Upper School News

Most of the freshmen and sophomores returned to in-person classes on Oct. 22-23.  From Spanish and Chemistry to Government and Advanced Geometry, it was good to have their energy back in their Upper School classrooms.  See photo galleries of the 9th Graders in different classes and the 10th Graders in some of their classrooms.

Most of the juniors and seniors returned to in-person classes on Oct. 20-21.  From English Literature and Chinese to Math Analysis and Physics, they added some welcome activity to their Upper School classrooms.  See photo galleries of the 11th Graders in various classes, the 12th Graders in their classes, and a IB Spanish Class Video of them moving along with a Spanish Zumba video during an exercise break!

The Dragon Leadership Academy, a new six-week program to develop leadership skills, launched on Thursday, Oct. 15.  Twenty-two Upper School students accepted nominations to the Academy from their team coaches or activity advisors.  The Academy is the creation of Mark Rickard, who teaches Leadership at SGS and Sports, Exercise & Health Science classes, as well as advising the Associated Student Body officers.  "I strongly feel that a program teaching crucial components of leadership could be of great benefit to the students and their teams, strengthening our kids' abilities to lead and inspire their peers," says Mark, who sent out the nominations to students sealed with a wax dragon.
The leadership curriculum consists of 90-minute online sessions over six consecutive weeks with a focus on three key facets of leadership: finding your purpose, broadening your perspective, and developing tangible leadership skills. 
Keynote speakers will open several of the sessions, including two SGS alumni.  Natalie (Farias) Holloway '16 earned a hospitality management degree and graduated from the Center for the Advancement of Leadership at Utah Valley University, where she currently works organizing executive events.  She will speak on cultural intelligence and creating an inclusive team culture on Oct. 29.  
Natalie "Chessey" Thomas '10 played on the nationally ranked University of Tennessee women's golf team before filling assistant coaching roles at the University of Idaho and the University of Washington.  Chessey is now the associate head coach of women's golf at the University of Nebraska.  She will speak on team chemistry, an attitude of gratitude, and crucial peer confrontations on Nov. 19.
Additional keynote speakers include Dr. Tade Ayeni, Director of Diversity and Equity at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University.  His multiple graduate degrees and wide experience in higher education has helped him understand how systems and programs can help or hinder students in their academic pursuits.  He will speak at the Nov. 5 session on equity, inclusion, and leadership through storytelling.
Francesca Mulazzi, SGS Head of Upper School, will keynote the session on Nov. 12.  She has taught at international schools in Morocco, Singapore and China and been a school administrator on the island of Aruba and in Zambia before coming to SGS.  She will speak on effective communication, including verbal, non-verbal, and listening skills.
The Academy is the result of Mark's master’s degree program at Whitworth University in Administrative and Non-Profit Leadership.  "I looked into what extent we, as coaches and advisors, endeavor to provide leadership education during the season for those who we expect to be leaders on their respective teams, clubs and organizations," he says.  After completing the six sessions, Academy students will develop and implement a leadership-based experience within their own teams.  A celebration at the end of the school year will give each graduate an opportunity to present their experience to the Academy class.  
"I believe this program will provide another practical way for us to live our mission of inspiring scholars, athletes and artists to serve and lead," says Mark.  "My hope for the Academy is to lay the foundation for these students to become those who lead." 
Dear SGS Community,
Fall is here!  If we needed a reminder, the colorful leaves and the cooler mornings confirm the season.  The first month and a half of this school year has produced a successful and safe roll out of our hybrid model in grades K-8.  It looks neat and tidy as a written description, but the complexity of this process cannot be understated.  I have never been prouder of our teachers as they continue to adapt during this school year.  The recipe for success thus far includes:
1. Take home learning kits, routine and stable daily schedules
2. Hybrid classes with varying ratios of students at school and at home
3. Full in-person classes
4. Distance Learning (DL) Classes – Synchronous and Asynchronous
5. Switching between Hybrid, full in-person and DL as needed
6. Evening classes for International Students in their home country
7. Porch drops when needed
8. On-site tech support
9. Small grouping of Upper School students on campus: Conditioning, EE Boot camp, etc.
10. Patience, flexibility and resilience by everyone
I am pleased to announce our Upper School grades will move to a hybrid (in-person and DL) model next week. We are starting with an alternating model at this time to limit the number of high school students in the building to further mitigate the risks of transmission at school.  When at school, grades 9-12 will follow a four-period block schedule to limit the number of transitions during each day.  We will continue with DL on Mondays (8 period) for grades 7-12 until further notice.  
11th and 12th Grade Students will move to a hybrid model on Tuesday, October 20 and Wednesday, October 21.  (9th and 10th grade students will attend DL classes these two days.)
9th and 10th Grade Students will move to a hybrid model on Thursday, October 22 and Friday, October 23.  (11th and 12th grade students will attend DL classes these two days.)
Dr. Mulazzi will be sending additional information and details about next week and Kathy, Joelle and Ryan will provide updates in a timely manner to the appropriate divisions.  US students will receive an attestation card “The Golden Ticket” in the mail this weekend.  You may also print one from the SGS website if necessary.
We continue to work with Dr. Lutz and the Spokane Regional Health District team to plan our move to the US hybrid model.  As many of you have seen, the 2-week virus activity continues to be a concern in Spokane County.  Using the systematic approach of bringing small numbers of students back to the SGS campus has been successful, as we can make adjustments along the way.  Our students have done an outstanding job of following guidelines, and our parents have been proactively communicating with the school regarding symptom checking, learning pods, and COVID testing.  These combined efforts keep our community healthy and allow us to have students return to campus.  Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation.
We are excited to welcome some of our Upper School students back to campus next week and will continue to provide the DL option for those students attending from home.  We expect there will be a learning curve next week for students and teachers as we transition to the hybrid platform.  Communication will be key to navigate this new method of instruction. 
Please contact me, the division heads, or Ryan Peplinski (COVID Coordinator) with any questions.
Thank you and Go Dragons!
Jamie Tender
Head of School

Upper School grades 9-12 will return to campus using a hybrid (in-person and Distance Learning) model the week of Oct 19-23.  Only two grades will be on campus on any day to limit the number of high school students in the building to mitigate the risks of transmission at school.  The schedule for the first week back is: 
Monday, October 19 
• Grades 9-12 DL
Tuesday–Wednesday, October 20-21
• Grade 11-12 students will be in-person with DL available.  
• Grade 9-10 students will continue with DL. 
Thursday–Friday, October 22-23
• Grade 9-10 students will be in-person with DL available.  
• Grade 11-12 students will continue with DL. 
See Head of Upper School Francesca Mulazzi's Upper School Reopening Letter for more details about morning drop off, class times, lunch, and afternoon pick up procedures. 

SGS Upper School students Alex and Gabe Gustafson made short educational videos for Spokane County 4-H this summer to help the program build community.  Alex produced the content (making guacamole, making a basil BLT, how to make an herb garden, etc.) and planned the demonstration.  Gabe would film, place the music and edit the content.  You can view their How to Make Guacamole video on YouTube.

Alex also serves as director of the Spokane Interstate Youth advisory's teen board, and she is helping organize a Washington State Conference for Equity for teens and adult leaders.  Gabe is building a Minecraft Server with the local 4-H as a place to build community for 4-H teens across Spokane County.  They hope to expand statewide by the end of the year if all goes well.

Two other SGS students serve on the Ronald McDonald House Charities teen board.  Audrey Harrill is a returning member of the RMHC teen board, while John Nowland begins his service on the board this fall.  Board members are ambassadors within their schools and communities, and fill critical volunteer roles at RMHC fundraising events.  Go Dragons!

Ode to Autumn Photos

October 05, 2020

On September 22nd, Judi Morgan’s Advisory students took advantage of the beautiful weather to go outside and document something that spoke to them as a celebration of the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn.  See a Photo Gallery of their photos.

Dear SGS Community,
Happy October 1!  The first month of school has been successful and obviously different.  However, it has been gratifying to have three quarters of our Lower School students return to campus, while still offering a Distance Learning (DL) option for students at home.  The teachers have done a great job navigating this new environment and learning from one another and outside resources as we go.  Parents have also been super supportive and attentive to all the details related to drop-off, pick-up and safety precautions.  Thank you!
We were also able to introduce an afterschool conditioning program for small groups of high school students.  This has also been a carefully planned and executed addition for our older students, as we maintain the health precautions to mitigate COVID transmission.  This program is open to all Upper School Students and addresses the physical, social, and emotional needs of our students.
This week, there have been several reports of COVID cases at schools in Spokane County and a continued spike across the county resulting from Labor Day activities.  These cases have been brought to the respective campuses, but according to the SRHD tracing protocols there has not been a case of student to student transmission at this time.  However, the presence of COVID and precautionary measures of quarantining students has led to large numbers of students relegated to Distance Learning at those schools that were offering a hybrid (In-person and Distance Learning) model for students.  Part of our strategy for the older students has been the implementation of our block days to limit the movement during the day. Our Middle School and Upper School teachers have done a great job of implementing the lessons learned from last year while in Distance Learning.
No Classes on October 9 and October 12
The first month has been a mentally and emotionally taxing one for students and teachers adjusting to the new “abnormal.”  Next Friday, we have the Professional Development Day that has been on the published calendar.  In addition, we will not have school on Monday, October 12, in an attempt to provide everyone a break away from screens and as a mental health day.  
Middle School Phased Re-opening Is Up Next!
Our next phase of re-opening will be with our Middle Schoolers.  This will be done in a staggered approach starting with our 6th graders on Monday, October 5.   Sixth-grade students may attend in-person classes all days of the week (8 period and block days). 
The 7th and 8th graders may return for in-person classes on Tuesday, October 6 and Wednesday, October 7, then have a DL day on Thursday, October 8.    The logistics are different with our Middle School, because these classes do not operate solely in a cohort, so additional considerations are involved as students change classes during the day and the 7th and 8th grade students will have some classes (choir, art, etc.) together at times.  While we are able to maintain the social distancing and facial covers throughout the day, we must be mindful of the additional interactions that take place. 7th and 8th grade students will continue to have DL on 8 period days, which are typically on Mondays, as well as on “Special Schedule” days.
Joelle Neiwert will be sending out a letter to the Middle School Parents with more details, and Ryan Peplinski, COVID Coordinator, will also send them additional information related to this next phase of re-opening.
Upper School Re-opening Planning
We have been talking with Dr. Lutz and his team at SRHD about the Upper School return as well.  We have “penciled” in plans for a possible return as soon as the week of October 19.  Our plans outline an alternating model to start.  Mondays will be DL for all US students, Tuesday and Wednesday will be one group of students on campus and the others in DL, then on Thursday and Friday the students that were in DL will be on campus and the other group will be DL.  We feel this methodical process will give us the best opportunity to bring our students back to campus in the safest manner.
Upcoming Dates:
October 9 Professional Development Day (No School for students)
October 12 No School K-12
Thank you for your flexibility as we continue to move forward.  Go Dragons!
Jamie Tender
Head of School

On a recent afternoon, four Upper School teachers were leading their classes over MS Teams as they explained an art assignment, went over physics problems, reviewed Central American history, and practiced the Spanish words for members of their families.  See a Photo Gallery of Judi Morgan, Rick DeFord, Cassey Buchmann, and Jamie Billings teaching their students through Distance Learning.

Saint George's was not able to hold a traditional awards ceremony in the spring for the 2019-2020 academic and kindness award winners.  "We plan to have a face to face event at some point in the future," says US Head Francesca Mulazzi.  "In the meantime, please join me in congratulating the following students for their awards."  See the full list of award winners...  Read More

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