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Lower School Blog

Dec. 15, 2014; Vol. 24, Issue # 15

 

Dear Lower School Parents:

 

The pace of this year has certainly picked up... and I'm a bit stunned that I'm writing the last newsletter of 2014!  In any event, it's been a wonderful year to this point, and all of us are looking forward to even more rewarding teaching and learning when we return in January.

I'd like to thank you in advance for your support of our Student Council's community service efforts.  They have been very excited about making a real difference for real people through their various fundraisers and drives, and we certainly hope that this inspires in them a desire to continue this spirit of philanthropy throughout their lives.

As we bid adieu to 2014, the faculty, staff and I are grateful for the many blessings we've received, including the privilege of working at such a remarkable school with such a great school community, and we pledge to continously improve in 2015.

Happy New Year!

Bob Gillingham

 

News From Parker's Food Service Department


Parker's Food Service has begun adding organic items to the menu at the Mission Hills Campus.  Like the Linda Vista Campus, they will be offering "Organic Wednesday" on their menus.  At the salad bar, they have switched to organic spinach, organic mixed greens and organic kale.  Occasionally, they will be offering other different organic vegetables as well. Examples are organic golden honeydew, Suzie's farm sugar snap peas, Blue Heron Farm's sweet potatoes and squashes.  Hopefully, everyone will enjoy the variety of local and organic produce being introduced.  

 

Season of Giving

 

Calling all Season of Giving "Givers" and "Bakers"!!!!

The Season of Giving began on December 1st and will be finishing up on Dec. 19th.  We have so much to be thankful for in our lives...  good health, warm homes, and nourishing food, and here at Parker, an incredible education for our children.  We are reminded, especially at this time of year, that others aren't as fortunate and how important it is to give to those in need.

Our theme this year is "Giving from the Heart," and students have been doing just that...  creating heart-themed artwork to share with the community and to display on our Giving Tree in the courtyard and in the school hallways, and last Friday morning, selling hot chocolate to generate funds to buy toys for boys and girls at Rady Children's Hospital.  However, the bulk of our "Giving" begins Monday of this week with charitable drives for canned food and new or gently used blankets and gloves running through Thursday, Dec. 18th, and a holiday bake sale on Friday, Dec. 19th (during lunch and the holiday sing-along) to generate additional funds to purchase toys (in a special early morning student council shopping trip to Toys 'R' Us) to donate to Rady Children's Hospital.  

The canned food drive will benefit the San Diego Food Bank and the blanket and glove drive will benefit the San Diego Rescue Mission, a facility that houses 85 homeless people a night, where nearly half are children in need.  Collection bins will be set up in the hallway outside the front office.

We all have a million things going on this time of year, but in addition to all the holiday fun this weekend and next week, please consider:

• Purchasing or rounding up from your pantry the following: canned meats, peanut butter, canned soup, canned or dried fruit, canned vegetables, dried beans, rice & cereal, dried pasta, powdered milk, infant formula, and packaged nuts and seeds (please no glass jars including baby food, home canned goods or baked goods).

• Bringing in a new or gently used blanket and gloves for a family in need

• Baking holiday treats for the bake sale (if time permits, bake and freeze this weekend!)

 We need everyone's help to make the Season of Giving a success!  Please use the following link to access the Season of Giving Holiday Bake Sale Google Doc to sign up to bring items to the bake sale or to volunteer to help with set-up or sales:

Bake Sale Volunteer Opportunities!

Thanks in advance for your generosity and support!

Anne Dixon McManus

Season of Giving Chair

 

This Friday

 

This Friday is a holiday dress-down day, but it will also feature a junior-kindergarten holiday program at 9:00 a.m. in the Szekely Auditorium, a bake sale, and of course, the Sing-Along beginning at 1:45 p.m. and running to the end of school.  We invite everyone to join us for this festive tradition... a great way to kick off the holidays.

 

Grandparents' Day and Thanksgiving Program DVD's

(Extended Deadline)


Attention Parents and Grandparents--- If you’d like a DVD of the Grandparents Day performance which includes the JK concert in the auditorium as well as classroom activities which followed immediately after, the order deadline has been extended untilDecember 12 because of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Also, the deadline for the Thanksgiving Concert DVD is now December 19.  For orders or questions please visitwww.francisparkerdvd.com

 

Notes From Nurse Maggie

 

The cold and flu season is upon us!  Read this informative article to make sure that you're prepared.

 

Menu for the Week of Dec. 15

Lunch Menu for Mission Hills

Posted by ls-newsletter on Saturday December 13 at 02:00PM
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Dec. 8, 2014; Vol. 24, Issue # 14

  Dear Lower School Parents:

 

I often refer to the dedication of the Lower School faculty, but I don't always give you specifics, the ways in which they manifest this quality.  However, this past week provided me with a wonderful example, and I was eager to share it with you.

In our late-start morning last week, the teachers were asked to review their curriculum documents, arguably already describing a wonderful program.  However, because our strategic plan calls for a thorough consideration of our entire academic and co-curricular program, with uniform excellence as the goal, the teachers rolled up their sleeves yet again to see where tweaks and revisions might further enhance student learning.

Frankly, this is what I love about this school and the people who work in it.  Each of the teachers is always seeking a better way to reach their students and to legitimately engage them in learning, and they're not afraid to take on new challenges if they sense that they'll enrich the students' experience (e.g., design thinking).  Additionally, as an independent school, we have the opportunity to make changes quickly when we know that they'll be in the best interests of our students.  Finally, it's this willingness among the faculty to work together to meet our mission that makes coming to this campus each day a most rewarding experience, not only for me, but also for our entire community. 

Sincerely,

Bob Gillingham

 

Book Faire

 

“I Like Big Books, and I cannot Lie!” Come to Sir Read-a-lot’s Castle of Books!

The Lower School Scholastic Book Fair begins this Monday. Enjoy a respite from the
season’s stresses by stopping in to shop in Sir Read-a-lot’s medieval castle (also
known as the Considine Library).

The fair runs Monday, December 8th-Thursday, December 11th, 7:30 am-5 pm and
Friday, December 12th, 7:30 a.m. -1 p.m.

To preview the books available at the fair, visit this website:
http://bookfairs.scholastic.com/homepage/francisparkerlowerschool1

Thank you, and see you at the Fair!

Book Fair Co-Chairs

 

Coffees

 

This Wednesday, Dr. G., Mrs. Gray and Mrs. Knox will host a coffee for first-grade parents at 8:15 a.m. in the Szekely Auditorium.  On Friday, they'll do the same for senior-kindergarten parents, also at 8:15 a.m. in the Szekely Auditorium.  

Both coffees will cover the children and program at those levels, with photo highlights of the activities in which the students are engaged.

Bring your questions and curiosity and enjoy a cup of coffee as you learn more about the school.

 

This Friday

 

This Friday morning, the student council will host a Hot Chocolate Sale to raise funds to purchase toys for boys and girls at Rady Children's Hospital.  Steaming cups of hot chocolate will be sold for $1 beginning at 7:30 a.m. until the beginning bell.

Also happening on Friday, students  will be learning Zumba in their p.e. classes!

Finally, Friday is a bbq/dress-down day, and you're welcome to join us!

Enjoy!

 

Afterschool Leap PRogram

 

LEAP! (Lancer Enrichment Afterschool Program) is pleased to announce that Winter Session courses and activities scheduled to begin on January 15, 2015, are now open for registration online.  

Along with our long-standing options including Drwaing, Yoga, Soccer, Tennis, Chess, Cooking, Chinese, Spanish, and Fencing, we are adding Youth Coding: Mindcraft and Video Game Design, Zumba, and Publish My Book.

Space in many classes is limited, so please go to Parker's Extended Day page and register your child(ren).

Questions?  Please contact Whitney Norton at wnorton@francisparker.org or Monique Velde in the Summer and Extended Day Programs office (858-569-7900 x-4109) for further assistance.

 

SEASON OF (GIVING FROM THE HEART)

 

Next week, from Dec. 15-18, we'll hold a combined Food Drive and Blanket/Glove Drive.  Food collected will re-supply the San Diego Food Bank and the blankets and gloves will go to boys and girls living in Tijuana who are greatly in need of shelter and warmth as the temperatures dip.

The following week, the JK Holiday Program will be held on Friday morning, and that afternoon, we encourage you to join us for the traditional Sing-Along, which has become a real favorite. The day will also feature a holiday dress-down and bake sale, with proceeds from the bake sale supporting the purchase of toys for Rady Children's Hospital.

 

GrandParents' Day and Thanksgiving Program DVD's

Attention Parents and Grandparents--- If you’d like a DVD of the Grandparents Day performance which includes the JK concert in the auditorium as well as classroom activities which followed immediately after, the order deadline has been extended untilDecember 12 because of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Also, the Thanksgiving Concert DVD deadline is now December 19.  For orders or questions please visitwww.francisparkerdvd.com


GALA PLANNING MEETING (Take Two!)

 

Gala Committee Meeting: Calling ALL PARENTS! Join us at our next Gala Committee Meeting on Wednesday, December 10 @ 8am in the Parker Café Board Room on the Linda Vista Campus!

Come join the fun Gala team of volunteers!  We will be assigning Chairs, tasks, etc.  We’d so appreciate the help!  New to the school?  Come learn about the Gala, timing, and volunteer opportunities - a great way to meet Parker parents. The Gala this year is April 25 at the San Diego Air and Space Museum, in beautiful and historical Balboa Park.  The countdown begins!  Questions?  Contact Gala Chairs Gayle Nuffer and Randie Lettington at pa-galachair@francisparker.org.

 

Lower School Menu

Menu for the Week of Dec. 8-12

Posted by ls-newsletter on Friday December 5 at 03:34PM
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Dec. 1, 2014; Vol. #24, Issue# 13

Dear Lower School Parents:

 

I hope that the week away from school afforded you some time to relax, have a little fun, and enjoy your families.  Ours was really special, as on Thanksgiving we managed to gather all of the relatives on my side of the family in one big happy reunion numbering over 45 people.  It was a bit chaotic and a little noisy, but quite wonderful.

I had the same sense the week before during our Grandparents' Day and Thanksgiving programs, as they, too, have become lovely reunions of community members I've known, in some cases, for over 40 years.  Those I knew as parents way back when have returned as grandparents, and the students I taught are now the doting Parker parents, beaming with pride as they watch their children perform.

We have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season, and on behalf of everyone at Parker, we're so glad that we get to spend a least a part of it with you.

Sincerely,

Bob Gillingham


Season of Giving (From The Heart)


The three school weeks in December have become known as The Season of Giving at the Lower School, and this year's theme is "Giving From the Heart."  Ms. Sharpe worked with the JK students to make placemats to give to Meals on Wheels for Thanksgiving, and the students will continue to make some for the rest of the holiday season.

Ms. Sharpe is also going to work with the students at each grade level to make unique themed hearts which will hang in the hallway outside of the office as well as on the "peace" tree, which in keeping with the giving theme, will transform into a "giving" tree.  

Senora Herold and the student council will be holding both a hot chocolate sale and a bake sale to raise funds to purchase toys for boys and girls in need at Rady Children's Hospital.  Additionally, they'll be sponsoring the annual canned food drive to support the Food Bank in its efforts to feed San Diego's hungry.

Dec. 12- BBQ, dress-down day, and hot chocolate sale 

Dec. 15-18  Food Drive (more news to follow)

Dec. 19- The JK Holiday Program will be held in the morning, and that afternoon, we encourage you to join us for the traditional Sing-Along, which has become a real favorite. The day will feature a holiday dress-down and bake sale.


Reward Friday


This Friday, Dec. 5th, the students will reap the rewards of their collective work during the Halloween Carnival.  They agreed to move away from candy and small prizes in favor of tickets... and ultimately they collected 38,000 of them, resulting in their collective winning of the top prize: a teamball game with the teachers and parents, a dress-down day and snow cones after lunch.

We're really proud of the students for working together and showing such great leadership during this design exercise.

 

 Gala Planning Meeting

 

Gala Committee Meeting: Calling ALL PARENTS! Join us at our next Gala Committee Meeting on Wednesday, December 10 @ 8am in the Parker Café Board Room on the Linda Vista Campus!

Come join the fun Gala team of volunteers!  We will be assigning Chairs, tasks, etc.  We’d so appreciate the help!  New to the school?  Come learn about the Gala, timing, and volunteer opportunities - a great way to meet Parker parents. The Gala this year is April 25 at the San Diego Air and Space Museum, in beautiful and historical Balboa Park.  The countdown begins!  Questions?  Contact Gala Chairs Gayle Nuffer and Randie Lettington at pa-galachair@francisparker.org.

                         

Prospective Junior-Kindergarten Parent Presentation

 

This Tuesday, Dr. G., Mrs. Gray and Mrs. Knox will meet with prospective JK parents in the Szekely Auditorium from 8:30-9:30 a.m. to provide an overview about and insights into the junior-kindergarten program at Parker.  Please encourage attendance for anyone you think might be interested in having their children at Parker.

 

Late Start Wednesday


This Wednesday will be a late-start morning for students, as the teachers and staff will be engaged in curriculum work.  Buses will run at their regular times, and the playground will be open and supervised beginning at 7:15 a.m., as usual, however students may choose to arrive as late as 8:55 a.m.

 

Second-Grade Math Morning

 

Mrs. Hayman will be discussing "model drawing" in a presentation to parents this Friday morning in the Szekely Auditorium beginning at 8:15 a.m.  Model drawing allows the students to create pictures of the problems they are trying to solve and thus to greatly extend their understanding of mathematical concepts.  All parents are welcome.

 

Notes From Nurse Maggie

 

During this festive holiday season, all of us can use an extra measure of safety.  Nurse Maggie offers a few food safety tips in this article.

 

Mission Hills Menu

Menu for the week of Dec. 1-5

Posted by ls-newsletter on Saturday November 29 at 11:44AM
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Nov. 17, 2014; Volume #24, Issue #12

Dear Lower School Parents:

 

On behalf of the Lower School Faculty and Staff, I'd like to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.  I'd also like to thank you for your remarkable generosity.  Your contributions of time, talent and treasure in the first third of this school year are too numerous to mention, but we have appreciated each and every kindness.

It's our great pleasure to be able to partner with you in the growth and development of your children.  Your collaboration, commitment and participation are integral to the success of this school community, and I believe them to be what truly sets this school apart.

As we head into the holiday season, our very best wishes for good health, happiness and every success in the balance of this school year for you and your children

Sincerely,

Bob Gillingham

 

Season of Giving

The Season of Giving is approaching, and this year it will begin on Dec. 1.  Following are some of the events that will be included so you can mark your calendars (more details to follow!):
• Book Drive (in conjunction with the Book Fair), Dec. 8-12  
• Dress-down, bbq and hot chocolate sale, Dec. 12.
• Food Drive, Dec. 15-19
• Toys 'R' Us Student Council trip, Dec. 17  
• Holiday dress-down, bake sale* and Sing-Along, Dec. 19.

Sir Readalot’s Castle of Books is 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 kingdom of books. The fair runs Monday, December 8th-Thursday, December 11th , 7:30 am-5 pm and Friday, December 12th, 7:30 am-1 pm in the Scripps Lecture Hall.

To preview the books available at the fair, visit this website:

http://bookfairs.scholastic.com/homepage/francisparkerlowerschool1

Please sign up to volunteer by accessing the Google Doc link below:

http://bit.ly/1tIVNvK

Thank you, and see you at the Fair!

Book Fair Co-Chairs

Junior-Kindergarten Prospective Parent Presentation

This Wednesday morning from 8:30-9:30 a.m., Sara Knox, Bob Gillingham and Heather Gray will share their insights about the Lower School program and community with prospective parents in the Szekely Auditorium.  Any new families (parents only) who would like to know more about the Lower School are more than welcome.

Kinder Feast

On Wednesday, the kindergarten students will enjoy a lunchtime feast to commemorate the first Thanksgiving.  In a near miraculous transformation, tiny SK desks are pulled together, covered and decorated as they become a beautiful harvest table.  The students spend time reflecting on what they are thankful for, and all enjoy a sumptuous feast that they have helped to prepare.

JK Parent Preview

This Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in the Szekely Auditorium, JK parents are invited to view the Junior-Kindergarten Thanksgiving program that will be presented to the grandparents on Grandparents' Day.  This is always a very special event... and for many of the students, the first of many performances they will give at school.  

Pet Day in the Community


Ruth MacPete, the chair of this year's Pet Day, carried Lower School art out into the community, adding another wonderful dimension to this traditional day.  
She writes: "The second grade's fabulous blue dog artwork is officially on display at the San Diego Dept. of Animal Services - 5480 Gaines St. (in Linda Vista) until December. Please come by and check out the amazing artwork (see it here!) and of course check out all the wonderful animals that need a home for the holidays!  Thanks, Ruth

PS - a huge thank you to Michelle Huber for this fabulous idea and Art teacher Margo Sharpe for getting everything laminated!"
Many thanks to everyone associated with Pet Day for helping to make this event an ever more special and meaningful occasion.

Second-Grade Play DVD

Attention 2nd Grade Parents --- If you’d like a DVD of the Coming To America performance on November 7, please order by Friday, November 21, by visiting www.francisparkerdvd.com

Grandparents' Day

Thursday is a big day for grandparents at the Lower School.  Following is the schedule for the day:
JK grandparents' registration from 11:30-11:50
JK program in the Szekely Auditorium beginning at 11:50 a.m.
SK-5 grandparents' registration from 12:15-12:30 pm.
SK-5 program beginning at 1:00 p.m. in the courtyard
Classroom visits by grandparents immediately following the program
The last shuttle for grandparents parked in the neighborhood leaves the Lower School at 3:15 p.m.
Parents are reminded that the Grandparents' Day programs are for grandparents only.  Parents will be treated to the same program the following day.

Thanksgiving Program

The Thanksgiving Program begins at 1 p.m. in the Lower School courtyard
Please note that there is no Quick Pick Up this coming Thursday or Friday (or any program day).

End of First Third of School Year

This Friday marks the end of the first third of the school year with vacation following.  School resumes on Monday, Dec. 1.

Lower School Lunch Menu

Posted by ls-newsletter on Saturday November 15 at 04:56PM
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Nov. 10, 2014; Vol. #24, Issue #11

 

Dear Lower School Parents:

 

Heather Gray, our Lower School Assistant Head, and I spent much of our time over the last week or so meeting with the Lower School faculty to talk about goals they've set for themselves for this school year.  And though we've touched on a wide range of topics including literacy, math, student collaboration, and design thinking, Heather and I couldn't help but notice, yet again, a resounding theme. 

At one point, I found myself so enthralled by what a teacher was saying that I literally got chills up my spine (in a good way!).  Lower School teachers are so remarkably passionate about their work, and it's that very inspired collective approach that has allowed us to change our teaching and the students' learning over the last few years.

These days, teachers are talking about how to help the students think more clearly, more deeply and more independently.  We've shifted from "getting through the curriculum" to meeting students' individual needs and advancing them from wherever they happen to be.

As one of the meetings progressed, I was as captivated and engaged as the teacher's students must be daily as she described her striving to know more about each of her students so she could help each of them to advance.  It's a sometimes frustrating process, as it can be difficult to tease out just what each student needs to thrive.  Yet, it's our focus at the Lower School, and we're thrilled to see it manifesting in greater engagement, understanding and joy in learning, not just for our students but for teachers and staff as well.

Sincerely,

Bob Gillingham

 

Simple Machines

 

Our fifth-graders have been exploring scientific and physical concepts by building simple machines.  Their creations will be on display in the Szekely Auditorium this Tuesday in the Szekely Auditorium from 1:30-2:30 p.m.  Come on by and see the Design Thinking process in action!

 

Parent Coffees

 

Third-Grade Parents are invited to join Dr. G., Mrs. Gray and Mrs. Knox for a parent coffee this week in the Szekely Auditorium on Wednesday from 8:20- 9:00 a.m. (rescheduled from an earlier date).

Please note that the first-grade coffee, originally scheduled for this coming Friday, has been moved to Dec. 10.

During the coffee, parents will be treated to visual tours of the students' days, and Bob, Sara and Heather will share insights about the students and program.  Join us if you can!

 

BBQ/Dress-Down Day

 

This Friday, we'll all enjoy a bbq and dress-down day!  Students may wear clothing appropriate for all of their activities (including p.e.), and parents are more than welcome to join us at the barbeque during their children's regular lunch times.

 

Season of Giving News

 

This year we'll begin our Season of Giving * on December 1.  In the past we have collected canned food during November to donate to food banks at Thanksgiving.  However, understanding that there is a critical food shortage right after Thanksgiving, we're shifting our food drive to the middle of December (details coming in a few weeks).

*For those of you who have not experienced the Lower School’s Season of Giving: The Season of Giving is a combination of small student-council organized fundraising activities (for money and donations "in kind”) set throughout the holiday season in order to emphasize charitable giving and enhance our kids’ opportunity to help others in our community. These activities often include a canned food drive, a used book drive, a new toy drive, a hot chocolate sale and a bake sale.

 

Lower School Menu

Menu for the week of November 10-14

 

 

Posted by ls-newsletter on Saturday November 8
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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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Mission Hills Campus
Lower School
4201 Randolph St.
San Diego, CA 92103
619.298.9110
  Linda Vista Campus
Middle/Upper School
6501 Linda Vista Rd.
San Diego, CA 92111
858.569.7900


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