Summer Staff Spotlight: Ocean Jurney

This week’s summer staff spotlight is on Ocean Jurney. Ocean is the Spanish Guide at Great River and is leading a number of different camps this summer. Below is a quote from Ocean:

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“I'm excited to lead bilingual and arts-based camps this summer! I'm a lifelong Spanish-speaker, poet and painter, and I came to many of my skills and loves through youth-programming just like this. As a camp guide, there's nothing I like more than learning through doing — if we're going to learn about history, let's grab costumes and do a simulation! To learn about art, let's go outside and make it! With breaks for silliness and for meditation, I can't wait to see what happens as campers connect in and out of the activities and learn about themselves, their crafts, and the broader world! Summer's an incredible time for relaxation and fun, and learning is never better than when joy is at its center.”

Ocean is leading Camping and Campfire Stories—June 17-20; Teatro de Una Palabra--June 24-27; ¿DÓnde estoy?-Great River Summer, that’s where!--July 8-11; ¡HUELGA! (Strike!)--July 15-18; Poetry in Motion--July 22-25; Wearable Paintings--July 29-Aug 1; Teatro de Una Palabra--Aug 5-8--AM; and Zine Machine--Aug 5-8--PM. To see our brochure or register for camp, go Here. We hope to see you this summer!

Great River Summer Camp Highlight: Robotics

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Welcome to our first summer camp highlight! This week’s featured camps are our robotics camps. We are offering Lego Robotics for 10-14 year olds on June 17-20 and June 24-27 and one just for girls on July 8-11. Our other robotics camp (FTC) is for 12-16 year olds and runs from July 15-18.

Lego Robotics:

FIRST LEGO League camps teach STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills in a fun and hands-on camp setting. These camps are the perfect way for kids to start learning more about coding, program and robotics. During this camp you will learn the basics of building and programming a Mindstorms EV3 Robot. You will also work as part of a team to complete fun & exciting robot challenges. Each team will have mentors from the GRS Mythical robotics teams, NoMythic, Mythic & Athena, to guide you through the exciting world of LEGO. This camp will give you a jump start in getting ready for the next FIRST LEGO League competition season!

FTC Robotics:

Work with a team to design, CAD, 3D print, build, and program a robot in this exciting robotics camp! This camp is a great way to see what FIRST® Tech Challenge is all about and get a head start on learning how to build and program your robot. Each day students will learn about a different facet of the FIRST® Tech Challenge season. Each team will have multiple mentors from the GRS Mythical robotics teams, NoMythic, Mythic & Athena, to guide you through the build process. The final session will include a match where teams will compete to have the highest scoring robot. Students with all levels of experience are encouraged to register.

To see our brochure or register for camp, go Here. We hope to see you this summer!

JOIN US FOR BIKE TO SCHOOL DAY MAY 8

Meet up with other students and parents to ride to school at locations outlined below.

1) Pick your meet-up spot.
2) Contact the group leader for your preferred meet up spot. Let them know that you plan to ride with them so you don’t get left behind and can get updates in the event of changes.
3) Check your bike tire pressure, brakes, and chain so you are ready to ride.
4) Helmets required.

Horton Park, Hamline Avenue at Engelwood Avenue. Contact Susan Sochacki, susan.sochacki@gmail.com or 651-775-7166.

McMurray Fields/Como Pool, near Como Avenue and Lexington. Contact Nate Solas at homebrewer@gmail.com or 612-220-1102.

Newell Park, Hewitt Avenue and Wheeler Avenue. Contact Abram Shapiro at ashapiro@greatriverschool.org or 651-829-9363.

Martinson’s House, 1618 Laurel Avenue. Contact Kelly Martinson at kelly@ksquarre.us or 651-621-0511.

Parents can support all riders by joining the group ride, especially if your student is a novice rider or needs extra attention. Families must arrange after-school pick up.

Rain date is Wednesday, May 15th. If you can be a Ride Captain from an additional meet up location contact Susan Sochacki, susan.sochacki@gmail.com or 651-775-7166.

If you or your student needs accommodations or extra assistance to participate, please contact Brad Wildman at bwildman@greatriverschool.org.

PEG HOSTED COFFEE SOCIAL MAY 8/BIKE TO SCHOOL DAY

Parents are invited to mingle at school for a coffee social on Wednesday, May 8th. Ride your bike to school with your student if you can. Or just join us for coffee at school starting at 8:00am. Don’t forget to bring your reusable mug!  

Contact Karen Solas, ksolas@gmail.com or 651-334-0793 for more information or to help host.

Conferences Day - Homework Room

There will be a homework room available 11am-4pm during our make-up conference day this Wednesday 4/24 in room #155! There will be computers available and staff to help with homework, but please be aware that the homework room will be a phone-free zone for the day.  All adolescent students are welcome to participate in the homework room.

Wellness Committee Meeting

The Wellness Committee will be meeting on April 25th at 10am in the Cafe area. We will be discussing more lunch program support, the role of the wellness team in wellness 'education' and planning a food/nutrition and wellness educational program/event planned for May.

With any questions, email Jenny Breen at jbreen@greatriverschool.org.

Great River Yearbooks

The Great River School yearbook team is busy completing the 2018-19 yearbook, which we expect to be available during the last week of school!  The GRS yearbooks are designed by students, including the yet-to-be-revealed cover. 

Click here to pre-order online! You can also pre-order your yearbook at spring conferences, April 11th and 12th. 

Unsure if you've ordered? Ask us at conferences or email office@greatriverschool.org to ask!

May & June Menus Available in EZLunch

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Make sure your student(s) gets a chance to try our great school lunches before the end of the year! The herb roasted chicken and mashed potatoes are a hit.

Pre-Ordering

We ask that parents pre-order all meals for their student(s). It is important for us to have accurate numbers for ordering ingredients, and to minimize waste. Orders are due by the Wednesday before the following week. For example, on April 24th, orders for April 29th - May 3rd are due.

Pricing

Meal pricing is as follows:
Box breakfasts are $2.10.Hot lunch entrees are $5.
Regular, vegetarian, and vegan sandwiches are $5.
Gluten-free sandwiches are $6.
Side salads are $2.

Did you know?

Students can still receive school lunch, even if their account balance is zero or negative. We won’t turn away hungry kids! Students will be billed in EZ Lunch, and we ask that parents are prompt in paying any charges in EZ Lunch. For more information about how to use EZ Lunch, see below.

Paper Menus

If it is easier for your family to order on paper instead of in EZ Lunch, there are paper copies of the menu available at the Front Desk and in the Café. Please fill out one form for each student in your family.

Questions

If you have any questions about the lunch program, please feel free to email lunch@greatriverschool.org.

More Information about Using EZ Lunch

Here is a 5-minute video tutorial for how to use EZ Lunch.

If you prefer to read, more tutorials for EZ Lunch can be found here:

How To Set Up Your EZ School Lunch Account
How to Add Another Student to a Parent Account
How to Pre-Order Meals and Add Money
How to Add a Credit Card
How to See Transaction History


No School April 24th - Conferences Make-up Reminder

A reminder that in order to reschedule conferences for students, we plan to hold an alternate day for conferences on Wednesday, April 24th, 2019.  

There will be no school for any students grades 1-12. (11th - see below for ACT information!) Big Canoe will offer childcare for that day 8am-5pm. Sign up here!

There will be conference slots available from 11am-7pm, to allow for students and families to meet with teachers and have students present their work.

All families and students can sign up for a makeup conference on April 24th here.

For 11th grade students, the ACT will still be administered. 11th grade students should plan to arrive at Great River School at normal time and no later than 8:45am for the ACT. For students without accommodations, the test will be complete by 1pm.

Thank you for your flexibility with us as we have all been impacted by the winter that would never end!

Meet Our Summer Camp Coordinator

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Summer Camp is back at Great River School in 2019 and here to lead the charge is Brent Cummins! He has been running summer camps and outdoor education programs for about 15 years and has a masters in Outdoor Recreation Administration. Brent is excited to bring summer camp back to Great River School and meet all of our wonderful families. He is married to Ellen who have two boys (Zander and McCai) and a dog (Stella) who love to travel, play sports, get dirty and explore the great outdoors. Here is a quote from Brent about summer camp: “Camp, no matter if you are in the Northwoods or in the city, is a place for kids to use their hands, explore, learn and meet new people. Camp culture, similar to Great River School, is all about being inclusive and welcoming to all, creating new relationships, trying new things, getting outside and having fun! I’m happy to be part of the GRS community and excited to meet all of our campers and families this summer!” If you have any questions about camp, email Brent at bcummins@greatriverschool.org. Also, please check out our brochure here and help spread the word through your contacts and networks. We hope to see you this summer!

Call for Pencil & Tissue Donations!

If you’re looking for a way to contribute something to Great River School, consider pencils (aka Ticonderoga) or facial tissue (aka Kleenex). No brand names endorsed here though! 

As a Montessori environment, we practice care for our materials, and students take great measures engaging independently in their work. Sometimes, this means that we are learning to ask for what we need. This year, it’s a need for pencils for writing and tissue for noses!

Donations can be dropped off at the front office! Thank you all!

No School April 24th - Make Up Conference Date

Greetings Families!

In order to reschedule conferences for students, we plan to hold an alternate day for conferences on Wednesday, April 24th, 2019.  

There will be no school for any students grades 1-12. (11th - see below for ACT information!) Big Canoe will offer childcare for that day 8am-5pm. Sign up here!

There will be conference slots available from 11am-7pm, to allow for students and families to meet with teachers and have students present their work.

For 11th grade students, the ACT will still be administered. 11th grade students should plan to arrive at Great River School at normal time and no later than 8:45am for the ACT. For students without accommodations, the test will be complete by 1pm.

All families and students can sign up for a makeup conference on April 24th here.

Thank you for your flexibility with us as we have all been impacted by the winter that would never end!

High School Information Night

Dear Families of 8th Year Students,

High School at Great River is an award winning program that seeks to emphasize responsibility and independence within the structure of an academically supportive, innovative, challenging, and inclusive environment. As you consider how your 8th year student is prepared for high school, know that we have engaged your adolescent in skills that are applicable to any environment, and especially that we see students do well at Great River in 9th-12th grade.

You are invited to an information night on April 23rd! We will describe the details of our Adolescent program, our 9th year focus for 2019-20, and the ways students can expect to learn and be in community. We will also touch on how your family can best anticipate and prepare for our adolescent program in 9th year.

Our adolescent information night for 9th year programming will begin at 5:45pm at Great River School.

Items we will cover:

  • Goals of the adolescent program

  • Specific focus of the 9th year adolescent program

  • What to expect for academics

  • Preparing for the year

  • Ways to partner families and school in the Adolescent program

Typically, the school internally arranges partial day, structured experiences and visits for current 8th year students to visit the 9th year program. If your family wants to arrange for a different type of experience that involves a full day, please email enroll@greatriverschool.org  

In anticipation of the information night, please complete this short survey about what you’d like to learn about 9th year programming: http://bit.do/parentSurvey

Please send any other questions you have regarding the information night to office@greatriverschool.org.

We look forward to seeing you there on April 23rd!


Regards,
Sam O’Brien
Head of School

Walk! Bike! Fun! Ambassador Training

Are you interested in helping support biking and walking initiatives in our community? Please join us for a Walk! Bike! Fun! Ambassadors training Thursday, April 11 from 4:30-8:00 p.m.

Walk! Bike! Fun! is a free training program and educational resource for community members, parents, and volunteers. This training will give participants a general overview of walking and biking activities, and more insight into some of the specific activities GRS is hoping to add this spring, such as a walking school bus and a bike rodeo/skills workshop. A light supper will be provided.

Register using this link

Conference Week Reminders

Reminder that spring conferences are this week! We’ll be keeping a close eye on the weather, but conferences are expected to continue as planned. For more information on conference logistics, click here.

Tomorrow, Wednesday April 10th, is a half day of school. Students will be dismissed at 11:45am. Bussing families, please check your email for bus time tables.

While in the building, make sure to check the Lost & Found tables! Any remaining items will be donated after conferences end on the evening of Friday, April 12th. Adolescent lost & found items are on a table in the north entry (by the cafe) and elementary lost & found items will be on tables in the elementary hallway.

Spring Conferences:

Greetings Families!

Please sign up now for conferences! 

If you have more than one student and want to secure conferences close together, sign up as soon as you can. If you have flexibility in your schedule, please leave the evening conferences for families that cannot make it during the workday.

Conference times are:
Thursday, April 11th noon-8pm
Friday, April 12th 8am-4pm 

Students in grades 5-12 are with the student and parent(s)/guardian, the student's advisor or classroom guide

Students in grades 1-4 are with parent(s)/guardian and the teacher only.

7th-9th grade Special Education students should sign up with their Special Ed Case Manager (Sarah Lawrence-Lupton, Brooke Derrickson, or Danny Ross). Their advisor will join the meeting as well.

11th and 12th grade students are welcome to schedule a separate meeting with Teresa Hichens-Olson to discuss college planning.

If you do not know your student’s advisor contact office@greatriverschool.org.

Multiple Households/Families - if your child splits time between two households and both parents want/need to attend the conference, please schedule it together. If this is not possible, exceptions may be made if time slots are available. For an exception, email the program director at your level.

Jean Peters - Elementary Program Director

Tami Limberg - Lower Adolescent Program Director (includes 6th Bridge, and 7th-9th grade)

Andrea Christensen - Upper Adolescent Program Director (10th-12th grade)

If you have specific concerns that you want to discuss with a guide who is not your student's advisor, please contact them directly to discuss via phone or email, or set up a meeting before or after conference days. All guides will be able to talk with you about students' overall academic standing. Guides will be booked all day on both days in conferences with their own advisees. Check our Staff Directory for Office Hours.

Updates from GRS:

“Spring” conferences to continue as scheduled:
With the winter storm forecast coming for this week, we do still plan to hold conferences this week. Conferences run from 12-8pm on Thursday, March 11th and from 8am-4pm on Friday, March 12th. If there are travel concerns on conferences day, we will provide instructions on how to still connect with your student’s teacher or advisor.

Looking towards next year:
We’ve been receiving many parent questions about next year’s school calendar. We expect the 2019-2020 school calendar to be approved by the board on April 24th and will share widely then. We do know that our first day of the school year will be Tuesday, September 3rd.


Outdoor Space Parent Working Group

Are you interested in developing our playground/ outdoor space at GRS? Please join other passionate folks in design and implementation! I'm Hadley Musselman, mom of Wiley Sparks in Minnehaha Creek Classroom and an Educational Assistant to GRS, and this is something of a passion project for me.

We're in the preliminary stages of improving our outdoor space and need your input and help. I'd love to see more large motor opportunities (climbing, sliding, balancing, swinging, etc) and a beautiful garden on the elementary side that will grow food for our lovely new kitchen. As a recess supervisor I'm out there everyday. Many of our kids are asking for a "real" playground with their words or through rough physical (albit imaginative!) play, and relational/peer aggression. With an enriched outdoor/ recess environment, I know that our kids will have a much improved educational experience as a whole and a more positive relationship with the outdoors and each other. A necessary win-win-win in my book.

So let's get creative and dirty! With your help, we can save thousands of dollars in labor once it's time to install the new elements. 

Add your e-mail address, thoughts, ideas and inspirational pictures/ links in this document! We'll start meeting in May for design finalization and implementation planning.