I am very excited to be able to introduce our three new staff members for next year. Our process included screening 103 applications, meeting with 23 applicants either in person or by Skype and eventually observing eight of our applicants working with students. We had a significant number of excellent candidates, final decisions were very difficult and I am thrilled to share our new staff with you now. We will post more detailed biographies in the near future and when you might have an opportunity to meet them. We have not made final decisions at this time about grade level assignments.
Devin is a graduate of Seattle University's Master's in Teaching program, did his student teaching at Beacon Hill Elementary in Seattle. He is currently teaching kindergarten at Maplewood Heights Elementary in the Renton School District. Devin is a Program Coordinator/Lead Teacher at Kids Company on the QAE campus, lived in Nicaragua and Madrid, is fluent in Spanish and plays soccer at a very high level.
Jenn is a graduate of Central Washington University, did her student teaching at Lake Stevens High School in Spanish I and II classes. She has been teaching in Wahluke School District in Mattawa, Washington where she has taught first grade, second grade and coached volleyball. Jenn is fluent in Spanish and trained in Whole Brain Teaching.
Julie is a graduate of Michigan State University and is a career changer--working in film/video production and graphic design before finding her future in teaching. She did her student teaching at Thornton Creek Elementary in Seattle and is currently teaching at John Stanford International School in Wallingford. Julie is passionate about integrating art in her classroom, 21st Century Learning and is a recipient of a SPS technology grant for her classroom.
For the next three years we will be involved in hiring fabulous teachers and we very much appreciate the QAE staff and parents who gave many hours of their time to help support this very important process.
I don't have to write much here other than to say that if you were asked by your child about money for the flamingo or your child raided their piggy bank to bring money to school and you don't have a clear idea what it's for--this is for you.
The QAE flamingo is living overnight in my office but during the day can be found out and about our campus, sometimes in the Brick, sometimes in the Treehouse. You will notice the small slot in the box at the flamingo's feet, that's where the change, bills and checks go.
The full explanation of the flamingo phenomenon is in the video below--prepare the tissues, prepare to laugh, prepare for a wonderful example of what a "...concerned, confident and compassionate citizen of the world." looks like in third grade at QAE.
Thank you Owen for your heart and for your vision.
Notice the ball on the right of this photo. This is the normal soccer ball (futbol) after a few weeks of playing on the asphalt of QAE. I used to think this was the result of kids who really did not take good care of their stuff, left it outside and generally took it for granted. Instead I found that it simply is the result of wear and tear on our playground--the seams begin to fray and the panels come loose and soon it looks like the mess in the photo. While a new futbol is not too expensive they do add up and the used balls end up in a landfill somewhere.
Now, multiply that by millions. It is believed that each year approximately 20 million soccer balls end up in landfills in Africa alone. The game is played everywhere by everyone and many times kids end up playing with rags or plastic bags wrapped up in the shape of a ball simply because balls don't last or cannot be afforded. Even when balls are donated to schools, villages or organizations they don't last very long before looking like the ball on the right.
A solution? The One World Futbol Project. That's the distinctive blue ball on the left. This is a ball developed by a songwriter and thoughtful dude named Tim Jahnagen who was inspired by a news story that showed kids in Darfur playing with a "ball" of plastic balls held together with twine. He had ideas for an "indestructible" ball but only a chance discussion with Sting (yes, that Sting) brought the funding to develop the blue ball on the left. To get this unique product in the hands of kids who could benefit most the organization is using a "Buy One-Give One" program. They also sell the balls for donation directly to organizations that will put them in the hands, or on the foot, of kids that need them. Jeff and I talked about trying them out here at QAE so I purchased a few to try out. They are so expensive, $40 for the "Buy One-Give One", that we are trying a checkout system so we don't lose them but so far it seems successful.
Now for the fun part. Our team going to Dwankhozi Hope will be taking a dozen or so with us for the kids there. Previously Matt and Beth MacLean have taken a couple dozen regular soccer balls each time they visit and typically find them all gone when they come back six months later. How fun would it be to come back to Zambia on the next trip and find a dozen blue futbols still in use? That's our plan, we'll let you know how it goes.
Final story--I was in California last weekend for my nephew's wedding and was sitting with my dad at breakfast in the retirement home where he lives with my step-mom. Several of the women residents were at the table and we talked about lots of things, including our trip to Africa. When I told them about the One World Futbol Project one of them left the table and came back with her checkbook so she could buy a ball for me to take to the kids at Dwankhozi Hope. What a good heart! It also got me thinking that if any of you would like to buy one of the 12 blue futbols we are taking feel free to send a check for $25 made out to either Dwankhozi Hope or Queen Anne Elementary. You could drop it off at the office or give it to your child's teacher, somehow it will get to us. Pretty cool, huh?
This information was being disseminated by the Seattle Police Department today. I have copied the information from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website. If you have any information please notify the SPD.
Seattle police are looking for a man suspected of trying to force his way into a parked car containing a 4-year-old boy.
The unidentified man is suspected of trying to break into a car Monday morning near Coe Elementary School in the Queen Anne neighborhood. The man wandered away when the boy’s mother returned.
According to police, the woman left her son in the car for a moment while walking her daughter into the school. She returned to find the man walking away from her car; her son then told her the man tried several doors on the car to get inside.
The woman followed the man as he left the area in a car described as a shiny red Pontiac Grand Am. She lost sight of the car and phoned police 20 minutes later.
The man is described by police as a light skinned Hispanic man in his mid-to-late 20s or early 30s, standing 5 feet, 9 inches or 5 feet, 10 inches tall. Said to be very thin, the man had a shaved head and wore a white T-shirt and blue jeans.
Police immediately notified schools in the area. Investigators have not said whether the man is believed to have targeted the child or simply been conducting a car prowl.
We have a wonderful bike unit going on currently with Mr. Rothenberg in PE. Kids are learning to ride, sometimes literally in a day, and it's been mostly just a blast for our kids. We do have a serious concern though. We have had some beautiful bikes left at school overnight locked to our lovely bike rack and then stolen. We think it happened at night, still investigating to make sure of that. Here's the sequence:
I checked tonight and found four bikes locked to our lovely orange rack with nice looking but very simple and easy to cut locks. I found one lovely pink bike with a nice little pouch on the front unlocked and it now resides inside the building.
I know Jeff is pretty overwhelmed with the number of riders, the number of bikes and keeping track of all of the above. I know he could use help with managing during the day, if you could help please contact him. I would like to offer that we could store bikes in the covered play court at the end of the day but please take that on yourself if you need that or contact Jeff to see how we might make that happen.
It's pretty sad to have to deal with this but it's happened and I'd like to make sure it doesn't happen again.
I don't know about you but I've never been featured in the Huffington Post. Don't know your politics or what you think of HuffPo but it has certainly reached international status as an online new aggregator and has become a major source of news for folks worldwide. Well, my young friend, Sam Bridgman, was profiled in both the U.S. and the U.K. versions for the simple act of walking across the stage at the University of Portland to receive his diploma. If you have been reading my blog or hearing your kids talk about Sam you know that the act of walking across the stage was not simple, but another act of courage and sheer will by this remarkable young man. I couldn't be more proud of him and while I should not be surprised by anything he does anymore this was pretty cool. Particularly special were the two people who supported him on his walk, two athletic department trainers who worked with him for the last four years, training him just as they do the college athletes they work with to get the most out of their bodies. If you watch this video, one that we've shared at school, you will see that he trained with no less passion and drive than any athlete in any sport. Sam, you continue to inspire me and I love you.
On Friday morning we were privledged to have Carrie Davis from "Camp No Limits" speak to our student about differences, particularly limb differences, myoelectric prosthetics and her inspirational message that anything is possible. I was so interested I was there for both presentations, one tailored to our older students and one to our younger ones. She did a masterful job of sharing about how limb differences occur and how she in particular uses prosthetics to do everything she wants to do, including golf, yoga, boxing, triathlons, weight lifting and more. Our kid were enthralled with her and the technology so I encourage you to ask them about her inspirational speech and, if you are so inclined, donate to help kids with limb differences get to an amazing summer camp called Camp No Limits. CNP is located on beautiful Lake Coeur d' Alene in Idaho. This is a camp where young amputees can play and learn life skills at the same time. One of our own QAE family, Madeline, attended last year and the family found it to be a highlight of their lives. Carrie is the director of the camp and needs donations to make it run and allow families to attend. If you have an interest in financially supporting Camp No Limits you will find information here.
Connor Desai is mother to three of our QAE kids and "on the side" is a recording artist. She has performed for us at QAE and has made wonderful music with our students every year. This year she has regularly worked with our kindergarteners to write and perform. One of their collaborative efforts is that all-time hit Kind, Safe and Fair (scroll down to the 12/29/12 blog entry). As I was heading out of the Treehouse on Friday to see kids off at the buses I heard the fourth graders singing with her in the stairwell--what a fabulous way to end the day and what a wonderful way to share the gift of music with our kids.
Connor recently released her new album Scratch Pop and has chosen a unique way to offer it--she's giving it away. Her website tells the story of how she wanted to give the album away for a donation to one of several organizations she believes in, one of which is QAE. In Connor's words:
The decision to give "Scratch Pop" away in exchange for a charitable donation arose from the fulfilling experience of recording it at home. The gratitude I felt during this process caused me to see anew the many people (across time) who are not afforded the resources nor the right to creative expression that enabled "Scratch Pop" to exist. Additionally, I believe the success of these selected non profits will sew more seeds of happiness for my children than anything I could buy at the moment.
Her website explains the process of donating and downloading so please read the download page carefully. Thank you Connor.
Simon Jamison Marks was born on the 14th of May. The good looking guy weighed in at 6lbs. 4oz and according to Rachel and Greg--PERFECT!
I have a series of things to catch up on here so I would ask you to read all the "headlines" and not give up part way down this post.Second graders flying--in purple
After the Jogathon help needed!First grade books
Early in the year when I asked for help with the running program Jen Richardson stepped forward and offered to help with marking laps on the Running Club charts. She has been faithfully coming in twice a week to listen to the recorders, take notes from parents and laps from Mr. R in PE and turn them into dots on the board that enable our kids to get their rewards, the little plastic feet they cherish, show off and sometimes chew on. Jen's service has been so valuable to our kids and to me this year and now there is the daunting task of adding in all the laps from the Jogathon. It's too much to ask her to spend hours doing every child in the school so I'd like to ask for one parent from each classroom to come in and help with just their classroom marking. Either Jen or I will train you how to it, it's very easy. UPDATE! Second through fifth has been taken care of and I just need someone or some(six) to help with the three kindergarten and three first grades. If you can help please contact me and we can get this done.
Young Author's Day help needed!Holley and Natalie
We have a school full of young authors who would love your help this Wednesday morning. I have to say that Young Authors is one of my favorite activities of the year and every year I get very positive comments from the parents who help out. On that day every student in the school has a chance to share their writing with other kids, across grade levels and with a little bit of fanfare. They are excited for this and they have worked hard to prepare however we are short of parent facilitators who will preside over a small group to make this happen. I understand that an email went out through each classroom coordinator so please respond to that request. If you don't get that email please respond to the office or to me and we can give you the contact information.
Look at the lovely books all neatly bound and ready to be shared aloud. Please help if you can.
Any time we have an event the magnitude of the Jogathon, the Spagetti Dinner, Read-a-Loud Day or many other events during the year, it is the result of hours and hours of volunteer work behind the scenes. It may be possible to properly and individually thank all those involved in every event but I normally feel like I don't get it done right. It would not be possible to have these events with the primary planners and the many, many parents who help both prior to, during and after the event. The Jogathon was another one of those special events, a wonderful time with kids, parents, grandparents, siblings and staff running around in the sun to benefit our school and it absolutely would not have been possible without all the volunteers. After it's all said and done maybe you get to dance to the music a bit but there's not many more tangible rewards than that. Thank you so much for all the hours of work to make this a successful and fun event.
A special thanks to Natalie Carlson and Holley Ring who had Co-Chaired our fundraising efforts for the entire time QAE has been in existence. I can't even begin to estimate the number of hours of work, the number of hours of fretting and a few hours of celebrating that have gone into that job the last three years. Your work has played a very big part in everything we have for our kids and our staff at QAE and we will never be able to thank you enough.