Cultivating minds and hearts through the pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty
September 23, 2019

Table of Contents:  
  • HM Letter
  • Faculty Spotlight
  • Note from Athenaeum
  • Scholar Spotlight
  • School Calendar
  • Attendance
  • 4th Grade Musings
  • Walk-Up Pick-Up
  • Living the Curriculum
  • PSO Luncheon
  • PSO Spirit Shirts
  • How to find Previous Newsletters
  • Important Dates
  • Important Links
  • School Contact Info

Dear Spartan families,

I want to thank all the families who came to our Spadling Night for parents last week. We had a great turn out and thank you to our PSO for live streaming it on their Facebook group so that those of you who could not attend in person, were able to participate online. (For those of you who missed it, it is recorded on the "GHWH PSO" Facebook group for you to view in your spare time.)

Speaking of spare time, Monday, September 30, the students will have off of school. This day is reserved for a Professional Development day for our Great Hearts faculty. The school will be closed on this day as our staff will be off sight attending this professional development. We hope all the GHWH families will be able to use at least part of this 3 day weekend to experience some form of leisure as a family. Go on a hike, visit a museum, play at a park, gather with family and friends. Leisure is the foundation of culture and good for the mind and heart to experience.

We also have our fall break coming up in October. The week of October 13-19, the children will also have no school with the Monday and Tuesday of that week reserved for parent-teacher conferences for parents to attend. Please set aside time on your calendar for one of those two days to speak with your child/children's teachers.

Matthew Vlahovich
Faculty Spotlight
Dean of Community & Culture

We are happy to introduce to the GHWH community, Mrs. Criselda Arredondo, our Dean of Community and Culture. As dean, Mrs. Arredondo, will oversee several areas of student and faculty life at the academy. Her role is primarily to direct and tend to the community and culture of GHWH. Mrs. Arredondo may already be a familiar face to your children as she daily steps into classrooms working with teachers and students to develop the culture of our school. The scope of her work also involves providing professional development to faculty, addressing behavior concerns that go beyond the scope of a homeroom teacher and communicating tardies and absences to families.
Mrs. Criselda Arredondo

I have a bachelor's degree in Arts with a minor in Public Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Previously, I worked at SAISD, Child Protective Services, H.I.S.D and Communities in Schools. I am part of the founding faculty of Great Hearts Western Hills where I served as a Kindergarten Lead Teacher last year. I married my high school sweetheart. We just celebrated 10 years of marriage. My household consists of 2 jovial boys and 2 energetic dogs. 
I learned about Great Hearts through some friends at church. I fell in love with the school through the curriculum, the Socratic method, the disciplinary of love and logic and the shaping of our children academically and morally.

What excites me most about my role as dean, is guiding teachers with the tools and techniques of love and logic in their classrooms.

Outside of school, I love to travel with my family. We take a couple’s trip and a family trip every year. I love spending quality time with my children and husband. 
Note from Athenaeum
On September 25 parents and staff are invited to come play soccer with Athenaeum at 5:00 PM. Must have a cleared background check on file with the school. 5:00 PM pick up participants are able to stay later with no missed pick up fee if they are playing. For more information, please contact Ms. Sarah Solombrino: .
Registration for Athenaeum for the 2019-20 school year is currently open for all grades except 4th grade. Please go here to read more about our options and pricing schedules or to put yourself on the wait list for 4th grade. Registration is on a first-come first-serve basis, so please make sure that you put your student on the wait-list if you are desiring a spot.
Scholar Spotlight
Adarius Grandberry from 3A

Adarius has been volunteering with the San Antonio Food Bank for over 3 years and last year he was recognized for his contributions as "Youth Volunteer of the Year"! Below, are two pictures from food distributions in which Adarius has participated. Pastor Rob from the Christian Family Baptist Church remarked about Adarius, stating, "His enthusiasm and outstanding work ethics inspired other parents to get their children involved in the fight against hunger and malnutrition." What a great-hearted example of serving others! You and your family are an inspiration to others. Keep up the good work, Adarius!
School Calendar - Late Pick-Up Fee Reminder
Keep the school calendar handy! Click here to download and print! (The calendar is also available on our school website: here . This calendar lists all the early release days and the corresponding dismissal times as well as school holidays . Nearly every Friday has a 1:25 PM dismissal.

Share this calendar with all those who pick-up your children . Remember, scholars not picked up by 4:00 PM (2:00 PM on early dismissal days), will accrue $1.00 per minute late pick-up fee (as stated in our Family Handbook ). So , make sure you mark these dates down on your own family calendar.
Please note: we receive daily funding for   all students who are in their classrooms at 10:00 AM   . Therefore,   we encourage parents to schedule doctor appointments before or after that time so that students can be in their seats at 9:55 AM   . Please bring a doctor's note for all doctor appointments or they can fax it directly to us at 210-888-9484. (Please specify GHWH on all faxes.) With a doctor's note, we are able to mark your student as "present" and not lose much-needed funding!
Musings from Fourth Grade Literature
Walk-Up Pick Up
Please do not bring your dogs with you while waiting in the afternoon walk-up pick-up line (with the exception of dogs used for medical necessity by patrons).

Reminder to bring car placards at pick up. We will enforce the rule of no placard, no pick up . School faculty is not be allowed to "vouch" for a parent or guardian. If you do not have the yellow placard, you will be required to go to the school lobby and show a picture I.D. so that we can verify you in the computer system as being on the authorized pick up list.
Living the Great Hearts Curriculum

Did you know that poetry is memorized in every single grade level at our Great Hearts Schools? In addition to learning many wonderful poems from poets of all ages, there are proven scientific benefits to memorizing.

Here are 10 proven brain benefits:

  1. Memorization trains your brain to remember
  2. Memorization challenges your brain
  3. Rote learning improves neural plasticity
  4. Nursery rhymes teach rhythmic patterns
  5. Memorization offers a mental gymnastics exercise
  6. Knowing frees up brain power
  7. Memory exercises help students practice focus
  8. Memory skills are essential to learning new concepts
  9. Working memory is important for creativity
  10. Memory training can stave off cognitive decline
~information courtesy of ~

For more in depth information on the benefits of memorizing poetry, we recommend doing an internet search for "why memorize poetry". You will find a variety of sources and several great articles to enrich this understanding.
A Note from the PSO

Teacher Appreciation Committee

Thank you, parents, for making our first 2019-2020 Teacher Appreciation Luncheon a fabulous success! The teachers are truly grateful for your wonderful dishes, along with the time and talent you provided. What a shower of love on those who teach our children! Thank you!

Spirit Shirts on sale again! Pre-Order deadline is September 27 !
  1. Fill out this order form.
  2. Click this link to pay online.
  3. Send form in with your child's homework folder with payment. (If you paid online, write "paid online" on the corner of the order form.)
Previous School Newsletters

Need to refer to a previous school newsletter? Archived newsletters can be found by clicking  here  .
Important Dates

  • Wednesday, September 25, Family Soccer Evening with Athenaeum
  • Friday, September 27, Dismissal at 1:25 PM
  • Monday, September 30, No School for students (Professional Development Day for Faculty)
  • Friday, October 11, Spirit Day, R &R Weekend, Dismissal at 1:25 PM
  • Monday & Tuesday, October 14 & 15, Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • October 13-18 - Fall Break, no school for students
  • Tuesday, October 22, Singapore Math Night for Parents
  • Thursday, October 24, PSO Quarterly Meeting
  • Friday, October 25, Dismissal at 1:25 PM
  • Monday, October 28, - School (Individual) Picture Day

Don't forget to re-sync your digital calendars!
Important Links

Lunch Payment Website:
Lunch Menu Website: GHWH Lunch Menu
Background Check Form: click here
Media Release Form: click here
Archived Newsletters: click here
Faculty and Staff Phone/E-Mail Reference

To speak to anyone at Great Hearts Western Hills, please call the school at (210) 888-9488 and listen for the extension of the party you are wanting to reach.
SPED & Interventionists :
Parent Service Organization:
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