Spotlight on Learning: Happy Holidays & Thank you!!!
Fri, Dec 21 1:28pm
Redwood Heights Elementary
At the heart of the matter…

...are the children. I feel honored to be able to work with your children all day every day. I am also fortunate to be able to work with a group of such dedicated, compassionate educators, who work incredibly hard every day in service of our students. I feel blessed that we get to contribute to the future of our country and our world through our children’s genius,  joy, and hopefulness.

This is a season of giving and sharing and I think often of how to nurture empathy in our students and our community. One recent study found that children who performed acts of kindness on a regular basis, in addition to seeing positive changes in their academic experience, were more socially accepted by their peers. They also tended to be more inclusive and less likely to bully others as teenagers.

I want to share with you a book I recently started reading called The Kindness Advantage: Cultivating Compassionate and Connected ChildrenThe book offers ten building blocks of kindness, which include empathy acceptance, commitment, connection, giving, nurturing, observing, and questioning. On this topic, I am reminded of an article I just read in the New York Times, “How to Foster Empathy in Children,” that explains how research shows that we are each born with neurons that participate in an empathetic response. The degree to which kids act empathetically can be “up-regulated” or “down-regulated” depending on environmental factors. The article thus emphasizes how critical it is for adults to role-model empathetic behavior by explicitly demonstrating respect and care for others.

As we enter our winter break, I want to say thank you to all of you for contributing to our vibrant and kind community. Thank you to all of our parent groups: PTA, Dad's Club, SSC, DPCR, Library Committee, Garden Committee, and room parents. A special shoutout to all the fundraising efforts by our parent/guardian community.

A thank you to Mr. Harrington, our music teacher, for leading the students in beautiful mini-concerts for our Grand Affair. 

Thank you to Emily, our Library  Unicorn Fairy! :)
And here is a note from her:
It would have been impossible to run the book fair without the help of our amazing volunteers!  Here's hoping I caught all of their names. They did everything from clean and pack to gift wrap and run the cash register.  Amazing.
 
Jenny Pfeiffer, Jennifer Driscoll, Simon Rowston, Daniela Moldovanji, Qali Vartanian, Alexa Calos, Erica Gomes, Jill Oringer, Amy Stabler, Sarah Leng, Ann Ninh, Holly Iwanga, Mai Okita, Mira Levassener, Vanessa Holzknecht, Avis Kowalewski and Chloe Akemon
 
Yeah, that's right, 17 people helped besides MARGARET!!!!  She deserves a shout out too - The superwoman and master merchandiser!
 
And thank you to Miss Kim for helping with setup and Etheus Webb, who let us into the building so we could be open on Saturday.
 
And of course we can't forget to thank Mr. Harrington, who not only lost his regular classroom space for a week, but conjured up a performance that brought in our biggest day of sales - nearly $5000!
 
Many Hands Make Light Work. 
 
Thank you to all those who came out to support the book fair this year.  I'm looking forward to the final tally!  And the BIG FUN - GETTING NEW BOOKS IN OUR LIBRARY FOR CIRCULATION!
 
Warmest regards,
 
Emily Akemon
 
A special thanks to Darren, the PTA's fundraising committee chair. Here is a repost of his auction message:
On Saturday we had another epic finale to the RHS Auction season. People had so much fun we had to all but throw them out of Mills! As for the numbers, (since that’s what everyone’s waiting for), including raffle sales we hit a new record high, grossing $84K!!! Boo yah baby!
 
For perspective, three years ago we raised $63K and two years ago we topped $73K. I continue to be awed by and thankful for the way our community comes together, in words, deeds and dollars. This money will make an appreciable difference in the quality of the experience and education our kids will receive.
 
I’m also thankful for an auction team that quite simply performed magic! There are a TON of people to thank but my chief partners-in-crime included Jennifer Schneider, Jill Oringer, Rachel Balsley, Kala Chandler Renz, Gabriela Markette, Emily Hung Wilson, Eric Schneider, Jennifer Driscoll, Krista Fazio, Nicole Kelly, Stacey Foster Martz and Kimberly Foss. You were all ... amazing! (If I missed anyone please chalk it up to exhaustion and not intent!)
 
Have a relaxing and fantastic holiday vacation and we will see you in 2019.
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!!!
-Ms. Bagby-Ellison

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