The Gresham-Barlow School District
Employee Newsletter
April 2024
Superintendent James Hiu
Budget for 2024-25 focused on District’s four priorities
GBSD continues to dip into reserves to maintain educational program, adjustments needed so District can live within its means
What'a Going Well banner
Superintendent James Hiu with Rikki Drews, Jenn Cano, and John Gordon holding
Jenn Cano and Rikki Drews were recognized for their exceptional support and guidance to the special education staff! 👏🌟
East Gresham Elementary Staff memebrs and students posing for a photo for the polar plunge with the
East Gresham Elementary staff rocked the 2024 Polar Plunge supporting Special Olympics Oregon 💙 🌊
Superintendent James Hiu with Julia De Santis holding
Julia De Santis, art teacher at Gordon Russell Middle School👩‍🎨🎨 was recognized for her incredible dedication to the art program!
Superintendent James Hiu with Mzuri Robertson holding
🎵 Mzuri Robertson, music teacher at Hollydale Elementary, was celebrated for her dedication and passion. She brings joy to her music room daily! 👏🌟
Superintendent James Hiu with communications department staff
  🌟Superintendent Hiu recently honored the Communications Department for their hard work and dedication launching the new GBSD website!👏
Superintendent James Hiu withtechnology department staff
  🌟The Technology Department was celebrated for their hard work launching the new GBSD website! Their tireless efforts ensured a smooth transition! 💙
Superintendent James Hiu handing gift to Mzuri Robertson holding

Veteran teacher returns to the school where she taught

Her music classes enrich students by highlighting the importance of music in different cultures

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Communications Director Athena Vadnais
Athena Vadnais named 2023-24 Oregon School Communicator of the Year
Award recognizes leaders for their contributions to the profession
Sharing our work
School pincipals sitting around a table working
School principals shared their school improvement plans with the Gresham-Barlow School Board members in March. It was a great evening focusing on the important work being done to ensure students are inspired, empowered, and thrive!
5 GBSD staff members sitting around a table
Training includes digging into personal journeys, learning easy-to-use strategies
Participants felt energized
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3 students at STEM EXPO in front of project
Event features students from GBSD and across the region
Local professionals serve as judges
Learning in action
It’s the Friday before spring break at Dexter McCarty Middle School, and Charlie Robison’s computer coding class takes a digital break to apply some algebraic thinking. Can a team of 7th and 8th grade students get from one platform to another without touching the floor? Each step in the activity builds upon the other, and solving this task will take trial and error.

Equipped with only two lengths of lumber, each team plans and tests their ideas in front of peers who have every opportunity to steal strategies and insights. 

Did any teams win? Was there any big upset? To the students in the STEAM Lab, what matters most is having fun!

Charlie Robison walking accross Computer Coding classroom 6 students standing on platform students crossing from one platform to the other in classroom
Superintendent James Hiu on Multnomah Education Service District (MESD) Podcast
MESD Superintendent Dr. Paul E. Coakley spoke with Superintendent James Hiu about the importance of mentors and colleagues as thought partners and why it’s critical to understand your “why” when working in the field of education.
graphic of James Hiu on Leaders Build Leaders Podcast
Listen Here!
Teachers, classified staff, and administrators work together on Student Handbook Committee
During the last certified contract negotiations, the GBEA and GBSD agreed to convene a team of teachers, classified staff, and administrators to rewrite the outdated Student Safety and Discipline Handbook. The committee presented at the March board meeting after completing the handbook in January. The process was open, collaborative, and productive and led to an excellent result that all were pleased with. 
Teachers, classified staff, and administrators sitting around table at board meeting
sillhoute of people jumping for joy

Wellness program achieves several significant milestones

Grant-funded program provided resources for variety of activities

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graphic of spheres of control, influencem and concern
Considering where we have control, influence, and concern
Strategies all educators can use
  • License renewals
    Please make sure you are paying attention to your licenses and when they need to be renewed. TSPC no longer sends reminders.  HR will be doing its best to track these, but it's imperative to stay in your roles to have an active license.  Usually the expiration date is your birthday.  Login to your TSPC accounts to check and keep track. It will cost you more money and penalties, if your licenses lapse and there isn't a grace period when you are in the classroom.  If you aren't sure of your expiration date, Kendra or Felisha in HR can look it up for you.  We will be sending out reminders to employees when possible, but that can't be a guarantee.

  • Licensure Assistance
    If you are needing help with your teaching or admin licenses, please contact Kendra Bowens or Felisha Brewer in HR to get assistance of any kind.

  • Edustaff
    If you have people interested in subbing for the district, please have them apply online at

  • Leave requests
    Please make sure that you are submitting your leave requests to your building supervisor before you take your time off.  All paid and unpaid leave needs to be approved by your supervisor before being submitted.  All unpaid leave must be approved by HR before it's put into Frontline.

  • Uprise Health (EAP- Employee Assistance Program)
    Please utilize our EAP program to assist in your wellness needs, if you are needing some support with mental health or work-life support. The OEBB EAP benefit will include up to EIGHT counseling and coaching sessions.  This could be helpful when you can't get into something more local.  Go to the Uprise Health website, our access code is OEBB.
Students playing light up isntruments in the dark
March was Music in our Schools month! At Deep Creek-Damascus K-8, music teacher Mrs. Yavorski continues to find innovative and fun ways to engage her students💡💫  
Portrait of Koryna Herreid sitting at the front desk
🎉 GBSD celebrated  Springwater Trail High School secretary Koryna Herreid,  during Classified School Employees Week! 🌟 She excels in organization, problem-solving, and communication 🤩
Connections Coordinator, Juani Santiago and ohers holding grant check
Gordon Russell Middle School received the Portland Trail Blazer’s education grant to upgrade stoves in the life-skills classroom. Kudos to GRMS staff and Juani Santiago for their leadership! ⚡️🦅
Dates to remember
  • April 15-19: Volunteer Appreciation Week
  • April 17: School Board Work Session
  • April 24: Administrative Professional's Day
  • April 26:  Elementary Schools - Curriculum & Instruction Day-No School. Middle and High Schools - Standards and Assessment Day-No School
  • May 1: School Board Business Meeting
  • May 6-10: Teacher Appreciation Week
  • May 7: National Teacher Appreciation Day
  • May 10:  Elementary School - Corriculum & Instruction-Day No School 
  • May 15: School Board Work Session
  • May 27: Memorial Day - No School- District Closed
Inspire and Empower Each Student
Questions or Comments? Contact Athena Vadnais | 503-261-4550
Gresham-Barlow School District recognizes the diversity and worth of all individuals and groups.  It is the policy of this district and the board of education that there will be no discrimination or harassment of individuals or groups in any educational programs, activities or employment. 
Gresham-Barlow provides equal access to individuals with disabilities.  

Publication of The Insider constitutes official notification to employees of the
Gresham-Barlow School District
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