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FALL 2013

2511 Numa Watson Rd. S easid e, C A 9 3 9 5 5

tel: 831.394.3468 w w w. c h a r t w e l l . o r g

The Newsletter of Chartwell School and The New High School Project

Chartwell School at 30: Looking Back, Looking Forward

LOOK INSIDE • Alumni Updates • Ceramic Arts Program • Middle School Changes • High School Graduation • CALL Teacher Training • New Faculty and Staff

The Chartwell story enters a new chapter this year as we reflect on 30 years of service and look forward to our next 30 – and more! Our story is, of course, as dynamic and diverse as the many unique learners, families, educators, staff, volunteers, donors, and fellow supporters who form the Chartwell community. An essential part of our history was shared this past spring through the heartfelt memories of many former students who gathered at our alumni reunion and recounted their personal Vinnie, a first generation Chartwell journeys of growth and accomplishment. student, hangs the sign he made at the Now, in this milestone year of both Imperial Street campus, circa 1988 reflection and change, we would like to take a trip down memory lane with a few of our long-time educators who have played – and continue to play – major roles in writing the Chartwell story and, most important, helping our students write theirs. Chartwell’s two longest serving educators, Head of School Nora Lee and Dean of Students Judy Gaughf, both began their Chartwell tenures on the same day – August 25th, 1985 – just two years after founders Nicki McMahan and Judy Lewis formally established the school in the fall of 1983. Nora and Judy both entered Chartwell through its teacher training program, where influential educator Sanford Shapiro taught them the Slingerland method – a multi-sensory, phonics-based approach to language instruction that is still used, in a modified and updated form, at Chartwell today. Nora, who began as a classroom educator teaching all subjects, recalls her early years at Chartwell, when the school was located at Imperial Street: “I loved the small class and school size. It was very intimate and everyone grew very close, and I was thrilled to learn this new way of teaching students how to read. It made sense and you could see the students making progress…We didn’t have much in the way of supplies or furniture, but we had great teachers and that was what mattered.” Judy, who also began as a classroom teacher, recalls a similar revelation in coming to continued on page 4

Celebrating 30 Years of Building Bright Futures

Message from John Ward, Board President Another school year begins in celebration of 30 years of Chartwell achievements, with our students as our most important product. As we look over our three decades of service it is important for us to understand what has made Chartwell so successful. Chartwell is dedicated to nurturing students who will learn to understand and overcome their complexities in learning as they move in the direction of becoming a successful student. First, each student must become engaged in the process of understanding what a successful student looks like. When this picture is developed for each student, their confidence in their learning begins to grow. As their confidence develops, they begin learning the boundaries of what their best academic effort looks like. This success triggers the will to do better. Next, students independently begin the process of evaluating their performance. They become motivated to reorganize their efforts to do even better. Most important, as their achievement grows, they begin to understand that being successful in school is a team effort. They start to see the value of teachers, parents, and peers. For the first time, they see these people as support. They learn to count on their team. Whether times are tough or good, they have the confidence in their team to support them.


At Chartwell School and The New High School Project there is a less visible but no less essential member of each student’s team: our donors. Our donors’ generous efforts have helped create a school of excellence for 30 years. As we emerge from the Great Recession, a key to our fundraising efforts remains our annual Party in a Pear Tree event held at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach. I invite you to join us on December 7th as we raise funds for financial aid and program support. On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Chartwell School, I want to thank each participating member of our students’ team for your dedication, contributions, and support that allows us to continue developing the great minds of our students.

Chartwell Board of Trustees: Volunteer with Us! As a supporter of Chartwell School, you are well aware of the energy, creativity, and time it takes to ensure that our school advances its mission. A key component of Chartwell’s success is maintaining an active, involved, and competent Board of Trustees. Chartwell’s Board of Trustees is currently seeking new members to help us govern the school and plan for Chartwell’s future. We need individuals who have the interest, time, and dedication to attend Board and committee meetings; engage in thoughtful discussion and decision making; cultivate donors; and be an ambassador for the school in the community. Individuals with experience in finance, business, education, community volunteering, and/or non-profit management or support are needed. Experience as a Board member is a plus but not required. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact Lynne White Dixon, Chair of the Trustee Development Committee and Immediate Past President, at 831-375-7572. Join us to help our students and our community maximize potential for learning, growth, and success! Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

2013-2014 Board of Trustees John Ward President Mary Ann Leffel Vice President Mary Jane Gonzalez-Huss Secretary Ralph Bailey Treasurer Douglas Atkins Jonathan Beck Scott Fosmark Shane Fuller Catherine Hawley Robert Hernandez Carrie Miles Art Pasquinelli Jason Togneri Lynne White Dixon TRUSTEE EMERITI Thomas deRegt Charles Jacobson Judy Lewis Nicki McMahan Marsha Zelus HONORARY TRUSTEES Marjorie Love Mick McMahan

Planning Your Estate? Please help more young learners in need by including Chartwell in your plans. Contact the Advancement Office at (831) 394-3468 for more information.

Message from Douglas Atkins, Exec. Director Not that long ago, the legal standard for appropriate education was decided by “that which was reasonably determined to yield an average outcome.” This was the height of the educational bar by the time Chartwell School had already finished its 10th year in 1993. While our school pushed to bring change to the educational model, those first ten years were hard going against a general sense of acceptance that educational expectations need not exceed the minimum standard of compliance with federal law. Federal and state law did not require progress in learning. Fortunately, something began to shift by the late 1990s. The science of learning began to influence the art of teaching. Of course the research had been around for some time, it just did not seem to outweigh the prevalent view that important matters of education – like whether the next generation of students were ready to become informed and literate citizens – need not take into account actual evidence whether student progress had kept pace with such reasonable aspirations. As Chartwell finished its 20th year in 2003, the tide had turned, albeit not without turbulence. Research-based curricula were whispered as the new standard, though what constituted such was up to the marketplace itself. Data became trusted as hard truths gave way to hope, as hard work was met with best practices. Now, in 2013, 30 years since Chartwell School imagined a better future, evidentiary learning is still sought after – as are the great teachers and administrators who practice and lead by it. We are very proud to have been a critical voice in this vanguard of literacy and learning for the California Central Coast.

In Memoriam...

Chuck Jacobson Long-time Chartwell Trustee, fundraiser, and friend Chuck Jacobson leaves a legacy of hard work, success, dedicated service, and passionate embrace of life. Chuck served on the Chartwell Board for 19 years, bringing his own insight and experience as a unique learner to his efforts in guiding the school and supporting its students and faculty. Through his steadfast commitment and good will, Chuck inspired others to help ensure the success of Chartwell so that generations of students can continue to benefit from the diagnostic education that he so highly valued. Chuck, along with his wife Claire, was instrumental in a great many of Chartwell’s successes. He will be dearly missed.


We look forward to contributing even more to this vision in the next 30 years. Stay in touch. Great things happen at Chartwell School.

Welcome to the Board: Mary Ann Leffel Mary Ann Leffel joined the Board of Trustees in 2012 and recently assumed the role of Vice President. She brings decades of experience in banking, economic development, and civic engagement to her efforts at Chartwell. During her 45-year career in the banking industry, she served as Vice President of three large banking institutions in the region, overseeing operations in business development, marketing, and loan origination. Both before and since retiring, she has been an active member of varied business councils and civic organizations, including serving on multiple boards and commissions, as an elected official, appointed official, and as a community volunteer.

Dr. Richard Myler Dr. Richard Myler was a pioneer in cardiac medicine, having led the charge in coronary angioplasty during his highly accomplished career as a physician, inventor, and educator. After retiring and relocating to Carmel, Richard brought his exuberance, expertise, and commitment to helping others to his role as a Chartwell Trustee and friend. We are grateful for his service. Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

Chartwell School at 30: Looking Back, Looking Forward…continued Nora helps a student in an early classroom

Chartwell: “I loved teaching at Chartwell immediately because it just made sense. After teaching in other public and private schools, the best thing about Chartwell was the consistency of the language program, the structure of the classroom, and the harmony of the student population. Later on, I realized all of that made for the best place to be able to teach students who wanted to learn but who just learned differently.” Nora and Judy were soon joined by another pair of educators who would dedicate their careers to Chartwell – and continue to do so today. In 1987, Jim and Patti Kirshner – or, as they are commonly known among students, Mr. and Mrs. K – came to Chartwell after working at an established LD school in Los Angeles. The Kirshners were drawn to Chartwell in part because of its unique reach, as described by Patti: “We appreciated that Chartwell was able to accept students from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. This had not been the case in L.A., and we felt that it was important to offer such a necessary educational model to all students who needed it, not just the upper echelon.” Patti began as a part-time art teacher – using a cart to travel from homeroom to homeroom with her art supplies – but would also soon teach language and humanities after joining the faculty full time. Jim brought his expertise in science to his role as a classroom teacher. Patti describes their experience in joining Nora, Judy, and other key figures in helping to shape the Chartwell model: “In the early years, we enjoyed being an integral part of curriculum development and other aspects of the day-to-day operation...We all worked together as an intimate group creating the best program and problem solving to make Chartwell a nurturing and educationally sound school.”


As enrollment increased over the years, Chartwell’s educators took on varying roles while adapting to the school’s needs and the changing state of education. In the early 1990s, Nora began to assume testing and administrative duties while also overseeing the establishment of the first tech lab – an experience she recalls as a welcome challenge: “I was very proud setting up our first computer lab, because I knew absolutely nothing about this when I first started. With the help and knowledge of Marcia Zelus, I went to my first Mac World and started learning about the difference between hardware and software, how to put computers together, how to add memory, how to use word processing, and how to play Tetris!” Nora’s ability – and flexibility – in ensuring success in this and many other educational arenas led her to assume an increasingly expanded administrative role, first as Academic Dean, and then as Head of School, a position she has held since 2000. Judy would similarly wear many hats for Chartwell over the years. She has served as a classroom teacher for diverse grade levels; a co-teacher at the Chartwell Teacher Training Institute; a writer of the school’s curriculum guide; a mentor to new teachers (ongoing); head of the language department (ongoing); and, since 2003, Dean of Students – all while continuing to teach in the classroom! Judy describes her evolution at Chartwell as a true learning experience: “Over the years, I kept learning new things here – about students’ learning styles, about best educational practices you could actually use, and about the ‘whole’ child. I still learn something new every day here.” As mainstays of the faculty, Jim and Patti each advanced to become department heads in their respective areas, science and art, while also serving as homeroom teachers. Along the way, Jim enjoyed putting on several large annual events, such as the catapult contest and pinewood derby, which are just a few of the many hands-on science activities that have long been a favorite of students.

Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

Chartwell School faculty, 1987-88: Jim Kirshner, Patti Kirshner, Kerry Gorman, Nora Lee, Sanford Shapiro, Judy Gaughf, Marian Kirkbride, and Sally Poilé

Nora leads the way in the school’s first computer lab

Judy at the first summer school awards ceremony

Judy in the classroom, circa 1987-88

Chartwell students strike a pose with “Mr. and Mrs. K,” circa 1990-91

Jim says that he is “proud of all the kids we’ve served,” including such students as Jacob Hudis (’90) and Ben Sugar (‘07), who were both inspired to go into the sciences after their time at Chartwell. In what Jim describes as a “nice circle,” he notes that Jacob went on to become a science teacher at York School, where he taught Ben (after Ben attended Chartwell), who in turn has gone on to study the sciences at the University of California, Berkeley – Jim’s alma mater!

Patti helps a student make a mask – a classic Chartwell art project

Jim and Patti in school colors. Go Bulldogs!

Watching a race at the annual pinewood derby

Patti also has many fond memories of student achievement, including two years in which students developed large-scale collaborative art pieces that were showcased at the Youth Arts Festival at the Monterey Museum of Art. Patti recalls: “It was very exciting and impressive to be greeted upon entering the show by Chartwell student art.” Patti’s classes, too, remain a favorite among students, so many of whom respond so well to the creative opportunities she provides and inspires. Now, as Nora and Judy enter their 29th year at Chartwell, and the Kirshners their 27th, these educators remain energized and dedicated to their crafts. Patti has recently assumed the added role of art instructor for The New High School Project and is looking forward to exploring even more creative outlets via the soon-to-be established Chartwell ceramic arts program. Always up to something project-based, Jim has collaborated in recent years with technology educator Kris Hill on such fun and exciting events as the Wind Festival. Nora and Judy remain busy with their diverse duties in leading the K-8 program, including continuing the cycle of developing a new generation of Chartwell educators. Indeed, this year, Chartwell saw the retirement or relocation of several long-time faculty, including Kathleen McMurdo, Sharon Cast, Kathleen Beique, Elizabeth Link, Danielle Folsom, and, from The New High School Project, Elizabeth Miles and George Wilson. In teaming with Nora, Judy, the Kirshners and so many other vital personnel over the years, all of these outstanding and highly dedicated educators made significant, lasting contributions to Chartwell.

Let ‘er rip! Jim leads the annual catapult contest

Nora with Sa Vanna Baker Leyva at the alumni reunion

Judy teaches language to the next generation

Looking ahead – Nora, Judy, Patti, and Jim


In the coming year, the school will see additional change with the completion of the highly accomplished 12-year tenure of Executive Director Douglas Atkins, who will leave in summer 2014 after fostering such achievements as the construction of our LEED Platinum certified campus and the establishment of The New High School Project. With the recent or impending departure of such long-time faculty and staff, Chartwell closes a chapter of our history but begins another with the welcoming of a new team of educators who, it is hoped, will help write our story for future generations. As Patti notes, “While the physical building, student numbers, and staff and faculty faces have changed throughout the years, Chartwell’s mission to help students with specific language needs has not.” Indeed, as in the past, each individual student will remain the focus of the Chartwell mission, as Nora describes in looking back on her career: “To see a student come to Chartwell for the first time, then to watch their growth and progress as they begin to succeed academically, and then to hear about their ongoing achievements after leaving Chartwell – that is why I have stayed at Chartwell all these years. Our students are proof of Chartwell’s mission being accomplished.” In looking forward, the Chartwell team – including Nora, Judy, the Kirshners, and their many fellow educators – will carry on with the purpose that has characterized our past, as described by Judy: “The tenacity of this school is incomparable – nothing can take it down or hold it back.” Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

Mission Accomplished Alumni Updates Class of ‘89 - Bodhi Garvin Bodhi Garvin stopped by Chartwell this past summer while on a visit to the United States from New Zealand, where he lives with his girlfriend, Mary (pictured left). Bodhi attended Chartwell from 1987-1989 and was a student in the homerooms of Mrs. Hennessy and Mr. Shapiro. Since leaving Chartwell, Bodhi further developed his reading skills and went on to attend two years at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. It was there that he had an influential meeting with the spiritual teacher and author Gangaji – a meeting that, in Bodhi’s words, “connected me all the way through.” Now in New Zealand, Bodhi is a landscaper who loves the outdoors and enjoys surfing and free diving. Bodhi writes: “Being dyslexic is still a challenge at times, but I’ve stopped trying to be the round peg in a square hole. I’m happy in my life – I’m inspired and discovering something new all the time.”

Class of ‘98 - Justin Shoemate


Justin Shoemate reached out to Chartwell this fall while working to complete a Master’s program in Emergency Services Administration through California State University, Long Beach. Justin attended Chartwell from 1994-1998 and was homeschooled for most of his high school education before moving on to college. Justin initially earned an A.A. in Liberal Arts and an Emergency Medical Certification while volunteering as a firefighter. He went on to earn a B.S. in Public Safety, with a specialization in Emergency Management, through an online program at Cappella University, which enabled him to work while pursuing a degree. Justin was hired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where he currently works as a liaison between two federal agencies that supply teams to support major disasters. Justin writes: “I have found that these chaotic and fast-paced environments provide my brain the focus needed to be successful.” Indeed, Justin manages 20 teams comprising approximately 320 people trained in various services provided by FEMA. He writes to Ms. Lee: “I would never have gotten to where I am today without you and all of the teachers at Chartwell. Looking back, it has been such a great experience for me, and I will always be grateful for all of the things that were done for me.”

Class of ‘02 - Mya Gonick Mya Gonick was inspired by fellow alumna Angeline Petronijevic (‘03) to share her own story of overcoming challenges to find success in school and in life. She writes: “My childhood education was very hard for me and I did not understand why…I wanted to know all the answers to why I was different…When I walked through the doors of Chartwell School I knew that everything would be okay and that I would be successful. I loved Chartwell and the teachers who helped me learn to become the person I am today.” Mya attended Chartwell for two years, from 2000-2002, before her family relocated to Ohio, where she then attended Lawrence School. Mya is now a student at Notre Dame College, where she is on track to graduate in the spring of 2014 with a B.A. in Liberal Studies. She writes: “I cannot even express how thankful I am for all the outstanding support I have gotten from my family, friends, and teachers who have always believed in me, knowing that I can be successful.” Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

Clay is the Way: Ceramics Program Coming to Chartwell

Robert Mulford (center) presents the Martha J. Mulford bequest to Executive Director Douglas Atkins and Director of Advancement Diana Trapani

Birdies for Charity Pledge Drive

Chartwell School has long had the dream of establishing a ceramics program to supplement our art curriculum, which remains a vital and widely integrated component of our educational programming. A recent gift has made this exciting possibility a reality.

Chartwell is once again participating in the Monterey Peninsula Foundation’s annual Birdies for Charity pledge drive, a fun and easy way to support our school – and boost your contribution!

The late Martha J. Mulford, a ceramic artist known as Marti, passed away in the spring of 2012 and left her estate in equal portions to Chartwell and four other organizations. Upon learning of this unexpected bequest, we were informed that Marti was not only a talented ceramic artist but also a dyslexic thinker who valued Chartwell’s mission to serve unique learners in our community.

To participate, simply go to the Birdies for Charity website ( charity/birdies-for-charity) after November 1 and pledge a donation in support of Chartwell.

Marti’s generosity will enable Chartwell to construct the Marti Mulford Ceramics Studio, which will honor her memory in a most fitting manner by helping more dyslexic learners access and develop their strengths through ceramic arts. Robert Mulford – Marti’s former husband, good friend, and estate executor – closely worked with us to determine the best use of the bequest. He also kindly donated funds to cover the costs of the construction permits. Alumni parent Jerry King (Courtney King, ‘08) generously donated the architectural plans and model, helped us secure approvals from the City of Seaside and the Fort Ord Reuse Authority, and is working to secure donations of supplies to help reduce costs. Chartwell is currently in the process of selecting a contractor, but we need to secure additional funds before construction can begin. Please contact the Advancement Office if you would like to support this exciting new program, which will provide students with creative, hands-on learning opportunities to benefit their growth in all academic areas. As any ceramicist will tell you, clay is the way – and soon to be so at Chartwell!


You can pledge one cent or more for each birdie scored during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February 2014, or you can make a flat donation of $20 or more. Chartwell will receive 100% of your donation plus a 20% match from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation! There is also an added bonus: if we receive donations from at least 15 donors for a total of $1,000 or more by December 31, we will have the chance to qualify for the Chevron Shoot-Out amateur golf competition, an opportunity to win additional funds up to $50,000! Donations are accepted online via the Foundation’s safe and secure payment system. Donors can make contributions up until February 28th, but please log on today. Thank you for your support!

Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

Chartwell Middle School: Building Character for Life and Learning As the academic year gets into full swing, Chartwell’s middle school program is undergoing important changes under new Middle School Program Coordinator Gretchen Giuffre, a five-year veteran at Chartwell. Ms. Giuffre, who most recently taught the fifth grade, assumed her new role as part of the school’s effort to provide added support for students in middle school, a particularly important transitional stage. The goal of such efforts is to promote student responsibility, leadership, camaraderie, and other positive traits in order to maximize learning in all situations. As program coordinator, Ms. Giuffre leads the team of middle school educators in weekly sessions to discuss student progress and identify constructive supports for each young learner. After meeting as a group, the middle school teachers then provide short, one-on-one advisory sessions to students, as needed, including condensed lessons that highlight positive values and behavior. An important part of this effort is to provide opportunities for leadership and teambuilding among students and to recognize when students meet or exceed standards. For example, this year, for the first time, our seventh and eighth graders attended the annual ropes course field trip together as part of an effort to strengthen student relationships across grades.


The middle school has also recently experimented with a “Nice Notes” program in which students and teachers can recognize each other’s achievements and good cheer via publically posted notes. Beginning in the second trimester, middle school teachers will hand out “Bulldog Tickets” – named after the Chartwell mascot – to students exhibiting positive behaviors in academics and personal and social responsibility. Recipients of Bulldog Tickets will be eligible to win rewards in weekly raffles and take part in a special food event at the end of each trimester. These are just a few ways that Ms. Giuffre and her fellow middle school educators will be working to ensure that our sixth, seventh, and eighth graders develop the character they need to not only meet their immediate academic and social benchmarks but prepare them for a life of productive, cooperative learning. This follows the greater Chartwell model of helping students take pride and responsibility in their education, their unique learning styles, and themselves.

Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

Emmy® Award Winning Television Producer Visits Chartwell In September, the Chartwell fourth-grade class enjoyed a special guest presentation by Tom Vitale, the producer of the popular food-themed television show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. As a friend and former classmate of Chartwell’s new fourth-grade teacher Alicia Kaye, Tom stopped into Chartwell while on a West Coast trip to Los Angeles for the 2013 Emmy® Awards, for which his television show earned a nomination – and won – for Outstanding Nonfiction Series. Tom told the students about his many travels throughout the world while following the gastronomic adventures of food writer and critic Anthony Bourdain. Students took the opportunity to ask him about all the places he has been and all the strange and unique foods he has tried – including bugs! Television producer Tom Vitale

Tom stressed the importance of being respectful and keeping an open mind while traveling among the diverse cultures around the globe. He also spoke of overcoming his own early struggles in school to pursue an exciting career as a television producer. Through these and other stories, he offered an inspirational message to students: pursue your goals and dreams, no matter the challenges – and despite any bugs you may come across!

Chartwell is pleased to partner with the MC Weekly and the Community Foundation for Monterey County to participate in the Monterey County Gives! 2013 fundraising campaign. The 90+ organizations participating in this year’s campaign were all selected based upon their “Big Idea” for helping to make Monterey County a better place. Chartwell’s Big Idea for this year is that students with dyslexia and other language-related learning challenges can, with the proper education and support, negotiate their learning gaps to find true strengths in their differences.


To support this idea, we encourage you to participate in this important fundraising campaign by visiting the Monterey County Gives! website ( and making a donation designated to Chartwell. The MC Weekly Community Fund will provide a prorated match for all donations, so it is an excellent opportunity to boost your contribution.

Tom signs autographs – and answers more questions! – after sharing stories about food, travel, school, and more

Be sure to check out the November 14th MC Weekly issue for more information about the campaign and the many organizations it benefits. Thank you for supporting our students and our mission!

Visit Chartwell’s Facebook page for announcements, event listings, and photos! Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

Project by Project: Learning for the 21st Century Message from Kristen Atkins, Head of School As Chartwell celebrates its 30th year of service, The New High School Project (TNHSP) is in its 5th year of providing an innovative college-preparatory education to teens who learn differently. As we have highlighted before, one of the key elements of the TNHSP curriculum is project-based learning, in which students explore real world problems and challenges in order to develop deeper knowledge about key concepts.

TNHSP students on a three-day field trip to Pinnacles National Park

Now, what are some of the underlying principles of project-based learning? The Buck Institute for Education (BIE), a non-profit organization based in Marin County, is a leader in the field of project-based learning, which arose out of a broader reform effort in education. The BIE describes project-based learning as “a systematic teaching method that engages students in learning essential knowledge and life-enhancing skills through an extended, student-influenced inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks.” This description aptly captures the thrust of project-based learning at TNHSP, where our faculty is trained in how to develop rigorous and engaging extended learning opportunities for students. Here, our young learners are given a driving question, or theme, for each project period and then spend time gathering data, organizing their thoughts, and developing a plan to create a project that examines that driving question. Each driving question is explored in an interdisciplinary manner via the program’s varied core and elective classes that ensure essential knowledge development. Throughout the history of TNHSP, students have studied such diverse topics as moral action, water, homelessness, cognitive diversity, sustainability, creativity, and micro-philanthropy.


Ben checks out a fissure along the trail

These authentic learning activities incorporate many of the skills outlined by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, an organization committed to fostering educational opportunities that ensure student readiness for learning and working in our rapidly evolving economy. These include learning and innovation skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity; information, media, and technology skills; and life and career skills such as responsibility, adaptability, and leadership. Combined with core knowledge, these skills form the tool set that our young learners and doers need to be successful in the 21st century. This tool set is what the TNHSP’s project-based curriculum is designed to provide. Our students have consistently reported that, through project-based learning, they have developed a deeper understanding of important concepts and that they remember what they have learned for longer periods of time. And their skills development is evident as they grow into confident, enthusiastic learners who understand their learning profile and know what they need to do to succeed.

Amanda and Michael gear up to explore a cave at Pinnacles

Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

Each year, these outcomes are on display as TNHSP students collect all their work from over the course of the year and exhibit it at our annual year-end Retrospective. This event provides students with the opportunity to showcase their knowledge, skills, and creativity as they present their projects to families, friends, and guests. While our students have much work yet to do this year, we welcome you all to attend our Retrospective on June 12th, 2014 – a wonderful opportunity to see project-based learning in action!

TNHSP Class of 2013 Graduation – Congrats!

TNHSP Class of 2013: Noah, Jacque, Brandon, Elizabeth, Mary, and Aaron. Congrats!

Brandon and Mary watch the senior slideshow – baby pictures included!

Jacque celebrates “out-of-thebox thinkers” in her speech


Aaron shares a hug with his dad after the ceremony

It’s official! Elizabeth receives her diploma from Head of School Kristen Atkins

We did it! The close-knit group of seniors hugs it out – as newly minted high school graduates!

Case Study: Hands-on Learning at TNHSP As just one example of how TNHSP students are learning through doing, students in biology class recently participated in a multi-stage dissection project combining science and technology. Students first learned about the structures and functions of the different lobes of the brain before dissecting actual sheep brains to gain a hands-on understanding of the brain’s anatomy. After receiving hypothetical stories about their sheep, students identified activities from the stories that correspond to nervous system function and then matched the various

structures of the brain to the activities that they control, such as walking, seeing, smelling, and more. While making these associations, students took pictures of the dissected structures and posted them to the popular photo-sharing app Instagram. By combining academic fundamentals with hands-on activities and the latest trends in technology, projects like these effectively engage and educate students. Want to learn more about this project? Check out the students’ dissection photos on the class’s Instagram account: @tnhspbio.

Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

Center for the Advancement of Language and Literacy (CALL) Teacher Training Institute: Brain-based Learning in Action Each summer, the Center for the Advancement of Language and Literacy (CALL) holds a Teacher Training Institute to provide professional development training to teachers, tutors, and allied professionals. This year, CALL offered its Teacher Training Institute (TTI) in a revised format that proved effective in expanding the program’s reach. Traditionally held over a three-week period, the summer 2013 TTI series was presented in a condensed four-day schedule incorporating the most popular and useful workshop topics. This accessible format resulted in one of our largest enrollments ever, with 20 teachers and tutors joining us from throughout the Central Coast and even the Bay Area.


One of the many topics covered in the workshop series was brainbased education and learning. This is an educational model that incorporates the latest research on the brain and how the human mind best learns in different contexts and stages of development. This comprehensive approach addresses both the physical and psychological makeup of the learner and considers many factors, including how different instructional and learning strategies can promote better understanding, retention, and recall of information. Led by CALL Director Kristen Atkins, participants learned about brain-based instructional strategies while experiencing them firsthand as students in the classroom. This included simple but effective practices, such as providing regular breaks to give participants time to process the information presented in class. In one exercise, Kristen provided index cards for participants to fill out with a key idea that they remembered from the morning and afternoon sessions. Kristen then posted the cards on the wall and everyone was able to see, in a comprehensive manner, the key ideas that resonated with each person in class. Just a few examples from the index cards provide a picture of what the participants learned about and appreciated as fellow education professionals: “I learned that it is important to recognize a student’s misbehavior as a sign of a specific need. Diagnostic instruction is an excellent way to keep your finger on the pulse of the students so you can adapt instruction effectively.”

Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

CALL Director Kristen Atkins presents reading instruction materials during the summer session TTI course

“I found the dopamine-releasing activities very interesting. I work with foster children, many of whom have learning disabilities. These children struggle with low self-esteem. I thought it interesting that ‘feeling self-appreciation’ and ‘optimism’ are listed as dopamine-producing.” “[I learned that] it can be helpful for a student, especially when they are in high school, to understand their strengths and weaknesses so they can handle tasks with a realistic approach.” Posted together on the wall, these cards provided an excellent summary of the course material in a way that encouraged each participant to closely consider and weigh the value of what they had learned in class. All the participants agreed that this technique would be great for their own classrooms, as it reinforces the analysis and retention of key ideas. In learning about these and other topics, participants also received an array of resource materials for immediate use in their classrooms, as well as the opportunity to share their ideas and collaborate with each other. In their evaluations of the class, multiple participants described the TTI series as the “best” workshop they had ever taken. Chartwell School has always believed that it is important to share our expertise with fellow education professionals so that students who may not have the opportunity to attend Chartwell can nonetheless benefit from our tested and proven practices. Given the success of this model, we are looking forward to offering a similar program in summer 2014!

Party in a Pear Tree Join us in celebrating

Chartwell School’s 30th Anniversary at our annual

Party in a Pear Tree Saturday, December 7, 2013 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm Monterey Peninsula Country Club Pebble Beach Gourmet Dinner • Silent and Live Auctions • Live Music and Dancing Tickets to this elegant black tie affair are $225. Please RSVP by November 15th. Proceeds benefit educational programming and financial aid for our students. Contact: Diana Trapani at (831) 394-3468 ext. 1020 or


Mistress of Ceremonies: Sa Vanna Baker Leyva Chartwell School proudly welcomes alumna Sa Vanna Baker Leyva (‘93) as the Mistress of Ceremonies for our upcoming Party in a Pear Tree fundraising gala and 30th anniversary celebration. Sa Vanna attended Chartwell from 1991-1993 and has since charted a successful and productive path full of discovery, adventure, and charitable service. Currently conducting clinical work while enrolled at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Sa Vanna is an aspiring physician who has already acquired substantial experience in the medical and scientific fields. In 2008, she graduated magna cum laude from San Francisco State University with a B.S. in Physiology and a minor in Chemistry. She has since volunteered at hospitals and clinics in Ecuador and Tanzania (Africa) while working for varied international health care programs. Sa Vanna has also conducted clinical research in the private sector and has published her findings in peer-reviewed academic journals. She is currently scheduled to graduate from Touro University College in 2016 and is hoping to return to Monterey County as a family practice physician. Sa Vanna (left), with her mother, LaVerne

While Sa Vanna attended Chartwell during the school’s first decade, her memories of the school and its role in her life remain fresh: “I have a ton of Chartwell memories and highlights…I remember it was at Chartwell that I learned the term ‘dyslexia’ and that ‘I just learn differently.’ I remember the small class sizes and my classmates…I remember making a box camera in Mr. K’s science class, and I credit Chartwell with developing my life-long interest in photography…I think the fact that I can still recall specific classroom and school experiences with Ms. Lee, Mrs. Enea [McMurdo], Mrs. Hennessy, Mrs. Gaughf, Mr. and Mrs. K, and Mr. Harris speaks to the personal attention I received at Chartwell.” Among her diverse talents, Sa Vanna’s photography skills have been useful on her many adventures, including hiking Machu Picchu and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. We are looking forward to hearing these stories and more when she joins us at this year’s very special Pear!

Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

Chartwell School and The New High School Project New Faculty and Staff Marika Anderson joins The New High School Project as a math and science educator. She grew up in the Monterey Bay area and went on to earn a B.S. in Kinesiology from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and an Ed.M. in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard University. Prior to teaching at TNSHP, she worked as a learning specialist, focusing on math and science instruction in a one-on-one environment with middle and high school students with varied learning differences. When she is not at school, Marika enjoys anything that gets her outdoors or allows her to wield her glue gun! She loves spending time with her family, doing yoga and dance, and practicing her ukulele.


Rona Fennessy joins Chartwell as a new language, math, and humanities teacher. After growing up in Hyde Park, Chicago, she earned a B.A. in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University, a teaching credential from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and an M.A. in Reading Education from the University of Rhode Island. Rona has taught in diverse educational settings, including public and independent schools, as well as university classes. Her professional interests are focused on culture and literacy development for diverse learners. She loves to spend time exploring nature, studying ancient people, and reading about life today and long ago. At Chartwell, Rona is looking forward to celebrating the interests of her students while supporting them as they branch out into new learning and exploration.

Dr. Matthew Gutierrez is a new educator at The New High School Project, where he will be teaching literature, world history, government/economics, and psychology. He earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an M.A. in Education from Pepperdine University, and a Ph.D. in Leadership for Educational Justice at the University of Redlands. He has presented at various international education and political science conferences on the effects of school demographics on student academic performance. Matthew is very excited to be teaching at TNHSP.

Alicia Kaye is Chartwell’s new fourth-grade teacher. She holds undergraduate degrees in Drama and Psychology from Vassar College, an M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Pacific University, and a Special Education credential from CSUMB. Prior to joining the Chartwell team, she worked for three years as an education specialist at Cesar Chavez Middle School in Watsonville. Previously, she taught drama to students aged 7-16 at the Scandinavian International Theater School in Gothenburg, Sweden. She has also interned as a school psychologist and worked as a tutor, a preschool teacher, a teacher’s aide, and an afterschool dance and yoga instructor. Alicia believes in creating a positive classroom environment where students are able to enjoy learning and feel empowered to take academic risks.

Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

Lisa Kirk comes to Chartwell as our new business office assistant. She has more than 15 years of experience in accounting and most recently worked in the produce industry. She grew up in Salinas and lives in Monterey with her husband of 18 years, with whom she has three wonderful children. Outside of work, Lisa enjoys supporting her children in their many sports activities and spending time with her beautiful three-year old granddaughter. She is excited to be part of the Chartwell community. Arthur Rogers is the new facilities coordinator at Chartwell. He has over 40 years of experience as a painter and is proficient in numerous additional construction and maintenance trades. He has many hobbies and interests, including ceramic art, which he has practiced for 35 years. He is also a long-time percussion drummer and an avid photographer. In addition to his work in the trades, Arthur has taught courses in ceramics and English as a Second Language, and he has also tutored Spanish. He is looking forward to supporting the new ceramics program as part of his many hands-on duties at Chartwell. Kelly San Filippo is a new language, math, and humanities educator. After growing up on the Monterey Peninsula, she earned a B.S. in Human Development from the University of California, Davis, a teaching credential from St. Mary’s College, and an M.A. in Education from Chapman University. She has more than 8 years of experience teaching grades 2-6 at schools throughout Monterey County and in Washington State. Kelly most recently worked in an administrative role at Stevenson School, her high school alma mater, where she served as Assistant Director of Admission at the Carmel campus. She lives in Monterey with her husband Russ, a fire fighter, and her two boys, Ethan (aged 4) and Aidan (aged 3).


William (Billy) Swift is a new language and humanities teacher in the middle school program. Prior to joining the Chartwell team, he taught for five years at Landmark School in Prides Crossing, Massachusetts. Billy holds a B.A. in English from Western Connecticut State University, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Lesley University, and an M.A. in Special Education from Simmons College. He strives to instill students with important skills and strategies that they can apply to any aspect of life. Outside the classroom, he spends most of his time exploring the California coast with his wife, Sasha. Sara Valancy joins the Chartwell team after transitioning from The New High School Project, where she taught math and science last year. As a new math educator at the lower school, her goal is to have students experience math in a positive and applicable way, including focusing on the “why” and “how” an answer is found. Her academic background includes undergraduate degrees in Math and Liberal Studies from CSUMB, as well as graduate coursework at the University of California, Berkeley. Sara remains a passionate volunteer and advocate for Animal Friends Rescue Project in Pacific Grove. Chartwell Newsletter – Fall 2013

Chartwell School & The New High School Project 2511 Numa Watson Rd. Seaside, CA 93955

Because Not All Great Minds Think Alike

Creature Comforts: Science at Chartwell

A big part of our mission at Chartwell is helping students overcome fears and unknowns in order to learn, grow confident, and make new friends. In science class we are aided in this mission by several scaly and furry friends, including Cornelia the corn snake, Monty the python, Rosie the tarantula (now sadly deceased), and Lizzy the bearded dragon. While they may seem scary at first, these creatures make fast friends with Chartwell students, helping them develop open, fearless minds as they pursue their studies in science and beyond. Feel free to pay these creatures a visit on your next trip to Chartwell!

The Write Stuff: Fall 2013  

The Newsletter of Chartwell School and The New High School Project