Message from the Principal of Horace Mann School

First, our Assistant Principal, Leonidas Tarca, our teachers, including Rachel Pearce, Afi Delijani, Rebecca Castrapel, Mary White, Belinda Maisterra, and school counselor, Shelanee Fernando have partnered together to create a school-wide theme, “Be a Leader”.  We are teaching students leadership skills and integrating this in every aspect of our school day.  Mr. Tarca has met with each grade level through our PE classes to teach them what leaders do in difficult situations or when there are conflicts on the playground. We discussed school-wide expectations for behavior and how to problem-solve with peers.  In PE and in elementary classrooms, Mrs. White and Ms. Parra teach students to show respect, solve their own problems, and make good decisions.  These three concepts are all over our campus.  We help students learn what leaders do in our community and in our world.

 

For Middle Schoolers, the year began with the program, W.E.B., Where Everyone Belongs.  Under the mentorship of special education teachers, Joshua Reitzenstein, Eileen Shin, and our Horace Mann alum and instructional assistant, Dohnbie Kim.  Approximately fifteen 8th grade students mentored our entire sixth grade class to help them build a positive school culture that helps students celebrate and respect each other's differences and commonalities.  Students were given the opportunity to build friendships from day one and learn about how important it is that they contribute to our school in a positive way, that every interaction should contribute to the community in a positive way. PTA also sponsored with support from our parents the WOLF fieldtrip where sixth graders have an off campus shared experience in a ropes climbing course.  Again, they learn leadership skills, problem solving and learn about one another in a structured positive way.  We focus on building a positive school culture with one another.    

 

For our entire school, we are working together to build awareness and build knowledge of makerspace.   This month, parent of a third grader and artificial intelligence scientist, Yves Bergquist, our talented technology teacher, Pam Kramer, our Technology TOSA, Lisa Bieler, and I are meeting with teachers, students and parents to discuss what a makerspace could look like here at Horace Mann. Even without the space, Pam Kramer is already having students make, create and design in her STEM and technology time with students.  They will use circuitry to build light up book marks this week in class.   A definition of makerspace can be found here:  https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/makerspace/  It is a hands-on making space where students learn how to become creative problem-solvers, collaborate, and focus on solutions by building, creating, and inventing. It is built on empathy and finding solutions to real-world problems.  In some makerspaces, students learn about engineer design thinking processes to create products to solve these problems.  As we partner with teachers, students and parents to build this makerspace, I look forward to defining the space at Horace Mann School. We have quite guardians and parents interested in being involved in this space but what we learned in visiting the makerspace in Manhattan Beach is that you need parent participation. We will need a makerspace parent for every class and grade level.  If you have any interest in this program, please reach out to us, we want to partner with you.

 

Also, parents, we will begin a focus on college and career readiness by holding career talks on campus with our 5th-8th grade students. Once again, we want to partner with you because we hope to invite parents who love their job, love their profession and want to share their journey with the children at our school.  Our first talk will focus on Science and Engineering.  In October, we will host this "talk" in different locations on campus.  In December, we will focus on the arts and entertainment industry.  Parents who join us will be invited to talk about their journey and how they got where they are today.  We hope to inspire an interest and understanding of why students attend college but also, I know our parents work hard.  We hope to inspire students to change the world with the work they do.  We want them to know it starts here in middle school and they are contributing to this journey now.  Look forward to receiving a survey and request for presenters.  In February, our career talk will involve law and politics and in April, we will invite parents who are involved in education and social work.

 

For an update on Construction, it will come to an end by November.  Construction has a goal of opening up the campus in time for our Halloween parade.  Our campus will be the first in Beverly Hills to be completely modernized, with the newest technology, including a 1:1 take home laptop program for some elementary and all of middle school, z-space virtual reality lab and the newest facilities, our community can be proud to say that Horace Mann School is a great place to be. 

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