On behalf of the faculty and staff at the Lower School, I'd like to express our sincere appreciation for the extraordinary show of love and support last week (and always!). We were treated like Kings and Queens with delicious breakfasts, lunches, tons of tasty treats, floral arrangements, and heartfelt notes and words. It was a very special privilege, and we are all most grateful for all of your many kindnesses.
Many thanks, also, for your amazing participation in Movie Night this year. We brought in two additional popcorn poppers, and they appeared to be a great hit. (Last year's long lines were not non-existent!) The good news/bad news for the evening: We had asked the kids to pick up after themselves, and once everyone left the turf, nary a scrap of paper or candybar wrapper was in evidence. However... our exuberance to provide plenty of popcorn resulted in a lot of it coverning our playground... like a light coat of snow. Fortunately, the birds like popcorn as much as our students, and most of it will be gone by the time we return to school on Monday.
Thanks to all of you, the Lower School Faculty and Staff will be able to make a significant contribution to the Gala effort this year.
As referenced in Kevin Yaley's column, the three divisions have been working on scheduling for the 2014-15 school year and beyond as recommended in our last accreditation and as planned in our latest strategic plan. At the Lower School, we're very excited by the changes we're making which retain current programming, but 1) significantly streamline our day; 2) eliminate needless transitions; 3) allow for increased collaborative planning among the teachers; 4) create a platform from which we will be able to elevate students' thinking and 21st-century skills (e.g., communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking); and 5) provide flexibility for grouping students and arranging time to foster project-based thinking and exploration. As we finalize our plans, we'll share them with all of you.
This coming Saturday evening, the Parker Community will enjoy another wonderful Gala. If you've hesistated to sign up, I encourage you to come. These evenings are always a fun way to enjoy good food and drink in an elegant setting, a chance to catch up with old friends and to make new ones, and a wonderful way to support Parker's professional development of faculty and the financial aid program. We'll all hope to see you there.
The Lancer Orchestra (with students from all 3 divisions) performed on stage at Disneyland's Big Thunder Ranch Arena last Saturday, April 26th. They did an outstanding job and the group was highly complimented by park patrons - someone actually commented that they thought the music was from a recording and not a live performance!!
Attached is a link to one of the pieces they performed - Scherzo Dance, and a group photo taken after the performance.
On Monday, May 12 we will have our next Food Services Open Forum. It will take place at 2:45pm in the Nicholas Commons (on the Linda Vista campus). The first forum was help on the Mission Hills campus, and parents were very appreciative of the staff for their informative presentation.
This Wednesday from 8:15-9:15 a.m. in the Gooding Patio, our young scientists in grades 1-4 will show their scientific thinking, creations and findings. This event is always a delight, as the kids have conceived and developed these projects largerly on their own, and their pride in their accomplishments and eagerness to share with you are delightful.
Cell Phones at School
With the increasing proliferation of cell phones and the busy pace of modern students' and parents' lives, we understand that many of the kids will have cell phones to facilitate family communication. That said, I can tell you that, should you be hesitant about sending your child to school with a cell phone or simply not wishing to, they will be perfectly fine, as they can always use the school phones.
Should you deem it necessary to send a cell phone to school with your child, that phone must remain in their backpack during the school day, and can only be used before and after school for placing or receiving calls to parents or guardians. Ideally, the phone would be inexpensive, limited in features, and easily replaceable.
Mrs. Gray and I mentioned to the students last week that a student had brought a phone to school early in the week and, realizing that he had it in his pocket when heading for p.e., set it down on the playground. When he came back to retrieve it, it was gone.
We'd ask again (it's mentioned in the parent handbook) that we'd like toys and electronic devices to stay at home, unless absolutely necessary (as cited above) or on the approval of the teacher for a special project or event. Additionally, and as we requested of the students, if you see this particular phone (an iPhone with a bright orange/camouflage cover) or any expensive item out of place, at home or school, please bring it to our attention.
This Wednesday, the 4th and 5th-grade Showstoppers will share their original plays with the afterschool students at 4 p.m. Students must have signed permission slips to attend, and these will be made available early in the week. The following day, Thursday, the kids will put on their plays for their parents, again at 4 p.m.
Parker Family Fishing Party
Mark your calendars for the annual fishing trip scheduled for June 6, leaving from Point Loma Sportfishing Store at 5:30 p.m. and returning after sunset.
Flyers were sent home in the Monday (Tuesday) envelopes, and we have more available in the office. This has always been a very fulfilling family event, and even if you've never been fishing, you'd find the activity very enjoyable.
Registration ends when the boat(s) is full, so sign up soon!
Notes From Nurse Maggie
This article, Cardiac Screening for Students, provides very helpful information about preventive measures that parents can take in ensuring their teen's optimal health.
I can hardly believe this day has come, but Peggy Watson, my close confidant and superb administrative assistant for the past 23 years, has decided to hang up her keyboard. That's right, Miss Watson has served all of us well, but the opportunity for unfettered travel, the chance to take leisurely walks in her beloved Pt. Loma, and the vision of lovely sunsets with nothing more than thoughts of how to arrange the sand around her toes, have finally proven too lovely a siren call to resist.
We'll all miss seeing her on a daily basis, but she promises to return to substitute whenever she finds gaps in her international adventures. Please join me in wishing Peggy a wonderful retirement!
Professional Growth/No School
Monday, April 28, is a professional growth day, and children will not attend school that day. School resumes on Tuesday, April 29.
The 2nd Annual Spelling Bee for grades 3-5 will be held in the Szekely Auditorium from 2-3 p.m. this coming Wednesday. There will be 6-7 students from each of these grade levels, all of whom had to excel in their grade-level spelling bees to qualify. Spelling Bee announcer, Kris Stone, plans to take the kids through a relatively easy first round to warm them up before ramping up the word difficulty in subsequent rounds. After the established word list is exhausted (as it was last year), pre-selected words the kids have not studied will be used.
Join us if you can, and marvel as we did last year at the skill of these young spellers!
Pajama Day and Movie Night
This Friday, everyone can come to school in their PJs! Students who have signed up for Movie Night (Despicable Me 2) may remain at school (whether or not they normally attend the afterschool program) and a bbq dinner will be served at roughly 6:00 p.m. followed by the movie at 7:30. The movie runs 90 minutes, so parents not attending the movie and bbq should return to pick up their children at 9:00 p.m.
Students signed up for Movie Night may bring jackets, blankets and chairs to school (all of which should be dropped off by the class numbers on the fence that runs parallel to Randolph St.), attend regular school, then flow into the afterschool program at the bell (3:00 p.m.). Alternatively, they may return to school at any time, and parents are welcome to bring extra items then.
JK Spring Program
The JK Spring Program, always a favorite, will be held this coming Friday at 8:45 a.m. in the Lower School Courtyard. Come on out and enjoy our youngest students as they perform a variety of songs.
We head back to school on Monday with only 8 weeks left in the school year. And, though our remaining days in the 2013-14 school year are few (37), they promise to be action-packed. Among the activities remaining (in no particular order) are field days, ERB testing (grades 3-5), variety shows (all grade levels), a trip to Pali Mtn. (5th grade), Movie Night, the Gala, Human Growth and Development Classes (4th and 5th grade... and more information coming soon!), the 3rd-grade play, the JK spring program, SK participation in Commencement, presentation of the Silent Movie with 5th-grade band accompaniment, the 3rd-5th grade Spelling Bee, several field trips, the science fair, the Summer Book Fair, the SK/Senior picnic, Promotion... and of course, lots of teaching and learning. Phew!
Looking to next year, the faculty and I have been working to create a new daily schedule which will expand the amount of core classroom time available, particulary for math and literacy; allow for more collaboration among grade levels and departments; reduce the general hustle and bustle of a very busy campus; and set up time and opportunity for true project-based learning and design thinking. Much work remains, but we're excited about the potential of the schedule to foster true 21st-century learning and thinking.
In the meantime, welcome back, and get ready to enjoy the balance of what has been a very good year.
Classes resume/Professional Day
Welcome back, everyone. We'll be in session again on Monday, April 21, but there will be no school on Monday, April 28. Faculty and staff will be engaged in a professional day to develop and strengthen skills called for in the new strategic plan.
A weekend of receptions for Parker Alumni will kick off this coming Thursday, April 24, on the Mission Hills campus beginning at 5:30 p.m.
This Friday, our 4th and 5th-grade strings students will perform at the Balboa Theatre. Third graders will travel to hear the 4th grade, and parents are welcome to purchase tickets from the box office for either performance.
Join your fellow 5th-grade parents this Friday in the Scripps Lecture Hall for a fun and easy parent mixer. Enjoy some food, drink and good company without an agenda or your children!
Fourth-Grade Play DVD
Attention 4th Grade Parents --- Don’t forget to order a DVD of the 4th Grade Play “Oh California” that took place on April 4th in the auditorium. If you would like a copy please order by Friday, April 25th by visiting www.francisparkerdvd.com.
BAKE SALE AT FRIDAY'S BBQ
The 4th and 1st Grades will be holding a Bake Sale at the BBQ this Friday, April 25th. All items will cost $1. Proceeds from the Bake Sale will go to support costs of the Haunted House, which will be produced and hosted by the current 4th graders when they are in 5th Grade. The 1st graders are graciously helping out with providing items for the Bake Sale as two of the 2014 Halloween chairs are current 1st grade parents.
Our food service provider, Culinart, provides helpful newsletters from time to time. You can read the most recent issue here.
If you ever want to know how passionate Parker teachers are about their teaching, try changing their class schedules...
Our new strategic plan invites us to innovate, collaborate, and generally to extend our reach in providing students the most engaging, challenging curriculum possible. In support of that concept, we're tweaking the daily schedule with the grand notions of retaining everything that we love about our school day while also affording teachers greater opportunities to combine their ideas and talents for the benefit of students.
We're in the middle of that messy process right now, and we have many conversations and debates to go, but it would warm your heart to see how centrally the teachers have placed the well being of students in each and every one of those discussions.
When we're a bit closer to the finish line, we'll share what we've created so you, too, can see where we're strategically headed.
Have a wonderful Spring Break!
Parker at Petco
The Lower School response to the Parker v. LJCD game at Petco has been remarkable. Almost 500 tickets have been requested from the Mission Hills campus alone. Those of you who would still like tickets but have been unable to reserve them can pick them up Monday from the Lower School office.
In honor of the event and Parker Baseball, Tuesday is a Parker-themed dress down day. Also, rumor has it that the public address announcer will be a principal you know well...
Thanks for the great support of this event. Go, Lancers!
Parker will once again be hosting an e-waste (electronic waste) recycling event on both campuses in partnership with the University of San Diego on Wednesday, April 23, on the Linda Vista campus from 7-8:00 a.m. and on the Mission Hills campus from 7:30-8:30 a.m.
Basically, if it plugs in the school will take it, but light bulbs and alkaline batteries (lead batteries) are not acceptable. Following are examples of recyclable items:
- All Appliances including dish washers, ovens, stoves, microwaves, etc.
- TV's: Big boxy ones and flat screens
- All Computer related parts
- Vacuums, garden tools, and other old exercise equipment
- Cell phones and any type of PDA or tablet.
- DVD/VHS players and any type of audio/visual equipment
- Printers, fax machines, copy machines, scanners
- Gaming consoles (and all games and CD's and floppy disks, etc -- any type of media)
- Any type of wireless equipment or networking equipment
Movie Night will be here before you know it! Join us on May 2 as we gather after school, enjoy a bbq dinner and watch a movie together under the stars. Please note that we'd love to receive all registration forms by April 30 so we plan to have plenty of food on hand.
MUsic and Language choices
Many thanks for returning your child's language and music (current 3rd and 4th grade students) choices. If you haven't had a chance to turn in the form (we've requested them by next Friday), or you've misplaced the one sent home, you can find another here.
San Diego County Office of Education Art Show
Congratulations to the eight Parker Lower School artists whose work was juried into the SDCOE art show!
1st - Lara Mertens (1SF)
2nd - Courtney Casey (2HY), Charlotte Plant (2HY)
3rd - Ella Ludwig (3M) - two
4th - Jenna Kim (4V)
5th - Cole Hamer (5T), Liam Brownlie (5SP)
Special thanks to their art teacher, Mrs. Margo Sharpe.
Students' art is currently on display at the San Diego County Office of Education in bldg. #3.
We're on vacation from April 14-18, and school resumes on Monday, April 21. Enjoy!
Culinart News and forum
Culinart, our food service provider is committed to serving healthy, nutritious food, and having plenty of it on hand throughout our lunch rotation (generally 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). In their first year at Parker, they're learning which foods are more popular, and they're adjusting their menu to suit our students' preferences.
When one of the more popular items is served, such as pizza, students may be re-directed to other food items after they've had seconds to ensure that greatly anticipated menu selections are available for everyone.
We're excited to present the first CulinArt forum. Representatives and members of the Parker administrative team will come together with teachers, parents, and students to learn more about our food service program on April 9 at 2:45pm in the Mission Hills campus cafeteria.
CulinArt will discuss how they manage their daily menu within Parker's adopted nutritional guidelines and what measures they take to provide the healthiest, most enjoyable lunch and snack options.
We would like to encourage attendance by anyone in the Parker community who may be interested since there will be opportunities for the community to ask questions and offer comment during the forum.
Parker parent Cary Perket volunteered for many years to lead an enormously-popular Parker fishing trip (2-3 hours), and he's looking for a volunteer to continue the tradition. He's made a reservation for a charter fishing boat for Friday, June 6th, and he'd love to hear from you.
If you'd like to help continue this annual outing, a great opportunity for parent-child bonding, please contact Cary at: firstname.lastname@example.org
On the eve of the all-school ISACS survey (to be distributed Tuesday), which has given and will bring great clarity to how we measure up to our own past performance as well as similar JK-12 schools across the country, I'd like to thank you for the excellent participation (> 60%) in our division-specific survey issued last month.
You responded very positively (agree or strongly agree) to the survey questions posed (see the table of results), and we thank you for your support and recognition of the work being done on this campus.
However, among the many narrative comments, there were distinct themes suggesting areas for improvement, all resonating clearly with our newly-adopted strategic plan.
Collectively, you have asked for:
• Consistent communication of the work in special classes
• Clear articulation of the curriculum in special classes across the grade levels
• An update of discrete classes, programs and traditions
• Consistent performance and quality in the teaching staff
• More math and science
• Accommodation of the schedules of working parents
As a school, we have adopted a continuous improvement approach, and we are determined to meet and exceed your expectations in every respect. We'll be addressing the aforementioned requests with great determination and working hard to advance each of them.
Parker at PETCo
There was a very quick response to the offer of tickets to the Parker v LJCD baseball game on April 8! In just a couple of hours after the release of the link, all of the tickets had been snatched up!
However... We'll be double checking requests on Monday, determining how many tickets are available at each division, then communicating with you about the availability of tickets.
Please know that the Byrnes Family and the Parker baseball team are delighted that so many would like to attend this game, and they're working closely with the Padres to make as many seats available as possible.
Lands' End Used Clothing Sale
The bins outside the office have begun to fill with Lands' End clothing destined for a used-clothing sale. If you have any uniform clothing that has been outgrown but is still in good condition, consider donating it. The clothing sales of the past have been enormously successful and a great way to find perfectly good uniform clothing at a fraction of the original price.
The date of the event will depend on the inventory and will be announced soon.
Parker Parent Education
Keeping the JOY in parenting.
Come hear Speaker Mary Tamborski speak on Positive Discipline and Creative Connections at the Final Parent Ed event of the year on Monday, May 5, immediately following the PA meeting at the Lower School.
Are you are looking to have a summer with filled with fun memories, cooperation, mutual respect, responsibility, less sibling rivalry, and overall a sense of peace and connection in the home?
Mary Nelsen Tamborski will teach several valuable Positive Discipline Tools for you to have your summer Tool Belts fully loaded: " As a Mother of three young boys, I know that summer break is not actually a "break" at all."
Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen is based on the theories of psychiatrist and humanitarian Alfred Adler and Rudolf Driekers. Positive Discipline is designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful and encouraging for both children and adults. Questions? Please contact Temple Zander email@example.com
SK Open House DVDs
Attention SK Parents --- You may order a DVD of the SK Open House that took place on March 20. The DVD includes many of the classroom activities as well as all of the performances in the auditorium. Please order by Friday, April 4 by visiting www.francisparkerdvd.com.
The fourth-grade students will be presenting their play, Oh, California, this Friday afternoon in the Szekely Auditiorium beginning at 1:30 p.m.
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.