This Week's Topics
Important Dates
Jenny's Groundbreaking Speech
Music Update
New After-School Activities
Middle School Parent Night
Chestnut Trees at FSP
Cross-Country Update
Thinking About Plastics?
Cross-Country Sweatshirts
Of Interest
Quick Links

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Important Dates
Tuesday Morning Meeting: Peter Warren, of Warren Construction, talks about building our new classrooms (They started today!) 
Friday, October 11: No School (Professional Day)  
Monday, October 14: No School (Indigenous Peoples Day)  
October 15-18: Parent-Teacher Conferences (details coming soon)
Tuesday, October 22: Middle School Parent Night, 6:00pm (see details below)  
Thank you to everyone who made Sunday's event so wonderful: Broadturn Farm, Terlingua, SAVVY Event Rental, Warren Construction Group, Kaplan Thompson Architects, and all the volunteers who made it possible!
From Jenny's Groundbreaking Speech

First and second graders gathered data and calculated the number of parking spots we'll be giving
up during different parts of construction...we'll share the eye-opening results with you as needed.
By the time you walked through the school building today to get up here, you will have seen that we have literally come to the end of the space we created with the enormous support of the Friends School community back in 2013 and 14.  You walked out the bridge door and into the area that will shortly become: a glassed in connector leading to two 5-6 classrooms (which we will need next year), two 7-8 classrooms (which will both be filled in 2022), two bathrooms, two storage rooms, and a porch out back here.  (And don't forget the new parking lot, which was the first step in this undertaking!)

This wing, like the original school building, will be designed to Passive House standards--the highest voluntary environmental standard in the world, using 85% less energy than a conventional building.  We will continue to be fossil-fuel free. In this iteration, you'll see some charging stations in the parking lot and another solar array on the roof.

Sometimes it feels like these extraordinary developments happen smoothly and magically, and sometimes one feels the tremendous effort and commitment that those developments require.  Today I want to thank each of you for helping us be where we are:
  • Mary Tracy, who founded the school, our first Director of Studies and formidable language arts teacher
  • Faculty members and staff, former and current, whose energy and love have created FSP's culture of joyful learning
  • Portland Friends Meeting, who buoys us spiritually and provides generous support through loans
  • Many far-flung friends, environmentalists, neighbors, and educators who share the excitement of watching our school grow and thrive 
  • The Building Committee, who with our architects and builders, carefully thought through what we needed 
  • The Capital Campaign Committee, who have undertaken the enormous task of raising $2,225,000 dollars for the parking lot and new wing 
  • Rolfson Group, our campaign consultants
  • Parents, who entrust their children to us and inevitably become part of the beautiful and resilient fabric of FSP
  • Grandparents, ditto
  • Students, who can't help learning and teaching.  They are kind and open, and enter the world daily with, as our mission puts it, "confidence, competence, joy, and a sense of purpose."
It is a true privilege to be part of this incredible network of loving, active support.  
We have raised an astounding $1,929,214 over the past 15 months, bringing us 87% of the way to what we need to pay for the middle school wing. One hundred percent of our faculty and staff have contributed to the project, as have 100% of the board of directors and 100% of the capital campaign committee.  Other early donors have quietly and oh-so generously done the rest, many pledging their support over 5 years.
Today we throw the doors wide open to our glorious community, asking your help in raising the remaining $295,000 by December 31. 
I have something very exciting to announce:  a matching gift of $85,000, which as of this morning (Oct. 7) has grown to $115,000!  This means that each gift that is given will be doubled until that amount is reached.   We would like to express our deepest gratitude to those who have made this challenge gift possible.
It's still going to be a push to raise the remaining funds needed to finish paying for the classrooms.  But think: if we had 60 folks who pledged $1,000 a year for three years, we could do it.   
There are many ways to participate: speaking with Jenny, Brooke, a board member or a capital campaign committee member.  You can find out about making a pledge or giving a gift of appreciated stock. You'll see we have a way for folks to give online now and a beautiful little video you can forward to friends and family.  Together we'll work together to get this building built.
When the classrooms are ready, we'll turn our efforts to the Community Hall, a performance space and gymnasium.   Any "extra" money that comes in will be dedicated to that next piece.
I  always feel so lucky to be part of this place that is formed by the gifts and talents
of all of you and many before us and around us today. Thank you.
Music Update from Hans

So far, in music, we've been laying foundations for innumerable explorations and epiphanies to come. All classes have learned our opening song (have you been serenaded yet?). Kindergarten and preschool have been practicing turn taking while exploring instruments, choosing/writing lyrics, and inventing creative movement with scarves. Kindergarten has been associating different objects (like different sized) drums with iconic rhythmic notation; grades 1-8 have been articulating polymeter/polyrhythm in their bodies, 3rd-8th graders have been analyzing these rhythmic matrices, and connecting these concepts to fractions/math. 4th grade ukuleles have begun to strum our opening song; 3rd grade ukes are learning basic vocabulary and string-specific iconic notation. Choir classes are singing patterns in major scales with solfege hand signs, using solfege in repeated phrases, improvising using solfege and pentatonic scales, and dividing themselves into range-based sections to sing harmonies! Moving forward we will shortly be making decisions about repertoire for our December show, applying our rhythmic/movement and vocal warmups to a visceral understanding of musical concepts, engaging in higher-level discussions of musical examples utilizing said concepts, improvising, songwriting, dancing, and having a lot of fun!
New After-School Activities

Kindergarten students visited an apple orchard last week and drew pictures of what they saw there.

Here are the descriptions of the next round of after school activities. Sign up sheets will be posted outside the main office on Tuesday morning, October 8 at 8am for activities beginning in November. Sign up sheets will be posted November 5th for activities beginning in December.

Capoeira: Capoeira is a physical, musical, community game. Originally a martial art developed by African slaves in NE Brazil and hidden from slave masters as a dance, today capoeira incorporates a variety of kicks, dodges, acrobatics, music, and ritual into a community celebration that is challenging, engaging, and rewarding. Led by Hans Barklis.  

Monday afternoons, 3:00-4:15. 11/4-12/16 (*No class 11/11/19*) Grades K-2.

Fee for aftercare students $24.00

Fee for non-aftercare students $90.00

Tuesday afternoons, 3:00-4:15,11/5-12/17. Grades 3-8.

Fee for aftercare students $28.00

Fee for non-aftercare students $105.00 


Floor Hockey: Students will learn stick handling, goaltending, and general rules of hockey during this late fall offering. This activity will be limited to 12 participants because of the space restrictions of the meeting room. Led by Billy Maley.  

Wednesday afternoons, 3:00-4:15 11/6-12/18. Grades 1-8.
Fee for non-aftercare students $66.00   


Rock Climbing at Evo: Students will board Buster after school and head to Evo to do some rock climbing and bouldering in this new after school activity. Evo┬┤s gym is a beautiful space where kids can learn to challenge themselves in an encouraging, no-intimidating environment. Led by Billy Maley and Sae Gozashti.
Thursday afternoons, 3:00-4:45, 11/7-12/12. Grades 3-8.
Fee for non-aftercare students without Evo membership $125.00
Fee for non-aftercare students with Evo membership $65.00
Fee for aftercare students without Evo membership $70.00
Fee for aftercare students with Evo membership $10.00


FSP Podcast (Beginning in December):Calling all media-savvy middle school story-tellers, actors, sound junkies and musicians! Students will conceive of, write episodes for, rehearse, record and edit a short serial podcast to be shared via internet channels. In the vein of "The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel," students will work as a group to generate their own material, then record and edit their own radio play. Zero previous experience or gear necessary, just an interest in fabricating from the ground-up an original audio-story to entertain listeners of all ages. We are making arrangements for our performance session to be recorded at a professional-grade Portland-based studio off-site, but all other sessions will be at FSP. Led by Desi Van Til with technical support from Sean Mewshaw.  

Mondays 3:00-4:15, 12/2/19-2/10/20. Grades 5-8.

Snack provided. No charge for this activity.


Ice Skating at Falmouth Family Ice ( Beginning in December): this is a chance for all ages to skate at the indoor ice facility at Falmouth Family Ice through a program called Opportunity Skate. We have ice time reserved from 2:00 until 2:50pm on Fridays. Students will board Buster* immediately following school on Fridays to travel to Falmouth Family Ice and will return to campus by 3pm. There is no instructor with this program, so ice skating experience is required for this activity. Children who do not know how to skate can come with a parent or responsible adult who is available to assist them during our time there. Ice skates are available, but having your own skates is strongly recommended because of our limited ice time. Please note that students are only charged for this activity if they are unaccompanied by a parent and riding on the school bus. *Space is limited on the bus so only the first 14 sign ups will be accepted. Led by Billy Maley. 
Friday afternoons, 1:45-3:00pm, 12/6/19-2/14/20. Open to skaters in grades K-8.
Fee for non-aftercare students $117.00
Fee for aftercare students $18.00
Middle School Parent Night--October 22

7th and 8th graders spend time each week with their preschool buddies.
On Tuesday,  October  22 from 6:00 to 7:00pm, we will be hosting a Middle School Parent Night devoted to the process of choosing a high school. The meeting is geared towards seventh and eighth grade parents, though all are welcome to attend. Parents who have recently gone through this process will be on hand to discuss their experiences and answer questions, and we will provide a basic timeline for proceeding with the high school search. We hope you will be able to make it.

~The Middle School Team
Chestnut Trees at FSP

Since my daughter started at FSP this fall, nearly every day I've been asked if we can stay after school to play. Some days we do, to break up the drive, to connect with friends, and simply because it's so nice to be back in the woods.

The last week in September, we lingered in the sunshine, scooting on logs and leaping across a dry stream bed. I reached for the closest tree to pull myself up, and put my hand on something I didn't recognize. The bark was smooth between furrows, tinged green. Looking up, the leaves were nearly like a beech, long and narrow, with rows of side veins like a feather. But unlike a beech, the leaf margin had cresting waves of curved teeth. I felt a flutter of hope that it might be a chestnut. Once we saw one, others were all around. Some were low bushes of thin suckers growing around dead trunks. One was a twenty foot sapling, reaching for a sunny gap in the canopy. 

American chestnuts, once a keystone species of Eastern forests, nearly all perished when an introduced fungal blight swept their native range over a century ago. While individuals do persist, they are rarely able to reproduce before they are infected with chestnut blight. The American Chestnut Foundation and others are working to restore disease-resistant trees back to their historic range.

What is the story of the trees at FSP? Are they sprouted from the roots of past giants? How are they coping with blight? Is this a last vestige of an extinction story? Or more hopefully, could these trees be at all resistant? Are there any mature trees nearby that might be a seed source?

Please do stop and say hello to the chestnut trees downslope from the soccer field. They are in various states of health and decline and deserving of our reverence. Their species has had a hard go of it. Perhaps we can be of some help.
Cross-Country Update

The FSP Cross-Country Team is having an exciting season participating in the Coastal Running League Race Series.  Our team of 16 runners has spent the past two Wednesday afternoons racing through wooded trails  and cheering each other on at every twist and turn along the course.  Last week, we celebrated one 4th grader's first place finish in the Girls' 3rd & 4th grade race at Winslow Park.  Go, runners!  This Wednesday, the FSP team will be racing at Royal River Park in Yarmouth at 4:30pm.
Thinking About Plastics?

Here is a New York Times article entitled, " The Types of Plastics Families Should Avoid."
FSP Cross-Country Sweatshirts for Sale

From Nicole: We are offering to order cross-country sweatshirts for any FSP community member who would like one. They are $22, and you need to  order them by the end of the school day (3:15pm) this Thursday 10/10 ...Checks or money can be put in an envelope with your child's name on it and given to Jen in the office. Please list the size desired (sizes include both youth and adult S-XXL). Sweatshirts must be paid for when you sign up for them. Check out the youth sizing chart; be aware that they run a bit small.
Of Interest


Vi's family (grade 7) is looking for a ride home on Wednesdays, leaving school at 4:00, heading to/towards South Portland.  Please contact Lindsay Walsh if interested,

The Poor People's Campaign will hold a march at 5:45pm on Thursday, Oct. 10 at Lincoln Park, 139 Federal St. The tour is focused on mobilizing, organizing, registering and educating people in advance of the planned Poor People's Assembly and Moral March on Washington scheduled for June 20, 2020. Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the national Poor People's Campaign, will be on hand. See for more information.

Pete and Katie Nowak are looking to rent out their house from Jan.1-May 31, 2020 while they are on sabbatical.  They have a 1,200 ish square foot house,  with a fenced in yard in the Back Cove Neighborhood of Portland. The   house   has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and is near Payson Park, Canco Woods, and just a few minutes' drive to downtown Portland.  If you or someone you know is interested, please email Katie at and we can send along some pictures.  Thanks!