This Week's Newsletter




Dear St. Finn Barr Parents,                                                                   March 24, 2017


The past month has been chalk full of community-wide displays of student learning at St. Finn Barr: the 8th grade Science Exploratorium, the first round of Shakesperience, and the Talent Show. These events were exhilarating….I felt as though some of my favorite aspects of city life (incredible museums, theatre, and performances) were brought to our front door! I was also struck by the statements they made about our SLE’s (Student Learning Expectations) – we remain committed to developing critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and compassionate children of God.


  • 8th Grade Science Exploratorium:
    • Our FOSS Science Program (6 years in the works!) is evolving in such an exciting way…each year, the Exploratorium projects are growing in polish, evidence of critical thinking, and compelling presentations.
    • The confidence of the 8th graders in sharing their work, and their personal connections to the content were remarkable.
    • The way the K-7th grade guests engaged with the presenters with excitement, respect, and interest indicated the presence of that important combination of fun and seriousness that makes science learning so compelling.


  • Shakespearience:


  • Enthusiasm! These students gave us their all on the stage, bringing the incredible language of Shakespeare alive through their actions and voices.
  • Preparation: The complexity of language, the memorization required, and the collaborative nature of the performances demonstrated the life skill of preparedness in our students.
  • Context: I’ve heard from parents who have enjoyed listening to their children discuss Shakespeare at the dinner table! The children are making connections between the many works of William Shakespeare and developing a frame of reference for how his words fit into modern day culture.


  • Talent Show
    • Pride: The performances were bold and dynamic -- from acapella solos to loud and proud dance pieces…our students are fearless!
    • Diversity: The variety of talent (even the music ranged from instrumentals of Disney classics to 80’s pop hits) reflects the rich diversity of our community.
    • Giftedness: The quality of singing, dancing, etc. was incredible…these students are so gifted, and their peers embrace those gifts.


Here’s to a spring full of even more learning and fun!


God Bless,


Mele Mortonson



Reader’s Week is just around the corner (April 3rd-7th) and we are thrilled to celebrate literacy with several special events:


  • The Scholastic Book Fair will take place in Goode Hall (during school hours) from Monday April 3-Friday, April 7th.


  • Friends of St. Finn Barr Day (Tuesday) will bring friends, relatives, and other guests to campus to share learning with our students (rsvp:


  • The Young Author’s Faire will feature our own student authors from all grade levels. Guidelines are available on the front page of the website and books are due Monday, April 3rd


  • Faith Family Reading Time is scheduled for Thursday April 6th. Students will meet their Faith Family members for the first time for quiet reading.


7th Grade To Yosemite: Please keep our 7th grade class, their teachers, and chaperones in your prayers as they prepare to embark on a week-long adventure to Yosemite....they’ve been breaking in their hiking boots for weeks and will be putting plenty of miles on them in the backcountry!


Father-Daughter Dance: Special thanks to the Men’s Club (and volunteer helpers) for organizing our very special Father-Daughter dance. For photos from the evening, check out our school Smug Mug page: 



SF Marin Food Bank Director Paul Ash thanked our school community this week for organizing our holiday food drive. Our efforts resulted in 270 pounds of food – enough food for 225 meals! Thank you to all who supported the food drive.


Tea Party Date Change: Please note the new date of the St. Finn Barr Parish Tea: Sunday, May 7th.


Science Director’s Updates: Just a few investigations going on in our classrooms in the past few weeks!


First grade jumped into material science (Chemistry) in their investigations of the properties of solids.  Students compared different solid samples and then challenged each other to identify secret materials using only property descriptions.  Mr. Poland led a lively discussion as the students described and discussed the characteristics of their samples.  

Kindergarten continued their investigation into structure and function of animals with their study of isopods (rollypollys or sow bugs) from our very own St. Finn Barr garden.  After comparing them to other animals they had studied, the students used vials and hand lenses to examine the sections on the carapace, observe the workings of the antennae and count legs.  Why do some isopods roll into a ball?  Ask a Kindergartner!

Eighth grade worked on their Science Museum Expo projects. They honed their professorial skills as they taught the class a variety of different physics concepts using constructed displays.  Some of the questions tacked during the Exploratorium: Did you know you can hear using your teeth?  Is slime a solid or a liquid?  And what local beach has the most iron content? 



Sat 4.1         SFB Walkathon 9am @ the Archbishop Riordan High School Track


Mon 4.3        Reader’s Week Kickoff! Young Author’s Faire entries due.


Tues 4.4       Friends of St. Finn Barr Day


Thurs 4.13 Minimum Day – Holy Thursday (930am Prayer Service)

                        *No Extended Care


Mon 4.24     School resumes after Easter Vacation


Fri 4.28        Spanish Festival