August 31, 2017

Friends School Publishes Updated Curriculum for Preschool-8th grade

Our teaching faculty is proud to share with you our newly revised curriculum guide that spans all ages and grades across all subject areas.

While Friends teachers have always had a clear and well-articulated curriculum, we have not had an easy-to-follow guide for parents on our website.

Our newly updated curriculum guide not only articulates the skills and concepts that our students learn, it also captures the essence of what makes the Friends School program so distinctive, engaging, and successful. It is a worthwhile and useful tool for both current and prospective parents. 

Friends School’s curriculum meets or exceeds all standards and guidelines for accreditation with the Association of Colorado Independent Schools as well as Colorado state standards.

You will discover a new beautifully designed grade-by-grade and subject-by-subject chart.  All subjects are documented, in preschool, elementary school and middle school. (The only exceptions are technology and library skills, which are coming soon.)

In addition we have refreshed, re-written, and re-titled the former Curriculum Updates, which give a more holistic overview of each school subject. These Curriculum Overviews in math, science, reading, Spanish, social emotional learning and assessment, will be up on the website in a few short weeks. Overviews on social studies and writing are in the works. Other subjects will be forthcoming. These Overviews are comprehensive essays that describe Friends School’s philosophy and curriculum from Preschool through 8th grade, lucidating the essence of our dynamic academic programs. 

The preschool, elementary school and middle school sections of our website also contain other useful information that highlight our programs.

All of our Friends School teachers believe deeply in engaging our students by emphasizing an experiential and integrated curriculum, focused on academics, problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, and social responsibility. Skilled teachers identify children’s
natural curiosity as building blocks for a flexible yet structured curriculum that engages students, stretches their abilities, and simultaneously helps them develop their respect for others.

I owe a debt of gratitude to all of our teachers who have worked for a year on this project.  In particular, I am extremely grateful to Associate Head of School Mandy Stepanovsky for spearheading and being the lead writer on the elementary curriculum project, to Middle School Director Shelby Pawlina and her team for the middle school project, to our entire preschool team, and to Director of Marketing and Communications Meg Hansen for all her design work on making everything so aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. 

Please take some time to check out our new curriculum guide.  All feedback is very welcome. 

August 24, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Dear Friends School parents and friends,

Welcome back to school and to this Among Friends column for the 2017-18 year.  Each week, I will share stories of many of the great people and events that occur in and around the school.  I like to think of this as a place for me to share my window on life at school with all of you.

On Monday, in an event that was highlighted on the front page of the New York Times of August 14, 1932 (yes, THIRTY TWO!) we all looked skyward.  Here in Boulder the moon eclipsed only 93% of the sun.  The day before our elementary and middle schools opened, our teachers left their planning meetings and our administrative staff took a break from their desks to marvel at the sight.
5th graders viewing the eclipse

Many of our Friends School families, and several of our staff, traveled northward to parts of Wyoming and Nebraska to experience totality. Despite the teeming traffic, everyone I spoke with told me that to witness a total eclipse of the sun, even for only two minutes, was an experience that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

Reports of 360ยบ sunsets, rapidly falling temperatures, and the opportunity to see the sun’s corona were impressive enough.  For many people however, the physical occurrences did not seem to match the emotional transformations that they experienced.

Articles have been written on the energetic impact of a total solar eclipse.  Some have indicated that a unique moment like this may change our moods or perhaps even have an impact on shifting our collective consciousness.  This is powerful stuff.  

Joining our elementary students at their back to school gathering
Many people who witnessed totality firsthand were completely awestruck, in the true sense of the word. They were overcome with emotions at what they saw.

An eclipse can be a time of new beginnings.

So how appropriate was it that we invited our Kindergarten and new elementary families to picnic with us at school on the very same day?

New beginnings….and a new school year that we fully anticipate will also go beyond the physical and will be emotionally transformative for our students and families.

Middle school students on the first day of school
Beyond the standard things that all schools do – reading and writing and math and science and PE and recess (and more) – our aim is that our skilled teachers will connect with your children energetically.  They will support our students’ social and emotional development.  They will help them to learn new friendship skills, inspire them to reach new heights both academically and intrapersonally, and hold them up when they need a hand.

That’s why we are all here at Friends School: not simply for school as you and I may have experienced school, but for a transformative experience that will last a lifetime.

At Friends School, we are both challenging minds and nurturing spirits. Welcome to the journey.