Archives for January 2017

Kentucky by Elise Pfeiffer ’17

(After Allen Ginsberg’s “America”)

Elise Pfeiffer ’17

Kentucky, I think about breaking up with you all the time.
Kentucky, my father says you have a rude voice.
Kentucky, I have a crush on your best friend.
Her songs make me cry and I daydream
that she wrote them all for me.
Kentucky, I’m fed up with your sadness.
Why did I let you take the rest of my cigarettes?
Kentucky, I jumped the gun when I let you kiss me.
You never know what to do with my body.
Kentucky, I’ve still never been with a girl
and you insist I never will.
You push and prod me like the cattle
that graze on your grassy blue.
Kentucky, I’m just not in love with you
and I’m not sure that you can even tell.

Kentucky, your cheeks are ruddy and filled with stupid stuffs.
Your hills are blatantly unorganized and slim.
Kentucky, I ought to be more gentle with you.
I know you can’t bounce back like I can.
Kentucky, you’re not just a piece of money, a piece of flesh.
Your people they live under stones.
Kentucky, I’m sorry I treat you like
a stage one night and a dumping ground
for my shit-filled mason jars the next.
Kentucky, you are Persephone darkened by funny-men
who saw your roosters as a tourist attraction.
Kentucky, for a moment I forgot how unsexy smoke is.
It’s a dangerous sport we’re playing with you, dear
and Kentucky, I’m doing my best
to convince the others to love you again.

Kentucky, I’m going through an identity repair.
I stand at your mountain bottoms, combative, and scream.
I’m so angry, Kentucky.
I haven’t had an epiphany in weeks.
Kentucky, my mother says we’re codependent.
I think about breaking up with you
all the time but when I get down
to the choreography of blame.
Kentucky, I can’t make myself blame you.
You’re addicted to anxiety drugs.
Kentucky, when did you become such a boy?
Kentucky, I can’t find your footnotes– I’m at a loss for words.
I guess I’ll go join the workforce.
Down in the wet parts of your coal belly, there’s a mandate
of Silence, so Kentucky, please don’t speak to me.

Middle School Discipline — That Ever-Tricky Topic

Pink SlipBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

Middle School discipline is far more of an art than a science and has us often living in gray areas. Most situations that emerge (or “erupt” as they occasionally do!) usually involve “sorting out” with two or more students, and it is a delicate dance to arrive at mutually agreeable versions of the circumstances. Add in the parents’ perspectives, and we are balancing multiple viewpoints and outlooks. All of this is to say, it’s a very complicated topic that we deal with regularly at St. Francis, as at all Middle Schools.  As always, our goal is to try to figure out the truth and, when appropriate, hold our students accountable while helping them learn from their mistakes.  

I thought I’d use my space this week to let you know about conversations that occurred this week in our Middle School faculty meeting on Wednesday afternoon. One of our featured discussion points was Middle School discipline, and specifically, “Pink Slips,” which are often our communication home to parents informing you of a disciplinary situation.  Pink Slips are often a source of consternation for students, parents, and teachers alike, and there still seems to be a lack of clarity as to when they are handed out and their purpose. To that end, we decided to have a conversation about their issuance in order to ensure consistency in handing them out; our plan is to also discuss this with the students.

One of the best ideas from our recent discussion, which is particularly in keeping with the Progressive philosophy that values student input on school policies, is Middle School Advisors’ plan to discuss Pink Slips with their Advisees next week to ask them what they think merits a Pink Slip. While each teacher has discretion in handing out Pink Slips, there are also things that, we believe, all would agree should automatically earn one. As such, we wanted to solicit students’ ideas and feedback on this and include their viewpoints to generate a list of certain behaviors that we all agree should earn a Pink Slip, thereby demystifying these colorful documents.  

After the discussions, we will reconvene, compare our notes, and come up with a list of behaviors from the students and faculty that should be fully understood by all. We will also share this with parents, as well.

My guess is the list won’t be very long.  Pink Slips have been a practice at St. Francis for many years, but as a Progressive School, we believe that all practices should be examined and updated on a regular basis.  This is a topic that we will continue to study and we (Shelly Jones, Alexandra, or I) welcome your input and questions.

“The Lives They Lived”

The Lives They LivedBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Congratulations to Alexis Nelson ‘18, our 5th 1,000-point scorer in Wyvern basketball history! We had three until this year, when both Alexis and James Risley ‘17 accomplished this feat.

A longstanding St. Francis tradition every January is called “The Lives They Lived.” Named for The New York Times Magazine feature by the same name, our “The Lives They Lived” profiles interesting (and sometimes famous) people who died in 2016, with the goal of exposing our students to stories about people who lived truly interesting lives – by various definitions. Faculty and staff take turns reading pieces in Morning Meeting. Our lineup this year includes Prince, Antonin Scalia, Sharon Jones, Edward Albee, Ruth Hubbard, Fidel Castro, Vera Rubin, Tyrus Wong, Muhammad Ali, Fidel Castro, Gwen Ifill, Bill Cunningham, and more.  

Third-quarter Projects are underway, and the offerings are, as usual, quite interesting, including Dystopian Films, Pinterest Fails, 30 for 30, Baking and Cooking, Turkish Tea, KUNA, Science Olympiad, ULS, Jazz Ensemble, American Sign Language, AP World History, Simple Games (which are anything but), and Diversity Committee. This last offering is something of a trial run, as it is a student-directed Project. Under the auspices of Terri White and Angela Katz, interested students will be determining how they want to spend their time each Thursday afternoon during the Project period and, among other activities, will plan the upcoming school-wide Diversity Week. Over the past few months, students have expressed interest in being able to suggest and run Projects, and as a Progressive school, we thought it was a truly mission-appropriate idea.

Art to Enhance our Curriculum

Preschool DrawingsBy Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

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 clay. When children observe what their friends are creating, they are learning to appreciate the artwork of others.  

New vocabulary words are introduced when the 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 mixing colors or when they learn how adding paint to water can create change.

Creating art in any form helps children develop their imaginations and practice many skills for learning. Our classrooms are stocked with a variety of art materials and our goal is to give children the confidence to express themselves through art and to feel like they are a part of a creative community of learners whenever they create something new!  

Book Nook
Our Adventurer and Trailblazer classes loved the snow last week! They also enjoyed reading The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. This 1963 winner of the Caldecott Medal is a timeless story with simple, bold text and whimsical collages. A young boy wakes to a world of freshly fallen snow and goes exploring. Keats captures the delight children feel in the simplest pleasures.

Mark your calendar: our January Big Sing is Tuesday, January 24th at 9:10 a.m.

Photo Gallery for Week of January 9 – January 13

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School Notes for Week of January 9 – January 13

Join us January 19th at 8:30 a.m. on the Downtown Campus for the Parent Group and Webinar Seven Transitions Into Adulthood with School Counselor Terri White. Terri will be showing the recent ISACS Webinar Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through The Seven Transitions Into Adulthood, presented by Dr. Lisa Damour, psychologist and author of the book (She will have a copy of the book on hand for anyone interested). Trends are showing that young adults are struggling more than ever with transitioning to adulthood and launching successfully. Learning the best ways to help our children navigate adolescence and early adulthood is important to their growth as individuals. Parenting adolescents is hard work, so join us in discussion and connect with other parents who are encountering similar experiences. This is for all parents, not just parents of girls. RSVP to Terri White is not required, but is appreciated.

St. Francis is hosting the Winter LISC Dance for 6th – 8th graders Friday, January 20th from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. and we are looking for “winter” decorations! If you have inflatable snowmen, white lights, snowflakes, or anything else “wintry” you can let us borrow, we’d greatly appreciate it! Our faculty will be in charge of chaperoning, but if you’d like to come (if your child lets you), you are welcome, too. We will be decorating in the gym from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. prior to the dance. If you can help, please get in touch with Reed Gabhart ASAP.

IMG_4169Interested in taking art classes in Italy? Join Goshen Campus art teacher Alex Taylor for a Plein Air Landscape Workshop in Tuscany July 17th – 21st. Alex has been invited once again to conduct a one-week drawing and plein air landscape painting workshop with Tom Ruggio in Tuscany, Italy. The experience is a truly memorable one, as you experience art classes, art history, local history, Tuscan cuisine, and living in a delightful Italian town. The workshop is limited to six participants, so if you are interested, visit the website and apply early. Please contact Alex Taylor with any questions or for additional information.

Don’t miss the opportunity to reserve your copy of the 2016-17 yearbook! We are able to offer a reduced price of $50 until March 1st; after that, the price will be $57. Similar to last year, the yearbook will come out BEFORE the end of the school year so that students can sign copies and have them for the summer break. We will mail a spring supplement full of great photos from end of the year activities, graduations, etc. to each of you who purchase a yearbook. The spring supplement comes with an adhesive strip to insert into your yearbook. Also, all yearbook ordering and purchasing is done through our yearbook company, Herff Jones.​

Click here to purchase the SFS yearbook now. Please contact Rosanne Conlan or Trisha Amirault for any additional questions.

Imagine! February 25, 2017

Logo Options

Join us on Saturday, February 25th for an immersive art experience at the Tim Faulkner Gallery to support scholarships at St. Francis School. Enjoy cocktails, strolling dinner, auction, and of course, breathtaking works of art by local and national artists! Purchase your tickets here.

Welcome Back!

hs-panelBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Welcome back and happy 2017! Hope everyone had a wonderful break.

On Tuesday, January 3rd, the faculty and staff returned from our holiday break a day early to work on our ISACS Self-Study, a comprehensive look at every aspect of the school that forms the basis for the accreditation visit we’ll have next fall. And we got to welcome our new Receptionist, Ashley Vega! At the Front Desk, our Receptionist is at the activity hub for students, parents, faculty and staff, so I know everyone will get to know her soon. Ashley grew up in Seymour, IN and has just moved to Louisville. She has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, and is an artist working with 3-D mini sculptures. Her experience spans working with youth and working in an administrative assistant capacity, so we knew she would be a great fit for us. She’s working with Danielle for the next week until we say goodbye to Danielle next Friday.

On Wednesday, the first day back, we got right back into the groove with the 11th and 12th graders by spending lunch and flex periods hearing from a panel of recent SFS graduates about their transitions to college. Many thanks to Anthony Perry ’13, Kinsey Morrison ’14, Gray Thurstone ’14, and Lucia Burton ’15 for talking with our students. I hope the 11th and 12th graders got as much out of it as I did; our alums did an extraordinary job sharing their experiences – the easy ones and the more challenging – and giving really solid advice about navigating the upcoming transitions.

Second semester – here we go!

Happy Trails to Mr. Ryan

happy-trails-to-mr-ryanBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

Welcome back from a delightfully long and glorious holiday vacation! The students were their usual animated selves upon return, eager to share all the stories from their adventures. And having our “snowy day” in the middle of the short week only added to the energy.

As the first week back ends, we sadly have to bid a very fond farewell to a true unsung hero of the SFS community – “Mr. Ryan”. Ryan Hanley has been a fixture on the Goshen Campus for 9 ½ years now and has served in a wide variety of roles. He began as a bus driver, spent some time as a Junior Kindergarten assistant teacher (demonstrating his incredible patience), was a Preschool assistant with the 2-year-olds for a stint, and then transitioned into our maintenance department. Wow! And all the while working on his graduate degree and his ever-growing family!

I asked Ryan for a “favorite memory” from his days at St. Francis and received a warm and humorous response:

“I came to St. Francis to find a good job to get through graduate school. What I found were wonderful, dedicated people who do their jobs well and know how to have fun doing it…people who became friends. My favorite memories include just about any job I got to do with Walter Denham, who manages to make the most mundane task the best thing to be doing in that moment. This includes a list of hundreds of “weird things” we found ourselves doing in the maintenance department, from burying numerous class pets to random projects teachers might need help with.” [Editor’s note: He said his “honorable mention memory” is building awesome and unique drama sets.]

As to next steps for Ryan?

“This year, my goal is to finish (or nearly finish) my dissertation and put grad school in the rear-view mirror. My new job will include developing online courses for Southern Seminary and also teaching several classes myself (like Hebrew, Ancient Near Eastern History, and Old Testament Survey). One of the biggest challenges of online education is overcoming the gap created by the lack of face-to-face interaction. I am excited to be doing work focusing on how to bridge that gap.”

We certainly wish Ryan the best as he embarks on his new path. As I mentioned earlier, he has been a very valuable contributor to our community, but it is his personality and character that set him apart. Always smiling, calm, and pleasant, Ryan Hanley is a true gentleman who treats everyone with respect and dignity and passes along good cheer wherever he may go. I’m sure he will take some of St. Francis with him as enters a new phase of his life. And he will help others to learn that the “best things” are indeed occurring every single moment.

Here’s to 2017!

preschool-snow-indoorsBy Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

The faculty and staff of St. Francis Preschool would like to wish all of our families a very happy new year! We hope 2017 will be a year of peace and happiness for you and your loved ones. 

Help us welcome our new friend, Alton Kang, to the Trailblazers’ class, and his parents Steve and Sherree Kang to our school community.

Now that winter weather has officially arrived, we want to remind you to send your child with a warm hat, mittens, and a heavier coat. We like to provide the children with outdoor playtime as often as we can, even during the winter months.

silo-and-plylers-derby-horse-adventureWe have exciting news to share about one of our Preschool teachers, Paul Harshaw. Many of you know that Paul is a creative teacher, but may not be aware that he is also a talented artist. Now he can add children’s book author and illustrator to his accomplishments. Paul’s first children’s book, Silo and Plyler’s Derby Horse Adventure, was released in December. The text and pictures are sure to capture the attention and imagination of our youngest children. If you are new to Kentucky, it is a wonderful introductory story to the Kentucky Derby. Click here for more information about Paul’s book. If you are interested in purchasing a copy for your child, you can do so at one of the following locations:

  • 5-0-Lou at 2235 Frankfort Ave #104
  • Carmichael Bookstores
  • Revelry at 742 E. Market Street
  • Peace of the Earth at 801 E. Market Street

Our next Big Sing will be on Tuesday, January 24th from 9:10 – 9:35 a.m.