New library shelving….

Perhaps to many, new shelving units are nothing to get excited about. After all, Ikea sells millions of them every year. As a librarian, who has a very large collection of over 15 000 items to service her PK3-grade 6 students and their ferocious reading appetites, storage is always an issue. And it has been rather dire for some time now. A mundo thank you to Mr. Hartnett and Mrs. Pullen and Mr. Snodgress for approving this purchase. Not only do I have new shelving , but it is of a sturdy quality shelving to withstand our heavy useage. While not an inexpensive item, I am over the moon to have these new shelves assembled. Thank you Tech Interns Bryce and JR for bringing the socket set to tighten the bolts. With luck, our library will be a bit tidier….as well as easier to find items without stacking our precious books on top in a haphazard manner….until the next class of excited readers come into the Campus Center Library.

The 2011-2012 Sunshine State Reading list is here!

Are you looking for the 2012-2013 Sunshine State list?  Click here to redirect.

It’s here! The new 2011-2012 Florida  Sunshine State Young Reader’s list was announced this morning.To all Saint Stephen’s children entering grade 4-5-6, you will be eligible to participate in our reading program. I would encourage you to be reading these books over the summer months, making notes at the end of each chapter.  Those entering grade five have the option of reading two  of the below listed books  ( from either the grade 3-5 list, or the grade  6-8 list) as part of your required summer reading. During the school year, Intermediate School children are invited to read at least 5 books from the recommended list, then take and pass the accompanying Accelerated Reader test. Children who read at least 5 books are then invited to our voting party in April 2012. Last year, 46  IS students attended our afternoon voting party off campus.

Why not join us in April 2012? Why not read some of these books over the summer months? Enjoy!

Grade 3-5

Barrett, Tracy The 100-year-old Secret (AR 4.4)  Xena and Xander Holmes, an American brother and sister living in London for a year, discover that Sherlock Holmes was their great-great-great grandfather when they are inducted into the Society for the Preservation of Famous Detectives and given his unsolved casebook, from which they attempt to solve the case of a famous missing painting.

Barrows, Annie The Magic Half (AR 4.2)  Eleven-year-old Miri Gill feels left out in her family, which has two sets of twins and her, until she travels back in time to 1935 and discovers Molly, her own lost twin, and brings her back to the present day.

Buckley, Michael NERDS: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society ( AR 5.3  )  While running a spy network from their elementary school, five unpopular misfits combine their talents and use cutting-edge gadgetry to fight evil around the world.

Clements, Andrew Extra Credit (AR 5.2  ) Three young middle-school-age children, Abby, Amira, and Sadeed, exchange letters back and forth between the prairies of Illinois and the mountains of Afghanistan and begin to bridge a gap across cultural and religious divides.

Draper, Sharon M. Out of My Mind ( AR 4.3 ) Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.

Graff, Lisa Umbrella Summer (AR 4.6 )  After her brother Jared dies, ten-year-old Annie worries about the hidden dangers of everything, from bug bites to bicycle riding, until she is befriended by a new neighbor who is grieving her own loss.

Jonell, Lynne The Secret of Zoom ( AR 4.8) Ten-year-old Christina lives a sheltered life until she discovers a secret tunnel, an evil plot to enslave orphans, and a mysterious source of energy known as zoom.

Klise, Kate Dying to Meet You  (AR 4.4)  In this story told mostly through letters, children’s book author, I. B. Grumply, gets more than he bargained for when he rents a quiet place to write for the summer.

LaFevers, R.L. Flight of the Phoenix  ( AR  3.9  ) Ten-year-old Nate is sent to live with a family cousin, the world’s last beastologist, after his parents are declared lost at sea, but danger mounts when he is brought on an expedition to the Arabian desert, gets lost, and must protect a newly hatched phoenix egg and rescue his guardian.

Lin, Grace Where the Mountain Meets the Moon  ( AR  5.5 )  Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.

Look, Lenore Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things   ( AR 3.8   )  A young boy in Concord, Massachusetts, who loves superheroes and comes from a long line of brave Chinese farmer-warriors, wants to make friends, but first he must overcome his fear of everything.

Mills, Claudia How Oliver Olson Changed the World  ( AR 5.0 )  Afraid he will always be an outsider like ex-planet Pluto, nine-year-old Oliver finally shows his extremely overprotective parents that he is capable of doing great things without their help while his class is studying the solar system.

Pitchford, Dean Captain Nobody  ( AR 4.8  ) When ten-year-old Newton dresses up as an unusual superhero for Halloween, he decides to keep wearing the costume after the holiday to help save townspeople and eventually his injured brother.

Thomson, Sarah L. Dragon’s Egg  ( AR 4.9  )  Mella, a young girl trained as a dragon keeper, learns that the legends of old are true when she is entrusted with carrying a dragon’s egg to the fabled Hatching Grounds, a dangerous journey on which she is assisted by a knight’s squire.

Yee, Lisa Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally)   ( AR  4.1  )  Bobby inadvertently gets into a fight with his best friend Holly, and their disagreement develops into a boys versus girls war involving their whole fourth-grade class.

Grade 6- 8

Angleberger, Tom The Strange Case of Origami Yoda  ( AR 4.1  )  Sixth-grader Tommy and his friends describe their interactions with a paper finger puppet of Yoda, worn by their weird classmate Dwight, as they try to figure out whether or not the puppet can really predict the future. Includes instructions for making Origami Yoda.

Baggott, Julianna The Prince of Fenway Park  ( AR 4.2  )  In the fall of 2004, twelve-year-old Oscar Egg is sent to live with his father in a strange netherworld under Boston’s Fenway Park, where he joins the fairies, pooka, banshee, and other beings that are trapped there, waiting for someone to break the eighty-six-year-old curse that has prevented the Boston Red Sox from winning a World Series.

Breathed, Berkeley Flawed Dogs: The Novel: The Shocking Raid on Westminster  ( AR  5.6 )  After being framed by a jealous poodle, a dachshund is left for dead, but comes back with a group of mutts from the National Last Ditch Dog Depository to disrupt the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show and exact revenge on Cassius the poodle.

Draper, Sharon M. Out of My Mind ( AR 4.3 ) Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.

Falls, Kat Dark Life   ( AR  5.2 ) When fifteen-year-old Ty, who has always lived on the ocean floor, joins Topside girl Gemma in the frontier’s underworld to seek and stop outlaws who threaten his home, they learn that the government may pose an even greater threat.

Hegamin, Tonya & Nelson, Marilyn Pemba’s Song: A Ghost Story  ( AR 5.9   )  As fifteen-year-old Pemba adjusts to leaving her Brooklyn, New York, home for small-town Connecticut, a history researcher helps her understand the paranormal experiences drawing her into the life of a girl who was once a slave in her house.

Hiaasen, Carl Scat  ( AR 5.5  ) Nick and Marta are both suspicious when their biology teacher, the feared Mrs. Bunny Starch, disappears, and try to uncover the truth despite the police and headmaster’s insistence that nothing is wrong.

Logsted, Greg Alibi Junior High   ( AR 4.6  )  After thirteen-year-old Cody and his father, an undercover agent, are nearly killed, Cody moves in with his aunt in Connecticut, where he is helped with his adjustment to the trials of attending public school for the first time and investigating a threat in nearby woods by a wounded Iraq War veteran.

Paterson, Katherine The Day of the Pelican   ( AR   5.2)  In 1998 when the Kosovo hostilities escalate, thirteen-year-old Meli’s life as an ethnic Albanian, changes forever after her brother escapes his Serbian captors and the entire family flees from one refugee camp to another until they are able to immigrate to America.

Paulsen, Gary Woods Runner   ( AR 5.5   )  From his 1776 Pennsylvania homestead, thirteen-year-old Samuel, who is a highly-skilled woodsman, sets out toward New York City to rescue his parents from the band of British soldiers and Native Americans who kidnapped them after slaughtering most of their community.

Preller, James Bystander   ( AR 4.2   )  Thirteen-year-old Eric discovers there are consequences to not standing by and watching as the bully at his new school hurts people, but although school officials are aware of the problem, Eric may be the one with a solution.

Sanderson, Brandon Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians   ( AR 5.6   )  On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry receives a bag of sand which is immediately stolen by the evil Librarians who are trying to take over the world, and Alcatraz is introduced to his grandfather and his own special talent, and told that he must use it to save civilization.

Slade, Arthur G. Jolted: Newton Starker’s rules for survival   ( AR 4.5   )  Many of Newton Starker’s ancestors, including his mother, have been killed by lightning strikes, so when he enrolls at the eccentric Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, he tries to be a model student so that he can avoid the same fate.

Taylor, Greg Killer Pizza   ( AR 4.4 )  While working as summer employees in a local pizza parlor, three teenagers are recruited by an underground organization of monster hunters.

Woodson, Jacqueline Peace, Locomotion   ( AR  5.0 )  Through letters to his little sister, who is living in a different foster home, sixth-grader Lonnie, also known as “Locomotion,” keeps a record of their lives while they are apart, describing his own foster family, including his foster brother who returns home after losing a leg in the Iraq War.

Falcons creating History Heard

Web site provides 1st-hand history interviews

Dr Robert Kahn who is considered a co-creator of the Internet

Imagine hearing Sgt. Sammy Davis talk about being the real Forrest Gump and winning a Medal of Honor.

Or how about listening to Drs. Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn talk about how they created the Internet?

“First-person accounts of history are impossible to come by unless you meet the person,” says Kathleen Addison, 17, of Bradenton.

So she and her 15-year-old sister Amy created History Heard — a Web site to preserve peoples’ stories and to make researching history projects for students more fun.

History Heard is the single largest attempt to chronicle modern American History ever undertaken. There are a few projects which have tackled different, much more limited, pieces of the process but History Heard is the first to try the “big picture”. Here’s a link to the site;


Mrs. Juanita Eaton with Addison sisters

The goal is to create an elaborate “tapestry” of video interviews with newsmakers who were first person witnesses to some aspect of modern American history.  Rather than read an account written by someone removed from the event, History Heard offers students a video account of what happened in the words of the people who were actually present.

The unique aspect of History Heard is that it is designed to be entirely managed by students in high school and middle school.  As of October 2009, our first group of interviews have been viewed more than 4,300 times!


Carl Misch, a WWII veteran with Addison sisters

So far, the sisters have interviewed 22 people, including some they went to see in Washington, D.C. They are choosing people who have made an impact in history. Amy’s favorite interview in Washington was Juanita Eaton, the widow of a World War II Tuskegee airman pilot.

“She talked about being in an African-American military family and wife of a military general,” Amy said.

Sgt. Davis is one upcoming interview Kathleen is looking forward to. Another is Bill Reinert, who invented the Toyota Prius. She wants to know his thoughts about how the vehicle has had such an impact on the transportation industry.

Because the girls want to continue building their library, their site allows students to add their own interviews.


Dr Eugenie Clark, “The Shark Lady” and founder of Mote Marine

The girls should be commeneded  for creating the site because it wasn’t an assigned school project.

They created it during their spare time.
As  inspired by  recent article  in the Bradenton Herald,Posted on Thu, Oct. 08, 2009

1000 origami cranes….or what I did on my summer vacation…


Could it be a tribute to Sadako and world peace, or  is it an excellent example of  a student Falcon’s dedication to seeing a project through to the end?

Both, definitely. I am immensely proud of  all of my students, particularly those who show initiative and are self  motivated. Charlie is one of those  children.

In April 2009, our grade three class  read Sadako and the thousand paper cranes by E. Coerr as a compliment to their  social studies  program. As part of learning about Japanese culture as well as empathy towards the main character and her quest to fold  1000 origami cranes in order to  wish for good health,  as a class we attempt to fold a few paper cranes.  Origami is an art of  folding paper in precise  forms.  Valley folds,  angles need to match and such.

After our origami class workshop, I noticed Charlie was showing a particular interest in  the project.  I challenged him to  try to fold 1000 cranes over the summer vacation.   Admittedly, I did not think to much about it since that moment. On The first day of school,   Mum delivered two boxes  filled with chains of  ornate paper cranes.  Charlie has done me proud  by demonstrating  his self motivation, by providing something beautiful for others to look at.  Above all, he has given  school library visitors  a chance to pause and think about Sadako and her plight for world peace.

Bravo Charlie. I am so very proud of you and your accomplishment.


Saint’s Fund Campaign…..

Recently, I was given a great honor. I was asked to be the Faculty/Staff Chair of the Saint’s Fund.

To be sought for this responsibility is lovely, and I accepted without hesitation.  Below is the text from my speech during  an All School meeting, August  21st. I hope that it underscores the importance of this campaign in our school’s life.  Today, as of September 22nd, 2008, I can proudly announce that we have reached 100%  Faculty and Staff participation.  A thank you to all who have supported the Saint’s Fund.

Saint's Fund

Saint'S Fund: Get into the Spirit!

A thank you to the Development Office for selecting me as their Saint’s Fund Faculty/Staff chair. It is an honor.

I consider myself to be a rather lucky girl to land here at Saint Stephen’s. I am reminded of this notion each morning when I unlock the library door, underneath our world flags in the Breezeway. ‘Open the doors of our world’ is a wonderful theme to work with this year. In actuality, we work with this theme everyday of every year, as we expose our students to the world beyond.

We all have a part to play in global understanding. Many of use have traveled beyond America’s borders for leisure, to study abroad; some to adopt a child in Korea or in China. And some of us are foreign citizens from beyond. We each bring to our campus a part of our global exposure, making our campus a special place. I know that my Lower School friends love learning Spanish vocabulary from Senora Rogers and her talking parrot. Mrs. Mercier celebrates in Children’s Day and Korean culture with our Intermediate School children. Can you imagine campus without Marc Jones and his colorful British soccer jerseys? Or Madame Marshall’s French croissant cooking demo. I am sure that I have heard Polynesian music coming from Mr. Marshall’s room. Christina Pommer has demonstrated the Japanese art of Origami. Tony Haakman has a picture of Sidney Crosby in his room. (For those of you who do not know, Crosby is a Canadian phenomenon who plays Center position for the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team…..think a young Wayne Gretzky. He is one of our most famous exports; next to maple syrup and Anne of Green Gables of course.) We have a global laboratory on campus. Our experiences impact our teaching and thus make Saint Stephen’s a special place for our children to learn as well as gain a cultural awareness.

The Saint’s Fund covers a portion of what we do. It bridges the gap between what tuition covers and the actual cost of making our school run. It covers things such as the cost of Windex used to clean up after the French croissant cooking lesson, the fuel for the bus to get Mr. Jones’ soccer team to the away games, the batteries for Senora Roger’s parrot, Christina’s origami paper, the tape on the Sidney Crosby poster, the laptop and projector during Mrs. Mercier’s Korean presentation, the cost of faculty salaries. With the aid of the Saint’s Fund, these special things we do to enrich our learning environment, and that make our campus special, could not happen.

Your assistance, in whatever amount you can manage, is greatly appreciated. We are striving for 100% participation…such a message will demonstrate to our community that the Faculty and Staff are fully committed to what happens on our campus, to continuing the learning, to continue the global awareness instilled in our children.

Many of you are perhaps thinking “Sarah , have you looked at the cost of gasoline? Or bought a gallon of milk, recently?” I know that we are living in a challenging economic environment, though we are asking you to give what you are able. No matter what the amount. Consider payroll deduction, if that is easier for you. If you have given in the past, I thank you. Please continue this giving. Please help build upon the special learning and global awareness which we all bring to Saint Stephen’s by giving what you can. Thank you.