Learning to Follow Directions

Hank WasherBy Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

One thing we work on every day is following directions and taking care of one’s own needs. Being able to listen and then follow instructions is important not only in Preschool, but throughout life. With our younger children, we use age-appropriate choices and expectations. Our goal is to then increase each child’s independence as s/he approaches Kindergarten. We want to share with you how this looks during snack time with our Trailblazers class. 

During snack time, Kelly Pfeiffer or Paul Harshaw might ask the children what they need for the snack they are having. As they think about it, they may answer that they need a napkin, cup, and a spoon. Then, as snack begins, it is their responsibility to pick up these items and take them to the table. We try to give short, concise directions and illustrate by holding up the items they will need. If they get to the table without a necessary item, it is their responsibility to go back and get it. They are responsible for opening any snack packages with scissors and they help clean up after snack is over. Their competence in these skills is increasing each day. Soon they will begin pouring their own cups of milk or water at snack times.

At home you can help refine these skills by playing a game where you give directions – one to two steps for our younger children and three or four for the older. Also, you could give your child jobs to carry out, such as putting napkins at each place setting or wiping off the table after a meal. Remember, the focus is on learning to follow directions. Your child’s competency at placing napkins and wiping off the table comes in time.

Upcoming Dates

Tuesday, October 17th is our in-house Pumpkin Patch Fall Fun Morning. Our older children will find pumpkins in the garden and our younger children will find their pumpkins on the playground. We will have a face-painting station and Faith Murphy will delight us with a fall sing-along. We will spend most of the morning outdoors.

Thursday, October 26th is a professional development day for our Preschool teachers. The Preschool will be closed and no childcare will be offered.

Friday, October 27th is Parent-Teacher Conferences. You can sign-up for a 15-minute conference with your child’s teachers using the link emailed to you Thursday. The Preschool will be closed and no childcare will be offered.

Tuesday, October 31st brings our Halloween Parade and Parties. This is a low-key event with a parade in costume around the front drive of the School and then a party in the classrooms. Your teacher will send home more information as we get closer to the big day. The Parade will follow 9:00 a.m. carpool drop-off and parents can line up on the circle in front of the Main Entrance.

Diversity Week!

Diversity Week_Main ImageBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

As the photos included in this newsletter show, we had an amazing Diversity Week! This annual tradition showcases students’ heritage through a Diversity Fair, a Diversity Potluck, flag-making, and more. The Diversity Fair on Tuesday showcased tables staffed by students and from organizations in the community. Our students from Spain, Germany, and China had tables; there was African storytelling and Norwegian fortune-telling; and Mexican and Somali heritage were represented (to name a few), along with community partners such as the Adelante Hispanic Achievers organization. The Diversity Potluck fed dozens from dishes brought in by both students and adults in the community, featuring some favorite recipes. Friday afternoon after Community Service brought the finale of Diversity Week activities. The week was enjoyed by all! Terri White spearheaded the Diversity Week events, assisted by Angela Katz and a fantastic student Diversity Committee. A huge thanks to all of them!

The We Act Group is excited to report that the Color Run raised over $2,000 and the final tally on the Penny Wars (together with the Goshen Campus’s Coin Drive) for hurricane relief is also over $2,000! The Color Run funds will support the Offin Children’s Center in Ghana, and the Penny/Coin funds will be divided into fourths, with an equal allotment supporting relief efforts in Texas, Florida, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. On behalf of the We Act students and of the nonprofits we are helping, thank you so much for your support!

Just a reminder that next week brings our Two-Campus Field Day at the Goshen Campus on Tuesday and a half day for the PSAT on Wednesday. The quarter ends next Friday, and grades and comments will be out the following Friday, October 20th.

St. Francis Day, Uniquely St. Francis, and “Honest Abe!”

Jayden and ElizaBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

It’s been an active week on the Goshen Campus! Tuesday, of course, brought one of everyone’s favorite events – St. Francis Day! And this year the weather cooperated gloriously, as did the menagerie of animals (for the most part!). I think we may have had our most varied “turnout” this year. Along with the many handsome dogs and cats, I saw a hedgehog, a snake, a miniature bull (a zebu, according to expert Devyn Hebel), rabbits, a lizard, miniature horses, a turtle, a ferret, and even a pineapple (don’t ask). All were blessed under a glorious sun, and as I said at the next day’s Morning Meeting, I think St. Francis himself would have been proud of the event and atmosphere on our campus. Look for many awesome pictures in the gallery this week.

Wednesday we had a full-school Morning Meeting to showcase our teachers’ offerings in Uniquely St. Francis, a component of the Our Good Earth Gala next Saturday night. As part of the fun, Eliza and Jayden Frazier were “Mr. Gabhart for the Day,” which they won at last year’s auction. They kicked off the assembly with IU garb, bad jokes, and pink slips to show off! But what was most impressive was that 22 of our teachers were onstage to describe all the wonderful activities and services they were willing to offer to our students. That’s pretty phenomenal when you think about it, such a high percentage of faculty willing to share weekend time with kids in the school to help support this critically vital fundraiser. And just as noteworthy is the fact that students at all age levels want to spend time with their teachers outside of class! I think this speaks volumes about the ethos of our school.

And lastly, while we looked forward to a visit from Kentucky’s Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton Friday, we were surprised with a presentation from “Honest Abe” himself earlier this week! Arranged by 5th grade teacher Billy Spalding to complement the class’s unit on the Civil War, Mr. Lincoln was quite the public speaker (upholding his vaunted reputation!). Here is a comment from Billy:

Abe Lincoln“5th grade had a surprise visit this morning from President Abraham Lincoln. The Great Emancipator was there to teach the students about his life, from his humble log cabin days to his time in the White House during the Civil War. His visit coincides with our study of the Civil war and our abolitionists projects.  

5th grade really enjoyed the visit from Abe and had the following to say:

Nola Melhuish: “He was really good. He had the voice of Abraham Lincoln and he had a bunch of real things to show us. Like, he had a fake family Bible that he learned to read and he had a model of the cabin he grew up in.”

Zoe Petiprin: “I liked him, but he didn’t mention any of the negatives about Lincoln, like how he imprisoned people at the beginning of the war without trial.​​”

Molly Waggener: “He was amazing! I really liked it because it wasn’t the basic stuff that you already know, he went much deeper into the story.”

Abby Hairgrove: “I learned a lot! He was really fun and energetic. You should definitely bring him back next year.”

Eden Bess Farmer: “I liked that he didn’t only talk about the Civil War. He gave a bunch of information about his life growing up as well.”

History coming to life! Next week brings our annual Two-Campus Field Day with our High School students visiting Goshen to connect with their Lower and Middle School counterparts, and, of course, the Our Good Earth Gala next Saturday! Buckle up and stay tuned for more wonderful stories!

College Corner October 2017

college-cornerBy Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor

College Corner appears in the Wyvern Weekly once a month, with suggestions and dates to help make the college search and application process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible! Read on to see what you should be doing now as a freshmen, sophomore, junior, and senior. 


  • Get acquainted with your teachers, the coursework, and the activities available for Wyverns
  • Know that how you perform and how you get involved this year are strongly considered by colleges/universities


  • The PSAT is scheduled for Wednesday, October 11th from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in the Commons Room (Kit Llewellyn has registered all students). Please bring 3 (#2) pencils and a standard calculator fully charged or with fresh batteries.
  • Colleges take your grades from this year into consideration, so be sure to study hard!
  • Begin some college research and visit with the college reps who come to school (always check the calendar in gathering space)
  • Get involved in sports and extracurricular activities, and explore your interests!


  • The PSAT is scheduled for Wednesday, October 11th from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in the Commons Room (Kit Llewellyn has registered all students). Please bring 3 (#2) pencils and a standard calculator with new batteries.
  • Begin reviewing your personal preferences, strengths, and weaknesses in order to make your college search meaningful and thorough
  • Accumulate data for your brag sheet/resume so that during your senior year when you are preparing it, you do not omit any activities or extracurriculars


  • By October 11th, be ready to complete your Common Application, put finishing touches on your essay, learn some tips regarding interview techniques, and generally begin to see the light re college application deadlines
  • Take the SAT and/or ACT, and, if required, register for SAT Subject tests. Remember, many selective colleges require literature, math, and possibly a third subject test of your choice.
  • Confirm all college and financial aid application deadlines
  • Finalize your list of colleges with Kit Llewellyn
  • Complete your resumes and submit to Kit Llewellyn
  • Your teacher recommendation requests were entered in Naviance by Kit Llewellyn
  • Work on college essays as directed/guided by the English department
  • Determine your college costs with your family, research scholarships on fastweb.com, and obtain all related financial aid forms from each of your colleges/universities
  • If you are planning on applying early decision or early action, the usual deadlines are November 1st; your teacher recs and High School report forms should be in the appropriate hands by the last week of October
  • Send in rolling admissions applications – the sooner the better, particularly to the state schools

As a reminder, the registration deadlines and test dates are as follow:

Deadline/Test Date November 3rd for the December 9th test and January 12th for the February 10th test

Deadline/Test Date – October 5th for the November 4th test, November 2nd for the December 2nd test, and February 9th for the March 10th test

Celebrating Fall!

Carrot HarvestBy Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

Throughout the Preschool, children are learning about the wonders of our beautiful world. They are noticing the changes in the weather and the addition of more leaves under the oak tree. The Pandas and Adventurers classes have been learning about the colors of fall in various ways: gluing fall leaves on paper, painting with fall colors, creating nature collages, experimenting with fall-themed sensory bins, and tasting carrots harvested from our garden. (I can’t believe how many carrots we were able to harvest!) The Trailblazers class taste-tested red, yellow, and green apples and made apple crisp – which was delicious, too. When children participate in activities that engage their senses, the depth of their learning and experience is enhanced.

On Friday we enjoyed our first Big Sing of the season! Faith Murphy introduced us to a few of the Preschoolers’ music class favorites.

Join us in the fields of St. Francis!

Marigold and OGEEach fall, with the help from a wonderful committee of volunteers, St. Francis hosts its Annual Gala. We have two galas that rotate annually — Our Good Earth and Imagine! Art Auction + Scholarship Fundraiser. This year’s event is Our Good Earth, an outdoor farm-to-table dinner and auction that is set in the fields of our Goshen Campus. There are many opportunities to get involved, including serving on the committee, sponsoring the event, donating or procuring auction items, and, of course, attending the event. This is our largest fundraising event of the year and we hope you will participate. If you would like to get involved please contact Kim Hales. To purchase tickets click here.

Alumna Profile: Kelly Wright Henrion ’92

Kelly WrightBriefly describe your path after leaving St. Francis. 
After leaving St. Francis, I majored in Latin American Studies at Carleton College in Northfield, MN – an extraordinary place, despite the very cold winters! I joined Teach for America upon graduation and was placed as a bilingual (Spanish/English) elementary teacher in a dual language charter school in its first year in Phoenix, AZ. Being part of a school in its founding years was a great experience that afforded lots of leadership opportunities.  

[Read more…]

Students Engage in Special Opportunities

HS Main ImageBy Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

We have had a number of special opportunities for students this month. Last week, the Biology students experienced the Pulse of Surgery program at the Kentucky Science Center. They viewed a live heart surgery and later were able to explore other interesting cutting-edge medical technology. Biology teacher David Word told the rest of the student body about the surgery the next day because the patient was a heroin user whose heart condition was a result of her drug use. He said that he has been taking students to this program for years, and never seen anything like it – an important caution to the student body as heroin takes an ever-stronger foothold in the Louisville community.

Yesterday, 10 students (our Black Students Association and Diversity Committee leaders among them) and history teacher Ralph Marshall (who is also this year’s Sacred Space Committee Chair) went to the Non-Violence Symposium sponsored by the Drepung Gomang Center for Engaging Compassion. Held deliberately on International Day of Peace, the Symposium included a morning component for young leaders and an afternoon session featuring Mayor Greg Fischer and other local civic leaders. At the end of the day, the group launched Nonviolent Compassionate Louisville.

Next Tuesday, 17 juniors and seniors will attend Thrivals, an annual student-oriented component of the IdeaFestival. This year’s Thrivals, subtitled “Finding Your Algorithm for the Future,” was preceded by each student being given copies of Grit by Angela Duckworth and Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil (who was also one of the presenters). Thrivals participants this year “will be challenged to use their imagination to consider not only how humans have used their minds to change the past but how humans might also use their minds to change the future.”

Both the Pulse of Surgery program and Thrivals were downtown, so our students were able to walk from school. As ever, this proximity to events is one of my favorite aspects of being a downtown school!

Exploring Nature Together

PS Garden Art_Main ImageBy Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

This week, the preschoolers spent time with Garden Coordinator Christine Brinkmann preparing the planter barrels for lettuce seeds. Each group used their hands to move the soil, add seeds, and water. One child excitedly exclaimed, “Now the seeds need sparkling water to grow!” This knowledge of the growth process was shared by many of the children who participated. Our little Wyverns also had an opportunity to make SAGE pasta with ingredients right from our garden, and then they got to sample their culinary creations! The children aren’t just learning about seeds and their growth process; we also are supporting their sense of wonder and curiosity, and they are learning to respect nature.

Here are a few ways families can explore nature together: look for wildflowers and insects at parks or in your own backyard, adopt a tree and watch the changes that unfold throughout the year (take pictures of the tree with your phone and revisit them as the seasons change), and revisit your own sense of wonder about nature. Your child will likely follow!

Rosh Hashanah at Morning Meeting

Katy Roemer MMBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

As anyone who has spoken with me on the subject knows, I am a huge fan of our Morning Meetings and think they are such an important part of our school day. Whether in Lower, Middle, or High School, they allow us to gather together first thing in the morning to talk, listen, and simply share a collective experience. Wednesday was just such a day in Middle School. In addition to the usual “housekeeping” announcements (Picture Day details), routine business (who stays for drama rehearsal), sports scores (the field hockey C team beat Collegiate on Tuesday!), birthdays (Aidan Keegan), and Student Council updates (a Halloween Buddy Day in October!), we also had some special moments. In addition to our usual moment of silence (led off with a quote from Aldous Huxley, courtesy of Shelly Jones), we also took time to talk about the victims of the Mexico City earthquake, as well as Hurricane Maria wreaking havoc in Puerto Rico. It is good for our kids to reflect on what is going on in the world around them in addition to what they face in their daily lives. These moments are provided at Morning Meetings with careful and thoughtful framing.

They often provide amusement as well! On Wednesday, Brandon Doble gave an informational talk about Rosh Hashanah in advance of the the Jewish holiday beginning on Wednesday night. He explained its meaning and some of the traditions associated with it, such as eating apples and honey on those days (in fact, he also treated many of the Middle School kids to this delicacy at snack break!). Explaining the beliefs and customs of others is typical of a topic we might cover at a Morning Meeting. But the highlight occurred when he showed everyone a shofar, a hollowed-out ram’s horn traditionally sounded on Rosh Hashanah. No munchkin, Brandon admitted he couldn’t get the shofar to make a peep. At that point, 8th grader Katy Roemer volunteered to show him how it was done. She bravely came forward and produced a noteworthy blast to thunderous applause! Unscripted moments such as these at Morning Meetings occur all the time! If you’ve never seen one, I encourage you to pay us a visit on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday at 8:40 a.m. in the Middle School Amp, or on Tuesday in the Lower School Amp, to see all the fun!