— Lower school students built a Galileo’s ramp in the iLab

Our lower school students demonstrated their interest in science and invention skills during their after-school hours in the iLab. After studying Galileo’s theories, they decided to build a Galileo’s ramp. They were so proud of their creation that they shared their project and discoveries with the rest of the school in an all-school assembly. What a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge and celebrate community.

 

— Managing our middle schoolers’ screen time and use

By Jessica Patti, Director of Middle School

Our Middle Schoolers are digital natives – they have grown up immersed in technology. However, our students’ familiarity with technology may unintentionally mask their need for guidance with how to engage appropriately with peers in ways that support boundaries and maintain personal integrity. Among Snapchat, messaging, Instagram, and group texting (or grext) there are a myriad of ways for students to connect with one another and share (at times near constant) communication.

While our students are growing up in a social construct that invites sharing profusely, the screen (vs face-to-face) simultaneously creates enough separation such that students’ inhibitions are lessened. This results in exchanges that would be deemed “over-sharing” in person, but are socially acceptable when sent electronically. Middle School is also the time when many parents are grappling with providing a personal device to their child and then with how to monitor use while supporting the emerging adolescent need for perceived “space” and personal privacy.

Here are some helpful tips and things to think about for navigating these sometimes tricky waters:

  • Have regular conversations with your child(ren) about social media.
  • Find out about the new apps they are using and how they are being used.
  • Ask your child to share current examples of how they have recently communicated.
  • Ask if your child has ever had interactions with others on social media that made them uncomfortable and why.

Create clear parameters around social media use:

  • Tell your child what you think is and isn’t appropriate to say and do online. (A helpful framework: If it would be uncomfortable in person, it should not happen on social media.)
  • Explain the difference between bystander and upstander. A bystander may “like” or “favorite” something hurtful an upstander calls out cruel and hurtful behavior and supports targeted students.
  • Let your child know if they may not use certain apps or sites.

Limit access to the device; students should not have cell phone and computer access 24 hours a day.

  • Set a time when you take the device in the evenings and when it is returned in the mornings.
  • Charge personal devices outside of student bedrooms.

Create clear expectations about the expectation of privacy.

  • Have students work on the computer in a communal space in your home.
  • As parents you should decide how frequently you will check the phone.
  • Go through phones and computers together with your child(ren) and talk about topics as they arise.
  • Always ask about new apps or apps you don’t recognize.
  • Have your child(ren) share all passwords for phones, computers and apps.
  • For more extensive resources, Common Sense Media has wonderful information.

For more extensive resources, please visit other related articles from our Parent Education Series: Parenting in a Digital Age, and more to come!


 

— In the News: Making science fun

Today the Half Moon Bay Review reported on the fantastic Science Festival celebrated last week at Sea Crest:

By Sarah Griego Guz

Annual science event a hit at Sea Crest –

The sounds of science rang out across the Kohrs Family Center at Sea Crest School on Thursday evening.

Science FestivalOn one side of the gym, seventh-grade students stood nervously beside their science projects awaiting a visit from multiple judges. Their topics ranged from “How Animals Impact Blood Pressure” to “Why Onions Make You Cry” to “The Effects of Liquid Consumption on the pH of Human Urine.”

Yes, one brave young scientist actually tested the urine of multiple subjects.

Squeals of excitement exploded from the other side, as children of all ages launched fizzy rockets, extracted DNA from a strawberry or simply built a bridge.

“I love it because everybody comes out for all grades,” said Heather DeWeerd, fifth-grade humanities teacher at Sea Crest School. “You have the seventh-grade science fair.

2017-01-19-Science-Festival-43“The exhibits are always different. They’re hands-on and the kids get to leave with science experiments they make.”

Second-grade Sea Crest student Wyatt Dunning waited expectantly at a construction paper launch pad. His experiment, a film canister rocket powered by Alka-Seltzer and water, was about to blast off.

There was a small pop as the rocket went off. Dunning seemed to be delighted by the result.

“I put this rocket power in,” said Dunning, referring to the effervescent tablet. “And then I put water in and it made this chemical reaction. And it made a big boom and it blasted off the cap.

“Boom!” he continued, gesturing with open arms while peering at the rocket through his safety glasses.

“This is my favorite experiment because it has something to do with chemical reactions. I love chemical reactions,” he said. “It’s like two different chemicals bounce together and make a chemical reaction. It’s like two chemicals reacting.”

While Dunning was watching his rocket take off, Sophia Nielsen was belting out a tune on a banana keyboard.

“They are bananas that, if you press them, they make different sounds,” said Sophia Nielsen. “I think they are pretty cool.”

The banana piano consisted of alligator clips, wires and proprietary technology from MIT Media Lab called “Makey Makey,” an electrical circuit that seemed to magically make a musical instrument out of fruit.

2017-01-19-Science-Festival-35

“Because they are connected to this, that connected to that, that’s connected to this other thing, and that’s why they make music,” said Nielsen, offering up her explanation behind the musical fruit.

According to the Makey Makey website, the technology behind the banana piano is the brainchild of Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, two Ph.D. students who worked at the MIT lab.

Bananas aside, the kit can also be used to turn pencil drawings into a joystick or Play-Doh into a controller for a favorite video game. Pac-Man anyone?

The science experiment portion of the evening was a result of a dynamic collaboration between a parent and a member of the Sea Crest faculty.

Together with Michelle Giacotto, director of Lower School, parent volunteer Gizette Sperinde worked tirelessly to bring another successful science night across the proverbial finish line.

“The strawberry DNA station is probably my favorite and the one station that requires the most amount of preparation,” said Sperinde in a message to the Half Moon Bay Review. “I hope that it triggers a discussion and understanding of DNA, its importance, and how it provides building blocks for all life forms.

“When I do this activity in the classroom, the discussion inevitably switches to race,” she continued. “I always love telling kids that race is a human construct having nothing to do with their DNA.”

For more information visit seacrestschool.org, email admission@seacrestschool.org or call 712-9892 x239 to learn more.

 


 

— Annual science festival is a hit

What an amazing time at the Science Festival this week! Seventh graders showed their hard work: researching, hypothesizing, designing and conducting experiments, and proudly displayed their individual science projects. This year, there were 39 projects and a number of engaging hands-on science activity stations and demonstrations for the entire family. Once again, Sea Crest’s Science Festival was a fantastic occasion to celebrate science and learning!

Science Festival Science Festival Science Festival Science Festival Science Festival Science Festival Science Festival Science Festival

Thanks to all parents for volunteering and attending this event, but also for supporting our Seventh Grade students — Stay tuned for the results!


 

— Permission to pause

Dr. Tekakwitha M. Pernambuco-Wise, Head of School

There is a fine balance between the traditions that we wish to keep in our independent schools and the push of innovation that encourages us to seek new heights. New technologies, methodologies of teaching and fierce competition from other educational establishments urge us to ever more rapid pacing to accomplish our goals – to do more with less and do it faster. Very few within our institutions are unaffected by these changes and as a result, we see increased signs of stress from our constituents, which must be addressed at all levels.

Entering Sea Crest School as its new Head four years ago, with the vision of moving our school from good to great, we set five major strategic initiatives, which included new curricula in mathematics, character education, health & wellness, innovation lab and technology. Additionally, we introduced an employee professional development and performance evaluation system and underwent our re-accreditation. The faculty, staff, administration and trustees rose to the challenge and the school thrived. There was an important thing to note, however. For all the goodwill, professionalism and sheer joy that was present within the school, the pace was unsustainable.

My personal realization came one summer morning when my husband said to me that whilst he would continue to support me fully, we could not go through another year of my being all consumed with my job. From the time I rose in the pre-dawn mornings to the time I went to bed, school had become the only topic of conversation and thought. He called me an iDrone, permanently welded to e-mail. The board expressed concern about my burnout and I became aware that if this was happening to me, it was most likely occurring with the administrators, faculty and staff. Ironic though it was, Sea Crest needed another initiative.

Beach WalkThe Sea Crest Faculty/Staff Health & Wellness Programme grew from conversations and discussions with faculty/staff regarding ways that we could mitigate the stress of the fast pace without losing the momentum and quality we had gained. We changed our 7-day pre-service schedule from being packed with workshops and meetings to incorporate time for mindfulness moments (e.g. yoga class, mindfulness through art, beach walking, playing a pick-up game) and extended periods of classroom preparation time that were free of administrator-scheduled meetings.

Mindfulness moments have been woven into the fabric of our school – whether in the invocations that open each of our faculty/staff and board meetings or the centering breathing of our pupils at the start of all-school assemblies. Teachers begin various portions of their day – first thing in the morning, following recess, after lunch, etc. – with these moments such as mindful breathing, yoga, reflection and meditation. These activities can be as short as two minutes long and rarely take more than 15. The teachers spearheaded their own initiative and instituted monthly faculty/staff lunch potlucks. We also agreed that during the school year, whilst we endeavor to respond to e-mails within 24 hours of receipt, we are not compelled to answer them after 5pm on a weekday or during the weekends. My holiday e-mail responses begin with a statement that Sea Crest is encouraging our faculty/staff to enjoy time with our loved ones. This gives the expectation that messages may not be responded to as quickly as when school is in session.

Fifth Grade Yoga Health & WellnessAt Sea Crest, we found that communicating the benefits of our health & wellness major strategic initiative to our parent constituency was essential. At our Mid-Year Address, we began with having the parents participate in a 5-minute chair yoga exercise that was led by a teacher. The health & wellness program was then presented as a curricular evolution similar to the innovations we were instituting in our mathematics, character education, technology and innovation lab. The school-wide emphasis on health & wellness is beneficial at all levels. Pupils are responding well; we observe this in their calmer behavior and many parents have mentioned that their children are taking these practices home.

On a personal note, getting an entire day of “me time” remains a struggle. A Head’s position is not one that easily affords significant lengths of relaxation time. I do, however, set aside a daily hour for meditation, prayer and exercise and a weekly afternoon of indulgence. What works well for me is a glass of bubbly, the occasional massage, a good book, walk in the woods, supper with my family, or pretty much any form of great chocolate. The importance is not on the activity; rather, it is that we give ourselves permission to take the time to pause. We must normalize daily, weekly, monthly routines of self-care and resist the pressure to be always bound to our over-filled schedules. We must realize that we cannot be on top of our game – knowledgeable, professional, empathetic and composed – if we are not ourselves centered. We must stop seeing de-stressing time as an indulgence and rather, see it as a necessity for the long-term health of each other and our institutions.


 

Footer background
901 ARNOLD WAY | HALF MOON BAY, CA 94019
CONTACT US
650.712.9892
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER
Sea Crest School is nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices and all other operations. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, citizenship, national or ethnic origin gender, sexual orientation, or gender identification in the administration of our educational policies, admission policies, tuition assistance programs and athletic or other school-administered programs. © 2016 SEA CREST SCHOOL
Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Linkedin