Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentines and Other Holidays (by Kim Simmons ~ Grace's mother)

Jeanne encouraged me to post here -- I love the idea of creating a community space for us to share our ideas and have conversations that might be hard to complete during the morning drop-off. We also both understand the limits of this kind of venue and are very interested in other ways of communicating - study circles, regular parent meetings, pizza nights, etc. Still, we hope others will give this a try since we are so curious about what others are thinking. Valentine's Day feels like a tricky holiday. On the one hand, I love my family and want to share that sentiment. I really want Grace and Kate to learn how to express their feelings and to take the time to intentionally appreciate their friends. On the other hand, it is hard not to feel like Valentine's Day is yet another opportunity for commercial culture to create a set of unreasonable expectations -- candy, presents, special dinners, flowers, cards -- that breed disappointment, over spending, and inauthentic expressions of sentiment. I cannot begin to express my gratitude that the Friends School did not spill over with Power Ranger Valentines and obligatory candy exchanges. Maybe next year we could use the holiday as a springboard for a discussion about injustice or service ( but the tension between participating in and resisting popular culture will remain. I would love to learn more about other families’ traditions as well as great ways that other schools have responded to these holiday dilemmas.

The Arts

Many of us share an interest in the arts. I hope we can share information about great events happening around town -- for example, the Theater Project in Brunswick offers this : CHARLOTTE’S WEB - Production Class April 6 & 7 Friday at 7:30 pm Saturday at 11:00 am & 2:00 pm Suggested $6 And the Portland Ballet is putting on Peter and the Wolf after the FSP Auction - (PSB's Peter and the Wolf – April 28 at 2pm) And Dan Zanes is coming to the Portsmouth Music Hall on May 5th. What else do you know about?

Summer Camps- added to by Sydney's mom

How funny to be thinking about summer camp during the winter's only big snow storm. Still, sign-ups have begun. I thought we could use this space to share ideas about camps - select "comment" to add your thoughts, reviews, and insider info! -- Kim Some emails have been flying around about different camps so I thought I would add a link list to sidebar on the lower right of camp links. As well people can still email or comment here.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A new beginning

Here we are almost 100 days into the school year, and just now some of us are learning what our school is really about. During the a recent parent meeting (see more about that in the post below), it was discussed that a place for us to share our ideas would be very useful. The obvious and more widely used format of a newsletter may be preferred by some but I thought as I have dabbled in this "art of blogging" a bit, we could test the waters anyway. I anticipate this could become a useful tool, for those who just want to have a spontaneous picnic on "Friends Beach" (as I call the north facing beach on the island that looks beautifully upon the Falmouth harbor) or a Friday afternoon adventure to Falmouth Ice arena. Or perhaps you'd like to share useful dates of upcoming parent meetings or a notice of Curious City's famous "lunchbox" series. More simply a parent could write a paragraph after seeing a student play performed and post a picture for the parents that couldn't make it, or another could share a pleasant surprise as they overheard the discussion after the play by the very impressed lower classroom as I did. So here is the place to share photos, recipes, links to fun or informative websites and calls for help in our community. So welcome to all and everyone. I will try to arrange a tutorial for anyone who wants to learn how to add to this stay tuned.

Still looking for Parental Involvement

Although this is not the official minutes from the parent meeting on Thursday night, this is to remind parents that there is plenty to do, and if at all possible please try to make the next meeting in March. It was voiced by some of us, including myself, that we are perhaps a little reluctant to sign up for a committee, fearful for how many hours that can involve. As Lise, the chair of the meeting, pointed out we are fortunate to have email as an available tool, lessening the number of meetings needed. Although that was comforting, it was also said that many perhaps would prefer to help with certain tasks from time to time, rather than a full year commitment. I think it is important that this is said so that those of you who were not there also know that your involvement, however small is important to the growth and healthy development of the school. So in a nutshell (and this is my take and is perhaps not exact), it was established that there needs to be without a doubt a Fundraising Committee, comprising of individuals who can problem solve and create strategies that are manageable on a year to year basis, this committee could then rotate the actual parents perhaps on a half year basis. Under this committee would fall a team of assisting parents forming a temporary as that event nears and tasks need to be shared and divided among us. As well there needs to be an Auction Committee. This of course would form and dissolve over the course of a few months surrounding the actual event. An Enrollment Committee is also important to do the same for ways to keep getting the word out to new and potentially interested families. It was also identified that in terms of School Community a newsletter, or perhaps this blog (?) could serve as a useful tool to help parents communicate, this if for committee related concerns and seeking of help as well as simply a resource for parents to share useful thoughts, tips, concerns and ideas. And there is also need for liaisons in each classroom parental group to help connect willing volunteers with certain skills with committees seeking help. Lastly as a plea on behalf of Merritt who is overseeing the Auction for this year, there is a need for help on on levels, please make sure you see the list of jobs and to sign up for a way you can offer your help. And don't forget to ask your entrepreneurial friends to donate to this wonderful school.