News from Alfonso - 3/15

Greetings Friends,

Top story: Sun!

One of the highlights of last week for me was Thursday’s assembly. While studying the central idea that “Cities become more complex as they grow,” third grade Japanese students in Masami sensei’s class had written letters to Mayor Sam Adams, asking questions and offering suggestions about reuse of older buildings, public transport, and green space in Portland. At assembly, students read us their letters to the Mayor and we also got to read the Mayor’s thoughtful responses. Mayor Adams said that he had put the letters on his bulletin board so his whole staff could enjoy them. Congratulations students for turning learning into action, a central tenet of the IB!

This morning Professor Larry Kominz of PSU and his colleagues put on a great Kyogen performance for students from all three tracks. I learned how a cow sounds in Japanese, but I never knew that a fish runs around saying “fish,” “fish,” “fish.” It was a fine introduction to a form of traditional Japanese theater.

The School Council will conclude its fundraiser this week with Thursday as the last day for donations. They are doing an excellent job. In today’s meeting we discussed possible social events and spirit days which the representatives will bring back to their constituents for discussion. We had a couple of members today ask if they could opt out or be voted out. We are also learning about the sacrifices of a life of public service (though I am not aware of any congressmen or women who sacrifice lunch or recess).

We had a very interesting discussion of budget, tuition, and retention of students at the PTO meeting last week. Those present were given an informative presentation on our financial life by Rob Timmons, and all seemed to understand the need for the tuition level we have set. We will shortly be emailing home the minutes of that meeting complete with Rob’s presentation.

We are seeking host families for two intern teachers next year: one from China and one from Spain. If you have an extra room, then you might enjoy this opportunity to have a native speaker in the house to converse with your children and enhance their language ability. Please drop me an email if you would like to host an intern.

The water department work promised to begin today on Grant Street and run through tomorrow or Wednesday has not yet begun. So, maybe they will be able to wait for our holiday week after all.

Please remember to visit the Spanish and Chinese Capstone trip blogs. Emails from both groups indicate that the trips are going well. We will be happy to see our friends and peers return on March 29th after spring break.

I have learned that some time tomorrow we will be visited by a famous Spanish sports star from a Portland basketball team. This gentleman, I think his name is Rudy, will be talking in Spanish with the Spanish track students and then visiting classrooms of other students. That’s right; his name is Rudy Fernandez of the Trailblazers! Shortly after this announcement, when I asked Maria Abad if she could lead a tour for Mr. Fernandez, she must have had some kind of allergic reaction as she began complaining of shortness of breath and palpitations. Maybe she had a bad basketball incident in the past? Or some kind of flashback to junior high?

Finally, if you have a computer at home, please do let your children in grade 3 and above get some time on the computer so they can become comfortable with the keyboard. There are many online free keyboarding games and programs. We will be doing more of that here as well when we roll out our 40 plus new Macbooks for classroom use in April. We are continuing the state tests this year because we want to try taking the new online version later in May. The tests will be optional, and those who would prefer their children NOT take the tests will be able to fill out a form later on. More information on this will follow.

This may seem a long missive but so much more than this happens here every day. We are fortunate.

Have a sunny week,
Alfonso