Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Special SCS Food Edition

 Car Magnet Promotion Winners:  Wow, the magnet promotion is really taking off and our first sighting have come across my desk.  The first winners were the Kovick family and little Sam will be having a free week of childcare in the Seahorse Room!  Here is our next sighting:  Plate # 3147271 NH.  Call 603-422-8223 to claim your week of free ECE or PEAK care!

 UNH Moms and Kids Reasearch Study is Seeking Volunteers: If you are a mom of kids ages 4-8 and would be interested in participating in a Research study with your children run by the UNH Department of Psychology under the guidance of Prof. Michelle Leichtman please step forward.  Participation involves a simple interview (15min) with you and your child, as well as two short questionnaires online.  Please contact Erin Kenney at EML233@Wildcats.unh.edu to volunteer or call 603-862-3806 for more information.

 Your Roving Food Reporter Eats Kids Lunches for a Week:  Ever wonder what your kids are eating through the USDA approved lunch and snack program we run here at SCS?  Well, so did I, and I decided to eat kids lunches for a week.  Here are the early results and ratings:

Monday: Well, I started the week with what was touted as the "best lunch we offer" in the form of chicken burgers with lettuce & tomato slices, as well as potato salad and apples for desert.  I rated this meal an A- because it tasted good but the potato salad had no mayo (apparently they are trying a new recipe).  The fresh apple was a nice finish.  The kids seemed to love everything smothered in ketchup, and in the end I figure the whole thing was just a good excuse to eat ketchup anyway.

Tuesday: Sweet and sour chicken with Asian vegetables and noodles, strawberries, milk.  This was an impressive name for a dish that really looked more Italian than Asian.  I rated it a B- because the serving I got had very few veggies in it (although other kids got lots more of veggies), and it was basically just spaghetti noodles with a hint of something sweet in there.  The chicken I had was excellent - but other kids got less attractive slices.  Strawberries were good - especially when the kids showed me how to dunk them in the milk!

Wednesday: Beefy macaroni, tomato and cucumber salad, and melon slices.  I gotta admit, I liked this more than I thought I would.  The fresh veggies and melons were tasty and I went for seconds on the macaroni dish, of which there was plenty. (No, I did not have to fight off a four year old!)  Certainly the vinaigrette dressing helped a lot.  Rating B.

So far things have been pretty good - albeit fairly bland as the kids don't subscribe to much in the way of sauces and spices.  I'm thinking of sneaking my Sriracha bottle in tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Awards, Sunset, Magnets, and More!

 Lori Parsons: New Hampshire Early Childhood Educator of the Year!  Each year when the Early Learning New Hampshire organization searches for the unique educator who could possibly fill the bill as "Early Childhood Educator of the Year," they look for someone who is a master in their craft, has a long tenure of service in the field, is respected by parents and peers, and has touched and brightened the lives of hundreds of children.  Well, this year that person is none other than our own Lori Parsons of Minnows fame!  If you have ever experienced this woman teaching kids you know instantly why this was the right choice.  Organized, intelligent, understanding, and most importantly loving, she is the full package.  The attached photo is Lori with two former and one current Executive Directors (Deb Stokel, Jackie Cowell, and me), but there were easily 200 other people at this event, including the NH Commissioners of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services.  Please take a moment to congratulate Lori on receiving this prestigious award and let her know how much we appreciate the wonderful work she has done over the years.  Congratulations Lori!    LParsons@Seacoastcommunityschool.org

 Sunset 2018 Success:  Wow!  What an evening it was!  After months of planning by various Committees comprised of parents, board members, faculty, and admin staff, the event last Friday night was a real corker!  Over 120 people showed up at 3S Artspace, Portsmouth in some fairly nasty weather to enjoy the warmth of the SCS community, and celebrate a school that has done nothing but grow stronger over the last half century.  Supporting three programs (Scholarships, Professional Development for Teachers, and Enrichment for Kids,) the crowd raised over $17,000 through various measures.  From the stage, I can tell you this was a sight to see - people digging deep at every level to show their true support for a school they know is doing good work with their children, and great work for the Seacoast as a whole.  Thanks to everyone who volunteered, planned, participated, contributed, and enjoyed a great evening together.  Couldn't make it?  Be sure to join us next year at Sunset 2019!

 Car Magnet Promotion Launches:  Ladies and Gentlemen let the SCS Car Magnet showing begin!  For those of you who now have on the back of your Subaru, Ford Fiesta, Dodge Caravan, or Audi Q5 one of the coveted "Miracle Magnets of Mirth" your time has come and your chance to win a week of free ECE or PEAK is here!.  Below are the rules, and our first winner is posted below.  Remember, if sighted, your plate number will stay posted for multiple blogposts so check the blog!

Magnet Game Rules:
  • All cars with magnets are eligible to win.  If you do not own a car you can "adopt" one for your use and put the magnet on that - you will have to know the plate number to identify it in the blog.  Cars must be parked, but may be occupied!  Unlimited Magnets may be displayed on unlimited cars!  Just call 603-422-8223 to get more for $5 each.
  • Spotters (members of the SCS staff) will snap a picture of the car and plate and that will be posted in the Blog.  Spotters must not know who owns the car for it to be eligible.  If multiple pictures come in, we will randomly draw one winner.
  • The Blog is restricted to members of the SCS community.  If you got a magnet and do not want to participate please put your magnet on your refrigerator (we won't snap a picture of that!)
  • Current Parents will win one week of ECE or PEAK for one child - all others will win gift cards for local restaurants etc.
  • Families can only win once.  Winning parents with multiple children can choose one of the children's weeks.  The prize will show as a credit on your bill.
  • We will run the contest for six weeks.  We will potentially run it again in the future.
  • As the Overseer of the contest I will strive to remain impartial, make all decisions about winners, and my say will be final on all questions.  Good Luck!
Our First Winner:  NH 3208998     Whoever you are please call: 603-422-8223

 Reading is Fundamental Here is an interesting article about the many values of reading to children aloud - and continuing to read to them well into their middle school years.  It turns out that it is great for both them and you!  Btw, as I was reading this it dawned on me that I still love to have books read to me - I am an avid listener at Audible.com and the melodious voice of a reader like Charlton Griffin is music to my ears.  In fact, I have spent hours and hours enjoying volumes of history (riding my lawn mower or commuting to work) in blissful thought just as my parents provided for me years ago.  What a life long treasure!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

SCS Happenings in March

 Sunset Gala Needs You! On Friday April 6th our largest fundraising event of the season will launch off at the 3S Artspace in Portsmouth and WE NEED YOU TO ATTEND!  This super-fun event will feature great eats from local restaurants such as Nibblesworth, Durbar Square, and Tasty Thai, great music, lots of prizes including a weekend getaway for two, and the awesome live giving event where you can help us reach our fundraising goal.  Tickets are on sale now so don't miss it.

TICKETS: https://sunsetoverportsmouth.eventbrite.com

 Sitter Services for Sunset Event!   Now you can use pre-scheduled sitter services on the evening of the Sunset Event so you can attend and your kids can have a great time too!  The following special options for SCS families are available on Friday, April 6th:
  • Airzone Exeter’s Parents Night Out:  This option is for ages 3+ and includes 3 hours of bounce time, pizza, drinks, and a craft.  Coverage from 5:30-8:30. It is $30/child. Call 603-580-1406 or register online and mention 4/6 Parents Night Out. Spaces are limited so call today!
  • Firefly Pottery’s Parents Night Out:  Ages 3+  This option includes a clay project with painting and more depending on time.  Pizza and drinks will be provided. Coverage from 5:30-8:30. Cost is $30 per child.  Call 603-431-7682 to sign up.  Spaces are limited so call today!
  • Rumble Tumble: Supervised indoor recreation center for younger children ages 3,4,5 in Portsmouth.  Coverage 5:30-8:30.  Phone: 603-427-5437

 SchoolCareWorks for PEAK launches!  Parents of PEAK children will start logging into iPads this week so please read your instructional emails and be ready to use your passwords given to you during the launch days at your child's site.  The programs at New Franklin and Greenland will be the first ones to start this week - children will be checked in by PEAK teachers and checked out by parents/guardians.  The morning and afternoon PEAK programs at Dondero and Little Harbor will start next week.  All sites will be adding secure pictures of the children to their files as we set up.  Look for information soon about setting up your Parent Portal accounts too!

 St. Patrick's Day Breakfast for Older Toddlers:  On March 15th at 8:30AM the Campus Gym will once again be filled with little leprechauns as the Older Toddler classes will sponsor their annual breakfast for their families.  Are you ready for Green Eggs and Ham?  Well, we will spare you the coloring but this is a full breakfast.  Please be sure to RSVP to your teacher to let them know who is coming.

 Accreditation and Licensing for SCS:  This year our school and each of its programs will undergo rigorous evaluations by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, as well as a visit from a team of educators representing our accrediting body - NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children).  Both PEAK and ECE programs are regulated by the state and require that we uphold rigorous standards of staff ratios, staff training, health conditions, etc.  Announced and unannounced visits happen fairly regularly.  NAEYC accreditation focuses on the curriculum, teaching techniques, teacher training, and other areas of education, and requires that our organization hold very high standards in all of these areas.  The NAEYC visiting team will arrive unannounced this Spring.  We take these visits very seriously and live by all these standards every day.  Children are at the heart of everything we do, so naturally we care about how we do it!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Latest from SCS 2-7-18

 SCS Receives $60,000 New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Grant: Our school has been chosen to receive one of the most coveted grants in the region from one of the most prestigious organizations in the state.  Supporting early childhood education has become a major tenet of NHCF recently and as one of the largest and finest ECE Centers in the area, our school has become a very thankful beneficiary.  The money will be used mostly to support programming and Professional Development for teachers.  Thank you NHCF!

 Important: New date for Sunset Gala: APRIL 6th One of the most important Annual Appeal fund raisers of our school year is the fun and entertaining Sunset Over Portsmouth Event.  Recently we sent out a Save the Date reminder of this year’s gathering but  SINCE THAT TIME WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE THE EVENT AT THE LARGER 3S ARTSPACE SO THE DATE WILL NOW BE APRIL 6TH.  The event time will still be 6-8:30pm and more information will be on the way.  Please mark (or change) your calendars for this date and plan to attend - it will be a lot of fun for a great cause! 

 Jamie Schaaf Steps up With the leaving of Kelly Lee, the search to replace her as PEAK Program Director has led us to a pretty obvious choice.  Jamie Schaaf has been working at SCS for 16 years and in that time has been a mainstay of our before and after school programs.  As "field manager" to Kelly's programs, Jamie has worked with hundreds of children and dozens of faculty over the years. He played the important role of liaison to each of the public schools in which he was assigned, and often worked well beyond the call of duty to represent our needs.  Further, as leader of our Summer PEAK program for many years, Jamie showed his ability to be flexible, creative, and caring - all of which are traits he will need in this role.  Please join me in welcoming Jamie to this new position!

 Coats and Car Seats Many of you know that there is a new theory out there that coats and car seats don't mix.  I'll let you decide for yourselves about this, but there are companies now fashioning winter child wear so that the straps fit underneath a child's coat and tightly around them.  One of our parents shared this link that may be helpful:  https://saferide4kids.com/blog/winter-coats-and-car-seats/

 SchoolCareWorks rolls out With the new software affecting every aspect of life at SCS, parents will be experiencing differences in the systems we use here.  For example, starting today, all ECE parents will sign in and out only on the iPads.  The meal tracking is moving along well, and the batch email and emergency texting systems are ready too.  Since we always put your children first, keeping them, and your data safe is paramount.  Fortunately, Cirrus Software uses a redundant backup system that includes multiple layers of data protection on its servers.  SCS administrators can access the system from anywhere so in the case of an emergency everything will be protected and accessible.  You too can access information and keep it up to date from anywhere through the new Parent Portal named "Connect."  If you are an ECE family and have not received information about opening your Parent Portal account please contact the main desk immediately.  PEAK families should look forward to information about the portal coming their way soon!

 Dance Party a Rollicking Success:  Last Friday evening the SCS Parents Committee put on a fun dance party for everyone age 5 and below - and reports are that it was a ton of fun.  Special thanks go out to the moms who organized the affair and to the PEAK students who supplied fun dance ribbon sticks.  Apparently the dance floor was alive with moves bustin' out all over!

Friday, January 12, 2018

January 12, 2018

 SCS Family Night Dance Party Happening on Friday February 2nd from 5-7pm!  Join us for a super-cool Dance Party at Community Campus.  Mark your calendars for food, fun, and funky dancing.  Also, we are looking for a parent volunteer DJ so if you are interested please come forward!  Please contact Michelle Wheeler for more details at mkwheeler@sau17.net.

  SchoolCareWorks System launching now! If you are seeing teachers with lots of new iPads at SCS recently it's because we have launched our new administrative software system SchoolCareWorks!  Thanks to everyone who has helped with signing kids in and out so far.  With the basic elements of the system running smoothly, we will be adding exciting new features over the next few months, so be on the look out for important emails.  PEAK classes will be rolling out soon as well!

  Kindergarten Information Night - February 8th - Save the Date!  Ready or not it's time for some parents to start thinking about your child's transition to Kindergarten.  Whether your preschooler will be entering Kindergarten this fall or next, now is the time to learn about this important transition.  Our agenda includes a presentation on what we do at SCS to ready children, a parent panel of those who have made the move before, and an open time for learning about public and independent school options.  More information will be on the way.

Sunset Over Portsmouth 2018 is Happening April 14th!  Mark your calendars now for the social event of the year at SCS.  Last year we had a raucous evening with parents wining, dining, and enjoying a great night out all for a great cause: SCS Programs such as scholarships, professional development, and enrichment.  And yes, we will be returning with the Amazing Pyramids of Giving that we enjoyed last year!

  Early Childhood Lecture at Portsmouth Public Library: The key to high-quality early childhood education that facilitates learning and development depends on what happens inside a classroom, namely the interactions between the teacher and child. Yet, as families, we often find it difficult to know if our children are engaging in enriching and age-appropriate experiences. To help families be more informed advocates for their children’s learning, Dr. Kimberly Nesbitt will discuss best practices in early childhood education that are verified by evidence to support children’s academic, physical, and social-emotional development. The event is happening on January 16th at 6:30pm.  It is free and open to the public with walk-ins welcome.  This event is sponsored by Berwick Academy and the University of New Hampshire.

 Join the SCS Parent Committee! Are you looking to volunteer in a targeted and limited way but have some real influence at SCS?  The Parent Committee would love to have you!  Build Community, voice your ideas, make a difference!  Please contact Michelle Wheeler for more details at mkwheeler@sau17.net!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

SCS Birthday Bus Hits the Portsmouth Holiday Parade!:  Mr. Troy and Company made the yearly appearance in the Holiday Parade memorable as the SCS Bus replete with birthday balloons, streamers, and smiling faculty made it's way through town.  After handing out over 200 birthday hats, party noisemakers and stickers, hundreds of kids and parents cheered as we were introduced at the reviewing stand as celebrating our 50th! 

  Spirit Week starts on Monday Being in the spirit of the season means dressing up for fun every day during Spirit Week at SCS and it starts next Monday 12/18 and runs right through Pajama Day on Friday!  Prizes will be awarded for highest percentage of participants per class.  PEAK Sites will be participating too!  Help your little ones show their spirit by following the schedule below: 

Monday: Holiday Colors Day

Tuesday: Classroom Choice Day

Wednesday: Crazy Socks Day

Thursday: Holiday Hats Day

Friday: Pajama Day

 $50,000 Annual Fund Well on the Way: Crazy but true - we have raised over $14,000 for the SCS Annual Fund so far and we are well on the way to our tremendous Anniversary Goal of $50K!  With 100% Board participation we kicked off the campaign in fine style.  Did you know that you may not be able to itemize your charitable contributions after January 1st in the new tax bill?  PLEASE GIVE NOW in 2017 to itemize your gift and to help a good school be even better!!  Click here: http://seacoastcommunityschool.org/support-us

 New SchoolCareWorks Computer System to launch January 8th.  SCS will move into the Digital Age next semester as we launch the first phase of the new administration software system.  In seven of the preschool and toddler classes parents will need to enter a PIN to pick up and drop off their kids, and we will be taking a huge step toward making life easier for everyone.  Other classes and PEAK sites will follow shortly after.  Look for the parent emails that will explain it all in the coming weeks.

Are you looking for a night out with friends?  Is your inner DIY itching for a fun new project without having to buy all your own supplies and make a mess at your house?  Then BOOK A CLASS at Board & Brush Creative Studio in Portsmouth.  On January 14th, 2018 at 3pm, Board and Brush is donating 20% of proceeds to Seacoast Community School!  Grab a friend and spend a great afternoon creating something new!  Sarah Fleck will be there with treats and prizes.  Sign up today so you don't miss out!
Pounding the Door Openers - Not Very Neighborly: Yes, it is so much fun to operate the main doors to the Community Campus Building by pressing the auto-openers but please do not let kids pound on them!  Just like behaving in the hallways by not running, please respect our handicapped neighbors.  The switches have been replaced twice in the last year so let's try to keep that from happening again.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving Celebrated at SCS:  Of course a day dedicated to family would provide a central theme at our school, and the recent Campus Thanksgiving Assembly did just that.  Singing, dancing, and a virtual Thanksgiving Feast provided by each of the ECE classes was added to a group reading of "Bear Says Thanks".  Kids and parents enjoyed the gathering and left with everyone wishing each other a happy holiday ahead.  Happy Holiday Everyone!

  50th Birthday Bash lives up to the billing After a year of researching, planning, creating, and publicizing the great SCS/CCCC Birthday Event happened on schedule and was a great success!  We simply could not have chosen a better day as a chilly November morning turned into a sun-warmed day of celebration.  Hundreds of kids, parents, grandparents friends, faculty, and former faculty enjoyed the myriad events all day long.  (I can just say from working the popcorn machine, we were really busy!)  Kids enjoyed everything from outdoor games, to petting animals, to facepainting and everyone found something to be happy about!  Perhaps the most impressive presentations came from the cool puppet shows, and live wild animal exhibits - but there was something for everyone all day.  Special thanks goes out to the Birthday Committee who worked all year, at multiple events, to make it all happen!  On to our next 50!!

 $50,000 Annual Fund Launches with Fanfare: The other great thing that happened at the Birthday Party was the launching of our 2017-18 Annual Fund and this year we set a super goal for ourselves: $50,000 for our 50th Year!  After raising a record $25,000 last year the Development Committee got very inspired by the challenge of doubling that number for our 50th Anniversary - WE CAN DO IT!  Look for opportunities to "double your gift" as we reach out for this great goal together.  The Annual Fund supports every aspect of school life from classroom budgets, to scholarships, to computer programs so please help! 

  "Giving Tuesday" is Just Around the Corner: On a day that has become synonymous with helping non-profits like ours, next Tuesday will be a big push for us to fulfill our dream of meeting our Annual Fund Goal - so please answer the call!  Look forward to our upcoming emails reminding you to give at our website, send a check, or just drop off a gift that morning.  Please remember that there are NO charges for online giving to the donor and as a non-profit we pay very little for the service ourselves. Here's the link: http://seacoastcommunityschool.org/support-us

  New Infant Room Opens Amid Smiles: Our newest class in the Early Childhood Program at the SCS Campus site is our addition of 8 new infants in the "Seahorse" Room.  Reaching max capacity almost immediately, we staggered the entries just to ease everyone into the new classroom.  With lots of help from our Shrimps faculty as well as Minnows, Rainbows, and Guppies who shifted rooms, the new Seahorses have settled in nicely, and a warm, loving atmosphere has developed already.

Holiday Events on the Horizon: Be a part of our school celebrations for the holidays as all classes and PEAK sites will be having fun events this season!  On December 2nd join us for the Birthday Bus as we participate once again in the Portsmouth Holiday Parade!  We need volunteers to walk with the SCS Bus in the parade and hand out party hats and noisemakers.  Contact Kelly Lee at KLee@Seacoastcommunityschool.org to participate. 
  • Portsmouth Holiday Parade - December 2nd (Volunteer to walk!)
  • Adopt a Family Week - December 11-15
  • "Holiday Spirit Week" - December 18-22
  • All School Holiday Assembly - December 22nd
  • SCS Winter Break Week - December 25-29