Archives for August 2016

The Workshop Brings New Opportunities

By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Cookie ProjectAnother busy week on the Downtown Campus! We began our first week of Projects on Thursday afternoons. These hourlong weekly sessions include our for-credit courses, Playwriting (with Actors Theatre Education Director Jane Jones) and Jazz Ensemble & History (with music teacher Bob Bertke), as well as a slew of other quarterly offerings, like Soap-Making, Presidential Debates, Yoga/Meditation, Poker, Presidential Films, ULS, Asian Board Games, Yearbook, and Cookies. A particularly exciting addition to this year’s offerings is Workshop/3-D Design, which correlates to our new (almost ready!) MakerSpace, called the Workshop. Part of our renovation, the Workshop will house a 3-D printer, woodworking tools, a sewing machine, and more. Students in this Project are working with science teachers Luke Johnson and David Word to plan what they want to do in the upcoming weeks and begin to use the equipment.  

We welcomed presenters from the nonprofit Educational Justice on Monday. They explained the EJ Activist program, which three of our students participated in last year (Christina Saliga, Natalie McClain, and recent grad Sam Edwards-Kuhn). EJ Activists each commit one hour a week to tutoring a socio-economically disadvantaged middle school student in an attempt to put high-achieving high school students’ talents to use in attempting to reduce educational inequities. I hope several St. Francis students will choose to participate this year

Next Tuesday brings our first Community Service outing. Students met in their assigned groups this Wednesday, many with a representative from the organization they’re working with. Our Community Service schedule is always the same, with three classes in the morning, dismissal to Community Service at 11:45 a.m., and service work until dismissal at 3:30 p.m. I’ll write next week about our various sites and the work we do.

I hope all new parents (meaning 9th grade and transfer, even if they’ve had a child in the High School before) will join us for the New Parent Dinner on Monday night at 6:00 p.m.! The Parent Association sponsors this lovely event each year to help parents begin getting to know one another.

Focusing on Community

By Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

The children are settling into their classroom routines and are enjoying all theFour Hands amenities our campus has to offer. They have already visited the chicken coop and rabbit areas, taken nature walks, played in the gym, and spent quality time with Lindsy Serrano in the library. Each day presents a field trip opportunity on this campus, where there is always something to see and explore. 

During the next few weeks, we will be focusing on building community in our classrooms. The preschoolers will be assisting with snack time, hanging up their backpacks, and serving as classroom helpers in a variety of ways. Our teachers are supporting each child’s developing independence and building confidence along the way. As the year progresses, the community will expand to include projects about family and transportation, for example.

Speaking of transportation, on September 9th we will host our 18th annual Transportation Day for Preschool through Kindergarten classes. Our committee worked through the summer to ensure that this year’s event will be the most memorable one yet. While I can’t give away any details (think things that move through the air!), I can assure you we have more than a few surprises in store for the children this year. Jessica Washer, our P.A. Representative, still needs a few more volunteers to assist with the event. Please email Jessica for information on how you can help.

Chef Matt Thomas and his wonderful team from Sage Dining Services provide our preschoolers with two snacks and a nutritious hot lunch each day. Parents can find the snack and lunch menus on our website. We also post a hard copy of the menus each month next to the sign-in table. Click here for a link to take you directly to the Preschool section of the menu.   

Welcome to our newest Preschool Wyverns!
We welcomed a new friend, Holden Smith, this week to the Trailblazers’ class. And we are looking forward to our new friend, Josephine Cummins, joining the Panda class next week!

National Youth Arts Awards Times Five!

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

IMG_0762Last weekend, I had the honor of attending the National Youth Arts Awards in New York City. Remarkably, this was our fifth year in a row of both receiving nominations and having winners for these theatrical awards! It was equally as special to have a few of our students and family members attend as well! Grace Malone (G’16, ’20) and Hayden Jones (G’16) went to receive their acting awards and also accepted awards on behalf of Lorenzo Mahoney (G’16) and Teagan Morrison (G’17). Zoë Koss, who also was unable to attend, won an acting award for our High School’s first musical, Avenue Q, which received a nomination for Best Ensemble! But I was most proud of our award for Outstanding Production in the Junior High Division for last fall’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Grace and Hayden accompanied me onstage to accept that honor, and I know we all felt quite proud.

IMG_0754The awards ceremony itself is quite an experience! We are up against productions in the Eastern Region of the country with two awards ceremonies in New York City, a matinee and evening show. These are two among 15 such ceremonies held around the country representing a huge number of productions! High school students perform during the ceremony and the talent level is astounding. That makes it even more gratifying that a school our size is recognized for the work we’re doing. After my acceptance speech, the director that followed commented on the fact that he teaches The Importance of Being Earnest to his High School AP students, and how impressed he was that we performed it, uncut, in Middle School.

I am so proud of the work we’re doing at both the Middle and High School level and applaud ALL the students listed below for their nominations and achievements! And now? We start the process all over – and it really is about the process and all the lessons learned during that is more important than any awards. But they’re certainly nice when they happen!  

Awards:

  • FullSizeRenderOutstanding Production (Junior Division): The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Lead Actress in a Musical (High School): Zoë Koss as Kate Monster in Avenue Q
  • Lead Actor (Junior Division): Hayden Jones as John “Jack” Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Lead Actor (Junior Division): Lorenzo Mahoney as Algernon Moncrieff in The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Lead Actress (Junior Division): Grace Malone as Gwendolyn Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Lead Actress (Junior Division): Teagan Morrison as Gwendolyn Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest

Nominations:

  • Lead Actor in a Musical: Thomas Simpson as Princeton in Avenue Q
  • Lead Actor (Junior Division): Lorenzo Mahoney as Pithetaerus in The Birds
  • Lead Actress (Junior Division): Emma King as Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Supporting Actor in a Musical: Charley Drew-Wolak as Rod in Avenue Q
  • Supporting Actor in a Musical: Jack Tierney as Nicky in Avenue Q
  • Supporting Actor (Junior Division): Jonathan Erwin as Euelpides in The Birds
  • Supporting Actor (Junior Division): Hayden Jones as Euelpides in The Birds
  • Supporting Actress (Junior Division): Amelia Dimas as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Supporting Actress (Junior Division): Colleen Torrans as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Featured Actress in a Musical: Evvie Cooley as Girl Bear in Avenue Q
  • Ensemble: Avenue Q
  • Costume Design: Beth Dunn and Tricia Ersin for The Birds
  • Direction: Reed Gabhart for The Importance of Being Earnest

Visit the National Youth Arts website to see the full list of winners for this ceremony and learn more about the NYA Awards. 

Photo Gallery for Week of August 22-26

 

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School Notes for Week of August 22-26

New Parent Dinner on the Downtown Campus (for all 9th grade and transfer parents) is Monday, August 29th at 6:00 p.m. The Parent Association sponsors this annual event and invites you to join them to meet other parents and faculty/staff!

All-State Choir auditions being held on the Goshen CampusStudents on the Goshen Campus interested in auditioning for All-State Choir may attend a practice session on Monday, August 29th in Bob Bertke’s room. The 5th and 6th grade session is from 3:30 – 4:15 p.m. and the 7th and 8th grade session is from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

Lower School Back-to-School Night is Wednesday, August 31st at 6:30 p.m. on the Goshen Campus. All Lower School parents are encouraged to attend to hear more about the upcoming year.

Front desk volunteers needed. Our amazing Office Managers are sometimes in need of coverage for their respective desks. If you would like to add your name to the email distribution list, please email Natalie (Goshen Campus) or Danielle (Downtown Campus) and indicate your Campus preference. If you have questions before you commit to volunteer, please do not hesitate to contact Natalie or Danielle.

Goshen Campus Athletic Study Hall will be offered to those athletes who have a home game after school. Athletic Study Hall will be offered to those athletes who have a home game after school. All athletes will be expected to check in with the proctor by 3:35 p.m. in Nate Hilberg’s room. This is different than Homework Hall, and each student is responsible for communicating with his/her advisor if s/he will be going to Athletic Study Hall. Teams will be supervised until 30 minutes before the start of the game. In the event of two teams playing on the same day, students will be supervised until the first game begins and then will be sent to watch and support their teammates! This is a free option for student-athletes. Click here for a schedule. 

The Goshen Campus Enrichment program will be available at a prorated rate of $10 for students participating in a Lower School sports activity that ends at or around 4:30 p.m. If your child is participating in a Lower School sports activity that ends at or around 4:30 p.m. and needs additional childcare, the Enrichment program will be available at a prorated rate of $10. This program is available until 5:30 p.m. The Activity Bus will also run on an as-needed basis at 5:30 p.m. for an additional $6 per ride. New this year, if you are already paying for both ways on the regular bus, then you do not pay an additional fee for the Activity Bus. Only one-way or non-regular bus riders pay the Activity Bus fee. If you know that your child will need either of these options, please notify Natalie Bruner no later than the morning of the activity.

Dragon Boat Race team members needed! For the third straight year, a St. Francis School Dragon Boat team will vie for a prize on Saturday, September 10th at Waterfront Park in Louisville. We need 20 paddlers, a drummer, and up to four alternates for our team to take to the water. We have filled a few slots and hope that more students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of St. Francis will participate in this really fun event! Our boat, the River City Wyverns, did well last year.

This is a great event for beginners or seasoned paddlers!  Team members must be 12 or older.  Anyone under 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian. All registration fees are paid for. Please let Team Manager Bob Jones know as soon as possible if you are interested in participating. Individuals can sign up for other practice days and times through the organizer’s website at www.louisvilledragonboat.com.

The Dragon Boat Festival at Waterfront Park will also be the venue of much Asian cultural activity, with plenty of hands-on things to do, food trucks, and booths from the Confucius Institutes at UK and WKU, Crane House, and other organizations. Even if you can’t be on the team, come to Waterfront Park on Saturday, September 10th to cheer the River City Wyverns on!

College Corner

By Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor

IMG_0781College Corner appears in the Wyvern Weekly once a month, with suggestions and dates to help make the college search and application process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible!

Sophomores:

  • Keep track of all your activities/jobs/interests for your resume
  • Work hard and give your energies to your studies and activities
  • The PSAT is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19th at 9:00 a.m. in the Commons Room (more information to come)
  • The NACAC College Fair is Saturday, September 10th from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Bellarmine University

Juniors:

  • On Tuesday, August 30th at 7:00 p.m. at Walden School, all junior and senior parents are invited to attend a financial aid seminar to learn the facts regarding financial aid for college
  • The NACAC College Fair is Saturday, September 10th from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Bellarmine University
  • On Sunday, October 16th from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. in the Commons Room, all juniors and their parents are strongly encouraged to attend the College Kick-Off presented by Annie Murphy, Associate Director of Admissions at Centre College, and Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor
  • The PSAT is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19th at 9:00 a.m. in the Commons Room (more information to come)
  • The P-ACT is scheduled for Saturday, November 12th at 9:00 a.m. in the Commons Room (more information to come)
  • Colleges are focusing on your achievements from this year, so give it your all!
  • Purchase or borrow college reference books
  • Confirm your High School CEEB code number (181604)
  • Confirm your Social Security number
  • Pay attention to the calendar in the gathering space to be aware of visiting college representatives and financial aid seminars

Seniors:

  • On Tuesday, August 30th at 7:00 p.m. at Walden School, all junior and senior parents are invited to attend a financial aid seminar to learn the facts regarding financial aid for college
  • The NACAC College Fair is Saturday, September 10th  from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Bellarmine University
  • On Monday, October 17th from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in the Commons Room, all seniors and their parents are strongly encouraged to attend the College Application Workshop presented by Annie Murphy, Associate Director of Admissions at Centre College, and Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor
  • On Wednesday, October 19th all seniors will be meeting with Kit Llewellyn during the morning. Brett Paice and Cia White will be available for conferring about essay composition and Kit will help with Naviance logistics and completion of the Common Application.
  • Be aware of visiting college representatives/presentations on campus and in Louisville by looking at the calendar in the gathering space
  • Finalize your college list on Naviance and note the deadlines and test requirements
  • Complete your resumes and personal profiles on Naviance
  • Complete your Common Application and polish your essays and supplements
  • If necessary, register for a retake of the SAT, ACT, or SAT Subject tests in October and November

SAT I and SAT Subject Tests:  

Test Date         Registration Deadline
October 1            September 1
November 5       October 7
December 3       November 3

ACT Tests:

Test Date         Registration Deadline
October 22         September 16
December 10     November 4

New Year, New Space

By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

IMG_5113Welcome to the 2016-17 school year! We’ve welcomed our freshman class of 46 students, plus six transfers (two 10th, four 11th) and two exchange students (from Brazil and Germany). There’s the usual excited, expectant feel to the start of the year, as well as a bit of an unsettled feeling, because our renovation is still not quite complete. So the students know that within a month or so, we’ll be inhabiting some completely new spaces. We should be able to open the Broadway entrance, new Commons Room, Wyvern Store, etc. by about the end of September.

This week, we’ve had a Community Service assembly to go over the sites for this year and have students sign up for their preferences and a Projects assembly to explain those offerings and how it works. Today we enjoyed Advisee Groups for the first time; these are small (9-12 students with a faculty/staff member or two) gatherings that span all four grade levels and are our Friday morning tradition.

The bookends to the week are our 9th grade orientation and our 12th grade rafting trip. On Monday, the freshmen spent the morning at school orienting to their classes, downtown, and general school life. Then in the afternoon, we traveled to Otter Creek Park/Camp Piomingo to do some low-ropes teambuilding activities, to help orient them to one another. These new classmates did a fantastic job working together. The seniors left Thursday afternoon on the annual whitewater rafting trip that kicks off their year. They’ll return Saturday, having conquered the rapids and enjoyed lots of s’mores and bonfire time.  

New parents had this covered during orientation sessions, but for returning parents, log into your Parent Portal (where you did your back-to-school forms, view your student’s grades, etc.) and check out the new teacher pages through the Portal. We are not using the pages linked to our web site any more; instead, your student’s schedule and homework assignments are right there on the Portal for him/her and you to see! We are excited about this change and hope it proves useful and easy for students and parents.  

Here’s to a fantastic school year!

Taking Time to Adjust

By Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

PandaWelcome back, Preschool families! We’ve had a wonderful start to the school year. It started on Saturday, with the rainy weather holding off for our Back-to-School Picnic. The bouncy houses, grilled food, face painting, and playtime made for a memorable day for everyone. 

It is important to remember in the coming days that young children need time to feel comfortable in new situations. It often takes children a few weeks to adopt a new routine, and sometimes they have more tears during the second week of adjustment than the first. This is normal. Fortunately, our Preschool teachers are experienced at helping children transition into the classroom. Parents can also help ease the transition by making sure that your child gets enough sleep at night. Try to establish a morning routine that is relaxed and unhurried. Allow enough time to get to school before 9:00 a.m., and if at all possible, use our carpool for drop off and let us walk your child into the building. We have found that the carpool routine makes for the smoothest goodbyes. Before separating, calmly remind your child when you will be back (after school, after lunch, etc.). Very soon, the transition from home to school and back again will be natural, and your child will have learned that greetings and goodbyes are a predictable part of the daily routine. This will help lay the foundation for healthy emotional development.

A few reminders:

  • If your child has a change in his/her schedule, please call me at 502-694-9369 or send me an email at RHennessy@StFrancisSchool.org.
  • You can access the 2016-17 Parent-Student Handbook in the Parent Portal. Information specially for Preschool begins on page 23.
  • Jessica Washer, Preschool Parent Association Representative, will be contacting you soon with information on how you can sign up for classroom parties and P.A. sponsored events.

A special thank you to Dr. Tom Yao and Emily Yao for the donation of the Language of Your Own Mandarin/English pen to the preschool classrooms.

First Day Jitters

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

First Day JittersWelcome back! It doesn’t matter how many years one is in education, the first day of school brings jitters to EVERYONE! Whether you are a new student to St. Francis, or a teacher with 26 years of experience (who will remain anonymous), the night before the first day is often restless. Will people like me? (I bet the kids wonder about this one, too.) What will my teachers be like? Will I get lost? Who will I sit with at lunch? What if I forget my locker combination? At least at St. Francis, kids don’t have to worry about that last one! 

Despite all these competing stressors in play, the first day on Tuesday was remarkably smooth! I can assure you that is no accident! We’ve all been here a full week before the kids return ensuring everything is in place and ready to go. From the New Faculty Orientation, to the newly revamped New Student AND New Parent Orientation, we strive to make sure everyone feels welcome, is included, and has all the information s/he needs. We have an astounding 35 new students this year, 25 in Middle School and 10 in Lower School, which I believe is a record! They will add energy and new personalities to our classrooms, and we will certainly keep our eyes out for them these first few weeks!

In addition to the new faculty you will want to meet, you may have trouble finding some familiar faces! As you walk through the building, you will see that some teachers have moved their classrooms and, in one case, combined their spaces. In the Lower School, our Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten classrooms have designed an amazing flexible space which they will all share. This idea was the brainchild of Andrew Frechette, Heather McGraw, and Annette Rudd, in an effort to best serve our youngest students while also making a variety of resources available to them. Come down and take a look at the new JK/K space if you have a chance!

Before long, we will be fully in the swing of things and humming along. Our athletes are practicing, and games start tonight. The SFS Drama Project fall play, Anne Frank and Me, will hold auditions next week, and Projects will start next week, too! For Lower School students interested in performing, your turn is coming. The ever-popular Lower School Choir, directed by the fabulous Kim Aberle, will be starting in just a few weeks. Stay tuned for information on all of these exciting opportunities. Also, we had our first Middle School morning meeting on Wednesday, and I could hear the kids’ voices from 50 yards away! We will also be electing our Lower School and Middle School Student Councils to join our 8th grade officers in the next week or two. This is a wonderful chance to get involved in a leadership position in the school, so you might encourage your child to consider running! And as a member of the Parent Association, you might consider volunteering for lunch help or a number of other slots! (Did I mention they filled our teacher’s lounge with Dunkin’ Doughnuts and coffee on the first day?)

I also want to take a moment to remind you about Shelly Jones’ new position! While Shelly is still teaching one section of 6th grade Language Arts and Social Studies, she has also assumed the role of Middle School Dean of Students. She is already making her mark, getting involved with many different aspects of the students’ lives, and is a great help to me. It was her idea to let the new 8th grade students have “top” lockers (which, trust me, is “big medicine”). Shelly will handle the routine discipline in the Middle School, but that is just one part of her role. She will be an advocate for ALL students and is intent on helping to elevate the overall student experience at St. Francis to even higher levels! While that may seem like a difficult task, if anyone can accomplish it, Shelly can. Please welcome her to her new position and here’s to a “Happy New Year!”

School Notes for Week of August 16-19

Dragon Boat Race team members needed! For the third straight year, a St. Francis School Dragon Boat team will vie for a prize on Saturday, September 10th at Waterfront Park in Louisville. We need 20 paddlers, a drummer, and up to four alternates for our team to take to the water. We have filled a few slots and hope that more students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of St. Francis will participate in this really fun event! Our boat, the River City Wyverns, did well last year.

This is a great event for beginners or seasoned paddlers!  Team members must be 12 or older.  Anyone under 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian. All registration fees are paid for. Please let Team Manager Bob Jones know as soon as possible if you are interested in participating. Individuals can sign up for other practice days and times through the organizer’s website at www.louisvilledragonboat.com.

The Dragon Boat Festival at Waterfront Park will also be the venue of much Asian cultural activity, with plenty of hands-on things to do, food trucks, and booths from the Confucius Institutes at UK and WKU, Crane House, and other organizations. Even if you can’t be on the team, come to Waterfront Park on Saturday, September 10th to cheer the River City Wyverns on!

New Parent Dinner on the Downtown Campus (for all 9th grade and transfer parents) is Monday, August 29th at 6:00 p.m. The Parent Association sponsors this annual event and invites you to join them to meet other parents and faculty/staff!

An informational student meeting for the High School Improv troupe will be held next Tuesday during school. All are welcome to join the group for the 2016-17 season!

Auditions for the St. Francis Drama Project’s fall Goshen Campus production of Anne Frank and Me. Auditions for the St. Francis Drama Project’s fall production of Anne Frank and Me are set for after school on Tuesday, August 23rd and (if need be) Tuesday, August 25th. Students were given audition forms, a list of roles, and audition passages this first week of school.  6th through 8th grade actors and crew members are needed to help carry on the St. Francis Drama Project tradition!

Goshen Campus Athletic Study Hall will be offered to those athletes who have a home game after school. Athletic Study Hall will be offered to those athletes who have a home game after school. All athletes will be expected to check in with the proctor by 3:35 p.m. in Nate Hilberg’s room. This is different than Homework Hall, and each student is responsible for communicating with his/her advisor if s/he will be going to Athletic Study Hall. Teams will be supervised until 30 minutes before the start of the game. In the event of two teams playing on the same day, students will be supervised until the first game begins and then will be sent to watch and support their teammates! This is a free option for student-athletes. Click here for a schedule. 

The Goshen Campus Enrichment program will be available at a prorated rate of $10 for students participating in a Lower School sports activity that ends at or around 4:30 p.m. If your child is participating in a Lower School sports activity that ends at or around 4:30 p.m. and needs additional childcare, the Enrichment program will be available at a prorated rate of $10. This program is available until 5:30 p.m. The Activity Bus will also run on an as-needed basis at 5:30 p.m. for an additional $6 per ride. New this year, if you are already paying for both ways on the regular bus, then you do not pay an additional fee for the Activity Bus. Only one-way or non-regular bus riders pay the Activity Bus fee. If you know that your child will need either of these options, please notify Natalie Bruner no later than the morning of the activity.

As a reminder, you can access the Goshen Campus lunch calendar through our website. For nutritional information, click on the food item and then click on the tab marked “Nutritional Information”. Use access code S0129 when prompted.