Jon's Weekly Update 9-15-13

posted Sep 19, 2013, 11:28 AM by Cynthia Friedman


Wednesday, Sept. 25, 6-7pm: Middle School Parent Meeting



"Hands On" Mentors: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays 1:15-2:15pm.

Artists: Wednesdays 1:15-2:55 (To participate in Studio, or lead workshops.)



Weed Whackers (gas or electric (with extension cords))

Gas Lawn Mowers

Bypass Loppers

Weed pulling tools

Hand Pruners

Grass seed

Miter Saw

12" Cedar Boards for Garden Beds

Nuts and bolts for garden beds

Pressure treated 4x4s

Winter crop seeds/seedlings




Dear Middle School Family,


The way that I understand Maria Montessori's phrase "Grace and Courtesy" is that 'Grace' is the light and the potential each of us stores in our Self.  We need to feed and nurture our 'Grace' so we can achieve our maximum luminescence.  'Courtesy' is the act of recognizing and nurturing the 'Grace,' the light and the potential, in the others around us.


I have to tell you: we've only been together for two weeks, and our Middle School community positively GLOWS!  I've never seen anything quite like it.  This group has cohered so quickly and energetically that Carrie and can't help but, you know, glow along with them. 


I'm a firm believer that you have to learn to play together before you can work together.  We certainly played a lot the first week of school, but it was play with purpose.  Every game, every challenge, every reflection came back to the essential questions for the week: Who am I, and what do I want to accomplish?  Who are you, and what do you want to accomplish?  Who are we, and what do we want to accomplish?


We examined and reflected on how we act and interact in group activities.  We made commitments to ourselves and our personal growth, and to each other to support each other's growth.  We established norms and group agreements.


In short, we established the foundation for exploring who we are and how we want to support each other's explorations.


And then, this week, we got to work setting up the systems and routines for our learning environment.  I've already sent home a letter describing the details of what our routines will look like.  (If it didn't make it home, please let me know, and I'll e-mail it to you.)  


To quickly recap: We'll wrap up academic work by lunch and get to the hands on work after silent reading.  The middle school has agreed to take on the outdoor maintenance of the school grounds as one of our "Hands On" projects: lawn mowing, weed whacking, weed pulling, pruning, etc.  It's a BIG job, and we need tools and mentors, if we're going to pull it off.  Please help!  We're going to save the school a ton of money by doing it ourselves, but we need the proper tools for the job.


We also need artists who are willing to come in and just work at school during our Studio time (so the students can see what that process looks like--Carrie and I will both be working on projects), or to lead mini workshops that get the students working on projects.  Spread the word, tell your friends.  We're not necessarily looking for long-term commitments.  Drop-ins are welcome.


The Community Meeting on Wednesday, September 25, from 6-7pm will be a great time to come in and dig deeper into the work we're doing this year.  


We pretty much wrapped up the testing and the housekeeping this week.  Next week, we'll settle into our routines and get to work.  Grace and Courtesy will continue to be at the forefront of everything we do.


Beaming, I tell you, absolutely beaming,

Jon and Carrie