Campus Master Plan: A Message from John Baird
As part of our strategic plan, The World Needs More Westonians, we are updating our campus master plan, which we first authored in 2001 with the help and wisdom of our community. The plan will build on all that has been accomplished since then, evaluate the current needs and assets of our facilities and campus, and thoughtfully create a road map for future capital projects to fulfill our mission and strategic plan. This updated plan will help us, and future leaders, make key and strategic decisions about facilities, our campus, and our program.
Over the next months, we will communicate with you about opportunities to engage with the process, share your voices, and participate in group meetings with our committee and our architects.
We want this to be a visionary and inclusive process that invites the voices and insights of our entire community. The planning and design team has begun meeting with various constituency groups to gather ideas. The issues and questions we are considering include: What long-term shifts within our educational program or teaching approaches may require changes in our physical environment or spaces? How might we develop our facilities and campus to promote our evolving, innovative curriculum? How can we preserve its unique, distinctive, natural features and habitats and integrate them more fully into our program? You can expect that we will send you a survey, updates and invitations over the next months. You can also expect opportunities to share your comments informally. If you are particularly interested in participating, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We believe Westtown is well positioned to thrive in our increasingly competitive and complicated world. The campus master plan will complement and align with our larger strategic plan by placing our academic program, core values of community, and our Quaker identity at the heart of our planning.
Westtown belongs to our entire community, and to future Westonians who will have to navigate a world that will need their brilliance, integrity, and humanity. Westtown's facilities and campus must serve them well, and it is our job to envision and plan for the school that will prepare them to thrive as leaders and stewards of a better world. I'm eager to work with you on this important project.
News from the Committee on Trustees
The Committee on Trustees welcomes the suggestion of individuals to be considered for Board committees and task forces and for future Board of Trustees service. Please use this form to share information about people (including you) who have the potential to bring time, talent, treasure, and ties (networks to Westtown’s many constituencies) to the Board. The Committee on Trustees has the responsibility of balancing and strengthening the Board while fulfilling Westtown’s commitment to representation of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Quakers as well as Friends from other yearly meetings.
Bob Roche, Parent of Alumni, Clerk, Committee on Trustees
Jon Evans ‘73, Clerk, Board of Trustees
Martha Bryans ‘68, Assistant Clerk, Board of Trustees
News from Communications
Stay connected! Keep up with news and the daily life of the school on our social media networks. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vimeo by searching @westtownschool. We also have Facebook pages for Alumni, Athletics, Robotics, and Performing Arts.
Our teachers and staff are experts in their fields and they’re blogging about everything from raising teens to second language acquisition. Subscribe to the Well-Lit Path blog for tips and advice.
News from the Westtown Fund
We’ve made it easy to make a gift to the Westtown Fund! Our recurring gift program allows you to make a significant annual contribution through smaller monthly payments. Recurring gifts provide a steady, reliable funding source to the school and helps us plan our budget for the coming year. So far this year, we have raised nearly 85 percent of our goal of $1,140,000 for the Westtown Fund. To sign up, visit www.westtown.edu/wfdonate.
Here’s what members of the Westtown community had to say about signing up for a recurring gift:
"I give recurring gifts to Westtown not only because the community had a defining impact on my life, but because I want to be a part of the school’s lasting impact on students. As a young alumna who has embarked on a career in the professional world, I am amazed at how quickly business, technology, ideas, systems, and approaches change. I give to Westtown so that I can contribute to enriching Westtown’s programs and offerings, which will enhance student exposure and learning and ultimately prepare students to be active participants in shaping communities, organizations, and people in the future." - Anna Cottone '07
“Signing up to give a recurring gift is the easiest way for me to support Westtown. I don't have to remember to add one more thing to my crazy schedule, and at $10 a month it's costing me less than a lunch out. Plus I know that the predictability of my donation helps the school to plan its finances better.” – Debra Lenik ’06
“It is a painless way to give and it is working for the benefit of the school’s programs. I know that it evens out the lows and highs of the financial terrain throughout the year.” – Pete Lane ’57
How it works:
- You determine the amount of your donation and can change the amount at any time by e-mailing email@example.com.
- We will charge your gift to your credit or debit card at the pre-determined interval.
- Your gift will automatically renew each year
- It’s simple, secure, and one of the best ways you can support Westtown.
- Easier to budget and easier on your wallet
- You won’t receive any additional mailing asking for a gift to the Westtown Fund
- It’s paperless, saves the school money, and is easier on the environment
Sample Monthly Donations
$5 per month = $60 per year
$25 per month = $300 per year
$75 per month = $900 per year
$150 per month = $1,800 per year (full membership in the 1799 Society)
Visit www.westtown.edu/wfdonate to sign up today.
Senior Projects: Spanning the Globe
The Senior Projects give students the opportunity to create an independent educational experience outside the walls of Westtown. Students research, design, and implement a project. They can explore a possible career, delve into an area of passion, do research, or complete a service project. Westtown also offers school-led trips which have an emphasis on service, language and cultural immersion, and geo-political awareness. All projects, in one way or another, are about seniors taking steps - and sometimes leaps - into the world beyond Westtown and steps toward learning more about themselves.
This year, the independent projects range from the study of tidewater archaeology to recording music to teaching leadership at a Friends School in Tasmania to exploring Arthurian legends in England; they are as varied as the personalities of our students. Seniors are in 14 countries and seven states engaged in 33 distinct projects. The Westtown-sponsored projects expand our exploration of the globe and areas of study. This year, all four group projects are new offerings:
The Westtown en Cuba program arrived in Havana last week. This is a language immersion and service trip that is not only a Senior Project, but also was open to students of Spanish. The group’s itinerary is diverse and includes working with Muraleando Havana on a mural and a functional art installation as part of a community beautification project. They also will be learning about the Quaker community in Havana and having Meeting for Worship. Several students on the trip are part of Westtown’s Elements dance troupe, and they have been teaching dance lessons to elementary school children.
Mónica Ruiz-Meléndez, trip leader and World Languages Chair, writes from Havana, “Cuba has welcomed us with open arms! We have quickly realized the uniqueness of our program for high school students, especially in light of the recent developments in terms of US-Cuba relations. We’re onto something great! To quote a Cuban compañero I met today named Eloy, ‘Your students are living history. This type of young people, your kids, will be talked about, written about for years to come.’”
Westtown en Cuba Group before departure (partial group!)
Our new partnership with Paideia Institute’s Living Latin program in Rome, gives Latin scholars, as well as art and architecture enthusiasts, a chance to explore The Eternal City, its language of antiquity, and its culture. While a Senior Project, it was also open to Upper School Latin students. Senior Joe Zhu has written eloquently about their adventures on the Senior Projects’ blog.
Living Latin in Rome group before departure
The South Africa trip has taken students to Cape Town where they are working at Sun Valley Primary school, which is a fellow Ashoka Changemaker School. Sun Valley has a special focus on community, innovation, individuality, and diversity. Seniors are also learning about the rise and fall of Apartheid and visiting important historical sites. Their community service project is through Living Hope, a faith based non-profit that provides supports for those struggling with addiction, HIV/AIDS and poverty. Trip co-leader Teacher Melissa Schoerke Koomson and Caroline Sullivan are both blogging about their project on the Senior Projects’ blog.
South Africa group at Noordhoek Beach
And last, but by no means least, is the Tiny House project. The house is tiny but the project is not! Students are designing and building a mobile, sustainable off-the-grid house right here on campus. Upon completion, the tiny house will be used as guest accommodations for visitors to Westtown. The progress so far is impressive and at the time of this publication they have completed the sub floor, insulation, four walls and the beginnings of a roof. Senior Rachna Kota is keeping us up-to-date on the Senior Projects’ blog as well.
Tiny House group in their tiny house
Follow the Senior Projects blog to read more about students' experiences.
The 16th Century Meets the 21st: Middle School Shakespeare Festival
This past week the Middle School became Elizabethan England for the Shakespeare Festival. Regular classes were replaced by workshops like heraldry, banner making, staging sword play, Shakespeare’s Kitchen, Shakespeare’s closet, stained glass making, trebuchet construction, and more. A group of students also made up the staff of “The London Herald” documenting all aspects of the festival on their blog with videos and stories. They also created an Instagram account for a pictorial of the Festival. And, as modern technology would have it, characters from the plays being staged last week were tweeting, too. Ever wonder what Lady Macbeth, Romeo, Juliet, Hippolyta and Puck would tweet about? Check out their Twitter feeds and find out!
The Shakespeare Festival culminated in productions of Shakespeare’s plays by every Middle School grade. Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet were performed. It was a spectacular week of learning while doing. Take a look at our week in Shakespeare!
more pictures on SmugMug here
Upper School Project Based Learning Week
What if you asked students what they wanted to do or learn about for one week of the school year? What if they had a hand in planning it? We did just that.
Several months ago, Upper School students and faculty began brainstorming about potential workshops. After that, faculty winnowed the project list to ones that represented various subject areas. What they ended up with was a collection of projects that satisfied budding artists, linguists, designers, dancers, engineers, filmmakers, gamers, seamstresses, and city planners. One project at the Academia Antonia Alonso focused solely on service.
The Project Based Learning (PBL) week has been longer in the making than just mere months, though. “Our PBL has been three years in the planning,” says Margaret Haviland, Director of Teaching and Learning, “beginning with a desire to give students time to delve into a topic or project. This week fits in well with our Action-Based Education and our intention to build program where students may dive in deeply.”
The expectations of the PBL group were that they would “have a final product of some sort, each group should have worked with joy, enthusiasm, and real concentration on their project,” says Chris Benbow, Upper School Principal. “Each student will have engaged thoughtfully and will reflect daily on what it’s like to focus with peers on one topic. Serious learning is the intention. Failure is a possibility.”
PBL week was a mostly-successful experiment in student-driven learning and teaching. The weather sidelined a couple of projects, but most proceeded as planned and most groups produced something. They will present their projects to each other and faculty at an assembly after Spring Break. One of our Thai Scholars, Boss Prachyathispsakul, taught a course in Thai language and culture for his Senior Project, uniting PBL and Senior Projects. One group painted a mural on the walls underneath the boys’ end porch. Another spent the week researching and discussing the Israel/Palestine conflict. One group designed a city. Another built a Frazleerham (a Quaker game) court and taught Lower and Middle School students how to play it. Yet another made a day-in-the-life video about Westtown for Admissions. The Tiny House PBL group partnered with the Senior Project to design and build an off-the-grid house. And there were many others.
Students did indeed seem to dive into these experiences, and we'll learn more about what they feel they learned when they present their final projects after Spring Break. Watch this video for a sampling of projects in action.
See more pictures on SmugMug here
Hola Puerto Rico!
A group of fifth graders is in Puerto Rico this week, the first trip of its kind offered in Lower School. Lower School Spanish teacher, Amy Liermann, and tour operator, Vamonos, developed an itinerary that is designed to provide students with a variety of unique experiences and to maximize their time on the island.
The students’s days are full of activities to help them hone their Spanish vocabulary and to learn about the history, food, culture, and wildlife habitats of Puerto Rico. They’ve had a digital scavenger hunt, salsa dancing lessons, learned how to make mofongo (a traditional fried plantain dish), and toured the rain forest. They will have a full day of service at an elementary school in Cabo Rojo, so they will be able to meet and interact with children their own age. We can’t wait to hear more about their adventures when they return in a few days! Buen viaje, 5th grade!
Philadelphia Princeton Prize in Race Relations Winner, Steffanie Garzon '15
Congratulations to senior Steffanie Garzon! Steffanie has been selected as the winner of the Philadelphia Princeton Prize in Race Relations. The Princeton Prize in Race Relations was established by Princeton University in order “to promote harmony, respect, and understanding among people of different races by identifying and recognizing high school age students whose efforts have had a significant, positive effect on race relations in their schools or communities.” This award exemplifies Steffanie’s work and passion. Here are at Westtown, Steffanie is a Work Program Head, a member of the Students of Color Association, and has held various leadership positions during her four years at Westtown. Steffanie is currently on her Senior Project in Cuba. She will join winners of the Princeton Prize from all over the country in April to receive her award.
Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Festival
A big round of applause to Westtown representatives who auditioned and earned spots at the PMEA Festival! District 12 Choral division singers were Rachel Blackman, Shannon Babcock, Troy Larsen, James Duffey, Nathan Mullen, Sam Duffey and Joe Zhu. Nathan Mullen and Sam Duffey advanced to the PMEA Regions Festival, and Sam Duffey has advanced to the State competition, for which he is preparing an all new repertoire. Sam also placed third in the Chester County Choral Society Scholarship Competition for seniors in high school. Congratulations to Sam and all our talented singers!
Bottom from left: Shannon Babcock, Troy Larsen, Rachel Blackman
Top form left: James Duffey, Nathan Mullen, Sam Duffey and Joe Zhu
Upper School Musical: Pippin
The cast of Pippin put on an amazing show last month. Kudos to the cast, crew, costumers, set designers, makeup artists, sound and light technicians and director Nick Malakhow! Their production was reviewed by students in the Cappies program. The Cappies are the "Critics and Awards Program" for high school students. Students visit other schools' productions and write reviews. The Philadelphia Inquirer publishes Cappies reviews and two such reviews about Westtown's Pippin production were published recently. Read the rave reviews here and here.
See more pictures on SmugMug here
Our talented dancers graced the stage for their Winter Dance Concert. Click the link below to see photos from their performance.
See more pictures on SmugMug here
Lunar New Year Dinner
The Lunar New Year Dinner is an annual celebration we all look forward to. International students prepared the Lunar New Year feast for students, faculty, and host families, taking over the kitchen to bring us delicious foods from their countries. We welcomed the year of the sheep in style and we were grateful to share in the celebration! Enjoy the gallery of photos at the link below.
See more pictures on SmugMug here
Congratulations to wrestler Luke Neal who set a new school record for career wins at 115, surpassing the 113 wins recorded by Alex Becker '11. Well done, Luke!
The boys’ varsity basketball team had a stellar season. They are the 2015 Friends Schools League Champions, beating Germantown Friends for the title! Read more about the game here. The boys lost the PAISAA State final to The Phelps School 50-46 in a nail-biter of a game, making them second in the state.
The 2015 Westtown School Auction certainly was a Festive, Fun and Philanthropic evening! Thank you to all who supported the Auction, especially our Auction Committee and the many hardworking volunteers. We are thrilled to announce that we exceeded our goal of raising $100,000! Enjoy our Auction video; a great reminder of why Westtown is so special.
Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance Troupe - April 1st, 7:30 p.m. in the Barton-Test Theater.
The Tamagawa University Taiko Drum and Dance Troupe has been touring the world since 1961, visiting Mexico, England, Greece, Canada, Malaysia, Russia, Indonesia, Africa and the United States. They have included Westtown once again on their tour of the States and we are honored to welcome them back. Their amazing, high-energy performances are not to be missed. This event is free and open to the public.
College Funding Workshop - Thursday, April 23rd
Get ahead of the game by attending our workshop on funding for college! This workshop is designed for Lower, Middle and Upper school parents. Join us from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. in the Barton Test Theater and please feel free to bring a friend, this event is open to the public.
Grandparents' & Special Friends’ Day - Friday, April 24th
The campus will be buzzing with excitement as our students show their grandparents and friends what makes Westtown so special. It is a rewarding and fun day for all involved.
Summer @ Westtown Expo - Sunday April 26 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Explore all Summer @ Westtown has to offer during our Summer Expo. Westtown’s partners in the arts, athletics, academics, day camps, sciences, swimming and theater will be on campus offering clinics, performances, walking tours, pick-up games and more for children and parents alike. If you are looking for a fun-filled day of playing field hockey, tennis, lacrosse, basketball, soccer, or singing, driving robots, or learning more about our array of programming, then join us for the Westtown Summer Expo and bring the whole family! This event is free and open to the public.
Westtown Golf & Tennis Outing - Monday, May 18th
Save the date for a fabulous day of fun on the courts and course at White Manor Country Club. It promises to be a great day and evening in support of Westtown.
Andrew Renzi '03 Shoemaker
On February 22nd, Andrew shared his journey towards becoming an accomplished filmmaker with the Upper School students. He screened clips and trailers from all of his work in the medium as well as an exclusive sneak peek of his upcoming film Franny. Andrew's overarching message to the students was powerfully optimistic, challenging their perceptions of failure and encouraging them to take big risks in following their dreams.
Spring is almost here and so are some great events!
Wednesday, April 1 - Tamagawa Drummers in the Barton-Test Theater at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 12th - Parent of Alumni Reception at the home of Ellen Cryer Gilbert '76 and Tom Gilbert '76
Monday, May 18th - Golf & Tennis Outing at White Manor Country Club
Alumni Weekend 2015
The invitations are being printed, and we are looking forward to having you all back on campus the weekend of May 8-10, 2015! Don't miss the symposium on Saturday featuring alumni, faculty, parents, and current students discussing a variety of topics. For more information, please click here.
Spring Memorial Services
Please join the families of the following beloved Westtown community members for their memorial services:
Peg Walker Lippincott '41
Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 3:00pm
The Quadrangle Auditorium
Anne Wood, former faculty
Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 2:00pm
Westtown Meeting House
Earl Fowler, former faculty
Sunday, May 10, 2015 at 2:00pm
Westtown Meeting House