Archives for December 2017

Alumni Profile: Louis Winner ’94

Louis Winner '94_4x6_2MPBriefly describe your path after leaving St. Francis. 
After high school, I attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana and graduated a year early. Once I completed my undergraduate degree, I attended law school at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City, which had an accelerated program that allowed me to complete law school a semester early.

After law school, I moved to Los Angeles, California and worked in a boutique, entertainment law firm for a few years. In 2001, I moved back to Louisville and began to practice law in Kentucky, focusing on complex family law cases. Currently, I am a Partner and the head of the family law department at the law firm of Clay Daniel Walton Adams PLC in Louisville, Kentucky. On occasion, I still litigate a few entertainment law issues as well.

In my free time, I hike, climb mountains, whitewater raft, and kayak (on occasion), and when I am on the coast, I surf.

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Celebration of Bobbie Evans ’09

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A message from Alexandra and Ken Edwards

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December 15, 2017

We wanted to update you about our efforts to address any allegations sexual misconduct by SFS faculty or staff, including by a high school faculty member in the 1980s. As Ken and I said in our letter dated December 5th , we have engaged an experienced independent investigator to assist in this mission. Our goal is that this investigation be independent, compassionate, and deliberate, in order to appropriately identify and acknowledge any allegations of misconduct.

We understand that the investigator, Sarah Worley, has been receiving emails and telephone calls, but we are not privy to more specific information, given the independent nature of the investigation. We continue to encourage anyone in the St. Francis community to contact Sarah Worley directly with any relevant information. Sarah can be reached by phone at 617-419-1900, or via email at sarah@worleyconflictresolution.com. We have also discussed this investigation with current SFS high school students to keep them informed and to encourage them to reach out to a trusted adult if they have any relevant information, or if they are ever uncomfortable about a relationship with an adult.

We understand that many of you may have questions for us. While we may not have all the answers, particularly with respect to the status of the investigation, we are here to listen and discuss. If you have specific questions or concerns, please email them to us and we will do our best to respond. Many in our community have already reached out in this way. It is also possible to meet face to face if you would like. If so, please call Laura Devlin at 502-736-1006 and she will set something up for us. We will continue to be in touch throughout the process.

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Alexandra S. Thurstone, G’80, ’84, Head of School 

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Kenneth F. Edwards, Chair, SFS Board of Trustees


 

December 5, 2017

We write to you today with heavy hearts. From Alexandra’s perspective as an alumna, an alumni parent, and the Head of School for 15 years, and from Ken’s perspective as an alumni parent and the Chair of our Board of Trustees, we are deeply committed to St. Francis, its students, its alumni, its faculty and staff, and its Mission overall. A school should be a safe, welcoming, and affirming place, and we at St. Francis have worked very hard over these last 50+ years to ensure that it is.

In January 2015, two of our alumnae came to the School with allegations relating to inappropriate sexual conduct in the 1980s by a then and current high school faculty member. When these allegations were brought forward, the School retained an investigator to conduct an investigation of these allegations. Based on the conclusion of that investigation, the School handled it as a personnel matter internally, determining not to dismiss the faculty member in question. During the investigation, no other allegations of misconduct by this faculty member were disclosed.

Recently, however, we have reflected on evolving standards in addressing such concerns at Independent Schools like St Francis. Upon reviewing this seriously, we acknowledge that the prior investigation may not be adequate under these evolving standards and best practices of today. Recognizing the importance of addressing these issues with the utmost compassion and transparency, we have decided to engage a new independent investigator to re-execute the investigation and place the faculty member on leave until the investigation is complete.

We have retained an experienced investigator, Sarah Worley, to do this important work in line with our principles. Specifically, we are guided by the following goals:

  • Ensuring the safety of our students;
  • Protecting the privacy of and showing compassion for any victims;
  • Treating our faculty and staff fairly; and
  • Being as transparent as possible with the community, while preserving the School’s duty to preserving the safety of students, well-being of any victims, and privacy of faculty and staff.

Sarah’s website, www.worleyconflictresolution.com, contains detailed information on her background; she has extensive experience in this area as a certified Civil Rights and Title IX investigator, and, as an example, served as the lead mediator in the Boston Archdiocese case. Sarah can be reached by phone at 617-419-0900, or via email at sarah@worleyconflictresolution.com. We encourage anyone in the St. Francis community to contact Sarah directly with information about these allegations or any other allegations.

It took great courage and strength on the part of these two alumnae to come forward, and we thank them for doing so. The nature of these allegations is deeply unsettling. However, this is also difficult because the allegations involve a faculty member who has served the community for many years. So we take these allegations very seriously, recognizing our responsibility and obligation to treat everyone involved with compassion and fairness. It is our commitment to ensure that we conduct a deep and thorough investigation and come to a just resolution for all parties involved. We ask all in the community to do your part to help us do so.

The spirit of St. Francis School is one of compassion and self-reflection, and it is that compassion and self-reflection that will lead our community forward together.

Sincerely,

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Alexandra S. Thurstone, G’80, ’84, Head of School 

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Kenneth F. Edwards, Chair, SFS Board of Trustees

Managing Stress through Exam Week

Zen Zone_Main Image_2MPBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Exam time! High School students take seven sets of exams during their four years, each December and May (except that seniors are exempted from non-AP exams in May). The point, of course, is to prepare them for the kinds of cumulative exams they’ll take in college. We even use “blue books” for history and English, just as colleges do. In addition, we want to help them learn to manage their stress. So we provide “brain food” – muffins, bagels, granola bars, fruit, etc. – to ensure that they’ve had something to eat before they go into an exam; schedule “therapy” dogs and cats (“therapy” in this sense equals friendly, happy, and amenable to being petted for a day) to be at school each day; and, new this year, are featuring the Zen Zone, with tea and hot chocolate, a bubble wrap wall (pop to de-stress!), a coloring station, a relaxation area, and a “Words of Encouragement” wall. For me, the sophomore hallway is a feel-good area, with the lights festooned across the lockers and the Christmas/Hanukkah decor (not to mention some sophomores decked out daily in holiday wear; other students got in on the act this week, as well!).  

As this is our last Wyvern Weekly of 2017, I wish all of you a restful and peaceful Holiday Break and a very happy New Year!

School Notes for Week of December 11 – December 15

Next week is Holiday Dress-Up Week on the Goshen Campus!

Monday – Mismatched Day!
Tuesday – Pajama Day!
Wednesday – Festive Holiday Wear Day!

The High School Exam Schedule is below:

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

As the weather grows colder and the possibility of inclement weather becomes real, we want to remind you of how St. Francis School makes and communicates decisions.  

We do not follow either Jefferson County or Oldham County; we make our own decisions. The School uses the BrightArrow System, through which parents will be notified of closings and delays by phone calls and emails. There may be different decisions made for different campuses as to whether a given campus is open, closed, or on a delay. One message will go out and contain details for both campuses. We will also notify local television stations, which will post any delays or closings both on-screen and on their websites.

Your contact information in our Parent-Student Portal is the means by which you’ll be contacted through BrightArrow, so please be sure your information is up to date. We did a test of the system this past Wednesday evening, so you should have received notification then.

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.

Gifts with a Purpose

Gifts with a Purpose_Main Image 4x6_2MPBy Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

The holidays are here and we have received a few requests for ideas for toys and gifts for preschoolers. In the Preschool, we are fond of toys that are open-ended because they have a high play value and can be used for more than one purpose, wherever those imaginations may go. Building blocks such as Magna-Tiles and play scarves and items that can be used for pretend play (for example, a doctor’s kit) can be revisited time and time again. Books and puppets are also great gift ideas for young children.

Next week will be a festive one as we prepare for the holiday break. In conjunction with the Lower and Middle School, we will participate in the Holiday Dress-Up Week! Monday is Mismatched Day, Tuesday is Pajama Day (a favorite), and at our Big Sing on Wednesday, festive holiday wear is encouraged. We are expecting a special visitor from the North Pole to stop by the Big Sing.

Happy Holidays to All!

Happy Holidays Pic_Main Image 4x6_2MPBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

Well, time flies, as the adage goes, but it seems to me that time has hit warp speed (then again, that might just be a function of my age!). It seems like just a few weeks ago we were talking about the start of a new school year, and here we are barrelling into Holiday Break. So while we recharge and get to spend memorable time with our family and friends, we’ll miss your wonderful children. And, if I might suggest, take some time to ask your children about the first half of their school year. Ask the little ones to read aloud to you to see their improvement in action. Ask the Lower School students what they thought of Coco, and the Middle School students the same about Wonder. Ask them about themes and lessons learned. Ask the 8th graders about prejudice reduction (and maybe about how it feels to only have half a year left on the Goshen Campus!). Ask them if their school days are fun as well as educational. Ask them about lessons learned on the fields and courts and stages as well as in the classroom. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll realize that in addition to all the gifts they receive this special time of year, you are giving them the most special gift all year round – a St. Francis education.

Happy holidays, and we’ll see you very soon (warp speed time) in January!

Photo Gallery for Week of December 11 – December 15

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6th Grade Trip to Pine Mountain Settlement School

Pine Mountain_Main ImageWhat do folk dancing to live bluegrass, tall tales, crawdads, cave exploration, and coal have in common? All were a part of the 6th graders’ Outdoor Education experience last week at the Pine Mountain Settlement School nestled deep in the Appalachian region of Eastern Kentucky. Students made the five-hour journey via coach bus with instructors Brandon Doble, Anne Holmes, Lindsy Serrano, Alex Taylor, and Shelly Jones. The students spent the week in small groups studying the past and present inhabitants of the region, flora, and fauna. Courses included Native Americans, Early Settlers, Stream Ecology, Forest Ecology, a Night Hike, the Summit Hike to the top of Pine Mountain, Orienteering, Storytelling, Folk Dancing, Appalachian Toys, and Geosphere. Students enjoyed their homemade meals in Laurel House, many of the ingredients for which had been grown in the organic gardens at the Settlement School.

On this particular trip to Pine Mountain, the 6th graders became the first group from St. Francis to have a live bluegrass ensemble for the Thursday night folk dance. Dr. Sky H. Marietta, Ed.D, the Curriculum and Instruction Specialist at Pine Mountain, said “KET ought to be here tonight filming this!” Some of the region’s finest bluegrass musicians – banjoist John Haywood, fiddle player Brett Ratliff, and guitarist Sean Stamper – played traditional folk tunes for the dance, performed a few “extra” tunes for the students’ enjoyment, and explained the history of their instruments within the historical context of the region.

These up close and personal experiences with nature, place-based education, and first-hand experiences with artists and activists working in Appalachia today are among the many reasons we greatly value the St. Francis Outdoor Education Program that includes the trip to the Pine Mountain Settlement School. On the Goshen Campus, we often speak about the importance of “Leave No Trace,” but when students see on a large scale what happens when humans leave quite a large trace, such as the evidence of mountaintop removal coal mining when they hike to the overlook, the phrase takes on new meaning.

Should you or your family be interested in visiting Pine Mountain Settlement School on your own, the Settlement School provides ongoing weekend and summer programs for individuals, groups, and families. For more information, visit the website. Just be sure to tell them that the St. Francis 6th graders sent you!

Encouragement Club Inspires

Encouragement Club_2MPBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

This fall, under the guidance of sophomore Adelaide Lenihan and with the help of other SFS students, the Encouragement Club has come into existence. The Encouragement Club endeavors to spread kindness and brighten the day of the student body, through individual reach-outs or larger-scale efforts. The above photo shows a recent effort from the Club to demonstrate care and concern for their fellow students. As we transition from the gratitude of Thanksgiving into the celebration of December holidays and the New Year, their example is truly inspiring.

Kudos to all those who wrote, directed, or acted in the Showcase of Plays last weekend – it was an alternately hilarious, dramatic, and poignant performance. Mark your calendars now for March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, when the musical Little Shop of Horrors will take to the stage!

We have three regular school days next week (Monday – Wednesday) and then exams begin on Thursday. Please see the exam schedule in School Notes. As usual, we will have “brain food” (muffins, granola bars, fruit, etc.) available for the students to ensure everyone’s eaten before going into an exam. The school will be open normal hours and students are welcome to be here during those hours outside of their exam times.