This week is Homecoming Week, a Parker event that has grown in significance over the last few years by offering something for everyone. Our youngest students often focus on the cheerleaders who put on a special second flagraising replete with abundant spirit or perhaps the football players who visit during lunch recess and are mobbed by their adoring young fans. Our teachers often focus on former students, marveling at how much they've grown physically, emotionally and socially since the time they called the Mission Hills campus their home. Our Lower School parents tend to focus on their children, adorned in spirit wear, giggling and joyous, perhaps participating in one of the shortest but most endearing parades you'll ever see, and relishing the chance to experience the much larger and very exciting Linda Vista campus. And I just love hearing and seeing the Lower School band that plays the Wisconsin fight song with great determination and surprising accuracy, just a few weeks into the school year. You may hear a cacophony... but I hear a symphony!
Whatever draws you to this special Parker tradition, you can't help but notice the delightful array of Lower, Middle and Upper School families and employees, all having fun together in a place that truly serves or once served them as a second home for so many hours of their lives.
If you haven't been to a Parker Homecoming, plan to make this your first of many. You'll feel the warm embrace of the community, and you'll know it's a place to which you can always come home.
Student Council News
Since flag raising will be on Tuesday next week, we have had to move the student council meeting to Wednesday morning at 8:00am in Senora Herold's classroom.
Happy Homecoming Week
Just a reminder that this is “Dress Down in Spirit Wear” week! Tuesday thru Friday you can wear your spirit wear from this year or any past years or brown and gold!
Wednesday during lunch recess come by the auditorium and bring your best “clowning around” skills and try out for the Pep Rally and/or the half time show during the big game!
Friday, the 17th, at 8:15am will be our annual Homecoming pep rally! Make sure to bring your Parker Spirit to cheer on our very own upper school cheerleaders and see our lower school band perform! Plus a lunch time visit from our Parker Football team!
Parker’s Homecoming Game will be at the upper school on Saturday the 18th! The fun zone will open at 11am along with the food booths. The Lower School parade will begin at 12:30 p.m., and all Lower School students are welcome to participate. Additionally, at 1 p.m., just before the game, the Lower School Chorus will sing the national anthem.
We could still use some help with the fun zone, so click on this link to sign up for 1 hour of fun zone help!
School resumes Tuesday, October 14, an "E" day, after a four-day break.
Conferences will be held this week on Wednesday through Friday afternoon. Students' afternoon schedules will be altered to allow their classroom teachers to meet with parents. Special teachers will be taking the opportunity to implement Design Thinking with the students, introducing innovative projects and activities.
Parents are invited to join Dr. G., Mrs. Gray and Mrs. Knox this Friday at 8:15 a.m. in the Szekely Auditorium to see what a typical day in the life of a third grader looks like and to learn a few insights into children at this grade level.
I experienced a glorious moment this week when I was invited to watch our fifth graders attempt to make fire using wood bows, rods and "birds' nests," a collection of very combustible twigs, etc. (Yes, I did say "fire," but I must assure you that this carefully-crafted lesson provides an amazing learning window for our students, a project-based survival unit through which they experience and learn about various regions around our country.) First, a very sweaty and smoke-scented John Heilman (our upper grades science teacher) presented himself in the office to say that the kids had tried very hard but could produce only smoke (and copious amounts of it) but no fire. He has been trying to demonstrate this skill for several years, but actual fire had somehow eluded him and his students. Bowed (so to speak) but not broken, John soldiered on, and I learned that the he and his students from another fifth-grade class would be making another attempt the next afternoon. In the purest form of Design Thinking, the class had noticed the essential need for fire were they to survive, had focused on what needed to be done, then brainstormed various ways to create fire before designing and creating the tools and setting necessary to succeed. Initially, and for several subsequent attempts (tests), they failed! However, they studied what hadn't worked, iterated a better solution, and tried and tried again.
Finally, they learned that their tools could be modified slightly to create more friction, and they set up another attempt. This time, 2 students shared the bowing duties, another held the rod steady, and Mr. Heilman, with eyes the size of saucer pans focused so hard on the action that I suspect it might have been his gaze rather than the tools that began to create increasingly large amounts of smoke. At the critical point, the bowing stopped, the smoking wood fragments were moved into the birds' nest and a tiny wisp of smoke was evident. Mr. Heilman began to blow on it ever so gently, his excitement level climbing by the moment. The kids moved closer, the smoke grew darker, the tiny ember grew redder and soon you could barely see the birds' nest. At last, in one thrilling moment, the smoke burst into flame and given the kids' and Mr. Heilman's reactions, you'd think they'd won the lottery.
No one present then will ever forget that hard-won moment, and we'll all strive at the Lower School to attain that same level of complete engagement and joy in authentic, experiential learning in our students.
There won't be any school for students from Oct. 10-13. The faculty will be meeting this Friday to work on curriculum and instruction, and the following Monday is a holiday. Classes will resume on Tuesday, October 14, an "E" day.
This coming Thursday, we celebrate one of the longest-held traditions at Parker, Pet Day. Boys and girls in grade one through five can bring in their caged pets (Szekely Auditorium) or dogs (playground) to share beginning at 7 a.m., though they must bid them adieu by 9:30 a.m. Dogs must be supervised by parents, and students must remain with their furry friends for the duration.
If you haven't witnessed this much-cherished event, come on by and see for yourselves the strong bonds between the kids (and parents) and their pets.
Given the range of supervisorial duties that day, it will be a dress-down day for everyone.
Later that afternoon, Dr. Cynthia Smith, always a favorite with the kids, will present on some of the mammals for which she provides care and training.
Parents' Association General Meeting
This Monday, there will be a Parents' Association General Meeting in the Szekely Auditorium beginning at 8:30 a.m. Guest speakers will be the Heads of the 3 Divisions, who will give you their insights about what is happening and planned fro at each of the campuses.
Picture Make-Up Day
Picture Make-Up Day will be held this coming Wednesday from noon to 3 p.m.
Thank you for showing your Parker Spirit with the purchase of your spirit wear items! We are excited to see the students wearing their spirit wear to school, supporting their Lancer team the week of October 14-17th! Be sure and show your Parker Pride by wearing spirit wear to Homecoming on October 18th. Your items will be available for pick up before and after school on Pet Day, October 9th in front of the school.
We will be holding auditions on Wednesday October 15th during Lunch for the LS Pep Rally performance and Homecoming half-time show for grades 1-5. Children that are planning on attending Homecoming and interested in participating in the half-time show orFriday’s Pep-Rally should go to the auditorium during lunch, wearing your best circus outfit and show off any circus skills you would like to showcase!
We still need lots of help in the Fun Zone so PLEASE click on this link to sign up for a one-hour shift!
Do you have a curious boy - or would you like to promote interest and enthusiasm for Science at an early age? Please explore the Boys Science Club for 3rd through 5th Grade Boys. If your son is interested in joining this year's after-school Boys Science Club, please come to an informational meeting on Thursday, October 9th at 3:30 in Mr. Heilman’s Lab. Interested students should plan to attend and parents are strongly encouraged. If you or your son are unable to attend the meeting but are interested in finding out more information about the program, please contact Kerri Gutekunst: Kerri@Gutekunst.com
Notes From Nurse Maggie
This article discusses Parker's Medication Policy. If you have any questions, please contact Maggie West at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“California Education Code Section 49423 allows a Registered Nurse or other designated (by administration) staff member to assist students who are required to take medication during the school day. This service is provided to enable the student to remain in school, or to maintain or improve his/her potential for education and learning.” Please note that:
Medication, including over the counter medication, must be kept in the health center or in the division-specified school office.
If a student requires prescription medication that will be taken at school, the medication must be provided by the parent in the original prescription bottle with the child’s name, medication name, dosage, directions for administering the medication and the route.
There are specific forms that must be completed by parents and student’s primary health care provider allowing school staff to administer prescription medications while on campus. Please contact Nurse Maggie or staff in your division office for a copy of these forms.
Students who have life-threatening health conditions, such as asthma, anaphylaxis and diabetes, are allowed to carry medication for those conditions on their person with parent/guardian approval. Please let the nurse know if your student is carrying medication for these conditions. We also ask that “back-up” medication be kept in the designated school office in case of emergency.
All other medications, including over the counter medications, must be administered in your student’s designated health center.
If you send in over the counter medication for your student to receive during the school day, please send it in the original container with a signed note stating your student’s name, the medication needed, the dose and the time you’d like that medication administered to your student. Please also let us know if you’d like us to keep the medication or send it home with your student.
Under no condition is a student to self-administer medications, have medication with them without the school’s knowledge or share any kind of medication with other students.
This week was considerably calmer (and cooler) than last week, and as I visited classrooms throughout the campus, I could see that everyone was settling in nicely. I continued to see teachers at all levels challenging our students to think, often posing thoughtful questions to stimulate additional reflection, but on many occasions, requesting different solutions to problems that had already been solved.
As an elementary student, this sort of exercise would have been quite unsettling for me. I had been well-trained to respond in a prescribed way to questions already written on sheets of paper mimeographed hundreds of times. When I got the right answer, the one the teacher already knew, I got a plus. And if I got enough pluses, I'd get an A+. I worked hard for those grades, and they came to define my school experience. In fact, my friends and I measured our success not so much by how much we knew, but instead by our GPAs.
One of our goals at the Lower School is to capture and nurture the natural tendency of our students to learn by engaging them in authentic opportunities to explore and discover. Additionally, we hope to instill in all of them the perseverance necessary to follow through when the going gets tough so that they can experience true growth and the fulfillment that comes with greater understanding.
We've had a film crew on campus from time to time this year, searching for shots that might illustrate the 21st-century learning we've held up as our goal. To the teachers' credit, the film crew remarked that everywhere they turned they found examples of legitimately-engaged students compelled to learn for learning's sake and presumably not because they were thrilled at the prospect of filling in yet another xeroxed sheet.
In the coming months, we'll give you a chance to see through your own lenses what the photographers saw through theirs.
First-Grade Math Morning
Heather Gray, our resident Singapore Math specialist, will be presenting the ins and outs of our first-grade math program this coming Tuesday morning in the Considine Library beginning at 8:15 a.m. Heather has been essential to our students' and teachers' understanding of this program, and she'll give you insights to deepen your own.
Late Start This Wednesday
This coming Wednesday, all three school divisions will have a late start. Teachers will be meeting from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m., discussing ways to make the academic program even more engaging for students.
Buses will run at the same times, and the playground will be open at the same time, so children may be dropped off at their regular times for supervision on the playground. However, those choosing to sleep in a bit may arrive at school as late as 9:00 a.m. when the first bell will ring.
Fourth-Grade Parent Coffee
Dr. G, Mrs. Gray, Mrs. Knox and the Afterschool Learning team will host a coffee this coming Friday morning in the Szekely Auditorium. They'll address the fourth-grade program and students, and share some insights about this grade level. Join us if you can, and bring your questions and curiosity.
One of them, The Bright Idea Society , is an opportunity for STEM clubs or classrooms to submit an idea for a program from concept phase to inception. The SDFSE’s Education Committee will choose a winning group from each of the elementary, middle, and high school levels. The winners will each be awarded a $500 educational stipend for materials and supplies to bring their project to fruition. In addition, they will receive the opportunity to present their final project at the 2015 EXPO Day, which takes place on March 21st at PETCO Park as the grand finale of Festival Week.
“Homecoming T-shirt Sales have begun! Dr. G. has graciously granted a dress-down week for the ENTIRE week of Homecoming! That means Tuesday thru Friday, October 14-17, you can dress down if you wear Spirit wear (or brown and gold) from this year (or past year’s!) Don’t miss out on these fun and stylish products that help support our Lower School! We have T-shirts and jackets for all ages and sizes, hats, blankets and more!!
This year we are offering PRE-SALE ONLY, there will be no same day product sales. So come check out the samples and order what you like! We will be in front of the school Mon-Wed-Fri before and after school. CHECKS AND CASH ONLY, PAYMENT MUST BE MADE AT TIME OF ORDER. ALL ORDERS MUST BE IN NO LATER THAN OCTOBER 3, 2014.”
HALLOWEEN CARNIVAL HELP WANTED: OCT 31, 2014
THE HALLOWEEN CARNIVAL 2014 IS COMING! THE CARNIVAL WILL BE HELD ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31ST FROM 1-4PM. WE WILL NEED EVERYONE'S HELP! THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS ALREADY VOLUNTEERED SO FAR. WE ARE STILL IN NEED OF THE FOLLOWING:
Volunteers for general setup and decorating, clean up and booth shifts. Check out your class’s google doc sign ups to see what shifts still need to be covered, or contact the Halloween co-chairs Noelle Ludwig & Julie Turner.
We are in need of help with one of our funnest carnival traditions, the Hay Ride! If anyone has access to a tractor with a wagon or old truck that could be used for the Hay Ride, PLEASE contact us!
Families who can loan us 8 x 8, 10 x 10 or 12 x 12 popup canopies, so that our volunteers and kids can have some shade on this historically hot day.
The new student council had their first meeting this week and the main agenda item was choosing a new time for their meetings, as it is tricky to find a time that is convenient for everyone. Thus, they are trying something new this year by meeting on Tuesday mornings at 8:00am in Senora Herold's classroom.
Thanks to everyone for your cooperation. We look forward to some exciting events and community service projects in the months to come.
Afterschool LEAP Program
To sign up for afterschool LEAP classes, you must register online and online only. Please visit our website for more details on the afterschool LEAP program. Find our link for Fall Session Classes and once you find the classes that work for you, click on "Register for Classes," create a profile and you can sign your child(ren) up! Please don't hesitate to call Monique Velde (858)569-7900 x4109 for help with registering for classes. Or Miss Whitney will be happy to show you as well, at the Lower School.
*All checks that have been submitted will be returned. We apologize for the confusion.
Notes From Nurse Maggie
Enterovirus D68 is a respiratory virus that has had a recent surge in activity among children. This virus causes a mild to severe respiratory illness. Most children recover fully from enterovirus, however children who have other health problems such as asthma or impaired immunity are at higher risk. Rady Children’s Hospital has the following recommendations concerning Enterovirus D68:
If your student is ill, with symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and chest congestion, treat the symptoms. If your student has a fever and a productive cough please keep them home from school. If your student has difficulty breathing, wheezing, high fever for several days, or difficulty keeping down fluids consider seeing your primary care provider.
Be aware that viruses are spread by coughing, sneezing and touching another person or surface with your hands and then touching your face. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
Viruses can live on surfaces for hours.
Keep a distance of six feet from someone who is coughing or sneezing
Wash your hands often or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, dispose of used tissue and wash your hands
Whether you are well or ill, drink plenty of fluids and get enough rest.
Remember Parker policy: Any student with a fever of 100 degrees F or above should stay home from school until they are fever free without fever reducing medications (such as Tylenol or Advil) for 24 hours.
Thanks for allowing me to share the story, Rosie Revere, Engineer. It seemed fitting to me to do something a little different in a week diverse enough to feature a hurricane, a slip 'n' slide and a barbeque...
I may have shared with some of you that in my first year as a public-school teacher, more years ago now than I care to admit, I prepared carefully for my first back-to-school night, anticipating the anxious throng of parents who would hang on my every word. When the appointed hour arrived, I noted with great disappointment (but also some relief) that there were only two parents in my classroom, one of whom I was pretty sure was lost.
By contrast, several years later in my first BTSN at Parker, held in a small, long-gone classroom cantilevered over the canyon, EVERY parent of EVERY student showed up, and they were hanging on my every word. In that moment, an uncomfortable one I can assure you (it was very warm), I realized not only the immense value of the school-parent partnership, but also the great trust that had been placed in me and my colleagues.
It's a lesson and a moment I've never forgotten, and each time I have the privilege to look out upon the hundreds of parents who attend our Back-to-School Nights, I'm grateful once again to be a part of a school community in which children have such abundant opportunities to grow and achieve, but I'm also always newly committed to helping them thrive "... as far as the mind can see."
Many thanks for your amazing support.
To help ensure the safety and security of our students and to eliminate any confusion about photos and videos posted on our teachers' webpages, we've decided to make all of them private to Parker families with log ins. Initially, we were concerned that this might somehow curtail access to valuable information the teachers have posted and resources they hope to make available to you and your children. However, our tech dept. has devised a way for you to create a log-in (which can be remembered) so that you can see not only your child's classroom teacher's webpage but also all of the pages of any other teachers who also work with your kids with one click of a link.
This Monday, we'll send home in the Monday envelopes some very easy-to-follow instructions with an "invitation code" to allow you to create an account. Once you've created the account, you can add additional children with invitation codes sent home for them in their Monday envelopes.*
* Please note that when you're about to add additional children, the instructions say,
" If you have additional children in Middle School you wish to attach..." This should actually say: "... in Lower School..."
Please contact our technology department if you have any questions or need assistance at: email@example.com
WeCare (Parent Education)
WeCare, the collective Parents' Association Groups from local independent schools have worked very hard to find compelling speakers and presentations for parents and others. They are very excited about their program for the year, including their next featured speaker, Ashley Merryman, New York Times author of Nurtureshock.
Picture days will be held this Tuesday from 8:30-11:00 for JK-1 students and on Wednesday from 8:30-11:00 for students in grades 2-5. Proofs will be available online a few weeks after the photos are taken, and information for accessing them will be sent home in the Monday envelopes.
JK Pancake Breakfast
This coming Saturday, JK students, parents, grandparents, families and friends are invited to a pancake breakfast in the Lower School cafeteria. This traditional event is a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet those associated with the Class of 2028 and to enjoy a delicious breakfast cooked by parents and staff. Bring out the whole family and enjoy a great beginning to the weekend!
Mark your calendar for the Senior Kindergarten Mixer this Friday from 6-7: 30 p.m. in the Nicholas Commons on the Linda Vista campus. These events are a fun, relaxing evening for parents and a great way to connect with others at the same grade level. There is no agenda other than relaxation and great conversation.
Pertussis Is Among Us! (notes from Nurse Maggie)
There are almost 1,400 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in San Diego county so far this year. Pertussis is a very contagious, vaccine preventable respiratory illness caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. Pertussis is spread via respiratory droplets when another breathes in the pertussis bacteria when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
The disease usually starts with cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, low- grade fever, and a mild cough. After one to two weeks, severe coughing can begin that then can become a series of coughing fits that continue for weeks. Pertussis is generally treated with antibiotics however the best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. The recommended pertussis vaccine for infants and children is called DTaP. This is a combination vaccine that protects against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
All junior kindergarten students must have four doses of DTap and all kindergarten students must have five doses of DTaP to attend school. Additionally, due to the increase in pertussis cases, all 7th graders must have one dose of Tdap vaccine to attend school. Please make sure your student, regardless of grade level, is current with immunizations and those updated shot records have been sent to school. Questions? Call 619-717-0235 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're now living in an age that is demanding much more from our students than was required of us at the same ages. Teaching and learning then was much more finite, giving rise to such popular culture as the film, Stand and Deliver. Indeed, we recognized and rewarded those students who were most adept at repeating (regurgitating) information that had been shared.
So forgive me while I was a bit poetic...
That was then, and this is now... but not for long. New information is being created at a dizzying pace, and what was once the slow tranquil trickle of change is now a torrent threatening to overtake the banks that had once seemed capable of containing it.
So, how are we preparing our students not only to keep their heads above water but also to leverage the power of this ever increasing flood? As always, we're teaching them how to "swim," giving them the basic elementary skills necessary to read, write and calculate well. However, increasingly, we're teaching the students how to think independently and flexibly, to apply what they've learned in unique ways, to deal with frustration and failure by developing greater perseverance, and to reflect on their own learning.
In a nutshell, we're aiming to equip our students with those skills deemed necessary for success in this century: communication, collaboration, creativity and criticial thinking. Our curriculum and pedagogy will continue to change as we explore new and varied ways to legitimately engage the students in their learning.
One very exciting development sweeping the school is Design Thinking, an empathy-based process for solving problems that matter. Generally project-based, this style of learning challenges students to raise their gaze... to be more observant of the world around them, and to articulate what they've observed. Subsequently, an individual or team can brainstorm potential approaches to a problem, narrow those thoughts to a design, create what they've designed, and test the solution.
At the Lower School, we're just beginning to dabble with this process, and some of the early attempts have been magnificent. At the end of last year, for example, the fifth-grade students put on an environmental science fair of the students' creation. All of their projects dealt with environmental problems to be solved (e.g., ubran overcrowding, water reclamation, energy creation, biodegradable packaging, etc.). Science teacher John Heilman described the process as "extremely messy, not unlike making sausage" as these were all student-created projects, but the results were magnificent. Most joyous to me was a level of investment in learning that I had rarely seen in a group of students, complete with all the rigor and content any red-pencil wielding lecturer could ever want.
Our new schedule, still being refined, allows for groups of teachers to come together to plan for these exciting kinds of learning experiences. As we venture further into the school year, you can expect to hear lots about them, not only here, but ideally from your children.
This coming Tuesday, speech and hearing screenings will be held in the Szekely Auditorium. This simple, inexpensive process has proven a wonderfully-preventive step in ensuring that our students have every advantage in their learning journey. Beth Brown and her team from Rady Children's Hospital have diagnosed and treated hundreds of students right on campus over the last 24 years. Plan to take advantage of this program if you have any concerns at all about your child's speech or hearing.
Back to School Night
This Thursday, we welcome JK-5 parents for our Back-to-School Night. The school year is up an running, and we're eager to have you see and hear about all that is going on. Following is the schedule for the evening:
6:00 JK/SK parents to classrooms for presentations
6:30 Meet & Greet in 1 - 5 classrooms
7:00 All parents meet in patio
7:10 Presentation for JK - 5th grade parents in patio
7:30 JK & SK parents to special classrooms
1st -5th grade parents to classrooms for presentations
8:00 JK & SK parents dismissed; 1st - 5th grade parents to special classrooms
8:30 1st - 5th grade parents dismissed
Next Friday, we will have our first BBQ, and we'll also have our first scheduled dress-down day. For those of you new to the school, the bbqs are held in the Lower School courtyard at the regular lunch rotation times, and everyone is welcome to join us.
During the bbq, there will be a bake sale sponsored by the JK and 2nd Grade to benefit our 2014 Pet Day* charities. The cost of each item will be $1. So that your child may enjoy a special treat or two, you may want to send them to school with a little money (for a good cause!).
*Pet Day is scheduled for October 9th. Look for more information soon.
Friday will also feature our first student council election of the year. We have 6 candidates vying to be president, and we'll get to hear their platforms at flagraising on Monday. All of the students in SK-5 vote with approval voting (they can vote for all but one), and it's always a close race.
Friday also happens to be Linda Ruggles' birthday. I'll pay dearly for listing it here, but as the Queen of first-aid and tooth-pulling, she certainly deserves all of our good wishes.
A message from our Homecoming Chairs, Erik Keskinen and Cindy Velasquez:
"Homecoming Fun Zone has a ton of FUN positions that need the Lower School's help in staffing because...guess what?! The High Schoolers don't fit in the bounce houses anymore!!! That means they set all this up for our little Lower School Parker people! So come help the "Fun" continue and volunteer!
Volunteer positions include (but not limited to): rides, information booths, water delivery and roving positions. So, please click on the link below, find the ONE HOUR time slot(s) (come on it's only 1 hour!!) that work best for you and sign up!! Please include your name, email address and phone number. If you have any preferences, please put that in special requests and we will do our best to accommodate them! "
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.