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Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Family Valentine's Day


Last month,  Lori Iaconis, ECMS parent and FFO volunteer extraordinaire,  sent out a last minute request for gift card donations to the CFSD Gala of Schools.  In a matter of days, our Esperero parents came through to the tune of $1,000.  Talk about Eagle Pride . . . our parents are so incredibly generous.  Thank you, ECMS parents for, again, going above and beyond! Thanks to Anita Feder, Jeannine Pudwill, Trish McCabe, Lisa Millerd and all of our wonderful ECMS FFO volunteers.  It was a lovely evening and great to see everyone dressed up to honor the teaching profession.  Congratulations to our colleagues, Lindy Bowden of Canyon View Elementary and to Kristin Green of Manzanita who were CFSD teachers of the year, both such amazing women!

Cindy Janus, ECMS teacher, was honored for her distinguished teaching.  Read my previous blog to find out more about our wonderful Ms. Janus.


We began our BIRD OF THE MONTH campaign. Mr. Nick Glabicky, ECMS science teacher and avid birdwatcher is spearheading this event.  Every month, he will present (via Youtube) a bird to find in nature and one to identify by picture.  Students who correctly identify these birds will be entered in a drawing for Frost cards and birding accessories. Rachel Maleski wrote a grant to the FFO to fund the Frost cards.  We have invited our feeder schools to "bird" with us!

Bird watching is actually a great hobby that promotes being outdoors and conservation.  It's also great family fun.  Click on our Youtube channel icon and watch our videos on birdwatching.


On Saturday, January 28, Rachel Maleski, our curriculum technology coordinator, and I presented at the Reunion of Camp Snowball, the International Conference for Systems Thinking at the Marriott Starr Pass resort.  Our presentation consisted of a Pecha Kucha (powerpoint consists of 20 slides with 20 seconds per slide--a Japanese innovation that is also a pop culture phenomenon in Japan).  Please look at our presentation "Our Little School in the Desert" on our Youtube Channel and learn about our up and coming projects that support sustaining our school's beautiful environment.

U of A Project at Esperero:  Sustaining Our Environment

Speaking of environment, Dr. Ursula Schuch of the University of Arizona Agricultural Extension paid us a visit at ECMS.  Along with Orange Grove Middle School we are part of a grant that is seeking to help schools sustain the environment and establish urban pest control practices that are environmentally friendly.  Dr. Schuch, a horticulturist, walked the grounds with Ms. Castro and me, giving us tips on planting trees and maintaining our grounds.  It was fascinating.

We are in the early planning stages of a monthly grounds beautification project with parents and kids.  Ideally, we would like parents and kids to come to ECMS one Saturday per month to help us do some gardening.  Some ideas being tossed about include putting in a lizard garden and a cactus garden.  If you are interested in being part of this project (and it's in its infancy stages, at this point), please shoot me an email at  This is a project that will be guided by the information given to us by the U of A.  Everyone will have specifically assigned jobs.  Training will be provided.  Experience gardening would be helpful.


If you ask school administrators what days challenge us, Valentine's Day is high on the list. There can be a bit of frenzy with all of the hearts and an abundance of candy.  This year we want to focus on families during Valentine's Day.  We are holding a Valentine's Day lunch at Esperero Canyon for our parents/guardians and grandparents.  Who better to help us organize this feast than Monsieur Claude Chatelain, our Sodexo manager and native Parisian!  M. Chatelain has put together a wonderful menu of French favorites (yes, real French food).  Rachel Maleski, our technology guru, has compiled a wonderful playlist of seasonal songs that will be playing in the background.  Student Council will be decorating.  What better way to tell our parents we love them than with a rich mousse au chocolat?

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm offering the opportunity to share stories about heartwarming experiences with our parents.  ECMS parents and students can participate!  I'll put them on my blog.  Email them to me at Tell me if you want me to use your name or publish you anonymously.  Sharing stories is a great way of building community.

Here are examples from my own life (feel free to use my italicized sentence starters, or make up your own):

I knew my dad loved me when he drove in a blizzard to Denver to take me home for holiday break. My flight was cancelled and the Colorado Highway Patrol had closed a lot of roads: but, nevertheless dad managed, somehow! He turned up at my dorm and I was so happy and surprised to see him!

I knew my mom was cool when . . . she stayed up all night to make my Halloween costume when I was in 3rd grade.  I was a Pilgrim that year.  Twenty years later, my step daughter wore the same costume!

I knew my grandma was like no other when she gave me a fishing pole and a tackle box.  "It is very important for a girl to bait her own hook," is advice she gave that I have never forgotten.

Use some of my italicized stems or invent some new ones.  Submit your stories to


Happy Valentine's Day to all of our parents, kids, faculty and staff . . . .

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