— In the News: Child’s play

Kindergarten forum provides schooling options. By Sarah Griego Guz. Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on October 11th, 2017.

As pint-sized pupils progress through their final year of preschool, Mom and Dad may be starting to stress about the next educational step.

The chaotic cloud of choices swirling around includes private versus public, Spanish immersion or a more traditional curriculum. Then there’s the whole question of staying true to the neighborhood school.

In order to help parents wrap their minds around the school conundrum, the Coastside Mothers’ Club, in collaboration with the Half Moon Bay Library, will soon present the Kindergarten Forum.

“Our goal in putting on this event is to give as many parents as we can the knowledge they need to make thoughtful decisions for their children,” said Andrea Rosenthal, Coastside Mothers’ Club education co-chair, in an emailed statement. “It’s an opportunity to come together as a community with the common goal of doing what’s best for our young Coastsiders.”

After grabbing a cup of coffee and a doughnut, perspective kindergarten parents will first hear from an independent and charter school panel featuring Alma Heights, Good Shepherd School, Ocean Grove Charter School, Sea Crest School and the Wilkinson School.

Cabrillo Unified School District Superintendent Jane Yuster will then take to the podium followed by the Cabrillo Education Foundation and the district’s Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Joy Dardenelle.

Around midmorning a panel of public elementary schools, including Kings Mountain, Farallone View, Hatch and El Granada, will have their say.

“We have so many great schools on the coast, so it’s a very difficult decision when choosing a kindergarten or transitional kindergarten,” said Coastside Mothers’ Club board member Anne Green. “Putting faces with names and having time to really talk with the principals and directors of each school can help ease one’s anxiety about finding the right fit for their child.”

“The Kindergarten Forum is also a great opportunity to sit with the parents of my children’s future classmates and have all of our questions answered,” added Emily Barbour, who is a Coastside Mothers’ Club board member and mother of four.

Deciding on the right kindergarten fit for the family is only one of the hurdles. Transitioning a child from the relaxed preschool atmosphere to a more structured kindergarten class can be a challenge.

“At all schools, the kids have such a wide range of experiences prior to kindergarten,” said Heidi Gilman Bennett, creator of the Parent Ed Series at Sea Crest School. “Some have been at a full-day child care or preschool setting, some have attended a few hours, so the day is really long, and some have never been. They’ve been cared for at home and so for them this is their first experience with a big group.”

The wide range of perspectives can be challenging for young minds and bodies. The information overload of simple school may cause kids who were smiling seconds before climbing into the car to burst into tears before the parents pull away from the curb.

In response to parenting challenges such as this, Bennett has created an education series for new Sea Crest parents specifically geared toward the topic of a healthy transition to kindergarten.

Keely Sikes Rollings, a licensed clinical psychologist working with families in the Bay Area, will facilitate a session detailing how to navigate mornings, evenings and everything in between.

“It can just be little things, like I’m having a hard time getting my child out the door because they don’t want to get dressed,” said series coordinator Paulette Phlipot. “Dr. Rollings might have some neat tips, like OK try this, do this little routine. She just presents it in tactile, practical ways to help parents and families in the progression.

“She’ll also cover the topic of the playground, how to find someone to play with,” she continued. “It’s just kind of a way to get the conversation going regardless if you’re experiencing the issue or not. It brings it to the forefront and puts it in people’s minds.”

The free Kindergarten Forum starts at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 4 at the El Granada Elementary School multipurpose room, 400 Santiago Ave. in El Granada. For more information on the Parent Ed Series on Healthy Transitioning to Kindergarten, email Michael Thompson at mthompson@seacrestschool.org.


 

— Ginger Girvin Scholarship Run & Field Day

What a fantastic community celebration on Friday: The music was playing, the students were running and challenging themselves and the parents were cheering! Making a difference in a student’s life has never been so easy or fun!

Thank you to all who made it possible; we couldn’t have done it without you! All donations go to support tuition assistance for Sea Crest students. Please click here to donate.

 

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— Seventh grade student got her first picture book published

Congratulations to our seventh-grade student, Isabella Murphy, on the launch of her first picture book, which features a pumpkin’s journey from seed to jack-o’-lantern!

Her book launch will be on Tuesday, October 10th at 6:00 p.m. at Ink Spell Books in Half Moon Bay. All proceeds will go to a children’s charity.

She will also present her book at Books, Inc. in Burlingame during Storytime on Sunday, October 15th at 11:00 a.m. Click here to visit her website.


 

— In the News: Coaches flag benefits of non-contact sport

Middle schools offer alternative to full-contact sports. By Sarah Griego Guz. Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on September 6th, 2017.

The August sun warmed the quad at Sea Crest School as boys and girls donned blue practice jerseys in preparation for the first flag football practice of the season.

Flag football is offered at both Sea Crest and Cunha middle schools. The lessons learned on the field often can translate to stellar performances on the high school gridiron.

“It’s 9-on-9 here, regular football is 11- on-11,” said Sea Crest middle school flag football coach Craig Strong. “It’s two less linemen, that’s the big difference.

“You’re still blocking, passing, running the ball, throwing the ball, catching the ball,” he continued. “On defense, you’re attacking, when you’re pulling the flag, that’s the equivalent of tackling. You’ve got to read offenses and move your body in such a way so that you’re heading where the ball is going.”

“The biggest difference between playing high school football and middle school flag football is the competition level and the intensity,” said Gabe Giacotto who played flag football for Sea Crest Middle School before joining the Junipero Serra High School football team.

“The coaches expect more from the players at a high school level and they rely on you to keep yourself and your fellow teammates in check,” he continued. “The other big difference was adjusting to both wearing and hitting with pads. It gives a whole different feel in running and movement. You also have to learn how to hit and tackle with them if you haven’t played tackle football before.”

Flag Football Middle School Athletics

Kaiya Hanepen (7th grade) practices with athletic director Craig Strong watching during flag football practice at Seacrest School in Half Moon Bay. Jamie Soja / Review

Full-contact youth football organizations have taken great care to ensure the health and wellness of their athletes. From capping the weight requirements of heavier players to ensuring all equipment is in excellent working order, athletes par ticipating in full contact football have never been safer or better prepared.

Still, some parents are hesitant to allow their children to play. For middle school-aged children, flag football may be just the ticket for those hoping to one day step foot on the high school field.

“Flag football gives athletes the opportunity to throw and catch the football on a regular basis and get a foundation for the game,” said Keith Holden, varsity head football coach at Half Moon Bay High School in an emailed statement. “Players learn a lot about angles, schemes and about how to move on the football field.”

“The players are learning the rules of the game as well as an understanding of the game,” said Strong. “Full contact is different in terms of some techniques, such as tackling techniques. We don’t tackle, we pull flags. However, we still block, without pads. Some of the techniques and skills developed in flag football absolutely translate to full contact football.”

Flag Football Middle School Athletics

Coach Dan Halepen shows a diagram to the team at flag football practice at Seacrest School in Half Moon Bay. Jamie Soja / Review

Strong stated that a big part of the flag football season includes teaching aspiring athletes intricacies of the game, including how to move and defend the ball.

“They are learning the actual skills, laying groundwork that, if the athlete didn’t have, might present more a of challenge if they played full-contact football without the foundation,” he said.

“I learned a lot on the flag football field that helped me to recognize plays when on defense, such as the difference between a deep pass, short pass and runs both outside and up the middle,” said Giacotto.

“It also helped me to pick up and pursue a quarterback when he is scrambling,” he continued. “Playing flag football helped me on offense when getting the hang of memorizing plays and adjusting to different defensive formations.”

As to how to bridge the gap between flag and full-contact football, Holden believes that the best supplemental training is playing other sports.

“Also, I believe that strength training is beneficial to any athlete, not just football players, for preventing injury,” he said.

“My advice for kids playing flag football, who aspire to play in college, would be to stick with it and to not give up,” added Giacotto. “At first, the sport is going to seem tough and brutal, especially in a program like Serra’s.

“Although, if you work hard and stick with it, you will be surprised at how fast you catch on and make the necessary adjustments,” he continued. “The other thing would be to always hustle and give your best effort because that is what the coaches are really looking for.”


 

— In the News: Sea Crest School dives into new year

Sea Crest School staff, students and their families dived into the first day of school with a lively assembly on Wednesday. By Sara Hayden. Published in the Half Moon Bay Review on August 30th, 2017.

“It’s really a day of excitement for everybody,” Head of School Tekakwitha M. Pernambuco-Wise said, recalling her own love of the occasion as a child. “My heart was just bursting with joy this morning. It reminded me of how excited I was to start school.”

Welcome Back to School CommunityIn some ways, the back-to-school festivities started before the first bell. Residents of the Half Moon Bay senior community dropped by at 6:30 a.m. to decorate with colorful handmade paper flowers and signs for the students.

New Student Council President Olivia Cevasco greeted members of the community dressed as a seal, the school’s mascot, ensured posters welcomed the community in the school’s halls and left every student a handwritten welcome note in their cubbies and lockers. The eighth-grader penned them herself, inspired by similar gestures by last year’s student council members.

“It really touched me when every person had a couple encouraging words for the day,” said Cevasco.

She said she felt compelled to continue fostering that sense of community.

Olivia Cevasco Student Council President“Sea Crest is more than just a school. We’re here to learn, but we’re also here to be friends and support each other,” Cevasco said.

Since Pernambuco-Wise came on board at Sea Crest in 2013, the staff has challenged itself to think about how to take the “school from good to great, from infancy to maturity.” Much of that focus has been on innovation.

“It’s about the mindset. It’s about how we approach solving problems … really engaging the pupils’ ownership in their learning,” Pernambuco-Wise said.

Driving that forward into the 2017-2018 school year is a central theme.

“(This is) ‘Our Year to Thrive. We’re taking on less so we can go deeper,” said Pernambuco-Wise, adding that school leaders will focus on the most effective ways to assess students, cultivate a sense of inclusion and how to take care of oneself.

As faculty, staff and students hit the books, they’ll also hit the yoga mats, a quiet moment to meditate or reflect, or another activity that takes them out of their headspace in the coming weeks.

“We’re now saying, ‘What do we need to do to thrive as human beings, and how can we translate that to the children?’” Pernambuco-Wise said.


 

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