WNS Jetway Winter 2018

Page 1

Table of Contents


Welcome from HOS


ECC: The Color of Us


ES: Patterns in the Sky


MS: Legends of Trash Creatures




Performing Arts




Alumni Spotlight


GPSF Day Highlights


Annual Fund


Becky Lockhart, Assistant Director of Development Alicia O’Connor, Marketing and Community Relations Amy Woropay, Director of Communication and Webmaster

Printing Ed Su, Studio Printing

Photography Vince Bucci Photography WNS Community Members

TheJetway is published two times per year by Westside Neighborhood School for parents, alumni, and friends. For more information or questions, please contact: WNS Office of Communications 5401 Beethoven Street Los Angeles, CA 90066 communications@wnsk8.com © Westside Neighborhood School




Some call it magic. Others just shake their heads in wonder. What is happening here at WNS is as remarkable as it is unique. Nowhere I know of in the constellation of great schools do you find the combination of an authentically diverse student body in a PS-8th grade academic experience that celebrates innovation, independent thinking, and a curriculum designed for the future. It brings me such joy to orbit the three campus buildings and see our students engaged in bustling activity. As you’ll read on, you’ll find stories that provide you with a peek into a WNS program that is challenging, engaging, and experiential at all grade levels. Our hands-on, minds-on, play and project-based learning approaches draw on innate student curiosity and prior knowledge. This represents a synthesis of best practices that is couched in a school environment embedded with a growth mindset and a genuine commitment to social learning and equity and inclusion. Our curriculum expertly and thoughtfully blends progressive, developmental, and traditional educational philosophies to reach, inspire, and support students. Through this, our young children grow into highly confident, resilient, caring, and determined young adults prepared to help reshape our world. This is not the easy way to do things, which is why it is so rare. But it is what it takes to help prepare every student for success in the 21st century...and beyond!

Brad Zacuto Brad Zacuto Head of School




Early Childhood Center

The Color of Us

The Color of Us: A Paint Palette on Diversity Cyndi McAdoo and Valeria Flores-Carrillo, Meadowlarks X Teachers

Young children become aware of the differences in the physical characteristics of the people around them as they begin to navigate through the diverse world we live in. When students of the WNS Early Childhood Center begin to make connections and acknowledge differences, we invite them to have profound conversations that stem from their innate curiosity and to further explain their understanding on similarities and differences. As educators, we must remember that children are not coming from a place of bias. Therefore, we must extract our own biases, as well as any triggers we may have in order to create a safe space for these conversations and a sense of community. After reading the book Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung and learning about diversity, inclusivity, and embracing differences, we decided to dive deeper into an experience that would explore the diversity that exists in our Meadowlark classroom. Knowing that children first make physical observations, we decided to engage in a color mixing experience where students would mix primary paint colors to achieve skin tones for each child. This exploration began with a study of the mixture of colors. They learned that when they mixed the colors together, they created a neutral color, brown. The students then learned about using black to create a shade of each color, and white to create tints. We asked the children to carefully observe the color of their skin and decide how the neutral color that was created was either similar or different than their skin. After learning what black and white can do to the neutral color, we challenged each child to determine what was needed in their mixture. Students were encouraged to discuss their observations with each other and the teachers.



“We mixed a paint palette to match the skin tones of the children and teachers using primary colors, black and white, learning that everyone needs a little bit of each color. We continue to learn more about our own identities and how they help us to celebrate the diversity of our class.�


In our Reflection Meeting, we discussed how each of the newly mixed colors all needed a bit of each paint in order to achieve a skin tone for every child. After each color was mixed and discussed, students gathered as a group once again to compare and contrast the colors in the new palette. The children made observations of similar colors and even described how one friend’s paint was used to make their own.

“We had a lot of one friend’s paint, so I put some in my jar,” reflected one student. “I had to add white to my paint and some yellow. Red too. Then my color appeared. It’s not his color anymore. This one is mine.” The class was then ready to paint a communal art piece in which each child and teacher would create markings to represent themselves through their new paint color. Each student was intentional and meticulous to respect the space and strokes of another child’s work. Conversations about similar skin tones emerged when we painted in small groups. The result of our piece was a harmonious declaration of the sense of community that exists in our classroom. Both the children and teachers enjoyed discussing the paints they had mixed and the similarities and differences that we notice about our skin colors. With this experience, we celebrated how colors give us the opportunity to be both different and similar to one another and how our own palette uses all of them!




Elementary School

PATTERNS IN THE SKY First Graders Investigate Patterns in the Sky Shellinda Barre, Lower School Science Teacher

Our first grade science program strives to create a sense of wonder and instill an appreciation for the natural world in our young scientists. In the science lab, students are given the opportunity to make scientific observations, analyze their findings, and make realworld connections. This fall, first grade scientists were busy exploring the patterns that are found in our daytime and nighttime sky. They made connections between their prior knowledge of celestial objects and new information gained during class as they became more familiar with our place in space. They began the unit by brainstorming a list of objects that can be seen in the sky during the day and night. This list raised several key questions among the students such as, “Why can’t we see stars during the day?” and “Where does the moon go during the day?” Students became immersed in this investigation, using simulations and models. Working with globes and flashlights, students reenacted day and night. With a partner, students took turns rotating the globe while their partner held their flashlight (the sun) steady on the globe. Knowing that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, they figured out what direction to rotate the Earth. Many students were surprised to find the Earth actually rotates counterclockwise. Students then used their “suns” to change the size, shape, and location of the shadow of a miniature statue. They were able to learn that as the sun moves higher in the sky, an object’s shadow actually gets shorter. Students were encouraged to discuss their observations with each other and the teachers. Students then shifted their focus to stars. They made constellation viewers by poking holes in a small circle of paper to represent the stars in the big dipper and taping it to a paper cup. They projected the big dipper onto the wall of our darkened classroom. When their partner used their flashlight to replicate sunrise, the big dipper disappeared. When asked where the stars had gone, students were able to see that the stars don’t actually go away, our sun is just closer and brighter than them so it makes them invisible to our eyes during the day.




Finally, first graders learned about our moon and what makes it look different every night. In order to simulate the different phases of the moon, students used moon viewers and flashlights. A moon viewer is a shoebox with a white foam ball inside. Students were able to view the “moon� through a small cut out and shine their flashlight from different angles to create the eight phases. This gave students a concrete example of how the moon appears to change shape throughout the month. They noticed that the moon is mostly white but has some gray spots and that these darker areas were called craters formed by the impact of comets or asteroids from space. Students explored the variables that create the widest and deepest craters. They dropped balls of different sizes and weights into a tray of level flour from a standard height and learned that heavier objects created deeper craters and larger objects created wider craters. Students are excited to share their knowledge of space with others and to continue their observations outside of the science lab. This demonstrates that science does not just exist in a classroom on a given day and time - science is everywhere. Our students do not just learn about science; they do science!




Middle School

Legends of the Trash Creatures

Legends of the Trash Creatures Kaitlin Rodriguez, Middle School Dean & 6th Grade Science Teacher

In the spring, WNS 6th graders were presented with a question - and challenge - to solve: How can we use art made out of trash to inform community members about this trash problem and persuade them to make better choices with their trash? This was the start of a brand-new, exciting project called the Legends of the Trash Creatures. It was a truly interdisciplinary project connecting science, art, coding, robotics, website development, creative writing and research skills. Each project would convey information on a specific issue related to trash and the impact it has on the environment and society. WNS 6th graders began the process gathering information about environmental issues in class by reading/watching and discussing articles, short stories, and TedX talks. At home, students collected trash from their homes that they would ultimately use for the creature. In Design, Code, Make (DCM) class, the students learned how to use Hummingbird robotics hardware and coding software. Meanwhile, the students were trained by the staff at the reDiscover Center in basic woodworking skills and tools, and they took a field trip to see the reDiscover Center. On build day, the reDiscover staff came in with a prototype of the base the students had to build and the groups had to reverse engineer the structure to build their own base. They had to do all their own measurements and cuts.




Once the base was built, the students began to construct their creatures from the trash they had brought in. As they did this, they also had to be thinking about what the legend of their trash creature would be. The legend had to have a foot in the non-fiction world and a foot in the fiction world. While the creature and their legend itself was fiction, the groups also had to include real problems and potential solutions to their environmental issue as well as facts and statistics. In English class, they each completed a brainstorm, which included the various elements of plot development - beginning, middle, end, setting and imagery. Then, they came together as a group to collaborate and compromise on ideas that they wanted to use, combine or modify to create their creature’s legend.

“My favorite part about the LTC project was presenting our finished creature to everyone. My group wrote a skit, and we had so much fun performing it as a way of telling the legend of our trash creature.� - Simone The project essentially had two phases, and during each phase each group member had a different role. During the first phase when students were generating their ideas and sketches, and doing some basic research, they were appointed a position: taskmaster, master of discussion, time and materials master, webmaster, or collaboration master. The second phase focused on the creature build and content production of their website. During this phase, each student focused on different production elements as either a: build engineer, statistics master, legend developer, or tech guru. Depending on the size of the group, some students would share the same role.




The students began this project back in February 2018, and the whole project was completed and presented in April 2018. After they each presented to their own class section, students organized an in-house exhibit the first week of May where they brought their creatures to life! Students shared their creatures, learning, and process with other grade levels, parents, and faculty. The finishing touch to the project was a student-created website that included a creative legend of their creature, details on their environmental issue and potential solutions, as well as facts and statistics about their issue. Each group member also had a sub-page on the group’s site where they had a write-up on an interview they conducted with an adult as well as their independent academic choice: a letter, digital presentation, or original skit/song/rap on their group’s environmental issue. This larger than life project began with the creativity of a collaborative group of faculty and soared to new levels through student creativity!

“We got the idea for our creature from the disastrous effects that plastic waste has on our environment. The design was partly inspired by all the seabirds that suffer from plastic waste, hence the pelican beak on our creature.” - Austen


Athletics: Go Jets! Chris Pearson, WNS Athletic Director

The WNS spring sports teams enjoyed monumental success in their respective leagues! Our Varsity Boys Volleyball team accomplished tremendous growth, advancing to the semifinals game in the Pacific Basin League (PBL). Under the leadership of Kerri Eich, we are bringing back an experienced eighth grade team next spring, with a strong chance to earn its first title. We also want to acknowledge the team for earning the PBL Sportsmanship Award for their character on and off the playing court! Our Girls Track team earned first place in the PBL final meet at West LA College! The team set the mark earning three consecutive titles with impressive results. The WNS Boys Track team earned third place in their overall results. Our track teams continue to prosper under the guidance of Coach Heidi Reimann, who also doubles as WNS Assistant Head of School, Grades 5-8. Next, our Girls Softball team has now won four consecutive titles in Pacific Basin League! The team defeated Windward in the playoffs to earn another title. Additionally, the team played a second season in a tough Delphic League and won back-to-back championships, defeating Heritage Christian. Under the leadership of all of our coaches, including our very own Brad Zacuto, Head of School, it’s safe to say our softball team continues to thrive! In the lower school, our fourth and fifth grade sports teams played in a competitive FIYA League and developmental Coastal Canyon League. We were able to provide students with an opportunity to play in a sport that suits their skill development and competitive ambition. We are excited to offer clinics and sports to our lower school students year round! Finally, we are excited to announce the results of our fall season sports. Our JV Flag Football team won its first PBL title defeating St. Matthews in the championship game 18-6. It’s our first ever flag football title, and we hope to start a new tradition of winning more titles in the future! We are also proud of our Varsity Flag Football team, who made it to the quarterfinals. The WNS Girls Varsity Volleyball earned their third trip to the PBL Championship match. Our 6th Grade and JV Volleyball teams made it to the semifinal rounds with tough defeats in the end. We’re looking forward to the upcoming winter season with our defending champions, Boys and Girls Soccer teams, looking to retain their title. Our basketball program continues to build as we offer five basketball teams in three leagues and five divisions!




Performing Arts

Middle School Performing Arts Dr. Desi Cameron, Director of Visual and Performing Arts

CHOIR CONCERT On Thursday, April 19, 2018, the entire middle school performed songs for their choral concert, both to the school community in the morning and in the evening for their families. The theme centered around the power of music to inspire, unify, and mobilize individuals and communities to make positive changes in our world. In preparation for the concert, students spent time in class researching the history and cultural significance of each song. Their performances made a great impact on the entire WNS community! CULTURAL FAIR On Friday, May 4, 2018, fifth graders performed a devised theatre piece focusing on their families, their own identities, and their future. Students learned how to write and stage simple scenes, along with the basics of putting on a production. Students worked hard on creating this production from scratch. This process began with students conducting interviews with family members, sharing their discoveries in class, and weaving the individual threads of their stories into a common tapestry. Students wrote, helped to direct, and performed their ideas in these scenes. Students worked with Ms. Thomasulo on three songs with a focus on celebrating our past, present, and future. ANNIE JR On June 1, 2018, middle school students worked hard on stage and behind the scenes to put on a fantastic production of Annie Jr. Students on stage stretched their skills as actors, singers, and dancers. Those behind the scenes had the opportunity to design and manage all elements of a production, including running lights and sound in the booth, designing and painting sets and props, and creating posters and the playbill for the production. We were drawn to Annie Jr. because it is filled with messages of hope and love. The show reminds us to love all things, especially the ones that may be forgotten and left behind. Working hard and making millions might be a dream some have, but without love, it doesn’t mean much. No matter how much we try to fool and trick people, the truth will always reveal itself in the end. We will all experience ‘hard-knocks’ in our lives, but how we choose to react will make all the difference. Sometimes we have to put our chin up and know that difficult times will pass. After all, it’s good to remember the “sun will come out tomorrow.”





WNS Class of 2018 Dominic Anthony Aluisi IV Christian R. Beckham King-Ché Fela Beckwith Justin Lake Betanzos Chase Binkow Sofia Isabella Borin Jordan Brisson Samuel Brixton Maggie Brown Camryn Michelle Bryant Henri Camposano Ariana Carranza Griffin Chodler Colby Christopher Daley Stanford Friedman Quentin Hendrix Gaudio Nicholas Remon Hanna Sydney Holden Kai Indeglia True Jackson Giles Winston Johnson Noah Todd Jones Trevor Alan Jones Joseph Juma Ethan Kalechstein Skylar Kalechstein

Anabelle Koff-Gilmore Zoe Holland Kreller Carter Deacon Lee Jaylah Jace Lewis Qilani Lipe Kalyn D. Mason Mark McNamara Kai Jamison Meyers Riley Nicole Morris Rebecca Nicole Nolan Lily Nuss Taylor Bella Pardee Steve Presha Noah Rapelje Zion Malik Reliford Chyler Rosenberg Mira Saville Jackson James Thomas Shea Rhiann Naomi Sheffie Brayden Sibley-Ackerman Molly Rachel Solowitz Alexander S. Tamura Rachael Thompson Cameron Thrower Kayhan Vasseghi Stella Vaughan Verk

“Prepare. Measure. Gather information. Seek guidance. And when you have done all the thinking and reasoning you can possibly do, sometimes you just have to go for it. Success isn’t usually instant. The pathway can have twists, turns, and knots. And sometimes, we gather new information along the journey that suggests a change in course or strategy is in order. This isn’t failure. This is called LEARNING.” - Graduation Speech Excerpt by Brad Zacuto, Head of School

High School Matriculation WNS is proud of the Class of 2018 high school acceptances! Take a look at where this class will be doing great things this year:

The Archer School for Girls Chadwick School Crespi Carmelite High School (2) Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences (3) Culver City High School (3) Futures Academy Geffen Academy (3)



Hamilton High School Harvard-Westlake School Leuzinger High School Loyola High School (5) Marymount High School (3) Mira Costa High School Notre Dame High School (3) Palisades Charter High School (3)

Santa Monica High School Sierra Canyon School University High School Vistamar School (10) Windward (6) Wildwood


The Class of 2014 is attending the following colleges and universities:

Alumni Spotlight: Class of 2014 Each spring, the WNS alumni class graduating from high school returns for a special Morning Assembly. This year, the Class of 2014 returned to campus to speak at assembly and share their plans for after high school. They also shared their favorite WNS experiences and advice for our students. After assembly, they toured the new North Campus building. For many of them, this was their first time seeing the new space and meeting our youngest students at the WNS Early Childhood Center. It was wonderful to see our older alumni and smallest students together!



American Musical and Dramatic Academy Amherst College Arizona State University Berklee College of Music Boston University California State University, Long Beach California Lutheran University Columbia University Denison University DePaul University George Washington University Harvey Mudd College Howard University Linfield College Loyola Marymount University Millersville University New York University (2) San Diego State University (2) San Jose State University Santa Clara University Santa Monica College (3) Sarah Lawrence College Syracuse University Trinity College Tufts University (2) Tulane University University of Arizona University of California, Berkeley (2) University of California, Los Angeles (3) University of California, San Diego University of California, Santa Barbara (3) University of California, Santa Cruz (3) University of Chicago (2) University of Southern California (2) University of Utah


WNS Grandparents & Special Friends Day WNS students spent two wonderful days together with grandparents and special friends sharing in where they spend their days learning and growing, as well as the opportunity for grandparents and special friends to reminisce about their own childhood. It was a special time enjoyed by all!

Everyone Plays a Role Filling The Gap The most important function of the Annual Fund is the role it plays to fill the 8% Gap between what tuition covers and the additional needs of the school. Every year our parents, grandparents, and alumni come together to offer their support.

Why the Gap? The reason for 8% gap is intentional as a nonprofit you must raise part of your budget for voluntary giving. As a nonprofit, there is a gap between the cost of tuition and the actual cost of education at WNS. Contributions to the Annual Fund are what make WNS such a magical place to grow up.

Now Is the Time to Give to Our Annual Fund! Visit wns-la.org/giving to make your donation today!

5401 Beethoven Street Los Angeles, CA 90066