Friday, September 21, 2012

Maine Senate Candidate Debate on October 4th

Several organizations are coming together to sponsor a Senate Candidates Debate on October 4th, with a focus on issues especially effecting women and girls... More info and RSVP link here!

And, on October 16th, Candy Crowly will serve as the first woman to moderate a Presidential debate in the past 20 years!  This came about because of some activism of HS girls... inspiring when I think about what our kids might make happen! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Be Here Now...

This is the kind of conversation we'd love to sponsor with FSP's spring P4P series :

"Where is there a meeting point between being connected, and being well?"  (from DML Research Hub)

The Presence Project
Be Here Now Box:  "In a time of continuous partial focus, the attention–and intentions–of millions of young people who will be shaping tomorrow’s world deserves addressing. We’ve created this tacklebox-like toolkit to help families reconnect around their passion projects:"


"This project is all about inviting families to find alternate ways of interacting in a time when all of us are very apt to jump on our computers or our
phones during shared family time..."
Their web site offers some wonderful prompts and resources...

Also : Geek Dad's take

And where I learned about it : the DML Research Hub blog post / video 

What items would you add to your own Be Here Now box? Share your
thoughts with others by:
(1) Leaving a comment on the blog post at, or
(2) Adding a comment to DML Facebook Page at

Monday, September 17, 2012

Books as Bridges / Silent Racism

The Bangor Daily News recently posted a brief story about Maine's legacy as the "whitest state" and the experience that people of color have as "the only" in primarily white spaces.  This story - and the comments and blog posts that followed - made me think about our program last fall on kids, race and racism and the challenges of teaching anti-racism at FSP.   The cycle of inquiry, reflection, action is at the heart of FSP's educational philosophy and so important for our shared queries about what justice looks like, how we create racial amity and equity, how we honor individual differences and create strong communities, and how we challenge our own inner-voice by hearing the truths' of others in a setting that encourages divergent thinking and dissent as well as harmony and unity.

While within larger society there is a pull toward emphasizing stereotypes about racial difference or naturalizing patterns that we name "racism", there can also be a push toward asking people to assimilate to the extreme, to refuse to "see" difference as a way of maintaining dominant norms.  The sweet spot of dynamic inclusion is easy to wish for, harder to always know how to practice.

Check out the resources from our Books as Bridges event here (scroll down) and the latest work being done by Anne Sibley O'Brien and Kirsten Cappy on the I'm Your Neighbor project (many book recs available!)

"Silent Racism"  documents the ways that well intentioned white people ignore the manifestations of institutional racism or shy away from racial awareness because of worrying about saying the wrong thing.  Author Barbara Trepagnier invites us to learn how to recognize and interrupt racism in interpersonal interactions and acknowledge and work on structural changes...

Fear of a Black President, an Atlantic Magazine op-ed, analyzes President Obama's challenge of maintaining a non-white racial identity while inhabiting the role of President which has been coded "White" until now.  Again, an interesting and provocative read on how race shapes our 21st C. lives.  Also from the Atlantic, an analysis of diversity - or there lack of - in young adult books.  And yet, if nothing else, there are great chances to enrich our lives and empathy and experience through books...

banana bread

Many 3rd/4th grade families enjoyed a gorgeous fall afternoon at Audubon yesterday... I was asked for my banana bread recipe... it was from this month's Cooking Light and I fiddled much less than usual, but did substitute White Whole Wheat Flour and used olive oil 'cause it was all I had.  I also skipped the glaze...

Photo: Hannah Whitaker; Styling: Tizana Agnello

Friday, September 14, 2012

Making Stuff Happen at FSP

An awesome parents organizing lunch yielded a conversation about how things happen at FSP.  In past parent meetings it was decided that there would not be a strong governing parent group, but rather a group of facilitators, or point parents, who could assist with communication and community building.  That means that the work of doing things to support our kids, our classrooms, our community and FSP as an institution is on all of us... if you've got a great idea or are wanting to get a ball rolling, here are some suggestions...

If you have an idea for an after school activity.... talk to Billy

If you have an idea for development / fundraising... talk to Rob, Jenny or John

If you have an idea for a class get-together... talk to your point-parent or just throw it out to the group

If you have an idea for a whole-school event... talk to your point-parent, Kim or Stacie, Jen or Jenny... big ideas usually cycle through to the administrative team and are checked against the school calendar and require that the initiator have some ummph for enacting the event.

If you have an idea for an item to be included in the ebulletin, newsletter or for admissions or media for FSP... talk to Jen

If you have an idea for an all school assembly... talk to Lee, Jonathan, Christina or  Pete

If you have an idea for a field trip, an awesome addition to the classroom, etc. ... talk to your teacher

In the past, parents have initiated a holiday "hat sale",  a kids craft making party, a Matt Loosigian concert, Stories by the Garden, the Parenting for Peace lecture series, Contra Dancing at the potluck (or perhaps that idea came from a teacher), the blog (and it wasn't me :), the summer program, food for teachers at the end of the year, parent forums, Wolfe's Neck trip on October in-service day, Tea Parties on the Cricket sidelines, parent-kid soccer tournaments, X-Country Team, Close Buy... Within classrooms, parents have done so much more... so if you have an idea and a little organizing ummph please feel hugely invited to make it happen! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Outing Club

The meeting for Outing Club takes place in Nicole's room after school today... OC has been a highlight for many FSP families... come check it out!

Primary fall projects include putting on the Harvest Dinner -- a local-food-fest that raises $ for OC and is really fun... ticket info to come!

Here's a little info about the upcoming rescheduled Rangeley Camping Trip -- it was rained out in the spring, but we're hoping for a beautiful (and mosquito free) fall weekend!

Here's a repeat of the original post, with some updates :

Outing Club takes our first trip of the year September 29-30, to Rangeley State Park.  On Saturday, we'll meet (optional) for an easier hike to Angel Falls (meet at 1pm).   On Sunday, we'll climb Saddleback.  

Sign-up for OC w/Nicole and sign-up for hike / activities on EventBrite!  

If the going gets too rough, here's Maine Magazine's ideas for 48 hours in Rangeley

It is a pretty long drive... for treats, consider Forage in Lewiston for morning bagels, or the Bread Shack in Auburn for fabulous sandwiches; Nezinscot Farm in Turner for veggies and tea...

Any tips for ice cream on the route back?

Monday, September 10, 2012

After School

FSP's after school programs are awesome but sometimes there is a need to leave the island... The Telling Room just posted their fall workshops... none work for my family, but I sure wish they did - and they are free / by donation!

Also, several of us are coming together for a Portland Pottery class on Wednesdays... if your child might be interested in joining in, send Kim an email.

Anyone else find a gem to share?

Friday, September 7, 2012

This is newsworthy for kids - literally!

Check out this online resource Scholastic News Kids Press Corps!  It is current events and news reporting from a team of about 50 Kid Reporters from around the nation - "...reporting for kids, by kids."  Limiting violence and advertising and from a child's perspective - nice!  Check out the information/application on becoming a Kid Reporter too!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It Starts With You Training @ USM

The Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity is partnering with GLSEN Southern Maine (the local chapter of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) to present an "It Starts with You" training:

Saturday, Sept. 8
USM/Payson Smith Hall, Room 1 (basement)


The "It Starts with You" Conversation program encourages personal one-on-one conversations between supporters and the people they know -- our friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, fellow congregants etc. 

It helps us identify people in our lives with whom we'd like to talk about marriage for same-sex couples, identify why this is sometimes hard and practice with others, and make a plan to engage them in friendly discussion about love and commitment, marriage and family, and how access to marriage  for same-sex couples impacts us and our community.

More than 80% of Mainer voters know someone who is LGBT or a supporter of marriage for same-sex couples, but less than half of those voters have had a conversation about marriage with a supporter.  Voters who have these conversations are TWICE as likely to vote with us! -- so it's a powerful way that supporters can help, just by reaching out in their daily lives.

This program gives people the tools to open peaceful, respectful  conversations that encourage sharing, not debate, and that deepen our understanding of each other.

The video below features formal campaign activities rather than the ordinary personal conversations our training will help us to have with people we know.  But it shows why every conversation matters.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Curious how others are managing all the lunch-packing?

Are you PB&J every day or do you create amazing bento-boxes?  Do your kids actually eat lunch or show up ravenous in the car wondering if "snack" was remembered?

I know there are amazing cooks among us - what are your favorite lunches, lunch resources, blogs, etc?

Perhaps a free lunch for someone who comments?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Improv & Portland Playback

David LeGraffe has taught after school improv @ FSP for a while now, and his Wed night adult classes are equally awesome -- a new term starts soon - email him for more info!

We are also exploring collaborations with Portland Playback and all are invited to attend this coming Friday night:

September 7 -- First Friday in September 2012           
7:30 P.M.  
$7 suggested donation  

This  Event's Actors: Bob Bittenbender, Erin Curren, Sandra Sneiderman, Colin O'Leary, Andy Colvin; Conductor: David LaGraffe

Stories of Letting Go

I think I was sixteen when I first went water skiing. I was zipping along when I lost my balance and instinctively HELD ON instead of letting go. Ouch...ouch...ouch
It strikes me now that my inability to let go has dogged me all my life. Do you have a story of letting go, or holding on?
   Bring your story of letting go or holding on and let our company of actor/improvisors ennact it for you. Or just come to watch and enjoy this unique community event in which the stories of our lives are honored through theatre. Bring a friend!