Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Farm Girl from Iowa

Growing up near Cedar Rapids, Iowa with a farmer for a father, Olivia understands rural living. Her family grew corn, soybeans, oats and raised cattle, pigs, sheep and chickens. When Olivia was in the third grade, her parents divorced. She has one younger brother and six step siblings. Her dad is still farming and her mom re-married and started a carpet cleaning business. After graduating high school in 2000, Olivia attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa to study Vocal Performance and Costume Design. When 911 shook the United States, Olivia was drawn to move to New york to lend a helping hand via Red Cross. After such a powerful experience, she chose to work with Americorps in NYC for a year, tutoring and running an after school girl's group for high-risk families. Returning to Hunter College in NYC, Olivia switched majors to Political Science and graduated with her BA. She also minored in History. When school ended, Olivia decided it best to conquer a fear she held- She traveled alone to Europe to backpack for the entire summer and visit the Czech Republic, and a small, remote village where her family had come from. Olivia smiles broadly as she describes the trip as "Amazing." Olivia met numerous friendly people and "saw so much art and architecture that she fell in love with." Upon her return, she was offered a position at Hunter College as an Administrative Asst. for the Hunter Senate- the governance body of the college. After a year, she decided to move to London. Her now husband offered to buy her a book to help with the process. As they discussed her possible move, they fell in love! Together they moved to Boston and dated five years before marrying. While in Boston, Olivia went back to school to get her Master's degree and become a teacher. She ended up getting dual Master's degrees in Special Ed. and Elementary Ed. In April 2014, her husband, Dan Squires drove with her and their cats! across the country where Olivia met with 9 different school districts to see just where she wanted to work. The long story short is, she fell in love with Corbett and the staff -and they with her. Olivia now teaches grades 3,4,5 where students with special needs are blended into the classroom. In her free time, she is excited to create beauty in a new stained glass studio in her basement, and she is learning how to better play her accordian!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

He's BAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!!

Mr. Derek Jaques is Corbett's new EnviroSTEM Principle at Corbett High School. Derek is baaaaaack after beginning as a teacher at Corbett High in Sept. 2002. Getting his administrative credentials in 2008, Derek then job shared administrative responsiblities with Lori Luna and Phil Pearson until 2011. Leaving Corbett, Derek first took a job as Vice Principal at West Linn High School "The work load and long commute were horendeous" says Derek. After just a year, Derek moved his career path to Camas High School, just two miles from his home. Although the opportunity, location, pay and position were great, there was a heart pull for Corbett. It is easy to realize in a short amount of time that Mr. Jaques is all about relationships. Derek very happily chose to return to Corbett because of this. Corbett's intimate setting of knowing his students and having close relationships with co-workers ranks high on the list of what most appeals to him. Derek's parents divorced when he was just 6 months of age. He has an older bother and a younger half sister. For more than half his childhood, Derek's mom was a single parent, constantly on the move. Living in the general Portland area, Derek graduated from Centennial High in 1993. It was a football scholarship, teachers and coaches that got him to college. Derek got a need's based full-ride scholarship to Lewis and Clark College in Portland, graduating in four years with a major in both history and economics. Derek had a passion for many sports, not just football. He met a man named Roy Altman through his brother Chris, and Roy asked Derek to come to Corbett to help him coach kids. Derek was already employed after college, but soon realized as he was coaching kids that he really loved being around the students. A parent encouraged him to look into teaching, so he did! He applied for the MAT Program at Concordia College in Portland and was accepted. Prior to starting the program, he left his job and traveled. Derek backpacked through Europe with friends for 3 months then moved to Hawaii for 5 months to work with a close friend from college in the financial world. In 2004 Derek met his wife Lyndsay on a church rafting trip. What started as a light friendship turned into 10 months of intense dating before marrying in July 2005. Today Lyndsay and Derek live in Washougal, WA. with their children, Keaton (6) and Laila (3). Derek is thrilled to be back amongst friends and families in the community that still mean so much to him.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Meeting the Needs of Corbett Kids

The new Learning Specialist at Corbett High School grew up in Portland with three older siblings and her parents. Hannah Lizio-Katzen is an avid soccer player, playing year round both in and outdoors with coed and all women's teams. After graduating from Portland's Bensen Tech High School, Hannah headed to UC Berkely in Calif. to get her undergraduate degrees in both English and Education. For her Master's, Hannah came back to Portland. She was able to specialize in both Special and General Education. Last year was her first year of teaching at McKay High School in Salem. With over 2K students at the school and a caseload of 60 students, Hannah had her hands full. When the opportunity came up at Corbett High, Hannah was excited! Corbett's entire district was half the size of the previous school and she now had a caseload of 24. Corbett is a full inclusion district, meaning students attend classes with their peers, and are pulled out as needed for additional support. Currently there are 25 colleges in the U.S. that provide post secondary studies for those with intellectual disabilities. Hannah lives in Portland with her cat, Hugo and loves to garden as she is able. She also is working on a novel. Having a family member with special needs spurred Hannah to not only pursue her current career but also to put down on paper her own memoir to share with others. When will it be ready for print? "Not sure!" laughs Hannah with a smile.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

An OUTDOOR classroom in Corbett?!!

CAPS is the Corbett Arts Program with Spanish housed in the historic Springdale School two miles west of the main Corbett School Campus. They are a K-8 program serving less than 200 students who are part of the Corbett School District. They are NOT a charter program, but rather a small program that is part of the district. Students at CAPS have Spanish instruction every week, and a strong music program. The school follows the same philosophies as the Corbett Grade and Middle School, yet the notable difference is CAPS has thoughtfully chosen to incorporate the arts throughout the curriculum. CAPS has a thriving community garden that is organized and ran by parents, grandparents and community members. Hispanic neighbor, Ruben Grazura has been a vital part of keeping the garden in top condition as well as assisting with language skills! The garden provides hands on experiences and activities for each of the students on a weekly basis. If you have interest in volunteering, please contact Carolyn Coons at calcoons@gmail.com