The motto from the earliest days of Lansdowne Friends School has been “Service over Self.” At LFS, service is important in our curriculum and takes many forms. At the most basic level, students are expected to take personal responsibility for the school, and are therefore expected to clean up after themselves and take care of the campus. Older classes work with the younger classes as another form of service. We also have days of service where we go out into the community and partner with community organizations.
On October 2, most of the school spent the day in our surrounding community. Our fifth and sixth graders tended to street trees in Upper Darby, Lansdowne and East Lansdowne with members of the Darby Creek Valley Association. Third and fourth graders cooked for the Life Center of Eastern Delaware County, part of Lansdowne Friends School’s monthly commitment to help provide meals for those experiencing homelessness. First and second graders picked up trash on our campus and in our neighborhood.
On a broader level, service is an expression in our belief in learning through personal experience. It requires collaboration, fosters empathy and a sense of civic and social responsibility. It also engages students in active learning, and encourages them to be connected to and part of the larger local and world community. Service enriches the classroom experience and allows for active expression of what goes on in the classroom and in meeting for worship. Ultimately, we hope it will help students internalize a strong sense of purpose and will help then decide what they will do in their adult lives.
On Friday, September 19, Lansdowne Friends marked the International Day of Peace with an all-school gathering and a parade around campus with our enormous peace dove puppet, carried by sixth grade students.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Narissa Bajjo as our second Kindergarten teacher. Narissa Bajjo is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University, where she majored in Spanish and minored in history. After two years at Westtown School as a teaching fellow, she taught another year there as a lower school assistant teacher, a dorm parent, an advisor, and a Senior Project leader. As a Kindergarten teacher, she taught Singapore Math, Handwriting without Tears, lessons using the Lucy Caulkins Reading Workshop, and Spanish, and incorporated technology including iPad applications and international Skype collaborations. Since then, she has been a lower school assistant teacher at Wilmington Friends School where she planned and implemented word study lessons using the Wilson Fundations curriculum.
She also brings a strong understanding of Friends education, having the four years of experience at Westtown and Wilmington Friends. In her demonstration lesson, she was able to frame the lesson around the testimony of simplicity. She also brings strengths of enriching the diversity of our teaching staff and curriculum. While at Westtown, she assumed the leadership of the school's observation of Martin Luther King Day, and she led a group of 17 students on a service trip to Heritage Academy in Ghana, West Africa. There at Heritage, she created and implemented a course focused on the connections between the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the Civil Rights Movement in the US and Apartheid in South Africa.
Most importantly, we are impressed with her ability to connect with our present Kindergarteners, to make each of them feel welcome, respected and heard.
Amy Keilbaugh, Art Teacher
We are also pleased to announce the appointment of Amy Keilbaugh as our new art teacher. Amy has strong qualifications, great experience, and very enthusiastic references. She is a graduate of Guilford College in Fine Arts, majoring in printmaking and minoring in art history. She continued her education at Temple's Tyler School of Art, and completed the art education Post-Baccalaureate Program at the Moore College of Art and Design.
Her teaching experience includes LaSalle Academy, the Henry C. Lea School, the Belmont Charter School in Philadelphia and most recently Springfield School District.
From our own experience on the day she visited, we were impressed with Amy's demonstration lesson called Cloudscape for our students, which began with a discussion of N.C. Wyeth's The Giant and the possible stories contained therein. The lesson had as its objective for students to create peace of artwork based on clouds and their imaginations. The class was very engaged and we noted in particular her ability to help students succeed and discover through art.
Misha graduated from Stony Brook University where she majored in sociology, and where she started all four years on its Division I Women's Basketball team. She is studying for her masters in Multicultural Education from Eastern University, which she expects to complete in December. She has been a successful coach and physical education teacher in many settings, most recently at Germantown Friends School, where she taught PE in all three divisions, and coached soccer, basketball and lacrosse. She has been part of the Black Women in Sports Foundation where she worked closely with school aged children in urban communities developing lesson plans for fitness and team sports.
The president and executive director of the Black Women in Sports Foundation praised her as an outstanding coach and teacher of students 3-years old up through high school. She noted her excellent relationship with children, and also the fact that she is an elite basketball player. Other references for her have praised her initiative and conscientiousness, her athletic prowess and her strong rapport with children and young people. For example, at Cheltenham, a community in which she grew up, she arranged for many basketball players to play in the community league to raise money for charity.
The Annual Spring Concert will be held on Thursday, April 24, at 6:30 p.m., and Friday, April 25, at 9:00 a.m. Every class at LFS will perform at least two pieces. The spirit will dance among us as our students let their inner light shine!
The LFS Lasers compete in the First Lego League regional qualifier this Saturday at the University of Pennsylvania. Please enjoy their presentation for the competition! They'd love to hear your ideas and questions about their project. Please post your ideas on the LFS FB page!