Posted by: csdailyblog | January 31, 2011

CS2 Orientation, Day Two

Kathy Jones, Math Teacher, reads instructions to students before they begin MAP testing.

Today a good chunk of the students’ day was taken up with standardized testing. (You can read more details about which test we administer and why on yesterday’s blog post.) Students were good-natured about test-taking but eager to start classes on Tuesday.

As part of MAP testing, students were introduced to their laptops. After testing, students broke up into chore groups and received training on three important aspects of Conserve School life: laptop use, residential life, and kitchen/serving crew.

I tagged along with one of the groups for dining room chore training. Jenny Rihimaki, our Food Service Manager, took us back in the kitchen, explained the chore routine, demonstrated how to wash dishes, and showed us the location of sinks, utensils, pots and pans, bowls, refrigerators, freezers, and all sorts of different types of foods. Students will do food prep once a week on Wednesdays, when we set aside a few hours before dinner just for that purpose. On other days, they will primarily be involved in cleaning and serving in the dining room.

Next, Cathy Palmer, Director of Residential Life and Outdoor Programs, explained procedures related to setting tables, serving meals, and clearing and cleaning tables.

Anita Olson, Field Instructor, then took students on a chilly outdoors  tour in back of the Lowenstine Academic Building, showing us where to dispose of recyclables and compost and delivering a quick lesson on composting techniques.

MAP testing.

Compost: something we’ve been working on for quite a while at Conserve School but have yet to perfect. We’re getting close, though. I think we’ve made every mistake possible with compost over the years, from worm bins that were too big, to fruit fly infestations, to truly awful smelling messes, but now we finally seem to be getting the hang of it. I hear that the science class will be experimenting with a new indoor method of composting this semester, though, so stay tuned — we’ll see how that goes.

After all the students had rotated through the three orientation sessions, we were treated to a terrific dinner that included cheese ravioli with pumpkin sauce. Some of the students raised their eyebrows at that, having never encountered it before, but many tried it and liked it. At the table where I was sitting, over half the students were vegetarians. While eating, they engaged in a lively discussion about the motivations underlying vegetarianism. “Are you vegetarian because it’s a health issue or because of the treatment of animals?” they asked one another. “Is it okay to eat meat if the animals are raised in humane conditions? Do you think it’s okay to hunt for venison?” Opinions varied, and students listened to one another’s viewpoints respectfully and with interest. 

After dinner, students all joined in our first Community Meeting, a regular Monday evening event. They enjoyed some light-hearted discussions and circle games in the Gathering Space, led by Head of School Stefan Anderson. A number of students shared how comfortable they felt here already, how accepting they found the other students, how welcoming the staff have been, and how many friends they’ve already made — and they shared lots of heartfelt “thank yous” and smiles, too. I took several photos of students during the meeting and will post those tomorrow.

Parents, thank you so much for sharing your sons and daughters with us. It’s always so interesting to watch their personalities emerge over the first few days. We are thoroughly enjoying getting to know them, and we’re glad to be able to provide them with an experience they value so much.

Below you can see some photos taken Saturday, on Move-In Day. Enjoy!

Mary Anna

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