Turning Point School Blog
As our families prepare for the start of an exciting new school year, we wanted to be sure to highlight options for After School activities. Turning Point offers a number of opportunities for students to explore new skills, enhance existing talents, and fill the after-school hours in a fun and meaningful way.
After School Classes
With over 40 classes scheduled across the grade levels during the first trimester, students are certain to find an after school activity they adore! In addition to offering many of the traditional favorites, new classes this year include Coding, Circuit Building, After School Singers, Photography, and Glee Club. As always, there are ample opportunities for students in every grade level to fill an afternoon with visual arts, fitness, technology, dance, performing arts, games, and more.
Please take a moment to review the classes available this Trimester:
Online Registration opens on Monday, August 29 at 12:00 noon.
Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that while students adjust to the school schedule during the first Trimester, NEW Primary students are permitted to take one After School Class, and RETURNING Primary students are permitted to take a maximum of two classes.
The Turning Point Music Conservatory offers beginner to advanced instruction on piano, voice, and any instrument in the brass, woodwind, string, or percussion families. Songwriting lessons are also available. Lessons are open to all students in Levels K-8 and their parents, who are welcome to sign up for individual lessons or learn an instrument with their child (duets, anyone?).
Learn more and sign up online now:
Lessons are 45 minutes long and require a minimum 8-week commitment. After School Care fees are waived on the day of the Conservatory lesson. Once registration is completed, someone will be in touch to schedule lesson time(s). Lessons take place on the Turning Point campus at a mutually agreed-upon day and time. We can accommodate tricky schedules of all kinds!
After School Care
General After School Care is offered for a daily fee from dismissal time until 6:00 pm. After School Care is offered in all three Divisions, and each Division of the program is tailored to meet the needs of the age of the population. Students can enroll in After School Care for the entire afternoon, or they can enroll in an After School Class (or a Conservatory lesson) and then go to After School Care when the class/lesson is completed.
The daily rate for After School Care is $20. If you purchase 50 days or more at one time, the daily rate is $18 per day. Any unused days will be refunded or rolled over to the following school year. After School Care fees are waived on the day of a Conservatory lesson.
Learn more and purchase After School Care in advance here:
New to After School Care in Fall 2016: As part of After School Care, “Being Da Vinci” instructor Ms. Ariel will hold an open studio for students in Levels 2-8 every Monday and Wednesday from 4:30-5:30 pm. Using art as a lens to explore our world, students will have the opportunity to choose a subject matter, explore art studio techniques and materials, and create with freedom of expression. This studio time will allow students to work freely outside a structured class environment in the areas of their interest, with encouragement and guidance from a visual artist. There is no extra fee; this option exists for all Levels 2-8 students enrolled in After School Care on Mondays and Wednesday.
Turning Point is happy to provide supervised Morning Care, every school day, at no charge. Morning Care begins at 7:30 am and continues until the official start of the school day for each Division, respectively.
If you have any questions regarding these programs, please contact Zach Hinkle, Director of Auxiliary Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-841-2505 x160. We look forward to seeing all of our families back on campus very soon!
As another great season of Summer Programs comes to an end, we were thrilled to welcome Chef Diego Di Lao from Katsuya to help us celebrate our final day of Back-to-School Camp. With assistance from our Dirt-to-Dish campers, Chef Di Lao prepared homemade pasta Pomodoro, just like his mom used to make when he was growing up in Sicily. The sauce, which he simmered for two hours and stirred every five minutes, was garnished with three types of basil from our Turning Point garden: Thai, lemon, and Italian.
Thank you, Chef Di Lao, for sharing your culinary talents with us today, and for supporting our Dirt to Dish program by helping campers create healthy and delicious snacks.
While we are sad to say goodbye to summer, we are so looking forward to seeing all of our new and returning students back on campus in just over a week!
The following letter was sent earlier this week to parents and staff, and we wanted to share it with members of the wider community as well.
Dear Turning Point Community,
I trust you are having time this summer to relax and unwind. Summer can afford us a slower pace, more natural daily rhythms, opportunities to try new things, and reasons to eat more ice cream.
My family and I have begun life in Los Angeles, and aside from a few remaining unpacked boxes and pictures to hang, we are settling into our new home. We have been hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains, visiting the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty, shooting hoops in local parks, wading in the waves, and eating at food trucks. Who knew there were so many variations of the taco, and all of them delicious.
We are feeling grateful to have landed in this vibrant and dynamic city. My two sons enjoyed being at Turning Point for a few weeks at Galileo Camp, and I have had the pleasure of meeting some of your children and students who have been here building go-carts, designing toys, learning about national parks, and modeling 3-D designs. It was a special treat to meet our newest Primary students in our Duck and Intro-Duck-Tion summer programs, who are enthusiastic singers and have much to say about their impressions of the world.
In true Turning Point spirit, I have been warmly welcomed by everyone I have met. I have relished my conversations so far with colleagues, students, and parents, and I look forward to continuing to learn about the life of the school, the community, its traditions, and its rhythms. It is clear that Turning Point is a place where children are known and nourished by passionate, talented Faculty and supported in many ways by a thoughtful, deliberate, and well-crafted program.
This past week I reflected on our school's history and traditions in light of troubling events here and abroad. In a time when differences can divide people and create distance in societies, Turning Point is a place where our differences enrich us. It is essential that educators and schools take the lead with courageous conversations, immersive learning, and empathy. We are blessed to be part of a school that develops our children to embrace their individuality as well as their community, celebrate the unique strengths and perspectives of others, and work together to better the world they will inherit – locally, nationally, and globally.
As we look ahead to a new school year, I am eager to get to know each of you and to become further absorbed in the life of the school.
All best wishes,
Dr. Laura Konigsberg
Head of School
What a pleasure it has been to have alumni on campus in recent weeks as part of Summer Camp. All together, we have had six fabulous Junior Counselors help us care for younger campers and take the lead as a driving force for fun. We wish them success, joy, and adventure as they embark on a new year of high school and college.
Have a wonderful rest of summer our Junior Counselor friends, and don’t forget about us once you’ve become titans of industry and leaders of art and innovation!
Vanessa P. (left) - Entering Sophmore year at Harvard Westlake
Sarah P. (right) - Entering Senior year at Hamilton Humanities Magnet School
Dani N. (not pictured) - Entering Senior year at Marymount
Jacob P. (left) - Graduated Exeter and is off to Stanford University
Alex P. (center) - Graduated Brentwood and is off to U.C. Riverside Film School
Destin C. (right) - Graduated Crossroads and is off to Michigan State University
As we look back on a fabulous first week of Summer Camp, we would like to send a special thank you to all the local chefs who supported our Dirt to Dish program by helping campers create healthy and delicious snacks.
Our first guest chef was Chef Wes of Guerrilla Tacos, who brought corn tortillas and Oaxacan string cheese from La Princesita in Boyle Heights. Utilizing fresh herbs from our Turning Point garden, Chef Wes guided Dirt to Dish students in making tasty quesadillas.
The following week, Chef Alan from Lodge Bread brought his unique and truly wonderful bread, along with perfectly ripe avocados from Valhalla Family Orchard in Ojai. With help from our Dirt to Dish students, he served beautiful avocado toast, which was a big hit with campers of all ages.
Next up, our very own Chef Shawn Davis, who has been with us since Dirt to Dish’s inception, came back and wowed us all with his delicious pesto vinaigrette macaroni salad, with greens and tomatoes from the Turning Point garden. Our campers have especially mature palettes!
And on Super Water Slide Day, another veteran of Dirt to Dish, our good friend Chef Samir of Cabbage Patch, blew us away with his hummus and lavash with herbs from the garden, as well as an apple/lemon/lime slush. Now that was the perfect complement to a perfect summer day.
Chefs, you are the best! We are amazed at your skill and honored by your support of our program. And, special thanks to the Dirt to Dish students who plated 95 servings for hungry 3-to-45-year-olds every day.
Turning Point teachers and staff had a fantastic afternoon at the annual Faculty/Staff Luncheon this past Wednesday. The luncheon and celebration provided opportunities to reflect on a wonderful year, and bid some very special friends and co-workers a fond farewell as they continue their adventures on new, exciting paths.
In particular we were thrilled to have a chance to express our appreciation and well-wishes for three colleagues who will be retiring from their positions at Turning Point this year: Head of School Deborah Richman (2nd from left), Business Manager Chris Sabihon (center), and Teacher Karin Meidel (far right). Joining them in the photo opp is Assistant Head of School Gaby Akana (far left) and Primary Division Head Patty Britton (2nd from right).
Collectively, Ms. Richman, Ms. Sabihon, and Ms. Meidel hold over 80 years of knowledge, experience, wisdom, and - of course - humor at our school! We will dearly miss them all but cannot wait to see the incredible things they have yet to accomplish in the years to come.
Sixteen rising Level 7 and Level 8 students have embarked on a 10-day summer Service Learning Trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. As their travels take them to the top of the Andes Mountains, they will be working with the award-winning organization Free The Children to understand the needs of Ecuadorian communities and focus on themes of education, clean water and sanitation, alternative income and livelihood, and agriculture and food security. Ads they gain insight into these challenges, they will work side-by-side with members of the community to implement sustainable solutions.
Following their five-day stay in the Andes, students will embark on a tropical adventure to the Galapagos Islands where nature, wildlife, and environmental issues come into focus as they explore the land. Activities include a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station where they will see the breeding center for giant tortoises, and a visit to the Twin Craters in Baltra.
This optional summer trip for Middle School students is part of our Middle School Trips program, which provides real-world experiences as a foundation for a lifetime of “learning through doing.” Each trip is designed to provide opportunities for students to expand their knowledge, deepen their friendships, interact with a broader community, and develop their independence. By experiencing unique places and cultures domestically and abroad, students will become increasingly culturally competent and adaptable; they will be well-prepared for an ever-changing globally connected world. All the while, life-long memories will be made.
Of course, there will be plenty of time for games, sight-seeing, cultural immersion, and making new friends, too! We cannot wait to hear all about their adventures and experiences when they return to Los Angeles!
Day 1 Update: We have arrived safely and were immediately taken by the beautiful landscape in Quito. We boarded our tour bus and stopped by a small local eatery to enjoy some homemade empanadas and fresh handmade ice cream. We then ventured over to the National Equator Museum to learn all about traditional Ecuadorian customs and the fascinating science behind what it's like living on the equator. Just a few hours ago we finally checked into our hotel and enjoyed a hot dinner. Now off to bed to catch up on some much needed sleep!
Day 2 Update: Students woke up very early to enjoy breakfast, pack snacks, and head out via bus on a rather long trek into the Andes. Along the way, we stopped for lunch, traveled along the Avenue of the Volcanoes, stopped in the Palmira Desert to play in some very cool black volcanic sand dunes, and enjoyed the gorgeous views along the way. We climbed up and up in elevation and have now finally arrived at our beautiful little hotel in the middle of a small town called Alausi. We just finished dinner and the students are now showering and unwinding in their rooms. Tomorrow begins our first day of our service project.
Day 3 Update: Today was a very meaningful experience for our students as we teamed up with an organization called Me to We for a very important service project. We traveled to a small community in the Andes called Llullin (pronounced like the name Eugene). The views at the very top of this mountain community were breathtaking. The weather was pretty chilly and the altitude left us a little winded but that didn't hinder the students determination. They grabbed shovels and picks and began the important task of digging a trench from a natural spring at the top of the hill in order to lay pipes that will bring fresh water to the community 2 miles away. We stopped whenever needed for snack breaks with the view. After about four hours we had dug approximately 200 yards! No small feat. After work we went into Llullin and had lunch. This afternoon we headed back into the town we are staying in (Alausi), and explored a bit. We are now about to sit down for dinner.
Day 4 Update: We have just wrapped up our final day here in Alausi. After a delicious breakfast we boarded our bus and headed down to the open air market in town. We walked among the rows of vendors selling farm fresh produce, live animals, clothes, and household items. Some students bought fresh fruit, juices, and small clothing items. Then we boarded the bus to head to a small community named Pulingui to work with a women's group called Sumak Ahuana. Sumak means 'beautiful' and 'Ahuana' means textile in Quichua. This women's group was started in 2006 by three women. Together they started this group to empower themselves as well as other women from nearby communities to earn a fair income, motivate each other to pursue education, and learn new skills and trades. While our students visited with the women's group they were able to partake in some daily customs such as shearing sheep for wool, taking the wool to draw it into thread, and then weaving the thread into scarves, ponchos, and shawls. After these morning activities we had lunch and were then able to do some shopping in Sumak Ahuana shop. Students bought handmade alpaca goods. All proceeds go directly to support the women's group.
Day 5 Update: Earlier today we made the trek from our beloved little town of Alausi down, down, down the Andes and back into city life. Along the way we made some fun stops. I believe everyone would agree that our favorite stop was when we got off the bus to play in a small river. Beside the river was a home that owned about 20 pigs, tilapia tanks, dogs, and rabbits. While the kids took their shoes off and played in the river, the woman who owned the home brought out one of her momma pigs with six squealing piglets in tow to wade in the river with us. The woman even invited us into her home to share fruit and meet her small children. We had a great time. We arrived to Guayaquil this afternoon and spent the afternoon exploring on foot. We are now relaxing for the night in Guayaquil, and depart tomorrow for the Galápagos Islands!
Day 7 Update: Greetings from the Galapagos! Sorry for the delay in correspondence. The wifi situation is challenging here. The islands are amazing; our hotel is on Santa Cruz island. On our first day we visited the Charles Darwin Research Center and learned about the endemic species on the islands as well as the research and conservation efforts that take place here. Yesterday, we took a two hour boat ride to Isabela Island where we were able to enjoy some snorkeling with the sea lions and then relax on a beautiful beach.
Day 8 Update: We are about to head out from our hotel in Galapagos and fly back into Quito. Yesterday was our last day enjoying the beautiful sights here on the islands. In the morning we took a short bus ride into the hills to visit Manzanita Ranch where we were able to view the tortoises roaming free. After lunch we took a short boat ride over to a secluded enclave of rock formations. Students were able to snorkel and explore the rocks and fish. We then hopped back on the boat one more time to venture into the ocean where students snorkeled around a sunken ship wreck and along the cliffs with small reef sharks. During dinner we joined all the locals to view the Ecuador versus USA soccer match. Now begins our journey back home.
Thank you to Ms. Maria D'Amato for providing these daily updates and photos!
Dear Turning Point Community,
Turning Point School is dear to my heart and has inhabited my mind and spirit for close to three decades. In 1988, Turning Point School became my second home – its success my purpose. Our story can be characterized by adaptability, resilience, excellence, adventure, innovation, and growth. Now, in my 28th year, I am proud to say that the school is in strong financial shape, committed to building an internationally-minded community, and poised for its next CAIS/WASC accreditation. We are equipped with a Strategic Plan that beautifully articulates our continued path of advancement and evolvement. Our school’s multigenerational, diverse Faculty, Staff, and Administrative Leadership Team have never been stronger. The development of the whole child with the goal of graduating students well prepared to face a challenging and changing world continues to be central to our mission, and to all that we do.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the strength of those around me, all of whom contributed to my journey as Head of School. Turning Point could not be where it is today, and as I leave it, without the many people who have helped lead it to success: the exceptional teachers who dedicate each day to fostering the development of every individual student; the Administrative Team, both old and new, who have remained second to none for their industry, loyalty, and devotion to everything we stand for as a school; our competent and astute Support Staff and their hard work and exceptional organizational skills; our Parent Support Association and their leadership for their welcoming spirit and generosity observable by the countless hours spent in support of our events; our Facilities Team for a beautifully manicured and pristine campus; our guards for greeting us with enthusiasm each morning, ensuring our campus remain a safe and welcoming environment; and our Auxiliary Team who end the day making sure our students are continuing to learn and have fun long after class has ended. All of these people, and so many more, are at the core of Turning Point’s success, and have made my time as Head of School so indescribably rewarding.
I cannot find the words to adequately express the appreciation I feel for our Annual Giving Chairs, Capital Campaign Chairs, and countless volunteers who through the years have been role models of philanthropy. They have consistently strived to find the best approach in providing the additional revenue needed to build the very programs that aid in the growth of our students as responsible, curious, and confident learners. In particular, I am deeply touched by those who created and contributed to the Deborah Richman Endowment for the Future. This fund, which will provide scholarship support for future Turning Point students, is particularly meaningful because it will continue to connect me to the ongoing life and growth of Turning Point School.
And last, but certainly not least, I am forever indebted to the bright, talented, and generous Board of Trustees. Under the thoughtful leadership of Gus Bacoyanis, Jamie Widdoes, Bob Levin, and now Steve Plum, the Turning Point story came to life. I will be forever grateful to them for their vision, trust, and support. The continuity that the Turning Point Board has provided through the years is a credit to each of the trustees who have given unselfishly of their time, talent, and resources. They understand so effortlessly the role of a Board, and work as a team to provide the fiduciary means necessary for the school to seamlessly transition into 21st century learning with a state-of-the-art facility, and a program unparalleled to any other. Our growth and success over the years has been born out of willingness to think out of the box, to dream big, to take calculated risks, and to embrace change when opportunity arises. I rest assured knowing these beliefs that have shaped our school’s path will remain the same for years to come under our Board’s leadership.
I now leave you in the capable hands of Dr. Laura Konigsberg, who is coming to Turning Point with her own distinctive characteristics, energy, and ambition. I look forward to watching Turning Point continue to grow, flourish, and evolve under Dr. Konigsberg’s leadership, with an unparalleled team of Faculty and Staff, parents, Trustees, and supporters at her side.
Serving as Turning Point School’s Head of School for the last 28 years has been both a joy and a distinct privilege, and I am overcome with meaningful memories and lasting lessons as I close out my time here. During my journey, as I watched so many of our students transform from small toddlers in Primary to confident, responsible, and fiercely intelligent students, I did not realize that I too, was growing with them. With each goal they set, each hurdle they overcame, and each finish line they crossed, I felt their happiness, their resilience, and their strength. They have inspired me, encouraged me, and changed my life for the better. As I begin the next stage in my life, I will hold these memories close to my heart, and while I may not be here every day, I will take a piece of Turning Point with me wherever I go.
With much appreciation and affection,
This week, we were pleased to welcome a group of Japanese educators to Turning Point to tour our campus and learn more about the Turning Point philosophy and program. Our visitors, from Japan's third largest island of Kyushu, are all preschool directors and teachers at schools with enrollments ranging from 100 - 300 students.
Many thanks to Turning Point Auxiliary Staff member Sari Nakayama for leading the tour and acting as translator between our guests and our community. Having opportunities to host educators with diverse, international backgrounds allows us to foster collaboration and encourage whole-school discussion of values related to global citizenship.
Thank you to Level 6 student Sam F. for providing this Spring Sports update! Look for more to come from Sam in the new school year.
Turning Point’s Level 6 Volleyball team had a season of struggle, often playing with one man down. They sadly lost all of their games. One of the highlights of the season was in the playoffs against Wildwood. Turning Point was down 22-24 and Samuel L. went on an amazing run, serving every ball over to get Turning Point a 25-24 lead. The rules are that you have to win by two points. Sadly, Wildwood took the lead back, making the score 25-26. Turning Point was not able to get the ball over the net and was ultimately beaten by Wildwood. A tough loss!
This spring, the Turning Point Track and Field team had a very successful season. Many Turning Point athletes broke personal records. There were some season highlights at the league championship. Level 8 students Zoe D. earned 3rd place in the long jump and Rachel S. earned 3rd place in the shot put. Well done!
Overall, our Middle School athletes and coaches worked hard and showed great sportsmanship!
Congratulations to all of our Level 5 graduates on officially completing their Elementary Division years at Turning Point. During last week's Candle Lighting, students read poems they wrote reflecting back on their Elementary experience and sang "On My Way" from the movie Brother Bear. They also enjoyed a slide show of memories from the year, and received kudos and appreciation from Teachers, Administrators, and family members. The ceremony ended with the traditional lighting of candles to signify each Level 5 student's journey to Middle School, followed by a recessional with their Level 8 mentors.
Congratulations, Level 5! We will miss you as leaders in the Elementary Division, but look forward to sharing your Middle School journey in the fall!
Yesterday morning, students gathered in Assembly to honor Ms. Deborah Richman as she closes out her tenure as the Head of Turning Point School. All students, Faculty, and Staff arrived with flowers handmade with care in classrooms and offices out of paper, tissue, and other creative materials, coloring the Theatre in beautiful springtime colors.
As is tradition in the final Assembly of the school year, Ms. Richman kicked off the event by reading A Garden Blessing by Welleran Poltarnees. The blessing, in which the garden symbolizes constant growth, ever-changing beauty, and restorative energy, is a long-time favorite of Ms. Richman and the Turning Point community. The spirit of the blessing served as a beautiful way to set the tone for the rest of the morning’s agenda.
Following the blessing, the students took over as Ms. Richman enjoyed the surprise events from a chair of honor in front of the stage. Each presentation was meaningful and personal, and included beautiful tokens of appreciation such as a framed 3-D model of the Building 2 floorplan created by Level 8 student Steven H., and haiku notecards written and designed by Middle School students.
In a highlight of the assembly, students dedicated the all-school mural created earlier in the year during the Festival of the Arts to Ms. Richman, and presented her with a plaque that will be hung next to the mural in its permanent location in Building 2. The plaque, which honors Ms. Richman's 28 years of leadership, quotes one of the passages from A Garden Blessing: "Let your garden teach you patience, and remind you daily of how much there is to learn and how much to do."
The assembly closed with a performance of "Garden Song" by Primary and Elementary students, followed by a presentation of Gerbera daisies by student representatives of each homeroom and advisory class.
Thank you, Ms. Richman, for nurturing our community and encouraging us all to blossom!
Last week, students in Levels K-4 were thrilled to welcome Commander Dan Goldenberg to Turning Point to share his 24 years of experience in active and reserve military service. Highlights of his military service include tours as a commanding officer, carrier-based naval flight officer, and special assistant to the Secretary of the Navy. A graduate of the US Naval Academy as well as Harvard Business School, Cdr. Goldenberg currently serves as the Executive Director for a foundation that partners with organizations to match hiring needs with veterans’ skills. Their goal is to secure jobs for over 25,000 veterans by the end of 2016.
Our sincerest appreciation to Cdr. Goldenberg for sharing his fascinating story with us. Many thanks to you and to all of our active and retired military for serving our country!
Our Primary and Level 8 friends had a blast at their final Big Buddies gathering of the year. Students played games, discussed summer plans, and topped off the afternoon with an ice cream social. The Buddies Program is a long-standing tradition at Turning Point, assigning Level 8 students to a Primary classroom to form strong and long-lasting bonds with younger students throughout the school year.
Thank you to this year's graduating Level 8 students for truly shining as role models, leaders, and friends to our younger students!
Bravo to our talented musicians in Levels 3-5 and Middle School Band for an incredible performance in this year's annual Spring Concert! The concert is the culmination of all the learning and exploring our students have done in their music curriculum and electives throughout the school year.
Pieces performed at this year's concert included the song "Meet the Instruments" written by our Levels 3-8 Music Specialist Ken Harrison, the traditional Irish folk song "Danny Boy" by the Middle School Band, Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" (performed by the After School Violin Ensemble), and an arrangement of the popular song "Hello" by Adele.
Formal music education begins with Recorder Ensemble in Level 3, and then advances to Beginning Band in Levels 4 and 5, where students select an instrument they would like to study over the course of the year. In Middle School, after one trimester of mandatory music instruction, students can choose to continue exploring their musical talents in Band Elective. These students create, perform, respond, and connect to music through the continued study of a wind or percussion instrument. Band Elective students end their year with an adjudicated performance at a music festival, followed by a day at a favorite theme park! Levels 7 and 8 students are invited to continue with Band, as repertoire is consistently updated.