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News & Director's Notes

March 19, 2017

Director's Notes 3-19-17

Sunday March 19, 2017
Dear Bridges Families,

From the Board of Directors:

Board Vacancy Filled

The Board is pleased to announce that Bill Paules has been appointed to fill the vacancy we have had on the board for the past few months. Bill brings his experience as a past member of the Bridges Board of Directors to serve the last 15 months of the term that remains on the vacated seat. His position will be up for re-election in the spring of 2018.

Lottery for Parent Interview Panel

On April 19 and/or 20, final candidates for the Director position will be interviewed by 3 panels: Board, Staff, and Parents. The parent panel will be comprised of 4 appointed panelists and 4 who will be selected by lottery. We are looking for a diverse group of parents who are not only invested, but knowledgeable about our community and our needs. 

Only one panelist per family may serve in this capacity. Board members' spouses, for example, may not serve on the parent panel. Employees or their spouses may serve on the parent panel if the employee does not serve on the staff panel. If you would like to be entered into the lottery to sit on the parent panel, please e-mail Erin at
  1. a confirmation that you can be available during the day on the 19th and 20th, along with 
  2. a description of your level of involvement at the school and why you think you would be effective on the interview panel
Panelists will be notified by April 7. There will also likely be a meeting planned for April 17 or 18 to discuss interview procedures. Please keep all of these dates in mind as you consider whether you would like to serve on the interview panel. The deadline to submit your name for the parent panel lottery is this Friday, March 24.

Marcy Crawford
Board President
BRIDGES Charter School
1335 Calle Bouganvilla
Thousand Oaks, CA  91360
(805) 907-9741


Women in History

Thursday night was Bridge's annual Women in History Performance.  The girls who participated did an amazing job portraying inspiring women! 


A big thanks to everybody for your support Friday! We had 36 students play soccer and some serious staff pros on the field! Today's event raised $260 for Pennies for Patients ! GO TEAM!

First Grade Salt Dough Maps

The first graders have been busy learning about and creating maps.  They mapped Bridges and beyond, then used salt dough to show the different land forms. On Friday they were excited to share their Salt Dough Maps with their families.


Have a child that loves science?  Send them to Mad Science Class on Fridays.  Sign up by Monday March 20, if we don't have enough signed up class will be cancelled.

click the link for then flyer:

Karate is coming to Bridges in our MPR on Thursdays!! Don't miss it!!! Sign up by Monday, March 20th to secure your spot. 

click the link for the flyer:

Disc Golf (or Frisbee golf) is a growing sport. Played like regular ball golf, the goal is to throw specialized frisbees discs into a metal basket. Thousand Oaks was a part of the original disc golf movement in the 1960s and Oak Grove in Pasadena is home to the oldest modern course. Conejo Valley has 6 courses (Thousand Oaks, Oak Park, Simi Valley) with more to come. Cheap and easy to play, disc golf is the perfect way to spend a day hiking with the family. Sign your child up today and introduce them to this wonderful sport. Kids love how easy it is to start and in no time, they will be banging chains!

click the link for the flyer:
How to Raise a Moral, Responsible Child -- without Punishment

"Parents who are serious about raising children to be decent people spend an awful lot of time guiding them. It's not enough for us to have good values; these values must be communicated directly... For instance, to say nothing when a child acts selfishly is to send a clear message, and that message has more to do with the acceptability of selfishness than it does with the virtues of non-intrusive parenting. We need to establish clear moral guidelines, to be explicit about what we expect, but in a way that minimizes coercion." 

-Alfie Kohn

How do you raise a child who assumes responsibility for his actions, including making amends and avoiding a repeat, whether the authority figure is present or not? You....

  1. You give guidance about moral principles and expected behavior,
  2. Stay connected so he WANTS to do the "right" thing,
  3. Give him the tools to manage his emotions and therefore his behavior, and
  4. Empower him to see the results of his actions,
  5. So he can choose whether to repeat them.

Hard? Yes! But that's how we teach children to use reason instead of force, to make choices from love instead of from fear.

Punishment actually gets in the way of kids developing morality, because the child becomes more concerned with saving his own skin than with the effects of his behavior on others.

But maybe the worst part of using punishment is that it erodes your influence with your child. As Thomas Gordon says,

"The inevitable result of consistently employing power to control your kids when they're young is that you never learn how to influence."

But I can understand if you’re feeling a bit nervous right about now. We all want to raise responsible, considerate, cooperative kids. Won't they just run wild without punishment?

The answer is no. They will just run wild without guidance! But guidance and punishment are not at all the same thing. Punishment is purposefully causing pain (physical or emotional) to force the child to do things our way. Guidance is showing our child the path we recommend, explaining why that path will get him to better places, and giving our child the tools to stay on that path.

Unless we're willing to use force--which teaches immorality--influence is all we have to work with as parents.

Luckily, because humans resist force, influence actually works better to transmit values and behavioral standards. Kids CHOOSE to do the right thing, because they want to "follow" our lead. Loving Guidance includes:

Empathic limits

We guide kids daily in their behavior, and often that involves setting limits. Kids can't hit, run in the street, or throw their food at each other. If we set those limits harshly, they'll eventually learn them, but with lots more resistance. If we set limits with an understanding of their perspective:

"You are so mad, but I won't let you hurt your brother! Come, I'll help you tell him how you feel." feel understood, and accept those limits more readily. They're more likely to share, rather than resist, parents’ expectations.


When kids start to feel disconnected -- because they're angry, because we're angry, because we've been apart from them all day, because they have a full emotional backpack they need help with, because they're anxious, etc -- they act out until we can heal the disconnect. When kids feel connected to us, they're open to our influence. They WANT to behave, to cooperate, to please us. Since we're the most important people in our child's world, children are predisposed to listen to our guidance, as long as they're convinced we're on their side. Punishment erodes this connection, because we're intentionally hurting the child, either physically or emotionally.


When our "go-to" response to our child is empathy, he develops empathy for others -- even siblings! They treat others well because they care what others feel. As my teenage son said:

"When I was little, you helped me see that the things I did could hurt people, or help them. I didn't want to cause hurt."

Empathy is one of the foundations of moral choices.

Empower to Repair

We all make mistakes, and every one of us has at one time or another damaged a relationship we care about. Kids need to know they can make amends. Once you've empathized with why your child behaved in a hurtful way, and your child has calmed down, help her reflect (like a partner or coach) on what she might do to rebuild what's broken. But resist the urge to make this into a punishment, or your child will resist and miss the deeper lesson.

Emotion Coaching

When kids learn to manage their emotions, they can manage their behavior, so they're ABLE to behave and cooperate. But humans only gain control of our emotions by befriending them. Start by accepting your child's full range of emotion with as much compassion as you can muster. Then add lots of roughhousing play to get your child laughing at least half an hour a day -- that's how kids work through their fears. This gives your child the support she needs to regulate her emotions, so she can behave as her best self. She learns that actions must be limited, but that she is more than enough, exactly as she is -- complete with all her complicated emotions. That feeling of “goodness” is what helps all of us make progress toward our good intentions.


Children learn their values and emotional regulation from what parents DO, not from what we SAY. As my teenage daughter said,

"You always listened to us and tried to work things out and you didn't punish us. So we learned to listen to each other, and other people, and to try to work things out so it works for everyone, and we don't use force to get our way."

Notice this is the foundation that keeps kids from participating in bullying.


Children learn from experience accompanied by reflection. It's our job to provide the opportunities for reflection. That means LOTS of talking and listening with our child, daily. If you only talk when there's a problem, you can count on lots of problems.

Helping your child take responsibility for his actions happens every day that you set empathic limits, connect, empathize, empower your child to repair, emotion coach, model, and discuss.

You'll notice that much of this is prevention. Prevention is always the most effective strategy, because once kids "misbehave" your options are more limited. Luckily, when you parent this way, kids don't act out as much. Once you get out of the habit of punishing and see how much your child WANTS to cooperate, you won't miss punishment at all                                                                                                
                                                                                                                    - AHA Parenting Blog

Coming soon on Friday, April 21st students will run/jog/walk to fun music to raise money to help support the PAC in providing funds for teacher’s supplies, field trips and transportation, science and technology in the classroom, performing arts and much more! These sponsorship cards can be given to local businesses that you frequent.  Ask your favorite shop/ office to support Bridges!  The sponsorship levels are described on the card.  More sponsorship cards are available in the office.  It is our hope that all parents will get at least one sponsor for this upcoming event!!  Thank you for your support! Fun Run Pledge sheets will be coming by the end of this week! Look for them and get your pledge on!  Free t-shirts for all students will be provided!
Lion King Bake Sale: 
Lion King Bake sale  Please click to donate delicious home baked items for our sweet shop at Bridges Performing Arts PMC’s The Lion King on March 31st, April 1st and 2nd. paste this into your browser if you have trouble with the link above
Fusion Grill Fundraiser, Tuesday and Wednesday, April 4-5 (all hours), dine in or take-out.  
Fusion Grill(2024 Avenida de los Arboles) will donate 20% of sales back to Bridges!  Fusion Grill is  open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and their menu looks incredible! They are giving us a full two days to participate because they are keen on giving back to the local community. Help Bridges PAC meet our fundraising goals and dine with other Bridges families at this local establishment on April 4th and 5th.

Thank you for your support

Have a great week!!

Cindy McCarthy

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