***Please read all of the below for important information about the start of school (and some fun surprises!)***
Dear Thornhill Families,
I would like to extend a warm welcome to our new families and returning families. We are so happy that you are here at Thornhill. While it may take some time to connect and reconnect in this new era, we are very excited about seeing you all virtually!!! To our new families, welcome to the Thunderbird Family! Thornhill is a special place where we take care of each other, and we strive to be inclusive and welcoming to all.
I would like to thank all of you and your family members that are first responders, health care workers, doctors, nurses and other essential workers that have been there for the community during these difficult times. Your work, empathy and compassion does not go unnoticed! Thank you!
I also want to acknowledge the Black Lives Matter movement in addressing our nation's legacy of racial injustice. Let me just say, we are not free until everyone is free. And we have a long way to go. At Thornhill, we believe in and work towards being a community that respects and welcomes ALL families. We know we have a long way to go towards greater equity and we know that this work is a reflective journey that requires action. On the same subject, I would be remiss to not acknowledge the passing of Civil Rights Leader, John Lewis. I highly recommend that everyone see the documentary about John Lewis: Good Trouble.
I’m also aware and want to acknowledge the difficult economic times that we are in. I understand the challenges this brings to those families affected by economic hardship and the side effects of that stress. Please let us know if we can help you in any way. The Thornhill family and community is here for you.
By now, you know who your child’s teacher is and have heard the details of how we are starting school this year. Clearly, we are all in this together with regards to starting school in an online world. And won’t it be a year to remember! I know since March this has been very challenging for you and your families and we wish it would just go away. We miss the kids and families so much. And even though we can’t see you in person, we will make the best of it! I really enjoyed seeing students and families that came by to pick up technology on Friday.
As you know the times are changing. And with that in mind, we are asking for your patience and flexibility as we navigate these uncharted waters with the most fantastic crew in the world.
Once again welcome to Thornhill and I look forward to you seeing you all sometime soon.
In addition to reading the important information below, PLEASE WATCH THIS Welcome Back Video From the Thornhill Staff!
We learned so much during the spring and I am happy to say we will be streamlining with fewer programs. You should see more consistency and alignment! We are working on purchasing a couple more programs but here is what we have so far.
FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL STUDENT ASSEMBLIES
(this is an opportunity for students to meet the principal and the Thornhill faculty)
Student Assembly Grades TK-2nd
Friday, August 14⋅1:00 – 1:30pm
Student Assembly Grades 3-5
Friday, August 14⋅1:30 – 2:00pm
BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHTS
TK-2 AUGUST 18th
3rd-5th AUGUST 20th
*Your child’s teacher will send you a ZOOM link*
PLEASE WELCOME OUR NEW STAFF MEMBERS!
Anna Finnel - Kindergarten Teacher email@example.com
Madelyn Drolen - 2nd Grade firstname.lastname@example.org
Susie Gelbron Birndorf - TK-2nd OUSD Art Teacher email@example.com
Jennifer Crain - School Psychologist firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi all! My name is Ms. Anna Finnell and I am beyond excited to launch my teaching career this year at Thornhill! I was a long-term Kindergarten substitute in the spring and loved singing and sharing via Zoom :). I recently obtained my Master’s in Teaching Reading from the University of San Francisco and attended undergrad at the University of Oregon, go Ducks!
This summer, I facilitated a five-week online summer reading camp to encapsulate my graduate studies. With a focus on inclusive and diverse children's literature, we made reading engaging, inclusive, and child-focused. In my spare time, I love to try new recipes, listen to podcasts, spend time with animals, and read! I love watching my students grow as creative, empathetic, and empowered members of our community. I already feel so supported by the Kinder team and have been working to arrange and align our ideas for the start of the year! Can’t wait to embark on this adventure together!
Introducing our New TK-2 Art Teacher Mrs. Susie Gelbron Birndorf
The first thing you should know about me is that I have been excited about teaching art at Thornhill since I read the job listing during a sleepless night in Covid May. My thoughts shifted (for the most part!) from concern about the uncertainty of life to pondering age-appropriate projects for our TK-2nd graders. Before kids can read and write, they author and share stories through art.
My story began in Phoenix, Arizona, where I grew up attending public elementary and middle school. At 14, I went to boarding school in New Hampshire at Phillips Exeter Academy and immersed myself in activity. Photography became a passion and I spent hours in the darkroom learning technique--and studied its history as a political tool.
Summers were spent as a camp counselor in Big Bear, California, teaching tennis and art to 5-12 year olds. I majored in art history at Princeton and continued to learn about the aesthetic and political value of imagery--and that it is a portal to life in different times and places. This academic track was complemented by a degree in visual arts--and my participation in Princeton's Teacher Prep Program, which put me in a second grade classroom for the last two months of college to earn a teaching credential.
I continued making and studying art in the graduate program at the California College of Arts and Crafts--and added more courses on teaching elementary students. For the past twenty years, I have been at the helm of Carrot & Stick Press, a design and letterpress business. And my teaching has existed in the form of hosting stationery-making workshops and training new employees on antique presses.
In addition to making things, I love tennis, cooking and laughing! I have two sons: Milton is a 6th grader at Montera and Leonard is a 4th grader at Thornhill. I have loved the opportunity to be in their classrooms over the years and volunteer with the amazing teachers at our school. This new position consolidates my interests and I truly look forward to meeting the students and helping them experience the joy and power of creation.
--Susie Gelbron Birndorf
Finally, please see the attached PDF explaining how we will take attendance this year.