Honor Book Reflects Sierra Canyon’s Tradition of Excellence
On Wednesday, January 21, the Sierra Canyon Honor Book was unveiled at Community Time for Upper Campus students. The school-wide publication is the result of an on-going initiative to promote integrity at Sierra Canyon School.
“This initiative is designed to promote and foster a deeper campus commitment to personal integrity,” according to Hutch Bibby, faculty advisor for the Sierra Canyon Integrity Committee. “A more vibrant honor system allows us to celebrate two of the school’s core values: integrity and community. Each of us can more clearly model the value of being honorable in all that we do.”
Bibby believes every student has the opportunity to freely choose whether to sign the Honor Book or not, but ultimately, signing a book only represents a gesture and a pledge, “This is a dignified opportunity for each student to show their commitment to the idea of embracing the values which inspire us to do our best.”
During the Community Time gathering, students also heard from Girls’ Soccer Coach, Kristy Walker, and Head of School, Jim Skrumbis. Both shared experiences in their lives which emphasized the importance of character and integrity.
Skrumbis spoke about the idea of philoptimo, an ancient Greek word which is difficult to translate because it suggests a number of universal ideals for how one feels about humanity. “If we live for something other than ourselves, we show our philoptimo – our decency, respect, and compassion – and act with love and honor towards others,” Skrumbis said.
Coach Walker spoke about her personal commitment to never cutting corners, and doing her best with character and respect. “Life is always better when you go beyond your limits and work hard to get to the next level,” Walker said, adding, “But when you cheat, you cheat yourself, your opponents, and it cheats you from your true potential.”
In inaugurating the Honor Code book, members of Sierra Canyon’s faculty were the first to add their names. “There should be a sense of honor and pride in signing this book – as a gesture and a pledge of who we are. Intellectually we agree with what the Honor Book represents, that we get it,” said Skrumbis, who was the first to sign, adding, “More importantly, that we live it and try to do our best to honor and do what’s right in every situation we find ourselves.”
The leather bound embossed book was made available for Upper School students to sign and will be shared on the Lower Campus in the coming weeks. The book features the school’s Honor Code and enough pages for generations of Sierra Canyon students and faculty to make a commitment to integrity and honor. “For me, having an Honor Book means the Sierra Canyon community shares the same values of morality and integrity,” said senior Carly Gilmore and member of the Integrity Committee. “It's amazing to know that my school believes in these values and supports them to the fullest extent.”
Each classroom will feature a new Honor Affirmation poster, and computers on campus for student use will also have the Affirmation as the screen background. As part of the Integrity initiative, the Sierra Canyon Mission Statement and Core Values is posted around campus, and the teaching tool (www.turnitin.com) is being used to help educate students on the ethical use of technology.
In some ways, having a formal Honor Book represents the larger values of Sierra Canyon, and the importance of honor, character, and integrity. “We’re currently in the process of creating a ‘Sierra Canyon Style Guide’ which will provide easy to understand and easily accessible guidelines for students on how to properly credit source material in their writing,” Bibby said. “Every student understands the importance of being good citizens and classmates – it’s part of who we are.”
Friday, January 23, 2015 9:57:00 AM
Lower School Winter Concert
On Wednesday, December 10th, Lower School parents were treated to a concert of classical music performed by their students. Beginning violin and cello students performed a variety of string exercises and nursery rhymes showcasing their first accomplishments, while the Sierra Canyon String Ensemble, featuring five violin students, performed songs like Pachelbel’s Canon in D, au Clair de la Lune, and the Twinkle Twinkle Trio.
The Sierra Canyon Orchestra performed more advanced pieces including C Jam Blues by Duke Ellington and Handel Rocks, a piece featuring music by George Frederick Handel, a 17th century German composer. The orchestra features students on violin I and II, viola, cello, harp, trumpet, trombone, percussion, and piano.
The concert concluded with the Sierra Canyon Orchestra performing a Holiday Medley. Led by Jenice Rosen and other Sierra Canyon music faculty, Yi-Huan Zhao, Jen Choi-Fischer, Beth Park-Zhao, and Briana Bandy, the Lower School music program will have their Spring 2015 concert on Wednesday, May 13th at 7:00 p.m. in Founders’ Hall.
Click Here to watch a slideshow from the Lower School Winter Concert!
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 8:27:00 AM
Week of Giving: A Sierra Canyon Tradition
In the spirit of the recent holiday season, and part of Sierra Canyon’s long-established tradition of service to others, the 2014 Week of Giving culminated on Wednesday, December 10th with an Upper Campus gathering to organize and prepare resources which were donated to local, national, and international charities.
Click Here to view a slideshow from this year's service projects!
“The generosity of our students and their families is amazing,” according to Shelley Deutsch, Sierra Canyon’s Service Learning Coordinator, “The donations we received for this year’s Week of Giving provided support for hundreds of people in the Valley, Los Angeles, and even around the world!” Among the agencies receiving donations from Sierra Canyon were FISH of the West Valley Food Pantry which received one thousand pounds of food and toiletries, Hope Gardens Homeless Shelter, which received 162 bags of clothing, Foster Children’s Resource Center which received 250 backpacks, Little Dresses for Africa, which received dresses sewn for girls in Africa, and various military organizations which received care packages and cards from students for military personnel serving overseas.
These donations were made possible by the generous contributions by Sierra Canyon families who dropped off clothing, food, toiletries, school supplies, and miscellaneous household items in early December during morning car pool.
Mrs. Deutsch and other parent volunteers then set the items aside for the Week of Giving project when all seventh through twelfth grade students gathered during Community Time to organize, package, and transfer everything to staging points for pick-up by local charitable groups.
The on-going relationship between Sierra Canyon School and the LAPD provided thousands of individual stockings stuffed with candy and goodies for children in Watts, dozens of holiday cards were made for the seniors Emeritus Senior Living Center, fleece blankets were made for rescue dogs at Blankets of Love, school supplies were gathered for distribution through the charitable organization Rainbow Pack started by ninth grader Riley Gantt, and hundreds of origami birds were created by Sierra Canyon’s international students and included in different donation packages for various charities.
“Many of the items, especially the food and toiletries, are things most of us would take for granted, but are critical for survival by local families on limited income,” said Mrs. Deutsch, adding “The volume of donations reflects the spirit of Sierra Canyon - the service projects we do at Sierra Canyon reinforce what students are learning at home.”
The long-term success of Sierra Canyon’s service program, established in 1992, reflects the character values being taught by parents at home. With the completion of this year’s Week of Giving, plans are under way for next year’s, because there are always families whom we can help. Families interested in volunteering time or making donations directly to local organizations can contact Mrs. Deutsch for suggestions or assistance.
Click Here to watch a student-made video about Week of Giving!
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 8:22:00 AM
Join Us For A Campus Preview - January 10, 2015
Does your child deserve the best educational experience?
Do you want them to develop a desire to learn? Have strength of character?
And grow at their own pace with attentive teachers?
Discover the difference a Sierra Canyon education can have for your child's educational and character development.
Explore our charming camp-like campus with modern small classrooms!
Learn about our Early Kindergarten through Sixth Grade curriculum on Saturday, January 10th and see why Sierra Canyon is the place to enroll your children for an education which will prepare them for the future!
Click here to join us on Saturday, January 10, 2015 for a campus preview.
Thursday, December 18, 2014 11:30:00 AM
New SC Athletic Complex: Now Open!
After years of planning, construction, and hard work, the most beautiful athletic fields in Los Angeles are now open. Thursday’s grand opening ceremony of the Sierra Canyon Athletic Complex was historic for the School in many ways. It marked the completion of the 12-acre project which has been five years in the making. The project also unveiled the new Welcome to Chatsworth gateway sign along De Soto Avenue and the completion of general construction making the new 100 space parking lot available for athletic events.
The day also provided an opportunity for students from both the Lower and Upper Campuses to gather in one location, be greeted by a special LAPD helicopter fly-by, watch sky divers descend from 12,000 feet in the air, join the cheerleaders in a mini-pep rally, perform the wave across the length of the football field, and share a rousing rendition of hair zock zoo – thank you! for the new facilities.
Joining the students and faculty was Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander who congratulated the School on the opening ceremony and graciously thanked Sierra Canyon for the new welcome sign which was installed on our property. “This new gateway sign is a wonderful addition for Chatsworth thanks to Sierra Canyon,” Englander said, “As one of the best schools in California, this is an example of what Sierra Canyon does best – they continually give back to the community.”
After the opening ceremony, the Sierra Canyon Girls’ Varsity Soccer team opened the field with a win, defeating New Community Jewish School 6-1. The game was followed by a smaller ceremony to thank many of the Sierra Canyon board, former board members, and families who made the Athletic Complex a reality.
“Today we honor and recognize the members of Sierra Canyon’s community who made leadership gifts to make a dream a reality. They saw a vision where there were only twelve acres of weeds,” said Jim Skrumbis. “Their example has created something for educational opportunities on the field for years and years to come.”
Joining Jim was Board Chair Mike Singer who said, “Sierra Canyon School did something special for our community. This field represents the kind of people and spirit which is infused into this school. I feel it every time I come here, and I’m so proud to be part of it with you.”
During the festivities, representatives of the LA Galaxy professional soccer team were on hand with the team’s five championship trophies and free giveaways. 5th grader Lolo Retsky won the raffle which included four sideline tickets to a 2015 Galaxy home game, an LA Galaxy jersey signed by the 2013-14 team, and a pennant from their 2012 MLS cup win.
The evening concluded with the Boys’ varsity soccer team defeating Milken Community School 1-0. Reflecting on the day’s events, Jim Skrumbis said, “The day was spectacular, inspiring students and faculty, and moving many of our parents and donors to tears. The day was beautifully organized and thoughtfully executed by our staff, it couldn’t have been better!”
Video and photos from the event are being gathered to mark the day’s events and will be made available next week, showcasing an exclusive video from the skydivers as they descended from 12,000 feet to Sierra Canyon.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 2:09:00 PM