The Weekly Bulldog

April 4, 2019

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From Tim: The arts are integral to educational excellence

I hope you found the week of spring break relaxing and restorative! Given the flurry of activity that defines the last couple months of school, we’ll all need it. Just before break, we had the opportunity to witness the raw creativity of our students during our annual Arts Festival. A long-standing tradition inspired by our “Director of Creativity” Chris Lewis, the show is a pure example of student-initiated, student-led work. In my office, we had everything from a Beethoven sonata to a puppet show.

And continuing with the arts theme, congratulations to the 8th-grade cast of “The Little Mermaid” for bringing such an engaging and uplifting show to our community a few weeks ago. Directors Laura Gibson, Jill Teas, and Angie Martyn led a months-long process in which students truly owned and were responsible for all aspects of the production- from acting to set construction to sound and lighting to costumes and props. The show highlighted both individual and collective talent within the class of 2019 and most demonstrated the positive results of a collaborative and inclusive effort.

Springtime at Stanley is filled with artistic performance opportunities, such as the above-mentioned events, the 2nd-Grade Show (April 17), 7th-grade rollercoaster demonstrations, the 8th-Grade Cabaret (April 14), and the 5th-Grade Musical (May 14 and 16), as well as many individual class productions. The arts are an integral part of how we define educational excellence, interwoven with traditional academic skills and social-emotional competencies. We know that regular opportunities to think creatively, to express one’s ideas through a variety of mediums, and to develop an appreciation for aesthetic value are critical to the learning process. So often arts programs are devalued or prioritized, officially or unofficially, behind other disciplines seen to be more important. As Ken Robinson describes, “The arts are fundamental to education. We think about the world in all the ways we experience it. We think visually, through sound, kinesthetically, abstractly, and through movement.”

We know that an education that doesn’t feature and value artistic endeavor limits the capacity of all students, and particularly those with strengths in the arts – strengths that children need to develop and the world will need. Often at Stanley, the lines between academic and artistic endeavors are intentionally blurred (K-1-2 thematic unit projects, 3-4-5 social studies presentations, 8th-grade literary journals… the examples are endless). Our goal is to provide arts programming as well as multi-disciplinary learning experiences that allow students to draw on many academic, analytic and creative skills.

Goodbye to Joan Setchfield

At the conclusion of the school year, we will be saying goodbye to our fearless front desk face of the school, Joan Setchfield. After eleven years of service at Stanley, she has announced her well-deserved retirement. We will miss so many things about Joan, most of all the care she demonstrated for all in our community, from our youngest to our oldest. There have been many days over those eleven years when Joan’s singing, dancing, or latest outrageous outfit has put a smile on my face, and done the same for so many. She wrote a beautiful reflection on her time at Stanley, and with her permission I share some of it with you:

“I have learned that imagination and enthusiasm are the spark that ignites so many wonders in our inner child, and hopefully I helped in firing up our student body. Not just dressing in crazy costumes for the holidays and Halloween, but in sharing conversation, applauding student achievements, service to our parents, supporting the faculty and staff… I have learned that the way to a Monday morning parent’s soul is through many pots of coffee or tea. I have mastered the art of keeping coffee flowing through the veins of our parent and staff community. Starbucks, eat your heart out… What else could I have asked for but an adventurous journey in life that taught me so many lessons on how to be a better me. Thank you for the memories. I will treasure them always.”

And thank you, Joan – we will miss you!

All the best,

Top Five Things

1. Quick - name two things you can donate to the Auction right from your armchair

Wine and buy-a-shares! We’re all about getting your donations ready for the big night April 27. It’s easy to build our Instant Wine Cellar when you order from our sponsor the Vineyard Wine Shop. And buy-a-shares practically sell themselves: Find a friend. Plan a party. Pick your date. Submit your form! Need more ideas or forms or want to purchase tickets to the Shindig? – visit Our first carpool lane collection is tomorrow!

2. Is idling in the the drop-off lane really that bad?

A PSA from our Sustainability Committee and your children’s lungs: Please don't idle in the carpool lines! Our kids and staff members deserve to breathe fresh air. No idling is not only school policy, it’s also best practices for schools and other heavy idling hot spots that can get especially bad in cities (like ours) situated in a valley. Studies connect idling with poor lung health. When waiting in line, please turn off your engine and don't restart it until you need to move your car.

3. Lost and found on display through the 12th

As students shed the warm coats of winter, well... they shed them all over campus. If you're missing a jacket, mitten, lunchbox, hat, or anything else that went to school but didn't come back, drop into the Hambidge Commons and take a look!

4. What happens when you leave behind your homeland to settle someplace new?

An original children’s play, “The Basque Things in Life,” featuring our librarian Allan, answers that question. Stanley parent and Bitsy Stage writer, director Samantha McDermott encouraged erstwhile childhood actor and filmmaker to audition and return to the stage for this role as “Gorka.” Sam is also doing some acting workshops with our K-1-2 classrooms. “It’s a great, 1-hour family show,” says Allan, “with a mythical twist.” Runs weekends through April 14 on the Bitsy Stage.

5. State of the School next Wednesday – now with babysitting!

How are we doing as a British Primary independent school? Join Tim and others from the Stanley community for an update on our State of the School on Wednesday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m., followed by refreshments and community gathering in the Hambidge Commons. Have little ones? Register for babysitting with Donna here.