After studying the Codex Medoza, a document created in the mid-1500s to document the society of the Aztec Empire before the Spanish conquest, 5th and 6th grade Spanish students stepped into the shoes of Mexica high priestesses to create their own historically accurate strips of codex in the style of the Codex Mendoza.
This week the student support group Peer-to-Peer hosted their annual Love Your Body Week, with a special focus on how the ongoing pandemic and remote learning have impacted student’s body image. Through a series of virtual events including an Upper School Town Meeting, an all-school Big & Little Sister self-portrait activity, and optional lunchtime meetups, Peer-to-Peer created safe spaces to explore how the pandemic has changed the way we think about our bodies.
Since January, Upper School Chamber Orchestra students have been creating their own music history podcast episodes uncovering the musical contributions of minority people, communities, and cultures. Their 15-minute episodes will air on the new Westridge radio station KWST.
In honor of Lunar New Year, 8th grade Mandarin students crafted miniature lion or dragon heads this week, using recycled materials and basing their design choices on research into Chinese culture.
In a follow-up to our October student assemblies on microaggressions (which covered what microaggressions are and how they affect our community), Director of Lower & Middle School Dr. Zanita Kelly and facilitator and culturally responsive teaching expert Ian Tatum led another series of assemblies on how to respond to and disrupt microaggressions in the moment they occur.
As we continue our work to expand the voices and perspectives in our curriculum, we asked our teachers how they are recognizing Black History Month in the classroom. Classes from grades 4 to 12 and from the arts to math have linked curriculum to the observance of the month. In addition, many faculty members commented that their work this month is part of a year- or semester-long approach.
In lieu of the traditional dragon and lion dances Lower School students perform annually for Lunar New Year, this year the Student Activities & Leadership Council (SALC) joined forces with Middle Schoolers to host an all-school assembly on the origins and traditions of the holiday.
In a year that is breaking many college admissions norms in terms of volume of applications and changes to requirements due to impacts of COVID-19 on the Class of 2021, 76% of the Westridge senior class has received at least one acceptance to date.
The Westridge Model United Nations club attended a virtual conference on January 23 and 24, where they assembled with more than 100 students from across the nation to address the topic of “Mars in Crisis.”
Through a combination of serious supply pickups, materials commonly found at home, and impressive online lab simulations, Westridge teachers are keeping science learning an active endeavor for students this year. All of the teachers we spoke with are pleased with the lab schedule they have been able to keep up (most say they are doing nearly as many labs and all report they are covering the core content and concepts they would in a typical year critical), several mentioned added benefits of lab simulations, and, especially in the upper divisions, faculty emphasized that time devoted to the important skill of data analysis is stronger than ever today.
A Zoom panel featuring several members of the Westridge Student Support Team along with Upper School Peer-to-Peer representative Shirlynn C. ’21 and Student Voices leader Saffron G. ’22., discussed the impact of the pandemic on students’ mental health and highlighted the resources they have available to them.