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Report

The Ridge

March 2014

The Advantages of All-Girls Education From time to time, the media highlights studies that either support or debunk the advantages of an all-girls education. One only has to spend a short time on the Forest Ridge campus to recognize the advantages of an all-girls education. It is clear: Girls schools create a culture of achievement. If you have a moment, take a look at this short piece by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS) that provides the research basis for the claims we make: http://ncgs.org/ GirlsSchoolAdvantage.aspx Here’s an example: Three times as many girls enter engineering programs from girls schools than from a coed environment. This month Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, Annie Wright School, Seattle Girls’ School and Lake Washington Girls Middle School, in collaboration with the NCGS, will host a program that speaks directly to the girls-school advantage. Girls School Advantage Program Thursday, March 20, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S. Massachusetts St., Seattle - http://www.naamnw.org/private-events/

The evening, hosted by Megan Murphy, executive director of NCGS, will feature Dr. Linda Sax, professor in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (http://gseis.ucla.edu/people/ sax), and a student panel with representatives from local NCGS member schools. PROGRAM OUTLINE • Welcome and talk by Dr. Sax. • Student panel moderated by Megan Murphy. • School Fair featuring Forest Ridge, Annie Wright, Seattle Girls’ School and Lake Washington Girls Middle School. You know the benefits of the education your daughter is receiving today. If you want to hear more, please join us on March 20. If you have friends who would benefit from the evening, please feel free to share this with them! Together we can get the word out that girls schools do have an advantage! Mark Pierotti Head of School


Winterim 2014:

An Exploration

Rebecca Wilson Dean of Students

The 2014 Winterim was a great opportunity for high school students to explore possibilities and experiences outside the traditional classroom setting.

Health and Wellness program participants explored access to food and healthy lifestyles through videos, speakers and a service project. We were pleased to partner with the Coal Creek Family Y and Green Plate Special for these opportunities.

The ninth and 10th grades studied community issues through a series of speakers, field trips and service projects. The curriculum was based upon The Seattle Foundation’s Healthy Community framework. Students were able to choose from among three elements: Arts and Culture, Basic Needs, and Health and Wellness. The Arts and Culture program kicked off with a workshop led by ArtsEd Washington’s executive director, Una McAlinden, who talked about the need for arts education in schools. The group then took a field trip to the Junior League of Seattle and the Burke Museum to learn about how both organizations are helping fill the gap with the Northwest Art Project*, Burke Boxes** and the BurkeMobile***. The following day, students were challenged to draw on their observations at the Junior League and the Burke the previous day and act as docents to provide information about an art piece. The students closed Winterim with an afternoon at the Experience Music Project Museum. Students in the Basic Needs program studied ways that organizations are filling voids in the community. The group spent a morning at Northwest Harvest packing rice for distribution to food banks. The following day, members of the group were able to examine the differences in homeless/ transitional housing situations and support services for men and women as they volunteered at Mary’s Place and toured St. Martin De Porres Shelter. *The Northwest Art Project is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The program was the brainchild of Junior League of Seattle (JLS) sustaining member, Dee Dickinson. The program introduces elementary school children, the community and JLS members to the rich production of Northwest artists in this highly respected art collection. Through informal and intimate discussion of the pieces, the children experience more than a formal art history lesson. 2 The Ridge Report

The 11th grade participated in the 20th annual Kairos retreat. This retreat offers juniors the opportunity to live for a few days on “God’s time,” giving them time to examine their personal relationship with God and to consider what it means to live in God’s time. The Kairos retreat is led by seniors who have participated in the retreat the previous year and a small number of faculty members. The building of a strong community takes place during this time of openness, reflection and trust. For the third year, programming for the senior class consisted of a series of workshops focused on preparing for future success. The two days started out with a vision boarding exercise, followed by a nutrition workshop from former FRidge intern Lindsey Callihan. Next were a financial planning session with an advisor from Laird Norton Wealth Management, résumé writing and interviewing with FR’s own Ben Sherman, building healthy relationships in college with Forest Ridge counselor Katey Nicolai, and getting the “real” scoop on the first semester in college from an advisor from the University of Washington’s First Year programs.

As you can see, this year’s Winterim offered a diverse and interesting group of learning options perfect for the mid-year experience outside the classroom. We look forward to offering more new opportunities next year. **Burke Boxes are portable boxes of scientific specimens and cultural artifacts for all ages, designed to supplement the study of various topics in cultural and natural history. More than 1,000 artifacts and scientific objects are included in the collections. Topics range across the museum’s many disciplines, including Native American and Pacific Rim culture studies, earth science, and biological sciences.

***BurkeMobile is a special traveling program that sends Burke educators and real museum objects to classrooms across the state, where students participate in hands-on, standards based investigations of their natural and cultural heritage. The BurkeMobile brings Native American objects, real fossils, mammal skulls and museum-prepared birds to students.


Does PE stand for “Play Education?”

W

hile the word fun might not appear in the Goals and Criteria for Sacred Heart Schools, the idea is definitely there — in the community building, the personal responsibility for balance and well-being, the welcoming environment, and even in the call for creative use of the imagination. The Middle School’s physical education department takes the lead in nurturing fun and play in the middle school. Recognizing that physical education is important in the development of the whole child, the department emphasizes sound fitness skills and habits, fundamental motor skills, basic sport skills, game strategies and rules, and practices for good health. Students explore a range of sports and games with a strong emphasis on cooperation. Throughout the year, they discuss the value of sports and fitness in daily life and as part of a healthy lifestyle. Students benefit in a variety of ways from their time in PE class. Being in the gym is the time that athletes shine, taking on a leadership role and sharing their gifts abundantly. For other students, entering the gym is a time to move out of their comfort zone. More than one student has started the year declaring, “You should know I have a fear of …,” but by the end of their first year, that fear is transformed into a grudging respect, if not complete enjoyment. Some students discover a new sport that they love and excel in and decide to join either Forest Ridge or club teams. Others are grateful for the opportunity to get out of the classroom and hike through the hillside woods in sporadic sunshine with their friends. All students have the opportunity to practice sportsmanship, team building, and risk-taking, and each girl experiences the health benefits and stress-reduction merits of regular exercise. Local expert and affiliate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine John Medina, Ph.D., recognizes the importance of exercise in his Brain Rules. Rule #1 is: “Exercise boosts brain power.” His research notes that exercise reduces stress and aids in planning, focus, and problem solving. As one Forest Ridge student wisely put it, “PE is my favorite class because you exercise your body, and it helps your brain.” PE class is also a place to cultivate the growth mindset we stress throughout our middle school program. Sports provide an opportunity to grow skills no matter how advanced students are in a certain sport or activity. Middle school physical education teachers promote positive, enthusiastic effort and an environment that encourages students to take risks and to meet and conquer their challenges. Facing challenges with effort and a positive attitude promotes “personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom.”

Perhaps most significant in a week full of schedules, lists, classes, practices and obligations: Your daughter’s three periods of PE give her time to play. Dr. Stuart Brown, psychiatrist and founder of the National Institute of Play, has studied the multitude of benefits of play, which include problem solving, innovation, empathy, creativity, adaptability and resilience, to name a few. He writes, “Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” Game on!

Jenny McGovern Middle School Academics Dean

The Ridge Report 3


Stretched by the stories of others Tanya Lange, Campus Minister

I have been lucky enough to be a part of the Peace and Reconciliation experience and trip to Israel for the past three years. This year will mark my fourth trip to Israel — my fourth “experience of a lifetime.” I wonder: What will be different? The Wailing Wall will be in the same place. The Old City will still have narrow, cobblestone streets. Seeing the Mediterranean from the top of the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa will still take my breath away. I will probably buy another scarf. What will be different? As the Peace and Reconciliation program has grown, so have our relationships with our partners in-country. Some of the unique, most treasured features of the program are the opportunities we have to talk to people. We have challenged ourselves over the years to meet with people who represent a variety of perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are generous to share their stories and the stories of their families. How can we receive such an intimate gift? Brené Brown is a writer and speaker who speaks extensively about vulnerability. In her TED talk “The Power of Vulnerability,” she draws a distinction between sympathy and empathy. Brown says empathy is the ability to join someone in their pain and sorrow. Empathy is being “in it” with the other person — being in the depths of hardship. Empathy is genuine companionship, walking through the tough stuff of life. Sympathy, according to Brown, is an attempt to put a silver lining around pain. Sympathy is saying things like “You won’t always feel this way” or “That seems really hard.”

So, what do sympathy and empathy have to do with listening to stories? In preparation for this year’s trip, I have been thinking about how I want to make this experience different. I want to do more than just listen. Listening doesn’t seem complete enough. To just listen doesn’t seem like it honors the treasure that has been shared. I want to open myself to be changed by the stories. I want to be challenged and stretched. I want to let the joy and pain settle into me. I want to bring the emotion and passion of each person I meet back home. I want to allow them in. I want to be empathetic, not sympathetic. Is this possible? Is it possible to experience the kind of empathy that Brown speaks of with a person with whom you will spend only a few hours? I think it is possible. If it weren’t possible, then what would be the point of this trip? To fly to the other side of the planet, hear a few stories, buy a scarf and fly home? No. Our deepest hope for the students and adults who participate in this experience of a lifetime is that each person will let themselves be changed and stretched by the stories of those they meet.

Instead of saying, “Wow, that’s hard” in response to the story, we can say, “Thank you for sharing. I am going to let your experience influence how I look at the world. I am going to allow you to change me.” 4 The Ridge Report


Women as Global Leaders:

“Passion for Change” Our hope this year is that our students will have the opportunity to see what passion looks like in a diversity of professional realms. Our speakers are generationally and vocationally diverse and have all contributed to conversations about change in their own ways.

Kisha X. Palmer Director of Women As Global Leaders

Our second annual TEDx conference, held March 7, embraced the theme Passion for Change. Our speakers were those whose work in the world speaks to the power of channeling passions through work to make a positive impact in the community.

Update: The Peace and Reconciliation 2014 experience in Israel has been rescheduled to April 10-18 because of cancellations by the airlines in February due to extreme weather conditions. We look forward to sharing what we learn in the May Ridge Report. Please follow our journey via Twitter: @ WomenGlobalLead.

Ashley Ahearn: Ms. Ahearn is the environment reporter at KUOW, Seattle’s public radio station and part of the regional multimedia collaborative project EarthFix. Before joining KUOW, Ms. Ahearn was a producer and reporter for Living on Earth, a nationally aired environment program from Public Radio International. She has a master’s degree in science journalism from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California and has completed reporting fellowships with MIT, the Vermont Law School, the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island, and the Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Society of Environmental Journalists. John Fenoli: Mr. Fenoli has a master’s degree in science education from Florida Institute of Technology and a master’s in acupuncture. He holds two patents. Along with his former student, Steven Mensing, Mr. Fenoli was honored with a Presidential Environmental Merit Award from President Jimmy Carter. Mr. Fenoli has worked as an environmental consultant in a company he founded. Mr. Fenoli has received the Tandy Science and Mathematics Educator Award, twice been selected as Forest Ridge’s Teacher of the Year, and has been honored as one of the pioneers of the “Physics First” science program at the National Science Teachers Association convention in San Diego, Calif.. The 2013-2014 school year is Mr. Fenoli’s 32nd year of teaching high school science at Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. Mark Gonzales: Poet. Speaker. Writer. Philosopher. Thinker. He is a social entrepreneur and impact speaker who specializes in social wellness.” Mr. Gonzales has many titles, all of which reveal his appreciation for life and his passion for creativity. With over a decade of experience focusing on emotional intelligence, sacred education, design thinking and human development, Mr. Gonzales isa major voice in the role of culture in reshaping genetic memory. His portfolio of clientele spans 14 countries and includes Stanford University, TED(x)Talks, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, refugee centers in the Middle East, and the World Islamic Economic Forum. In 2014, Mr. Gonzales cofounded the Institute of Narrative Growth, a platform for advancing story-based approaches to healing and success. Erin Jones: Ms. Jones is the Director of Equity and Achievement for Federal Way Public Schools. She has been involved in education for the past 23 years as an athletic coach, a public and private school teacher, an instructional coach, a state assistant superintendent and a district executive. She has taught in a variety of environments, from predominantly African-American to predominantly Caucasian schools to some of the most diverse communities in the nation. Ms. Jones received an award as Washington’s Most Innovative Foreign Language Teacher in 2007 and was selected as the Washington State Milken Educator of the Year in 2008. She was recognized at the White House in March 2013 as a Champion of Change. Ms. Jones’ greatest passion is to create equity by closing opportunity gaps and ensuring all students have access to quality early childhood programs, quality educators, high standards, culturally relevant curricula, proportional access to special programs, and intentional instruction in academic English. Rich Webb: Mr. Webb holds a B.A. in history from Vassar College and an M.B.A. with a focus on social enterprise from the University of Oxford. Following his undergraduate studies, Mr. Webb played professional soccer in Hong Kong, after which he returned to his native Peru to pursue his interest in grassroots development work. In 1998 Mr. Webb incorporated ProPeru Service Corps, later renamed ProWorld, a social enterprise committed to demonstrating that individuals traveling abroad can cultivate enormous goodwill while engaging in and financing valuable small-scale development projects. In 2010, Webb’s efforts to increase the engagement of American citizens in international affairs were recognized by the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy, which selected him as a recipient of its 2010 Citizen Diplomat Award. Webb has served on the executive committee of the International Volunteer Programs Association and is a regular presenter on volunteer travel at NAFSA, the Association of International Educators. Currently he is the chief commercial officer at Global Educators, a consortium of a dozen study abroad, intern and volunteer organizations, where he splits his time between offices in New York and Northampton, Mass. Each of these speakers has a unique perspective on our world and on the challenges and opportunities our young leaders face in the world. Questions of journalistic responsibility and the power of story, religious diversity, and education reform will be presented to our community in order for us to engage in thoughtful dialogue. You can watch video of the March 7 event on the TEDxForestRidgeSchool website. Please feel free to tweet your thoughts, comments and inspirations via Twitter: @TEDxForestRidge. The Ridge Report 5


From left, Director of Institutional Advancement Regina Mooney, Ph.D., Auction Chair Terri Nix, and Director of Advancement Operations, Annual Fund/Auction Janet Burns.

Susan Long-Walsh, Principal, Susan Long-Walsh & Associates, was the evening’s special guest speaker.

In praise of volunteers and other generous people Office of Institutional Advancement Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart

When we say, “We couldn’t do it without you,” we mean it. The “it” in this case is the 2014 Explore Auction to benefit the humanities at Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. More than 250 parents, alumnae, faculty and staff members, student helpers and friends of Forest Ridge gathered for the annual Forest Ridge Auction in February. It was a resounding success, and everyone who attended the event enjoyed the decor, delicious food, great silent and live auction items, and camaraderie with other members of the Forest Ridge community. As you know, an auction requires many volunteers, and we are grateful to everyone who helped. We are especially grateful to our amazing auction chair, Terri Nix. “The energy in the room that night was clear from the first live item. I loved it, “ said Terri Nix. “The auction is such a fun and rewarding event. You know it will be a lot of work leading up to the event, but it also is a lot of fun, especially when we have such a amazing group of parents, friends and staff who come together to create this incredible affair. I am extremely pleased and grateful to everyone who attended who helped create that amazing energy in the room and to make this such a successful event,” she added. Research shows that parental attitudes and actions impact their children’s academic success. Anne Henderson and Nancy Berla, who wrote A New Generation of Evidence: The Family Is Critical to Student Achievement, reviewed the existing research and concluded: “When parents are involved in their children’s education at home, they do better in school. And when parents are involved in school, children go farther in school, and the schools they go to are better.” That is very likely the case at Forest Ridge. And if the auction is any barometer of student and school success, we are an even better school today for the tremendous effort and participation of everyone who helped make this year’s Explore Auction such a triumph. Thanks to your generosity, we raised more than $300,000, including $106,000 for the humanities at Forest Ridge. Our success was due to the countless hours volunteers spent, the exciting donations, and the generous bidders: the many parents, alumnae and friends in the Forest Ridge community who came together to support Forest Ridge education. In addition to our deep gratitude to Terri Nix, we are also very grateful to our student volunteers and to high school faculty member Heather Mirczak, our fabulous emcee for the evening. Heather’s enthusiasm and humor connected well with our jovial and generous parents. Thank you for all you do for Forest Ridge.

Believe it or not, we’re already looking ahead to the 2015 Auction. Please keep Forest Ridge in mind for donations and auction items when you visit your favorite vacation spot, restaurant or entertainment or sports venue! 6 The Ridge Report


Parent Association: – Appreciating the Olympic Spirit

Molly McConkey and Roopa Satagopan Parent Association Co-Presidents

Like so many people around the world, our attention was thoroughly focused on the recent Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. It’s difficult not to have a deep appreciation — even a fascination — with the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” that the Olympic Games typically present. We planned to write about the Olympics; but we were so impressed with this article by psychologist and author Daniel B. Peters, Ph.D., which appeared in the Huffington Post on Feb. 21 as the closing ceremonies approached, that, instead, we decided to share his words with you. What the Olympics Can Teach Our Kids As the 2014 Winter Olympics wind down, it’s time to remember that there is something very special about the Olympics — and it’s not pride in the USA or the Americans’ medal count. For two weeks, the world comes together and is focused on watching people from different nations represent their country and compete for the gold. The tradition appeals to people of all ages — most especially, it seems, families. For these few weeks, kids seem less interested in their iPhone and iPad, and parents engage with their family instead of with their emails every night. Why does watching the Olympics as a family feel like a treat? As we collectively learn about the athletes in our living rooms — their stories, tragedies, triumphs and their culture — we become engaged in the larger world. Our kids’ minds and worlds expand in front of the screens: They ask questions, they cheer when there is a strong performance, they feel bad when someone “chokes” or takes a bad fall, and they learn to be good and fair fans and not critical or judgmental as they witness the world’s finest athletes win and lose. The Olympics can be a wonderfully engaging tool to teach kids life lessons. When you tune in tonight, I hope you consider these: Dedication: Many Olympians start training when they are in early elementary school, many leaving their families to live in dorms. They become great not only because of exceptional talent but after years of practice and thousands of hours of training. Dedication is what our kids need to accomplish any goal set before them or goals set by themselves. Perseverance: Not only do the athletes need to be dedicated, they need to persevere when injured and when they have trouble mastering a new trick, strategy or style. They do not give up when their coach and the media is critical of them. They do not give up when they are told they may not have what it takes to be among the world’s greatest athletes. They do not give up when they start to believe what others are saying. Our children need to learn to persist when they meet an unexpected obstacle, because life is full of them. Courage: Olympic athletes devote their lives to their craft. They train for the opportunity to represent their country and compete when

everyone is watching and everyone is expecting them to win. When they fall, they have to get back up and continue their performance. They have cameras on them when they receive their undesired score. They are interviewed about their poor performance and asked how they feel about it. And then they go back on the ice or slopes and give their best effort — for all to watch and judge again. Our children need courage to take chances and pursue their goals. Teamwork: Many of the Olympic sports are team sports. Even the individual sports (speed skating and figure skating, for example) still compete to earn an overall team score. It’s inspiring to watch athletes cheer for other athletes and for their larger team, their country. Our children need to learn to be a part of something larger than themselves. Sportsmanship: We watch the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” We see athletes win and show appreciation for their fellow competitors. We see athletes take hard falls, underperform, fail to achieve their life long dream and still rise up to celebrate the victories of their countrymen and competitors. Sportsmanship shows a person’s character, and shows our children how to learn to both win and lose with grace. Cultural and Economic Diversity: The Olympics gives the global audience a “reality show” like no other! Our children are armchair travelers learning about life both inside and outside the United States. As the final medal tallies add up, I’m counting the ways my own family has “won” during these Olympics. Of course, scheduling regular family dinners together is an important ingredient for raising well-adjusted children. But after the last two weeks, I also believe the same principle applies to watching the Olympics as a family. Many of us remember where we were when the U.S. hockey team beat Russia in 1980, when Mary Lou Retton solidly landed from the vault to earn the gold in 1984 and when Kerri Strug “stuck” her landing on one foot for the team gold in 1996. The Olympics bind us together and teach us all to be our very best selves — and those lessons are timeless, genderless, ageless and ultimately worth their weight in gold. (Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-b-peters-phd/what-theolympics-can-tea_b_4818661.html?utm_hp_ref=parents&ir=Parents)

The Ridge Report 7


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On the Calendar: March 14-15: HS Theater Spring Musical, “Seussical,” 7:00 p.m. each evening, Lee Theater March 24: HS IB Art Show and Reception, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Sacred Heart Center March 27: MS Conferences, NO SCHOOL, Middle School March 28: MS Faculty In-Service, NO SCHOOL, Middle School April 7: Grandparents’ and Special Guests’ Afternoon, 1:00 p.m. See forestridge.org for details! April 10: Special Guest/Mother-Daughter Breakfast, 7:15 a.m., Commons Spring Break: April 14-21, NO SCHOOL

March 2014 Ridge Report  

The monthly newsletter for the Forest Ridge parent community.

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