Must Reads

This Week at Westside: May 22-26

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With less than two weeks left in the school year, student’s are working hard on their final projects and presentations for EOL, Spring Flings or Showcases, and also getting out to enjoy the sunshine! Here are a few snapshots from around our community this week.

To see more of what the students have been working on, come check out these events:

Tuesday, May 30
5:30-6:15 p.m. Seventh and Eighth Grade Exhibition of Learning (EOL)
6:30-7:30 p.m. Middle School Showcase

Wednesday, May 31
8:15-9:00a.m. Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Coffee in the Gallery
9:00-9:30a.m. Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Spring Fling Performance

Thursday, June 1. 
6:30-7:30pm. Lower School Spring Fling Performance


Introducing London, the Westside Wolf

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Welcome to the newest member of the Westside family: London, the Westside Wolf!

London is currently a resident of Wolf Haven International, a Washington-based rehabilitation center working towards the conservation and protection of wolves and their habitats. Westside School began sponsoring London this spring, after the middle school Social Justice flex class held a bake sale to raise money for and promote awareness of the organization.

This is not the first time the Social Justice flex has stepped up to support causes they believe in. When the class started in January, students spent time researching current events, issues they cared about, and ways they could make a positive change in the world. A February roll back on protections for transgender students prompted our class to research support services for transgender youth in Seattle. We were inspired by the work of the Lambert House, and held our first “Food for Though” bake sale in March. The students baked rainbow themed goodies topped with inspirational, motivational, and educational notes. The result was amazing! We raised over $400 for this local institution, and spread a message of acceptance and love (with a little bit of sugar) in the process.

The Social Justice class ended in early March, but the students have continued meeting weekly to discuss how they can continue to make an impact in this community, and the world. After reading about the recent “War on Wolves Act'”, students decided to host another bake sale, this time to support Wolf Haven.

We are so proud of the work and dedication of this group, and we hope London can serve as inspiration to the rest of the Westside community to promote positive engagement!

London’s photo and biography will be on display at the front desk soon.
-Colleen and Kendra

Open Hearts and Open Minds: A Nicaragua Spring Break Trip Recap

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Mary Kratz, Sarah Path and thirteen 7th and 8th grade girls traveled to Nicaragua over spring break and have some incredible stories to share!

We traveled with a company called Global Works who organized a custom trip for us focused on cultural exchange and service learning.  We enjoyed a bit of sight-seeing, but spent most of our time interacting and learning from Nicaraguans about their country and culture-we had to use a lot of Spanish!  In Managua, the capital city, we toured the chureca and learned from a community organizer, named Yamileth Perez, about the struggle to move families off of the city landfill where families had been living, scrounging scraps of metal to sell and scraps of food to eat.  We toured the neighborhood with Yamileth, heard lots of stories of resilience and grassroots organizing and visited their community center called Podcasts for Peace.  At the community center, we learned about the programs they offer in healthcare, youth programming and the arts.  In addition, they make podcasts to tell and share the stories of members of their community and other marginalized groups in Managua.  While at the community center we got to meet a lot of the volunteers, hear some of their podcasts and videos and play games and read books with neighborhood children.

Next, we traveled northeast to San Ramon, a rural mountainous region of Nicaragua, where we met and worked with four women’s collectives who make and sell artisan crafts.  One group made jewelry from seeds, one made beads and jewelry from recycled rolled paper, one made stationary items like journals and cards from recycled paper, and the other group were weavers who used a loom and traditional weaving techniques.  With each of the women’s groups that we worked with, we got to learn about their artistic process and work alongside the women in their workshops making arts and crafts.  We also conducted interviews to learn more about how their groups started, what their goals are and the challenges they have faced.  We are currently working to turn our interviews into biographies about all of the women’s collectives in Spanish and English.  These will be posted on a tourism website for the region to try and help publicize the women’s work and bring them more business.

In addition, we had a lot of other incredible experiences including a bread making workshop, a visit to a cacao factory, a boat ride through the isletas of Lake Nicaragua, a tour of Granada and we swam in a volcanic crater!  Hard to believe all of this happened in a week!  The students brought to Nicaragua their curiosity, their full attention, respect, maturity, fun, open hearts and open minds.  On the last night, we reflected about what the students had taken and learned from Nicaragua.  The two biggest takeaways were 1) an awarenessand gratitude about our privilege, such as educational opportunities and access to clean water and healthy food and 2) the notion that money does not equal happiness, since we met many people in Nicaragua who told us and showed us that though they may be poor in money, they are rich in love and happiness.

Preschool returns to Westside in 2017 – 2018!

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Westside School will once again open its doors to three- and four-year-olds for a half- and full-day preschool program for the fall of 2017. Expanding upon our current pre-kindergarten program, we will offer emergent curriculum focused on experiential learning and inspired by a variety of teaching practices. Preschool students will have access to many of our specialists, such as visual art, performing arts, physical education, and world languages.

Great early-childhood education has been a hallmark of Westside School since its founding in 1981 and we are thrilled to announce the return of our preschool after a several-year hiatus. We encourage families to join us for our Preschool Preview or a tour.

Westside School is now accepting applications for preschool and other grades (depending on availability) for the fall 2017. For more information, please contact Ted Holmes in our Office of Admission, or 206.932.2511.

Important Dates:

Tuesday, May 9: Preschool Preview, 10:00 to 11:00 am. Meet the preschool teachers and learn about the program in detail. Parents and guardians only, please.

Tuesday, May 23, Student Observation, 10:00 to 11:00 am. We will meet prospective students in a short observation session.

Tours for all grades: Available upon request: 206.932.2511

Eighth grade students tour Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Exclusion Memorial

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This week, eighth grade students traveled to Bainbridge Island in connection with their study of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. They toured the Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Exclusion Memorial and were lead in small groups with Japanese American docents who were able to provide firsthand experiences with the students of their time in the camps. Additionally, they gained insight into the history of Bainbridge Island at the Historical Museum. It should also be noted they were provided the opportunity to speak with Mary Woodward, the daughter of Walt and Milly Woodward of the Bainbridge Review, who famously protested against the treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII through their newspaper. It was a definitely a memorable day. A huge thank you to all of the parent chaperones who helped facilitate the day’s itinerary!

Spring is the air!

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Our first and second grade students celebrated the season this week with songs, spring decorations, and spirit during their How Does Your Garden Grow musical performance!

Happy spring everyone!

The power of snails in pre-algebra

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How much do you think you could pull, if you were as strong as a snail? To investigate this, seventh grade students harnessed the power of snails (literally!) in pre-algebra. Each group hooked a land snail up to a paper cup which the snail would pull and the students would gradually fill with washers.

The goal is to find the maximum pulling strength of each snail, which students will compare (using ratio and percent) to the snail’s own body mass!