Close collaboration with families is essential to our work at Parker, and when parents are well-informed and up-to-date on what we are doing and why, we are most successful.
There are many ways for you to learn about our program, activities and purpose, and you are welcome to all of them. One such opportunity is the relatively new Townhall Meeting concept hosted by Kevin Yaley. This coming Thursday, you'll have an opportunity to participate and to share your thoughts and get answers to your questions (see below for more information).
We also welcome you to our Haiku pages, where teachers will archive their weekly newsletters and store helpful resources, and you're encouraged to visit the Lower School page on the school's website.
We offer coffees at every grade level, this year including a view into our special teachers' programs, and you can count on a newsletter from me each week. Additionally, we welcome your thoughts at any time, whether in a more formal conference (such as we'll have this coming week) or whenever you have a question, concern or observation.
Many thanks for the part you have played in this school year, and we look forward to even more community involvement and interaction in the coming months.
Town Hall InvitAtion
Mark your calendar for a Townhall Meeting with Kevin Yaley on October 15 at 8:15 a.m. in the Considine Library. Bring your questions and observations, and Kevin will be happy to address them.
Monday, October 12, is a school-wide Fall Break, and there is no school that day.
Parent-Teacher conferences take place this week, Wednesday through Friday, Oct. 14-16. After several weeks of the 2015-16 school year, the teachers now have insights into your children, and they're eager to hear your perspectives. No progress report accompanies these conferences, as they're designed to further coordinate and inform what happens for your children at home and school.
SK Parent Mixer
Enjoy the company of other senior-kindergarten parents on the beautiful Linda Vista campus in the Nicholas Commons this Friday, October 16, beginning at 6 p.m. An agenda-free chance to enjoy food, drink, and the insights and stories of the Class of 2028 awaits you!
Parker is beginning its Book Drive Oct. 7and it will end Dec. 7. We are partnering with theReach Out and Read (ROR) Program and The McGill School. Please drop off your gently used books at the Community Engagement Office at the Upper School, The Middle/Upper School Library, the Middle School Main Office and the Lower School Main Office or Library.
Halloween is on it’s way…and so is our annual Halloween Cake Contest!! We hope your little ghouls and goblins are getting ready and thinking about what they’d like to create this year! It's for all kids... JK-5th grade, and remember 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!
There will be more detailed information 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or Alexander Thomas at: Lxt9@Lxt9.com. BOO!!
Join Heather Gray and Bob Gillingham for coffee and conversation in the Considine Library this coming Friday, October 16, to learn more about second graders and their academic program. The two will walk you through a day in the life of a second grader with photos from all aspects of the kids' daily schedules.
The AIM online survey will go live this week. As a reminder, AIM is an online climate survey that assesses the wellness of our school environment. We want to do all we can to ensure that every single child at Parker is having the best educational and social experience possible. Your feedback in completing the wellness questions presented in the survey will help us to improve Parker.
The AIM online survey gives us an opportunity to ask: How are we doing? How are we making sure that Parker is a welcoming, safe, comfortable place for everyone? Additionally, the AIM Climate Survey also gives us an opportunity to compare our school with other schools across the country. The survey questions, which have been prepared by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), have been administered to independent schools across the country.
All Parker community members are invited to participate in the survey. Parents have from October 5th-23rd to take the survey. During the week of Oct. 5th, the survey link will be sent to you in an email from Parker. The survey will take 15 minutes and responses are strictly confidential. Once you begin, your progress is saved, and you may go back to finish the link if you have something interrupt your progress.
Faculty and staff take the survey on October 9th. The students will take the survey on October 6th (lower school, 4th and 5th), 8th (middle school), and 20th (upper school).
The school website has AIM FAQs for more information. If you have any questions, please contact our Director of Inclusion, Christen Tedrow-Harrison at email@example.com.
Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of this year's Homecoming, especially our energetic organizers, Charity Byrnes and Jenn Brady. Parker's wonderful spirit was abundantly evident throughout the week.
Special Teacher Coffee
Join us this Tuesday from 8:15-9:00 a.m. in the Considine Library for our very first Special Teacher Coffee featuring our Music, Drama, and Physical Education teachers and programs. See and learn first-hand what happens in these areas of your child's school day.
The Online Galleries link will be shared with parents on October 8, 2015.
HOW IT WORKS:
You will have the option of ordering both prints and/or digital images with a print release. For any order, there is a minimum order requirement of $20.
Digital Package Options (includes print release)
(1) One digital image download ($40)
(2) All of the digital images in your child's album, does not include class photo ($60)
DEADLINE FOR ORDERING PRINTS:
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2015
**all prints ordered by October 18, 2015 will be delivered to your child’s school free of charge**
If you wish to order prints, you have the option of four packages which offer a cost savings over individual prints. Packages are for one image/pose only, no substitutions.
Class photos in digital format are not available for purchase.
Delivery of Prints
Prints ordered by October 18, 2015 will be delivered to Francis Parker Lower School free of charge. If you would like to have prints shipped out of the area, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements for shipping.
Parents' Association Meeting
There will be a Parents' Association general meeting this Monday, Oct. 5, immediately following flagraising. The meeting will feature guest speakers Heather Gray (LS), Christie Cole (MS) and Carrie Dilmore (US) addressing the topic: "The Purpose and Goals of Homework in All Three Divisions."
Late Start Wednesday
This Wednesday, Oct. 7, is a late-start day to allow for faculty professional development. Children may be dropped off at their regular times or as late as 8:55 a.m. The office will open at 7:00 a.m., the playground at 7:15 a.m., and buses will run at their regular times. The first bell will ring at 9:00 a.m. that day.
This coming Thursday, October 8, Dr. G. and Mrs. Gray will host a fourth-grade coffee in the Considine Library featuring a photographic walk through a day in the life of a fourth grader. Both will provide you with insights into the students and program at this level, including helpful tips to ensure your students are successful in their Parker journey. The afterschool learning center team will also make a brief presentation.
Professional Development Day
This coming Friday, October 9, is a professional development day for all faculty, and there is no school for students. The following Monday is Fall Break, and the school will be closed. We'll all return on Tuesday, October 13.
The Halloween carnival is getting close…and we are getting excited!!
We first want to thank everyone for all the outstanding volunteer support... and we would welcome some more help!
We are looking for volunteers to lend out their pop-up tents. We are in need of 12. The tents will need to be dropped off no later then Wednesday, October 28th. Be sure to label your pop-up tent before drop off.
Also if you are looking to help out, we are always in need of some general set-up volunteers. This would entail helping set-up from 8:15am-12pmon Friday, October, 30th. Please sign up using the link below.
The Parker website now has a health and wellness section!
You can find this information under Campus Life and then the "Health and Wellness" tab. There are live forms on the page that can be accessed as needed.
Back to School Checklist: Now that students have been in school for a month, I wanted to give you all some tips to ensure your student remains healthy at school:
Make sure all immunizations are up-to-date. If you have received notification that your student is missing shots or we need an updated shot record, please get those shots and updated immunization records to us as soon as possible.
Review hygiene tips with your student to prevent spread of infections
Establish a bedtime and wake-up time routine to ensure adequate and consistent sleep
Develop a routine for homework and afterschool activities
Make sure your student eats a healthy breakfast each day
If your student has a health concern, please notify me
If your student needs to take a medication at school, please bring in signed healthcare provider orders (found in the Health and Wellness section on the Parker website) and bring the medication in the original pharmacy container
Alert me if there is a change in your student’s health
Alert me if your student has a communicable disease
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns at email@example.com or 619-717-0235
Happy Homecoming Week! The excitement has been building, and we're ready to launch into yet another exciting series of activities (in addition to our regular program), all designed to welcome, celebrate and reunite members of our Parker community.
If you're new to the school, you should know that the week will kick off in a very fun way with members of the Lower School staff and student body modeling spirit wear (generally shirts that may be worn during parts of Homecoming Week) at flagraising. Subsequently, spirit wear will be sold and enjoyed as part of the fun (see below). That Friday, our own Lower School band will perform as people arrive in the morning, and that will be followed by a rare Friday flagraising featuring the Upper School cheerleaders. Later, the football team will visit to eat lunch with the younger students then play on the playground (always a major hit with Lower Schoolers).
Homecoming will take place the next day with a delightful array of food, games and activities, including our traditional parade (the objective of which is to keep all of the junior kindergarteners from tripping en masse over the banner they attempt to carry).
Finally, the afternoon's events will be capped by the football game, and hopefully, a win for the Lancers.
The day is a great mix of Lower, Middle and Upper School families, and we'd all love to see you there!
Homecoming Week and Spirit Wear Sales
It's Homecoming Spirit week! Go Lancers!
Monday, Sept. 28 - Flagraising Fashion Show (featuring a few staff members and students modeling this year's spirit wear)
Tues.-Thurs., Sept. 29-Oct.1: Spirit wear sales in front of the school, before and after school
Wed.-Fri., Sept 30-Oct. 2: Spirit wear dress down days (any spirit wear or any clothes appropriate for school in school colors)
Friday, Oct. 2: Special flagraising featuring a pep rally, a skit with special guests, cheerleaders, the LS band, and later, football players at lunch
Saturday, Oct. 3: The Fun Zone opens at 1 pm with lots of rides, activities and delicious food available. The traditional parade featuring the Lower School students takes place at 2:25 pm with students lining up at 2:10 pm by the football field. Plan to stay after the parade to watch the Lancers win their football game, beginning at 3 pm.
LS HOMECOMING FUN ZONE VOLUNTEERS
Come join the fun and help the kiddos at the Homecoming Fun Zone on Homecoming Day, Sat., Oct. 3. This is one of the highlights of the day for our Lower School students and we need parent volunteers to assist with various Fun Zone stations for simple 1-hour shifts. Click on the link below:
The first official Squires meeting takes place this coming Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. in the Szekely Auditorium. Eligible 5th graders (e.g., good academic habits, good citizenship) are invited to apply to be student ambassadors for the school, helping prospective parents learn more about the Lower School program, students and community.
Over the years, this has become a much anticipated, highly-sought leadership opportunity, last year involving almost 75% of the students. Though the students know they'll have to give up much of their recess and some of their afterschool time to train, the number of students interested in the positions grows each year.
The Class of 2023 is showing particular promise, and we think they'll become some of the best.
Parents are invited to attend a very informative math morning this Wed. at 8:20 a.m. in the Considine Library featuring Assistant Head of Lower School Heather Gray, our resident Singapore Math expert.
When Singapore Math was first introduced through Houghton-Mifflin, the current publisher of materials we're using, there were few if any trainers available. Because we jumped in at every grade level at the same time, we needed to train someone to be a constant, close support for our teachers who, though eager to implement the program, were nevertheless needing more information. Heather spent the better part of a year attending every conference and workshop she could, learning all of the ins and outs of this dynamic, conceptually-focused program, and she's been a great in-house trainer ever since.
On Wednesday, Heather will demonstrate not only what's happening for first graders, but also the merits and logic of the program, including the long view at the Lower School. Join us if you can, and your understanding of our approach to and goals for math will be greatly enhanced.
One of the strategic goals being embraced by our school community is a greater commitment to inclusivity and cultural competency (a deeper understanding of and empathy for the rich array of cultures in our world). As a foundation for meaningful growth and development in our own school community, we'll be measuring this fall the extent to which each member feels safe, valued, understood, and respected.
Following are some of the activities and expected outcomes in support of this strategic goal:
This October join us in a simple exercise to build a better Parker.
This exercise is a climate survey taken online called Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism or AIM.
Our goal in taking this online climate survey is to be the kind of School where all people feel safe, valued, understood, and respected.
The online Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism or AIM will help us benchmark where we are and find opportunities to create a more inclusive learning community.
The experience of inclusion is a shared responsibility that all Parker community members hold. By taking the climate survey called AIM each member of the community advances Parker’s goals of access and inclusion.
AIM is a comprehensive assessment developed by the National Association of Independent Schools to help us set new goals for strengthening our School community.
We hope you'll join us and "AIM for a better Parker"!
The Grandparents Council welcomes grandparents on Monday, September 21, for their annual kickoff meeting and lunch bbq on the Mission Hills Campus. In addition to the Lower School and the combined Middle and Upper School Grandparents and Special Friends days, our grandparents will be treated to a special tour and conversation with Barry Edelstein at the Old Globe and a private tour of a William Templeton Johnson House in Mission Hills. These activities, in addition to Council meetings can be found here:
We encourage all grandparents to attend events and meetings.
Wondering if the students' grandparents are receiving information? Please email Amanda Kalal firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2015-16 Student Council will begin its year with elections for the new 5th-grade president. Candidates will give their speeches at Monday's flagraising, and the election will follow on Friday (every SK-5th grade student may vote on an approval ballot... they may pick as many of the candidates as they like, but not all of them!).
Homecoming Spirit wear and Homecoming Activities
Homecoming is rapidly approaching! Following is the calendar and plan:
Monday, Sept. 28 - Flagraising Fashion Show (featuring a few staff members and students modeling this year's spirit wear)
Tues.-Thurs., Sept. 29-Oct.1: spirit wear sales in front of the school, before and after school
Friday, Oct 2 - Special flagraising featuring a pep rally, a skit with special guests, cheerleaders, the LS band, and later, football players at lunch.
Saturday, Oct. 3- The Fun Zone opens at 11:00 a.m. with lots of rides, activities and delicious food available. The traditional parade featuring the Lower School students takes place at 12:30 p.m. with students lining up at 12:15 p.m. by the football field. Plan to stay after the parade to watch the Lancers win their football game, beginning at 1 p.m.
Spirit wear dress-down (any spirit wear or any clothes appropriate for school in school colors) will take place Wednesday, Sept. 30- Oct. 2
LS Homecoming Fun Zone Volunteers
Come join the fun and help the kiddos at the Homecoming Fun Zone on Homecoming Day, Saturday, October 3. This is one of the highlights of the day for our Lower School students and we need parent volunteers to assist with various Fun Zone stations for simple 1-hour shifts. Look for the volunteer sign-up Google doc sent via email earlier this week.
In consideration of our neighbors' safety, we have asked Parker parents to avoid parking on the narrow streets to the north and northwest of campus. By avoiding Plumosa and Randolph Terrace, emergency vehicles can more easily access homes on these streets, and ingress and egress of neighborhood vehicles is much easier for those living in the area.
Thank you for keeping our neighbors in mind when parking around the school.
Celebration of Life
The Parker Community was saddened by the loss of Tom Halle, a dear friend who touched many lives across the School. Tom joined the Parker community in 2007 as an SK father and almost immediately became involved with DADS (Dads and Dad Surrogates) group in various capacities, including chairing the group for a few years.
Tom's wife, Karen, and their two children, Sonia and Bennett, are celebrating Tom's life next weekend. The family invites you to join them as his friends, family and colleagues, share stories and raise a glass in Tom's honor.
September 27, 2 to 5 pm, The Lodge at Torrey Pines, 11480 North Torrey Pines Road
The celebration will be held in a beautiful outdoor space with the coastal ocean view that Tom truly loved. Dress is resort style, no suits and ties please. Wine, of course, and appetizers will be served. Please RSVP to http://HalleCelebration.rsvpify.com by 9/21 to assist with seating and refreshment planning.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Tom's memory to Compassion & Choices (www.compassionandchoices.org). Their work focuses on changing attitudes, practices and policies so that everyone can access the information and options they need to have more control and comfort at the end of life.
Ken Whalen Surf Challenge
The Whalen Family is pleased to announce the first Ken Whalen Surf Challenge taking place in Mission Beach on Oct. 3. This free event, conceived to honor the late Ken Whalen and his love of life, surfing and family, will become an annual activity. The Challenge will encourage boys and girls to take up surfing, and it will also support the Challenged Athletes' Foundation which was near and dear to Ken's heart.
More information about this free event will be available in flyers coming home on Monday.
Bus Evacuation Drills
Students will be engaged in bus evacuation drills during their p.e. times on Tuesday. Boys and girls learn and are walked through the in's and out's of leaving the bus quickly so that they're well-prepared for emergencies.
Shoes for P.E.
Students need to be sure to wear appropriate shoes for physical education class, such as running shoes or sneakers. If they wear rain boots, Uggs or other boots, they need to be sure to have a pair of sneakers in their backpack so that they can change into them for PE class. This applies to all grade levels, JK to 5th. Thank you.
JK Pancake Breakfast
JK parents, grandparents, students and friends are invited to the annual JK Pancake Breakfast in the Lower School Cafeteria beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Sept. 26. Come join your new friends and the Lower School staff for a delicious breakfast and a chance to meet and greet the members of the Class of 2029.
Back to School Night (for parents only) is this coming Thursday, Sept. 24, and we have so much to share with you!
Following is the schedule of events:
6 p.m.- JK and SK parents report directly classrooms
6:45- 1st-5th grade parents arrive; informal meet and greet in classrooms (to accommodate parents with more than one child at the Lower School)
7:00- Welcome and Presentation by Dr. G. and Kevin Yaley in courtyard
7:30- JK and SK parents to special classes; 1st-5th to classrooms
8:00- JK and SK dismissed for the eventing, 1st-5th to special classes
8:30- The evening concludes
Hope to see you there!
Lower School Picture Dates
This year, we're using a new photographer for our school photos, and the schedule will stretch out over a week or so. Please double check this link to be sure of your child's school photo day.
The date for the fourth-grade coffee was originally Sept. 25, but it has now been moved to October 8 at 8:20 a.m. in the Multipurpose Room (next to the Szekely Auditorium).
At our opening coffee, we spoke of the importance of volunteers at the Lower School. In fact, giving the most information were our fantastic Lower School VPs, Noelle Ludwig and Julie Turner, themselves veterans of countless events and hundreds of hours of volunteerism. They spoke of some of our most cherished events, including Pet Day, Halloween and Language and Culture Week, inviting anyone who wants to get involved to sign up... no experience necessary!
Truly, the school is at its best with your help, and our community is strengthened and enriched immeasurably. One way to ease into the adventure is to attend the Parents' Association meeting on Tuesday (featuring Kevin Yaley, see below) or to come for lunch on Friday for our first BBQ (see below).
However you get involved, we welcome you, and we're so delighted that you're a part of the Parker Community.
The PA meeting originally scheduled for Monday, Sept. 14, has been moved to Tuesday, Sept. 15 beginning at 8:20 a.m. in the Szekely Auditorium. The meeting will feature guest speaker Kevin Yaley who will give an overview of our plans for this school year and beyond.
Annual Gala News
Mark your calendars for the Parents Association’s Gala Committee Meeting on Thursday, September 17th, from 8:15 to 9:45 amin the Lawrence Middle School Commons! This year’s Parents Association’s Black and White Ball will be…according to the event co-chairs Yolanda Selene Walther-Meade and Michele Arthur, “an elegant evening on campus that will allow us to showcase our beautiful school and to better connect with our students’ environment.” And as you know, Gala proceeds will benefit scholarship and faculty enrichment at Parker, and the PA needs your help making this event a smashing success. So please come and join us to learn about different opportunities to become involved…we’d love you to be a part of our Gala team!
Dress-Down, BBQ and Bake Sale
This coming Friday will be our first (official) dress-down day, but we always reserve the right to deal with excessive heat or celebration by introducing additional opportunities! Also, we'll have our first barbeque, and parents are welcome to join us in the courtyard at their children's regular lunch rotation times: JK-11:00, SK-11:10, 1st-11:25, 3rd- 11:35, 2nd-11:45, 4th-12:00, and 5th-12:15.
The 3rd and 5th grades will be holding a bake sale at the BBQ this Friday, September 18. All items will cost $1 so please send money with your student if you'd like him/her to buy treats at the sale. Proceeds from the Bake Sale will go to support costs of the Spoooooktacular Haunted House which will be produced and hosted by the current 5th grade at the Lower School carnival on 10/30. The 3rd graders are graciously helping out the 5th grade with providing items for the bake sale, but if you're interested in helping, click on the link below and sign up to bring a ghoulish ( home made and individually wrapped, please) treat.
This October join us in this simple exercise to build a better Parker. At Parker, we know our learning environment is enhanced by the different stories, backgrounds, and experiences of each member of our School community. We aim to educate our students to value and embrace the multiplicity of identities because the diversity within our community strengthens us all. Thus, our commitment is to assure inclusivity. We achieve this goal by creating a School culture where all students and community members feel safe, valued, understood, and respected for who they are. The experience of inclusion is a shared responsibility that all Parker community members hold.
Please look for more information at Back to School Night and on the website. We look forward to your participation in our community effort to “AIM for a better Parker!”.
The Lower School is using a different photographer this year, and picture days will be spread out a bit. The first event will be class photos (photos of all students in a given class) this coming Wednesday.
Room Parent Orientation
Many thanks to all of the parents who have volunteered and been selected to be room parents. The orientation will be this Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. in the Szekely Auditorium.
Speech/language screenings take place next Tuesday, Sept. 15, and forms need to be in on Monday, Sept. 14 (tomorrow). If you are interested in having your child screened (a great idea for any primary student, JK-2) please fill out and return the forms (linked here) to the Lower School office.
Vision/hearing screenings for students in SK, 2nd and 5th grade will take place this Thursday. Nurse Maggie will check all students at these grade levels in accordance with new state regulations. There is no charge for these screenings.
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.