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April School Beat

Wilson student honored at poetry contest

HILLSDALE - McKinley Rodriguez, a Wilson freshman, was one of eight finalists in the Oregon Poetry Out Loud contest that drew from more than 4,500 participants from 32 Oregon high schools.

McKinley was the only freshman finalist among competitors who were rated on accuracy, voice inflection, level of difficulty and other criteria based on their reading of three poems.

To read more about McKinley and this honor, visit www.pps.k12.or.us/news/5576.htm.

Robert Gray principal takes on new position

HILLSDALE - John Danielson has taken over as temporary principal of Robert Gray Middle School after Larry Dashiell moved up to a new position as regional administrator for Portland Public Schools' Roosevelt and Cleveland clusters.

Principal of Robert Gray since 2006, Dashiell now oversees principals at all elementary and middle schools feeding into those high schools. Danielson, who retired as principal of Jackson Middle School in 2008, will step in as interim principal for the remainder of the school year until a permanent replacement is named.

Dashiell has worked for 28 years in Portland Public Schools as teacher and school principal. At a send-off ceremony on Feb. 18, he said, 'The staff at Robert Gray have been truly wonderful to work with.' He added that he would miss his daily interactions with students. PTA President Beth Allen presented Dashiell with a gift from the PTA on his last day at the school: a football jersey emblazoned with 'Robert Gray #1.'

Allen praised Dashiell, saying 'He's calm but in control. He's serious about putting kids first. He has a wonderful sense of humor, a playfulness that complements his strong leadership skills ... He is deeply committed to education, and Robert Gray has benefited from his leadership.'

-Valeurie Friedman, Hillsdale News

Nominate outstanding educators

CORVALLIS - Nominations are being sought for the 2011 Outstanding High School Educator Awards.

Sponsored by Portland Tribune and Community Newspapers and the Oregon State University College of Business, the awards will recognize five educators who use innovative and exemplary instructional strategies to enhance student learning. The nominee must be a high school educator (teacher, adviser or administrator) in Oregon or Clark County, Wash., with at least two years of experience as an educator. The winning five nominees will each receive a $500 cash prize and recognition at the OSU College of Business' 2011 Alumni and Business Partner Awards dinner on May 3 at the Governor Hotel in Portland. Nominations can be submitted online on or before April 9 at http://portlandtribune.com/forms/educator_award.php.

The High School Educator Awards were established in 2008 to acknowledge the importance of business education at the high school level. The awards ceremony takes place in conjunction with the Alumni and Business Partner Awards, an annual event that honors prominent OSU College of Business alumni and friends.

Donation drive begins for second In the Bag fundraiser

HILLSDALE - Following the success of its inaugural pop-up boutique purse sale, the Wilson Area Arts Council has begun accepting donations of new and lightly used designer, vintage and handmade purses. Bags can be dropped off at the office of Erica Meyer, Wilson High School's business manager, at 1151 S.W. Vermont St. All proceeds will benefit Wilson High School arts programs, including choir, orchestra, band, drama and the visual arts.

The free event, featuring student musicians and complimentary wine, will be held Sunday, Nov. 13.

For more information, visit www.wilsonarts.org.

Safe Routes spring kick-off

PORTLAND - Encouraging families to walk and ride bikes on their morning commutes to school, Safe Routes to School's Spring Kick-off will celebrate the program's goal with family-friendly activities for all ages. Scheduled for April 2, Safe Routes to School's event will feature a bike rodeo and games along with safe walking and biking tips, parent workshops, helmet fittings, bike repair, a community bike ride and more. Lunch will also be provided at the celebration, to be held at Beach School, located at 1710 N. Humboldt St.

For more information about the program, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.

Rieke science fair

HILLSDALE - Join Rieke Elementary for its science fair April 7 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the school library, 1405 S.W. Vermont St., and check out the results of student scientific endeavors.

At the fair, Rick Kang, a statewide classroom outreach presenter from the University of Oregon's Pine Mountain Observatory, will be presenting on 'What's Going on in Space.' See digital images of some of the latest discoveries about our solar system plus objects found in the Milky Way galaxy and beyond.

Because of the 30-minute length of his presentation, Kang's first program will begin at 6 p.m. Judging and other hands-on projects will begin at 6:30 p.m.

For more information or to volunteer, please contact Katie Unflat at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Kim Meyers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Robert Gray Middle School auction

HILLSDALE - Robert Gray's annual school auction will be held April 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Multnomah Arts Center auditorium, 7688 S.W. Capitol Hwy., and there are still opportunities to help ensure an event is a successful one.

Tickets are still available via https://rgms.schoolauction.net/2011/register, cost $30 per individual and $50 per couple and include dinner, drinks and dancing. Parents and community supporters can also donate items and events through the above site for the silent auction, and items already donated are available for browsing online.

Native Plant Sale

MAPLEWOOD - Come and browse the wide selection of native plants at Maplewood Elementary's Native Plant Sale. All proceeds from the event, to be held April 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school, 7452 S.W. 52nd Ave., will benefit the Maplewood PTA and the school's gardens.

Celebrate Earth Day with walk to school

MAPLEWOOD - Walk with city of Portland mounted patrol officers and celebrate Earth Day April 21 by joining one of Maplewood Elementary's five walking school bus routes or walking with your family to school. The school's Thursday morning walking school buses will resume from April 21 through June 9.

Visit the Maplewood PTA's website, www.maplewoodpta.com, for walking maps, parent route leaders and departure times.

RGMS PTA clothing closet needs volunteers

HILLSDALE - On Monday, April 25, parent volunteers from Robert Gray's clothing closet will visit the Marshall Campus in Southeast Portland, where they will sort donations and assist students and their families in shopping for clothes. Volunteers are needed during two shifts - from 9:45 to 11:15 a.m. and from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Please contact Mary Jo Cohen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you wish to participate, have varying schedules but still want to help or have questions in general.

Aviation career day

HILLSBORO - Sophomores, juniors and seniors interested in learning more about careers as airplane and helicopter pilots, flight attendants and more can learn about educational opportunities and see a variety of aircrafts firsthand at the Hillsboro Airport's aviation career day. The event will be held April 19 from 9:30 a.m. to noon, and participating organizations include Horizon Airlines, Skywest Airlines, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Portland Community College.

One hundred spaces are available for the event on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration is a two-step process, the first of which can be completed online at www.hillchamber.org/stw. Next, a form containing all necessary signatures can be brought to the event itself.

Craft workshop for potential kindergartners

MAPLEWOOD - Preschoolers are welcome to attend a craft workshop with kindergarten teacher Mrs. Robbie McGinty and kindergarten assistant Mrs. Delores Beckers at St. John Fisher School, 7101 S.W. 46th Ave. Parents are also welcome to stay for a meet and greet hosted by the school principal, Mrs. Merrit Holub, and school parents in the conference room. The event will be held April 28 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Please RSVP to Chris Vancil, administrative assistant, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-246-3234, ext. 10.

Rieke art fair and fundraiser

HILLSDALE - Rieke Elementary School will be hosting an art fair and fundraiser in conjunction with the Hillsdale Farmers' Market Sunday, May 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fair will feature the work of more than 40 artists, including art, crafts, clothing and jewelry. Attendees can also sign up for art classes at the event. Money raised will support school programs.

For more information, visit riekearts.tumblr.com.