Klahowya Summer 2018

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EDITOR / WRITER / DESIGNER: Angela Maguire Director of Communications & Marketing CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHERS: Betsy Jager-Lee Angela Maguire CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Amelia Carter Bianca Benson Missy Gladski Derek Langdon Cameron Purandare Jackie Taylor The Klahowya is a magazine created for the families, alumni and friends of the Gardner School of Arts & Sciences to celebrate the fulfillment of our mission. It is published twice yearly, in Winter and Summer. HEAD OF SCHOOL: Scott Kerman BOARD OF TRUSTEES: Gretchen Grey-Hatton, Chair Denise Case Nikki Cook Krista Davis Kevin Fischer

Cody Goldberg Catherine Hennessey Ken Lader Maida Sussman















Why play matters in early childhood & beyond Entrepreneurship meets philanthropy at Gardner Market Overnight science based excursions at Gardner Talent Show gives students a chance to share Eighth Grade Graduates

Forests, Farms, Bridges & World Geography

DEPARTMENTS THE GARDNER SCHOOL OF ARTS & SCIENCES 16413 NE 50th Ave Vancouver, WA 98686 t: 360.574.5752 f: 360.574.5701 www.gardnerschool.org GardnerSchool


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Message from Head of School Scott Kerman





s preschool students enter their Tumtum classroom on a warm June morning, they find a table full of string, paper, scissors and tape. A three-year-old student turns to preschool teacher Deborah Simons and asks “How do I make a heart shape kite? Another voice pops up with “How do I make a diamond kite?” The soft-spoken preschool teacher asks questions, offers some ideas, and then the children are off creating. They take their handcut kites taped to string out to the Imagination Playground where they run across the naturescape. “Wait...if I had more string, it might go higher.” Back to the classroom they go, for longer string and more tape, discussing with each other what they can do to change their kites. Soon after, another child runs back in for something to wrap his string on, to get it out of the way when he runs. Off he goes with a toilet paper tube from the art area and begins wrapping his kite string to keep from tripping.


“Today the kids came in to class and they were really interested in kites,” teacher Deborah explains. “I gave them materials, a little bit of support, then stepped back and let them run with it. They used the resources around the classroom to create something, then as they wondered why it wasn’t working—they were able to engage in the process of inquiry and try solutions. Meanwhile, they were practicing fine motor skills, and thinking through the process of creating something.” “Play is not frivolous, but a child’s work, important to their social, emotional and cognitive development,” says Betsy-Jager Lee, preschool teacher and Director of Early Childhood at The Gardner School. Early Childhood, defined as ages three to five, is a time of rapid, cumulative and crucial brain development, laying the base for all further learning. continued on page 6

Betsy says, “When a child is given the opportunity and space to follow their interests and ideas—they are the most engaged—utilizing and practicing executive function skills.” Teacher Deborah tells of a recent interest her Tumtum students expressed — submarines—after learning about air, land and water. “They were really fascinated with the idea that there was a vehicle that could go completely underwater,” she said. Deborah enlisted the help of Gardner parent and former submarine engineer Andy Fields, who came in to read to the students about submarines. “This in turn brought on even more questions,” she said. Deborah brought in a bunch of empty water bottles, and the kids went outside to fill a couple tubs of water so they could explore the question, “How do things float, and how do they sink?”

through it,” says teacher Deborah. “Some kids wanted to throw the water bottles in the water, but some kids didn’t want to get wet from the splashing so we had to work it out. I asked ‘what can we do?’” Deborah says when asked that simple question kids come up with all kinds of solutions. They might just move and fill up another tub, or decide to take turns, or head off to the sandbox instead. The environment of play gives a young child the unique experience of being completely in control of their world and the process, developing their awareness of self and autonomy as a learner and an individual.

“This is so essential during early childhood, when children are often controlled and managed by the adult world around them,” says teacher Betsy. “Children should be given space— physically, emotionally and verbally. We should allow them to try different ways to do something, without us solving it for them,” says Betsy. “In the early childhood classrooms at Gardner, we give them space to not only choose what they engage in, but choice in how they express themselves.” She says choice is a powerful element in the development of their identity, and needs to be a common continued on page 9

The three-year-olds experimented with their handmade “submarines,” adding water, adding marbles and rock, and even throwing them in the water to see if they would sink. Soon they began thinking of adding propellers and engines. “It was all them,” said Deborah. “It was what they were interested in, and as teachers we just supplied them with the water bottles. It was student led, running with their interests and their curiosity.” Within play, children are creating and experimenting with their own rules, testing and exploring the potential and the limitations of materials. They experience the process of bringing an idea to life, and they are experiencing cause and effect with materials and people. With the submarine exploration, students had to navigate the social conflict that arose from their play. “Experimenting and playing can be messy, so you have to work

Passionate about rhythm and drums, Cian and Wyatt use sticks, pots and pans to create their own drumset and collaborate on their own music. “Materials in the Imagination Playground look purposely simple. A stick can be a drumstick or it can be an bridge,” says preschool teacher Betsy Jager-Lee. “With natural open-ended materials, play is only limited by a child’s imagination.”


Laban brings dinosaurs over to play in “Mud City,” a space in the Imagination Playground where students have dug channels, created bridges using boards, and where they explore water and mud together.


Harper uses “loose parts” to create a rainforest. Blue magnatiles were used for water, and she chose animals to inhabit it. Students use “loose parts” in a multitude of ways.

After showing their excitement about color and potions in a separate activity, Sal and Seth took water, vinegar, baking soda, beakers and eyedroppers to play with and experience in another way. “We follow children’s interests,” says teacher Betsy, “and give them real materials to explore.”

Julie works by herself with “loose parts” on the classroom light table. The early childhood classrooms at Gardner allow for collaboration with other students, but also include space for independent investigation.

Seth explores movement of water in Mud City, as he learns about the properties of water and its power to cause erosion.

Eva and Maya interact with paper and its movement. “Curiosity is at the core of our program,” says teacher Betsy. “It’s important that we give children the space to be curious.”


Pretend play allows kids to understand the world around them, and explore their role in the world. Often, children reenact things from their own life as a way of understanding them.


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thread throughout a child’s education. “We also give children space to fully develop an idea as it evolves, without our judgement or praise,” says Betsy. “And, we give them space to practice working through social conflicts as they develop new skills and build relationships, without us solving them.” “This doesn’t mean that we are not there,” says Betsy. “We are there to support and be present both physically and mentally with them. We are there to value their ideas and empower their words. Space means that we are thoughtful and meaningful with our presence and words to support and guide versus interrupt the child’s process.” According to teacher Betsy, “Sometimes

it is more about what you don’t say than what you say. Sometimes it is more about listening, acknowledging the process and asking open-ended questions.” Walk into either the Tumtum or the Mazama classroom at Gardner, and you’ll see a space that is arranged in logical areas. Materials are developmentally appropriate, open-ended and natural. You’ll see that areas for building, dramatic play, art, library and sensory are arranged in a way that encourages fluid movement between types of play and materials. “If a student wants a steering wheel for the car they built in the building area they may go to the art area to create one,” says teacher Betsy. “The costumes and pretend food may migrate from the dramatic play area to the building area—and that’s play in action.”

Teacher Deborah says that in their classrooms things are their size and at their level and are all developmentally appropriate for them. “It’s a place away from all the no’s—in our classroom everything is for them. It is set up for them, and it’s a ‘yes, this is for you to explore.’ This gives them feelings of success, which develops their independence and confidence.” Harvard Educator Tony Wagner writes in Creating Innovators, “In order for children to grow creatively and be able to be the next innovators, they need to play today to develop a sense of purpose, which will in turn become passion in the future.” With an environment like Gardner provides, children are empowered to play—and empowered through play.



azamans and Tumtums got access to a whole new level of play this year, with the addition of Oaki Suits to their school supply list. The full body waterproof gear has allowed students to fully explore and engage in their environment, regardless of weather. “It’s wonderful to watch them play without worry, and see them immerse themselves in exploration they might not have done before,” says teacher Betsy. “They slide on the slide in the mud, stomp through the garden when it is raining, they lie down on the wet grass. If they want to try jumping in a puddle up to their knees—they try it without worry. They have this great freedom.”

Middle school students rush to the center to get balls at the start of a dodgeball game. Students try to gather as many balls as they can for the team while fending off opponents.

P.E. teacher Peter Pickett notices they aren’t inhibited by a concern for their clothes anymore. He says he used to hear them say, “I was bought this nice shirt and I don’t want to get it dirty.” “But now...with Oaki Suits, they are not limited in what they get into—mud, grass, even walking through wet bushes. Engagement can match their curiosity a bit more with Oaki Suits.”





hile play is the cornerstone of our early childhood program, the developmental needs of children to play don’t cease at age six. For that reason, Gardner places importance on having three recesses per day for students in K-8. “We all know that adolescence is about testing your independence,” says teacher Caitlin. “How else are you going to learn that if not playing on your own? Recess is that time to test independent choices and then deal with the consequences, good or bad, from that self determination.”

“Play is everywhere, and has a huge impact on learning,” says teacher Missy Gladski. “Recess allows kids to have unstructured time to decompress and process, even if they don’t know it. It is also a time for them to manage their own choices, lives and time.”

According to Caitlin, recess is where most of their social and emotional interactions and growth get to take place. “That is just as true and important for middle schoolers as it is for preschoolers.”

Second grader Aasha partnered with a classmate to sell handmade jewelry and flowers raised at home.

Tyler and Otis marketed their product as “the most juiciest lemonade ever” and “the most best lemonade ever.” Students created their own signs to draw in customers.


Kindergartners practice their math skills making change for a customer, as they sell plant starts at their Gardner Market booth. Seventh grader Brayden sold homemade shell necklaces, from shells he combed from the beaches in Lincoln City.

Face painting, anyone? Children took advantage of second grader Julie’s competitive prices, and hired her to leave her mark on their faces. Services, while not as common at market booths as tangible products, were popular for young market goers.



“It’s hard to find a face that is not smiling at Gardner Market,” says teacher and Director of Curriculum Jackie Taylor. As you looked around the Gardner campus on June 1st, it was easy to see why.

The festive afternoon showcased months of hard work and creativity by student entrepreneurs from kindergarten through 8th grade, all trying their hand at developing a business plan and providing a service or product to their community of students and parents.


“It’s truly my favorite day of the year,” says Jackie. “Gardner values student choice and the market is a wonderful example of the students generating ideas, and converting them into real projects. It is an amazing learning experience for all ages—from basic money math skills to realistic market trends. The actual market itself is such a lovely community event. Students, parents, alumni, staff all coming together to support each other and two worthy causes.” continued on page 14

Gardner alum Carlson visits fourth grader Mina’s Super Slimy Slime booth. Carlson, along with several other graduates, returned to Gardner for one of their favorite days of the Gardner school year. Aiko’s succulents were a market hit for the third year in a row. The second grader’s love of succulents emerged while in the Mazama classroom, when he created a clay pot for Day of the Dead. He since has started his own succulent business, propagating succulents for sale. Second grader Evan sells his handmade“God’s Eye” kits for $3 at his booth, while little sister Elle looks on.

Before the market begins, each individual entrepreneur decides to donate either 50% or 100% of their proceeds to two nonprofits selected by the student body. This year, students selected a local nonprofit, The Eagle Creek Fire Restoration Fund and The Ocean Cleanup, a global nonprofit using advanced technology to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. “The process of choosing a charity is also about student voice, from generating ideas to voting,” says Jackie. The decision is not arrived at lightly, and includes nominations, school-wide education, discussion and a final vote. This year, a total of $2643.63 was raised at the market for donations, to be split between the two organizations.

Kalama teacher Rose Hout thinks back fondly on that first Gardner Market 16 years ago, which she participated in as a student at Gardner. “I made homemade pretzels and learned there was a difference between gross income and net profit.” Many students learn similar lessons today as well. Second grade student Jamison wanted to include real robots and lamination on all of his games, but said “It was too expensive. I would have charged too much and no kids could buy it.” Instead, he made only three deluxe versions of the game, which parents with unlimited budgets might be willing to purchase, and created a cheaper, more affordable “lite” version to sell to students.

Gardner Market started 16 years ago when teacher Jackie was doing an economy unit for her class. “It was such a great event, we have continued doing it ever since,” she says.

One factor students consider as they set their price is that even the shoppers are learning a valuable lesson during the day — how to purchase all that they want on a limited $15 budget.

JamRash, a student band of second through fourth graders, had an encore performance during the tail end of Gardner Market. The band, formed for a Talent Show performance, entertained market attendees with ACDC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top”

Eighth grader Olivia’s monster cookies have been a market staple for four years. The coveted recipe was passed down from her mother’s friend’s grandmother.


Loowitters Emma and Lyla serve handcrafted lemonade to a young customer. Students interested in serving food at the market had to enter a “food lottery” to be one of the lucky vendors.

Sixth grader Addie combined two popular market products: slime and pet rocks to create a product difficult for market goers to pass up. With over 40 booths at the market, students had to create an image of difference for their products.

Kids are asked to only bring $15 to the market, meaning they are making tough decisions on how to allocate their money. Purchasing a $3 novel or $1 stress ball means money left over for a smoothie or jewelry, while a $10 cd might not. Students not only learn lessons in budgeting, supply and demand, and how to not overcharge or undercharge, but they learn other important lessons as well as they prep for the market. They learn to manage their time to complete the products at home before the market, create advertising —including booth signs and posters to put around school, and must make the tough decision of whether or not to close shop to do their own shopping, or remain open and sell more products. “Many students partner up for this very reason,” says teacher Jackie.

Kindergarten students in the Kalama classroom work together as a class to learn the ins and outs of running a Gardner Market booth. This year, the project of raising vegetable and flower starts tied into their thematic unit on farming. They sold the starts at their collaborative booth, and practiced the math skills they had been developing up to market day. “We studied farm math, where we budgeted for buying land and animals and fencing,” says teacher Rose. The kindergartners also studied currency and coins, coin conversions and how to make change.” “It is really an incredible school event,” says Head of School Scott Kerman, who experienced his first Gardner Market this year. “It’s educational, it’s creative, it’s experiential, it’s entrepreneurial, it’s philanthropic—and unique to us.”

Klickitat (5th & 6th grade) students Brayden, Adam & Isaac quickly sold out of their handmade stress balls, filled with flour and rice.

While most kindergartners worked in their class booth, the exception were two that partnered with their brothers to create “family businesses.” Gabriel (2nd grade) partnered with his kindergarten brother Ezra to sell their handpainted rocks.

In order to be in first grader Aubrey’s booth, it had to be cute. The table, advertised as “The Cute Shop” featured frames and puff ball guys handmade by Aubrey.

National Donut Day was fully celebrated during Gardner Market, with a constant line waiting for first grader Olivia’s custom homemade donuts. The long line was a testement to the right price and a delicious product!



After researching local and global TUMTUM nonprofit organizations, students voted to donate their proceeds to the following two charities:


The Ocean Cleanup develops advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. A full-scale deployment of their systems is estimated to clean up 50 % of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years.

Packaging was as much of the process as product creation for many of the booths. Fourth graders Madeleine and Lucia created their own line of bath products called Llama Bomba which included lip balm, fizzing bath salts, bath bombs and aloe lotion.


A local fund established by the National Forest Foundation to aid the recovery of the ecosystems, trails and wildlife habitat in the Columbia River Gorge, following the devastating forest fires last fall.





an you imagine anything more cool at seven or eight years old than spending the night atop a volcano? In May, the first and second graders of Loowit traveled to Volcano Outdoor School at the Mount St. Helens Institute for two days of exploring, and for some—their very first night away from parents.

Loowit teacher Missy Gladski said even students that were feeling nervous at first soon realized they were actually comfortable and safe with their “school family.” She says spending that time with their “school family” brought all of those relationships to the next level. “It was such a bonding experience,” said Missy. “I loved seeing the kids so excited, and there is something incredibly valuable about learning outside of their normal comfort zones—a new place, new teachers, a new experience.” She said “the learning in these environments really sticks. You can almost see their neurons growing!”

Loowit (1st / 2nd grade) students hike the Hummocks Trail during their stay at Volcano Outdoor School. The Hummocks are the landforms which formed during the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

“I love the beautiful setting, the intimacy, and the direct relevance to our curriculum on this trip,” said Loowit teacher Jackie Taylor. “But what I appreciate most is the independence that each Loowitter develops with this experience.” She said overnights strengthen bonds with peers and teachers, help build independence, continued on page 20

and enrich their curriculum with hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. “We plan our field trips with the same depth and diligence to which we create our curriculum, and the overnight experiences are a central component of our thematic studies,” said Jackie. Teachers collaborate and organize trips so that the content builds from one class to the next. Additionally, the trips grow in duration and intensity as students progress through the school: one night for Loowit, two nights for Wy’East, three for Klickitat and a seven to nine night trip for Tahomans.

match. It’s also good for our kids to see other adults that are just as versed in science as we are, and to get those messages from other adults.” In addition, the science based trips directly tie to the in-depth thematic studies of each class. Loowit’s overnight at Mount St. Helens Institute followed a trimester of learning about Mount St. Helens and the other volcanoes of the Cascade Range.

This spring, three of the Gardner classes had overnight trips focusing on science. In addition to Loowit’s one night trip to the Mount St. Helens Institute, third and fourth graders in Wy’East spent two nights away at OMSI’s Hancock Station in Fossil, Oregon-—and seventh and eighth graders in Tahoma traveled to the Teton Science Schools in Jackson, Wyoming.

Wy’East’s visit to OMSI’s Outdoor School at Hancock Field Station included curriculum to expand their study of navigation. They hiked and did guided activities about navigation, and about building with the use of the land and natural resources. “It is wonderful to get a new perspective on a topic that we have been covering throughout the year, said Wy’East teacher Guinevere Getchell. “Fresh voices and ideas are helpful to foster well-rounded ideals.”

Science teacher Jared Renfro said he appreciates that we partner with science camps for many of these overnight experiences. “We get the expertise of the place, and all of these camps have a depth of knowledge of that location that none of us would ever be able to

After years of building up independence slowly, seventh and eighth grade students in Tahoma not only get to experience longer trips away, but also ones that are much farther away. Tahomans spent a total of nine days traveling to and visiting Teton Science Schools’ continued on page 23

As a part of their stay at Volcano Outdoor School, Loowit (1st & 2nd grade) students observe, draw, and identify macroinvertebrates from Coldwater Lake. Tahomans (7th & 8th graders) experienced deep snow during field days in the Tetons. “That kind of snow is one of those life-changing experiences,”said science teacher Jared Renfro. “For many of our students, this was their first experience in snowshoes. And for some of them, it was even their first experience of snow.


“I loved this trip!” said Wy’East (3rd & 4th grade) teacher Guinevere Getchell. “It was beautiful to see the scenery, but equally as beautiful to see that students chose to wake up early to go on hikes and push themselves to try new things. Although just a few days, it was a maturing experience for all the Wy’Easters.” Loowitters (1st & 2nd grade) start their stay at Mount St. Helens Institute with an initial meeting held at the Science & Learning Center in the heart of the blast zone. Students got to know their instructors, talked about the schedule of events, expectations, and got their questions answered.

During the Tahoma trip to the Tetons, eighth grader Kaisho makes observations of bear tracks in the snow. In addition to expanding their science knowledge, Tahomans learned about themselves during a “Trust Walk” where they walked blindfolded.

Students sleep in cabins during their stay at Hancock Field Station in John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. “Students in Wy’East are at a point where independence is starting to develop,” said teacher Guinevere Getchell.”Overnights provide a safe environment to practice independence and self care with the support of teachers and school peers.”


Tahomans (7th & 8th grade) spent their second day hiking in the terminal morain, leading up to the Grand Tetons. During their field excursions, Tahomans spent time identifying trees to figure out why they were all of a certain age. Through their research, they discovered that 15 years ago there was a fire that was started by a lightning strike.

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Jackson campus in Wyoming. There they learned about a subalpine ecosystem and were able to compare and contrast with our ecosystem here, tying it to their studies of climate change. “One of the the things I appreciate about this location is the abundance of wildlife. We were next to an elk refuge, which is home to elk, moose, big horned sheep, coyotes, and various raptors,” said teacher Ingrid Dahl. “Teton Science Schools is one of the leaders in place based environmental education. What the Tahomans get here is hands on experience with field science where they can apply the skills and knowledge they have been cultivating throughout their time in science at Gardner. It is incredibly powerful to see how their enthusiasm and confidence shine in this environment.” All teachers agree that these experiences away from home, with teachers they trust, allow for incredible bonding experiences with each other, and valuable leaps in their confidence and independence.

Volcanoligists from the Mount St. Helens Institute worked with first and second graders to help them identify volcanic rocks in their rock journals.

As teacher Jared describes, “The science on these trips is solid. Often times these trips spark our students’ love of nature and caring about the environment. But even bigger than the educational part is the fact that it’s overnight, away from their parents. It’s all about the independence that is built.”





oments before the show began, a kindergartner shared a tip with a fellow nervous classmate. “Just imagine everyone in the audience is your mom.” If you heard the eruption of cheering that followed each performance during the Talent Show, you’d know that his tip wasn’t going to be too difficult to imagine. As kindergarten teacher Rose Hout put it, “The way that everyone in the audience supports each kid...it is all love out there. It’s because everyone in the audience IS family.”

“At each of the Gardner performances, and at all of our culminating events, students are practicing performing in front of people,” said music teacher Dana Harris. When Dana started teaching at Gardner and took over the Talent Show, she added in class performances. “I wanted everyone to be involved, and I didn’t want them to feel bad if they weren’t in

an individual act.”

Dana says what differentiates Talent Show from other Gardner performances is the choice involved in individual acts. “Kids get to choose for themselves what they are going to prepare, then they get to experience the audition process,” said Dana. Keeping the audition process as realistic as possible is an important part. “After this, if they ever find themselves in an audition they’ll know what to expect in the future and will know how to handle it.” “It’s my favorite event at Gardner,” said Dana. “They have the most gracious supportive audience ever, and the feedback these kids get from the audience when they perform….all that validation...they grow like ten feet!”




ot so long ago (six very quick years), three second graders sat in the Loowit classroom experimenting with volcano eruption. Those same three boys, now young men, walked down the aisle at their 8th grade graduation ceremony last week with diplomas in hand. “It’s a bit mind-blowing to watch these students mature and develop from curious, toothless little muffins to mature, experienced, and articulate young adults—in what seems like the blink of an eye,” said Loowit teacher Jackie Taylor. “It’s a unique privilege to develop long-term relationships with these students that don’t end when they leave the walls of Loowit.” Henry, Caleb and Kaisho are three 2018 graduates whose names are added to a very special plaque —“Lifers” who have been brought up in the Gardner community from four to fourteen. “They are surrounded by the Gardner way—being kind, being thoughtful, being curious for their entire elementary education,” said teacher Caitlin Littlefield. “What that means is by the time they graduate they embody the idea that differences are to be respected and everyone has their own value and something to contribute to the world.” continued on page 28


Kaisho and Caleb, students at Gardner for nine and ten years, spend their final moments together before graduation. Of his time at Gardner, Kaisho says, “This is a place that shapes lives, and a place I will never forget.”

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“Kaisho, Caleb and Henry, both due to temperament and training, exhibit this respect every day,” said Caitlin. “At Gardner we talk about thinking before you speak. We ask, ‘Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?’ These three graduates always think before they speak. As a result they make everyone around them feel welcome and safe.” In his graduation speech Caleb shared a story about making a salad for Gardner Market in Loowit. He thought the expectation from teacher Jackie was to eat the salad, but he also thought it was “a terrible, disgusting excuse for a food.” He respected the expectation and wanted to meet it and succeed, even though he knew it was really hard for him. “For Kaisho, doing the right thing is not a question,” said Caitlin. “He has examined the world around him, and found that compassion and support are the best antidote to any conflict.” In his graduation speech, Kaisho said of all the things he learned during his ten years at Gardner, the most important lesson he learned was to be helpful and courteous. Jackie remembers Kaisho embodying that thoughtfulness

early on. “This picture is of Kaisho on a Wy’East overnight to Audubon. Annabelle had lost her name necklace and was frantic about it. Kaisho looked for it diligently, then, of course, found it and returned it to her. This is Annabelle thanking him with a flower.” Thinking back to Loowitter Henry, Jackie says he was the type of student that could always be counted on to give a thorough, reflective and deep response to any question asked in class. “He was patient and never felt like he needed to be the first to respond. He would wait until other kids shared their thinking before giving his ideas.” In his graduation speech, Henry said “Here at Gardner friends stay with you no matter what. Gardner is more than a school. It is a family. Gardner has taught me the more love you give, the more you receive.”

8TH GRADE GRADUATES 29 As he expressed gratitude to his family and friends, Isidoros also spoke to the future graduates in the crowd, “I hope you always remember to be kind and to be yourself.” Olivia spoke about each teacher she had during her six years at Gardner, and how each of them contributed to who she is. In his speech, Liam spoke about how every interaction he had during his time at Gardner mattered.

Henry offers some sage advice to future Tahomans, “Always wear a belt in the Tetons.” He also said “I have been at Gardner for most of my life, and it has turned the shy kid who walked into Mazama into the person you see on this stage.”


One of the most moving moments at graduation was as each student was introduced by a teacher that knows and loves them. “Kaisho is always willing to learn, and is always willing to have an open mind,” said teacher Peter Pickett.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR GRADUATES? ISIDOROS will be attending Seton Catholic College Preparatory.

CALEB will be attending Seton Catholic Preparatory High School.

“I’m grateful for everything Gardner taught me, that I get to take with me to high school.”

“Gardner has taught me that I can make my own choices.”

KAISHO will be attending Hockinson High School. “I’m grateful that I met a lot of different types of people and got to interact with them in different ways. It has definitely helped me. I’m also going to miss having recess!”

OLIVIA will be attending Henrietta Lacks Health & Bioscience High School. “I’m going to miss the close studentteacher relationships I got to have here at Gardner.”

HENRY will be attending Seton Catholic College Preparatory

LIAM will be attending Skyview High School

“I’m going to miss knowing everyone in my school.”

“I’m excited to see what’s in store. I’m open to whatever comes my way.”



here was nothing average about this day on the farm for Gardner Kindergarten students, thanks to an extraordinary field trip planned and hosted by the Benson family. As a cap to their thematic study of farms during spring semester, Kalamans tied together all the things they had been learning into one fun-filled, dirt-covered day on the Benson family’s farm and neighboring Coyote Ridge Ranch. “It was really fun!” said kindergartner and field trip hostess Amelia. “We taught everyone how to plant plants on a farm, and that you can use hay bales for benches!” The children started the visit by touring the greenhouses, garden, and orchard. The children then broke into small groups and tilled the soil,

“I learned that goats have four stomachs, and that goats can eat anything!” said kindergartner Evelyn.

staked out garden plots and planted seeds. “There were so many ways that our kids got to experience the things they’ve been studying,” said kindergarten teacher Rose Hout. “Planting seeds, seeing vegetable production on a much larger scale than we could do in the Gardner garden, meeting and feeding animals (chickens, pigs, dogs, goats, lambs, ducks), and getting dirty!” Teacher Rose Hout said a highlight of the trip was time to explore and play on the farm. “Amelia served fresh squeezed lemonade and brownies, we harvested eggs from the hen house, and the children (and adults!) participated in an epic gunnysack race!”


Kindergartners got to feed Marsha the lamb as part of their visit to the Benson family farm. The lambs later joined the children on a hike around the surrounding trails.

Each child’s mini-plot was marked with their name so they could bring their family back and buy produce from Coyote Ridge Ranch.


ifth and sixth grade students in Klickitat benefited from our “worldly” community Spring trimester, when Gardner parents visited to speak about places they’ve lived around the world. As a part of their thematic study of World Geography, students learned from visitors about the cultures of Syria, Iran, India, Austria, Africa and Colombia.

“This was a perfect way to make a very broad topic more personal,” said Klickitat teacher Emily Davis. “Also, it was a lovely way to see the diversity here at Gardner.” The class celebrated different religions, languages, places, clothes, dances and more. “I loved the rhythm of the Ugandan drum,” said sixth grader Jack after Michael Badriaki’s visit sharing music and stories of his life in Africa. “And the Colombian patacones (prepared by visitor Sara Stern) were amazing!” After hearing from Hazar Jaber about her native country Syria, fifth grader Brayden was struck by the stories of a wartorn country —“I never knew people could suffer so much.”



oowit students used all five senses to explore the different parts that make up a forest as they kicked off their spring thematic study on WSU’s forested campus. “We are so lucky to have a beautiful, diverse forest within walking distance of our school,” said Loowit teacher Missy Gladski. “Because of the area we live in, it is easy to assume all children have spent time in the woods playing or hiking, but we wanted them to see it in a more scientific way.”

The Loowit teachers led their first and second grade students in a guided walk, looking closely at the forest floor and the plants, moss and fungi found there. The first and second graders learned that a dead tree is just as important as a living tree in the forest as they looked at nurse logs and snag trees. They looked at and felt the bark of different native trees (Doug Fir, Cedar and Oak) and noticed the earth underneath them, in addition to looking for signs of animal life. The walk also allowed students to compare and contrast the forest to the nearby meadow and the WSU tree nursery. The walk naturally led into the next phase of their forest study, where Loowitters explored and adopted a tree that “called to them” on the Gardner campus. After the children figured out their special, adopted tree, they spent much time with it: observing, drawing, writing poetry. Teacher Missy said, “It was especially amazing seeing the children feel even more connected to their trees once they identified it.”

“Students had to consider the final weight of the bridge vs. how many popsicle sticks they should use to build additional supports,” said teacher Amelia. In order to calculate the final “cost” of building their bridge, students tracked the number of popsicle sticks and glue sticks used, plus the amount of time they used the glue gun.

SPRING THEMATICS 33 Fourth graders Ian (left) and Caden (below) add weight to their buckets as they test the efficiency of their bridges.



erhaps it was the weight of the bridge, perhaps it was the amount of triangular reinforcements, perhaps...it was the glue. Whatever the factor, third and fourth grade students in Wy’East discovered the weaknesses and strengths of self-constructed Portlandinspired bridges, as they tested them for efficiency. The hands-on destructive activity was a delightful way for Wy’East students to complete their spring trimester study of bridges. “This tied into our bridges unit perfectly!” said Wy’East teacher Amelia Carter. “We had studied the various


“The students were excited and invested in this project!” said teacher Amelia. As the bridges began to crack, students had to ask themselves “would I trust that bridge if I were on it?”

types of bridges in and around Portland, and the students researched specific bridges that interested them. They looked at the various types of truss patterns and reinforcements on the actual bridges and applied them to their creations.”

design by building their own lightestweight-possible wood truss bridges, and tested the bridge’s load carrying strength. Following the study, students calculated the load to weight ratio to determine how many times its own weight their model held.

During a walking tour and a boat tour of the many Portland bridges early spring trimester, Wy’Easters were able to get an up-close view of the bridges from underneath, then learned the history of each bridge. Following the trip, students crafted essays about their chosen bridge. They then explored efficiency in bridge

“At first, several students didn’t want to destroy their bridges during load testing,” said teacher Amelia. “However, once we got started, their excitement took over and they couldn’t wait to see how much their bridge could hold.”




THE ART ROOM will have a fresh look

this fall, once art teacher Jane Rhomberg and incoming middle school art teacher Betsy Jager-Lee work their magic on the space this summer. “I am really looking forward to building this creative space together with Jane,” said Betsy, who will be teaching fifth through eighth grade art next year on days when Jane is not teaching art to elementary students. Jane said she looks forward to collaborating as a creative team. “We will be sharing a space, so we are taking time now to visualize how to best use the room, and have it work well for both

of us.” This summer the two will be refining and reorganizing the art room to maximize its potential for exploration, and will add a smart board for displaying and discussing art images. They will also be working together to create a curriculum map so the older grades build on elements and principles of art that Jane teaches the younger grades. Betsy said she is looking forward to teaching art again to older students. “I love finding ways to weave art into their lives and for them to use art as part of their creative voice.” THE SCIENCE PROGRAM will also have a new partnership this fall, with Ingrid Dahl joining the Science Department to teach elementary science classes. “As we grow it’s important that we are still able to accommodate our small groups and we need more teaching staff to do that,” said science teacher Jared



BIKE DRIVE Renfro. “It’s exciting to have a partner that is super qualified to teach science.” Jared said the science curriculum will be getting an overhaul this summer, as they consider next generation science standards and create new benchmarks. “We also want flexibility to respond to the interests of the group,” said Jared. “We are adding more of an emphasis on place-based learning, relating science studies to our own environment,” said Ingrid. “I’m excited to work with the younger students, and to form partnerships with local organizations that work in watershed studies, gardening, permaculture practices, composting, soil science, and water quality testing.” Jared said, “Our skills complement each other really really well.” He said he looks forward to being able to focus in on sections and parts of the science program while Ingrid focuses on the parts she knows so well.


ver 50 bikes were collected and donated to Bike Clark County, as a part of the Spring GardneReach project. “I was shocked by the number of donations!” said teacher & Director of Curriculum Jackie Taylor. “Also the week-filled bike themed experiences were so much fun. From Wheels in School, to the Biking All Day Open Choice—there was something for everyone!” The Bike Drive completed on Wednesday, April 25th when the student participants in the Biking All Day Open Choice class delivered the donated bikes to Bike Clark County’s downtown Vancouver shop. While there, students participated in a workshop with Bike Clark County, learning bike safety and maintenance. Gardner School holds two GardneReach projects per year, allowing students the important opportunity of engaging in the community. “At Gardner, we strive to instill a deep sense of knowledge about our community and world,” said Jackie. “We want our students to be stewards of their environment, from protectors of the natural world, to helping those in need.



ardner families give of themselves in countless ways: making the Harvest Festival, auction and book fair happen, beautifying our campus, working in classrooms, driving on field trips, welcoming new and existing families, leading Open Choice classes, cooking, weeding, committees, gardening, and sharing expertise to make our school a better place. The list of ways in which our families volunteer is endless. Since 2007, we have selected one family each year that we recognize as volunteering above and beyond any expectations. This year, the Ye-Marso Family Award was given to the Wallenberg family for their outstanding volunteerism at Gardner. The Wallenbergs are seen days before each school event unloading chairs and hauling them into the school—lending their own chairs to seat families at Music Night, Talent Show, and more. They have driven on almost every field trip, and have not only hosted our PTO parent socials at their winery, but donated all of the wine for our auctions for the past four years. Jennifer, who stepped in as PTO President for the 201718 school year, also took on the enormous task of creating a school library. Over the past three years she has indexed, catalogued and scanned thousands and thousands of books. We are extremely grateful to the Wallenbergs for their contribution to our school. And to all of you that give your time, love and resources to make our community such a wonderful place to be—THANK YOU! We see what you do, we know what you do, we appreciate what you do, and what you do matters.


Fennel by Kimia Mohandessi, grade 6. Watercolor & ink.

STUDENT ART GALLERY Prismacolor Pal by Lucia Straub, grade 4. Tempera paint.

Abstract by Isaac Kerr, grade 6. Acrylic paint.

Colors of the Forest by Aubrey Silbernagel, grade 1. Watercolor & oil pastel.


Bridge Reflection by Alexis Harris, grade 4. Mixed media.

Tillicum Crossing by Mason Do, grade 4. Pen & ink.

Pink Pumpkin by Olivia Parker, grade 1. Oil pastel.

Imagination Playground by Fay Ulibarri, grade 2. Watercolor & ink. Koi by Kaisho Barnhill, grade 8. Pen & ink.



ur students represent the best of us. They are compassionate, thoughtful, articulate, and openly grateful for the opportunities a Gardner education has provided them. At graduation, I listened as many of our students expressed gratitude to their teachers, both old and new, to their parents, and to each other. At one point, graduate Liam Smyth turned from the podium to Sid Apostolou. They had a moment of true friendship, where Liam expressed gratitude for Sid’s having returned to school mid-year so he could be himself. I’m fairly certain there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. And while Teacher Caitlin spoke openly and clearly about each of her beloved former students, the glow on Teacher Jackie’s face was inspiring to observe. Her gratitude for her former colleague was plainly etched on her features, a wide smile greeting Caitlin’s loving words about her kiddos. These are the moments that represent what it means to receive a Gardner education; they are the ties that bind us together as a community around a shared vision for our children. I couldn’t have been prouder of our teachers and students that day and I am grateful for the contributions each of them makes to our community. Gratitude is a word often applied wildly and with abandon to many situations in which people feel happy, exuberant, loving, and optimistic; it’s less often associated with the sort of changes we’ve recently experienced. But it’s precisely these changes that encourage us to assess our identity, clarify our mission, and move together in the same direction. Over the past few years, our community—rather than any one individual leader—has become the keeper of the Gardner flame. We are responsible for maintaining the elements of Gardner’s culture we value. We’ve experienced a tremendous amount of change for a small school. I credit our faculty and staff for their flexibility and our families for their openness and commitment. All of us, together, are charged with creating those connections we value and appreciate.

In the fall, I encourage each of you to reach out to new families, continue to get to know Scott, and preserve those relational elements that are the hallmark of Gardner. But challenges grow us. We’ve grown to serve more children than ever before, have recruited talented staff and faculty, and continue to offer an educational experience rooted in experiential learning and relationships. I praise all leaders, past and present, for bringing us to this place; thank you for your guidance and grace. The Board, faculty, staff, and our community will embark on a strategic planning process in the fall to determine our next steps as a school. By reflecting on the elements of the learning experience that are essential to Gardner, we can chart a course forward that allows us to continue to provide a highly-valued educational experience for each and every child. In the spirit of gratitude, I must shout from the proverbial rooftop the Board’s thankfulness for Scott’s mid-year transition as Head of School. Together with Sheila Hughes, our new Director of Business Operations, he has sharpened our focus on a myriad of issues related to the school’s success. All of our faculty and staff are returning for the first time in many years. We’ve retained our high enrollment, and we’ve gained a strong sense of our financial health. He is poised to lead us successfully into the strategic planning process that will guide our decisions for a strong future. I thank him for his service and encourage our community to continue to embrace his transition as Head. Without Board trustees who give freely of their time, energy, and passion on behalf of the school, we’d be rudderless. Thank you to retiring Sangeeta Chopra and Carrie Cofer for their service, expertise, and support for Gardner before moving on to new adventures. I want to offer a separate measure of gratitude to Trustee Jane Traffalis for her ten years of service, her unquenchable desire to think deeply on behalf of our school, and her acumen for numbers that shepherded the school to this point in time. I am indebted to her in ways that aren’t easily captured in words.

Photo by Cameron Pundarare

I want to thank our new trustees Ken Lader, Denise Case, Maida Sussman, and Cody Goldberg for their faith in the future and their efforts on behalf of the school. I’ve had numerous opportunities to witness their gifts in action, and I am confident we will continue to enhance the values that have shaped our past while preserving them for future generations. I thank each of them for saying yes to the invitation to service. I am grateful to Krista Davis, Nikki Cook, Catherine Hennessey, and Kevin Fischer for their continued support and devotion to the school. The team we have assembled is poised to ensure Gardner’s continued success.

None of this success happens alone. Each of our stakeholder groups must be willing to step up and have their voices be heard. This fall, the school will embark on a strategic planning process to determine our future path. This will require openness, honesty, innovation, and vision. The only way we can define our path forward is together. I invite each of you to engage, participate, and share. Cheers,




don’t recall going on a single overnight trip when I went to elementary school. I don’t think there were any. No Outdoor School or other adventures. I went to Washington D.C. on the Close Up trip in 8th grade, but that’s not really the same thing, I suppose, because it wasn’t with my entire class and students from other schools traveled with us. I recall my friend Tim was so infatuated with a girl from another school on the trip that he sobbed the whole way home on the plane, clutching the stuffed animal she gave him the whole time.

That was a long flight. But otherwise the trip was a great experience and one I remember vividly—more vividly than probably anything else from that final year of middle school. This is the power of overnight field trips for students, and I am excited by how Gardner provides these experiences for students. Besides being memorable, these trips are extremely important for our students’ social-emotional growth as they develop key skills to handle increasing levels of independence and responsibility. These trips also can be unnerving for some students...and, let’s admit it, for some parents, too. I’ve certainly been there myself, sending each of my own fifth-grade children to Outdoor School. It’s hard to let go. Was it always like this for us? I’m not sure. True story—my parents used to call “the service” to hire someone to stay overnight with me when they went away. Many of you reading this probably have no idea what I’m talking about (although The Simpsons did an entire episode on this very idea, so I know I’m not imagining it). No one does this anymore, I suppose. In greater numbers, students are reaching high school and even college without having stayed away from their parents or other relatives a single night. This might not be a healthy development. Separation and individualization is an important, necessary part of a child’s development. Guiding students through these developmental milestones has been a part of Gardner from the beginning, together with the idea that students can be prepared for these challenging experiences. I am impressed with how our teachers prepare students for these experiences and how these experiences are developmentally scaffolded as our students mature through our program. Teachers prepare students for important elements of these trips, such as what it will be like to be together in unfamiliar and very close quarters for extended periods of time. These trips are important exercises in developing skills such as cooperation, patience, flexibility, and perseverance. Teachers also validate for students that it is normal to feel some trepidation in advance of these trips. Teachers compassionately let students know that they are capable of doing difficult things and trying new experiences,

and that because we will all be together, they will be supported and cared for. Within the broader education landscape, these trips are examples of Place-based Curriculum. Place-based Curriculum privileges inquiry, sustained projects, and collaboration. This learner-centered and learner-directed approach provides for deeper learning experiences. Place-based learning also connects students to service, civics, science, and the environment—ultimately providing a rich and varied context for learning and skill development. At Gardner, these overnight trips aren’t merely social outings. They are an essential part of our students’ thematic learning. Our students attend these trips with knowledge about what they will encounter and the depth of understanding necessary to experience these trips not as tourists or bystanders but as seekers and scholars. This issue of Klahowya is filled with examples of such learning at Gardner. Consider how much more real our Kalama students’ understanding of their farm curriculum is after the day they spent on the Benson Farm and Coyote Ridge Ranch. Loowit students spent one night and Wy’East students spent two nights in authentic (and very diverse!) locations connected to their respective studies of volcanoes and navigation. Imagine if you had the opportunity to go to sleep and wake up on Mount St. Helens as a first or second grader! Or to hike through Central Oregon! And then there is the longer trip taken by Tahoma students to Jackson, Wyoming. You can read for yourself about our students’ nine-day excursion in the deep snow of the Teton Science Schools, where they encountered challenging natural elements and experienced the wonder of an elk refuge. Certainly, this one-of-a-kind experience is one these students will draw from for years to come. While technology allows us to bring the world into the classroom in amazing ways, there is no substitute from getting out into the world to see classroom learning in action. An important element of Multiple Intelligences is the recognition that the world is a diverse and very colorful place. Therefore, learning and the expression of learning must be equally diverse and colorful. Experience cannot be and shouldn’t be reduced to words and numbers only. Knowing this about learning—and living it— is one reason Gardner is such a special place.

MISSION The Gardner School inspires students to actively seek knowledge and understanding, think independently, reason critically, and embrace challenge. Teaching to the uniqueness of each individual, we focus on the process of learning and value the exchange of ideas through collaborative work, inspiring all learners to reach their highest potential. While building knowledge of self and an awareness of their connection to others, our students develop responsibility for themselves, their community, the earth and humanity.

SAVE THE DATE 03.02.19