out and about

Rubber Band at Coffee Bar.

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Phantoms in the lab and at the library.

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Coyotes at Crissy Field.

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Sand leopards at the probability table.

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Salt and nerves.

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band names

After going out into the world to bond with each other and take a vision quest, the four bands of this school year have returned with names.

They went to the Presidio…

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Glen Canyon Park

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Ocean Beach

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Mt. Sutro Park

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Upon their return, we were introduced to:

the Rubber Band!

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the Coyotes!

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the Ninja Critters!

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…and the Sand Leopards!

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Named… and more adventures to come.

high adventure

I’m not sure where to start in writing today’s post. Is it with the audacious idea that a group of ten- to thirteen-year-olds would agree to do a 64 miles of bike riding in two days, or with the fact that it was their teacher who came up with the idea? Or is it the deluge of rain that greeted them yesterday morning as they were heading out and the bike tune-ups that happened beforehand? Perhaps with the campout, the fist-sized marshmallows, the mile-long uphill ride in Marin, or crossing the Golden Gate in both rain and sun. Or maybe it’s with the parents who let their kids take on this moment of high adventure with barely any hesitation.

But pictures say more than I can. (Josh, I don’t know how you took pictures while riding.) Besides, I haven’t even got the full story from these exhausted but jubilant Goats and the intrepid Josh. I’m sure grand tales of high adventure will come.

The faces of yesterday’s departure:

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On the road, by the bay.

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Bridge crossing.

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The north bay.

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Still smiling.

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The road was tough. At the camp-out at Samuel P. Taylor, the Goats were exhausted but thrilled to have made it.

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This morning, as the Goats got ready to head back to the city. They broke camp at 11am.

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Back on the much sunnier road.

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Up hills.

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The Golden Gate.

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We waited out front to give a cheer as the Goats rolled into school around 6pm.

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They made it back – dirtier, more tired, ready to eat – but so filled with pride in the journey.

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Hooray Goats!

As the last week of the first year continues to bring such high notes, I admit that I’m still just as excited to be a part of Brightworks as I was on the very first day of school. Maybe that was obvious.

and they’re off

The Undead Goats have been training for the last two months on their bikes and are now making a 30-mile biking trek to Samuel P. Taylor park in Marin to camp out for the night and test their skills on the road. They headed out this morning in a surprise spring downpour, but were smiling all the way!

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Melissa will be driving the van packed with gear up to Samuel P. Taylor.

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Headed out the front door.

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Reminders from Josh.

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A last minute pep-talk from Nora, with encouragement to stay together on the roads and work together to get to their destination.

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The line-up, and a final farewell.

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They’re off!

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We can report at this time that they made it, but more details from the road will come tomorrow when they get back!

Meanwhile at the school, prep continued for Wednesday’s big show!

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It’s surreal and strange to think that today was our last Monday of the first year at Brightworks School…

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lunch and market

We’re one of the luckiest schools around – not only because we have great kids, supportive parents, an awesome staff, and an amazing way of doing things, but also because every Wednesday and Friday we get to have community lunch, made by two of the moms and from some of the best food in the city.

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The Ninja Cats went out into the world and visited San Francisco Friends School for a little acting research: watching a 30-minute performance of Hamlet.

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While things cooked at the school, the Currency group hosted the first Kid City Market, where the kids used the new currency system that they’ve been working on for months to buy goods from one another.

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Community lunch.

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Dessert.

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And cleaning up.

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adventuring

Everyone went adventuring today!

To the cork floor: the Ninja Cats pursued stage building…

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…and prop- and costume-making

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To Glen Canyon:

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…where the Fish became nesting birds and cracked out of their shells. They played out the courting rituals of the birds they’ve been learning about and tried out ideas for their nesting performance coming at the end of the arc. The extent of their knowledge about birds and their habits is really astounding!

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To Atlas Cafe:

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Rocket Dog Rescue, a non-profit that helps dogs from overcrowded shelters find foster or permanent homes, held an adoption event a few blocks from the school, so the Ninja Cats took a bike ride over to help out the volunteers by hanging out with puppies and get a little furry love.

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Then they rode back to school for a little Wee Free Men and the end of the day.

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To the east of San Francisco:

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The Undead Goats set off early in the morning and headed east on their bikes instead of west. They rode along the bay side of San Francisco and explored the remains of the industrial part of town.

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supports

The building cohort of the Ninja Cats’ performance group headed out to Half Moon Bay to find eucalyptus supports for the theater that they’re building.

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Eucalyptus grows like weeds in California, so it was no sweat to find a small grove to chop down some lumber.

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Then they loaded up Gever’s truck and headed back to Brightworks.

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Everyone helped unload!

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Bike repairs and rides for the Goats.

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The Flying Fish went to Glen Park Canyon (unfortunately with their camera sitting on the kitchen counter) to check in on the owl babies that they went to find a few weeks ago. Before they’d gone even a quarter mile into the park, they found hummingbird nests, a robin’s egg, dragonfly wings, a gopher skull, and nesting house sparrows with their nut hatches. They lay on the ground for ten minutes watching the sparrows fly in and out of a dead tree where they were nesting – a restful moment away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Mackenzie reported that they found the owl’s nest, but it was empty. The Fish decided to head up the creek and were thrilled when they came across a group of birders in the process of releasing one of the owl chicks that had been injured in its first attempt to fly. Moss, an avid bird nerd and photographer (his site is here: urbanowls.net), explained how he had come across the runt of the nest in the creek with broken tail feathers.  He and his fellow birders took the chick up to Wild Care in Marin where they ran some blood work and mended the feathers. They had just released the chick back into the wild as the Fish came upon them, and they peered through the tree branches to see the check balancing precariously on a branch. The kids could hear the owl parents calling to its baby, and finally the chick flapped awkwardly down to the creek to follow the calls. They were able to see the owl chick up close. Moss shared owl stories and was impressed by the Fish’s enthusiasm for birds.