Student Life

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The LWGMS experience is more than just academic classes. LWGMS students have lots of opportunities to meet as a school, celebrate together, participate in clubs, serve their community, and engage in healthy competition.

Every student is a member of a small, multi-grade Respect and Responsibility (R&R) Advisory Group. Lead by faculty and staff advisors, R&R groups comprise “big sisters” and “little sisters” who meet on a weekly basis.

All students take physical education, in classes designed to teach girls about health, self-confidence, and positive body image. Additionally, a full range of athletic opportunities is offered after school (soccer, volleyball, basketball, track and field, and ultimate frisbee) and most LWGMS girls participate in at least one sport at school per year.

Many opportunities are also available to explore individual interests through co-curricular activities such as robotics, glee club, dance, technology help team, and numerous other clubs.

At LWGMS, Every Girl Is a Leader

There are many opportunities for leadership at LWGMS. We believe there are varied styles of leadership and that any girl can be a leader.  While there are traditional leadership roles, such as student government, available to our girls, there are also many ways that different kinds of girls can cultivate different kinds of leadership.

Every LWGMS girl is expected to lead a group discussion, run her own student learning conference, and greet and tour guests at Open Houses. Every eighth grader is a leader in the school, who is responsible for planning R&R group activities, mentoring her younger “sisters,” and leading by example.

Leadership opportunities available to all students can be found in the following activities:

Student Government
Green Team
Yearbook staff
Theater: stage manager, assistant director, choreographer, music director
FuerzaHelp: technology team
Open House tour guides
School representatives at off campus events
Sports team captains
Collaborative projects in all classes
R&R sister mentors
Leading class meetings
Outdoor program leadership
Cleaning crews

Student Government

The Student Government at LWGMS consists of three branches of government: a Student Council, a Community Board, and a Judicial Committee.

Student Council
The Student Council’s purpose is to address issues raised by students and class representatives. The Student Council President runs Monday Morning Meetings, talks at open houses and other events, meets with class representatives, and meets with Head of School about school-wide issues or any issues that have been brought to the student government's attention. Student Council Representatives communicate with their class at class meeting. Representatives talk about their meetings and take issues from class meetings. The representatives must take all issues to the council even if they do not agree with the issue.

Community Board
The Community Board’s purpose is to coordinate clubs, school events, and fundraisers. The Community President runs Monday Morning Meetings, talks with clubs, updates front hall board, and is in charge of the community representatives. Community Board Representatives are elected from each grade to communicate with club representatives and are also in charge of fundraisers, dances, and other events involving students.

Judicial Committee
The Judicial Committee’s purpose is to address issues raised by faculty and staff. The committee will discuss issues with Head of School and advise her on how to solve these problems. The mission of the Judicial Branch is to give student input to school administration on solving problems raised by teachers. 

COMMUNITY: A CHORUS OF STRONG VOICES

LWGMS students are inclusive of others and they value integrity, respect, and responsibility. The focus on social justice, on performance and public speaking, and on social and emotional learning allows the girls to use their strong voices and recognize their own abilities to improve their communities.

Students at LWGMS know that the school is really theirs and they learn what it means to be part of a community. They clean the building every day, participate in weekly class and all-school meetings, publish their own blog, and run their own parent-teacher conferences.

One of the great strengths of the LWGMS experience is the connections girls make with their classmates. Because the classes are small and there are lots of opportunities to work together, students learn to embrace differences and find commonalities with people they may never have gotten to know in a larger school.

From the first new student welcome celebration to graduation and beyond, an L-dub girl knows that she has a sisterhood of peers and a community that cares about her.

 

The LWGMS Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

The students, faculty, and staff agree that the following rights and responsibilities are ours to uphold and maintain.  

Part I - Interactions With Others
We agree that in all interactions with others (face-to-face, via technology, written, and visual communication) both on and off campus, the L-Dub community will follow these principles and practices:

  • Be kind to other members of the school community
  • Treat others as they want to be treated
  • Help out those who are being disrespected
  • Be friendly and welcoming to guest speakers, instructors, and visitors
  • Listen while others talk
  • Include everyone  
  • Do not let cliques survive
  • Be fair
  • Be honest
  • Understand that impact is not the same as intent
  • Act as an ally for others

Part II - Academic Work
We agree that in the academic work at L-Dub, students and teachers will follow these principles and practices:

  • Be honest  
  • Do my own work
  • Share ideas
  • Speak up
  • Ask questions
  • Get help

Part III - The School Environment
We agree that in the caring for the school environment, students and teachers will follow these principles and practices:

  • Take care of the building, the furniture, the supplies and tools, and the grounds
  • Clean up after myself and others
  • When we see a mess, we clean it up
  • Help others do their cleaning jobs
  • Reduce waste
  • Recycle, reuse, and compost whenever possible

 

 

Social Justice

Through activities such as meeting with their representatives in state government or spearheading sustainability projects for their school and local community, girls at LWGMS learn that each of them has the power to effect change in the world.

Walls to bridges

The principles that guide our school have always focused on social justice and activism, and in 2015/2017 we introduced a new curriculum called Walls to Bridges, a title that comes from Angela Davis who in her 1974 autobiography said, "Walls turned sideways are bridges." Walls to Bridges is a social justice curriculum that focuses on activism, leadership, and voice. Throughout the year, students participate in monthly workshops on issues like identity and ally-ship, as well as explorations of direct action campaigns both in history and in current events. In our school, whether in a history class or a science class, students look for models of leadership and activism as they hone their voices, whether in the arts, politics, or other community activism. And explicitly in Walls to Bridges, we ask the 8th graders to explore questions about equity, tolerance, privilege, and justice.

2015/2016 Direct Action Campaign: #Peequality

2015/2016 Direct Action Campaign: #Peequality

 
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Service Learning

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Service Learning is an integral and rewarding part of the LWGMS experience. The goal of the Service Learning program is for students to recognize their own abilities to improve their communities and nurture a sense of responsibility and pride as students take action to improve their local and global communities.

Each student takes part in a grade-level service project, every year. These projects focus on our local community. The sixth grade class is linked to our neighbor, Centerstone. At Centerstone, students volunteer in the food bank to sort food and work on the food line, as well as participating in ground maintenance. As part of the Rites of Passage curriculum, seventh graders take part in a wide variety of service projects including a two day city exploration focused on the needs of Seattle residents and our annual St. Clouds Cooking Project. The eighth grade project is connected to our neighborhood and larger Central District community. Additionally, all students participate in an off campus experience during their ThinkTank Week as a means of extending the academic curriculum and as a way to facilitate connections for the students. In addition to these grade level service projects, we encourage our students to participate in two all school service opportunities.

For the 2016/2017 school year, LWGMS continues to foster relationships with the St. Cloud’s Cooking for the Homeless program, Centerstone, Angeline's Center for Homeless Women, and Bailey Gatzert Elementary.

Past service learning projects include: reading with students from Bailey Gatzert Elementary, Water 1st International’s Carry 5 Walk for Water, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance’s Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day, YWCA’s Thanksgiving Basket Drive, United Nations Foundation’s GirlUp Rally, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Beat the Bridge, American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Country Doctor Community Health Center’s Spa Day Drive for domestic violence shelters, and fundraising for the Maasai Girls Education Fund.

 

Social Justice Film Festival

L-Dub’s 4th Annual Social Justice Film Festival was held at the Broadway Performance Hall, and we are so grateful to all of our students and families who joined us in support the Class of 2017. Thank you also to the Alhadeff family for making the event possible and supplying wonderful Majestic Bay popcorn!

As part of the Social Studies class and the Walls to Bridges program, each eighth grader worked with her classmates to agree on a topic, generate a thesis, create a storyboard, integrate interviews, videos, and still photos, and edit a five-minute film that will inspire our audience to act, to think, and to discuss issues important to our students.

At the end of the screening, guests jumped on smartphones and voted for their favorite films. The results were tallied and real time and Ms. Hearn announced the winners...

Best Thesis:

The Dark Side of Disney
By Amy and Anabelle

 

Best Call to Action:

Living in a Hateful World
By Madison, Georgia, and Hazel

 

Most Original Idea:

More Than a Diagnosis
By Celia C. and Olive

Best Overall:

I Am More Than a Body
By Megan, Charlotte, and Nadia

R&R

Every LWGMS student is a member of a small, multi-grade Respect and Responsibility Advisory Group. Led by faculty and staff advisors, R&R groups are composed of “big sisters” and "little sisters" who meet on a weekly basis. Throughout the year, R&R Groups work on many of the following initiatives through activities, workshops, and conversations:

  • Community building and group cohesion
  • Orientation, school citizenship, and school business
  • Goal-setting, reflection, and self-assessment
  • Tools for school and learning
  • Life skills, healthy development, and self-care
  • Moving on to high school
  • Real-world connections and service learning
  • Personal passions, hobbies, and interests
  • Rituals and celebrations

Clubs at LWGMS

LWGMS students propose and manage their own clubs. Clubs meet for an hour each week. Take a look at this year's clubs!

  • DIY Club
  • Board Games Club
  • Baking Club
  • Cozy/Comfort/Chill Club
  • Culture Club
  • Sunshine Club
  • Drawing/Art Club
  • Parks & Rec Club
  • Drama Club
  • Detective Club
  • Bike Club
  • Girl Empowerment
  • Glee Club
  • Green Team
  • Roots and Shoots for Change
  • Yearbook Team

 

Celebrations at LWGMS

Our community joins together often throughout the school year to celebrate, to reflect, and to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. Friendship and close connections are hallmarks of the L-Dub experience.

Community Coffees
Festiva de Otoño
Festival of Lights Poetry Night
Spirit Week 
Pi Day  
Rites of Passage Celebration Dinner
Parent Education Nights
New Family Social
Drama Performances 
Arts Festival
Graduation

Student Services

Academic, Social, and Emotional Support for All Students
Middle school is a time of great change in girls: physically, emotionally, and socially. The social and emotional well-being of students is a crucial part of Lake Washington Girls Middle School’s mission. To this end, a concerted effort is made to help girls mediate and resolve conflicts; discuss developmental issues openly, safely, and productively; proactively respond to negative interpersonal dynamics and/or behavior swiftly and efficiently; and celebrate successes.

Goal-Setting
Fall term all students meet  one-to-one with Student Support staff to set specific measurable academic, social, and personal goals, and create trackable strategies in their effort to achieve these goals.  During Winter and Spring Term, students reflect on their progress. They reassess the goals and strategies of the previous term,  analyze the factors connected to successes, and challenges of each, and write new goals and strategies or modify old ones as needed.

Learning and Life Skills
The Student Services Department provides Learning and Life Skills instruction to all 6th graders and to 7th and 8th graders upon request. Learning and Life Skills instruction focuses on all aspects of learning, from organization and time-management to the impact of self-regulation and mindset on long-term success.

Academic Resource Center
ARC is an after-school study center that provides a quiet work space, allows for access to school materials, is staffed by academic support staff, and facilitates faculty consultations. ARC staff is familiar with the school culture and curriculum and works closely with Student Services staff to best support students in attendance.

Roots of Empathy

LWGMS's seventh grade participates in a wonderful program called Roots of Empathy. Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based school program that has shown significant effect in raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy; it has been in place for more than ten years across Canada and internationally and has engaged thousands of students in the elementary grades. We at LWGMS are proud to be part of the piloting of a middle school version of this program.

Once every three weeks, one of two babies will visit the seventh grade class with their mother. A trained Roots of Empathy Instructor will gather the girls and together they will witness the growth of these babies. The girls will predict (and probably cheer) when their Roots of Empathy babies reach their 'developmental milestones' of the first year: “She can roll over!” “She got her first tooth!” “She can sit up!” “She can crawl!!”

The Roots of Empathy Instructor will coach the girls in observing the babies and reading the cues the baby gives as to how the baby is feeling: “Is the baby happy or sad?” “How can you tell?” The group will use this discussion as a lever for the girls to talk about their own emotions and to understand how their classmates feel. The Roots of Empathy Instructor will visit the classroom before and after each Family Visit to prepare and reinforce teachings, using a specialized lesson plan for each visit.

What is Roots of Empathy?

Roots of Empathy is an award-winning charitable organization that offers empathy-based programming for children. Their vision is to change the world – child by child. Roots of Empathy is considered a model of social innovation and has two programs: a flagship program of the same name for children in elementary school (Roots of Empathy) and Seeds of Empathy, its "younger sibling" – a program for children ages three to five in childcare settings. Both programs have shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among children while raising their social and emotional competence and increasing empathy.

Mission

Roots of Empathy’s mission is to build caring, peaceful, and civil societies through the development of empathy in children and adults. 

Hike Like a Girl

Lake Washington Girls Middle School’s outdoor program is one of the unique ways we offer our students opportunities beyond the classroom. Every summer, our teachers lead a variety of outdoor adventures, and any l-dub girl can sign up. We offer a rigorous financial aid package for these trips as we believe that every girl should have the chance to experience the challenges and the excitement of living in a small group in the outdoors.

The scope of our outdoor education is expanding as we look for more opportunities to support the whole student. Our trips range from novice to advanced, and all expeditions expose our students to new environments and new outdoor and leadership skills. The outdoor program at LWGMS uses the principles of Leave No Trace in teaching girls the skills for enjoying the backcountry and the outdoors. We cover all areas of outdoor education including basic first aid, water safety, cooking, map reading, and navigation in order for our girls to develop skills in environmental stewardship, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, community building, and leadership.

For beginners, we offer a trip to the Olympic National Park where students hike along the beautiful Washington coast and enjoy backcountry campsites with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. For intermediate adventures, girls can sign up for a trip to Eastern Washington and spend a week enjoying the backcountry of Lake Chelan Recreational Area and into Stehekin, the heart of the North Cascades National Park. For the more advanced outdoor trips, we have offered backpacking in the Enchantments and in Glacier Wilderness as well as kayak expeditions in the San Juan Islands.