It has been a great summer working with the students at the Crystal Springs site for Peninsula Bridge. We have had a lot of fun. The students got to improve their math and language arts skills, while also getting experience fun electives and field trips. One of the most exciting moments this year was going to Raging Waters and Great America with the students last week. The 7th grade students had fun slipping and sliding at Raging Waters, while the 8th grade students were screaming their heads off on the roller coasters at Great America. Both grades enjoyed the field trips, as well as the TAs.
July 2010 Archives
This is the final week of Peninsula Summer Bridge 2010 at Menlo School and it has been filled with activities of all sorts. On Wednesday, we had a 'Celebration of Learning' event, during which parents were invited and there was a slideshow and, most notably, a talent show. A large majority of the students participated and everyone had fun.
Instead of reviewing the activities of the final week of Peninsula Bridge, I am compelled to reflect on the entire last 5 weeks. From the first day of staff training, I was immediately struck by the enthusiasm, motivation, and passion of my fellow TAs. Site Director, Brendan Gummerson, set the bar high from the moment we walked in the room. However, what has truly separated Peninsula Bridge from other programs and summer camps I have worked for in the past are the kids themselves.
I cannot believe that Peninsula Bridge is almost over! We've had such a jam-packed week here at Castilleja that I did not even remember that it was our last week until the TA's began to discuss our family & friends day, which occurs on the final day of the program. Now, on Friday morning, the reality of the end is blunt and sad, yet sprinkled with a sense of accomplishment. I know that the other TA's and I, as well as our wonderful teachers, have given our 31 girls a great summer and a strong foundation for 5th grade!
Peninsula Bridge is one big production and the kids are the entertainers. Every day I come to Peninsula Bridge as an excited audience member encouraging the children to do their best.
In English class, I watch them write and perform their very own skits and help them in the process by making props. They are writing these skits to show their understanding of the reading and to address the problems with bullying and name calling. Seeing them perform their finished products was amazing. I am their biggest fan, cheering every chance I get.
We have reached the last week of Peninsula Bride at Woodside Priory, and everyone can feel things coming to a close. The kids took their post tests on Thursday, which will be used to show the kids progress over the summer. These tests marked the final academic event of the summer, and the kids seem very proud of it.
We have reached the fourth week of Peninsula Bridge at the Woodside Priory campus, and people are beginning to look towards the end with mingled sadness and pride. The Construction and Design class finished its course this week with the final project of testing the bridges that the students made. They tied a bucket full of water to the center of the bridge and placed weights in the bucket until it reached maximum weight. All the bridges that the students constructed passed the test and the students were very proud of their creations. The class as a whole learned a lot about what goes into the construction of a bridge and how important they really are in our every day life. A big thank you to DPR construction for their magnificent work.
Bridge ball, bridge ball, bridge ball. There are so many things to say about this wonderful sport. Bridge ball is dodge ball, except it is cranked up to a whole new level. It is more intense, more exhilarating, and just plain old more fun. The rules are the same as dodge ball- hit the person they are out and catch the ball and a teammate can come back into the game- but for some reason playing it at Peninsula Bridge just makes the game so much different.
Monday, July 12, marked the beginning of our 4th week of Peninsula Bridge here at Crystal Springs. The energy is great, and the students are excited for their upcoming field trips and their performances at Celebration. The day began with our weekly Morning Meeting. Jose began the meeting with announcements concerning the week's events and plans for celebration. Our Word of the Day was "Narcissist," which means "one who loves or admires themselves excessively."
It is the end of the fourth week already here at Peninsula Bridge! I cannot believe it is almost done. On Friday, July 16 we had guests from the Marine Institute visit with the 5th graders from St. Joseph's and the 7th graders from Sacred Heart. In the past, we have gone on field trips on boats in the bay with the Marine Institute, but now we have them come to our campus.
The fourth week here at the Castilleja Peninsula Bridge site has been full of excitement and wonder. We started off the week with our field trip to S.L.A.C. (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center). Our site director, Mary H, gave the girls a brief background to S.L.A.C. as well as a short vocabulary lesson on some of the words that the scientists would use there.
Week four of Peninsula Bridge at the St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School site was filled with howls and triumph. The week started off with the 6th grade math class beginning their lesson with a run around the grass outside while howling like wolves. The math teacher Mr. Williamson likes to get the kids pumped up for learning something new by getting oxygen flowing to their brains. Meanwhile, the 5th grade has been working hard on their personal narratives in language arts, and are almost done reading Tuck Everlasting.
Since this is the last week of the program, I decided to ask some Teacher Assistants about their experience so far with the Peninsula Bridge Program. I asked if they had any lasting realizations from working with the kids one on one, or if they had any special moments with the students. Each and every TA had something to bring to the table.
This week at Woodside Priory we hosted another tour for the program. This group was the largest tour group the priory program has hosted this summer, and the tour guides handled the crowd admirably. Among the group were several parents of the TA's, including Katrina Wang's family who had flown in only hours before the tour from Beijing, as well as Mike Calbert, the father of this humble blog writer.
Squeals of excitement and laughter could be heard as our alumni, staff and TA's from years past gathered at the Sacred Heart campus for Peninsula Bridge's second alumni reunion. Not only was this our second reunion, but it was a celebration of our 20 year anniversary. The Peninsula Bridge program held it's first summer program 20 years ago at Sacred Heart so it seemed appropriate to have the reunion where everything began. Before our reunion we had a board-sponsored reception and honorary guests included:
- Dolly Sacks - Former program officer at Packard Foundation. Packard gave us one of our first grants.
- Dr. Charlie Mae Knight - Former Superintendent of the Ravenswood School District who saw the importance of the program for her students.
- Les DeWitt - Founding member of Peninsula Bridge and current board member
Castilleja's Peninsula Bridge site had a very eventful third week! We had a field trip to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The students researched Asian culture and art prior to the field trip and were able to excitedly recognize some of the artwork and statues they had researched at the museum. One of my advisee's, Cortney C., brought me over to a statue and was able to tell me what it exactly was, what it represented, and in what country it is most seen.
Peninsula Bridge was given the opportunity to receive much needed supplies through an innovative giving program conceived by Silicon Valley company, Conceptus. Peninsula Bridge created 'giving cards' with supplies that were needed for our summer programs, such as binders, gardening tools, pens, paper, t-shirts and composition books. Employees from Conceptus then chose from $15, $20, and $25 cards that listed these supplies and donated them to Peninsula Bridge. In total, the generous employees of Conceptus donated over $1,200 worth of supplies for our students. The supplies were distributed to our school program sites, and are already being put to good use. Thank you, Conceptus!
My name is Halsey and I am one of the TA's at Crystal's Peninsula Bridge. It has been an exciting few weeks. Last Tuesday, we took the students to Stanford and UC Berkeley for University Day. They spent the day touring the campus and learning the history of the schools, and learning what it is like to be a student at Stanford and Berkeley.
This is my third year working at Peninsula Bridge and every year it just keeps on getting better. This year, I am a TA for the seventh grade English class and the kids are amazing. I was the TA for this group of students two years ago when they were in fifth grade at the St. Joseph's site. It is amazing to see how much these kids have grown and how much progress they have made in their studies.
While the academics are a critical part of the program, what I enjoy most about Peninsula Bridge are the electives that each of the kids get to choose. It is a way for the kids to unwind after their classes and to try new activities and enrichment programs.
Last Friday, July 2nd we had our first family guided conversation. We wanted to address topics concerning bullying, racism and respect. I was nervous about guiding my family group at first because I feared they would struggle with the conversation, but I was pleasantly surprised when everyone participated and had very reflective, sincere and intelligent answers to group questions.
St. Matthews Episcopal Day School-Bringing in the Spirit Inside and Out of the Classroom by Marisol G (Week 3)
St. Matthew's Peninsula Bridge program enjoyed some wackiness this week, as we opened up our first day of spirit week with wacky hat/hair Wednesday. The uplifting spirit of the week shed some light on the role of encouragement between students at St. Matthew's site. While some students were willing to go all out, there were others who were less adventurous. As a TA, I noticed the encouragement and support the students offered each other. I heard one student say, "It's OK-you can do it. Just wear your regular pajamas to show your spirit." The encouragement and the support the students had for one another was truly inspirational, and the TA's can see the growth that is developing each and every day they are here.
First, please accept my sincere apology for the belated update. As you can imagine, our lives have been in turmoil since our home was destroyed during the plane crash in East Palo Alto last February.
After a month-long stay in a hotel, we moved into a rental property located in East Palo Alto very close to our original home. My mom has been orchestrating the project to rebuild our home, and all seems to be going well....so far (gulp!). However, we still do not know just when construction will begin, and how long it will last. We can only hope that we will be back in our home by year end.
by Grainger Marburg, Executive Director
Anniversaries and reunions can be powerful events. They have the potential to engender strong emotions and catapult us to the past. They are also opportunities to reflect on where we are now and where we hope to be in the future. Though I have only been with Peninsula Bridge for five years, I have become part of a rich mosaic of individuals that has spanned twenty years. A lot can change in that time. Twenty years ago at Peninsula Bridge's inception, Germany became a united country, Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison, and the internet became a global phenomenon. Peninsula Bridge itself has evolved, expanding to 7 sites and currently serving 300 students this summer. Some things can also stay the same, such as the enduring commitment to our mission that so many folks have demonstrated over the years.
This week at the Woodside Priory Peninsula Bridge Program, our staff hosted its first tour of the campus on Thursday, July 1. Sherri Shaner, the development director, and Grainger Marburg, the Executive Director, welcomed a tour group to the Woodside Priory Campus. Our guests included parents and grandparents of students, long time sponsors of the program, and as a surprise, Paul Trudelle. Mr. Trudelle is a veteran Peninsula Bridge teacher and the father of the current algebra teacher here at the site, Laura Trudelle.
The first Monday morning as a huge yellow bus pulled into the front of the school, I realized I was a little nervous. But now, a mere five days later, those feelings seem trivial. Neither the TA's nor the teachers can believe that it's only been a week! In this small amount of time, we have made great connections with the students, and the girls have enjoyed their classes and afternoon electives.
The time has just flown by - literally! In the first week of Peninsula Bridge at St. Matthew's, we celebrated Space Week, in which we made rockets out of recycled 2-liter bottles and hovercrafts out of old bottle caps and CDs. To add to the intergalactic spirit, all of the T.A.s adopted alien-like personalities, wearing antennae and Princess Lea buns, and 'space-walking' during activities. During the second week, 'Planet Earth Week', some of the kids signed up to work in our garden and plant new vegetables and learned about gardening, agriculture and the environment on our home planet.
In addition to the academic classes we have for our students, St. Matthew's also has some exciting new afternoon electives. Students can pick from a range of activities, from yoga to game time to music class.
At Crystal Springs' Peninsula Bridge, our week started out with the TAs yelling "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!".
It was the start of Spirit Week, and the theme was World Cup. Each advisory group of six students chose a country to represent in each of the Spirit Week competitions. Monday's competition was World Cup football. After a series of elimination games, the 7th grade advisory of "England" emerged victorious over the 8th grade's "Mexico", which created lots of excitement.
Early mornings at Peninsula Bridge are filled with so much energy; the sound of running feet, the smell of soccer and rubber balls in the sun, the sight of running kids moving from corner to corner across the quad, and everyone is excited for a new day here. This is only the second Monday of the five during the program, but already things seem to be working smoothly. The teachers and teachers' assistants work well together in the classroom and the students readily play together in one huge game of volleyball. Things are flowing well and we are able to begin to see the small joys that happen everyday. On any given day, you will see teachers and TA's sitting together playing guitar with a circle of students around them, TA's passing a soccer ball with students, and students running alongside new friends on their way to class.
Every morning when I see the excited, smiling faces of 90 Peninsula Bridge students getting off the bus, I gain a new sense of enthusiasm and energy for the day. My name is Maya C. and this is my second summer being a TA for Peninsula Bridge. The feeling that today's going to be a good day is an ongoing occurrence that I credit to the students. The students are absolutely incredible, from their fun jokes to their academic achievements to their bubbling excitement, Peninsula Bridge students always make my day.