2015-2016 LOTC & Guest Speaker Highlights

8/10-8/12, Mon.- Wed. – 9 AM-1 PM Faculty Inservice (babysitting provided by USL students and graduates).

8/12, Wednesday – Annual Alumni-Faculty Lunch – 11:45 AM in the gym

8/13-8/14, Th.- Fri. – 2015-2016 school year begins with Orientation activities led by USL Upper School students and graduates

8/17, Monday – Regular classes begin

8/19, Wednesday – orientation for Learning Outside the Classroom. As preparation for our field experiences, Middle and Upper School students will begin Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED training. Students will also bake cookies, deliver them, and clean up the kitchen. This will allow students to gain practice with the responsibility inherent to LOTCs and meet our neighbors around Coleman Blvd.

8/21, Friday – Students & Mentors Activity – USL students and mentors will enjoy a movie, games, and food in the gym from 6:30-8:30 PM.

8/24, Monday – Back to School Open House in the gym (6:00 PM). Middle and Upper School parents will provide complimentary babysitting for children of parents and faculty/staff.

8/26, Wednesday – LOTC – As part of preparation for our off-campus experiences, students will learn practical skills for personal safety from instructors from Charleston Krav Maga. MS/US students will continue Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED training. US students will travel around Mt. Pleasant and North Charleston to examine the rental market, including following the process to rent an apartment.

9/2, Wednesday – LOTC – As part of preparation for our off-campus experiences, Mount Pleasant Police Department personnel will offer a personal safety course to the entire student body. All students will continue learning practical skills for personal safety from instructors from Charleston Krav Maga. MS/US students will continue Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED training.

9/3, Thursday – Support USL – Family-style Spaghetti Dinner and Salad (serves 4-6). Order from Mrs. Hubbard by Wednesday, 9/2 for $25. Take home at car-pool pick-up today.

9/7, Monday – University School will be closed in honor of the Labor Day holiday. Classes resume on Tuesday, 9/8.

9/9, Wednesday – After beginning the day with a Morning Meeting class, students will have their individual photos taken by Ring Photography.  Make-up and all-school photos will take place next semester.  We will then travel and visit North America’s only tea plantation and the oldest tree east of the Mississippi River. The Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island is a working farm that uses tea plants dating back to the 18th century, and the tea is processed at an on-site factory. A horticulturalist will explain how tea plants are grown and nurtured. We will also learn about the processing of the tea and explore the 180 acre plantation by trolley. On the way to the Charleston Tea Plantation,we will stop and visit Angel Oak.  This oak tree is estimated to be over 1000 years old.  After school photos, Upper School students will take Darkness to Light training. Click here for a slideshow of our day!

9/16, Wednesday – LOTC – Activities in and around campus. The main focus will be advisory group activities (organizing and planning, bonding, and typing practice). Some students will take part in an AM art session with Mrs. Zollars.  At 1 PM, the Post and Courier’s Brian Hicks will be talking and answering questions about Charleston Mayor Joe Riley in the Hibben Sanctuary.  His biography of Riley, The Mayor, is coming out in November.  This is preparation for our annual exit polling LOTC, and you can read more about this here.  We have done a lot of prep on campus for this speaker about Mayor Riley (and the election), and all of the prep resources are on the L&L Moodle page.  Parents are welcome to join us for this.

9/21, Monday – no uniform day

9/22, Tuesday – Support USL and purchase Family Meal – order by 9/21, pick-up on 9/22.  The Auction Committee is selling family-style pesto pasta and Caesar salad dinners for $25 to members of the USL community, friends, and supporters. They will be ready to reheat and feed a family of 4-6. The proceeds from this sale will benefit USL and its mission.

9/23, Wednesday – LOTC – We will travel to the Congaree National Park in Hopkins, SC. It contains the largest expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest in the southeastern United States.  As part of this experience, we will watch (either before or soon after) “Roots in the River: The Story of Congaree National Park” made by SCETV.  It tells the “story of South Carolina’s only national park, from the initial attempts to harvest the forest’s massive virgin cypresses in the 1890s, through the grass-roots struggles of the 1970s to preserve it, to its classification as a National Park in 2003. The program also looks at the cultural history of Congaree and its uses by the historic African American communities neighboring the park”  Because it is located just south of Columbia, we will be departing earlier than normal.   Please enjoy this video of our day! 

9/24, Thursday – LOTC – HOSTED PERFORMANCE – University School will host Wonders of the Rain Forest at 10 AM in the gym.  Wonders of the Rainforest will showcase live animals and products from the Rainforests around the world and talk about their survival, natural history, geography, natural behaviors and conservation education. The performance emphasizes awareness and enthusiasm for wildlife conservation education, both at the grass roots community level and on a national scale. Each presentation will feature live animal ambassadors from the rainforests around the world. The show will consist of 5 – 6 rainforest animals. It is appropriate for all ages and lasts about 45 minutes. Guests will include our friends from area schools, assisted living centers, and the homeschool community.  Students will wear formal LOTC attire for hosting this show (nice khaki bottoms and white USL collared shirt) and name tags. Please enjoy this slideshow of the animals! 

9/25, Friday – Our next Student/Mentor night will be held on Friday, September 25.  We’ll be in the gym from 6:30-8:30 talking, playing games, and/or watching a movie — food and drinks provided.

9/30, Wednesday – (A) This day is set aside as an opportunity for parent & teacher conferences.  Please remember that they can be arranged at any point during the year. (B) LOTC – trip to Shem Creek Park for lunch and then ArtBuzz painting activity.  MS Trip prep (two documentaries about the Battle of Gettysburg).  Flex also for MS & US.  IS L&L in the morning.  (C) OPTIONAL FAMILY LOTC AND VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – At 4 PM (and it will last until 6:00 or 6:30 – so come when you can), we hope to help the Hibben UMC community unload and arrange the pumpkins on the lawn facing Coleman Blvd. Afterwards enjoy a free pizza dinner in the gym! Please bring a dark t-shirt to wear because the pumpkins are dirty (straight out of the patch)!  This is a great annual tradition! Please enjoy this video from the day!

10/2, Friday –  The first of two (come to one or the other) MS Pennsylvania Trip Chaperones’ Meetings will be held today from 2:30-3:00 PM.

10/6, Tuesday –  The second of two (come to one or the other) MS Pennsylvania Trip Chaperones’ Meetings will be held today from 7:30-8:00 AM.

10/6, Wednesday –  It was nice to have everyone back and safe on campus today.  Everyone spent part of the day on relationship building (the IS got to pick an MS lunch partner).  The IS also took part in recycling, cubby organizing, Math skill building, and an L&L class.  In the afternoon, they were able to work with Ms. Donoghue on their Science project.  The MS had English and L&L classes in the morning.  In the afternoon, they prepared for their upcoming trip to Pennsylvania by watching PBS’ American Experience documentary “The Amish.”  The Upper School had English and L&L classes in the morning.  In the afternoon, we took the USL bus to the Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of the Red Cross in North Charleston.  There we talked with volunteers and watched the efforts to help citizens in need in our community.  It was neat to learn more about efforts the Red Cross oversees besides blood collection and health/safety classes (like the CPR/First Aid/AED classes the MS/US and faculty take each August).  Most compelling was talking with Michael from Florida.  A retired law enforcement officer, he has been a RC volunteer for the last decade.  He assisted in NY after Sandy, in Texas after flooding, and in Oklahoma after tornadoes.  The students learned what they can do to help, and it was very enlightening.  We also went to the Park Circle and Chicora areas of North Charleston to continue our on-site learning about North Charleston High School (P&C had a recent series we read) and renting and buying housing.  The day ended with all of us in the gym, reflecting about the day and sharing compliments.

10/8, Thursday – University School will be at the High School Fair at Mason Prep School from 6:30-8:00 PM.  Mr. Kreutner and some of our Upper School students will represent USL.  Interested 7th and 8th graders and their families can attend to explore area and boarding high schools beyond University School’s Upper School.

10/12, Monday – We will have an Open House. The event will begin at 6 p.m. at USL’s campus (690 Coleman Blvd. in Mount Pleasant), and interested families are welcome to drop by and learn more. There will be a formal presentation from 6:15-7 p.m., and there will be time beforehand and afterward to meet and ask questions of students, teachers and parents.

10/13, Tuesday – Support USL and purchase Family Meal – order by 10/12, pick-up on 10/13.  The Auction Committee is selling family-style dinners for $25 to members of the USL community, friends, and supporters. They will be ready to reheat and feed a family of 4-6. The proceeds from this sale will benefit USL and its mission.  Please feel free to share this with interested families.

10/14, Wednesday – LOTC – In the AM, PSAT administration.  All other students will engage in exercises to learn more about the upcoming elections that we will be exit polling on Tues., 11/3. We’ll also take part in some community building and help clean up the campus in advance of Hibben’s Fall Festival.

10/15, Thursday – As preparation for our annual exit polling LOTC on Election Day (Tuesday, November 3), several students will attend the Mount Pleasant Business Association’s Monthly Luncheon. The format is a “Meet the Candidates” event featuring those running for election for Mount Pleasant Town Council.  This is held every two years and is an event we usually attend.

10/18, Sunday – 10/22, Thursday – The Midde School trip this year is to the University of Virginia and sites across Pennsylvania. We’ll tour UVa, and students will learn about Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, Gettysburg National Military Park, President James Buchanan’s Wheatland home, Amish country in Lancaster County, and possibly the 9/11 Memorial in Shanksville.

10/18, Sunday – The USL community will have a game booth and help with clean-up at the Mount Pleasant Children’s Festival at Park West Recreational Complex (12 PM-5 PM). University School won Best School Booth in 2010 and 2013 — and 2nd place in 2014!

10/21, Wednesday – LOTC – The Intermediate and Upper Schools will tour and explore Colonial Dorchester State Park.  One of the main components is learning about the active archaeological sites. Please enjoy this slideshow from the day!

10/22, Thursday –  University School will be represented at the First Grade Fair at Grace Episcopal Church at 98 Wentworth Street in Charleston from 5:30-7:30 PM.  This program is geared to current kindergarten students and allows us to share USL with families to think of down the road.   Please share this information with families you know may be interested in University School. This was rescheduled from October 1 because of poor weather conditions.

10/23, Friday – There will be no school for a faculty in-service day from 9:00-noon. USL students will offer complimentary babysitting for faculty members’ children and lunch will be provided.

10/24, Saturday – The USL community will assist Hibben UMC with their annual Fall Festival from 8 AM – 3 PM.

10/26, Monday – (A) Middle and Upper School students will enjoy The Warehouse Theatre presents Hamlet at the newly-renovated Gaillard Center. (B) Members of the Upper School will attend the Lowcountry Phi Beta Kappa Association’s Fall Gathering, and the featured guest is acclaimed SCETV naturalist Rudy Mancke.

10/28, Wednesday – LOTC – We will visit the Organic Research Farm at the Clemson Research and Education Center in West Ashley. The Center includes a Department of Agriculture US Vegetable Lab. Our primary guide will be Dr. Brian Ward. His main research interest is the “sustainability of organic agricultural systems. Precision fertility management in organic vegetable and small grain production is of vital importance that Dr. Ward focuses on and shares with growers. He is also interested in bio-based fertilizer production and flame based weed suppression. Future research is ongoing with the development of a steam sterilization system that works in place of fumigation to sustainably sterilize soils of weed seed, disease and nematodes.”

10/29, Thursday – The Upper School Quiz Bowl team won their region today!  This means they will take part in the High School State Quiz Bowl on Tuesday, November 17.  We competed against Charleston Collegiate, First Baptist, and Northwood Academy, and our students won all three of their matches.  This was an amazing outcome considering it was our first time ever participating in a high school quiz bowl competition! Congratulations to team members Anne Adragna, Miko Crowley, Allison Horan, Cole Jones, Ellie Manucy, and Kennon Saad!

10/30, Friday – (A) It is an annual tradition for students and faculty to “dress up” for Halloween.  This is optional.  Please just make sure your costume is Hibben Preschool-appropriate.  (B) Halloween-themed Mentor Night from 6:30-8:30 in the gym. (C) The Upper School will travel with Mrs. Logan to visit photographer Jack Alterman’s “East Siders Matter” installation in downtown Charleston.  They may be joined by Alterman!   (D) Please join the Social Committee for our parent gathering while the children play and enjoy their time at Mentor Night!

11/2, Monday – 11/5, Friday – Students and parents will receive skill wheels, narrative comments, and, for the MS/US, grades.  Students will get printed copies, and I’ll email PDFs to parents.  At USL, we believe that our emphasis on skills helps our students learn and grow efficiently.  Skill Wheels use numerical ratings to chart out how well students perform in approximately thirty areas that are vital to personal success as an individual and within a group setting.  They provide critical insight for one to use in improving oneself. Using a spreadsheet, students then average the numbers for each skill, sort them, and analyze them.  This includes determining their top skills and the ones that are their weakest.  This process concludes by writing a reflection and answering questions about the skills and their narrative comments for Leadership & Life Skills class on Moodle, and this includes tracking the changes in their skills over time (and how they succeed and stumble as they go after their goals). There are several model reflections posted, and I’ll also talk with the IS about current older students and their reflections from their time in the IS.  These activities allow the students, especially the younger ones, to see that their role models have struggled and made vast progress in their experiences at University School.  Knowing this helps students accept and learn from constructive criticism, and this is an important characteristic that we focus on at University School.

11/3, Tuesday – LOTC – On Election Day (Tuesday, November 3) students administered exit polls for the Mount Pleasant municipal races and the for Charleston mayoral race to determine who will succeed long-time Mayor Joe Riley. Each student canvassed voters at two precincts (one in each municipality), and USL visited 26 total voting sites. We then compiled the information and predicted the outcomes using our exit poll results. We included our own questions concerning the submarine Clamagore, preference for part-time or full-time mayor of Mount Pleasant, the proposed International African American History Museum, and quality of life questions. Here is some media coverage of this year’s exit polling activity. The Post and Courier included a day-time update on our efforts on Election Day: “Lowcountry voters undeterred by wet weather, poll workers say.” The P&C also featured a story on our exit polling on Election Night: “Exit poll smiles on John Tecklenburg, Leon Stavrinakis.” The Moultrie News also spotlighted this experience for our students: “Students get it right with town council election predictions.” In the November 8, 2015 edition, Post and Courier columnist Brian Hicks builds upon the results of a survey question in our exit poll from Tuesday about full vs. part-time mayor for Mount Pleasant (“Mount Pleasant should listen to voters on strong-mayor government”). After highlighting the history and reliability of our students’ efforts over the years, Hicks focuses on the overwhelming support for a full-time mayor that was expressed in this survey question and expands upon it by looking at municipal government forms in other big cities in the region. The piece ends with a call to heed the exit poll results and move to a full-time mayor format in Mount Pleasant.  Beyond the lessons already learned from Tuesday about social skills, math, governance, statistics, etc., the students have now played a role in agenda setting.  This means their work has started/contributed to a public debate in Mount Pleasant. Click here for the results of our 2015 exit polling and predictions! 

11/4, Wednesday – LOTC – review the results of Tuesday’s election.

11/7, Saturday – As part of an optional family LOTC day, USL will take a day trip to Yemassee in Beaufort County to visit famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Auldbrass plantation. This connects strongly with the experience in October when the Middle School visited Wright’s Fallingwater while on their trip to Pennsylvania. Owned and restored by Hollywood producer Joel Silver, it is open for tours every other year for only two days. Please enjoy this slideshow from the day!

11/11, Wednesday – LOTC – on-campus activities and classes, including preparation for Friday’s Day of Caring.

11/12, Thursday – University School MS & US students will host YALLFest author Brendan Reichs in the afternoon for an on-campus symposium, and we are sharing the experience with our friends from Meeting Street Academy. Reichs is co-author of the Virals series.

11/13, Friday – LOTC – University School students, faculty, parents, alumni, and alumni parents took part in National Day of Caring service projects at thirteen sites across Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties through the Trident United Way in the Lowcountry. This is one of the biggest Days of Caring in America, and we contributed over 500 hours of service for the 2015 Day of Caring at Midland Park Primary, Pinehurst Elementary, Jane Edwards Elementary, FamilyCorps, Carter-May Assisted Living Home, International Primate Protection League, South Santee Senior and Community Center, Tri-County Family Ministries, Fresh Future Farm, Footlight Players, Matilda Dunston Elementary, Chicora Elementary, and Windwood Farm Home for Boys. Our relationship with some of these organizations extends back to the founding of University School, and it is neat to support and learn about these schools and non-profits in the greater-Charleston area. The Post and Courier had a nice article about the DoC (“Day of Caring turns out thousands to give back to community”), and it features pictures of some of our students at Fresh Future Farm along with an examination of our work there. Click here for a slideshow of our day!

11/14, Saturday – Optional Family LOTC – YALLFest – Charleston’s Young Adult Book Festival (420 King Street from 10 AM – 6 PM). YALLFest is a Young Adult Literature Festival founded and based in Charleston. USL is friends with Jonathan Sanchez, the owner of Blue Bicycle Books and the driving force behind YALLFest.  USL’s own MS & US English teacher, Sara Peck, is also one of the organizers!  Traditionallyl a large contingent of University School’s students attend YALLFest on their own on Saturday. Pleasure reading is to be cherished, and it is terrific that our culture celebrates outside reading.  Thanks to our teachers, students, and parents for valuing reading!

11/16, Monday – Support USL – Family-style Spaghetti Dinner and Salad (serves 4-6). Order from Mrs. Hubbard by Friday, 11/13 for $25. Take home at car-pool pick-up today.

11/17, Tuesday –  (A) High School Quiz Bowl State Championship at Wilson Hall in Sumter.  Good luck to our region champs!  We’ll depart early and hope to arrive back before the bus departs for James Island County Park. (B) Annual Family Potluck Dinner and Gathering at James Island County Park Wando Shelter (including the Holiday Festival of Lights and the opportunity to see the Greeting Card our Middle School students made). Students will depart by bus at the end of school, and dinner is at 5:45.  A separate email about food sign up, etc. will be sent by the Social Committee.

11/18, Wednesday – LOTC – on-campus classes, thank you card writing, and preparations for the upcoming MUSC and Faith exploration field trips. In the afternoon, we will visit Ebenezer AME Church in downtown Charleston. We’ll explore the church and meet/talk with Rev. Dr. William Swinton, Jr.. Swinton has led Ebenezer since 2002, and he will help us learn more about the church, the AME faith, and the impact of the deaths in June at Mother Emanuel AME Church. This is our first visit to Ebenezer, having explored and learned about the AME faith via trips in earlier years to meet Pastor Bernard Brown at Holy Trinity AME in Mt. Pleasant and Rev. Clementa Pinckney at Mother Emanuel AME. Please enjoy this slideshow from the day!

11/19, Thursday – several Upper School students will take part in the West Point Ethics Conference for developing student leaders.

11/23, Monday – Middle School students, their families, and the faculty will enjoy the annual Middle School luncheon. Themes from earlier years include items from Charleston Receipts, Mediterranean dishes, and a traditional Southern picnic. Mrs. Logan’s brainchild is a wonderful way to begin the Thanksgiving week!

11/24, Tuesday – no uniform day

11/25-27, Wednesday-Friday – University School will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Classes will resume on Monday, November 30.

12/1 Tuesday – Support USL – Family-style Meal TBD (serves 4-6). Order from Mrs. Hubbard by Monday, 11/30 for $25. Take home at car-pool pick-up today.

12/2, Wednesday – LOTC – We traveled to Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner. We visited the Trappist monks here a few years ago, but this learning adventure focused on their popular annual Creche Festival. In addition to learning about a key pillar of Christianity, the 50+ representations of the Christian Nativity allowed students to see a wide array of artistic mediums and incredible creativity from across the globe. Click here for a slideshow of our day!

12/7, Monday – We will have an Open House. The event will begin at 6 p.m. at USL’s campus (690 Coleman Blvd. in Mount Pleasant), and interested families are welcome to drop by and learn more. There will be a formal presentation from 6:15-7 p.m., and there will be time beforehand and afterward to meet and ask questions of students, teachers and parents.

12/8, Tuesday – LOTC HOSTED PERFORMANCE – University School will host classical pianists Vladimir Pleshakov and Elena Winther for a performance of at 10 AM in the gym. It is appropriate for all ages and lasts about 50-60 minutes. Guests will include our friends from Sweetgrass Assisted Living Village, Hibben UMC Preschool, Moultrie Middle School, Christ Our King-Stella Maris School, Charleston-area homeschool families, and other groups from the community.

12/9, Wednesday – LOTC- Medical University of South Carolina – It is a December tradition to visit MUSC. Students took part in several activities to learn about Pediatric Cardiology, Interventional Neuroimaging, Meducare (medical helicopter transportation), and Telehealth (allowing rural schools and other healthcare providers to consult with MUSC physicians using the latest technology). As is customary, the day ended with our visiting and delivering holiday cards to patients at the Hollings Cancer Institute. Click here for a slideshow of our day!

12/18, Friday  (A) LOTC – As is customary, we will have our annual Winter Faiths/Holidays Interdisciplinary Day on the last day of the semester.  We will learn about holidays and how they are celebrated by various faith and ethnic groups. In the morning, we will visit Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim synagogue in Charleston. One of the oldest synagogues and congregations in America, KKBE also represents Charleston’s significance as the birthplace of Reform Judaism. We last visited KKBE in 2009, and in the intervening years we have explored Conservative Judaism (Synagogue Emanu-El) and Orthodox Judaism (Brith Sholom Beth IsraelSynagogue) so that our students get a comprehensive view of the faith. In the afternoon we will visit St. Michael’s Church in Charleston. The oldest church building in Charleston, visiting St. Michael’s will allow us to learn more about this church, its history, and the Anglican faith. Please enjoy this slideshow from the day (B) Students & Mentors Activity – USL students and mentors will enjoy a movie, games, and food in the gym from 6:30-8:30 PM. The evening includes the annual showing of Home Alone. We also ask that each student bring a few durable food items that we will donate to the Lowcountry Food Bank and Holy Trinity AME Church. This is an annual tradition to support the Food Bank and the food outreach efforts of HT AME. (C) End of Second Quarter and First Semester

12/21, Monday – 1/3 Sunday – Winter Break Holiday. Classes resume on Monday, 1/4.

1/5, Tuesday – USL’s High School Night.  8th graders and their parents are welcome to learn more about USL’s Upper School and gain information about other options.  This meeting is from 6:00-7:00 PM. Because our Upper School is a natural evolution of our existing program, we plan to share information with our families about our Upper School and the Middle School to High School transition when they are in 7th grade (and we will have this meeting for our current 7th graders and their families in March/April).

1/6, Wednesday – LOTC- As a comparison to our annual exploration at MUSC each December, we will be learning about the Roper Saint Francis health system. It is the only one in Charleston that is private and non-profit, and its roots stretch back over 150 years.  The focus is less clinical and more career oriented — i.e, occupations in care, finance, engineering, etc. that exist in a hospital setting.

1/12, Tuesday – On January 12, 2016, we won Second Place Team at the South Carolina Independent School Association High School Math Meet! We are proud of all of the participating students — Anne Adragna, Thomas Boyle, Allison Horan, Allison Li, Sandy Otap — and our Upper School Math teachers, Mrs. Brockman and Mrs. Elmore! As our current highest grade is 11th, this is an amazing accomplishment — including a top 3 individual high scorer! This is our second year of participating in this competition, and we’ve now placed Second and Fourth. This is also quite a testament to our Math program at University School, including the strong foundation that is established in the Intermediate and Middle Schools with Mrs. Brockman, Mrs. Lawrie, Ms. Elmore, Ms. Donoghue, and Mrs. Koches.  Congratulations to the teachers and the students!

1/13, Wednesday –  (A) LOTC- to be determined  (B) HOSTED PERFORMANCE – University School will host the Fabulous Chinese Acrobats for a performance at 10 AM in the gym. Presenting feats of extreme balance, contortion, and athletic skill, these teenage acrobats travel the world thrilling audiences and representing Chinese culture. It is appropriate for all ages and lasts about 45 minutes. Guests will include our friends from Windwood Farm Home for Boys, Christ Our King-Stella Maris School, Sweetgrass Assisted Living Village, Hibben UMC Preschool, Moultrie Middle School, Charleston-area homeschool families, and other groups from the community. Click here for a slideshow of their performance!

1/14-18, Thursday-Monday – Students will not have classes because of faculty in-service on Thursday, 11/14. University School will be closed on Friday, 1/15 and Monday, 1/18 in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Classes will resume on Tuesday, January 19.

1/19, Tuesday – On January 19, 2016, we won First Place Team at the South Carolina Independent School Association Middle School Math Meet, and this included having two of the top three high scorers for the whole competition! Congratulations to all of the participating students and our Middle School Math teachers: Mrs. Brockman, Mrs. Lawrie, and Ms. Elmore. The following were our participating students: Thomas Boyle (Third overall individual), Ron Kalus, Sabrina Lawrence, Allison Li (First overall individual), Isabel Prioleau, Julian Hill, Daniel Kalus, Mary Lee, Cayleigh Nicholson, Alex Pawlik, Jack Woodward.  This is our third year of participating in this competition, and we’ve now placed First, Second, and First. Coupled with our Second Place finish in last week’s High School Meet, we are on quite a roll in Mathematics! This is quite a testament to our Math program at University School, and kudos go to our Math teachers in all three divisions: Mrs. Brockman, Ms. Donoghue, Ms. Elmore, and Mrs. Lawrie. Our students also benefit from our individualized approach to the subject. In the Middle School, for example, students take classes at the level where they need to be. This includes 8th graders taking Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra II. No other school in the state does this.

1/20, Wednesday – LOTC – none because of the shortened week.

1/27, Wednesday – (A) LOTC – on-campus learning and relationship-building activities; (B) – Teacher & Parent Conference Opportunity. They can also be scheduled at any other time of the year.

1/28, Thursday – Support USL – Family-style Spaghetti Dinner and Salad (serves 4-6). Order from Mrs. Hubbard by Wednesday, 1/27 for $25. Take home at car-pool pick-up today.

1/28, Thursday – 1/31, Monday – Upper School trip for 5 days and 4 nights. We will fly to Texas to explore Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. In Houston, we’ll visit Space Center Houston and then enjoy a personal dinner and presentation with astronaut Megan McArthur Behnken, whose husband is also an astronaut!  She is on of the roughly 500 people who have ever traveled into space. We’ll also visit with a former Maersk cargo ship captain, Jason Stancil, and he’ll give us an overview of the Port of Houston.  The students will also tour Rice University.  In Austin, we’ll examine several historic and cultural sites, including the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, and we’ll tour and learn more about the University of Texas.  In San Antonio, we are staying in the River Walk district, and we’ll explore there and tour the Alamo.  It should be a great learning adventure!

2/3, Wednesday – LOTC – (A) This Wednesday, we visited Charleston County’s Bees Ferry Landfill and its Composting Site. Over 60% of Charleston County’s trash ends up here: the rest goes to a private landfill in Dorchester County. We saw 7 Bald Eagles, and our guide from Charleston County estimated there are around 30 total!  As the total area is filled in, the old “cells” (or the holes in the ground, covered with thick plastic and then covered with trash and dirt in alternating layers) become nature preserves for wildlife.  We also visited Grow Food Carolinato learn more about their efforts to support local farmers by more efficiently connecting them with potential customers. Supporting small farms with a favorable location and refrigerators, freezers, and marketing is a game changer! It was created by the Coastal Conservation League in 2011. Please enjoy the slideshow (including a picture of a Bald Eagle on top of a row of compost)! (B) It was a successful day at the SCISA State Literary Meet on Wednesday, and we are proud of our participants and are grateful to Ms. Peck, our Middle and Upper School English teacher, for inspiring and chaperoning them.  As with our LOTCs that place students in all sorts of situations to learn, competitions like this allow students to test and push themselves — and then learn from the experience.  We participated in 1-2 events a few years ago, and this was only our third year fielding a full-complement of students in the array of fields.    It was a busy day with a large contingent of schools present.  Congratulations to following top finishers:
Allison Horan, 11th grade, for winning 2nd Place in High School Girls essay writing. Gabby Villacres, 8th grade, for winning 3rd Place in Middle School Girls extemporaneous speaking. Allison Li, 8th grade, for winning 1st Place in Middle School Girls essay writing.
Participants: Middle School Oral Interpretation: Julian Griffin & Cayleigh Nicholson — Middle School Extemporaneous Speaking: Daniel Kalus & Gabby Villacres — Middle School Essay: Rhett Baldwin & Allison Li — Upper School Extemporaneous Speaking: Kennon Saad & Anne Adragna — Upper School Essay: Miko Crowley & Allison Horan –Upper School Oral Interpretation: Ellie Manucy & Cole Jones

2/5, Friday – Middle School Dance in the gym (6:30-8:30). Please enjoy this slideshow of the dance !

Early-February, 2016 – the results for the Scholastic Art & Writing competition for the Southeast Region were revealed. This competition is for 7-12th graders, and this year our 7th-11th graders entered 120 works of fiction, nonfiction, personal memoir, and poetry and received an amazing 94 awards!  84% of our students were honored. 17 Gold Keys were won, and these pieces will move on to the national level. Typically the number of submissions in the region numbers in the tens of thousands and for the country is 250,000+. It is our practice and belief to have all of our eligible students take part in this competition.  Our talented and driven group of learners have been inspired and guided to become better and more confident writers by their devoted teachers — success that has been recognized by the Scholastic Writing Awards!

2/9-2/11, Tuesday-Thursday – special LOTC – 5th Grade, Middle. and Upper School students took part in an array of activities at the College of Charleston for the 3nd Annual Piccolo Darwin Week . Students attended sessions entitled “A Walk Through Time,” “Dinosaurs,” and “Harry Potter and the Evolution of Fantastic Beasts.”  It was a powerful learning experience — in terms of ascertaining the latest research and insights, seeing passionate professors and graduate students (and role models), and adding to each student’s understanding of what college and beyond can entail. Please enjoy the slideshow of the three experiences!

2/12, Friday – we made our annual trip to Marion Square in downtown Charleston for the first day of the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. Flight demonstrations by the Center for Birds of Prey, specialty breeds of dogs, various forms of wildlife art, local foods, and the presence of government and non-profit experts on the environment and wildlife are the highlights of this experience. We also explored the College of Charleston’s Mace Brown Natural History Museum. Please enjoy the slideshow of the day!

2/15, Monday – University School will be closed in observation of the Presidents’ Day Holiday. Classes resume on Tuesday, 2/16.

2/17, Wednesday – (A) classes today instead of an LOTC because of the short week; (B) Middle School Quiz Bowl regional competition. We were Region Champions in 2013-2014, and Region Champions and State Runners-Up in 2014-2015!

Mid-February -The spirit of Learning Outside the Classroom is to explore for oneself, and this allows one to make informed decisions based on experience. In mid-February, groups of students had the chance to attend presidential events for Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump. Students have had the chance to assess presidential candidates and how they present themselves. It is always neat to see adults buzz with the presence of students, and our children appreciate this positive feedback and get a lot of practice talking with strangers as they field questions.  US Senator Tim Scott was on hand for the Rubio event, and it was neat for students to see him again because he visited USL last year.  We had guest speakers from the Republican, Democratic, Green, and Libertarian parties. Donald Trump was at a private plantation in Walterboro for the Sportsmen for Trump event.  Trump only spoke for 15 minutes, but there was a large crowd of 2000+.  The students saw and talked with Mt. Pleasant Mayor Linda Page. Another highlight was Post and Courier reporter Paul Bowers interviewing the students about their thoughts, and he quoted two of them in his recap article.

2/20, Saturday – University School will hold its Annual Auction at 6:00 PM at Hobcaw Yacht Club. All members, supporters, and friends of the USL community are invited to join us for this event. Donations are welcome and appreciated. Buying tickets and bidding on items is done through a program called Bidr — a venture based right here in Charleston! Just click on the link and “BUY TICKETS” is at the top. Tickets are $25. You can even preview auction items on the site! Bidr allows friends, family, and supporters the opportunity to bid and donate from their cellphones if they cannot attend in person!

2/24, Wednesday – LOTC – all students will attend Charleston Stage’s production of Seat of Justice at the Dock Street Theater at 9:30 AM and then enjoy lunch at Waterfront Park. It chronicles the true-life participants and events that comprise the Briggs vs. Elliott court case that took place in Clarendon County in the late-1940s and early-1950s.  Our original plan was to eat lunch at Waterfront Park for the afternoon, but inclement weather is causing us to devise alternate plans.

2/25, Thursday – (A) Special LOTC – several interested students took part in the Charleston Air Force Base’s Tuskegee Airmen program.  The local CBS station, Channel 5, composed a video story about it for their evening news yesterday, and it is neat to see some of our students taking part. (B) State Senator Marlon Kimpson’s Presidential Town Hall with Secretary Hillary Clinton at the Royal Family Life Center at 4750 Luella Avenue, North Charleston, SC 29405. As with the rallies for other candidates that our students have attended in the past few weeks for Bush, Kasich, Rubio, and Trump, this event will give students a chance to evaluate a candidate first-hand.

2/26, Friday – (A) No uniform day  (B) 5th & 6th grade lunch at a park

2/29, Monday – 4th & 8th grade lunch at a park

DATE TBD – LOTC – Annual Personal Health Symposium. Physicians from MUSC’s Department of Adolescent Medicine will guide this day.

DATE TBD – Intermediate School Family and Special Friends Day from 9-10:30 AM in the gym. IS students will share what they have learned this year with special friends and members of their family in this morning event.

3/1, Tuesday – All USL students will enjoy Songs from the Soul — a revue of African-American music by Virginia Repertory Theatre at the newly-renovated Gaillard Center.

3/2, Wednesday – LOTC – Students who have completed their job shadows will present their experience and field questions from the students and staff, and we will also take a few sections of the Stanford Achievement Test.

3/3, Thursday – Middle School Quiz Bowl State Competition. We were Region Champions in 2013-2014, and Region Champions and State Runners-Up in 2014-2015!

3/3, Thursday and 3/4, Friday  MS/US small group LOTC – some students will attend sessions of the Symposium on Southern Politics at The Citadel. This event is held every two years (in conjunction with the federal election cycle), and we have attended the last three.

3/4, Friday –  (A) A few 8th-11th grade students will participate in the Palmetto Association of Independent Schools’ Student Diversity Leadership Workshop at Heathwood Hall in Columbia.  (B) Mentor Night from 6:30-8:30 in the gym.  Students will enjoy food, fun, and fellowship.

3/9, Wednesday – LOTC – (A) First thing in the morning, we will take our All-School photo and individual re-takes with Ring Photography. (B) Students who have completed their job shadows will present their experience and field questions from the students and staff, and we will also take a few sections of the Stanford Achievement Test.  In the afternoon, we’ll visit the temporary Boeing exhibition (“Above and Beyond“) in front of the Gaillard Center, and we will explore this after the testing is complete for the day.

3/9, Wednesday – College Counseling session for our Upper School students and their families (6-7 PM).  Both members of our College Counseling team will oversee the session.  Roger Smith, our Director of College Counseling, and Don Burkard, recently-retired from 25+ years at the College of Charleston — most recently the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Planning, comprise a talented team with experience and insights on both sides of the process. Mr. Smith meets throughout the year with all of the Upper School students.  Mr. Burkard currently works with USL Upper School students in their junior year.  They both help our students look ahead to the next transition and with life planning, and they enable us to provide a strong and comprehensive college counseling program.  They will make a presentation, share information, and will be happy to answer any questions about high school to college, etc.

3/11, Friday – (A) End of the Third Quarter (B) 7th grade lunch at a park

In early-March, 2016, four USL students were named Scholastic Art and Writing national award winners, and University School won 4 of the 50 national awards for writing that students in South Carolina received! We had 17 regional Gold Key winners, and they proceeded to the national competition.  National medalists represent the top 1% of submissions to the 2016 Scholastic Awards. This competition is for 7-12th graders, and this year our 7th-11th graders entered 120 works of fiction, nonfiction, personal memoir, and poetry and received an amazing 94 awards at the regional level!  84% of our students were honored, and over 90% of our 8th graders garnered an award for writing in 7th or 8th grade.  Typically the number of submissions in the region numbers in the tens of thousands and for the country is 300,000+. University School has four national medalists (attached picture with MS/US Writing Teacher Sara Peck): 
Anne Adragna (11th) – National Silver Key for her poem “The Grass 524 Miles Away”
Hannah Godsill (7th) – National Gold Key for her poem “Bullet Stains”
Daniel Kalus (8th) – National Gold Key for his short story “Three Views on the Same Matter”
Allison Li (8th) – National Gold Key for her poem “As the Months Drag On”

3/16, Wednesday – LOTC – Students who have completed their job shadows will present their experience and field questions from the students and staff, and we will also take a few sections of the Stanford Achievement Test.

3/22, Tuesday – Special LOTC – several female MS & US students will take part in the Charleston Air Force Base’s Women in Aviation program at Joint Base Charleston. It includes an exploration of the C-17, parts of the base, and information into career opportunities in the Air Force.

3/23, Wednesday – Students will take sections of the Stanford Achievement test and take part in other on-campus learning activities. In the afternoon, students will have a special presentation from Dr. Ram Kalus about the field of plastic surgery.

3/24, Thursday – Opportunity for those who are interested — Virginia Mandell, mother of Mary and Jack Lee, is attending the following event that dovetails nicely with our exploration of current events.  A screening of “He Named Me Malala” from 5:30-8:00 PM will be held at Blackbaud Headquarters at 2000 Daniel Island Drive.  There is a $15 donation/fee, and all proceeds will go to the Malala Fund for Girls’ Education. It is not a school night — Friday is a faculty inservice day.

3/25, Friday – (A)  There will be no school for a faculty in-service day from 9:00-noon. Babysitting for faculty members’ children and lunch will be provided by MS/US students and mentors.   (B) SPECIAL OPTIONAL LOTC – We are friends with Sweetgrass Village Assisted Living Center on Mathis Ferry Road in Mount Pleasant. They attend all of our cultural events throughout the year, and we help them with special activities and their annual Easter Egg Hunt for their residents.  Sweetgrass is holding this activity in the afternoon (1:15-2:45), and it is always a fun and nice event.  It was wonderful to have almost 20 students volunteer for a fun and meaningful time with others!* *** Click here for the 2016 slideshow.

3/28, Monday – 4/1, Friday – Spring Break – school resumes on Monday, April 4.

4/6, Wednesday – (A) LOTC- We will head to Walterboro to Keegan-Filion Farm.  Keegan-Filion Farm specializes in free-range chickens, cows, turkeys, and pigs.  They do this without using hormones or antibiotics, and the cows are grass-fed (not corn or grain-fed). The farm is held in high regard for its practices and its products, and they supply many of the finest Lowcountry restaurants. (B) Support USL – Family-style Spaghetti Dinner and Salad (serves 4-6). Order from Mrs. Hubbard by Tuesday, April 5 for $25. Take home at car-pool pick-up today.

4/7, Thursday – On Thursday, April 7, 2016, our Lower School (grades 4-5) Quiz Bowl team won their region! This means they will take part in the State Quiz Bowl later this month. We competed against Pinewood Prep, Charleston Collegiate, and Coastal Christian, and our students won all three of their matches. We are proud of the students: Charlotte Adragna, Jackie Berenyi, Kessler Kreutner-Eady, Mia Leone, Caitlin Parkman, and William Wettengel. We are grateful for the generosity of our hosts at Pinewood and all of the teams for a good competition and time together.

4/8, Friday – Community Potluck Dinner and All-School Talent Show (5:45 in the gym). Students should sign up with Mr. Medlock, and details about the dinner are forthcoming.  ** Click here for the 2015 slideshow.

4/12, Tuesday – USL Intermediate and Middle School students will enjoy Mathemagic starring Bradley Fields at the newly-renovated Gaillard Center.

4/13, Wednesday – LOTC- to be determined

4/16, Saturday – University School will participate in Christ Our King-Stella Maris School’s Mathletics Competition.

4/19, Tuesday – Special LOTC – A group MS & US students will visit a traveling First Folio of William Shakespeare’s works at USC-Columbia.  There will be a guided tour and then a presentation about Renaissance-era literature.

4/20, Wednesday – LOTC- we will tour and help with some of the weekly responsibilities at the Lowcountry Food Bank. Students will also learn more about foodways of local and Asian cultures at the H&L Asian Market.

4/22, Friday – First annual SCISA Lower School (Grades 4 & 5) Quiz Bowl Championship.

4/26-4/28, Tuesday-Thursday – Special LOTC – several students will attend and take part in activities of Charleston’s Interactive Festival – Dig South.

4/27, Wednesday – regular schedule because of Friday’s World Languages Day.

4/28, Thursday – HOSTED PERFORMANCE – University School will host Barynya for a performance of at 10 AM in the gym. The Russian Music, dance, and song ensemble Barynya is a world-renowned group known as the premier Russian folk ensemble. Barynya presents Russian, Cossack, Ukranian, Jewish, and Gypsy Roma traditional dancing, songs, and virtuoso performances on instruments including the balalaika, garmoshka (Russian folk button accordion), and balalaika contrabass. Every dance is performed in different sets of beautiful costumes, all hand-made for the stage presentations. The list of Barynya costumes includes Russian sets, Russian gypsy sets, Russian Cossack sets, Ukranian, Siberian, Jewish Ukranian, and more. Each costume is inspired by the place where the dance originated. Before each dance a short explanation will be given about the costumes the dancers will be wearing and how that applies to each culture’s uniqueness. It is appropriate for all ages and lasts about 45 minutes. Guests will include our friends from Windwood Farm Home for Boys, Christ Our King-Stella Maris School, Sweetgrass Assisted Living Village, Hibben UMC Preschool, Moultrie Middle School, Charleston-area homeschool families, and other groups from the community.

4/29, Friday – World Languages Day – USL will host guest speakers, performers,  and musicians representing the countries and cultures of the three languages each student learns (Latin, Spanish, and Mandarin). Special activities run from 10 AM-2 PM, and the public is welcome.

5/3, Tuesday – A group of students will lead second graders from Pinehurst Elementary (one of our Day of Caring partners) on our annual buddy-buddy trip to Bee City in Cottageville.

5/4, Wednesday – LOTC – STEM activity, lunch at H&R Sweet Shop, and exploration of the replica ship El Galeon Andalucia.

5/8, Saturday – Special weekend activity for girls currently in grades 5-7 from 6:30-8:30 at USL.  Led by older students and mentors, USL students and girls in these grades from Mr. Kreutner’s swim team will take part in crafts, games, and bonding activities.

5/10,Tuesday – A group of students will lead second graders from Pinehurst Elementary (one of our Day of Caring partners) on a buddy-buddy trip to Bee City in Cottageville.

5/11, Wednesday – LOTC – We will travel to Mullins to explore the South Carolina Tobacco Museum and learn about this crop’s uses and its history and role in S.C. Students will also tour the SOPAKCO factory where Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MREs) are made and assembled for the US military.

5/12, Thursday – Eighth Grade Graduation and Lunch – eighth graders will cook and serve lunch for their families, USL faculty, and the Middle School in appreciation for their support and their experience at University School. Seventh graders will serve as apprentices, and the event will include speeches delivered by the eighth graders in which they thank their families, teachers, and friends and a slideshow.  Additional notes about graduation can be found on Moodle (L&L page).  This is a great event for parents, current and prospective, to attend and experience.  One can attend just the speeches (about an hour) or the full slate of activities (lunch and the slideshow).  Please just RSVP with Judy Hubbard in the USL office.

5/13, Friday – (A) Special parent-sponsored bowling activity for MS students (and parents) after-school from 3:30-5:30 at Sparians. (B) Upper School Lock-In featuring a night of food, games, and movies.

5/18, Wednesday – LOTC – Students will travel to Mount Pleasant Plantation in Andrews. This private plantation utlizes some of the country’s most cutting edge practices regarding quail raising and hunting. Students will be guided by a wildlife biologist to learn more about this extremely well protected and nurtured large expanse of property.

5/20, Friday – LOTC – Mentor Night from 6:30-8:30 in the gym.  Students will enjoy food, fun, and fellowship.

5/23, Monday  we will thoroughly clean and organize the campus and rooms so that everything is in order for Hibben UMC for the summer. We will also send groups to pack food for needy students at the Lowcountry Food Bank and to harvest kale and greens from Robertson’s Farm on Wadmalaw Island (through the Fields to Families program) to donate to families in need at Tri-County Family Ministries.

5/24, Tuesday – Last day for students. This includes traditional activities such as distribution and signing of yearbooks, passing out of end-of-year t-shirts, walking the Vincent Drive loop, and watching slideshows of the year. As a capstone of our “Earth” exploration through Science and several of our field trips, documentary filmmaker Thibaut Fagonde will screen and discuss his work “Overalls and Aprons.” Fagonde explores the concept of sustainability by interviewing farmers and chefs throughout the Lowcountry.

5/25-27, Wednesday-Friday – Faculty end-of-year inservice – lunch provided. Students and Alums will provide babysitting for faculty/staff children.

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