Sacred Heart Schools

As part of Global Studies in the preschool and kindergarten, Sacred Heart Schools’ (SHS) two kindergarten classes undertook a first-of-its-kind project that made their education about Antarctica all the more tangible. Each class designed and painted a SHS- and penguin-themed flag which was mailed to Antarctica and displayed by researchers at the remote Cape Royds Penguin Colony near the famed McMurdo Station.

The research station invites school children from around the world to submit flags. “It helps them brighten up their gray and black world, as they say,” said Kindergarten teacher Megan DeRitis, who began spearheading the project last academic year to roll out this winter. PSK students study each of the seven continents, “and we wanted to reimagine what the Antarctica unit could look like,” said DeRitis.

Students begin learning about Antarctica in preschool. “They know it’s cold, that penguins live there, that there are no cities or regular houses, that it’s basically scientists studying penguins, plants, climate, and the atmosphere,” said Kindergarten teacher Carol DeZutti.

“This year we built on that,” said DeRitis, “explaining how this is a peaceful place — people from all over the world come to work and live there together. There is no war in Antarctica, and it’s a small population of seasonal researchers. The kids really liked that.”

One of the researchers is Jean Pennycook, an educator and scientist who studies Adélie penguins and makes it her mission to share what her team is discovering. Pennycook signed the flags before returning them on the 10,000-mile journey back to Sacred Heart Schools.

The children watched a video of Pennycook and learned about life at a research station. “They were so excited about it, saying, ‘that’s the lady who signed our flag! If we touch this flag, we’re touching a part of Antarctica!’” said DeRitis.

Each class tracked the flags on their round-trip journey from Atherton, to Cupertino, to Chicago, to Antarctica and back again, following along with a map. “It took a long time to get there, and it comes back looking a little damaged,” said DeZutti. “It helped them understand how far away Antarctica is, and made it seem real.”

The flag endeavor was integrated with a popular, years-long tradition within the Antarctica unit: painting life-size penguins of the seven species that live or breed around the coast of Antarctica.

Painting the flags, however, brought an entirely new element to their studies, as collaboration skills were honed. Kindergarten teachers Soraya Chowdhury and Whitney Infelise sketched out the designs, and working together over the course of several days, the students chose and painted the background color, top colors, and details like the eyes and mouth of penguins — one of whom wore “gator gear” in a nod to SHS’s mascot.

“It was very careful, detailed work,” said DeZutti. “The flag material bleeds very easily, so we used stencils around various parts to help them out. This type of group art project is not something we typically do, so they really enjoyed the process of working together.”

{ Be the first to comment }

Newly restored and relocated Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes debuts at Sacred Heart Schools

Earlier this month there was a rededication ceremony of Our Lady of Lourdes statue/grotto that had been “hidden” away on the Sacred Heart School upper campus for some time. SHS alum Laura Pitchford provided InMenlo with some background: “The original Virgin (she is the same but with a facelift!) was located outside of the Siegal […]

Click to read more →

Sacred Heart Prep teacher receives OZY Educator Award

Sacred Heart Prep English teacher Dr. Lisa Harper is one of just five educators nationwide awarded the prestigious OZY Educator Award in 2018. Lisa is committed to teaching high school students how to become better writers and critical thinkers. “I wanted to teach in a place where I could be of real service,” she said […]

Click to read more →

Sacred Heart Schools hold prayer service/communal observance for Parkland victims

In collaboration with student leaders from the middle and high schools, about 350+ members of the Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton community — students in grades 6-12, faculty, staff, parents, and Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) from Oakwood Retirement Center — took part in prayer services, a communal observance, and a symbolic walkout activity on […]

Click to read more →

Spotted: Kids exploring the religions of the world – and their own faith – at Sacred Heart Schools

Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (SHS) observed Catholic Schools Week with a grade 1-8 assembly featuring students’ religious studies projects. Students presented a collaborative video project in which they interviewed fellow students who practice different religions, and explored the importance of interfaith dialogue. In its religious studies program, SHS students learn the fundamental doctrines of the […]

Click to read more →

Sacred Heart School camera captures photos of possible mountain lion that turns out to be a raccoon

Update as of Sept. 21: The Atherton Police Department reached out to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife yesterday after receiving information of a possible mountain lion sighting on the Sacred Heart School camera. It has now been determined through the agency that the animal shown on the school campus camera was not a mountain […]

Click to read more →

Sister Nancy Morris celebrates her 90th birthday surrounded by her multiple-generation “fan club”

Editor’s note: On the occasion of her 90th birthday, Sister Nancy Morris, profiled on InMenlo in 2011, was feted today with a Mass followed by a luncheon on the Sacred Heart Prep campus. A presence at both Sacred Heart Schools and St. Raymond School, Sister Nancy is much beloved by multiple generations of children, teens and parents, whose […]

Click to read more →

Mumbai resident Latika Sethi is first exchange teacher to visit Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton

Education that spans the world and is ecumenical in nature is on display at Sacred Heart Prep thanks to a special visitor from Mumbai, India, Latika Sethi, who is spending two weeks at the school.  She teaches biology at  Sophia College (11-12th grades), which was established in the 1940s as the first Sacred Heart School in […]

Click to read more →

Eighth grade team from Sacred Heart Schools wins first place in We the People state competition

The Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (SHS) eighth grade Government Team came in first place in the We the People state competition in San Diego on Dec. 19. Students from all over California participated in simulated congressional hearings regarding the ideologies and fundamentals behind the United States Constitution. Led by coaches Chris Chiang and Nicole Rehberg, […]

Click to read more →

Faculty and staff at Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton give back via community service day

Faculty and staff members from Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton spent the morning of January 6, 2014, giving back to local community organizations during the Schools’ second annual Director’s Day of Service. Over 250 individuals participated and collectively gave 750 hours to 12 nonprofit organizations. Rolling up their sleeves, working with their hands, and collaborating […]

Click to read more →

Sacred Heart Schools teacher honored by Garden Club of America for environmental education

Dr. Stewart Slafter, history and garden teacher at Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton, recently received the Elizabeth Abernathy Hull Award from The Garden Club of America. Established in 1992, the award annually recognizes the outstanding achievements of individuals furthering the early environmental education of children by inspiring them to appreciate the beauty and fragility of […]

Click to read more →