Okay, not quite. But 10 acres are a great starting point for Phoenix Rising’s Hands-on Approach
Quick quiz: Which of the following activities take place at home and which happen at school?
1. Roasting marshmallows at the fire pit.
2. Riding dirt bikes off a ramp.
3. Collecting food you grew from the garden for a mid-morning snack.
4. Making fairy houses in the forest.
5. Playing elaborate games of tag around an a-frame wooden structure.
If you said ‘school’ to all of the above, congratulations! You must be a Phoenix Rising student. With ten acres to roam, we make use of every available space as an opportunity to learn.
But don’t be misled: All of the activities listed above may sound like play, but they’re actually tied to units and workshops that make learning hands-on, relevant and engaging. “Outdoor education and play time helps students become high-performance learners with skill sets that will be with them throughout their lives,” says Kevin J. Coyle ot the National Wildlife Federation. Students who spend time outdoors also perform measurably better on standardized tests.
We are indeed fortunate in our rural campus, where our closest neighbors include llamas, cows, goats and a group of St. Bernard dogs. For more information about the benefits of outdoor education, click here. To see how Phoenix Rising does Outdoor Education, click here. View Photos of ‘Water Day’
On her son’s first day of pre-school, Karen K. was a bit apprehensive. At his last school, “It took him a month to adjust,” she says. So she let the staff know that if he was having a hard time, they should call her. Accordingly, Administrator Jessica Caldwell checked in with Gus after half an hour in his new class. “How’s it going?” she asked. “Awesome!” he responded. “I already forgot about my mom.” It could be worse. When fellow pr-K parent Aria came to pick up her four-year old son Ricky after day one, “He cried,” she says. “He didn’t want to come home.”
In fact, our nine new students seem to be adjusting remarkably well, especially considering that some of them are getting used to a whole new schedule. “We’ve had a few trying mornings,” says Adriana, whose daughter Sienna is in the first grade. “It’s been a huge change because she’s never gone to school every day of the week. But once she gets there, she loves it. She’s in heaven.” Welcome to all of our new parents and students: Ryan, Karen and Gus; Aria, Ricky and Ricky Jr. ; Eileen, Matthew and Miles; Renee, Ari and grandmother Linda; Kai, Cozette and Harmony; Oivind, Kirstie and Pearl; Megan, Josh and Alice; Scott, Rebecca and Jake ; T.J., Adriana and Sienna; and Raiya, sister of Phoenix Rising students Tyler and Brooklyn Allen and daughter of Kristina and Tim. We are so happy you’re here!
View Photos from Our First Full Week
Students were surprised this week to discover that the latest addition to the 5th and 6th grade class is a cockatoo named White Lightning. He belongs to facilitator Sophie Sykes and already knows how to say his own name and sing “Happy Birthday”. “He’s amazing,”says Akasha. “He’s a really special type of bird.” “He’s a really cool class pet,” Sydney adds, while Pyrenees maintains, “He’s very snuggly.” The class already has plans to teach him all of their names and how to say “Good morning __________.”
Students benefit in multiple ways from classroom pets, including*:
- Observing and caring for an animal instills a sense of responsibility and respect for life.
- A pet brings increased sensitivity and awareness of the feelings and needs of others—both animals and humans.
- Kids learn that all living things need more than just food and water for survival.
- Students will see directly how their behavior and actions affect others.
- Studies show that the presence of animals tends to lessen tension in the classroom.
View Photos of White Lightning and other Week One Adventures
It was a sweet send off for the class of 2014 as Austin, Owen and Andrew move on to 7th grade. Families and staff gathered at Tumwater Historical Park for a day of games, celebration and a graduation ceremony for the three Phoenix Rising 6th graders, along with 5th grader Allie, who will not be returning next year. The energy was upbeat and relaxed as students, parents and team members enjoyed fun games, fond memories and a successful summer send-off.
“What struck me as so amazing was to think back to who all of these students were at the start of the year,” says Executive Director Aaron Rodriguez. “Their ability to reflect and articulate the goals they’ve achieved and obstacles they’ve overcome shows a tremendous awareness of who they are and who they are still capable of becoming. I can’t fully describe the excitement I have for our school, its purpose and its lasting impact.” Thank you to everyone who has contributed in any way – volunteering, monthly giving, in-kind donations, and more – to making this year happen. Between all of us, including our staff, parents and especially the students themselves, we did it! View Photos
Was it the Seahawks tickets that sent the 3rd annual Phoenix Rising School auction over the top? Or was it perhaps the ‘Dessert Dash’, which saw auction guests scurrying up the aisles to grab their bidded-upon dessert of choice before someone else could get there? Then again the final item of the night, a three night stay at Whistler Four Seasons Residential, went for $16,000. Whatever the case, this year’s sold out event on June 7th was a joyful community celebration that brought in over $120,000.
“I couldn’t be happier with the result,” says auction chair Heidi Smith. “So many people came together to make this happen and all of the guests seemed happy to be there and to support us in whatever way they could.” Nearly two hundred people attended the event, which took place at a new venue, the Campbell and Campbell Building in Tenino. “We got a lot of comments on the building,” says Heidi. “It worked very well for our needs.”
Before the auction even began, almost $55,000 had been donated by several supporters who were unable to attend.* Things only went up from there. “The greatest accomplishment beyond the total amount we raised was the energy of the evening and palpable sense of community,” says Executive Director Aaron Rodriguez. Between the comic talents of emcee Jamie Honey and the persuasive enthusiasm of auctioneer Cindy Schorno, the crowd enjoyed a high-octane evening. Once the auction itself was over, many guests remained to mingle and assist in the clean up process. “A huge thank you to everyone involved,” says Heidi. “We couldn’t have done this without you.” View Photos
*Anyone else who was unable to attend but still wishes to contribute can contact our office at 360-446-1500.