Spring/Summer 2022 Periscope

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Spring 2022 Community, Connection, and Commemoration

Hello Friends, I interrupt this celebration with an important announcement. Welcome to the PS1 Recruitment Fair. We are looking for a PS1 Alum or alumni parent to hire for one full-time staff position as alumni coordinator, event coordinator, and administrative assistant. Know anyone who may be interested? Have them contact me at Joel@psone.org. Thank you.


My last PeriScope article... Contains my speech given at JOEL’S JUNE JUBILEE June 5, 2022 – 800 people were there – my last public words spoken after 51 years as Head of PS1 – reprinted here.

In This Issue

P.S. Thank Also, if you thought you were here for Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee which is also happening this weekend, you are actually on the wrong side of the Pond. 45 years ago, I passed the average length of tenure for a Head of an Independent School. I raise that average … considerably. In my Graduation speeches for Each GRADUATE, I often list adjectives specific to them. In thinking about our three core values of Competence, Confidence, and Connection – I realize there are many other ‘C’ words that can be used to describe the PS1 experience and the people in our community who have great camaraderie and support childhood in collaborative ways. Here goes: On the experience side, I hope you have seen us as:


Head’s Column PAGE 2

Traditions Old and New PAGES 4

Curriculum Connections PAGES 12

Alumni and Community News BACK COVER

Welcome Erik Carlson Save the Date

THE PERISCOPE Volume 32, Number 2 Editor: Amanda Perla Designer: David Mellen Design PS1 Pluralistic School 1225 Broadway Santa Monica CA 90404 (310) 394-1313 (310) 395-1093 fax To learn more about our school, visit our website www.psone.org

(not said in speech but added to this last PeriScope column) Moving along to two other letters: in this case ‘P’ and ‘S’. Obviously they form the basis for our school’s name – Pluralistic School. Can you guess why I chose the name ‘PeriScope’ for our newsletter? It is the same P S, which is why I always capitalize both the P and the S in PeriScope. From a dictionary, we learn that a periscope is “a tubular optical instrument containing lenses and mirrors by which an observer obtains an otherwise obstructed field of view.” In other words, periscopes are used to help us see, discern, uncover, elucidate, and separate fact from fiction, jargon from truth, meaning from babble, truth from fabrication. We hope that this and all PS1 publications and communications bring you insight, clarity, and PerSpective (there’s that P S again!)

calming captivating ceremonial charitable close cohesive

complementary comprehensive conservative (not meaning politically) correctable current

And on the people side, may you have found us to be: candid capable careful caring ceaseless cheerful childlike (adults too!) civil civilized clever collegial colorful comforting committed compassionate complex

complimentary concise (maybe not me!) congenial conscientious considerate constructive cool (definitely) cooperative courageous courteous cozy creative credible curious and, I daresay, cute.

Some things keep coming clearer to me as I approach my retirement 51 years after Ellie and I started PS1. No matter what decade you were involved in at PS1 – and there are people here today from every one of the decades since the 1970s – you saw me in my life’s work, fully immersed doing everything I could around two causes ... building a school and building a movement, one directed inward and the other outward. So, as I look back, I also look ahead. And I am enormously grateful that the school has established a Founders Fund for Educational Pluralism in Ellie’s and my name. Funds raised through the Founders Fund go to support financial aid at the school and to create a center to advance pluralism. And we have raised more than $1 million to date this year … and we have only just begun. Never has the need been greater to radically transform the purpose of school to bring out the best in EACH child. If you think my adjective list was long, don’t get me started on THAT soapbox. I will save those talks for a later time. PS1 has always been outward looking in how to better society even as it has been looking inward to build the best school we possibly could. Ellie and I were introduced four months before we started PS1 together. We built a school together; and then we built a life … together. I pay tribute to my partner, my wife, and my life companion.

We started with an idea, a vision, and a mission fifty-one years ago in starting PS1. Through ups and downs, trials and tribulations, we never had to veer from the path. I have been told by people who have known me earlier in life that I still look the same. I accept that these are words often reserved for old people ... in my case I hear it as “You still look young for someone who has long ‘suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.’” If true, it is my passion and my hanging out with young children for all these years that has kept me young.


For years, including today, people have complimented me about the school - its program and education, its inclusive community, and its business acumen. By singling me out, they are avoiding the true heroes - the people who give freely of themselves in a purely voluntary capacity to make us all better in every way. And that is most of you who are here today. We have built this school together for a very long time – no matter where you joined us on our journey, thank you. And to the 300 or so people who have been gainfully employed at PS1 over the years – talk about heroes – faculty and staff who have given their best to this institution and to people young and older who have made PS1 their home – I have had the privilege of hiring each and every one of you and the honor of working alongside you. Thank you heroes. And I also want to take this opportunity to introduce you all to ERIK CARLSON, who will be the new Interim Head of School for the next school year. I know Erik – the Board made a very good choice in Erik; he knows the school; he believes in PS1; he has begun to get to know the faculty and staff and even some of the parents. He knows and respects the school; and I know and respect Erik. I want to publicly acknowledge the hundreds of birthday cards I received when they were presented to me on March 17th at the first all school gathering we were able to have in exactly two years because of COVID. The letters went deep with their sentiments, from people all over the world, and they also included the simplest of greetings. As most of you know, I am a numbers

person - I love playing with them - so I will tell you about only one of the cards. It said that I should not consider myself old just because I turned 75 this year. After all, it said, when you think of it, 75 degrees Fahrenheit was only 24 degrees Celsius. So I should think of myself as being only 24. Well, as it turns out, Ellie and I started PS1 when I WAS 24. That’s the beauty of numbers – you can do anything with them! And perhaps I haven’t gotten anywhere, or even gotten older, over the past 51 years. That’s the beauty of being with young children every day of my life - it doesn’t age you one bit! Try it - I highly recommend it.

Education is a journey and not merely a destination — the same is true of life. I am asked what I will do upon retirement. “What’s next?” 1. It will take me the next thirty years to read all of the books and articles that have been recommended to me over the past fifty years that I have not had, or not carved out, the time to read. I have A LOT more to learn. 2. I hope I am still able to serve, to sit and listen, to comfort, to care for, and to encourage. 3. I will be renewing contact, I hope, with many of you. The press of daily business has prevented me from engaging in those pleasures. 4. I have long said that education is a journey and not merely a destination - the same is true of life. We never become – we are ALWAYS becoming. I will continue on life’s journey, and will dedicate myself to what I have always believed in - to make a better life for others, to change society, to plant seeds in people’s minds and hearts that they matter… each and every one of us. That won’t end when I retire. It can’t. By the time one reaches the ripe old age of 75, it would probably be too late to

try to change who I am even if I wanted to. There is a new book out called “From Strength to Strength.” I will be seeking and exploring other strengths that I might have. 5. Next just happens - you can talk about it; you can plan for it; and then life gets in the way and you adjust. I love that others (mostly my wife Ellie and Abbie Perttula and Christine Jenkins) have built an archives - a collection of pictures, files, programs, writings, videos, and memories. PS1 is a place you can always return to. GO SEE IT TODAY on the East campus. And build memories and contribute to the Archives on your own. We have had a rich history - ours is a good story - and we have only just begun! If we continue to build community - find ways for buy-in for everyone who wants to be a part of this thriving community rather than just viewing it from the outside, then the future will take care of itself. 6. AND FINALLY - I have been congratulated about my pending retirement many many times from many different people - in person, on line, through letters and cards ... in all forms. I appreciate that people are often congratulated upon their retirement because it is assumed that we work for pay until we don’t have to anymore, that we have EARNED our retirement. In my case, if you choose to congratulate me, please understand that I hear it instead as, “Congratulations Joel on finding your work at age 24 and being able to build upon it for 51 years - that is a gift given to very few. Congratulations for building a team that reached for the stars TOGETHER for more than five decades that would turn your and Ellie’s dream into their reality. Congratulations for being able to do now whatever pleases you, knowing that the mission and vision for the school has been firmly established and that those who are here now and who will come later will work TOGETHER to make the school and everything it stands for even better.” Under those circumstances, I accept your congratulations. THANK YOU.

—Joel Pelcyger, Head of School


There are so many events and traditions at PS1 that are considered sacred because PS1 believes that traditions are incredibly important in the lives of young children… as well as in the lives of parents! This spring, as we moved incrementally towards a greater sense of familiarity after two years of the pandemic, we were able to bring back many of our favorite rituals and traditions that make PS1 so special. The highlights below are just the beginning.

Traditions OLD & NEW


The PS1 50th Anniversary Celebration Gala on April 23 was everything we hoped it would be. A great night for all! A COVID-safe celebration of PS1, Joel and Ellie and our entire PS1 community with all proceeds benefitting the Founders Fund for Educational Pluralism, established this year in Joel and Ellie’s names. It was a beautiful evening to be outdoors with friends new and old. This was, by far, PS1’s biggest gala/auction ever and we are tremendously grateful for the support of our community and our dedicated and passionate team of Gala volunteers that included both current and alumni parents.

D.E.A.R. Time D.E.A.R. Time returned this spring! A big step in welcoming parents back onto campus was to reinstate D.E.A.R. time for our Youngers parents and students. D.E.A.R. refers to Drop Everything And Read. It is a time when parents join children to sit and read together. We have found it to be a rich point of connection for everyone and a favorite tradition for parents and students alike. This year all D.E.A.R. times took place outside on the Euclid Yard.


Joel’s June Jubilee It was a full house on campus on June 5 as hundreds of families, alumni, alumni parents, grandparents, special guests and more gathered to celebrate 50 years of PS1. Countless moments were shared as so many came together to honor Joel’s retirement after 51 years as Head of School, and celebrate the legacy that both he and Ellie started as Founders back in 1971. We honored the living history of the school that came across through videos and trips through the long-established PS1 Archives, as well as recording personal PS1 stories in the StoryCorps booth! Traditions came to life during the celebration such as camping, Shakespeare, poetry, library, The Studio, Art, and more. Even The Pluralistics came together for a reunion set on the stage - there certainly was something for everyone!

Camping PS1 has had an all-school camping trip every year since the school has been in existence. Camping trips – the penultimate school learning expedition where students embrace being in nature, learn self-sufficiency and interdependence, live with others, separate from their parents and join with a group they trust. Collaboration rules. Building an inclusive school community is something that is so central to the PS1 mission. PS1 held a virtual camping trip for each of the past two years. We were so thrilled that the plan for this year’s “camping” trip offered another incremental step toward a sense of familiarity for our students and our school community. Instead of camping overnight, we held one extended all day field trip at Temescal Canyon Park in Pacific Palisades on May 26. Students participated in activities and hikes with their class/Cluster in the morning; we had lunch together as a whole school; then we gathered together as a community for a sing-a long and campfire in the afternoon, which replicated the kinds of activities we are used to when we do go camping overnight.


Curriculum Connections


Young mathematicians worked on a variety of math projects involving money such as making their own food trucks.

,kcaB gLooking nikooL Forward Highlights from the 2021-22 School Year

This spring Gina’s math group worked on money and counting coins. This was a good opportunity to practice counting by 10s (using dimes) and 5s (using nickels) as well as switch counting (counting by 5s to ones). Students learned that it’s easiest to start counting the largest value coins and move progressively down. Young mathematicians worked on a variety of math projects involving money such as making their own food trucks. Students designed a menu with (pretend) food times and prices. Then, they had to “buy” supplies to make their food out of paper or Model Magic and eventually “sell” their food to customers. Each vendor had to figure out how much their supplies would cost and then check to make sure that their customers were giving them the right amount of money. Lucia’s math group worked to become more familiar with the hundreds chart and math patterns. Students were enthusiastic to find hidden pictures or messages on the hundreds chart by coloring in numbers that were called out by the teacher. Students began a graphing project, choosing the topic for their graphs such as favorite foods, shapes, or animals. They collected data by asking their classmates to answer their questions, used tallies to find their results, and finally, created a graph from their findings.






Family Portraits The Orange class finished our cardboard Mini PS1 project this spring. Students re-created the PS1 campus out of found materials, and then collaborated in groups to plan and sketch which part of the school they would build. Students learned to problem solve, and to visualize together. Each small group built their own section of the school. The students worked to include essential details such as the school bell, the playground, and the office patio. With teachers’ support, all the pieces were joined together. Students led tours of their re-creation for other classes and teachers, as well as for their parents at Open House. To take their study of the PS1 campus one step further, Orange students also decided to learn about all of the people who work at PS1. Students prepared interview questions to find out more about the various administrators, staff members, and teachers from other classes.

Family portraits are a wonderful way for students to freely explore, express, and appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of all different kinds of families. Students carefully considered the different skin tones found within their families and made decisions about whether or not they would include pets, and which members of their extended family (if any) they would include. Students then thought about what aspects of their families they wanted to share. These were included as short blurbs along with their artwork that was displayed throughout the classroom.

Students …used their literary observations to work collaboratively in each group to design, sketch, and paint backdrops to correlate with their stories.

The Orange students re-created the PS1 campus out of found materials.

Readers Theater Our Readers Theater performance for parents and family during our Open House was spectacular! Our focus on literary elements such as characters and setting led students to create costumes, props, and sets for their final storybook reenactments. They used their literary observations to work collaboratively in each group to design, sketch, and paint backdrops to correlate with their stories. The use of drama and dialogue enabled our students to realize that reading is an activity that allows them to be creative and imaginative while understanding their characters with more depth. As our readers practiced their roles, they authentically increased their comprehension and fluency while increasing opportunities for cooperative learning.





Curriculum Connections

The class extended their studies and experiences with a class field trip to the aquarium and the beach! In Science, students continued their study of the ocean. After learning about the different layers of the ocean; sunlight, twilight, midnight, abyss, and trench, students learned about a variety of animals that live in these zones. With the study of each animal, students discovered and learned about the various adaptions that allow them to survive and thrive in each zone. The scientific definition of an adaptation is a special skill which helps an animal to survive and do everything it needs to do. Adaptations could be physical changes to the animal’s body or behavioral changes in how an individual animal or a society does things in their daily lives (i.e. gills or schools of fish). Teachers Billy and Danielle encouraged students to make observations, predictions, and connections with their prior knowledge and the new information presented to them. The class extended their studies and experiences with a class field trip to the aquarium and the beach! As a culminating activity students created their own marine animal with a variety of physical and behavioral adaptations. 6

This spring students learned about Medusa Jellyfish (AKA Alarm Jellies, Atolla Jellies, or Coronate Medusa) which move by jet propulsion. They contract and relax a ring of muscles around the bell. The muscles open and close the bell, drawing in water and then forcing it out again to push the jellyfish forward. To gain a better understanding of this unique type of movement, we recreated it. First, with a parachute mimicking a Medusa Jelly’s undulating bell. Students were the ring of muscles around the bell that contracted and relaxed to fill the parachute. Then, with demonstrations using a water balloon in a tank of water to see how jet propulsion pushes them through the water. Previously in Blue Class, we borrowed some microscopes to check out Tardigrades (AKA Water Bears)! Water Bears are microscopic animals that are found in the Midnight Zone with many unique and fascinating adaptations. Looking through the microscopes, students made so many observations about these tiny but fierce creatures.

…in the Blue Class, we borrowed some microscopes to check out Tardigrades (AKA Water Bears)!




Earlier in the year, Indigo students began a California Landmarks project. California Historical Landmarks are buildings, structures, sites, or places that have statewide historical significance. After selecting their landmark, students compiled research and information that they used to write a script for a virtual video tour of the landmark site. This project integrated aspects of writing, social studies, public speaking and video editing skills, such as green screen compositing. Next, students explored the four different regions of California, with a focus on the native flora and fauna adaptations of each region. We completed a “Road Trip” around the state of California, stopping in various regions and cities, calculating gas miles, hotels and real activities along the way. The project was a hit and students had many adventures across the Golden State!

We completed a “Road Trip” around the state of California, stopping in various regions and cities, calculating gas miles, hotels and real activities along the way.

What do we think we know about Climate Change? What do we wonder? This brainstorm prompted Violet students to think about how Climate Change is impacting California. One idea that continued to arise was a question about wildfires. Some students argued that wildfires were natural, while others asserted that they were getting worse because of human-caused Climate Change. Our discussion led us to an inquiry related to our study of California. Students created initial models to demonstrate their ideas about these questions. The models included a map of the region, illustrations and labels, and wonderings. Through a series of related investigations, students revised their models to reflect a more comprehensive understanding of the inquiry. In our first investigation, students explored how an increase in Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere in a closed environment would affect air temperature. Students created two closed environments using water, plastic jars, and plastic wrap. The control represented the natural greenhouse effect, while the variable, which included four tablets of Alka Seltzer (CO2), represented an amplified greenhouse effect–brought on by human activity and the combustion of fossil fuels. Students continued to investigate the many factors that have led to the increase of fires in the Sierra Nevadas. Inquiries included: • How does deforestation lead to increased warming? • How does the melting of snow lead to increased warming? • How does less snowpack lead to drier land and more fires? • What are ways to lessen the impact of climate change?



Olders 4


Curriculum Connections

The sixth grade equivalent math group has been working with variables and equations in an introduction to algebra. This has allowed us to review number relationships, integers, order of operations, and different ways to express operations.


Our mathematicians have been hard at work. The fifth grade equivalent students wrapped up their Humongous Hero project, in which they made various body measurements and then calculated the ratio of each part to total height in order to scale up the size of a humongous hero, then scale the measurements back down to create a proportional drawing. Along with creating the Humongous Heroes, students solved other ratio problems in order to solve an accompanying mystery. Since then, we worked on data collection and analysis, including interpreting a variety of graphs such as dot plots, stem-and-leaf plots, scatter plots, and bar graphs. The sixth grade equivalent math group worked on variables and equations in an introduction to algebra. This allowed us to review number relationships, integers, order of operations, and different ways to express operations. Students practiced using vocabulary to speak about their knowledge of algebra and practiced applying their skills to solve one and two step equations. We also had a lot of fun creating and solving puzzles to challenge our algebraic thinking. We then explored geometry by drawing and measuring angles, reviewing vocabulary and calculating the area of triangles and quadrilaterals to build up to surface area and volume.


Olders 5


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In social studies we studied ancient Greece and created a large scale timeline which includes images and narrative. It was a springboard for our further studies of many other different ancient cultures which took us to the end of the school year. Additionally, in the contemporary world we gave context to the invasion of Ukraine and received questions and responses that showed how thoughtfully our students contemplated the information. Studying ancient cultures couples well with reading Julius Caesar, which was the focus of this year’s Shakespeare Festival. Students read through it together at school, exploring the context and reviewing the characters and plot. As students received their preliminary casting and roles, they practiced their lines at school and at home. We held daily play readings as a whole class as we prepared to begin staged rehearsals. Our Cluster performances took place in front of a live audience in the beginning of June.

In social studies we studied ancient Greece and created a large scale timeline which includes images and narrative. It was a springboard for our further studies of many other different ancient cultures…



Curriculum Connections

Music VIRGINIA The Youngers Cluster performed their Cluster Circle Time at the end of May… for a live, in-person crowd! They presented a collaboration between PE and music through the Circus Arts. We listened and moved to Camille Saint-Saëns, Carnival of the Animal, excerpts from The Greatest Showman, and a variety of music from Cirque du Soleil. We practiced juggling scarves, walking tightrope tape, and learning the art of being a clown.

Art LINA Youngers learned about insects and focused on symmetry. Each student created a butterfly while paying close attention to symmetry, patterns, and colors. The students were lucky to be able to observe several Monarch caterpillars transforming into chrysalides and finally butterflies, right outside the Red classroom. Each student built an imaginary insect with cardboard and painted it with tempera paint and vivid pastels. Bridge took a close look at the color wheel and the students explored the science behind colors and light, in addition to the difference between abstract and realistic art. They had a chance to practice their shading skills and created amazing colorful abstract color field paintings. The highlight was when the students were introduced to a painting technique forcing them to only paint with cardboard and white paint on black paper.


Middles explored a variety of drawing techniques and drew realistic depictions of wild animals while learning about the animals’ habitats. The students in all Clusters worked with acrylic paint to create colorful paintings on useful fabric bags that we donated to shelters in the area in collaboration with PS Serves. Olders practiced their shading techniques while creating large easel paintings of the human body. They also sketched ideas of a place they would like to visit on the globe, and they were excited to continue to work on this mixed media project after they finished their human body paintings.

The Bridge Cluster learned hand-clapping games for their Cluster Circle Time which we shared with the community via Zoom in April. Handclapping is one of the oldest oral traditions created by and perpetuated by children. The same hand-clapping games (with some variation to make them relevant to the players) have been passed down for generations upon generations. We also presented the influence of music on art inspired by songs from the Motown genre, Bill Withers’ Aint No Sunshine and Dancing in the Street made famous by Martha and the Vandellas. The Middles Cluster finished their original songs inspired by California. They learned about song form, chord progressions, and Rock and Roll. They presented their pieces to their class in the spring. Then we turned our attention to movement and body percussion, and will got back to our love of singing with class sing-alongs and song games. The Olders Cluster presented their Tiny Desk Concerts for their classmates. Students also explored acting games, created choreography, and picked up the guitar this spring to bring their music learning full circle.




The focus on Black History in February gave us the opportunity to share poetry by Amanda Gorman, Kwame Alexander, and Alice Walker; biographies of Richard Wright, Ernest Barnes, and Horace Pippin and Louis Armstrong; artwork from Kadir Nelson, Jerry Pinkney, James E. Ransome, Sean Qualls, and Baba Wagué Diakité. We shared stories about ancestors and family and identity and bravery and kindness. We shared a transcendent moment of quiet and intense listening and looking— the place where stories happen.

Physical Education this year has been fun, high energy, and a place where we continued to learn how to move our bodies fluently. We developed new physical skills, and practiced our social skills to better comprehend our emotions, learning about inclusion, kindness, perseverance, and teamwork.

March was, of course, Women’s History Month, and we shared stories of some pretty mighty women: Shirley Chisholm, Patsy Takemoto Mink, Emily Dickinson. March was also Disability Awareness Month, though the students suggested the term DIF-ability as a more inclusive term for celebration. We met Sarah Gregory Smith and her guide dog, Perry, and followed them through a typical day– all told from Perry’s point of view. We met Justice Sonia Sotomayor and learned of her childhood diagnosis of diabetes, but also many differently abled kids who use their strengths to learn out each other.

Students throughout the Clusters have maintained a positive attitude, learned to develop what is needed to succeed and continued to experience great moments during physical education. During the school year we focused on many sports and activities including soccer, football, lacrosse, gymnastic, scoops, rugby, large group games, badminton, cricket, track and field, and hockey.

The Studio CHRIS Science Journals The primary goal of using The Studio science journals is to build a deeper understanding of the project content while learning design and engineering skills. Science journals are a tool for students to construct conceptual understanding. Journals become a written record of thinking that students can reference to see how their thinking changes over time. In The Studio, we use these journals for every student in every class/Cluster. Students also record their investigations in these journals. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and written communication teach the lifelong skills of planning and reflection. In addition, science journals provide a formative assessment tool that allows teachers to adapt instruction based on individual student needs and trends seen across the class.

April was another full month! Not only National Poetry Month (though we celebrate poets and poetry every Library class), but Earth Day–and, of course, National Library Week. Since spectacular celebration was during Spring Break, I saved the fireworks to share with the students when they arrived back on campus. Library Lion is always a favorite, Youngers to Olders. There were books that combined poetry and trees, gardens and baseball, gardens and art, and the Earth even popped up! 11

Alumni Corner

Alumni Sightings at the 50th Celebration Gala!

Stephen Harwood, Class of 1989

Close to 100 alumni parents attended the 50th Celebration Gala Alumni students who attended included:

Alumni Faculty and Staff who attended included:

Stephen Harwood ‘89

Diana Conovitz

Nicholas Henry ‘97

Deirdre Gainor

Avery Breuer (Hill) ‘06

Tanya Lux

Charlotte Siegel ‘16

Abbie Perttula Maggie Rosenfeld

The PS1 Alumni Association Elijah Cuffee, Class of 2007

David Blair, Class of 1980 David runs his own video production, editing, and photography company. He wrote in to give us an update on his current projects: “In April I’ll be at LEAF - The Lafayette Electronic Arts Festival. I was invited to demonstrate my video feedback device (you can see a description of that event here: leafcolorado.org/light-herdersound-scraper/). I’ve been getting a lot of recognition for the device (the website for it is here: thelightherder.com), including a Make Magazine article in volume 80 on how to build a simple version of it.” He joined us at Joel’s June Jubilee and had a wonderful time reconnecting.

Max Comess, Class of 1994 Max works at the Aerospace Corporation as an Engineering Manager in a satellite communications group. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics at UCLA and then attended UC Santa Cruz for his doctorate (in physics as well). Before working at the Aerospace Corporation, he spent eight years at SpaceX, mostly as a Dragon mission control operator, ground station operator, and ground segment engineer.

Daniel Bakaitis, Class of 1997 Daniel received his B.S. in Economics, Business, and accounting from UC Santa Barbara and his MBA from UCLA, specializing in Global Management. He works as a Corporate Controller at ReCor Medical. Daniel recently sent in a photo of his PS1 Grad shirt from 1997!


Laura Simon Klein, Class of 2002 Laura sent in a pic of her new baby Luca, who is proud to wear his PS1 onesie!

Olivia Tiffany, Class of 2003 Olivia founded and runs an organization called Teen Souls which provides life coaching for teen girls. She graduated from Skidmore College in 2012 with a B.A. in education and theater. She has worked as an elementary school teacher and has led therapy groups for pre-teens at The Lifespan Psychological Center in Los Angeles. Olivia graduated from Tami Walsh’s Teen Wisdom Inc. Life Coaching Program for girls and has been certified as a teen life coach. She has also begun her doctoral degree in child and adolescent psychology. Read about her organization at www.teensouls.com or on Instagram @girl.souls.

Elijah Cuffee, Class of 2007 Elijah is the founder and creator of Prophetboy (prophetboy.com). He is also a sports coach at the Milken School and has his own coach/training business for youth and adults that includes camps and clinics. He also performed at Joel’s June Jubilee!

Keith Hill, Class of 2010 Keith recently got engaged to his fiancée, Alice. Keith works as a project engineer and lives in Santa Monica.

Olivia Fishman, Class of 2014 Olivia is entering her junior year at Occidental College where she is majoring in art history and minoring in interdisciplinary writing. This summer, she will be working at an art gallery near Downtown Los Angeles and writing for local art magazines. Next spring, she will study abroad in Berlin, Germany. Julian Handler, Class of 2014 Julian is a Sophomore at Harvard University. He wrote in to PS1 Librarian Christina Garcia to share some of his most recent studies. “This semester I am taking a class on marine biology and another class on marine conservation biology, and my interests in those subjects were developed at PS1. This discussion post that I recently wrote for one of my classes may bring back some memories: I recently listened to a podcast about threats to the conservation of manatees in the Indian River Lagoon which is an estuary and home to multiple MPAs. Similar to the situation in the Chesapeake Bay, pollution in the form of nutrients like nitrogen from wastewater, fertilizer, and runoff causes algae blooms that kill the seagrass that manatees depend on to eat. As a result, manatees are starving, and climate change compounds this threat through manatees dying from cold-stress. The podcast also touches on other topics that we talked about in our discussion such as conservation solutions and political issues.”

Class of 2016 Reunion on May 10 We were thrilled to invite PS1 alumni from the Class of 2016 (now graduating from high school) back to campus to reunite with their class before the end of the school year. They were SO happy to be back on campus. They wanted to do everything they used to do - play on the structure, the yards, and even play with the toys in Joel’s office! Laura Simon Klein, Class of 2002, and Luca

Daniel Bakaitis’ PS1 grad shirt

Keith Hill, Class of 2010

David Blair, Class of 1980, at Joel’s June Jubilee with Joel & Ellie

Izzy Hyman, Class of 2016 Izzy graduated from Harvard-Westlake this spring, and enjoys playing beach volleyball, mentoring young kids with health issues, and having fun with friends. She is headed to NYU in the fall.

Alex Hyman, Class of 2017 Alex is a rising senior at Crossroads School. During the pandemic, Alex found a passion for cooking and through his TikTok videos found his way to being an apprentice chef at a Michelin Star restaurant. Susan, Jon, and Izzy are enjoying the incredible culinary feats he is testing out on them at home!

Jacinda Hevesy-Rodriguez, Class of 2018 Jacinda attends Palisades Charter High School. She is keeping busy by playing on club and high school soccer teams.

PS1 Alumni visits Farid Adibi, and Louis and Melina Waldman all stopped by to say hello!

Phoenix Vinar, Class of 2019 Phoenix is a rising sophomore at Samohi. He’s on the track team, the marching band, and still plays on the Bulls soccer club team. He developed a passion for surfing during the pandemic after spending two months in Hawaii, and is now addicted to riding waves! He loves the variety of people and classes at Samo.

Melina Waldman (Class of 2013) with Youngers teacher, Holly Swope, and Louis Waldman (Class of 2011).

P.E. teacher Pedro Ortega, and Olders teacher John Waldman, with Farid Adibi (Class of 2013), and Olders teacher LiAnne Hall.

GIVE us an update, GET a PS1 50th Anniversary t-shirt! We can’t wait to hear from you! Email Amanda@psone.org!


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PS1 Welcomes Interim Head of School Erik Carlson, beginning July 1, 2022 Erik will serve as Interim Head for the 2022-23 school year. In a letter from PS1’s Board of Directors describing the search process, the Search Committee states, “From our early conversations with Erik, his attitude and perspective about education resonated with us. Even when referring to his own children’s education, he spoke of the importance of schools being a community where students can be their best selves. Erik’s commitment to community and mutual respect are a through line in his approach to leadership and he acknowledges that collaboration is essential in the work of schools. Those that have worked with Erik previously refer to his ability to lead through challenging times with warmth and always with a commitment to ‘the education, the school AND the people.’ These are the qualities that PS1 will need over the coming year to help build a bridge from the past to the future.”

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Save the Date: Save these dates for the start of the 2022-23 School Year: Aug. 30 Aug. 31


Make New Friends Day (Youngers) First Day Of School