Archives for November 2016

It’s Starting to Feel Like “Home”

high-schoolers-playing-poolBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus


You all know that, of course, and many of you have had the chance to see it, but I had to say it again! It’s starting to feel like “home” to all of us. The students took quickly to their new digs, with the pool table in use all day every day, and the ping-pong table soon to be ready for play. The kitchen with its huge refrigerator/freezer and plentiful microwaves is fully operational. And the Wyvern Store is open, with a variety of snacks and drinks, including some substantial and healthier options like frozen burritos, mac and cheese, etc. The sophomore class is staffing the Wyvern Store, and all profit on items sold will go to their class fund. Parents, if you would like, you can purchase a Wyvern Store punch card in amounts of $10, $25, or $50 for your student. These will be kept in the Wyvern Store as “accounts” for each student who has one. If you would like to buy a punch card, please contact Danielle Tracey.

High School Halloween costume contest

We had our always-festive Halloween Costume Contest last week, with a group of seniors (Mariana Wilson, Ruby LeStrange, Gabby Smedley, Mac Smith, and Ethan Mackin) taking top honors by dressing up as some of the teachers, a bona fide teacher (Seth Miller) coming in second, and a group of freshmen (Carly Durbin, Dereka Robinson, and Destiny Otto) dressed as grapes taking the third spot. I have to give a personal shout-out to Lily the jellyfish and Evvie the highlighter, as well, for some really inventive costuming.  

Next Wednesday, we will have an all-school screening of the Netflix documentary 13th, which premiered in late September at the New York Film Festival. From critic Odie Henderson, the film “takes an unflinching, well-informed, and thoroughly researched look at the American system of incarceration, specifically how the prison industrial complex affects people of color.” Our Black Students Association will lead an optional discussion about the film the following day.  The film has been extremely well reviewed, and this should be a thought-provoking afternoon for all our students, as we hope it will (in the words of BSA faculty moderator Brett Paice) “provide much-needed context for the state of race relations and mass incarceration in our country.”

Personal Assessments are Important

personal-assesments-rgBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

I hope you were able to take advantage of conference time last week to connect with your child’s teacher(s) about their progress. From all reports, conferences went well and were very productive. Likewise, I hope you’ve been able to go over your child’s progress report in detail, too. We strive to provide you with meaningful, individualized feedback on your child’s academic progress at all levels. Whether that takes a narrative form in Lower School, or a combination of narrative feedback and grades/behavior and effort marks in Middle School, the goal is the same – to make sure you have a personalized assessment on your child’s progress in every subject area. In Middle School, we hope you will sit down with your child and share the reports with them. Our advisors have been doing just that in advisory this week and offering up whatever each child needs; strategies for improvement or perhaps just a pat on the back for a job well done! Our reports are timed to come just prior to Parent-Teacher Conferences so immediate communication can occur between parents and teachers.

On a more “fun” note, it’s also been the usual “Halloween Fever” around here this past week with our annual Middle School Halloween Dance (and always popular costume contest!), Preschool and Lower School Halloween parades, and a Halloween Buddy Day on Monday! I’m sure Marcy Jackson will load the photo gallery with plenty of great pictures from all these fun events, so be on the lookout.

I also wanted you to know about an exciting new endeavor Middle School Language Arts teacher, Julie Mushkin, is providing for our kids! From Julie:

St. Francis is thrilled to participate in an amazing worldwide writing event for budding authors known as the National Novel Writing Month Young Writers Program. Almost two dozen SFS Middle School students will write a novel of approximately 60-100 pages between November 1st at 12:01 a.m. and November 30th at 11:59 p.m. This is a tremendous undertaking. Over 300,000 writers around the world have participated in this challenge, and both educators and students report that the process improves self-confidence, creative writing skills, overall writing ability, discipline, and time management. Ultimately, this challenge gives students the life-changing opportunity to produce an original piece of literature in one month and see that work published.

This is, of course, a lot of work on Julie’s part so she is to be applauded for providing such a worthwhile and meaningful project for our more serious writers.

I hope you’ve seen your Anne Frank and Me SFS Drama Project fall play invite and I hope to see many of you at one of our four upcoming shows, beginning tonight! Tell your friends, too!

Fall Fun!

ps-pumpkin-picking By Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

We’ve had a busy few weeks in the Preschool. Recently, we welcomed our friends from Keystone Learning Academy to join us for a fall celebration. Everyone was surprised to find that pumpkins had grown overnight in the school garden, the exact number we needed! After searching for and locating the best pumpkin, all of the children visited the playground for snack. The Adventurers’ class has been busy constructing an apple stand for several weeks and were excited to open the stand for their first group of visitors. We rounded out a fabulous day playing with our friends from Keystone with an outdoor Halloween sing-along led by Faith Murphy.

ps-professional-developmentFor our professional development day, we spent the day at the beautiful River Farm Nursery learning about brain development and how the brain learns to read. It was a content-rich topic that is fascinating and will certainly be something we continually revisit. We will have handouts from the session available at the welcome table in the Preschool area. Thank you to Tammy Carey for helping us secure such a lovely space to retreat for this very important professional development session.

Through a child’s eyes, I can’t imagine a better way to start the week than with Halloween. All of our classes had a great time parading for moms, dads, grandparents, and special friends. Thank you to all the parents who helped with the food or parties. preschool-parade_2

Mark Your Calendars

Friday, November 11th at 9:10 a.m. is our next Big Sing. Please remember to wear your Preschool Wyvern t-shirts.

Tuesday, November 15th at 9:00 a.m. is our Admissions Open House! The Open House is for anyone considering our School as an option for their child. Please invite your friends and neighbors who may have preschoolers. You are our best ambassadors!

Friday, November 18th from 11:00 – 11:45 a.m. is our annual Preschool Thanksgiving Luncheon.  The PA will be sending more information out about this event soon.

College Corner November 2016


By Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor

Don’t forget about your November college preparation to-dos! Read on to see what you should be doing now as a Sophomore, Junior, and Senior. 


  • Focus on your academics
  • Begin reviewing your personal preferences, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Talk to your “older” friends about their applications and college visits


  • On Saturday, November 12th, all juniors will sit for the Pre-ACT (just as you did for the PSAT) at SFS from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Please bring pencils, calculators, and a snack. The Pre-ACT fees will be billed to you.  
  • Work on a resume and keep it updated throughout the year
  • Chat with college representatives who visit our School
  • Begin searching possible colleges
  • Use weekends for short exploratory trips to nearby colleges/universities
  • Focus on your academics


  • Finish taking your SAT, SAT subject tests, and ACT
  • Early Action and Early Decision deadlines are usually November 1st
  • Kit Llewellyn will send your teacher recommendations, High School reports, transcripts, and school profiles electronically via Naviance
  • Students will send (paper or electronically) applications, fees, essays, supplements, resumes, and any other additional portfolios, writing samples or video/tapes
  • Students are responsible for sending their official test scores directly to colleges by contacting ACT and/or SAT and/or TOEFL
  • Most applications and school submissions will be sent by December 1st
  • Send in rolling admissions and state school apps (the sooner the better)
  • Keep working on January and February deadline applications
  • Research scholarships offered by companies, parents’ employers, civic and church groups
  • Polish your essays with Brett Paice, Cia White, and Juan Ramirez
  • Focus on your academics
  • Plan to schedule interviews with local alum or by Skype if visiting the campus is not possible (arrange by calling the admissions office)
  • If you have any questions at all, communicate with the Admissions Offices so that they know that your interest is genuine and deliberate
  • Then…submit FAFSA and CSS Profile (if required!) financial aid forms beginning October 1st. Money for financial aid has a tendency to run out quickly. Pleased adhere to these deadlines.

Photo Gallery for Week of October 31 – November 4

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

School Notes for Week of October 31 – November 4

It’s not too late to sign up to go to China on the St. Francis School Spring Break trip. We have received many deposits already, but enrollment is open until the due date for Chinese visa applications early next year. The trip is open to 7th through 12th graders and their parents or guardians.

The trip is March 30th – April 9th, and students will visit Beijing and Shanghai. It is an exciting program with visits to major sites such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square, and the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, and the Bund Waterfront, Yuyuan Gardens, the Shanghai Museum, and a river cruise in Shanghai.

The cost of the trip is an incredibly low $2,645 per person, which covers airfare, China visa and supplemental medical insurance. The rest of the trip is entirely subsidized by the Confucius Institute at WKU.

If you have any questions about the program, please email Chinese teacher Bob Jones.

The Scholastic Book Fair is scheduled for November 15th through November 22nd! Volunteers needed. In the past, the fair has raised money for a graphic novel collection, a projector and screen for the library, and an e-book database. This year the library is hoping to start a new audio/video collection, with a focus on books on CD.  

Volunteers are needed to help work the fair. Before school and after school are the busiest times. If you volunteer, you will either work at the register or restock books. If you would like to volunteer, please sign up using SignUpGeniusIf there is a shift you would like (especially an after-school shift and on Grandparents’ Day) that is filled, please email Lindsy SerranoThe more help, the better!

The 5th graders are collecting items for The Center for Women and Families as part of their service learning project. Each Middle School student, 5th – 8th grade, is welcome to make a donation on their grade’s behalf. They have the opportunity to help their class win a competition of giving the most donations and then receive a cookie cake as a reward. Thank you in advance for considering to support this organization. The Center for Women and Families needs the following items:

  • Full and twin sheets
  • Blankets
  • Towels
  • Kroger gift cards for groceries or gas (no canned food items)
  • Toiletries
  • Large size diapers