The podcast Life Kit on NPR was recommended to me recently by a former Preschool parent. Life Kit is a collection of short podcasts covering personal finance, health, and parenting. Like many of you, I’m interested in podcasts and books that cover topics that we grapple with as parents. I discovered that the Life Kit series has segments called “Parenting: Difficult Conversations” and it’s supported by the child development specialists at Sesame Workshop. Oftentimes as parents we aren’t ready for the difficult conversations that come up while parenting, and the timing is rarely right (for instance, after we’ve just read the perfect parenting article about the subject). It struck me that the conversations offered in the Life Kit series dive into the challenging questions we face as parents. When I looked at the entire list of difficult conversations listed, I thought, YES! These are questions that parents have, and want answers to, in order to support their children the best way possible. A few titles from the podcasts are “Talking Race with Young Children,” “Is It OK to Lie About the Tooth Fairy?,” and “Death: Talking with Kids About the End.” I’ve listened to a few of them, and the discussions are thoughtful and informative. And, with their partnership with Sesame Workshop as an added recommendation, we wanted to share this resource with you. Spring Egg Hunts Our preschoolers had a wonderful time collecting eggs on the playground Wednesday morning. The weather cooperated and all of our classes were able to search for their eggs outside. Bunny bags and baskets were overflowing with eggs stuffed with special treats. Thank you to Renee Reithel and Jacquelyn Stack for all your work organizing our Spring Egg Hunts. Thank you to our egg-cellent egg hiders, Trisha Amirault, Marcy Jackson, Hallie Mooser, Roneka Price, Renee [...]
This week, our 7th graders ventured up to Brown County State Park in Indiana for their outdoor education trip. This location was a first for us, so they got to be explorers in seeing whether this park fit the bill as a good location for hiking and class bonding. Overall, we were blessed with great weather - only chilly the first night (mid-40s) before soaring to the upper 70s on Tuesday! And fortunately, no rain, although the high winds literally blew some of our tents out of the ground! Learning to prepare properly for the weather (and what life brings you) is part of the point of these excursions. The area was very beautiful! It was a homecoming of sorts for me as Indiana University is only 15 miles up the road (of course I never made it into the park as an undergrad!). Here are some of the highlights from the trip: Some groups hiked to and climbed a tall fire tower! The view at the top above the trees was impressive, naturally, and the whooshing winds up high were both cooling and calming (even if Angela Ponzio wouldn’t climb up with us). One of our hikes, which all three groups did, led to a gorgeous lake with lots of turtles sunning themselves and one unexpected encounter with a large snake doing the same! We found out later this was a harmless copperbelly water snake, but it still gave many of us the willies. We spent some silent time both hiking and sitting near the lake, which isn’t the easiest feat to accomplish with 7th graders. Some didn’t understand the point at first, but most did afterwards. Watching the wind “dance” across the lake surface was worth the “price of admission” all on its own! As with our 8th grade [...]
After a long and restful Spring Break, we returned this week refreshed and looking forward to the homestretch leading to the end of the year. At Morning Meeting on Monday, we talked about the many, many events that occur between now and then, such as track meets, Derby events (especially the Kindergarten Derby!), talent shows, the 8th grade Capstone Projects Showcase, camping trips, dances both “cute” (Parent-Daughter Dance) and “serious” (7th/8th Grade Formal), just to name a few! All ultimately lead to Class Day, Red/Blue Field Day, our Final Assembly and, of course, the Goshen Campus Graduation. Not to mention the hustle and bustle of everyday life and learning at St. Francis, of course! But before we move onto all of the upcoming events, I want to take a quick look back at our spring musical, The Sound of Music. If you didn’t get the chance to see the show, it was staged in the huge auditorium of Old Male High School (seating capacity of 1,538!). This allowed our cast and crew of 56 to perform in a different style of theater than the one to which they are accustomed. As I commented on in curtain speeches, with our theater expansion and front lobby renovation going on all year, we’ve now done four SFS drama productions in four different locations. This includes the summer alumni show, Getting Out, at Baron’s Theater Downtown, The Odd Couple on our Downtown Campus, Seussical KIDS at Gingerwoods, and The Sound of Music at Old Male. And while this has certainly been challenging, it has also been a tremendously growth-producing experience for our kids, teaching them adaptability, resourcefulness, and resiliency. But enough from me - here are some parting comments from some of our 8th graders on either this production or their experience with drama at [...]
This week, though we're just back from Spring Break, has in many ways focused on the next school year! We opened course registration for returning students, featuring not only core classes and AP options but also exciting junior/senior electives like True Crime, Microfiction and the Prose Poem, Race in American Cinema, Delhi: Then & Now, Climate Change: An Activist’s History, Light & Optics, Design & Engineering, and Vertebrate Zoology. The seniors are getting final acceptance notifications from colleges and making decisions in advance of the May 1st deadline. The English department is busily reviewing possibilities for the all-school summer reading book, to be announced soon. And we're contemplating the additional faculty summer reading possibilities, exploring options that focus on race, trauma-informed teaching, or mindfulness; books from the keynote speakers at the upcoming ISACS Annual Conference in Louisville next fall; and more. We particularly enjoyed sharing last year's summer reading choices with parents at our Back-to-School Night and hope to do so again. Before we get to 2019-20, though, there's plenty of energy left for this year! Today we had our fifth Community Service day, followed by a Kentucky Shakespeare Festival production of Macbeth. The tennis and track teams are both in action this afternoon, with the baseball team hosting an invitational tournament tomorrow. The We Act group heads to the annual We Day celebration of service next Tuesday, and the sophomores travel to the University of Louisville to see a production of A Raisin in the Sun. Back at school, students are enjoying this warm spring weather by spending lunch and free time (and even some classes are meeting) in the Courtyard!
As you may have noticed, at regular intervals throughout the year, our teachers ask our children to draw pictures of themselves. Sometimes we give children mirrors during the self-portrait process so they can observe the details of their faces. Other times we may ask the children to draw their whole bodies (the Adventurers class does this in the fall). These drawings help us learn more about our preschoolers in several ways. Through their self-portraits, we can assess a child’s fine motor skills. In addition, self-portraits give us a clear picture of a child’s awareness of his/her own body. Body awareness is an indication of a child’s perceptual awareness. The details of children’s drawings increase as their awareness of the world around them increases. We compare several drawings of a child’s self-portraits over time to get a clear idea of how the child’s self-awareness and his/her awareness of the world is progressing. Collecting self-portraits is an important tool in our documentation process of a child’s growth. Egg-cellent Donations Thank you to all of our families who donated eggs for our Spring Egg Hunts next week. Our hunts will take place immediately following carpool on Wednesday, April 17th on the Preschool Playground. It has been our long-standing tradition to donate eggs to our friends at Keystone Learning Academy for their egg hunts. We appreciate our Preschool community continuing to support this endeavor each year. Our families are egg-cellent!
College Corner appears in the Wyvern Weekly with suggestions and dates to help make the college search and application process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. Seniors are in the process of making a decision as to which college they will attend. The deadline for making the enrollment deposit is Wednesday, May 1st. We will be celebrating the May 1st deadline at SFS by seniors, faculty, and staff wearing a t-shirt or sweatshirt from the college they are attending (or attended in the case of the faculty and staff!). In order to not miss important deadlines, seniors should be checking their email for communications from their colleges, as housing, registration, orientation, and other important information is being sent. It is common courtesy to email the admissions offices at the colleges you are declining to let them know you have made a commitment elsewhere (you don’t need to say which college you are attending, but you can if you want). If any seniors are undecided about which college they plan to attend, here are some suggestions for parents and students when considering the decision: Compare scholarships and financial aid packages and decide what is most comfortable for you financially as you consider loan amounts. What are the strongest programs academically and do they interest you? Do you have a dedicated academic advisor and career counselor? Consider the surrounding area of the college as you will be living there for four years. Is it important for you to be in or near a city? Do you want to be surrounded by mountains and places where you can hike, camp, ski, etc.? What are the internships and work opportunities available to you and how much does the career center at the college assist in placement? If you plan to attend graduate school, what are [...]
Today was Grandparents’ Day at the High School! Grandparents are invited to visit two classes and have lunch with their grandchildren. This is a lovely event every year, as it gives grandparents a glimpse into the lives of these teenagers that they otherwise wouldn’t get. Many thanks to our Development team and our Parent Association for making this possible! The final pre-Spring Break major event is upon us Sunday - Tuesday, as over 20 students head to the Galt House for the Kentucky United Nations Assembly (KUNA) event. Then an intrepid group of 11 High School students (along with three Middle School students, some parents, and chaperones Ralph Marshall and Chris Hutchins) departs for China on Thursday! Over Spring Break, they will visit Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. Spring Break also marks the end of Senior Project presentations. If you follow St. Francis on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve likely seen the posts with photos of our seniors and the titles of their projects. In April, we’ll wrap up the process with the Senior Project Showcase on Thursday, April 25th (also the date for the Student Art Show and the Class of 2023 Welcome Picnic). You’ll see an invitation, but please save the date!
Morning Meeting this past Monday was a joyful celebration of so many wonderful things our kids did over weekend. First, Joanne Brock was her usual inspirational Pied Piper, leading 19 of our Lower and Middle School students, along with PE teacher Rosanne Conlan, to shave their heads (or cut off a good deal of hair!) for the annual St. Baldrick’s campaign to raise funds to fight cancer. Together the team raised over $12,000 this year! What an act of compassion and lesson for our students. We also celebrated our 5th graders’ first-ever foray into National History Day at U of L. Billy Spalding led this new initiative where students created projects based on historical events and four of our students - Kennedy Julian, Eleanor Kayrouz, Charlie Rutherford, and Sydney Shoemaker - advance to the state competition next month in Lexington. Meanwhile, Middle School students Amelia Gorman, Jack Rutherford, and AJ Stevenson participated in the Governor’s Cup State competition on Sunday in Louisville, which they qualified for by advancing through District and Regional competitions. AJ described it as “an endurance test of test-taking!” Yet another huge accomplishment was turned in by 5th grader Andrew Snyder, who was “team St. Francis” at the Science Olympiad Regional competition coached by Jason Chlopek. Despite being our only Middle Schooler who competed, Andrew stood up to 15 other full teams and captured a second-place medal in the Road Scholar event! This is the first time in over six years that the School earned a medal for Road Scholar. And on top of all that, 55 of our kids took part in a five-hour dress rehearsal on Sunday at Old Male High School in preparation for tonight’s opening of The Sound of Music (showtimes elsewhere in the weekly!). One of the things that caught my eye was [...]
This week we enjoyed a visit from author and artist Mary Maier and her husband, Cole. She read her new book Hoo Hoo Who? to the delight of our preschool friends and teachers. After the reading and sing-along, our preschoolers searched for clues in sensory bins and matched them to the characters in the story. This hands-on activity was the perfect way to end a special story time. Spring Egg Hunts Our Spring Egg Hunts and parties will be held on Wednesday, April 17th following morning carpool. We are asking for volunteers to help hide the eggs that morning. We are also asking each child to donate two dozen plastic eggs by Wednesday, April 10th. Each year we contribute half of our collected eggs to Keystone Academy in support of their egg hunts. The eggs can be filled with toys, stickers, fun band-aids, or non-chocolate/non-nut candy. Please tape the eggs shut (so they stay together when hidden), and remember an egg could be picked up by a two-year-old or a five-year-old. Thank you for supporting our egg hunt and one for our friends at Keystone! Volunteers Needed for 2019-20 Want to get to know other parents and be involved in the Preschool by assisting with organizing events and partnering with the staff and Preschool Director on various projects? Then you might be perfect as a co-chair of the Preschool Parent Association! We are looking for two wonderful people to co-chair the Preschool PA for 2019-20. For more information, or just to chat about it, please contact Renee Hennessy.
We are back at it with our fourth Community Service day of the year today. Students who worked outside had to battle cold and muddy conditions, but persevered nonetheless! This afternoon, we had our second "half' of Cultural Day, which includes thematic downtown field trips for each grade. The 9th grade, focused on media, visited Red Pin Media (publishers of LEO, the Voice-Tribune, and more). The 10th grade, themed around art, took a trip to the Speed Art Museum. The 11th grade, centering on the legal/justice system, visited the Jefferson County Law Library for a seminar on "Knowing Your Rights." And the 12th grade traveled only as far as the Space for Thought, where they continued their theme of preparation for college and life with a financial literacy seminar with our Business Manager, Greg Borders. The BSA's Soul Week, highlighted by a panel of speakers on Wednesday, finished in fine fashion with "The Feast" today; next up is Diversity Week with its annual Potluck and Fair, as well as some student education on intersectionality. And in between the two Weeks is tonight's Women's Retreat. This 17th annual event is a favorite for many of us on the faculty and staff, as we always look forward to this time with the fabulous young women of St. Francis. The tennis team had its first match and the baseball team its first scrimmage game this week, so we're managing to be underway on spring sports, despite the weather challenges. Fingers crossed for some better weather soon for our spring sports athletes. In other competition news, this weekend our Quick Recall Team, sophomore Drew Siciliano and freshman Aidan Kash compete at State Governor’s Cup - sending them good luck!
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 learn firsthand that philanthropy takes all of us. Each class will have a shiny plaque on one of new theater seats as acknowledgment of their hard work and support. Also this week, Lower School Director Jen Griffith and our JK and K [...]
Our preschoolers adored the puppet show Tricky Fox, performed by Squallis puppeteer Nora Christensen this week. The story was brought to life through the beautiful puppets, the interesting voices she used for each animal, and the silly humor that preschoolers (and teachers) love! Our friends laughed and giggled at Trixie the fox as she tried to “trick” nice people into getting her a pig. We learned a big lesson about being a good friend - it’s not nice to trick people and we should be kind to one another. After the show our preschoolers were invited to interact with and play with the puppets. Nora shared her “tricks” about how she makes the puppets move their mouths, heads, and hands. The show sparked imaginations and hand puppets were seen throughout the day everywhere we looked. Spring Egg Hunts Our Spring Egg Hunts and parties will be held on Wednesday, April 17th following morning carpool. We are asking for volunteers to help hide the eggs that morning. We are also asking each child to donate two dozen plastic eggs by Wednesday, April 10th. Each year we contribute half of our collected eggs to Keystone Academy in support of their egg hunts. The eggs can be filled with toys, stickers, fun band-aids, or non-chocolate, non-nut candy. Please tape the eggs shut (so they stay together when hidden), and remember an egg could be picked up by a two-year-old or a five-year-old. Thank you for supporting our egg hunt and one for our friends at Keystone! Volunteers Needed for 2019-20 Love St. Francis School? Want to get to know other parents and be involved in the Preschool by assisting with organizing events and partnering with the staff and Preschool Director on various projects? Then you might be perfect as a co-chair of the Preschool [...]
Our spring play has its world premiere tonight at 7:00 p.m. (with a second performance tomorrow evening, also at 7:00 p.m.) and I hope many of you can join us! Titled Fancy Me Mad, it's an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe works created by our English teachers and drama team of Michelle Salerno and Juan Ramirez. Fancy Me Mad is also site-specific, with each short play performed in a different area around the school. In the afternoons over the past few weeks, I've been witness to some fascinating things around school: hearing random blood-curdling screams and coming across skeletons sitting in a windowsill, for starters. I watched the dress rehearsal last night and was a) completely creeped out by these otherwise pleasant students coughing, bleeding, murdering, and generally tormenting one another through the evening and b) impressed with how well they pulled off this complex production. Please come see Fancy Me Mad! More information below. Plays include The Masque of the Red Death, Berenice, Pit and the Pendulum, Ligeia, William Wilson, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Cask of Amontillado, The Black Cat, and The Raven. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students (plus credit card fees). Click here to purchase tickets. Online sales will close three hours prior to the start of the show. Tickets can also be purchased at the door with cash or check. Note: Due to subject matter, this is appropriate for Middle School audiences and up. There will be an elevator available for those who need it.
One of the highlights of our program is our community Big Sings. The tradition began many years ago as a way to connect families in a more meaningful way to our music program. Faith Murphy has continued the tradition with new ideas, energy, and song selection interwoven with storytelling. We are proud of this music tradition and appreciate our parents’ support and participation. Next Thursday, March 14th, Squallis Puppeteers will present Tricky Fox for the preschoolers. The puppet show is based on the book The Tale of the Tricky Fox by Jim Aylesworth. On Monday, March 18th, we are welcoming local children’s book author and artist Mary Maier to read her book Hoo Hoo Who?. Sharing stories with children through music, nursery rhymes, puppetry, and good books often innately invites children to join in and participate. They become the characters and feel their emotions, and they are building the necessary skills needed for learning to read. Connecting our students to literacy-rich experiences helps stimulate intellectual growth and increases their vocabularies. Our greatest advice to families is read, read, and read some more. Lastly, if you are looking for a family-friendly activity that is sure to bring giant-sized fun for all, check out the Forest Giants at Bernheim! Danish artist Thomas Dambo is creating giants from recycled wood and materials on site through March 18th. You don’t want to miss this gigantic opportunity. I’ll see you there!
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 Tuesday. Each student chose a person who had an influence on early American history, specifically during the 1600s and 1700s. In addition to the obvious George Washingtons and Thomas Jeffersons, we also had Benedict Arnold, King George III, Sybil Ludington, and Benjamin [...]