Friday Faces | Primary - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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Friday Faces | Primary

Welcome to this week’s Friday Faces blog. Settle in and scroll down to read all about Primary teachers. In this blog we will inform and entertain you as you learn about our friendly Primary teachers who SLOCA is so lucky to have on campus.


What did you read recently and what did you take away from it?

Mrs. Pamela Bartel: I read The Core by Leigh A. Bortins recently. It was a good review about the value of classical education. I have read many books on this subject, but this one has some heft to it. It is a well written defense of classical education in the home. I also recently read The Confessions of a French Atheist by Guillaume Bignon. It is about his unlikely conversion from atheism to the Christian faith. Lastly, I have been reviewing a book I previously read called The Scleroderma Book by Maureen D. Mayes MD. Not much has been written about this autoimmune disease and this is a great book for anyone who wants to know more about this condition.

Mrs. Anna Ingalls: Over the summer I read Robin Hood by Howard Pyle. I had never read the original version before and it was so fun to read the first edition on old english. I have always loved this story from the time I was a young girl. The adventure, fighting, and romance always peaked my interest. I have watched countless versions over the years from Errol Flynn’s interpretation in 1938, to the 1993 — Mel Brooks’ satire of Robin Hood Men in Tights. Knowing that we were going to be reading another version in Primary made me excited to choose this staff read over the summer to prepare myself for the coming year.

Mrs. Sage Ronda: Over the past year, I’ve listened to a lot of Agatha Christie mysteries (specifically ones about Hercule Poirot!). They’re kind of beach reads, but I love the insight into human nature and justice vs. grace. I’ve also been reading the Wildsam Field Guide to Yosemite National Park, Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, Jane Eyre (a re-read), and Wide Sargasso Sea (kind of like a well-written response to Jane Eyre!).

Mrs. Jennifer Perneel: Since school started, I have not been able to delve into the pile of books on my nightstand which includes books from a special mentor in my life that I am so excited to read. As a Summer Read, I read “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains“. FASCINATING!! I thought I had a good grip of my online usage but I couldn’t believe how many times I thought “Oh wow- I do that!” And remembering that book as I type this is a good reminder that I really need to get to those books on my nightstand!

Mrs. Sarah Root: I recently read, Let your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way To Victory by Deena Kastor. Deena is an American long distance runner and won the bronze medal in the women’s marathon at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. I have been a lifelong distance runner (of course not at the elite level :)) so this memoir really resonated with me. It was fascinating to read about her beginnings and eventually her lead up to the Olympics. Her journey was a testament to the power of the mind and how harsening it can unlock hidden potential in regards to running, but also life. I found it to be very inspiring and a good lesson on how the small steps of cultivating positivity can make all the difference in our lives.

Mrs. Jeanette Mercado: I just finished reading What The Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City. It was a powerful reminder of how important it is to challenge the injustices that we see in life.

Mrs. Katy Silva: I read The Water Horse. I like to think that life is magical and you never know what tomorrow will bring.


What have been some highlights from Trimester 1, and what else are you looking forward to teaching or learning with your students this year?

Ms. Pamela Bartel: I have enjoyed getting to know and teach two second graders and four first graders this trimester. They are such a great little team – so curious and so eager to learn. I look forward to seeing their growth in academic subjects and also in their creative projects and play.

Mrs. Anna Ingalls: As always, I look forward to my returning students each year. I love that we have two years together and it is invaluable to watch their growth after their time in Primary. This trimester I have really enjoyed the Norse Mythology. I am a sucker for adventure and these myths have no shortage of twists and turns. I love to see the excitement in the class as we learn about these odd characters and realms.

Mrs. Sage Ronda: I’ve been loving teaching viking art for the first time! My ancestors hail from Norway and Sweden so it’s been fun to dive into the artwork of my people!

Mrs. Jennifer Perneel: I love being in the classroom so much and I have the most amazing students- it is hard to narrow down the highlights! Bringing out the new Legos has been A LOT of fun as have the Makerspace carts. We love reading aloud in my Primary class and I love seeing the reactions to stories, or groans when I leave them on a cliffhanger. I am so excited to get into Robin Hood this winter! I know my classes are going to love that book. Tri 3 will bring Hamlet. I CAN’T WAIT!!!

Mrs. Sarah Root: Beowulf was the very first literature piece my oldest son read as a first grader at SLOCA and it quickly became a beloved favorite in our home and continues to be a favorite of mine to teach so that was a Tri 1 highlight. This trimester in science has been quite an adventure learning about the ocean and as much as I have learned alongside my students they have also taught me so much about the sea. Their enthusiasm and excitement surrounding this topic has been such a joy to be around! Looking ahead to the rest of the year I’m really excited to continue seeing the growth in my students as they continue to gain confidence in reciting beautiful poetry and I’m looking forward to the Imagination Celebration, reading Hamlet, and learning about Joan of Arc. Oh there’s just so much to look forward to!

Mrs. Jeanette Mercado: It always makes my heart happy when I see the students’ eyes sparkle with fascination as they listen to the History and Literature readings. SLOCA has curated such a beautiful curriculum. I love every book and story we have read this trimester.

Mrs. Katy Silva: It has been a joy to watch the handwriting develop and addition skills improve. I look forward to assisting happy kids learn.


How long have you been at SLOCA? What drew you, and keeps you loving our community?

Ms. Pamela Bartel: I think this is my fifth year at SLOCA with a couple years of not working in between the fourth and fifth year. I was drawn to SLOCA because of my grandkids who attended here and my daughter-in-law who taught here. They have moved on, but I still love the SLOCA community and I am so glad to be able to be part of it again. I had been on Safety Team for four years and this is the first time I get to be in the classroom working alongside the Learning Leader as an Aide in the Full-Time program. I am so grateful for this job of being able to teach these little ones their beginning skills in Reading, Math, Spelling and Grammar.

Mrs. Anna Ingalls: This is our families ninth year attending SLOCA, and my sixth year teaching. We love SLOCA’s commitment to quality education and the freedom of the hybrid lifestyle to be with our kids part of the time at home. Being active participants in our kids’ education is priceless to us. As my kids grow, I feel more nostalgic of the earlier years when we were all gathered around the living room learning letter sounds and early writing techniques. As they have aged they have grown more independent in many ways, but the read-a-loud literature brings us back to that same living room vibe as we cuddle around together to complete reading assignments.

Mrs. Sage Ronda: I went to SLOCA from 3rd to 12th grade, then I started working remotely as a design contractor for SLOCA for 3 years in college, and I’ve been working with SLOCA full time since July of 2019. I love giving back to an organization that has educated me for life! I really believe in SLOCA’s model of education (and have seen it bear much fruit in my own life) so it’s very rewarding to be able to help other kids like me get what I got!

Mrs. Jennifer Perneel: I joined SLOCA in the 2006-2007 school year!! I had actually packed up all my teaching materials, thinking I was going to leave teaching forever when we moved up this way. I found SLOCA’s job posting on accident and once I understood that Classical Education was #notamusicschool, I was hooked. I was a Child Development major in college. The developmental appropriateness of Classical Education, while bringing in excellent literature, history, and our twist- so much science, was everything I dreamed of when I was getting my teacher credential. I love being able to focus on my students’ needs and teaching them in a way that leads to a love of learning. Once our son was school-age (no Tiny or Little Wonders back then!) we knew we had to enroll him. Our daughter was in the first ever Little Wonders class. Now as an 8th grader and a senior- we are thrilled with how they have grown up. I have gotten to know this community as a teacher and a parent. I am never going anywhere.

Mrs. Sarah Root: I first came to SLOCA in 2010 as a Level 4 Math teacher, but took the following year off to have my second son. I returned to SLOCA as a Primary teacher, and a SLOCA Jr. K parent, in the fall of 2012 and have been here ever since (with the exception of the 2015 school year when I took the year off to have my third son). I was initially drawn to the 4 year history cycle and the hybrid model. I loved (and still do) the way that every subject is interconnected because it allows for a deeper understanding and connection to the people and places we’re studying. I love the community of SLOCA families because everyone is so committed to learning alongside their children and I love the partnership that I get to form with families. I also love that I get to learn too! At home with my boys, and at school with my students, I feel like I’m learning (and sometimes relearning!) so much and I love it!

Mrs. Jeanette Mercado: This is my first year at SLOCA. Everybody that I have met is so humble, hardworking, and so very dedicated to delivering an outstanding education to our students. I am inspired daily by this awesome community.

Mrs. Katy Silva: I have been with SLOCA For 11 weeks. I have listened to Jenny Carey rave about the SLOCA school community and wanted to become a part of the joy and I love working at the school. One day, I walked down the hall at the end of the day and a little girl ran up to her dad. He asked her how her day went and she responded, “It was Wonderful!’ She was delighted with her day and many other children are obviously happy and loving their school days.


From Mrs. Ronda

If you attached a photo, please describe it here:

Ms. Pamela Bartel: This was taken a couple of years ago during a homeschool lesson with my two grandsons.

Mrs. Anna Ingalls: My family at a recent Angels game. A favorite pastime of ours.

Mrs. Sage Ronda: My new husband, Josh, already shared a photo from our wedding in the UMS Friday Faces so I’ll share one from the trip we took with his family to Iceland. This is Josh standing at the summit of one of the hikes we took in Þórsmörk, Iceland!

Mrs. Jennifer Perneel: This summer we traveled to Brugge, Belgium, my husband’s hometown. He had not been home in 24 years! It was my first time there and our kids’ first time traveling out of the country. It was two of the most amazing weeks of my life! To see my kids with Great Aunties and Great Uncles, cousins, and family friends, it was truly a dream come true. Fun Fact #1- My kids and husband climbed to the top of the Belfry Tower behind us in this picture. Fun Fact #2- I built this tower with Legos when the teachers went through Lego School training!

Mrs. Sarah Root: This past July we traveled with my husband’s parents and his siblings and their families to the beautiful mountains of McCall, Idaho for a family reunion. For 4 days all 32 of us (12 adults and 20 kids) stayed together in a cabin and it was the perfect summer adventure!

Mrs. Katy Silva: While substituting in kindergarten, an adorable boy was riding the trike and decided to try riding with a bucket on his head. It went quite well.


See, isn’t that the sweetest team of well-rounded primary teachers! Stay tuned for the next Friday Faces blog which is all about our Little Wonders Teachers.

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