A few Fridays ago my son and I were riding our bikes home from Foothill when we saw a famous person. Okay, he might not be a celebrity outside of the Foothill community, but to us, he’s a rock star. His name is Mr. E, and if you happen to have had a student at Foothill for more than a minute, you have heard of him. But just in case you don’t know him, his full name is Aaron Edrington, Foothill’s beloved music teacher.
We were coasting down 9th Street when a helmeted, lycra clad man on a bike with skinny tires pulled up next to us and told my son he had done a great job in music class that day. “Hey Mr. E,” we both said and pedaled a bit faster to keep up with him. Turns out he was on his way home too.
“Wait a minute,” I said, “Where do you live?”
“Lafayette,” Mr. E said.
Wow. That’s a long ride to and from Foothill.
“I’m a bike commuter,” he said with a smile, and told us more. “A friend of mine gave me this bike five years ago when my daughter Meara was going through one of her surgeries. It was a hard time, and he told me to get on the bike and ride. Ever since then I ride my bike to work. It’s my exercise and it helps clear my mind.”
To say I was impressed was an understatement. Mr. E has three girls, all of whom are fairly young. I knew a little bit of his situation from a few years ago when he and his wife shared with the Foothill community that his oldest daughter, Meara, has epilepsy, and had to undergo a risky, and potentially fatal surgery in an attempt to gain seizure control.
“We still don’t have seizure control,” Mr. E said as we pedaled together for a few blocks, which means Meara has seizures every day and night. How does Mr. E. manage to have a smile on his face and bring so much energy to his students when he doesn’t always get enough sleep and has concerns about his daughter’s health? “Every day is a gift, and I am grateful,” he said. “Of course, SUDEP (Sudden Death in Epilepsy) is a concern, it’s always in the back of my mind.” Mr. E later told me that, “SUDEP can affect 7.5-17% of epilepsy patients, especially those who experience nocturnal seizures as Meara does. As it is right now, her risk for SUDEP is higher than death from status epilepticus.”
“But, Meara loves to dance and when I see how much joy dancing brings her I know we made the right decision to not pursue another surgery that would have potentially paralyzed part of her body. She’s a happy girl who loves to dance.”
After we parted ways, I kept thinking about Mr. E, his daughter, and the students who are fortunate to have him as their music teacher at Foothill. I thought about how joyful he was for his long ride back home, how bike commuting was something he embraced to help him through a dark time, and mostly, how much I have learned from him over the years as my kids’ music teacher. His courage, honesty, and gratitude all bring so much light into the lives of his students, their families, and the greater Foothill community. Thank you, Mr. E., for being an incredible example for others.
When I asked Mr. E. if he would allow me to share this with our Foothill community, he told me, “I am very grateful for the support of our school and the Foothill community. I remember that our family was incredibly cared for during Meara's surgeries and I am reminded every day when I walk into my room that teaching music is second to the relationships and meaning that I have encountered all these years at Foothill.”
Mom to: Grayson, KG, and Ruby (Foothill grad '16)
Staff Appreciation Thankful Leaves
Please help us express our gratitude to all our great teachers and staff. Check your Friday Folder for your “leaves” for your child to write why they’re thankful for their teacher.
Staff Appreciation Meals Thank You
A great big thank you to all of the parents who volunteered their time and talent to provide food for the teachers during parent/teacher conferences as well as those who also helped to set up and clean up each day. You are so appreciated!
What does 130 kids + PR Kids + Sitter.me + 240 slices of pizza + Ice Age Collision Course = ???
3 hours of pure kid FUN on a Friday night at school with the benefit of raising $3,000 for Foothill!
Thank you to all of the students and parents who participated as well as the staff and Principal Schuba for the great support of this event.
Thank you to our sponsors: Sitter.me, PR Kids, CheddarUP, and Quinn Snacks who donated the pretzels that are SO yummy it's surprising they are gluten free!
And a big thank you to Melanie Gauss for not only bringing Kids Night Out to Foothill, but for coordinating this very successful event.
Kids Night Out - October 21st
Foothill Elementary PTO invites all Foothill K-5 students to Kids Night Out on Friday, October 21st from 5-8pm. Play games, watch a movie and enjoy pizza. Sponsored by Sitter.Me, PR Kids, and CheddarUP. 100% of proceeds benefit Foothill Elementary.
Conferences begin next week! This year, to make the meals provided for the teachers more cohesive - and fun! - there is a theme for each day that we will be providing food. Please bring food to the teacher's lounge by 3:00p on the day that you've signed up. Each dish should serve 15. You might consider a disposable or recyclable serving dish, but for those that are not, your dishes will be washed and you may pick them up in the teacher's lounge the following day.
Questions? Contact Melanie Bauer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I roast one of the winter squash that I bought at the Foothill farmer’s market, I can’t help but think how lucky we are that our kids have a garden at their school. While some of you are so familiar with the benefits of kids and gardens you might be thinking, isn’t the topic of kids and gardening, I don’t know, so 2002? After all, Alice Waters started her famous Edible School Yard project twenty years ago. But anyone who has taken a look at the Foothill garden during the growing season can see that the garden is not only beautiful with its towering sunflowers, reedy wildflowers, and boulders to sit on (a class present from a graduating class of 5th graders), but it is alive and vibrant with a variety of vegetables and fruits.
The Growe Foundation, along with the Foothill garden volunteers, Shayna Samuels Turner and Molly Bayer, make this outdoor classroom possible. The Growe Foundation has been involved with the Foothill garden since 2010. The benefits of the partnership are abundant: Growe Foundation provides a curriculum for each grade level that gets the kids, teachers and volunteers out in the garden to plant, observe, search for bugs, weed, and harvest each fall and spring. They provide the seeds, the tools, the materials, as well as their expertise, and the Foothill community gets a beautiful, outdoor learning space that provides multiple hands-on learning opportunities. Each spring, the 2nd graders harvest the lettuce, spin it dry, weigh it and then hand it over to the school lunch program to use in the salad bar. Over the summer, the garden is tended by Growe Foundation staff and volunteers. In the fall, the 3rd graders come out to the garden to harvest and organize the bounty to sell at the Foothill farmer’s market. All the money raised at the farmer’s market helps pay for the garden, and this year the Foothill garden had the good fortune to be the recipient of the Lucky’s Bags for Change program which provided additional funding to offset the costs of the Growe Foundation partnership expenses and helps pay for site improvements.
A couple of weeks ago I stopped by the garden while Shayna was overseeing Ms. Hoskins’ class of 3rd graders harvest grape tomatoes and pumpkins. “Try it, taste it,” she encouraged the kids as they brought up bowls full of grape tomatoes.
“This is my first year of gardening,” Shayna said. “I signed up to help with the garden as a way to learn and share my enthusiasm about gardening. Before I started with the garden, I had never cooked with kohlrabi or tasted nasturtium (an edible flower that grows in the Foothill garden). It’s a great resource to have at school that is so different than classroom learning.”
Molly has been helping with the garden since it started, over six years ago. “I really like the experiential education component of the garden,” she said. “Especially the opportunity kids have to see first hand the entire process of how food is grown, from planting the seeds to harvesting and eating it.”
Thank you to the Growe Foundation, Shayna and Molly, all the teachers who get their students into the garden two times a year, and the parents and community volunteers who make the garden an incredible resource for Foothill
Mom to: Grayson, KG, and Ruby (Foothill grad '16)
The Foothill Elementary PTO welcomes all Foothill parents, students and staff to contribute their thoughts and ideas to our blog.