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Lower School E-News Blog

Mar. 3, 2014; Vol.#23, Issue #23


Dear Lower School Parents:


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

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

June 16–June 20      

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

June 23–July 11       

Academic Enrichment and Advancement Session I

July 14–Aug. 1          

Academic Enrichment and Advancement Session II

July 14–July 19        

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

July 21–July 26        

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



Bob Gillingham

Lower School Survey

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


Learning Center (take two!)

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

Lower School Program



Spring Music Fest

Resending Letty Robinson's message to parents:

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

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

6:00 15-minute Intermission & Audience Change

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

Lost and Found 


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

Parent Education Topic

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

Lower School Menu



Posted by ls-newsletter on Saturday March 1 at 11:22AM
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Feb. 24, 2014; Vol.#23, Issue # 22


Dear Lower School Parents:


Welcome back!  I sincerely hope you were able to enjoy some less-structured time with your families last week.  Our beautiful San Diego weather certainly cooperated, and watching the news reminded me again why we moved west many years ago.

As mentioned in an earlier newsletter, we'll be conducting a Lower School satisfaction survey to learn more about how we're doing through your eyes.  On Monday, I'll send a link to a simple survey that will give us greater insights into what you think we're doing well and where we could improve.  The instrument will have 30 questions with multiple choice answers, but every question (other than the first) will also allow for comments.

I'll keep the survey open for 7-10 days, and I'd encourage all of you to participate.  Your feedback will help us to improve everything we're doing for the benefit of our students and school community.


On a related note, I'd like to thank you for your patience as we've worked to make our progress reporting as authentic as possible.  Many of you have noticed that our reporting procedures and format have changed several times over the last few years. Please know that the root cause is our dogged determination to share with you information which reflects not only everything your child is doing at school but also our teachers' keen understanding of them as individual students.

This year, we moved the conferences to October to forge stronger parent-teacher communication much earlier on, and that seemed to work really well.  However, it essentially derailed our trimester reporting, as report cards would have gone out just a few weeks hence.  As a faculty, we decided to shift to much more comprehensive narratives, allowing for the considerable time to write them, and that moved our timeline to January and what is essentially semester reporting.  Conferences will be held as necessary between now and June, but you can expect the same rich narratives at the end of the year.

We're still working to find the best method to convey your child's progress in special classes, unavoidably complicated by the great number of contacts many of these teachers have (e.g., 430 students in p.e.).  Currently, you can expect that: 1) the teachers will have current information about their classes posted on my weekly newsletter; 2) the teachers will be in communication with you if your child is not meeting expectations in their classes; and 3) your child's progress will be reflected numerically, accompanied by a comment to explain any underachieving or exceptional progress.   


Bob Gillingham  


Lower School Curriculum


Find out what's happening in your child's regular and special classes by following this link!


Spring Music Fest

The Spring Music Fest is coming up soon and we're hoping the event introduces a new and exciting tradition. This March 6th, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the Lower School musicians will be performing in Crivello Hall on the Linda Vista campus.  Because the seating capacity is roughly 225 and we regularly have many more attendees at our programs, we're dividing the program into three parts.
The 1st and 2nd-grade students and the 3rd-5th grade chorus will perform from 5:30-6:00 p.m. When they're finished performing, they may leave with their parents for the evening, helping us to clear the hall for subsequent performers and their parents.  After a 15-minute intermission, our band and recorder musicians will perform from 6:15-35, then they and their parents will also depart for the evening.  Finally, after a 10-minute intermission, the strings performers will take the stage until roughly 7:30 p.m.  Of course, anyone with children in multiple groups is more than welcome to stay.
Please plan on arriving at Crivello Hall with your child 30 minutes prior to their performance.
We see having to clear the hall as a good problem, as the music program is thriving at the Lower School.  However, we also appreciate your patience and understanding as we venture into this new performing venue, and we hope you're amply rewarded.


Student Leadership Across the Divisions

On Tuesday of this week, the Lower School Student Council will travel to the Middle and Upper Schools to meet with student leaders on those campuses.  Together, they'll be planning and organizing a "Kindness Week" that will take place later this year.  This is the first time the 3 divisions have collaborated in this way, and we're anticipating many similar opportunities in the future.

Language and Culture Week Thankyou Breakfast

On Thursday, all Language and Culture volunteers (and there were many!) are invited to the Scripps Lecture Hall for a special thankyou breakfast beginning at 8:00 a.m.  The week proved to be a wonderful success, and we're most grateful for everyone's help, creativity and enthusiasm.

Lower School Learning Center

The Lower School Learning Center is available after school to students in grades four and five.
The center provides support for students at these levels in the approach to learning, study skills, organization for writing and studying, non-fiction reading strategies and more.  Click on the Learning Center link to learn more about the teachers, the program and resources available for all students.

Parent Mixer

This Friday, there will be a 3rd-grade parent mixer from 6-7:30 p.m.  Parents at this grade level (no children, please) are invited to socialize, have some food and drink, and enjoy the company of parents of the Class of 2023.       

Lower School Menu

Posted by ls-newsletter on Saturday February 22 at 10:38AM
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Feb. 10, 2014; Vol.# 23; Issue # 21


Dear Lower School Parents:


A special thank you to the many parent volunteers who helped to make Language and Culture Week a success,  but especially coordinators Romina Kelly and Gloria Mayora, who spent countless hours organizing the event.  Additionally, the teachers who altered their schedules and gave up their classrooms, the students who so enthusiastically embraced everything they were exposed to, and our foreign language teachers who arranged for so many wonderful speakers and presentations.  It was a wonderful week, and everyone was elevated by the rich array of sensory experiences from around the world.

The Lower School program has undergone many changes over the last few years including our foreign language and music classes, our literacy and math approaches, our communication with you, and the addition of associate teachers.  Recently, we've been looking at additional ways to challenge and inspire our students by visiting and studying forward thinking institutions who have been exploring avenues for extending students' thinking, and we'll be looking at how to incorporate some of these ideas for the benefit of our students over the next few months.  

In the meantime, we'd like to see what you think of everything we've done, and particularly, how those changes have affected you and your children.  Shortly after we return from the break, we'll be sending a Lower School-specific survey to gather your thoughts.  Once tabulated, we'll report the findings to you and leverage the information in making the division even more responsive to students' and families' needs.

Best wishes to all of you for a restful, fulfilling break, and we'll see you back here on Feb. 24.


Bob Gillingham


Polling Site

Next Tuesday, the Lower School will serve as a polling site for our mayoral election. Votes may be cast in the Scripps Lecture Hall from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Dress-Down Day


This Friday is a dress-down day with a Valentine's purpose.  We'll all have a little fun just prior to the break.


Hot Chocolate Sale

This coming Friday, the senior kindergarten will host a hot chocolage sale before school to raise funds for saving Koalas and their habitats.  Having made major inroads into saving Vaquitas (a type of whale) last year, their turning their sights to yet another endangered species.  Come on out, enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate (for $1), and help to save the Koalas!

DVD Reminder


You may order a DVD of the first grade play “Fairy Tale Forest” performed in the auditorium on January 31, 2014 by visiting www.francisparkerdvd.com


Notes from Nurse Maggie:

There have been several cases of conjunctivitis on campus recently. Conjunctivitis, commonly called pink eye, is an inflammation of the membrane that that lines the eyelids and extends over the whites of the eyes. The most common causes of conjunctivitis are infections caused by viruses or bacteria, allergies, chemical exposure or irritants such as dirt or foreign bodies. Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis may be transmitted by contact with eye discharge, touching contaminated items and then touching the eye or as a result of an upper respiratory infection. Bacterial conjunctivitis may affect one or both eyes and there may be a yellow or green discharge from the eye. The eye is red and painful and may be crusted shut, especially upon wakening. There is generally no itching. This is a contagious condition that must be treated with three consecutive doses of antibiotic eye drops as directed by your health care provider prior to the student returning to school. Viral conjunctivitis usually starts in one eye (but may spread to both) and is characterized by pink, swollen, watery eyes with minimal itching. Students may experience sensitivity to light. The student is contagious before onset of symptoms and remains contagious until symptoms are gone. There is no treatment for viral conjunctivitis and the student needs to stay home until symptoms are gone, usually 3 to 5 days. Allergic conjunctivitis presents with itchy, burning, red and tearing eyes and is usually in both eyes. Usually, other allergy symptoms are present, such as runny nose, itchy ears and sneezing. This condition is not contagious and can be treated with antihistamines and allergy eye drops. Chemical conjunctivitis presents with red, watery eyes that occur after exposure to an irritant, often swimming. Chemical conjunctivitis can be soothed with cool or warm compresses or may need to be flushed with water for fifteen minutes. It is recommended that a healthcare provider should evaluate all cases of conjunctivitis, especially if the condition worsens. Please contact me with any questions at mwest@francisparker.org or at 619-717-0235.


Lower School Menu

Menu for the Week of February 10

Posted by ls-newsletter on Friday February 7 at 01:52PM
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Feb. 3, 2014; Vol.#23, Issue #20

Dear Lower School Parents:


Language and Culture Week is always much anticipated, and it has become one of our most treasured events.  This week-long exposure to a rich array of cultural artifacts, foods from around the globe, languages, geography, games, traditions, clothing and universal smiles opens everyone's eyes to the beauty and wonder of this amazing world.  

It's our great hope that the activities, displays and presentations which compose the week whet the collective appetite of children and adults alike: 1) to explore and know more about this phenomenal sphere we call Earth, and 2) to continue to build an appreciation for and acceptance of the people who inhabit it.

Please join us if you can.


Bob Gillingham


Language and Culture Week

Students wearing Language and Culture shirts from any year are welcome to dress down the entire week (including bottoms).  Jerseys representing specific countries and traditional cultural outfits are also fine, but whatever is worn must allow for full participation in all regular school activities including p.e. all LC t-shirts, jerseys from other countries or a traditional outfit.  

Schedule of activities (also available in the link above):

Monday- Opening Ceremony (flagraising)

Welcome to everyone by Dr. G and children

Indian Dance by FP students

Spanish song performed by JK students

Chinese song performed by Chinese students

Narrative set to music (students)

Flag parade with FP students

In-Class Speakers (foreign language classes)

Lunch time: Afro-Cuban Performance

PE: Karate by Eagle Martial Arts La Jolla


In-Class Speakers (foreign language classes)

Lunch Time: Indian Performance

PE: Yoga


Food Festival in the Courtyard (11:00am -1:00pm) 

In-Class Speakers (foreign language classes)

Lunch Time: Bagpiper & Scottish Highland Dance

PE: Hard core training


In-Class Speakers (foreign language classes)

Lunch Time: Mexican Folkloric Dance

PE: Zumba


8:30am- 1:30pm Immersion Day

2:00 pm Closing Ceremony

Polynesian Performance

Fashion Show

Chorus presentation and sing-along


Admissions Testing

The last Lower School admisions testing will take place this coming Saturday for prospective junior-kindergarten through fourth-grade students beginning at 8:30 a.m. 

Lower School Menu

Posted by ls-newsletter on Friday January 31 at 06:53PM
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Jan. 27, 2014; Vol. #23, Issue #19

Dear Lower School Parents:


What happens for children in our Lower School classrooms continues to thrill and amaze me.  Program changes made over the last few years are helping the kids to think more critically, to be more adept in applying the skills they've learned, and to solve problems in many and varied ways.  

However, much of the students' learning takes place beyond the classroom in an abundance of settings ranging from the informality of the playground to the serious responsibility of being Squires and representing the school in admissions events.  

Over the course of the students' time with us at the Lower School, a stretch of education that might be the longest they'll ever experience, the kids are exposed to a rich array of organized and more casual events and activities that will help to shape how they interact with others and how they'll approach, consider and render decisions about the many choices they'll face.  

From tentatively saying goodbye to mom and dad on the first anxious day of junior kindergarten, to participating nervously in their first dramatic production, to holding the microphone while speaking confidently to over 500 people as presidential candidates, a most miraculous transformation takes place within the nurturing walls of the Lower School campus... much of it beyond the classroom, and all of it so crucial to the development of these exceptional little people.

While defining the magic of the Lower School remains elusive, the evidence is abundant.


Bob Gillingham


Chinese New Year Goodie-bag Sale

Please join us on Friday morning, January 31, to celebrate Chinese New Year and welcome the year of horse.  You will also have a chance to get a goodie-bag ($3) filled with traditional Chinese New Year snacks and a good luck red envelope.  The money will be used to help out a charity organization "The Storefront", San Diego's only emergency shelter program for the homeless, runaway and "street" youth, who can access the shelter with or without referral and be assured a safe place to stay.


Free Lower School SOCCER CLINIC


In an effort to create an all school Parker soccer event, we'd like to invite your child to a one day soccer clinic. 

 Come join the Parker varsity boys' and girls' soccer programs for a free soccer skills clinic and then stick around and celebrate Senior Night by watching the 6:00 boys' game versus divisional rival, The Pruess School. 

  WHEN: Saturday, 2/1/14 - 3:30-5:30 pm (Varsity game @ 6:00 pm)

 WHERE: Francis Parker Upper School Soccer Field - 6501 Linda Vista Road San Diego, 92111

 WHY: To promote school spirit and excitement for Parker soccer

 WHO: All elementary ages (JK-5th grade)

 COST: Free - Just please complete this google form so we get an accurate count  


Athletes Saving Athletes

Remi Mooney (Class of 2015) writes:

Hi there!

... I am a junior this year and have volunteered to be the Francis Parker liaison for Athletes Saving Athletes... Athletes Saving Athletes (ASA) is a nonprofit organization that teaches athletes (and anyone else who is interested) how to perform CPR and other life saving techniques... In order to bridge the gap between having life saving trainers on campus as opposed to not, ASA teaches students how to not only treat injuries, but also how to spot and prevent further injuries from happening. Students CAN save lives.
...there is a fundraiser coming up on March 2nd that will help ASA continue to do all of the fantastic things that they do. There is going to be a classic walk/jogathon at Cathedral Catholic High School on their track field... At the event, they will be having free CPR teaching sessions, media coverage, and food trucks. Tickets range from $20-30, depending on when you register.
It would mean a lot to me (and to ASA!) if you would please help spread the word around your campus(es). Not only would students be supporting a great organization, but also learning life saving skills that they can use on any given day.
Where to register (copy and paste into your browser) : 
The home website (where to learn more about ASA and its mission) : 

Second-Grade Math Morning

This Monday morning, Mrs. Behrens and Mrs. Gray will be demonstrating more about our Singapore math program: Math in Focus.  These interactive sessions have been very well-attended and received, and everyone is invited (you don't have to have a second-grader).  The morning will give you a much better understanding of this program, and you'll leave with some new skills, well-primed to help your children.

Inter-campus Student Council Effort

The Middle and Upper School ASB representatives will join the Lower School student council this coming Tuesday in a joint meeting to discuss the creation of a Kindness Week.  Later in the year, the LS student council will travel to the Linda Vista campus to finalize plans for this inaugural event.

Symphonic News

The 3rd-4th graders will travel to Symphony Hall this coming Wednesday for a special program put on for schools by the San Diego Symphony.  Over the years, the students' appreciation for music and awareness of our cultural treasures has greatly benefited from these excursions.    


Exciting Events on Friday

The fifth graders will be taking on the roles of colonists this coming Friday as they dress the part and rotate through parent-designed and manned booths, activities and games typical of the Colonial period.

The senior-kindergarten students will enjoy a senior/kinder buddy lunch on the Linda Vista campus.

The Robotics' students will showcase their work for parents in the Scripps Lecture Hall beginning at 3:00 p.m.
The first graders will present the Fairytale Forest this Thursday for students and Friday at 1:30 p.m. in the Szekely Auditorium for parents.

Afterschool Dance Survey

If you haven't had a chance to participate and would like to, please complete this very brief survey on the desire for an afterschool dance program:

JK Winter Program DVD

Reminder to JK parents---You may order a DVD of the JK Winter Program performed in the auditorium on January 17, 2013 by visiting www.francisparkerdvd.com


Notes from Nurse Maggie

The flu season is here!  Read more about it in this article.

Lower School Menu

Posted by ls-newsletter on Saturday January 25 at 03:44PM
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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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Lower School Calendar

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Lower School
4201 Randolph St.
San Diego, CA 92103
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Middle/Upper School
6501 Linda Vista Rd.
San Diego, CA 92111

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