Colonel Francis Parker relished the idea of students learning by doing, but his lab school background also influenced his desire to share what he was achieving through application of his Progressive philosophy. It was his strong hope that what was learned through that approach could be shared with a wider audience, including the public schools at the time.
Over the last few years, Parker's Lower School teachers have carefully examined our program and their teaching methods to ensure that they are as purposeful and effective as possible, and we expect that this improvement cycle will be continuous into the future. The changes have resulted in much deeper learning, much greater engagement among the students, and the kind of thinking they will need to marshal to deal with an increasingly complex world.
A byproduct of this change has been the interest generated by schools near and far. We are constantly hosting visiting teachers and administrators who are interested in what we're doing and eager to learn more, even as we're seeking to further strengthen our teaching and learning.
As we pause our school year for the Thanksgiving Break, I can say, on behalf of everyone who works in this school community, that we are most grateful for your support, incredible volunteerism and collaboration in giving us the opportunity to bring Colonel Parker's vision to life as manifested in the achievements and growth of our students.
The first-grade coffee originally-scheduled for Dec. 4 has been moved to Dec. 11 at 8:20 a.m. in the Considine Library. Come see what first graders do all day in their regular and special classes and learn a bit more about kids at this age and what's in store for them at Parker.
A Monstrous Winter Holiday Book Fair Coming Soon!
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 our mammoth monster lair of books.
The fair runs Monday, December 7th-Thursday, December 10th , 7:30 am-5 pm and Friday, December 11th, 7:30 am-1 pm in the Considine Library.
Please sign up to volunteer by accessing the Google Doc link below:
Attention Parker Parents--- If you wish to purchase a DVD of the 2nd grade play “Coming to America”, please place your order by Friday, November 20 by visitingwww.FrancisParkerDVD.com Thank you very much!!!Candy Buy Back News
The student council was given the chance to contribute to the San Diego Community following our recent candy buy-back program. Thanks to local dentists Dr. Charles Briscoe of La Jolla Dental Care and Dr. Allen Job of All Smiles Pediatric Dentristy, the kids were able to donate $360 (a dollar per pound of candy collected) to local charities.
This Wednesday, the JK students will offer their parents the chance to see their Grandparents' Day program in a special preview performance at 12:30 p.m. in the Szkeley Auditorium. All JK parents are invited.
This Thursday, we celebrate Grandparents' Day with a JK program at 11:50 a.m. and the SK-5 program at 1 p.m. JK Grandparents check in on the J. Crivello playground at 11:30 a.m. and SK-5 Grandparents check in at 12:30 p.m. Both programs will be followed by classroom visits.
This Friday, the Thanksgiving Program will be presented at 1 p.m.
This Wednesday, we'll dress down with a Thanksgiving theme, and we'll enjoy a Thanksgiving-themed lunch as well. This unusual opportunity comes to us as the result of a gala offering from our very own Head of School. Kevin Yaley's power lunch with the two students included the chance to request anything. After reasoning with the two that taking the whole school to Disneyland was a bit prohibitive, they settled on the themed day so that everyone could benefit from their very enjoyable day with the Head of School.
McGill Book Drive
The book drive continues (with amazing success so far) through December 7. We and the school are most grateful for your generosity in helping all of the deserving boys and girls at the McGill School to enjoy new stories and adventures.
Boxtops for Education
We've learned that a wonderful source of student council funds is going into the trash or recycling every week, and we'd like your help to reverse that situation. We've joined Boxtops for Education, a free service that will pay us $.10 for every eligible boxtop we collect. This easy program, simply involving clipping and turning in boxtops from hundreds of products (see the website) could result in a valuable new source of funding for the student council's community service activities, at no additional cost to our community.
The student council will be launching this program in the next few weeks.
For more information on this program, please follow the link below:
The gently-used clothing collection continues this week through Friday. The clothing will be sorted and stored until the spring at which time we'll have our next Lands' End Used Uniform Sale. Thanks in advance for your contributions.
Notes From Nurse Maggie
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging better, more frequent hand washing as the first line defense against the spread of influenza. Vaccination each year is considered the single best way to prevent seasonal flu, however, rigorous hand hygiene, with proper hand washing, is essential to avoid spreading the flu virus. It is best to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. When water is not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Always wash hands:
- Before preparing or eating food
- After going to the bathroom
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After playing outside
- After handling an animal
Other flu precautions include:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too. Stay home when you are sick and you will help prevent others from catching your illness.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, throw out the tissue in the nearest wastebasket, and immediately wash hands or use a hand sanitizer. Or cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth before hand washing.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill since germs can live on those surfaces. This includes your computer keyboard and television remote control. Questions? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619-717-0235.
America's veterans have played a significant role in my life, and I'm reminded of all of them every time I stand at flagraising looking over the Lower School courtyard. My father, brothers and several relatives spent considerable time giving of themselves in service to our country, putting on hold their own careers and dreams so that others could enjoy theirs.
When I see the happy children, teachers and parents, all listening to our pledge, a statement of our shared values and the "Happy Birthday" song, it always reminds me how precious our freedom is, how fortunate we are to be able to make our own choices to determine the courses of our lives, and the great cost so many have paid for this priceless liberty.
On this Veterans' Day, please take a moment to think of the millions of veterans who have paved the way for our way of life and whose sacrifices have given us, our children and grandchildren an inestimable gift.
Used Uniform Collection
Has your child had a growth spurt? It’s time for fall cleaning! If you have Lands End uniforms your children have outgrown, consider donating them for the used-clothing sale. Look for the big grey bins outside the office from November 9th– 20th. A gently used uniform sale will be held in the Spring! Any questions… please email Jody Neels, Used Uniform Sales Chair email@example.com
Candy Buy-Back Program
Many thanks for your contribution of post-Halloween candy to our candy buy-back program. Thanks to the diligent efforts of Jody Neels and others, 2 San Diego dentists paid $1/lb. for 360 lbs. of candy. The goodies will be sent to our troops overseas, and the funds will be distributed to support good causes by our very own Lower School student council.
Keyboarding is being introduced to third through fifth-grade students with an on-line accessible program called "Keyboarding Without Tears." Teachers in the Design Center will be guiding the students through the appropriate typing methods with the assistance of the program, then students (and parents) will be given access to the online code that will allow for practice at home. Look for more details in an email to be sent to you in the next two weeks.
McGill School Book Drive
The book drive has been a tremendous success already, with several loads of books making their way to very appreciative students at the McGill School. The drive continues all this month and through December 7. Thanks again for supporting the school and its young readers.
Late start Wednesday
There is a late-start Wednesday this week to allow teachers a bit of extra time to dig into their curriculum and collaboration. As always, students may be dropped off at their regular times, though they may also arrive as late as 8:55 a.m. Buses will run their normal routes.
Halloween Volunteer Breakfast
Thanks again to our many, many volunteers who helped make the annual Halloween Carnival such a success. All are invited to a thankyou breakfast tomorrow, Monday, 11/9, from 7:45-10:00 in the Szekely Auditorium.
Special Teacher Coffee (Focus: Scripps Design Center)
The Lower School Design Team will be giving parents a glimpse into the philosophy, purpose and physical layout of the Scripps Design Center this Tuesday from 8:15-9:15 a.m. in the Considine Library. Come learn about how the Center was created, how it operates, what it looks like with students and teachers at work, and what it has planned for students in the months ahead.
Teacher Appreciation Events
On behalf of all of the teachers and staff at the Lower School, I would like all parents to know how much everyone is enjoying the teacher/staff appreciation events each month. Friday mornings have taken on an extra-special feeling with the delicious and very thoughtful breakfasts being supplied by various grade levels, and we're most grateful.
I've now enjoyed the Lower School Halloween Carnival for over 3 decades, and the event never ceases to amaze me. It somehow manages to strike the perfect tone every year... not too over the top, but still just right, the stuff of sweet memories and pleasant dreams for all of our students.
Beyond that, it serves as a great example of the remarkable collaboration that makes this place so special. On the appointed day, a virtual army of parent volunteers arrives to an empty playground, builds a carnival that would be the envy of any elementary school, serves in the multiple booths, then deconstructs the entire array, all in the space of a day. It's truly a sight to behold.
Behind the scenes, planning has taken most of a year, and a web of communication reaches out into the community seeking helpers (no experience necessary!) for shifts in activities like "ratapult," (my personal favorite).
We are grateful to those who step into the "chair" role (Alexis Dean and Julia Haims in this case), as well as everyone who stepped forward to help in any capacity. Your involvement is essential to these great traditions, but it also draws us closer together as a community with a keener understanding of the school and the people in it.
HALLOWEEN WRAP UP
Thank you to the 250+ volunteers that gave their time, energy and talent to the Halloween Carnival! This event simply cannot happen without the help of each and every member of our wonderful Parker community. Thank you to our creative parents who dreamed up a SCARY Haunted House to parents who manned booths all afternoon so the kids could earn tickets and enjoy themselves. A big thank you to Ditas Mauricio who for another year has been able to get nutritious donations of snacks from KIND bars, Beanitos, Sunbutter, Stretch Island, Nature’s Bakery and Happy Family! The maintenance crew, upper school students, and so many more helped make the day a tremendous success. We are grateful.
And don’t forget, if you have more candy than you want in your house, there will be collection bins TWO DAYS ONLY,Monday, November 2nd & Tuesday, November 3rdoutside the office. San Diego Dentists and Doctors have come together to host their 12th annual Candy Buy Back Program. These generous businesses give $1 for every pound of candy donated (up to $100) by children and will match another $1 to donate to a local nonprofit. The candy gets sent to our troops overseas. So please support this cause and bring in your extra candy!
Lower School Foreign Language
For several years now, the Lower School foreign language program has been evolving from what was once considered an "exposure" program that met a few times a week to a more rigorous academic program which meets every day.
Formerly, students were expected to be able to deal with language they heard and read (call it "input"), but now, consistent with changes in the rest of our academic program, they're expected to be able to construct language through writing and speaking (call it "output") as well as understanding what they've read. The change is very significant in their language development and the level of thinking involved, and we're excited about the progress the kids are making.
Another change is the collaborative creation of clear benchmarks for student achievement. These will be assessed throughout the school year in order to shape instruction that will support them in meeting end-of-year expectations which qualify them for even more challenging courses in the years ahead.
Admissions Open House
The Lower School's first admissions open house takes place this coming Thursday, Nov. 5, beginning at 3:15 p.m. in the Gooding Patio by the library. Prospective families are invited to learn more about the school during brief presentations in the Szkeley Auditorium, classrooms and on tours with our very own fifth-grade Squires. If you know of families that might be interested, please do invite them to contact Lower School Admissions Associate Kelly Tedrow (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We've had great participation by all Parker constituencies in the AIM Survey so far, but if you haven't had a chance, you can still be involved. Simply follow this link. Your information will be completely confidential, and it will help us to build an even better school for everyone.
Third-grade parents are invited to a coffee with Dr. G. and Mrs. Gray this Wednesday morning at 8:20 a.m. in the Considine Library. Come learn about 3rd graders and their program in a photographic walk through their school day. You'll gain insights into students at this level and learn tips and tricks for helping your children to be successful at Parker.
This Friday, the second graders will present their play, Coming to America, to the students in the morning and their parents at 1:30 p.m. that afternoon. A reception will follow immediately in the courtyard.
JK Parent Mixer
This Friday, the JK parents are invited to an agenda-free mixer to enjoy food, drink and the company of other parents of the Class of 2029 in the Lawrence Commons on the Linda Vista campus from 6-7:30 p.m.
One Book San Diego (for Kids)
This coming Saturday, One Book San Diego for Kids will be hosted on the Lower School campus from 11-1p.m. The featured author, William Joyce, will read and share a short video about his book, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. San Diego State engineering students will also be putting on a demonstration of some drones they've built.
Free Heart Screenings for Teens
Students 12 to 19 years of age are invited to get a free heart screening on Sunday, November 8 at Francis Parker School. Parents simply register at EPSaveALife.org to download a screening packet that you complete and bring to the event.
The screening is offered by the Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation, which has screened more than 17,000 teens for heart abnormalities that put about 1 in 100 students at risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest - a leading cause of death under 25, and the #1 killer of student athletes. Heart screenings are not a part of annual checkups or pre-participation sports physicals, even though most heart conditions have no warning signs or unrecognized symptoms -- which is why Eric's Foundation offers them for free.
Students wear t-shirts, sweat pants or sports shorts to the screening. Girls wear a sports bra. Please bring a self-addressed stamped enveloped in which a copy of your child's EKG will be mailed back to you to add to their medical records.
We urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to screen your teen.
In the most recent Parker Magazine, you're afforded a wonderful glimpse into the future of all Lower Schoolers, but you're also treated to a look back upon some of the foundational programs and people that helped Parker to be what it is today.
From the Lower School Promotion to Graduation just 7 years later (and I say "just" because it tends to fly by), the school and students thrive because of the vision of its founders. The Johnson Family's understanding of Col. Francis Parker's philosophy made the east to west trek, manifesting as a Progressive School in which students would experience by doing, discovering and... delighting in learning.
In one photo, you'll see students balancing on a wooden ball, guided by their teacher, Tahar, who had been a performer himself. One of them is Ethel Lichtman, the daughter of one of the first principals and a lifelong supporter of the school. She and the others she's pictured with loved the range of learning activities they were exposed to, learning not because it was mandated, but rather for the sheer joy of living and learning.
In our 103rd year, we find ourselves increasingly revisiting this style of teaching and learning which promises authentic engagement, collaboration and achievement, and interestingly (or sheepishly), termed "21st-century learning." Col. Parker would certainly appreciate that!
Math is usually thought of as anything but recreational by most people. However, this article offers an alternative viewpoint:
The Lower School Halloween Carnival is Friday, October 30th. Children may wear dress-down clothing to school (they did a superb job of cleaning up the courtyard after Friday's bbq), but the accessories to their costume (including hair spray, gel, make-up etc.) should be brought to school, not worn.
Also if you think your child's costume accessories might appear too scary or too realistic (e.g. swords, guns, knives ) please check with the school before finalizing costumes.
The Halloween fun begins at 1pm with a parade in the courtyard and the carnival will wrap-up around 4pm. Please note that the after school program will continue as normal.
We are still looking for more general volunteers to help set-up the morning of the carnival. If you would like to volunteer please sign up on the link below.
We hope you are getting some creative ideas for the Annual Cake Contest! Flyers went home on Monday with all the rules and information about the contest.
If you would like to to bake but do not want to enter the contest, please feel free to bring in baked goods that children will be able to win at the Cake Walk. Tables will be set up in front of the school the morning of the Carnival where you can drop off your baked goods. If you are participating in the Cake Contest, Please remember to print out your cake tag and attach to your cake. www.Lxt9.com/cake
If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.
Your Halloween Chairs, Alexis Dean & Julia Haims (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org)
EXTRA Halloween Candy! Share with the Troops!
Did you know that most kids collect over 100 pieces of candy when they are Trick or Treating for Halloween?! It would take weeks to try to eat all of that candy, not to mention that it’s not very healthy! Why not do something good for our families and an act of service for some very deserving people and donate your leftover Halloween candy to our Troops overseas? Bring your excess candy to Francis Parker on Monday, November 2nd, and help this great cause!!
San Diego Dentists and Doctors have come together to host their 12th annual Candy Buy Back Program. These generous businesses give $1 for every pound of candy donated (up to $100) by children and will match another $1 to donate to a local nonprofit. So have fun collecting candy and know it will bring smiles to our Troops! Look for the candy bins outside of the office for ONE DAY ONLY, Monday, November 2nd.
Thanks for your support!!
Kids News Day!
Many thanks for you support of Kids News Day (which supports Rady Children's Hospital) and our Lower School Girl Scouts (who sold out all of the newspapers provided). The event raised almost $500 from the papers provided, a new Lower School record!
The Book Drive to benefit the McGill School continues until December 7. Many thanks to those of you who have already donated. Haven't had a chance yet? Take this opportunity to thin out your well-loved, gently-used home libraries for the benefit of children without so many opportunities.
Notes From Nurse Maggie
Concussions: Our athletic department as well as our faculty, are now following the current, recommended CIF guidelines concerning concussions. According to Dr. Shakha Gillin, M.D, local pediatrician and Parker parent:
“Concussions can happen in many sports, including football, hockey, soccer, and surfing. Concussions can also occur outside of sports whenever a student’s head is injured. As important as the cause of the concussion, is knowing how to help your child if they do have one. First, a concussion is a traumatic brain injury that affects the way the brain functions. Concussions are common. A concussion can result from trauma to the head, neck, and upper body. It jolts the brain. While your child’s brain is recovering from this jolt, your child may have symptoms caused by impaired brain function. These symptoms include headaches, problems with concentration, memory lapses and sleep disturbances. Your child may not be able to do classwork properly. If your child has a hit to the head, neck, or upper body, and has any symptoms of altered brain function in any way, you need to take your child to a doctor. Treatment involves rest. This means brain rest! No texting, video games, phones, or iPads. If you let your child’s brain rest, it can recover. While your child is recovering, it is imperative NOT TO have a second brain injury. We know second brain injuries can cause permanent and severe brain injury. So we want to make sure they do not return to any activity that could lead to another concussion. If your child has a concussion, they will be asked to limit activity, and when they return, they will return gradually. Your doctor will give you specific instructions.”
Dr. Gillin advises all parents and athletes to watch a short 30-minute video on concussions:
Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a leading cause of death in youth under 25 and the number one killer of student athletes. Students ages 12 to 19 are invited to get a free heart screening on Sunday, November 8 from 9:00 until 3:00 at our Francis Parker Linda Vista campus. Simply register at EPSaveALife.org and download a screening packet that you and your parents complete.
Bring that completed packet with you when you arrive to be screened. Wear a t-shirt, sweat pants or sports shorts to the screening. Girls wear a sports bra. Please bring a self-addressed, stamped envelope in which a copy of your EKG results will be mailed back to you. This is open for all students in this age group in our community. Please spread the word!
By now you've probably received the Parker magazine which celebrates current, former and future Lancers, their families and friends. For me, this beautiful publication is not only a wonderful tableau of what makes our school so special, including the rich mixture of academics, athletics and the arts, but also evidence of the influence of the school long after students have graduated.
On a personal note, one photo caught a moment from my son David's wedding this past September, and it includes 3 Parker lifers, my kids, with a collective 47 years of Parker schooling, all of whom are now teachers.
Your own children are now writing their own Parker stories for a future that will be filled with opportunity and challenge, and I assure you that however fine a prognostictor you may be, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the adventures they choose and the choices they make.
In any case, we celebrate a school and program that produce students who through their course of study, their character development and their association with a diverse array of people and opportunities will make a meaningful difference in our world.
AIM Survey Follow Up
Kevin Yaley writes:
"Thanks to all who completed the AIM survey. As a second phase of the AIM process, we will hold focus groups during the first two weeks of November on many of the topics raised by the survey.
To better reflect the broad spectrum of the Parker community, each focus group will include randomly selected parents from the Lower School, Middle School and Upper School, in addition to other interested parties. We invite you to submit your name for the random selection process with the understanding that the available slots will be extremely limited.
Participants will: 1) review data and documents during the week prior to the meeting; and 2) participate in a 90-minute focus group.
If you are interested, email Christen Tedrow-Harrison, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, at email@example.com Thursday, Oct. 22. Please indicate whether your child(ren) attends the Lower School, Middle School, and/or Upper School, and which focus group in which you would most like to join. With the exception of Sections G, I, and J, focus groups will be held between 4-5:30 on the following dates:
Monday, November 2Section C
Wednesday, November 4 Section A, Section J (5:45-7:15)
Monday, November 9 Section F, Section I (5:45-7:15)
Tuesday, November 10 Section B
Wednesday, November 11Section E
Thursday, November 12Section D
Monday, November 16 Section H, Section G (5:45-7:15)
If you have not yet completed the survey, you may access it through the link which was sent to your household via email on Monday, October 5th. Alternatively, you can access the link on the Parker Family Connection page via the right hand side AIM button. If you have difficulty locating the survey, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for helping us AIM for a better Parker."
Special Teacher Coffee
The second special teacher coffee of the year will be held on Tuesday, at 8:20 a.m. in the Considine Library. Please join Heather Gray, Bob Gillingham and several special teachers for a visual tour of a day in the life of the special classes.
Kids News' Day
BUY A NEWSPAPER AT KIDS' NEWSDAY THIS TUESDAY, OCT. 20
Be sure to bring money this Tuesday, Oct. 20, to support Kids' NewsDay by purchasing a special edition newspaper from our 4th Grade Junior Girl Scouts. All proceeds from the Kids' NewsDay newspapers, which will be sold in front of school from 7:30 to 8:15 am, support Rady Children's Hospital. Newspapers are sold for donations of any amount.
Over the past 25 years Kids' NewsDay has raised $2.9 million dollars to support the greatest and most urgent needs of Rady Children's Hospital. Help us reach our goal of $3 million in 26 years! Along with heartwarming stories of patients of Rady Children's Hospital, each newspaper will contain a coupon worth $2 to be used to purchase a coffee at Starbucks on Kids' NewsDay.
Once again, Dr. G will be offering the Lower School's very own Golden Ticket. Whoever purchases the one newspaper with the Golden Ticket inside will be treated to lunch for them and a friend, ordered and enjoyed at Sam's. (The day of the lunch will be determined by Dr. G and the winner.) Last year, the Lower School sold out of newspapers before the bell even rang!
The Halloween Carnival 2015 is almost here! The Carnival will be held on Friday, October 30th from 1-4pm. Get your creativity creeping for the Cake Contest! The only rules are (1) the cakes must be prepared and decorated by the kids (parents can help only with things that are hot or can hurt), and (2) everything on the cake must be edible, including ALL decorations! We hope your little ones will enter the contest with a chance to win an award (1st, 2nd, 3rd place) in each grade!! Plus, this year we’ll continue the “Kids Choice Award” that will be voted on by the kids Student Council Reps! And as always, there will be an Adult Cake Contest category as well as a category for Middle and Upper School students! So, look for the flyer with all the details coming soon, but right now…we just wanted to start those creative juices flowing!! If you have any questions or concerns (including nut or allergy free), please contact Kristin Zeko at: email@example.com or Alexander Thomas at: Lxt9@Lxt9.com. BOO!!
BBQ and Dress-Down
This coming Friday is a bbq/dress-down day, and students are welcome to wear more casual clothes which are appropriate for all school activities (e.g., physical education). Parents are welcome to join us for the bbq in the courtyard at their child(ren)'s regular lunch time.
Notes from Nurse Maggie
Nurse Maggie recently conducted basic near and far vision screenings and hearing screenings for all of our senior-kindergarten, 2nd-grade and 5th-grade students, as well as a basic color blindness screening for our 1st-grade students.
You will be receiving notification in the mail this week if your student did not pass this basic screening. The recommendation is to have your student’s primary care provider follow up with a hearing and/or vision test to determine if there is a concern that needs further intervention. Please don’t hesitate to contact Nurse Maggie with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619-717-0235.
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.