by Mrs. Nilsen on June 14th, 2014

There’s something going on at MRA that speaks to the depths of what I believe is most important for our world.  It has seeped into the school grounds so subtly you might have missed it.  Yet it is also so apparent in all that the students, teachers, and community does that you cannot help but be inspired by it:
MRA is becoming an intentional community of life-long learners who care about each other and the world.
My personal passions and core beliefs have manifested in various roles throughout my life thus far.  Whether you know me as a teacher or a pastor, as a mentor or a friend, I strive to be a part of creating intentional community in all aspects of my life.  It isn’t always easy, and sometimes it’s downright arduous, even painful.  But I believe that when people come together with a shared set of values and strive to really get to know each other, the world becomes a little bit better of a place. 
This drive to help create connection is why my husband and I decided to join the Peace Corps.  We want to create safe space in which people can share stories and grow professionally.  We want to share our own stories and cultivate relationships.  We want to be a part of building bridges between human experiences.
I have learned so much about creating and being a community through my time as a teacher at MRA.  “Thank you” doesn’t seem strong enough to express the sincere gratitude I have for the students, parents, and staff who have helped mold me into the teacher and person I am today.  I will carry your stories and lessons with me not only as I travel to Nicaragua, but throughout my life as a teacher. 
So thank you.  Thank you for the challenges.  For the growth.  For the laughter.  For the support.  For the chance to learn myself what teaching and learning are really all about.  I have as much hope for the future of MRA as I do respect for the current staff and community who have put their everything into this school.
While my journey at MRA has come to an end, I will think of you often and check in when I can.  If you want to follow my future adventures, head to as that’s where Andrew and I will be blogging and sharing henceforth.  I’d love to hear from you.
May the process of becoming compassionate, responsible, life-long learners continue to challenge and inspire you, as much as it has me these last three years.  May you acknowledge the power that we all have, no matter how small, in crafting this nurturing community we all call MRA.

Love and light,
Emily Nilsen

by Mrs. Nilsen on June 10th, 2014

As promised, here are some pictures from the last few projects of the year.  Enjoy!

Engineering Design Challenge 2014

by Mrs. Nilsen on June 9th, 2014

It's incredible to me that we're already at the last week of school!  This year has just flown by.  There's a lot going on this week that I hope to see some of you for:

Tuesday, June 10th - 8th Grade project presentations 12:15pm - 2:45 pm

Wednesday, June 11th - 8th Grade Graduation 6:30 pm

Thursday, June 12th - Morning: Senior Read-A-Thon / Afternoon: Senior Field Day!

Friday, June 13th - Last day of school, Senior rotation party, feel free to pick up your student after an all-school lunch/picnic.  

by Mrs. Nilsen on June 2nd, 2014

Weekly Science News

2014 Engineering Design Challenge Week!

This year, students are designing and building a device to protect and accurately deliver a dropped egg. The device and its contents represent a care package that must be safely delivered to people in a disaster area with no road access. In a similar fashion to a team of design engineers, students are designing their devices using a number of design constraints including limited supplies. The activity emphasizes the change from potential energy to kinetic energy of the device and its contents and the energy transfer that occurs on impact. Students seem to love this activity every year, and so far this year is not an exception!  

We started the project last week and we're working on it  IN SCHOOL all this week.  This project is not designed to give additional homework at the end of the school year, but instead to have some fun applying science ideas and concepts we've worked on all year.

The testing day is this Thrusday, so be on the lookout for some fun pictures!  Ask your student what they're doing and who their partner is.  I'm loving watching their plans come together already.

by Mrs. Nilsen on June 2nd, 2014

Join us for our annual Field Day on June 12, 2014

Field Day Info (Straight from the memo)
  • Field Day will be run in two sessions: The K—3rd grade students will participate from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. And the 4th—8th grade students from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Teachers will be looking for at least two parent volunteers each to run stations. Please let you child’s teacher know if you can help.
  • Teachers and their parent volunteers are responsible for getting the equipment for their stations.
  • We plan to have an all school picnic at lunch time at 11:30.
Field Day notes from me:
I love field day!  It's such a fun day with the kids.  I feel I get so little time to just play and have fun with my students that days like field day are such a treat.  

I am looking for a volunteer or two to help with my two stations.  I'm running "Kick the can" and a "basketball shootout."  We've got the supplies covered for these two stations, but I will need a parent volunteer or two to help out for the afternoon as I can't be in two places at once.

Shoot me an email if you're available and interested.  We'd love to have you there!  

by Mrs. Nilsen on May 30th, 2014

June 2nd—6th is Spirit Week at MRA! Dress Up and Get into the MRA Spirit!!
  • Monday – Crazy Day (hair, socks, etc.)
  • Tuesday – Fictional Character Day
  • Wednesday – Uniform Day (sports, boy scouts, dance)
  • Thursday – Decade Day
  • Friday – Hat Day
Students opting not to participate in a Spirit Day need to wear MRA uniforms. Participants can dress in the spirit!

by Mrs. Nilsen on May 30th, 2014

Lots going on in MRA these last few weeks! 

  • Doughnuts for the Guys: Dads, Grandfathers, Uncles, Brothers and Others: Please join us Friday, June 6th from 8:15 to 9:00 as we celebrate you—the men who make a difference in the lives of our students. Bring your own coffee cup and a chair or blanket to sit on. Beverages and a doughnuts will be provided.
  • Assemblies: We have three assemblies coming up and you are welcome to join us. On June 3rd at 12:30 p.m. Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department will be out to talk to the students about staying safe. On June 4th at 12:15 p.m. we will be holding our Track Club Assembly to announce track club winners. And on June 11th at 12:15 p.m. we will be sending off our MRA 8th graders with an all school graduation assembly.
  • Field Day: MRA’s field day is being held Thursday, June 12th. We are in the process of determining stations and times. But we know we will be in need of parent volunteers! Please mark your calendars!
  • Summer Reading: Next Monday, June 2nd a Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Journal will be sent home with your child that they received during library time. Please take time to read through it. The students who participate and read 8 books will be able to select a free book from B&N. There are some great books! Studies have proven that kids who read throughout the summer have a better chance at retaining all that they have learned in the previous school year. This also gives your child a goal for the summer and an incentive to get them reading. You can download the journal here if it happens not to make it home. Thank you for your continued support in helping our students succeed! Let Iva Quinlan at iquinlan@mra‐ know if you have any questions.
  • Adopt‐A‐Project: In order to continue with all of the wonderful work going on here at MRA we will be inviting families to participate in our Adopt‐a‐Summer‐Project program. Projects will include garden care, lawn maintenance and more. Information coming your way soon!
  • End of the Year Dance: Our end of year school dance will be held on June 6th starting at 6:00 p.m. Students must be accompanied by an adult . If they are attending with an adult that is not their parent or guardian they must turn in a permission slip beforehand. 
  • Summer Newsletter: The June newsletter will be coming out just as school gets out instead of the first of the month. It will contain some wrap up information, but will also include some important information as we go into the summer months.
  • Last Day of School: The last day of school is Friday, June 13th. Please join us for lunch at 11:30 and feel free to take your student/s home after we eat. Those who stay for the afternoon will have the opportunity to help teachers clean out classrooms!

by Mrs. Nilsen on May 23rd, 2014

To Our Families of Graduating Eight Graders:

Graduation is coming up soon and we want to make sure you have your calendars marked with the following information:
  • June 6th, after Doughnuts for the Guys, eligible 8th graders will be taking a trip to Sky High in Portland for an 8th grade outing. To be eligible students must have all of their work turned in to all of their teachers no later than June 4th, and they must have successfully completed the requirements and expectations for their 8th grade projects including the paper which is due in final draft on May 28th. Students who don't meet these requirements will be required to attend a study hall on the 6th of June in order to work on catching up. The cost for Sky High will be $20.00 and will include lunch, ice cream and entrance into Sky High. If you aren’t sure of your students progress, please contact Mrs. DP at
  • June 9th will be a regular school day.
  • June 10th - starting in the morning 8th graders will set up in the gym and share their projects with the student body in science fair fashion. At 12:15 p.m. they will give their formal 8th grade project presentations. Students are expected to dress up for this event, and parents and family members are invited to attend.
  •  June 11th, 12:15 p.m. We will have an assembly for the 8th graders and the rest of the school.
  • June 11th, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. 8th Grade graduation in the school gym. 
  • We will be putting together a slide show of the 8th graders. In order to make it special,  we are asking each of you to send pictures of your student to me. We would like to get pictures that show your student at various ages - birth, toddler, early elementary, later elementary and present. So at least 5 pictures with a maximum of 8. You can email those to Mrs. Shelley, put them in her box and she can scan them and return them to you, or put them on a flash drive. The deadline is Monday, June 2nd.

by Mrs. Nilsen on May 22nd, 2014

You're invited!
Dads, Grandfathers, Uncles, Brothers and Others: Please join us Friday, June 6th from 8:15 to 9:00 as we celebrate you—the men who make a difference in the lives of our students. Bring your own coffee cup and a chair or blanket to sit on. Beverages and a doughnuts will be provided.

by Mrs. Nilsen on May 15th, 2014

Weekly Science News

I promise I have a good science post coming.  There will even been pictures and videos!  I misplaced my phone (darn End-of-the-school-year-brain!) and I am working on relocating it so that I can get said pictures and videos on the post before I publish it on here.  So never fear, a good update is coming soon!

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