GFS NEWSLETTER GFS NEWSLETTER for parents faculty and

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GFS NEWSLETTER GFS NEWSLETTER for parents faculty and Powered By Docstoc
					                         GFS NEWSLETTER
                          for parents, faculty and friends of Germantown Friends School

                                                                                                                 January 2010

Working on Diversity in the Lower School
By Mirangela Buggs, Director of Multicultural Affairs, and Kim Lewis, Lower School Principal

    Germantown Friends School’s vision for diversity                  The Race Ethnicity and Culture
affirms that as a school, we seek to become knowledgeable        (REC) Taskforce was established
about issues of race, ethnicity and culture, religion, sexual    in 2008-09 and has engaged in
orientation and socioeconomic status, and build an               historical exploration of race and
inclusive and affirming school community. Our faculty has        its social and economic impact
taken up important work in diversity at GFS, acquiring new       upon various communities.
knowledge, supporting each other’s growth, deepening             This summer, the group read
teaching and helping to affirm students from many different      Everyday Anti-Racism: Getting
backgrounds and kinds of families.                               Real About Race in School, edited
    The Lower School is committed to deep and                    by Mica Pollock, and led the
comprehensive work around race, ethnicity, culture and           whole Lower School faculty in a
sexual orientation. Lower School teachers are involved in        reflective discussion of the PBS
reflection and study of these powerful social dynamics and       documentary, Race: The Power of
how they manifest themselves in our school. Two faculty          An Illusion/Part III: The House We
taskforces have taken on the work of learning and reflection,    Live In. The taskforce continues
along with supporting colleagues to gain more awareness          to work as a group for study and
about these important issues in our world and in our school      reflection, along with addressing
community.                                                       everyday issues of race, ethnicity and culture among
    The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Questioning        students, in social interactions at school, and in teaching,
(LGBTQ) Taskforce has been working together since 2007,          learning and curriculum.
and has supported faculty to raise their awareness about              This ongoing work in diversity extends across the school
lesbian and gay issues, to support and affirm lesbian and        divisions. Lower School, Middle School and Upper School
gay families and to become comfortable with language             faculty seek professional development in various aspects of
surrounding lesbian and gay life. The taskforce has              diversity and multiculturalism. Our faculty approach diversity
supported Lower School faculty in talking openly with            in multiple ways, focusing on issues of student life and
children about lesbian and gay issues, particularly around       school climate, on work for self-awareness and leadership
affirming same-sex parents and their children, and providing     development, and on issues of curriculum, teaching and
classroom resources that are inclusive and affirming of all      learning.
kinds of families.
                                                                                            continued on the next page

              31 West Coulter Street  Philadelphia, PA 19144  215-951-2300 
Working on Diversity
in the Lower School
  continued from previous page
Some of the workshops and conferences that faculty
have attended over the past few years include National
Association of Independent Schools’ Annual People of
Color Conference and Summer Diversity Institute; National
Association of Multicultural Educators; Multicultural
Resource Center’s “Teachers Teaching Teachers” conference;
the Annual White Privilege Conference; Whites Confronting
Racism; The Gordon School Institute on Multicultural
Practice; Friends Council on Education’s Diversity Peer
Network; and Class Action’s The Color of Class workshop.

Community                                                             We need volunteers to:
     By Kathy Paulmier, Director of Community Involvement
                                                                     • LEAD on-campus sewing, cooking and craft projects
    Happy New Year! The Stenton Family Manor Christmas               • LEAD project teams off campus (take attendance, greet
Dinner, the Giving Tree and the December Turkey Drive all                and thank our hosts)
went beautifully, thanks to your overwhelming generosity.            • PARTICIPATE in projects on or off campus
GFS families stepped forward to donate food, gifts, time,            • REGISTER PARTICIPANTS as they arrive
kitchen help, transportation and loving support. See below           • CLEAN UP after projects
for a brief synopsis of the three events.                            • ASSIST with odd jobs to support projects
    Looking ahead: On Monday, January 18, Germantown                 • PHOTOGRAPH our community at work
Friends School will join in the Greater Philadelphia Martin          • PREPARE FOOD for the luncheon (donated items
Luther King Day of Service. GFS students, parents, faculty               should be brought to the cafeteria between 8:30
and staff are invited to participate in a variety of projects,            and 9:30 am)
both on and off campus, and attend a celebratory luncheon.           • GATHER SUPPLIES, such as ingredients for cooking,
    The schedule for January 18’s Day of Service is:                     craft supplies for cards, children’s books on Dr. King
    8:00 a.m.     Refreshments in the Sharpless Building             If you are inspired to participate, please go to the GFS
    8:30 a.m.     James and Dorothy Bristol Peace and Social     website and fill out the on-line registration form at www.
                  Justice Speaker in Yarnall Auditorium under “What’s Happening” on the
                  Cordella Hill, Executive Director of the       right hand side of the Home page. There is a registration
                  Covenant House                                 form for the service projects and a separate one for the
    9:15 a.m.     Projects on and off campus                     luncheon. (If you sign up by January 13, you are more likely
    11:30 a.m.    Luncheon in the GFS cafeteria, hosted by       to receive one of the commemorative T-shirts!) Project
                  the Multicultural Parents’ Alliance            assignments will be posted on the GFS website by Friday
                                                                 evening, January 15.
                                                                                                    continued on next page

    Do you have an idea for a project? Or questions              the toys, 13 food baskets were delivered to Wister families on
about the Day of Service in general? If so, please contact       December 15.
Kathy Paulmier at 215-951-2325 or For             The Turkey Drive: Outstanding support came from
questions about the MPA luncheon, please contact MPA             the Middle School for the December Turkey Drive. Lead by
committee member Yung Lee at 267-241-5688 or                     English teacher Will Terry and assisted by sixth-grade teacher                                                Jeff Fetterman, the Middle School raised enough funds—with
                                                                 “matching” donations from the Middle School homeroom
    A recap of December’s community outreach events:             teachers—to purchase 52 turkeys from the restaurant depot.
    The Stenton Family Manor Christmas Dinner: Twenty-           These were gratefully received by the Wister Townhouses for
five children from the Stenton Family Manor homeless             their food baskets, the Holsey Temple Food Ministry and the
shelter came to the Social Room of the Meetinghouse on           newly re-opened Saint Barnabas Food Pantry. Many thanks to
December 17 for a delicious dinner made by students,             all of the families who helped with the turkey drive by either
parents, Meeting members, faculty and staff. The children        donating funds or donating a frozen turkey. Combined with
were given toys that had been selected by the students in        our donations from November, GFS gave a total of 71 turkeys
Susan Shechtman’s second grade class; Margaret Fleisher’s        to families in Germantown in 2009.
3/4 vertical made treat bags for everyone. Santa was there
to hand out gifts (thank you, Mike Gibbs ’10!). Thanks to all
of the parents and to the Community Action Committee for
helping make the event such a success.
    The Giving Tree: Gifts were collected in the lunchroom
in December and delivered to children at the Wister
Townhouses’ Community Center on December 15. Wister
threw a Christmas Party in their community room and their
teen group, “Girls About Progress” aka the G.A.P. Girls,
helped distribute the gifts. Thank you to everyone who
supported this community connection.
    When we planned the event in November, one of the
members of the Residents’ Association, Mary Whitmore,
asked that instead of toys, we donate food this year because
their food cupboard had closed. Two members of the
Community Action Committee, Matilda David ’10 and Emma
Schmidt ’11, and I met with Whitmore and the Social Worker
at Wister to discuss the actual needs of their families. The
Upper School Community Action Committee decided that,
in addition to the toy drive, they would create and donate
special food baskets as well. The Committee members
brought in specific items for each basket, and, in addition to
Classroom Notes                               What’s happening this month across the school divisions

Celebrate Good Times, Lenape-style                                 Next Stop for the 8th Grade: Ellis Island
To commemorate the end of their Lenape studies, the Rouse          One of the themes studied in 8th grade American history
and Shechtman second grade classes and the Hess second-            is immigration into the United States. As a culminating
third vertical will host a mini “Gamwing” celebration on           event for the unit, the 8th grade will visit the immigration
Friday, January 29. (Traditionally, the “Gamwing” was a 12-        museum on Ellis Island on January 8. The museum does a
night “Thanksgiving” ceremony that came at the end of the          terrific job of putting human faces and stories to the events
growing cycle.) The second and third graders will say prayers      the students have learned about throughout the course, and
together, play Lenape games and eat old-time Lenape food           provides various forms of visual reinforcement; in the peak
(corn, beans, squash and venison) cooked by the children.          years of operation from 1892 to 1924, more than 12 million
                                                                   people from around the world passed through the doors of
                                                                   the Ellis Island immigration station.
                                                                   Over the course of the unit, students examined the
                                                                   immigrant story from a variety of perspectives, as well as
                                                                   the new wave of immigration, immigration legislation and
                                                                   the motivations behind that legislation. The goal of the trip
                                                                   is to guide students toward making connections between
                                                                   the immigrant experiences of the Ellis Island generation and
                                                                   today’s immigrants.

                                                                   Don’t Miss Your Chance to Go with the Flow!
                                                                   Project Flow is a summer opportunity for students entering
                                                                   ninth grade in fall 2010. The six-week program invites public
                                                                   and private school students to explore water as artists,
                                                                   historians, scientists and social activists, and is funded by
                                                                   the E.E. Ford Foundation and GFS. Chris Singler (Upper
                                                                   School English teacher and tenth grade advisor) is the
                                                                   program director, and questions can be directed to him at
                                                          or 215-951-4176. Applications are due by
                                                                   February 1. The program runs from July 5 – August 13 on the
                                                                   GFS campus.
sChool News
Admissions and Re-Enrollment                                      offer classes and share their scholarly passions and wisdom.
The happiest of New Year wishes to all GFS families,              Every course is open to the entire GFS community: tenth
and thank you for the support you have lent to our fall           through twelfth graders, parents, GFS faculty and alumni. A
Open House events, the Parents Association- sponsored             broad range of experience comes to each seminar table, and
Neighborhood Admission Coffees, and your general positive         all are challenged and inspired by a rich variety of voices both
outreach to bring and welcome prospective new families to         in the classroom and in the texts and films explored there.
GFS! We are as busy as ever in our office and grateful for all          Adults who sign up for courses are not required
that you do for the school.                                       to write papers, although they are expected to complete
Re-enrollment Agreements will be sent out in mid-January.         the writing assignments if they enroll in writing courses.
These are due back to the Admissions Office by Thursday,          Classes, which run for eight weeks, begin just after spring
February 11.                                                      break, with the first Monday evening classes meeting on
Families applying for Financial Aid need to have their            Tuesday, April 6, and thereafter reverting to a Monday
Financial Aid applications and accompanying documents             schedule. Of the 20 courses offered, 14 will be given on
to our office by Friday, February 5. Financial Aid award          Monday or Wednesday evenings; remaining courses,
decisions will be made by Friday, February 19, and decision       including day sections of some evening courses, meet four
letters will go out on or about Monday, February 22. Re-          days a week during regular school hours. Space is at a
enrollment agreements for Financial Aid families are due          premium; registrations must be received by February 5. The
back by Monday, March 1.                                          fee for each course is $175. Parents will receive an Essentially
      The Admissions Office greatly appreciates your              English brochure and registration form in the mail, but these
attention to speedy completion of the paperwork during this       will also be posted on the GFS website on the Browser’s
busy time in our enrollment season, as we all plan in advance     Bookstore page (where you can also buy all your course
for the school year 2010-11. Please call Laura Sharpless          books) and on the Upper School English Department page.
Myran, Director of Admission and Financial Aid, at 215-951-       For extra brochure copies, please call 215-951-2300.
2345, if you have any questions about these deadlines or the
                                                                  GFS to Welcome 74 Artists for
                                                                  26th Annual Craft Show, March 5-7
Essentially English 2010:                                         Every March for the past 26 years, GFS has been lucky
Register by February 5!                                           enough to tap into the craft show circuit and bring to
Learn the art of screenwriting or writing for the radio.          campus some of the very best artists in the country to
Explore the work of contemporary fiction writers from Asia,       help raise money for the school’s scholarship programs
Africa and the Middle East. Study the films of Spike Lee,         and campus improvements. On Sunday, November 8, the
the literature of childhood or, if you are philosophically-       five-person craft show jury met in the new media room of
minded, the literature of Existentialism. Consider the cultural   the library to evaluate more than 330 artists and pick 74 of
importance of Hip Hop, or indulge your fascination with           them to exhibit at this year’s show. The jury, comprised of
espionage novels. Essentially English 2010 offers courses on      educators, seasoned artists and craft aficionados, scored
these topics and more!                                            the artists based on originality, craftsmanship and unity of
      Instructors this year include all of your favorite tenth,   vision.
eleventh and twelfth grade English teachers, as well as                 For the second year, the craft show jury selected three
teachers of other disciplines, including history and drama.       emerging local artists to participate—Tristram MacDonnell,
Independent scholars, novelists and professional actors will      Erin Castellan and Robert Seigel. These artists live and work
sChool News
within the city of Philadelphia, are novices in the craft show    boards and utensils, platters, bowls and much more. All
world and are new to the GFS show. MacDonnell is a very           proceeds benefit the Community Scholars Program.
recent college grad who has incredible woodworking skills
and is excited to be exhibiting his furniture at GFS (despite
having graduated from rival Westtown School!). Erin               January is a Great Month… to Visit
Castellan produces stylish hats and scarves using organic         Browser’s Bookstore!
wool yarns and other eco-friendly fibers, and Robert Siegel       Browser’s offers a large selection of fiction and non-fiction
is a local ceramist who honed his talent during a year in         for all ages, from classics, history and mysteries to art,
Jingdezhen, China, studying the 1,000-year-old traditions of      cooking, poetry and drama. Receive a 10% discount on
ancient Chinese porcelain making.                                 all books and support GFS at the same time! Our January
      These local artists will be joined by old favorites like    featured book (20% off the list price) is A Gate at the Stairs
fiber artist Mary Lynn O’Shea, jeweler Ree Gallagher and 30       by Lorrie Moore, one of the New York Times’ “Ten Best
artists completely new to our show, including several from        Books of 2009.” Call 215-951-2376 or e-mail browsers@
the hip and vibrant Brooklyn, New York, craft world.     to place your order, or just come on in!
Mark your calendar and join us at the Preview Party on
Friday, March 5, from 6 to 9 pm. Volunteer to be a part of this
important fundraising effort by e-mailing craftshow@gfsnet.       Parent Annual Giving:
                                                                  Participating as a Community
org. We are especially looking for families to host an artist
                                                                  When it comes to Annual Giving, participation is key. When
for Friday and Saturday nights, and for bakers to stock our
                                                                  GFS applies for foundation grants or approaches major
café with delicious homemade baked goods.
                                                                  donors, the first question always asked is: Does the school
                                                                  community support itself? This is the barometer by which

GFS Shop Talk                                                     outside funding sources determine if they, too, will support

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow… The January Annual         GFS; a community that invests in itself is one worth investing

Winter Sale is on! Save up to 30% on holiday ornaments,           in.

tableware, tablecloths, linens, scarves, candles, cheese                Our community extends well beyond our parents,
                                                                                       faculty and dedicated alumni. It includes
                                                                                       the crossing guards who help our
                                                                                       children navigate Coulter Street each
                                                                                       day, the cafeteria staff who feed our
                                                                                       kids, the bus drivers who drive our
                                                                                       children to and from school, on field trips
                                                                                       and to sporting events. These people
                                                                                       participate in Annual Giving along with
                                                                                       you; they, too, believe in - and value - our
                                                                                       community. It’s not about how much
                                                                                       any individual gives, but the fact that so
                                                                                       many of us choose to stand behind our
                                                                                       school together.
                                                                                           Thank you to everyone in the GFS
                                                                                       community who has already made a
                                                                                       donation to the 2009-10 Annual Giving
sChool News                                                      athletiC News
Fund. Your generosity is greatly appreciated as every gift       Friday Night Rivalry!
counts towards our goal of 100% participation. For those         Come out and support the GFS basketball teams on two
of you who have not yet made your gifts, please go to            upcoming Friday nights:
the website at and click on            Friday, January 8, GFS vs. Abington Friends in the
“Support GFS.”                                                   Scattergood Gym
Thank you for your consideration, and Happy New Year!            4:00 p.m. – Girls JV Basketball
                                                                 6:00 p.m. – Boys JV Basketball (in Field House)
                                                                 6:00 p.m. – Girls Varsity Basketball
Coming Soon… A Cappella Fest 2010!                               7:45 p.m. - Boys Varsity Basketball
This year’s A Cappella Fest will be held on Saturday, February
6, at 8 pm in the Loeb Performing Arts Center. Featured          Half-court SHOT COMPETITION at half-time of each Varisty
groups include GFS A Cappella, Penn Charter’s Quaker’s           game! T-Shirts and other sprit gear will be awarded as
Dozen, the Springside Laurelei, the CHA Hilltones, the           prizes. Refreshments available at the Tiger Den!
Duke’s Men of Yale and the UPenn Counterparts. Tickets are
$12 and go on sale at the GFS front desk beginning               Friday, January 22 – GFS vs. Shipley School in Scattergood
January 22.                                                      Gym
                                                                 * Family night with Lower & Middle School students, siblings
                                                                 and parents
                                                                                         4:00 p.m. – Girls JV Basketball
                                                                                         5:30 p.m. – Boys JV Basketball (in
                                                                                         Field House)
                                                                                         5:30 p.m. – Girls Varsity Basketball
                                                                                         7:30 p.m. – Boys Varsity Basketball

                                                                                         At half-time of the Girls Varsity game,
                                                                                         we will honor the Boys Varsity Cross
                                                                                         Country team for its performance at
                                                                                         the Nike Cross Nationals. At half-time
                                                                                         of the Boys Varsity game, the GFS
                                                                                         Dance Team will perform. Go Tigers!
highlighted JaNuary eveNts

  January 8       8th Grade Ellis Island Trip

                  Friday Basketball Night, beginning at 4 pm in the Scattergood Gym

  January 14      7th Grade Parents’ Meeting, 7:30 pm in Yarnall Auditorium

  January 15      6th Grade Trip to the Pennsylvania Farm Show

  January 18      Martin Luther King Day of Service and Luncheon, no classes K-12

  January 21      Senior Reading Day

  January 22      Friday Basketball Night, beginning at 4 pm in the Scattergood Gym

  January 22-25   Senior Exams

  January 25-29   9th and 10th Grade Exams

  January 27      9th Grade Parents’ Meeting, 7:30 pm in Yarnall Auditorium

  January 28      6th Grade Parents’ Meeting, 7:30 pm in Yarnall Auditorium