K-8 PE Teacher, Steve Fragleasso (pr: frag-lee-AH-so) joined the Friends School team in January this year, bringing the joy of outdoor education to our students. Learn a little bit more about him in this brief interview.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Golden, Co. Its proximity to trails and mountains shaped my future. Since then, I have bounced around the Colorado area a little, spending about two years in Lakewood and the past 9 years in Boulder. I just moved to Lafayette with my partner, Megan, where we bought a house.
Personal stats (family):
I have one younger sister who has a 1 and 4 year old that I take on adventures often. My father still lives in my childhood home in Golden.
What did you do before working at Friends School?
Before coming to Friends School I worked with a handful of organizations that got kids outside learning about camping, climbing, biking and other outdoor activities. One of those organizations is Avid4 Adventure and it is where I plan to continue to spend my summers.
What do you think will be interesting, fun or challenging about your job at Friends School?
When guiding and working with summer camps, I only get to spend about a week with the same kids before they are on to the next thing. I’m very excited to get the opportunity to work with students for longer periods of time.
What’s an interesting fact about you?
When I was 26, I attempted to hike the Colorado Trail solo only a few months after being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I overcame a large learning curve and I hiked from Denver to Gunnision in 18 days. In Gunnision I had to end my hike because of early winter storms.
What’s your favorite kind of music, favorite band, book, movie, food – you pick?
My favorite food is coconut lemongrass green curry.Read More
by Friends School mom and local trauma therapist, Lauren Hassan, LCSW
Many thanks to Friends School mom and trauma therapist, Lauren Hassan, LCSW, who met with our staff last week to provide tools and resources to navigate these challenging times. Lauren shares her experience as this week’s guest blogger.
I recently had the pleasure of spending some time with our incredible teachers and staff at Friends School. We addressed what it means to be living in trauma and how to actively and purposefully cultivate resilience. And how to do this while being both present in our bodies and with each other. Our time together was a little bit of everything.
As a trauma therapist, I have been working in a microcosm of this pandemic. Sitting with individuals and feeling the depths of their experience through the unique lens of each life that sits with me on my screen. We dive deep into pain, we connect in vulnerability, we rebound in connecting to resources and resilience, often times we laugh and then we do it again the next week. This work is profound. I am privileged, humbled and honored to be invited into peoples’ worlds in this way.
Yet, there is a part of me that feels connected to something so much bigger as I think of all the shared pain, loss and fear; all who are sacrificing during this time. Each day I take the kids to school and pick them up, I find myself moved by the commitment our community is making. All of us! How can we truly support and show up for this community from within. From our core sense of self, reaching each individual who so passionately commits to our families and our children. I invite you to consider the same. Not just for our Friends School community, but for all communities in your life…family, friends, groups you are a part of, others in need. What could this look like if we all put our whole hearts into loving and showing up for each other?
Resilience. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but when we do this, when we give, even if we feel we have nothing to give, we expand our capacity to cultivate resilience. And with that, I leave this letter here for our incredible teachers and staff.
Dear teachers and all staff… all who work tirelessly to keep our school running,
You continue to show up in ways that you did not choose or necessarily sign up for. What you are enduring now, was likely far from your radar when you chose to engage in this line of work. You are being asked to establish safety for our community and our children and in that, to monitor behavior and circumstances that require hypervigilance every single day. Your roles have been renegotiated. How you connect and work as a team has been redefined. How you adapt is requiring intense flexibility and rigidity all at once. You are not only having to work with your own emotional needs and livelihoods, but you are supporting our children in theirs and identifying how to relate to and work with parents who likely all have a unique reaction to how everything is being handled. All while still teaching…still educating our children in their whole sense of self.
Oh and let’s please not forget, you all were heroes before this pandemic entered our lives. Committing to our children and our families through incredible skill, knowledge, collaboration, and empathic care. I said this when I first invited you to join me – you are warriors. Warriors who will forever be imprinted in the maps of our lives and in the narrative of our stories. We are forever grateful.
With all my love,
Learn more about Lauren and her work at laurenhassan.com.Read More
Since 1987, Friends Preschool has offered a warm, loving, and play-based approach to early childhood education for hundreds of Boulder children. We’re excited to announce a new addition to our program for next year.Read More
by Lucy Goldstein, Pre-K Parent at Friends School
Last week as a Pre-K west volunteer parent, I wrote a note of appreciation to the teachers for the month of September. To my surprise, they asked if I would share my thoughts with all of you. It was a note to say thank you, particularly as Harvest Week arrives because there is so much for which we can be grateful. Most importantly, the school has made it through September and part of October without a hitch! At least that is how the teachers, staff and administrators have made it seem from our side of the fence when we drop off our children. And while I do not see all of the labor that goes into keeping the school doors open, the teachers and staff have done a wonderful job of thinking outside of the box, continuing to be positive, and providing all of us an in-person school experience despite the personal hardships everyone is taking on. And that’s where my thoughts turn more serious too.
Every day while our children go to school, our whole country is still experiencing such unprecedented loss: loss of lives, loss of jobs, loss of the way we used to do things, loss of in-person schooling for the majority of our country’s children, loss of the simple things like being together unencumbered by worries of contagion, and on a macro level, loss of honest and dignified political leadership at the highest of levels and in every branch of government. Indeed, with each new week of news and an election around the corner, our spirits are being asked to re-examine who we are as a country. What should health, justice and equality look like for ourselves and those different from ourselves? At the same time, I also have an unextinguished hope that we will, as a more unified people, prevail. That with this degree of disruption and pain, the soil of our humanity is being tilled, and from that, new growth will occur.
Part of this new growth is, I believe, apparent in the way Friends School guides each child. Despite COVID-19, the injustice to black lives, RBGs death, fire ashes falling in the air as I write, our teachers still show up every day with a big smile, upbeat voice, and open arms engaging children in the most important of human skills: curiosity, presence, joy, learning to listen – not just to others, but to their own bodies and the elements around them, asking deep questions about kindness and what it looks like, giving children healthy language to play together and apart, teaching them to balance acceptance of others with self-advocacy. In truth, these are the most essential tools for us as humans because they help develop wisdom and compassion. They teach our children that despite our differences, each human and the nature around us has value – no matter where we are born, and no matter what color, gender or religion. And that is the real heart of the matter, making sure the next generation honors each other in a more thoughtful way than many of our current societal structures demonstrate.
In light of Harvest Week, I am grateful for the intention Friends School brings to every child. We are so fortunate to have such a caring and intelligent school community. And, on behalf of all of the parents, thank you, Friends, for a wonderful September and October in such challenging times. May we continue to reap the harvest of the teachers’ and staff’s thoughtful labor.
Are Shakespeare’s words really relatable in today’s world and can 4th graders actually learn something about themselves when studying his centuries-old prose? Farren Wyner answers these questions as she shares her renewed love of Shakespeare with her students.Read More
Friends Board Chair, Jenny Donovan shares excerpts from Honor and our three division directors about all the exceptional things that have been happening at Friends School since remote learning began.Read More
There are so many amazing things happening all around Friends School. Our 4 division directors recently shared the highlights in preschool, elementary, middle school and the Teacher Preparation Program.Read More
Parents of Friends preschoolers know that their children are learning at one of Boulder’s best preschools. What’s often a surprise for them, however, is the added parent education they receive from our amazing preschool team.Read More
Congratulations to Friends AfterCare teacher Rashel Gandhi-Besbes who has been named the outstanding graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences at CU Boulder for fall 2018. Rashel’s honor thesis is about conservation efforts in Tanzania. She is graduating summa cum laude in anthropology from the University of Colorado Boulder. Read more about Rashel’s work and award here.Read More