Archives for February 2015

Parent Association Needs Volunteers

-Volunteers Needed for our Bookstore Cart: Thursday mornings
We have changed our PA Bookstore Cart hours to Thursday mornings only and need YOUR help! We have 10 weeks to fill and this is a great volunteer opportunity that only takes 30 minutes of your time. If you are able to help, please click here for the SignUpGenius link. If you have any questions on volunteering, please email Kim Diamond.

-PA Dues: We will be distributing school GRANTS soon!
The PA will be purchasing “BIG TICKET” items for the school and student needs that are outside of the school budget. If you have not yet paid your 2014-15 PA dues, it’s not too late! Please click here. We are requesting $50 per family, regardless of size.

-Spirit Wear: Order Online NOW!
Click here to order online now and pay via PayPal! We will put your order in your child’s backpack. If you prefer to pick it up at the front office, just let us know! Thank you for your support!

As always, please contact PA President Andi McLeroy with any questions or concerns.

Have a great weekend!

News from The Learning Center

Preschool Parents:TheLearningCenterLogo_NEW
We all know how important it is to read to our children before they learn to read themselves. Most people, however, don’t realize how vital it is to read nightly. This graphic shows how nightly reading can accumulate for great benefit for your young child. There has also been recent research that suggests we should continue to read to our children well into the elementary years, even when they are reading independently.

Lower and Middle School Parents:
Developing readers in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades have nightly reading as part of their ongoing homework. However, did you know all children should continue to read for at least 20 minutes per night through middle school? This graphic shows why nightly reading is so vital to the overall development of your child as a learner.

So make sure you have a bookshelf full of books you and your child can enjoy every day!

Athletics from Coach Cowherd


Assistant Athletic Director and Coach

Boys’ 7th/8th Grade Basketball
The boys took on host OSL in the first-round action of the Our Savior Lutheran Roundball Tournament last Thursday and secured a 38-19 victory. Connor Gorman and Lake Mackin led the scoring charge with 13 and 11 points respectively. Next, the Wyverns faced KCD in the semifinals and gave it their best shot. The game was filled with excitement and passion, as both teams desperately wanted to advance to the championship game. The Wyverns turned in a solid defensive performance, but they couldn’t score when it was really needed. The Bearcats relentlessly pressed the entire game and never looked back after the Wyverns pulled within six at halftime. Following the defeat, the team found itself in the consolation bracket where they would face Little Flock. After a team gathering at Buffalo Wild Wings, the Wyverns headed back to the court for a late start at 10:00 p.m. The team was clicking on all cylinders and built a 15-point lead over the Lions in the third quarter. Foul trouble dogged St. Francis and allowed Little Flock to creep back into the game with free throws. Their rally was too late to overtake the lead and the Wyverns pulled out the win. Connor Gorman and Michael Patterson notched 20 and eight points apiece in the 39-33 victory. Advancing to the third-place game to take on Collegiate would be no easy task. It is a largely 8th grade team (versus our largely 7th grade squad) that has had the Wyverns’ number all year, and this game would be no different. The Titans won and St. Francis earned 4th place in the tournament. Connor Gorman was named to the All-Tournament team, and Bruce Hamilton and Angus Middleton represented St. Francis in the hot-shot and free-throw shooting competitions. The season will conclude this weekend with the Anchorage tournament.

Girls’ 7th/8th Grade Basketball
The 7th and 8th grade girls’ team finished their season in the Our Savior Lutheran tournament. They were matched up against a tough Anchorage squad and lost in the first round. The team never backed down from the challenge and were up by six points at halftime. Unfortunately, the key story in this game was the Wyverns’ inability to score in the second half. Continuing on in the consolation bracket, the Wyverns played KCD and could not stop the Bearcats’ inside presence, dropping the game 28-20. The girls improved by leaps and bounds this year with each game. They played great all year and should hold their heads high, as they were all committed to the team. Maggie McGraw won the hot-shot competition for the tournament and Meredith Fleming took home second place in the free-throw shooting contest. Congratulations to both!

Girls’ 5th/6th Grade Basketball
The girls took on Our Savior Lutheran last Saturday and started off very slowly. They eventually came together and had a very solid win. Ayda Marshall scored her 100th point of the season in the victory over the Panthers. The Wyverns’ season will conclude this weekend as they enter the ISBL tournament as the #3 seed, taking on KCD in the first round.

Boys’ 4th Grade Basketball
The 4th grade team had another close game. They took on Portland Christian and fell 21-15. Tyler King was the leading scorer. The Wyverns will look to regroup as they enter the ISBL tournament as the #6 seeded team and face Collegiate this Saturday.

Kindergarten/1st Grade Basketball
Last weekend the team played a good game, scoring a season-high 20 points! Compared to their first game with only two points, this was a huge improvement. The young Wyverns were able to use some of the plays that they had just practiced the day before. Players knew where to better position themselves in the game. They weren’t afraid to pass the ball, played good defense, and were able to move the ball better towards the basket. The team will be back in action at noon this Saturday at Waggener.

Preschool Director Renee Hennessy


Renee Hennessy Preschool Director

The 3s class welcomed a new friend this week. We welcome Emerson Gramelspacher and her parents Chris & Ashlee to the St. Francis community.

Today we celebrated Donuts with Dad or Special Friends. The excitement has been building as clay hearts have been molded by small hands, pictures glued on hearts, and messages of love dictated on paper doilies. Young children love celebrating and it’s even more meaningful when celebrations include their favorite people, like Mom and Dad!

Preschool summer camp details are coming at the end of this month! This frigid winter (minus the snow) has our minds on sunshine and summer days. A few of the themes we’ve planned this year are Around the World in 10 Days, Treasure Hunters, and Artful Antics. For the first time this summer, a Nibble Nook for children to enjoy on Splash days will be offered. This summer will be chock-full of exciting themes and new adventures, so plan on joining us for a camp preview day on Saturday, May 9th! Preschool camp dates are June 1st – July 31st.

Finally, we are grateful to all of you who tell your friends and co-workers about our Preschool program. We often take calls from prospective families you refer to us. Thank you for spreading the word about all our program has to offer.

Donuts_6 Donuts_1 Donuts_5 Donuts_4 Donuts_3 Donuts_2

Shelly Jones, MS Language Arts Chair


Shelly Jones, 6th Grade LA/SS, MS Language Arts Chair

“Anytime we have an opportunity to encounter somebody from another history, or another religious tradition, I think that it opens our eyes to the beauty of the world and of creation. It opens our hearts to the possibility of us being family.”
Anne Walter, Board President
The Drepung Gomang Center for Engaging Compassion

With Reed away in Chicago on an ISACS accreditation visit, I was asked to write this week’s school notes. I seized the opportunity to share with you what has been happening in the 6th grade language arts and social studies classes the last couple of weeks. If you popped in to visit either Lon Church’s classroom or my classroom, you may have found student Emery Richards using a professional quality Prezi she created to inform her classmates and teachers about the Baha’i faith, showing us images of beautiful temples characterized by ornate, symmetrical architecture. You may have found Owen Carey sharing a video about the patience and symbolism behind Tibetan Buddhist monks’ sand mandalas. You could have heard Audrey Brinkmann-Puima tell her classmates about Hinduism and the Lord Ganesha while sharing a colorful, vivid painting she created of the deity. You could have heard Lon leading the students in a discussion of similarities and differences in these various belief systems. Had you visited this week on Monday or on Wednesday, you may have heard Bentlea Schwartz introduce and interview special guests representing their respective religions. On Monday she invited the Rev. Emily Holladay, the Minister to Children and Families at Broadway Baptist Church here in Louisville, to speak to us about Christianity. On Wednesday she arranged for a visit from the Buddhist Monks from the Drepung Gomang Center for Engaging Compassion. Their goal? To make a contribution to world healing and peace by sharing unique Tibetan Buddhist teachings, debates, sacred religious performances, chanting, and Tibet’s unique identity and treasures of culture and authentic traditions. Bentlea has more activities planned for her classmates. We will take a field trip to The Temple next week to learn about Judaism, and guests speaking about Islam and Hinduism will visit the school after Winter Break.

So what is the value added to students’ lives by engaging in this kind of project-based learning? Lon Church and I collaborated in the fall to design a world religions project unit for our 6th grade students after finding it a bit tedious and disjointed to review different non-Western religions connected to the Asian countries we study in 6th grade, country by country. We sought a more in-depth, engaging, personal approach for the students. We wanted them to read, take notes, research, evaluate, and synthesize information. We wanted them to think creatively, too, and to design meaningful projects to share with their classmates. We wanted the students to engage in a little metacognition, or thinking about their thinking, which is a crucial stage in the learning process. The students would write reflective essays, describing their research and creative processes and reflecting on what and how they learned.

To borrow a metaphor from one of my favorite teacher-authors, Rafe Esquith, at St. Francis, we want students to be full “buyers” of their educational experiences, not just “renters.” Students learn best when they construct knowledge for themselves, when they create questions and find the answers through reading, research, and discussion. They develop complex, critical abilities and strengthen their literacy skills. Simultaneously, through examining the lives of people and religions around the world, they learn that we are part of one human family (as stated in the Anne Walter quote at the beginning of this article). Students learn compassion when they can see the world through different points of view.

The progressive education model seeks to attend to the whole child, to build community, to encourage collaboration, to focus on social justice, to take kids seriously as active, engaged participants in their learning, and thus lead them to deeper understandings. Projects like the World Religion Project occur across grade levels and content areas at St. Francis. I am grateful for the opportunity to teach in such a thoughtful, compassionate learning community that allows teachers and students the freedom to ask meaningful, relevant questions. We are able to differentiate learning experiences for students while still “sticking to” the prescribed curriculum. As a teacher and parent, I truly believe it is the best way kids learn, and it makes them better people.

For more information on progressive education, check out the work of Alfie Kohn here.