Hard Hat Tour of Main Amp, Theater, & Lobby Wows All!

Last Friday was a special day on the Goshen Campus as Lake|Flato architect Danny Davy flew in from Texas to see firsthand the progress on the Main Amp and theater project. He started his day attending our Middle School Morning Meeting and gave a cool presentation showing what it means to be an architect. He talked about the creative side of his profession, but also how math is integral to what he needs to know. (It’s always great for kids to get an answer to the question “Why do we need to know this?”) That afternoon, a group of donors, school administrators, project personnel, and local media donned their hard hats and took a tour of the construction project to see the progress that’s been made (and of course, the Wyvern and Buffalo Construction buffalo mascots were on hand  to lend some “pomp to the circumstance!”). It was awesome to see the full size of the stage and be able to visualize it in its new configuration. This has certainly been a challenging year in many ways on the Goshen Campus, with the heart of our school inaccessible, but seeing what is only a few short months away from reaching fruition gave us all a spring in our step! Our students, faculty, and community are in for a real gem, and we all can’t wait until next year!  As part of helping to make this dream a reality, each of our grades is taking on a fundraising project to support the Main Amp and Theater building. Our students will [...]

2019-03-15T16:04:12-04:00March 15th, 2019|Goshen|

4th Graders Bring History Alive!

One of the events I always look forward to each year is going down to the Lower School to take in the presentations our 4th graders make for the Living History Museum. This year was no exception. As you enter, you quickly see these youngsters dressed up in their colonial garb as some of the famous dignitaries (or not so famous in many cases) of the period. One thing that struck me this year was the inclusion of some historical figures of whom I’d never heard. Racheal Ballenger regaled me with a very thorough recitation about the extremely interesting and groundbreaking life of a slave from the era, Mum Bet. Likewise, Isala Leksrisawat enlightened me about the “female Paul Revere,” Sybil Ludington. Lucas Snow took on the decidedly unpopular King George III - what a brave choice! When Hawa Muse gave her talk about Molly Pitcher, I asked her what she took away from Pitcher’s life, and she exclaimed, “Women can do anything!” And I earned a $100 Ben Franklin buck from Luke Walden, so I’ve got that going for me. But seriously, this is such a worthwhile project for our 4th graders and parallels the experience they will have as 8th graders doing their Capstone Project in four years. Congratulations to all of our 4th grade scholars and teachers Sarah Dewberry and Joanne Brock for guiding them with hands-on and off expertise. Here is a quote from Sarah on the process: “After two months of hard work and research, the 4th graders presented their Living History Museum on [...]

2019-03-08T11:07:30-04:00March 8th, 2019|Goshen|

Seussical Success!

Prior to Winter Break, we were treated to a colorful and funny musical romp of a 4th and 5th grade show in the form of Seussical KIDS (a younger version of Seussical the Musical). And like all of our productions this year, our little Cats in the Hats, Hortons, and Wickershams (to name a few) had to practice and perform in many places due to our ongoing theater renovation. No matter! Lower School music teacher extraordinaire Kim Rash, with the help of Sarah Dewberry, Joanne Brock, Faith Murphy, Billy Spalding, Christine Brinkmann, Charlie Patton, and many, many volunteer parents, nonetheless wowed our 4th and 5th graders and delighted audiences with this whimsical show. Here is a quote from Kim: “Seussical KIDS, performed by the 4th and 5th grade classes, was a super smash of a success. Students entertained audiences, whether it was on the stage at Gingerwoods, in our Multi-Purpose Room, or in the Performing Arts Space on the Downtown Campus. The show was full of color and flair, with set pieces, costumes, and makeup that were as much fun to look at as they were to wear. After the play, 4th grader Nolan Reif said that he learned that "plays take time to put together," and fellow classmate Luke Walden said he "learned to be confident in this show." Fifth grader Bren Willis said that she "learned to be a better performer and actor." Of course, many commented that they loved the cast party! All of these comments point to the purpose of doing a class play. They [...]

2019-02-28T16:38:11-04:00February 28th, 2019|Goshen|

Governor’s Cup Team Rocks On!

As we gyrate from 20-below wind chills to 70-degree temperatures within one week, one thing is certain - our 7th/8th grade Governor’s Cup team remains hot either way! Last weekend they participated in the Regional Competition where they produced another round of great results! The team finished fourth overall, and three of our students placed high enough (top five) to move on to the State Competition in March! Here are the regional highlights: Quick Recall - 4th place Language Arts - Amelia Gorman (5th place) Arts & Humanities - Amelia Gorman (5th place) Social Studies - AJ Stevenson (2nd place), Jack Rutherford (3rd place) Science - AJ Stevenson (4th place) Composition - Amelia Gorman (5th place) From coach Lindsy “Belichick” Serrano: "Our team was so excited to make it to the final four in a very tough region! To place fourth our first time at Regionals is quite a feat! We are very proud of our teammates that will be continuing on to state in March and are back in the library practicing for next year!" Lindsy has done a fantastic job coaching this team and our program is really on the upswing! Congratulations to all and the future looks “bright” for our Governor’s Cup team! Our 4th/5th grade team coached by Misty Chanda and Andrew Frechette swings into action this weekend here at St. Francis, and we look forward to their competition and results, too! Also, last week, our Middle School Chinese students hosted a Chinese New Year Assembly for the whole school on Friday. Chinese teacher Qiuhua [...]

2019-02-13T10:52:03-04:00February 8th, 2019|Goshen|

Faculty Growth Never Stops!

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus While the flu and polar vortex may be grabbing the headlines this week, school and instruction are still carrying on as normal. And to that end, I thought I’d write this week on one of the ways we help our faculty to grow and develop over time. Every year, Jen Griffith and I observe every faculty member teach a lesson in the winter months. Teachers write a lesson plan in advance detailing their goals, modes of differentiation, and, most importantly, what they’d like us to be on the lookout for in terms of improvement. After observing the lesson, we set up an appointment to talk about it in detail, going over the strengths and suggestions for improvement, and especially addressing the area they asked for help in. It is a fascinating exercise every year to see 15-20 teachers in different subjects and grades going about their daily business. I always end the process rejuvenated and reaffirmed about the excellent work that goes on in our classrooms on a daily basis (no matter the temperatures!). Additionally, our teachers on their own are beginning to form “Critical Friends” groups in which teams of teachers also observe each other and do a similar process on a peer-to-peer basis (and a tip of the cap to Patrick Donovan for taking the lead in this area). This was completely voluntary, but shows our faculty’s commitment to ongoing development. While all this may be “routine business” to us, I thought you might like a peek into one of [...]

2019-02-01T19:51:53-04:00February 1st, 2019|Goshen, News|

Building on a Child’s Curiosity

By Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director Our preschoolers are curious and ask many questions in a day. We build on this curiosity and their everyday experiences, and support them in pursuing the answers to their questions of “Why?” A few projects have emerged over the past couple of weeks where the children are engaged in observing, predicting, and reflecting on the outcomes of their experiments. Currently, we have crystals and bean sprouts growing in the Trailblazer class, and the Adventurers gathered objects from their classrooms and placed them in water outside to see what would happen. Group discussions are then used to encourage children to hear the ideas of others and to support their own developing theories. Our teachers follow up our children’s ideas by taking dictation of their thinking, or by asking them to draw their ideas. Science concepts are always supported by hands-on experimentation and play. Looking for an activity to do on a wintry day at home? Place water in a bowl and add food coloring. Have fun coloring the water, encouraging your child to make swirls or designs! Then place the bowl outside overnight and see what happens. The next day, bring the bowl inside and place some salt into a smaller bowl to use as “paint” with a small paint brush. “Paint” the frozen water with the salt to see what happens. You can also use salt water in small droppers to observe the change. What does the salt do to the frozen water? You can set this activity up in a foil baking pan [...]

2019-02-01T19:51:23-04:00February 1st, 2019|Goshen, News|

Wyverns Catch Fire at Governor’s Cup

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus I was beyond pleased over the holiday weekend to get an email from coach Lindsy Serrano about our 7th/8th grade Governor’s Cup team! They had a phenomenal showing at their District Competition. Let’s get straight to the highlights: Arts and Humanities - Allie Rahman (2nd place), Amelia Gorman (3rd place) Composition - Amelia Gorman (1st place) Language Arts - Amelia Gorman (3rd place) Science - AJ Stevenson (1st place) Social Studies - AJ Stevenson (1st place), Jack Rutherford (5th place)    All of these students will move onto the Regional Competition. In terms of team results, our Quick Recall team placed 2nd and will be participating at Regionals as well. And in the “not surprising department,” we are proud to say that St. Francis also won the Hume Sportsmanship Award! How fitting for a St. Francis squad!  Put all this together, and we are very excited to announce that our Quick Recall placement, combined with our written assessment scores, gave us a first place finish at Districts this year!   A HUGE congratulations to Lindsy Serrano for coaching this team during school lunches and recesses to such heights. Here is a quote from Lindsy: “I am just so honored to be the coach of such a funny, smart, and talented group of students. Every kid shined at Districts and they worked so well together as a team. I am especially proud of winning the Hume Sportsmanship Award. It’s great to see our values of community and compassion at work during what can [...]

2019-01-25T15:04:02-04:00January 25th, 2019|Goshen, News|

Creating Self-Directed Art

By Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director All of our Preschool classrooms are stocked with a variety art materials such as watercolors, Cray-Pas oil pastels, crayons, markers, clay, and tempera paints. Creating self-directed art is a hands-on activity that helps children learn in many ways. By drawing, making collages, and using watercolors to paint, children learn about shape, color, and texture. They are practicing making decisions about what to make and what materials they will use. Those fine motor skills are enhanced by cutting with scissors, holding a crayon, or sculpting with clay. When children observe what their friends are creating, they are learning to appreciate the artwork of others. New vocabulary words are introduced when children discuss their work with adults. We use phrases like, “Tell me about your picture.” Preschool-aged children often create things that are symbolic of something else; for example, something they have just built in the block center or a flower they just saw outside. The practice of using symbols will become important when they are learning to read. Art can also enhance science concepts when colors are mixed or seeing how adding paint to water can create changes. Creating art in any form helps children develop their imaginations and practice many skills for learning. Our goal is to give children the confidence to express themselves through art and to feel a part of a creative community of learners whenever they create something new. Preschool Doughnut Day You are invited to join your child for doughnuts on Friday, February 8th. We will be serving doughnuts and [...]

2019-01-25T15:03:19-04:00January 25th, 2019|Goshen, News|

Diversity Work and Dr. King

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus Happy Friday! As we head into a three-day weekend with Monday off school to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, I thought this was an opportune time to let you know of a change in our diversity efforts at St. Francis. We recently made the decision to have Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinators on both the Goshen and Downtown Campuses (DEI Coordinators for short). You’ll notice the addition of the words “Equity and Inclusion” to the previously solely used “Diversity,” as this is actually more reflective of the work we want to strive for and educate students about. I’m pleased to announce that librarian Lindsy Serrano enthusiastically accepted this appointment on the Goshen Campus! She will shepherd our work and meet regularly with Alexandra Thurstone, Jen Griffith, Shelly Jones, Julie Marks, and me so we’re all on the same page in this critical area. Additionally, she will also attend and be apprised of the meetings and work we’re doing with our Middle School Black Students Association (BSA), Queer Straight Alliance (QSA), and Diversity Committee. These groups are led by Salema Jenkins, Emily Campbell, and Brian Kirby respectively. Finally, she will coordinate with the High School DEI Coordinator Brett Paice on cross-campus activities. One example of their recent collaboration is that these groups planned our annual Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly which happened this afternoon before we dismissed for the three-day holiday weekend (too late for “press time!”). The students were given ownership into the planning of the assembly instead of administrators [...]

2019-01-18T21:15:23-04:00January 18th, 2019|Goshen, News|

We’re Off and Running!

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus After a nice, LONG Holiday Break, the kids came back full of energy (and stories!) and ready to roll on Tuesday morning! And while it took some of us older folks a few days to get back in the groove, we’re off and running again for the second semester. Highlights this week include welcoming some new students to school in kindergarten, 6th, and 7th grades, a new Projects session starting, which is always fun, and the 8th grade getting to take a rescheduled field trip today to the Speed Art Museum. They got to see the touring Picasso to Pollock art exhibit, along with the permanent collection, which I’m sure was fascinating. And perhaps less exciting to the students, their second quarter progress reports are being wrapped up this week and will be coming to parents electronically next week. Yay!   Another event I was excited to attend was 8th Grade Night for our basketball teams on Tuesday night. While both games were really exciting in their own rights (including the girls’ heartbreaking loss coming down to the final shot rimming out!), what I was most impressed with was the hustle and spirit our players showed. They are obviously well-coached and played like their collective hair was on fire! And in the boys’ game, Coach Tony Butler must have delivered some “Gipper Speech” (tell the kids to Google that) as they came out and ripped off a 17-0 run to open their game. This included a falling-down three pointer from 8th grader RJ Ballenger [...]

2019-01-11T19:23:38-04:00January 11th, 2019|Goshen, News|
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