The "Pie of Life" - There's Nothing Sweeter!

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Today in 8th Grade Advisory, students constructed a pie chart illustrating how they spend their time each day. With homework, sports, chores, after-school clubs, and spending time with friends, there is little free time leftover. As our eighth graders prepare for the workload of high school, it is helpful to analyze how efficiently time is spent doing the things we need to do (and the things we want to do for fun). How much of the evening is spent watching TV or looking at the phone? Are we getting as much sleep as we need to be rested and ready for the day? Activities like “pie of life” charting helps students work on time management and better organize their daily schedules. Advisory time allows students to study their calendars, write down assignments and meetings, and prepare for the coming week.

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The countdown is on!

We are only 10 days away from the start of the 2019-2020 school year. Our maintenance staff has been hard at work preparing campus for the first day of school. All summer, we’ve been painting, waxing floors, making repairs, cleaning carpets, and replacing lightbulbs so our buildings will be in tip top shape.

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Of course, we can’t wait for the big reveal of the STJ Commons, our new dining facility. The crew is finishing the last-minute details this week. It’s a great day at STJ!

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Happy National School Counseling Week!

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.

June Garzon and Jamie Payne, High School Counselors

June Garzon and Jamie Payne, High School Counselors

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Clare Simon, Elementary School Counselor

Clare Simon, Elementary School Counselor

My absolute favorite part of my job is the students!  Having the privilege of watching them grow and develop is an honor and I love getting to know their families.  Morning carpool always starts my day off right.  Another aspect of my job that is a delight is seeing the students learn to problem-solve and create their own solutions to conflicts.  I love to see them take our guidance lessons and put them to work.
— Clare Simon, Elementary Counselor
Cherie Meadows, Middle School Counselor

Cherie Meadows, Middle School Counselor

My favorite thing about being a counselor at STJ is working with parents and students to help each student achieve the most optimal academic achievements, social integration, and emotional health.
— June Garzon, High School Counselor

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pH lab... anything but basic!

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.

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I like labs because they are entertaining. We learn more in-depth. We get to use cool tools like hot plates, electric balances, and spectroscope tubes.
— Grady Johnson, 8th grade

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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.

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Walk Like an Egyptian

Every year, STJ sixth graders celebrate the culmination of their Ancient Egypt unit by dressing up and participating in projects and activities. The students created a "Book of the Dead," sarcophagus, cartouche, and wrote their own Egyptian inspired poetry.

Each subject area studied various aspects of Egyptian culture and history. This multidisciplinary approach allowed each subject area teacher to focus on a specific theme and assign projects and classwork related to each subject.

Art, music, technology, and the four core subjects all worked together to provide a broader scope of learning for the students.

Each student created his or her own Egyptian ornamental collar, inspired by the ancient pharaohs and priests of the time. Students chose symbols, called hieroglyphics, to represent different objects, actions, sounds and ideas.

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For my collar, I chose the Almighty Seeing Eye, gems, and a pyramid for my collar.
— Donald Evans, 6th grade student
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