U.S. Secretary of Education Names State College Friends School 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School
The U.S. Department of Education has named State College Friends School as one of 35 schools among the 2019 U.S.Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. The federal department named Friends School as a community that explores social justice and environmental sustainability the Quaker way.
While there were more than twenty illustrations presented in the award application of the ways in which Friends School participates in stewardship and environmental sustainability such as use of solar panels and all-school recycling, several highlights were acknowledged:
D. Wayne Bender, director for the Hardwood Development Council of the PA Department of Agriculture commented, “After a one day visit to this school this spring I know this is a well deserved honor.” Students had an opportunity to participate in an interactive program with Bender earlier this year when he visited the school with the PA Woodmobile, sponsored by the PA Hardwoods Council. They learned about soft and hard woods, sustainable use of native trees, the challenges of managing invasive species and insects.
Across the country, 35 schools, 14 districts, and four postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.
The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states. The selectees include 25 public schools, including three magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as 10 nonpublic schools. Thirty-six percent of the 2019 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.
The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 53 honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here.
Intergenerational fair designed to strengthen families, enhance communities
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The State College Friends School and Penn State's Intergenerational Leadership Institute are partnering to host the area's first community-wide intergenerational gathering, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at the State College Friends School, 1900 University Drive.
Organizers say the Intergenerational Friends Fair is designed to bring together participants of all ages for activities including art, storytelling, music, baking, dancing, gardening and other activities. The day-long event also will feature interactive exhibits and events planned by local organizations working to expand opportunities for intergenerational communication, learning and living throughout the State College area.
The event is an offshoot of the intergenerational programming retreat held last fall and organized by members of the Intergenerational Leadership Institute, a certificate training program for adults ages 55 and older. More than 50 concerned individuals and organizations convened to share information about local resources available to older adults; discuss the need for increased opportunities for intergenerational housing, recreation and other services; and brainstorm ways to create outlets for elders to share history, wisdom and skills, while also learning new skills and interests from younger citizens.
"There's a treasure trove of history, expertise and creativity among older adults in our community," said Lori Pacchioli, director of advancement for State College Friends School.
Having worked with older adults in a retirement community setting for more than 10 years before joining Friends School, Pacchioli said she has experienced firsthand the gifts that older adults have to offer, especially to young children, teens and young families.
"Often, in our society, older adults become isolated and then somewhat invisible; their gifts are hidden," said Pacchioli. "When I attended the Intergenerational Leadership Institute workshop and learned about the great work being done locally to build programs that foster the sharing of time, experience, skills and friendship across generations, I knew immediately that Friends School could be a bridge-builder by hosting a community-wide event."
Matt Kaplan, professor of intergenerational programs and aging in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and coordinator of the Intergenerational Leadership Institute, noted that the fair will provide a unique opportunity.
"By now, most people have heard the saying, 'It takes a village to raise a child.' Well, the Intergenerational Friends Fair is all about strengthening the intergenerational village," he said. "The event will be a multimedia celebration of the bonds of caring and community that connect and enrich the lives of all generations."
Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural and regional economics and director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, which is providing partial support for the Intergenerational Friends Fair, emphasized the community-building significance of the event. "This event will highlight some ways in which the skills, knowledge and experience of older adults help to strengthen families and contribute to community quality of life for all residents, regardless of age."
In many ways, the Friends School is the perfect place to hold the Intergenerational Friends Fair, according to Pacchioli. This pre-K to 8th grade independent school has a long-standing relationship with Foxdale Village, a neighboring retirement community. Highlights from some of the Foxdale/Friends School intergenerational projects will be on display at the event.
This family-friendly event also will feature more than a dozen hands-on exhibits and activities developed by other community organizations that run intergenerational programs and activities. Businesses and organizations with related interests can submit requests for programming or exhibit space to Pacchioli at email@example.com.
State College Friends School is an independent pre-K through 8th grade school offering vigorous academics in a nurturing environment, where the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship are the foundation of curriculum and culture of the school.
The Intergenerational Leadership Institute is a certificate training program offered by Penn State for adults ages 55 and older wishing to develop or expand intergenerational programs in their areas of interest. The institute is co-sponsored by the Centre County Office of Aging, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Centre County office of Penn State Extension, Penn State Center for Healthy Aging, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State. For more information, contact Matt Kaplan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was a partly cloudy day when the State College Friends School went to the Penn State Arboretum on Arbor Day. We Students in grades Kindergarten to eighth grade eagerly exited the buses and began the field trip with singing about how important the planet is. After singing a few of our favorite songs, including “I am the Earth,” the school separated into groups. We explored the Arboretum by going to different stations around the area. We learned about how our water level is decreasing. We also learned how to tell the age of a tree by counting the rings on the inside of the tree.
The field trip helped us to more deeply understand some of the lessons we learn in our classrooms.
State College Friends School has been recognized by The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as a school with Wildlife Habitat Gardens that support birds, butterflies, bees, frogs and other local wildlife. Our Certified Wildlife Habitat gardens provide natural sources of food, water, cover and places to raise young and is maintained in a sustainable way that incorporates native plants, conserves water and doesn’t rely on pesticides. Students, teachers, and volunteers have planted and tend to several specific garden areas on the school grounds as a demonstration of love for nature and commitment to stewardship.
According to the NWF every Certified Wildlife Habitat garden is now also part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a national effort to create a million gardens that provide habitat for declining pollinator insects such butterflies and bees. Participants who have their wildlife habitat garden certified receive a personalized certificate with a unique habitat number, a one-year membership to NWF with a subscription to National Wildlife magazine, a subscription to t he Garden for Wildlife e-newsletter, a 10 percent discount to National Wildlife catalog, and the exclusive right to post a Certified Wildlife Habitat yard sign. Friends School will install the recognition sign during our April Earth Day all-school activities.
Our 2/3 students sell seeds to raise money for our school gardens. Seed orders are due by February 7th and will be delivered to Friends School before Spring Break. All are welcome and encouraged to support this student-led fund raiser by ordering seeds. Link: Seeds
Friends School Receives $10,000 Gift for Scholarship
BB & T Bank representatives Michael Petrine and Chad Feather presented a check in the amount of $10,000 to State College Friends School to support flexible tuition through the Pre-K through 8th grade Scholarship Fund. The contribution was made through the PA tax credit program known as EITC (Educational Improvement Tax Credit).
As a small, independent school, State College Friends School undertakes several initiatives to raise money to make flexible tuition possible for many families. The contribution by BB&T Bank to the Scholarship Fund provides a significant and direct benefit to students in Kindergarten through 8th grade.
Students in K-4th grade at Friends School will have an opportunity on Friday afternoons to discover new interests, participate in community-building activities, deepen their knowledge in a favorite subject area, and/or develop a new hobby through a new program directed by Karen Maynard. Karen will work with teachers, staff, community members, parents, and most importantly - students, to craft a rich mosaic of programming to enhance the Friends School curriculum.
Karen is a Penn State graduate with a B.S. in Childhood Education and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. She has served as a Friends School Summer Camp co-director and counselor, and most recently taught at the Bennett Family Center at Penn State. In addition to her new role as enrichment leader, Karen will be the teaching assistant for the 2/3 classrooms.
With a background in music and dance, and a deep interest in handicrafts, nature, and learning new things, Karen will bring creativity, experience, and passion for working with children to Friends School. "Once students have an opportunity to settle in to the new school year, we'll start the Friday Afternoon Enrichment Program with a series of multi-age activities to build our own school community," said Karen, when asked to describe her ideas for roll out of the new initiative. These activities will include ice-breaker and team-building games, team-work challenges, and a local field trip.
"Faculty, staff, and parents have offered so many ideas for rich programming throughout the year -- from photography and journaling to rocket science, drumming, rock collecting, financial literacy . . . the list goes on," said Karen with a big, bright smile. Head of School Donnan Stoicovy and other staff say they are eager to hear from students about which avenues to pursue to satisfy their interests. "We have the scaffolding in place for this new venture, a solid idea of what our schedule will look like, and a terrific leader to organize and grow the program," said Donnan. "Now we just need to start school!"
Earlier this summer, State College Friends School made the difficult decision to close Friends Schoolhouse on E. Prospect Avenue. Just two weeks ago, Friends Schoolhouse Teachers Deb and Migelle put the finishing touches on the new Pre-K classroom at University Drive. "This is a really exciting time for our K/1 students who are eager to meet and help their new younger friends," said Lisa Gamble, associate head of school. From the youngest students to those about to graduate, this expression of affection and friendship has been one of the hallmarks of the school. Multi-age classrooms and a school that encourages student-to-student mentoring create a nurturing environment for our new friends.
Friends School can now offer families a pre-kindergarten option, as well as a K/1 option. Associate Head of School, Lisa Gamble is highly experienced in helping to determine the best placement for children. As a child-centered independent school, we look at the whole child as we determine their best placement; the social and emotional skills of a young student often being the most important developmental characteristics to determine readiness.
A number of Friends School summer campers, students and alums were present at the downtown Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts on Children's Day. The campers were participating in activities on the lawn of Old Main, where face painting was one of the most popular activities. Several students and alumni were set up for exhibition and sale of their work.
Rising fourth grader Liam had a draw for window shoppers: "Sure, you can try the wands and pick them up." The enterprising-crafter made no claims or guarantees about the efficacy of his hand-crafted wands made with wood and other found and recycled materials. The lack of promise didn't seem to deter would-be buyers. Unfortunately, Liam blinked at the snap of the photo below. Perhaps that blink was a cover to hide the twinkle of magic in his eye as he described the potential of the Potter-like wands to curious customers. By festivals end, Liam sold out!
Mattie got busy right after graduation in June, building her varied stock for this year's festival. She returned to the youth sidewalk sales this year with her popular stencil T's and succulent gardens; and added a collection of original art. Mattie's creativity and success in past years served as inspiration for a trio of younger students who created their own variation of T-shirts to go along with their hand-poured scented glycerin soaps. Rising first grade student Camille (below), practices some amazing customer service skills in describing the way the T-shirts were designed. (Not pictured, but equally engaged: partners Clarisse and Arden, both entering third grade).
Friends School alum Sergio named his new jewelry collection after a Kingfisher seen in his backyard. With inspiration from his mom, who has made and sold jewelry, he settled on the idea of leather cuffs, charms, and pendants, stamped with initials and affirming words like hope, sing, free, kind . . .
The stamps he used were on display in a wooden box with a patina that looked as if they were from the distant past. It turns out hey belonged to his great-grandfather. Perhaps that's why the new jewelry looked like it came from the hands of a wise, experienced crafter.
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