by Amy Purcell Vorenberg, Head of School
There is something quite special about celebrating Thanksgiving at The Philadelphia School. Maybe it’s the scent of fresh oregano chopped for lasagna or the aroma of chocolate brownies complete “the Feast.” When we gather as a full community to enjoy the meal, completely prepared by the students, we are an impressive group – a group of almost 500 this year!
In the best schools across the country, administrators like me are thankful for many things – most important, the teachers. TPS has an exquisite faculty and staff that I admire greatly. Their dedication to students, their commitment to families, their work ethic and unending enthusiasm for creating the most incredible academic pursuits – these are a winning combination that I am grateful for. Whether it be our longest tenured faculty member or one of our newest teachers, the devotion to TPS students and their learning is a shared constant.
Take Judith Parker, for example. Judith has been teaching at The Philadelphia School for almost three decades. This year is Judith’s last as an “official” member of our teaching faculty. No one loves Shakespeare more than Judith, and no one can transform a child’s understanding of his works more skillfully than she does. One need only spend a few minutes with Judith to hear of her passion for poetry, her commitment to nature (especially trees in our city!), and her boundless energy for books of all kinds. To say we are thankful for Judith is an understatement – she has helped The Philadelphia School become the academically vigorous community that it is known for – and we are thankful! Please read on.
Great Books In Print that Help Round out Anyone’s Education
Judith Parker, Middle School teacher
[Judith Parker joined the Middle School faculty of The Philadelphia School in August 1983. As mentioned in Amy's article, this is Judith’s final year at TPS. The organizers of the TPSA Book Fair asked Judith to compile a list of books – a reading legacy that will be shared with TPS students, past, present, and future. - Editor]
by Judith Parker, Middle School teacher
Many of these books were on my father’s 1923 reading list from the Gilman Country School in Baltimore and/or were on the reading lists of my childhood, and I read and re-read them. Others were written far more recently, but all of them are true “classics.” A classic book, in my definition, is a book that has a timeless, enduring value. However, there are many different kinds of classics. Some open new worlds for us; many show us how to develop grace under the inevitable stress that being alive brings with it and empower us to deal with situations that may be difficult; and some show us ourselves and give us a mirror to look into to understand our own lives.
This list is missing many, many excellent books, in part because I did not want to include the great books that are already read at The Philadelphia School. If, in the future, D’Aulaires’ Mythology, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, or Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are no longer read here, please add them immediately to this list! Here is the list.
Alumni Profile: Lee Jacobs '00
by Elizabeth LaBan
Lee Jacobs’ success is built on the notion that you can’t be afraid to fail. “There’s a saying, fail often and fail fast,” Lee said. “You learn something and move on.”
The 2000 TPS graduate has been an entrepreneur since college. Some things have worked better than others, but he wouldn’t change any of it because each and every experience has led him to this point. Lee recently cofounded a new company called Colingo, a service that helps those trying to learn English have the opportunity to converse regularly with native speakers. He has used his on-the-job learning over the years to make this company as good as it can be.
Lee majored in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. While there, he started his first company called CampusDock, which he describes as a Craig’s List for college students. As with everything else, he educated himself as he went along; he explained, “I was getting my feet wet.” Please continue.
The Book Fair Is Coming!
This year's Book Fair, organized by not one, not two, not three, BUT FOUR incredibly creative co-chairs – Erica Eisenberg, Elizabeth LaBan, Julie Motl, and Theresa Timlin – is going to be fantastic! Running from Wednesday, December 8 through Saturday, December 10, the Book Fair will celebrate reading and storytelling in a variety of ways.
The hours of the Book Fair are 8:15 a.m.-6 p.m. on Wednesday, 8:15 a.m.-6 p.m. (but closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.) on Thursday; 8:15-11:30 a.m. and 2-6 p.m. on Friday, and 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Saturday fair goers will not only be able to purchase books but will also enjoy storytelling by Baba Jamal Koram De StoryMan, whose appearance is being sponsored by the TPS Family Diversity Committee. The storytelling will take place from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Music Room. Here are the details about the Book Fair events and activities.
TPS Clubs Aren’t Just for Kids!
by Betsy Neiva, Director of Auxiliary Programming
This winter, TPS will be expanding its roster of fun, not-to-be-missed clubs in which parents, grandparents, and caregivers can participate with (and without) their children! Grown-ups interested in reading great books while simultaneously helping boost a child’s verbal skills won’t want to miss the chance to join one of two exciting new book clubs! In addition, adults who already know or who want to learn how to knit alongside an enthusiastic youngster, will love our new Knitting Club. Finally, grown ups anxious to work off those holiday bulges before beach season begins will want to sign up for Nate Mcintyre’s famous Bodyrock Bootcamp.
• Judith Parker, a Harvard-educated literary scholar who has been sharing her passion for literature with TPS students for over twenty-five years, will be offering not one, but two fantastic parent-child book clubs. For younger readers in 1st through 4th grades, Judith is offering "Heroes, Monsters, and Dragons" on Friday afternoons from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Students (who can choose to participate in the club with or without an adult) first will have the pleasure of reading (or listening to a parent read) Kenneth Grahaeme’s The Reluctant Dragon, an enchanting tale of a young boy’s friendship with a mild-mannered dragon. Club participants then will dive into Arthurian legends with Margaret Hodges' Merlin and the Making of the King. Check out additional clubs.
Stormwater Management at SoLo
by Libbey S., Alice L., Zoe L., & Ethan A., 7th grade students
Great news! The Philadelphia School has bought a property called SoLo, which is at 25th and South streets, just down the street from The Philadelphia School. This site will become an innovative Early Childhood Learning Center in September 2012.
One problem: It rains in Philadelphia. Don’t get us wrong – water is essential to our lives. It keeps us alive! But don’t you ever wonder what happens to all that water that can’t be absorbed by pavement? It runs off, carrying all the street pollution, into storm drains that ultimately go into the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers. You drink that! Well, after it’s been treated, but nevertheless, your glass of water just ran across the streets of Philadelphia, and may have even mixed with some sewage before getting to you. How does this relate to SoLo? Learn more.
Contemporary Artist Visits TPS
by Claire S-A, 7th grade student
One of the things that makes The Philadelphia School great is the opportunity that we as students get to expand our knowledge and experience. On Wednesday, November 16, artist Perry Milou visited TPS to do an art workshop with students in grades 1 to 8. Perry is a contemporary mural artist working in Philadelphia. Please continue.
Photo Essays: TPS Autumn Traditions
What's your favorite fall event at The Philadelphia School? Halloween? K-2 Grandparents & Special Friends Day? The 7th Grade Rock Concert? The Thanksgiving Feast? All four events are a lot of fun and bring great joy to the TPS community – young and old. Thanks to TPS parent photographers – Beth Lundy and Kate Riccardi – we have wonderful photographs of these events. Enjoy the photos.
Why We Give
TThe 2011-2012 Annual Fund campaign is in full swing. The year's first phonathon was a success; our volunteer callers, to whom we are most grateful, included parents, an alumni parent, and alumni - and even a grandparent. We hope they reached you and answered any questions you might have had about how the Annual Fund helps to maintain the daily operations of The Philadelphia School. Thank you to everyone who has made an Annual Fund gift this fall.
According to TPS parent Nina Rivera, she and her husband, Peter Hardy, participate because of this conversation with her daughter:
"Mami, the mayor of Philadelphia, he is democratic, isn’t he?"
"I think that you mean that he is a Democrat."
"Yeah, and who is more important, a mayor, a governor, a senator, or the president?"
And so began the conversation with my 4th grade daughter about how our government works. A discussion with her teacher about the position of the mayor in Philadelphia had piqued her curiosity about politics and government. In moments like this, when I see my child continuing to learn and to analyze the world around her, even after the school day is done, I know that The Philadelphia School is a wonderful place that I want to support.