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Volume 20 Issue 3 November 18, 2013

The Wilson Word A publication of The Wilson School, Founded 1913

A Culture of Growth

Now In Our Second Century of Excellence!

By Head of School, Thad Falkner t Wilson, we know that exceptional teachers who work within a culture of growth do wonderful things to educate students. We experience daily what current research reinforces; a culture of professional growth is one of the top five aspects of a great school.


What you may not know is that Wilson, in large part due to our Excellence Program, allocates a percentage of our operational budget that is double—and sometimes triple—the average independent school funding toward professional development. All Wilson teachers make it a practice to attend at least one leading-level conference every two years, in addition to countless local workshops and specific in-service programs held at the school. We do all of this because our children benefit when their teachers invest time and thought toward their own education. On November 7th and 8th every member of Wilson’s faculty and administration attended the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) Annual Conference. ISACS is the accrediting entity which also carries out the charge of providing outstanding professional development opportunities. One of the main themes this year was the notion of preparing children for a rapidly changing and increasingly global economy. Reflecting on our own mission statement, it reinforced to me that Wilson is on track—if not ahead of the curve—as we continually seek to evolve our current best practices in topics such as language acquisition, cultural competencies, current events, historical contexts and service learning. Even at the Board of Trustees level,

In This Issue! Head of School 1 Admissions 2 Open House 2 PK 3 First Grade 4 Fourth Grade 6 French 8

Latin 10 PE 12 Development 14 Auction 15 “Wall” of Fame 15 Calendar 16

globalization is one of three primary pillars in the school’s Long Range Plan being developed over the course of the next twelve months. Perhaps my biggest take-away from the conference came from one of the keynote speakers, Hal Gregersen, author and co-founder of The Innovator’s DNA: Five Skills for Positive Change, who challenged us to ask more questions and enable our students to do the same. We can’t begin to imagine what tools and technology they will need to know as adults entering the workforce. But we can prepare them for that world by cultivating their ability to think, question and collaborate with others to find the answers. What a wonderful reminder to all of us that the more things change, the more certain things, like the value of a good education, remain the same.


A Warm Wilson Welcome to Five New Students and Their Families!


very warm welcome is extended to five new students and their families, who have recently joined the Wilson community!

Junior Kindergarten

Kalea Wombles Christina and Tim Wombles

Senior Kindergarten

Paul Hensel Miekeley Jessika Miekeley and Peter Hensel Brady Klopfenstein Amanda and Mike Klopfenstein

Second Grade

By Director of Admissions Laura Hartung

Sahar Bhutto Shadab and Kashif Bhutto

Fifth Grade

Hallie Klopfenstein Amanda and Mike Klopfenstein

Wilson Open House Success

By Director of Admissions Laura Hartung



his year’s Public Open House brought in a large number of prospective Wilson families, as well as alumni, sixth grade students and parent volunteers. Our volunteers were on hand to greet guests, conduct tours and assist with ongoing demonstrations. Wilson came to life with students demonstrating their skills in robotics and on the climbing wall. Trustees assisted with a demonstration of the Immersion Wall, and projects were on display in art, music and science as well as individual classrooms. A live feed of the Innovation Room was internally broadcasted in the library to give our visitors a preview as they made their way to our new space on the lower level!

Many thanks to everyone who made the Wilson Public Open House such a great success.

A Wonder-Filled World of Learning

he pre-kindergarten classroom is a wonderful world of learning. Our class is fantastic at creating and using imaginative play. We seem to be a class that likes to cut and create.


The children are very busy each day creating new things and discovering new projects to do. We love audio books and counting objects and patterning. We love singing new songs and learning finger plays. We have made friends and love playing on the playground with them. Our year has been packed with reviewing concepts we already knew, and introducing brand new ones. The PK class loves to learn a concept and then put it into action or explore it more through hands on activities.

By PK Teachers Linda Noel & Debbie Wilhelms

Our fourth grade buddies are so exciting! We look forward to spending time with them every Wednesday and having lunch with them every day. It is wonderful observing the children interacting together, learning from each other. We are looking forward to our upcoming sharing feast with the fourth grade that will take place on November 20, and then in December we will do a service project with our Buddies as well.


A Love for Learning in 1st Grade

By 1st Grade Teachers Penny Lyles and Lauren McDonell

word and come back to it after we have read the remaining part of the sentence. In math, first graders are strengthening their number sense and becoming strong mathematicians. They use many math tools, play math games, work cooperatively, and write in their math journals. Our first graders have created several math projects with patterns, place value, and number sentences. First grade has gone outside of the classroom and used community resources to broaden their learning. In September, we visited the zoo to further our animal research. We celebrated Johnny Apple Seed Day in October by exploring Eckert’s Farm. It was a perfect fall day for apple picking, hay riding and picnicking. Lastly, our visit the Delta Dental Theater was a culminating activity to our Human Body Unit. It’s been a busy but exciting start to the year!

t’s an exciting time to be a first grader at The Wilson School! Our first graders show enthusiasm and demonstrate high standards in the classroom while having fun. This year we have incorporated many parts of the Whole Brain Teaching method into our classroom. The students love the attention grabbers and choral responses. We also implemented the behavioral system, Class Dojo. At the end of each day, we have a Top Dojo winner based on the number of points that students have earned for the day. What’s uniquely special about this program is that the students are able to self monitor their behavior. Our students are so kind to one another and show great sportsmanship towards the winner of the day. There’s always cheering and congratulatory praises for our class winner.


Our first graders are divided into two groups: the Intellects and the Scholars. Each group contains 3-5 students who are reading at a similar level. The students meet with the teachers three times a week to improve their fluency, word attack skills, and reading comprehension. We have reading friends to support our reading skills such as Lips the Fish. Lips the Fish helps us to pronounce the first sound of an unknown word. When we come to a difficult word, we fix our lips to make the beginning sound of that word. Flippy the Dolphin is another reading friend that teaches us to flip the vowel sound in challenging words. If the long vowel sound doesn’t sound correct, then we try a short vowel sound. Skippy the Frog let’s us know that it is all right to skip a word when learning to read. We simply skip over the challenging


Come into our classroom and you’ll be impressed by all of our hard work! Just don’t forget to wave hello to Flippy the Dolphin first!


Growing Into Our Own

By 4th Grade Teachers Roberta Goldfeder and Lisa Leuther

ourth graders face many new challenges this year. The daily schedule is fast-paced, varied, and requires the students to employ a great degree of self-discipline. The values of being focused in class, organized and conscientious about completing assignments neatly, thoroughly, and on time are important attributes we stress throughout the year. Helping students develop strong work and study skills necessary to be a responsible, productive and successful student are emphasized in each class.


The highlight of these first few months has been the PK/ Fourth Grade Buddy Program. To observe these two classes together you would have thought they were old friends. Fourth graders are helping their friends adjust to life at Wilson School. Many in the class remember experiences with their fourth grade friend. Now it is their turn to be the role model. Watching these kids together can’t help but make one smile. Fourth graders will face challenges socially, academically and personally. Problem solving is a skill that is taught and used throughout the curriculum. We are introducing the strategies one can use in math. These strategies can be used not only when solving a math problem, but when working with a group, planning an event, writing a story, and playing with a friend. Our goal is for each student to recognize the importance of using these different strategies to help them solve the variety of situations that can affect any one of us doing our daily lives. Fourth graders have busy school days, and many also are involved in band, WASA, music lessons, and various sports teams. It is easy to see why strong organizational skills and self-discipline are going to be the keys to a successful year.


To observe these two classes together, you would have thought they were old friends.


Allons-y! [Let’s Go!]

By French and Latin Teacher Joana Ocros-Ritter




Second grade students are moving into descriptions and story re-telling. Their particular interest is in all things “Marsupilami,” a funny creature who does get out of even the trickiest situations.


Third grade is learning about likes and dislikes and playing Loto. Homework has started, and is typically given out once a week, on Thursdays. We have also posted a French rap on YouTube that the kids loved to perform – and watch!


In fourth grade, students have started working on the higher level of Alex and Zoe, and are reviewing French spelling. They have also recorded a video and we have posted it on YouTube – you can find the link to this video on my French web page in Wilson’s parent portal.


Fifth grade is well on their way in conversations about daily schedules, schools and the importance of telling time properly.


Students in sixth grade have taken a field trip to Ste. Geneviève, which now is the basis for their learning about French America, about cities and houses ... and some serious grammar too. Soon the students will write a diary/letter in the guise of a French colonial subject from our area, complete with historical details in French. Excitement is in the air!

uelle histoire …! The new school year is not so new anymore, and this is most easily measured by the progress the children are making in French.

À bientôt!



In first grade, the children have been introduced to Alex and Zoé, the characters of the textbooks that will accompany them for the next few years. The children have started listening to French dialogue, matching the spoken word to the correct images, and have begun to put together folders of their work in French.

In Pre-Kindergarten, the children are already familiar with the sounds of French, such as R, J, E, U and all the nasal sounds. You will hear PK students sounding like little airplanes (J), brushing their teeth and gargling (R), swimming like little tropical fish (E, U) around the room. “L’Âne Trotro” is a favorite character. You can find a link to these short French cartoons on my French web page in Wilson’s parent portal.


In JK, the children are putting on 30 second plays after listening to favorite French books, such as Pouët, Pouët, Petite Bête, while learning colors and commands – and laughing heartily at the exploits of Petite bête!


In SK, we finished revisions and are enjoying learning about animals, and reviewing our polite expressions. Belle la Coccinelle is a great favorite of the kids. We have just finished reading a book about Belle, and have put together the timeline of the story in images. Pretty cool!


Iuventuti Nil Arduum [For the Young, Nothing is too Difficult.] By French and Latin Teacher Joana Ocros-Ritter

Relatives of Noble Romans, SALVETE!



hat a great beginning we’ve had this year – Latin is a long-awaited, anxiously anticipated subject, and our bright young “Noble Romans” seem more than ready to take on Latin vocabulary, geography and history. The fourth grade family, the AUREII, part of our VILSONII clan, has already discovered its members’ Roman names … yet mystery is still surrounding the exact ties that bind them together. When we will see their BULLAS, we will know. Our intrepid fourth and fifth grade student are busy writing and illustrating mini-mysteries based on the “Roman Mysteries” series, by Caroline Lawrence. The stories are centered in Ostia, the port city of Rome, and have a cast of four young “detectives”. Together, Flavia, Jonathan, Nubia and Lupus solve mysteries while teaching us a lot about daily life in Ancient Rome. Our older and wiser V graders, known among ourselves as the AVESLANII, are learning about Roman cities in Britannia, Hadrian’s wall and the travails of daily life in the Roman provinces – all while looking forward to running for political office later this year. The GLAUCI, our sixth grade Noble Romans are experiencing the first real, in-depth longer texts, weekly homework and definitely rejoicing in frequent examinations ... hmmm ... ITA VERO!


Come Run With Us!

By Physical Education Teacher Rachel Simpson MR, RRRM, GOTR, what do all these letters mean? To the Wilson School students they mean run, run, run!!! Seven boys just completed a 5K run on November 3rd to wrap up the seven week “Let Me Run” program. “Let Me Run” (LMR) is for boys in fourth, fifth and sixth grades.


The Wilson School boys were among the first in Missouri to participate in LMR. We are so excited to bring this program, that started in North Carolina, to the St. Louis area. The motto of LMR is, “We inspire boys through the power of


running to be courageous enough to be themselves, to build healthy relationships, and to live an active lifestyle.” We plan to offer this program every Fall. The Read, Right, Run, Marathon (RRRM) is just getting started. This is a voluntary program for students throughout the St. Louis area. It is sponsored by “Go! St. Louis” and runs in conjunction with a family fitness weekend and the St. Louis Marathon and Half Marathon in April, 2014. The goal of RRRM is to promote reading, “righting” the community by doing good deeds, and running for fitness. The schedule is set up so that participants complete the goal each week of reading a book, doing a good deed, and running a mile. Students receive a journal to record their accomplishments, and chart their progress. The culminating event is a run for all of the participants held on April 5, 2014, in Forest Park. Children SK-5th grade run 1.2 miles, 6th grade and above run a 5K race (3.1 miles). Sixth graders at an elementary school have the option of doing the 1.2 mile run. There is still time to sign up. Check the electronic Friday Folder for instructions! Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a positive youth development program that inspires girls in 3rd - 6th grade to stay true to themselves and live free from society’s stereotypes. The 10 week program incorporates healthy life choices with training for a 5K run. The Wilson School participates in the spring season of GOTR. Information will go out in January, 2014.


Supporting Wilson

n this “MYMAGO” year of gratitude, I would like to thank all of our supporters for your wonderful generosity. Your contributions allow The Wilson School to provide otherwise unattainable resources for our students, assuring they receive an excellent education taught by our exceptional faculty.


Each year, we rely on Annual Giving donations to provide an enriched education experience. The Annual Giving Campaign for the 2013-14 school year is underway!

By Development Coordinator Elizabeth Macanufo

The Annual Giving Campaign includes the Annual Fund and Excellence Fund. Annual Fund donations are unrestricted and immediately available for the needs of the school, applied to the operating budget and used to enhance the Wilson experience for our students. Excellence Fund donations go toward innovative student programming and community partnerships including Washington University and the St. Louis Zoo, faculty professional development such as the Wilson Teacher Institute, an unparalleled library print and non-print collection, and visiting authors, artists and speakers. Thank you to our early donors who have already helped us reach one quarter of our Annual and Excellence Fund goals! Last year, in conjunction with our 100th year as a school, we achieved 100 percent giving from our board, faculty and staff and parents.

This year’s Trivia Night held in October raised over $3,400. Families who came had fun and supported our new tradition of allocating the funds toward The Wilson School’s endowment. 14

In addition to the Annual Fund, The Wilson School also fundraises for our endowment. Unlike Annual Giving funds which supplement the academic year budget, endowment funds are invested capital, with the earnings being used toward enhancing Wilson’s educational foundation. Areas that these gifts support often include student scholarships, facility renovations and maintenance, and educational initiatives. Due to the magnitude of these projects, their costs cannot be met through the operating budget. Gifts to the endowment can be made any time during the calendar year or through a planned or estate gift. Would you like to help support our school’s day to day activities and long-term financial stability? You can make a tax-deductible donation to Annual Giving or the endowment on our website. You can also learn more about giving opportunities, and ways to make a gift. Have you already made a planned gift to The Wilson School? If so, let us know! Feel free to contact me with questions at

Snow Report he weatherman says to mark your calendar for January 25, 2014! Snow or no snow, it will be a perfect evening for Après Ski fun at the 31st annual Thistle Auction at Palladium St. Louis. Watch for your invitation to arrive in December.


Visit support/thistle-auction to learn more!

Wilson “Wall” of Fame s seen here in some of our most popular Facebook photos, Wilson students are on the move! If you haven’t already, visit our Facebook page to get a daily glimpse of life at Wilson and share with your friends and family.



Calendar of Events

The Wilson Word Check the Wilson School website for more dates and details: 16

Nov. 20 & 21

5th & 6th Grade Musical

Nov. 22

Fall Festival

Nov. 27

Grandparents’ & Special Friends’ Day

Nov. 27

Noon Dismissal

Nov. 28 & 29

No School – Thanksgiving Break

Dec. 10

Centennial Campaign Closing Celebration

Dec. 11

Morning Coffee for Parents

Dec. 11

Assembly - BBC

Dec. 12

Wilson School Night at the Blues

Dec. 13

No School – Progress Report Writing Day

Dec. 13

Barnes & Noble Book Fair

Dec. 20

Noon Dismissal

Dec. 21

Winter Break Begins

Jan. 6 2013

School Resumes

Jan. 15

Used Book Drop Day

Jan. 16

Speaker Series – Edmund Sprunger

Jan. 20

No School

Jan. 21

Board of Trustees Meeting

Jan. 22

Assembly – BBC

The Wilson Word November 2013, Volume 20: Issue 3  
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