Archives for November 2017

Reducing Prejudice

8th Grade Prejudice Workshop_1_2MPBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

While our 6th grade class was off enjoying the unseasonably warm weather during their outdoor education trip to Pine Mountain Settlement School this week, our 8th grade class was immersed in a day and a half-long workshop focused on prejudice reduction. In order to fully engage them without interruption, we held this workshop off-campus at Gingerwoods Reception Hall, thanks to Hope and Morton Boyd G’82. The workshop was led by two facilitators from the Peace Education Program. Their program is part of an award-winning, international training process designed by the National Coalition Building Institute ( It is designed to build on what people have in common while also honoring their positive cultural differences. I let the other kids know at Morning Meeting on Monday what the 8th graders were doing, pointing out the fact that at St. Francis, we don’t just talk about the value of diversity, but actually bring programs to the students that help them to really understand the values and principles therein. School Counselor Julie Marks arranged and attended the workshop along with other 8th grade teachers and had this to say about it:

I had the privilege of witnessing the 8th graders expand their understanding and appreciation of the diversity within their class. The first part of their workshop was spent playing cooperative games and discovering the similarities between the students in order to create a safe environment conducive to sharing. As the day progressed, the students identified the groups in which they belong, the stereotypes of each group, and what members of each group wished others knew about them. I could tell by the looks on their faces and the comments expressed that everyone gained a great deal of insight and understanding. The second day was very emotional as many students shared deeply personal stories of times they felt teased, harassed, and/or discriminated against. The class then had the opportunity to affirm one another and pledged to stand up against these types of prejudice in the future. Overall, the workshop was a very powerful experience for all present. Below are some quotes from 8th graders about the workshop.

“This was a great chance to learn more about my classmates for me and a way to grow closer to them. As I only came to this school last year, I haven’t learned much about my classmates that I am not around all the time. The teachers taught the class really well and I learned about how to use I-statements and how to de-escalate a situation. I also was taught about how to talk to others I disagree with. It was overall a great opportunity and I’m glad I had it.”

“This workshop was very helpful because we all were able to know more about how to deal with conflict and we learned more about our classmates. We were all given the chance to share stories if we chose to. I enjoyed getting closer to my classmates and hearing about difficult times in their lives and I learned some things I never knew about them and I felt that everyone got just a little closer.”

“The workshop we went to was interesting, I thought it was extremely intriguing to hear the stories from my fellow classmates. I was able to learn so much about the people around me and find a new appreciation for them.”

Again, thanks to Julie for arranging such a positive, pro-social workshop and to the Boyd family for their generosity in hosting us!

School Notes for Week of November 27 – December 1

The High School Exam Schedule is below:

Thursday 12/14 – History
9:00 – 11:00 a.m. – Culture and Civ Ancient, US History
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. – Culture and Civ Medieval, AP US History, AP European History

Friday 12/15 – World Language
9:00 – 11:00 a.m. – Chinese, French
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. – Spanish

Monday 12/18 – English
9:00 – 11:00 a.m. – English II, English III
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. – English I, English IV, AP English  

Tuesday 12/19 – Math
9:00 – 11:00 a.m. – Algebra I, Algebra II, AP Calculus, AP Statistics, AP Computer Science
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. – Geometry, Precalculus

Wednesday 12/20 – Science
9:00 – 11:00 a.m. – Chemistry, Biology, AP Chemistry
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. – Physics, AP Physics, AP Environmental Science

Interested in helping Garden Coordinator Christine Brinkmann with our animals over weekends and school breaks? Sign up hereIn appreciation for your help, the free range, farm fresh eggs are yours to keep. Please email Christine Brinkmann with any questions.

Don’t miss the opportunity to reserve your copy of the 2017-18 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 person who purchases a yearbook. The spring supplement comes with an adhesive strip to insert into the yearbook. Also, all yearbook ordering and purchasing is done through our yearbook company, Herff Jones, so you will receive emails directly from them.​

Click here to purchase your SFS yearbook now! Please contact Alissa Shoemaker for any additional questions.

College Corner December 2017

college-cornerBy Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor

Don’t forget about your December college preparation to-dos! Read on to see what you should be doing now as a sophomore, junior, and senior.


  • Talk to your senior friends about their applications/visits to campus/interview experiences
  • Be sure to keep up background reading (newspaper, novels, magazines, sci-fi) to maximize your performance on the SAT next year
  • Research possible colleges for admission using handbooks, catalogs, videos, virtual tours, and online resources
  • When your PSAT test scores arrive in early December, study the results to discover where you need more focus or assistance. You will be sitting for a practice ACT test in the winter (Sunday, February 25th from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.) for experience.
  • Mark your calendars to attend the Introduction to the College Admissions Process program on Tuesday, January 23rd at 7:00 p.m. with Kit Llewellyn and Annie Murphy, Associate Director of Admissions at Centre College.   


  • When you receive your PSAT test results in early December, make sure to discuss your scores with Kit Llewellyn
  • Using your PSAT scores as a preliminary indicator, begin narrowing the range of colleges you are researching
  • Research possible colleges for admission using handbooks, catalogs, videos, virtual tours, and online resources
  • Register for the SAT and the ACT on one of the spring test dates (observe that some of the test dates fall during Winter Break, Spring Break, Derby, et al) so plan ahead
  • If you are interested in SAT/ACT prep courses or tutorials, Kit Llewellyn is a good source of information, especially since the SAT and ACT now have a writing component
  • Keep your academic focus during exams and this next semester
  • Check into some summer programs that you might coordinate with the proposal of your Senior Project


  • All of your evaluation forms and teacher recommendations have been submitted via Naviance to your colleges
  • You should complete SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests (if required) testing this month. Walk-in registration is possible, if you did not register on time. Remember that it is your responsibility to send your official scores from ACT and College Board to the universities.
  • If you are accepted early decision, withdraw applications to all other colleges by writing a note
  • If you are deferred early decision, write to the college stating that it is still your first choice and you will attend, if accepted in the spring
  • Parents, finish filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and/or the CSS profile (if applicable) for January mailing. The earlier the better!
  • Deadlines for scholarships, whether college-related or outside sources, are NOW! Please do your research and keep an excel sheet of your priorities and deadline requirements.
  • Everyone will enjoy the holidays more if all of your paperwork is completed by exam week.
  • Realizing how the juggling of your daily work, sports, drama, jobs, friends, and family can be overwhelming, try to stay organized and manage your time wisely.
  • If a college requires an interview and you cannot make it to campus, it is your responsibility to call the admissions office and set up an alum interview locally.
  • As always if you need clarification or are confused about any piece of this process, do not hesitate calling or emailing Kit Llewellyn at 502.736.1012
  • Make sure to get all information regarding the financial aid process at EACH college/university; their requirements and deadlines vary

Photo Gallery for Week of November 27 – December 1

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Preschool Thanksgiving Luncheon

PS Luncheon Main ImageBy Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

Our annual Thanksgiving Luncheon is more than just a meal; it is a gathering of our children’s most treasured people: their families and their teachers; and all of us connected by a common thread, St. Francis Preschool. We came together as a small community representing many different cultures and countries. Families sat in small (and I mean tiny) chairs to share a meal and conversation all because of their children. As I walked around and visited each class, I was reminded of how special this day truly is, and that it is our hope that we can change the world through our children.  

On Tuesday, we hosted our Open House for prospective families. We had a wonderful turnout and I want to thank Deena Neimat for assisting us in giving parent tours. We understand how important this decision is to families choosing a program for their young children. When talking to families about our program, the first thing I mention is the relationships that we build with our children. Our teachers take the time to connect with and get to know “full well” each child in their group. Establishing this trusting relationship is at the heart of our program. Harvard’s Graduate School of Education recently released an article for parents, How to Pick a Preschool, written by Suzanne Bouffard, a writer and researcher on child development and education. The article discusses five evidence-backed signs of a successful program that parents can use as a guide. This informative article can serve as a reminder for current families and are points to share with your friends and neighbors about how to determine a quality program.

We are accepting gently used or new coats for our Coat Drive to benefit the children and adults Keystone Learning Academy. The Coat Drive will run through Friday, December 1st and donation boxes are in front of the doors in the Preschool area.

What I Find Myself Grateful for at SFS

Brent Fryrear_2MPBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Heading into Thanksgiving week, I find myself grateful for so many things related to St. Francis School.

I am grateful to have been at the ISACS Annual Conference last week (along with Alexandra and several Goshen Campus colleagues), attending sessions on implicit bias in the classroom, the science behind happiness, how to discern fact from fiction in the news, and more. I also visited the well-known progressive Francis Parker School (whose Head chaired our recent ISACS Visiting Team); seeing another like-minded school is always terrific professional development. (I am also grateful to be through our ISACS visit!)

I am grateful for a student population where advocacy is a way of life, and particularly this month for the Project Green Challenge, created and run entirely by students on our Climate Council. Each day for two weeks, the Climate Council leaders have given the students, faculty and staff a “challenge” to complete if they wish – from watching “An Inconvenient Truth” to calculating one’s water footprint to eating meatless for a day – and made all of us more aware of the resources we are using. 

I am grateful for all the students and families interested in the High School. At our Open House last week, we had over 60 prospective students, along with their parents – over 100 new visitors to the school. They enjoyed an Activities Fair covering our athletic, extracurricular, and other special activities, heard from a panel of students and parents, and then toured the school. As each group came downstairs after visiting the academic departments, parent after parent commented – as they always do – “I wish I could go back to high school and take these classes!”

I wish all of you a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving!

School Notes for Week of November 13 – November 17

Attention, Goshen Parents: Don’t forget that Grandparents’ Day is Tuesday, November 21st from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. in the Multi-purpose Room. If you would like to watch the performances, we ask that you join us on Monday, November 20th for the Parent Preview: JK – 2nd at 9:00 a.m., 3rd – 5th at 9:40 a.m., and 6th – 8th at 10:20 a.m. Please remember that, due to space constraints, parents cannot attend the Tuesday performance.

The Scholastic Book Fair on the Goshen Campus runs through Tuesday, November 21st (Grandparents’ Day)! Volunteers are still needed. In the past, the fair has raised money for a graphic novel collection, a projector and screen for the library, an audiobook collection, and an e-book database. This year, the library is raising funds to build a vertical library in its courtyard!

Volunteers are needed to help work the Book Fair. Before school and after school are the busiest times. If you would like to volunteer, please sign up using SignUp GeniusIf there is a shift you would like (especially an after-school shift and on Grandparents’ Day) that is filled, please email Lindsy Serrano. The more help, the better!

Attention, After-School Choir Parents: Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Saturday, December 2nd performance on Frankfort Ave at 1:30 p.m. Also, please turn in your lunch money ($8) to Kim Rash by Friday, December 1st for the field trip on December 5th.

Interested in helping Garden Coordinator Christine Brinkmann with our animals over weekends and school breaks? Sign up hereIn appreciation for your help, the free range, farm fresh eggs are yours to keep. Please email Christine Brinkmann with any questions.

SFS parent Shannon Stocker has just had a story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable. Titled “Marcela’s Vision, this story tells of the premonitions had by Marcela, a woman that became close to Shannon’s family while Shannon was in a coma undergoing an experimental treatment for a disease she’d been fighting for seven years. Come out and support Shannon during her book signing at the Paddock Barnes & Noble on Saturday, December 2nd at noon.

Don’t miss the opportunity to reserve your copy of the 2017-18 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 person who purchases a yearbook. The spring supplement comes with an adhesive strip to insert into the yearbook. Also, all yearbook ordering and purchasing is done through our yearbook company, Herff Jones, so you will receive emails directly from them.​

Click here to purchase your SFS yearbook now! Please contact Alissa Shoemaker for any additional questions.

A Time for “Thanks!”

You Can't Beat the House_Main Image_2MPBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

As Grandparents’ Day preparations and rehearsals gear up for the “Big Day” next Tuesday, I’ve been thinking about many things at SFS for which I am thankful.

At press time, it’s closing night for our fall play, You Can’t Beat the House. This zany comedy has absolutely delighted our audiences who have rewarded us with three standing ovations and riotous laughter at every performance! I am thankful to work at a school that supports the arts in such an overwhelming way, and to have Middle School students willing to take on extra work in their already busy schedules. We become a little family during our time together, and it’s always sad when it ends. This family has truly warmed my heart.

I am thankful to work with a faculty and staff so committed to a school and its mission. I have been to many Open Houses over the years, but the one we held this Tuesday was the best I’ve ever experienced! Not only were the numbers outstanding, with 28 families in attendance representing 39 students, but we also had an Activities Fair prior to the Open House with everything from academics to the arts to athletics represented. After sifting through those attractive presentations, parents toured the school in five different groups and then were treated to an engaging panel discussion featuring SFS students, parents, and teachers. My favorite moment was when one prospective parent told Jackson Sleadd he was “adorable!” Kudos to Trisha Amirault and Kelli Carter for organizing and pulling off a fabulous Admissions event!

I’m also thankful for colleagues who are eager to better themselves professionally. Last week, Alexandra, Shelly Jones, Christine Brinkmann, Annette Rudd, and Lindsy Serrano, along with Head of Downtown Campus Suzanne Gorman, attended the ISACS conference in Chicago and came back energized and ready to share! They also visited the famed flagship of Progressive schools, the Francis Parker School, and were delighted to see how similar we were in approach to education and students. As Shelly said, “They are doing many of the same things with their kids that we are in advisory, and also experiencing the same types of challenges.” Sometimes you have to get away to gain perspective on your own day-to-day experience. Here is a comment from Lindsy Serrano on the conference:

“This year’s ISACS conference was filled with timely and interesting sessions that will enrich our classrooms for the coming year. There was a wide variety of topics covered, including incorporating MakerSpaces in the classroom, teaching students how to evaluate news and information that they come across, uncovering our own implicit biases and how that might affect our classrooms, and so much more! Professional development opportunities like this one are a great way to refresh and get new ideas and inspiration for the school year!”

And, of course, I am thankful for our music teachers who are currently hard at work getting the students ready for their Grandparents’ Day performances next week. They are always so entertaining and heartwarming and make for the perfect send-off to this most family-based of holidays. We hope you ALL have a wonderful Thanksgiving next week!

Photo Gallery for Week of November 13 – November 17

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Photo Gallery for Week of November 6 – November 10

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