May 27, 2016

Final Exams BART Shuttle Schedule

May 31st
Am Shuttle: 7:40am & 8:05am pick up at San Leandro BART
Afternoon Shuttle: 12:30pm & 1:30pm departs BOD to San Leandro BART

June 1st
Am Shuttle: 7:40am & 8:05am pick up at the San Leandro BART
Afternoon Shuttle: 12:30pm & 1:30pm departs BOD to San Leandro BART

June 2nd
Am Shuttle: 7:40am & 8:05am pick up at San Leandro BART
Morning Shuttle: 12:30pm & 1:30pm departs BOD to San Leandro BART

June 3rd
Am Shuttle: 7:40am & 8:05am pick up at San Leandro BART
Afternoon Shuttle: 10:30am, 11:30am & 12:30pm departs BOD to San Leandro BART

**There will be no 3:30pm or 6:15pm BART Shuttles during finals week**


May 25, 2016

Students Get a Taste of Virtual Reality Via the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program

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Students in Zach Polsky’s Honors French 3 class started their day touring the Gardens of Versailles, then gazed down a concrete tunnel housing the 27-kilometer Large Hadron Collider, and stood on the glass Grand Canyon Skywalk, admiring the Colorado River snaking through the canyon floor and the towering surrounding colorful rock formations. Finally, they came face-to-face with a giant gorilla in the Congo.

How? Using Google Expeditions Pioneer Program cardboard viewers equipped with smartphones that were connected to a tablet operated by Polsky.

Expeditions is a new product that allows teachers to take their classes on virtual field trips, immersing students in experiences that bring abstract concepts to life and giving students a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom.

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Religion teacher Molleen Dupree-Dominguez learned of the opportunity to pilot the program during a Google Educator course, and Instructional Technologist Stephanie Hwang applied to have the program brought to O’Dowd. In addition to Polsky, Sarah Bremer, Julie Guilfoy, Martha Hawkins, Jessica Murach, Karen Proehl and Jocelyn Sideco also led students through virtual reality sessions.

Using tablets provided by Google, the teachers selected a destination and the entire class jumped there automatically.

These “trips” are collections of virtual reality panoramas – 360 degree photo spheres, 3D images and video, ambient sounds – annotated with details, points of interest and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum already used in schools.

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“Google Cardboards are not much in and of themselves-literally a cardboard box, Android phone and a set of lenses-but they are tools that can greatly enhance learning,” Hwang said.

The Wildlife Conservation Society, PBS, the American Museum of Natural History, the Planetary Society and the Palace of Versailles contributed to developing the curriculum for the students.

Students gave the technology a thumbs up.

“It was amazing. It’s very cool technology,” Milan Champion ’17 said.

Margaux Faure ’18 was impressed by the clarity of the images in the cardboard viewer. “It made me want to travel!” she said.

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Senior Sunset

Seniors celebrated the conclusion of their final year at O’Dowd. This event bookends the Senior Sunrise at the beginning of the year.

Click to for hi-res to download

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May 24, 2016

Drew Dudley: Everyday leadership

We have all changed someone’s life — usually without even realizing it. In this funny talk, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives.


O’Dowd Welcomes Rebecca Bischoff as Chief Development Officer

bischoffAn innovative and experienced leader who has successfully led major gifts and campaign management efforts, as well as alumni relations and marketing programs, Rebecca Bischoff has been selected as O’Dowd’s new chief development officer. She replaces Jeanne Jenkins, who retires at the end of June after serving in the position for three years.

“Rebecca was the unanimous choice of our search committee. She has dedicated her career to non-profit resource development and has nearly 15 years of experience in leading mission-effective fundraising teams at private schools. She is the right leader in this era of great opportunity for the O’Dowd community,” O’Dowd President Steve Phelps said.

Most recently, Bischoff was the director of advancement at Bentley School, where she was responsible for oversight of the school’s fundraising, alumni relations and communications functions.

Before that, Bischoff led advancement efforts at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School for 10 years. While there, she completed the final stage of a $9 million campaign, and planned and executed a successful $5 million capital campaign. She also developed and led a comprehensive successful annual fund program that increased an average of 25 percent annually over eight years.

Prior to working at St. Joseph’s, Bischoff served as director of development at Live Oak School in San Francisco, where she was responsible for all development initiatives at the elementary school, providing leadership, direction and coordination of a comprehensive fundraising and marketing program.

“I am eager to devote my energies in an environment that values collaboration, intellectual curiosity and a commitment to positive social change. I’m excited to return to a Catholic institution where I find these values, buttressed by the Catholic teachings and a commitment to spiritual development, provide for meaningful connections with alumni and donors,” she said. “At schools this work is so rewarding because we can see the results each day as students discover, practice and master new talents.”

Bischoff earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Washington University in St. Louis and holds a master’s degree in education (focus on adult learning and organizational development) from Harvard University.


May 23, 2016

Rube Goldberg Machine Fair

Rube Goldberg machines are those funny machines that take a lot of effort and complexity to complete a simple task, but they are very fun. Mr. Goss’s Geometry class created a bunch of them, as part of their geometry class. This was really hard to shoot, but enjoy.

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Freshman, Sophomore and Junior Students Recognized at Awards Assembly

Freshman, sophomore and junior students were recognized for outstanding achievement in academics and student activities at a multi-grade awards assembly held in the large gymnasium on May 18. Seniors were recognized at a separate awards ceremony held on May 11.

Twenty-two freshmen, 38 sophomores and 48 juniors were recognized for maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 4.0 or better through the semester ending December 2015.

Several students in each of the three grades also received department medals and certificates for their mastery in English, fine arts, world languages, mathematics, physical education, religious studies, science and social studies. And students participating in student council, campus ministry and other campus life activities were recognized.

Two special awards – the Outstanding Male/Female Award and the Spirit of the Dragon Award – were presented to students in each of the grades.

The Outstanding Male/Female Award is given to students who demonstrate superior academic achievement in all areas, and who are highly respected by members of their class for their overall involvement, attitude and service to others.

The Spirit of the Dragon Award is given to students who embody the well roundedness of an active and engaged Bishop O’Dowd High School student outside of the classroom, and who go above and beyond their involvement in class activities, clubs, the fine and performing arts, athletics and service to the O’Dowd and/or surrounding communities.

Freshman winners were Jonathan Kyriacou and Taylor Nelson (Outstanding Male/Female Award) and Sarah Mockel and Julius Moridis (Spirit of the Dragon Award).

Sophomore winners were Tyler Manca and Maya Perkins (Outstanding Male/ Female Award) and Francesca Hoffman and Sam Showalter (Spirit of the Dragon Award).

Junior winners were Tamarik Rabb and Miranda Sinsheimer (Outstanding Male/Female Award) and Hunter Johnson and Michaela Guinn (Spirit of the Dragon Award).

Download the event program for a comprehensive list of the awards »


End of School Liturgy 2016

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The O’Dowd community gathered on the Quad on May 19 for the End of School Liturgy, celebrated by campus chaplain and religion teacher Fr. Jim Sullivan.

Prior to the start of the liturgy Campus Ministry Team members offered a skit that invited all to cultivate empathy within the school community.

Finally, departing faculty and staff, including Cora Antonio, Ginny Arechiga, Tere Gallarreta, Jesse MacKinnon, Pam Shay, Jocelyn Sideco and Kathy Soller, were recognized and thanked, and a special blessing was offered for students participating in various service learning programs and projects this summer.

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AP Psych Students Present Findings

AP Psych students presented their research findings, after conducting a variety of studies on memory and cognition.

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These students really knew their stuff. I asked them a bunch of hard questions.

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Dr. Phelps, whose Ph.D. was in Psych, with students.

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May 21, 2016

O’Dowd Debate Hosts One-Day Workshop for Incoming Freshmen

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O’Dowd Debate hosted a one-day workshop for incoming freshmen debaters this past Saturday. Forty-four newly minted dragons gathered at the Center for Environmental Studies for six hours of instruction and debate debate rounds. The day started with an introduction to debate theory and debating formats led Eunice Jung, ’17, Isabel Weinerth, ’17, and Sophia Yau-Weeks, ’17.

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Sophia Yau-Weeks delivers a constructive speech affirming the need for a national carbon tax.

The ninety minute backgrounder was followed by a demonstration debate pitting parli captain Sophia against co-captain Claudia Hester, ’18, with the two delivering a crackling round on whether the United States federal government should adopt a carbon tax. After a Q&A on the round the debaters were placed into small groups for lunch with varsity debaters Claudia, Eunice, Isabel, Sophia, and Beatrice Velline, ’17, dividing the debaters up between them for an informal discussion on debate and life at O’Dowd.

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Isabel chats with new debaters about life at O’Dowd.

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Outgoing parli captain Camille Porter McAvoy and Claudia discuss the intricacies of their chosen format.

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Sophia talks shop over lunch.

The post-lunch portion of the day saw the debaters take their newfound knowledge and apply it in actual rounds. The debaters were randomly drawn into 14 teams and commenced to take on the pro or con of the following resolutions (debaters were provided the topic fields prior to the workshop):

Round 1, Flight A: CEO pay should be capped.
Round 1, Flight B: A CEO’s annual total compensation should be no more than 4x the median annual total compensation of the company’s employees.
Round 2, Flight A: The United States federal government should substantially increase its military presence in the South China Sea.
Round 2, Flight B: The United States federal government should cede control of the South China Sea to the People’s Republic of China.
Round 3: The United Kingdom should leave the European Union.

Each round was judged by a varsity debater and concluded with constructive oral feedback. As the six hours drew to a close, it was very clear to those assessing the rising freshmen that this group possessed the most raw talent of any incoming class of O’Dowd debaters. The excited optimism of the captains was palpable as the debaters departed as was the intense desire to kick-off the 2016-2017 debate season.

The experience was a rewarding one for the incoming debaters as well and, when asked to jot down their thoughts on the workshop, responded:

“Totally awesome.”

“It was great! It was a fun and relaxing introduction.”

“Extremely helpful.”

“I can’t wait for the fall.”

“It made me a lot more interested in debate.”

“I really liked how friendly the older debaters were, and I think that they did a good job giving really great feedback on what was many of our first tries at debate.”

For Coach Thorpe the best part of the workshop was watching the rising freshmen placed in a new situation that required them to work together. “The captains and I are in complete agreement that we have the seen the future of the debate team and it’s a darned good one. Watching the novice debaters collaborate and bond and put in such maximum effort, that made for a great day.”

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For more photos of what transpired at the workshop, scroll on down!

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