Staff Updates for 2016-17

Summer Greetings!

We hope you are having as great a summer as we are at McGuffey. Teachers and staff have been doing all kinds of organizing, rearranging, curriculum work, and… interviewing terrific applicants for our job openings. Getting to choose from so many qualified people, many of whom we already know, is a high-quality problem. We are excited to announce the following new staff and changes in staff roles for the fall.

In the Classroom

Allison BrigdenAllison Brigden will be joining the Upper Unit team teaching English Language Arts. Allison brings more than a decade of teaching experience, working with students in Grades 4 through 12 from over one hundred different nationalities. She holds bachelors degrees in Biology and Education, which are complemented by 25 years experience in performing arts, and graduate work in Transformative Education. She holds an Ohio license in Secondary Education and plans to pursue her Montessori certification in the coming year. Through her volunteer work in the Upper Unit over the past two years, Allison has has the opportunity to get to know the students and the classroom culture well. She is looking forward to bringing her passion for Languages Arts, student-centered education, and project-based learning to developing and co-teaching the Humanities program. Allison will work half-time, teaching the Language Arts component for Grades 4/5 and 7/8. She and her husband have two children, both enrolled at McGuffey.

Matt MetzlerMatt Metzler will continue to co-teach in Lower Elementary; and in addition to his Lower Elementary duties, Matt will work with our Grade 6 students in the Upper Unit as their Language Arts teacher. Matt holds a bachelors degree in Secondary English Language Arts Education and has been itching to expand his involvement with literature and writing at McGuffey. He will co-teach Humanities with Mark Radlinksi for Grade 6 as well as coordinate with Allison in the overall Upper Unit Language Arts curriculum. This will not significantly impact Matt’s presence in the Lower Elementary classroom; Matt will be present for all but the final few minutes of Lower’s daily morning work period, and Lower students will be at recess for the majority of Matt’s time in Upper. A consistent staff member will replace Matt each day during this time.

Marcia McIntoshAs anticipated, Marcia McIntosh will be “retiring” to Florida at the end of this coming school year. We have already started an informal search for an Ohio licensed Secondary Mathematics teacher for the 2017-18 school year and have been in conversation with some qualified candidates.


Jennifer RiggsJennifer Riggs will be managing the office two days a week. She has an excellent background in office administration and human resources and has recently completed her Anat Baniel NeuroMovement certification for which she is establishing her practice in Oxford. Jennifer holds a bachelors degree in Business Administration. She and her family joined the McGuffey community last fall, and all three of her children will attend McGuffey this year.

Kelly Chessey CarterKelly Chessey Carter will be managing the office three days a week as well as working in Extended Care. Kelly is from Cincinnati and holds a bachelors degree in Art History. She has spent most of her career in retail, most recently at Half-Price Books in Colerain. Kelly and her husband are moving to Oxford from Cincinnati and are looking forward to settling into the Oxford and McGuffey communities. Kelly is Donna Carter’s daughter-in-law and we are happy to continue our connection to the Carter family.

Extended Care

Photo coming soon!Joe Gills will be taking over Early Care beginning this fall. Joe is studying Early and Middle Childhood Education at Miami University. This will be Joe’s third year with us in Extended Care. Joe also works at the Goggin Ice Center at Miami. Joe is from Liberty and has been a critical part of our Extended Day team. We are so happy to have him take over Donna Carter’s special role in the mornings with our students.

Kendall DiennoKendall Dienno will be returning to assist in Lower Elementary several mornings a week this fall as well as in the Upper Unit several afternoons a week, and will continue to staff Extended Day. Kendall will coordinate staffing for all of Extended Care and oversee our transition to a new school year. In addition to being a critical part of Extended Day, Kendall has been one of our go-to classroom assistants and subs since completing her degree in International Studies and French at Miami University. This will be her third year working with us both in and out of the classroom. Kendall is a McGuffey Alumnus.

Maggie WolffMaggie Wolff will be running our Primary Extended Day program that will accommodate preschool and Kindergarten students. She will also continue to provide administrative support in the office. This will be Maggie’s third year working with us part-time in a wide variety of roles in the classroom, Extended Care, and the office. Maggie recently completed her bachelors degree in Ministry Leadership with a concentration in Women’s Studies.

Photo coming soon!Ayelet Yariv will be working in Extended Day a few days each week in addition to subbing. Ayelet’s background is in costume- and graphic design and this will be her second year subbing for us. Ayelet knows our culture and all of our students well after her close work with us last year, particularly during the musical.


Fab BohonFab Bohon will continue working at Extended Day on Wednesdays. This will be Fab’s sixth year of working with students at McGuffey. Fab works at Miami University’s Goggin Ice Center. Fab’s two sons both attend McGuffey.


We also expect a few of our former interns-turned-graduate-students to continue to help out with Extended Day and other childcare opportunities as their schedule allows—Olivia Chan, Kate Randall, and Kate Uible.

The staff web page has a new look and is continually being updated as we finish the process of taking and organizing staff photos. Please join us in welcoming these terrific people to McGuffey!

Posted in announcements, McGuffey

Preschool Playground Canceled, 7/18

Due to the rain, Preschool Playground is canceled for today, July 18. Please join us next week, July 25—fingers crossed that it will sunny!

Posted in Uncategorized

Summer Reading: How to Raise Brilliant Children, According to Science


Check out this story from NPR that discusses how learning is “a social, relationship-oriented process” and proposes the concept of a new “21st century report card” that measures collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation, and confidence.

How to Raise Brilliant Children, According to Science
“We’re training kids to do what computers do, which is spit back facts. And computers are always going to be better than human beings at that. But what they’re not going to be better at is being social, navigating relationships, being citizens in a community. So we need to change the whole definition of what success in school, and out of school, means.”

PLEASE NOTE: MMS Summer Reading does not necessarily reflect McGuffey’s opinions, but simply offers thought-provoking insight into how children learn and grow.
Posted in parents

Babysitters in Training

IMG_3886While school is out for summer, twelve of our students came back to school all day today for babysitter training by the Fitton YMCA. This is an extension of our Practical Life curriculum. Students learned how to care for infants, toddlers and pre-adolescents and some basic first aid. Thank you to Suzanne from the YMCA!

Posted in Middle School, practical life, Uncategorized, Upper Elementary, upper unit

2016 Egg Drop

Egg Drop 2015

At the Last Day of School Potluck, Wednesday, May 25, we will hold our annual Egg Drop. This is a tradition at McGuffey that goes back decades!

Prior to the last day of school, students will spend time at home designing a package that will hold a fresh egg. This “vehicle” will keep it from breaking when it has been thrown off the roof over the kitchen onto cold, hard cement.

For novices, the use of bubble wrap is appropriate, however, as the years creep by, many students begin to consider packaging that is more creative and “engineered.”

Although no dangerous materials are permitted, creativity is much revered. There is much respect for innovative schemes, even when they don’t succeed.

– Raw eggs only! No eggs may be hard-boiled.
– No dangerous materials may be used.
– Students may not go on the roof at any time for any reason.
– Egg packages should be delivered to the collection point when they arrive at school.
– Only the designated adult may drop eggs from the roof.
– Students must stay behind the designated “drop zone” boundary.

Good luck and get busy creating!

Posted in announcements, community, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, Middle School, Primary, Upper Elementary

McGuffey’s Performance of Alice in Wonderland Jr.

13116060_1107651252625059_4799847418404285163_o 13119914_1107651089291742_6819108710173627332_o 13131065_1107652115958306_5762225783461427745_o 13147329_1107651195958398_3839350476170570586_o 13173138_10209640219426295_2590067646869610554_o 13220719_10209640217506247_2490901262413649565_o 13235373_10209640237066736_5067558622536991980_o

We’d like to extend a belated congratulations to our entire school community—students, parents and staff—for two successful performances of Alice in Wonderland, Jr. earlier this month. Everyone works so hard on all aspects of the show and our students grew in so many ways over the months of work they put in. The show was terrific! Thanks as always to our wonderful director, Elizabeth Taylor, as well as our photographer this year, Shawn Burt.

Posted in drama, McGuffey, music

Plants in Primary


The Primary unit recently began their unit on plants. Spring is the perfect time to talk about plants as they begin growing all around us! We’ll be watching our vegetable garden grow as our discussion progresses.

First we talked about roots and stems. Roots are typically the first part to emerge from a seed, drawing in water and nutrients and keeping the plants firmly in place. We had many examples of roots on our shelf—beets, radishes, carrots, and turnips.

Then we discussed stems, which move water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves. We put celery in a jar of red water which allows us to observe the movement of water from the jar to the top of the celery.

When we are in our outdoor classroom, we have been observing the plants as they emerge from the ground and the leaves appearing on the trees. Simply being in the outdoors can be one of the greatest learning experiences we can provide!

We will continue to talk about additional parts of the plant in the coming weeks.

Posted in McGuffey, Primary, science

Zen Gardens

zen3 zen2 zen1 zen4zen6Upper Elementary students recently created personal zen sand gardens. While this project seemed quick and simple at first, students soon realized it was one that required patience. Glue must be allowed to dry completely, sanding must be done carefully, and the clear finish brushed onto the wood required drying time before sand colors and accessories could be chosen. Huge thanks to parent Peter Lask for cutting over 30 sets of wood parts for us!

Posted in art, parents

In A Pickle with Students from Grade 3

26437087662_a645d2e8ea_z 26503454276_a56dbcae3a_z

Today, students in Grade 3 learned how to play a card game called In a Pickle. This game involves working with abstract and concrete nouns, and determining which nouns are “bigger” and “smaller” than others (distinctions that can also be understood in both concrete and abstract terms). For instance, if one of the cards on the table displayed the word “pickle,” a player would select one of his or her own cards and then either place it on top of “pickle” if their noun could conceivably fit inside a pickle (smaller), or behind “pickle” if their noun could conceivably contain a pickle (larger).

Other players can then continue to play their own cards on the table in this manner, or they can challenge each other’s assertions. This is where the game becomes interesting, as the player being challenged is allowed to give a one-sentence justification of his or her choice, and the rest of the players then vote on whether or not the card should stay in play.

An example from today’s game to help clarify how this might work occurred when one student attempted to place a card displaying the word “advertisement” behind a card on the table that displayed the word “museum.” Other players challenged this assertion (that an advertisement could be larger than a museum), and the student who played the card gave the following justification: “An advertisement can be all over the world.” (While this explanation was enough to change a few players’ minds, the move was ultimately voted down by a narrow margin.)

This game is a great activity to help stretch students’ thinking from the concrete realm to the abstract! Thanks to Nancy for donating the game to the Lower Elementary classroom.

Posted in Lower Elementary

Lower Elementary’s Birdhouse Gourds


Last spring, Lower Elementary students planted birdhouse gourd seeds along part of the fence of their outdoor classroom. The seeds were quite successful, yielding around 20 gourds! Our current Lower Elementary students harvested the gourds and pruned their stems and leaves during autumn, and the gourds rested and dried out over the winter.

Now that spring has arrived, approaching a full year since the seeds were planted, students have begun preparing the gourds to be used as birdhouses. Students cleaned and scraped the gourds, and with Ingrid’s assistance, they began using various handheld tools to carve holes in the gourds. Once the holes were carved, students began gutting the gourds and sorting through the seeds inside, counting them out and bagging them in groups of ten. Our class counted and bagged over three thousand gourd seeds! Students also helped attach labels to the bags. These seeds will be distributed throughout the community.

As for the gourds themselves, they are currently in the process of being painted and decorated. Our students have decided to give some of the gourds to next year’s incoming first graders, some to our neighbors on Westgate Drive, and to place the rest of them around school grounds.

And, of course, students will also be planting another crop of birdhouse gourds before the school year is over!

Posted in community, Lower Elementary, practical life