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VO LU M E X X I V, N U M B E R 4 | D E C E M B ER 2018 A monthly publication of The Post Oak School G R A N D PA R E N T S DAY S P H O T O S • B L A C K W O O D & M O C K T R I A L









Grand p w e l c o a re nt s me!



PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, & FRIENDS ARE ALL INVITED! Hosted by our POPA Chairs, this is a great way to meet other Post Oak parents and friends while helping our teachers accomplish a variety of easyto-do projects for their classroom. These gatherings generally fall on the first Wednesday of each month at the Bissonnet Campus. Please join as often as you can!

Don’t miss an issue of The Post or the weekly Post Highlights! Please take a minute to add info@postoakschool to your address book or safe sender list. That way you’ll keep getting photos, stories, and news from the school.

On the Cover

2018–2019 Post Oak Board of Trustees Sebha Ali Erin Busby Raj Chelapurath Rick Evans Blair Garrou Vean Gregg, treasurer Gregory Han, secretary Maura Joyce, president Mark Martin Bert Mellinger Jaana Porra Jennifer Rochlis Manolo Sanchez, chair Rona Sonabend Rochelle Tafolla Whitney Walsh Alison Wong

Trustees Emeriti Melissa Coleman Adam Forman Melanie Gray Bob Harvey Lloyd Kirchner Pat Mitchell Alan Ying

Primary students listen to their teacher, Miss Orly, read to them, while another reads with an Upper Elementary student.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates, photos, and more: postoakschool and postoakhighschool postoakschool/ and postoakhighschool/ and

D E C E M B E R 2018


Timeless Skills for the Future


efore the Thanksgiving break, we welcomed grandparents and special friends to spend the morning at Post Oak and visit their related student at school. This special peek into our Montessori environments are a treat for those who are visiting and those being visited. For the majority of grandparents, relatives, and friends, what they see looks very different from the school they experienced themselves. The Post Oak prepared environments are filled with shelves of handson materials; there are no desks but lots of different-sized tables. Students are moving about, working in groups, and choosing each of their activities. Perhaps school should be very different in this day and age, after all, our students today will need the skills to compete with artificial intelligence and robots in the future.

In the world of education right now, people are busy trying to figure things out. I enjoy reading education journals, articles in the paper, or blogs that discuss the latest trends and the varying research about what children need to become fully grown human beings in today’s world. There are a lot of opinions out there, there

are a lot of theories, but there is quite a convergence of thought around things we take for granted at The Post Oak School. All that I read introduces “new” things like individualized, hands-on learning, promoting independence, and teaching students to work collaboratively, among other strategies utilized in our classrooms on a daily basis. As our world changes and evolves, as our economy and the idea of work transforms, and as the concept of society, civility, and family goes through its own revolution, education leaders are recognizing the skill set needed to live in our world is complex, multi-faceted, and relies on our intellect, our emotional well-being, our social abilities, our understanding of humanity, and compassion for our world. But my father and his father, if they were alive today, would say this is not new. Navigating the world has always required a complex, multi-faceted skill set, and has always relied on our intellect, our emotional well-being, our social abilities, our understanding of humanity, and, of course, compassion. Schools now are better at recognizing that students need a wider and well-rounded experience than offered by a conventional program, and educators need to look at ways to enhance the learning experience. Our guests on Grandparents’ Day were invited to look closely and to notice that the students at Post Oak are practicing the same skills our grandparents understood to be critical to success in life. Despite our technologically advanced, complex

by Maura Joyce, Head of School

world, there isn’t much of a difference in what’s important to be ready for the world of work, family, and community. In some ways, preparing for the future means going back to our roots, back to our grandparents’ time, when education did not just equal time in school—when education happened everywhere—working on the farm or ranch, playing ball in a field after school, in the evenings on the front porch, in the city, in the country, doing chores, playing cards, and the list goes on. Watching what the students do at Post Oak may look different than what many of us experienced in a non-Montessori school. To some, it might not look like “school,” but it is easy to see that this is learning. Because at Post Oak, that is what we do—we teach children how to learn. We do this by remembering that the world is their classroom and there are lessons available in every moment of life. At Post Oak, students engage their whole selves in the learning process and can repeat and practice a skill until mastery. They are encouraged to communicate and collaborate with their peers as more than one brain leads to creative problem-solving. More importantly, they practice being a part of a community—living peacefully, working out conflicts, sharing ideas, discussing and disagreeing respectfully. Finally, they experience getting up and trying again more times than they fall or fail at something. These last two attributes—resilience and community-mindedness—may be the continued on page 9



Grandparents’ & Friends’ Days AT THE POST OAK SCHOOL

We love November at Post Oak thanks to grandparents and friends who visit the school to see their loved ones. As per custom, guests were treated to a light breakfast at both campuses and heard performances of poetry and music from students at the Bissonnet Campus. Grandparents, if you have a talent you would like to share with the class, please call the school and speak with the teacher to arrange a time—children love to hear these presentations. Also, if you would like to have lunch with your Post Oak grandchild or friend, please call the school to schedule a time with the teacher. Many thanks to all our visitors— we look forward to seeing you again next year at Post Oak! • View the gallery on our website (link in the left-hand menu) at

Grandparents & Friends Days chairs, Allison Hamilton & Valerie Volpi

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D E C E M B E R 2018


Senior Nominated Congratulations to High School senior Nathan R on his nomination for admission to the U.S. Naval Academy. Congressional members can have five constituents attending each academy, and when the student leaves, it creates a vacancy. For that seat, ten constituents can be nominated. Around 50 students were interviewed by Representative John Culberson’s office, and of those, around 20 to 25 were for the USNA, making it the most competitive federal service academy in our area this year. Being nominated does not guarantee admission, but it is a major step in the process, and we have high hopes for Nathan’s continued progress and success! You may wonder why he’s in uniform. That’s because he is also a volunteer firefighter. In his words: “Since joining Southside Place Fire Department, I have fought several house fires and taken part in two different rescues, one of which I had to crawl through a sewer pipe for about 50 meters to rescue a person who was suffering from mental illness.” Congressman Culberson and Nathan Rice

College Acceptances Acceptances for the Class of 2019—our future alumni!— are starting to roll in. Here are the first ones:

Arizona State University, Bradley University, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Lake Forest College, Louisiana State University, Millsaps College, Savannah College of Art and Design, St. Edward’s University, University of Houston, University of Houston College of Technology, University of Kansas School of Business, University of Texas at Dallas, West Virginia University Look for more in the spring here in The Post!

Great work, Nathan! •

Visiting with Alums Before Thanksgiving Break, alums from the past three graduating classes stopped by the High School for a Q&A with students. During the discussion, Grace A. ’16, currently attending Barnard, offered: “Take advantage of leadership positions. These are valuable skills you’re learning, and many of the people I’m around now in college don’t have these skills!” Join us Thurs., Jan. 10 for Alumni Voices night at 6:30 p.m. at the High School to hear about their experiences post-Post Oak! •




’s pany com ft can r u o Y gi hing matc ke you a le a m Circ rship r! e d a Le be mem








OF 291

GOAL: 100%


OF $340,000



We are so grateful to everyone who has given to the Annual Fund and to our class captains who worked so hard to get us this far. A huge thank you all around! Our work continues to reach our goals of $340,000 and 100% participation. The school’s leadership and Development Office will contact the remaining families to help get us there. If you haven’t done so, please take a moment to donate or make a pledge on our website. Your support is important to the Post Oak community.

Congratulations to Rebecca Duran’s, Sue Guerrero’s, Emily Hansen’s, Errol Pinto’s, Maya Pinto’s, Karyn Smith’s, Simran Sood’s, and Anita Taj Mahmood’s classes and 9th grade for reaching 100%!
























92% 64% 100% 100% 100% 83% 77% 94% 100% 100% 78% 100% 85% 100% 100% 85% 92% 67% 100% 77% 82% 83% 100%

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Post Oak Board Brief FROM OUR BOAR D OF TRUSTEES The second example is best told by a story. Repeatedly in the college parent orientation sessions, we were told that one of Our son Caleb is a member of the Class of 2018, the third the most important things that students could do was to get graduating class of the Post Oak High School, and is now in his to know their professors and ask for assistance. So, of course, as first year in college. Thinking back to graduation last May, his time nervous parents, we told Caleb multiple times, “Go talk to your in high school had come to a close, and it was time to move to the professors! Get to know them; ask for help when you need it!” next chapter. Six months later, we reflect on his transition and his Finally, after perhaps the fifth time we told him, he turned to us nearly completed first semester of college. and said, “I’ve been at The Post Oak School for When we dropped Caleb off at college last Caleb has learned how the past four years; what do you think I did every day?” The close bonds that the Post Oak High August, it was bittersweet sending the oldest of to ask questions, not just School creates are no accident; from the first day our three boys into the next adventure and, in with the Odyssey trip, to community meetings, many ways, into the unknown. We, of course, repeat answers. to service to others, to honoring student input had the questions many parents would have: and understanding the student experience, all of these elements Would he struggle? Would he make friends? Would he find his proverbial “way” through college? Would he succeed, however one (and more) have made it comfortable for Caleb to do one of the most essential tasks in college and in life: build relationships defines that word? But we also knew that it was time; it was now with others. time for him to move from one challenge to the next. by Gregory Han, Board Trustee, and Holly Crisp-Han

There are many reasons that we value a Post Oak education, but we’ll focus on two reasons. First, Post Oak’s Montessori pedagogy demands learning for its own sake and also fosters the critical and analytical mind. Caleb has learned how to ask questions, not just repeat answers. He is interested in people as people and interested in ideas as new horizons. He’s joined organizations and activities he enjoys and contributes to the life of the college. Of course, it’s not all perfect, but it shouldn’t be; The Post Oak School provided him the tools to be ready to be a college student, not ready to be a college graduate. But he knows how to work through problems he hasn’t encountered before.

Timeless Skills for the Future continued from page 3

most critical, as we have no idea what the world will be like in 15 years, and we need to be flexible, able to adjust to what is coming, and keep on going in spite of road bumps. The world is also a much bigger place with many more people, and we need to have

There are many words on Post Oak’s website about mission and values and principles; one example is: we help shape young people who are “equipped in their whole beings for the adventure of life, accustomed to the free exercise of their own will and judgment, illuminated by imagination and enthusiasm.” Now that Caleb’s Post Oak School experience is behind him, we see these words are more than aspirations; they really do “stick.” We’re grateful to Post Oak for providing a foundation for our son, not only to experience college in a positive way, but to set up a host of values that will serve him well for years to come. •

infinite patience with each other as we go forward. Our students will face challenges we cannot even imagine, but so did we and so did our parents, and so did our grandparents. Post Oak students will be ready. We are going to make sure that they are rooted with skills that allow them to grow, branch out, and like the leaves on the tree—reach for the sun. •



Blackwood Land Institute by Lily O and Kennedy V Middle School students


In years past, students at the Middle School have been given the opportunity to take a week long trip to Blackwood Land Institute to learn about farming, agriculture, and what it takes to manage a farm. This year, we were split into small groups of about twelve and got the chance to take a three day trip to Blackwood one time per semester. This smaller group gave us a chance for a more in-depth and interactive experience. We were each given different chores, like managing the crops, animals, and greenspaces around the institute, as well as cooking meals for the rest of the group. In the morning, we had more specific

chores if we weren’t cooking, like cleaning the chicken coop and collecting the eggs. We also took a trip to 7 Fat Cows, a neighboring farm. There, we took care of and learned about the animals that they looked after. For example, we milked a goat, trimmed chicken’s feathers, and fed baby piglets!

a trip to Blackwood Land Institute was a wonderful learning experience that we are lucky to have, and we are looking forward to experiencing it again next semester. •

Back at the institute we built a gabion to protect parts of the land from becoming eroded by overflowing creeks. To build it, we had to work together moving rocks and persevere through the heat. Afterwards, we took a long walk all the way around the perimeter of the farm with a friendly dog, Bella, who made sure to accompany us along when she wasn’t busy jumping in mud puddles. Overall, taking

POPA Family Community Service On December 15, we will spend the morning at the Don Greene Nature Park (6009 Cypress St., Houston 77074). We’ll start with a brief tour of the property to explain its features and purpose in Houston’s urban ecological movement, and then we will tend trails, plant, pot seeds, cover invasive bamboo, clean benches, and pluck invasive plants.


December 15, 8 a.m.–noon Don Greene Nature Park January 21 e! Community Service activity com o t e in Post Oak gym Mor

We will only cancel if it is raining excessively. We usually work on cold days with light rain, so be prepared with gloves, hat, layers of clothing, and solid shoes. Students may bring their own shovel and rakes. RSVP online. If you have any questions, please contact John Duboise at or 713-858-7513. •

November’s service activity was a huge success! Thank you to Post Oak family volunteers!

D E C E M B E R 2018


Middle School Mock Trial by Isabel O and Ava F Middle School Students


The Middle School students had the privilege to take part in a mock trial, presided over by Post Oak parent and appellate court judge, Brett Busby. Post Oak parents Alison Wong and Blaine McElroy, who are lawyers, took the time to teach and prepare us for the exciting day. We split up into two groups, each focussing on a different mock trial case. There were two different cases, Midland vs. Pence, and Andrews vs. Springville School System. Midland vs. Pence was about the police decision to arrest demonstrators

protesting in a residential neighborhood late at night. Andrews vs. Springville was about how Lynn Andrews, a teenage girl, wanted to join a soccer team after transferring to a new school. However, when she arrived at school, she noticed that there was no girls’ soccer team, and showed up for the boys’ soccer tryouts and was denied the opportunity to try out. The class got divided amongst prosecution and defense, and everyone in the team chose a different role in the case. The parts that needed to be done were the opening statements, witness parts, direct examinations, cross examinations and closing statements. The students prepared for weeks in order to perfect their specific parts, in hopes of winning the case for their team. After all the preparation that came with the mock trial, the day finally arrived. Before leaving for the court, everyone’s stomachs were filled with butterflies. The excitement in the class was palpable as students changed into their suits and practiced their parts over and over again

before boarding the bus to the courthouse downtown. Walking into the courthouse was breathtaking. With marbled floors and big podiums, it felt as though we were in a real trial. After everyone took their seats, it was time to begin. Judge Busby introduced the court, and allowed the first person to start their opening statement. After the first people went, it allowed the rest of the room to take a breath, and calm some of the nerves that came with all of the preparation and stress around presenting the facts of their side. The jury ruling for Midland vs. Pence was 5–1 in favor of Pence, the defense. Next up was Andrews vs. School Board. Everyone in the case did a great job—such a good job that the ruling from the jury was tied 3–3. However, since it was a civil case, the defence, Springville School System, won the case. Participating in mock trial was a memorable experience that gave everyone a real idea of the emotions, nerves, and effort involved in preparing for a trial. •

Mad about Hoops Eight Post Oak students from the Mad About Hoops After School Enrichment Program performed during halftime of the Rice University football game over Thanksgiving weekend. •


Parent-Child Nights for Primary & Elementary The Bissonnet Campus positively buzzed with excitement last month on these special evenings when students brought their parents to school to show off the wonderful work they do during the day. •


D E C E M B E R 2018




Bearkat Home Games

BASKETBALL MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS 12/3 12/11 12/13 1/17 1/22 1/23

Yellowstone Academy Inspired for Excellence Legacy the School of Sport Sciences Inspired for Excellence Legacy the School of Sport Sciences SER Ninos Charter

4:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

MIDDLE SCHOOL BOYS 11/28 12/5 12/13 1/8 1/17 1/22 1/23

Western Academy St. Francis Episcopal Legacy the School of Sport Sciences Nehemiah Charter School Inspired for Excellence Pro-Vision Academy SER Ninos Charter

4:30 p.m. 4:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m.


St. Francis Episcopal Lake Houston Conquerors

5:00 p.m. 4:30 p.m.

HIGH SCHOOL BOYS 12/4 12/7 12/10 12/17 12/19 1/11 1/18 1/25 1/28

Southwest Schools Mount Carmel St. Thomas Episcopal Houston CAN SW Houston CAN SW Legacy the School of Sport Sciences YES Prep North Central George I. Sanchez Esprit International

5:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 4:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

(updates will be posted on the TeamSnap app)

D E C E M B E R 2018


High School Theater Mid-November, High School students took to the stage at Classical Theatre Company for two evening performances of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. Our theater specialist Dana Bowman says, “I’d like to thank the cast and crew for all of their hard work, and for creating a great production.” •





Pathways to Independence





Advocacy Parent & Teen

Primary & Elementary Q&A Coffees for prospective families

Wednesday, Dec. 5

6:45 p.m. Refreshments 7:00 p.m. Event start, High School facilitated by MDC Counselor J’anvieu Pilisi, CSC, LPC-I, NCC We will be discussing ways in which we can encourage students to advocate for their needs. Hope to see you there! Join the Middle and High School counselor and directors for this series of ongoing conversations.

These coffees are a way for prospective families to learn more about the Primary and Elementary programs from current Post Oak families. Please share with a friend if you think they would be interested. Primary: Tues., Dec 11 at 10 a.m. Elementary: Wed., Dec. 12 at 10 a.m. Bissonnet Campus

YCC Meetings

High School Upper Level Registration

YCC transition to Primary

for High School Sophomore Students and Parents

Thurs., Dec. 6, 9–10:30 a.m.

Thurs., Dec. 6 | 5–6 p.m.


This information morning meeting with Early Childhood Director Mirani Smith is for parents of children moving up from the Young Children’s Community to Primary during the current or following school year.

New YCC Parent Gathering Thurs., Dec. 13, 9–10 a.m. This is an adult-only orientation meeting for parents whose children will be new to the Young Children’s Community in the spring. All parents of new YCC students are expected to attend.


Please join us at the High School for an important registration event for all current sophomores. We’ll be going over the essential things you need to know about the 11th and 12th grade curriculum at Post Oak. The basic guidelines and requirements of the program will be reviewed and the course options will be introduced. Please review this Guide to the Upper Level High School Program at The Post Oak School prior to the event. Students must turn in their signed course selection forms by Friday, Dec. 14. Please direct any questions to Dr. Quillin. We look forward to seeing you! •

D E C E M B E R 2018


Part-time Montessori Teachers Needed

In Memoriam

Studio June needs happy teachers who enjoy working with young children and hold an AMI or AMS primary/ early childhood diploma or AMI or AMS infant/toddler diploma. These positions are part-time, contract positions to teach classes that meet one or more days each week.

We are sad to share the news that Post Oak alumnus William McKone passed away on November 24 after battling brain cancer. Services were held in early December in New York.

Duties include: ◆◆ Setup and maintenance of the environment ◆◆ Present materials to the children in the class ◆◆ Communicate with parents as needed ◆◆ Communicate with the Studio director as needed ◆◆ Attendance at faculty meetings ◆◆ Be an ambassador of the Studio Send a letter of interest and résumé to Sarah Moudry, Sarah@

Will attended Post Oak from 2004 to 2007. Our hearts go out to the McKone family during this difficult time. •


2019 Primary Training The Houston Montessori Institute is pleased to announce an AMI Primary Teacher Training Course beginning July 2019 at The Post Oak School. If you are interested, please send an e-mail to


Upper Elementary Spelling Bee The bee has moved to Friday, December 14. Parents are invited! Join us at 9:30 a.m. in the Post Oak Gym.

New MDC Receptionist Post Oak welcomes Jeanette Tudor to our staff as the MDC receptionist. Jeanette joins us after many years working as a teacher. She is excited to be part of the Post Oak community. •



‘Tis the SE A S ON to be SHAR IN G A N N UA L FOOD DR I V E for BR A E S I N T ER FA I T H M I N IS T R IE S As in years past, we will be collecting FOOD & TOILETRIES for Braes Interfaith Ministries. Donation boxes will be located throughout the school and items will be collected DECEMBER 3 to 12. Elementary students will deliver the items to the Braes Interfaith Ministries on Dec. 12. SUGGESTED BABY AND TOILETRY ITEMS: Bars of soap Shampoo Hand lotion Diapers (particularly size 4 and 5) Baby food (particularly fruits and vegetables) Enfamil with Iron

SUGGESTED NON-PERISHABLE FOOD ITEMS: Boxes of cereal Packaged pasta and sauce Canned vegetables and meat Rice, lentils, beans Soups, broths Dried fruits and nuts

Please help us make this a meaningful experience for the children of Post Oak and a welcome gift for the families in our community who need our support.

Alumni Voices

an event for all Post Oak parents Thurs., Jan. 10, 6:30 p.m. AT THE HIGH SCHOOL

We are excited to welcome back alumni to share their experiences and how Post Oak prepared them for higher learning and for life! Parents, save the date to hear first-hand what a difference a Post Oak education makes.

Calling Post Oak Dads! Ready for some friendly basketball games with other Post Oak dads? Contact Stephen Lai ( ) to get in the game.

Wednesdays 7 to 9 p.m. at the Bissonnet Campus Gym

D E C E M B E R 2018


SCENES from The Post Oak School



N OT I C E B OA R D Dec. 24–Jan. 4 Winter Break School closed

Mon., Jan. 7 Teacher In-service School closed

Fri., Jan. 11 Application deadline for new students


The lost and found is overflowing at the Bissonnet Campus. Stop by the chest in the Common Room. Items not claimed by Dec. 21 will be donated.

Note: If clothing or lunch boxes have a name written on it, the item is placed in your child’s cubicle/locker. It’s a good idea to mark special items so they always find their way home!

Shopping for the Holidays? Register for Spring ASEP Registration for spring ASEP classes is available online through MyBackPack. Sign up early to reserve your child’s place. Registration closes Tuesday, December 18.






Fri., Dec. 21 HDYCC: 11:00 a.m. FDYCC: 11:10 a.m. PRI: 11:30 a.m. EL, MS, & HS: noon

There’s an easy way to help raise money for our school—when you go shopping! Whether buying groceries at Randalls, or gifts and school supplies at Target, your purchases can benefit Post Oak! Grandparents, alumni, and friends are all welcome to participate in the programs. We truly appreciate all your support! Happy shopping! • Shopping Rebate form: postoak/Download_ Forms.asp.

To avoid the school’s e-mail communications arriving in your junk mail folder, please add to your safe sender list or address book/contacts.

A BOU T TH E POST The Post appears every first Monday of the month during the regular school year. You can receive a printed copy from your oldest child, or a PDF version online. Submit letters, articles, or photos in electronic form to Communications Coordinator Elaine Schweizer ( by 5:00 p.m. on the Monday one week prior to publication. Please direct all requests for permission to reprint articles to the communications coordinator. The Post Oak School was founded in 1963 and accredited by both the International Baccalaureate® Programme (IBO) and the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) Bissonnet Campus: 4600 Bissonnet St., Bellaire, TX 77401 ■ Tel.: 713-661-6688 ■ Fax: 713-661-4959 Museum District Campus: 1010 Autrey St., Houston, TX 77006 ■ Tel.: 832-538-1988 ■ Fax: 832-538-1926 |

The Post, December 2018