Uncle Jim Returns to Wakefield!

jim mayerAnti-bullying advocate Jim Mayer, known for decades as the famous bass player for Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band, will visit Wakefield School for a second time this spring. Mayer will speak to and perform for preschoolers through second graders on April 30 at 10 a.m. in the Lower School Library.

Mayer is an award winning children’s musician and performer who is leading the movement to change the impact of child bullying through his IM4U Campaign. The IM4U program is a unique music-based social-emotional learning system for the early childhood years. It unites educators, parents, and children to develop positive human principles. The IM4U Teaching Program reaches out to the youngest learners. This program lays a foundation in early years that prepares children to deal with the challenges of the global community.

According to Head of Lower School Dr. Margo Isabel: “Uncle Jim’s message through the seven principles of the IM4U Learning Program works hand-in-hand with two initiatives that have been introduced to our Lower School this academic year. A primary premise of the Responsive Classroom approach is that students who feel emotionally safe and cared for, and have the social skills to interact and learn within a classroom community, are more likely to be academically successful. Social and emotional learning is key to academic success. This message comes through loud and clear throughout Uncle Jim’s program, which complements the Responsive Classroom strategies that we use in the classroom.

Moreover, as an extension of the Responsive Classroom approach and our Character Counts program, our Lower School Counselor Jennifer Sipes led a bullying-behavior prevention pilot program in the fifth grade. We hope to extend it to other grades next year. Both programs (Responsive Classroom and Uncle Jim’s IM4U) concentrate on creating a classroom environment where differences are recognized, accepted and celebrated, and students’ unique strengths, challenges and interests are celebrated. At the same time, each program helps children recognize bullying behavior and what to do when they encounter it. Thus, the emphasis is on prevention.

I don’t know of a better way to reinforce some of the concepts we have been instilling in our youngest children than through some cool, educational music sung by a known rock star!”

Reflections on India 2015

By Andrew Clubb

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Today was the festival of Holi. Traditionally it marks the beginning of spring and drives away the devil. The festival is a holiday in India. One tradition is to cover each others’ faces with powdered paint of varying colors. After breakfast in the hotel we went outside into the hotel grounds and did just that to each other. We left our faces (and clothes) covered in paint as we then ventured out for our first sight-seeing in India.

Our first stop was Humayan’s Tomb. He was a Mughal emperor and his was the first ever garden tomb constructed in India. The park and the mausoleum that houses the tomb (as well as the graves of other royals) is perfectly symmetrical and looks exactly the same on all four sides. This tomb was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal in Agra.

After lunch, we visited the Qutab Minar. This is a column which first began construction in 1192. It rises some 280 feet and is constructed mostly of red sandstone with one section of marble towards the top. The minar was constructed by Muslim conquerors of the indigenous Hindu population as a reminder of the power and authority of Islam.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Today we toured Old Delhi, one of seven cities that have existed in this area over the centuries. New Delhi was laid out by the British in the 1800s. Old Delhi is the seventh city. It is teeming with narrow streets. Our first stop today was the Jama Masjid Mosque, the largest and grandest mosque in India. It can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers in one go. The mosque was constructed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It is constructed of red sandstone, from the nearby Yamuna River, and white marble. The mosque is really one very large courtyard. To enter we all had to remove our shoes and the ladies had to don long gowns.

Immediately following on from our visit to Jama Masjid, we boarded bicycle rickshaws for a journey through the alleys of Old Delhi. We were advised to keep our arms within the rickshaw at all times; it turned out to be very good advice. Rickshaws and motorcycles compete with pedestrians, dogs and monkeys for the limited space in the alleyways. This is definitely not to be experienced by the fainthearted! Amazingly, during our brief sojourn here, there were no accidents.

Having wound our way through the narrow streets, we alighted our rickshaws at the Red Fort. Constructed in 1648 using the same local red stone used to construct Jama Masjid, it too is a creation of Shah Jahan. The fort was home to the Shah, his wives and concubines and his ministers. There are many fine buildings within the walls as well as wonderful gardens. Here also we did some souvenir shopping.

Lunch today was at Connaught Place, a prime shopping area. From here we visited the Ghandi Smriti at the Birla House. Ghandi was staying at this house when he was assassinated in 1948. Today it is a wonderful museum chronicling the life of a remarkable man. While we were here, a thunderstorm began. Relatively short lived, nevertheless it was quite spectacular!

Our final stop of the day was at the Guruwadra Bangla Sahib, the largest Sikh house of worship in Delhi. As at the beginning of the day, so at the end, we again removed our shoes. This time though, we also covered our heads with marigold yellow colored scarves. We were allowed to mingle with the Saturday evening worshippers before visiting the kitchens where free communal meals are prepared three times a day. The temple can feed up to 50,000 per day. There is no requirement regarding race, color, religion, rank or wealth. All can come and everyone receives a simple meal. Very humbling!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

We left Delhi today and embarked on a six-hour road journey to Jaipur. (By the way, we’ve learned that a city name ending in ‘pur’ is a Hindu city, and a city name ending in ‘bad’ is a Muslim city. Today, that distinction no longer applies, but historically you can tell the allegiance of the city and its residents just from the name.) Along the way we stopped briefly to feed bananas to some wild monkeys. It turns out that they are not so wild because nearly every tourist that passes that particular way stops to feed them so they are very used to humans and will come up to you and take the fruit out of your hand.

The afternoon was at rest. The evening was spent at a restaurant where there was also classical dancing, a puppet show and henna tattoos. Everyone is enjoying these experiences so far. Tomorrow we will ride on elephants to the magnificent Amber Fort just outside of Jaipur.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan. It is nicknamed the Pink City. It is here that you see camels used to pull carts as well as give rides to tourists. Rajasthan has its own Maharajah. Maharajah translates as King of Kings, whereas Rajah translates as King. After a leisurely breakfast we drove to the Amber Fort where our elephants were waiting. Riding two to an elephant we ascended the hillside to the entrance to the fort; about 20 minutes in all. The fort is simply magnificent and created a deep impression on all of us.

Amber was the former capital of Rajasthan before Jaipur claimed the honor. In the inner sanctum of the palace complex, there is a summer palace and a mirror palace that are opposite one another, and which are separated by a formal garden. The fort was begun in the early 1700s. It stretches over several hills and is divided into separate sections for royalty, the military and a civil service. The walls of the fort stretch out of sight over the surrounding hills as a reminder of the former glory of this once capital of Rajhastan. Our visit was restricted to the palace complex. Here there are a maze of passageways and staircases. They connect royal receiving rooms to quarters for the king, to quarters for the official queens, to quarters for the many concubines. The palace of mirrors is especially impressive. Highly polished pieces of glass are inlaid into the walls and ceilings to create the impression of space and light.

After the morning spent exploring the fort and palace and trying to dodge the many hawkers, we returned to Jaipur to visit the observatory and palace complex. The observatory is called Jantar Mantar and is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is a home for the study of astronomy and astrology and was constructed in the 1700s. Many of the structures still work today. Our guide led us to one of two sun dials that is calibrated down to the actual minute of the day. Our guide calculated the time for us and announced that it was 2:40 p.m. A consultation of the many iPhones in our group confirmed that the sun dial still works and is amazingly accurate.

From here we visited a textile factory and observed an artisan create patterns on fabric using blocks and ink. Here we also did some shopping. Caitlin, Mary, Kate VB and Alamni all modeled saris to inspire us all to part with our money. The owners of the establishment were smiling broadly as we left!

We then visited the Maharajah’s palace in the centre of Jaipur. Part of this palace is the private residence of the current Maharajah and part is a museum containing exhibits of royal regalia, robes and weaponry.

Our penultimate stop on a jam packed day was at a gemstone factory to observe the polishing of precious and semi-precious stones. At this point we were shopped out and so, unlike at the textile factory, the owners of this establishment were putting on fixed smiles as we bid our farewell to them without having parted with a single rupee. Our day concluded with a drive by of the Palace of the Winds, a grand façade with numerous windows through which the wind could move to create an 18th-century form of air-conditioning.   

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Today was spent on the bus traveling from Jaipur to Bharatpur. Journeys in India ought not to take that long if one judges time by American standards. The distance from Jaipur to Bharaptur is approximately 175 kilometres (110 miles). Our journey time was just about four hours. We drove through several communities where life just seems to spill out onto the pavement from the homes and businesses that line the sides of the road.

Roads take all and every type of vehicle: trucks, buses, cars, motor cycles and motor scooters that each can accommodate one to five people (yes, really – five!), small trucks that can be used to transport cargoes, or humans, in the flat bed as well as up to five people in the cab of the truck, or a combination of cargoes and humans, tractors, cycle rickshaws (carrying passengers or cargo), and animal-drawn carts that include camels, horses, mules, donkeys and oxen.

Navigating around and pass all of these potential hazards in a bus makes for an adrenaline-filled experience, at least for those of us uninitiated into the “rules” of the road in India. Our driver is experienced and expert, and I am relieved that he is driving and not I. Oh, and I nearly forgot all the pedestrians, and the dogs, and the cows, and the sheep, and the goats, and the water buffalo that all wander around at will, and the hawkers at every toll booth and traffic light that dodge between moving vehicles hoping to sell some piece of trash at an exorbitant price to a driver or passenger. Medians are meant to be ignored and treated as if they don’t exist. Let’s say that you are coming out of a side road onto a road with a median where there is no gap in the median, and you want to turn right.

That’s no problem! Just turn right anyway and drive against the oncoming traffic flashing your lights and sounding your horn until you come to that elusive gap in the median and then dive left through it onto the correct side of the road. It’s that simple and it saves you time and gas going in the wrong direction and having to look for a place where you can make a u-turn. Numerous times I saw vehicles coming towards us on our side of the median. Not once did it seem that there was any chance of a collision. People expect such hazards on Indian roads and all drivers react accordingly. The horns are used incessantly, but not aggressively, but rather as a means of communicating your presence to other road users. Amazingly, we have seen just two accidents, both of them so minor that no one was injured, although that’s not to say that subsequently someone didn’t receive injuries after the conclusion of the fight that broke out between the drivers involved in the initial prang. There does not appear to be such a thing as a rude and aggressive gesture while driving in India.

People believe in karma and that extends to the driving.

Suffice to say, with all of this entertainment going on right outside your window, a four hour road trip just flies by!

Any way, we arrived in Bharatpur and found ourselves staying at an amazing former palace. In the afternoon we visited Keoladeo National Park. This is a bird sanctuary set up over 29 square kilometers. The park is divided into wet lands, woodlands and grasslands. The sanctuary is home to thousands of migratory birds as well as to numerous species of animals, flora and fauna. A cycle rickshaw takes you deep into the sanctuary in no time. With the help of our local guide and his powerful telescope, we were able to view several species of birds including kingfishers, storks and egrets. It was a peaceful interlude out in the Indian countryside that was enjoyed by all.

The day ended early enabling us to enjoy some of the facilities at our luxury hotel, including massages, facials, with real gold leaf being applied to the face, and the swimming pool. And of course there were all the photo opportunities afforded us by the gardens and the highly decorated.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Our day began over a leisurely breakfast. We departed from the Laxmi Vilas Palace all agreeing that we wanted to stay longer. Our itinerary would not allow us that luxury and so we set out to Fatehpur Sikri, a deserted sandstone city which was designed as the capital city of Emperor Akbar, a Mughal Emperor.

Mughals were descended from the Mongols who invaded central and south Asia, as well as China, from Mongolia. The title Mughal was applied to the people who conquered South Asia. It is a term that means wealth and opulence. Our own English word ‘mogul’ is itself derived from Mughal. The city was home to Akbar, his wives and courtesans, government ministers and servants. Akbar moved his capital to this purpose built city, which he named Fatehpur, from Agra because of his devotion to a certain priest who lived in the nearby village of Sikri. It was abandoned after just fourteen short years, and the court moved back to Agra.

Today the abandoned city is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The architecture reflects the combining of Persian and Hindu architectural designs. (The Persian architecture also reflects a strong influence on Persian culture from Islam.) The sandstone used in the construction is a deep red and was quarried locally.

We continued on our way to Agra where, after checking in to our hotel and having lunch, we travelled to see the marble tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah. Itmad-ud-Daulah was the father of Queen Nurjahan. She was married to Emperor Jahangir.Construction on this mausoleum was begun in 1622 and was completed in 1628. This mausoleum has been nick-named the Baby Taj and was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal.

Constructed on the banks of the Yamuna River, Itmad-ud-Daulah, like Fathepur Sikri, combines Islamic and Hindu architectural techniques. The dome is rectangular in shape which is the Hindu influence. There is also a lot of Persian and Islamic influence.

From Itmad-ud-Daulah, we travelled to catch our first view of the Taj Mahal. Our first sight of this magnificent structure was from the opposite bank of the Yanuma River. We stayed for almost an hour just marveling at the sheer size and beauty of the most famous mausoleum in the world. Tomorrow we would visit the Taj Mahal for real.

Our day ended with a show that told the story of the love affair between Shah Jahan and his wife, Queen Mumtaz Mahal. The queen died soon after delivering her fourteenth child and Emperor Jahan was overcome with grief which was to be his constant companion until his own death. The show was a combination of movie and live theatre.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Today we were up very early. We left the hotel at 6 a.m. in order to be at the Taj Mahal in time to see the sun rise. There is a mystical presence at the Taj that is beyond description. There is a wonderful sense of peace and serenity as you first glimpse the building through the early morning mists. As the sun slowly rises, so the light on the surfaces of the Taj becomes more and more radiant.

When you see The Taj Mahal and realize how large it is, you understand why it took 22 years to construct. The inlay is amazing and the carvings equally so. Two hours sped by amazingly quickly. We all were extremely thankful to be here. Many, many photos were taken. The inlay and decorations are simply breath-taking. The dome is half spherical, reflecting the Persian influence that the Mughals brought with them and the fact that Shah Jahan was a Muslim. I

We returned to the hotel for breakfast at 9 a.m. At 11am we were out again. This time we were on our way to the Agra Fort. Before that though, there was a brief stop at J.K. Cottage Industries. This establishment is preserving an artistic skill set that is rapidly being lost; handmade marble inlaid artifacts. This small cooperative is home to the artisans who help preserve the beauty of the Taj Mahal. Those who work in this cooperative are the only ones to have the required skills to preserve the Taj Mahal. Here we saw demonstrations of the work of an inlaid artist. And of course, afterwards there were opportunities to shop, and purchase gifts!

From J.K. Cottage Industries we continued our journey to the Agra Fort. This is another red sandstone construction. Many of the features in this fort are also to be seen in other monuments, such as the Red Fort in Delhi and Fathepur Sikri. The highlight of our visit to Agra Fort though, was to be taken inside one of the rooms of the Mirror Place; a place where the general public are not admitted. I wish I could have taken a video of what we saw because I know that my words will be inadequate to describe what happened next, but photography and video recording are not allowed. This exclusive look inside this room became a magical scene once a janitor, who works in the fort, lit three candles and proceeded to wave them about above his head. The walls and vaulted ceilings of this seventeenth century building were studded with thousands of tiny mirrors. As the candles were waved, so the mirrors reflected the light from the candle flames. It was like seeing the most intense starlit light, except for us the stars in the heavens were dancing. Four times, in different parts of the room each time, our host made the heavens dance. The room was originally the bathroom for the queen. For her the room would have been lit by many oil lamps. Three small candle flames were all that we had. We were amazed and mesmerized by what we were seeing. I can only guess at how much more beautiful the scene would have been had we too had oil lamps rather than three small candles.

After lunch our afternoon was spent at leisure at our hotel. Tomorrow we will depart from Agra.

Tomorrow we will visit the Deepalaya School. We are greatly looking forward to our visit.

Friday, 14th March

How do I begin to describe today? Wakefield School students represented our community with dignity and humility. We were visiting the Father and Daughter Alliance (FADA) at Deepalaya School. This is an organization that receives funding from the Robert Duvall Children’s Fund (RDCF) as well as other national and international sources. It is the school that Joel Enoch had his 5th grade students Skype with a couple of years ago. Reference was made today of that occasion by the people of Deepalaya. It was evident from the tone that the event was a very important memory.

We arrived at around 2 pm. The Deepalaya students were arriving from their regular schools. FADA brings girls into a scholastic environment for the first time and from any age up to fifteen. Once students are able to cope at their grade level they go to regular school in the mornings and continue to come to Deepalaya for remedial lessons to help them stay on course. In addition, Deepalaya offers educational opportunities to street children and those with both physical and mental disabilities. The facility offers a physiotherapy lab, a language lab as well as vocational training. Deepalaya serves a slum community that is right next door.

Our hosts danced and sang for us. They shook our hands and they smiled the broadest, most innocent smiles I have ever seen. The students presented each of us with individual gifts that they had made for us. They called us up by name one at a time to receive our gifts. We presented gifts that we were bearing on behalf of RDCF. Our own gifts of books had not yet arrived. However, the staff, teachers and volunteers at Deepalaya were aware of the gift we had made to them which we had given to RCDF. Through the efforts of those who were today representing the Wakefield School community, and through the generosity of anonymous donors, the gift that Wakefield School was making to Deepalaya was worth $760.

We toured classrooms. The children stood as we entered each room. In one room they were already reading the books that we had brought with us from RDCF. We were told that in the slum that the school served, there were no toilet facilities. Everyone had to go into a nearby open space whenever they needed to relieve themselves. A new construction was pointed out to us. It will be the new toilet block commissioned by the government. When opened, it will house 200 toilets; an inadequate number given the population of the slum, but certainly better that the present situation.

These were desperately poor people. The community from which they were drawn is also desperately poor. Yet the warmth of our reception was almost overwhelming. They were the generous ones. They treated us as royalty. They were happy to see us. They had practiced their skits and delighted in delivering them. Two and half hours simply flew by. It was an honor and a privilege to be at Deepalaya today. Their generosity towards us was immense. We for our part were gracious recipients of their gifts, but more importantly, of their love. Neeraj, our tour guide, told me that he was very impressed with the work that was taking place at Deepalaya. He plans on bringing more tour groups to the facility. In this way, Neeraj hopes to introduce Deepalaya to a wider audience who, one hopes, will also begin to support all those who work to improve the lives of such deprived children.

News Round-Up for April 10

Anti-bullying advocate Jim Mayer to visit Wakefield for second time

Mayer performs for Middle SchoolAnti-bullying advocate Jim Mayer, known for decades as the famous bass player for Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band, will visit Wakefield School for a second time this spring.

Mayer will speak to and perform for Lower Schoolers on April 30 at 10 a.m. in the Lower School Library.

Mayer is an award winning children’s musician and performer who is leading the movement to change the impact of child bullying through his IM4U Campaign. This movement “exists to support teachers, parents, and the kids they love and teach, as they bring joy to our children and end our society’s bullying epidemic,” according to his website.

The IM4U program is a unique music-based social-emotional learning system for the early childhood years. It unites educators, parents, and children to develop positive human principles. The IM4U Teaching Program reaches out to the youngest learners. This program lays a foundation in early years that prepares children to deal with the challenges of the global community.

Wakefield sophomore wins special award at state science fair

Wakefield sophomore Sam Seo won a special award recognizing his science fair project at the recent Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair. He was awarded first place in the Central Virginia Chapter INCOSE Awards, which recognize excellence in independent project work in any category. INCOSE is the International Council of Systems Engineers.

Seo’s project, Making An Affordable Computer For Countries Which Have GDP Under $15,000, helped him advance from the school’s fair to the Fauquier County Regional Science and Engineering Fair. There, he won 3rd place in the Senior Division and qualified for the all expense paid trip to compete at the state level competition at Virginia Military Institute. He also earned the Yale Science & Engineering Association, Inc. Award at the regional fair.

New members inducted into National Honor Society

H2580020This week Wakefield School inducted four new members into the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. To be eligible, the student must be a sophomore, junior or, senior, and have a scholastic average of a B or higher. Students are then evaluated on the basis of service, character and leadership.

The 2015 National Honor Society inductees are Alamni Sailor, Libby Rensin, Tim Boyer, and Dylan Winick.

News Round-Up for April 2

Wakefield’s equestrian team competes at Finals; Hinchman qualifies for Nationals

The Wakefield Equestrian Sports Program competed at the Interscholastic Equestrian Association Zone 3 Finals at Garrison Forest School on March 28-29.

Sophomore Casey Hinchman placed 3rd in team over fences and 4th in the team flat class. She also won her Individual over fences class out of the top 14 riders in Zone 3. This 1st place finish clinched her spot to IEA Nationals to compete in the Varsity Intermediate Over Fences Class. Nationals are in Wellington, Fl., on April 24-26. Casey will be competing in her class on April 24.

Kendall Walsh was the other WESP team member that pinned at Zone Finals. She was 8th in both her Team over fences and flat classes. Team members Bobby Milligan and Talia Beavers also had solid rides.

Wakefield students participate in Destination Imagination

Four Wakefield Upper School students on two separate Destination Imagination teams have advanced to DI’s Global Finals tournament, the largest creative thinking and problem solving competition in the world held annually at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville each May.

Students Myra Richardson, Grace Seaborne, and Kayla Swede competed in the service learning challenge and won first place in the instant challenge category and second place in the main challenge category. This team is coached by Teri Richardson.

Murray Re’s team competed in the engineering challenge and won first place in both the main and instant challenge categories and was awarded the special Renaissance Award in engineering. Amy Re coaches this team.

If You Learned Here Update

If You Learned Here is a global collaboration and authoring project for students in Pre-K through 8th grade. Inspired by the book If You Lived Here: Houses of the World, this project engages students in a global dialogue about their learning communities. Wakefield School is participating. Here are links to the most recentKindergarten and Second Grade videos.

Wakefield senior accepted to competitive joint degree program

Wakefield senior Caroline Kessler has been accepted to the highly competitive joint degree program between William & Mary and the University of St. Andrews. The program offers joint degrees in 4 fields of study: English, history, economics and International Relations. Caroline has chosen English and will begin her studies in Scotland in her sophomore year. View more specifics on this joint degree program here.

Atkins Scholarships open for Wakefield students

Two competitive scholarships in memory of the grandfather of James P. Atkins, III are being specifically offered to Wakefield students. As in the past, there will be one $350 scholarship awarded to a deserving 7th or 8th grade student, and one $650 scholarship will be awarded to a deserving 9th or 10th grade student. A committee will select the winners of these scholarships. These awards will be granted to defray the cost of the winning students’ education at Wakefield. This year, the paper should address the U.S. Civil War, and preferably some aspect of the Civil War as it pertained to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Please click here for more information on topics, criteria, deadlines, etc. 

Third Grade’s African Drumming Residency

Wakefield’s third graders participated in a spectacular global education enrichment program this week!

Alecia Cardell, a music educator, led them in athree-day West African drumming residency. They learned about West African music, which includes drumming, singing (call and response) and dance. They were introduced to African instruments – the kpanlogo drum, the axatse (shaker), and the gankogui (double bell). After three days of intensive immersion, the whole experiene culminated in a performance during the Lower School Assembly on Wednesday. 

Cardell was first introduced to African drumming when she attended a professional development workshop at Bryn Mawr School for Girls. She found a mentor, Lou Persic, and studied drumming with him for two consecutive summers. She mastered this particular drumming technique and developed a West African Drumming curriculum which she now teaches to third and fourth graders each winter.

Cardell is a music educator who graduated from Mansfield State College in New York with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Upon graduating she began her teaching career in independent schools. Her 33 years of experience have been spent at Kentucky Country Day School, Bryn Mawr School for Girls and Flint Hill School.

News Round-Up for March 24

Wakefield third graders experience West African drumming residency

photoWakefield’s third graders are participating in a spectacular global education enrichment program this week! 

Alecia Cardell, a music educator, will be leading them in a three-day West African drumming residency. Cardell was first introduced to African drumming when she attended a professional development workshop at Bryn Mawr School for Girls. She found a mentor, Lou Persic, and studied drumming with him for two consecutive summers. She mastered this particular drumming technique and developed a West African Drumming curriculum which she now teaches to third and fourth graders each winter.

The third graders will learn about West African music, which includes drumming, singing (call and response) and dance. They will be introduced to African instruments – the kpanlogo drum, the axatse (shaker), and the gankogui (double bell). On the mornings of March 23, 24, and 25, the students will be immersed in a West African drumming experience! This experience will culminate in a drumming performance during Lower School Assembly on Wednesday, March 25, at 12:30 in the Lower School gym.

Wakefield Summer Camps 2015

Summer camp registration is now open! Visit wakefieldschool.org/camp for the catalogue and camp selection form.

If You Learned Here Update

If You Learned Here is a global collaboration and authoring project for students in Pre-K through 8th grade. Inspired by the book If You Lived Here: Houses of the World, this project engages students in a global dialogue about their learning communities. Wakefield School is participating. This is the third grade Week 1 video. 

Budget Director Speaks to AP Government students

Erin Kozanecki, the Director of Fauquier County Office of Management and Budget, spoke to AP Government students on Tuesday, March 24, during tutorial period. She talked about the county’s budget process and how the budget is created.

Wakefield’s Green Initiative Club

Wakefield’s Green Initiative Club co-founders went on a trip to a Waste Management facility in Maryland today to learn what happens to our recycling bins’ refuse after the bins leave our campus. They also learned what they can do to help our community become more aware of what and how to recycle.

If you are interested in helping with the Green Initiative Club, parents should contact ejunkala@wakefieldschool.org and students should see Dr. Pereira or Mrs. Atherton-Mellish.

Wakefield receives $50,000 grant for classroom redesign, teaching fellowship

WSMiddleSchoolWakefield School recently received a $50,000 grant to redesign four of its middle school classrooms for active learning and also to develop a Teaching Fellowship.

The proposal was titled “Active Learning and Teaching it Forward: Full Adoption at Wakefield School.”

Using research on adolescent learning styles, Wakefield School previously redesigned two middle school classrooms for a more active learning environment, funded by an earlier grant. These classrooms now feature whiteboard walls, node chairs, and standing desks. Redesign was partnered with faculty training in project-based and experiential learning and the creation of a designated innovation period in which these classroom tools and training play the main part.

The grant will fund redesign in the remaining four Middle School classrooms as well as establish a teaching internship program. Through the Teaching Fellowship program, Wakefield will recruit educators, train them in active learning and engagement techniques, partner them with a lead teacher and a mentor and allow them to teach a few sections while observing and learning from their lead teacher. In addition to the classroom redesign, this grant funds a one-year position designed to provide an educator with knowledge of and experience in active learning.

Wakefield School’s Middle School program is dedicated to providing a cutting-edge educational experience centered around active learning. Classroom learning is supplemented by an advisory program, experiential learning, sports, visual art, performing art, and theater.