We Are Westridge

A community blog featuring Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor, the Westridge Leadership Team, our esteemed faculty members and occasional special guests

 

Summer Greetings (and Readings!)

by Elizabeth J. McGregor, Head of School


I trust that you are enjoying your days of summer - with time to breathe, laugh, travel, enjoy family and friends, and to read! Days are slowing down on campus too - and it's time to look back over the year that has passed, and to begin to plan for the upcoming year. 

We launched the 2015-2016 school year reflecting on how to create a powerful and dynamic culture of thinking and how to make our thinking visible. Throughout the year, faculty and students worked together to understand the different forces that shape our learning - expectations, language, time, modeling, opportunities, routines, interactions and environment. Interdisciplinary projects and experiential learning featured prominently in our efforts. In February we hosted noted author Rachel Simmons who spoke to our community about the empowerment of girls and some of the negative effects of over-achievement, and in April, with psychotherapist Julie Mencher guiding our discussions, we began the sensitive conversation about gender identity and transgender students as well as the way in which girls' schools across the nation are supporting students who are questioning or identifying in this way. Celebratory moments included cheering one of our Upper School rocketry teams all the way to the national finals of the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC), watching our water polo team win its league championship and place as runner-up in the CIF Southern Section Finals competition, applauding our first group of Middle School students to participate in the LA County Science Fair where they earned honors, and enjoying interactions with the Carnegie Observatory, that included a "star gazing" event with telescopes trained on the evening sky. We also saw the first group of seniors complete their Community Action Projects - an opportunity for them to take leadership roles in the local community through meaningful service over a sustained period of time.

We had yet another banner year in admissions and through the generous support of our parents, trustees, employees and friends, met our Annual Fund goals. We welcomed Gary Baldwin as our new Director of Upper School and combined the leadership of the Lower and Middle School under Mary Tuck. In July, we said a fond farewell to a number of our employees - including Helen Hopper, who retired after serving as our Director Admissions for 29 years, and Danae Howe, Dean of Student Voices and Activities, who will assume an exciting new leadership position at Sage Hill School in Newport Coast. Both will be much missed, but we look forward to Convocation in August, when we will introduce you to those who have already stepped into their shoes, as well as other new faculty and staff members.

As we plan for the upcoming year, we are busy renovating Middle School classrooms and office space in the Seeley G. Mudd Building. And in terms of how to support our students and the adults in our community, we are focusing on balance, emotional wellness, and mindfulness. You may enjoy tapping into the reading and viewing list provided below that explores some of these topics.

As I prepare to take time off to be with my family, I'd like to express thanks and appreciation to all who have supported us this year - and to our new families, I'd like to extend a warm welcome to the Westridge community and say how much we look forward to greeting you in August. 

Suggested Summer Reading and Viewing:

Books:

  • Damour, Lisa, Ph.D. Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood. Ballantine Books, New York, 2016.
  • Sandberg, Sheryl. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2013.
  • Simmons, Rachel. The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. Penguin, New York, 2009.

Viewing:

Posted by _TestParent _Test in reflections, from the head of school, summer on Wednesday August, 10, 2016

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