Welcome from Principal, Tami Weiser

3/24/2011 Message from Principal, Tami Weiser

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Stephen S. Wise Elementary School is busily observing the Jewish holidays. Last week we celebrated Purim, and it is hard to describe the joy we felt as students and teachers were dressed in costumes proudly listening to our amazing 6th grade students read the Megillah. We carried all of this positive energy into the weekend with us as we braved the wind and rain to enjoy the Purim carnival. I want to thank all of the dedicated parents and staff who put together such a fantastic carnival, and all of us went home with smiles and goldfish (mine is still alive and swimming in my kitchen)!

As soon as the graggers and hamentashen were put away, we started preparing for the holiday of Passover, such is the cycle of the Jewish calendar. Our Judaic studies teachers are already busy diving into the haggadah to plan new and exciting lessons for all of our classes. Soon we will be learning the blessings, retelling the Exodus story, and modeling the Seder, and I am looking forward to sharing this special time with our community..

 

Tami Weiser

3/17/2011 Message from Principal, Tami Weiser

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Every afternoon our campus is buzzing with activities from our clubs and athletics. Right now the Odyssey of the Mind teams are busy preparing for their state competition next weekend, and I am excited to join them in Northern California to cheer as they share their knowledge and talent! Our athletic program is in high gear as the students are getting into volleyball and soccer teams, learning new skills, and preparing for their first intramural competitions. The orchestra and chorus students continue to practice and play, and this Tuesday they wowed us with an amazing concert. The spring musical, Cinderella, is extremely busy as cast and crew work on their parts, the staging, the music and so much more and I encourage you to go online and purchase your tickets now for a great show. We have students in the Jewish Big Brothers/Big Sisters program meeting with mentors from Milken High School every Tuesday and Wednesday. These kids have a chance to play basketball, do homework, and simply talk and hang out with a wonderful older role model. And on Wednesdays, our Lego Robotics club is hard at work creating and controlling robotic devices as seen in this picture. They will go to Long Beach next week to observe our middle and high school team in their competition, and I know this will be an exciting day. When I walk around the school at 4:30 I am amazed at the level of engagement and energy that is still going on, and I want to acknowledge the many students and staff who put in a long day to enrich their Stephen S. Wise Elementary education.

Tami Weiser

3/11/2011 Message from Principal, Tami Weiser

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This week we engaged in our parent teacher conferences, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. I heard from many parents that they appreciated the specific information they received about their child’s academic and social progress, and I also heard from the teachers how much they valued the time getting to connect with the parents. I also enjoyed stopping in and getting a “snapshot” of individual kids, and I want to thank everyone for their active participation in the process.

One recurring comment I heard during the two days was a concern about bullying, both active bullying on the yard or sports field, and the quiet bullying that is not so evident. I find it very interesting that while I am hearing discussion about this on campus, yesterday in Washington D.C. national leadership was having a summit on this very topic. The president and first lady Michelle Obama convened a conference on preventing bullying, seeking to shine a spotlight on an issue that affects millions of young people each year. More than 150 students, parents and educators gathered at the White House to discuss with the Obamas and administration advisers ways they can work together to make schools and communities safer.

 

 Speaking as both a parent and the president, Barack Obama told young people that they shouldn't have to accept bullying as an inevitable part of growing up. "If there's one goal, it's to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage," Obama said.
"As adults, we can lose sight of how hard it can be sometimes to be a kid," Obama said. "It's easy for us to forget what it's like to be teased or bullied, but it's also easy to forget the natural compassion and the sense of decency that our children display each and every day when they're given a chance."

 

 The White House says one-third of the nation's students, or 13 million children, have been bullied. The issue has gained increased attention in recent years in part because of the impact of new technologies like Facebook and Twitter, and because of high-profile coverage of young people who have committed suicide after being bullied. While our national leadership is focused on this important issue, I want you to know that our administrative team at Stephen S. Wise is also looking into this, and we are committed to making sure that all of our students learn and grow in a safe environment. We are fortunate to have two school counselors, Norma Freeman and Jana Zawatsky, who are key players in the process of developing our school culture. In addition, our teachers and staff are aware of this important issue, and we will continue to work with individual students, groups of kids and our overall community to make sure we take care of one another and always focus on celebrating what’s right.

Tami Weiser
 

3/3/2011 Message from Principal, Tami Weiser

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Stephen S. Wise Elementary School is able to provide the outstanding educational program we do because of the involvement of our supportive parent community. You give both your time and money to make sure we have all the necessary resources, and the funds provided through our annual giving campaign truly make a difference each and every day. I want to thank the staff and parents who have already generously contributed to this year’s successful campaign, and you can see those names through these attached links. If you haven’t had the opportunity to give yet, I strongly encourage you to make your donation soon, as the campaign is drawing to a close.This week many of our grade levels are sharing culminations of high level learning activities from various curricular units. In Kindergarten the classes were transformed into Arctic zones when parents visited to learn about penguins. The students were docents in their classrooms, expertly telling us about the types of penguins, predators to penguins, the importance of blubber and wax for warmth and feathers, and so much more. The integration of math, science, language arts and fine arts was really wonderful, and I am now a real penguin expert! In the fourth grade our students have been working in cooperative groups on missions as part of their California history curriculum. The students made presentation boards with creative writing showing the different perspective of missions from the padres and the Native Americans, pictures of their mission, and the location of their mission on the trail. In sixth grade each class is beginning the experience of their biomes as they retrace the steps of our Paleolithic ancestors and discover what it takes to advance a civilization. The first step is to determine the climate of their biome and the natural resources that are available. You will be learning more about all of the classroom activities, and your individual student progress, next week at our parent conferences.

Tami Weiser

2/24/2011 Message from Principal, Tami Weiser

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Today (Wednesday, February 23)I am writing this as I prepare to leave for Camp Hess Kramer and our grade 6 retreat. I am excited to spend the evening and day tomorrow with our students as we continue to develop our sense of community and start preparing for their culmination. The process of planning this retreat is indicative of what an integrated day school experience truly is. We are working with the Fulcrum Company to provide rigorous team building activities and ropes course challenges, with our students in groups on cooperation, friendship, communication, support, community and respect. Tonight our kids will share their talents in “Wise got Talent” and their fun talent show and campfire. Tomorrow we start our day with a beautiful Shacharit service, where the students will pray, discuss the weekly Parsha, and sing both modern and Judaic songs. This service will frame the work for Thursday as we reflect on how we want to “celebrate what’s right” at our culmination. The students will discuss what they want to celebrate about their K-6th grade experience at Stephen S. Wise Elementary as well as what they want to celebrate about themselves. We then take a long hike from Hilltop to the beach where we will have a moment to breathe, talk about our unique characteristics and marvel at the beauty of nature. We end with a BBQ lunch, a few more sports and art activities, and the ride back to campus. The retreat promises to be both fun and educational and I can’t wait to get there and join our students and staff. I know we will come back a bit tired, a bit dirty, and hopefully a bit more connected than when we started, and I look forward to sharing pictures and stories with the rest of our school community.

Tami Weiser

2/17/2011 Message from Principal, Tami Weiser

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The past two days have been an amazing experience of patriotic learning and celebration at Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School. Yesterday we had our 6th grade Oratorical Contest. Every 6th grade student wrote and delivered a speech on the theme “A Call to Action.” The students selected a speech from an American leader, wrote an introduction explaining the significance of the speech, shared an excerpt from the speech, and then wrote a conclusion tying their speech to the theme. There was tremendous learning in many content areas, and after each classroom listened to their own speakers, we were down to the final 12 students. In our assembly the finalists shared their speeches to our school audience and a panel of judges. The students spoke with clarity and passion, and every one of the speeches was magnificent. While we officially had four winners, I know that all of the finalists, all of the grade level, and all of our audience were winners for sharing this experience.

Today our excitement and celebration continued with our Patriotic Music Assembly for kindergarten – 4th grade. The students came in with flags, song books, hats and streamers to proudly wave their red, white and blue spirit. Faye Jeser and Randy Weinstein led a rousing song session, and interspersed were visuals and quotes projected on the screen by Judy Hoffman. The children had a lot of fun, woven together with a great deal of learning, and now they truly understand why we have Monday off to honor our current government and past presidents.

Tami Weiser