Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

St. James' News Update

Friday, January 18, 2013

In a touching All School Chapel Wednesday morning, St. James’ School honored the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Father Aiden Koh introduced students who read poems and essays reflecting on Dr. King and what his work meant to them. The students talked about how this St. James’ family we know would not be possible without the dedication of Dr. King to civil rights. They also touched on the important lesson he taught us in non violent  confrontation, why he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and how the students and families of St. James' can continue to live Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality and freedom. The Chapel service concluded with the Hymn “We Shall Overcome” being sung while holding hands across the aisles and a recording of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is recognized in different methods all around our school and leads us into the celebration of African American History Month in February. Stay tuned to Facebook, Twitter and the Website for more updates on lessons from St. James' School relating to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and African American History Month. 

Click here to see photos from All School Chapel. 


Transitions are always hard, especially when they are unexpected.  I am very sad to tell you that Friday, January 18, is Mother Liz Thayer’s last day with us.  Liz has been our first Math Specialist, ushering in the era of Singapore Math with style and grace.  She has also taught 5th Grade math and religion, so she will be sorely missed.
Liz’s multi-hour daily commute has taken its toll; and that has been compounded by some significant losses in her personal life this year.  She leaves us with a heavy heart, but she is convinced this is the best choice she can make right now.  I want you to know that Mother Thayer has our complete support and deep affection as she moves on.  The gifts she leaves behind for us are many: a robust and lively Singapore Math Program, well-implemented and in full swing; her own two math classes filled with 5th graders ready to achieve and eager to learn more about math; and her religion classes, steeped in an understanding of the dignity of every human being.  We will miss Mother Thayer in chapel as well.  Liz’s memorable sermons were a great source of strength and comfort to all of us.  In resigning her position with us, Mother Thayer is now free to work more directly in her chosen vocational field closer to home. There are a couple of very fine churches near Barstow that are in for a real treat when they hear her preach for the first time and experience the warmth and remarkable sincerity of Liz’s pastoral spirit.
Beginning on Tuesday, January 22, Sheloham Payne, our own resident math guru and current 4th grade teacher, graciously agreed to absorb Mother Thayer’s 5th grade Math classes.  Well known for her expertise in Everyday Math, Ms. Payne offered a series of very successful parent training sessions in that program two years ago.  This year Ms. Payne will offer afterschool homework help to her new 5th grade students free of charge to help ease their transition from one math teacher to another.
Key to this entire transition is our supportive and highly talented 4th grade associate teacher, Jackie Taylor.  If you don’t yet know Jackie, take the time to introduce yourself and learn a little bit about her.   The 4th Grade students and teachers love her already.  Although new to us this year, Jackie is a very accomplished, fully credentialed teacher who taught her own class for five years in Utah before moving to California.  An experienced professional, Miss Taylor will take over the 4th grade Language Arts program, an area she loves and in which she has many hours of additional training; and that in turn will free up Miss Payne to teach both 4th and 5th grade math each day!
Ms. Arrington has volunteered to become the 5th grade religion teacher, sharing the stage with Mr. Kreuger our Service Learning Coordinator who will be working closely with the 5th grade students on service projects in the final trimester of the year.  And last but not least, the intrepid Ms. Mei Ling Leonard, our extraordinary 1st Grade teacher who has been in the forefront of the implementation of Singapore Math all year, will devote her considerable energy and verve to arranging professional development opportunities for the K-2 teachers and for presenting parent education in Singapore Math from this point forward.   
Sometimes surprises result in a better plan that we could ever have thought of in the first place.  This is one such event.  I believe we will somehow all be stronger and better for this unforeseen turn of events.  We will not merely survive; we will thrive, and so will the children.  And finally Mother Thayer can be the priest she was born to be.   Bon voyage, Mother Thayer!  Via con Dios.

No School Monday

Remember that there is no school Monday, January 21 in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 


Learning Specialist Wine and Cheese Reception

Wednesday, January 23, 5:00-6:30 pm

Next year, St. James' will be hiring a full time Learning Specialist to provide individualized attention to children when and where they need it most, whether it is a need for remediation or enrichment. As each child learns differently, we think this addition to our school with be a truly positive change for students, staff, and parents. In an effort to help our community make this adjustment, we have invited Matt Kustura, K-8 Learning Support Specialist for Marymount of Santa Barbara, to join us for a wine and cheese reception at St. James'. This is a time to learn from him and hear first hand how a Learning Specialist can impact education. Please join us in St. James' Hall with enthusiasm, open hearts and minds, and questions as we welcome Matt. No RSVP necessary. 

Follow us on Facebook-It's easy!

Have you followed us on Facebook yet? If you are already a Facebook user, it is as simple as clicking "Like" on our page and you have access to the latest St. James' information. This gives you the opportunity to see pictures first, get reminders of those little things you might have forgotten, and, if you want to, share with us!



Our Climb to 100% Participation

Here is an update on the Annual Fund Campaign by grade level as of this week. 

 If you have not done so, please make sure you return your pledge form or visit the school's website giving page.

Campus Kitchen

Parents please note: Cut off for Campus Kitchen (Hot Lunch) ordering for February 4th is January 23rd at 11:00 p.m.

Skate Party!

Wednesday, February 27, 5-8 pm

Mark your calendar for the 2nd Annual African-American Heritage Committee Skate Party Fundraiser! The event takes place at World on Wheels and sign up forms are due to St. James' School by Friday, February 1, 2013. Tickets must be purchased in advance, so fill out yours now!

Click here to download a printable pdf of the Sign Up form. 

Save the Date for the Family Pancake Breakfast 
Organized, Cooked and Served by the Dads of St. James' 

Sunday, February 24, 9:00-10:30 am

Come share in the St. James' community and support this wonderful fundraiser for our school-plus eat pancakes. This fresh gourmet breakfast comes to us from the kitchen of Chef Fraser's BLD Restaurant and is accompanied by hot coffee provided by LAMILL Coffee.  Watch for more information on how to reserve your breakfast in the coming weeks via Friday newsletter and backpack express....

Adults: $15
Children: $10

Week-At-A-Glance for Monday, January 21 through Friday, January 25, 2013
Click here to download a copy and print for the front of the fridge!



Congratulations Madison Huggins!

St. James' would like to congratulate Madison who received a CA State Senate Scholastic Achievement Award at the Junior White Coat Ceremony at Charles Drew University Saturday Science Academy. Madison is a 5th Grade student in Science with Mrs. Rodrigues.  They are currently working animal creating their own animal species and are researching it's habitat, what it eats, how it sleeps, and how it reproduces. Good work Madison! 


St. James' Leadership Program

Animal welfare student leaders have created a partnership with the Los Angeles Farm Sanctuary. This 26 acre sanctuary provides life long care for farm animals that have been severely abused and neglected in stockyards, factory farms, and slaughterhouses. On Friday, January 25th students have decided to create an animal free dress day. On this day, all students and faculty abstain from wearing anything made from animals including leather, fur, and make up tested on animals. 

"We want everyone to think about where their clothes are coming from. Most people don't think about what animals were hurt when they put their boots on." said Stella (2nd grade animal welfare leader).

In order to participate in this unique free dress day the animal welfare leaders are asking all students to donate $1.00 in a marked jar in their classroom. The money raised will go towards adopting a farm animal at the sanctuary. 

In addition, students will host an informational booth during all lunch periods providing information on how to care for and support animals.

If any student currently not in the leadership program would like to help with this project please send an email to

Thank you to all who joined us for In-N-Out Lunch!

Thursday at St. James' was In-N-Out lunch, and in Ms. Payne's fourth grade classroom, it was also Math-n-Munch. Parents were invited to join students for lunch and Singapore Math activities. See the students in action working on multiplication and photos from lunch here!


Service Learning Update

As January is getting into full swing mode here, don’t for get that it is Juice Box Month at St. James’.  We will be collecting your juice box donations for the St. James’ Food Pantry until February 11.  You can drop them off in your classroom or up in my room.

Our third grade is preparing for their annual trip to the Pasadena Humane Society.  In the coming weeks they will be taking donations of dog and cat food, toys, blankets or even cash donations to share with the society.  I will be delivering your gifts before their trip on February 12.  If you have any questions, feel free to let me know.

As we take a look ahead a couple of months, this year the Big Sunday Weekend will be May 3, 4, and 5.  This is the big annual event of Big Sunday, an organization that has been “helping people help others since 1999.”  Big Sunday Weekend is one of the largest regional community service events in America.  Volunteers include individuals, families, businesses, and faith groups, that work together on to help non-profits and other agencies that need help.  Projects will be posted on April 1.  If you are interested, you can sign up now for reminders and other information on their website.

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


Our annual BOOK FAIR is almost here! San Marino Toy and Book Shoppe will again provide a stunning selection of quality hardcover and soft cover books, including picture books, fiction, non-fiction, reference books, biographies, poetry, new titles, award books, and holiday books – something for everyone!

The Book Fair will be held in St. James’ Hall from Friday afternoon, January 25, through Thursday morning, January 31. We need many volunteers to make this event run smoothly. If you are interested in volunteering to help during the book fair (Friday -Thursday), please contact Snow Kahn to schedule a time, Your help is greatly appreciated!

Click here to see pictures of last year's book fair!


Join us after school for a simple supper provided by our parish chef Julia Rhoton at St. James’ Café, located in the Parish Hall on Wednesdays from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. All school families are invited. We look forward to seeing you there! Suggested donation $5.

Copyright © 2012 St. James' School, All rights reserved.