Photo Gallery for Week of November 6 – November 10

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Mental Health is Health

Mental Health_2MPBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

I am at the ISACS Annual Conference and look forward to sharing more with you about the conference next week. In the meantime, I want to share with you some communication from our school counselor Terri White, who has just completed education on depression and suicide prevention for each grade level.

From the Counselor…

One of my goals as Director of Counseling Services on the Downtown Campus is to educate and raise awareness about mental health. Mental health is health. This is the message I am trying to teach to our students. Too often, there is a stigma associated with mental health, and adults, as well as students, ignore, or aren’t fully aware of important signs that indicate there may be a problem. Beyond that, we all should be taking steps every day to manage our stress. In my 12 years at St. Francis, I have noticed an increase in the number of students who are experiencing anxiety and depression, which coincides with national mental health trends.

Below is an excerpt from an October 11th, 2017 New York Times article, “Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?”

Over the last decade, anxiety has overtaken depression as the most common reason college students seek counseling services. In its annual survey of students, the American College Health Association found a significant increase — to 62 percent in 2016 from 50 percent in 2011 — of undergraduates reporting “overwhelming anxiety” in the previous year. Surveys that look at symptoms related to anxiety are also telling. In 1985, the Higher Education Research Institute at U.C.L.A. began asking incoming college freshmen if they “felt overwhelmed by all I had to do” during the previous year. In 1985, 18 percent said they did. By 2010, that number had increased to 29 percent. Last year, it surged to 41 percent. Those numbers — combined with a doubling of hospital admissions for suicidal teenagers over the last 10 years, with the highest rates occurring soon after they return to school each fall — come as little surprise to high school administrators across the country, who increasingly report a glut of anxious, overwhelmed students.

Last year, I began implementing a depression and suicide awareness program, “The Lighthouse Curriculum: Depression and Suicide Awareness for High School Students.” The program was developed by Erika’s Lighthouse: A Beacon of Hope for Adolescent Depression, which is a mental health education and advocacy organization. The program goals include raising awareness of depression and its symptoms, reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and encouraging the utilization of support services if necessary. I recently finished teaching the curriculum to all students in grades 9-12. The student were taught the risk factors and warning signs of depression and suicide, how to help a friend, how to access resources, and daily considerations and actions to address their own mental health, including sleep, nutrition, exercise, and other coping skills. Parents, grandparents, and guardians can help support good mental health by modeling healthy behavior; talking with your adolescent about his/her sleep, exercise and eating habits; and encouraging students to ask for help when they need it. If you ever have a concern about your student and you think I could be helpful, please don’t hesitate to contact me. If you are interested in more information on depression, suicide and other mental health issues, below are a few helpful websites:

Erika’s Lighthouse

National Institute of Mental Health

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Continuing the conversation, Wednesday, November 15th at 8:30 a.m. on the Downtown Campus. Dr. Kevin Chapman will be leading a parent discussion, presenting on stress and anxiety in adolescence. Dr. Chapman will be providing the latest information on this topic, as well as identifying emotion regulation strategies that can be helpful in managing daily stress and anxiety. Goshen and Downtown families are invited. Please contact Terri White, Director of Counseling Services, Downtown Campus, if you would like to attend. Coffee and breakfast food will be provided.

Encouraging Positive Behavior

Encouraging Positive Behavior_Main Image_2MPBy Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

Recently, in our Fours classes, we introduced the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness For Kids by Carol McCloud. The story encourages positive behaviors and gives children a visual representation of what it looks like to fill someone’s bucket with acts of kindness, appreciation, and love. While “bucket dipping” occurs at times, the story doesn’t focus on the negative behaviors but on ways we can help each other. The Fours have a class bucket that they are working on filling, and each day will have its fair share of ups and downs as days typically do. The work of filling another’s bucket is rewarding (and hard at times) and we’re here to support them as they practice these important skills.

Did you know?
We are always working on developing fine motor skills when using art materials: gluing with glue sticks, peeling stickers, picking up small materials, pinching, and sprinkling. Developing these skills is necessary for children to grasp a pencil correctly and to develop pre-writing skills. We are also working on following simple one- or two-step directions, beginning and completing a task, and developing attention span. Our art projects also contain color/letter/shape recognition exercises.   

Mark Your Calendars

Tuesday, November 14th at 9:00 a.m. is our 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. Our parents are our best ambassadors!

Friday, November 17th from 11:00 – 11:45 a.m. is our annual Preschool Thanksgiving Luncheon. Please join your child’s class for a family-style potluck luncheon. The PA will be sending out more information about this event soon.    

School Notes for Week of November 6 – November 10

The Scholastic Book Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, November 15th through Tuesday, November 21st (Grandparents’ Day) on the Goshen Campus! Volunteers 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!

The Wyvern Ski and Snowboard Club is back! The Wyvern Middle School Ski Club (grades 6th – 8th) and the High School Ski Club are enrolling members for Friday night ski fun at Perfect North! MS dates are January 5th, 19th, and 26th, and February 23rd. For more details, click here. HS dates are January 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th. For more details, click here. Registration ends Wednesday, November 15th.

Thank you to everyone who participated in The Pulsera Project! We were sent 500 pulseras (hand-woven bracelets) and 15 bolsitas (bags) as a fundraiser to support the Nicaraguan and Guatemalan communities. In just two weeks we sold 436 pulseras and all of the bolsitas, raising a total of $2,310! Way to go, Wyverns!

Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out our Artist-in-Residence Kathleen Lolley’s paintings exhibited at Craft Gallery & Mercantile. Described by LEO Weekly as “Louisville’s most enchanting artist,” Kathleen opened her show last Friday and “kicked off Día de los Muertos with new work inspired by this revered Mexican festival.” Admission is free and her exhibit runs through November 25th.

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.

Best of Luck, Mr. Walter!

Mr. Walter_Main Image_2MPBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

This Tuesday at an all-school assembly, Alexandra and I had to announce that Walter Denham was spending his last week with us! Students greeted this sad news with groans and even a few tears.

“Mr. Walter” is in his seventh year with us and has made a name for himself in many areas! He has been a bus driver extraordinaire, maintenance man marvel, “ManVenture” favorite in our Uniquely St. Francis auction items (with compatriot Bob Bertke), and drama set engineer and troubleshooter. In addition, his influence on the growth of our Derby Camp experience has been legendary! This annual trip now sells out and brings in around 50 kids for a weekend of food, frivolity, and adventure. This is mostly Walter’s doing, as he has worked so hard to make sure our students have fun. And if you need someone to play the “fool” in an assembly, Walter Denham is your man. He has been a 70s disco dancer, Kenny G-playing flutist, member of Devo, and the list goes on and on.

To put it simply, Walter has immersed and invested himself in the St. Francis experience and the students can see and feel that palpably. They know he cares about them and St. Francis, and he has made a large impact on our school culture. Walter has a wonderful job opportunity, but leaves us reluctantly. The impact of Walter Denham will remain on our campus for years to come.

All-State Choir_2MPAlso this week, we honored 15 Middle School students who attended and performed at the KYACDA All-State Choir gathering in Lexington last weekend. Students have to audition into this choir and we have a proud history of getting many of our students in over the past five-plus years. That is in large part to the dedication and talents of music teachers Bob Bertke and Kim Rash, who also attended with the kids. From Bob:

“We’re immensely proud of these students who joined 600 other students from across the state in an intense weekend of music-making that ended with a fantastic concert at the Singletary Center for the Arts on the University of Kentucky campus. These students represented our school community exceptionally well!”

Here is the list of our All-State Choir members:

  • Harrison Aberle
  • Catherine Dewberry
  • Lucy Frederick
  • Molly Hales
  • Kameron Julian
  • Sophie Kirby
  • Caroline Koloff
  • Julia Koloff
  • Ayda Marshall
  • Caroline McCurry
  • Jane McLeroy
  • Zoe Petiprin
  • Jude Sleadd
  • Mya Stevenson
  • Molly Waggener

And some quotes from a few of the kids:

“It was interesting getting to meet new kids, plus I got to sing, so it was fun!” – Jude Sleadd

“This was my third year auditioning into KYACDA All-State Choir. I learned so much from our conductor, Dr. Lesley Mann. The weekend was very fun, but it was also a great learning experience that taught me so much as a singer and a person.” – Jane McLeroy

“It was really nice because you get to sing all day. There was a pool, and I got to bond with my friends.” – Zoe Petiprin

How can you go wrong with a pool? Congratulations again to these students and our fabulous music department!

Photo Gallery for Week of October 30 – November 3

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Halloween Creativity Does Not Disappoint!

HS Main ImageBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

Students and faculty enjoyed the annual Halloween Costume Contest on Monday, with a terrific range of individual and group costumes (see the weekly Photo Gallery!). Halloween is one of Alexandra’s favorite holidays and the costume contest is definitely one of her favorite annual school events, so the prizes are really worth winning, and student creativity does not disappoint! 

Student voice is important in progressive schools, and certainly at St. Francis, so I always particularly enjoy presentations when they are led by students rather than teachers. We had two this week, in Morning Meeting. The first, on Halloween, was about cultural appropriation and costumes and the second, on Wednesday, explained Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), connecting the sorrow of missing a loved one to the joy of that celebration. We also had students this week announcing signups for the upcoming Project Warm Blitz community service opportunity and promoting next week’s Project Green Challenge (which also apparently has some spectacular prizes!).  

Please check out the Athletics and Kudos sections of this newsletter for some great Wyvern accolades and accomplishments!

School Notes for Week of October 30 – November 3

The Wyvern Ski and Snowboard Club is back! The Wyvern Middle School Ski Club (grades 6th – 8th) and the High School Ski Club are enrolling members for Friday night ski fun at Perfect North! MS dates are January 5th, 19th, and 26th, and February 23rd. For more details, click here. HS dates are January 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th. For more details, click here. Registration ends Wednesday, November 15th.

The Scholastic Book Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, November 15th through Tuesday, November 21st (Grandparents’ Day) on the Goshen Campus! 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!

Thank you to all of the families who purchased personalized items from Art to Remember. The profits from the program will allow the Fine Arts Department to bring in a visiting artist to work with students this winter. If you are still interested in purchasing an item personalized with your child’s art work, please contact Anne Holmes.

Attention, Enrichment Parents: If you need to get a hold of Enrichment Director Keyonda Turner during Enrichment hours, please call or text her at 502.994.8302. In case of emergency, or if your afternoon plans change, it is most efficient to contact her directly. We would also like to remind you that all students must be picked up no later than 5:30 p.m.

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 November 2017

college-cornerBy 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.

Sophomores:

  • Focus on your academics
  • Begin reviewing your personal preferences, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Talk to your “older” friends about their applications and college visits
  • All sophomores will be sitting for the Pre-ACT in the spring (more details to come)   

Juniors:

  • 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 and extracurricular involvement

Seniors:

  • Finish taking your SAT, SAT subject tests, and ACT
  • 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, Michelle Salerno, 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. Please adhere to these deadlines.

Halloween is a Real Treat!

PS Halloween Parade_Main ImageBy Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

Thank you to everyone who came to the Parent-Teacher Conferences last week. It is always a rewarding experience to take a moment and talk about your child with you.

Through a child’s eyes, I can’t imagine a better way to start the week than with a Halloween parade full of excited preschoolers. All of our classes had a great time parading outside for families and our 4th and 5th grade friends. Thank you to all the parents who brought in food and special treats for our parties.

Mark Your Calendars

Tuesday, November 14th at 9:00 a.m. is our 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. Our parents are our best ambassadors!

Friday, November 17th from 11:00 – 11:45 a.m. is our annual Preschool Thanksgiving Luncheon. Please join your child’s class for a family-style potluck luncheon. The PA will be sending out more information about this event soon.