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Lower School E-News Blog

April 7, 2014; Vol. #23, Issue #28


Dear Lower School Parents:


If you ever want to know how passionate Parker teachers are about their teaching, try changing their class schedules...

Our new strategic plan  invites us to innovate, collaborate, and generally to extend our reach in providing students the most engaging, challenging curriculum possible.  In support of that concept, we're tweaking the daily schedule with the grand notions of retaining everything that we love about our school day while also affording teachers greater opportunities to combine their ideas and talents for the benefit of students.

We're in the middle of that messy process right now, and we have many conversations and debates to go, but it would warm your heart to see how centrally the teachers have placed the well being of students in each and every one of those discussions.

When we're a bit closer to the finish line, we'll share what we've created so you, too, can see where we're strategically headed.

Have a wonderful Spring Break!

Bob Gillingham


Parker at Petco


The Lower School response to the Parker v. LJCD game at Petco has been remarkable.  Almost 500 tickets have been requested from the Mission Hills campus alone.  Those of you who would still like tickets but have been unable to reserve them can pick them up Monday from the Lower School office.  

In honor of the event and Parker Baseball, Tuesday is a Parker-themed dress down day. Also, rumor has it that the public address announcer will be a principal you know well...

Thanks for the great support of this event.  Go, Lancers!


E-Waste Recycling

Parker will once again be hosting an e-waste (electronic waste) recycling event on both campuses in partnership with the University of San Diego on Wednesday, April 23, on the Linda Vista campus from 7-8:00 a.m. and on the Mission Hills campus from 7:30-8:30 a.m.
Basically, if it plugs in the school will take it, but light bulbs and alkaline batteries (lead batteries) are not acceptable.  Following are examples of recyclable items:
- All Appliances including dish washers, ovens, stoves, microwaves, etc.
- TV's: Big boxy ones and flat screens
- All Computer related parts
- Vacuums, garden tools, and other old exercise equipment
- Cell phones and any type of PDA or tablet.
- DVD/VHS players and any type of audio/visual equipment
- Printers, fax machines, copy machines, scanners
- Gaming consoles (and all games and CD's and floppy disks, etc -- any type of media)
- Any type of wireless equipment or networking equipment

Movie Night


Movie Night will be here before you know it!  Join us on May 2 as we gather after school, enjoy a bbq dinner and watch a movie together under the stars.  Please note that we'd love to receive all registration forms by April 30 so we plan to have plenty of food on hand.


MUsic and Language choices


Many thanks for returning your child's language and music (current 3rd and 4th grade students) choices.  If you haven't had a chance to turn in the form (we've requested them by next Friday), or you've misplaced the one sent home, you can find another here.


San Diego County Office of Education Art Show


Congratulations to the eight Parker Lower School artists whose work was juried into the SDCOE art show!

1st - Lara Mertens (1SF)

2nd - Courtney Casey (2HY), Charlotte Plant (2HY)

3rd - Ella Ludwig (3M) - two

4th - Jenna Kim (4V)

5th - Cole Hamer (5T), Liam Brownlie (5SP)

Special thanks to their art teacher, Mrs. Margo Sharpe.

Students' art is currently on display at the San Diego County Office of Education in bldg. #3.


Spring Break

We're on vacation from April 14-18, and school resumes on Monday, April 21. Enjoy!

Culinart News and forum

Culinart, our food service provider is committed to serving healthy, nutritious food, and having plenty of it on hand throughout our lunch rotation (generally 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.).  In their first year at Parker, they're learning which foods are more popular, and they're adjusting their menu to suit our students' preferences.  
When one of the more popular items is served, such as pizza, students may be re-directed to other food items after they've had seconds to ensure that greatly anticipated menu selections are available for everyone.
We're excited to present the first CulinArt forum. Representatives and members of the Parker administrative team will come together with teachers, parents, and students to learn more about our food service program on April 9 at 2:45pm in the Mission Hills campus cafeteria.  
CulinArt will discuss how they manage their daily menu within Parker's adopted nutritional guidelines and what measures they take to provide the healthiest, most enjoyable lunch and snack options.
We would like to encourage attendance by anyone in the Parker community who may be interested since there will be opportunities for the community to ask questions and offer comment during the forum.

Fishing Trip

Parker parent Cary Perket volunteered for many years to lead an enormously-popular Parker fishing trip (2-3 hours), and he's looking for a volunteer to continue the tradition.  He's made a reservation for a charter fishing boat for Friday, June 6th, and he'd love to hear from you.
If you'd like to help continue this annual outing, a great opportunity for parent-child bonding, please contact Cary at: perketsports@aol.com  


Posted by ls-newsletter on Saturday April 5 at 12:00PM
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March 31, 2014; Vol. #23, Issue # 27


 Dear Lower School Parents:


On the eve of the all-school ISACS survey (to be distributed Tuesday), which has given and will bring great clarity to how we measure up to our own past performance as well as similar JK-12 schools across the country, I'd like to thank you for the excellent participation (> 60%) in our division-specific survey issued last month.  

You responded very positively (agree or strongly agree) to the survey questions posed (see the table of results), and we thank you for your support and recognition of the work being done on this campus.  

However, among the many narrative comments, there were distinct themes suggesting areas for improvement, all resonating clearly with our newly-adopted strategic plan.

Collectively, you have asked for:

• Consistent communication of the work in special classes

• Clear articulation of the curriculum in special classes across the grade levels

• An update of discrete classes, programs and traditions

• Consistent performance and quality in the teaching staff

• More math and science

• Accommodation of the schedules of working parents 

As a school, we have adopted a continuous improvement approach, and we are determined to meet and exceed your expectations in every respect.  We'll be addressing the aforementioned requests with great determination and working hard to advance each of them.


Bob Gillingham


Parker at PETCo

There was a very quick response to the offer of tickets to the Parker v LJCD baseball game on April 8!  In just a couple of hours after the release of the link, all of the tickets had been snatched up! 

However...  We'll be double checking requests on Monday, determining how many tickets are available at each division, then communicating with you about the availability of tickets.

Please know that the Byrnes Family and the Parker baseball team are delighted that so many would like to attend this game, and they're working closely with the Padres to make as many seats available as possible.

Stay tuned! 


Lands' End Used Clothing Sale


The bins outside the office have begun to fill with Lands' End clothing destined for a used-clothing sale.  If you have any uniform clothing that has been outgrown but is still in good condition, consider donating it.  The clothing sales of the past have been enormously successful and a great way to find perfectly good uniform clothing at a fraction of the original price.

The date of the event will depend on the inventory and will be announced soon.

Parker Parent Education

Keeping the JOY in parenting.

Come hear Speaker Mary Tamborski speak on Positive Discipline and Creative Connections at the Final Parent Ed event of the year on Monday, May 5, immediately following the PA meeting at the Lower School.

Are you are looking to have a summer with filled with fun memories, cooperation, mutual respect, responsibility, less sibling rivalry, and overall a sense of peace and connection in the home?

Mary Nelsen Tamborski will teach several valuable Positive Discipline Tools for you to have your summer Tool Belts fully loaded: " As a Mother of three young boys, I know that summer break is not actually a "break" at all."

Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen is based on the theories of psychiatrist and humanitarian Alfred Adler and Rudolf Driekers. Positive Discipline is designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful and encouraging for both children and adults.   Questions?  Please contact Temple Zander pa-parented@francisparker.org


SK Open House DVDs

Attention SK Parents --- You may order a DVD of the SK Open House that took place on March 20. The DVD includes many of the classroom activities as well as all of the performances in the auditorium. Please order by Friday, April 4 by visiting www.francisparkerdvd.com.

Fourth-Grade Play

The fourth-grade students will be presenting their play, Oh, California, this Friday afternoon in the Szekely Auditiorium beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Lower School Menu

Posted by ls-newsletter on Saturday March 29 at 01:39PM
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March 24, 2014; Vol.#23, Issue #26


Dear Lower School Parents:


The Parker Community lost a dear friend this past week.  Dr. Lee Pierson, a much beloved former Head of School here roughly 12 years ago, left a sterling legacy through the relationships he developed, the solid educational path he navigated, and the unique personal touches he brought to his work.  

Lee came to us as an interim Head of School, contractually obligated to lead for one and only one year.  By the end of that year, there was a mutual love affair between Lee, his lovely wife, Andree, and the entire school community, and the board of trustees convinced Dr. Pierson to stay on as the permanent Head of School.

Never one to embrace technology, he connected instead with hand-written notes, perhaps thousands of them over his 8-year tenure, always in telltale blue ink.  To the recipients, envelopes bearing his familiar script signaled some carefully-considered message nestled inside, usually crafted to inspire, but occasionally to conspire (he loved practical jokes).

As a division head, I often heard his speeches in multiple venues, and to this day, I can hear him saying, "I have just 8 points..."  Indeed, he was a master of diplomacy and ceremony, painstakingly planning and re-planning any event, particularly when its purpose was to honor a faculty or staff member.  Most memorable was his tradition of personally presenting to retiring staff members a rose for every year they had served.

Lee left his last post too soon, but he'll always be remembered with great fondness by those who were fortunate enough to be associated with the school under his leadership.


Bob Gillingham


Parker at Petco

Charity and Josh Byrnes (the Padres General Manager) are LS parents who, together with the Padres, are providing a wonderful opportunity for the Parker varsity baseball team to play a game against La Jolla Country Day School on April 8 in Petco Park! Start time is 5 pm.

We'd love to make this a school-wide event. Tickets will be free to the whole Parker community: students, families, faculty, staff,  and alumni, and the Padres will be supplying them soon for distribution.

Rumor has it that some of the Parker staff and students will be involved in key roles including singing the national anthem, throwing out the first pitch, announcing the game and providing color commentary.  You don't want to miss this amazing opportunity!
Go, Lancers!


The ISACS Survey


Beginning April 1, the school will be conducting an all-school ISACS survey (Independent School Association of the Central States*) to assess parent and community perceptions of the school's performance.  We've used this survey several times over the years, so we'll be able to measure the school's progress and chart our improvements based on previous results.  *This particular instrument was chosen not for its geographic relationship to the states that use it but for the rich database of similar JK-12 schools it contains.  The survey will remain open for 2 weeks.


Kindness Week, March 24-28


On Monday, the Lower School Student Council, having worked closely with the Middle and Upper School ASBs, will kick-off Kindness Week, and every child will have a chance to send another a "happy gram,"  and to think of a joke, perhaps to be told at flagraising.  On Tuesday, we'll celebrate "Smile Day," and students will be able to decorate special kindness cookies.  On Wednesday, we'll be busy complimenting each other; Thursday is Hug Day, and Friday is the official Kindness Day. Throughout the week, students will have a chance to pen kind thoughts on a special smile board in the courtyard, and we'll wrap up the week by dressing down in happy (bright) colors!

On a side kindness note, many thanks to all of you who participated in the "1,000 letters to Dominic" campaign.  By the end of the day Friday, it was clear that Dominic will be a very busy, very happy boy when he receives the heartfelt messages written by our students, staff and parents.


Lower School Movie Night


Look for a Movie Night flyer in the Monday envelopes or feel free to download the pdf in this link.  Last year's event (to be held this year on May 2) was so much fun, that we're going to do it again!  We don't know yet which movie will be shown, but we do know that this is becoming a great evening for parents to leave their kids at school (knowing they'll be able to play from 3 p.m. on, be fed dinner at 6 p.m., and see a great movie ending at 9 p.m.) and go out on a date!  Or, feel free to join us!  

We'd love to pack the house (turf) again this year, so let's have some fun together for the benefit of the school's annual gala!




The third, fourth and fifth grade students all improved in their second Wordmaster contest this year (a competition requiring the students to relate words through analogies), but the third grade really distinguished themselves.  Competing against over 600 schools, our third grade placed third in the nation, a huge accomplishment! Congratulations to everyone for the diligent efforts!


This Friday


• This Friday, the fourth grade culminates their business unit with a business sale.  The students have conceived of, designed, marketed, financed and produced their products which they hope to sell for a profit which will support local charities.  This is a wonderful project-based learning experience for the kids, and you've got to see it in action.

• Friday is a dress-down day with a happy purpose to wrap up Kindness Week

• JK parents are invited to a parent mixer beginning at 6 p.m. in the Scripps Lecture Hall to enjoy some light food fare, liquid refreshments and the company of friends.




Keepers of the Earth DVDs 

Attention 5th Grade Parents --- You may order a DVD of the 5th Grade Play “Keepers of the Earth” that took place on March 14 in the auditorium. 
Please order by Friday, March 28 by visiting www.francisparkerdvd.com.


Food Service Forum

Mark your calendars for April 9th at 2:45pm in the Mission Hills campus cafeteria!  
We're excited for this opportunity to have CulinArt representatives and members of the Parker administrative team come together with teachers, parents, and students to learn more about our cafeteria program.  We've asked CulinArt to prepare a short presentation about how they align the daily menu at Parker to our adopted nutritional guidelines and what measures they take to provide the most enjoyable and healthiest lunch and snack options possible.
We would like to encourage attendance by anyone in the Parker community who may be interested since there will be opportunities for the community to ask questions and offer comment during the forum.

Notes From Nurse Maggie


Mindful Eating: Exploring mindful eating ties in with National

Nutrition Month, and promotes eating slowly, thinking about the foods eaten and evaluates where foods are eaten. To start practicing mindful eating:

1. Keep a food journal: Writing down everything you eat and drink can help you become

more aware of your eating habits, how much you're eating, and help identify any emotional or mindless eating triggers.

2. Avoid eating when standing up or in front of a screen: All meals and snacks should be

eaten sitting down, where you can focus on what you're eating. Studies show that people who eat at a table make more mindful choices than people who just grab and eat. So sit down to eat, whether eating alone or with family or friends, and delay your screen time (including smartphones) until after you finish your meal.

3. Think about what you’re eating: Take a moment to really look at what's on your plate

before you eat and decide if it is a healthy food choice. If you need to rethink your choices, go ahead and change your selection!

4. Savor each bite: Mindful eating means really tasting what you put into your mouth.

Research shows that routinely rushing through meals can lead to overeating and obesity. Putting too much food into your stomach too quickly can interfere with your body's feedback mechanisms, thus allowing you to continue to take in more calories because your stomach hasn't yet gotten the signal from your brain that you're full.

5. Be kind to yourself: If you have had a poor eating choices day, simply return to your

healthy eating plan of three well-balanced meals and two healthy snacks daily as soon as possible. And spend a little time reflecting on how you got off track!

Lower School Menu

Menu for the Week of March 24-28


Posted by ls-newsletter on Saturday March 22 at 12:56PM
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March 17, 2014, Vol. #23, Issue #25


Dear Lower School Parents:


Francis Parker's Annual Gala Celebration will take place this year on Saturday, May 10.  Mad About Parker (in a good way!), will hearken back to the swanky sixties, when skinny ties and big hair were all the rage.  

The gala raises thousands of dollars each year for financial aid and faculty professional developement, ensuring that the School continues to attract a wide range of talented students and redoubles its efforts to train teachers in the latest, most effective teaching practices.

If you've never been to a Parker gala, you owe it to yourself to experience the fun and excitement of an evening that begins with a silent auction; moves into a wonderful, engaging dinner with friends and acquaintances; features moving testimony of those who have benefited from the School Community's generosity; continues with a rousing live auction; and culminates with great dancing and merriment.

We always have great representation from the Lower School, as the night is a great way to extend your circle of Parker friends.  So, come on out and join us for a great night on the town and a wonderful way to support the School and its staff and students.


Bob Gillingham

P.S.   I had the most curiously wonderful experience last Friday.  Knowing that the senior kindergarteners were going to dress down in PJs next Friday following their Open House the night before, I anticipated being lobbied by children and teachers to let the rest of the campus follow suit.  Thinking this a pro forma exercise, I caught our LS student council presidents, Kory and Isabella, at the gate before school, requesting that they and the other officers consider a motion to decree a PJ Day for everyone.   They ran off enthusiastically, later charging in to the office with all officers in tow to share their decision.  Reasoning that Friday and Monday were dress-down days, and the fifth graders would be away on their overnight trip to the Surprise (see below), they decided that it would be, and I quote, "... a bit too much."

I tried to conceal my feelings of shock and joy, the former because I never imagined the idea being voted down, the latter out of pride for the thoughtful, remarkable people these young students have become, then I watched them skip happily, together, back to p.e.  Oh, my.


Used Clothing Sale Collection


A year into our Lands' End uniform adoption, we're ready to begin organizing the first Lands' End used uniform sale.  Bins have been located by the Lower School office, and we welcome your donations of clothing in good shape.  The sale will take place either at the end of the year or in late August, tbd.


Parent Education


Come hear great lecturer (and very experienced parent) Susie Walton on Monday, April 7, immediately following the PA meeting ( which starts at approx. 8:30 a.m.) in the Scripps Lecture Hall at the Lower School.

 She will be discussing:

Self Management: How parents can "let go" and start their kids on a path to interdependence."  Susie will focus on natural and logical consequences, modeling and connecting with "mistakes" as learning opportunities. She will address the differences in girls vs boys on this topic. Many Parker Parents have appreciated her discussions over the years.

Any questions? please email Temple Zander at pa-parented@francisparker.org


CamP fire Kids' Video contest


Lower School Camp Fire Kids are raising awareness of bike safety and funds for a new bike rack to be located in front of the school at the north end by the big arching gate.  

Students are invited to create 60-second videos ("Me and My Bike") with their phones, tablets or ipods about themselves and their bikes.  Winning videos will ve very creative with singing, dancing and acting!

Videos can be uploaded to http://www.youtube.com/user/MeAndMyBike Contest or emailed to:  rfeddaowalny@m.youtube.com.  The deadline is March 31.

The winning video will be shown at the 2014 Family Movie Night on May 2, 2014 (details to be sent home soon).  

Look for a bike bell and light sale the week of April 28, in support of our new bike rack.




Dress-down Day

The Student Council has passed a motion to have dress-down day with a "green" theme this Monday, St. Patrick's Day.  Regular dress-down clothes featuring any degree of green will fit the bill.   

Fifth-grade Students Encounter Big Surprise

The fifth-grade classes will each be spending a night on the Surprise this week in support of their social-studies curriculum and deeper understanding of the American Revolution.  This role-playing exercise takes place on an authentic ship docked in our very own San Diego Harbor.
As noted on the website: " Set sail on the eve of the American Revolution! Re-live the turbulent year of 1774 experiencing the struggle of merchant mariners sailing the triangle trade route between New England and the Caribbean. Embarking on a voyage of the imagination, students will role-play with our maritime instructors, raising sails, loading cargo and protecting the vessel from pirates. Navigating their way through the political storms of the era, students will face frustrations that inspired American colonists to revolt. Ultimately, they will choose their own destiny and find out what role they will play in the war for America's freedom."

Senior-Kindergarten Open House

This Thursday evening, from 6:30-8:00 p.m., parents become students and students become teachers as moms and dads learn about the senior-kindergarten curriculum in their children's classrooms and the Szekely Auditorium.  This delightful, hands-on experience is a favorite for the kids and parents, and the evening never fails to dazzle and impress.


New Extended Day Activities this Spring!


I am pleased to announce that there are new Extended Programs starting this spring such as Ballet, Hip-Hop Dance, Tennis and more!  Please visit the Extended Day Programs website through http://www.francisparker.org/ or contact Stacey Praizner, Extended Day & Summer Program Coordinator at spraizner@francisparker.org or 858.427.1706.


Spring Music Fest DVDs


Attention Parents --- You may order a DVD of the Spring MusicFest that took place on March 6 in Crivello Hall at the Upper School.  Please order by Friday, March 21, by visiting www.francisparkerdvd.com.


Notes From Nurse Maggie

Read more about National Nutrition Month!


Thoughts to Ponder


From time to time I receive great articles from parents and grandparents that I simply must share.  Following is an article submitted by Parker Grandmother, Joan Cook:

How to Boost Gratitude in Your Kids

Posted by ls-newsletter on Saturday March 15 at 12:04PM
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Mar. 3, 2014; Vol.#23, Issue #23


Dear Lower School Parents:


The summer program at Parker is growing by leaps and bounds, and the experience can serve many purposes for our students.  For some, this is a chance to pursue a favorite passion in the visual or performing arts.  For others, this is a good opportunity to polish academic skills learned during the previous academic year.  Still others may be eager to take on a completely new academic or recreational challenge.  Whatever your child's interest, there is something in the summer program to both ignite and nurture it.

For 2014, Parker’s Summer Program has scheduled the following sessions: 

June 16–June 20      

Parker Sports Camps  (With other camps offered by outside vendors throughout the summer)

June 23–July 11       

Academic Enrichment and Advancement Session I

July 14–Aug. 1          

Academic Enrichment and Advancement Session II

July 14–July 19        

Jazz 88.3 Summer Jazz Workshop–Week 1 (For students entering Grades 6 to 8)

July 21–July 26        

Jazz 88.3 Summer Jazz Workshop–Week 2 (For students entering grades 9-12)                        



Bob Gillingham

Lower School Survey

Many thanks to  those of you who have taken the time to fill out the Lower School Survey.  The responses to this point will prove tremendously helpful to us in our work to continuously improve the school.   If you haven't had a chance to participate, you're invited to share your thoughts throughout this school week until the instrument is closed this Friday.  For your convenience, I'm including the link here.  We appreciate  and will pay very close attention to your feedback, and we'll share what we've learned about your perspectives once we've had the chance to process the information.


Learning Center (take two!)

Parker's Learning Center is doing a great job helping our students to stay on track academically, and we've developed a new webpage to give you more information about the teachers and program.  Unfortunately, last week the link didn't work, so as with all prototypes, we're hopeful that this attempt will work a bit better.

Lower School Program



Spring Music Fest

Resending Letty Robinson's message to parents:

We are so excited that our inaugural Music Fest (for 1st-5th graders) is around the corner! These are special evening event concerts, and so we ask that the students wear dressy clothing as follows:
1st and 2nd Graders: Please wear fancy concert wear in any color. Girls may wear fancy dresses or pant outfits. Boys may wear a suit or dress shirt and tie with nice pants.

3rd- 5th Graders: Please wear fancy concert wear in any black and white combination.
As a reminder, this is the schedule for the evening of Thursday, March 6.
To accommodate our large audience, there are two concerts within our Music Fest (not three as was reported earlier). We ask that you attend only the concert or concerts in which your children are performing. 
5:30 Choral Concert (Choral students meet in J. Crivello Hall at 5:00.)

6:00 15-minute Intermission & Audience Change

6:15 Band/Recorder/Strings Concert (These students meet in the Middle School Commons near J. Crivello Hall at 5:45.)

Lost and Found 


The lost and found box on the playground has been cleaned out, thanks to the great efforts of our Second-Grade Brownies.  Seeing that the box was overflowing, the girls found clothing with names and put it all on the picnic benches for students to collect after p.e. classes.  Clothing without names has been bagged and is available for pick up in the office.

Parent Education Topic

This Monday, right after flagraising, nationally-known expert, Lori Getz, will address parents on digital safety.  Her topic, Bridging the Digital Divide: Ensuring Your Child's Internet Safety will provide an understanding of your child's digital footprint in the internet age and also touch on cyber bullying and how to prevent it.  Join us in the Scripps Lecture Hall if you can.

Lower School Menu



Posted by ls-newsletter on Saturday March 1 at 11:22AM
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As Head of the Lower School and member of the Parker administrative team, Dr. Gillingham is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Mission Hills campus. In addition to overseeing curriculum and instruction, Bob also works closely with the school's Parents' Association in coordinating parent volunteers and campus activities. He also... Read more.

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4201 Randolph St.
San Diego, CA 92103
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