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April 17, 2012
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Fourth Grade Play
Elephant Listening Project
Three PBDA Teachers are Dwyer Award Finalists
Earth Day Performances This Friday
Year in Review - Final PSC Meeting

Alliance Primary School Wins PBDA Hearts

pic1 The Hong Kong Alliance Primary School’s visit to PBDA last week was a mutually enriching experience for us and them. The fifty-eight 4th - 6th Grade musicians arrived on Monday morning with their luggage and instruments and were met by their host families for a breakfast in the Bulldog Cafe before heading off to join first period classes throughout the school. By 9:00 the Chinese children were in the Halmos Center warming up for the first of three performances for our school family and area schools and guests.
Our students were the first to be amazed by the extraordinary skill of this international award-winning orchestra. Band Director Martin Choy and String Conductor Barry Yap took turns leading their students through a variety of selections composed by Beethoven, Bach, Pachelbel, Mozart and Dvorak as well as one by Chen Qian which was written for the Alliance Primary School.
pic2 Following the first performance, PBDA treated the Chinese children to an airboat ride in the Everglades before they returned to school where they were picked up by their host families to begin a two-night stay.
The Orchestra repeated its performance on Tuesday for area schools and other guests before sharing a picnic lunch with PBDA students followed by another performance for our Pre-Primary - 3rd Grade. That evening, a group of the visitors accepted an invitation from Executive Director of the Palm Beach Symphony, Michael Finn, to attend a benefit concert conducted by guest conductor Jahja Ling at the Kravis Center.
pic3 By Wednesday morning, when it came time for the group to depart, many strong connections had taken root. The Chinese children and adults had earned the deep respect of our community for their obvious and humbling talents, but also for their gracious well-mannered way. Similarly, the visitors were warmed by the sincere welcome that they received at school, and in the community - but mostly in the homes of our perennially generous families.
In the beginning, Cynthia Kanai proposed that the China Partnership’s goal would be to provide opportunities for our students to gain direct understanding of a distant culture. To date, three groups of PBDA students and teachers have made the trip to Hong Kong and China and two Chinese groups have visited us here. In thousands of ways that cannot be counted, those exchanges, including this recent visit, are clearly achieving the program’s original goal - and then some.

4th Grade Play Highlights Florida History

pic1 The Fourth Grade prepared for weeks before presenting their Florida history play on April 12. PBDA drama teacher, Jan Cook, wrote an adaptation of author Les Standiford’s “The Last Train to Paradise,” a book about William Henry Flagler’s dream of building a railroad that would connect Key West with mainland Florida. Mrs. Cook's play by the same title brought to life the challenges, obstacles and dangers that Flagler's crew faced on the way to completion of that unprecedented project.
pic2 Each year, the 4th Grade Play is a crowning moment in that grade’s year-long study of Florida history. The production provides the students with the opportunity to showcase their studies and to hone their public speaking skills. Experience before an audience is a key part of the school’s program from the earliest grades. PBDA students have plenty of public speaking and performance opportunities annually at every level.
Director Jan Cook, Musical Director Annette Johnson and Technical Director Les Heilakka, were joined by Tracy Kramm and 4th Grade teachers Erin Koury, Marisa Schnirman, Wendie Crawford and Ellie Colpitts to prepare the stage and coach the students for their fine performances.

Elephant Listening Project

pic1 Dr. Peter Wrege, a behavorial ecologist from Cornell University and Director of the Elephant Listening Project, shared his work as a scientist with Lower School students on April 12th. Students had an opportunity to learn about how information is gathered and used in an effort to conserve and protect the elephant population. Scientists involved in the research actually listen to recordings made by microphones placed in the wild and use what they hear to understand elephant patterns, interactions, and movements as well as the threats they face from predators and poachers.
Dr. Wrege also spoke to members of the Cornell Club and the greater school community during an evening presentation in the Lower School Auditorium.

Three PBDA Faculty are Dwyer Award Finalists

pic1 Three PBDA Faculty members, Barbara Close, Cynthia Kanai, and Rochelle Wolberg, will be at the Dwyer Award Ceremony next Tuesday, April 24, along with their many supporters. The William T. Dwyer Awards for Excellence in Education will be given to one recipient in each of five categories: elementary, middle, & high school, and special programs & career education. Each winner will receive $3,000 and a personalized plaque; each of the others will receive $500 and a certificate.
The finalists include 22 teachers from public schools plus our three, which are the only independent school teachers in the group.
The awards are named for the late William T. Dwyer, founding president of the Education Foundation.
The PBDA family wishes all three of our worthy finalists the very best.

Earth Day

pic1 There will be Earth Day performances this Friday on both campuses.
Lower Campus: 8:30 A.M.
Lower Campus Auditorium
Upper Campus: 2:00 P.M.
Halmos Activities Center
West Field Parking Available
Upper Campus Students are asked to
wear green shirts with appropriate blue jeans.


End of Year Parent School Council Meeting

YEAR IN REVIEW    Each year the Parent School Council sponsors an evening with Dr. van der Bogert and William Coyle, Director of Finance and Facilities. This year, facilitated by Robert Norberg, President of the PSC, there will be a presentation that provides an overview of activities and accomplishments this school year, a financial report, and a preview of the vision for next school year.
This year the meeting will take place in the Wean Library of the Upper Campus May 7th at 7:00 P.M. Everyone in the school community is encouraged to attend and homework assistance and babysitting will be provided.


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