Make your day off a day of service.

The Seattle area is host to some of the country’s biggest celebrations of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plan to give back and do something good for your community, attend a celebration service, or take part in the MLK Jr. Day march and rally.

Here are some of our favorite observances.

Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast 2013
Monday, January 21
7:00am – 8:30am
Seattle First Presbyterian Church
1013 8th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104

Presented by: Allen A. Belton, Senior Partner, Reconciliation Ministries with Breakthrough Partners and The Beloved Community of the Puget Sound Area in cooperation with the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee. Cost: $15/person.

MLK Day of Service
Monday, January 21
University of Washington Husky Union Building (HUB)
4001 East Stevens Way NE
Seattle, WA 98195

Martin Luther King, Jr. sought to forge the common ground on which people from all walks of life could join together to address important community issues. Join in this MLK Day of Service by gathering together at the Kick-Off in the University of Washington Husky Union Building from 8:00am – 9:00am before heading off to serve at one of the many service projects available throughout the community. The United Way of King County and University of Washington have partnered to coordinate MLK Day of Service projects with local nonprofit organizations that directly address needs all over King County. 

Join with volunteers from University of Puget Sound and University of Washington in habitat restoration at two Tacoma parks, Titlow Park and Franklin Park (1201 S. Puget Sound Avenue). Give back to the community through a day of service!

Martin Luther King, Jr Day
Monday, January 21
10:00am – 5:00pm
Seattle Children’s Museum
305 Harrison Street
Seattle, WA 98109

“I have a dream….” Head to the museum today and learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and the heart of his “I have dream” speech.

Annual Rally & March
Monday, January 21, 2013
11:00am – 2:00pm
Garfield High School
400 23rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122

All the MLK Jr Day events are free and open to the public. 9:30am-11:00am, workshops in Garfield High’s classrooms; 11:00am-12:30pm, rally in Garfield’s gym; 12:30pm, there will be a march from Garfield High to the Federal Building on 2nd Avenue. Once at the Federal Building there is a another brief rally. Buses will be availabe to transport people back to the Garfield. A free lunch will be provided in Garfield’s lunchroom. Call for details.

History in the Making: The 57th Presidential Inauguration Viewing at NAAM
Monday, January 21
Northwest African American Museum
2300 South Massachusetts Street
Seattle, WA 98144

Join NAAM on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to watch the 2013 inauguration of President Barack Obama NAAM is pleased to host this community gathering to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and usher in the second term of our first 

MLK Jr Day of Service
Monday, January 21

Lake Washington Girls Middle School Students Sweep The King County Civil Rights Commission 
14th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Essay Contest

The King County Civil Rights Commission 14th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Essay Contest, open to all eighth grade students attending public and private schools in King County, has been swept by Lake Washington Girls Middle School students– LWGMS students won first, second, and third places.The purpose of the essay contest is to encourage middle and junior high school students to think critically about Dr. King's legacy of peace and justice.

This year's essay contest theme was: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." On November 20, 2012, every member of the Lake Washington Girls Middle School Class of 2013 submitted essays to the commission, and on December 28, 2012, three of our students received word that they had won the top three awards for their work.

Since Lake Washington Girls Middle School’s opening in 1998, the topics of social justice and diversity have been intentional, welcomed, and fostered in the classroom. With a humanities curriculum molded around human rights, social movements, and activism among different minority groups, our girls are taught not to shy away from difficult topics and conversations. Instead, with the help of our faculty, they engage in these dialogs with compassion, intelligence, and open minds. 

Patricia Hearn, first teacher and founding Head of School at Lake Washington Girls Middle School, has had the eighth grade students draw from their experiences in life and studies in the classroom and participate in the essay contest since 2005. "This contest is unique in that it doesn't ask the usual questions about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy," she said. "Rather, the CRC contest asks our students to reflect on encounters with diversity and injustice in their own lives, and this, we find, is much more challenging work. The writing that emerges from this work is grounded in the girls' life experiences, truth, and emotion.” In these nine years of entries, Lake Washington Girls Middle School students have won one, two, and now three of the awards in seven cycles. 2013 is the first year the contest has been swept by Lake Washington Girls Middle School eighth graders. Quinn won first place, Chloe won second place, and Ada, third.

The King County Civil Rights Commission Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Essay Contest Awards will be formally presented at the 26th Annual King County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration ceremony on Thursday, January 17, 2013, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. at The 5th Avenue Theater, 1308 5th Avenue, in downtown Seattle. This event is free and open to the public. Speakers at the celebration include keynote speaker King County Executive Dow Constantine and County Council Chair Larry Gossett. The celebration will include musical performances by The Sound of the Northwest, and opera soloist Cheryse McLeod Lewis, and the MLK Employee Singers. The Lake Washington Girls Middle School community will be there to cheer on Quinn, Chloe, and Ada. We are so proud of them.

Lake Washington Girls Middle School’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Essay Contest winners:

Theme: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
First prize winner: Quinn
Second prize winner: Chloe
Third prize winner: Ada 

Theme: Life’s most persistent and urgent question: ‘What are you doing for others?’
Third prize winner: Maggie

Theme: We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For
Second prize winner: Elly 

Theme: The Dream Marches On
First prize winner: Sofia 

Theme: Breaking Barriers   
First prize winner: Jaida 

Theme: The Beloved Community
Second prize winner: Patricia 
Third prize winner: Audre

Theme: United for the Common Good
First prize winner: Lena 
Second prize winner: Maya 


Although the world of education is abuzz with STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and while LWGMS offers classes in all areas of a STEM, we recognize that something critical to a balanced education is missing from this acronym. A purely STEM focused approach relies heavily on left-brain functions. LWGMS is committed to offering courses that use both sides of the brain. Classes rich in language arts, social studies, drama and fine art ensure that our focus is “whole-brained.” Education researchers at the National Science Foundation and program and policy advisors at the National Endowment for the Arts all recognize that in order to compete in the 21st century, schools must give equal weight to the arts, creativity, and the skills of imagination and synthesis.* As educators, we must provide educational opportunities that endeavor to integrate the arts, sciences, and technology for this to happen. LWGMS already embraces this educational model, and is currently in the process of developing curriculum for our students that is cutting edge, one that teaches 21st century skills and fosters resiliency: STEAM.

Starting this month, LWGMS eighth graders will participate in a seven-week architecture and design class. The class will be taught by guest instructor, Grace Schlitt, an engaging, versatile, creative, and focused professional with 18+ years experience as an architect, designer, artist, project manager, and community leader. Ms. Schlitt thrives in collaborative, mission-driven environments where entrepreneurial skills, creative thinking, and community involvement are valued – a perfect fit for LWGMS! Ms. Schlitt's class will lead the girls through the design process; their final product will be a design for an LWGMS theater.

We are thrilled to be able to offer this to the girls, as it pulls together many aspects of important learning. In addition to math and art skills, this STEAM design class will incorporate problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, presentation, prototyping, and response to critique (resilience). 

If you'd like to know more about design thinking and how it is important to curriculum and instruction, or about STEAM in schools, check out these websites: and If you're interested in further supporting STEAM and design curriculum at LWGMS, we'd be happy to talk to you about our ideas!

* “Strategies for Arts + Science + Technology Research: Executive Report on a Joint Meeting of the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts,” September, 2010.

Limited Budget. Latest Technology.

As a small private school in Seattle's computing epicenter, Lake Washington Girls Middle School still struggled to equip students with modern technology.  With the rapid pace of change, it seemed as if the school always lagged  a few paces behind. But now the school and its students are ahead of the  curve with Google’s Chromebooks for Education, devices that get better over time and save thousands of dollars each year on maintenance and software upgrades. 

In September 2011, the LWGMS Board of Trustees created a School Technology Plan for the following two school years.  It built on the school’s Technology Plan of 2009, which set out a systematic inventory of the School’s technology assets and brought greater structure to how technology is used in the school.  The plan called for the creation of a Technology Working Group to collaborate with faculty and staff evaluating the current state of technology – the highs and lows, needs and hopes – and to present their findings to the board. Their report included information about the purpose and use of technology at LWGMS, risks to be managed, the current environment, infrastructure improvement options, and the educational and economic benefits of any updates. The board empowered the Technology Working Group to move forward with their most supported option, and Lake Washington Girls Middle School was to officially become a Chromebook school. 

Before the start of the 2012/2013 school year, we dismantled our 600 square foot computer lab and replaced it with rolling computer cart filled with 48 shiny new Samsung laptops – enough for an entire class of 32 and each faculty member to use at one time. Our Chromebooks — based completely on cloud-based technology — offer an innovative approach to both computing and education. Built and optimized for the web, the easy-to-use Chromebooks boot up almost instantaneously, are protected against viruses, don’t require manual software updates, and, best of all, can access a wide suite of student-oriented applications. They run the Chrome Operating System, which mirrors the popular Chrome browser. Chromebooks for Education—an intuitive and easy-to-manage alternative to traditional PCs—are changing teaching and learning at our growing school.

“Our computer lab was at least seven years old but our budgets were limited, so we had a severe need for low-cost, yet up-to-date technology,” says Head of School Patti Hearn. “Our 18-workstation computer lab became so ragged and outdated that it was difficult for teachers and students to use it in classes effectively. We were not keeping students current with technologies and trends.”

Since finances are carefully stewarded at LWGMS, the Technology Working Group was determined to keep IT costs and personnel needs under control. In choosing between purchasing a school set of iPads, new PCs, or Chromebooks, Chromehooks were the most economical, scalable choice. The merits of an always-on, always-connected device made them a winner for LWGMS's parent volunteer IT managers. Compared to other machines, there’s no software to be installed or imaging required. “Once the Chromebooks are set up and deployed, the updates happen on their own, and the Chromebooks improve with no eort on our part,” says Jeff Huse P'09, '11, and '13. “That’s less administrative overhead and burden needed to manage the computers, so we can put more devices into classrooms and more easily manage them over time.”

It turned out that the Chromebooks made the most instructional sense as well. We were already using Google Apps for Education—a powerful suite of web-based productivity tools— for email and calendaring, so it made sense for our students and faculty to embrace the rest of Google Apps resources. It turned out to be a breeze. There has been extensive use of Google Apps for spreadsheets, presentations, and group-project work. “Using our Chromebooks and Google Docs on a daily basis has changed the way we work in my classroom," says humanities teacher Jenny Zavatsky. "For example, my students have a greater understanding that every paper is a draft. Google Docs allows them – and me – to monitor the growth and transformation of their writing. My students are more in touch with their writing and less attached to "I'm done."" 

For math teacher Martha Straley, teaching has improved by having the internet and Google Apps at her students' fingertips. Her students collaborate on data-driven math projects using Google Spreadsheets, can practice skills at their own place on, and can produce reports on their proficiency, trouble spots, and even progress toward meeting their goals. "The students are even more engaged in their own progress and success, whether they are working independently or as a group," explains Straley. “Students create and collaborate, rather than memorize and regurgitate. It’s a better, more authentic model for learning,” she says. 

Students have embraced and enjoyed the changes, too. Student body president Rachel '13 shares: "Everyone ogled at the huge, metallic-silver chrome box as it rolled its way down the halls of fall 2012. And when the time came, each one of us received a color-coded name tag for our assigned Chromebook. It was real! They were coming, and we had color-coded names to prove it. We had some kinks to work out in the beginning, but now we're pros and using them in class all the time. For me, the best thing about them is that the stress about not having your paper is gone. It is in Google Docs! They are also really fast and it is great having the internet at our fingertips."

We’re not seeing compromise with Chromebooks. Instead, we’re seeing lower costs, and more freedom and possibilities with learning online in the cloud.

Alumnae Family Dinner 2012

We had such a lovely time welcoming our alumnae families back to L-Dub for a party and dinner in their honor. We were pleased to see so many of you and loved hearing what you are up to! Keep us posted and submit your news to CLASSNOTES as often as you like; we'll keep the community informed about what our amazing graduates and families are up to. 

Festival of Lights...and voices!

On December 20th, our community came together for the 15th annual Poetry Night at Lake Washington Girls Middle School. This festival of lights and voices celebrates the holiday season, our greater L-Dub community, and the writing and recitation of poetry by each and every student. This year's event was truly special and we thank everyone - teachers, students, families/volunteers - who made the evening possible.

Spent last night at LWGMS’s celebration of the Festival of Lights. Each and every girl recited a poem, either an original or someone else’s. They did it sometimes in twos or threes. Much of the original writing in the poetry elective was taken from three Mary Oliver poems. They used these lines as springboards:

”You do not have to be good...”
”What will you do with your one wild and precious life...”
”I do not know what prayer is....”

Both my husband and I were captivated. I was in awe of their teachers because the evening was truly amazing and never boring. We are so blessed to have these gifted teachers working with our daughter and all the girls at LWGMS.

And the poetry anthology of all original drawings and poems is stunning. Am I dreaming? Don’t wake me up!!

Many thanks to all teachers and everyone who made this evening so special.

— Suzanne Edison P'15

The 2011/2012 LWGMS Annual Report is here!

After four years of printing and mailing our Annual Report, we have decided this year to publish an electronic version of the piece. We hope you enjoy it!

Lake Washington Girls Middle School is committed to conserving material resources and directing as much of our budget as possible to our girls and programs. We are excited that this electronic piece has allowed us to do both.

We ask you to forward this email/report to anyone you know who would be inspired by what we do here at L-Dub. Please help us spread the good word about the many people who support Lake Washington Girls Middle School!

Let Me Tell You Something About L-Dub...

Let me tell you something about L-Dub. L-Dub is a place where girls don’t have to be scared to raise their hand in class, a place where girls can focus on their education, and a place where girls can be strong.

I remember waiting for the LWGMS letter. My fate was relying on this letter. I remember myself waiting for the mailman to come every day. When that special letter came, I ripped it open and leaped for joy.

When I first came to L-Dub, I was nervous, excited, and scared. I thought to myself, “Will these girls be mean to me because of my looks? Will they make fun of me for my clothes? What will I have to do to fit in?” As I walked into the classroom, I was looking at a bunch of nonjudgmental girls who were just as afraid as me.

L-Dub’s focus on academics is great. My teachers, parent, and friends are all so supportive. Our teachers push us to do our very best so we are prepared for high school and the future.

L-Dub was the perfect place for me, and when I walked onto the white marble stairs of Lake Washington Girls Middle School, I had no idea how lucky I was.

Maite '13

Let Me Tell You Something About L-Dub

Let me tell you something about L-Dub. It’s the kind of place where you walk through the front doors every morning with a smile on your face because there are sixty-seven girls waiting to see you. The friends who know you so well, they can cure a bad mood in seconds and make you laugh so hard, you’ll run out of air.

It’s a school where being a nerd is awesome, wearing a puffy pink tutu is normal, and you will never go a day without hearing someone belt out the words to their favorite song. Over and over and over.

You will be pushed so far out of your comfort zone, it will look like a tiny spot in the distance. It’s okay though. You won’t need it any more.  Instead, you earn a new certificate in self-confidence and a ton of outstretched hands ready to pull you up whenever you need help.

Being an L-Dub girl becomes a part of who you are and how you act. Words such as integrity, perseverance, and compassion develop meaning. They change into virtues that you wield with confidence every day. And the best part of this experience is knowing you will never wake up to the pressure of facing this world on you own.

Isabelle '13

Seattle's First Day of the Girl

SEATTLE, October 9, 2012 – City of Seattle Council President Sally Clark and Councilmembers Bagshaw, Burgess, Conlin, Godden, Harrell, Licata, O’Brien, and Rasmussen join Lake Washington Girls Middle School to proclaim October 11th the Day of the Girl in the city of Seattle. 

The day aims to highlight the challenges girls face around the world to gain access to education and other basic rights, and empower them to advocate on their own behalf.

Lake Washington Girls Middle School empowers its students to become young women strong in mind, body, and voice, and our students are passionate about supporting the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the International Day of the Girl Child and the mission of Girls Schools Unite “to galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.” 

Lake Washington Girls Middle School student body president Rachel ’13 and Head of School Patricia Hearn spearheaded the effort, along with the Seattle Girls’ School chapter of Richard’s Rwanda-IMPUHWE, and other organizations, to have Seattle join with other communities to commemorate the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 66/170, which designates October 11th as the International Day of the Girl Child. 

Today the entire Lake Washington Girl Middle School Class of 2013 went to Seattle City Hall to meet with Councilmember Mike O’Brien to accept the official proclamation. Councilmember O’Brien spent thirty minutes speaking to our students about their experiences in middle school, as young women, and as residents of Seattle and Washington State. The group spoke of ways to use their strong voices to make change, and discussed the fact that the past eight years have been the only time in the country’s history when a state’s governor and two senators have all been women. O’Brien offered, “this is the norm in Washington and we expect you all to be leaders.”

Students at Lake Washington Girls Middle School will spend the Day of the Girl working on sister-group video projects focusing on what it means for girls to empower one another to be strong in mind, body, and voice which will be shared on our website in the coming weeks.


An interview with Ms. Klema

Ms. Klema is LWGMS's new 6th grade art teacher. She is also the Advancement Assistant. Last week, sixth grade student Usha sat down with Ms. Klema to learn a little bit more about her...

How did you hear about LWGMS? 
I was in graduate school and one of my classmates’ neighbors knew Ms.Blaisdell and said she was looking for an intern.

Why did you choose LWGMS?     
I chose lwgms because I was interested in the small size of the school. I was living in New York and working with middle school girls before I moved to Seattle, and I thought that this school would be a good fit.

If you had a different job what would it be and why?    
If I had a different job it would be working in the education department of an art museum. I love the idea of developing curriculum and curating artwork in an institution whose sole focus is on art.

How did you know that you wanted to be an art teacher?    
I was torn between going to art school and going to a school to become a classroom teacher and while I was looking at colleges I realized that I could be both a teacher and be a artist!

Did you like art growing up as a child?    
I did, I loved art! Both my parents are artists so we have a studio in my house that I spend a lot of time in.

What's your favorite work of art?    
My favorite work of art is called Café Terrace at Night by Vincent Van Gogh.

Who is your favorite artist, and why do you like this persons artwork?      
My favorite artist is Kara Walker. I like her work because its visually simple but powerful at the same time, and whenever I see her work in person, I get blown away by how gorgeous it is.

How do feel about your job at LWGMS and to you plan on staying?     
I absolutely love my job at LWGMS. I think its a wonderful combination of advancement and teaching. I feel very lucky to be in the classroom this year. I do plan on staying!

Alumnae Summer Camping Trip

This past summer teachers Jenny Zavatsky and Eva McGough led six members of the class of 2011 on a camping trip to The Enchantments in the North Cascade Mountains. Outdoor education is an important component of LWGMS's summer opportunities that help our girls - past, present, and future - become strong in mind, body, and voice.

The alumnae backpacking trip this summer might be the single most exciting thing that has ever happened to me. Highlights: listening to mix tapes in the kidnapper van, the 11 doom hike to hobbiton, burning on rope bracelets with lighters at night, trying to hang food, sharing compliments around a headlamp fire, and driving back eating carrot sticks trying to make every second last twice as long. How could so much love and excitement and adventure and hilarity and deliciousness and warmth pack into one four day trip? I could have never come home.

— Finn '11

Welcome, Class of 2015!

On September 5, 2012, we were so excited to welcome our newest batch of 32 amazing girls - the Class of 2015!

The 2012/2013 admissions season was the first in which LWGMS accepted 32 students. Our newest L-Dub girls represent 23 schools, 17 zip codes, and four cities. Their diverse passions, interests, and abilities make up a class that is truly unique and dynamic.

The class consists of scientists and mathematicians: Alexis has built at least three robots, Flora enjoys seeing the outcome of an experiment, and Jayla would like to be a NASA engineer. Athletes abound in this class which can field several basketball and soccer teams. Grey is soon to be a Kempo Black Belt, Frances is a sailor, Jansen is an avid swimmer, Erica has karate running through her veins (her mother is LWGMS's martial arts program instructor), Shilpa is an equestrian, and Catherine ice skates.

A commitment to service is also prominent among the girls: Hava is passionate about rescuing turtles, Mikaela works with Penny Harvest and her local food bank, and Maren volunteers at Food Lifeline. When it comes to the arts, the members of Class of 2015 participate with gusto: Tana is a Pacific Islander dancer, Paisley and Jordan love to sing and act, Nora enjoys many forms of art, Isabel and Kitt have both performed in The Nutcracker, Lyric has many years of acting experience, Brook Rose is a painter, Addie enjoys crafting, and Eva and Abby both write stories and plays. The class is musically talented as well, with Jordyn singing for her church choir, Rosie and Aggie play the ukulele, Usha plays the cello, Phoebe is a flutest in the Seattle Youth Symphony, and Eva proclaims “music comes from my heart.”

As a result of her technological interests, Maddy submitted a PowerPoint presentation about her and her family with her application. Kenzie (among many others) enjoys both math and art, and Ophelia (among many others) is a voracious reader.

The class of 2015 is made up of Girl Scouts, cat lovers (one has a cat that eats popcorn!), outdoor enthusiasts, water sport fans, collectors (shells, rocks, and snow globes), foreign language speakers (Spanish, French, and Hebrew), and avid Harry Potter nuts (aren't we all?) Welcome to the Class of 2015! We are so thrilled to have you!

Farewell, Class of 2012

Today our community came together to celebrate the Class of 2012 at their graduation from Lake Washington Girls Middle School.

The girls are headed to a combination of public and independent schools in the fall, including: Franklin High School, Ingraham High School, Bishop Blanchet, Garfield High School, Roosevelt High School, The Northwest School, Seattle Preparatory School, Forest Ridge, Vashon High School, Holy Names Academy, West Seattle High School, and Center School.

Photos by Teresa McCann P'13

[vimeo w=600&h=337]

1112 Graduation Web from LWGMS on Vimeo.