One of our main goals at PKS is to foster a lifelong passion for learning and exploration, not only among our students but also among our parents, faculty, and staff. A few weeks ago, however, the pedagogical team wanted to try something innovative and engaging to provide our faculty and staff with a different type of professional development (PD) opportunity; something we call “Pinterest Live” or “Old School Pinterest.”
Starting in preschool, we believe one of our most important jobs as educators is to cultivate in our students a lifelong passion for learning and exploration. What better way to do this, than to lead by example.
The proposal on Project Based Learning in Upper Elementary School was selected for presentation in the Curriculum and Instruction breakout session of the annual National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC).
PKS was invited to Washington, DC as part of a symposium on immersion education. Seven of our faculty members visited four schools, deepening their knowledge of best practices while sharing some of their own unique insights. Our expertise on how to integrate Mandarin immersion within a progressive framework was noted as "the only model out there combining data-based immersion practices with rigorous PBL."
We began early, around 6:30am, as a group of students ventured out for some 油条 and 豆浆. Those who slept in a bit had oatmeal and fried eggs in the hotel restaurant. We then took a walk to the center of this 1,000-year-old town and did some general orientation.
Our community celebration welcoming the Year of the Dog was PKS's largest-ever Chinese New Year event, with almost 900 people in attendance. Organized over the course of several months by a parent-led committee chaired by Monica Savini, the event featured art, activities, food, fun, and at the center of it all, the joyous performances of each PKS class on stage in the beautifully restored venue adjacent to our campus, Saint Joseph's, where we were hosted by proprietor Ken Fulk.
Mike Levy, Founding Head of the PKS middle school, recently traveled to China and sent us these updates.
Our goals each year include problem solving, critical thinking, and improving social skills. We provide ample opportunities for children to do hands on projects, based on their own interests, we provide children with engaging materials, and ask them questions to provoke their thinking.
Under twinkling lights and a clear night sky, PKS parents gathered on Saturday for the annual Parents' Night Out celebration. Hundreds of parents filled the school grounds to enjoy good food, wine, and dancing.
Progressive education is built on the premise that learning is an active and inquiry-based process. Understanding is better than memorization, and with this in mind we are excited to share Structured Word Inquiry with our students.
Last week, our PKS first graders continued their discussion on "community." Students read the mini-book I Love My Community and used the Chinese names for libraries, parks, toy stores, restaurants, and soccer fields. The mini-book ended in an open-ended form that invited students to think about what other places could be added to a community to make it even better.
As a progressive school, our vision for mathematics has many unifying elements. It is our expectation that students look beyond “doing math” to “thinking like mathematicians,” and to see the potential for beauty, fun, creativity, and trans-disciplinary connections in mathematics.
I am absolutely thrilled at the prospect of becoming your next Head of School in July 2018. I would like to thank all of the students, teachers, staff, parents and board members that took the time to meet with me during my visit to school and with whom I have interacted over the last few weeks. I especially appreciated the time I spent in Chinese answering the most challenging questions of all – from the PKS third graders!
Chris Livaccari, a distinguished language immersion educator, Mandarin scholar, Mandarin speaker, and author, has been named our next Head of School by unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees. Among the highly talented candidates who visited the school in recent months, Chris stood out for his commitment to educational excellence and his deep knowledge of and involvement in Mandarin language learning on an international scale. Chris’s bright vision for PKS’s future and his inquisitive, warm, down-to-earth style made him the ideal match for our school.
In this engaging unit, teachers helped children answer a few essential questions: Where does food come from? How and why do we grow our own food? How do people organize the environment to produce and distribute food? How does knowing about our food help us make healthy choices? The unit was based on four basic premises: First, all living things have basic needs. Second, plants and animals have life cycles. Third, some foods are regional and/or seasonal. And fourth, gardens require care and attention. Through these lenses, students dove deep into lessons about geography, environmental science, math, and non-fiction vs. fiction.