Countdown to Christmas:16 days! Here is the latest news from St. James'. 

St. James' News Update

Friday, December 7, 2012
My first day as Communications Manager here at St. James’ was the Monday after Thanksgiving break, and I will tell you, this school moves a mile a minute! It has been thrilling to throw myself into this role and learn so much in the last two weeks. I relish the upcoming opportunities to meet the St. James’ families and find excitement circling the upcoming Christmas Pageant is contagious. I can tell it is an event not to be missed, and like the students, find myself counting down the days until Wednesday. You may see me sneaking around grabbing photos for Facebook, the website and the Friday newsletter, and I invite you to please introduce yourself! If I am to be put in command of communicating to you, I want to know who I am talking to. Likewise, it seems only right that I share a little about myself.
I grew up on a farm in an Iowa town of 500 people, went to the University of Kansas for Graphic Design, Art History and Dance, and then decided it was time to leave the Midwest for something completely different. I ended up in Stockton, California working at the Stockton Convention and Visitors Bureau as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator. No matter where I have lived or what I have been doing, it seems that teaching dance has found its way into my time. My students have ranged from two-year-olds just learning how to plié in first position, to 75-year-old couples who have decided they want to know how to shuffle ball change together. Dancing is my first love, but teaching dance brings me light, humor, self-reflection and challenge. It seemed only right to find a way to combine my professional roles in marketing and communications with that well-honed passion for teaching. And that, my friends, is how I found my new home here at St. James’.  
Part of my job here revolves around this weekly newsletter, and we are excited to announce that it is undergoing a makeover. In January, we will debut a new look, new name (make sure to vote!), and a few new features. It is our hope that we can really highlight the amazing St. James’ students and staff, education and culture each week. Please watch for a survey link in the upcoming newsletters so that we can hear what it is that you want out of this weekly email. I welcome your feedback and look forward to finding the best ways to communicate with you.
Merry Christmas!

Emily Tuel
Communications Manager


There is still time to vote!

The voting continues to find the name that will debut in the first edition of the newsletter in 2013.  Please click on the link to vote!  Please just one vote per person, encourage your children to place thier vote, too!

Click here to vote for your favorite!

Week-At-A-Glance for Monday, December 10 through Friday, December 14, 2012

Click here to download a copy and print for the front of the fridge!

Interim Rector, Father Tom

The Vestry is pleased to announce that The Rev. Thomas Discavage, "Fr. Tom," has been called as our Interim Rector / Priest-in-Charge. The bishop, The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, has confirmed this call to ministry. Fr. Tom will assume these new responsibilities following Fr. Paul's final Sunday, 13 January, 2013 at the 10:30am Eucharist. During this service, which is both a solemn and joyous liturgy, we will all participate in "the Ending of a Pastoral Relationship and Leave-taking from a Congregation." More information on that service and special reception following will be made available very soon.   Blessings to all and Happy Advent.   

Sr. Warden, Mary Nichols and the Vestry


Message from Head of School

As many of you know, we received a provisional license for our brand new Pre-School on September 10th of this year.  Our permanent license is contingent upon our persuading both the city and the state that our eight parking spaces at the pre-school are redundant and unnecessary so we can convert the parking lot into play space.  Licensing requirements mandate a certain amount of outdoor square footage per child. Without converting the parking lot to playground, we are short on the required play space.  Because we provide paid parking for all our teachers off site, we had planned all along to transform the parking lot to playground space.  We didn’t understand that the process of accomplishing that change is far from quick or easy.
Recently I heard a rumor that we were going to have to close the Pre-School if we can’t work this out.  Oh, no, no, no.  Please know that this rumor is totally false!  The absolutely worst case scenario that could possibly occur would force us to reduce our student body from our current 58 to 45 students…the exact number of kids we have always had until this year.   In making the decision about ways we might reduce our population if it comes to that, I want you to know that reserving spaces for the children of our current parents and all their siblings will be our top priority.  We want to absorb any negative impact here at the administrative level, not at the parent level.  We will do everything in our power to keep you and your current (and future) children here with us at Saint James’ Pre-School
Now, you should know that we have been working on this undertaking since the day we received news of our provisional license last fall.  We’re making remarkable progress toward converting the parking lot, and we’re not in this alone.  Thanks to the generosity of Kindergarten parent Stanley Stalford, the legal eagles at Bob Burke and Company as well as Stacy Brenner Associates have already made a hefty dent in the cumbersome process.  Lots of parents have offered additional manpower and muscle.   Believe me, when the time is right, we fully intend to harness all those valuable resources.
Meanwhile, my gift to you this season is the assurance that we will not close our doors; and if you are already a pre-school parent, we will find a way to keep your children with us as long as you want them here.  Happy Hanukkah or Merry Christmas to you and yours from all of us who love Saint James’ Pre-School just as much as you do!

Deborah David, Head of School


Service Learning Update

Last week our first grade started working on their service learning project, a book drive for the residents at the Good Shepherd Shelter.  For the second grade project which began this week, they have “adopted” two small families (both single mothers, one with a 2 year 4 month old daughter, the other with a 5 year old daughter).  Both families came to us through my friends at the St. James’ Soup Kitchen.  Second graders will be collecting a items (clothing, diapers, books and new toys) and money to purchase other needed items to help make this a special holiday for the families.  If you would like to help out with either project or would like more information, feel free to contact me at

On Friday night I took four more sixth grade volunteers to help out at the St. James’ Soup Kitchen, and  Izzy, Alexis, Delana, and Mira did us proud. They were ready to go and willingly jumped right in to help in whatever way they could.  Their big smiles and positive attitudes blessed not only the guests they served but the rest of the volunteers as well.  I am very proud of them!

Looking for a special holiday volunteer activity for you and your family?  Coming up on Sunday, December 16, Big Sunday will be hosting the 3rd Annual Big Sunday Holiday Party & Singalong.  Guests will be invited from AbilityFirst (kids with serious developmental challenges), Phoenix House, Sunset Hall, the Asian-Pacific Women’s Center, and more.  Big Sunday is looking for people to help set-up, clean up, bake, bring items, and have fun with the guests.  The party will take place at their offices at 6111 Melrose.  If you are interested in being a part of this event, contact Lindsey at

Rob Krueger
Director of Service Learning
“Sharing when we can. Appreciating what we have.”


Look at those leaders! 

The School Leadership Program met for the 4th time this week. These 33 students are working hard to pick their final projects which the whole student body will participate in. Some of the programs they are researching include Farm Sanctuary, Children's Hospital of Los Angeles California, and Environment California. We are looking forward to the January announcement of what program they will partner with. 

In their most recent meeting, the students were given examples of conflicts they may encounter. The situations included things such as dealing with a bully or what you might do if someone cuts in front of you in the lunch line. They talked through the scenes and acted them out from first conflict, through final resolution. In working through and acting out these scenarios, the students develop skills in teamwork, leadership and confidence. 

Plus, the students capture each meeting on camera! 
See student pictures from the St. James' Leadership Program here!

Ryanne Plaisance

Jennifer Cefaly

Kimberly James

World AIDS Day Update

This year we commemorated World AIDS Day on Tuesday, December 4th.  Both 5th Grade classes chose to wear red which is the global symbol for solidarity with HIV-positive people and those living with AIDS.  Mr. Krueger’s class individually researched information on a variety of topics related to HIV/AIDS and create posters with the phrase, “I am facing AIDS...” as their starting point.  The students stood at drop-off silently displaying their posters.  Mr. Yi’s class is also researched information relating to various HIV/AIDS topics and then wrote the facts in red chalk on the blacktop.  These student-led projects are one of the many avenues that we use to help develop critical thinking, problem solving, cooperation, and empathy in our health curriculum.  

See pictures from World AIDS Day here!

Community Gathering

This morning, the students, staff and proud St. James' parents gathered in St. James' Hall to celebrate the Students of the Month in addition to drawing the winners of the 5 Christmas Trees from the upcoming Christmas Pageant. The families of Hazel Reitzell, Alex Rice, Chaerim Kim-Worthington, Kenadi and Mimi K., and Claire Lesher will receive our Pageant trees next week. We heard wonderful stories of the students' successes both in academics and personal development. Congratulations to all the Students of the Month!

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