The year’s first new high schoolers

Redmond students get jump on ninth-grade life

By Tyler Leeds / The Bulletin

Published Aug 6, 2014 at 12:01AM

Educational news and activities, and local kids and their achievements.

• School Notes and submission info, B6

One hundred Redmond students got an early jump into the world of high school this week, although it came at the cost of a summer vacation cut a few weeks short.

The district’s Camp Nine brought 50 rising ninth-graders to both Redmond and Ridgeview high schools early Monday morning, welcoming kids with a donated McDonald’s breakfast and, to more fanfare, a new iPad. Funded with a $187,500 Oregon Department of Education grant, Camp Nine is focused on smoothing the transition from middle school to high school while also allowing the district to explore device-centered instruction. For three weeks, students will work on either math or language arts, using their iPads at home and in class. Students will take field trips across the region, including a hike up Misery Ridge at Smith Rock State Park this week, in an effort to build bonds between the new Panthers and Ravens and their teachers, most of whom will teach the students throughout the entire year.

“This is an amazing opportunity for these kiddos,” said Mike Nye, a Camp Nine teacher and the district’s online education coordinator. “Going from middle to high school is tricky, and Camp Nine gives them the chance to build relationships and have mentors. The academic part is important, but the mentorship piece is just as important. We want to build comfort, so they can walk in on the first day and be confident.”

Karlie West, 15, who is making the jump to Ridgeview High from Obsidian Middle School, said she was “excited but nervous” about ninth grade.

“It’s going to be stressful to keep track of credits and make sure I’m passing everything,” she said. “I’m excited to get the extra help, and I think this will all make it a little better.”

The beginning of camp at Ridgeview resembled a typical first day of school. Teacher and activities director Maegan MacKelvie apologized about her impending “butchering” of names before reading the attendance list. There was also a tour of the building, though MacKelvie put a twist on the typical walk, stop and talk approach.

“I know I’m not supposed to ask this, but how many of you have phones?” she asked, before tasking her new students with taking 20 selfies in front of places such as the football field, career center and culinary classroom.

“If someone’s working in their office, don’t just barge in on them to take a selfie,” she cautioned.

After posting the photos to Instagram with the hashtag “RidgeviewCamp9,” the teachers planned to evaluate who had produced the best work and present the selected photographer with an award.

“A big part of the camp is to connect with students,” said David Burke, director of secondary education. “They’re used to being told they can’t use Instagram in school, but we’re breaking down the barriers about what can and can’t be done with technology. Technology can be used in really powerful ways to build community.”

On the first day, however, technology wasn’t the only focus. Sitting in the school’s “Sky Box,” a room on the top floor with a large window overlooking the school commons, students wrote questions for volunteer upperclassmen on blank pieces of paper, which they folded up and passed to the front of the class.

The campers asked if it was true more than 1,000 students attend Ridgeview — it isn’t — and whether they could leave for lunch — they can’t.

“You wouldn’t want to anyway,” Billy Brant, a 17-year-old senior, advised. “Let me tell you about the best thing to happen to lunch, ever. We have this salad bar, and I had never even eaten salad before coming here. It’s so good.”

— Reporter: 541-633-2160, tleeds@bendbulletin.com