Dear Families,


It has been a week of loving growth at CSCA as our community settles into learning routines, responsibilities, and balances it all with freedoms and social interactions in class, at the park and at Explora.  All of the adults that accompanied students at Explora could not help but remark at how students stayed put in one area for long, extended periods, delving deeply into discovering what was upon them to explore.  (This is a difference from running around frantically to skim the surface of the entire museum.)  I am proud of our students for their curiosity and willingness to stick with it to learn more and share with their friends.  They are settled, safe and learning.



A Note About Art—

Melissa, assisted by Diana, two parent volunteers, have been doing a thoughtful job at teaching and inspiring our kids with art.  Melissa is taking the kids through world regions in art.  They began the year in Italy with paper mosaic.  Next, she introduced them to dot painting inspired by Aboriginal Australian culture.  First they dotted paper with acrylic.  Coming soon, they will be transferring their dot paintings to stones.   In between guided lessons, they have free art so students could choose methods and mediums on their own.


A Note About the Garden—

Another parent volunteer, Nissa, is leading the garden committee to begin plans to develop the back garden area beautifully.  Ideas include restoring the bench and stairs, creating nature looms for weaving, perhaps a kitchen made of pallets complete with a curtain window for pretend and puppets.  The stones with dot paintings from art class will become part of a small walking labyrinth.  If these ideas inspire you and you wish to volunteer, please let me know, and I will gratefully connect you.  The garden committee would like to add a bird feeder as well, so if you are able to donate a bird feeder, new or used, we will put it to enjoyable use at CSCA!




In Science we have spent the last 2 Mondays building our Chinook Fair out of recycled materials and including simple machines. On Monday the students will present their projects to the class, and the primary students will get to play with the rides at the fair the rest of the week.  After Fall Break we will continue our simple machines hands-on experiments.



Spirit Time—

We spent a lot of time on the topic of responsibility this week and we read and discussed selections from Chicken Soup for the Kids’ Soul. Next week we will focus on compassion and after Fall Break, gratitude.  The students have developed a nice routine where they have 5 minutes of stillness, quiet, or meditation time, then for the next 10 minutes many students choose to read, draw, color, play quietly with a stuffed animal, or continue rest or meditation. Then the students can join the optional lesson, which often involves a read aloud, discussion, and sometimes role play or a game.





PE is on Wednesdays from 2-3.  Please have your child wear tennis shoes and comfortable clothes on Wednesdays. We began circuit training, and the students really worked up a sweat. Many students want to practice planking at home for a little friendly competition later this Fall. Planking is a very efficient exercise that helps build core strength, something we can all improve.



Primary class


–The kids, Ms. Judy and I are excited about math progress!  It is remarkable to see how kids can make concrete connections with math concepts and transfer abstractly when the time is right.  We have a group playing with “ten-ness,” another group learning to add double-digit to single-digit with regrouping, and another group learning place value through the trillions.  Our classroom is a learning community with helpful collaboration among learners.


–Guided reading is going quite well as Ms. Judy and I read with individuals and small groups at their instructional levels.  We teach that literacy is reading, writing, speaking and listening, and we design centers to match those criteria.  The reading, speaking and listening aspects involve reading their browse bag of instructional level books, reading songs and poems, and “reading around the room.”  Reading around the room is a resource of information because the students have either created or previously connected with the information before it was placed upon our walls.  These centers are available to experience individually or in partners.


–One of the “read around the room” resources students have been involved in creating during shared reading and writing is our story, The Chinook Fair, in which I modeled story writing.  Oh how the students loved the characters we created!  For a follow-up center, students wrote their own story on a self-selected topic and shared their story (writing and speaking aspects of literacy model).  Writing instruction will continue to take place during morning literacy, while personal freedom with writing will continue at the end of the day during writer’s workshop using their writer’s notebooks.


–Another “read around the room” resource is our word wall.  Each week, we learn 5 new words, and once that week has passed, those words live on our word wall as a continual resource.  Some of these words one might call sight words; we call them “rule breakers” because they are not necessary words that follow the “sound out rules.”  For example: the, are, love, etc.  We also add basic words to demonstrate phonics word families.  The goal of word wall is to generate a list of known words for kids with which they can learn new words from.  (Ie. If a learner knows the word all, they can read/write ball, call, mall, etc.)  Each week, students interact with these words through interactive cheers and chants, reading and writing them.  Soon students will be using them in sentences to demonstrate further understanding and connections.


–While we have kept centers the same for many weeks in a row, there are countless integrations for centers that will be introduced as the weeks progress (audio books, science integration, social studies integration, drama, computers, Handwriting Without Tears building, and more).


–Centers during guided reading have the purpose of applying literacy skills while keeping students engaged, so teachers can call groups or individuals of students to read together.  Once students complete their centers (ie. demonstrate their best effort), they can play.  We had a beautiful primary class discussion about this on Wednesday, and one student said it precisely, “Ms. Holly, I can learn through play!  If I’m playing with cash register, I am learning to talk with others, and I am being cash register man!”  Yes, we are learning as we play, well put!  Play options include yes, the cash register, along with all math manipulatives, puppets, dress-up, art, games, building, pretend in general, or anything children wish to do that is indoors (due to supervision at this point).  If we have another volunteer on Wednesday mornings, we could extend to outdoors.


One word to describe our class this week during centers: harmony.



Intermediate class from Ms. Val


In Literacy, after we finished the last two biography reports we launched our new social studies unit that will be integrated during our literacy time. The students are very excited to be learning about Civics- how our government was formed and how elections work. I started with a simple question, “So what would you do if you were President?” I was amazed and surprised by the depth and quality of the answers. We ended up having our first impromptu debate.  The students are all very passionate about their ideas and couldn’t wait to share them, debate them and defend them.  I was very excited to see this because I want the students to grow up to be informed citizens that vote and are active in their civic life.  From now until the election we will be learning about the election process, our government and our constitution.  The intermediate students will run a mock election for our school on November 8th.


Coming This Week



-Science: presentation of “Chinook Fair” using recycled materials

-Volunteers: Jessica S.-C. and Jessica P., thank you!



-Art and music instruction

-Volunteers: Thank you Marth, Audrey, Melissa and Diana!



-Picture orders DUE

-Bring tennis shoes for PE

-Volunteers: Ernesto or Tatyana, and April, thank you!



-Santa Fe Children’s Museum field trip with (cold) picnic lunch

-bring booster

-No show and tell due to time involved to SF commute 🙂

-no library

-wear school t-shirt, bring jacket

-chaperones: Audrey, Fernande, Nissa, Jessica P., Jessica S.C., thank you!


Fri, Sept 29-Mon Oct 16: Fall Break

Return to school on Monday, Oct 17 at 9 am.  🙂


Here are a few upcoming announcements and reminders for your convenience:



  1. Our first Parent Night Out was a blast! We hope you enjoyed your time, and thank you so much for supporting CSCA last Saturday evening.  Future PNO dates are set for Dec 3, Feb 11, and Apr 15 from 4-8 pm.  PNO is open to all kids, CSCA students and more; please tell your friends!  🙂


  1. School picture proofs went home Wednesday and are due next Wednesday. The photographer’s goal is to process them before our fall break.


  1. Scholastic book orders will take slightly longer than normal due to fall break, so expect the deliver to be after the break. Thank you!


  1. Two small ways we can generate money for our school are things you are probably doing anyway, Box Tops for Education and Amazon purchases. Box Tops are pink/purple labels located on tissue boxes, Ziploc bags, etc.  You can cut them out and send to school (basket to collect on parent table).  The school gets 10 cents per Box Top.  As for Amazon, go to and select Chinook Spirit Children’s Academy as your charity.  Amazon donates a small percentage of each purchase from SMILE. AMAZON to CSCA then.  Thanks!


  1. Last year, we used recycled fabric to build a class kindness wreath, a way of students recognizing acts of kindness from each other. We are in need of fabric to continue this project.  The fabric could be used clothing such as blouses (no lettering, just solids, florals, patterns, and other generic prints), blankets, sheets, rolls of fabric, or more.


  1. If you took home a large flower pot on wheels last May, would you please send it back? The gardening committee will be starting, and we will put those to use.  Thank you


  1. The garden committee would like to add a bird feeder as well, so if you have one not being utilized and/or are able to donate a bird feeder, we will be it to enjoyable use at CSCA!


  1. The Compassion Experience, an interactive tour in the developing world. It is Oct 7-10 in Macy’s parking lot at Coronado mall, and it’s free.


  1. Kathy (bookkeeper) and Marianne (Quinn’s mom, website volunteer) have worked together to add convenience to tuition payments! You can go to our website,  On the blue bar at the top of the home page you will see a button that says “Pay Tuition”. Please note: There is a $10 processing fee for paying by credit card, so please add that additional amount at the time you pay your tuition. We hope you find this new option easy and convenient! (We will soon be offering the option of eChecks as well.)  There is also a DONATE tab above that.  THANK YOU, Marianne and Kathy!


  • Our P.E. yoga plan is to teach it whole class once a month. Yoga will be taught to the whole class on Wednesday, Oct 19, the week we return from fall break. It will be taught again, whole class, on Nov 9, the 2nd Wed of November.  On those days, you may send a yoga mat or towel, and tennis shoes are not necessary.


  • New photos and videos on Shutterfly this week! You can view photos of our class in action on Please feel free to post photos you take here.  We are not particular about how albums are organized or where photos are placed on this website.  Thank you for not posting them on social media.  Enjoy!


Field Trips at a Glance–


Sept 29                   Santa Fe Children’s Museum for engineering

(Chaperones: Audrey, Nissa, Jessica P., Fernande, Jessica Sisneros-Counts)

Oct 6-13                 No field trips due to Fall Break

Oct 20                     Service Project (gardening)/Problem Solving, library

(Audrey, Mari, Jessica P.)

Oct 27                     McCall’s Pumpkin Patch

(Audrey, Jovon, Linda, Fernande, Marc A., Marianne, Jessica and David, Jessica P.)

Nov 3                     National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

(Chaperones: Audrey, Fernande, Robert; Back-up: Marc)

Nov 10                   Silver Leaf Farm; Library

(Chaperones: Audrey, Nissa, Fernande, Jessica P.)

Nov 14                   12:15 Popejoy show-Dr. Kaboom: Live Wire (Chaperones: we have space for first 3 that  tell me they                                    would like to attend.)

Nov 17                   12:30 Pocahontas show at Kimo Theater; Problem Solving and/or service project in-class
(Chaperones: Audrey, Mari, Marianne, Jessica P.)

Nov 24                   Thanksgiving break

Dec 1                      Fall Out (class voted), library

(Chaperones: Marc A., Marianne, Jessica Sisneros-Counts)

Dec 8                      Problem Solving, library

(Chaperones: Audrey, Mari, Marc, Jessica P., Marianne)

Dec 15                    Service Project w/Cuidando Los Ninos, library, Winter break ahead

(Chaperones: Audrey, Linda, Jessica P.)





(505) 850-7916 school cell