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Mrs. Cailler's Blog

Bells are Ringing!

November 9, 2017


Yes, “Bells ARE Ringing” throughout the PHS parent community as our fabulous volunteers contact those who have not yet donated or pledged an amount to PHS Annual Giving Fund 101.


Thanks to you, oBells are Ringning photour generous donors, we are moving toward our goal of 100% household participation in Annual Giving by December 31st of this year! For your ease and convenience, you may make your gift online at


 If you would rather pledge an amount, and then make payment prior to June 30th, just email us at


Thanks again for all that you do to ensure the sustainability and growth of this fabulous school!




Educator of the Year!
November 3, 2017

Voila our 2017 Educator of the Year… Kat Bañales, honored at Wednesday evening’s annual dinner and program at the Palos Verdes Golf Club, presented by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Rotary Club.
Mrs. Bañales is a playwright, painter, and our beloved Enrichment Language Arts Educator of the Year. The beauty of this talented woman is that she is able to instill a love of literature in every one of her students. Her passion for the humanities is contagious, and her teaching style is direct and decisive yet flexible enough to accommodate each individual's unique learning style.
We feel privileged to have had Mrs. Bañales on our staff for over sixteen years. She is an indispensable team member, the author of our acclaimed 5th Grade Play, an actress for our monthly assemblies, and most importantly an admired and esteemed educator.
Bravo, Mrs. Bañales! You are loved by all!

"Building and Programming"

October 27, 2017


 “I’ve been working on robots since I was three,” confides Fifth Grader Dylan following his team’s recent win at the San Diego Regional VEX Middle School Robotics Tournament.Dylan


At least three times each week Dylan works with his team members in building and programming robots at Rolling Robots in Rolling Hills Estates. They began in July to work on this competition robot, and at the all-day tournament in San Diego they participated in approximately 20 rounds before capturing First Place in the Middle School level.Robotics team


“I like to build things and also to control something,” continues Dylan. “Working with a team, we can talk about the work, and it feels better as a team to win.”


Looking ahead, Dylan reflects, “Building these robots helps me to become better at engineering and programming because that’s my goal – to become an engineer!” 




"Taste of Reading"

October 19, 2017


The preparations were completed, and the tables were set for the guests’ arrival. When our Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Graders entered their Middle School classrooms last Friday, they were treated to a “Taste of Reading.”


Taste of Reading

Designed to foster or rekindle a love of reading and learning, this event offered books at beautifully decorated tables, designated by their literary genre. Every ten minutes, the students moved to another table and introduced their reading palettes to the various “tastes” of that genre, noting what was appealing about a particular story and making critics’ notes on available bookmarks.


Addressing the nation-wide drop in student reading due to social media and technology, this event, designed by Mrs. Mahoney and Mrs. Banales, encouraged our students to turn off technology and relish the banquet of reading material. With a plethora of books available, every Middle Schooler took home a volume to devour!        



Help Houston’s Harvey Victims

October 13, 2017


Thanks to all those who contributed gently-used clothing for the Houston, TX residents suffering from Hurricane Harvey.


“I felt sad about the people in Houston who were affected by Hurricane Harvey,” relates Dylan, a Student Council member. “I wanted to help, and I feel happy about what we did.”

             Hurrican Harvey Donations

What our students and parents did was quite significant. Our Student Council members packed 12 large boxes of clothing for babies to adults, which will be shipped to the affected area. Mr. Patrick Nguyen, owner of ICDI, Inc. and husband of our teacher and Student Council adviser Mrs. Wendy Nguyen, donated new shoes and covered the cost of shipping the clothing to Houston.


A former PHS administrator now resides in one of the hard-hit areas of Houston, and she shared with Mrs. Nguyen the urgent need for clothing for all ages. Our school’s donations will be received and dispersed in the affected neighborhoods of the city along with written notes and heart-felt good wishes from our students.




Why Outdoor Education is SO Important
October 6, 2017
Recently, our 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes went on their outdoor education (ed.) adventures. Fifth graders will return from Catalina Island Marine Institute this afternoon; Sixth graders went to Pali Mountain Adventures last week; Seventh graders went to CIMI at the start of the week; and Eighth graders went to the Channel Islands a couple weeks ago. Fourth graders will go on their journey to AstroCamp the latter part of next week. Although it may seem like we just take the kids on trips to have fun, there are many more benefits.
Outdoor ed. promotes active learning through direct personal experience and offers excitement, fun, and adventure within a framework of safety. Challenging experiences outdoors powerfully impacts a young person’s intellectual, physical, social, and moral development. Outdoor ed. can also represent many firsts for our students: their first time away from home, their first time camping, and for this generation, their first experience without a digital connection. This sometimes means that it is their first experience being completely responsible for their own entertainment.
There are many benefits to outdoor ed., but there are five main reasons that stand out.
1. It builds community.
Outdoor ed. experiences builds community with students from the moment the trip begins. Students ride buses, cars, and boats to get to their destinations, and oftentimes, have to share these spaces with people outside of school. Once they arrive, students share living spaces and learn to care for themselves and others with whom they are in close quarters. Students also learn to have empathy and practice their PHS values by looking out for each other during their time away.
2. It raises expectations and standards.
Students are responsible for themselves and their belongings from the moment they embark. They have to carry all of their belongings and set up their own beds. They serve themselves food, clean up their eating areas, repack their bags, and clean their sleeping areas. They do all of this while immersed in a field-study program that asks them to do multidisciplinary activities that draw on prior knowledge and interact with a variety of environments, weather, and physical challenges of a mountain or ocean environment. During these three days away, expectations for student behavior and participation are raised to ensure that everyone gets the most out of the program. Students consistently rise to these standards and expectations because of their supportive classmates and the new, exciting setting.

3. It increases connection.
Outdoor ed. not only increases the student-to-student connection, but it also benefits the student/teacher/chaperone connections. Having shared experiences that push everyone out of their comfort zones draws people closer together. Students see teachers/chaperones in a different light, and teachers/chaperones also get to see students take on different roles and behaviors outside of school. It’s a win-win for everyone!

4. It builds culture.
Cultures share a common language, values, purpose, and connection to place as a fundamental expression of who they are. All of these things develop for a group of students in just three short days. We have cabin names, jobs, and schedules on the site that are only for our group. Themes begin to arise about working hard, being outside, having fun, food, and great experiences -- all hallmarks of developed cultures.

5. It develops positive feelings and memories around school and the outdoors.
Outdoor ed. not only brings a class/group of students closer together, but it also creates memories that they will have for a lifetime. Teaching and learning outdoors is fun. Often, the outdoors provides a change of pace from the classroom, which students and teachers enjoy.

Building self-confidence and self-esteem are fundamental to any young person’s development. Outdoor ed. provides valuable alternative avenues for achievement, often non-competitive, as well as opportunities to develop independence and self-reliance. Through successfully facing up to the challenges that outdoor activities provide, overcoming fears and apprehensions along the way, young people make major strides in confidence, with implications for all aspects of their development. Outdoor ed. is an important part of a student’s development. Thank you for supporting your child in taking the risk of going on outdoor ed!

“When Everything Old is New Again!”

September 29, 2017


Beneath our new logo backdrop in the Amphitheater last Friday, our Fifth Graders amazed us all! Clad in the vibrant colors of our logo, these students sang and danced to Peter Allen’s showstopper, “When Everything Old is New Again!”

Of course, our beloved PHS traditions continued with Citizens of the Month, birthday pencils for birthday children and adults, and heart-felt readings about the Character Quality of “Respect.” Mr. Jason Greenwald, Harvest Fair Co-Chair, shared details of the upcoming rides and adventures while recruiting “grilling dads” for the big event on October 29th, and the Class Giving Chairs helped kick-off our Annual Giving Fund 101.

What a fantastic blending of the old and the new on a gorgeous September morning at PHS!


September Assembly



Route 66 at PHS!

September 22, 2017


As the Route 66 song goes, “It winds from Chicago to LA!” This year Route 66 is winding around our own PHS track as the theme for the PHS Walking Club!

Designed by our PE instructor Mrs. Kim Nygaard to encourage walking and physical fitness, the PHS Walking Club invites all family members to join in the fitness and fun! Parents are walking with their children before and after school, while students have additional walking time at recess and lunch. Associate teachers punch each student’s walking card as they complete laps, and the combined total of our students walking is already over 200 miles!

Congratulations, PHS walkers!


You’re Invited!

September 15, 2017


Parents won’t want to miss our first All-School Assembly of the year this coming Friday, September 22, starting at 9:15 am in the Amphitheater. You’ll be amazed that it will have only been 2 ½ weeks since school started, yet our talented Fifth Graders will be portraying the Character Quality of “Respect” through a beautifully choreographed song and dance production. We’ll also honor Good Citizens and Birthday Children (and adults!) along with other presentations. See you there!


“We HAVE a bus!”

September 8, 2017


On Wednesday, our first PHS students to arrive via bus stepped onto our campus! This bus service, provided by Mission School Transportation with its driver, Miss Turner, is available to all PHS students living near the route designed to be most efficient for families in the Beach Cities.

Traveling with seat belts in air-conditioned comfort, these students begin their day at one of four stops along the north/south route of Sepulveda/Pacific Coast Highway. Beginning in the IHOP parking area just south of Imperial Highway in El Segundo, the bus stops at pre-designated sites twice in Manhattan Beach, once in Hermosa Beach, and once in Redondo Beach before arriving at PHS. At the conclusion of the school day, the bus departs from PHS at 3:35 pm and retraces the same route.

A smiling Second Grader declared, “The bus is fun because I can talk to my friends on the way to school!”

“I like the bus,” explains one student rider, “because now my parents don’t have to spend all that time driving back and forth to take me and pick me up from PHS. Instead, they can do their work, which is for me, too!”

Please contact us for details and cost if you wish to have your student(s) use this convenient PHS bus service: 310-541-4795 or