HFS Weekly Collections

HFS News & Special Events
September 10, 2010




Dear HFS Families,

Thank you for an absolutely wonderful start to the school year! Your children have been fantastic agents of change in our school community. This week they helped “train” their teachers on the proper set-up and clean-up of our new lunch room (the gymnasium), adapted to a dedicated science lab space (the old faculty workroom), adjusted to the end-of-day grade level “check-in,” sang gloriously in our Morning Gathering (even in rounds!), and delighted in the receipt of their new schedules, planners, and “Brains” (according pocket storage device). To your credit, we have experienced two days of absolutely flawless pick-up times, despite the new protocols. Thank you!

While many of our changes are quite visible (new science lab, new attendance procedures, etc.), many more changes are much more subtle, but equally important. In this opening-of-school note to you, I hope to identify and inform you of some exciting changes and some changes that will undoubtedly lead to new growth and new capabilities within our school community.

Mathematics Growth at HFS

Families will be receiving letters confirming their child’s math placement for the 2010-2011 school year early next week. However, many of you may be already aware of the fact that many children in grades 4 through 7 switch classes for math each day. While this is a facet of the program we started last school year to better serve our students based on their needed level of math challenge, this year’s program marks the first step to realigning our math program in grades 5 through 8. Since our adoption of the Connected Mathematics Project II with the founding of the school, we have been delighted with our students’ progress through it. It teaches problem-solving and critical math thinking skills better than any other program we’ve encountered. The program delivers an Algebra I equivalent experience for our graduating 8th grade students. In fact, we have had students place into Geometry and Algebra II as freshman in high school after completing our 8th grade program.

However, no math program is perfect, and since our first year we have been very candid in our assessment of the weaknesses of the program, too, namely that its 6th grade curriculum is essentially a review of 5th grade concepts, but presented to introduce the CMPII approach to problem-solving. This is one of the reasons that reaction to the pace and depth of our 7th grade program is so astonishing. It simply leaves a lot to do in two years over 7th and 8th grades.

Yet, we have identified the need to provide our students with a more formal Algebra I experience in 8th grade and the option of a formal Geometry course in 8th grade, too. In order to do this, we have begun offering the CMPII as our primary 5th grade math program with the intent of having students work their way through the entire three-year program by the end of 7th grade and then taking a more traditional Algebra I course and Geometry, if desired, in advance of high school.

The concern, naturally, is that we attend to the needs of the 5th grade student now being asked to complete 6th grade level math. We could not do this without the professional guidance and support of our outstanding math team. Linda Derengowski, teacher of the 5th/6th grade math class, is fully aware of and anticipating the need to fill to “gaps” in math knowledge and experience that may result from some students moving from a 4th grade math experience to a 6th grade math program. While Linda will guide students along with great care and attention, it will be important for families to remain in close contact with Linda and the school to alert us to any concerns over a child’s sense of frustration or confusion with a math concept or homework assignment. We are excited to be making this move and to provide our students with these opportunities. However, we do so with a keen awareness of the needs each individual child has and of our responsibility to make sure that our students are well prepared for each successive level of mathematics. We appreciate and rely upon your partnership in that process.

Changes in Office Staff

Sadly, I must report the resignation of HFS Associate Director of Business Operations and computer technology teacher, Kim Carlone. Kim submitted a heartfelt letter of resignation, effective today (Friday, September 10) detailing her very difficult and painful decision to leave her position at HFS. As a result of a personal family tragedy Kim is returning to her home state of Rhode Island to be closer to family. Since her arrival in the fall of 2007, Kim has expanded and professionalized many facets of the school’s business operations. AS you are all well aware, she provided a warm welcome and easy accessibility to members of our community who needed assistance with everything from tuition invoices, budget reports, accounting for special events, and many, many more things that often fell well outside of her job description. We are truly fortunate as a community to have included Kim Carlone as one of our own these past three years. She will be missed. Before she goes, the Board and I will be celebrating her contributions to our school at its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, September 13. If you have any messages in gratitude and celebration of Kim’s work that you would like to share with her, please forward them to me so that I may share them before the Board Monday evening or simply write her a personal note. Though she will not be here after Monday, she promises to remain in touch.

Fortunately, HFS is lucky to have been able to swiftly appoint Kim’s successor, a wonderfully experienced professional in the field of independent school business management. Diana Rego, mother of James, ‘17/’21 and former Assistant Business Manager and Finance Manager at Calvert Hall, has been working with Kim Carlone all week to take over her duties as the Associate Director of Business Operations at Harford Friends School. Diana brings with her years of expert work in the field of independent education and we are delighted to be able to turn to her at this time. I look forward to Diana’s role expanding within our community and to working with and learning from her as we begin this new school year.

Computer Technology

Due to Kim Carlone’s outstanding work with last year’s 6th grade students in her role as computer tech instructor, I expanded her role this year to include teaching computer tech to grades 1 through 7. Though she will not be with us to fulfill those duties, we remain committed to providing our students with the same type of quality instruction that Kim was poised to deliver this year. However, we will take our time to make sure we find just the right teacher, someone who can blend a professional knowledge with the school’s teaching philosophy. Please expect to hear of prospective teachers coming to school over the course of the next several weeks as we work to identify the right teacher for the position.

Spanish

Please also be aware that I have not yet succeeded in finding this year’s Spanish teacher. Of the six finalists for the position identified over the summer, two of the candidates found full-time employment, one could not leave her existing job for the hours we offered, and another needed to fulfill practicum requirements for a degree program that we could not provide. The other two did not turn out to be suitable matches. As is the case with computer technology, our search will be patient and exhaustive. Please anticipate hearing about candidates teaching sample lessons here at school over the next several weeks as we work to find the candidate for whom we’ve been searching. In fact, we had a candidate here today who taught our Primary grades and eighth grade. The presence of students back at school makes the search process much easier now that we have an audience for sample lessons! I will keep you posted as these searches unfold.

Highland Heroes Salute

On Saturday, September 11th, the Highland Community Association, the group from which HFS leases its space in our building, will be honoring local heroes who have passed on – firefighters, emergency service personnel, police, and members of the armed forces. The Highland Community Association is seeking nominations of heroes to be included in this year’s ceremony as well as the 2011 ceremony. Saturday’s events will begin at 6:30 PM with the rededication of the original Highland School (1907-1932) bell, followed by refreshments, with a patriotic concert by the Bay Country Gentlemen at 7:30 PM in the gymnasium. From the Highland Community Association press release, “This is an occasion to remember and honor those late members of our community who rendered brave service and for the living to re-dedicate themselves to the cause of liberty.” Tickets for the Bay Country Gentlemen performance will be available at the door and cost $10 apiece. For more information please contact Highland Community Association Executive Director Gene Jones at 410.459.2717 or hca708@zoominternet.net.

Again, thank you for a wonderful start to our school year! I look forward to keeping you posted on our continuing searches and dedicated efforts to provide your children with the most meaningful and excellent educational experience possible.

Happy New Year!

In peace,

Jonathan

Announcements/Calendar Updates…

NOTE: Items new to this week’s Collections are identified with bold type.

Items changed after an earlier posting are identified in italicized and bold type.

  1. Monday, Sept. 13 – Informal Parent Coffee after morning drop-off at Geneva Farms Golf Course.
  2. Wednesday, Sept. 15 – RSVP deadline for Back to School Picnic. Please reply to Dawn Tridone, H&SA Clerk.
  3. Thursday, Sept. 16 – Gardening Activity with Brooke Derr (3:15-4:00PM) This activity will occur on the following Thursday dates: Sept. 16, Sept. 23, Sept. 30, Oct. 7, Oct. 14, Oct. 21, Oct. 28. Students wishing to participate MUST submit an After-School Activity Permission Form by Monday, Sept. 13 to attend. Space is limited. Pickup for this activity will occur at 4:00PM in Gunpowder Classroom.
  4. Friday, Sept. 17 – Parent Activities Session #1 (1:25-2:55PM) – Please contact Parent Activities Coordinator Kerry Colvin.
  5. Monday, Sept. 20 – Friday, Oct. 1 – Parents & Advisors/Homebase Teachers schedule mutually convenient half-hour conference time. See Student & Parent Handbook for available appointment times. [Reminder: This is an adult-only HFS function.]
  6. Tuesday, Sept. 21 – How to Apply to High School Workshop (4-8PM) at HFS
  7. Thursday, Sept. 23 – Gardening Activity with Brooke Derr (3:15-4:00PM). Pickup for this activity will occur at 4:00PM in Gunpowder Classroom.
  8. Friday, Sept. 24 – Signed Student & Parent Handbook Review Contract due to student’s advisor/homebase teacher.
  9. Friday, Sept. 24 – Field Trips – All grades are scheduled for field trips on this date. Confirmed destination and trip itineraries TBA. *Drivers needed – Please contact Jennifer Button at jbutton@harfordfriends.org if you would like to drive for your child’s field trip.
  10. Friday, Sept. 24 – Back to School Picnic at Eden Mill Nature Center (3:30-7:00PM) located at 1617 Eden Mill Road, Pylesville, MD 21132.
  11. Monday, Sept. 27 – Blueberry Festival 2010 Volunteer Review (6:00PM) in Gunpowder Classroom.
  12. Thursday, Sept. 30 – Gardening Activity with Brooke Derr (3:15-4:00PM). Pickup for this activity will occur at 4:00PM in Gunpowder Classroom.
  13. Thursday, Sept. 30 – H&SA Meeting (6-7PM) in Gunpowder Classroom. [Reminder: This is an adult-only HFS function.]
  14. Thursday, Sept. 30 – Back to School Night (7-9PM) Additional information to be announced once confirmed.


HFS Grade 8 Weekly Collections


NOTES from Humanities…

This week we got reacquainted by learning the stories and histories behind our names. We also began our foray in to the nascent years of America. With the regular schedule beginning next week, we will have more time for the corresponding literature of that era as well as presenting summer work. Make sure those course expectations are signed and returned.

NOTES from Technology…

Science: For information on 8th grade science, please contact Alan Schmaljohn at aschmalj@xecu.net

Math:  After what seems to have been a restful summer vacation, the 8th graders at HFS are “off and running” in Math 8.  Being a year in which we are getting prepped for high school mathematics, we have started the year off by refining our strategies and format for solving algebraic equations.  With a stress on the process used to solve equations, we are developing a “vertical format” for solving equations, in which each transformation of the original equation must be justified by an appropriate algebraic property or postulate.  We will continue honing this process throughout this unit, with a quiz on equation solving next Thursday.  I appreciate your quick response to signing the course overview, which I sent home on Wednesday.  I look forward to working with the 8th graders at HFS this year.

NOTES from Explorations…

Art: For information on Art, please contact Rog Hicks at rjjhicks@comcast.net

Music:

Joyful Sounds School of Music is looking forward to a wonderful year of music-making with the Students at Friends. We will be teaching general music, choir, instrumental music lessons (group and private). We are still in the expanding phases of building a music program at Friends. We hope the additions this year will prove to be of great benefit to the students and your school. Parents may contact Mr. Huxtable for information concerning specific scheduling options for group and private lessons.

Please feel free to email me any concerns or questions. joyful@joyfulsounds.net

Sincerely,

Janis Katsu

Physical Education: 5th – 8th grades need to have a spiral notebook to use as a journal for class. These notebooks will be kept in the gym at all times. Notebook size can be a little smaller than normal size, but no miniature notebooks please.

All students need to come to school dressed in fitness clothes on the days they have gym.  There will not be time to change clothes or shoes. Failure to come to class dressed for activity will result in a check mark. Three marks will affect quarterly grade. Water bottles will be permitted during class.

Spanish: Information regarding Spanish classes will be announced once confirmed.

NOTES from Mrs. De Mey’s Advisory…

We have such a fun group this year!  The students have been getting to know each other this week, and I am so pleased to see our returning students assisting our new students in learning the school routines.  We have organized our cubbies and our “brains”, and we will be unveiling our unusual group name during our skit presentation on Friday.  Please keep an eye out for an email regarding the scheduling of beginning of the year conferences to be held between September 20-October 1.


HFS Grade 7 Weekly Collections

NOTES from Humanities…

This week we got reacquainted by learning the stories and histories behind our names. Everyone seemed to learn something new about classmates they thought they knew well! We also began our work for the year, delving into the history, culture, and literature of Latin America. With the regular schedule starting next week, the students will share and discuss their summer projects. Make sure course expectations are signed and returned.

NOTES from Technology…

Science: Science is off to a great start!  Everyone, including me, is enjoying the new science lab! This week has been spent acclimating ourselves to the new space and the new rhythms of 7th grade.  We’ve also applied the scientific method to discern the workings of my magic flask.  Be sure to ask your children about it.  Next week, we will be diving into our study of ecology.  Students should come prepared with their binder, textbook and composition book everyday.

Math: It was a great start to 7th grade mathematics on Wednesday. We started by getting to know one another and getting organized in class. As an introduction to our first unit, we listed all of our pets and will be organizing the information to create tables and charts. Next week we will work on collecting data to create tables, using the tables to create graphs, and analyzing the data in these different forms. I’m looking forward to a fun year!

NOTES from Explorations…

Art: For information on Art, please contact Rog Hicks at rjjhicks@comcast.net

Computer Technology: Information regarding Computer Technology classes will be announced once confirmed.

Music:

Joyful Sounds School of Music is looking forward to a wonderful year of music-making with the Students at Friends. We will be teaching general music, choir, instrumental music lessons (group and private). We are still in the expanding phases of building a music program at Friends. We hope the additions this year will prove to be of great benefit to the students and your school. Parents may contact Mr. Huxtable for information concerning specific scheduling options for group and private lessons.

Please feel free to email me any concerns or questions. joyful@joyfulsounds.net

Sincerely,

Janis Katsu

Physical Education: 5th – 8th grades need to have a spiral notebook to use as a journal for class. These notebooks will be kept in the gym at all times. Notebook size can be a little smaller than normal size, but no miniature notebooks please.

All students need to come to school dressed in fitness clothes on the days they have gym.  There will not be time to change clothes or shoes. Failure to come to class dressed for activity will result in a check mark. Three marks will affect quarterly grade. Water bottles will be permitted during class.

Spanish: Information regarding Spanish classes will be announced once confirmed.

NOTES from Mrs. De Mey’s Advisory…

We have such a fun group this year!  The students have been getting to know each other this week, and I am so pleased to see our returning students assisting our new students in learning the school routines.  We have organized our cubbies and our “brains”, and we will be unveiling our unusual group name during our skit presentation on Friday.  Please keep an eye out for an email regarding the scheduling of beginning of the year conferences to be held between September 20-October 1.


HFS Grade 5/6 Weekly Collections

NOTES from Humanities…

Welcome to the start of an exciting school year! At this point you have received the Humanities Expectations letter and it is signed and living in the front of your son or daughter’s Humanities binder. We have been discussing expectations, putting binders together, organizing our cubbies and learning how to utilize the student planners so they are effective. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. We have a wonderful class and I am thrilled to be their teacher.

NOTES from Technology…

Science: Science is off to a great start!  Everyone, including me, is enjoying the new science lab. This week we have worked on refining our observational skills and putting the scientific method to use as we sought to understand a phenomenon.  Ask your children about sinking ice cubes!  We will be delving into topographical maps and introduction to geology next week.

Math: Welcome to the start of an exciting new school year. It has been wonderful getting to know your children. By now you have read and signed the Math 6 Expectations letter and it has been returned to school. I will be sending an information letter at the start of each new unit in mathematics. Attached to each unit letter will be a list of math concepts that will be covered during the unit. I have nicknamed it, “the parent cheat sheet.” Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

NOTES from Explorations…

Art: For information on Art, please contact Rog Hicks at rjjhicks@comcast.net

Computer Technology: Information regarding Computer Technology classes will be announced once confirmed.

Music:

Joyful Sounds School of Music is looking forward to a wonderful year of music-making with the Students at Friends. We will be teaching general music, choir, instrumental music lessons (group and private). We are still in the expanding phases of building a music program at Friends. We hope the additions this year will prove to be of great benefit to the students and your school. Parents may contact Mr. Huxtable for information concerning specific scheduling options for group and private lessons.

Please feel free to email me any concerns or questions. joyful@joyfulsounds.net

Sincerely,

Janis Katsu

Physical Education: 5th – 8th grades need to have a spiral notebook to use as a journal for class. These notebooks will be kept in the gym at all times. Notebook size can be a little smaller than normal size, but no miniature notebooks please.

All students need to come to school dressed in fitness clothes on the days they have gym.  There will not be time to change clothes or shoes. Failure to come to class dressed for activity will result in a check mark. Three marks will affect quarterly grade. Water bottles will be permitted during class.

Spanish: Information regarding Spanish classes will be announced once confirmed.

NOTES from Mrs. De Mey’s Advisory…

We have such a fun group this year!  The students have been getting to know each other this week, and I am so pleased to see our returning students assisting our new students in learning the school routines.  We have organized our cubbies and our “brains”, and we will be unveiling our unusual group name during our skit presentation on Friday.  Please keep an eye out for an email regarding the scheduling of beginning of the year conferences to be held between September 20-October 1.

HFS Lower School Weekly Collections

September 10, 2010

NOTES from the 1/2 Grade Classroom…

What a wonderful first week the primary class had! It was full of many different routines and getting to know you activities.  At Genesee Valley, students traveled through many different obstacles of boats, snakes, and turning into butterflies.  The primary class concluded the trip with a meeting and sitting with their 8th grade buddies on the bus ride home.  The rest of the week students have been learning about each other’s summers and what everyone likes to do.  The class is starting to get used to the daily routine and back into the motions of school.  The lower school did a three-part scavenger hunt that helped them get to know each other and the school.  Next week we will have a more consistent routine and daily schedule.

NOTES from the 3/4 Grade Classroom…

We are off to a great start!  After a successful field trip to Genesee Valley, the students are getting organized and learning classroom routines.  In reading, we will begin with a short selection this coming week before we start reading our first novel.  In Writing Workshop, we have begun writing personal narratives.  These will take a few weeks to complete.  In math, we will begin with a unit on place value.  We will focus on map reading skills in Social Studies.  Our next field trip will be on September 24.  I will send out more information as soon as the details of the trip are finalized.  Please keep an eye out for an email regarding the scheduling of beginning of the year conferences to be held between September 20-October 1.

Science: Science is off to a great start!  Everyone, including me, is enjoying the new science lab. We’ve spent the week learning the rhythms and routines of class, finding our way around the lab and distinguishing between facts and assumptions.  Ask your children about edible candles! We also spent time discovering the many different topics that make up the large subject of science.  We will be busy designing and painting our lab jackets next week.

NOTES from Explorations…

Art: For information on Art, please contact Rog Hicks at rjjhicks@comcast.net

Computer Technology: Information regarding Computer Technology classes will be announced once confirmed.

Music:

Joyful Sounds School of Music is looking forward to a wonderful year of music-making with the Students at Friends. We will be teaching general music, choir, instrumental music lessons (group and private). We are still in the expanding phases of building a music program at Friends. We hope the additions this year will prove to be of great benefit to the students and your school. Parents may contact Mr. Huxtable for information concerning specific scheduling options for group and private lessons.

LS: Grades 3 & 4

Just a few housekeeping items: I am so excited about our Instrumental Music Class! I hope by this time, our 3rd & 4th grade students have had an opportunity to decided on which instrument they are interested in learning to play this year. Instruments to select from are: Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone Horn, Snare Drum, or Bells. It is my desire to begin learning about proper tone production, care, and maintenance during our first weeks of lessons.

The method book we will be using is the Essential Elements 2000, Bk 1. There is a book dedicated to each of the instruments mentioned above. Be sure to buy the book with your instrument’s name and picture on it and that it is Book One. (It is so easy to pick up the wrong book.)  Please have this book, along with your instrument, in class by next Wednesday, September 15.

Please feel free to email me any concerns or questions. joyful@joyfulsounds.net

Sincerely,

Janis Katsu

Physical Education: 5th – 8th grades need to have a spiral notebook to use as a journal for class. These notebooks will be kept in the gym at all times. Notebook size can be a little smaller than normal size, but no miniature notebooks please.

All students need to come to school dressed in fitness clothes on the days they have gym.  There will not be time to change clothes or shoes. Failure to come to class dressed for activity will result in a check mark. Three marks will affect quarterly grade. Water bottles will be permitted during class.

Spanish: Information regarding Spanish classes will be announced once confirmed.