Turning Point School Blog
Last week, Level 4 participated in an exciting three day learning exploration of watershed, water recycling, and water filtration. On Day 1, the students learned how watershed can dirty our clean water and that clean water is a precious and highly used commodity. On Day 2, students traveled to The Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility where they learned the ins and outs of recycling water. They toured the machinery and even tasted some newly cleaned water! On Day 3, students built their very own water filtration system using recycled water bottles, rocks, gravel, sand, and coffee filters. We are so impressed by the enthusiastic work of our Level 4 water ambassadors!
In this morning's School Assembly, Level 8 student Noah M. shared his experience volunteering at Operation Gratitude this past weekend, helping assemble and pack care packages to be sent to military service members. Operation Gratitude sends over 200,000 packages a year filled with food, entertainment, handmade items, plus letters of appreciation to individuals in the military and first responder communities.
Turning Point will have two opportunities to join Noah in supporting our troops through Operation Gratitude. First, students are encouraged to donate extra Halloween candy between November 1-4. Candy can be dropped off at the Front Desk of Building 1 or in the carpool line. Students will sort the candy donations prior to dropping off at Operation Gratitude. Also, students are encouraged to write letters to military members thanking them for their service. Operation Gratitude sends over one million letters per year, and each individual box contains at least five letters.
We are so proud of the efforts of Noah and all of our families in giving back to our local, national, and global communities in so many meaningful ways.
The annual Book Fair was a wonderful success! Our heartfelt thanks to all who participated by attending, purchasing books, sending gift certificates to students and faculty, and volunteering at the event. A special thank you goes to our PSA Book Fair Co-Chairs for organizing and leading such a lovely event. Your support of our students in establishing and encouraging a love of reading, and of the Turning Point programs that support student literacy development is so appreciated.
Parents, please keep an eye on next week's Wednesday Weekly for a link where you will find a link to download full resolution photos from the event.
It is hard to believe that I have only “officially” been part of the Turning Point community for a little over three months. The warmth and generosity I have experienced, both as a parent and as a Head of School, has made me feel so welcomed, appreciated, and included. It is my hope that every student feels similarly treasured and valued by us all—their teachers, parents, extended family, and other stewards of the Turning Point mission.
One important way that we express our confidence and belief in our children is by ensuring they have the resources to excel as successful learners. This means access to teachers who have ongoing and quality training, classrooms which provide abundant opportunities to achieve academic success, extracurricular and athletic programs that encourage students to push personal boundaries and discover new talents, and safe facilities that offer plenty of room to learn, play, and grow.
And, when it comes to expressing how much we truly value our children, this community truly walks the walk.
As we know, tuition does not cover the cost of providing every student with the type of unique education in which our school specializes. Turning Point is a non-profit organization, but we must work hard each year to fill that gap between cost and tuition—and this is where our Annual Giving campaign makes such an important difference.
Over the past five years, parent resources have provided well over $3,000,000 to vital program improvements, enhancements, and operations.
Think about that for a minute, because that number is a testament to both the importance of Annual Giving and the incredible generous spirit of this community. And we don’t get to $3 million dollars all at once, and we certainly don’t get there alone. We get there by each family thoughtfully discussing what defines a meaningful gift for them, knowing that every contribution plays an essential role in the success of the campaign. We get there together.
I am thrilled as both a parent and a staff member to be part of an exciting time of new growth at Turning Point, and feel truly honored to have a chance to influence and support this year’s Annual Giving campaign.
Our gifts will help the school continue to transform in order to meet the challenges of education in our modern world, stay relevant as a globally aware school, and graduate confident, extraordinary young people. I could not think of a more meaningful mission— personally or professionally. Thank you for joining me.
- Turning Point is grateful for early Annual Giving support, as your gifts help us best shape and plan for future programs and initiatives. Please visit www.turningpointschool.org/giving to make your gift or pledge.
- There are multiple ways to support Annual Giving with pledge and payment options designed to meet personal preferences. Remember, all gifts are tax deductible, regardless of size.
- If you have already made your pledge, we sincerely thank you. This includes our Board of Trustees who made early and generous commitments, and nearly all of our faculty and staff.
The rock climbing wall is here! Students have had a blast testing their balance, increasing their confidence, taking positive risks, and exercising their problem-solving skills by navigating their way through our new indoor, horizontal climbing wall. The use of the climbing wall will be incorporated into Elementary Physical Education classes, and activities and challenges will be tailored to suit different grade levels and sizes.
The climbing wall was purchased with funds raised through generous donations to last year's Hoop-A-Thon—our annual student-driven fundraiser that encourages teamwork and good sportsmanship, and raises funds to benefit various school programs. In addition to the climbing wall, last year's event also raised proceeds to supply new uniforms for four sports teams, improve our school garden and Dirt to Dish program, and also helped us purchase athletic equipment for our friends at Weemes Elementary School.
Thank you to all who participate in Hoop-A-Thon, from our volunteers, to donors, to students and staff. We are excited to partner again on this year's event in February to continue promoting school spirit and raising important funds to enhance our programming for students.
Turning Point School is honored to be displaying an art exhibit by well-regarded artist and Level K-3 Art Specialist, Mr. Rodolfo Buonocore. The exhibit, titled Mi Buenos Aires Querido, features ink on paper depicting notable cafes and bars in Buenos Aires. The exhibit runs through Thursday, November 17.
Mr. Buonocore studied painting and drawing in Buenos Aires as an apprentice to the Argentine artist, director, and writer Jorge Acha (1946-1996). He had several well-received exhibitions in Buenos Aires before immigrating to Los Angeles in 1990.
Throughout his early career, Mr. Buonocore's focus was on mastering the art of drawing and integrating the play of light and shadow into his work. In his atmospheric, evocative paintings, he plumbs the inner feelings of the characters who people his urban landscapes, his point of view serving to magnify and expose the complexity of human thought and emotion. His work has been described as "realistic portrayals of deep psychological exploration, visible yet subtle proof that the very depths of the soul are made accessible through the artist's detailed observation of minimal poses and gestures." John Walsh, Director Emeritus of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, calls Mr. Buonocore "a confident painter who tackles challenging material with impressive assurance and gets beautiful results."
We encourage you to stop by our Artist Gallery in Building 2 to view his incredible work. The Gallery is located on the second floor of Building 2, next to the Board Room and Mrs. Akana's office.
You may also learn more about Mr. Buonocore and view his work at www.rodolfobuonocore.com.
For their Environmental Studies class, Level 7 students are participating in "Sandy Beach Monitoring" through a state-wide project called LIMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students). Using tools and methods employed by real scientists in the field, they will be taking samples and uploading data to analyze and share with others in the program. This is real-world experiential learning at its best!
Learn more about the program at http://limpetsmonitoring.org.
Please join me for the first event in our Parent Speaker Series, “Positive Communication with Children,” next Wednesday, October 19, from 8:30-10:00 am, with Sheri Glucoft Wong, LCSW. Sheri is a recognized speaker and renowned family therapist who consults with parents and educators to help them better understand the social and emotional lives of children. She will speak about how our children organize their identity around the messages they get from us—their families, teachers, and other key adults in their lives.
The way we choose to communicate with our children sends them a message, and even determines the way they perceive the world. As parents, our goal is to help them create and internalize a strong foundation of love and caring, and establish a reserve of calm and strength to which they can return when they face their inevitable challenges. We help children develop a strong core when we are genuine and authentic in communicating what matters most to us. When we speak from our hearts, our children learn that we will be there for them as they navigate the joys and disappointments of life.
I have had the pleasure of hearing Sheri speak several times. Her wisdom guides me as a parent to create positive communications habits with my family and enhance our quality time together—even in the midst of the “business” we need to attend to each day with work, school, and other responsibilities. Her concrete and clear takeaway statements help me stay calm and present even in the most difficult moments, and support my children when they are navigating new challenges.
At Turning Point, we understand that genuine conversations between adults and children are a critical component of optimal learning and fundamental growth. Children need to feel heard, seen, and understood by their teachers, parents, and other important adults in their lives. To that end, I am thrilled that Sheri will be spending the day on campus, and working with our faculty in the afternoon to help us deepen our appreciation for how positive communication with students and families helps maintain a healthy dynamic.
I am certainly looking forward to learning more from Sheri, both as a parent and an educator, and hope to see many of you there. We invite you to bring guests as well – family, neighbors, or friends from neighboring schools. Reservations are required, so please let us know you will be there by RSVP’ing at www.turningpointschool.org/speakerseries.
The Middle School football season is looking to be a good one with the addition of new seventh graders, returning players, and two sixth graders. This season Coach Boylan wants to focus on getting better and improving. His biggest goal for the season is to get wins against the “Big 4” (Willows, Winward, Crossroads, and Calvary). Wining those key games could help the team build through the season and get them a good spot in the playoffs.
“It is a passing league, so we will be focusing more on moving the ball through the air,” said Coach Boylan. Although it is a passing league, the football team showed that they can get it done on the ground during the season’s first 10-10 scrimmage against Willows and Crossroads. They also showed that they produce on defense coming away with multiple interceptions.
In their season opener, the team took a tough loss to rival school Willows. Willows scored three times over the course of the game. On the offensive line, Turning Point struggled. Our quarterback, Kobe, did not have enough time to make the reads and make throws that we needed to complete. On both sides of the ball Turning Point could have played faster. A highlight from the game was that Kobe got a speedy kick return for a touchdown in which he ran the entire length of the field. At the end of the game, the score was 21-6. In practices, Turning Point will work on going faster and blocking.
- Sam F., Sports Blogger
Thank you to Level 7 student Sam F., who will be covering all the exciting news from our Athletics department this year!
As many of you know, Turning Point School was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a California Green Ribbon School (bronze category). In order to receive this prestigious award, schools must: reduce environmental impact and costs, including waste, water, energy use, and alternative transportation; improve the health and wellness of students and staff; and provide effective sustainability education. Our sustainability programs, such as Dirt to Dish, composting, No Waste Lunches, Green Cup Challenge, the Dominican Republic service learning trip, and the Carpool Challenge make Turning Point stand out among our peer schools.
While we have much to celebrate in our efforts to be as sustainable as possible, we can always do better. We want to once again be recognized as a Green Ribbon School—this year earning recognition in the silver or gold category. Our collective efforts in next week’s Carpool Challenge can help us to get there.
But the Carpool Challenge’s benefits extend beyond public recognition for our efforts; we want our children to see that we all do what we can to improve traffic, air quality, community, and neighbor relations. Los Angeles is the fourth most congested metro area in the world, according to Inrix, a Washington-based traffic research firm, with drivers wasting 66 hours in congested traffic over the past 12 months. We hope that the Carpool Challenge will encourage you to find other Turning Point families near you and perhaps create an ongoing ride-sharing relationship, which translates into less driving for you. Our children will see that we are all responsible for the air quality in the Los Angeles area, and that there are small—but meaningful—actions we can do to make a difference. Our neighbors also appreciate our small footprint, and we want to continue to have good relations.
More people are carpooling, biking, and taking public transportation across Los Angeles than ever before. Let’s be part of this energetic and optimistic movement. Here’s how:
- Students are encouraged to carpool, walk, bike, or use public transportation to school next week. Each time they do, they get to fill out a raffle ticket. Please note that “carpooling” is defined as collaborating on transportation with at least one other family.
- At the All School Assembly on October 24, we will randomly pick names from all submitted raffle tickets.
- Winners will earn one of the following on behalf of their entire grade level: an extra Family Night (i.e., no homework); extra 20 minutes of recess; or a waffle party, prepared by Level 8 students and our Community Service Leadership Coordinator, Mr. Kline!
I hope you will encourage your children to participate – not just to be a hero to their classmates, but a hero to the environment. If you’d like to carpool but don’t know where to start, you can easily find a nearby Turning Point family by logging into your Parent Portal, going to the Directory, and selecting Nearby Families.
We all look forward to trying new adventures in carpooling, public transportation, biking, and walking next week!
Last Tuesday, the Level 7/8 Theatre Elective students went to The Wallis Center for Performing Arts to see American Revolution 2050, performed by Chicago’s Theater Unspeakable. The entire production was performed by a troupe of seven actors on a 7’ x 3’ platform. The students were inspired and awed by the creativity and imagination of the performance.
Later in the week, Theatre Unspeakable’s Artistic Director, Marc Frost, visited Turning Point’s theatre students and led a challenging and dynamic workshop. Students worked in small groups and explored time, distance, and space by restricting themselves to a 4’ x 3’ box. They employed the utmost creativity and commitment, and were incredibly excited to have the opportunity to stretch their artistic limits. What a treat for our young actors!
As part of this month's focus on family, friendship, and healthy self-esteem, Level K recently read the story "Words are Not for Hurting" by Elizabeth Verdick. Students discussed how their words have an impact on others, and then participated in a toothpaste activity in which they tried to put toothpaste back in the tube after squeezing it out. After many attempts, students realized that words are just like toothpaste: once it comes out, it cannot be put back.
As a concluding activity, students made a keepsake to remind them about the power of words and how important it is to choose them carefully. We are so proud of our Level K students for being such wonderful examples of respect and thoughtfulness!
Middle School students met in book club groups and shared vibrant conversations about their summer community read selection, Countdown.
These animated, mixed grade level discussions were led entirely by Level 8 students. Level 8 discussion leaders took pride in brainstorming discussion questions in advance, preparing the classrooms, and executing the event with style and purpose. Student leaders encouraged Levels 6 and 7 participants to share their thoughts as they raised questions about friendship, history, and the author’s use of media in the novel.
The event culminated with each student sharing a poem about their hopes for our current world.