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Teen Sex Culture and Technology

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Growing Pains

Our teens consider much of what goes on in the social lives private, not for parent consumption. Our youth are typically not voluntarily sharing with us the details of daily life, whether it is what happened in class at school, what happened on the soccer field, or what is going on socially with friendships. Adolescents especially do not let parents "in" on what is happening in the arena of teen sexuality or their personal crushes. While this is natural and necessary part of the individuation process, it often leaves parents wondering and feeling out of touch. Despite this neccessary progression toward independence, parents still need to make concerted efforts to stay connected.The goal of this article is to help parents remain proactive with their teens and to provide reliable information.

How Technology has Changed and Continues to Impact Teens

Technology is launching peer to peer communication in new directions, which has created a new culture of teen sexuality.  Students across the nation, and in our own community, have engaged in a variety of behaviors from sending naked photos and videos to their peers via cell phone, email, and Skype. "It is a 21st century version of  'you show me yours, I'll show you mine,'" according to a 2009 Reason article by Nancy Rommelmann. While the visual sharing of sexual imagery among teens is disturbing for parents, equally upsetting are the graphic written sexual messages. Texting sexualized messages from one teen to another is relatively common. In a December 2008 publication by Information Week (posted Dec. 11, 2008), a study of 1,280 teens and young adults revealed that one in five girls had sent nude or partially nude photos of themselves via cell phone or email. Of this group 11% were 16 or younger. According to the survey, one-third of all photos sent end up being forwarded and shared with other parties. Two-thirds of girls who sent nude photos said they did it to be fun and flirtatious. Another 40% said they did it as a joke. Most of the sexual content was shared with friends and acquaintances. Only 15% of photography was sent to a stranger.

Why Teens Need to be Well Informed

This article is not intended to alarm readers, but to help parents and educators understand possible outcomes related to impulsive teen behavior. The legal implications are far-reaching regarding sexualized content and electronic sharing of such images. Federal and state laws regulate the production, distribution, and possession of sexual images of underage subjects. These laws have been in place for decades to protect our youth from abuse and pornography. Because technology is advancing quickly, the legal system is trying to play catch-up. We have a young tech-savvy society, and in some instances youth unwittingly find themselves in the midst of legal dealings. Youth need to be aware of this. We certainly inform youth about the dangers of underage drinking, and they also need to be aware of online and cell phone communication hazards.

Teens and Impulsivity

The  gap between teens and adults in our culture is widening, especially with the technology available to our youth. Adolescents are eager for independence from adults and acceptance from their peers. When this is combined with developing hormones, and a brain that is not fully matured, impulsivity can lead to poor decision making. Teens cannot accurately anticipate the ramifications of their activity due to cognitive immaturity and lack of experience. In the world of point and click technology, impulsive acts can occur readily. Many adolescents do not grasp the concept that digital technology is permanent. Once a photo or written message has been sent and uploaded it can be shared with other cell phone users and email recipients.  "Once content is out there, it is out there forever," according to the Institute for Resonsible Online and Cell Phone Communications. For this reason parents need to take an active role. The safety issues are critical, from date rape, to STDs, to pregnancy and emotional harm. 

What Parents Can Do to Make a Difference

Parents gaining new information and educating themselves on such critical matters feel a natural sense of uneasiness and  discomfort. But knowledge puts parents in a position of strength and caring, which our adolescents truly want from us. Becoming informed shows that we want our children to be safe, happy, and healthy. It is important to seek ways to support, guide, and protect our children.

For the majority of parents, their sons or daughters have not engaged in such activities, but their teen surely knows a peer who has. The most important role of parents is to become actively supportive and involved in their teenage daughter or son's life.  Parents may find it difficult to begin a conversation, yet it is important to do so. This requires parents to think carefully how they can act as guides and when to initiate a point of entry for conversation. Finding a "natural" moment to discuss such topics is more seamless. It makes more sense to teens when the conversations mirror what is going on in the moment. Great launching moments are when you have just seen a newspaper article or TV news story relating to sex, rape, or pornography. Magazines are full of this content as well. Movies and TV shows provide a bounty of such material. Modern music and today's movies depict sexual behavior as a norm. Talk to your kids when the time is right about sexual pressures, friendships, and the difference between sex and love.

Please do not secretly snoop to find out what is going on. This is a significant breach of trust and will deteriorate opportunities for collaborating. Trying to shield teens from using technology is not realistic either. This is why collaborating with your teen and having a trusting relationship is so vital. Converse with them about what they have on Facebook, MySpace, and their cell phones and email. Let them know that you will listen to them and not pass judgment. One of the biggest fears kids face is that you will judge them harshly. Help your teens decide what is right for them. Many teens who become sexually active too early regret it. It helps for adolescents to know this fact.

Being present and involved in your teen's life is important. Even though our lives are very busy, take the time to be aware of what is happening and talk to your son or daughter.

Boys and girls soccer teams head to state finals

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Congratulations, Eagles!

The boys varsity soccer team faces OES for the state title after beating St. Mary's of Medford 1-0.

Game time for the boys: Saturday, 1 p.m., Wilsonville HS.

The girls varsity soccer team won their semifinal match against Sisters, 4-3, and take on Gladstone for the championship.

Game time for the girls: Saturday, 6 p.m., Wilsonville HS.

Adults - $8, Students - $5 at the door
VISA / MasterCard accepted

Come cheer on the mighty Eagles as they play for the state championships!

Video of game-winning shot from the boys semifinal game against St. Mary’s of Medford. Thanks go to Jennifer Davies, parent of alumni, for shooting video.


Rummage Sale generates $274,000 in sales

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Retiring in style

The 65th and final Rummage Sale was an AMAZING success thanks to energetic volunteers and loyal customers. We generated $274,000 in sales, just $1,000 shy of last year's total.

The Catlin Gabel community spirit is epic. We do great things together — we always have and we always will.

Thank you very much!

So, what’s next?
Do you have ideas about what Catlin Gabel might do to recreate the wonderful sense of community and commitment to service we have experienced through Rummage? Share your after-Rummage Sale ideas with us on the After Rummage Forum or send your ideas by e-mail to AfterRummage@catlin.edu. Ideas will be considered at a community-wide meeting in January. Stay tuned for details.


From Catholic Sentinel: profile of Middle School head Paul Andrichuk

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Catholic Sentinel article, November 09

Catlin Gabel News Fall 09

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From the fall 2009 Caller

7th grade history teacher Paul Monheimer was awarded a Distinguished Fulbright Award in Teaching from the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board to conduct research in Israel. He plans to spend the spring semester in Israel researching and creating meaningful virtual exchanges, using graphic software to overcome language barriers. . . . Upper School Spanish teacher Lauren Reggero-Toledano received a grant from the American Immigration Law Council to work with students on a project about the Hispanic presence in Oregon during the Great Depression and today. Students will create interactive, multimedia presentations for display at Teatro Milagro/Miracle Theater.

The 2008–09 Annual Fund reached its goal of $892,500 by June 30. Thanks to everyone who participated and gave so generously, especially during this economically challenging year. Big thanks to Eric ’83 and Tiffany Rosenfeld for co-chairing the 2007–08 and 2008–09 Annual Fund.
The campus was jumping during Summer Programs, with more than 20 instructors, 43 classes and programs, and 300 participants. . . . Catlin Gabel was selected by Oregon Business magazine as one of the 100 best nonprofits to work for in Oregon, based on staff responses to a survey about workplace satisfaction.
Poems by Conner Hansen ’15 and Annika Carfagno ’15 were published in A Celebration of Poets, a national anthology. . . . The Upper School chamber choir placed 4th at the OSSA state choir contest. . . Erica Berry ’10, Flora Field ’13, Guillem Manso García ’09, Fiona Noonan ’13, Sage Palmedo ’14, and Yu (Victor) Zheng ’12 placed in the top five in the nation for their level on the National French Contest exams. Rahul Borkar ’13, Brynmor Chapman ’10, Casey Currey-Wilson ’12, Rose Perrone ’10, and Leah Thompson ’11 came in first in the state for their level in the national Spanish exam.
The boys golf team won the state championship and set a team record.
The girls track and field team also won a state championship and set a new state record. Hayley Ney ’09 was state champion in the 3000m and 1500m. Leah Thompson ’11 was state champion in the 300m hurdles, set a new school record, and was second in state in the 1500m. Isabelle Miller ’09 was 3rd in state in the 400m. Calley Edwards ’09 was 4th in state at both the 800m and the 3000m. Cammy Edwards ’12 was 2nd in state in both the 100m hurdles and the 300m hurdles. Eloise Miller ’11 was state champion in the triple jump. Mariah Morton was 4th in state in the long jump. The 4x100m relay team was state champion: Mariah Morton ’12, Linnea Hurst ’11, Isabelle Miller ’09, and Eloise Miller ’11. The 4 x 400m relay team was state champion: Hayley Ney ’09, Isabelle Miller ’09, Eloise Miller ’11, and Leah Thompson ’11. . . . In boys track and field, Nauvin Ghorashian ’10 was 3rd in state in the 110m hurdles, and Ian Maier ’10 was 5th in state in the 300m hurdles.
The girls tennis team set a team record and was 2nd in state. Kate Rubinstein ’12 was state champion in singles, and Rivfka Shenoy ’09 and Ainhoa Maiz- Urtizberea ’09 were 2nd in state in doubles. . . . The boys tennis team also set a team record and were 2nd in state.
Andrew Salvador ’12 was state champion in singles.
Katy Wiita ’12 won numerous top places nationally for synchronized swimming, as did her sister Elli Wiita ’15, who was named to the 11–12 national team with the second highest score.
Devin Ellis ’12 won gold for his age group in scratch bowling at the State Games of Oregon and qualifies for the 2011 State Games of America.


The Child as Unit of Consideration: World Cultures--Many Paths to Learning

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From the Fall 2009 Caller

By Paul Monheimer

“I’d like to build a trebuchet,” emailed my student Will. This was after we talked about what project students might do for the medieval portion of 7th grade World Cultures class. A trebuchet—a type of catapult—was pretty ambitious. So I had to ask him: “How big will it be? What materials will you use? How should I assess your final product?” “I found some plans online. It will be around 7 ft. tall. Assessment will be on how authentic it is,” he replied. “How authentic? Are you sure? How about assessment on if it fires, how far it fires, and its accuracy?” I tried to help him refine his thinking.
Will did think all this through—and he built a terrific trebuchet that fired its shot clear across the Paddock and into the Fir Grove, surprising everyone. In this class we use long-term projects like the trebuchet to help students become individual learners. They gain the ability to plan and creatively complete their work, and demonstrate what they have learned, no matter what their other classmates are doing or what their own learning style might be.
My approach has been to allow kids absolute freedom to create and explore, respect their choices, and help them achieve their goals. Brain and learning research has shown that students learn more when we allow and encourage them to explore topics of interest. Over the years, World Cultures students have been treated to juggling lessons, medieval banquets, Japanese tea ceremonies, and art history lessons. They have learned to sing Gregorian chants, fight with swords, and do a medieval dance or two.
My mentor Ron Cummings taught me that “Middle school students will learn anything, as long as it includes both play and drama.” That is the driving philosophy behind ERIC (or RICE, as it is known in some years).
I developed ERIC—Egypt, Rome, India, and China— just for Catlin Gabel. Many middle schools teach ancient cultures, but few do four cultures at the same time. The presentations the students develop and lead are far more creative and compelling than anything I could ever dream up on my own. The bonds created during ERIC last a long time—all Upper School students can tell you which of the four civilizations they worked on. Audience responses are always encouraging, and, although everybody is exhausted at the end, their smiles usually convince me that it has been a productive and worthwhile learning experience.
Do all of these creative attempts turn out perfectly? Of course not! One student attempting to antique his Latin papers used too much lemon juice and burned a huge hole in his project. He still received full credit even though I could only see about 20 percent of the result. He had completed his research, he was passionate about learning about ancient texts, and he was being as creative as possible. What more could I have asked?
World Cultures is all about helping students learn about today’s world by examining past events and civilizations. Each project allows students independence in choosing what they will study during a particular unit. The tapestry of learning created by the entire 7th grade studying areas of their choosing mirrors the tapestry of modern global culture. Giving students room to choose their area of study helps them find a comfortable place in that tapestry and keeps learning fun and exciting as they go through thousands of years together.
Paul Monheimer has been at Catlin Gabel since 1995.  


Empty the Lot Day video

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How did people get to school on October 15, 2009? Video by Rose Perrone '10

Music Rotation Rocks!

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I Don't Want to be in Love

First 8th grade Music rotation rocked out to I Don't Want to be in Love by the Good Charlottes.  Enjoy their performance.


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Gambol Auction Needs Your Help

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Dear Parents, Alumni, and Friends,
We are proud members of the Catlin Gabel community. The school is inspiring to children, parents, teachers, and alumni. Being involved in Gambol committees during the last two years, and seeing the good that this event does for the entire Catlin Gabel community, we are honored to co-chair this year’s Gambol Auction.
Dear Parents, Alumni, and Friends,
We are proud members of the Catlin Gabel community. The school is inspiring to children, parents, teachers, and alumni. Being involved in Gambol committees during the last two years, and seeing the good that this event does for the entire Catlin Gabel community, we are honored to co-chair this year’s Gambol Auction.
As you may be aware, it has become increasingly more difficult for schools to meet all of their budgetary needs. Although Catlin Gabel is more fortunate than most schools, the Gambol supplies essential funds needed to achieve several goals. It helps our incredible teachers hone their skills and further their educational goals through professional development, enabling them to create fresh and current curricula for our children. The event’s special appeal goes directly to the school’s financial aid program — more than 25% of our students receive financial assistance.
This year’s “There’s No Place Like Home” theme is inspired by what is important: family and community. Not only would we love for you to join us for what will be a fun and exciting evening, but also we would be especially grateful if you would participate by donating an item or experience to the auction. We need many items to make this year's auction a success and have complied a wish list to help generate ideas. The list is just a sampling of suggestions; any other ideas you have for donations are welcome. If you prefer to be an event sponsor or buy an advertisement in the auction catalog, please download the necessary forms by clicking this link.
This year we start an exciting new tradition with a Gambol Online Auction available November 9–23. The online auction will expand our participation to alumni, family, and friends. The Gambol Party & Live Auction is on Saturday, March 13, at the Nines hotel. Please join us as we celebrate our children, honor Catlin Gabel's outstanding teachers, and make this a successful year for the Gambol to give back to our amazing community. 
We are working hard to make the Gambol a success, and we need your help. Please use the donation form to pledge your support today.
Thank You,
Heather Blackburn ’90                                    
Gina Wand                                         
Gambol Co-chairs


Technology Professional Development Day

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Ten teachers attended our professional development day today. Seven also presented! Interestingly, all but two were from the Upper School. We followed a model in which teachers did all the presenting and led the group discussion, which led to an energizing day that focused squarely on teacher interests. Here is a summary of content covered.

Tony presents at the tech training

Ginia King shared the sophomore English Moodle site, which is organized by type of assignment (tests, recitations, essays, etc.) instead of unit or week. Forum is more useful than chat for "decentered discussion." Encourages different voices to speak in the class. Art Leo reported that education research in modern language acquisition has found that success in written, online discourse has transferred to oral participation in class. Teachers differed on how firmly they held students to proper writing form, though people agreed on the desire to do so. The best tools allow one to print a single document from the discussion of the day. English teachers use the forum tool to set up a space where students may post essay drafts and other students may post replies and response papers. It can be difficult to compare three drafts of an essay posted to Moodle. Ginia reflected that students don't automatically think to check the website for course information. They appear to be more mindful of paper. Lisa and Daisy speculated that upcoming students will be more automatic about this due to online experiences in the younger grades.

Tony Stocks built on Ginia's presentation by showing the junior English Moodle site. He used one discussion forum for students to write and improve their questions in preparation for the upcoming Tracy Kidder assembly next week. The site uses the Moodle groups feature to keep section discussions separate. The site is most valuable to keep all of the drafts of the writing process in one place for the teacher and student to access. Can be a challenge for the kid who has a hard time staying on task, but teachers can help by monitoring computer use in the room.

Paul Dickinson commented that the English program may have led to students' higher comfort level with typing lab reports in science. While this has improved the quality of presentation, students are struggling to produce good diagrams in this format. This has led to a trend in which many students prefer to find an existing diagram and copy it into their document instead of drawing an original illustration. It's interesting that the use of Photoshop here is widespread, yet use of Illustrator is rare.

Lauren Reggero-Toledano shared a community service learning project with which her students are currently engaged. She won a small grant to fund this project, working with our development and communications departments to refine her proposal. Her class is creating an online presentation of the Hispanic presence in Oregon to complement a production at Portland's Miracle Theatre. Their project compares the Hispanic presence during the depression to the present day. The curriculum has evolved as opportunities have appeared to interview good subjects around town. They have found no interview subjects from the Depression era, but an author helped them understand that the lack of found information is useful information in itself. Contextualize this finding and move forward.

Lauren presents at the tech training

The theater director challenged the kids to make the site truly interactive. So far, they have decided to add a comment box to their website, in order to gather more stories. Also, students will be present at each performance in order to explain the project and potentially collect interviews on the spot! Students are collecting footage with Flip cameras, notwithstanding the lack of proper video lighting. The historical archives has commented that a serious deficit of raw material exists on this topic. The students' footage has the potential to become an important research source, especially if the site persists and continues to collect footage after the theater performances are over.

Students are using the course Moodle site to manage the project, including notes, interview forms, and links to web-based resources. The teacher has stepped back and left room for the students to plan and execute.

The class built and distributed a survey using our internal survey tool. They received 79 responses to a survey about Hispanic Heritage Month, including a giant collection of narrative comments, which were really useful in guiding their work.

Lisa Ellenberg shared new work she is doing with students to post book reviews into our Follett Destiny library catalog -- really exciting work. This has potential to change student perception of the library catalog from an external authority to a community resource. Already, fourth grade students are excited about adding items to this resource. They also rate the books on a five star system. We'd like to post audio reviews as well, and while Destiny may not support audio file playback, we may post them elsewhere and then post links to the catalog. Lisa also demonstrated how a teacher may create a public resource list of library items for students or other teachers to view.

Roberto Villa shared a long-distance correspondence between a Catlin Gabel alum in Quito, Ecuador, and Catlin Gabel students. Topics include poverty, energy consumption, and women's rights, among others. Spanish V students are using an online bulletin board for this purpose.

Roberto also underscored the value of his document camera, which he uses every day. It helps him save time and paper. Roberto uses it for flashcards, homework correction, and editing. Lauren has used it for coins and maps.

For two years, Roberto's Spanish V class has not used books. All of the resources are posted online. The Spanish I, II, and III textbooks have an online site that includes online activities and audio components. This has been especially valuable for students with learning differences or who want to slow down the audio to listen to it more slowly.

Pat Walsh demonstrated his use of the social format in Moodle courses, which transforms the course home page into a student discussion center. He also demonstrated the use of embedded images, YouTube videos, and RSS feeds within his course Moodle sites.

Dale Rawls showed how he uses the school website and email system to engage parents in narrative discussion about student artwork well before the semester reporting period. He posts photos of student illustration to the website and then sends an email message to parents with suggestions for what to discuss about the artwork with their children.

6th Grade Farm Visit

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On one of the last sunny weekends of the Summer, a group of 14 Middle School students, accompanied by 6 Upper School student chaperones visited Bumblebee Organic Farms.

It was two days of fun, two days of laughing, a campfire beneath a harvest moon, a grape eating contest, amazing food, a pair of sheep (or were they goats?), tractors, barns, sleeping through an incredibly loud rainstorm, amazing farm-fresh pancakes, and learning about life on a small, organic farm.

We met at Catlin after Saturday morning's storms had passed and loaded into an activity bus.  A drive toward the mouth of the Sandy river took us into Troutdale, home of Bumblebee Organic Farm.  We played a couple of challenge and team-building games before we broke off into three teams (Wolf Pack, Inner Power, and Firebirds) to be farmers for the rest of the weekend.

We performed farm chores such as harvesting grapes and tomatoes, working rows of beans, and shucking corn before it was time for dinner: an amazing pasta and salad night from produce straight off the vine.

Some exciting campfire skits were a highlight of the evening before we tucked ourselves into cozy (and dry!) tents before a midnight rainstorm took us through the night.  We woke up to clear skies and huge pancakes on Sunday and worked our way through a pumpkin patch before heading home in time to spend the rest of the weekend with our families.  It was sad to see the trip come to an end, but we walked away as friends, having learned so much more about farming, and more connected to the food we eat.  







Planning ahead for swine flu

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Catlin Gabel's plans and recommendations in anticipation of the coming flu season
Lark, division heads, and other staff members are constantly monitoring information from local county health departments. Administrative assistant Chris Balag attended a statewide conference on swine flu in late August, where she met with Governor Kulongoski and local health authorities. Since the start of the school year we have been in regular contact with Kathleen O'Leary, Washington County public health administator, and Dr. Paul Lewis, deputy tri-county health officer and associate professor of infectious diseases at OHSU, to ensure that our information is current and our plans are appropriate.
Here are some of Catlin Gabel’s plans and recommendations in anticipation of the coming flu season:
Anyone with flu-like symptoms should STAY HOME and remain at home until he or she is fever free without medication for at least 24 hours. This is a public health issue; everyone’s cooperation is vitally important.
When calling in to report your child’s absence, we would appreciate knowing if he or she has flu-like symptoms. We will do our best to track trends.
Students missing classes will have ample opportunity to make up work. Teachers will take special care to help.
Students missing practices or games because of illness will not be penalized for their absence.
When one-third or more of the students in any one grade level are out sick for any reason, be it swine flu, pink eye, or any other communicable illness, we may close appropriate portions of the school.
We are reserving “sick rooms” on campus where we can isolate adults and children who become ill with flu-like symptoms at school until they are taken home.
The cleaning crew will take extra measures to disinfect tables, doorknobs, faucets, and other surfaces.
We will step up efforts to remind students and teachers of the following precautions to prevent the spread of viruses. We urge you to reinforce these good hygiene practices at home.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way. 
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  • If you develop flu-like symptoms of fever, aches and pains, sore throat, coughing, trouble breathing, runny nose, or nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, you should contact your health care provider. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing and treatment is needed.
For more information about the H1N1 virus, please visit www.flu.oregon.gov
If you have any questions about Catlin Gabel’s plans, please get in touch with Chris Balag at 503-297-1894 ext. 274.

Empty the Lot Day

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Thursday, October 14

Choose how you cruise

On this symbolic day, the Catlin Gabel community will join in an effort to empty the parking lot!

We urge you to try using a different form of transportation if you usually travel by car. Help reduce your carbon footprint and do your part to keep the air clean for everyone. You may even find that you prefer riding the bus with your friends or biking in the crisp morning air!

Choose how you cruise

How will YOU get to school?
  • Bike
  • Walk
  • Carpool (link to carpool map)
  • MAX or TriMet
  • Ride the Catlin Gabel bus for free – one day only special
Sign-up is required even for regular riders.

Beginning and Lower School parents: Ginny Malm has access to the online registration information so you don't need to call her if you sign up online by Thursday, October 7.

Happy travels!