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Edison High School Newsletter Winter 2015

PDF version of Winter 2015 Newsletter

Thomas Edison High School is now Edison High School!

Two years ago Edison High School (formerly Thomas A. Edison High School) embarked on a self-reflecting journey. Under the expert leadership and creative genius that is HMH, Edison went through an enlightening process to analyze our school’s brand position. Ed Herinckx, President of HMH and past Edison parent, offered the guidance and expertise of his team as a way to give back to the school where his daughter thrived.

The process began with Denise Hollingsworth, HMH Brand Strategist, spending time learning about our school. Denise attended school tours and events, conducted parent and student interviews, reviewed our website and collateral, and analyzed competing, similar schools. At the end of this first phase the HMH team concluded that Edison’s DNA is true to our mission—meaning we are who we say we are!

HMH made recommendations to enhance our message and brand position. They suggested we consider a new name, a new logo and developing a tag line. During this next phase we were excited to work with more of the HMH team from their Creative and Production departments. Through the work on our brand positioning, HMH made suggestions for our new logo, tag line and a streamlined school name.

Now it was time to survey our community on the final recommendations. We shared HMH’s creative ideas for a new logo, tag line and school name with student groups, board members, current and past parents, and faculty. It was rewarding and affirming that the majority of our stakeholders were in agreement on our new identity: Edison High School. Your potential, illuminated.

We are thrilled with our new look and grateful to HMH for guiding us through the process and sharing their expertise—Thank you HMH!

A Season of Change - A Message from Patrick J. Maguire, Director

It’s an exciting and busy time at Edison. While we celebrate accomplishments and our new look, we continue to explore ways to improve our programs, even ones that have long traditions. This year we have made some major changes and are in the process of developing enhanced opportunities for students with learning differences.

We are taking our successful summer school program to the next level by adding an afternoon enrichment component to the academic morning. This five-week program for middle school students will continue to offer reading, writing and math courses in the morning. Students will now have the option of week-long special-interest classes in the afternoon. Colleen O’Mahony and Craig Busic, our dynamic summer school directors, are busy designing weekly curriculum. Some of the hands-on themes they are considering offering are GPS Usage and Map Reading, Drama, Public Speaking, and Art. The complete list will be available on our website. Please join us at our summer school open house on April 23 to learn more.

POST Edison - Postgraduate Opportunities for a Successful Transition. This new program will help students navigate life after Edison, which can be challenging for many of our graduates and their parents. Some students who no longer have Edison’s strong, daily support have found they need a little extra help transitioning to life’s next phase. Michael Cady Russell, a former Edison teacher and counselor, provides that support as the director of POST. He counsels students individually or in groups, and works with parents. We are delighted to welcome Michael back to the Edison community in this new role.

Our new Edison Online program is designed to help LD students who are not physically able to attend Edison. Alison Weinberg, Director, is in the process of developing our online curriculum. Our long-term goal is to have classes available for all LD students who might need flexible scheduling, cannot attend due to heightened anxiety or medical problems or simply live too far from our school. We are also looking at a "hybrid" option; some classes could be taken at Edison, others on line. We anticipate the full program will be up and running within the next couple of years and are excited about the possibilities.

Ideally, change means improvement. While we may see some "bumps in the road" with these new programs I foresee great things in the future of Edison High School. Most importantly, our students will benefit from these new ideas and the dedication and passion of the Edison staff.

2014 "Partner with Edison Breakfast" a Success!

The Edison High School community continued to show their support at our annual Partner with Edison Breakfast. Guests began arriving at 7am and filled the Cascade Crest Ballroom at the Oregon Zoo. Tessi Troupe, Edison senior, shared the trials and triumphs of her educational journey. The audience was thrilled to hear her recent news that she has been accepted to Western Oregon University where she plans to pursue her dream of being a teacher. Current parent, Tina Ricks, discussed how having a child with a learning difference impacts the whole family and the relief her family has experienced since their son has been attending Edison.

Together, our generous donors contributed over $185,000 to help support enhanced technology, teacher professional development and financial assistance to our families in need. This important event also gives us the opportunity to raise awareness about learning differences and the innovative curriculum Edison offers.

Thank you to our Table Captains; who invited guests, our parent volunteers, and all who attended and donated. Your generosity makes it possible for us to continue fulfilling our mission empowering students with learning differences to experience academic success and personal growth, while preparing them for the future.

POST Edison — Postgraduate Opportunities for Successful Transition

POST Edison is a resource for young adults who have graduated from high school. POST builds on Edison’s Transition classes which are integrated into our curriculum. After our students get out in the real world some need extra help. POST Edison is designed to help young adults and families who need additional support adapting to life after Edison High School. The program strives to empower young people by supporting their academic, career and personal/social goals through a broad range of individual and group services. Director, Michael Cady Russell, works hard to help young adults and families create a plan to achieve their academic, personal/social, and career goals.

It may not always be obvious that the POST Program at Edison would be helpful to you and your family. Here are some examples of circumstances where POST can help.

  • A young person who recently completed an Associate Degree and is trying to decide between continuing on with a Bachelor’s Degree or finding a job
  • A person who has been trying to find a job but has not found a good fit
  • A family who is trying to help their young adult move out of the family home but they are not sure where to begin
  • A person who wants to update their resume to make sure it looks perfect
  • A person who is experiencing stress and anxiety about family, work, academics or personal relationships
  • A person who didn’t think they wanted to go to college but has changed their mind and doesn’t know where to begin (applications, financial aid, area of study)
  • A person who is trying to get appropriate accommodations in school or in the workplace
  • A young person who is trying to understand and interpret their most recent learning disability testing
  • We are excited to see the continued growth of this program. Please feel free to contact the POST Edison Program Director if you have any questions or to set up a meeting. We work hard to make sure our services are affordable to everyone who needs them. We look forward to hearing from you.

Michael Cady Russell is the program director of our POST Edison program. He came to Edison in 2008 and has worked as a Substitute Teacher, a Senior Transitions Teacher and a Counselor. Michael graduated Summa Cum Laude from Portland State University in 2007 with a B.S. in Psychology. In 2012 he earned his M.S in Education-School Counseling at PSU. Prior to working at Edison, Michael was a firefighter and he worked at Wilson High School with students diagnosed with social, emotional, and behavioral disabilities. When not at school, Michael loves to read, hike, and spend time with his family. He stands by the goals of the school and is excited to help the students move toward a successful life after Edison.

Primary Contact: Michael Cady Russell
Phone: 503-297-2336 x211

Expanding the Middle School Summer Program

The summer program is designed to bring high-quality instruction to rising 6th–8th graders who benefit from a hands-on learning environment.

This year’s expanded program will include afternoon enrichment classes and extended care. Enrichment classes will be taught by the same great teachers and include topics like:

  • GPS Usage and Map Reading,
  • Drama
  • Public Speaking
  • Art

Summer school students take two 90 minute classes (reading, writing or math) split by an extended break for hanging out with new friends, having a snack and getting outside. Students can enjoy the summer AND avoid losing valuable skills over the long break.

Edison students collect 1314 cans and $1,356.34

for the Oregon Food Bank and Casey’s Corner.

Edison Online

Families choose Edison because they find it difficult to be successful in traditional school settings. The frequent, positive feedback students receive in their small classes from caring Edison educators is critical in helping them "find" success. At Edison they know what it is like to be in a close-knit and supportive learning community. And for many of them, it is life-changing.

The goal of Edison Online is to mirror the close-knit community our students enjoy through creating a virtual online learning environment that is engaging, encouraging, and interactive. With typical online courses there is little direct contact with anyone else in the course, and students tend to feel isolated. Even for a highly motivated student, it can be difficult to feel engaged with the kind of online curriculum you’ll find at most institutions. But, just like Edison isn’t a typical high school, Edison Online will not be a typical online school. We will get to know our online students through the use of video-conferencing and interactive platforms similar to popular social media websites. Students will have the ability to interact with their teachers and other online students, alleviating the isolation that is so often felt with online classes.

One question we considered very closely while designing our classes was: How can an online school compete for a teenager’s attention against the temptations of the World Wide Web at large? After all, completing a quest in order to rank up to the next level in a game is FAR more engaging to most of today’s youth. It’s simple: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. When lessons are completed students will "rank up" and receive rewards, helping them celebrate their small victories and accomplishment. Tests and exams will be "quiz games". Online students will take virtual field trips to exotic places. Our courses will use a variety of educational technology tools and apps to give us options on how we assess their learning. Voice-conferencing and slide show software will allow audio and visual learners to more easily capture their ideas in class discussions. Students feeling more anxious about having to speak into a web-cam or mic can submit their draft in writing. Artistic students may want to create an original image or a digital comic strip to demonstrate new knowledge. Other students may choose to build an artifact in a virtual world to showcase new understandings of key instructional concepts.

We are creating an online learning community that shares the same principles, values, and mission, as our bricks and mortar campus. We will focus our awareness on the special circumstances our students face, utilize high-quality, media-rich, interactive instructional materials, and foster a close-knit online community. Online students will have frequent direct contact with their peers and staff members who have dedicated their careers to working with students with learning differences. Self-advocacy and self-discipline will be taught through guided instruction on personal learning styles and communication strategies.

At this time, we have multiple courses in development, including English I and II, Health, Government, and Economics. We hope to begin enrolling students for Fall 2015 courses on April 1.

Edison Online will give us the opportunity to expand our reach beyond the limitations of our physical resources.

Alison Weinberg joined Edison in 2014, and is heading up the development of our new Online Program. Alison comes from a teaching background of working with high school students in various capacities -- as a Language Arts and Technology instructor in both digital and face-to-face learning environments. Alison earned her B.A. in English from CSU, Chico with a special emphasis on technical writing, which has served her well as an educator and instructional designer. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Education Technology through Boise State University online, with an emphasis on Online Course Design. Away from her desk, Alison enjoys spending time with her husband and two small children. Favorite outdoor activities include gardening, camping, hiking, and bicycling around town on the many trails to be found in area parks.

Welcome to the Edison Family

Additions to the Board

Pat Becker

Pat is currently President of Becker Capital Management, Inc., and also a member of their Board of Directors. Since graduating from the University of Portland in 1988, Pat has worked in finance. Prior to his joining Becker Capital Management, Inc., he was Vice President of Grove Securities. His earlier corporate positions included General Motors Acceptance Corporation, Toyota Motor Credit Corporation, and Merrill Lynch. Pat has been a regular guest on CNBC commenting on the markets and technology. Pat and his wife Tabitha have 4 children. In his spare time Pat enjoys fly fishing, skiing and golfing.

David Carter

David is an Artist currently working with mixed media. Art, in one form or another, has been central in his life. His early years were spent as a competitive figure skater, at the national level, and then traveling the world as a professional skater in various ice shows. David retired from skating in 1983 and opened the Wonderland School in Las Vegas. The school specialized in taking performance art instruction into preschools, private elementary and middle schools. The school now has locations in Los Angeles and Phoenix. David sold the business in 2000 and began sculpting; his work has been shown at galleries throughout the southwest. David and his partner are currently raising their son Nicu, who is a junior at Edison. They are avid boaters and most summers can be found on their boat cruising around the San Juan’s.

Norm Dull

Norm recently retired from the architectural firm of Dull Olson Weekes – IBI Group Architects which he helped found and was a managing partner for over 25 years. He spent much of his time as an architect working with schools. Norm’s work can be seen in school districts throughout northwest Oregon and Oregon State University. Norm grew up in the small farming community of Oroville Washington, studied at Washington State University and graduated with a BA in Architecture in 1974. He feels extremely fortunate to be married to his wife, Kathy. They have been married for 34 years and have been blessed with 3 children (a girl and two boys) now grown. Norm enjoys golfing, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and travel.

Meet the youngest additions to the Edison family!

Mary Jordan Cady Russell was born August 24th and was 7.5 pounds and a week early! Kate was at the new student orientation on Friday, picked up Michael from Hood to Coast on Saturday and had the baby on Sunday! She loved her time with the baby and missed her students. She is thrilled to be back at work and grateful for the support and patience of the Edison family.

Lucien Ambrose Gibson was born May 31st at 8 pounds and was one day early! Molly got a pedicure Friday morning, took her dog for a walk Friday afternoon, and went into labor Friday night! Lucien was born midday Saturday, and spent the following two months crying. Upon accepting his fate in the world, he stopped crying, started laughing, and resolved to spend every day pulling his mom’s hair, his dad’s beard, and the cat’s tail.

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