Service Learning is underway at Park City Day School
In addition to the continuing Service Learning projects built into the curriculum at each grade level in Early Childhood and Lower School divisions, this Friday, October 11th, Middle School students will venture off-campus for their first hands-on experience with each advisory group’s chosen organization for the 2013-2014 school year.
Students in Ms. Huser’s 6th Grade Advisory group will contribute to Recycle Utah’s efforts to educate, reduce, reuse and recycle in Summit County. Ms. Friedman’s 6th Grade Advisory group will be supporting the Hope Alliance in their pursuit to provide clearer vision to people in other countries by passing on used prescription eyeglasses. Ms. Levesque’s 7th Grade students will travel to Salt Lake’s Homeless Youth Center to work outside to further beautify the Peace and Freedom Gardens. Mr. Zimmerman’s 7th Grade Advisees will bring a fresh take on art, music and movement as they teach thirty local pre-school students through Holy Cross Ministries. Finally, Ms. Belczyk and Coach Tom’s 8th Grade Advisory students will walk the trails near the iconic white barn off Highway 224 as they plan ways to aid Summit Land Conservancy keep open-space in and near Park City.
In preparation for these off-campus trips, each group of students has taken time to learn about the unique needs of their specific organization. Upon completion of each service day, students will reflect on what can be done to further support their organization. Connections will be made on each grade level to the broader curriculum. Service Learning field trips are scheduled once a month throughout the school year.
Extraordinary news for PCDS - 9.19.13
Since its inception three years ago, Park City Day School has deliberately emphasized learning by doing; creativity and innovation; collaboration and communication; and, interdisciplinary learning. Technology was thoughtfully and intentionally integrated to support teaching and learning - both as a catalyst for creativity and to enhance communication and understanding. To this end, PCDS developed a comprehensive educational technology plan and invested in an upgraded network infrastructure. And, yet, hardware lagged behind….
Our school’s challenge has been to provide teachers and students – our community of learners - with computer technology that supports our mission, our educational vision and our aspirations.
Now, the great news: The Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the implementation of a sweeping technology “overhaul” that will provide superior access and support for PCDS students and teachers. The details of the program include a MacBook Pro for every teacher and Middle School student; MacBook Pro access for Upper Elementary students (40 new laptops on two mobile carts shared among 60 students, grades 3-5); iPadaccess for every Lower Elementary student (50 new iPads on mobile carts for grades K-2); and, iPad access for Preschool and Junior Kindergarten students (an iPad for every 3 students).
Funded by a generous family gift and our existing technology budget, the program will be sustained annually through tuition/fees and our regular budgetary processes.
Computer technology, in and of itself, does not enhance teaching and learning. It is a tool – albeit a powerful one – that talented teachers can deploy to support classroom creativity, thinking and discernment, access to information and the acquisition of learning skills. Yes, computers enhance efficiency. Yet, our goals supersede spreadsheets, presentations and word processing. With training, research, exploration and practice, our students and teachers will utilize technology in support of learning to inspire creativity, incite discovery, and solidify skill development through access to amplified research, communication and collaboration tools.
As a classroom teacher, I have already begun to rethink my goals and classroom organization. Knowing that all of our students have state-of-the-art information access, the dynamic of our lessons and teaching changes. We can further tailor instruction – allowing students to connect individual interests to curriculum content - while we coach and guide their learning. We can count on uniform hardware and software applications. The power of personal connection – the gift of small class sizes – now extends beyond the classroom through shared learning and connectedness.
The new Apple products have already begun to arrive. Over the next few weeks, they will be processed, inventoried, and imaged for utilization in classrooms. Throughout the school year, we will highlight our excitement and accomplishments – and our mistakes – through the implementation of technology in support of learning. And, we welcome your thoughts and commentary, too. We will celebrate this technology initiative together as a school on Wednesday, October 2 at 3pm in our Multipurpose Room at the Lower School, immediately following a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting for our new Middle School building at 2:30pm. We invite families to join us in celebration (and for some cake!).
A final thought: PCDS exists to promote dynamic learning through inspired teaching. We just took a transformative step forward in supporting both. On behalf of Park City Day School –
HEAD SEARCH UPDATE - 3.21.13 / new head of school named
The Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Roy Parker has accepted our offer to be the next Head of School at Park City Day School. Roy will begin at PCDS on Monday, July 8.
Roy currently leads the Middle School at the Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has over 30 years of experience in teaching and educational administration. He has headed several middle schools, building programs and buildings at Sewickley Academy near Pittsburgh, PA, where he spent 9 years and at the Catlin Gabel School in Portland, OR, where he spent 6 years. Roy has also been Head of School at the highly regarded Elmwood Franklin School in Buffalo, NY and at the innovative charter school Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas.
Roy is a uniquely talented educator with an impressive track record. He has built programs and buildings, he has fixed broken schools, and he has taken schools to new levels of achievement and success. He has experience managing the business side of independent schools and he is an effective and empathetic administrator who emphasizes trust and communication. He listens intently. He has taught and coached kids from kindergarten through high school. He has a quiet, determined self-confidence combined with the willingness to learn. But most impressively, he is focused on kids. Several times in our process he responded to questions by first addressing the impact on the kids in the school.
We are pleased to welcome Roy and his wife Maureen to our community. Roy and Maureen have three children, the youngest of which graduated from high school last year. We are confident that as you get to know Roy, you will agree that he is uniquely talented to help us take the outstanding school we have built to an even higher plane of success in a warm and happy learning environment.
We would also like to thank all of those who have in any way participated in this process. A very large number of our parents, faculty, staff, students, trustees and others have in some way helped along this way. Thank you all for giving of your time to provide feedback, tours, input, suggestions, ideas, and so much more.
Roy will be in Park City, and at the school, the first part of next week. We will arrange for times when those who have not yet had an opportunity to meet him can do so, as well as providing opportunities for everybody to spend time with him.
HEAD SEARCH UPDATE - 2.4.13
It is time to give you another update on our Head of School search. The Head Search Committee spent considerable time interviewing by video conference 13 highly qualified and interesting individuals. We then reviewed a two page written analysis of a case study submitted by each of these 13 candidates. The study involved a sensitive personnel matter at a hypothetical school, and the ramifications for board members, the head of that school, the faculty and the parent association. We evaluated each response without knowing which candidate submitted it. On the Monday after, we compared and discussed our views about which candidates we believe we should see in person. We decided to invite some of the candidates to meet again with us by video conference, which we did on Thursday of last week. The result is that we have now invited 5 candidates to visit Park City Day School. Some of those visits will occur this week, some the following week, and some the week after break.
You may have heard that candidate visits to the school will begin shortly. We plan to have active involvement of our faculty and staff, our Search Advisory Committee, and our Head Search Committee. Each person who visits us has impressive qualifications. We have tried to get highly qualified individuals who we think may have a good cultural fit at PCDS and who have the potential to stretch us and take us to new accomplishments. We have consciously assembled a group of people who are strong in different ways and in different aspects of educational and organizational leadership. We believe that will help us weigh carefully on the relative importance of the specific attributes that we seek.
Confidentiality is important to the candidates. They are rightly concerned that their involvement in this process remain confidential until the appropriate time. In the event that you run into or see someone that you know (the independent school world is surprisingly small), please respect their desires for confidentiality.
We have a great school. We don’t need to ask any member of our community to do anything special as these visits occur, other than to be your normal, usual great selves. More than anything else, that is what will impress these terrific candidates.
HEAD SEARCH UPDATE - 1.18.13
Much has happened since we last communicated with you about our head search. We are very gratified by the interest shown in the Park City Day School head of school position. We have received 31 applications from places as far away as China and South Africa, as well as from here in Utah. The responses were impressive. Most of the applicants have had experience ashead of an independent school elsewhere; in some cases more than once. Virtually all have had meaningful administrative experience in independent schools. Perhaps most impressive to us on the Search Committee is the passion for education and the love of children demonstrated in different ways and from different backgrounds from each and every candidate.
As a committee we have now spent considerable time reviewing the information submitted. We invited candidates to provide us with a resume, written references, a cover letter indicating why the position attracts them, and a brief personal philosophy of education. Some have also called with questions about the process and the school.Together we have narrowed this rather large group of applicants to a less large group. We have sent to each of the members of this smaller group a brief case study and asked that they respond in writing with their thoughts.We have also begun the process of arranging for Skype interviews, which we expect to begin late next week. In the interviews the candidates will be asked to respond to several questions that will be asked of all, and each will also be asked to respond to questions specific to his or her own background.
So the process continues to move forward. Based on the responses we have received, we are optimistic and excited. Although we are still in a fairly early stage, we are beginning to see some tangible progress. Things will continue to takeon more definition in the next few weeks. As that happens, we will keep all members of our community informed. If you have questions,concerns or suggestions, please reach out to any member of the Search Committee, the Search Advisory Committee or the Board of Trustees. The Search Advisory Committee members are listed below in last week's update. We encourage parents to reach out with any questions, suggestions, concerns.
Head search update - 1.14.13
(January 14, 2013) It has been 12 days since our announcement of the new head search on January 2. The Head Search Committee has been busy moving the process along and want to be sure that the PCDS community is aware of what is going on and what is coming up.
As soon as the announcement was made to our community, the Information for Candidates was disseminated to a variety of internet sites associated with the NAIS and independent schools in general. Mr. Sachs has sent notes to the many independent school administrators, search consultants and others that he knows inviting them to consider and refer candidates that might qualify and for whom this position might hold appeal. And members of the Search Committee have reached out to friends and connections associated with education, independent school boards, and others around the country to ask for their input and recommendations. The initial response has been very positive. To date, we have received 22 applications for our consideration and fielded quite a number of additional inquiries that it appears will yield more applications. So far the record for furthest away is from an American independent school in China. The Search Committee is pleased with the initial level of interest.
Also, the Park Record met with Charlie Sachs and David Anderson for an interview, resulting in a nice story about the school and Charlie, as well as a great photo. Kristi Cumming and Charlie also met on air with KPCW for a very positive interview. We also disseminated the information and press release to the Salt Lake Tribune.
We have held two open meetings for parents, faculty and other interested persons to describe the process and answer questions. The third of these was cancelled due to snow on Thursday night, but if there is interest, the meeting can be rescheduled or information made available in another forum. It is critical that all members of our community know what is going on, what the Search Committee members are doing, and have the opportunity to provide feedback.
Finally, the Search Committee met Thursday morning with the members of the Head Search Advisory Committee. We have sought to establish a connection through this committee to every grade level at the school, as well as teachers and staff. We are very grateful that they have agreed to be a part of the process. Please continue to reach out to members of the Search Committee, the Advisory Committee or the Board with your suggestions, feedback, criticisms and concerns. For your information, the members of the Head Search Advisory Committee are:
- Elaine Minahan, Early Childhood Coordinator
- Janice Brewster, Student Support Team Coordinator
- Chris Hawk, Middle School Director
- Jennifer Lopansri, parent with children in grades 2 & 4
- Diane Kushner, parent with daughter in grade 3
- Bayard Karch parent with son in Jr. K
- Lisa Nemeroff, parent with children in K & 2
- Karen Marriott, parent with son in grade 5
- Sheri Connery, parent with children in grades 1 & 3
- Jonathan Sexton, parent with children in grades 2 & 7
- Jolie Iacobelli, parent with children in grades 1, 3, 5
- Ken Johnson, parent with daughter in grade 6
- Traci Sheinberg, parent with children in grades 2, 5 & 6
We will provide additional updates on a regular basis as we move through this process, but please don't hesitate to reach out in between these official updates. We don't want any questions to go unanswered.
PARK CITY DAY SCHOOL BEGINS SEARCH FOR NEW HEAD
Bids Farewell in July to Beloved and Trusted Leader
(Park City, UT – January 2, 2013) The Park City Day School Board of Trustees announced today that Charlie Sachs, current Head of School, has accepted the position as Head of School at Chadwick International School in Songdo, South Korea, beginning in July of 2013.
Park City Day School is an independent elementary and middle school enrolling 150 students. As an independent school, Park City Day School accepts no state or federal financial assistance and as a result has created its own challenging college preparatory liberal arts curriculum. Accreditation by the State of Utah allows PCDS to transfer secondary school and Advanced Placement credits.
While the school has come to appreciate and rely on Mr. Sachs’s steady hand on the rudder, the Board recognizes this as a unique opportunity and congratulates Mr. Sachs as he embarks on this new challenge. Fortunately, Mr. Sachs and the Board of Trustees have long recognized and regularly discussed the importance of succession planning. While this transition will now happen a little sooner than originally anticipated, it also affords the School an opportunity to seek out a leader to elevate PCDS to the next level at a point in time when the school has established a great educational team and product and a solid financial base.
The Board has established a Search Committee--composed of trustees, current faculty and parents--that has begun the process of identifying and attracting the next PCDS Head of School. The School is particularly fortunate to be able to draw on Mr. Sachs’s vast independent school experience and network of contacts as he works with the Search Committee throughout the process this winter.
Given PCDS’s incredibly gifted teachers and dynamic program, financial stability, the generosity of current parents and other donors, and the incredible draw of living in Park City, the Board is confident that it will attract an outstanding new head of school to lead PCDS into the future.
Charlie Sachs came to PCDS predecessor school Park City Academy (PCA) beginning in 2007. He successfully guided PCA through a significant change of mission and focus. Then in 2010, when the boards of Colby School and PCA decided to establish Park City Day School, they asked Mr. Sachs to head the new school and take on the task of bringing together two cultures, two missions, two faculties, two parent groups and two student bodies. Once again, Charlie successfully led the transition and, over the course of these past three years, his leadership resulted in an exceptional independent school with a focus on academic excellence and mutual respect. He leaves an independent school that has an established record of success academically and financially, and is poised to grow even more in the next few years.
Prospective candidates or individuals interested in learning more about Park City Day School are encouraged to review the Head Search page of this website, on which are located the position description and information concerning the Head search process, or contact:
Tess Miner-Farra, Associate Head of School
3120 Pinebrook Road, Park City, UT 84098
TECHNOLOGY TOOLS ENHANCE HANDS-ON LEARNING
As part of their study of Native American culture, 3rd graders have create a digital book to share with their preschool reading buddies of the ABCs of Native American Culture. They drew pictures and composed text to describe some element of Native culture beginning with each letter of the alphabet, then created audio files narrating their individual pages. The students are now in the process of using these same audio and image files to create their own cuts of the book using Microsoft Movie Maker. Students are practicing the skills of video production and editing as well as practicing problem-solving and patience.
Another 3rd grade group has started a stop-motion short film that emphasizes the literary elements of beginning-middle-end of a story. Students will again use Movie Maker to build their story into a stop-motion film. Students not only practice the elements of fiction, but will be learning and practicing basic photography concepts, video editing/production, set design, and simple character development.
In grade 2 students are making books using an iPad app called "My Story." Again the students have story-boarded a simple story, incporporating elements of effective storytelling, and are in the process of writing and illustrating their books with the app.
STEM FAMILY FUN SCIENCE NIGHT / DECEMBER 12
Join us for an evening of engaging, hands-on family activities designed to explore science and its application to our everyday lives. At our first Family STEM Night, on Wednesday, December 12 from 6-7:15pm in our multipurpose room, PCDS science teachers will lead families in challenges to investigate, create and build STEM projects. What's STEM, you ask?...
- Ever believe you could move a car with a single breath of air?
- What can you make with a sheet of notebook paper and scotch tape that can tower over a room?
STEM designates an interdisciplinary approach to science education that integrates the traditional Sciences with the essential 21st century knowledge and skills of Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM integration promotes the practical real-world application of discrete knowledge and skills across the curriculum, engaging students in creative, collaborative, project-based learning activities. And a STEM approach to science education is just plain fun!
Come find out why PCDS students have so much fun in Science and surprise yourself with what you can do with paperclips, lifesavers and straws! RSVP to the Front Desk so we know how many supplies to prepare and we look forward to seeing you on December 12 @ 6pm.
4th grade market day / december 7
Mrs. Brewster's 4th grade class is filled with budding entrepreneurs: Lopansri's Luxurious Lockers (locker decorations), CHETZELS (chocolate covered pretzels), Sticky Stylish Stuff (duct tape accessories), Dreamy Desserts ("It's Love at First Bite!") and John's Knot Just Fish Cookies are just a few of the delicious, creative items to be featured at the school's annual Market Day - Friday, December 7.
This cross-curricular event engaged students in authentic learning, applying ideas, skills and knowedge they encountered in Language Arts, Math and Technology Education. In Language Arts, they read Lemonade War along with several short stories to consider the challenges and important considerations of starting their own businesses. In math class they estimated expenses, set product prices and calculated profit margins, writing business plans for reaching their profit targets. They developed their own original product names, slogans and business cards. A study of the influence of promotions and advertising strategies resulted in the creation of their own video commercials featuring their products.
Fourth graders expect a good sized crowd to visit Market Day on Friday, December 7 from 8:30-10:30am. Their goal is to raise $1000 for the American Red Cross, specifically to benefit the victims of Super Storm Sandy. So don't miss out on Monster Mallows - "Eat up, before they eat you!" and "Get Noticed" wearing Farra's Famous Feathers! Join us on Friday and remember to send your child with a few dollars to spend that morning!
Admissions Open House - November 8
Join us for our upcoming Admissions Open House on November 8 from 9-11am to learn more about what Park City Day School can do for your child. Admissions open house events are held in November and January. These provide opportunities for prospective parents and students to learn more about our program, meet faculty & administration, observe classrooms and talk with current parents and students.
FALL Open House
Thursday, November 8 2012
9:00 - 11:00am
PCDS Multipurpose Room
Park City Day School
3120 Pinebrook Road
Park City, UT 84098
Stewardship Focus oF PCDS Participation in Water Watch
(October 5, 2012 – Park City, UT) - Part of living and learning locally at Park City Day School, students in Peggy Fadling’s 5th grade science class are participating in the Utah Water Watch project helping in the collection of water samples to monitor the relative health of Utah’s rivers, lakes and streams. Studying the chemical, biological and physical elements of water quality and exploring the essential question of how to protect our most precious natural resource, students in the classroom laboratory devised and tested original methods for filtering out impurities to try and restore the pH and create safe drinking water.
Then, as part of the USU Extension Utah Water Watch program, students monitor the quality of water in Park City’s East Canyon Creek once a month April through November to track temperature, turbidity, bacteria, pH and dissolved oxygen levels. Along with that of thousands of other volunteers around Utah, the data collected by Park City Day School students is sent back to the UWW monthly, where it is compiled and analyzed, then made available to the public and reported back to the students for further consideration.
PCDS students’ participation in this state-wide project takes learning beyond the classroom, providing a real-world application and a local context to connect students to the importance of learning about water quality and their role in conserving and protecting Utah's water.
TEDx is coming to Park City!
Park City, Utah – October 4, 2012. The inaugural TEDxParkCityDaySchool conference will be held on the 17th of November 2012 at The Jim Santy Auditorium.
TEDxParkCityDaySchool offers an opportunity to connect with youth visionaries who have propelled ideas into action and will feature presentations by local middle and high school students focusing on the theme “Dream it… then do it!” TEDxParkCityDaySchool is an event (independently organized and licensed by TED) in collaboration with TEDxYouthDay that gives Park City students the unique opportunity of speaking publicly and passionately about their dreams and how to make them a reality to inspire curiosity, ignite new ideas, and empower peer leaders.
Applications for auditions to present at TEDxParkCityDaySchool are now available. We are looking for passionate and driven middle and high school students who would like to share their dreams with Park City and the world through engaging and motivating TED style talks.
Please find us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/TEDxParkCityDaySchool, on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tedxpcds, or email us at TEDx@ParkCityDaySchool.org, and apply to be a presenter or performer. After submitting a Presenter form, interested presenters will receive various resources to assist in successful submissions by our October 16 deadline. Middle and high school students applying to present must plan on attending an audition on October 22nd or 24th, 2012.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED created a program it calls TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxAsheville, where “x” = an independently organized TED event. At TEDxNextGenerationAsheville, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection within the audience. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani,Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California, with simulcast in Palm Springs; TEDGlobal is held each year in Oxford, UK. TED's media initiatives include TED.com, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world, and the TEDFellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.
4th grade tours historical summit county
(September 27, 2012) Last week Mrs. Brewster's 4th grade class ventured out to explore Summit County's history through landscape, artifacts and first-hand experience. On a day-long field trip making stops in Wanship, Hoytsville, Echo and Coalville, students made connections between the classroom instruction of Utah history that is the focus of 4th grade social studies curriculum and the real-world evidence of that history just a few miles down Hwy 80 from PCDS.
Traveling along the Lincoln Highway, the first major cost-to-coast roadway for auto travel in the US established in 1913, students found the Weber Pony Express Station marker (where riders would stop to pick up a fresh horse or to rest before returning) and hiked a 4-mile stretch of the rail trail toward Echo Reservoir, collecting scientific observations of the emerging landscape revealed by the receding water level due to dam work and of the rock formations they have been studying with Mrs. Fadling in science. In anticipation of this week’s study of the water cycle, students took notice of what is usually an underwater river carving its way through the reservoir’s floor, now exposed and surrounded by new growth.
The 4th grade summer reading assignment, Jimmy Spoon and the Pony Express, followed the adventures of a fictional boy who rode for the short-lived Pony Express, which passed through Summit County right outside of Coalville, where – as luck would have it – Mrs. Brewster owns a 100-year old homestead in the shadow of stunning sandstone ledges.
Coalville is also home to the Summit County Historical Society Museum, where they especially enjoyed the military exhibit and the magical playroom under the stairs, filled with dolls, furniture and toys from the mid-1800s. Students imagined what life might have been like for children when the boomtowns of Echo and Coalville were hubs of industry as the transcontinental railroad was being built and coal and silver mining brought hoards of workers and their families to Summit County.
Students ended their day with a visit to a local deli where they sat on swivel stools at an old-fashioned soda fountain, ordered ice-cream cones and pretended to be part of the past.
This sort of place-based education takes advantage of the resources for learning that surround us in the place we live: history, landscape, culture and community to bring content to life for students, makes them active participants (even leaders) in their own learning process, connects them to their physical “place” and develops in them a sense of stewardship of that place.
"Experiencing Dyslexia" Simulation at PCDS
Park City Day School, in collaboration with Karla Jay of Park City's U CAN LEARN, will host a community outreach program called "Experiencing Dyslexia" on Wednesday, September 19, 6:30pm in the Multipurpose Room. The simulation is a hands-on activity that allows participants to experience some of the challenges and frustrations faced by people with this language-based learning disability. The simulation provides a lively, thought-provoking activity for teachers, parents, or anyone interested in better understanding the lives of individuals with dyslexia.Karla Jay opened U CAN LEARN in 2000, a non-profit learning center with an emphasis on processing disorders, including Dyslexia. With a background in Special Education, psychology and Speech Pathology, Ms. Jay has worked with children and adults in private practice since 1984.
Those interested in attending should RSVP to the Front Desk by September 14 and space is limited to 50 participants. For more information visit U CAN LEARN's website at www.ucanlearn.net.
MORE ARTS EDUCATION, NOT LESS
Guest editorial submitted to the Park Record, July 2012 by Charles Sachs, Head of School
Park City leaders have worked hard to establish our mountain destination as a visual and performing arts community, including the admirable efforts of the PC Performing Arts Foundation, Kimball Arts Center, and Art Kids in this challenging philanthropic environment. Unfortunately, too little of that commitment to the arts is invested in Park City’s school children. In pursuit of higher test scores and global competitiveness, our state bureaucrats promote new, low-cost school programming that overlooks the most relevant data about learning: neuro-science brain research.
Tom Horne, Arizona’s state superintendent of public instruction states, “If they’re worried about their test scores and want a way to get them higher, they need to give kids more arts, not less…kids immersed in the arts do better on their academic tests.” In the 2012 “US News” ranking of the country’s high schools, Arizona has two top-ten schools and five ranked before Utah’s first ranked school at #318 in Ogden.
Despite research to the contrary, arts education has been shrinking – the result of tight budgets and state mandates for superficial quick-fixes. This trend has become a vicious cycle as today’s decision-makers, who often had little if any art in their own education, have trouble appreciating their value now.
In the context of dramatic global change over the last 20 years, most American public education still reflects a conveyor-belt, 19th
century approach focused on producing reliable workers for an industrial age.
America can no longer compete with the inexpensive labor forces of developing countries, so our national standard of living depends upon our ability to adapt quickly to rapidly-changing systems. To conceive and design such systems, successful students must develop and exercise the 4C’s: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. The dynamic nature of the arts not only allows but encourages critical/analytic thinking, effective problem-solving, and collaboration to support innovation in product and system creation.
Speaking at the recent “Learning and the Brain” Conference in Washington DC, University of Oregon’s Michael Posner said, “Years of neuroimaging have now given us a plausible mechanism by which arts training could now influence cognition, including attention and IQ…Engage children in art,[and]we see improvement in attention…intelligence and cognition in general.”
Jenny Diersen, Education Director at the Kimball Arts Center, sees the same here in Utah. “The arts—though teachers and parents believe it important to their children’s education—are being cut. It is easy to cut arts… [But] arts are a vital part to any child’s education and reinforce learning.”
To help compensate, Jenny has developed and implemented the Kimball’s A.R.T.S (“Academic Resources for Teachers and Students”) to aide teachers in reinforcing the connection between the arts and science, history, math, or English.
We live in times of imbalance and swings between extremes. Instead of mirroring our polarized world, our public education system should provide the antidote to it. Unfortunately, the single-minded pursuit of politically viable quick fixes is easier and cheaper. Finding the appropriate educational balance is never easy and never ending, but “big picture” educators must aggressively engage the dialectic currently controlled by bureaucrats, politicians and special interests.
Park City Day School, independent of public funding, can adapt to current research. JrK-K students have 1 ½-2 hours weekly of arts instruction; 3-5th
graders have over 4 ½ hours of arts (visual, dance, strings, choral); and 6-9th
graders have over 5 hours of arts offerings weekly. This summer the school is investing $150,000 in a new visual arts center where all students experience painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, ceramics, print-making and digital arts.“When you see the student work hanging in the halls of school(s) with strong art programs like Park City Day School it says a lot about what the school community values,”
comments Diersen,”…and it inspires me to be the best teacher I can be.”
Critical Questions about Utah's Dual Language Immersion
In July 2012, Head of School Charles Sachs submitted the following editorial to the Park Record.
Now that the wheels have apparently come off the local International Baccalaureate bandwagon, dual language immersion programs emerge as the latest recipient of time and the scarce resources of our public schools. Unfortunately Utah’s commitment to the dual language immersion experiment cannot cancel out the several other ways that Utah’s public schools “stand out”, such as the lowest per-pupil funding rate and the woeful support for students with special needs. On the state’s dual language promotional video, Tim Cosgrove of the Utah House of Representatives comments: “We have to have that one edge that makes us stand out more so than anyone else”, however, the real, long-term costs and benefits of dual language immersion have yet to be determined.
My greatest fear is that the funding and attention given to the dual language experiment may greatly benefit a few, while ultimately creating a further disadvantage for the many more in the standard public school track. Although our Governor and the State’s Department of Education tout the potential economic advantages to the State of training elementary students to be fluent in a second language, critical thinkers must consider the political, financial and social factors on which this public relations effort is founded.
The Critical Language Bill passage in July 2008 does not explain why these languages are considered “critical” and one must wonder how German and Portuguese made the cut. Finances factor as much in Utah’s dual language plan as educational considerations. If it is true that French immersion is underwritten by the French government to combat the continuing decline of French as a language of interest to Americans, then it seems we may be no better at preventing the influence of foreign interests on our public education system than we are at preventing their influence on our politicians.
The first dual language immersion programs in the 1960’s emerged in response to the growing numbers of Spanish speaking families in the United States. As Utah demographics have shifted in recent years, the Spanish dual language immersion programs advantageously absorbed a growing number of Latina/o students. Public school representatives avow that Dual Language programs will extend into the Middle and High Schools when the now early elementary school students matriculate at those levels. Only time will tell whether early elementary students can maintain second language fluency through the more complex subjects of middle and high school and for the language to become personally and professionally meaningful.
Only the xenophobic deny the value of speaking more than one language. However, several studies raise important questions about eventual outcomes for elementary students in dual language immersion programs as they are currently conceived. Although non-native English speakers may be more efficiently assimilated into the system through dual language elementary programs, California K-12 dual language experience suggests “the Spanish speaking, Latina/o students may benefit least from the program”. Few of the Latina/o students continue with the immersion program beyond elementary school. “It seems that while dual language immersion programs have been successful in producing bilingual and biliterate graduates, most of them are white European Americans” and ironically perpetuate the existing educational disequilibrium. “Unless these programs recruit and retain more Latina/o students at the middle and high school levels, they are likely to continue to best serve students and parents of privilege and power in the community.”
Founding Father, Member of Congress and Minister to France Thomas Jefferson wrote: “To instruct the mass of our citizens in these, their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens, being then the objects of education in the primary schools, whether privet or public, in them should be taught reading, writing and numerical arithmetic, the elements of mensuration...and the outlines of geography and history."Nothing is for free, particularly the best; and everyone should pay taxes--each (even the rich) according to their means whether they have children or not—to support the Jeffersonian ideal of an educated population. However, divisive lottery based charter and dual language programs only divert scarce money from core liberal arts programs that could otherwise better train and compensate the best teachers and help reduce class sizes. Teacher training, retention, and student/teacher ratio are the truly critical matters.
PCDS Welcomes New Assistant Head
This summer, Park City Day School’s Middle School gains an exceptional leader to build upon the dynamic academic and co-curricular program established in its first two years. Chris Hawk – an experienced teacher, administrator, counselor and outdoorsman – will join the PCDS administrative team this fall as Assistant Head of School and Middle School Director.
Mr. Hawk, originally from Michigan, is no stranger to Utah or Park City; after nine years at the Oakley School, he has served as Assistant Head for Programs at Wasatch Academy since 2009. He returns to Park City, where he owns a home, for this opportunity to bring his talent and experience to PCDS in a collaborative effort to shape the expanding middle school program.
"I am grateful to be joining the PCDS at a dynamic time,” Chris remarked. “Alongside an energetic and dedicated staff, I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the school's philosophy and mission. Specifically, the advancement and integration of the Outdoor Education, Service Learning and Advisory programs within the challenging, dynamic academic program, offers unlimited teachable moments to provide well-rounded education for our middle school students at a critical time in their development."
With a new Visual Arts center and renovated middle school classrooms, increased elective offerings and an expanding, integrated co-curricular program, PCDS’s middle school stands ready to benefit from Mr. Hawk’s contributions as he leads the middle school team in developing the advisory program, outdoor education and service learning.
Associate Head of School, Tess Miner-Farra appreciates the approachability and collaborative spirit Mr. Hawk brings to the school’s faculty and administration. “Chris leads in a way that immediately engages teachers in the process, encouraging their contributions as members of a collaborative team, while providing guidance informed by his extensive experience in program building.”
Charles Sachs, Head of School remarked, "After a year-long, national search, the best candidate for our Assistant Head position was almost right under our noses all along. From our first conversation about PCDS last fall, it was clear that Chris ‘got it.’ He embodies our independent school, liberal arts tradition from his years teaching and coaching back east and his time at Connecticut College, one of the fine small colleges for which our students become uniquely well prepared. In the classroom, athletic field, and the wilderness, Chris will provide an exceptional role model for our middle school students."
An avid outdoorsman and ice-hockey player, Mr. Hawk is also a brand new father to Liam, born in early June. Though his experience at Wasatch Academy was rewarding and challenging, after three years of highway miles on the weekends, Chris looks forward to being a part of Park City on a regular basis. “My partner Tiffany and I are enjoying better balance and time with our 2-month old son, Liam...I am grateful to have the balance of a family, the healthy lifestyle afforded in Park City, and a creative, stimulating work environment.”
Chris says he’s entering PCDS at an exciting time in the school's evolution. “The Day School’s mission -- with its focus on the education of the whole child through a set of core principles fully woven into the fabric of school life -- promotes the development of the essential skills for a successful, happy future, utilizing a plethora of innovative teaching methods in the classroom. The opportunity to be a part of shaping this unique educational experience for middle school students comes at just the right time for me professionally and personally. “
Teachers As Learners
Although we expect that teachers will enjoy some much-deserved rest and relaxation this summer, many faculty members are participating in professional development endeavors to continue to advance their effectiveness in and out of the classroom. In addition, the entire faculty benefits from each of these individual learning opportunities, since faculty meetings upon our return to school will feature presentations by teachers of the most salient ideas gleaned from these workshops and conferences.
Kindergarten teacher, Shawna Marshall will attend a 4-day National Kindergarten Teachers Conference in Las Vegas, focused on building extraordinary kindergarten classrooms that prepare students for the rigorous demands of 21st century learning while keeping the classroom active, engaging and fun. After returning home for the weekend, Ms. Shawna is off again for another multi-day intensive training conference on early detection and intervention for students who may exhibit dyslexic tendencies. Using the Orton-Gillingham based methodology, this conference will provide her with the tools to implement the program in her existing curriculum.
1st grade teacher, Chloe Hensold will spend five days at the Dana Hall School in Wellesly, MA attending a Math Teachers conference aimed at expanding teachers' use of manipulatives, differentiated lessons to meet the needs of a wide range of students, and increasing students' mathematical thinking skills through rich, problem-solving activities. From Boston, Ms Hensold will travel to NYC to begin a second Master's degree at the Bank Street Graduate School of Education, focusing on leadership in Math education.
4th grade teacher Janice Brewster will attend a six-day workshop with the Stanley King Counseling Institute at the Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs, CO, where she will learn a model of teaching, counseling and listening skills. The goal is not to train professional counselors, but to help teachers strengthen and deepen their relationships with students. Participants learn to help students with the range of developmental issues, as well as to recognize serious psychological difficulty and seek appropriate help.
As she seeks to lead us forward in her new role as Associate Head of School, Tess Miner-Farra will attend a 3-day Institutional Advancement Conference offered by our accrediting organization, the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools (PNAIS) in Seattle. Aimed at independent school Admissions Directors, Development Directors, Marketing Directors and Communications Directors, (all hats that Ms. Miner-Farra will wear next year) this intensive conference will provide practical, concrete ideas as well as valuable networking opportunities to help her lead us toward a successful future at PCDS.In addition, Ms. Miner-Farra will attend a 3-day Admissions Conference in Philadelphia in July, hosted by ISM, inc. (Independent School Management). This workshop combines "nuts-and-bolts" topics with efficient admission procedures and proven materials, guiding Admissions professionals through the process of examining the inquiry-to-enrollment process, streamlining forms and procedures, and revitalizing open houses and campus appointments, predicting a successful student/school match and improving retention from year to year.
Along with Ms. Pickens and Mrs. Brewster, Middle School English teacher, Jessie Levesque will attend this summer's Spy Hop Institute For Teachers (SHIFT) for a free four-day workshop at the Leonardo Art and Science Center in downtown Salt Lake City. This workshop aims to help teachers learn to use the film-making process in the classroom to engage students in creative learning enterprises and increase academic achievement.
Getting a head start on her summer learning, 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Polichette visited St. Mark's School in Altadena, CA, which launched a successful iPad program for elementary students last year. She saw first-hand how the school financed and implemented the program, learned how the faculty shares apps that easily integrate into the curriculum, and observed two second grade classes while they worked on math, geography, and spelling lessons using their iPads.
Along with Mrs. Polichette, Academic Dean, Melanie Pickens will attend PNAIS's TechShare Conference in June, designed for both teachers who would like to increase their comfort with technology and for technology integrators, whose job is to guide teachers through technology integration into curriculum. She will also attend the Spy Hop SHIFT workshop in Salt Lake this summer.
DAy school dream houses - hands on math
While some lucky hairdresser from Pennsylvania may have won HGTV's Park City Dream House this spring, Park City Day School's 5th grade math students have been working diligently and enthusiastically on creating blueprints for their own originally designed "dream houses." Focusing on a variety of mathematical concepts including geometric shapes, calculating perimeter and area, managing a budget, critical thinking and problem solving, students also have sharpened other thinking and writing skills in support of this design project.
Exercising their artistic creativity, students were challenged to manifest visual interpretations of their creative vision, practice descriptive writing, attend to precise detail, revise and rework their plans when they encountered problems or exceeded their budgets, and manage a long-term project in complicated stages. The project, which integrates highly engaging and innovative learning techniques and allows for easily differentiated challenges for the spectrum of students in one class, will culminate in individual student presentations of their designs (and, in some cases actual 3-D models) to explain their process, design logic and challenges. Students are assessed not only on the accuracy of their math computations, but on the creativity of their designs, effectiveness of their writing, and presentations.
Park city comes together on 11.11.11
On 11.11.11, our community came together for Live PC Give PC: 24 hours of unprecedented nonprofit giving—a chance make a real difference, in our school community and Park City community as a whole.
Park City Day School participated in this effort both as a nonprofit receiving donations on this community-wide day of giving, and as supporters of the effort through our Service Learning program. PCDS 5th graders, with the guidance of their history teacher, drafted a proclamation that was presented to the City Council in early November making 11.11.11 an official day of giving in Park City. Students and their teacher, Mrs. Brewster, attended City Council meeting to present the proclamation and to determine the best ways to help promote LivePC/GivePC within our school and outside community leading up to 11.11.11.
Park City Day School raised over $30,000 on this day of giving, the highest total among all non profits participating in this event, and received donations from over XXX unique donors, the third highest total on the day, earning us an additional $1200 prize from the Park City Foundation. Find out more—visit www.livepcgivepc.org —and commit to give again this fall for Live PC/Give PC!
International Peace Day
PCDS celebrated International peace day on September 21st with the placement of the peace Pole and student pinwheels for peace. Learn more about our celebration as shared by the Park Record.
(Photo credit: Grayson West/Park Record)
PCDS Teacher unites Park City for Japan
Teacher, Keiko Ito, shares her experience uniting the school children of Park City to raise funds to support the Japanese Red Cross efforts in providing relief to the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami victims. Students also used funds to purchase school spirit wear, t-shirts and sweatshirts, to send with Ms. Ito to a small Japanese school devastated by the tsunami. Learn more about Ms. Ito's experience by watching the video below.