Faculty Play Pokémandala Go

Ever wonder how Athenian faculty get ready to dive back into the school year? This year, we played Athenian-themed Pokémon Go! Which really means we had an elaborate scavenger hunt on campus framed around the Mandala, our blueprint for quality education. Just as we ask our students to get out of their seats and/or put their hands and minds directly on the materials, our Deans of Faculty designed an opening game that would get us moving, talking, feeling, and thinking. Activities included writing a haiku about the Center for the Arts, singing a ditty about the Dase Center, calculating the number of people who could lie down in the Peanut (the grassy area in the Middle School), taking a selfie with the AWE Gate, and writing a poem about the School’s campus and land. We thought we’d share some of the creative thinking that came out of our talented Upper and Middle faculty in just one short hour. See how many types of thinking and learning you can count.

Haiku About the Center for the Arts

Shine paint into fire
Sway bodies cheek to moon
Here we mold desires

Hands oozing in clay
Bodies swirling to the dance
Creating magic

Metaphor made real
Heads hidden among the trees
Student legacies

Lights and camera
Songs, music of the ages
Dance sculpt create live

Sound Movement Beauty
All of you joined In this house
Alas, no parking

Building late at night
Dancing, singing, creating
Gather and reflect

art lives here always
reflecting what’s in our souls

Clay bust enigma
Dancing acting and building
Magic happening

Methods for Calculating How Many People Can Fit in the Peanut

17 Esteban leaps across the length of the peanut, 10 Esteban leaps across the wide part of the peanut, roughly 4 people per leap, we estimate 500 – 680 adults lying down with an average person height of 5 ft 5 inches.

333 adults will fit in the peanut lying down.
9 yd radius
5 yd radius
We calculated the approximate diameter of each of the two approximate circles of the peanut. We assumed a person takes up one square yard.

Our answer is 378 people. Lying on the ground, we figured that a person fit in a square yard. We paced off the two circles of the peanut and averaged the two to find roughly a rectangle of 27 yards by 14 yards. Since our yardage is easy…one person is one square yard…out 378 square yards means 378 people.

We used computational thinking to separate the problem into parts and then wrote an algorithm to compute the solution.
3.14 x 27 squared
= 2289.06
2289 + 594+157= 3040
Avg human height = 5 ft 6 inches
3040/7.15= 425 people

350 adults (average 5.5 ft grand 1.5 ft width) lying on their backs, minimum, adjusting for curves, tree and rocks.

We think 380 adults could lie down in the peanut. We added and averaged all our guesses.

340 people
Method: Took nut, made it into 2 circles. Found area of each. Added together. Estimate area of average person. Divide.

The Land

golden rolling sacred
ground squirrels

So many stories
What’s truth?

Monte mistranslated mountain, thanks invading Spanish.

Blessed abundance
Invaders besieged
Global redemption

Alluding Spaniards; Murrieta’s hideout; inspiring growth.

Devilish beauty; “nothing gold can stay”

Mountain breeze
Our Home

Morgan Fire: Photos and Emergency Plan Update

Now that the fire has been contained and Mt. Diablo State Park has reopened, the School decided we could share student and faculty photos taken from around the Bay Area. Additionally, Eric has included information about emergency communication plans in the works.

Day 1

Photo by Sarah (Martinez)


by Sam Tierney ’16 (Alamo)

Photo by Trevor Grauman (Danville)

by Trevor Grauman ’16 (Danville)

Photo by Sam Tierney

by Sam Tierney ’16

Photo by Sarah (Martinez)


Day 2

Photo by Dave Otten (on campus)

by Dave Otten (on campus)

(on campus)

Photo by Laura Victorino (San Ramon)

by Laura Victorino (San Ramon)

Students sign thank-you's to the firefighters

Students sign thank-you’s to the firefighters

Thank you to firefighters

Emergency Response Update

Athenian was alert and responsive through the duration of the fire. Head of School Eric Niles and CFO Khira Ghriscavage were in close contact with fire personnel throughout the week. Notices were sent to parents via email as new information was discovered and athletics was cancelled once due to air quality concerns. Emergency plans were in place should the school need to evacuate; fortunately, classes were able to continue and no evacuation was necessary .

However, Athenian is always looking to improve on its systems. The School currently subscribes to emergency alert notification technology through Connect Five, an emergency broadcasting system. The School is in the process of creating a system that will allow all members of our community to receive phone and text updates. Before this can happen, several databases will need to be created with accurate information. Please stay tuned for more information as the School rolls out this new program.

Dorm Makeover

The girls’ and boys’ dorms had a makeover this summer!  With the help of Athenian parent, interior designer, and facilities committee member Christin Hoult, the common areas of the dorms were transformed into beautiful and relaxing spaces for the boarders.   Improvements include new paint, large comfortable couches, inviting papasan chairs, and wall decor that the students can personalize with pictures.  Thanks for the care and attention put into the homes for our boarders, Christin!

Thank you also to the entire facilities team: Nathan, Jen, JC, Carl, Vicente, Roberto, Steve, Renee, and Christina for improving and maintaining our campus to support educational excellence and comfortable living!


Students, Faculty, Alums Involved in Campus Master Planning Process

The Athenian School is undergoing a campus master planning process involving an architecture firm, the board of trustees, and a large contingent of Athenian community members.  This past Friday, students, faculty, alumni, parents, board members, staff, etc. sat down with the architects, a student-built model of the school, and a bunch of tracing paper to share their vision of the Athenian campus.

Here are a few of the many, many exciting ideas* that came out of the session:

  • Interdisciplinary classroom pods
  • Shifting the center of campus to integrate the Middle School by clustering more dual-use buildings around the Dase Center
  • A subterranean classroom
  • Bringing the creek that runs under the campus back up to the surface
  • Yurts in the “Back 40” (the undeveloped 40 acres behind the main campus buildings)
  • Designating a building as free space, to be left as a blank slate for students and classes to use for projects
  • Opening up the Middle School into the current back faculty and bus parking lot
  • Creating a shared building for the Maker’s, Science, and possibly Art disciplines
  • There were a variety of ideas about altering the entrance to the school, from reversing the flow of traffic to creating a second entrance
  • And much more!  If you have your own ideas about how to improve our campus, feel free to share them here in the comments section and we will pass them on to the committee.

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*Please note that at this stage, these are visionary ideas only.  Practicality, cost, etc. will be analyzed by the architects and board to determine the best campus master plan for Athenian’s foreseeable future.