Yo ho ho! Last week, campers enjoyed pirate week at Camp STJ! Our little sailors participated in pirate fun with crafts, games, and STEM activities. Luckily, none had to walk the plank!
Camp STJ this summer has been full of fun and learning. Our campers, grades K4 through fifth, have been enjoying all of the activities and programming, especially the Thursday tradition of Water Day! What better way to beat this Alabama heat?
After a brief hiatus for maternity leave, Ms. Bartlett has returned and the admissions blog is back! Check in with us to see the exciting things going on at STJ this summer! We can’t believe school starts in one month. Campus has been bustling, but there’s nothing like the first day of school. We can’t wait to see our Trojans!
This week, second graders worked with prisms to learn how white light is refracted to produce a rainbow. On a bright day, students were able to “make” their own rainbows using rectangular prisms in our outdoor science lab.
When light passes through a prism, the light bends. As a result, the different colors that make up white light become separated. This happens because each color has a particular wavelength and each wavelength bends at a different angle. The colors that appear are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (the colors of the rainbow- “Roy G. Biv”)!
I teach : High school and Middle school instrumental music
I've Taught for: 10 years at Alabama State University, 23 years privately, and currently in my 2nd year at Saint James School
Hometown: Clarksville, TN (born in Des Moines, IA)
High school: Northeast High School, Clarksville, TN
College/Degree: Austin Peay State University/BS Music Composition & Performance, The University of Alabama/MM Music Composition/Theory, The University of Alabama/DMA Performance
STJ Extracurricular: Band
Favorite Book: The Art of War
Favorite Movie: The Godfather
Favorite Food: Meat!
Married to: Autumn Jackson (Señora Jackson, STJ Spanish Teacher)
Church: Frazer, and many others I perform at when called
Fun Fact: I was invited to compete for the first ever Team USA F3N (radio controlled freestyle aerobic helicopters) in World Championship in Poland.
Happy National School Counseling Week! Saint James School is privileged to have an incredible counseling staff across all levels, Pre-K3 through 12th grade. Our fantastic counselors are an integral part of our school culture and community.
Ms. Clare Simon has been a counselor for 35 years and at Saint James School for 25. She has a masters in counseling and is a certified LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor.
Ms. Cherie Meadows, middle school counselor, is current serving in her fourth year. She became a school counselor through training as a clergy person. Ms. Meadows holds a masters degree is in Religious Education and is ordained minister.
Ms. June Garzon and Mrs. Jamie Payne make up our high school counseling team. Students have the privilege of getting to know his or her counselor all four years of high school. Ms. Garzon and Mrs. Payne learn the talents and individual strengths of their students and assist them with everything from building class schedules, coordinating college tours, and scholarship applications. Ms. Garzon has been high school counselor for four years and hold a masters in Educational Administration with a focus on Private School Education from Teachers College of Columbia University, New York, NY. Ms. Payne is in her second year as high school counselor at STJ and holds both MBA and M.Ed in School Counseling. She is also a Nationally Certified Counselor.
Many of our administrators have also served in counseling roles at Saint James. Our current middle school principal, Ms. Laura Spivey, served as a counselor for fourteen years (eight in middle school and four in high school). She brings her years as counselor into her everyday role as principal. The unique experiences in the counseling office translate in many ways and provide Ms. Spivey with a special perspective as she serves the middle school. Mrs. Susan Atkins, Academic Dean, also served as counselor for the high school for many years. Likewise, our own Ms. Cathy Pearson, Dean of Admission, served as middle school counselor for 20 years and has a masters degree in counseling and human development.
Each of our counselors is dedicated to student success; strengthening our students’ physical, emotional, and mental health is paramount to Saint James School’s mission.
Last week, Mrs. Whigham’s Advanced 8th grade physical science class learned all about acids, bases, and pH levels. Students made hypotheses about what household items would be the most acidic and basic. Items like lemon juice, vinegar, hand sanitizer, bottled water, baking soda, and milk were tested and recorded in lab journals.
At STJ, it is important that students make connections between their lessons and labs in the classroom with real-world applications. The very same concepts that they used in lab today are being used world-wide to save lives and the planet. Currently, environmental engineers are researching water remediation or water treatment projects; understanding the chemical properties (including pH) of contaminants is important for safeguarding the health of environmental water sources and systems.
Students also studied the environmental correlation with pH levels. “The pH of different liquids and solutions, particularly the pH of bodies of water, are important in describing the behavior of different minerals and chemicals. For example, with increasing acidic pH values, water begins to cause harm and destruction of ecosystems and minerals, such as dissolving the calcium carbonate shells of mollusks, or making ecosystems unlivable for plants and animals,” said Mrs. Whigham. Relating lab experiments to everyday life and the world around us makes the classes more fun. The tools and equipment are especially fun.
I teach: Elementary Visual Art, grades K3-5
I've Taught for: 14years
Hometown: Montgomery, AL
High school: Saint James School. Go Trojans!
College/Degree: Auburn University, BFA. AUM, M. Ed.
Favorite Movie: The Black Stallion
Favorite Food: Home grown veggies
Married to: Nicholas Pelham
Children: Bonner age 6, Clurin age 4
Church: Pleasant Valley UMC in Jones, AL
Fun Fact: I have always had a passion for Horses, we currently have 3. Finch, Pete, and Dusty. I hope to one day spend a summer Trail riding across the Rocky Mountains.
This week, 3rd grade studied the movement of our planet. The students spent time investigating how the Earth rotates. Students learned that the Earth rotates on its axis and although it may look like the sun is moving across our sky, this is actually an illusion created by the Earth’s rotation.
On a sunny day, students ventured outside three different times to trace their shadows and see how they move and change. They measured the movements and recorded their findings to compare how much the shadows rotated during the day. Hands-on activities like this allow students to not only grasp science concepts, but apply them to everyday life.
Ms. Browning’s PreK3 class had a blast with Señora Jackson’s Spanish lesson this week. Students learned how to say “snowman” in Spanish along with body parts and some of his articles of clothing. The children sang songs to reinforce vocabulary and practiced saying the words as they decorated their very own "Muñeco De Nieve.” The boys and girls really enjoyed eating his "cuerpo” aka “body!"
All elementary students, PreK3-5th grade, visit Spanish enrichment once a week as part of their weekly enrichment rotations. Global languages like Spanish are incorporated into our school-wide curriculum throughout all grades.
I teach: Library- Elementary school
I've Taught for: 8 years
Hometown: Tuscaloosa, AL
High school: Open Door Christian School
College/Degree: B.A. in English, University of Alabama, 2006. MLIS in Library and Information Studies, University of Alabama, 2010
STJ Extracurricular: I teach ukulele lessons to elementary and middle school students after school!
Favorite Book: Charlotte's Web
Favorite Food: Mexican
Married to: Ashley Martin
Children: 1 boy: Harper, and 3 girls: Emrist, Mabel, & Theodora
Church: Church of the Highlands- Montgomery
Fun Fact: I am a kid lit blogger. You can find me here. Also, I recently finished up a two year term on the Association for Library Service to Children's Notable Children's Books Committee, which required tons of reading and was pretty time consuming, especially with a newborn in our life. It was a lot fun, though, and very rewarding.
Today, we celebrate our 100th day of school! Our PreK3, PreK4, and Kindergarten classes have been participating in fun actives to commemorate the occasion. Students made self-portraits of their 100-year-old selves, counted to 100, decorated shirts with 100 objects, read stories about the number zero, and celebrated “Zero the Hero” on his big day. Our PreK4 classes dressed up as 100-year-olds! Our teachers even joined in on the fun.
We are thankful to be 100 days smarter!
I teach: Elementary science lab for grades PreK3 through 5th grade - I love seeing all the elementary students each week!
I've Taught for: 15 years total (5 years at Saint James)
Hometown: Columbus, MS
High school: New Hope High School in Columbus, MS - Go Trojans! (our colors were black and gold though).
College/Degree: Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, MS - BS in Elementary Education (K-8), University of Great Falls in Great Falls, MT - Master of Arts in Teaching, Auburn University - Educational Specialist in Administration of Elementary and Secondary Education, Auburn University - Currently a Ph.D. student pursuing a degree in Administration of Supervision and Curriculum
STJ Extracurricular: I lead the 5th grade Junior Master Gardener's after-school program and also serve on the Performing Arts Guild board.
Favorite Book: My current favorite is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
Favorite Movie: It's a Wonderful Life
Favorite Food: Mexican of any kind!
Married to: Todd Taylor for 23 years and counting
Children: Ella who is a tenth grader and Davis who is an eighth grader, both at Saint James.
Church: First Assembly of God
Fun Fact: I taught fifth grade at the International School of Islamabad in Pakistan when my husband was stationed at the US embassy there.
Juniors in Ms. Hughes’s U.S. History class are currently studying the Gilded Age. They recently participated in “Gilded Age Shark Tank” based on the ABC hit program. Students were assigned to groups and given a Gilded Age invention which included Coca-Cola, the lightbulb and the phonograph. Students researched their invention while they prepared their presentations for the “sharks.” They had three minutes to try and convince the sharks, Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, to invest in their product. The hardest part of the assignment was not using modern references. How do you describe a lightbulb? Students had to describe the actual bulb but then also describe how it was used and why it was better than candles or oil lamps. They realized how hard it was pitch a product and learned more about their individual inventions. Group projects like this allow students to use real-world application of what they learn in the classroom.
The digital dice were rolling in Mrs. Greene’s class, as fifth grade students worked hard to get a noun Tic-Tac-Toe. Plural nouns were the object of the game and for every roll, student’s got a chance to cross off a square on the board.
Incorporating play into learning is a wonderful way to promote creativity and imagination. Hands on works builds cognitive, social, and emotional development.
Tic-Tac-Toe...three in a row WINS!
Position: Dean of Admissions
I've Taught for: I have worked in the field of education for over 39 years. I was a math Teacher for 7 years, (3 at STJ), a Middle School Counselor for 20 years, a Middle School principal for 6 years, and currently serving at Dean of Admissions in my 6th year.
Hometown: Union Springs, AL but moved to Montgomery in High School
High school: STJ 1976-the third graduating class of the school! Go Trojans!
College/Degree: BS Degree in Education from the University of South Alabama in 1980 and a Masters of Science Degree in Counseling and Human Development from Troy State University in Montgomery in 1987
Favorite Book and Favorite Movie: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Favorite Food: Guacamole, Pizza and Hamburgers
Married to: Joel Pearson (STJ Alum '76). We were high school sweethearts.
Children: Nan (STJ '06-lives in Atlanta) and Hartley (STJ '08- lives in Colorado)
Church: First United Methodist Church
Fun Fact: I'm currently planning my daughter's wedding which will be in Myrtle Beach this June. I also love Alabama Football. Roll Tide!
Two prospective families had a special treat during their recent visit to Saint James. Seventh grader Reilly Taylor and fourth grader Easton Selbee assisted the admissions office by serving as “junior ambassadors” for a day. Reilly and Easton spent some time in the office learning a bit about what goes on behind the scenes in admissions. Then, they helped Ms. Kate Bartlett, Associate Dean of Admissions, give a tour of campus. It was so fun for both families to hear the unique perspective of our current Trojans and for our students to share their experiences with our guests. After a wonderful tour, our junior ambassadors enjoyed a lunch with our staff and STJ Student Ambassadors. The STJ Student Ambassadors are high school juniors and seniors who serve as leaders at Saint James School. These students were selected after a competitive application and interview process- we can’t wait for both Reilly and Easton to apply when they become upperclassmen!
Happy New Year! We are so excited to host several admissions events coming up in the next few weeks. Come take a look at at Saint James School education!
January 26, 2019: STJ Pop-Up Shop-Grades 6-12 (3:00-5:00pm)
January 27, 2019: Pre K3/K4/Kindergarten Open House (1:30pm-3:30pm)
February 5, 2019: Grades 1-5 Lunch Tours (11am-1pm)
February 6, 2010: Grades 6-8 Lunch Tours (11am-1pm)
February 7th, 2019: Grades 9-12 Lunch Tours (11am-1pm)
A fishy smell filled the science lab as Ms. Taylor, elementary science lab teacher, prepared squid for dissection. Fourth graders were eager to “dive in” and learn more about the squid’s anatomy as well as document their study in an app called Book Creator.
Students took pictures of each step and drew on paper with the squid’s ink. Ben Hooks, STJ 4th grader, said, “It was really interesting to see what was inside the squid and feel how squishy it was.” The science lab gives students hands-on experiences that enhance their classroom learning.
Position: Associate Dean of Admissions
At STJ for: 2.5 years. Worked in higher education for 6 years previously
Hometown: I am an Army brat (born in Kansas and lived in Louisiana, Florida, Germany, Kentucky, and three cities in Georgia), but I claim Newnan, GA as my hometown
High school: Northgate High School
College/Degree: B.A. in Public Relations from Auburn University, Master of Liberal Arts in English from AUM
STJ Extracurricular: STJ Ambassadors sponsor and contributor to this blog
Favorite Book: Anything by Pat Conroy (but I studied literature so basically everything)
Favorite Movie: The Devil Wears Prada
Favorite Food: Thai food! We traveled to Ko Samui, Thailand for our honeymoon.
Married to: Jack for 7 years. We met my junior year at Auburn. He is a Montgomery boy, so we moved here after we married in 2011. He is a pharmaceutical rep and loves to paddle board and crossfit.
Children: One daughter, Frances. She is 2.5 and will be at STJ for Pre-K in 2019. We are also expecting our second daughter February 2019.
Church: First United Methodist Church of Montgomery
Fun Fact: I was a flight attendant right after college. I can pour a diet coke at 40,000 feet exactly to the top without fizz going over the side. Very specialized skills!