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June 2009 Volume 2, Issue 8

The New City School Noticias

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Our Mission We will provide a thoughtful, healthy, intimate environment in which community building is valued over competition. Through a curriculum enriched by the arts, technology, and the natural environment, we will teach students to develop into independent critical thinkers who demonstrate expertise in reasoning and problem solving, English and Spanish literacy, creative expression, and historical perspective. Toward these goals, the families and staff of the New City School will work together as partners to understand the needs and interests of the students, to act in the service of justice, and to extend learning opportunities into the home and community.

NCS Pine Gets New Playground By Lisa Miller Individual Highlights: NCS Calendar


Family Spotlight


Pine Ave Calendar


What NCS Means to Me 3 Serena Serpentina


NCS Student Page


Ask José


NCS World Kitchen




Thank You Volunteers


Have you seen the new playground yet? If not, you definitely have to stop in and see it because it is awesome! Many thanks go out to KaBOOM and Home Depot for providing the grant, as well as to all of the volunteers and the people and businesses who donated to the project. Because of them we now have a lovely playground, soccer field, mural, reading garden, many new planting gardens and a spruced up garden out front. What a great thing for our school and all of our children! I’m so proud of what we have accomplished!

I was thinking about all that went into making this project happen. First, our administrators applied for the grant and worked with KaBOOM so that they awarded the New City School with a new playground. Next, we couldn’t have done it without all of the dedicated Home Depot people helping us with planning and building. Did you know that they created the arbor and fence around the trash can area out of ideas we gave them and nothing more? (See KaBOOM! on page 7)

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The New City School Noticias

NCS Family Spotlight This month’s Family Spotlight tells us all about a new family in our New City Community. Read on to get the scoop from Mayra Fernandez on her multi-faceted and multi-cultural family. Tell us the names of the members of your family and about your children here at New City School We are seven in our home. My life partner Andrea and I have five children: Peter, 16, Brandon, 14, Yvonne, 12, Emily 11 and Christian, 10. Peter and Brandon just finished their first year at Colegio, Emily, Las Montanãs y Christian, La Tierra. Yvonne is in a boarding school in Pasadena. Where do you live now? We live in Long Beach. Where did you live before coming to Long Beach? Andrea and Brandon hail from Buena Park via Sacramento. Andrea was born in New York State and has lived most of her life in Northern California. She spent some incredible years in Alaska and Florida serving our country in the Air Force and where she learned to become an airplane mechanic and a pilot! Her love for aviation has taken her on many adventures throughout the different states. I have lived in several parts of the world: the Dominican Republic where I was born, Cuba where I spent the most wonderful years of my childhood, New York City, New Brunswick (Canada), Brea, Tarrasa (Spain), Ventura, Alhambra, Montebello y finally our beautiful city of Long Beach.

teachers I met.

How did you learn about the New City School and what made you send your kids here? We were at a coffee shop where the server was telling us excitedly about this new school she had signed up her child for kindergarten. I went over right away to find out more. It seemed perfect for our youngest boy’s needs. Upon further investigation we enrolled four of the children. We loved the philosophy but most of all the commitment of the

What do you do when you are not here at the New City School? Andrea is a United Airlines Safety Manager and covers Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco and the metro cities that report to those airports. She belongs to Women in Aviation, International (an organization of thousands of woman from all over the world) and received an Annual Safety Award from the organization in recognition by her peers for making a difference, especially in LAX where she started in July 1998. She is able to share

What's your family's favorite meal? Our family likes to eat and we make sure we have a sit down dinner without distractions every night. If we had to choose one meal above others, it would be stir-fry since it has plenty of everything that is delicious and nutritious and quick to prepare. What does your family like to do on the weekends? We like to play and work together. We love watching movies, going to church and traveling. Since Andrea works for United, it is inexpensive for us to travel so for my birthday we went to New York City to see “Mary Poppins,” a new musical which will be coming to Los Angeles soon. We left on Friday and came back on Sunday.

workshops/conferences with our children and students from Colegio New City. She was able to students to a professional workshop with her this year , and has more things planned for next year. I am the published author of 15 books. Tell us something we don't know about you that might be interesting? There are several interesting things about us: First, our family has two moms. Second, Andrea and Brandon came to our loving arms five years ago. It was a challenging time for them coming into a large family of a totally different culture. But love triumphed and in a few days Brandon is leaving for Argentina so he can solidify his Spanish! Third, our four other children are adopted. They came into my heart and home eight years ago. Andrea is in the process of adopting them, too. Finally, we love to travel!! We have visited many countries and have had incredible adventures. In the last year alone we have been to China, to Washington, DC for the inaugural, Hawaii where we swam with the dolphins and giant turtles, Dubai to see a country being built in front of our eyes, Germany where Brandon got in touch with his roots, and Australia where we actually got to touch kangaroos. Previous years we visited many cities in this country plus Paris, London, Cancun and Mexico City to see the history that our Mexican-American children could boast about and of course, the Dominican Republic, my native land.

The New City School Noticias

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What The New City School Means to Me Why I Am Here To Stay NCS Multi-Cultural Book Club May Selection

By Armando Muñoz

People ask me all the time how long I have worked in this school. As the number goes up every year, the reason for me staying remains the same. I have been working at this school for most of its existence. New City Public Schools began in 2000. I came two years later as a student teacher. It was basically one school then and known only as The New City School. I began to know it as the “Little School That Could”.

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Dreams from My Father By Barack Obama Next Meeting June 25 6:30 pm Ambrosia Café



June 24,25

Student-led Conferences

August 24

Classes resume

September 9

Community Council. 6pm. (All parents)


from what I had experienced before in other schools. For one, the teachers were referred to by their first names not just by their peers but the students as well. It was the first significant sign that relationships in this school were different. In time, I realized that these bonds ran much deeper than simply referring to each other by first name. Teachers create a relationship with every student in their pod. They share classes with other teachers, work together, go on the same field trips and help each other throughout the day. This was not the solitary life that I had seen previously in other schools. Teachers work together in teams and we know each other’s students. The school takes more of a personal approach when it comes to teaching. Borrowing from traditional schools what works and fine-tuning what we felt doesn’t. Making it more accessible to kids our plans made learning more interactive. In this school I believe that we create critical thinkers that in the end will be more successful in the things they attempt. In my years working at The New City School, I have developed a better understanding and a deeper appreciation for what we do here. I have experienced an evolution very similar to what our students experience as they travel in their path to academic success and autonomy. These factors are the reasons why “The Little School That Could” has become my home in Long Beach.

****** What The New City School Means to Me is a recurring segment of the Noticias. If you have something that you would like to share please write or email it to Amanda Trefethen, either at, or by placing your thoughts on paper and putting them in the Newsletter binder available in the office

A person’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

The New City School Noticias

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Sirena Serpentina 2009: Bringing the Fire to New City School By Kim LaChance-Shandrow

The fiery dancers of Sirena Serpentina have done it again! For the second year in a row, Long Beach's popular tribal baile de fuego troupe dazzled the crowd at our Long Beach Boulevard campus during their spectacular Sat., June 13 fundraiser to benefit the children and programs of New City Public Schools. The talented women of Sirena Serpentina are: Tree Fairy (longtime New City mama Rachel Fernandes, mom to students Kainoa and Malia), Firefaerie Shoshanna (Shoshanna Grunwalk), Gypsina (Tanya Quinn), Shapeshifter (Chrissy Cox) and Yarrow Elffly (Heather Harrington). Our heartfelt thanks go out to the ladies of Sirena Serpentina and the wonderful musicians, drummers, stagehands and fire technicians who accompanied them. Each kindly donated their time, effort, equipment and gifts for a great cause —our kids! In all, they helped us raise a total of approximately $2,200! Great job! This year's performance included the debut performances of four New City student dancers, including Maggie Morey, Namaste Roberts, Rachel's daughter Malia Fernandes and Natalia Vasquez. They took to the front of the stage in 1950s-style outfits that they designed and crafted themselves. Bravo to our talented young performers! We're proud of you! Another addition to the evening spectacular were two wonderful live performances by Brian Scott, New City after-school music maestro, Roberto Sanchez, our new New City La Tierra music maestro and Roberto's wife. Thank you for sharing your beautiful music and vocals with all who attended. We feel honored to count such

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gifted individuals among the New City family. A big thank you also goes out to the many New City madres, padres, maestros, estudientes y camaradas who made this fundraiser possible. We would also like to express our gratitude to parent Cecila Danziger, who has voluntarily spearheaded many, many successful New City fundraisers. We're happy to announce that her daughter, Donna, one of New City's first-ever students from our 2000 inaugural el Mar class, will be moving on to Long Beach Polytechnic High School's internationally-acclaimed Center of International Commerce (CIC) program. Of course, muchas gracias goes to each of our generous event volunteers, including those of you who kept everyone in the audience warm with fresh hot cocoa and coffee and delicious homemade baked treats. Dozens of New City supporters and Sirena Serpentina fans spread out on the hill overlooking the stage, while others in chairs sat close enough to “feel the heat!” as Pine campus el Mar student, Max Miller, exclaimed. The show included elaborately choreographed and costumed fire dances, live music and soulful drumming. Sirena Serpentina's eclectic style blends flaming poi dancing from New Zealand's native Maori with modern choreography and music. Missed the fiery fundraiser? You can catch up with Sirena Serpentina online at for an updated list of their upcoming shows, as well as the group's popular poi, yoga and belly dancing classes. Namaste, Rachel and her fellow Sirena Serpentina sisters!

New City Student Page

Field Day!

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by Max Miller Age 7, El Mar Student (Soon to be La Tierra Student)

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The New City School Noticias

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A Note from José and Friends

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. ~Sydney J. Harris

What is that sound? It’s the sweet sound of kids’ laugher and the melodic sound of birds in our new playground and garden. A million thank yous to ALL of you for helping us create this wonderful place. So many people helped in so many ways, from shoveling dirt, painting, serving lunch, cooking, donating, gathering materials, planning, cleaning, getting permissions, hammering, and creating so many things that would fill up this entire newsletter. There are so many people that deserve a big hug for going beyond volunteering on this playground project. On the first draft of this article I wrote so many names of people I wanted to thank. However, once I began thinking about what was around me [writing from one of the benches in our garden], I began to think how it was created and the list kept growing. Instead, I decided that if you want to personally thank them or give them a hug, I should just tell you where you can still find many of them – tirelessly still working on our playground. Even as I write this article they are planting, painting, building, feeding birds and trying to think of creative ways to make it even more beautiful than it already is.

In this month’s New City World Kitchen, we have a rare treat. Galina Laslo, our favorite Russian gourmand, has provided us with a recipe for a perennial favorite here at the New City School. This beet salad flies off the table at any NCS event and leaves people scraping the bottom of the bowl. It’s guaranteed to be a big hit at any of this summer’s potluck dinners Thank You, Galina! (Next let’s convince Madeline Holler to give up that Carrot Salad recipe)

Besides our new playground, this has been a very exciting year for us all here at Pine - a year of movement, learning, construction, and growth in so many aspects of the word. Through all this growth, you and our students, as well as the entire staff have been so supportive. With that in mind, it seems like next school year is going to be a great year, and a year of familiar faces in our staff. The one addition we will have in our teaching staff, Cindy, is also a familiar face to many of you. You might remember Cindy from a few years back when she used to teach our El Mar kids here at Pine, and others might know her from our Long Beach Blvd. campus, where she has been teaching these past few years. Next year Cindy will teach in El Mar in the afternoons. We are all looking forward to our next school year and all the great things it will bring. I am really thrilled about seeing how much our kids will grow during the summer, and welcoming our new students and their families to our school in August. I hope you have a wonderful Student Led Conference and an exciting summer.

Vinegrette Beet salad INGREDIENTS: • 2 large beets and1 large potato, cooked, peeled and cubed, • 4 large carrots, • ¼ cup of dry beans, • 1 celery stalk, • 1 med. bell pepper (optional) • 1 medium onion, • 2 fresh pickling cucumbers, • ½ cup sauerkraut or 4 pickles, naturally fermented (no vinegar) • 1 large garlic clove • 1/3 cup chopped dill, • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley, • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, • 3 Table spoons balsamic vinegar, (Trader Joe’s is decent)

• • • •

Salt, ¼ teaspoon Black pepper, ¼ tea spoon Paprika (optional) Ground cumin (optional)

DIRECTIONS: 1. Cook beets, potatoes, carrots and beans. They have to be firm or in the salad will turn to mush. 2. Peel and cube about the same size as a bean. 3. Chop celery, onion, bell pepper. with Smash garlic with a knife and chop to paste. 4. Mix it all in a 4 quart bowl (except for fresh pickling cucumbers). 5. Adjust the seasoning to your taste. 6. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator, or at least an hour. 7. Before serving add cubed fresh

The New City School Noticias

KaBOOM! continued from page 1 Besides the outside help and grant money, it also took more than 60 volunteers from our school as well as help from all of the staff. This included: Ted & Jose putting in tons of hours on meetings and making sure that everything was organized, the teachers who gracefully dealt with the disruption for weeks on end when the yard was out of commission, and Don Hector who had to work hard to do all of his regular stuff as well as help with all of the mess that we generated building the playground.

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What really blows me away about the project (besides how much fun it is to sit next to the fountain in the sitting garden) is to think about that “more than 60” number. It is significant because we only have about 100 families at our small school. We accomplished an awful lot with our relatively small numbers. When we all pitched in together, focused on the same goal and worked together to accomplish it, we did a really great thing. It makes you wonder what else we can do, doesn’t it? I say, “Let’s dream big!” What else can we do? Talk with your friends and then talk with your child’s teacher, Jose or the Community Council. I say we can do even more great things next year if we are willing to work together to make our school an even better place.

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The New City School Noticias

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1230 Pine Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813

Our Heartfelt Thanks to All Those Who Helped Make Our Playground a Reality

Phone: 562-436-0689

The Home Depot!!

Fax: 562-436-0898 E-Mail: amanda@

Do you have suggestions or comments regarding the NCS Noticias? Do you have a recipe to donate or a family that you think should be spotlighted? Email or drop us a note in the Newsletter Suggestion envelope in the binder in the front office.

ACtiON Site Services Scott Schaidle of Lux Capital Partners Friends and Families of The New City School H&H Nursery Everest College and Norma Zepeda Antonio Ambriz and his Taco Wagon Emmanuelle of La Petite Baguette Starbucks

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MiMi's Café Patricia's Mexican Food Creama Katella Deli Babette Bakery Bagelry & Bistro Trader Joe's Ralph's Stater Bros Vons Pavilions Staples Mission Property Services Sprouts Pick up Stix

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June 2009 - English  
June 2009 - English  

NCS World Kitchen 6 June 2009 Volume 2, Issue 8 What NCS Means to Me 3 Thank You Volunteers 8 Individual Highlights: Our Mission By Lisa Mil...