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Oregon City Service Learning Academy Staff Invited to Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Recently a team of Oregon City Service Learning Academy (OSCLA) staff were hand picked by the Lemelson Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to conduct research as part of future student learning opportunities. The OSCLA staff were flown to Massachusetts and worked in the MIT labs to help create science and technology learning and teaching kits that will be used across the country as part of the JV InvenTeams Program.

InvenTeams are comprised of high school students, educators, and mentors that receive up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems of their choosing. Through the JV InvenTeams program OCSLA has formed four of the thirteen JV InvenTeams in Oregon. 

While at MIT, the OSCLA staff helped create two future teaching units. The first unit focused on sound, with the goal of building an instrument and speaker. To better understand sound, the unit first explores electromagnetism and human anatomy, breaking down those topics into concepts students can easily grasp, then apply to the materials provided to invent an instrument of their individual design.  

The second of the two units focused on optics, in particular, camera lenses. The unit will cover how shape and material of a lens can affect focal length, angle of view and zoom, and how aperture affects brightness and depth of field. To better understand lenses, optical calculations, biomimicry and camera prototyping were explored and applied as the team attempted to build a camera lens.

"This is incredibly exciting,” said Connie Curteman, Oregon City School Board Vice Chair. "I am constantly amazed by the creativity and enthusiasm of our teachers." 

Using existing kits from Lemelson-MIT Program, OCSLA’s freshman and sophomores designed and made shoe soles while studying materials, chemistry, and molding. While studying circuits and textiles, students created a wallet that lit up when opened and other textiles of their own designing. 

“Every Kid in a Park” Initiative

This year begins a new exciting adventure for 4th-grade students across the nation, along with their families. Through the Every Kid in a Park initiative, each student/family is eligible for a free parks pass that will allow them to enter, without cost, any national park, monument, reserve, lands or waters until August 31, 2016. No matter where you live in the U.S., you are less than two hours from one or more of the 2,000 included sites!

“Because no matter who you are, no matter where you live, our parks, our monuments, our lands, our waters – these places are your birthright as Americans” President Barack Obama

Oregon City library staff will be printing individual passes for all 4th grade students and will spend time focusing on different national parks. Students will learn about the parks using a variety of resources including:

  • National Geographic Kids
  • National Parks Guide USA
  • World Book Student Encyclopedia
  • “Road Trip: National Parks,” a six book series
  • “Adventures with the Parkers,” a hybrid fiction and non-fiction book

We are excited to help 4th graders get interested and ready to visit our national sites with their families. 

For more information about this exciting initiative, please contact Jan Snyder, District Librarian at

New Safety Reporting System

Oregon City School District is using a new safety reporting service that students, staff and parents can use to report tips on bullying, harassment, drugs, vandalism or any safety issue. 

You have the ability to submit safety concerns to our administration in four new ways:

1. Phone: 503.406.4560
2. Text: 503.406.4560 (multimedia messages are not currently supported)
3. Email:
4. Web:

For future reference, you will be able to find the link to the safety reporting page on the bottom of nearly every school and district web page. Beyond the new system, you can of course still report in-person or via an existing communication channel to a teacher or administrator. 

Every safety tip received is immediately logged, and our administration will be notified so that they can investigate and take appropriate action. With the new system, there is the available option to remain anonymous, yet still receive two-way communications using an access code.

Thanks in advance for your support and everything you do to help maintain a safe environment for our students. 


Jan Snyder Selected as District Librarian Teacher of the Year by the Oregon Library Association

Our district librarian, Jan Snyder was selected as the 2015 District Librarian of the Year by the Oregon Association of School Libraries (OASL), the professional group for school librarians and media specialists throughout the state.

This is the highest award given by the OASL, which each year honors only one exemplary district librarian.

"Jan has such a passion for promoting library services in our district as a cornerstone of lifelong learning especially in the area of literacy and online core content," said Carol Sanders, Director of Teaching and Learning at Oregon City School District. "This award is well deserved."

OASL received a number of nominations for the awards this year; Mrs. Snyder stood out above the other highly qualified candidates with the depth and breadth of her professional experience and leadership, and her development and support of her district library program.


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