Stories from Sea Crest School

The official blog of Sea Crest School in Half Moon Bay, California.

— Mid-Year Address: The bright future of our school

Thanks to the parents and friends who attended our Mid-Year Address this year!  We celebrated the present with dynamic teacher presentations and launched the strategic plan that will guide our community of innovation.

Tekakwitha Head of School Mid-Year AddressBy Dr. Tekakwitha M. Pernambuco-Wise, Head of School & Amy Ramsey, Chair of Board

Our mission grounds us in what we most value about a Sea Crest education. Comprised of four major sections: Cultivate Community, Program Innovation, Strengthen the Institution and Infrastructure Development, our Strategic Plan is our guide for the next five years and helps us to focus on how to best fulfill this mission.

Designed as a visionary document, our Strategic Plan was formulated during our 20th anniversary year, with input from our constituents – pupils, faculty, staff, administration, trustees, parents and alumni/ae, as part of our re-accreditation process. This truly collaborative document was finalized by our Strategic Planning Committee, comprising faculty, staff, administrators and trustees, and ratified by the Board.

Sea Crest has seen significant growth, especially in our Middle School. From our humble beginnings of 24 pupils, we now stand at almost 300, the highest enrollment in our history. This is in large part due to the high caliber of our faculty and staff, deeply committed trustee volunteers, supportive parents, combined with a vigorous curriculum and engaged pupils. It is indeed an exhilarating time to be part of the Sea Crest community!

Developing authentic relationships is important to us. As we reach towards the goals of our Strategic Plan, we recognize that we can accomplish them only if we continue to work together, never becoming complacent or resting on our laurels and always keeping our sights on achieving greatness in all that we undertake.

Celebrating the present and looking forward to the future…


— 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.


“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, email 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!


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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
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