Lupine Room News Archive

From Jack – Standardized Testing

Next Thursday and Friday I will be administering the IOWA Assessment (formerly the IOWA Test of Basic Skills) to the children, simply to give them the experience of taking a standardized test. There are sections on Math, Reading Comprehension, Science, Social Studies, Written Expression, Capitalization, Punctuation, Vocabulary, and Spelling. They’ll practice answering a given amount of questions within the time constraints, filling in the bubbles, staying in their seats, raising their hands if they need something – the whole nine yards. The two days of testing are such a departure from our norm, that the children end up loving the novelty of it and enjoy the change of pace.
That being said, the process can be a bit exhausting, as it makes for two rather long days. I ask that you support your child to be as physically and mentally prepared as they can be by helping ensure a good night’s sleep and the eating of a healthy, filling breakfast (just like you do every day!).
In keeping with the philosophy that this is truly an exercise in experience, I will not be scoring these tests. The scores are not the point, and in the past, I have never been surprised by results; that is to say, how children do on the tests is often very predictable and I do not learn anything I don’t already know upon scoring them. The goal is to expose the children to a different type of assessment, and start to prepare them for the type of tests they may see in whichever middle and high schools they attend after Sunstone.
Please let me know if you have any questions.

From Jack – Lupine News

Buenas tardes familias de Lupine,

I have been giving your children Spanish lessons throughout the year and peppering questions, vocab, and phrases into our daily work. Ask your child what they have retained so far – they’ve learned how to describe daily weather, how to answer the question “How are you?”, and how to write simple sentences describing each other, along with assorted classroom vocabulary and other words. I really enjoy speaking the language and am hoping it rubs off on your children!

The children ran a mile today (our course is actually 1.1 miles), and delivered their best collective effort yet. I encourage them to find the right pace so that they do not need to stop to walk at any point. It’s easier said than done, of course, but I’ve seen a lot of improvement so far this year. We’ll run it at least 4 more times before summer break.

A lot of good, creative work happened this month, including crafted models representing the position of the Earth to the sun during solstices and equinoxes, and on what lines the perpendicular rays shine; a mushroom identification guide; a timeline of hip hop; a model of a log ride; ongoing researches on money, Japanese food, llamas, and sugar; and a volume problem concerning how much space $2 million dollars in pennies would take up. I’m routinely impressed by your children’s abilities to create and execute interesting work. Watching their minds calculate, interpret, design, and abstract it just so fascinating.

Schedule and Observation

If you have not observed in the classroom this year and would like to, please contact Admin assistant Spring Gunter ( We would love to host you!



From Jack – Rain Gear

The rainy season appears to be here indefinitely. Check your weather app if you don’t believe it! Please send your child to school with sufficient protective gear – waterproof or resistant jackets (with hoods!), pants, and boots. Hats and gloves are recommended too. Maybe even extra socks. We still go outside for recess, no matter the weather!
Thank you,


From Jack – Upcoming Events

Hello Lupine parents,

I want to share with you some information about upcoming events at Sunstone that should be on your radar.

On Friday and Saturday, Jan. 24-25, is our annual Silent Journey and Discovery parent education event. This is an excellent opportunity to explore, in-depth and accompanied by the wonderful Sunstone guides, the classrooms and materials that your children have spent so much time in and with. It is a truly eye-opening experience for parents, and a very fun time as well. Space is limited; please consider attending!

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, I will be hosting a discussion about the importance of completing the Upper Elementary cycle. If you are on the fence about staying at Sunstone through 6th grade and have questions, or even if you know your family will be here but would like to hear more about being a graduate, this is the event for you. There will be a Sunstone alum or two on hand to share their experiences as well.

Sunstone’s 80’s-themed Auction & Gala takes place on Saturday, March 14. Anyone you talk to who has attended our Gala before will tell you what a good time it is. Dancing, eating, drinking, games – it’s a fun evening and an excellent opportunity to donate, and help raise money for Sunstone.

Let me know if you have any questions about any of these events. I hope to see many of you at some of them!

Talk to you soon,


From Jack – November News

Hi Lupine parents,

I realize I’m late with this newsletter, so apologies if you’ve been anxiously awaiting its arrival in your inbox! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend; I had a lovely trip to snowy Montana to visit my parents.

It was so wonderful to sit down with you all to discuss your children last month. The conference is a great opportunity to ensure we are on the same page when it comes to best supporting your child. It also offers me a little glimpse into your home life, parenting mannerisms, and into what makes your children who they are. Thank you for making the time to chat; it is very valuable. If you haven’t yet received the typed conference report, it is in the mail and you should get it any day now.

November really seemed to fly by, and with only a few weeks left before we take a break until 2020, I find myself thinking about the major themes that have coursed through our year so far. Using class time wisely is always an important theme, year in and year out, but it has seemed especially pertinent this year. The upper elementary-aged child is, by nature, very gregarious and in need of socialization. This group of Lupinites is no different. Being able to interact with 30+ other children all day every day is a great opportunity to work on many different things: conflict resolution, vocabulary building, oration skills. However, at times this year, socializing has eclipsed productive work at the most popular activity in the Lupine Room. I’ve talked to the children, especially recently, about the purpose of being at school, and how with the freedom of the three-hour work period comes great responsibility. In order to have the freedom, you must prove you can responsibly handle it, and a big part of that is limiting the off-topic socializing. It would not hurt to have a chat with your child about this, to reinforce the notion that once you enter the classroom, it is time to get to work. I thank you in your support of this.

Today, we acted out some skits about courtesy and discourtesy. The children presented opposing methods of approaching common classroom situations: touching people’s work, sharing, asking for help, and regulating volume, to name a few. See the photos attached below. It was great fun, but the message behind the activity was real: there is a baseline of courtesy that is the expectation for all children in the class, and to a larger extent, the entire Sunstone community.

Coming up, I look forward to seeing you all two weeks from tomorrow at our Winter Sing & Solstice Celebration on Friday, Dec. 20. It’s a lot of joyous fun, and a good opportunity to make some fun crafts with your kids. And just as a reminder, there is no aftercare this day.

That is all from me. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Take care,


From Room Parents – Winter Solstice and Gifts for Jack and Anika

Hello Lupine Families!

Leah, Lyza and I have some wonderful crafts planned for the Winter Solstice event on Friday, December 20. Children and adults both take great joy gathering together and creating special gifts for friends and family. While we strive to repurpose leftover materials from past Solstice crafts, occasionally we appreciate your help in providing a fresh stock of new supplies.

Ordering is quick and easy; just follow the steps below!

If you already have any of the listed items at home and wish to lend or donate them, please respond to this email ASAP!

***Set-up and Clean-up Volunteers needed 12/20/19.***
Available time slots are listed on the Lupine SignUp Genius page.

Thank you from your Lupine room parents,
Alisha, Leah and Lyza

From Room Parents – 2019 Lupine Guides Holiday Gifts

Dear Lupine Families,

As the holidays approach, the Lupine class would like to gather together as a community to thank Jack and Anika for the amazing support and enrichment they offer our children every day. Their dedication stretches far beyond the classroom, and I know how grateful we all are for the work they put in with our children.

Your room parents are collecting funds to purchase two thank you gifts from all of us. This is a voluntary donation; contributions of any amount are welcomed and much appreciated. Everything we collect will be carefully and anonymously compiled to purchase gift cards for Jack and Anika. Per tradition, a portion of our collection will be contributed towards gifts for the support staff: Mariana (Spanish Enrichment), Andrea and Angelina (In-House Substitutes), Kristen (Outdoor Program Director), and Jason (Food Cart Manager). The rest of our collected funds will be used for our gifts to Jack and Anika.


Cash or checks may be given to any staff member at drop-off, or placed in the black file box located in the Commons next to the front desk. Please put your funds in the LUPINE folder.


Even if you choose to not participate in the group gift, we encourage you to sign the thank you cards for Jack and Anika to wish them a happy holiday. Please look in the LUPINE classroom folder. We also encourage you to sign the cards for the support staff. You will find the cards in the black donation box in the Commons. Please look in the folder marked “SUPPORT STAFF”.


3:00pm – MONDAY, 12/16/19

Cash or checks payable to Alisha Wang

Sorry, no Venmo.


If you have any questions, please contact any of your Room Parents.

Thank you for your generosity,

Leah Nobilette (Sara)

Lyza Anderson (Blake)

Alisha Wang (Alinea)

From Jack – October News

Good afternoon Lupine parents,

The energy this week is palpable – it’s like there is an exciting sugar-filled holiday just around the corner or something. We’ve been working hard to put that energy and enthusiasm into work, journaling, and keeping the environment neat and organized through daily classroom jobs. As a group, we’re still striving to find the balance between socializing and productive work. Talking with friends is great, but when it comes at the expense of working on chosen work goals, then it can be an unnecessary distraction. Over the last few weeks I met and conferenced with each of your children, and helped them choose an appropriate amount of work choices. This list of goals, which occasionally come with deadlines, helps your child learn and/or practice how to manage the lengthy morning work period wisely. It also allows me to show them how to analyze their usage of the work period, and if we need to make any adjustments regarding their chosen seatmates, etc. Ask your child about our conference and what work from the conference work list he or she is planning to work on tomorrow.

This year, the class spent a morning brainstorming ideas that would become part of our Lupine Pledge. The Pledge is comprised of what we promise to be on a daily basis to help guide our personal work choices, social interactions, and general approach to being in a practice society together. I’ve attached a photo of the beautiful Lupine Pledge poster below (made by Aiden, Sara, and Blake, and complete with a Lupine flower on it), but a few of the things we pledge to be are:

– thankful/grateful

– open to new ideas

– hard workers

– good listeners

– appropriate

The Lupine Pledge helps guide us in our daily work, and I wanted to share it with parents, so that you may help us in our pledging.

Also, you’ll see that I couldn’t help but share a photo of Nolan, who is about 15 weeks old at this point!

I’m looking forward to seeing you all for a conference next week. Please do your best to arrive on time, as I can only allot 30 minutes for each meeting. If you have not signed up yet, you can do so here.

At some point after conferences, I will get around to sharing with you the many photos I have from our trip to Camp Gray. Stay tuned!

A quick scheduling note: there is no school on Thurs. 11/7, Fri. 11/8, or Mon. 11/11. There is noon dismissal on Weds. 11/27.

That’s all from me for now – have a safe Halloween.

From Jack – Head Lice

Hello Lupine parents,

I hope you have had a restful weekend and have been all caught up on the fun and educational week we had at Camp Gray.

I heard from a parent this morning that we have a confirmed case of head lice. Please check your child today and ensure they are lice-free before returning to school this week.

Below is the official information Sunstone sends out regarding lice and clearance before returning to school:

Our Sunstone Lice Policy is that if any nits or lice are found on your child we will notify you to pick up your child immediately and give you information about how to treat for head lice. At that point you may decide to treat your child at home or have your child professionally treated. We will include contact information for Lice Knowing You so that you will have the option to go there for treatment. Either way, we will want LKY, or another professional lice removal clinic, to check your child before he/she returns to school.

Thank you in advance for your support in this.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,


Good afternoon Lupine parents,

I imagine you are helping your children pack and spending some good quality time together before the Lupinites depart for Camp Gray tomorrow morning, so I will try to keep this brief! (My advice: encourage the packing of an extra pair of everything. It is going to rain.)

The first month of school is behind us, and it sure was a busy one. We met new friends, learned new procedures, reflected on our summers, learned el alfabeto en español, ran a mile (1.1 miles, actually), and enjoyed the last few weeks of summer playing outside. We also started working! Here are some of the works that have been joyfully explored in the Lupine Room thus far:

– sensorially cubing the number 30

– researches on haunted locations of Portland, gold, bowling, snakes, Nova Scotia, Charles Darwin, and disabilities, to name but a few

– multi-step algebraic equations

– finding the square root of a number in the trillions

– proving the Pythagorean Theorem using a material named after Euclid

– crystallizing a string by dangling it in a super-saturated solution of water and copper sulfate

We are off to a flying start and it’s so fun to watch the children pursue their interests.

One note – I have decided to teach Spanish this year to the Lupine children. I am trying to integrate the language into our daily work in the classroom, and the goal is for the children to not just learn vocabulary, but to be able to speak it conversationally. I was a Spanish major in college and it has been fun to speak it with the kids!

Thank You

A big Thank You is in order for our room parents, Alisha Wang, Lean Nobilette, and Lyza Anderson, for coming in this morning to help the children process pounds and pounds of apples picked yesterday into applesauce. The kids worked hard on it and it tasted great!

Lupine Green Team

Kristen, our nature coordinator, has been working with the newly assembled Lupine Green Team on preparing a station at next week’s Fall Festival (more info below). The Green Team works throughout the year to help Sunstone live up to its Green School title, and to help with projects around the school. I’ve attached some photos from last week of the children preparing for this coming weekend.

Upcoming Events

There are some upcoming events I’d like to put on your radar:

Sunstone’s annual Fall Festival and new Fun Run are Saturday. Yes, it’s the day after the children return from Camp Gray, but there are many activities, music, food, and it’s a great way to spend a fall morning. I hope to see you there.

There is NO SCHOOL next Friday, Oct. 11; staff and faculty have a scheduled in-service day.

Thursday, Oct. 18 is Photo Day for Lupine. Order forms were placed in your child’s take home folder today.

That’s all from me for now – I’ll see you on Friday!

Take care,


From Jack – Camp Update

We are one week away from our trip to Camp Gray! The children are getting excited and the weather (fingers crossed) looks great. I wanted to share with you some more details.

We will depart on Tuesday morning at 9:00. It is essential that your child arrives by 8:30! Instead of bringing bags into the building, they can be set outside the back door to the Lupine Room on the blacktop, by the picnic table. We will load into the bus out there.

Your child should pack snacks and a lunch for Tuesday.

We will return Friday afternoon and plan to be back between 2:30-3:00. I will be sending travel updates to Monica Wright, who will send them out to you. Once we have returned, you are free to pick up your child and head home!

The Camp Store will be open at some point throughout the week for children to buy t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other items, if desired, so send cash in an envelope if you want.

If your child takes daily medication, please bring the medication on Tuesday morning in a ziplock bag, labeled with the child’s name. Hand the medication directly to me or Anika. We will ensure your child takes the medication daily and at the appropriate time.

Don’t forget to get your mail to me as well, if you’re planning to have send for your child.

Do not pack for your child! You can help pack, but I have found that children who do not pack their own bags often don’t know what they have in the way of clothes.

Lastly – getting a lot of sleep in the days leading up to Camp is essential! Early bedtimes on Sunday and Monday will set your child up for a fun and successful week.

If there is anything I have forgotten, please ask! We are looking forward to a great trip.

From Jack – Camp Communication

Hello Lupine parents,

Our trip to Camp Gray is quickly approaching! I hope you have had time to read over the student packet with your child, and to complete the health form. Please do both at your earliest convenience, and send the form in promptly. Thank you!
Many parents write letters for their children to open at Camp. These can be mailed directly to Camp, but most families choose to discreetly get them to me before we depart, and I distribute them to your children (specify which envelope for which day!). If this is something you’d like to do, feel free to slip me the letters during dismissal, or have Carmen put them in my mailbox.
A reminder that Camp Gray can be rather rainy. It is essential that your child come prepared with a rain jack and pants, and two pairs of shoes! The packing list in the packet should help you sort out everything else.
And I’d like to let you know that our two parent chaperones this year are Todd Guren (father to Joel), and Shawn Kolitch (father to Sara. As it turns out, due to the way the cabins are organized, we do not actually need an additional female chaperone; Anika and Francesca will be overseeing the two girls’ cabins.
Do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, and I will see you soon.
P.S. Departure: In short, plan on a normal arrival time (8:10-8:30) to school on Tuesday, and a pretty-close-to-normal pick up time (~2:30-3:00) on Friday.


From Room Parents – Lupine Apple Picking Sept 29

Join us for Lupine Class APPLE PICKING
Sunday, September 29, 2019 10am-Noon
DOUGLAS FARM – 15330 NW Sauvie Island Rd., Sauvie Island, OR. 97231
The children are making applesauce as a class project that Monday.
We encourage each participating family to pick and donate at least 2-lb of apples to the Lupine Class – you’ll receive one (1) hour of volunteer credit!
Feel free to pick and purchase any other available fruits/vegetables to take home.

1. Bring your own containers. Sturdy, single layer boxes preferred. Douglas Farm can also provide suitable boxes depending on what you are picking. 2. No Dogs or Pets Allowed – Siblings OK! 3. It’s a farm! Farms have dirt and uneven ground. Wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. Comfortable shoes—tennis shoes and work boots are great. 4. Douglas Farm accepts cash, credit cards, checks.

Alisha and Leah (room parents)


From Room Parents – Welcome Letter

Dear Lupine Community,

Welcome to all new and returning families!  We wanted to take a moment to introduce ourselves as the Room Parents in the Lupine Room – Leah Nobilette (Sara – 5th year) and Alisha Wang (Alinea – 5th year).  Our responsibilities as Room Parents are varied and we would like to take the opportunity to let you know what we do and how we might be able to help with questions, support and ideas that you might have.

Room Parent Recruitment!

We’d love to include a third Lupine parent, preferably from our fourth-year families but any interested parties may contact either Leah or Alisha.

What We Do

  1. Volunteer Opportunities/Community Participation – We help communicate volunteer opportunities within the classroom.  If families are needed to sign up for flowers/laundry, classroom wish list items or to volunteer at Solstice, you may hear from us.  Some are able to give their time, others would rather offer donations.  We encourage you to volunteer in a way that is right for your family.  You can check out a list of volunteer opportunities on the parents portal of the website.  Please let us know if you have questions about any of the opportunities.

  1. Gifts and Staff Appreciation – We coordinate gift giving efforts for the Guides and the support staff during the holiday season and at year-end.  We also coordinate a staff appreciation meal once a year. For staff appreciation each classroom chooses one month during the year to provide a meal to honor the whole school staff and show our appreciation for all that they do for our children.  Meal ideas include breakfast goodies, brunch, or serving homemade soups and baked goods for lunch.  If you have any ideas or suggestions, we welcome your input!  We will let you know when our selected month is and send out more information at that time.

  1. Winter Solstice Activities and Class Auction Art Projects – We help plan and procure supplies for the Winter Solstice craft activities as well as the classroom art auction project, so if you have any special talents or can volunteer your time, please let us know. You will also see donation sign ups in the Tuesday Communications as these events near.

  1. Lupine Room Community Events – We organize special events for the (classroom) community.  In addition to the whole school Fall Mixer on the evening of Thursday, October 10, we will be planning a Lupine community get together this fall and another in the early spring so watch for those details.  There will also be an end of year picnic. The date is yet to be determined for that but we’ll keep you informed.

Class communication

Throughout the year we will use this listserv: to communicate to you information regarding all of the above items.  The class listserv is for announcements only; parents can only reply to the sender of the email. It’s not a group conversation format.

We highly encourage you to read the Tuesday Communications each week and check out the classroom page link while you are there.

School Directories can be found on the parents portal of the website under Directories – Password: Sunstone. The classroom rosters will be published there shortly.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the upcoming Back To School Night on September 12 @ 5:30pm. We look forward to sharing a new school year with all of you!


Leah Nobilette –

Alisha Wang –

From Jack – Welcome Letter

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year, Lupine families! We will be back in session soon, and I am looking forward to having your children back for another great year, whether they are returning for a second or third year in Lupine, or new to the classroom and/or Sunstone. My summer was wonderful, and as many of you know, my wife Talia and I welcomed our firstborn child, a boy.

His name is Nolan. It was a beautiful experience and we’re in love with him!

Good to Know

Below are a few important items for you to remember as the new year approaches.

On Thursday, August 29 from 9:30-11:30, we will be hosting an informal Elementary Open House. Please come by to say hello, see the classroom, and drop off some items (see below). There will also be opportunities this day to help out around the school at our Campus Cleanup led by Kristen. Be sure to sign-up to get your community participation credit.

Your child should bring the following items to the Lupine Room during the Open House:

  • a water bottle with a non-squirt lid, labeled with name or initials
  • a 1 1/2 inch, three-ring binder
  • 1 set of subject dividers
  • a pair of indoor shoes, preferably with rubber soles; Crocs are acceptable. Slippers and flip-flops are strongly discouraged.

Other dates to remember

On Thursday, September 12, plan to attend our Back To School Night to hear about the upcoming school year. Be sure to reserve childcare if you need it.

Our trip to OMSI’s Camp Grey, in Newport, will be the first week in October. Much more information to follow.

That’s all for now. Enjoy the last few weeks of summer and be in touch with any questions.

See you soon,


From Jack – What to Bring Thursday

Hello Lupine families,

Anika and I have been working hard to prepare the classroom for the upcoming year and it is looking great! We are excited to see you all on Thursday morning for a brief orientation and visit. Remember that the Campus Clean Up is that morning as well!
Just a reminder that I ask your child to bring in just a few items on Thursday – these are the only things they need to start the year:
– a pair of indoor shoes to be kept at school (no flip flops please; also, this is a good chance to remind your children to wear socks to school!)
– a water bottle, labeled with a name or initials, that closes securely and does not have a squirt top
– a three-ring binder, preferably 1 1/2″ but no larger
– a set of dividers for use in the binder
Please let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll see you soon!