Wednesday, January 13

EVENTFUL: Transitioning from Junior High to High School

High school is an important time in a young person’s educational and social growth. Choosing a high school can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Fairmont Private Schools has taken the liberty of compiling an evaluation checklist for families looking for the best private school.

After curating a list of schools that interest you and your junior high student, set-up an appointment with a school's’ admissions director. An in-person meeting not only provides you with a friendly face to answer your questions, but also gives you and your student an opportunity to peruse the campus. Take in the physical attributes of campus, as well as the overall atmosphere. Be on the lookout for modern technologies included in classrooms, current and well-maintained textbooks, and that classrooms are welcoming and organized. Also, make sure that the facilities on campus are safe and sufficient for your student’s needs and interests.

While on campus or while researching a particular school, take some time to investigate the type of learning community. Are teachers well-qualified and engaging with students in the classroom? Were the administrators welcoming and knowledgeable during your campus visit? Did the students seem well-mannered and enthusiastic? Observe carefully the people associated with the school while touring, as well as any background information found on the school’s website or social media platforms. This will help you and your student determine whether a school’s social and learning environment is right for your incoming freshman.

One of the most important factors when choosing a high school is the quality of the education offered. Investigate and compare the rigor of curriculums and specialty or advanced courses offered. Does the school offer classes for college credit? Do they offer enough Advanced Placement courses for your student? Encourage your student to look over the course catalogue to see which school offers the most interesting electives and programs (e.g. foreign language, art, computer science, etc.). Decide on the importance of technology in the classroom and determine which schools are the most tech-savvy. Another large question to ask while talking with an admissions director is what percentage of graduates are accepted to the top 100 colleges and universities?

Extracurricular experiences help students grow and discover specific interests or talents. Compare and contrast extracurricular opportunities between schools. Determine your student’s social priorities (e.g. does he or she care most about athletics? Is he or she very service-oriented or interested in student government?, etc.) and let them see what most excites them.     

Remember to ask lots of questions when visiting a new school, and encourage your junior high student to do the same! But to take the guesswork out of searching for a premier southern California private high school, schedule a tour or attend an upcoming Open House event at Fairmont Preparatory Academy!

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Monday, January 11

CHALK TALK: What is “Coding” and is it Important?

 Computer code is the language of the 21st Century. It has invaded and transformed our lives in a multitude of ways, from communications and banking, to transportation, and even eating. Yes, microwaves are computers, too! An invisible language of streaming code surrounds us everyday, making our lives easier and more efficient. Simply put, code are literal instructions for any device with a computer. Thus, coding is simply telling the computer, step-by-step, exactly what you want it to do.

The importance of computer science and people who can read and write computer code grows everyday as technology changes and new ideas emerge. Many computer programmers liken the skill of coding to a language that everyone should be fluent in. Much like verbal and written communication, it is now pertinent that people familiarize themselves with the language of the computers that share in our daily lives. While code is complex, Tamara Hudgins, executive director of Girlstart, states that “[l]earning to code is not hard. Can you write a sentence? It’s essentially the same. You learned a linguistic convention just as every user of a language does.”

So, is it important for my child to learn about coding? Absolutely. The International Business Times suggests that “coders [are] the architects and builders of the digital age.” The IBT also estimates that in nine years there will be an estimated 1.4 million computer science jobs, but only 400,000 qualified college graduates to fill the positions. With the projected increase of computer-based jobs, children learning to code while in school are getting a jumpstart on building skills for technology fields. However, coding teaches more than just a computer’s language. The purpose behind coding is to solve a problem and create an easier way for a task to be accomplished, placing great emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving. Two skills that are important to learn no matter what field a student chooses to focus on in the future.

Young adults with skills in coding and computer programming are already in high demand and the need will only increase as we further our use of computers in daily life. Peak your child’s interest with these great coding resources, tutorials, and online games!

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Friday, January 8


Weekly Highlights:

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Wednesday, January 6

ARTS & CRAFTS: DIY Projects for Junior High Students

Do-it-yourself (DIY) projects are all the rage and are accessible to people of all ages and skill levels. From home improvement projects to crafting and making everyday items yourself, the notion of DIY sparks subtle development in several skill areas. Encouraging tweens to engage in DIY and craft projects helps build creativity, self-reliance, problem-solving skills, and aptitude specific to that activity. Suggest some of these easy projects to your junior high student!

Headphone Cover - Class up earbuds with embroidery floss!

T-Shirt Pillow - Transform t-shirts into pillows with some quick sewing and polyester stuffing!

Pom-Pom Bookmark - Use up extra yarn and create a simple, fuzzy bookmark!

Waterless Snow Globe - Glue any small figurine to a canning jar lid and add some fake snow for a decorative, simple snow globe!

Paper Mache Bowl - Use up old newspaper and paint a festive design on your bowl!

Lava Lamp - An easy kitchen recipe will create the flow and glow needed for a lava lamp!

Visit A to Z: Developing Hobbies for more ideas and tips for getting your child interested in a hobby!
Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools
Images by DIYReady, Carrina Johnson, DesignMom, SaltTree, Maria Mercedes, DIYCraftProjectsForTeens   

Monday, January 4

A to Z: 10 Twitter Accounts for Young Adults

Today’s world has put immense value on connectivity and instant knowledge. Studies show that most Americans turn to social media for their source of news and information. If your student has begun to engage in social media, suggest some educational, yet fun, Twitter accounts for your junior high student to follow:

Dedicated to putting interesting articles about science in followers’ newsfeeds, New Scientist tweets articles about things like “What happens if a black hole turns white?” or “Four new elements have been added to the periodic table - What next?”

From humble beginnings as a family project, Kid President focuses on kids and their ideas for creating a better world. With humorous and touching videos, tweets, and blog posts, Kid President is an upstanding addition to any kid’s - or adult’s - Twitter feed because of its positive and encouraging messages.  

By putting famous pieces of art on Twitter, followers are able to discover exhibits and learn about art collections from museums across the globe. With an #ArtworkOfTheDay post, your student’s feed will be infused with important pieces of cultural history.  

NASA keeps an updated and well-curated Twitter account, complete with videos and articles about space technology, what’s happening aboard the International Space Station, conversations with astronauts, images from space, and so much more! NASA’s Twitter account also exposes followers to a wealth of NASA-related personnel and education resources, such as @space_station, @CassiniSaturn, @NASA_Technology, @astro_tim, and many more.
Supported by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institutes, Numberphile is constantly creating and posting fun, short videos on the subjects of math and science. With content geared towards young adults who express a love of numbers, professors of physics and mathematics from Harvard to the University of London gather online to explain topics and divulge tips to knowledge-hungry students.
Focused on educating young adults about the importance of the Earth, MinuteEarth’s Twitter account includes videos and articles about recycling, geography, weather, biology, and more.
An extension of MinuteEarth, with the Twitter handle @minutephysics, Henry Reich runs both accounts and creates accompanying videos to explain scientific concepts like kinetic energy, gravity, molecules, space travel, and more. Reich holds a Master’s Degree in theoretical physics.

For a dose of kid-friendly current events, TIME for Kids is a great resource for students to learn and engage with the world and culture around them. With topics ranging from the endangered species list to world politics, TIME for Kids provides a great additions to students’ feeds with captivating photos, videos, and articles.

An extension of Penguin Books USA, book lovers will get a kick out of scrolling through posts about the newest young adult fiction books. With lists, polls, synopses, quotes, and more, students who enjoy reading can engage with literary-centric content and discover more authors and books.
A well-curated account for any gearhead, young or old, Popular Mechanics is chock-full of fascinating videos and pictures of cool advancements in technology, science, aerospace, and transportation. Almost anything with gears and a motor has, or will be, featured on their account.

Be sure to follow @fairmontschools and @fairmontprep for news, updates, and fun content!

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools
Image by Dan Bubany Golf

Wednesday, December 30

EVENTFUL: Best of 2015

While waving goodbye to the year 2015, take a moment to look back on some of this year’s most beloved posts and online content. Ranked in order of audience reach and engagement, here are Fairmont’s top posts from 2015!

Top Blog Posts
The last day of school--students look forward to it throughout the school year (even if they secretly love to learn). Students, teachers, and parents yearn for the slightly less structured days of summer and look forward to a well-deserved break from tests and homework…

STEM is a new buzz word in the education field. But what exactly is it? Simply defined, STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The STEM Education Coalition states that incorporating a STEM-based curriculum is critical…

An important lesson while growing up is learning to demonstrate gratitude and thankfulness. In a culture of instant gratification, it is important to foster an attitude of gratitude in your child. Studies show that children who engage in grateful behavior…

The new school year begins tomorrow at Fairmont Private Schools, and hopefully your student is ready to return to the classroom! Here’s a simple checklist to ensure that you and your child are prepared for the first day of school…

Top Tweets


Top YouTube Videos

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Monday, December 28

SNACKTIME: Kid-Friendly Morning Muffins

The holidays are a time for family, celebrations, and snacking on treats. How can we offset holiday sweets with good nutrition? Begin with healthy, easy-to-make, homemade muffins. Store-bought muffins are loaded with saturated fat, sugar, artificial colors, and flavors. Homemade muffins are easy to make and perfect for getting kids involved in the kitchen.

Begin the day strong with muffins made with whole ingredients such as whole wheat flour, flaxseed, or wheat bran for extra flavor and fiber. Increase the nutrition ratio by fortifying with protein, healthy fats, and fiber.

Update your favorite recipes by substituting or adding the following to your original recipe:

White flour: Substitute all or half of the white flour for whole wheat flour to increase fiber and trace minerals such as magnesium and zinc.

More fiber: Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed or nuts for extra fiber, flavor, and healthy fatty acid boost.

Fortifying batter: Add a heaping tablespoon of your favorite protein powder.

Make simple substitutions to traditional family recipes to deliver a nutritional boost without sacrificing flavor. Adding ingredients such as dried fruit (e.g. prunes or apricots) or freshly grated apple will provide a natural sweetness. Create more festive flavors by adding orange zest, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, or nutmeg to the batter.

Bite-size muffins might be more appealing to little ones. Use a mini-muffin pan and colored cupcake papers to create a more celebratory look. Below is an example of a healthy recipe with a holiday edge using whole ingredients and seasonal spices!

Good Morning, Glory Muffins
2 cups grated carrot
1 large apple peeled and grated
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax meal
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place grated carrot and apple together in a bowl and toss. Set aside. Mix together flours, flax, sugar, coconut, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nuts and raisins. Tossing the nuts and raisins in with the dry ingredients stops them from sinking to the bottom. Whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla. Blend wet and dry ingredients and stir in the grated carrot and apple. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Makes a dozen medium sized muffins.

Contributed by Leslie K. Kay-Getzinger, MS, RD
Regional Dietitian for Nutrition Management Services Company
Image and Recipe Contributed by Sweet Potato Chronicles