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C IRCLE B ACK September 8, 2011

The Peace Testimony My 359-Month-Old Easing The Transition The First Six Weeks

Curious about sibling admissions? See page 6 September 6-16

Lower School Potlucks


Arts@SFFS Gallery Opening (3:30-4:30p)


SFFS Board Meeting (6:30p)


Annual Fund Volunteer Training (6:00p)

18-23 Yosemite Trip (8th Grade) 21

Back-to-School Night - Lower School


Back-to-School Night - Middle School

(6:15 - 8:45p) (6:15 - 8:45p)

October 4

Building Friends Campaign Kick-Off (6:00-9:30p)


Community Worship (8:40-9:15a)


Parents Association Meeting (6:00-7:00p) san francisco friends school * 250 valencia street, san francisco, ca 94103 * 415.565.0400 *

Gallery Opening This Friday We are proud to announce the second year of the Arts@SFFS gallery space. The purpose of the gallery is to engage our school with a wide variety of artwork by adults in our community as well as by artists in the Bay Area. Each month we show a new artist or group of artists. There is an “opening” where the artist/s invite students, staff, and families to interact, ask questions, and make art with them. 15% of all sales go to the SFFS Scholarship Fund. The SFFS arts gallery is located on the second floor of the school where you exit from the elevator. Our gallery space kicks off the new school year with the works of a local photographer, Allison Tungseth. Allison’s work is about looking closer and seeing things in a new way. For this show she will be sharing works that focus on “place” and “home”. Tungseth uses her craft to open up private worlds and visions that allow the viewer to make connections to the experiences and lives of others. The opening for this show is on Friday, September 9th, 3:30-4:30. Come meet Allison, see her work, and make some art!

Opening: September 9, 3:30-4:30p Contact: Jen Stuart, Art

Stuffed Animals for Visual Arts Project Donate your old stuffed animals to our school art project. Drop items in art room. Caren Andrews and Jen Stuart September 8, 2011

Photograph by Alison Tungseth

Join the Diversity Steering Committee Parents: please join this school committee to discuss how to deepen the diversity of our school community and our understanding of the value of diversity. Meetings are on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, 5:00-6:00p. Next meeting: September 14, 5:00 - 6:00p

Back-to-School Nights Come back to school on September 21 (LS) & 27 (MS), 6:15-8:45p. The evening starts with a reception in the unfinished 3rd floor space (hearty refreshments and music). Presentations and classroom visits to follow. Details: September 21 (LS), 6:15p - 8:45p September 27 (MS), 6:15p - 8:45p Jennifer Arnest (LS) Andrew Salverda (MS)

Room 225 (Diali’s room) Guybe Slangen & Diali Bose-Roy

Francis of Assisi Rummage Sale The Francis of Assissi Senior Community is holding their annual rummage sale. Details: September 24 145 Guerrero Street Ginny Solorzano

PARKing Day The 6th grade will be creating our own “parklette” in front of our school as part of global PARKing Day, an event that “invites people to rethink the way streets are used.” We will be one of over 800 parks in over 30 countries that day! Details: September 16 Jen Stuart San Francisco Friends School


The Peace Testimony Each year, our school community undertakes a year-long exploration of one of the Quaker testimonies, those simple and profound calls to live in accordance with the understanding that there is that of God in every person. This year we are probing the peace testimony, which challenges us not only to oppose war and violence, but also to work to eliminate the conditions that lead to them. As teachers in a Friends school, one way that we do that work is to teach and practice the skills that help children and adults solve problems peacefully. As a faculty, we began this year’s exploration of peacemaking and healthy conflict with a visit from “the Quaker Ladies,” Lynn Brick and Priscilla Taylor-Williams of the Moorestown Friends School religion department. In a beautiful worship share under an enormous fig tree during our faculty retreat, we reflected on our experiences of peace and conflict in our school careers. The teachers’ thoughtful comments underscored the way that the testimony challenges us on all levels: internally, interpersonally, in our communities, and as world citizens. We focused especially on practices within our school for helping children manage conflict in peaceful ways, such as the peace tables in the Kindergarten and first grade classrooms, and the class meetings and Meetings for Business that help children of all ages work together to resolve difficult problems. Teachers were especially reflective about the role of listening when “waging peace,” because the experience of feeling heard is so crucial to the process of finding a mutually respectful way forward. Now that school has begun, teachers are introducing the students to three queries about the peace testimony that were developed by the Quaker Life Committee. These queries, which will serve as touchstones for our work together all year, are:

• What is peace? • Where do I see examples of peace in our community? • How do I find peace within myself? We hope that you, too, will engage this year in listening to the wisdom of both the “small voice within” and the gathered community in your life’s work of living the peace testimony. -- Gwen Rino, Academic Dean

A “testimony” is a central value in the Quaker faith. There are six Quaker testimonies: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, Stewardship As a Friends school, we are committed to letting these Quaker testimonies guide our educational program and community. September 8, 2011

San Francisco Friends School

On Having A 359-Month-Old I have a bench at my local Peet’s, and a favorite end of the bench, along with a well-rehearsed grouchy look, which allows me to eavesdrop, read the Sunday Times, and reliably prevent any idle chatter with hyper-caffeinated Oaklanders. Recently, my bench mates were two young moms, using the broadcastvolume voices preferred by mothers who are eager to share their uncomplicated feelings about television, Barbies, and Cheetos with the general public. They were chirpy and anxious, yoga’d and manicured, and laden with enough supplies for a three-month trek to Bhutan. Between them were the two little ones on the receiving end of this parenting expertise - a 12-week-old and a 14-month old. I eavesdropped grouchily. These two moms made me feel old. Really old. I am the parent of a 359-month-old and a 323-month-old. They were born back in the 1900’s, when coffee came in cans labeled Chock Full ‘O Nuts, and the five channels of television were warmly regarded as trusty family members who tended your children. There were no yoga mats or cell phones; in fact, we’d just “upgraded” from a rotary dial to a trendy touch-tone. Back in the 1900’s, vast stretches of time went by when kids were not only unsupervised, but completely without stimulating educational toys. Once we got a VCR, our kids watched the same cartoons over and over and over and over again. It was simpler back then. We had nothing against oxidants, and most of our radicals were still imprisoned.

Something like, “love deeply, trust who they are”

I didn’t interrupt the flow of wisdom from the young moms, but really, as the mother of 359- and 323-month-olds I wanted to tell them that we’d learned a lot more from our kids than they’d learned from us. And we’re still learning, even as our “big boy” nears his 30th birthday. In the beginning we learned about our own capacity for love, about our stamina, and about how to take an infant on a long road trip. Neither strict nor permissive, we just waffled around in the middle, depending upon how much sleep we’d gotten the night before. We thought that everything wonderful that our first kid did or said was the result of our stellar parenting skills. We started on the nurture side of the debate, and, with our second kid, did a philosophical 180. We saw, with humility, that kids seem to arrive on terra firma hell-bent to be themselves. So we did our best to get out of the way.

Ben, 10 months old My bench-mate moms made me wonder if there isn’t a seven-word guide for childrearing, the equivalent of Michael Pollan’s rules for eating: “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Something like, “love deeply, trust who they are.” Forget all the busy-ness and worrying, and just take in the beauty of your children; their sweet hands in yours, their furrowed concentration as you read to them, their joyous play in the park. And cross your fingers; next thing you know they’ll be 359 months old. -- Cathy Hunter, Head of School

Mark Twain wrote, “When I was a boy of 14 my father was so ignorant I could barely stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.” I think our 359- and 323-month-olds would say that their parents learned an “astonishing” amount too. They’d have a couple good yarns to spin about the times we got wrapped around the parenting axle, and about our wanton use of “grounding” in those memorable teen years. But overall, I think they’d characterize our parenting foibles as a reliable source of a good laugh. Ben, on left, 359 months old September 8, 2011

San Francisco Friends School

8th Grade Field Trip SFFS 8th graders pose in front of a newly unveiled mural designed to raise awareness about undocumented immigrant youth. The mural is painted on the wall of the San Francisco Meeting and American Friends Service Committee building on 9th Street. While visiting the building, 8th graders attended a presentation by Pablo Paredes from the AFSC about the challenges these youth face everyday as they struggle to make a life in America. Learn more about these youth at

Easing the Transition with Abby Rovner As 7th and 8th graders prepare to make the leap to high school, there is a new face at Friends to help them along the way. Abby Rovner will be serving as our high school transition coordinator, overseeing the complex process of applying to high school. Abby comes to SFFS directly from the Mission-based “I Have A Dream” Foundation of San Francisco. Since its inception more than a decade ago, Abby served as its Executive Director. Abby taught Language Arts, Literature, and English as a Second Language to middle school students at a Newcomer’s program in Redwood City, worked in the administration of a Redwood City charter school, and served as mentor and guide for Waking the Village, a nonprofit that brought eighteen at-risk and homeless youth on a cross-country bicycle trip across the country. Besides leading programs and supporting youth to reach their full potential, Abby loves yoga, baking, the outdoors, her dog, Izzy, and her family. September 8, 2011

San Francisco Friends School

The First Six Weeks No matter his or her preschool experience, the first six weeks of kindergarten are a whole new thing for our newest students. New routines, community expectations, caring for the classroom and for each other: we are all learning a lot about each other. As the teachers in the room, we work hard to create a warm and safe climate for every timid or brave student. We learn each other’s names and how loud voices can be during writing workshops. We learn that mistakes are OK and you won’t be laughed at for saying or doing the wrong thing. We are learn what to do when you finish an assignment early. We learn that a friendly “good morning” or “will you play with me?” is very much appreciated. In these first six weeks, we talk about our goals, hopes, and dreams for the school year and we articulate a set of rules that will help each child achieve these aims. We create a predictable, orderly classroom that reduces anxiety and fosters a supportive and collaborative atmosphere. The work is both exhilarating and exhausting but it is an investment that pays off all year long for all of us. -- Shawn, Noah, Emma & Jane The Kindergarten Team

Sibling Admissions Process If your child has a sibling who will apply for kindergarten next year, the application process begins in mid-October. Packets will be mailed in mid-September. Here are the deadlines: Application due:

October 17, 2011

Teacher Recommendation due:

November 2, 2011

Child Visit:

November 7, 2011

Admission Decisions:

November 16, 2011

Families applying for tuition assistance follow the same procedure as other applicants, submitting financial statements to the SSS by February 1, 2012. Please contact Yvette or Suzanne in the Admissions Office if you plan on applying for sibling admission.,

September 8, 2011

San Francisco Friends School

Circle Back - September 8  

October September 8, 2011 5 Community Worship (8:40-9:15a) 13 SFFS Board Meeting (6:30p) 21 Back-to-School Night - Lower School 27 Back-to-S...

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