the 2018-19 school year and said she was able to get up to speed quickly thanks to the support of teachers and other tutors.

"I never liked math and was very intimidated," Petrovskiy said. "All of a sudden, here I am with a bunch of math questions and I don't know this stuff. But I didn't need to know; I just needed to ask the right questions so the kids can figure out what they're doing."

To apply, visit and click on the "Support Staff" link on the left. For more information on AVID or to learn more about becoming an AVID tutor.

Kraxberger students learn science outdoors

Sixth graders from Kraxberger Middle School are experiencing a rite of passage at Outdoor School, a tradition in Gladstone for over 35 years.

Along with camp songs and skits, they are learning environmental science in forests and rivers from Canby to Welches.

Kraxberger Middle School sixth graders Dayton Hennings, Jaxon Green and Chloe Miller use nets to observe stream life on the Sandy River."Hands-on lessons teach them about the water cycle, streamside habitats, sustainable practices, native plants,and the components of soil, including sand, silt and clay," said teacher Azure Akamay. "The kids have discovered that nature is the best science lab ever."

Promise of Oregon project features Gladstone students

In September, students at John Wetten Elementary and Gladstone High School were photographed and interviewed for the Promise of Oregon project. Since 2014, the social media campaign by the Oregon School Boards Association has focused attention on the accomplishments of Oregon students and the need to fund public education.

Alex Pulaski of the Oregon School Boards Association and Shannon Neilon of Blue Chalk Media interview Joshua Ramos, a second grader at John Wetten Elementary.The award-winning effort highlights Oregon students from across the state, and reveals their dreams and aspirations.

"Our students spent a lot of time thinking about their dreams and goals before they were interviewed," said elementary principal Wendy Wilson. "I can't wait to see them represented in this statewide effort."

Elementary students tour advertising studio

This fall, some John Wetten students were invited for a behind-the-scenes tour of Hinge Studios to learn about the 3D technology used to produce digital animation and smartphone apps.

The tour resulted from a connection with volunteer Don Flowers, an advertising professional who led an after-school creative writing class the students took last spring.

"During his time volunteering with us, he showed us some of the commercials he was working on, including one for Kaady Car Wash," said volunteer coordinator Theresa Schmidt. "Students saw the whole process step by step, from a roughly sketched storyboard to the professionally produced commercial created by Hinge Studios. They also learned how writers and animators work together on projects for the Cartoon Network and Pixar."

The tour included a visit to the in-house studio to watch all the steps in the making of the Kaady Car Wash commercial and clips from other commercials Hinge has made.

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