“Fuel” to Think

You can only imagine some of the cute/funny things I’ve seen over the years of doing morning arrival duty. I won’t ever forget the time I went to lift one of our K-5 students out of DSC_9471-X3her very tall SUV and noticed that she had forgotten to put on her uniform bottoms.  Everything else was in place — braided hair with purple ribbons, shoes, socks, uniform top…oops!  One thing wasn’t checked off the list that day!

Every parent can probably relate to the “hustle and bustle” of school mornings when we     are trying to get our children out the door properly clothed, groomed, and on time.  We know how frantic DSC_8895-X2some of those mornings can seem as we are making sure that book bags, supplies, lunches, and the correct number of children (if there are multiple) actually make it into the car!  No wonder it’s a challenge to throw in one more thing — a healthy/nutritious breakfast.  We have heard for years that the most important meal of the day is breakfast.  Many of us may consider that an exaggeration.  However, with the latest brain research and studies, it has been proven that the first meal of the day can provide the fuel for academic focus and sustained energy.

A Healthy Breakfast is Important Every Day — not just on ITBS testing days.  In my conversations with our students during these past two weeks, I was taken aback by so many that said that they had a good breakfast for ITBS, as if it was the first time in a long time that they had.  As we got deeper into the conversation, I found that some students are reporting to have sugary sweets or not eat their breakfast at all on some days. DSC_9128-X3We all know that it’s important that our students are well fed and rested for “testing” days so that they have the “fuel” to think.  But, don’t they need the “fuel” to think every day?

When my children were young, I was Head of a school which was located 40 minutes away from our home. I knew the importance of a good nutritious breakfast, but I was not a miracle worker.  I have memories (okay, “nightmares”)  of running from room to room to make sure that we were all in one piece and ready  to go. IMG_3667_JPG-L Needless to say, a breakfast of scrambled eggs, fruit, and wheat toast was sometimes not possible.  After realizing the impact that a less healthy breakfast “on the run” had on my son and his ability to concentrate or even be still in class, I challenged myself to come up with creative ways of meeting this requirement.  Even though sometimes these were served a la carte in the Moon vehicle, they worked!  Peanut butter on wheat toast with cut up bananas, protein smoothies, and other healthier foods that were less time consuming to make or easier to eat on the run became my children’s breakfast foods.

School day/workday mornings can be hectic and even stressful.  Serving healthy and well balanced breakfasts can add to this “fun!”  However, they are important because the benefits of a nutritious breakfast are many.  DSC_8930-X2The impact a good breakfast can have on your child’s learning and productive school day is huge.  As we work to make our lives less busy and stressful, I urge you to come up with simple ways to create a fun and easy breakfast that will start your child on the right path each morning.

Park Maitland mom, Samantha O’Lenick of Florida Hospital shared a wonderful article about the importance of breakfast.  Click on the link to be taken to the article by Mark Hertling, member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition in the Huffington Posthttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-hertling/breakfast-impacts-future_b_7042310.html.

Cindy Moon

Head of School

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Growing Up Girl

9-X3Helping our children navigate the ups and downs of growing up can be a challenge! We truly want them to gain confidence and “grit,” as many experts call it today. Technology, media, access to more information, and changing societal values can create confusion and give “mixed messages” to parents and children. DSC_0055-X2Those of us who have been in education for many years see the changes that some of these factors can have on child rearing and teaching. It is always our goal to partner with you to provide support and information that can equip you as parents with more tools and create a dialogue to begin discussions on common issues that we all face today.

This past week, parents had an opportunity to hear about pertinent issues that all girls face as they grow and become social beings through elementary school and beyond. Our girls also have had similar discussions about growing up as a girl (grades 2, 3, 5 IMG_9346-X3and 6 this past week and grades 1 and 4 next week.) Carol Miller, Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 25 years of experience working with girls and boys spoke candidly to parents and students about typical behaviors that can cause hurt, confusion, and   misunderstandings with girls.

She asked our girls, “Do you think that boys act differently than girls when they show mean behavior to their friends?” One of our astute 5th grade girls who was right on said, “Boys just blurt it out or act physical, but girls can be sneaky or sly about it.” It is important DSC_0335-X2for parents and children to understand the ways boys and girls are “wired” differently to socialize and why they sometimes feel compelled to treat their friends unkindly. It is even more important that our children learn assertiveness and confidence to squelch this kind of behavior towards themselves or toward their friends. Parents can play a key role in helping their child be a kinder, more compassionate friend and also help them if they are feeling like they are being treated poorly. We will continue these discussions and “practice role modeling” different scenarios during morning circle and other parts of the school day in our remaining weeks of school.

We will have similar conversations with our boys and their parents next month. Stay tuned for more information on details. If you were unable to attend this session, the school will be sending the PowerPoint presentation home to all parents of girls in the elementary grades, 1-6.

As always, thank you for partnering with us as we work together to help your child grow into a confident and capable person with skills and tools to not only survive but thrive!DSC_0202_2-X3

Cindy Moon

Head of School

Goal Setting

I hope that each of you has had a great beginning to 2015!  Our first week back at school was highly productive as students and teachers spent time reflecting on 1st semester progress and discoveries before they enthusiastically catapulted into the second half of our eventful school year!img_5734

The start of a new year is always special. There is a feeling of renewal as we look to a new year as a new beginning, and there is a sense of excitement for making changes or adopting new habits.  It’s also a time for reflection. We all know that to be successful in life we need to form good habits. Setting personal goals and following through on them is one habit that builds self confidence and resilience.

As a school, like all successful organizations, we are constantly reflecting, analyzing and scrutinizing our program and setting short and long term goals as we move forward.  (A loftier term is called strategic planning.) In order for our s_mg_1344-achool to continue to thrive, we gather feedback and input from all of our constituents — students, staff, parents, and the greater community.  This feedback is done informally through everyday conversations, parent-teacher conferences, planning meetings with faculty, observations, and more formally through school surveys and examining other hard data/trends. Our recent school surveys gave valuable food for thought.  Out of the 205 responses, 97% or higher reported being satisfied or very satisfied in all areas of the school program.  Some specific comments with commendations or suggestions were made in each grade which allowed us to better understand and gauge the effectiveness or success of particular areas.

Our 7 Habits program was applauded by many parents, while a few questioned the importance of it. One of my goals is to respond to parent questions/issues/concerns throughout the year through these weekly letters.  In my 27 plus years as an educator, I IMG_6124-X2[1]have come to realize that many times, it is misinformation or lack of information that leads to confusion or doubt.  The reason the school adopted the 7 Habits – Leader in Me program was because it aligned with our founding principles.  As a matter of fact, this program presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what Stephen Covey calls “true north” principles of a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless.  The principles that we try to instill through this program are not new to Park Maitland.  The school was founded on such ideas and the 7 Habits are simply one way for us to communicate/teach/practice these universal principles through a common language.  Your child may or may not be able to list the 7 Habits, but hopefully, he/she is learning the character traits that fall under each of them.  That is our true goal.

The 2nd and 3rd habits relate to the importance of goal setting and planning:

Habit 2 — Begin with the End in Mind — Have a Plan…

I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference. I am an important part of my classroom and contribute to my school’s mission and vision. I look for ways to be a good citizen.

Habit 3 — Put First Things First — Work First, Then Play…

I spend my time on things that are most important. This means I say no to things I know I should not do. I set priorities, make a schedule, and follow my plan. I am disciplined and organized.

Goal-setting isn’t a skill that comes naturally to children. Learning to implement objectives is important for children because it helps them develop life skills that_DSC4157-L[1] facilitate planning for the future using a series of smaller steps that lead to positive rewards. Goal-setting shares overlapping benefits across the age groups. A good time to start is when a child is old enough to take on simple responsibilities, such as picking up toys or finish homework.

“The Community,” a publication put out by the Stephen R Covey Foundation, shares the following insight on the importance of teaching and practicing goal setting:

Providing a Focus…

When you help a child set goals, you give him a vision of the future. Whether he wants to save his allowance to buy a new toy, improve his grades, or go to a friend’s birthday party, goal-setting gives him a positive focus that will encourage him to make better decisions.  This focus encourages a child to think ahead about activities or behaviors that might get him closer or farther away from achieving his goal. As a parent, you can help your child develop this focus. For example, if your child’s goal is to get better grades in science, have him think of different ways he can achieve this goal and write down the ideas. The ideas serve as smaller goals and may include double-checking homework, handing in homework on time, and completing extra-credit assignments. Always help your child focus on the “process” — working hard, practicing, etc. instead of simply the outcome…all A’s or B’s._mg_0157

Goal-setting lets young people establish ideals for their lives and encourages them to keep moving forward even when they encounter setbacks. When a child learns to set goals, he develops a sense of purpose. Children who have a sense of purpose in life tend to be more confident:

Meaningful Motivation…

Goals motivate young people when they are specific, realistic, and measurable.  Children who work on goals they set are more motivated to accomplish the objective because they directly see or experience the benefits of their achievements. The most motivating goals to children are meaningful and personal.

Develop Responsibility and Self-Efficacy…

Long- and short-term goals help children gain a sense of responsibility for their own behaviors. With this sense of responsibility comes improved self-DSC_3022-X2[1]efficacy because positive goal-setting experiences help a child learn more about herself and the boundaries of her abilities. A child with high self-efficacy is less likely to view a goal she doesn’t achieve as a failure. Instead, she’ll likely attribute the outcome to inappropriate efforts.

The beginning of a new year is an exciting time — it’s a time for reflection and a time for looking forward. We look forward to helping your child accomplish the short term goals that he or she has set as they develop the skills that will lead to many more outstanding life accomplishments!

Warm wishes for a wonderful new year!

Cindy Moon

Sincere Gratitude

DSC_1030Of course, what would November be without giving thanks?  We also recognize the importance of a lifelong attitude of gratitude to enjoy life, spread goodwill, and keep the right perspective on our blessings and opportunities!

As our students (from the tiniest up) line up here at school to drop off the hundreds of canned food items and prepare to spend their own money on “Toys for Tots,” you DSC_9850can see the looks of pride on their faces and the feelings of gratitude that they gain from learning to take care of others in order to make the world a happier and brighter place to be.   I receive countless thank you notes from our students (in their very best handwriting) as they show appreciation for everything that they enjoy here at school.  Teaching children to show thankfulness and gratitude to others by expressing it in writing (good old fashioned, hand-written thank you notes) or by giving their time or “things” to those in need are lessons that will last a lifetime and help them to live happier, more productive and more fulfilled lives. DSC_9955

As we focus more on what we are grateful for during this special time of Thanksgiving, I’d like to take the time to thank each of you for your ongoing support and partnership as we work together to educate your precious children.  I also feel deep gratitude and IMG_4503appreciation to the outstanding group of teachers, administrators, and staff who are part of our Park Maitland family.  Their ongoing dedication and love for your child and for what they do is expressed each and every day by their dedicated efforts to celebrate your children’s gifts and strengths while enlightening their minds and spirit.

My thanks wouldn’t be complete without recognizing and expressing the deep gratitude that we all have to Mary Margaret Bowen, Liz Smith, and Carolyn Fritch for carrying on the Park Maitland legacy!  Their love for each and every child here and desire to give them the very best education possible is evidenced in all they do to make Park Maitland the unique and wonderful school that it is.  I feel truly blessed to be part of such an extraordinary school community!IMG_4997

Happy Thanksgiving, All!

Cindy Moon

Winners in Every Way!

vball1Maya Angelou once said, “It may be necessary to encounter defeats so youvball2 can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” I think that these wise words speak to us as parents and educators as we strive to teach our youth the importance of facing challenge and rising up from it.  It helps our children learn humility, perseverance, and grit.

It is with deep pride that I say that our Park Maitland girls’ volleyball team demonstrated this yesterday.  The steadfastness, determination, grace, and passion that each player showed us all speaks to the quote above.  vball5As you all know, they participated in the playoffs yesterday!  In the playoffs, you must win two out of the 1st three games against your opponent to advance to the finals. Our players gave it their best shot but lost the first game.  The level of play between the two teams was superior.  In the next two games, we were neck and neck.  Our team would gain a few points, only to have their lead taken away by the other team.  Our girls never gave up and went on to play their very best match to win!

In the first game of the finals, perhaps we were over-confident, and we found ourselves behind once again, which led to a loss.  vball6After a powerful and encouraging pep talk from Coach Houman Rassa and steadfastness, determination, pride, and team spirit, the likes of which I have never before witnessed, we went on to win both of the following games… and thus we won the match!

I am proud and honored to say that our Park Maitland Eagles are the league champions!!!  What made this win even more meaningful was the gallant effort put forth by each player (on and off the court) in support of her teammates.  In the final moments of the last game, we tied; then the other vball4team gained a point, but we didn’t give up!  We then gained a point but needed one more to win.  The other team tied again.  This tense play repeated itself over and over until the Park Maitland Eagles pulled it out by two points!

Congratulations, girls, for not only being the champions but for demonstrating the spirit of champions throughout! Thank you Coach Rassa, Coach Allison, and Coach Jennifer for teaching our girls so much more than how to win. Thank you for teaching them how to be humble leaders on the court!

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by Mrs. Cindy Moon

Head of School

 

The New Maker Space

Excitement is in the air! The new “Maker Space” at Park Maitland School is taking root in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) movement of education. It provides a learning space in which students can tinker and make things while building 21st Century Learning skills like collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity!

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The 5 Blue class brainstorming their creative ideas in a one-of-a-kind workspace.

Initially, projects have focused on using the design process to collaborate and accomplish a goal! Some students worked together to design a packing envelope to successfully transport a fragile rice cake through the mail. After prediction and testing, students now await their packages to return to discover their design’s durability! Students even participated in a critique process with peers and learned to use feedback to improve their ideas. Some students used the design process to explore the world of robotics by creating robots with purposes, like robot pencil fans or robots that can make snow. They even created programmed art, such as polka dots or circles! Other students partnered up and acted as each other’s clients. They interviewed one another and created a design for the ideal “green” lounge chair. Over a series of interviews and developing small prototypes, the students have been actively creating chairs to please their “clients” and accomplish their goals. Students are excited about creating their line designs in our 3-D printer in upcoming projects. This tool will further propel our learning, design thinking, and innovation!

By equipping students with 21st Century Learning skills, developing in them a desire and passion to make, create, and innovate by using a design process, we are preparing them to tackle and valuably contribute to the ever-changing world around them!

Written by Evelyn McCulloch, Smart Tech Teacher and Lead Innovator

Grade 6 students in Washington, D.C. – Day #3

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This is student reporter Cole P. It was another great day in Washington! We all went downstairs at different times to the Crystal Grill, which is conveniently located on the lobby level of our hotel. Our day began with a guided tour of the Pentagon and a stop at the Iwo Jima Memorial.

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I think that the Pentagon is probably one of the best highlights of our tour of Washington DC. It was filled with exhibits from 9/11 to the branches of the military. Two very interesting military guides explained every exhibit that we walked through. The 9/11 part of the Pentagon was a sad part of the tour. It had The Purple Heart Medal for military injuries and deaths, and The Medal of Defense for the brave citizens who risked their lives to save others. It was really just amazing.

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Then it was on to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. We were able to see actual money being made and learn the history about it.  A few employeesat the Bureau were very funny and used the money that they made to entertain. For example, one man folded a strip of fives into a fan and fanned himself!

Once we saw how money is actually made, we went over to the National Gallery of Art. There, we had an amazing lunch filled with a variety of selections. After lunch, we were able go see some beautiful paintings by some of the world’s most famous artists. There was even an artist there painting a “painting” trying to copy its beauty.

Afterwards, we all got back into the buses and headed to the National Cathedral. It was extravagant and filled with so many beautiful things. We were given guided tours through this very special Episcopal Church.

After the Cathedral, we went to Tony and Joe’s for a wonderful dinner. WOW, was it good. Then we headed to the Kennedy Center for a hilarious performance of “Peter and the Star-Catchers.” All in all, today was really fun and full of excitement!

~ Cole P., grade 6

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