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Lower School Blog


Week of Dec. 5, Vol. 21, Issue 14,

Dear Parents:


Most days I'm privileged to meet with one grade level to discuss the current letter of STRIVE and to share a story that might reinforce the meaning of that letter.  As scheduled, 5th grade ("B" day) follows my meeting with senior kindergarten ("A" day), and I'm always struck by the difference.

Last week, we focused on the "V" in STRIVE (value school rules, your heritage, and personal responsibility), and for SK, I read a story about how a cast-off elf and reindeer find each other, capitalize on the wisdom and experience of each other, and collaboratively resolve their problem.  For 5th grade, I read a story about a young boy who, though initially put off by his grandmother's fading memory, comes to see and appreciate her through his mother's eyes.

Reading to 60 SK students can be challenging, and getting and keeping their collective attention requires thespian qualities, superb peripheral vision, and most importantly, very compelling material. Truly you have to be quick, sharp and... pity the poor soul who takes questions.

By contrast, last week our 5th grade arrived, sat, and instantly focused on what I had to say.  When I asked them questions about what I had read, they answered thoughtfully, and the audience listened respectfully, avoiding their tendency at a younger age to launch into personal narratives.

This engagement, honed by age, maturity and the thousand interactions these older students have had with teachers and parents, is more apparent to me now than ever before, and it's not limited to the classroom.  I've noticed that as our curriculum has changed and students are being challenged to apply what they've learned in projects and to cooperate and work collaboratively, this more thoughtful behavior is spilling over into all aspects of their lives.

My respect for this community continues to grow, and more than ever... I respect those who choose to teach kindergarten!


Bob Gillingham

Dress-down day and BBQ

There is a dress-down day and BBQ this Friday.


Student Council

Student council elections will take place this Friday following speeches at flagraising by 5th-grade students hoping to be our next LS president.


To the Book Fair and Beyond...


The book fair will be held this week in the Scripps Lecture Hall.  Blast over to our space-themed book fair to see all of the great books and related items.

As part of our Season of Giving, a wonderful way to participate in the book fair this year is to donate books to students at Kit Carson Elementary School through Scholastic’s One for Books program.   Students and parents may purchase their favorite books to donate and place them in a collection bin at the book fair.  Additionally, we will collect donations of spare change (and up) in One for Books boxes located at the book fair registers.  At the end of the fair, Mrs. Brae will select more books for the Kit Carson students with the combined One for Books change donations.  Scholastic will match every $1 donation from Francis Parker to One for Books, with the donation of 1 book to Scholastic’s charities - Tots, Kids in Need, and Kids in Distressed Situations.  Meanwhile, Parker receives credit for future book purchases for every donation.  One for Books is a WIN-WIN-WIN opportunity for Parker students, Kit Carson students, and underprivileged kids!

Book Fair Hours

Monday 12/5 - 7:30am-5:00pm
Tuesday 12/6 – 7:30am-5:00pm
Wednesday 12/7 -7:30am-6:00pm
Thursday 12/8 - 7:30am-5:00pm
Friday 12/9 -7:30am-1:00pm

Volunteers Needed!

We still need help from many volunteers to fill 1-2 hour shifts at the book fair, especially the busy ones before and after school.  If you would like to volunteer or have questions, please contact the co-chairs Caroline Coats and Elizabeth Carey at pa-bookfair@k12.francisparker.org.

See you at the book fair!


Season of Giving

This year's theme: "You are a star! Change the World wherever you are!"

You'll see stars all over campus as our students share their artistic impressions with the community to brighten our holidays. Stars will also appear on placemats the students will create for donation to the Meals on Wheels program.

Grade-level themes are:

1st Grade- Oil Pastel in the style of artist Wassily Kandinky's  "Concentric Circles"
2nd Grade- Oil Pastel simulating Stained Glass Art
3rd Grade- Collage in the style of artist Henri Matisse's "Cut Outs"
4th Grade-  Line design and watercolor (inspired by Op Art)
5th Grade- Mixed media in the style of Peter Max

The Kidz USA Rady Children's Hospital Toy Drive begins this week, running through Thusday, December 15.  New, unwrapped toys will be collected in boxes in front of the office and delivered to the hospital on Dec. 16.  The Lower School student council will be traveling to Toys 'R' Us this Friday to purchase additional toys with the funds they have raised in bake, hot chocolate and lemonade sales.


Parent/Teacher conferences take place this week Tuesday through Thursday.  Teachers have requested that everyone is punctual so that everyone's scheduled times can be honored.

 Parker Robotics

The first annual Robotics Fest, dubbed the "Jingle Bell Rockin' Robots," will be held on Dec 9., from 3-6 p.m. in the Gooding Patio, the science rooms and the Scripps Lecture Hall on the Lower School campus.

Organizers have created this time for the robotics teams on both campuses to celebrate one another!
•    The WARLords will demonstrate their robot Ivan and Feador the mini-bot.
•    The US students will hold a tournamant for the FLL (First Lego League).
•    The Jr. FLL will showcase their creations.  
•    We will have a buddy build, teaming up builders from all the divisions at Parker.

In addition to all things robotics, pizza and lemonade will be available to the students and teachers involved.  Come join the fun!

Lower School Menu December 5-9, 2011

Mon.                French Bread Pizza

                        Squash Medley

                        Pb & j, Chicken Salad Sandwich On Wheat Bread

                        Garden Salad & Caesar Salad

                        Italian Wedding Soup

                        Fresh Fruit & Yogurt

                        Grape Juice

Tues.                Beef Tacos

                        Refried Beans

                        Spanish Rice

                        Nacho Bar

                        Pb & j, Tuna Salad Torta

                        Garden Salad

                        Vegetable Chowder

                        Fresh Fruit & Yogurt

                        Grape Juice

Wed.                Macaroni & Cheese


                        Pb & j, Roast Beef Sandwich On Wheat Bread

                        Garden Salad

                        Mushroom & Barley Soup

                        Fresh Fruit & Yogurt

                        Grape Juice

Thurs.              Cracker Crusted Chicken

                        Mashed Potatoes

                        Scalloped Corn

                        Pb & j, Egg Salad Sandwich On Wheat Bread

                        Garden Salad

                        Vegetable Soup

                        Fresh Fruit & Yogurt

                        Grape Juice

Fri.                   B.B.Q. On Patio

Thoughts to Ponder


In this age of high-tech wizardry and countless gadgets, sometimes it's nice to get back to the basics.  Check out this NY Times article on a decidedly low-tech way to stimulate creativity and problem solving.

Posted by on Friday December, 2, 2011 at 02:26PM


Choose groups to clone to:

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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San Diego, CA 92103
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