The level of care our teachers bring to their teaching is well-known and much cherished, but that care also extends to the teachers' colleagues. For example...
Last week, our wonderful faculty social committee, which always takes special note of the hallmark occasions in their colleagues' lives, planned a baby shower for Joan Anderson, our third-grade teacher, expecting in January. Legendary for her out-of-the-box party themes, librarian Laurie Brae centered her design on Mrs. Anderson's planned baby-room theme of butterflies. Entering the library, one encountered a virtual butterfly showcase with the creatures adorning walls, hanging from lights and flying across bulletin boards.
But as grand a display as that might have been, nothing prepared me for the roughly 30 sq. ft. of real sod that Laurie and her team of teacher and parent decorators had placed on the table normally holding computers. Upon questioning, Laurie explained that a green table cloth or artificial grass simply wouldn't have provided the right atmosphere. Seriously.
Laurie's efforts in this regard are remarkable, certainly, but I'm witness to similar expressions of this same level of care and respect on a daily basis between and among students, parents and staff.
In a recent coffee for prospective parents, it was a pleasure for me to be able to talk about this "unwritten" aspect of our program, but even more rewarding to see it manifest in the lives of former students, including my own children, long beyond their Parker days.
Now, the season moves into top gear this week as we open the Book Faire and Book Drive as well as the Toy Drive.
Reading Oasis - A Cool Place to Deliver Hot Books
The Lower School Scholastic Book Faire begins tomorrow. Enjoy a respite from the season’s stresses by stopping in to shop in an Egyptian-themed Reading Oasis.
Additionally, there are many ways to donate books and good cheer to kids in need via the book faire’s participation in the Season of Giving. New and lovingly-used books can be donated at the same time, and they'll find their way into the hands of less-fortunate boys and girls who will greatly appreciate them.
The faire runs Monday, December 9th-Thursday, December 12th, 7:30 am-5 pm and Friday, December 13th, 7:30 am-1 pm in the Scripps Lecture Hall.
To preview the books available at the fair, visit this website:
The Toy Drive, a huge success over the last few years, will collect toys for boy and girl patients at Rady Children's Hospital. The student council will supplement the collections with toys they'll buy at Toys 'R' Us from funds raised in hot chocolate sales.
All of the toys are arranged in a giant toy room at Rady's, and once the young patients are well enough to make the trip, they visit the room to pick from anything they see... a giant toy box, if you will. The trips and the toys do much to lift their spirits, and we feel fotunate to be able to help.
This Friday will feature an SK Coffee hosted by Dr. G., Heather Gray and Sara Knox, who'll share their insights into the students and curriculum at this level. Plan to join us for a cup of coffee and some good conversation about kids.
There will also be a bake sale, and the proceeds will support program and activities for our Language and Culture Week early in the new year.
Look forward also to a bbq, and the day will be a dress-down day.
Finally, we'll be enjoying our second-annual teamball competition (see below).
Parents are invited to the students' regular p.e. classes on Dec. 13 for parents/faculty v. kids teamball games. We tried this last year, and everyone had a great time. Don't worry, the nerf balls are very soft... but the kids' aim is deadly!
SK through 5th Parents---Don’t forget to place your order for the fabulous Thanksgiving Concert “Hi-Ya, Hi-Ya” DVD. This was the performance in the Lower School courtyard on Friday, November 22, 2013. For orders or questions please visit: www.francisparkerDVD.com
Notes from Nurse Maggie
Acetaminophen is an ingredient in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription medicines, including pain relievers, fever reducers and sleep aids as well as cough, cold and allergy medicines. Acetaminophen is themost commonly used drug ingredient in the United States and it appears in over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol and NyQuil and prescription drugs like Vicodin and Percocet.
On prescription labels, acetaminophen may be listed as “APAP,” “acetam,” or other shortened versions of the word. Because it is in so many different medicines, people may be taking more than the recommended amount without realizing it.
Acetaminophen is safe and effective when used as directed, but there is a limit to how much you can take in one day. Taking more than directed is an overdose and can lead to liver damage. The Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition recommends that: “... always read and follow the label of any medicine you are taking. And you should never simultaneously take two medicines that contain acetaminophen."
You can learn more about acetaminophen at KnowYourDose.org, where you can get tips on reading over-the-counter and prescription labels and view a list of common medicines that contain acetaminophen.
From the moment I set foot on campus on Tuesday (before the break) after my return from Arizona, I'd been contemplating rain... and hoping for little of it. It's amazing how a little precipitation (or the threat of it) can change an entire operation.
That said, I was reminded again last week of one of my many blessings... my long and wonderful relationship with the Parker Community. At each and every turn that week (and there were many) everyone (from the students, the staff, the parents, and even the grandparents) was so accommodating and flexible. We changed schedules, transportation, food service, program order, location and even the entire Linda Vista parking plan... and everyone rolled with everything.
Granted, a Lower School music program isn't a life and death matter, but the weeklong exercise gave me a very warm, wonderful feeling about the future of the school and what we can accomplish working together.
As we wade into a new strategic plan chock full of promise and opportunity for our current and future students, I feel considerably more confident about predicting our success in this regard than I do about the weather.
Second-Grade Math Morning
Jen Hayman will be demonstrating "model drawing," a critical component of the Singapore Math approach, on Tuesday December 3 at 8:30 a.m. in the Scripps Lecture Hall. Model drawing allows the students to think algebraically and to solve complex problems, even as their minds remain at a very concrete developmental stage.
The Season of Giving continues
The Season of Giving continues with the book faire (see below) and book drive beginning on December 9, running through December 13. Proceeds from books and materials purchased from the book faire will be applied to the purchase of new volumes for the Considine Library. And books donated will be given to children around the county not fortunate enough to have their own. Thanks in advance for your contributions to these two very worthwhile efforts.
READING OASIS - A COOL PLACE TO DELIVER HOT BOOKS
The Lower School Scholastic Book Fair is coming up, fast on the heels of Thanksgiving Break. Enjoy a respite from the season’s stresses by stopping in to shop, or by working a shift or two, in an Egyptian-themed Reading Oasis.
The fair runs Monday, December 9th-Thursday, December 12th, 7:30 am-5 pm and Friday, December 13th, 7:30 am-1 pm in the Scripps Lecture Hall.
To preview the books available at the fair, visit this website:
The Lower School Student Council has sponsored a toy drive for the last decade, with toys being donated to boys and girls at Rady Children's Hospital for the past 5 years. The students have raised money through hot chocolate and bake sales, and they'll be traveling to Toys 'R' Us on Dec. 18 to purchase toys to supplement those collected at school.
The toy drive begins on Dec. 9, running through Dec. 18, the day of the shopping trip. Last year, the students were able to donate 500 new toys to Rady's children's toy room where boys and girls with little to look forward to could visit, select a toy and forget about their illnesses for a little while.
Notes from Nurse Maggie
Preventing the Flu—Although the flu has been (so far) quite mild this year, there are several things you can to prevent contracting this illness. The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated with a flu shot each year, but good health habits like covering when you cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. There also are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat and prevent the flu.
Other things you can do are:
1. Avoid close contact.
2. Stay home when you are sick.
3. Cover your mouth and nose; cough or sneeze into the crux of your elbow.
4. Wash your hands.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
6. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of
Last week, I had the pleasure of listening in to a 2nd-grade immigration panel made up of Parker parents who were born in other countries. The event provided the students with a living, breathing tableau of the very play they had presented the week before, Coming to America.
As the stories unfolded, capturing tales of danger, love, selflessness, and determination all around the world, the resounding theme was the great opportunity each of our speakers saw in making their way to this nation. And, to a person, each of them found a way to make their dreams come to fruition through hard work and effort.
As the panel was wrapping up, one of the moms reminded the students of the amazing opportunities available to them... options that were not readily available for most of our speakers, and the subtle nodding of heads by the rest of the panel made it clear that making this possible was among the most important things they could do.
At this Thanksgiving time, I hope those same opportunities are available to each and every one of you.
The Season of Giving Begins
Food Drive The Parker Community Service Board and the Lower School Student Council are sponsoring a food drive to benefit the San Diego Food Bank fromNovember 18-22.
Donations may be dropped off in barrels located on each campus.
Please consider donating the following:
canned meats (tuna, ham, chicken)
canned or dried fruits
dried beans, rice & cereal
packaged nuts and seeds
Please: no glass jars, including baby food, home canned or baked products.
Other Season of Giving events just around the corner include:
The Book Drive and Book Faire running from 12/9-13. Books collected will benefit boys and girls in San Diego not fortunate enough to have them.
The Toy Drive will run from 12/9- 12/18, and the student council will spend funds they've raised at Toys 'R' Us in support of boys and girls at Rady Children's Hospital.
Grandparents' Day and Thanksgiving Program
There will be rehearsals every day next week in preparation for the Thanksgiving concert. If your child is in strings or band, please make sure they bring their instrument to school every day next week. As a reminder, Thursday, November 21st is the concert of grandparents, and Friday, November 22nd is the concert for parents. Both events begin at 1:00.
2nd grade parents
2nd Grade Parents---Don’t forget to get your order in by Friday, Nov. 22, for your DVD of the wonderful 2nd Grade Play “Coming To America”. For more information or to order please visit www.francisparkerdvd.com.
Movember is here! Have you noticed that some of Parker’s male teachers are growing moustaches and wondered why? These staff members are supporting a campaign aimed to spread awareness about men’s health issues, namely prostate and testicular cancer. According to the organizers of Movember, the name of this campaign, men are often known to be indifferent towards their health when compared to the efforts of women. Movember organizers are striving to change this way of thinking by putting a fun twist on this serious issue. Using the moustache as a catalyst, they hope to give men the opportunity and confidence to talk about their health. The organizers want everyone to know that many cancers are curable if caught in the early stages therefore Movember aims to increase early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment. This will ultimately reduce the number of deaths from cancer. According to www.us.movember.com:
The average life expectancy for men is five years less than for women
1 in 2 men, and 1 in 3 women, will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime
1/3 of all cancer death can be related to obesity, physical inactivity and poor nutrition
1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
In 2012, 242,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed and more than 28,000 men will die of the disease
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35.
8,590 men will be diagnosed with the disease in 2012 and 360 will die
24% of men are less likely to go to the doctor compared to women
Regardless of age, men (and women) can keep healthy by having an annual physical; eating a healthy diet; knowing your family history; not smoking; being physically active; sleeping well; staying at a healthy weight; managing stress; drinking alcohol only in moderation.
The Lower School science teachers came across this amazing San Diego resource, and they wanted to bring it to your attention:
The Lower School “branch” of the Parker Learning Center opened its doors early in the first trimester. Students are coming to the Learning Center to develop stronger study skills and strategies through theirhomework and regular curriculum materials. The program is modeled after the long-standing Learning Center program at the Middle and Upper Schools. The teachers, Mrs. Patricia Floren* and Mrs. Katie Plume*, have spent time getting to know the classroom teachers and what happens during these two important years at the Lower School. Students who have enrolled in this program are meeting with the Learning Center teachers from 3:00 – 4:15 two, three or four days a week, exploring their personal learning styles, strengths and challenges, and applying new techniques to their homework. By all counts, the trimester has been very successful and both students and teachers are looking forward to the second trimester. We are so pleased to have the continuity of support programs between the Lower and Middle School.
Katie Plume was born and raised in Upstate NY. In 2009, she married an Air Force Officer and they moved across the country to Oklahoma. While in Oklahoma, Katie taught 1st grade for four years and worked on her Masters degree in curriculum and instruction. In 2013, the military relocated them to sunny San Diego! Katie is thrilled for this new opportunity and to part of the Parker team! When she is not at school, Katie loves to row, read and travel.
Patricia Floren has served public and independent schools of San Diego as a classroom teacher, writing coach and curriculum designer. She created and coordinated the WritersForum Program at Hardy Elementary School as part of the California Writers Project,and is a Fellow of the San Diego Area Writing Project's Summer InvitationalInstitute. In Spring of 2013, Patricia was invited to work with the Parker Middle School family asa long-term visiting English teacher, and she loved what she saw: committed and creativeteachers and staff, students who are excited and ready to learn, and supportive families.She is excited to join the Learning Center Staff and to support students in their growth.
One of things I like best about my job is the abundance of stories that are generated from watching the interactions of our students. Last week, I was treated to many, but two really stand out.
In an effort to make our JK-2 assemblies much more engaging and meaningful for our students, last Tuesday I decided to invite Heather Gray, Sara Knox and Linda Ruggles to the stage to do a little role playing. I was hoping to show the students how to solve common school problems such as playground conflicts. Mrs. Ruggles and I engaged in a game of 2-square in front of all of the kids, and Heather Gray stole the ball. We used polite language to find a resolution, but each of the adults noticed that the kids were spellbound, seeing this demonstration as a real event. For the better part of the week, students were reminding Mrs. Gray that she should be more polite and learn to share.
Then, last Friday morning, I had the pleasure of observing our 3rd and 5th graders as they watched the second-grade play, Coming to America. They followed every move with rapt attention, swaying to the movement and mouthing the words to the songs they had performed themselves not all that long ago.
I saw true admiration and appreciation in their eyes, not only for their younger associates, but also for the much-loved traditions that help develop them into the confident, self-reliant people they'll be at their Parker graduation and beyond.
As we head into the last week of the first trimester, it's a pleasure to report what a pleasure it is not only to work with these kids but also to watch them grow and thrive, emerging as they are into the next generation's leaders... even if we have to endure a little polite scolding.
ARTS, or A Reason to Survive, emphasizes in its mission statement the importance of the arts as a prevention and intervention vehicle to create a positive transformation in children and youth facing adversity.
ARTS is a therapeutic art center located in National City, and their student, Innocente, starred in a film which received the Best Documentary Oscar in 2013.
The Rose gallery space on Francis Parker's Linda Vista campus will be fundraising for the ARTS institution by auctioning not only Parker student, alum and faculty work but also ARTS students as well. The main goal of the auction is to raise awarness of the importance of arts, while at the same time linking our San Diego art community together through one powerful message and cause.
The Season of Giving will kick off on November 18 with a canned food drive lasting until November 22. The entire school (JK-12) is involved in this event which benefits the San Diego Food Bank. At this time of year, the Food Bank is most grateful for the school's contribution, as it helps to meet the enormous demand they face. Thank you in advance for helping out.
Upcoming events include a toy drive benefiting children at Rady Children's Hospital from Dec. 9-17 (supplemented by toys the student council will buy at Toys 'R' Us with hot chocolate sale proceeds); and a book drive to be held at the same time as the winter book faire from Dec. 9-13. Additionally, students will be making placemats to be distributed to local charities.
Finally, we'll close out the season with a Sing-Along on Dec. 20, an event that's become a true school favorite.
Special Flagraising This Week
At this week's flagraising, our student council officers will explain the meaning of Veterans' Day, and our music department will give tribute to the many brave veterans whose sacrifices have made our American way of life possible. Join us if you can.
Lower School Admissions Open House
This Wednesday, the Lower School will invite prospective familes to tour the school and hear about the program. The event will feature our Squires, 5th graders who have trained with our Lower School Admissions Associate, Sara Knox, to conduct tours and answer any and all questions our vistors may have.
Particularly notable this year is the number of 5th graders who have volunteered to participate. 48 students have written extensive applications and given up their recesses (a supreme sacrifice for a fifth grader) to learn how to host families who have shown interest in Parker, and we couldn't be any prouder to have them as representatives of our school.
The first-grade coffee will be held this Friday in the Scripps Lecture Hall beginning at 8:20 a.m. Sara Knox and Heather Gray will sit in for Dr. G. who will be away from school that day.
Come have a cup of coffee and learn more about first graders and their program from the Lower School's curriculum experts.
This Coming Friday
Friday marks the end of the first trimester, and we'll celebrate with a dress-down day and bbq. Come join us for the fun!
Later that day, 1st-grade parents are invited to a parent mixer from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Scripps Lecture Hall. Come enjoy some food, drink and excellent company, all agenda and child-free.
Dr. Steven Jones
Dr. Steven Jones will speak in Crivello Hall on November 13 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. He is known as one of "America's Top Experts on Diversity" (Diversity, Inc., 2005), and his philosophy is to lead with listening to support clients in finding a strategy and solution that works for them. In helping the School to further its strategic goals, Dr. Jones worked with the entire faculty late last summer, and everyone found the experience incredibly valuable and meaningful.
Dr. Jones has been heralded as a dynamic keynote speaker, transformational facilitator, phenomenal organizational effectiveness consultant, and innovative executive. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, a master’s in Multicultural Counseling, and a Ph.D. in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology. He is the author of Journey to Excellence, a transformational book helping people define and achieve excellence in their lives.
Dr. Jones founded Jones & Associates in 1993 in order to build a firm committed to making a widespread positive impact in the world in the area of diversity, inclusion, and organizational excellence. The company's team of certified Jones & Associates consultants provide diversity, inclusion, organizational change and organizational development services to corporations, educational institutions, government agencies and non-profit organizations.
Dr. Jones is sought after by leaders seeking to make real change as they prepare their organizations to step into the 21st Century. He brings over 22 years experience helping individuals and institutions throughout the country move beyond talk to action.
This week, we witnessed two wonderful examples of leadership, one guided by parents and the other by students:
With respect to the parents, we were all treated to a most marvelous Halloween Carnival which appeared, played out, and disappeared in the same day. The planning, however, began shortly after the last hay bale had been loaded onto a truck the year before. The perfect tone, the subtle but effective changes, even unexpected obstacles (half of the previous year's square footage for the haunted house had become an office) were managed superbly by the event chairs and the many booth captains and volunteer parents. Our students were treated not only to a first-class carnival which delighted all of their senses, but also to a great example of how people work together to accomplish goals.
It's little wonder then, with such fine modeling of adult collaboration, that we were also witness to a terrific example of student leadership. For a few years, a game called "9-Square" disappeared from the playground, but it reappeared this year. It's a great game, fast and skilled when it's played well, but it tends to evolve into something less elegant when students begin to impose their own rules. Such was the case this year, and the issue made its way to a student council meeting. The representatives (grades 1-5) discussed the matter, decided to impose certain restrictions on the game, then a motion was supported with a majority vote. Later, in the 3rd-5th grade assembly, I asked our student council president, Caroline Kravets, to the stage to demonstrate the right way to play the game.
Reflecting back on the student council meeting, I was impressed with the students' sense of fairness, but really pleased to witness the initiative they took to solve a problem by themselves. However, when I walked onto the playground the following morning, I was thoroughly delighted to see everyone playing the game happily, by the rules, exactly as the student council (not teachers) had asked them to do.
This kind of leadership and problem-solving ability is exactly what we hope to instill in our students to prepare them for the much greater challenges they'll face as adults. And, if last week is any indication, we're definitely on the right track.
Mathletes begins this week for 4th and 5th graders interested in exploring and having fun with math after school. Boys and girls at these grade levels are invited to Mrs. Stone's room on Monday (Nov. 4) at 3:30 p.m. for the inaugural meeting.
The second-grade play, Coming to America, will be performed for the second-grade parents this Friday, Nov. 8, at 1:30 p.m. A reception will follow in the courtyard.
Come join Parker Parent Education on November 4th following the PA meeting at the Lower School. The topic will be: "Bravery, tolerance, diversity: skills for our children to navigate at Parker and beyond!" The panel will include: Christie Cole -Assistant Head of the Middle School; Lower School parent Sophonya Sampson - Special Initiatives Consultant with the California Endowment; and Middle/Upper school Parent, Dr. Temple Zander- Clinical Psychologist and Parker Parent. Additionally, expert Christopher Covington, who currently serves on The California Endowments President Youth Council – Ambassadors for Youth and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation Youth Advisory Board, will discuss various ways to help encourage and support our kids to display kindness, tolerance and bravery.
Come enjoy an art auction held in Parker's own Rose Gallery, Healing Hearts Fundraiser. The event will be held in conjunction with A Reason to Survive (ARTS), a nationally recognized organization that believes in the power of the arts and creativity to literally transform lives, especially those of kids). Proceeds will support both that organization and Parker's arts programs.
A Discussion on the Strategic Plan
Recently, the heads of each division reflected on how the newly-adopted strategic plan would inspire new developments and even more effective teaching and learning now and into the future. You can find the transcript of the conversation here: Division heads discuss the strategic plan.
Notes from Nurse Maggie
This week is Breast Cancer Awareness Week: Breast cancer occurs most often in women older than 40 and the risk increases with age. There are many things that may increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Some of these are things that cannot be controlled, and others are lifestyle choices that can be controlled. Risk factors that cannot be controlled include having a breast cancer gene and having a long, uninterrupted menstrual history. Families who have a breast cancer gene tend to have several members with breast cancer and it is often diagnosed before menopause. These families may also have cancers of the endometrium, ovary or colon. A long, uninterrupted menstrual history includes menstruation that begins at an early age, menopause starting at a late age, not having children or first pregnancy at a late age. Risk factors that can be controlled include the use of postmenopausal estrogen, alcohol use (need to limit alcohol intake to one drink daily), postmenopausal obesity (need to maintain weight in the optimum range) and smoking (need to quit smoking or never smoked). Screening catches the disease early, when it is most treatable. It is currently recommended that women receive an annual to biennial screening mammography beginning at the age of 40 and continuing until age 70. When to begin screening mammography and at what frequency is determined based on an individual’s family history and risk factors. All women are encouraged to talk with their physician about the need and frequency for mammography screening. All are encouraged to conduct monthly breast exams.
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.