Latest All Posts

November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Essay: A Turkey's Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Hello.  My name is Bill the turkey.  I am eleven years old.  There’s only 7 days left til Thanksgiving and I am very nervous.  I live on a farm in Colorado.

I am trying to come up with a plan to escape this horrible farm.  I think I can disguise myself as a horse.  The farmer always rides on a horse around the farm each day.  If he rides on me, I can escape!  I think this might just work.  Wait.  I see the farmer coming.  He’s coming towards me.  My plan is going to work!  Now he is getting on me.  Wait, I don’t know if I can - SPLAT!  He just flattened me!  Oh no!  Now is my time to run!  I ran out of the barn and kept going straight!  The farmer is chasing me!  He chased me all the way to the space station.  I quickly jumped on a spaceship and launched it to the moon!  That was close!

I am finally free!  My plan may not have worked, but I am free!  I am going to drive the spaceship backdown to a beach in Miami.  After that, I’ll just lay down on the sand and relax.  Who is this man saying I could relax  better if I got in his oven?  It looks like a sauna.  I’ll give it a whirl!  He was right.  It feels like a hot tub.  It is so relaxing.  Now, I’m done relaxing in the oven.  I hear a sound that sounds like a chop noise.  What is going on?  Awww! It’s too late.  I am toast!  Never, never trust a stranger who offers you a sauna!

» read more
November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Essay: A Turkey's Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Hello, my name is Redgie. I am not happy about Thanksgiving. Well, just about the turkey part. I heard they were going to kill me for Thanksgiving. I have lived here all my life and now they are going to pick me. I leave all of my stuff to my best friend, Cluck. He will not get a lot of stuff, I only have a stash of feeder. Well, at least he will not get hungry unless he eats it all in the first day because he has a reputation for doing that.

First I have to come up with an escape plan. O.K. Here it is. Step number one: get out of the pen into the house. Tie the people up. Step two: go upstairs and fall out of the window. Step three: run to the pen and free the other turkeys and tell them to run as fast as they can.

I stop to think who started this. I think the pilgrims did. Next Indians followed them. Now it has become a tradition to eat a turkey and I am mad at them. Now look who’s going to be on the dinner table next- ME!

Who else I am going to tell the turkeys that it is all the Indians fault. People could have eaten pigs. They are a lot better. Chickens are much better, and they are like turkeys. What about cows? They are good for steak but no - they had to choose turkeys. These days turkeys are expensive- just for one turkey it costs like fifty dollars. You don’t want to spend all of that money.

Finally today is the day! I will get killed by an ax. I will miss everyone. Here it goes. The guy stopped. He thought he was right at my neck and my best friend kicked him in the face. That was a relief. I almost got killed. All the turkey rush into the house and knocked out everyone. They ran and my plan did work. We ran to the other farm to free the other turkeys. We were all FREE. Now that’s a Happy Thanksgiving!

» read more
November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Essay: A Turkey's Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Dear Crazy Turkey Eaters,

My name is Homey.  I do not want you to eat me!  This is why: (1) I am small!  I am one foot tall and a few inches long.  (2) I will die young.  I am just 25 years old!  (3) I want to be a big bird when I grow up.  When I am a big bird, you can eat me…MAYBE!!! (4) I have a family.  I have 1 girl, 2 boys and a really hot wife and 3 ex wifes and they are smart, but ugly!  SO if you have a heart and brain I hope you will spare my life.  Those kids and wives are in a barn!

 

» read more
November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Essay: A Turkey's Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Hello my name is Fred-Fred the turkey.  In one day it will be Thanksgiving.  That means bad news for me.  Why couldn’t it be a cow or a pig instead of a turkey?  That’s crazy.  Every year the farmer picks a turkey.  Last year it was Bill.  For some reason the farmer picks the biggest turkey, and this year it is me.  When I first figured this out I almost fainted.  I was so scared because the farmer has a shed and whatever goes in does not come out alive.  I live on a farm.  It’s name is farmer’s cove in Arizona.

I was so so so scared because tomorrow is Thankgiving.  I asked Tom, the German Shepard, what goes on in the shed when the farmer brings the turkey in there.  Tom just barked.  That was no help.  So I tried to run away, but Tom started to run after me.  Then the farmer came out and said, “Where is that big fat turkey?”  I kept on running and running for almost a mile, but then he got me.  I tried to escape, but I couldn’t.  Farmer put me in a cage.

I kept on and on and on trying to get out, but I couldn’t.  So I thought of something.  A plan!  The plan was if I could get Tom to bring me the keys maybe I could get out.  But then I heard something, it was like a pig walking for the first time, but it was Tom.  He scared me to bits.  But then I asked him if he could get me the keys but all he did was bark.  I forgot that he could not understand me.  I tried and tried, but then I thought of something.  There’s a whistle that the farmer uses to get Tom to do something.  It was right beside me.  I picked it up and I blew into it.  It took a minute for Tom to get it, but he got it.  Tom brought it to me.  I tried to fit the key in the key hole and it fit perfectly.  I was free free free and was so happy I even did a... » read more

November 21, 2014

Art of Generosity

The season of hustling and bustling has certainly begun with a variety of opportunities for us to demonstrate generosity. It is so easy to become overwhelmed with all of the numerous responsibilities and commitments that have been placed upon us. We work tirelessly to meet the demands of everyday life within our jobs and caring for our families. Yet, at the end of the day, we settle back into our warm homes with our precious children and feed them to their heart’s delight before tucking them into their cozy beds. May we be reminded that so many individuals would delight in the opportunity to spend one day in our shoes.


I don’t know about you, but when it comes to my next meal, the biggest challenge I face is the simple decision of what to prepare for my family. For most of my life, I did not give much thought to what it would feel like to actually be hungry. My first learning experience on the subject of hunger came many years ago when I was an adoption social worker. I received a call one afternoon from a new mother who had just arrived back from the Philippines with her two small children. As a naive 25-year-old, I was speechless when she asked for help in teaching her children not to spit on their food. I can remember how overwhelmingly sad I felt when I learned that children in other countries learn from a very early age that no one will steal your food if you spit on it first. Children continue to be hungry all over the world. Unfortunately, our community is part of that world. Too many children go to bed hungry only to wake up and face the cycle all over again. 

So many of us have already pulled out our favorite recipes and have begun planning our
menus for the family meals that we will share in the days and weeks to come. As you are shopping for your ingredients this weekend, take time to consider the children and families who are hungry each and every day. It’s a great time to take advantage of the sales that are...
» read more

November 07, 2014

Priceless Lessons

It was three years ago at the back to school picnic when I struck up a conversation with a teacher that I did not know well at the time. Brandon was in Junior Kindergarten, and Susan Ruble noted that she had her eye on my son as she saw a little boy with big potential despite some behavior challenges. This amazed me coming from a teacher who did not have him in her class, and I could not help but reflect on his adoption history from Texas. I will never forget the phone call to board the next flight to Amarillo because our birthmother was in labor 5 weeks early. As we drove to the airport my phone rang again with bad news that our much anticipated baby tested positive for various substances. Despite fears from this finding, we were introduced to a tiny but perfect baby boy weighing 4 pounds 5 ounces with ten fingers and toes, and most importantly no withdrawal symptoms. He quickly became the light of our lives, and when the rime came to look at schools, it was an easy choice to look at Sullins based on recommendations from friends who had children here and spoke highly of the education.

When I toured the school I felt at home for my son with the cheerful artwork everywhere, polite happy children walking the halls, amazing specials areas starting at a young age, and warm teachers at all levels. This was the place for Brandon. When school started Brandon did well academically as he learned letters and reading very quickly, but socially he needed to learn to stay in his place, take turns, share, and talk politely. The lessons at Sullins are priceless. With a late summer birthday his pre-school teacher approached me about repeating the year to reenforce these important concepts. I will never forget how she expressed that her work with Brandon was not complete- she needed more time with him. What a wonderful way to phrase this to a parent. Sullins was shining in my mind, and I began to see progress in a child born with many strikes...
» read more

October 31, 2014

What is SPA?

Many of the assignments my children bring home include some aspect of the familiar “who, what, where, when, why & how” drill.  This exercise is fun not only for 2nd graders; it’s also helpful for anyone wanting to learn more about SPA.

WHO:        Quite simply, SPA includes all Sullins parents.  There are no membership dues or formal application. As a parent of a Sullins student, you’re automatically a member of our fun-filled organization.  Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend meetings and volunteer!

WHAT:     Sullins Parent Association or SPA. We consist of a group of caring parents who want to better our school, support our teachers, and most importantly, make our children’s Sullins experience the best it can be.

WHERE:  Meetings are held in the cafeteria. However, our parent volunteers can be found busily working the halls and grounds of Sullins on any given day. We’re also out in the community, in the classroom, on Facebook, at school events and just about everywhere else promoting and thinking “Sullins.”                    

WHEN:  Every third Wednesday of the month at 8:15 am. But that’s just our “informal formal” meeting! SPA is going on all the time. From the Back-to-School Picnic to the Bake Sale to the Theme Baskets, there’s always a project or event!

WHY:  Our purpose is two-fold:   First, to build a Sullins parent community, one that generates ideas for our school and volunteers man-hours for our many goings on.  Second, to raise money for Sullins...
» read more

October 17, 2014

Why are you at Sullins Academy?

A six-year-old began first grade at Sullins Academy mid-year.  She came from a class of 25+ students  and seemed to be successful in both math and reading.  In her plaid uniform and Mary Janes, she was eager - and a bit nervous - to start her new school. 

Within just a few days however, it was evident her world had changed.  In her class of only 8 students, she was no longer at the top.  She could not hide if she didn’t know the answers and wouldn’t answer when called upon.  She no longer had the confidence even to try to guess.  She was struggling to read and seemed to be the only one.

Her confidence was shaken, but was it real to begin with?  Was it better to realize this at age 6 than at 16 or 26?  Her teacher started individual tutoring.    
 
Fast forward to today… one year later.  In her knee socks and blue blazer, she is truly a confident little girl.  She is happy because she is reading with her class.
 
She’s my daughter, but I see it at Sullins all the time.  Don’t you have a story like this one?   Kids being challenged in ways that build true confidence and keep their individuality at the same time. 

They don’t hide in the masses, but flourish among their peers. 

They stand up straight and look adults in the eye. 

They play outside and laugh out loud. 

They ask questions to find out more and are confident to learn. 

They hug their teachers and their teachers hug them. 
 
That is why I am committed to Sullins Academy.  Why are you? 
 
As we enter the 2nd week of our Annual Giving month, consider why we are here.  Aren’t we here to give our children the best start in life we can offer?  Part of that is working...
» read more

October 10, 2014

Understanding the Tuition Gap

Suppose someone opened a business and told the staff to sell everything 15% less than the cost of the product.  That business plan would not win an MBA approval!  Yet, that is exactly what most independent schools do every year.  In an effort to be affordable to a larger number of families, most independent schools have what is known as the “gap.”  The gap is the difference between what the school operation costs are and what the school charges in tuition.  

These schools make up the difference in various ways.  At Sullins Academy, the Children’s Center and Summer Camps are the main revenue enhancers after tuition.  Even so, there is still a gap.

By running an Annual Fund drive, Sullins, like most other schools, makes up the difference.  The gap after other income this year will be almost $1625 per child.  Our Sullins Parents Association commits to adding $75,000 to the budgeted income and our development office, under Katy Sikorski works to raise $200,000 additional annual fund dollars.

Someone asked “What is the difference between restricted and unrestricted income?”  Restricted income can not be used for operations.  It is donor specified and does not count toward annual fund.  Two examples at Sullins are the new piano fund and last year’s professional backdrops for “Annie.”  Those are worthy items and enhance our school, but do not help our operational budget.

As we apply to foundations or private grants, our second goal is to report 100% parent participation at some level.  This shows foundations and our community that our parents believe in a Sullins Academy education.

Please make a gift at any level to help us close the tuition gap.  We are striving for 100% parent participation by November 1st.  Pledges count toward participation.

Thanks for your consideration of being part of out...
» read more

October 09, 2014

Letter to the Editor - UNcommon Core

The below letter was sent to the editor of the Bristol Herald Courier.

Letter to the Editor,

I read with interest your article titled, “Core arguments” on October 8.  As an educator for over 45 years, I have the highest respect for good teaching, whether public, private or homeschool. I fully understand the frustration felt within our nation’s schools and by parents.  However, I would like to point out a flaw in Mrs. Kinkead’s argument when she states “homeschooling is the only option to avoid common core.”  Independent schools across the nation are providing an extremely high quality of education without interference from state or federal regulation.  In the Tri-Cities area, Sullins Academy is fully accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (the gold standard in Virginia).  Our locally developed curriculum has met the test of accrediting standards annually.  We call it the UNCOMMON CORE.

The struggle over control of our nation’s schools is not going away.  The heavy emphasis on testing is not going away.  Independent schools test students only for improvement of the school and the curriculum.  Most independent schools are traditional in the curriculum choices and include technology and a full complement of the arts.  At Sullins, we consider ourselves a partner with the family in educating their children.

We invite those who are looking for an alternative to the common core but who shy away from homeschooling their own children to visit Sullins Academy.  Financial aid is available and our faculty and staff look forward to partnering with families who are serious about a quality education for their children.

Sincerely,

Dr. Ronald Sykes, President
Sullins Academy

» read more

More recent posts

December 09, 2015

8 Junior Kindergarteners Share Their Favorite Things About School

We love Sullins! Besides our favorite teacher, Ms. Shankel, here are our favorite things about school: Alice - “Doing art, Spanish, rhyming, learning about counting, and book center”Kate - “Being the weather watcher, learning about patterns, and ice cream Fridays”Maddie - “Spending the... » read more
August 26, 2015

Get in the Sullins Mindset

Transcript from the First Day Assembly on August 26, 2015. Does anyone remember my opening speech from last year? Lego’s - right!  At Sullins we are providing you with the Lego bricks (different educational subjects) you need to be master builders.  Great job!   This... » read more
May 01, 2015

My Love of Field Trips

Overall, I am a major proponent of field trips as tools in the arsenal of educators to best teach children.  Personally, I have experience leading school based trips in the mid atlantic as an educational tour guide and throughout Europe as a teacher and coach.  Among other destinations, I... » read more
Syndicate content
 
Website Security Test