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The Gardner School of Arts & Sciences

June 2016

KLAHOWYA ‘Klahowya’ was the common and universal Chinook Jargon greeting meaning ‘hello’ or ‘hello friend’. Chinook Jargon originated as a pidgin trade language of the Pacific Northwest and spread quickly up the West Coast from modern-day Oregon to the regions now known as Washington, British Columbia and Alaska.

JEFF KUBIAK - NEW HEAD OF GARDNER! Hello Gardner Families!

The Gardner School Logo

I am so excited and honored to become the next Head of School. I’m looking forward to not only following in the amazing footsteps of what Mark and the others have done before me, but for all of the untapped potential that lies ahead...for all of us.

Emerging from the idea of the golden rectangle and the golden spiral, created by drawing circular arcs connecting the opposite corners of squares in the Fibonacci tiling, The Gardner School logo represents both the school’s place in the natural world as well as its position in the world of learning.

I was born and raised in the college town of Davis, CA and was fortunate to be around many amazing people in my upbringing. Swimmers, ball players, soccer studs, educators, musicians, and much more. I gleaned as much as I could from each and all of them. As a student, I struggled with traditional education as my mind would never stop wandering. I needed to move, talk, try, fail, laugh, and be challenged, each and every day. This did not happen and my experience as a young child in school was not great. It didn’t occur to me until I became a teacher and swim coach, that ALL students, children, athletes and people need something different. There is no magic 8-ball and a “one size fits all” should not exist! Each child is unique, amazing, wonderful, creative and special. Not one is the same, but ALL should be embraced for his/her individuality.

The Fibonacci sequence can be observed in the world of mathematics, science, art and music, and is replicated in the natural world -the ‘perfect’ rectangles producing a spiral that may be observed in a Nautilus shell, a ram’s horns, milk in coffee, and the unfolding of a fern. That spiral, here represented as a stylized 'G', connects the individual rectangles in the same way that students, teachers, parents and families are connected as members of The Gardner School community, leading them all on a Gardner path of learning.


This I know. This I have seen. This I believe, and this is what we will continue to love and cherish at The Gardner School. So, here I am. An athlete. A coach. A father. A swimmer. A teacher and leader. I love the outdoors, water, reading, wine, beer, learning, traveling and adventure. My wife Piper is amazing, creative, beautiful, charming and energetic. She is willing to take a risk of leaving her family and relocating 625 miles north because of what I believe is an amazing place, and an epic school!

Keeley, my 11 year-old daughter is talented, smart, creative, kind, empathic, imaginative and playful. She loves life, horses, swimming, reading and playing. Braden, the 7 year-old ball of energy is outgoing, funny and loves to run. He will try anything, and can create amazing designs from basically nothing. As you get to know me, you will see that I am authentic and passionate about education, children, learning, fun, failure, perseverance and kindness. Here are some of my lifelong passions and visions on education: #kidsfirst. I hope you will quickly see my vision, and understand my mantra. Not only do I preach this hashtag and way of life into my educational philosophy, it is also the cornerstone of how I view life. Our future. Our present. Our now. This is my hashtag for all of my Tweets on Twitter. I constantly focus on what is best for ALL students, so in my heart, I know that I am doing the right thing. This goes with curriculum implementation, discipline, communication, staffing and much more. It is my way of life, and I instill this message to my staff, parents and community members. If we can all focus on #kidsfirst, The Gardner School will not only thrive further, but become an educational cornerstone in Clark County and beyond for years to come!


I always reflect on my past, and then move forward. This not only allows me to improve upon my successes and tweak them, but to fix my mistakes, learn, re-work them and begin again. If and when this becomes an integral part of a school culture, inclusive to all members, then children really do win. This thought process goes along with my practice of mindfulness, which I believe all students should become well versed in. With this practice, philosophy, and way of life, we can better look ahead to see what needs changing or improving and then put those ideas into action. In my view, parents are a critical piece in building the bridge to educational success. Yes, we can teach without parents, but when we have their support, engagement, and commitment, then a school thrives, and each and every student can become the best that they are capable of becoming. When parents show interest in a child's education, most children will have the confidence to do what they didn't know was possible. The level of parent involvement that I have already seen at Gardner is another reason why I am so excited to be here. So I ask you: hold on, but don’t sit back. We are going to move forward, and build and grow. The Gardner story will be shared, loved and embraced by The Great Northwest and beyond. I am visible. I am honest. I am transparent. I am here for your child. Onward and Upward my friends! Jeff Kubiak

PTO LASTING IMPACT PROJECT (LIP) Each year the PTO embarks on a large-scale project to benefit the school: the Lasting Impact Project (LIP). In collaboration with teachers, the PTO chooses an area or topic of focus, and this year the PTO decided to build on the curricular focus in literacy. The PTO raised $1,640.28 in Scholastic Bucks at the 2015 book fair, and decided to put the funds towards the creation of a database of all the books on campus. In this way, teachers and students will be able to better take advantage of all the resources—about 7,000 books—spread across the classrooms. 10 software packages were reviewed for price and features and 5 were selected for a trial run. In the end, Readerware was the best option for Gardner. Currently 1,200 books have been indexed “to the cloud” but many remain! It is relatively easy to index books with the software, but with so many books, the PTO anticipates the entire Gardner library will require another 250 hours of work.

The PTO is looking for parent volunteers for each classroom to help index books over the summer. If you are interested and can help, please contact Jennifer English Wallenberg at


GARDNER MARKET 2016 Thirteen years ago Gardner students participated in a schoolwide economics study. The unit culminated with a student-run market for children to apply their learning. The event was such a success, it became an annual tradition. Students become entrepreneurs for a day and help raise money for local charities that have included Bridge the Gap, Southwest Washington Humane Society, Share, Water is Life, and Heifer International. Each child, from first through eighth grade, is asked to make a decision about whether he or she will provide a service, design a homemade ware to sell, or create a food item to sell. Students who are interested in selling a food or beverage item must participate in a lottery. Students then submit a business plan that outlines what they intend to offer and if they will be working with a partner. Students complete the preparations for their market booth at home. Kalama students often work as a class to plan and prepare for their participation in the market. This year, Gardner School students selected Mercy Corps Syrian Refugee Relief and Northwest Battle Buddies to be the recipients of the proceeds from the market. Three members of Battle Ground Battle Buddies came along to introduce themselves and their dogs at the beginning of the market and thanked the students for their support.


ADULT OPEN CHOICE! Parents who bid on the ‘experience’ items at our Auction, gathered to explore art, sport, and cooking under the expert guidance of our very own Gardner faculty and staff. It was an entertaining evening for all concerned and the result, at least from the Wine & Watercolor class, was truly spectacular!


WE’RE MAKING ART! In early May we celebrated the opening of our annual art show, with a display of art from all students from Kalama to Tahoma. Student docents led the gathered guests on a tour of the exhibition and students, parents and guests worked on a collaborative art project. As always, the work was quite spectacular with an amazing diversity, creativity, and color on display.



Talent Night 2016 was a creative and colorful event that saw students from Tumtum to Tahoma sharing a vast array of talents. From recorder to piano, solo voice to duets, blues to classical and Greece to India, our students performed with great energy and confidence. Thank you to everyone who came along to join in the fun! It would not be the same without your energy and support!



EIGHTH GRADE PROJECTS... Eighth Grade Projects are an independent, long term project undertaken by students in their final year at Gardner. Students determine what they want to engage in, choose a mentor to assist with the planning process and conclude their project with a presentation to the wider school community. Structured lunch time planning with their chosen mentor ensures a collaborative approach to planning and provides mental, as well as physical, sustenance. The end product is always engaging and often has a long lasting impact on our school. Past examples of 8th grade projects include construction of the swing set outside the Farmhouse, production and direction of a school play, therapy dog training, book publishing and music recordings. This year, Ben Kautz created, directed and produced ‘A Trip Down Broadway’ in May. This was an all-singing, all-dancing musical revue that received rave reviews from all who attended.

Cozzi DeBonis designed and led the After-School Olympics this past month, spending one day teaching and a second day playing a particular sport. Sports included rugby, soccer and kickball. Approximately 20 Gardner students took part in his activity over the course of three weeks.


Throughout the spring, Carlson Fields made several portraits as she developed her ability to draw a realistic human face, culminating with an extraordinary final art show in June.


Both Kadyn Shelton and Tanner Harris organized and led an All-Day Open Choice in April. Kadyn held a baseball clinic and Tanner taught students how to make a particular lego build.

Lastly, Cassidy Gault organized an Art Show of her own artwork. She also organized a silent auction of a few select pieces of her work. Fifty percent of the proceeds were donated to Northwest Battle Buddies.


FROM THE BOARD CHAIR The end of the school year is always a time of transition: Mazamans jump up to Kalama, Kalamans jump over to Loowit, and eighth grade Tahomans jump off the Gardner path and move on to high school. At other educational institutions, high school graduations and college commencements bring major transition for students and parents alike. Parents and students alike linger on the last days, while the freedom of summer tugs at us to move forward. This spring the students aren’t the only ones celebrating transition. At the end of this school year The Gardner School will be turning 21. Throughout the last twenty years, the School has had several constants: our mission, a community of parents who want a progressive education for their children, and fantastic faculty and staff. Amid the constants, at 21, we are feeling the stretch of our years. The school is moving out of our “adolescence” and as parents, many of us know what that brings: endings and beginnings, times that are joyful and full of anticipation, mixed with times that are bittersweet. A clear indicator of the end of the school’s “adolescence” is that one of our own alumni is returning as a teacher! At the same time, we are saying goodbye to Katherine McCall-Petke and Claire Small. Katherine has given so much to and been such a pivotal influence on her kindergartners for the last 14 years and Claire provided a nurturing start to so many Mazamans as well as a love of nature to all Gardner students. Patrice Schanck, who has worked her artistry of teaching in Klickitat for the last 13 years, is shifting her role to one of leading teacher support. On behalf of my family, and the Board, I’d like to thank them all for their pedagogical leadership and truly being instrumental in making The Gardner School what it is today. As we welcome Jeff Kubiak as our new Head of School, we embrace another big transition - a change in leadership at the helm. Mark has been a superlative Head of School. For eight productive years, he has been the embodiment of the school’s mission and always put that mission into practice. Under his care, the school has made tremendous strides, including but by no means limited to: defining the Gardner curriculum and each individual student’s Gardner Path; establishing a culture of educational excellence, marked by beautiful work; implementing key pillars of our strategic plan - the science program, enhanced middle years experience, the purchase of our property, and many process improvements across the board in admissions and business operations. We will miss and fondly remember his wit, charm, and easy manner - and the school will carry forward his DNA. Wherever we grow as a learning community from here, it will be based on the good work done through Mark’s leadership over the last eight years. I, for one, will continue to find myself humming “Have a Nice Day” as I pull into the parking lot. Thank you, Mark! The Gardner School strives to be the premier independent, progressive school in Southwest Washington. In our commitment to that goal of being progressive, we must embrace change and the challenge it brings. Alan Watts eloquently said: “The only way to make sense out of change is plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” I invite our entire community - parents, teachers, staff, students, alumni and friends - to the dance. We are all in this together. We all have our parts to play in the growth and sustainability of the school.


The Board of Trustees provides oversight, strategic direction, and governance. The Head of School, as the sole employee of the Board, is the executive director that manages the faculty and staff to achieve the mission of the school. The entire school community comes together to inspire our students to reach their highest potential. We could not function as a non-profit without the generous contributions of time and treasure from our community. From the countless volunteer hours that go into successful events like the harvest festival and annual gala, to the paddle raise donations benefitting the arts, to driving on field trips - our community displays its generosity and commitment to the school. Thank you all!


Many people actively participated in the Head Search this year. Your efforts came to fruition with the hiring of Jeff Kubiak, who is uniquely qualified to lead Gardner into the next phase of growth. I ask you all to join me in warmly welcoming Jeff to Gardner, and in wishing Mark the smoothest sailing as he heads up the sound to The Harbor School on Vashon Island. This is a time of transition. Your Board of Trustees is confident that the changes upon us will enrich our community for years to come. Andy Fields Board Chair



TAHOMA and KLICKITAT traveled to Ashland for three nights. This field trip allowed all students to see Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Yeoman of the Guard and, for Tahoma students, Dicken’s Great Expectations. This trip is one of great expectations, demanding an intellectual, social and emotional participation that brings out the best in all of our students. The smiles, laughter and effort spoke to the commitment of everyone who went along and once again made this trip one of the most engaging in our school calendar.

WY’EAST trekked off to The Mount Rainier Institute. The Mt. Rainier Institute is an overnight environmental education center near Pack Forest, WA. The students spent three amazing days learning about the forest environments (old and new growth, and sub-alpine), including an exciting hiking adventure on Mount Rainier. Students completed small research projects and then shared their findings at a symposium on the last day. It was fantastic, educational, and they loved it! Written by Eli, Aadi, Jack, Zoey, Daniel and Laura.


LOOWITS revisited their fall Thematic study by venturing back to Mount St. Helens for an overnight experience.


The picturesque location at Coldwater Learning Center became the classroom for two days of geology and life science investigations. The students participated in a science conference where they gathered data from a GPS scavenger hunt, explored maps and plate tectonics, learned elemental recipes for minerals, and studied the new ecosystem that has flourished since the 1980 eruption. While jammed with quality learning opportunities, this overnight also helps promote independence while strengthening community and friendships within our first and second grades.

Below: Klickitat and Tahoma explore dance, movement and physics with Bodyvox!




At our 2015 Auction, the Gardner community generously raised money to purchase a Greenhouse and enhance our garden space. Led fearlessly by Betsy and Tom, many of our students, families, faculty and staff worked hard on installing the Greenhouse and creating an outdoor learning space. This is now ready to support a dynamic environmental education program for many years to come. The new expanded fence line is up, raised beds and structures are in place and the Greenhouse is almost ready to start growing green things! Under the apple trees we have created a gathering space that will be used by all classes. The Garden has been transformed and creates a spectacular and ever changing center piece for the Gardner campus. We are very excited about the changes we have made and thank everyone for their sweat and support!


CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR EIGHTH GRADE GRADUATES! As exemplary role models and true mission-appropriate students, we congratulate our eighth grade graduates, and wish them well as they continue on their educational path. Cozzi DeBonis (2011-2016) will be attending Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. Ben Kautz (2007-2012 and 2014 -2016) will be attending Vancouver School of Arts and Academics.

Tanner Harris (2005-2006 and 2012-2016 ) will be attending Edison High School in Portland. Kadyn Shelton (2013-2016) will be attending David Douglas High School in Portland. Carlson Fields (2006-2016) a Gardner School ‘lifer’, will be attending Seton Catholic in Vancouver. Cassidy Gault (2005-2009 and 2013-2016) will be attending Columbia River High School In Vancouver. 15

16413 NE 50th Ave Vancouver, WA 98686 Phone: 360-574-5752 Fax: 360-574-5701 E-mail:

GARDNER SCHOOL 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.


Klahowya june 16  
Klahowya june 16