A Valentine's Day Memory...

On this day, nineteen years ago, I almost earned the title of Worst Mother Ever. Now, I realize such a confession does not bolster confidence in your school principal, so here’s the backstory….

On February 13th I received a phone call from Mt. Baldy School office clerk Kayjo Ramstead, “come pick your daughter Annie up, she’s got red spots. All over!” I retrieved my polka-dot daughter and immediately thumbed through my 635 page Reader’s Digest Illustrated Family Medical Home Reference book (pre-internet!). Hmm… no fever, no headache, but lots of spots.  Incontrovertible spots.

A quick phone consult with my Mother the Oracle (a moniker reserved only for those who have raised at least four children to adulthood) resulted in a hasty trip to the market to stock up on the essentials: Seven-up, tomato soup, saltine crackers, popsicles, orange juice, Jello (Four Fun Flavors!), fruit cups, Benadryl, oatmeal bathtub soak, and a bucketful of videos from Blockbuster.

Bright and early February 14th, I roused my six year old tow-head and dragged her into the brightly lit bathroom, in hopes that a minor miracle had occurred. Alas, the spots hadn’t disappeared, but, in fact, seemed to be settling in for a nice long visit.  But, still no fever or headache.

Incontrovertible spots. My heart sank as the truth sank in. I was going to have to ruin my daughter’s life by telling her that she was going to have to miss her first grade Valentine’s Day party. Worst Mother Ever. Did I happen to mention to you that Valentine’s Day is my all time favorite holiday? I took a deep breath and readied myself for the inevitable display of sorrow and wrath. I delivered the salvo, and in response, after a quiet pause, Annie responded with equanimity, “well then, can I go watch one of the videos now?”

 So, who was having the issue here?

Life is hard, we want to protect our children, but we really can’t. I really wanted my daughter to be able to enjoy that Valentine’s day—but I needed to separate my disappointment from hers—she actually didn’t even know what she was missing!  I learned if we can learn to recognize and contain our own pain and worry, we can then attend to the work of supporting our children through periods of disappointment, anger or sorrow in little doses, and, in doing so, we can, to some degree, equip them with tools to handle the bigger events that inevitably come with living a life. 

It is hard in the trenches of parenting, and we are not going to get it right every time. In my many years as a parent and educator, I have worked with, and have tried to emulate, parents who were able to be objective about their children’s challenges and support them in learning, and emerging stronger, from these experiences.  I clearly didn’t have that skill down when my daughter was six, but got a lot better at it through the process of raising two children into adults.

I see the philosophy of developing problem-solving occurring daily in our school, as I watch teachers, proctors and student peer mediators supporting students in learning how to deal with the inevitable conflicts and disappointments that come with growing up. I am thankful that our small size and passionate staff allow this type of learning to occur.


Those red spots? Turned out to be poison oak! We loaded Annie up on Benadryl and Calamine, went camping in Anza Borrego, and got to witness her first lost tooth around the campfire!

 And those supplies? We got to make use of those the following summer, when Annie really did came down with chicken pox, bookended two weeks later when Will succumbed, effectively wiping out our entire summer plans for the Upland summer reading program, swimming lessons, and the Claremont outdoor concert series. Happy ending: they eventually learned to swim, and I eventually learned to let go!




A Message from the School Board

The Mt Baldy School Board understands the importance of having a vision.  A vision helps us understand what we strive for in our work.   With that in mind, we created, and want to share, our newly crafted board vision and mission.  Although brief, it encapsulates a host of values, and rationale for the important educational choices we make at Mt Baldy School.  We invite feedback on the board vision and mission.  Please feel free to get in touch with us if you would like to share your thoughts on this work.


Mt Baldy School - a learning community where students and faculty experience a connectedness to one another and the nature that surrounds us.  In this environment, students not only become confident, competent academics, they graduate as curious, compassionate, creative, joyful, problem-solvers.


Through intentional use of our natural surroundings and productive relationships, we use nature as a vehicle for our curricula while providing for the needs of the whole child.



Last Saturday the P.T.A. hosted our annual community pancake breakfast. Thanks to the collective effort of school parents and community volunteers it went off without a hitch and a great time was had by all! It was wonderful to see so many people talking to old friends and new under the canopy of our beautiful oak trees. My favorite part of the event was hearing the stories the alumni and community elders tell about the antics that happened long ago both here at the school and in the community! I even got to hear about a secret: did you know that there is a time capsule hidden here at the school?  Maybe we should open it up during the year of our Centennial Celebration in 2021!

Is there any month better than October?

This is one of our favorite months: leaves are turning scarlet, the air is brisk, students have more energy with cooler temperatures, and the tarantulas are out and about!

Last week I wandered in to the Kindergarten to find our Kindergarten scientists were doing some observations of a tarantula that was temporarily contained (he was later returned right back to the spot where he had been found). Students spent the remainder of the morning learning all about this animal and interesting facts about tarantulas from around the world. Most impressive was the fact that the students were not at all squeamish about observing this large arachnid, and in fact spoke of him with great reverence! Mrs. Cate's enthusiasm and love for appreciating and learning about our local environment makes our Kindergarten a great learning experience.

 Kind of looks like the tarantula is saying "  hi there!  "

Kind of looks like the tarantula is saying "hi there!"

 "Look! Did you see what we have?"

"Look! Did you see what we have?"

Come Join Us This Thursday Night!

  Our 7/8 students teaching their colleagues about Medieval medical practices...thank goodness for modern medicine!

 Our 7/8 students teaching their colleagues about Medieval medical practices...thank goodness for modern medicine!

If you think about the process of embarking upon a project, whether it be for work or for an important volunteer project with a group of others, there is a point in which it becomes evident that the task is not only about the steps it will take to complete the job, but also about coordinating and working with the individuals and all of the strengths and challenges they bring to the table.

As our students are getting to know each other, this is their work at hand--learning the soft skills of how to communicate and cooperate to complete a task or project. As we all can attest, this is not always easy! We are supporting our students with navigating the difficult terrain of learning to work well with others through morning meetings, lessons focused upon social emotional skill development, responsible online interactions and Peer Mediation.

If you would like to learn more specifics about a couple of these supports, please join us at the school this Thursday, September 28th, from 6:00 to 7:30 P.M.

We will begin the evening with having educational expert Jeannine Dole present information about our Peer Mediation process. As well, she will discuss the research substantiating the use of peer mediators, as well as the results of her findings.

Jeannine will be followed by a presentation by Sue Christensen, Coordinator for Digital Learning for San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, who will be sharing information about ways that families can become educated in how to safely and effectively navigate and utilize online resources. Susan will present resources from Common Sense Education, including a new aspect of the program called Connecting Families. We'll be asking for interest in future gatherings which could include parent discussions on topics such as body image, cyberbullying, digital footprints, privacy, sexting, and distraction, multitasking and time management.

We hope you can make it!


Getting Ready for Fall

The temperatures are dropping in the mornings so the students are really appreciating those sweatshirts in their backpacks!  Our 2017/18 peer mediators have been selected and are being trained (see photo below), we feel fortunate to have their support this year in helping students solve problems and have the best experience possible at school.  

We will be having student council elections in the next few weeks.  This year, our student body will select an executive council as opposed to individual roles (president, vice-president, etc.).  This will allow the student body to focus on qualities of leadership at the outset, and develop internal leadership in the group as they work together throughout the year.



We hope everyone had a wonderful, long Labor Day Weekend!

We had our first annual Mt Baldy School Back-to-School picnic on Saturday at Katie Parker’s house in Upland (thank you Parker family!).  It was such a treat being able to visit, get to know people, find out how students are feeling about the new school year, and enjoy good food together.   From the looks of it, the kids had a great time too!  Between climbing trees and splashing in the fountain, the kids worked up appetites and had fun.  We look forward to having a couple more events like this during the year, some up in Mt Baldy and some down the hill.  This is a wonderful way to get to know one another and strengthen our Mt Baldy School community!  There are a couple pictures below for your enjoyment. 

If you’re reading this, you are already aware of our new website and the resources it contains.  The calendar is particularly helpful as it includes the many different events that the school will host in the coming year.   Mt Baldy School is also on Instagram, so if you are interested in following us, you can find us by searching Mt Baldy School.  Our icon is a picture of our bell.  We will be posting every week.

As far as this week goes, it looks like the temps are lowering to more normal levels (low 80’s), which will help ease our outdoor lunch and play time.  We are looking forward to another great week.

Back to School Night

The week (and summer?) has flown by and it is already Back to School Night this Thursday, August 31st.  

We welcome parents beginning with the TK/Kindergarten's presentation at 6:00, followed by the 1/2 class at about 6:20, the 3/4 class and 6:40, and so on.  At about 7:00 we will be gathering in the 5/6 for a brief slide show of our first couple days of this brand new school year.  See a sneak peak below :).

Back to School Night is a time for parents to get a glimpse of what their child(ren) are experiencing at school, as well as gain understanding of important teacher communication.

We look forward to seeing everyone this Thursday, August 31st beginning at 6:00 pm. 


Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the new school year everyone!  We have had a very busy summer around here.  Numerous projects have kept us on our toes, and hopefully, you can see the evidence inside and outside of our school.  We...(add a few things)

In fact, in July, the Reichmann's, a family whose roots run deep in Mt Baldy volunteered a day of their time during their family reunion to help us with a host of projects.  Many of the family members had attended Mt Baldy School decade ago, and their mother was a board president in the 1970's.  My "to do" list was checked off at warp speeds with over fifty people, painting, sanding, and helping us get the campus into ship shape.  Here's a few pictures we captured that day...

words fail to express the deep gratitude we felt at school that day from this generous and hard working family!  

Another community member and alum volunteered a Saturday to create benches in our outdoor education center so learners of all ages can use the space effectively!  We think the kids (and teachers) are gonna love them.  Thanks, Daniel.  


Measure twice, cut once :)

Dan putting his skills to work



that's a wrap :)

We also had our Mt Baldy Girl Scout troop paint and construct benches for our pond and garden area.  They also researched, purchased and planted native plants for our native plant garden in front of the school.  Thank you Girl Scouts. Your thoughtful work will be appreciated by many!