Our Wildwood, Summer 2018, Volume 43

Our Wildwood, Summer 2018, Volume 43

Wildwood Our


p18 Building Global Citizens

p28 In Memoriam: Hope Boyd

p30 Athletics Year in Review

“When she became Wildwood’s head of school in 1992, her mere presence made the LA community take this little elementary school much more seriously. And while she was impressive, Hope also had a very clear perspective on what was truly important. She knew that Wildwood was about the children.”



DEAR FRIENDS A Letter from Landis

that was new in every sense of the word. The structure, the pedagogy, the staff, and the investment of time and resources were all unlike anything that Wildwood, or even LA, had seen before. Former trustee and parent of two graduates, Lisa Robinson, wrote of Hope, “As a leader, she saw the school through so many important moments—especially the founding of the Secondary School. Through good times and bad, she always stood as a strong core, advocating for what she believed would best guide us in the future.” and our shared home state of Pennsylvania. Wisely recognizing that she needed to let the new guy—me— settle in, she made herself scarce at Wildwood after her retirement. She did, however, finally accept my annual invitation to join us at commencement in 2014, as we celebrated the 10th graduating class. Hope received a standing ovation when I acknowledged her presence, sitting with my faculty and staff colleagues under the tent. Nothing new at Wildwood School would be, or will ever be, possible without the foundations laid by Hope Boyd and all the colleagues, parents, trustees, and students who preceded those of us who are here now. With that sentiment in mind, and with so much gratitude to Hope, I invite you to read about what’s new in this issue of Our Wildwood. Hope was an incredible support to me as I began my time at Wildwood. We talked of kids and teachers and schools

Hope Boyd’s Prius was the first in which I ever rode. A dozen years ago, visiting Los Angeles as an applicant for the position from which Hope would soon retire, she drove me to lunch. In 2006, the Prius still felt like a bit of a novelty, especially in Maine, where I lived at the time. Mentioning my lack of familiarity with the car, Hope waved her hand in an inimitable Hope gesture, smiled, and said, “I love gadgets! All sorts of gadgets. Can’t wait to try the new thing.” That was Hope to me, or at least a part of who Hope was. She was grounded—in culture, history, literature, and in what she believed—but she was also open and engaged and curious. She relished the new. Among her beliefs, of course, was a belief in the deep respect we owe to each and every child. When people who knew her think of Hope, they think of a woman who listened when children talked. She heard them. “New,” the theme of this issue of Our Wildwood, couldn’t be better timed considering the loss we all suffered when Hope died in February. She was a trailblazer. A well-educated, gifted, and beloved teacher, Hope was also among the firsts with regard to women of color in leadership roles in independent schools, both as a teacher and an administrator. Hope believed that schools should evolve and grow to serve the needs of all students, preparing them for futures we can’t envision. She was one of five founders of the Independent School Alliance, an organization that works to place and support underrepresented students and families in Southern California independent schools— and one in which Wildwood School remains active.

With warm regards,

Landis Green Head of School

Serving as head of school when Wildwood expanded from K-6 to K-12 was yet another legacy Hope left, one





p14 ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FEATURE Figuring It Out A few years ago, with the idea of reflection in mind, we assembled a math task force to look at our K-12 math program, focusing on what was being taught and how.

p18 K-12 FEATURE Building Global Citizens

p24 MIDDLE SCHOOL FEATURE To the Power of “Why?”

Global citizenship is not a buzzword or fad in education. At Wildwood, it’s a commitment to cultivating generations of socially responsible students

Director of Middle School Emily Johnson says that for middle school students, considering why things work, or don’t work, matters most.

who understand that the world is a complex web of interdependencies.

by Sarah Simon Assistant Director of Elementary School

by Steve Barrett Director of Outreach

by Lori Strauss Associate Head of School



WILDWOOD ATHLETICS ........................ p30 News from the Wolf Den

GIVING VOICE ......................................................... p4 Director of Upper School Jenn Spellman & Dylan Vecchione ’17

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE .................... p34 Enough! by Maddie M. ’19 and Ryder M. ’19

GOOD TO KNOW ................................................... p6 Useful information about and for us

OH SNAP! ................................................................. p36 Photos from notable Wildwood events

BOOK SHELF ............................................................ p9 Recommendations from readers

WOLVES MAKING WAVES ..................... p10 Students, alumni, and faculty making us proud



CLASS NOTES ..................................................................

Tell us what you’re up to


WHERE BRAVE LEARNERS GO ....... p12 Class of 2018 college list

ALUMNI REFLECTION .................................................

Leaning Into Something New? Community Is Key by Tessa Westfall ’14

SPECIAL FEATURE ....................................... p28 Tribute to Hope Boyd

Wildwood School cultivates reflective scholars, bold innovators and compassionate leaders equipped with the skills, ethics and inspiration to transform their world.



GIVING VOICE A conversation between community members

Director of Upper School Jenn Spellman & Dylan Vecchione ’17

SPELLMAN: I remember coming into Wildwood and learning about the Habits of Mind and Heart and seeing them in action. The one that was most powerful for me is the Habit of Perspective. Because everything was new to me, I needed to ask people about how and why things were done. It’s a Habit that served me well because it allowed me to get to know and connect with people. What Habit has been the most alive for you this first year in college? VECCHIONE: Since I first learned about the Habits, I also connected the most with the Habit of Perspective and its counterpart within the Multicultural Guidelines, “Approach with a beginner’s mind.” I love how those two complement each other. Going into a new situation, whether that’s college or coming to Wildwood or meeting new people from different backgrounds, it’s useful to be able to approach it with a beginner’s mind and know that their experiences and perspectives are different. VECCHIONE: That’s a great question because what I thought would surprise me—the initial transition to college—ended up being not surprising at all. That’s because Wildwood helped me learn how to develop the skills necessary to transition effectively. So maybe that’s what surprised me at first, how easy the transition was. What ended up surprising me toward the end of the year was the diversity of perspective that you’re able to find at college, and I really loved that. At Wildwood, we focus so heavily on perspective and evidence, so being comfortable with diversity at a large school like the University of Washington was a nice surprise. SPELLMAN: What surprised you most during your first year of college?

Jenn Spellman and Dylan Vecchione ’17 were the new kids at school this year— Jenn as director of Wildwood’s upper school and Dylan as a college freshman at the University of Washington, majoring in physical oceanography and Earth and space sciences. They recently met for the first time and shared how Wildwood welcomed and prepared them for this new phase in their lives.



SPELLMAN: Aside from your very rigorous course load, what’s one new project that really stands out to you from this first year? VECCHIONE: Early in the year, I joined the Student Ambassadors Program. It was weird being a new kid welcoming other new kids. I was thrown in and people would ask me questions, and I wouldn’t know how to answer them. I really loved it because being in that position forced me to learn about so many different aspects of the school, connect with such a diverse group of students within the college, in all majors, in all disciplines, with different interests. I remembered the Multicultural Guideline, “Lean into your discomfort.” SPELLMAN: It does go back to the Habit of Perspective. Because sometimes I think when you’re new in a situation, you notice things or appreciate things that for people who have been there a long time is just normalcy to them. So I think having that new perspective probably was helpful to people because you were pointing out things that you were starting to see, being totally new in the environment. What advice would you give to somebody on their first day at Wildwood? Something you think is important for them to know about the community. VECCHIONE: The one thing I will always remember about my first day is that I was walking through the main hall and I hear “Hi, Dylan, welcome!” from some random voice. I had no idea who this person was, but they were welcoming me to the school. And that’s a testament to how unique the community is. SPELLMAN: What kind of advice would you give to our graduating students as they embark on their university experience?

VECCHIONE: I think that coming from a place as special as Wildwood is difficult because you assume that you won’t ever be able to find a place with a similar community. I’d say no matter where you’re going, you will be able to find your community because you’ve been part of such an incredible one. You know what community means. And that, to me, was one of the most important realizations of this year because going from a school of 400 to a school of 65,000, I thought I’d be lost. And it turns out, I wasn’t because I’d had such an incredible experience at Wildwood—to uncover and discover where I fit. SPELLMAN: You have the tools to develop your community. Because it really is about taking the things that you feel are so special about Wildwood and building a community like that for yourself someplace else. And the hope is that as students graduate, they continue to build those kinds of communities, which ultimately makes the world a better place for everyone. W



GOOD TO KNOW Useful information about and for us

New Diversity Mission Statement Our Diversity Task Force engages in significant work around diversity and inclusion at Wildwood. Here is our new Diversity Mission Statement, endorsed by the Board of Trustees: Wildwood School is a dynamic community of culturally and racially diverse families and educators. Wildwood honors individual differences and creates conditions where all can feel safe, accepted, and empowered. Our healthy exchange of perspectives and experiences cultivates compassionate, effective change makers.

Announcing the 1971 Society Wildwood School was founded in the year 1971 by Belle and Stefan Mason along with other educators and parents, “offering a free and humane approach to education … concerned with each child’s total development.” Today, nearly 50 years later, we honor and recognize our past as we plan for sustaining our bright future. The 1971 Society provides ongoing gratitude and recognition to members of the Wildwood School community whose philanthropy has been transformational in scale and is an inspiration to all who follow in their footsteps. Recognition will include donors who have made cumulative lifetime gifts of $1,000,000 or greater. For information about how you can become a member of the 1971 Society, please contact: Director of Institutional Advancement Kristin Hampton at khampton@wildwood.org (310) 943-5312


20-YEAR Sandi Crozier

10-YEAR Jennifer DuBois Kendra Elstad Ben Fussiner Vanessa Mancinelli 15-YEAR Paula Gabriel Philip McFarland Chris McKenna

5-YEAR Erik Barrios Jose Chavarria Alex Cussen Desiree Gaitan Clarissa Quintero Reo Sorrentino

30-YEAR Doug Meyer

Gina Merrill Jody Poulos Leslie Troy


Meet Our New Board Members

Clare Bronowski FAMILY: Clare and her husband Jeff Lee have two daughters who were Wildwood “lifers:” Tessa (Wildwood School ’12, NYU, Tisch ’16) and Abby (Wildwood School ’15, Oberlin College ‘19). BUSINESS AND BACKGROUND: Clare is a partner in the law firm Glaser Weil LLP, specializing in real estate, land use, and government affairs. Her practice covers a wide range of real estate development areas, including environmental law, zoning, planning, and permitting for

commercial, institutional, residential, and nonprofit clients. She has been civically involved in local government—before law school, she began her career working for the Los Angeles City Council. She served on the Los Angeles County Beach Commission, the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, the City of Los Angeles Convention Center Commission, and the City of Los Angeles Civil Service Commission. She is a former governor of the Century City Bar Association, and a former board member for Alternative Living for the Aging, a senior affordable housing provider. Clare has served on the Wildwood School Building and Grounds Committee for many years and has assisted the school with land-use matters for both the elementary and middle and upper campus. She was born in England, grew up in La Jolla, California, and attended public schools. Clare received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and her law degree from UCLA.

Glenda Martinez

FAMILY: Glenda and her husband Rubencio Quintana have a daughter enrolled at Wildwood.

BUSINESS AND BACKGROUND: Glenda is a consultant in employment and labor law. Previously, she was senior vice president and associate general counsel at Univision Communications Inc. and headed its legal department’s Los Angeles office. Before joining Univision in 1995, Glenda was an associate at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster in Los Angeles. Glenda served as a

commissioner in the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission from 2006 to 2013 and held the positions of president and vice president. She also served on several nonprofit boards. Currently, she is serving on the boards of Upward Bound House and the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) where she holds the position of secretary. Glenda graduated from Yale University, cum laude, and earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

Kira Arné Powell-Verica

FAMILY: Kira and her husband Tom Verica have two children enrolled at Wildwood.

BUSINESS AND BACKGROUND: Kira is a playwright and Child Defender Fellow with the Children’s Defense Fund. She consults with community-based organizations and entertainment and media professionals, expanding their business interests to include constructive programming to enrich and empower young people through arts, equity, and

social innovation. She is the former Artistic Director of Talking Drum, a theater company focused on emerging and diverse playwrights with site-specific theater and grassroots arts youth programs in New York City. Kira began her career as a television writer and screenwriter at the HBO Workspace LA. She is the inaugural recipient of the New Professional Theater Award and an alum of writers’ labs at Playwrights Horizons in New York and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. A member of the Dramatist Guild and the WGAW, she was a Ford model and worked as an actress in stage, television, and film. Kira is currently the legislative chair for the San Fernando Valley Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Her long-standing community involvement includes troop leader for Girl Scouts of America, United Nations Women, Get Up, Stand Up LA, and as a Sherman Oaks Nursery School board member. Kira is a member of the Wildwood Diversity Task Force and served on the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) Steering Committee.



GOOD TO KNOW Useful information about and for us

Wildwood was awarded a $250,000 matching grant from The Edward E. Ford Foundation, a premier funder of independent schools. We are one of only four schools to be honored in 2018 and the sole awardee in the Western United States. The award will be used to support the expansion of the Institute Model program and launch the second of three academic institutes organized and run by students— the Wildwood Institute for Social Good and Community Leadership. The founding director of the new Institute is Callie Edward E. Ford Foundation Awards Major Grant to Wildwood’s Institute Model


INSTITUTE MODEL The Wildwood Institute Model marries the acquisition of academic content with the development of skills such as student initiative, productivity, and leadership. Students lead Institutes organized around big, bold ideas and collaborate with universities, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits. With guidance from faculty mentors, students figure out how to acquire the knowledge necessary to do original, real-world work. Rooted the common good” and aligned with the school’s multicultural and global citizenship programming, the Institute Model addresses complicated world issues through the lens of effecting positive change. in Wildwood’s deep- seated community value of “service to

Kamada, who comes to Wildwood from Westminster School’s Glenn Institute for Philanthropy and Service Learning in Atlanta. The Wildwood Institute for Social Good and Community Leadership will center on finding ways to address challenging social issues such as poverty and unequal access to resources, cultivate in students the expertise needed for grass-roots organizing, and provide them with the necessary skills to serve as nonprofit leaders, volunteers, and trustees. Wildwood academic institutes bring together motivated scholars who develop their learning

outcomes alongside professionals and graduate students. The Institute Model is a hallmark program for teaching and learning at Wildwood’s upper school. It provides a framework for the best ways to help students develop skills that are essential to success: mastering content, risk-taking, problem-solving, critical-thinking, collaboration, and navigating unfamiliar situations with comfort. In a letter to Head of School Landis Green announcing the grant award, John C. Gulla, executive director of The Edward E. Ford Foundation, said, “…The Institute Model holds such promise, not just for your school but for others as well. I look forward to watching how things unfold in the years ahead.” This is the second major grant the school has received from the foundation in the past three years. The first, awarded in 2015, helped fund the school’s inaugural Institute—Wildwood Institute for STEM Research and Development (WISRD)—which is internationally acclaimed.


BOOK SHELF by Michelle Simon, Head Librarian Middle and Upper School

THE SMELL OF A NEW BOOK OR EVEN THE MOLDY, MUSTY SMELL OF AN OLD TOME IS UNMISTAKABLE. As readers turn to the portability and speediness of electronic devices, it seems they are also yearning for the aromas they miss when choosing instantaneous ease. That’s why today you can find candles, room sprays, and even aerosol sprays offering both new and classic book scents. In a March 2018 report in Library Journal, college students reported that while they prefer conducting research using e-books, they prefer print for leisure reading. For now, the soy candle with the classic book scent can accompany the research process, and the new (or old) book smell will live on. There is indeed room for both!


THE DESIGN OF EVERYDAY THINGS by Don Norman Reviewed by Nick Smith Wildwood Instructional Technology Coach


Reviewed by Randy Thomas Wildwood Parent

Reviewed by Raphaela Kleiman ’13 Wildwood Alumna

This autobiographical novel by Trevor Noah is an incredibly interesting, entertaining, funny, and, at times, heart-rending journey through his experiences growing up as a mixed-race child in apartheid

Have you ever embarrassingly misevaluated a door by attempting to pull when it only pushes open? You have been a victim of poor design! The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman is a quintessential book about design that transcends all professions, creative or not. We know that design thinking skills bring value now more than ever, so this book (and any other

This book is tender and shockingly

intimate, written in a style so

South Africa. The union of his mother (a black Xhosa) and his father (a white Swiss expat) was a crime under South African law

close-up that you know how the narrator, Aristotle,

feels about everything far before you learn basic visual details like colors and style. It sets you down right inside his mind and allows you to interpret what you will from his thoughts, often before he has come to the right conclusion. It’s the coming-of-age story of two young Mexican-American men dealing with sexuality, family, and falling in love, written by a gay Mexican-American man. Not only is it hilarious and interesting to read, but it also strikes to the core of important truths about love, friendship, and life, through a lens that leaves you eager for more.

book about harnessing

and leveraging creativity) has a permanent place on my

(hence the title of the book). Noah, living proof of his parents’ “crime,” survived this crazy, turbulent, and dangerous childhood through sheer wit, a keen sense of humor, and his mother’s fierce love. Its exploration of race and identity is intensely personal and enlightening. I highly recommend purchasing the CD rather than the hard-copy book. Noah narrates it, and his various accents (he speaks at least five languages fluently) make the story come alive. Great for a family road trip!

book shelf. Every one of the 300-

plus pages is full of rich content as Norman’s psychological approach challenges designers to consider function over aesthetic without compromise while providing practical methods for addressing flaws before and after they happen. This book reads like a textbook, but the insightful case studies and inevitable “aha” moments make it an enjoyable read.



WOLVES MAKING WAVES Students, alumni, and faculty making us proud Our Latest Wave-Makers

Aidan S. ’19

Junior Aidan S. was selected by The National WWII Museum to be one of only eight Student Ambassadors. He received training and a stipend to collect oral history interviews with members of the WWII generation that will go into the museum’s permanent collection. Last year, Aidan won the California National History Day competition in the Senior

Individual Documentary category and represented California and Wildwood at the National History Day competition in Washington, D.C. This honor led to his selection by the museum.

Landis Green, HEAD OF SCHOOL

In the fall, Landis will become the new board president of the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), an organization of approximately 200 elementary, middle, and secondary schools. Strengthening schools since its founding in 1941, CAIS strives to bring a compelling and compassionate voice to statewide and national conversations about education, advocating for the continual improvement of learning environments for all children and adolescents—both in CAIS schools and beyond.

Lori Strauss, ASSOCIATE HEAD OF SCHOOL Lori was a featured presenter and honorary faculty at the 2018 Carney Sandoe & Associates Women’s Institute in Boston. Her session, presented with colleagues, was called “The Glass Cage–Avenues for Advancement,” and it examined ways to help women succeed, navigate challenges, and handle the

demands of career advancement without sacrificing aspirations outside the workplace. The keynote speaker at this international event was Shabana Basij-Rasikh, co-founder and president of School of Leadership, Afghanistan, the country’s first boarding school for girls.


Lucy B. ’19

Junior Lucy B. received a 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Gold Medal in photography. The award letter stated: “Since 1923, the Awards have recognized creative teenagers from

around the country … you join a legacy of celebrated authors and artists including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Robert Redford, Joyce Carol Oates. Nearly 350,000 works of art and writing were submitted by students in grades 7-12 this year. Receiving a National Medal places you within the top 1% of all submissions!”


Becca visited China as a representative of the American Education Federation (AEF) to introduce Chinese educators to project-based teaching and writing rubrics to assess students. With a colleague, she presented at four schools (three in Bejing and one in Xi’an). Becca said she found it rewarding that teachers were so receptive to helping students develop their own voices and learning to collaborate while meeting certain skills and standards.

Monique Marshall, 5TH GRADE TEACHER

Monique was a keynote presenter at the inaugural Los Angeles Young Child Expo & Conference. The title of her talk was “Never Too Young: A Call to Action for Equity, Inclusion and Multicultural Work in Preschool and Elementary School.” Attendees came from Australia, Canada, China, Iceland, Nepal, Nigeria, Palau,

Panama, and Uganda. The conference follows the tradition of its highly regarded New York City Young Child Expo & Conference, now in its 15th year, with 1,500 people attending from 20 countries.

Cesar D. ’18, Kamal M. ’18, Myles O. ’18 Three Wildwood seniors were honored with exclusive college awards! Pictured from left to right: Cesar D.

received a College Match Scholarship through the Questbridge Program, which includes a full, four-year scholarship to Bowdoin College in Maine. The National College Match is a highly competitive process, requiring impressive academic achievements. Kamal M. and Myles O. were named 2017 Posse Scholars at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Tulane University, respectively. Identified for their leadership ability and motivation to succeed, Posse Scholars head campus organizations, encourage dialogue and programs that foster an inclusive campus environment, and achieve academic success.



WHERE BRAVE LEARNERS GO Class of 2018 College List

Nina Achoy Colorado State University Ferdinand Adell University of California, Santa Cruz Christopher Amann Sarah Lawrence College

William Biederman Cornell University Jack Bowden Providence College Abraham Bradley Wesleyan University

Theodore Carbone University of Puget Sound

Sedona Cohen Rhode Island School of Design

Elijah Diamond Columbia College Hollywood

Cesar Diaz Bowdoin College

Castelle Eskin Muhlenberg College Sara Felderman Rhode Island School of Design

Moreau Halliburton Lawrence University Violet Hawley Savannah College of Art and Design

Katelyn Maheia California Institute of the Arts

Milan Michaud The New School

Ines Frankfurt Scripps College

Kamal Muhammed University of Wisconsin, Madison

Olivia Freed Gap Year

Zachary Marks University of Colorado, Boulder Malcolm Mazzara New York University Colette McCormick Sarah Lawrence College Fiona McGrath Muhlenberg College Amari McRae Agnes Scott College

Gordon Georgi-Goodman California State University, Northridge

Tobias Hess Bard College

Zola Murphy Beginning a Career

Samuel Kallman Pace University, New York City

Luka Murro Bard College

Pamela Gomez Wesleyan University

Lucy O’Connor Barnard College

Kayla Grinsfelder University of Puget Sound

Matin Kazemi New York University

Cindy Ochoa University of Richmond

Charlotte Leddy Kenyon College


Myles Ortiz-Green Tulane University William Peters Bentley University Blake Rische Worcester Polytechnic Institute Rose Rogers University of Colorado, Boulder

Jessica Salazar Indiana University, Bloomington

Chantal Shen Gap Year

Isabella Wilson University of California, Irvine

Connor Silver California State University, Los Angeles Nicholas Solomon The University of Arizona

Maci Zakarin The New School

Sophia Sasson The George Washington University

Matthew Zebrowski Emerson College Charles Zucker University of Wisconsin, Madison

Felix Schauz DePaul University

Benjamin Stern Lewis & Clark College

Ileana Scissors California State University, Northridge

Andreas Versic Bard College Lily Walsh Skidmore College

Jezebel Roldan Centre College

Arly Scott The New School Lela Scully Tulane University

Jackson Ross New York University




ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FEATURE by Sarah Simon, Assistant Director of Elementary School

Figuring It Out

I nnovations in education move at lightning speed. What works today may not work tomorrow as we prepare our students for a changing world. At Wildwood, we believe in cultivating curious problem-solvers and self-driven learners, and just as we ask our students to reflect on themselves as learners, we as a school must do the same. As a progressive school, we know it is vital to reassess and re-examine our practices—even when things are going well—to make sure that what we teach and how we teach it meets our students’ needs. A few years ago, with the idea of reflection in mind, we assembled a math task force to look at our K-12 math program, focusing on what was being taught and how. In the words of John Dewey, “We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.”



know the skills and answers to questions they can turn to their smartphones for but to also go beyond them. We want to equip students with the confidence, the means, the know-how, and the passion for engaging in any mathematical challenge. Most of the programs we researched did not fit our school’s mission. They were heavily teacher directed and textbook focused. That isn’t us. One program and method, however, did resonate with us: Primary Mathematics out of Singapore Math. Singapore was once one of the least successful countries in mathematics education and became one of the most rapidly improving in the world. How did that happen? They changed their approach to teaching math and science and developed a framework on the basis that mathematical problem-solving is central to learning math. Singapore Math is not a program but rather a way of teaching. The pedagogy closely reflects the values and way of teaching that have always been true at Wildwood. The Singapore method supports a diverse group of learners and incorporates opportunities to practice multiple approaches to problem-solving. It balances direct instruction with self-guided discovery, exploration, and practice, and it puts 21st century skills at the forefront. Like the Wildwood way, Singapore Math focuses on collaboration and teamwork by teaching students to battle the problem, not one another, and it includes an important reflection component that we value.

programs in schools around the world. Task force members selected the programs that most aligned with our values and what we believe to be best practice, and piloted them in Wildwood classrooms. After a great deal of research, our task force came together and shared its findings and personal experiences. Wildwood teachers and administrators joined the discussion with their own thoughts and opinions, and together, we began a rich dialogue about the kind of mathematicians we want Wildwood graduates to be. We agreed that Wildwood mathematicians should

Wildwood’s elementary math program has a rich history as a hands-on, problem-solving-based approach to the subject. We know children learn best when they believe that math has a reason or purpose and have some choice in how they learn it. Wildwood’s math curriculum always aims to include authentic, real-world, project- based learning so that students engage and participate in strong practices that align with our school’s philosophy and mission. Our math task force began by gathering resources, looking toward highly revered mathematicians and math

“Watching my students come up with methods I’d never seen before—watching the innovation in their problem- solving—was so exciting to see!” — MALLORY KONELL, 5TH GRADE TEACHER

How did your teaching of math feel this year compared to previous years?

“The work and learning around the teaching of math this year provided opportunities for me to explore different ways to support different kinds of math thinkers. It really rejuvenated

my teaching practices.” — TAHNEE MUNOZ, POD (K-1) TEACHER

“We had more math work, and I liked it better because it was harder and I like hard math.” — POD STUDENT “I used to not like it, but now I do and feel more confident.” — 3RD GRADE STUDENT “I loved how we took on a problem of the world and did research on it and tackled it together as a group. I loved how we would connect math to other things, real things, like the education gap in the United States, for example.” — 5TH GRADE STUDENT

How did your learning of math feel this year compared to previous years?

While keeping the student at the forefront of all this work, we know it’s also important to keep the classroom teacher close in mind. Teacher support and professional development will play a key role, which is why we are in the first year of what we expect to be a multiyear process of intensive math professional development. This year, we focused on studying the Singapore Math approach, with the help of a math education consultant, using the Primary Mathematics program as our unifying guide. (Singapore’s textbooks were adopted in the United States and are known here as Primary Mathematics.) Our teachers continued to teach in the rich and meaningful ways they always have, and were able to demonstrate their new learnings alongside their students, which is an invaluable example for children to see. While we are using Primary Mathematics as our guide, we will also incorporate other effective resources: Cognitively Guided Instruction methods from UCLA, John Van de Walle’s student- centered teaching practices, Jo Boaler’s growth mindset work, and Marilyn Burns’ reflective learning strategies, among others. We know a program is only as good as its teaching. Programs come with a one-size-fits-all approach, and Wildwood is not a one-size-fits-all school. We chose a program to help guide us, one that aligned closely with our philosophy and mission, and now we are making it our own. W




K-12 FEATURE by Lori Strauss, Associate Head of School

Building Global Citizens


lobal citizenship is not a buzzword or fad in education. At Wildwood, it’s a commitment to cultivating generations of socially responsible students who understand that the world is a complex web of interdependencies. We are proud of the work we are doing in this sphere, work that stems from both the global context and our school’s mission and core values. For the last two decades, leading thinkers and policymakers have discussed the implications of our increasingly interconnected world. Governments, NGOs, and corporations are working collaboratively on creative solutions to widespread poverty, hunger, civil war, economic crisis, and human rights violations.



WHAT IS IT? Two years ago, Wildwood embarked on a partnership with the Council of International Schools to be recognized and accredited for our commitment to the development of global citizens. We anticipate successful completion of the accreditation process in October 2018, becoming one of only two California schools with this distinction. During this process, a committee of 23 faculty and administrators wrote a Wildwood- specific definition of global citizenship: Global citizenship is an awareness of and respect for international issues and intercultural perspectives that can both unify and differentiate the experience of people of varied cultural backgrounds. Global citizens are actively engaged and reflective members of the world community, committed to being in relationship and learning with others across differences. This definition was informed by what we already do expertly at Wildwood. Our Life Skills, including curiosity, problem-solving, and initiative, along with our Habits of Mind and Heart, such as connection, common good, and ethical behavior, are the core values that define us. Together, Life Skills and Habits of Mind and Heart form the toolkit of a global citizen. Wildwood’s multicultural program prepares all students to articulate and engage in conversations about the multiple dimensions of personal identity here in the U.S. Building on the success of that work, we have

In 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced 17 Sustainable Development Goals that will pave the way for a better future for all people. The fourth of these universal goals is to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” UNESCO has led in defining global citizenship education and is a model for teaching us how to learn and live together. Embracing the idea that we can teach one another to be more inclusive thinkers, responders, and collaborators is in line with Wildwood’s mission to cultivate “reflective scholars, bold innovators, and compassionate leaders equipped with the skills, ethics, and inspiration to transform their world.” As Fernando Reimers, director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative at Harvard, says, “Global citizens will mitigate global risk.”


expanded our vocabulary to include the term intercultural to signify the exchange of ideas, perspectives, and understanding between two or more cultures. Rasheda Carroll, director of equity and inclusion, explains that the goal of the global citizenship program is to “deepen our mutual understanding of one another and to have the skills to develop authentic relationships across differences.” The program builds on multiculturalism and offers “energizing strategies to enhance Wildwood’s existing commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusion,” she says. HOW WE DO IT There are compelling examples of Wildwood’s specific brand of global citizenship at every grade level. Alli Newell’s 2nd grade class and Holli Plummer’s 9th graders engaged in a cross-campus unit on worldwide access to education. Second graders began their study by creating systems maps that assessed the factors that hindered or promoted access to education in several African countries. They read personalized accounts of how water, family, economic, and farming systems can impact access to education and presented their research to the 9th graders during a March visit. Working in multi-age groups, students chose one system to explore further. These groups then created a movie, play, public service announcement (PSA), or other presentation that can be used to educate our school community.

Alli Newell’s 2nd grade class and Holli Plummer’s 9th graders engaged in a cross-campus unit on worldwide access to education.



The Student Task Force organized a Human Rights Activist Fair for 6th to 12th grade students that helped build awareness of organizations working to end human rights violations.

In the 8th grade environmental

up to help assemble menstrual kits for girls around the world who lose access to education and the comforts of home every month. Students participated in a drive for homeless veterans and wrote notes thanking them for their service. As part of Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, students shared information about past genocides and the current Rohingya ethnic cleansing. “I’m proud of the work that we did this year,” says Emily R. ’20. “Our hope is that next year, we can expand the fair into a full-day symposium with guest speakers, workshops, and longer-term project work.” Led by our 12th grade students and their teacher Tim Sekula in the Environmental Change and Policy Senior Seminar, Wildwood is working toward a more sustainable future for our community. Both elementary and middle and upper campuses now have a dual-stream recycle program that makes it easier to sort and reuse consumables, and the school has committed to using biodegradable cutlery, cups, and plates at school events. The school council joined the efforts to reduce plastic bottle waste on campus and will now sell reusable bottles during the opening days of school. In these ways, we are teaching our students to think globally and act locally.

science course, students study how they are connected to the environment through projects focusing on understanding the support systems of human life and the impact their actions have on

the planet. The curriculum includes cycles of matter, ecology, ecological footprints, human population growth, and global climate change, and it culminates with a student-led project focused on making a positive environmental impact on the world. Students planned, created, shot, and edited PSA videos for a prestigious international competition—World of 7 Billion. There were more than 3,000 entries and only 30 finalists, four of which were Wildwood 8th graders. Global citizenship at Wildwood also extends beyond our classrooms. The Student Task Force organized a Human Rights Activist Fair for 6th to 12th grade students that helped build awareness of organizations working to end human rights violations. Students learned about the Days for Girls organization and signed


Wildwood Goes to Harvard

WHAT STUDENTS SAY Each of these programs is a

prototype for future work. How do we know it’s having an impact on our kids? Hear it from the kids themselves: “Being a student of global citizenship means that you are not confined or limited by the boundaries of school,” says Lexey G. ’21. “You can have an impact on and learn from the larger global community. It also broadens your perspective.” Alex S. ’21 agrees. “Global citizens work to connect their initial ideas and thoughts to a broader context,” Alex says. “Through this lens, I am learning that not everything that we think we already know is true. The world is complex, and there is a lot to understand and learn about.” In the 2018-2019 school year, every Wildwood teacher will revise or enhance a unit of study to integrate specific global citizenship content and skills in keeping with the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals. At Wildwood, we are creating a common language to dialogue, disagree, collaborate, create, and, most significantly, succeed together. We are building the world we want to live in. W

A team of eight Wildwood faculty and administrators from both the elementary and middle and upper campuses attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Think Tank on Global Education: Empowering Global Citizens, thanks to a generous, targeted gift from a Wildwood family. They will incorporate what they learned into lessons and strategies for our K-12 Global Citizenship program.

In the 2018-2019 school year, every Wildwood teacher will revise or enhance a unit of study to integrate specific

global citizenship content and skills.



MIDDLE SCHOOL FEATURE by Steve Barrett, Director of Outreach

To the Power of “Why?”


any mornings this year, before the first bell even rang, Wildwood 8th graders took a moment to visit Dr. Steve Bayes’ environmental science room. They were eager to check on their eco-columns: vertical, self-contained, three-chambered plant ecosystems they’d constructed out of recycled plastic bottles. Seeing how the plants fared over the weekend quickly became a Monday-morning ritual.




DRIVEN BY “WHY?” “‘Why?’ is the spark of all deep learning,” she says. “And it’s a question that is essential for middle schoolers to keep asking.” Research supports her reasoning. Recent studies at the University of California, Davis, and Goldsmiths, University of London, make a direct link between increased curiosity, the brain’s neurochemical

Wildwood middle schoolers engaged in a range of hands-on experiences in science classes throughout the year. For the inaugural Wildwood cardboard boat regatta, Division One 6th graders designed and launched handmade boats at the Santa Monica College pool. The race was the culmination of a cross-disciplinary project guided by science teacher Na Xue and her math colleague Scott Blanding. In Division Two, teams of 7th graders researched, designed, and 3D-printed scale models of bones in the human body. With guidance from teacher Paul Waked, students combined learning about the skeletal system with learning the technology behind 3D printing. Some boats in the Wildwood regatta made it across the pool. Many eco-columns flourished. It worked! Those successes both gratified and taught students a lesson, encouraging them to grapple with an essential question of science and life—“Why?” Director of Middle School Emily Johnson says that for middle school students, considering why things work, or don’t work, matters most.

reward system, and a heightened ability to learn new information. 1,2 Maintaining curiosity in the middle school years is a challenge for both teachers and students. Author and question expert Warren Berger posits that question- asking among children peaks around age 4 and plunges after. Additional research shows that question-asking (a key indicator of curiosity) falls off precipitously once students leave elementary school and continues to decline through middle and high school. Berger also points out how the corollary measure of student engagement in school drops from 76 percent in elementary school down to 61 percent and 44 percent in middle school and high school, respectively. 3 Emily sees antidotes to this trend in some of Wildwood’s current strengths, as well as in areas she believes are ripe for continued programmatic growth. BUILDING ON A STRONG PLATFORM Wildwood’s rich history as a progressive learning institution supports its culture of inquiry. The middle and upper school program launched in 2000 is based on the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) model, a nationwide school reform movement steeped in the spirit of student- centered, progressive education. Our much-emulated Advisory program, the Habits of Mind and Heart, Gateways, and Senior Exhibitions are all hallmarks of the CES. Emily sees her work at Wildwood as inspired by one of the CES’s essential precepts: the idea of student-as- worker, teacher-as-coach. She is particularly focused on deepening the middle school’s commitment to cultivating curiosity.


For middle school science students, Emily envisions many curiosity cultivators. To start, she wants students to see Greater Los Angeles as an extension of their campus, making use of Wildwood’s central location to take learning into the city and beyond.

students need to have encounters that might help them understand why various species go extinct or how much garbage the average American produces. “We want our students to consider why it matters,” Emily says. Curiosity-driven learning is of course not limited to the sciences. In 8th grade, every Wildwood student conceives and presents an Into the Wild capstone project. This yearlong endeavor allows students to act on a personal enthusiasm or deepen an area of interest. “What if we embedded a social impact component to Into the Wild?” she wonders. “Each 8th grader could find and work with an upper school student who is part of one of Wildwood’s learning institutes.” Next year, Wildwood will add an Institute for Social Good and Community Leadership to join our existing Institute for STEM Research and Development (WISRD). Our institutes are dedicated to connecting students so that together they can effect change and leave positive marks on their community. Asking “why?” and social action go together at Wildwood. “Knowledge should lead to a call to action— which taps middle schoolers’ energies and ideas even more,” Emily says. Wildwood students can feed their curiosity and make a change in the world. W

“Our students should be responsible for even more thinking and doing,” she says. “And we need our teachers as guides.” She believes that having teachers who are content-area experts is essential, “but it’s not enough. We need teachers who can help create learning contexts in which kids can apply the key course content.” Emily cites the value added to the program by faculty who recently joined Wildwood’s middle school science team, Dr. Stephen Bayes and Na Xue, who both employ their extensive content-area knowledge in the creation of curiosity-driven projects, like the eco-columns and cardboard boat regatta. She wants to extend to middle school the curiosity that’s integral to Wildwood’s elementary program fostered through an emphasis on Systems Thinking, which teaches kids to consider holistically how various natural and human-made systems are interrelated. “Why?” is an essential question of all systems thinkers.


For middle school science students, Emily envisions many curiosity cultivators. To start, she wants students to see Greater Los Angeles as an

extension of their campus, making use of Wildwood’s central location to take learning into the city and beyond. “Wildwood is just a short bus or train ride away from so many other ‘classrooms’—the Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Monica Bay, and the Ballona Wetlands, along with world-class museums and universities,” Emily says. “Our students can spend a full or half day away from school and come back bursting with ideas, learnings, and new questions.” Wildwood’s emphasis on social action and global citizenship is foundational. Every student is encouraged to make a positive difference in the world. But even more,

1 “Curiosity is critical to academic performance.” ScienceDaily. N.d. Accessed May 10, 2018. https://www.sciencedaily.com/ releases/2011/10/111027150211.htm. 2 Yuhas, Daisy. “Curiosity Prepares the Brain for Better Learning.” Scientific American. October 2, 2014. Accessed May 10, 2018. https:// www.scientificamerican.com/article/curiosity-prepares-the-brain-for- better-learning/.

3 Berger, Warren. A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. New York: Bloomsbury, 2014.



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