— 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.


— 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: 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.


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



Coastweek at Sea Crest

Thanks to all our teachers and students for making our first-ever Coastweek so special. In particular, we would like to recognize our wonderful teachers Stephanie Hanepen (First Grade) and Anastasia Pickens (Fifth Grade Math & Science) who spearheaded this amazing ocean appreciation project at our school. We came together as a community to celebrate the ocean and our beautiful coastal environment!


Kindergarten Half Moon Bay

Kindergarten studied the Ocean Community, learned about all the different animals that live in the ocean and created a beautiful art piece that represents the ocean community.

First Grade Elementary School Coast

First Grade learned all the ways to have Fun at the Beach by listening to stories, exploring sand through art and making surfboards in the Innovation Lab.

Second Grade Elementary School Half Moon Bay

Second Grade gathered all kinds of objects that can be found on the beach and became experts on Trash or Treasures, what is trash and what is a precious gift from the ocean.

Third Grade Sea Crest School HMB

Third Grade studied Ocean Natural Resources: what a natural resource is, how they are used and which particular ones come from the ocean; and created detailed mobiles to explain their discoveries.

Fourth Grade Coastweek

Fourth Grade learned all about Sharks, did research and presented their findings to other classrooms, built a model of a great white shark and made shark necklaces.

Fifth Grade Kelp Forest Half Moon Bay

Fifth Grade studied Kelp Forests, underwater ecosystems formed in shallow water, and turned their classroom into a big one. They enjoyed sharing what they created and learned with the rest of the school.


Thank you very much!


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