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Second Grade Presents Shakespeare!

March 30, 2018


“When will we have rehearsal?” pleaded the Second Graders two weeks ago as excitement grew for their Midsummer Night’s Dream performance in the Amphitheater last Friday. “And please call us by our characters’ names,” they reminded Mrs. Esturain during math class!


This third annual Shakespearean production enabled these young students to become familiar with the Bard’s work in a natural fashion. The comedy was selected by Mrs. Esturain for its playfulness, its fantasy characters, and its ability to highlight each student’s attributes. The children heard the story version first and then learned their parts from the modified script that contains exact lines from the original play.


“I saw such growth in the children,” relates Mrs. Esturain. “They were brave, took risks, and worked as a team, encouraging each other. And in the Friday performance for their parents and the PHS student body, they really brought it”!


Congratulations, Second Graders! Your presentation was dreamy!


Second Grade Performance




It Was Magical!

March 23, 2018


“I don’t know where I could have experienced a greater thrill than being in the play,” reflected a Fifth Grader at the awards ceremony on the Monday following the Fifth Grade Play.


“It was being together and working as a team that was so great,” added another Fifth Grade student.


“My older son is very involved with theatrical productions, and I couldn’t believe the stage presence of these young Fifth Graders,” reported an adult attendee.


“I’ve never enjoyed a production more than this one!” declared a grandparent.


“The entire production was just magical,” mused an adult at the conclusion of the performance.


History truly came alive this past Thursday evening on the stage of the Norris Theatre, as the Fifth Graders presented the history of the Revolutionary War period through song and dance. They also made history with their amazing performances! Kudos to Mrs. Lynn, Mrs. Banales, Mrs. Wilcox, Mr. Miller, all of the parents, as well as so many others who were directly involved in presenting this production!


The lessons learned by the students during this play experience are innumerable. The joy and satisfaction they realized also add to their personal confidence in accomplishing challenging tasks. They created wonderful, lasting memories of this very special time in Fifth Grade.


Congratulations to all!


History Comes Alive Collage




PHS - Best of the Beach Private School 2018

March 9, 2018


Each year the Easy Reader newspaper and Beach Magazine, two local publications, declare the “Best of the Beach,” which is determined by online voting. These print publications, along with their online editions, reach residents of Palos Verdes as well as Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Manhattan Beach, with a readership totaling approximately 57,000.


This year, as in 2011, 2014, and 2015, Peninsula Heritage School was honored to be voted “Best of the Beach” in the “Private School” category.


BOB2013     BOB201213      and now……BOB2018


Thanks to each of you, as well as to all those in the community, for this very meaningful honor. It indicates the high regard in which our school is held thoughout the South Bay!




Gala Thanks!

March 1, 2018


We extend a sincere thanks to each member of the Gala Committee, Tristen Moffett, Nancy Karmelich, Emily Gutierrez, Dee Edler, and Katie Toney, and to each parent, grandparent, and friend of the school who participated in Saturday evening’s PHS “Kentucky Derby” Winter Gala!


It was a fantastic event, from the video horse races to the great Silent Auction to the beautifully decorated dining tables to the delicious dinner to the rousing Live Auction to the exuberant dancing! Both male and female attendees brought their finest Kentucky Derby attire and their generosity to the event, making this one of the best-ever PHS Galas!




Gala collage






Three PHS Cheers for our Grandparents!

February 22, 2018


Miller family


Last week’s Grandparents/Special Persons/Fancy Nancy/Fabulous Fred Day was a special treat for the entire PHS community! We honored all of our visiting grandparents/special persons, with a tulip bouquet for our MOST senior citizen, “Pops” Miller, a WWII veteran, career aerospace engineer, and grandfather of Third Grader Cali Miller.


In addition to presentations by our First Graders, our Second Graders, and our Fifth Graders, this all-school Assembly featured the Middle School. We were wowed with science experiments, literary readings, a mathematical legend guesting on our talk show, and our Mandarin students sharing their language skills in conjunction with Chinese New Year! Kudos to our amazing students and all that they are learning and accomplishing!


Fancy Nancy Day





Pizza Thank You

January 31, 2018

Students in Second, Fourth, and Eighth Grades each enjoyed a delicious Blaze Pizza Party this past week as a big thank you for their classes achieving 100% household participation in this year’s Annual Giving!


When asked if they knew why they were being treated with pizza, the students enthusiastically replied, “YES!” They KNEW all about the 100% giving!


On behalf of all of us at PHS, we extend a sincere thank you to ALL of our parents for their loyalty and generosity as expressed in their Annual Giving. These funds are strategically put to use to enhance each child’s academic and co-curricular experience every day here at PHS! Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Pizza Lunch



Kindness & Crayons

 January 26, 2018


In conjunction with this week’s Great Kindness Challenge, Mrs. Kim Nygaard, PHS Physical Education teacher, invited PHS students and families to participate in the Crayon Collection, a national charity initiative that repurposes gently used crayons for underserved children.


With the generous donation of crayons received, Mrs. Nygaard beautifully packaged and will be delivering these lovely gifts to the Head Start Center Preschool at the Learning Center on Pennsylvania Avenue in nearby Lomita. In addition to the crayons, each child’s package will include a multi-colored heart-shaped crayon created by Mrs. Nygaard. And….sh, sh, sh…. She has also most “kindly” designed one of these specially shaped crayons for all of our PHS students, which they will receive today!


Crayon Campaign



Celebrating Our Heritage

January 19, 2018


Our Fourth Graders, under the direction of their teacher Mrs. Cathy Gilbert, recently completed an in-depth project focused on the diversity of individuals. The three main strands of the unit were as follows: 1) Connecting with the commonalities of their classmates, 2) Celebrating their differences, and 3) Understanding and affirming the value of each and every individual.


Mrs. Gilbert shares the details of this project: “Students were invited to choose one country that represented their family background and create a collage showing details of that country’s culture and traditions. The children interviewed family members to discover commonly appreciated stories of their past and how our PHS Character Quality of Perseverance was important in their lives. Students also learned some of the geography and history pertaining to the country they chose.”


On Heritage Day, the Fourth Graders presented their collages, along with any artifacts and traditional dress they wished to share. This event deliciously concluded with a sharing of traditional foods in the class’s Heritage Feast!


Heritage Celebration




Alumni Spotlight

January 12, 2018


This week our Alumni Spotlight shines on Will Tilles, who shares the following:

I am a junior at Loyola High School, and I have started a company called Fruit Swell. This non-profit organization will transport donated fruit to shelters and missions around Los Angeles.

 For the few past years, I have served at the Christian Brothers Mission near Loyola High School. As I hand out sandwiches and snacks to the homeless, I see a need for fruit with their meal. My mission is to provide donated fruit from local orchards to people in need. If your orchard is overflowing with fruit and going to waste, I am happy to pick it up and transport it to Los Angeles area shelters and missions.

Alumni Will TillesMy friend and I started the “Entrepreneur Club” at Loyola High School.  We meet twice a month to discuss entrepreneurial opportunities.  This semester we will focus on promoting Fruit Swell all over the Los Angeles area.  Since Loyola High School draws students from over 200 zip codes, I am hoping the donations will increase. 

I have many teachers to thank for my excellent education at Peninsula Heritage School.  Mrs. Banales for making me think outside the box.  Mrs. Charnofsky for making me think thoughtfully and to always be caring.  Mrs. Nygaard for always promoting fun with competition. Mrs. Lynn for knowing her students so well and allowing me to be “Red Coat #2” in the 5th Grade Play, History Comes Alive

Congratulations, Will, on all the great community service that you are accomplishing!




Alumni Spotlight

December 14, 2017


This week, our Alumni Spotlight shines on Bella Martinez, a freshman at Palos Verdes High School. As a cross country runner, Bella captured first place, with a time of 19:43 in the Girls Divisions III, IV, and V Junior Varsity 3-mile race at the prestigious Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) Cross Country Invitational on October 20, 2017. This young runner placed first among 66 other females, also leading her school team to an easy first place team win.


Progressing on to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Meet, competing against cross country runners from schools throughout California, Bella placed 61st among 208 runners in the Division III Girls race with a time of 19:58. At this State Meet on November 25, 2017, at Woodward Park in Fresno, CA, Bella ran third (of seven) on the Palos Verde High School’s Varsity team, which placed fourth in the team standings.


Congratulations to Bella on her amazing accomplishments as a freshman runner!

Bella Cross Country


It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like… The Holidays in the Science Lab!
December 8, 2017

The Primary Center students exhibited their design skills and artistic flair as they decorated gingerbread houses in the Science Lab, along with a little munching of the delicious components!
Not to be outdone, our older students created beautiful frosted ornaments utilizing the process of crystallization. Using red and white pipe cleaners or small pieces of artificial wreath shaped as small candy canes and wreaths, these items were soaked in a mixture of boiling water and Borax for about eight hours. The finished products are covered with room temperature crystals, but they actually look just like frosty ice!

PHS Choir Performs

December 1, 2017


Congratulations to our PHS Choir and Mr. Charley Miller for their enthusiastic presentation at the highly-acclaimed Holiday Festival hosted by the Torrance Memorial Medical Center.


Thanks also for the fabulous support provided by our PHS parents who brought their students on a busy school night and cheered on these young singers! What a great way to begin the holiday season!


PHS Choir


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