The Princess King – the princes compete!

Here is a clip from the recent middle school play – showing the princes in fierce competition for the crown. My favorite part is the whining during the “horse” race.

NBS wins “Mix It Up” Model School award!


National Civil Rights Group Recognizes North Branch School for Tolerance Efforts

 Designated ‘Mix It Up’ Model School by the Southern Poverty Law Center

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Teaching Tolerance, the educational project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, has named North Branch School as a Mix It Up Model School for its exemplary efforts to foster respect and understanding.

 North Branch is one of 76 schools from across the country receiving the honor.

“In today’s polarized world, it’s refreshing to see schools that are doing extraordinary things to encourage students, faculty and staff to cross the social boundaries that so often divide us,” said Maureen Costello, the director of the Teaching Tolerance project. “By recognizing these schools and calling attention to their great work, we hope that other schools will follow their lead.”

The 76 schools recognized were among the 6,000 schools that participated in Teaching Tolerance’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day Program, an effort to break down the barriers between students so there are fewer misunderstandings that can lead to conflicts, bullying and harassment. They will be recognized on the Teaching Tolerance website as Mix It Up Model Schools at

Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children. The program reaches hundreds of thousands of educators and millions of students annually through its Teaching Tolerance magazine, multimedia teaching kits, online curricula, professional development resources and classroom-friendly social justice documentaries. These materials are provided to educators at no cost.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Ala., is a nonprofit civil rights organization that combats bigotry and discrimination through litigation, education and advocacy. For more information, see

Spanish 8 presents their books

Oscar’s 8th grade Spanish students recently worked on an assignment to make their own children’s books. They created the story, wrote it in Spanish, and drew illustrations. Here they are presenting the books at assembly.

The Mayan Market opens!

Jon’s Senior class opened the morning with the biennial Mayan Market. Every other year, Seniors study the Mayans and their culture. They spent several weeks learning about the Mayans and how they lived, their gods, beliefs and foods. They each picked a god to study and came to the market in costume. They also prepared natural items to trade, such as corn husk dolls, beads, rocks, shells and clay. Each Senior had a trading area with items such as fresh fruit, hot chocolate, tamales and the objects they had made in class. Every class had a turn visiting the market and trading for different items. After spending time in the Big Room trading, students went down to the annex to try the Mayan game of Ōllamaliztli , or “pitz,” in which players attempt to get a ball through the hoop using anything but their hands.

The Princess King

The Middle School presented the play The Princess King yesterday. It was quite funny and very well done. Congratulations to all the students and their directors! More pictures and video to come, but here’s a preview. Thank you very much to Tandem Friends school for hosting us!

The Tortoise’s Gift

Primary Two performed a charming play on Friday. They had read the book, by Lari Don, in class, and liked it so much they turned it into a play. Here is a summary from Amazon:

“One hot, dry summer in Zambia, the rain stops falling. Soon, the animals are very hungry and thirsty. How can they recover? They have heard of a wonderful tree that can produce fruit, but it will only do so if it is asked by name and no one can remember what it is called! The animals agree to send a messenger to the wise mountain to find out the name of the tree and bring it back. One by one, the animals set out, but remembering the name is not as easy as they had imagined . . .”




Further proof that SpongeBob has merit

Stuart took this photo of the Wednesday Group’s “Squidward the Snowman.” If you look closely you can see his tentacles! Little known Wikipedia fact: in 2011, a newly described species of mushroom, Spongiforma squarepantsii, was named after the cartoon’s title character.

Squidward in all his glory

Squidward in all his glory

The Juniors recite “Lewis and Clark”

Here are the Juniors, reciting a poem by Rosemary Vincent Benet:

Science Fair, Assembly, and gifts from The Wintergreen Nature Foundation

Lots of things have been happening at North Branch. On Wednesday, the 7th and 8th graders were at The Virginia Piedmont Regional Science Fair all day. North Branch students came away with six honorable mentions! Congratulations to everyone for their effort and hard work, on all of the projects. Friday’s assembly was very busy: the middle school students presented their science fair projects, the Juniors recited a poem and Oscar’s Spanish 8 group shared the wonderful Spanish childrens’ books that were the result of hours writing and illustrating. We also discussed Pi Day. Last, but by no means least, Emily Pudliner of The Wintergreen Nature Foundation presented us with lovely and generous gifts for classroom activities, such as a solar fan for the greenhouse and equipment for hatching chicks. Thank you so much!