On Friday, March 17, La Jolla Country Day School welcomed five alumni to campus to speak with Upper School students for the annual Career Day. Alumni Andy Altman ’08, Katy Foltz Hastings ’03, Daniel Neukomm ’97, Porschia Talbot ’03 and Alet Oury Taylor ’88 shared stories about their careers and the paths they took to get there. After listening to brief introductions from each graduate during assembly, the senior class attended smaller group presentations by each alumnus/a. Learn more about each of our Career Day speakers below.
La Jolla Country Day School has a long history of displaying amazing student art for the whole community to observe and enjoy. But imagine having your art displayed at the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD). That’s what 11 Upper School art and technology students experienced during a student art exhibition on Thursday, March 16. Every year, the Upper School art studio partners with the MCASD in the Extended School Partnership (ESP) program, which offers teachers and students an opportunity to develop more flexibility and curiosity as a team of creators.
On Friday, March 17, sixth graders took part in an interdisciplinary project titled “This American Life” where they transformed into adults with jobs, budgets and rent or mortgage payments. Based on Parade magazine’s “What People Earn” article, students researched the life of a real person and worked with their “character” to create a portfolio filled with factual and creative information related to this person and culminated with a presentation for the LJCDS community.
Tracy Brymer P’15 '18 and Belinda Donner P’19 ’22, volunteer co-chairs of this year’s Blue Bash, sat down with Jennifer Fogarty, assistant director of marketing and communications, to share with us what to look forward to on Saturday, May 6, 2017, at the Belly Up. Blue Bash is LJCDS’ annual fundraiser that supports financial assistance, professional development, Parents Association activities and upcoming school projects.
As I sit down to write, I have just come from embracing a colleague who was visibly shaken after an interaction with an upset parent. Several of us paused during the busy work day to debrief on what had just occurred and to process this event with our colleague who felt he/she had a very positive rapport with this parent. We reflected on the fact that Donna Hicks, Ph.D., the author of Dignity, is writing her next book and is including La Jolla Country Day School in it. How do we encourage all members of our community—faculty, staff, administrators and parents—to model dignity for our students? It starts with treating one another with kindness and concern.
Thanks to a friend and colleague, I was pointed to a brilliant article about the importance of the arts in education with a focus I never considered as key until now. What is it that we do in the arts profession that empowers students outside of the classroom? The article from actor, author and teacher Eric Booth was an edited version of his presentation from the Educational Theatre Conference in 2007. Essentially, he focused on how we are comfortable using nouns to describe the arts, but it’s the verbs that get lost in translation.
Alumna Alet Taylor ’88, an actress and writer living in New York and Los Angeles, returns to La Jolla to play the role of Torrey and understudy Katherine in Disney’s new musical Freaky Friday at La Jolla Playhouse. Based on the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers and the Walt Disney Motion Pictures, the story is about a mother and daughter who magically swap bodies for 24 chaotic hours.
As part of the sixth-grade Classroom Without Walls project on February 22–23, students worked with Habitat for Humanity to build and decorate playhouses for local Head Start programs. This was the first time that San Diego Habitat for Humanity facilitated Camp Habitat with students in this age group, and the students showed how well they could collaborate to make eight colorful and lively playhouses.
Now in my third year as the director of financial assistance and enrollment management, I have come to realize that, at times, there seems to be a tremendous amount of mystery around the topic of financial assistance at independent schools. As a result, demystifying financial assistance at La Jolla Country Day School has become one of my primary objectives.
A cursory glance at literature on character education will illuminate growing research that cites empathy as a vital trait in building leaders of the future. A Google search instantly reveals hundreds of empathy coaches working with top companies to build morale in the workplace. Despite these trends, a strange adversarial relationship still exists between students and administrators. Students often view administrators as “sheriffs” plotting devious ways to fill the student experience with endless hurdles and red tape. Throughout my tenure at the school, I have worked to defy such misconceptions. How can an administrator expect to mentor and guide students without, as Atticus Finch opines, “walking around in their skin”? To prove my point and to grow as an administrator, I spent a day shadowing my advisee and Student Council President Remy Reya ’17.
Congratulations to the following students who were inducted into the Cum Laude Society on February 24. We’d also like to extend congratulations to our two new faculty Cum Laude Society members: Upper School world language teacher Eva Power, B.S. and Upper School English teacher Ary Tohidi, B.A.
Congratulations to Kelsey Plum ’13, the all-time scoring leader in NCAA women’s basketball history with 3,397 points! After scoring 57-points while leading the University of Washington over the University of Utah on Saturday, February 25, Plum surpassed former Southwest Missouri State standout Jackie Stiles on the career scoring list. What made it even more special was that she broke the record with her family and LJCDS coach Terri Bamford by her side and as the school celebrated Senior Day. Below is the story from the Union-Tribune.
Tiny Torreys met with Lower School computer science and innovation teacher Andrea Flagiello to engage in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) activities this past month. She brought several Fisher Price® Code-a-pillars™, which allow children to explore basic concepts of coding. Each body segment of the caterpillar has a different function. This can include the simple movements of accelerating forward and turning right or left in various degrees to stopping and singing or repeating any action. When put together, the caterpillar moved according to the order of functions attached by the children. It wasn't long before the students figured out how to build the longest caterpillar and enjoyed watching it inch along down the sidewalk.
I live by my calendar. Maybe you do too. It’s one of the first things I check in the morning and the last thing I review before bed. My calendar influences my mood and the types of interactions I will have: Do I have time to have an impromptu chat with a colleague or commend a student? Can I dive into a big project or is my day divided into tiny pieces? The way my time unfolds governs my energy at night. Too many fragmented days take their toll on my effectiveness. A school’s class schedule is no different; it influences productivity, stress levels and satisfaction. There is one key distinction, though: students have little, if any, control over how their time is divided in school. Therefore it falls on the educators to ensure we are using the schedule to not only foster productivity and a sense of fulfillment but also to favor teaching methods that prepare students for the changing work world. With these goals in mind, the Middle and Upper Schools undertook a review and revision of the daily schedule rotation, and we are excited to embark on a new schedule in the 2017-2018 academic year.
Spanish IV students recently connected via Skype with Juan Pablo Esquivel, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona, located on the campus of the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Bellaterra, Spain. He spoke with students about the role of science and innovation, his experience as an international researcher and his current role at the National Microelectronics Center in Catalonia, Spain.
Terms like STEM, STEAM, maker space, design thinking or innovation are used interchangeably, especially in the school setting, but what do they mean? I believe these terms are used to answer the same question: How do we make K-12 education relevant and give students a competitive advantage in college and their careers?
Turn on your imagination as we travel back to 1865. What is that sound? A rooster crowing, “cock-a-doodle-do.” Time to get dressed for school. On Friday, February 10, a special presenter from History in a Trunk visited third graders and played the role of the teacher in a one-room school. Student volunteers were given old-fashioned names and dressed in knickers, bloomers, aprons and bonnets. Quill pens, slates and dunce hat props were used as the presenter shared examples of a typical school day. Students participated in the live simulation and were flabbergasted by the rules and punishments of the first one-room school in San Diego. They learned school was quite different than it is today.
Congratulations to the Middle School student-athletes from the 2016-2017 winter sports season. Students were honored at the Athletic Awards Ceremony on Friday, February 10 in the Four Flowers Theater. Coaches from basketball, fencing, soccer and softball programs spoke about their seasons and award winning athletes.
We should not be surprised if there is a course in the near future titled, “How to Augment Your Intelligence.” Here’s why: In today’s world, it would be hard to imagine traveling without cars, trains, planes or ships. The first Industrial Revolution utilized new energy sources, including steam power, fossil fuels and electricity, to augment human power. Today, cars driving on the highway harness 250 horses. As we create cities, roads, buildings and desalination plants, it requires power beyond our own capabilities.
Devoted readers with photographic memories will recall that Part 1 of this series, “Beach Ballers,” closed with a quote from Skyler Kelley-Duval ’19, a tenth grader by day and ace attorney by night: “I truly feel like a part of this team and I can’t wait until the Menlo tournament!” In January, Skyler’s wait came to an end, as the Torrey Mock Trial team journeyed north to compete as one of 16 teams in what the tournament organizers described as “the strongest mock trial field ever assembled in California.”
With more than $2 million in sales, Joyce Hsieh ’17, the founder and CEO of a fashion e-commerce website, is not your typical student. An online celebrity in her own way, Hsieh gained a following on Instagram with 29K followers and 73K YouTube subscribers. What started as a hobby bedazzling phone cases when she was 13 years old has grown into an international online store complete with trendy sunglasses, jewelry, sweaters and graphic T-shirts, which she designs on an iPad and prints at home. Below she chats with Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications Jennifer Fogarty.
Congratulations to the Upper School robotics team, the Torrey Techies, who became Turing League Champions on Sunday, February 5 at Mater Dei High School in Chula Vista. Students wrapped up their qualification season with a big win in the Turing League for FIRST Tech Challenge. The team competed in three tournaments since early December, coming into Sunday's competition with two wins and one third place finish. This last competition was critical for advancing, and the team was ready.
The Tiny Torreys and junior kindergarteners and their parents enjoyed an evening of investigation and observation at the Early Childhood Center Science Night on Tuesday, January 31. Their curiosities were stimulated by the many different science activities in each of the five classrooms and courtyard—complete with a selfie station, phases of the moon and glow sticks. Children were engaged in STEM activities, having fun while learning at the same time.
On Tuesday, January 31, the entire freshman class and students in computer science, robotics and AP World History visited the Center for Cyber-Archaeology & Sustainability (CCAS) at UC San Diego Qualcomm Institute. As stated on their website, “cyber-archaeology is “the marriage of archaeology, computer science, engineering, and the natural sciences,” which provides “21st-century solutions to safeguard the past for future generations.”
“A dumpling of a woman, sweet and soft and barely five-feet tall. Her brown eyes were bright with the promise of knowledge.” These are some of my favorite words to describe La Jolla Country Day School’s founder, Louise Balmer. This summer, I immersed myself in the history of our school, eager to understand the rich traditions and history that have sustained us for 90 years.
Xin Nian Kuai Le! That’s Chinese for Happy New Year. This Lunar New Year, starting Saturday, January 28, marks the start of the Year of the Rooster. The Middle School celebrated cultural activities throughout the week thanks to the parent-led Chinese Culture Workshop, student-run Asian Explorers Club, parent volunteers and faculty members.
More than 70 students and faculty members traveled to D.C. from January 17-22 to witness the inauguration. While on the trip, students also attended oral arguments at the Supreme Court, met with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Senator Elizabeth Warren, visited museums and national monuments, and some participated in the Women’s March.
When my eldest son was coaching at Stanford, the head coach, Jim Harbaugh, posted a sign that everyone walked by every day. The sign was titled "Four Ways to Cheat Your Players" and at the top of the list was, “Doing for them what they can do for themselves.”
The flow experience is a state of complete involvement in an activity that requires complete concentration (Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). Flow is characterized by the matching of high environmental challenges with equally high levels of personal skills, the merging of action and awareness, the loss of reflexive self-consciousness, a sense of control and a distortion of temporal experiences (Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi, 2005).
Chris Eliopoulos has two rules to cartooning: always be silly and have fun, and sound effects must be made while drawing. Second and third graders had no problem following these rules on Friday, January 20, as Mr. E, as he requested to be called, walked them through the drawing of Albert Einstein, Abe Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller and Kermit the Frog. Even adults in attendance, including Head of School Gary Krahn, tried their hand at cartooning (and making sound effects). In the end, Eliopoulos explained that cartooning is easy; it’s just a matter of using letters, numbers, lines and dots.
Third graders are finishing their studies on colonial America and will soon be packing their wagons to head west as pioneers. In preparation for the westward expansion unit, students went to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park on Wednesday, January 18 to watch an IMAX movie about the historic journey of Lewis and Clark.
As we move through the height of the admission season, I am reminded of the power of relationships. An interesting concept when considering “word of mouth” marketing is a riff on the real estate marketer’s phrase, “location, location, location.” With admissions, it is all about “relationship, relationship, relationship.”
I went into education because I love Shakespeare; he brings to life many of those activities that make us human, one being the evolving nature of leadership. Henry V leads the charge, for example, at Harfleur, shouting “Once more unto the breach, dear friends,” showing adeptness at leadership by example.
For the past five years, LJCDS has partnered with Braille Institute San Diego to help students better understand the world of the visually impaired. As part of the study of the five senses, kindergartners were first introduced to sight, and part of their studies included learning about Helen Keller and Louis Braille.
There is no doubt in my mind that parenting is the hardest job in the world. As parents, you have sole responsibility for the caring and nurturing of your child. You make an enormous amount of decisions regarding such important issues as healthcare, education and discipline. Ultimately, you may feel responsible for your child’s happiness and success in life. It may even seem overwhelming at times.
Seventh and eighth graders visited the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust on Wednesday, January 11 and Thursday, January 12 as part of the Facing History and Ourselves (FHAO) course. FHAO is a nonprofit international educational and professional development organization whose mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.
Miles Himmel ’10 was recently featured in the Union Tribune for his leadership in creating The Larry Himmel Neighborhood Foundation, a foundation for which is named in honor of his father, Larry. The foundation offers support and resources to organizations and individuals in the spirit of Larry’s connection with the communities and people of San Diego.