Notes from the Head

March Madness is upon us, and l would imagine that many folks are tuned in to NCAA basketball games, even if you are not normally a basketball fan. Tournament play, both at the conference level as well as national level, becomes exciting. Many of us adopt a new favorite team, and schools not normally in the spotlight become the potential Cinderella schools of the tournament. As  a basketball fan, I admit to getting caught up in the school spirit that is seen on many levels.

As an educator, I’m always looking at various events, such as basketball games, as teachable moments for our kids. It seems that each game offers that on many levels. Sportsmanship and compassion can be found, such as the scene many saw of a player from a winning team consoling a player who had just lost a very close game. Emotions run high, and everyone understands the devastated feeling of having a season end too soon. On the other hand, we see behavior that I wish our kids did not see. The intensity and poor sportsmanship displayed at times are not reflective of the role models we want our students to follow or to be seen on our own school basketball court or athletic field. So we applaud the good and take the opportunity to address the less than desirable.

In a recent posting the coach of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, Geno Auriemma, spoke about the importance of attitude for his players. Of all their skills, this is the most important one that he looks for in potential players for his extremely successful program. Attitude on the court, on the bench, in the locker room, and on campus, Auriemma feels, affects how a young woman plays on the court. Poor body language and attitude translate to a poor attitude and performance both on and off the court. And that may well be true in just about every situation we find ourselves in. It’s all about attitude and how we respond to situations, whether it’s in conversations, relationships, or team play. A positive attitude translates to a higher degree of success. It sets the tone and leaves one with optimism and an expectation of success in work and in play.

As we watch and cheer on our favorite teams in the next two weeks, I for one will be observing team attitudes both on the court and on the bench. I’m going to watch body language, team spirit, sportsmanship, and attitudes of the players and coaches. I’d like to believe that those with the greatest success will be those with the most positive attitudes, but at the same time, let’s observe those that lose as well. That’s where attitude from coaches and players says it all. Where there is grace and sportsmanship in defeat, there we will likely find the best role models and strength of character. Therein lie the teachable moments for our kids. That’s where true champions can be found.

Margaret Moore

Head of School

Thursday is a RED OUT!

In support of our hometown Arizona Wildcats playing in the Sweet 16, this Thursday will be a RED OUT at St. Michael’s. Students are encouraged to wear either a RED University of Arizona shirt or their RED uniform shirt with khaki or navy bottoms. Eighth graders should wear their RED St. Michael’s shirt for their field trip to see “Twelfth Night” at the University of Arizona and may change later into a U of A shirt.

Eagle’s Quill

Winners of Eagle’s Quill‘s “World on a Platter” contest were announced in Monday Chapel this week.  The winning writers were Will Ruiz (second grade), Finnegan Hawes (third grade), Malina Willard (fourth grade), and Alexis Bissell (eighth grade).  The winning artists were Riley Egan (fifth grade), Lily Casto (sixth grade), and Willa Kleiner (eighth grade).
The final contest is Miscellaneous, so anything goes!  The deadline for this contest and for ALL submissions (other than the front cover) is Friday, April 7.  The staff will announce the cover theme in the coming days, and the deadline for cover submissions is Wednesday, May 3.

Declamation Day

For more than five decades St. Michael’s has carried forth the tradition of Declamation Day.  The event, which involves students in grades 4-8, requires the memorization and recitation of published poetry and culminates in a competition among the top seventh and eighth graders, as well as separate events for the younger grades.  The tradition at St. Michael’s was started in the early 1960s by Father Davis, who was educated in the British public schools and then served as a curate under Father Fowler, our school’s founder.  Beyond simply memorizing text, Declamation Day participants must evoke the meaning, mood, and emotion of their chosen poems through careful control of their voice.  As students are reminded, this is not a dramatic event with props and abundant “arm flapping”!

This year’s final event will be held Friday, March 31, in the Student Center, from about 8:05 to 9:30 a.m.  A total of 20 or so seventh and eighth grade students will perform their poems from memory in front of a panel of judges.  While the judges deliberate, a small number of fourth, fifth, and sixth graders will perform their poems for the audience (but not as part of the competition).  Prizes will then be awarded, and the top three declaimers will repeat their recitations at the Upper School Fine Arts Night in May.  Anyone in our community is welcome to attend!

Notes from the Head

So much of what happens within a school day is about communication and how we relate to one another. From the time a student steps on campus and then into a classroom, the daily interaction between teachers and students begins. Our young Kindergarten students muster a great deal of courage on the first day of school as they move from spending a large percentage of their day with parents or caregivers to a new relationship with their classroom teacher.  The many hats that a teacher will wear in the course of a day include instructor, nurturer, coach, nurse, surrogate parent, counselor, friend, and cheerleader.

Teaching takes place all day long. It happens on many levels. On one level, it may appear to be all about academic instruction. On a deeper level, however, are important life skills that are constantly being taught from Kindergarten through eighth grade. Students are learning to share, to care, to communicate, and to be part of a community. They are learning that relationships take time and take patience. They are learning to be friends with others and how to mend friendships when relationships are hurt or broken. Students are learning values and establishing their own moral compasses that will provide the foundation for good choices going forward. At St. Michael’s, the faculty and staff not only teach and serve as role models for the students, but also work hard to remove obstacles to learning in order for students to reach success.  This is why it is not unusual to see faculty and staff mingling among students on the playground, in the courtyards, at lunch, or at break. Our ears are constantly open, and relationships are constantly being built, in order to foster an atmosphere in which students feel valued, respected, cared for, and supported.

It truly does take a village to raise a child, and it is an honor to be a part of this chapter of our students’ lives. At St. Michael’s,  students are discovering themselves and embracing who they are in a community of leaders, learners, and friends. It takes time and energy, patience and courage, but at the end of the day we see confident students emerge who will leave their own mark on this world.

Margaret Moore

Head of School

SMA News

LOVE of READING WEEK – Wrap-Up 

A great big THANK YOU to all of our authors, illustrators, cartoonists, and multi-media specialists who volunteered their time to come and speak to the students last week.

Wee Work for Good:  Wee Work for Good is a Tucson-based social good company founded by two Tucson moms, Kristen Littell and Amy Geile, who were searching for a way to instill a lifelong spirit of compassion in their children. CEO Kristen Littell spoke at All-School Chapel last Monday regarding Wee Work’s story, mission, and the activity kits Wee Work makes.  The kits are an engaging way for parents, grandparents, schools, or other volunteer groups to interactively teach kids about compassion and social issues, make a difference, and give back to the community.  There are kits on cultural awareness, education & literacy, dental health, animal welfare, children’s rights, health & wellness, and patriotism.  Kits are ordered online and delivered to your doorstep. For each kit purchased, Wee Work makes a donation to a charity to address the social issue related to the activity — i.e., Wee Work donates a book if you choose the education & literacy kit.  Wee Work kindly donated a portion of their sale proceeds back to St. Michael’s.  Wee Work has also developed a compassion curriculum for after-school programs.  Kristen Littell also read her book, Wee Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes, to students in grades K-3.  The kids had a great time trying on each other’s shoes while learning about compassion.  Books can also be purchased on Wee Work’s website.  For more information about Wee Work for Good, including their activity kits, compassion curriculum, and book, go to www.weeworkforgood.com.  Thank you, Wee Work for Good!

Learning A-Z:  Learning A-Z is a leading innovative education technology company that provides educators, administrators, students, and parents with affordable resources to support and develop literacy and dual-langauge and bilingual programs through a blend of printable, projectable, digital, and mobile platform resources.  A big thanks to John Morgan, Arnulfo Bermudez, and Lee Blahnik, who spoke to grades 4-5 about education technology and the process of making, editing, and illustrating a book.  A big thanks to Laura Zwickl, who spoke to our K-3 students about her writing role at Learning A-Z and the book she wrote.  For additional information about Learning A-Z and its products, go to www.learninga-z.com.  Thank you, Learning A-Z!

Chris Britt:  Chris Britt is a nationally known author, illustrator, and editorial cartoonist with Arizona roots.  Chris’s political cartoons continue to be distributed to more than 200 newspaper clients each week.  His work has appeared in Newsweek, Time, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today, as well as aired on CNN’s Inside Politics, MSNBC, Fox News, and ABC’s Good Morning America.  Chris also writes and illustrates children’s books.  His new book, The Most Perfect Snowman, (October 2016) is available through Harper Collins at www.harpercollins.com.  Thank you, Chris!

A great big THANK YOU to the teachers and students who did a phenomenal job of decorating their classroom doors according to the “It’s A Small World” theme.  The entries were so good the judges couldn’t decide!  Thank you to our judges, too. The winners will receive Eegee’s.

A great big THANK YOU to those who contributed to the 10+ boxes full of gently used books we collected to donate to the Angel Heart Pajama Project.  The Angel Heart Pajama Project is a non-profit organization that provides pajamas and books to Tucson children in need, those who have been removed from homes, those placed in foster care, etc.  They are thrilled!

A great big THANK YOU to Leah Walker and the back-up bakers who provided delicious cookies for K-3’s Cookie and Pajama Day, a day of cozy and yummy reading.

A great big THANK YOU to all of the administrators, faculty, and volunteers who made the Love of Reading Week possible!  In particular, thank you to Barbara Faltico, Margaret Moore, Terese Souvignier, Michelle Slavin, Susie Huerta-Rojas, and Angela Greynolds!

BOOK FAIR – Thank you!

A huge THANK YOU to the following individuals who made our annual Book Fair a success.

Set-up:  Brian Connelly, Jack Connelly, Dave Ross, Angela Edwards, Terese Souvignier, Megan Brown, Trevor James, and Camryn, Casey, Kylie, Kaylin, & Kyle Huerta-Rojas

Volunteers: Michelle Slavin, Terese Souvignier, Michelle Gastrock, Megan Brown, Angela Ruiz, Chris In-Albon, Erika Pina-Loucks, Gina Reyes, Shanti Martinez, Alisa Reed, Stephanie Liu, Marta Strambi-Kramer, Sarah Hoover, Alexis Myers, Hyewon Shin, Tawanna Wilson and Alana Stubbs

Break-down: Kristin Greenwood, Ethan Greenwood, Ellie Greenwood, Alana Stubbs, Michele Gastrock, Stephanie Liu, Christopher Wilds, Chris Wilds, Dave Ross, Isabel Rebert, and Camryn, Casey, Kylie, Kaylin, & Kyle Huerta-Rojas

Additionally, thank you to the teachers who brought their classes to the Book Fair, as well as all the parents and grandparents. We are grateful for your support!

 

 

Flowers for K-3 Fine Arts Night

Order forms for the K-3 Fine Arts Night flowers are going home in today’s Eagle Express and are due in the School Office by Wednesday, April 5.  Pre-ordered flowers will be available for pick-up at the Flower Stand from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the night of the performance.  A limited number of bouquets will be available for purchase the night of the show, so order early to guarantee yours!  Additional forms are also available online via the school blog and in the School Office.

Questions?  Contact Holly Hancock von Guilleaume at tucsonholly@hotmail.com or Heather Walsh at  hwalshis@yahoo.com.

K-3 2017 Fine Arts Order Form