Welcome to the 2017-2018 School Year

August 21, 2017

Dear Friends and Families of Yujin Gakuen,

On behalf of the YG staff, I welcome you to the 2017-2018 school year. I just got out to watch the solar eclipse. What a great opportunity to learn learn more about solar system and to have some fun while doing it. I hope your summer was equally joyful and full of wonder as viewing the eclipse. Now that you’ve had your summer fun, I know many of you are just itching to get back to school. I’ve run into some of you over in the last couple of weeks, and I know you’re ready for school to begin.

Each year brings new opportunities and new challenges. Our focus this year is to strengthen and enhance the Japanese Immersion program, K-12. I am happy to say that we are staffed fully for the first time in my five years at YG. That is, we have one Japanese and one English teacher at every grade, kindergarten through fifth grade, with two classes in each grade. Enrollment has grown to over 325 students, the highest it has ever been as we enter into our 30th year as a public school.

Since we’re on the subject of growth, I have some other new hires, I want to tell you about. Please join me in welcoming our new staff:

Wendy Williams will take on the role that Linda Caldwell had filled for so long as Education Assistant serving the kindergarten English classroom. Wendy comes to us from Fairfield Elementary where she worked for the past three years. Prior to working at Fairfield, she served as a Title I assistant, and she volunteered at Howard.

Lavinia Page will be back this year in her role as assistant principal for Corridor and Yujin Gakuen. She isn’t new, but she will be on a new schedule this year. Last year, she was here every afternoon. This year, she will alternate her schedule each week, being here in the morning one week and the afternoons the following week. Lavinia also serves as the assistant principal at Bertha Holt Elementary. We are glad to have her back. She will be taking the lead on our Positive Behavior and Instructional Supports program (PBiS) and is an invaluable resource for our instructional and behavior interventions.

Jennie Goodlett isn’t new either, but she will be in a new role. This year, instead of working as an assistant, she will work half-time as our teacher for English Language Learners. Prior to Jennie’s time at Yujin Gakuen, she taught at Saraha Children’s and the Drinking Gourd schools. Jennie is a graduate of San Diego State and the University of California at Santa Cruz. Go Slugs!

Karen Hecht will join us as our new Education Assistant in the Learning Center. She will support Mary Gevatosky and students who need small group instruction in reading and math.

Specialists for PE and Music
David Adee returns to Corridor to teach music one day a week in the first semester. David has many years of experience teaching music, including teaching at Howard and at River Road. We are excited to have him back in the building.

Giulie Smith will teach music for three days in the first semester and then full-time in the second semester. She had been the music teacher at Gilham where she taught for many years.

Michelle Lampe also comes to us from Gilham where she taught PE. Michelle will be our full-time PE teacher for the first semester.
Chrisanne Mehl will teach PE four days a week during second semester. Chrisanne taught PE at Howard last year.

Full-time Counselor – Kira Shrem has been transferred to Family School where she will work half-time. A full-time counselor will be hired soon, and I am confident that we can make the hire in time for school to start. Stay tuned for an update soon.

Teacher Configuration – Here’s a list of our classroom staff and facilitating teachers for this year.

Kindergarten – Takako Sensei and Robin Sensei
First Grade – Sayaka Sensei and Nancy Sensei
Facilitating Math – Ms. Kelly Sensei
Second Grade – Kumiko Sensei and Monica Sensei
Third Grade – Kenji Sensei and Amanda Sensei
Fourth Grade – Jemei Sensei and Ashley Sensei
Fifth Grade – Mariko Sensei and Kelly Sensei
Bilingual Education Assistants: Jeanne Sensei, Tomo Sensei, and Naoko Sensei

Learning Center (LC) – Mary Gevatosky with Karen Hecht (EA)
Comprehensive Learning Center (CLC) – Jennifer Slater

CLC EAs – Lisa Defrancesco, Kaisa Erickson, Elayne Goodban

General Education Assistant: Wendy Sensei, Jeanne Sensei, Tomo Sensei, Naoko Sensei, & TBA

What else is new? Besides new staff, I want to share some other news.

  • Free Breakfast – Eugene School District 4J is excited to offer free breakfast to all students in grades K–5.

No paperwork or application is required to receive free breakfast. Students simply show up at breakfast time (check with your school for start times) and enjoy a healthy, nutritious meal to start their day off right! For more information, visit the 4J website.

  • Water Quality at Silverlea – The district’s water quality assurance process is now complete at Yujin Gakuen and Corridor. All of our drinking fountains and sinks are safe to use. Last summer our school district proactively tested all schools and buildings for lead levels in the water. Samples were collected from all taps used for drinking water and food preparation and sent to professional labs for analysis. The initial results showed that 2 of our school’s 82 water taps had elevated lead levels, above 20 parts per billion (ppb). The fixtures were replaced and the water was retested. In one case, the breezeway water fountain, additional steps were needed to eliminate the source of elevated lead. This has now been completed and the follow-up test results show normal levels. All of our water fixtures are safe to use.

New Curricula – All elementary schools in 4J are implementing a new math curriculum, LearnZillion, and will continue into the second year of a new science curriculum, FOSS. Read below for more information.

LearnZillion – There are several advantages of LearnZillion as it aligns better with the Common Core Standards and all its resources are online, so parents and students can access the curriculum through the internet. Last year, Jan Sensei piloted LearnZillion and she has been able to share some observations with staff about it. All classroom teachers will receive training before school begins. We will share more information with you in coming newsletters. If you would like to learn more about LearnZillion, take a look at their website: https://learnzillion.com/resources/64474-full-math-curriculum-k-8

Or, you can watch a YouTube video on LearnZillion


FOSS – Full Option Science System is a research-based science curriculum for grades K-8 developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley. The best way for students to appreciate the science concepts and develop the ability to think well is to actively participate in scientific practices through their own investigations. Last year, teachers received training on two of the three FOSS kits for each grade. Each kit included activities for students to conduct their own explorations and studies. This year, teachers will implement all three kits: Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. If you want to learn more about the FOSS Programs, read the FOSS Elementary Introduction.

Please read the important attached information. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call or email. Here’s to an awesome school year!


Kocho Sensei

PS: Student Pick-Up/Drop-Off Reminders

Parents are STRONGLY encouraged to use the parking lot. The turnaround was not built with the intention of every family using this space for student pick-up.

If you do chose to use the turnaround, families must follow the rules below:

  • Pause parking only. Drivers must remain in their vehicles and not leave them unattended.
  • Students may ONLY cross the driveway area using the crosswalk. They should never cut across the driveway.
  • Before using the crosswalk, students must stop and look for cars.
  • When getting in or out of a car, students must use the door on the sidewalk side.  Students should never get in or out of a car on the driveway side.  It’s unsafe for the student and it slows traffic.

Drivers must remember to ALWAYS yield at the painted crosswalk and sidewalk. Also, if the turnaround area has a line on cars, drivers should park in the parking lot and walk to pick-up their students.

Thank you for your cooperation making student pick-up safe for students and families!