Category Archives: University School of Milwaukee

Football + Boys = Life Lessons

Football coach to a player: “Keep working to lead by your actions. Take every opportunity to show someone how to do things the right way. Leadership takes a strong belief in yourself, taking a risk by extending yourself and let your game do the talking.”

Our boys’ football seasons are about to wrap up so I’m in a bit of a reflective mood.  One of those boys will be wrapping up his high school season this week.  So I’m sentimental, too.

Here are some thoughts from some of his teammates on what they learned playing football:

Never give up when faced with adversity.

You can achieve anything if you work hard enough for it.

Success is never final, failure never fatal.  It’s courage that counts.

The meaning of team.

It’s all about heart.

What you put in it what you get out.

It looks like they each learned some important life lessons.

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Think before you fill out that next youth sports registration form

We are just coming to the end of another season of youth sports in our home. Two of our kids tried new sports this season: track and field for the junior, who wanted to work on his strength and conditioning for football, and lacrosse for our 7th grader, who wanted to join the wave of young people trying this growing sport. Our 5th grader did a stint with a spring hockey team as well as joined the middle school track team (consider it additional speed and conditioning to complement the once/week practices for the spring hockey).

I’m guessing there’s some eye-rolling  from readers about “crazy youth sports parents.” And we might deserve it.

We’re not alone. Mark Hyman, a sports journalist and parent, was prompted to explore the youth sports complex based on his own crazy parenting. He discusses it in his new book, “Until It Hurts: America’s Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids.”

Jane Brody’s column in today’s NYT covers the book.  While injuries are part of the problem, what caught my eye was this:  “with each passing season youth sports seem to stray further and further from its core mission of providing healthy, safe and character-building recreation for children.”

I hope you’ll join me, as we move from one sports season to the next, in using Hyman’s standard to determine whether or not it’s the right choice for your child.  Ask yourself:  Are my kids involved in healthy, safe, and character-building recreation?

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Uncle Jay wants you to say “please and thank you”

Today’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a nice human interest story about three families at USM who have a daughter AND a son playing in this weekend’s state hockey tournament.

Talk about family-based education.

However, my experience is you don’t have to be related to be treated like a member of the family.

I call it co-parenting–please, anyone who can come up with a less “social-science-y” name for it, I’m all ears–and it’s one of those features in a community that I’d argue makes for a great place for kids.

Here’s an example involving one of the dad’s in today’s Journal Sentinel story.

Jay Wigdale and I were talking between periods at a hockey game.  My middle guy had hockey practice after the varsity game and was panicking because his gear was in the car.  “Mom, c’mon!” he urged.  I sneered at him–the look that should say, “I’m talking to another adult here.  Give me a minute.”  But he was fixated on getting that bag, torn between waiting politely and being on time for the team meeting before practice.

After interruption number three or four, Jay said, “Hey, how about ‘Please Mom?'”  That broke the spell and a few minutes later, Son #2 and I were on our way.

Maybe it’s that Jay and I have stood at football, baseball, and hockey games together for the last couple of years watching our sons play.  Maybe it’s because Jay’s wife and I serve on the school’s Booster Club board together.  Maybe it’s because, by my count, Jay has 13 nieces and nephews living nearby, or that about half of those nieces and nephews have played hockey with my own kids.  But Jay felt perfectly comfortable scolding my son.  And I was completely thankful he did.

To the best of my knowledge, I am not related to anyone at University School, save my own children.  Still, there are plenty of days that we feel we are part of a family.

Tim the Tool Man moving sale–and furniture too!

Man using a chainsaw with all recommended safe...
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From Laura W.–

Friends from the USM family are getting ready to move to their new place. They are having a moving sale this Saturday, August 1st from 9am – 4pm at 2602 E. Newberry Blvd. They have a lot of great items: furniture, household items, sporting equipment, patio furniture, clothing, power tools, etc. including:

Homelite 24″ Gas Chain Saw (w/ extra chain)
Craftsman Scroll Saw
Black and Decker Finishing Sander
WorkForce 7″ Wet Tile Saw (never opened)
Makita Router 24K-RPM
6.5 HP Craftsman Chipper/Shredder
4 HP Craftsman Edger
Ariens Snow Blower ST524
Large Ladder
Large Wheel Barrow

If you know of anyone who would be interested in any of these items, please pass this information along to them.

Thank you!

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Ladies Lunch on the Lake

Sweet corn, tomato and kidney bean salad
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I attended the Pewaukee Lake Volunteer Service Club summer picnic today and brought this great summer salad.  It’s from “Reading, Writing, and Recipes:  a cookbook from the University School of Milwaukee community.”  A true hit!

Chopped Vegetable Salad

2 ears fresh corn, husk and silk removed

1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and deveined, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1 small yellow pepper, seeded and deveined, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1 small red onion, chopped

4 dill cucumbers, peeled (I used one regular cucumber), seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces

3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, c hopped

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

2 T rice wine venegar

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

Prepare an ice bath in large mixing bowl; set aside.  Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil.  Add corn and blanch until tender, about 6 minutes.  With tongs, remove from water, and plunge immediately into ice bath.  Continue to boil water for green beans.  when corn is thoroughly cooled, removed from ice bath.

Using a large knife, removed kernels from cobs.  Transfer kernels to a large bowl.  Add green beans to boiling water.  Blanch until tender, about 1 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, removed from water, and plunge immediately into ice bath.  When beans are thoroughly cooled, drain in colander.

Add green beans, tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, onion, cucumber and cilantro to corn.  Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, mix olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Adjust for seasoning.  Pour into bottom of salad bowl.  Pour salad mixture and toss salad with dressing.

Can be prepared a day in advance.  Serve at room temperature.

(Thanks to Pam S. from USM for putting this recipe in the USM cookbook!)

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“I really need to check Facebook out. . . “

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Here’s your chance:  my co-hosts on Parents as Partners will be demonstrating Facebook tomorrow night (Monday, February 23 ) and you can join them (and me!) at 7 p.m. our time.

Here’s your opportunity to get onto Facebook (without signing up for an account!) and gain insights on how to become a digital parent and teacher.

Sponsored by Elluminate http://elluminate.com & Steve Hargadon at http://classroom20.com The Elluminate virtual classroom will allow participants to use audio, chat, video and desktop sharing to join in the presentation. (Steve came and trained USM teachers this fall on 21st Century learning tools).

Regular show hosts Lorna Costantini, Matt Montagne and Cindy Seibel, will welcome Nick O’Neill from http://www.allfacebook.com who will demonstrate 10 ways to protect your privacy on Facebook. Shonna Daly, a parent from St. Catharines, Ontario will talk about how she carried out a parent consultation using Facebook. Matt will share his experiences using Facebook and connecting with parents.

Please join us by direct link to the Elluminate classroom:
https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2008350&password=M.612F85D6F8C95E7398CA7C70EEFFB2

And please share this with your friends!

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Thinking about bullying

Title page to Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning...

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We talk about bullying–sometimes called social aggression–pretty much. The Parent Education calendar includes an upcoming conversation, “Helping our Boys Find their Way: Boys and Relational Aggression” with social worker Bob Blazich on Dec. 3 at 8:30 in the MS Dining Room. (Note change of location)

Early in November, Jon Hisgen from the DPI talked about bullying on our webcast, Parents as Partners.

I asked Jon, “Is there really a bullying problem in today’s schools?” His response is noteworthy:

“In my life, I look back at my teaching career and say, ‘What were things I did as a teacher that were power and control like over students?’ I’ve pondered this forever since I’ve been involved in this whole issue, because I think there is a component that we all have in looking at how we respond to others that could be detrimental in our relationships to others. I think that there are teacher bullys, there are administrator bullys, sadly enough, there are parent bullys, both their own children and the school system as well.”

“We need to look at our own behaviors as teachers. . . . We need to look at parents in terms of this issue of maybe modeling some questionable behavior in terms of bullying-like behavior themselves.”

I’m hoping I can use Jon’s approach when thinking about bullying in our community. Look in the mirror. Ponder how I’ve used power and control over other people. Recognize that, like all people, I’m capable of behaving in ways that are detrimental–hurtful, controlling, just plain mean–to others.

If I expect this behavior from my children, I have to expect it from myself first. Then, I have to expect it from the adults around me. This approach, I hope, will go a long way toward contributing to a bully-free community.

(Bob Blazich’s session is geared toward parents of boys in 4th-8th grade. Wondering about girls? Let me know!)

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