Field Day Frenzy

This year's Field Day was by far the loudest yet – our first at full capacity (we've doubled the size of the school over the past three years, if you didn't already know) – and the walls, floors, and windows were shaking! Cheers reached a new level this year. They were inspired: creative, inclusive, and fun! R&R groups took their cheer and costumes (all hand made from, repurposed, and/or recycled materials) very seriously! 

Judging Criteria

  1. Participation: Every member must be fully involved in the performance
  2. Enthusiasm: R&R logos, costumes, colors, mascots
  3. Preparation: All singing/speaking parts are memorized; members know their parts
  4. Sportsmanship: Cheer has a positive, friendly, and inclusive message

Congratulations to the Royal Red Raccoons for their cheer win, and to all of the groups for their amazing spirit, enthusiasm, and energy!

Check out more photos on Smugmug.



8th Grade One Act Festival

Q: What could be a better theme for the culmination of eighth grade drama at LWGMS than a play about being in a play?

A: Three plays.

The shows performed by the Class of 2015 highlight the girls’ talent for being funny. We knew that this class of comediennes would revel in the world of comedy and satire, and the three plays in this one act festival are showcases for their ability to serve up humor with perfect timing and slapstick physicality. With smaller casts than ever, we got to celebrate the culminating drama production for this class with intimacy and attention to detail. Rehearsals were a delight as we worked out complex blocking, key monologues, and ensemble scenes; we even got to reminisce about those wildly entertaining moments as Oompa-Loompas and the songs and dances from Peter Pan and Mulan. It has been a wonderful few weeks of theatre as the halls of L-Dub were filled with the girls’ and their directors’ laughter.

Eighth graders, thank you for making this production funnier than we thought it could be and for being good sports about whatever we asked you to do, whether it was sing, sing badly, dance, dance badly, speak with an accent, speak with an unintelligible accent, fight, fall, cut lines, add lines, or hit your friends over the head.

You are 35 reasons to direct a play.

The cast was full of talent and full of ideas, and the crew on this show was as well! The dedicated seventh grade team of artists collaborated to design a beautiful show, from props to sets to costumes to lighting to sound.

Thank you to you all,
Ms. Hearn, Ms. Jenny, and Ms. Chelsea

Head on over to Smugmug to see all of the photos!

Arts Festival Fabulousness

Last week's all student Arts Festival was one to remember! With our school growth complete this year, and our classrooms at full capacity, this year the art was even more plentiful, diverse, colorful, creative, and amazing than ever. From block printing, puppetry, 3D printing, triptychs, wearable circuitry, to song and dance, the arts are alive at LWGMS. Thank you to all of our students for their hard and dedicated work this year, to our Art Department for their leadership and inspiration, and to our families for supporting our girls' creative endeavors.

Check out all of the photos on Smugmug!

Startup Weekend GIRLS Rocked!

On May 17, 2015 the first annual Startup Weekend GIRLS – for girls in grades 5-10 in the Seattle area – wrapped up its event with its judges announcing how impressed they were by the innovation and quality of the new business formed in one weekend! The weekend was a huge success! More than 100 people gathered over the weekend for pitches, presentations, and speaker Rebecca Lovell!

Startup Weekend GIRLS Teams and Winners:

  • FIRST PLACE WareFair (@WareFair): An app with the missions of increasing awareness and bettering the working conditions for workers globally.
  • SECOND PLACE Chore Hub: An app/website connecting people through the love (and hatred) of chores.
  • THIRD PLACE Monster Cupcakes (@monstercupcak10, @monster_cakes_): Scary good and eerily customizable cupcake designing and ordering app/website.
  • MOST AMBITIOUS OpenDoor: Website helping people by connecting them with resources, opportunities, and personal support network to help them get on their feet.
  • MOST PASSIONATE Pit Souls (@5pitbulllovers): A website with a mission to change the often negative stereotypes of the Pitbull breed.

Participants made new friends, created fantastic companies – many with a social justice mission – and learned a lot about building a startup from the ground up. In the end we hosted 29 #GIRLprenuers, five Team Leaders (diverting a bit from the Up Global format to best fit our participants needs), 12 coaches, three judges, one speaker, and 96 spectators. Five teams formed from 15 individual pitches given Saturday morning (another slight deviation from the typical Startup Weekend format), and the girls spent the rest of their time working on “team, team, team, market, and product” – as suggested by speaker Rebecca Lovell, Startup Liaison to the City of Seattle – and turning great ideas into viable businesses.

Please do this again. The girls have such wonderful and big hearted ideas that deserve to be realized, even if only for a weekend.
— Coach Wesley Ducey

All of this year’s coaches were either serial entrepreneurs, successful founders of businesses, or standouts in their industry. Every team had an opportunity to gain insights and guidance from coaches who’ve had to engage customers, gain market share, and scale their businesses online and off. They came from a variety of industries. We were so impressed by this intrepid group: Our Team Leaders were Founder of rivaliq.com, T.A. McCann (@tamccann); CEO and Founder of PhotoPad for Business Diane Najm (@virtualgestures); CEO and Founder of Shiftboard, Bryan Lhuillier (@shiftboard); and Alexis Mohr, Director of Demand Generation at Azuqua; and Thibaut LaBarre (@asimov4), Lead Software Development Engineer at Amazon. Alexandra Koch, Allie Sterling, Derek Maffett, Joni Barrott, Adam Pearson, Liz Hunt, Wes Ducey, Alex Vollmer, Buzz Bruggeman, Erika Shaffer, Sebastien Motte, and Melissa Scott also joined at various times during the weekend to help with market validation, presentations, and pitching.

As for the judges, they were amazing, and offered each team invaluable feedback. Zach Smith (@zax_myth), VP of Technology at Substantial, Rebecca Lovell (@lovelletters), Startup Advocate for the City of Seattle, and Marion Boituex (@marionbtx), Student Developer Marketing lead @Microsoft were involved because they’re all dedicated to inspiring and helping students – especially girls – build epic stuff with technology.

Want a play-by-play of the weekend? Check out the official @StartupWGirls twitter account, @StartupWGirls. The entire weekend was live tweeted, and many participants hopped on the #SWGirls, #pitchlikeagirl, and #GIRLpreneur hashtags to share photos and memories. More photos and stories can be found at lwgms.org. Stay tuned for videos!

WAREFAIR

I made a concerted effort not to underestimate the skills and passion of the girls at this event and I still fell short of the mark. The focused effort and attention that each girl gave all weekend on my team was nothing sort of astounding. I know a lot of adult professionals that couldn’t have kept up that level of engagement that I saw over the weekend. Working in the tech industry I see on a daily basis how badly it needs a shakeup. This weekend gave me a renewed sense of hope that we can make a change with opportunities like Startup Weekend for girls at this crucial age.
— Coach Alex Vollmer

ChoreHub

Monster Cupcakes

Pit Souls

OPENDOOR

What did I learn? How to pitch! The tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you just told them format.
— #GIRLpreneur Anika

And thank you to our generous sponsors who made this weekend possible!

Teacher Appreciation for Hands-on STEAM Learning

Lake Washington Girls Middle School teacher Christine Zarker Primomo was surprised in front of all of her students and colleagues moments ago. During the school’s Teacher Appreciation assembly today, CenturyLink representative Jane Nishita presented Primomo with an oversized check, balloons, and the honor of recognition for her innovations in technology and teaching. Primomo is the recipient of The CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation's Teachers and Technology grant in the amount of $4,984!

Primomo’s project Increasing Opportunities for Hands-On STEAM Investigations was selected for its goals of innovatively implementing technology to increase student achievement, and with the grant she will be able to realize her plans: to purchase four complete sets of Vernier computer interfaces and probeware and associated software, and to attend the Vernier Summer Institute so that she will be better prepared to integrate the technology in the school’s STEAM and Science curricula.

Primomo explained in her application, “With the addition of Vernier probeware and software to our STEAM Studio and Science classroom, our students will be better equipped to test and retest their designs and solutions, as well as gain experience collecting data during scientific investigations related to ecology, human biology, physics, chemistry, and more. This technology will allow students the opportunity to collect, analyze, and communicate data on investigations such as the pollution levels in a local stream before and after a school-wide habitat restoration project. This invaluable learning opportunity seamlessly integrates science and technology in our students’ lives, supporting students to discover how to use science and technology to make an impact on their communities. We believe that the hands-on learning opportunities available in the STEAM Studio and Science classroom that are relevant to our students’ daily lives have engaged our students not just engineers, scientists, and mathematicians, but most importantly as active community members.”

At Lake Washington Girls Middle School, the science curriculum is intended to foster a sense of excitement and curiosity about the field of science and the ways in which it permeates every aspect of our daily lives. LWGMS students conduct experiments, explore connections between different scientific phenomena, carry out research, build models, and present their findings. In addition, students take year-long STEAM classes that integrate the arts with science, technology, engineering, and math. The three year scope and sequence begins with shop safety and use of tools and culminates in an individual project that demonstrates students’ ability to solve problems using STEAM skills. The STEAM curriculum is designed to get girls excited about engineering, technology, science, and math while expanding their creative confidence. The work in STEAM classes is regularly integrated with learning in other classes, so that the skills and knowledge are easily applicable and relevant across disciplines.

Please help us congratulate Christine Zarker Primomo for her dedication to girls’ science education, for her innovation in the classroom, and for her infectious enthusiasm for cultivating confidence in her students. Christine is committed – as are all of Lake Washington Girls Middle School’s faculty and staff – to creating a space where girls can grow into young women, strong in mind, body, and voice.


Pi Day 2015

L-Dub celebrated our favorite irrational number on Monday. We had two Math professors visit us from the University of Washington to talk with the girls about women in Math and the research that they are engaged in.  

Dr. Tatiana Toro spoke to us about her personal journey into the world of Mathematics, which began with participation in a Math olympiad during her high school years. Dr. Toro encouraged L-Dub girls to follow their hearts when choosing a career, "If you do what you love, the rest will fall into place." 

Dr. Billey

Dr. Billey

Dr. Sara Billey introduced some new ideas in Math that have been inspired by Origami. She demonstrated how paper folding can solve a Mathematical proof and challenged us to search for mathematical knowledge everywhere.

For the rest of the morning, the girls rotated between four activities. They made songs and poems about pi, made a life size pi chain that will live in the Math room, they built life-size domes out of tape and newspaper, and they played capture the pi with hula hoops! After our activities wrapped up, our girls ate their lunch – followed by your sweet and savory pies! Thank you to everyone for sending in such a delicious selection for us all to enjoy.  

 

Reese '17 rocks out 325 digits of Pi!

Our pi day celebrations ended with an all-school presentation of pi songs, pi digit recitation, and some pi-ing of the Math department (and Ms. Hearn!). Congratulations to all of the girls on their hard work memorizing the many digits of pi. Many of our girls memorized over 100 digits this year, and our 2015 pi-day winner is Reese '17 with 325 digits memorized.

– Ms. Nisha

To see all of the Pi Day pictures and videos head on over to SmugMug!

We Are Believers!

Shrek is a well-loved franchise among many in the L-Dub community. And why wouldn't it be?  This story shows us that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that what's on the inside is what counts, that being different is okay, and that with the help of your friends, you can do just about anything. For middle schoolers, these themes are front and center to their everyday lives in and out of school, and I've felt honored to get to explore the idea of inner beauty with the girls these past few months. I'm so proud of the bravery, energy, and honesty each actor brought to this production, and I'm so excited for you to see it. The cast’s inner beauty shines in every scene!

Quite a few thanks are in order: to Colleen West for her endless patience and organization, even when I threw curveballs her way; to Karri Meleo for the gracious use of the karate uniforms and the complete instructions on how to properly care for them; to the eighth grade crew for learning on their feet and doing so with a smile; to Lindsey Mutschler for her amazing musical prowess and her commitment to each and every singer onstage; to Steve Pullman for his behind the scenes sound engineering; to Eva McGough and Patti Hearn for teaching the girls the electric slide, the twist, and the swim at the eleventh hour and with an impressive amount of attitude and pizzazz; to Molly Klema for wrangling the majority of the cast every morning and seeing them safely and happily delivered to the theater; to Jan Frederick for once again making the characters come alive with stunning costumes; and to Jenny Zavatsky for being a constant sounding board, thought partner, and excellent mentor. Lastly, thank you to the entire L-Dub community for carpooling, for bagels, for technical assistance, for front of house duties, and for supporting our young actors. 

 

To see all of the Shrek photos, head on over to Smugmug!


Kids In Medicine Wows 8th Grade

On Monday, the Class of 2015 headed over to Kids In Medicine (KIM) – our partners in O.W.L. – to take part in their new “B3” program (Biotech, Birth & Babies). KIM helps us provide a connection between our girls’ current O.W.L. academic studies and their futures in potential STEAM careers.  

Our students performed medical simulations in obstetrics (delivering a baby) and neonatal care (infant resuscitation). Afterward, they performed the method of DNA fingerprinting in the laboratory to learn how gel electrophoresis can reveal DNA banding patterns to identify heritage (paternity testing for the “baby” that they delivered). 

More from Lael McAuliffe, Director, Education & Curriculum Development...

"The day was based on a fictitious scenario of a modern family to provide a cohesive storyline to tie the fields of science together for the students. In short, our scenario involved a two-mom family who underwent IVF to achieve their dream of parenthood. One mother was the egg donor, while the other mother was the gestational carrier – giving both parents a biological connection to their child. The couple chose an anonymous sperm donor from a bank. However, prior to delivery, the co-parents were informed that the IVF lab may have made an error, and paternity testing should be performed once the baby is delivered. With this information, the students began their four rotations of: 1) delivering a baby, 2) neonatal care and working with moulage, 3) learning to use a micropipette for biotech lab work, and 4) discussing the method of DNA fingerprinting. Following this, the students successfully performed gel electrophoresis to determine the parentage for the “baby”. While running the DNA gels, students also discussed the potential bioethical implications of our scenario.

We are very grateful to the Gossman Center, who provided the Noelle-Simulator, infant simulator, baby warmer and additional equipment. Merllie Flores, a nurse simulation facilitator, and Ben Wilson, an IT technician, were enthusiastic expert educators. They also brought moulage – a media applied to simulate trauma or medical illness. What a great example of art and science coming together for the students to see.    

Our goals for your LWGMS students were: 1) to provide authentic clinical and laboratory experiences, 2) expose your girls to careers in medicine/science that they’d never heard of before, and 3) have the students leave more curious, wanting to pursue any new questions/interests that were raised. In other words – hands-on engagement, STEAM career awareness, and developed curiosity."

Here are some photos from the program...

Following the program, the girls completed a post-field trip evaluation. Here are a few of the things that they had to say:

I loved the clear explanations and hands on experiences.
— Hava
I really liked listening to the babies heart and learning the baby CPR. I would like to either become a teacher, or work with newborns in a hospital or work in a biotech job
— Jordan
I plan to apply to colleges with a strong pre-med programs...
— Alexis

 

Thank you, KIM!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2015

In recognition Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2015, LWGMS is kicking off an inaugural Alumnae Day of Service. From here on out, each year on this day, L-Dub alumnae will come together to give back to the Seattle community and enjoy some together-again time! 

On Monday, January 19 (MLK Day), 15 members of the alumnae community will be helping our friends at Centerstone (where our sixth grade students spend their service learning time) revamp their food bank. 

We'll be hosting at least two alumnae service events each year from here on out, so we hope that alumnae keep us in mind after you graduate: you can receive high school and/or college service hours for their efforts.

For all others, here is a short list of MLK events going on in and around Seattle. We hope you will use your day off from school to reflect on the importance of the day, to march, or to get your hands dirty helping others.

Seattle Colleges Community Celebration
Time, location: Noon-1:30p. Friday, Jan. 16
Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1634 19th Ave., Seattle
More information

Seattle Parks and Recreation Youth March
Time,location: 11a. Saturday, Jan. 17
Martin Luther King Memorial Park, 2200 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Seattle
More information

Garfield High MLK Day Celebration
Time, location: Workshops, 9a.; rally 10a., march noon Monday, Jan. 19
Garfield High School, 400 23rd Ave., Seattle.
More information

NAAM Open House
Time, location: 11a-5p. Monday, Jan. 19
Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S. Massachusetts St., Seattle.
More information

Health Fair and Celebration of a Dream
Time, location: 11a-3p. Monday, Jan. 19
Crossroads Bellevue, 15600 N.E. Eighth St., Bellevue
More information

Festival of Lights

Festival of Lights was a wonderful celebration of community, voice, and the holiday spirit. Thank you all so much for making the event memorable...for all of us, but especially for the girls.

To see all of the pictures, head on over to Smugmug. (Videos will be posted soon!)

 

Into the Woods

For those of you who have seen a production of Into the Woods, you may notice a few differences. In addition to our classic L-Dub spin, the kids’ version of Into the Woods expresses an attitude of hope that is less apparent in Stephen Sondheim’s original script. Our show, at its heart, is about setting out in the world to follow your dreams without fear. As the fairy tale characters enter the woods to achieve their individual goals, they realize that they need each other in order to accomplish what they desire. This theme is an important one as our girls approach a time in their lives where they think about forging their own paths. I hope they realize, as the characters in Into the Woods do, that with teamwork, perseverance, and just a little magic, anything is possible.

There are so many people to thank. The eighth grade crew was fantastic, and I felt more and more comfortable leaving the show in their capable hands. Every member of the eighth grade in this show brought her own brand of talent, energy, and humor to this production, and I am grateful for all of their hard work. Theresa Falk tirelessly led this cast in vocal warm-ups and theatre games, and she coached many a young actor through a difficult scene. I could not have done this without her unfailing energy and easy smile. Colleen West’s concise organization ensured every child was where she should be at the appointed time and every parent volunteer had an assignment. Jan Frederick once again used her incredible vision and creativity to create beautiful costumes (sometimes more than one!) for each girl, and her commitment and warm sense of humor are appreciated by cast, crew, and director alike. The score for Into the Woods is complex and challenging, but Lindsey Mutschler’s patient vocal coaching and professional, unparalleled accompaniment made it seem easy as pie. Jenny Zavatsky, despite leaving this director with legendary shoes to fill, never failed to respond to late night emails and patiently responded to my constant interruptions and inquiries. Her mentorship, leadership, and behind the scenes organization was integral to the success of this production, and I am completely indebted to her. Lastly, I want to thank all of you for your time moving sets, carpooling girls, donating bagels, and most of all, sharing your girls with us. Thank you for all that you do.

–Chelsea McCollum

To see all of the Into the Woods photos, head on over to Smugmug!

FuerzaBots Gearing Up

For its second year, LWGMS has been offering a robotics and programming club – FuerzaBots! Guided by Director of Technology, Ms. Cristina and Math and Science teacher, Ms. Christine, the FuerzaBots team has been busy preparing for the FIRST® (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO® League (FLL®) Robotics Challenge. Each year, FIRST® releases a new challenge that engages teams in hands-on robotics design and scientific research. The theme for the challenge is different each year, allowing teams to learn about a variety of subjects. This year, teams will apply research and robotics to explore the future of learning with the 2014 FLL® "Learning Unleashed" challenge. To successfully complete the challenge, teams of young people must build and program a LEGO MINDSTORMS® robot to complete missions on a thematic playing surface and conduct research to discover and redesign how we gather knowledge and skills in the 21st century. This is Lake Washington Girls Middle School's second year participating in the event.

The FuerzaBots, comprised of sixth grade students Sophie, Emiko, Harriet, and Charlotte, seventh grade students Maya, Mena, Eleanor R., and Julia, and eighth grade students Hava and Mackenzie, have been tackling this year's Challenge as a unit. Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the FLL® Core Values. Teams of up to ten kids (on the competition floor), with one adult coach, participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game) and developing a solution to a problem they have identified (Project), all guided by FLL®’s Core Values – that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork. 

The theme for this year’s competition is Learning Unleashed. For the "project" part of the challenge, teams were tasked to develop an innovative solution to teach middle school students how to set privacy settings on social media and protect themselves against third party websites. The FuerzaBots – using the process of Design Thinking – researched privacy settings by reading articles, interviewed internet privacy experts, and even created a fake Facebook account to better understand privacy settings and how to best protect ourselves online. The FuerzaBots decided the best way to teach others would be to make a public service announcement that middle school students could share with one another at school or on TV. The FuerzaBots are preparing a presentation of their solution to share with the judges at this weekend's tournament.

The FuerzaBots have also been working diligently on the Robot Challenge for which, over three months, they designed, built, and programed four robots, one of which will tackle as many obstacles representing education and technology as possible in 2.5 minutes. The FuerzaBots dove into programing the "brick" – the brains – of the robot, and they quickly learned how the sensors work, and in what situations they would be used. They also mastered how the motors work to make the robot go forward, backward, and to turn, as well as how to make the robots pick items up and move levers. As of today the FuerzaBot's robots can complete six of the ten course obstacles.

The  FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) Robotics Regional Tournament is today, Saturday, December 6, at Ballard High School in Seattle. During the tournament, teams have three rounds on the competition tables to get the best score possible. When not competing with their robots, teams give their research presentations, and are interviewed about the technical design of their robots and how they work as teams. Regional qualifiers may advance to the championship event in January. The winners of the Champion's Award, the most prestigious award, may be eligible to participate in a variety of post-season tournament opportunities both domestic and abroad. This, their first year, our FuerzaBots, whose motto is "Code Like a Girl," (#codelikeagirl) are excited to be participating in the tournament and will be focusing on getting as far as they can and learning from the mistakes they make along the way.

Keep up with the FuerzaBots today on Instagram!

GO, FUERZABOTS!

 

 

More about FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®)

 FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®)  is a robotic competition developed for middle school students. The FLL® theme is different each year and is drawn from real events in society. 

There are three primary activities: 

  1. Build and program a small robot to accomplish challenges, 
  2. Investigate a research topic then prepare a presentation and 
  3. Build a team around the FLL® Core Values. All of these activities culminate in a competition with other teams at a regional tournament

The Lego Robot
Robot challenges are the most visible aspect of the competition. Robots are built and programmed to perform different tasks on a 4'x8' printed vinyl playing mat. The robot interacts with specialized LEGO parts that represent the tasks. Each year the playing mat and LEGO parts change to support the annual theme. The basic robot parts and competition table are reusable every year. The mat and challenge parts are NOT reused but are great for off-season games and practice.

Research Project
An equally important aspect of the competition is the research topic. Like the robotic challenges, the research topic has some connection with the overall FLL® theme. Students are given basic guidance then encouraged to create a solution for the research challenge. They research the topic, propose a solution, then develop a presentation that summarizes and defends their conclusions.

Regional Tournament
Everything comes together at a Regional Tournament. The team meets with judges three times: for a technical review of their robot, to present their research, and to demonstrate how the team learned Core Values. All teams are assessed on Core Values behavior throughout the competition. Each team also attempts the robots challenge tasks at least three times on the competition tables.

The Regional Tournament provides an exciting opportunity for teams to learn from each other and share their excitement rather than a "winner takes all" competition. Teams advance to the Semifinal events and then to a Washington State Championship based on overall performance at the competition.

Washington State hosts regional competitions that feed into several Semifinal events and then a State Championship event.

FLL® WORLD CLASS
Missions Include:
■ Push a lever to open a door to learning
■ Complete a sports-based task
■ Move an idea outside the box
■ Rotate models to adapt
■ Load a model with knowledge and skill loops
■ Reverse engineer a unique structure

FLL® teams will:
■ Choose a topic they are passionate about and have always wanted to learn.
■ Create an innovative solution that improves the learning experience.
■ Share their solutions with others.
■ Build, test, and program an autonomous robot using a LEGO MINDSTORMS® set to solve missions on an obstacle course.

 

 

Mesopotamia Real Estate Ads

During the seventh grade study of ancient civilizations, students learned about how the people of ancient Mesopotamia faced challenges. Mesopotamians had to come up with solutions to solve geographic challenges they faced, and they transformed Neolithic farming villages into complex Sumerian city-states. After learning about these ancient Sumerian city-states, the girls created "real estate" ads to convince people to move to their chosen city-state. They researched solutions that Sumerians came up with to solve problems they faced, such as developing irrigation systems and canals to control water flow, constructing walls to keep out opposing communities, and domesticating animals in order to provide a stable food supply. The girls worked enthusiastically to create stunning hand-lettered and illustrated real estate ads, re-imagining ancient Sumer in a new light! 

A Day of Service

Today, Ms. Klema and a group of about 20 LWGMS students, faculty, and families are spending time with our friends and neighbors at the Immaculate Conception Church (adjacent to the school) preparing Thanksgiving meals for about 500 "senior citizens and shut-ins in our neighborhood". Immaculate Conception Church parishioners donated the food and money to support the effort, and today the volunteers are peeling, chopping, smushing, mixing, packing, and stuffing all of the delicious food. Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving morning, some of our students and families are coming back to help with delivery. Today is not a school day. It is a day of service. Thank you to our participants for their help, and caring for our community.

Peaceful Protests

Sixth grade Humanities principally focuses on how individuals and groups affect the greater community and the world. Topics covered include families, communities, Latin America, the Holocaust, The Civil Rights Movement, and American cultural diversity.

The girls recently studied the United Farmworkers Movement, peaceful protest, and tolerance and created some signs about their own passions and concerns. They're kind of amazing. What would your personal protest sign look like?

A True L-Dub Fiesta!

Last night we celebrated all-things-Latin and the Dia de los Muertos with the entire community and we had a blast. R&R groups collectively made an exquisite altar honoring nine of our beloved Locker Ladies gone by; the Class of 2017 prepared and presented Amigas projects – projects all about specific South and Central American and Caribbean countries – to our guests who traveled from room to room with a pasaporte; members of the Class of 2015 put on live-theatre Telenovelas, written, directed, and acted by the girls themselves; the Ms. Heather's dance class shared one of their numbers with the crowd; each class sang songs we all clapped and danced to; and the 7th and 8th graders recited the Chicafesto, a new Festival tradition. Thank you to Señorita Jacquie and Señora Charito for planning a wonderful celebration, and to our many volunteers, cooks, and bakers for making the evening so smooth and sweet.

Head on over to Smugmug to see all of the photos from the party.

LWGMS Hits the Seattle Interactive Conference!

On October 15, Ms. Hearn will be presenting The Making of a School at the Seattle Interactive Conference. SIC 2014 will be examining the evolving landscape of Seattle pioneer-ism by turning to those with firsthand experience redefining the industry. They are the Makers; thought-leaders who synthesize creative inspiration with the next big idea, and companies that successfully cultivate innovation and then translate it into something meaningful. 

Most schools say they want their students to succeed. As the head of Lake Washington Girls Middle School, Ms. Hearn begins many back-to-school talks by telling parents she wants their girls to fail. Ms. Hearn will talk to the conference-goers about the need for and the beginnings of LWGMS, and then she'll turn it over to a panel of seventh and eighth grade students who will discuss their experience in a school that embraces failure and cultivates creative confidence. LWGMS girls are rewriting the popular narrative that adolescence is a time when girls lose confidence, lose interest in STEM subjects, and engage in negative peer relationships.

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 1.11.03 PM.png

Patti Hearn is the Head of School at Lake Washington Girls Middle School in Seattle, a school committed to offering girls the opportunity to become competent risk takers and courageous mistake makers. About seventeen years ago, Ms. Hearn began working with a group of parents to open the first middle school for girls in the Northwest. Since then, she has been sharing her expertise in humanities, drama, martial arts, and curriculum development. She has also “taught”  lots of things in which she is not an expert, because she believes that teachers who are excited to learn alongside their students are the best role models. Today, LWGMS is an inspiring hub of creativity, design, inquiry, presentation, performance, analysis, messiness, and resilience, with 100 students, a few hundred alumnae, a dozen teacher role models, a leading-edge STEAM program, and lots of joy.

Ms. Hearn has spoken at educational conferences that include the National Association of Independent Schools and the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. She has a Master’s degree in Education from Antioch and a Bachelor’s from Rutgers University. She has also broken a concrete block with her elbow, married the same architect twice, and produced two cuddly yet independent children. Sometimes, she reads the whole book before her book club meeting.

Use code SPKLWGRL100 for $100 off tickets! And if you're there, be sure to visit LWGMS's STEAM Booth! Ms. Cristina, Ms. Caitlin, Ms. Chelsea, and some students will be there guiding conference-goers through some cool L-Dub STEAM projects using LittleBits...banana pianos, anyone?!

Fall Field Trips: 7th Grade Service Learning

This week is Fall Field Trip week at L-Dub. Every fall the entire student body heads off campus with faculty members and hits the road, somewhere where they will stretch, learn, grow, and most likely even feel uncomfortable. For sixth grade students, this is their first chance to work on their LWGMS resilience. For seventh and eighth grade students, they are expanding on their foundations, pushing their boundaries, and coming back together as a group.

The 7th grade Service-Learning-themed trip is intended to help the girls and their teachers understand issues facing currently homeless and hungry populations, to humanize members of our community for whom this is a reality, to learn about organizations that are serving currently homeless populations, and to teach ways of advocating and acting toward change.

To prepare for their experience the girls underwent Companionship Training with Kae Eaton, Companionship Coordinator and Spiritual Director from the Mental Health Chaplaincy.

The group also spent time – in class and at home – with the following resources:

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On the first day of their journeys, the girls heard from speakers from Real Change and FareStart, and then they set out on public transportation, bags on their backs, to the following locations to offer their help and support: At Union Gospel Mission Hope Place, a group of girls helped out at the Children's Activity Center and served dinner; at Mary's Place the group offered their services to the Kid's Club and brought and served dinner to the guests at Bianca's Place, emergency family night shelter and home to 40 moms, dads, and kids; a third group brought collected donations of food and supplies to and spent time with the residents of Tent City 3, and then headed to Teen Feed to serve and share a meal with the kids there. The final group went to Jubilee Women's Center to spend some time with the residents and help prepare gift bags and birthday card for them. 

The 7th graders also collected food and supply donations for Tent City 3.

The 7th graders also collected food and supply donations for Tent City 3.

Everything worked out well last night. The Lake Washington Girls Middle Schoolers came ready to work.

The Middle Schoolers were so “into it.” I taught some of them to use the dishwasher and it seemed they could hardly believe that someone would let them operate the machinery. They really liked operating it! Every one of the students was willing to do whatever needed to be done. Of course, with middle schoolers, one does have to give a lot of instructions. (E.g., they poured the milk but I later noticed that they had only filled the cups half full.)

Thanks for putting the whole event together. Donna and I have nothing but praise for the Middle Schoolers. They clearly wanted to serve and stayed on task the entire time. Donna and I were both very impressed with their “work ethic.”
— Steve Layman, SPU Professor and Teen Feed Volunteer

All of the groups then walked or took public transportation to Epiphany Parish to spend the night in their shelter. The Parish has a strong relationship with Teen Feed and also watches out for the homeless in countless ways, particularly in helping people find places to stay overnight. Epiphany hosts Operation Nightwatch, a shelter for a small group of currently homeless men every Friday night. The girls learned about this operation and slept on the same floor the men share on Friday nights.

Today the girls met with Chaplain Eaton to debrief, process, reflect, and discuss what they learned, feel, and intend to do from here. Later today they are making their way on foot and via public transportation to Camp Long in West Seattle where they will spend some time as a group making a plan for their next steps in their Service Learning journey.

On September 23 a group of students will be giving a presentation about their classes' experience to our Board of Trustees at their annual retreat. The Board is committed to using the information our students bring to them to inform their strategic planning decisions in all aspects of the operation of the school.