Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bon Voyage!

Well, here are some pictures of Robert and Braden leaving. These are from leaving the school up until the security gates. We would have gotten some from further in, like the plane taking off etc. but as my new friend, Jacob, the 300 lb security guard, explained to me, "Non-Ticketed persons are not allowed beyond the security gates!" Well, I will nurse my bruises.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ya Gotta Follow Your Dreams

Since Clearwater's beginnings in 1996, we've always had a substantial number of word connoisseurs--people who love playing with words by writing stories, music lyrics, plays on words and studying the origins, nuances and cadence of words. Eight-year-old Mara is a prolific rhymer and song writer. She loves putting together rhythms and unusual rhymes on the fly and comes up with some lovely and fascinating combinations. As she spins delightful phrases, she analyzes which ones make logical sense and relishes the ones that are simply fun to listen to and say.

Here's a song she wrote recently and brought to school, although it is not one of her rhyming compositions. The tune exists in her head and is not yet available in musical notation.

Ya gotta follow your dreams.
Ya gotta do it no matter what.
Even if it's a long shot there.
Ya truly gotta follow it to your dreams.

And This is how you do it.
You can wish upon a shooting star.
But no matter what, you gotta
Work for it.

And this is how I know.
I once wished upon a shooting star.
But I had to work the rest of
the way there.

End of post.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cooking Begins for Denmark Trip Fundraising Dinner

Yesterday students Robert and Braden and their staff member mentor Mat began cooking for the dinner they will produce tomorrow. Today the intensity and duration of food and event preparations increased dramatically.

Mat and Robert chopping onion

Braden chopping basil

The dinner is one of the ways they are earning money for their two-month stay in Denmark while they attend Denmark's Sudbury school and explore that country and culture.

They cooked Gado Sauce, a peanut-based sauce that can be made ahead.

They also made a test batch of creme brulee. It was a test batch because they added some unexpected aromatic ingredients and wanted to find out how it would taste. I had the privilege of being a taster and I can testify that the creme brulee will be amazing.

Creme brulee ready for the oven

Creme brulee recipe (but without mystery aromatic ingredients). Click the image to enlarge.

Mat and Robert mixing creme brulee ingredients.
End of post.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Start of something fun

This is the first post on the account that Robert will be using for his trip to Denmark. This is pretty cool!
End of post.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Clearwater Contributes to PUD Conservation Savings

Last year our school worked with Snohomish County PUD to replace all our ancient fluorescent lighting with more efficient fixtures and bulbs. The utility offered generous rebate funding which almost completely covered our costs.

Today the Seattle Times reported that the 700 business (including Clearwater) that participated in PUD conservation programs in 2009 saved enough electricity to power 6,000 homes, saving PUD ratepayers $5.8 million.

Just today, School Meeting gave the go ahead to pursue a grant that the PUD is offering to install a
photovoltaic solar demonstration project. We will post more if our grant application is approved.

We feel very proud of our contribution to significant energy conservation and wish to thank the parent and student volunteers and especially Mat and Stephanie for the hours they spent removing old fixtures and installing new ones.

End of post.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Paintball Excursion

Recently a group of students and two staff took our new bus to East Side Painball. They had a great time and several of them looked surprisingly unpainted on their return. In School Meeting last week one of the paintball participants suggested another trip, although the fee is probably too steep for enthusiasts to go very often.
Shane, one of the paintballers, took this picture before they all got started. Thanks, Shane!

End of post.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Students Cook Fundraising Dinner for Their European Trip

If you haven't read about Robert and Braden's upcoming two-month stay at a Sudbury school in Denmark and how they will represent Clearwater at the European Sudbury Conference in Berlin this spring, do so now. They hope this trip will encourage more travel and student exchange between Sudbury schools around the world.

To earn money for their trip before they leave at the end of the month, they (together with staff member and cooking mentor Mat Riggle) will cook a sumptuous Asian-themed meal with dessert on Saturday, March 20 from 4:00-7:00 PM at The Clearwater School. If you would like to eat delicious food, enjoy good entertainment and support them on this adventure, please RSVP no later than March 18 to
The Clearwater School. The cost is $20 each for adults and $10 each for children. Please indicate in the RSVP if you have any diet restrictions and, if eating meat, whether you prefer pork or chicken.

Robert and Braden make Thai fresh rolls

End of post.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cooking Class

Talking about making Thai red curry

Karen's recent post is a perfect segue to this one about the cooking class that takes place once or twice a week at Clearwater. A core group of students is involved in every class, and others come and go as their other interests and activities allow. The class is headed up by staff member Mat Riggle, a skilled chef who has worked in and managed a number of restaurants.

Demonstrating how to cut an onion

Chopping mango

Mat demonstrating how to roll a tamale in a banana leaf

Students involved in class range in age from 8 to 17. Early in the year I became a fly on the wall, watching Mat demonstrate knife skills, make a quick stock from vegetable peels and meat trimmings, put ingredients together using his vast experience, playfulness and curiosity instead of using exact measurements, encourage creativity and experimentation, effortlessly assign different people to specific tasks, and engage everyone in the fun of preparing food from scratch and then cleaning up afterward.

Click on the link to see more pictures and read more...

Oiling a banana leaf

Placing masa on a banana leaf

One 11-year-old student explained that she especially liked the chicken curry dish and thought the number of spices for the dish was interesting. She also felt proud that she was able to stay engaged and focused for the 3-1/2 to 4 hours the class lasts from beginning to end.

Masa dough on oiled banana leaf

Rolling tamale in banana leaf

Early on in the class 17-year-old Braden (who along with 15-year-old Robert will be attending a Sudbury school in Denmark this April and May) talked about learning to cut onions and garlic to release their flavors and was interested to discover that some Asian foods use different flavors such as fermented shrimp paste that one wouldn't expect based on the taste of the finished dish. He especially enjoyed the flavor of the Indian dish, saag paneer. Robert said he's enjoying learning how to cook everything and chop fast and efficiently.

Building a tamale

A 9-year-old enjoyed learning how to cut things and peel potatoes so the potato itself doesn't end up in the trash can. She especially enjoyed the tamales, spicy chicken sandwich, corned beef and teriyaki dishes they made.

Making fresh rolls

I enjoyed watching Mat moving around the kitchen, efficiency personified, freely offering his encyclopedic knowledge of food preparation and the many different ways to combine ingredients and flavors, even as he kept an eye on at least two pots on the stove top, whatever was cooking in the oven, corrected someone's hand position while chopping, talked about the "why" of what he was doing, AND laughed and joked with everyone.

Making stock

The cooking class is a delightful place to hang out not only to pick up tips and try to pick up some of Mat's efficiency and knowledge by osmosis, but also to enjoy the camaraderie between everyone whether they're in the middle of chopping, mixing or cooking or waiting for their turn to try out the next step.

Making Thai fresh rolls

A short list of things that have been prepared this year include: Thai fresh rolls, creme brulee, Djawa (Java) curry, chicken masala, Thai red curry, Gado sauce, Jamaican jerk chicken, roast beef sandwiches au jus, tamales wrapped in banana leaves, macaroons, macaroni and cheese from scratch using aged cheddar and gouda cheese, crepes and saag paneer. Students also have at their disposal approximately 50 spices and spice combinations.

Some Asian food ingredients and condiments

End of post.