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Thomas Edison High School Newsletter Spring 2014

PDF of 2014 Spring Newsletter

Steve Beard named “Lead PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator”

Congratulations to our own Steve Beard, recently named one of the top 16 Digital Innovators in the country! After a nationwide search by PBS LearningMedia, our Earth Science and Physics teacher, Mr. Beard, was selected as one of the most digitally savvy educators in the country.

The PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Program was created to support professional development for educators who are effectively using digital media and technology in the classroom. Mr. Beard will be part of a select group who will receive one year of free professional development, including virtual trainings, access to premium and exclusive resources, invitations to special events, membership into a professional learning community, and collaboration opportunities with other innovative leaders in education.

Mr. Beard, along with the 15 other top LearningMedia Digital Innovators, will also receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Summit, hosted at the PBS headquarters. Below are two of Mr. Beard’s answers which were part of the rigorous application process in which he participated in order to win this prestigious honor.

What do you hope to gain from your experience as a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator?

“I hope to expand my perspective on the uses of digital media in and beyond the classroom. I want to learn new and different ways of using digital media so I can improve my teaching. This will help me to engage with my students in order to help them succeed academically and in other areas of their lives. I love to learn; and I want to get better. Learning from others and passing on that knowledge to my students and other educators will enable more people to have access to great tools. I want to become a better educator and professional. This experience will allow me to learn new techniques for my classroom as well as expand the ability of our school to reach more students in and beyond the walls of our school. I hope to raise constructive questions that help others consider appropriate use of digital media so students are empowered instead of subdued, passive consumers of technology. My goal is to encourage thoughtful dialogue to help myself and others create a healthy use of media and technology. In short, I want to be a better educator and learner. By engaging with other educators, I feel that I can both learn from them and contribute to their success.”

How do you currently share your digital curriculum ideas with other teachers (e.g. blog, email, social media, in person)?

“Currently, I share my curriculum ideas with other teachers via email, in person, shared Google documents, and during small group discussions at regular meetings. I find that sharing ideas with other educators helps me to refine my own ideas and learn from others. Typically, this allows for direct feedback and offers a time to point out areas of strength and areas of growth. My favorite part of gathering with other educators is sharing ideas with the goal to make our instruction more engaging and transformative for our students. Setting up face to face meetings or electronic communication can be challenging, but the reward is worth it. I find that sharing concerns, learning from one another and refining our practice makes education more lively, productive and fun.”

The application process also required Mr. Beard to create a video describing how he uses digital media in his classroom to encourage and engage his students. His video can be viewed at

Conferences — Edison Style: A Message from Patrick J. Maguire, Director

One of the blessings of working at Edison High School is seeing the growth and maturity that occurs in our students during the high school years. This is never more apparent than when our seniors present to family, friends, and teachers at their Student Led Conferences (SLC). Each April during this culminating event of our Senior Seminar class, taught by Daniel Keller, the students prepare powerful presentations that highlight their time at Edison. It is during the SLCs that we hear each of our seniors describe their greatest accomplishments over the past four years and their aspirations for the future.

I found it refreshing and uplifting, but not surprising, to hear our students express their appreciation for the important people in their lives who have been instrumental in their success. Each and every one of them thanked their parents, teachers, and in some cases, friends. Hearing our students express their gratitude was a reminder for all of us in attendance to focus on the truly important things in all our lives.

As they openly discussed their learning differences, many of the students talked about their future paths in which they envisioned careers that give back to society. This is not surprising because at Edison we incorporate strong self-esteem, self-acceptance, and work ethic into our curriculum. In addition to the students, teachers and parents, Martha Callahan, our Transition Coordinator, attends every conference. I was buoyed by her smile at each student’s presentation, knowing how her important work benefits Edison students. Ms. Callahan guides them in obtaining internships and work experience, researching college choices, and assisting with applications.

I am extremely happy to note what was not mentioned during the SLCs: student “challenges.” At Edison, we believe, as does Dr. Sally Shaywitz, Co-Director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, that our students are blessed with a “sea of strengths.” Although we work with the differences that present challenges in our students’ lives, we emphasize their strengths and help them continually discover their many positive attributes. We work hard to prepare our students for the world after graduation, embracing their unique talents and teaching them to self-advocate for their success. After participating in each senior’s Student Led Conference last month I am confident the class of 2014 is ready to embrace the next chapter in their lives!

Record-Setting Brilliance Benefit

Thomas Edison High School celebrated with 320 guests on March 8 at our 2014 Carnival of Brilliance auction and dinner. Nazle Taylor, sophomore and Roger Krage, Board Vice Chair, each shared their powerful stories about the importance of finding the right learning environment and the positive difference Edison has made in their lives. The benefit generated over $230,000 in revenue to support financial aid, technology, and faculty enrichment. Thank you to our co-chairs, Paula Jacobson and Anne Stein-Gray, who were instrumental in our success. We are grateful to our fantastic group of volunteers, donors, sponsors, and guests who truly made this evening brilliant!

Gold Sponsors
Frontier Management - Gerding Edlen Development

Silver Sponsors
Becker Capital Management - Jim & Rose Kilpatrick - Rikar Enterprises - Stein Oil Co - Anne Voegtlin & Jeff Fullman

Bronze Sponsors
Davidson Benefits Planning - Barbee & John Halbert - Henry & Amber Hillman - Sandra McDonough - PNW Tax Advisors – Sharon Robbins - Don & Tammy Sasaki - MJ & Pieter Schouten - Michael & Mary Anne Sandoval - US Bank - USI

Grandparents’ Day

Grandparents Rock! That is the consensus among Edison students who shared poems they had written about their grandparents at our special day to honor them and other invited guests. We hosted over 50 grandparents on April 18 for a morning of music, poetry, story-telling, and of course, academics.

We began the morning enjoying breakfast and admiring an array of student artwork. After a warm welcome by Director Pat Maguire, several students read poems they had written in honor of their grandparents. Our guests also had the pleasure of hearing performances by Zachary Zeutzius ‘17 on guitar and Kinley Bassham ‘17 on piano.

Grandparents and guests were then able to join us for a typical Friday morning school-day. We began with our all-school gathering in which we share weekly announcements from teachers and student government. This particular Friday, we also presented our Honor Roll students and Students of the Month. Then, it was off to class. It was students against grandparents in Mr. Maguire’s Government class. He had arranged a friendly competition to see which group knew more about the history of our government (sorry, we can’t reveal the winning team). And, although there is usually no talking in Mr. Stamp’s American Sign Language class, he did make an exception and allow students to interpret for their guests.

The Edison community honors the important relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. Grandparents’ Day gives our students the opportunity to celebrate these incredibly special relationships and for grandparents to experience a brief glimpse into their grandchild’s school world. Thank you to all who attended and to our students for being such hospitable hosts.

Guardian Angels
Zariah Lowe ‘16 

Grandparents are guardian angels
There when you call.

Grandparents bounce you on their lap
No matter how old you are.

They help support you
And make the big things feel small.

Grandparents are guardian angels
There when you call.

Grandparents play outside in the snow.
Give a huge hug and make you feel warm.

They take you for ice cream when you win or fall
To make it all better and help you feel calm.

Grandparents are guardian angels
There when you call.

We love them so much
Yes we love you all.


Easy ways to help Thomas Edison High School!


Attend an event - Partner with Edison Breakfast and the Brilliance Benefit:

Thomas A. Edison High School holds two major fundraisers each year. These events allow us to provide financial aid to students, add programs and technology, support professional development for our teachers, and efficiently manage capital expenses as they arise. To be added to the mailing list for our fundraising events, email Development Associate Tammy Sasaki at


Register your Fred Meyer Rewards Card:

Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Thomas Edison High School at You can search for us by our name or by our non-profit number 92413. Every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you are helping Thomas Edison High School earn a donation! You still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates, just as you do today. If you do not have a Rewards Card, they are available at the Customer Service desk of any Fred Meyer store.


Make your next Amazon purchase at Amazon Smile:

Amazon will now donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Thomas A Edison High School when you shop at AmazonSmile. Go to for details.


Register your Target REDcard:

Visit and enter Portland - Oregon - 97225 in the Search For Your School section to view and designate Thomas Edison High School. Target will donate 1% of your REDcard purchases made at Target and to Thomas Edison.



Thomas Edison Middle School Summer Program 2014

In 1996 Thomas Edison started the Middle School Summer Program. The program is designed to bring high-quality instruction to rising 6th–8th graders who benefit from a hands-on learning environment. 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.


All classes feature:

Embedded study skills and organizational strategies similar to those successfully used at the high school every day. Thematic, hands-on learning, including service learning.

Direct, weekly feedback from teachers and student self-assessments.

Access to laptops and other technology.

No homework (Come on, it’s summer!)

Students can enjoy the summer AND avoid losing valuable skills over the long break. The 5 week session runs June 30 - August 1, 2014, 8:30am–12:00pm. If you would like more information please email: or call: 503-297-2336 x205


Staying Sharp this Summer

Learn something new

One way to keep your student’s brain in shape is to keep them learning throughout the summer. Don’t worry about using a textbook. A scavenger hunt at a museum or zoo, swimming or skating lessons, learn a new language together – it all counts. If your child wants to learn to play the guitar or drums (buy some earplugs), summer might be the perfect time.

Learning on vacation

Everyone wants to have fun over the summer. Traveling is exciting, fun, and an excellent way to sneak in some learning. Challenge your student to find facts about where you’re going. What effect will the moon have on the tides while you’re at the beach? What animals are indigenous to southern California? How was physics used to help design the roller coaster? If they learn something about where they’re going they’ll get the most out of the visit.


Reading doesn’t have to include The Life, Times, Works and Biography of William Shakespeare (at least not in the summer). There’s no shortage of book stores and libraries in the greater Portland area; all filed with books for teens, magazines, or even comic books. Reading regularly can help smooth the transition back to textbooks.

Games Changers

Many lower-tech games are great for learning. Boggle, Scrabble and Bananagrams are good for spelling and good exercise for the brain in general. And although you may hear “Monopoly can’t compete with Modern Warfare”, there’s value in the family time and basic business fundamentals that accompany the board game.

One thing you don’t want to do is let the summer slip away while you’re in front of the TV. Interacting and finding activities you can all learn from will keep everyone’s brains active throughout the summer. It may also give your student an advantage in their new classes while some of their friends are still catching up.

Tips condensed from School of Thought

The Ultimate Game - Frisbee

Edison Math teacher, Colin Livesey, shares one of his many passions, Ultimate Frisbee, and provides the inspiration for our school’s official team. Formed in 2009 and part of Puffy (Portland Ultimate Flying Disc Federation for Youth) Edison competes against other high school teams from around the city. Edison enjoyed its most successful year in 2012 when they placed second in the league! The love for the game is starting to spread; our current team is made up of students from Edison, Jesuit, Tigard High and Beaverton.

Mr. Livesey has played Ultimate since graduating college and currently plays for the Portland Master’s Burnside team, which has qualified for Nationals the past two years. He was attracted to the spirit of the game, which he describes as “highly competitive while maintaining good sportsmanship and some goofiness.”

Ultimate is a self-refereed game; players make all the calls on the field. It encourages sportsmanship, fitness, competitiveness, and most of all having fun!

Memorial Service

Thomas Edison High School held a memorial service on May 1 commemorating the lives of former students who have touched so many. Thank you to those who attended, for sharing your stories, and for allowing us to honor the memory of your sons, daughters, and friends.

Please mark your calendar and join us for:

Graduation - May 30, 2014

Partner with Edison Breakfast - November 6, 2014

Brilliance Benefit - March 14, 2015

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