Campus Master Plan Town Hall
We will be hosting a Town Hall meeting to discuss Westtown’s new Campus Master Plan. The meeting will take place on May 20th 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Westtown’s Lower School Gathering Room. We hope you’ll come and that you’ll RSVP so we know how many people to expect. Please click here to register. We will also be streaming the event for those who cannot attend. We'll include more information about that in a future email. If you have questions or concerns, please email email@example.com.
Lake Restoration Project Update
As you know from our recent communications, the restoration of the lake is underway! As of this week, the lake has been lowered several feet and collection and relocation of fish has begun. About 300 turtles have been captured and relocated as well, and students got to observe and learn about the them in the process. Footers for the forebay dam should be poured this week. For updates on the project, visit the Lake Restoration Project page on the website. We will update the page as the project progresses.
News from Communications
This year, for the first time, Commencement will be live streamed! Families at a distance will be able to celebrate our graduates along with us. Commencement will take place on Saturday, June 6th at 11:00 a.m. in the Greenwood. Stay tuned for more information about live streaming!
We are thrilled to share that our website won the Outstanding Website Award from the Web Marketing Association during the 2015 Internet Advertising Competition Awards. Sites were judged on design, innovation, navigation, copywriting and memorability. Check out the blog post that Finalsite, our web company, wrote about our deployment process. We have just learned that our website also won "Gold" in the 2015 Hermes Creative Awards, which honors "messengers and creators of traditional and emerging media."
News from the Westtown Fund
We have an exciting update to share with you about the Westtown Fund: We have officially crossed the $1 million mark in fundraising for the year and are on the home stretch towards our goal of $1,140,000! All of the money raised this school year will be spent this school year, so your gift goes to work immediately in the lives of our current students, faculty, and staff. Thank you to everyone who has already made a gift. If you still need to make yours, please visit www.westtown.edu/wfdonate by June 30th. Thank you!
This month, we would like to share how gifts to the Westtown Fund that are designated for technology are used to benefit the student learning experience. Innovation Specialist, Alicia Zeoli, explains that the vision for the technology program at Westtown is to make technology use seamless for students. As students increasingly utilize mobile devices and technology in their lives outside of school, it has become increasingly important that teachers integrate technology into lessons in the classroom.
Alicia goes on to explain that it’s important that students learn skills that will prepare them for their future careers, particularly for careers that do not yet exist. That requires that we teach students how to responsibly conduct themselves online, to problem-solve effectively, and to work collaboratively with not only their classmates, but also with people all over the world. The expansive use of technology at Westtown has allowed our students to go on virtual field trips, meet with and learn from experts on the other side of the world, and visit other states and countries to expand their understanding of materials presented in the classroom.
For the last few years, Middle School’s 1:1 iPad program has enabled a technology-rich academic program. Middle School principal, Nancy van Arkel, explained that the 1:1 iPad program has allowed students to learn skills, including how to manage their time, study for tests, and organize information, in a way that is similar to how adults use mobile devices in their personal and professional lives. She notes that their textbooks are electronic and they take notes on their iPads so students always have access to their materials, but the most exciting use of the technology is in the creation of digital media projects. The use of iPads has streamlined the creative process and has given students additional platforms on which to share their work with their classmates.
Nancy adds that the technology is a tool; it does not drive the curriculum. She encourages faculty to use it in the way that feels effective to them and will best benefit the educational experience. The Middle School faculty have found that the incorporation of technology has allowed students to learn and demonstrate their strengths in a different, more creative format. Additionally, it has allowed students to discern each other’s gifts and use that insight to strengthen group projects.
As we look towards the future, seamless use of technology requires a reliable, robust network infrastructure, readily available digital tools, and sufficient bandwidth so that we can communicate and collaborate with the outside world. To that end, we are upgrading all network switches, investing in additional digital creation hardware and software tools for students, as well as increasing our broadband internet access.
Metal Moose at FIRST Robotics
By Steve Compton
Westtown Robotics -the Metal Moose - has just capped off another great year of design, engineering, entrepreneurship and technical programming. This year's robot won awards for Design Creativity and Innovation, and the Metal Moose was invited to, and competed in, the World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri, one of 600 teams among the nearly 6000 who participate in the program. While the Metal Moose did not come home with the World Championship trophy (we finished about mid-pack), the 20 members of the team - most of them returning next year - came home re-energized and committed to continuing to grow the Westtown Robotics program. While in St. Louis, students talked to and interviewed the top teams about their robots, their engineering processes, their team development and sought their advice. New ideas and approaches abound in the Design Engineering lab, and we can't wait to get started on next year's work. The robotics season this year lasted 5 months, so we'll have just a little down time before we begin again.
The real story of Westtown Robotics, however, is not just the robot. In the past eight years, the team has grown from a small group of students to nearly forty, and students are joining at younger ages than ever before. In fact, most of our team is returning next year, and we'll benefit from their experience. Among our work is design engineering, iterative prototyping, testing and re-engineering, mechatronic integration tying our programming team's work to our engineering team's work, business development, fundraising and community outreach. Our subteams work as units, but come together each day to collaborate on messaging, mission, vision and values, and to create a narrative that is both inwardly and outwardly compelling. The Metal Moose is well branded in this our twelfth year, and with our 5th World Championship appearance under our belts, we look forward to more of the same next year.
One Story Week
“We stand for the trees!” That was Lower School’s motto as they celebrated One Story Week recently. One Story Week is one in which lessons in multiple disciplines are derived from, well, one story or one book. The children have special activities focused on the theme of the book. It allows students to dive deeply into books and to explore their meaning through art, music, technology, and science.
This year, that book was The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss, a fitting choice for what was also Earth Week. Lower School (indeed all divisions at Westtown) has a focus on sustainability and green practices year round, but One Story Week this year was a way to have concentrated activities to celebrate and enhance our stewardship of the Earth. The kids designed T-shirts that read, “We stand for the trees” that they wore all week.
Teachers were given the opportunity to pursue their passions as it related to the book. For example, first grade teacher, Shelagh Wilson ‘85, and her students have been building a class compost bin. They used part of the week to do more research about composting and to explore themes of conservation.
Another activity was making “glop,” a substance found in the book; a fun way to discover what putting substances together does - science! The art activity was making Truffula trees.
And, on Earth Day, all of Lower School students and faculty gathered together to turn a field into a wildflower meadow. The goal in planting this meadow is habitat restoration and bio-diversity, providing an environment for Monarch butterflies and pollinators. Students scattered seeds, tamped the seeds down, and will continue to care for meadow as it grows.
Enjoy these photos of the planting by Pete Bannan, photographer for the Daily Local News.
Real World Skills. That's what this past week has been about for our 8th graders. The project began months ago with an interdisciplinary reading of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind in English, science, history and math classes. Last week, students further developed their Changemaker projects, using design thinking to craft solutions for actual problems faced by communities in East and West Africa. Changemakers presented a plan of action backed by a grant proposal and an effective infographic to a panel of professionals from our wider community. A second group developed models from science class to build two full-scale wind towers, which will each generate a small amount of electricity.
This summer we will send our copies of the book to our sister class at Heritage Academy in Ghana; next year we hope to work with them on a similar project.
Here, 8th grade teachers explain more about this project.
Young Round Square
Westtown School is a member of the Round Square consortium of schools. Recently, two Middle School students and Teacher Carrie Timmins represented Westtown at the Young Round Square Conference at the Collingwood School in Vancouver, BC.
This year’s conference theme was reFresh, reFuel, reFocus and activities were based on upon Young Round Square’s IDEALS: International, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, Leadership, and Sustainability. Students had team building exercises, outdoor activities, and time for reflection and discussion. Wesley Flynn, 7th grade representative, said that the conference was a “great way to learn many valuable lessons while having fun.” He also says that he made friends from all over the world with whom he is still in contact.
The relationships that students form with one another are what make conferences like these so important for students. Friendship with students from around the globe expand kids’ world view.
When asked why she wanted to go to the YRS conference, 8th grader Sophie Pinnie says, “I wanted to expand and broaden my horizons. (It’s why I switched to Westtown.) I wanted to get a better perspective of the world, break out of my comfort zone, and gather confidence.” She says that she did become more confident and even took some risks. “I had to make friends in my cabin and work with my group members. Also, the zipline helped my fear of heights, I eventually got to go upside down. It made me realize how much I’ve missed out on past roller coasters. It made me not want to judge things before I get a chance to do it or know the situation better.”
Timmins delighted in watching Wesley and Sophie relish the experience, in spite of their initial fears and nervousness. “The conference was a great opportunity for the kids to step outside their comfort zone in so many ways,” she says. Meeting other students in this way broke down barriers and stereotypes. “They met challenges head on and they never complained. They're used to diving into a situation and making it meaningful.”
Our students weren’t the only ones who benefited from the conference. It was also an opportunity for Timmins to connect with other educators and to learn about what they are doing in their school communities. “It reminded me of the uniqueness of Westtown, that we are driven by and really live out the ideals of Quakerism. The teachers from YRS schools use the YRS IDEALS and I can definitely appreciate that, but those values are already here at our Quaker school. Our kids don't have to join a YRS club to know what it means to live out ideals.”
Daelan Roosa '18 Composes for Vermont Philharmonic
Join us in congratulating freshman Daelan Roosa, whose musical compositions have been selected to be performed by professional musicians through Music-COMP! About eight of Daelan’s pieces have been chosen to be performed and, most recently, he was asked to compose a piece for the Vermont Philharmonic. This is quite an honor and acheivement!
Music-COMP (Composition Online Mentoring Program) is a non-profit organization in Daelan’s home state of Vermont that works to provide composition instruction to elementary through high school students. Students write short musical pieces in computer music notation software then post the file to the Music-COMP website. There, professional composers are assigned to students and provide mentoring and feedback. This writing-feedback-revision cycle takes place over a period of months until a piece is finished. Each semester, Music-COMP musicians select several pieces that will make a good concert, and professional musicians perform them.
Little Changemaker, Big Impact
Mady Wiley '26 may be young, but she's not too young to make a difference in the world. She and her mom, Nicole, made a resolution last year to raise 20,000 pounds of food for local food cupboards. To date, 16,000 pounds have been donated. To learn more about her story, watch the TV spot on Fox Philly. When Mady's first grade classmates learned of her story, they asked "How can we help?"
They decided to have a food drive to help Mady reach her goal. Boxes are placed in the Lower School lobby for non-perishable food collection. First graders have made flyers to send home to parents. If you do not live and the area but would like to know how to contribute, email Teacher Shelagh Wilson or Nicole Wiley, Mady's mom.
DISC Affiliation Announcement
It is with a sense of loss that John Baird, Head of School, has accepted the recommendation of our Athletic Directors, Mich Linder and Paul Lehmann, to withdraw from DISC after nearly 50 years of affiliation.
Over the course of the past year, our Athletic Directors have conducted a full programmatic evaluation of Westtown’s Athletic Department, assessing our offerings, strength of program, and league affiliation. As it relates to the DISC, the following points were highlighted in their recommendation to the Head of School:
- Of our 21 varsity programs, only 5 compete fully in the DISC for league championships
- The positive growth and development of PAISAA (Pennsylvania Independent School Athletic Association) has incentivized Westtown to increase the number of in-state competition.
- Ongoing DISC matters and conversations focus, appropriately so, on DIAA rules and regulations, many of which do not pertain to Westtown as a Pennsylvania school.
As John Baird remarked in his letter to the DISC Head of Schools "A decision like this, given our history in Conference and great respect we have for each of your schools, is a difficult one to make. I greatly value the long and positive relationships our schools enjoy and our mutual support and collaboration within the league. Yet I make this decision with confidence that our schools will continue to have spirited competitions on the fields and courts as we have for so many years. While a few of our teams may no longer be competing for DISC championships, I have no doubt that the great games and healthy rivalries will continue for years to come."
National Letters of Intent
Join us in celebrating the following athletes who have signed their National Letters of Intent:
Jonathan Kasibabu '15 has signed an NLI to play basketball for Fairfield University.
Sami Phelps '15 has signed his NLI to play soccer for West Chester University.
Edvinas Rupkus '15 signed an NLI play basketball for Skidmore College.
Deepee Yiljep '15 has signed his NLI to play basketball for Chestnut Hill College.
Congratulations to our student athletes!
Congratulations to Naomi Jimenez '16 who has broken the school record in the high jump! Naomi jumped 5 ft. 4.75 in. earlier this week. The previous record for the high jump was 5 ft. 4 in. held by Marie Rosche ’05.
The Golf Team has been lighting up the greens. The team, undefeated in the Friends School League so far this season, broke the school record of 157 by shooting a 155 against Friends Central School. The record-breaking foursome were Cole Berger ’17, Marc Groenhuysen ’17, Dylan Torpey ’17, and Henry Zuckerberg ’17. Congratulations to the golf team!
Thank you to the many grandparents and friends who joined us on April 24th. The campus was buzzing with excitement as the students invited their friends and family into a day in their life at Westtown. Click here to enjoy a few of the special moments.
11th Annual Golf & Tennis Outing Westtown - It's time to get your clubs and racquets out in support of Westtown School. Join us on Monday, May 18th for a fabulous day on the courts and course. Not a player? Then join us for cocktails, dinner and auction at White Manor Country Club! Registration and sponsorship information here.
Brown & White Day
Westtown Track Field Friday, May 22nd 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Brown & White Day is a Westtown tradition and our version of a field day. Students have friendly competition in games like "tug-of-peace" and relay races. Friends and families are invited to come cheer on the children as they wear their BROWN or WHITE with pride. Bring a picnic lunch!
Alumni Weekend 2015
The weather forecast for Alumni Weekend looks amazing, and we hope that you are planning to join us! We are excited to introduce a symposium on Saturday afternoon in our new Science Center featuring alumni, faculty, parents, and current students discussing a variety of topics. For more information about the Alumni Weekend schedule, please click here.
Alumni in the News
Mason Holden ’08 has founded BikeVault, a company that is seeking to produce an on-street bicycle parking and locking system. BikeVault will be free for cities to install and for cyclists to use. Mason has entered BikeVault in a “Pitch to Rich” competition in the hopes of presenting his idea to Richard Branson.
Robert Barratta ’11 recently won the Eighth Annual Business Plan Competition at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Cameron School of Business. The competition allows students to gain practical experience beyond the classroom doing a comprehensive business analysis. Congratulations!
Connect with other Westonians!
Check out our great mobile alumni app called "EverTrue." Search our alumni directory by name, class year, college, company, etc. and map other alumni near you!