The Pendleton School District assures that no person shall on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability or income as provided by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related authorities, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any Pendleton School District sponsored program or activity.
All students and families of eighth through eleventh grade students in the Pendleton School District are invited to a Forecasting Family Night on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, at Pendleton High School.
The purpose of the event is to learn about academic opportunities and student activities available at PHS for students who will attend in the 2024-25 school year.
The event from 5:00 – 7:30 pm will include:
- PHS counselors giving short, informative presentations in the PHS Auditorium at 5:15 and 6:00 pm
- Dinner & drinks at food trucks; individuals who attend a presentation will receive a meal ticket
- Information tables about academics, AP programs, CTE classes, athletics, music, clubs/activities, college credit opportunities, School to Careers & more
“This is an opportunity for us at PHS to showcase our school community and all we have to offer students,” said Karen Demianew, PHS Counselor, “plus a great chance for families to see the school and ask questions to help their students plan for next year.”
Attendees are asked to park in the PHS Student Parking Lot.
For more information or questions about Forecasting Family Night, please contact Pendleton High School at 541-276-3621.
When Lieutenant Colonel ShaiLin KingSlack spoke to students at Sunridge Middle School, she was open and honest about her experiences in school. “Going to school wasn’t always easy for me; there were some hard things, like being singled out for the color of my skin or not getting chosen for sports,” KingSlack said. But she just kept going and focused on what she was passionate about, like music, art, and things she liked, regardless of negativity from other people.
KingSlack was at SMS on January 23, 2024, speaking to Native American students about leadership. KingSlack works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Walla Walla District. A graduate of West Point Military Academy, she is an experienced and decorated soldier who was deployed to Iraq and served in Europe. KingSlack currently oversees more than 800 engineers and professionals in civil works, interagency programs, and operations of Corps of Engineers projects for Eastern Washington, Idaho, and parts of Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah.
When she started at West Point and in her early career in the U.S. Army, KingSlack said she didn’t know if she was cut out to be a leader, but she found her purpose in defending America by serving her country in the military.
“Being a leader can be inherent, but it can also be taught,” she said. Things leaders do are encouraging others and being loyal to others, she emphasized to students. She encouraged students at this stage of their lives to discover their “mission,” which could be getting good grades, becoming better at playing a musical instrument, or doing well in sports.
KingSlack said that students can later turn their strengths into leadership skills. “Not every leader is a good leader, but try to be a good one.”
In addition to visiting SMS, KingSlack spoke to students on January 23rd at Pendleton High School and Nixyaawii Community School. The presentations were organized through the Title VI program in the Pendleton School District.
Remember the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” A guest speaker at some Pendleton schools on December 13th used that concept for his message to students. Brooks Gibbs is a resilience educator with a Ph.D. in Social Psychology. At an assembly at Sunridge Middle School, he spoke to all the students in the school about taking personal responsibility for how they feel and how to protect their emotions from the effects of mean or aggressive behaviors through emotional resilience.
In an example with a student volunteer, Gibbs had the student pretend to be mean to him. In the first scenario, Gibbs got very angry and upset about the comments. In the second scenario, instead, he was calm and kind and treated the person like a friend. “The more upset you get, the more you are giving them power and playing their game in losing mode,” Gibbs explained.
He went on to say that when people are using mean and negative words toward you, you can choose not to get upset and that nobody can hurt your feelings without you giving them permission. He teaches students two basic principles when dealing with aggression:
- Don’t get upset (Emotional Resilience)
- Treat them like a friend (The Golden Rule)
Seventh grader Kale said he learned that getting more frustrated will end up making the person have more fun, and staying calm can help in an aggressive situation. Kenzie, another seventh grader, said her takeaway from the assembly was to always be nice and kind to other people.
Gibbs said physical violence does require adult intervention and encourages students to seek help if they feel they are in danger or cannot handle the aggression on their own.
Piper Kelm, Principal at Sunridge Middle School, said increasing emotional resilience in middle school students is a perfect fit because, since the COVID pandemic, a lagging skill in many young people is the ability to self-regulate and adjust to adversity in their lives. “Any tools and strategies we can help provide to our students benefit them and our school climate,” Kelm said.
In addition to visiting SMS, Gibbs presented at Washington Elementary, Pendleton High School, and Nixyaawii Community School. The presentations were funded through Title XI funds in the Pendleton School District.
Gibbs is a popular youth speaker who has been hired by more than 3,000 schools to present his message to students, parents, and educators. For more information about him and his program, visit www.brooksgibbs.com.
The Pendleton School District is happy to feature new PSD teachers.
In addition to robust academics, this year, Sunridge Middle School students are also learning how to connect with classmates, build social-emotional skills, and more.
A revision from last year’s calendar is the addition of a designated Advisory period of 32 minutes, which is the third period five days a week. This change means one less period for students, but Piper Kelm, SMS Principal, said Advisory is being utilized for growth. At the start of the period, all students watch a recorded video of school announcements. The announcements (video link and written) are emailed every day to 900 parents of SMS students. “This is one way we are trying to connect parents to our building and a way for them to ask their child about specific ways to be involved in school,” Kelm said.
Monday during Advisory is used for Grade Checks and follow-up with students who need extra academic support. Tuesday and Wednesday are for Character Strong, a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)/Character Education curriculum taught by every Advisory teacher. The goal is to help students develop self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, and more to become healthy and kind individuals.
On Thursdays and Fridays during Advisory, teachers provide lessons created by the SMS counselors. Topics may include digital citizenship (the ability to navigate the digital world safely and responsibly), suicide prevention, career education, and more.
Principal Kelm said since the pandemic, there are many students who struggle with dysregulated behaviors, the inability to control or regulate one’s emotional responses. She said having designated time during the week to provide lessons and skills about getting along with others, making connections, and addressing lagging skills in social-emotional learning is crucial to creating a successful learning environment.
Other supports in the building include DESSA screening for social-emotional wellness and small groups led by counselors for students and employees from Community Counseling Solutions in the building.
“We have students for only a little bit of time, and they are at a tender age with some vulnerability. Being socially-emotionally healthy helps kids feel safe, which means they can learn more effectively and make greater academic gains,” Kelm said.
She encourages parents to know who their child’s counselor at school is, reach out about concerns, and to always feel welcome to communicate with SMS staff.
The Pendleton School District is happy to feature new PSD teachers.
Sunridge Middle School eighth graders got to enjoy some agricultural learning in the sunshine on Wednesday, October 18, 2023. Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) brought its Mobile Precision Agriculture Laboratory to the school for some hands-on learning.
First, the class of science students broke up into small groups, made a grid sketch of an open field, and then took the temperature of the soil in each quadrant. After they reported their findings, Drew Leggett, BMCC Precision Agriculture Instructor, discussed with the students how soil temperature can be used by farmers for growing crops.
Thor, SMS eighth grader, said, “It was interesting how the temperature changed throughout the field; you would think the sun would heat it up the same.”
Leggett then went to the mobile trailer and brought out the hit of the show — a large, brightly colored orange drone. He explained this specific drone costs about $50,000 and can fly over 250 acres on one charge of its battery. Leggett explained farmers and ranchers can use drones to fly over their property and gather detailed information about sunlight exposure, water, crop growth, and more.
Eighth grader Hayden said the drone was pretty awesome to see and looked really cool flying through the sky.
What does Leggett want these eighth graders to take away from today’s experience? “I want students to know what precision agriculture is and how it works. I also tell them that it’s a career opportunity throughout the nation, there is a huge shortage of precision ag technicians, and you need only a two-year degree to get into the field.”
This BMCC mobile lab was new in 2022. Annie Claus, Career Connected Learning Systems Navigator at BMCC, said one of the uses of the mobile lab is to connect Career Technical Education (CTE) and Career Connected Learning (CCL) opportunities to students in fifth and eighth grades and high school.
Eighth grader Hayden summed up the morning pretty well, “There’s a lot of stuff to do in science.”
Sunridge Middle School students and their parents were invited to the school’s Open House on Wednesday, September 20, 2023. In addition to serving Hill Meat hot dogs, chips, and Coca-Cola to families, school administrators hoped the event was a good photo opportunity and a chance for staff to interact with students and families.
It was the first SMS Open House for new Vice Principal Caleb Patterson. He said the school year has started out well and has been a lot of fun. “I hope tonight is a good chance for our students, especially the sixth graders, to show their parents around, for parents to put faces to teachers’ names, and for us to continue building that community feel,” Patterson said.
New teacher Noah Eckstine said his first weeks of teaching science have been great so far, with lots of support from SMS staff. At Open House, he said he hopes parents see him as a stand-up guy, know their kids are being supported and appreciated every day, and that teachers like the students as people.
Seventh grader Emilio Hernandez was showing his mom, Natasha Makin, around the school, taking her to each of his classes in the order he attends them every day. Makin said Emilio has three minutes to get from one end of the building to the other between two classes, so he showed her how he power walks to get there. Makin was happy about the Open House event, saying, “It’s a cool opportunity to meet his teachers in a fun way and not necessarily like at conferences when you might get more negative information.”
SMS Principal Piper Kelm said Open House is always an exciting night for the school. “I am always really happy when we can have our community in the building, put food in their bellies, and have them get a chance to meet our amazing teachers here at Sunridge.”