After making nearly $4 million in budget cuts heading into the 2018-2019 school year, Newberg School District administrators were looking for all the help they could get this fall.
Upon getting a rundown of the needs at Newberg High School, interim principal Tami Erion knew just who to turn to: Nike.
During her tenure in Forest Grove, Erion had a contact with the shoe and athletic apparel manufacturer and instructed assistant principal Andy Debois to get in touch to see if there was any way they might be able to help.
As it turns out, Nike was preparing to renovate two buildings on its Beaverton campus and donating furniture and equipment that schools and other organizations might find useful.
The only thing that staff at NHS, Mountain View Middle School and others in the district had to do was bring a moving van to the buildings and haul away what they wanted.
"We've probably pulled about $200,000 worth of stuff out of there," Debois said in September. "We're looking for stuff and if we find it, we just go get it."
With the help of parent volunteers, the district has received some big ticket items, like a new conference table for the high school.
"Teachers just need a lot of storage, so a lot of it is just finding storage that they can use or more whiteboards to put up for learning groups," Debois said. "It's some basic stuff that teachers are excited about. It's not high-tech or fancy. It's just the basics."
The NHS library, which has been made over into a media center, was a major beneficiary when it comes to furniture, but the biggest buzz has been around the whiteboard tables now featured in several classrooms.
The idea behind the tables is clever and simple, but quite powerful. The table top can be flipped over, with one side featuring a regular desk surface, while the other is covered in whiteboard material so that students can write directly on them with dry-erase pens.
"These whiteboards, for some reason, they think they're the coolest thing in the world," NHS math and AVID teacher Angela Stutzman said. "Almost all students engage whenever we say we're going to use them. I do my warm up on them every day and they're all into it. They're all helping each other."
What teachers like Stutzman and Gail Grobey appreciate so much about the tables is how they facilitate activities where the kids work collaboratively in small groups. Grobey, who has her classroom laid out with four students around each table, started by having her English students create diagrams as part of their literary analysis.
"That activity was funny because I had written the instructions for it the day before and put them on the board, including to grab chart paper," Grobey said. "But when they walked in, I realized I don't need chart paper! It's fabulous and so much fun."
Stutzman has the tables lined up more traditionally, in rows with two students per table, and has her algebra classes do warm-up exercises on the whiteboard tables. When she wants them to work in small groups, she has some of the students spin around so they're sitting four to a table.
Stutzman said the tables were a natural fit for her AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) students, who were already used to working together on wall-mounted whiteboards.
"They definitely do collaborative brainstorming on there, anything that I don't need to keep," Stutzman said.
Another aspect of the tables that both Stutzman and Grobey love is that they can be converted into standing tables using a small crank tool.
"I do have one freshman who chose to stand at the back table the whole first week," Grobey said. "The whole first week he was just dancing the whole time. It wasn't like he danced through the whole classroom. He just couldn't stop moving, but he was still writing stuff down. He had that freedom."
Stutzman and Grobey approach the issue of students doodling on the tables a bit differently, but the whole point is that they are flexible to teachers' and students' needs.
"I left the pens out and the first thing they did was start drawing pictures," Grobey said. "I have no problem with that. Kids would do that last year directly on the desks. One girl drew this very elaborate thing through the whole class period. She was totally paying attention and taking her notes and would then go back to her drawing."
Both report that the tables have been a big hit with the students themselves, many of whom just prefer sitting together in small groups, but part of the allure seems to be that they are simply fun. Stutzman has been using small handheld whiteboards to facilitate group work for several years now, for things like call and response exercises, and is curious to see how much the novelty of them will wear off. She expects some drop off, but not too much because, ultimately, they're so useful.
"What I found with the individual whiteboards was that when I use them, kids engage because they think it's fun," Stutzman said. "Right now, the kids that don't have them are jazzed up about not having them, so it's a hot commodity. We'll see what happens as we get through the year."
PCC-Newberg hosting state economist
Portland Community College will host Oregon Employment Department economist Pat O'Connor for a talk from 1 to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Newberg campus. Topics will include current and future employment trends, demographics, the housing price index and high-wage industries.
Locals graduate from Pacific University
Three Newberg students recently graduated from Pacific University.
Sierra Drill earned a master's degree in business administration, while both Leticia Emerson and Shannon Kaplan eared master's degrees in speech-language pathology.
Immunization clinic Oct. 30
Yamhill County Public Health will host an immunization clinic from 3 to 6 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Edwards Elementary School cafeteria. Students under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult and have their most up-to-date shot record. Students covered by insurance must present an insurance card, but no student will be turned away for the inability to pay. For more information, call Annie Berger at 503-554-5363.
Newberg High School Boosters meeting Oct. 17
Pizza Night Fundraiser scheduled for Oct. 24
The Newberg High School Performing Arts Booster Club, a subset of the Newberg Boosters, will host a Pizza Night Fundraiser from 4 to 9 p.m. Oct. 24 at Round Table Pizza.
The event includes dine-in, delivery and carry out, but excludes beer, wine, coupons and sales tax.
Technology health workshop set for Nov. 3
Newberg High School will host "Plugged In," a technology health workshop with Dr. Doreen Dodgen-Magee, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 3 in Drea Ferguson Auditorium. Dodgen-Magee will help families learn to harness the advantages of technology while avoiding its pitfalls. Participants can win passes to the Evergreen Wings & Waves Water Park and Get Air Trampoline Park.
The event is sponsored by several community groups, including the Newberg School District, Ticor Title Co., the Chehalem Valley Middle School Parent Group, the Newberg Public Library, Lewis Audio Video, Directors Mortgage, as well as Gretechen and Mike Boock and Joel and Kristen Sandoz.