HR teachers earn education awards

March 23, 2011

The desire to learn is often instilled in younger learners through the example of influential adults.

Two local teachers have been rewarded for wishing to set that good example, receiving grants to be used toward their own advanced education.

According to Karen Neitzel, Hood River Valley High School principal, the school received word that two high school level teachers had been selected for continuing education grants.

The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, based in Portland, announced its 2011 Miller Teacher Awards recipients, including $4,991 for Haley Harkema, HRVHS English teacher, and $2,770 for Brooke LeBlanc, Center for Alternative Learning teacher.

Both teachers had to submit proposals for their continuing education plans. Each outlined desired goals to be reached as a result of the experiences.

Harkema will use her grant to attend the Oregon Writer's Project at Lewis & Clark College this summer.

The rigorous summer school focuses on strengthening teaching skills, allowing Harkema the opportunity to examine current teaching delivery, develop new lesson plans and learn effective methods to improve student's skills.

Over the academic year participants in the program will meet monthly to discuss the challenges and the successes in the classroom.

LeBlanc will use her grant to attend a three-week Spanish language immersion program in San Carlos de Bariloce, Argentina.

The program will provide LeBlanc experience in conversing in Spanish, leading to improved communications when interacting with Spanish-language-based students and their parents.

With improved language skills, LeBlanc anticipates assisting in math classes where only one Spanish-language-skilled teacher now presides.

According to the Miller Foundation website, the organization began the program to combat a major problem facing public high schools: the large number of teachers who drop out of the profession during their first five years of teaching.

In Oregon this attrition was 37 percent, according to a 2008 report by the Chalkboard Project.

To encourage more teachers to stay in the profession and improve their skills, the Miller Foundation offers professional development awards annually to provide public high school teachers with opportunities for growth and development, with the goal of strengthening their commitment to, interest in, and effectiveness in a long-term classroom teaching career.

The ultimate goal is helping teachers pursue activities that will stimulate and nurture student achievement. The awards range from $1,000 to $5,000, depending upon the nature of the individual projects.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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