School Year Coming to an End

_MG_0578   As we wind down the school year with a flurry of culminating classroom projects and school wide activities, we continue to reflect on the fun traditions that make our school so very unique. As promised, I asked a wide range of students in various grade levels to name some of their favorite Park Maitland School traditions.

Here are some 5th grade responses:

“My favorite Park Maitland tradition is Sports Fest. I can run fast, I can jump high, and I can be competitive. It’s fun to compete and put your skills to the test!”  –Andrew F.

“My favorite Park Maitland School tradition is Camp Wewa and here’s why. It is a chance to truly bond with your classmates. You swim, roast marshmallows, run, play and have fun.DSC_0120 You get to spend the night there, which lets you learn even more about your friends.” –Lila A.

“My favorite Park Maitland School tradition is the Williamsburg trip in 5th grade. I had a great time on the trip. We visited a ton of historical reenactments. Also, I had a wonderful time hanging out with my roommate!” –Emily S.

“I liked the Williamsburg trip because it is a fun and amazing learning experience for 5th grade.” –Trevor M.

“My favorite Park Maitland tradition is Jelly Fudge Friends because it was really great to have a role model and friend who were older and helpful. Being the role model will be even better!” –Kara W.

Many, many students school wide talked about the Sports Fest as being one of their favorite traditions (not only because it is fresh in their minds) but, also, they all like it for the various competitive activities that give everyone a chance to shine and compete, cheer for their friends, demonstrate sportsmanship, and hang out with their amazing, dedicated, and creative PE teachers!DSC_0053

Our final two weeks of school will be highlighted by our renowned 6th grade show! 5th and 6th grade students are very excited to be the “inaugural” performers at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts in our very first performance of “Shrek the Musical” this Thursday night!

 Another exciting event will be our 6th grade graduation where each and every Super Senior is highlighted for their gifts, talents, and Park Maitland accomplishments!DSC_0083 It’s another favorite yet “bittersweet” tradition at Park Maitland School!  We will enjoy every moment left with your precious children as we end the 2014-2015 school year!

 Warm wishes for an amazing summer of “Sharpening the Saw!”  

Cindy Moon  

Head of School


Spring has Sprung

I’m sitting here in my office at my desk on this beautiful Saturday afternoon relishing in the energy and passion of our students and parents who are here to so proudly represent our fine school. At our morning Spring Open House, I observed 5th grade DSC_0140-X2Student Ambassadors who were articulate, confident, and visibly enamored at being part of a place where they feel a strong sense of ownership, belonging, and pride…while our 6th grade car washers raised over $2,500.00 (or more) to build wells for fresh water in Haiti!

These dedicated parents and students (and teachers and administrators) were also coming down from the “high” of last night’s annual 6th grade Art Opening at nearby Swoope Studio where their creative masterpieces from the year were displayed for our school and for the general public to enjoy!

On a day like today, I ask myself, how many other people could have a career where they are surrounded by people of all ages who are so vibrant, energized, and passionate in what they do?  How many of us get to envision leaders of tomorrow by seeing amazing accomplishments onDSC_6259-S a daily basis from young children and emerging adolescents? These accomplishments highlight their love of learning, but even more outstanding, show how they have learned to be “good people” by demonstrating impeccable manners, care, and concern for others by serving the local and global communities. I am proud and honored to be part of this special place of learning and growing!

Spring is Here — Important End of Year Special Request!

Spring is upon us and it is that time in the cycle of the school year when culminating and celebratory events take place while plans are busily being forged and dreams brought into focus — time to simultaneously look ahead while looking back.  As we look ahead to the next school year, I have one special request for all of our devoted parents:

We understand that as parents you want to do everything possible to help your children achieve.  One thing you can do to teach them confidence, perseverance, or “grit” is to give them opportunities to accept and adapt to change, make new friends, and handle little “bumps” in the road now.DSC_6330-X3

On that note, I respectfully ask that parents refrain from contacting teachers and administrators requesting any special class grouping considerations for the next school year unless there is a very serious problem, of which we may be unaware, that might affect a child’s school performance. (In this rare instance, we ask that you set up a conference to discuss the situation.

Several of our grade levels are full with waiting lists for the upcoming year.  There are many wonderful new friends to make!  Class assignments for the school year are determined by many factors including boy/girl ratio, social, and academic considerations. There are ample opportunities for children to make friends across the grade level.

Careful consideration is given to the placement of each child for the beginning of the school term. Our teachers and administrators use their best professional judgment in creating the class groupings for the upcoming year. They know their students very well, DSC_0282-X3not only as individuals, but also as learners.  Each child’s “style of learning” is of paramount importance. The teachers take this task very seriously and try to suggest the very best possible combinations.

Experiences of learning to adapt and be with some new friends each year are vitally important.  When parents allow their children these experiences, they are telling them that they have confidence in them to adapt and learn to make friends on their own. These experiences will give them the important tools that they need to grow into confident, strong and capable young people.  Thank you for supporting and trusting us as we partner with you to provide your child with the best learning opportunities each and every school year.

Cindy Moon

Head of School

Week Filled with Appreciation

A Mother’s Prayer

Dear Lord, it’s such a hectic day,

With little time to stop and pray,

For life’s been anything but calm,

Since you called me to be a mom..

Running errands, matching socks,

Building dreams with matching blocks,

Cooking, cleaning, and finding shoes

And all those things that young ones lose,

Fitting lids on bottled bugs,

Wiping tears and giving hugs,

A stack of last week’s mail to read —

So where’s the quiet time I need?

Yet as I go to bed each night,

My heart is filled with true love’s light

As I take one last peek, I see

This treasure you have given me —

God’s own sweet blessing sleeping there,

The answer to a Mother’s Prayer

                                                                                    — Author Unknown_MG_0209

I read this sweet poem at one favorite Park Maitland event this week — our annual K-5 Mother’s Day Tea!  Many moms came to me during this delightful celebration to express their heartfelt appreciation and to share that this is one of their favorite “traditions!” (Some asked me to share this poem.) _DSC8511Those moms with older children said that it’s a memory that they hold dear to their hearts and loved sharing with each of their children!  From the endearing and sweet songs to the precious handmade gifts and original artistic renditions of each “mommy,” it is a wonderful tribute of love from a kindergartner’s perspective.

Our arms wrap around each mother today for all the things you do each and every day! We love you!

On another note — many, many moms (and probably some dads too!) put together an amazing and vast array of tantalizing and delicious homemade food this past week for a delightful and much appreciated Teacher Appreciation Luncheon!  On behalf of our entire _MG_0214faculty, I thank you for this very generous and heartfelt gesture!  Susan Wordell deserves special recognition for “hosting” and coordinating this special day!

Cindy Moon

Head of School


DSC_2646 It’s hard for me to talk about tradition without thinking of “Fiddler on the Roof” and Topol’s deep voice belting out the song, “Tradition!”  The song rings true in that when we have similar experiences to celebrate and pass down it creates a feeling of belonging andDSC_2641 “roots.” Those of you that have been part of the Park Maitland “family” for any length of time are familiar with the many honored traditions established here in each grade level and as an entire school.  Some of these traditions give way to new ones so that they are still relevant and meaningful. Nonetheless, they are one of the things that make Park Maitland School such a special place to be!

This week, we celebrated the “QU Wedding” in K-4!  It happened to be on the same day as our 6th grade Sports Fest (two highly revered traditions here)!  It was so sweet to see the K-4 students arrive for the big event dressed to the “T” to celebrate their year of learning how to read and the merging of two of their_DSC7908 beloved letter people, “Mr. Q and Ms. U.” I couldn’t help but overhear the sixth grade parents and students oohing and ahhing as they began having flashbacks of their own earliest days at Park Maitland at the QU Wedding!

It’s the common values, morals, customs, and general culture that help bond members of a school family.  These highly anticipated traditions bring students, teachers, and parents togetherDSC_2716 to celebrate learning in a relevant, fun, and engaging way! How can they possibly be forgotten?

Each year, more and more Park Maitland alumni send their own children to our school. One of the things that they delight in doing is to celebrate these much loved traditions with their children! They are always so happy to hear that we have held on tothesecelebrations. They are also relieved and pleased to see that the “old fashioned” values so important to our founder, Nell Cohen, such as good manners, morals, and character are as important as always!

I think that one of the problems plaguing our fast paced and ever-changing society today is the “root-lessness” of so many people and the lack of common values.DSC_267608 It is so important for families, schools, and the workplace to establish traditions and values that allow for a coming together of all to reflect, learn, connect, and celebrate!

I’ve decided to dedicate the month of May to “traditions” at Park Maitland School! I will ask students to send me their favorite Park Maitland tradition and tell why!DSC_2772 I think we will all enjoy reading about these from a child’s perspective!

This week we look forward to a few newer traditions: “Honored Elders” (students visiting our elder friends at the Mayflower) and “Shrek Day,” as well as our much coveted, somewhat older celebration of mothers — our K-5 “Mothers Day Tea!”

Cindy Moon

Head of School

Young Makers Meet an Expert Maker

Fifth grade Smart Tech students had the opportunity to hear from an expert local Maker who spent the last seven years designing a unique clock to aid children with autismIMG_1257[1]. Park Maitland School welcomed Mr. Dan Slage, who collaborated on this project with Mrs. Kelly Wheeler, mom to Grace Wheeler of 5 Blue.

Students were inspired by Mr. Slage and his engaging message of perseverance, problem solving, and design thinking. He began by sharing the need he saw for a clock to help several of his friends with autistic children who struggled sleeping. He brought along several of his early prototypes, wiring schematics, and models for students to see. Students were amazed at just how many designs, revisions, and changes Mr. Slage has made to his device after receiving critique and feedback from his friend’s on how their children responded to the clock. IMG_0968[2]The clock itself does not show the time, but rather uses a timer set by a caregiver of the child. Rays of lights are then used to show remaining time. Pictures of interest to the autistic child can also be inserted into the clock.

Before coming to speak to the students, Mr. Slage and Mrs. Wheeler, who are actively working on the project, approached Park Maitland about 3D printing the part of the clock that allows the rays of light to pass through. Using transparent filament, the school’s 3D printer produced the part for the latest prototype.

Mr. Slage imparted to students the importance as young makers to continually improve and revise designs based on the needs of clients, resources available, emerging technologies, and cost and time effectiveness. Most importantly, he truly inspired students to make things they are passionate about that show care and empathy for others, which is exactly the mission of our Maker Space!DSC_3163

Evelyn McCulloch, Smart Tech Teacher

School Wide Excellence

This week at Park Maitland our school-wide embrace of an “ethic of excellence” was evidenced throughout. DSC_0077

The student-led Earth Day assembly focused on real environmental issues that we all face in our world today — both locally and globally!  The Green Ambassadors led the entire assembly which included student-initiated outreach that focused on ways to help our earth and those people in it such as:

  • The sixth graders presented a check for $2,672.00 which was the total amount they earned at their recent car wash. They had dedicated their fund raiser to Agua Viva, an organization that builds wells for indigent nations.  The students’ check was matched by Kent Akins, who is on the board of Agua Viva.  The well will be built in Los Chiles, a village of slightly more than 100 people which is situated near the Nicaraguan border.  A plaque will be placed on the well which will read, “For Our Brothers and Sisters of Los Chiles from the Park Maitland School Senior Class of 2015,” and it will include all of the sixth graders’ names.  What a marvelousaccomplishment!
  • The fourth grade students wrote letters to Congressman John Mica in an effort to protect the Floridian Aquifer which secures the supply of fresh water in Florida.  He was unable to attend the assembly but district representative Leslie O’Shaughnessy came in his place.  Mr. Mica spoke to the entire school community by way of a video that he created in his office in Washington, D.C.  Please see the attached link!
  • A Plastic Bag Monster (Green Ambassador Student) visited to share the importance of using reusable bags instead of plastic which can harm ocean animals and our environment.

State Project Day!

The fourth grade teachers synergized in an effort to inspire and engage their students in all aspects of the curriculum!  This year, our teachers have worked closely with Tom Pilecki,     renowned educator, national speaker, and author _DSC0033of “From Stem to Steam” to enhance this year’s State Travel Fair through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math — plus Art!

This project was initiated in social studies and branched out to every academic and enrichment class! Students researched and wrote extraordinary research papers in E.S.W. and reading class!  In writing lab, they then stretched their imaginations by using facts to create extremely well written tales about a fantasy event _DSC0038that took place in their chosen state! They created informative and professional looking travel brochures in computer lab and science.  They designed their own rendition of the state’s flag and printed the real state flag in Smart Tech class!  In art, they designedbeautiful clay plates with images of their state symbol, and, in art and math class created 3-D maps of their state made to scale!  Our young travel agents, clad in “interesting and stately attire,” were confident, articulate, and poised as they shared their research and suitcase full of state artifacts, foods, and symbols!  DSC_0074Most wonderful, students were excited, engaged, and “in charge” of their projects with little or no parent input!  This takes the “load” off of parents and empowers students to be in charge of their own studies!

Research shows that when students are involved in school work that is relevant and engaging such as the many academic or outreach projects that we do at Park Maitland School, it makes a huge positive impact on the following:

  •   academic learning and progress
  •   ability to apply what they have learned in “the real world”
  •   academic outcomes such as demonstrated complexity of understanding, problem   analysis, problem-solving,   critical thinking, and cognitive development,
  •   ability to understand complexity and ambiguity
  •   sense of personal efficacy, personal identity, spiritual growth, and moral development
  •   interpersonal development, particularly the ability to work well with others, and build leadership and communication skills,
  •   reduced stereotypes and greater inter-cultural understanding
  •   social responsibility and citizenship skills
  •   involvement in community service after graduation

It takes many things to create the ultimate learning environment — respect, collaboration, relevance, engagement, highly informed dedicated and trained teachers, and vision!  These “well placed stones” create a firm foundation that transcends standards,curriculum, and instructional strategies.  It creates “an ethic of excellence!”  We strive for this ethic each and every day at Park Maitland School!DSC_0028

Cindy Moon

Head of School