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Posted Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014 

Aside from a stunning array of guest speakers and performance groups, Global Week also features a series of small-group workshops with opportunities for hands-on learning. From singing in "Global Glee" to cooking in "Casti Takes Top Chef," each workshop gives the girls a forum for in-depth exploration in an area of interest.

For example, in the "Made by Survivors Design Workshop" girls have the chance to learn the basic structure for developing and designing a new line of jewelry. Students are submitting design ideas for a teen product, and the winning design will be handcrafted in India by women that have been rescued from modern-day slavery. These amazing survivor-artisans are among the first female silversmiths in all of India. Running their own jewelry-making businesses enables them to create free and independent futures for themselves.

Workshops run throughout the week, so stay tuned for updates on the different groups' progress!

Posted Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014 

Castilleja kicked off Global Week 2014, "Global Movements: Artists with a Cause," with an action-packed first day. A rousing performance by New Style Motherlode, the Bay Area's first hip hop dance studio, got the girls into gear Monday morning. A series of small-group and ensemble-wide demonstrations delighted students, followed by an opportunity for the girls to ask questions about the artists' backgrounds and how they honed their craft. Next the girls had a chance to get some hands-on experience with hip hop as they broke into smaller groups to learn sample choreography as well as to inaugurate the week's mural project.

Girls wrapped up the afternoon with a conversation with Raeshem Nijhon, a socially conscious filmmaker and producer working as the Series Director and Producer of MTV's Rebel Music, a docu-series about youth, art, and protest around the world. She spoke to students about how to make their voices heard and the importance of staying true to themselves and their social justice beliefs.

Today the girls are starting their morning with a conversation about art and social change with Artist Brett Cook and Executive Director of Stanford's Institute for Diversity in the Arts Jeff Chang. Stay tuned for more news about today's activities!

Posted Thursday, Dec 12, 2013 

On Wednesday during the Extended Opportunity/Flex period, students had a special treat: musical group PROJECT Trio performed for the school. PROJECT Trio is a passionate, high-energy chamber music ensemble comprised of three virtuosic composers/performers (flute, cello, and string bass) from Brooklyn, NY. Bursting onto the scene with their landmark videos, right out of the internet generation, PROJECT Trio is a musical experience defining a new level of entertainment! Flutist Greg Pattillo is known for the popular flute beatbox clips on YouTube. Blending their classical training with an eclectic taste in musical styles, PROJECT Trio has made an impact on audiences of all ages.

While on campus, the trio also worked with 7th grade instrumentalists on their compositions, which will be premiered at the Winter Concert tonight. Make sure to come to the Chapel Theater at 7:30pm to hear over 80 Middle School and Upper School students perform everything from vocal pieces to instrumental works. This is an event not to miss-- there is rumored to be a sing-a-long at some point during the concert!

Posted Tuesday, Dec 3, 2013 

Devon Holland '18's debut album, Invitation to Dream, had its national release today. 100% of the profits go to fund Project Haiti, the first LEED certified orphanage in the world, to replace one devastated by the 2010 earthquake. Watch Devon and her sisters talk about Project Haiti and buy the record here. Her album also made the front page of iTunes this week in New Releases, a very rare honor for a first-time artist!

Posted Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 
Do you like technology? Are you curious how all those apps on your phone were created? Technovation, the global technology entrepreneurship program for girls, is hosting an intensive one-hour training session on campus on Monday, December 2, 3-4pm. Come to Room 23 to get a head start on the 2014 mobile app development season. All Upper School students are welcome to participate, whether or not they intend to enter the Technovation Challenge competition. Make sure to sign up here ASAP so we know you're coming! Questions? Contact Ann Greyson.
Posted Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 

Castilleja's Dance Production Workshop, the student class which leads the annual Arts with a Heart multimedia production in February, started leaving its mark early this year. This year's production, "Café Casti: Proudly Serving Girl Power," benefits the Mariposa DR Foundation, a charity which helps provide impoverished girls in the Dominican Republic with access to education. To support their mission, DPW and LinkedIn sent them 10 laptops, and DPW created a curriculum using the laptops for Casti students to communicate with the Mariposa students in the Dominican Republic. A great way that technology is bringing us all together!

Posted Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013 

On Friday November 1, Castilleja's varsity volleyball team challenged faculty and staff for bragging rights in a match at the Castilleja gym. An enthusiastic employee team arrived for the showdown with their best game faces, as well as bump, set, spike skills. A dedicated crowd rallied to root for their favorite students and teachers alike. While the varsity team defended their volleyball honor with a 3-1 victory, in the end a fun time was had by all. Surprises from the afternoon? Spanish Teacher Jeff Mayfield's stellar setting, and Director of Sports Performance Jessie Starr's impressive hitting. Congratulations to everyone for a good game!

Posted Monday, Nov 18, 2013 

Beginning November 18, 13-17-year-old pre-university students from around the world can register and start competing in the Google Code-in 2013. The Google Code-­in is an online contest designed to introduce pre-university students to the world of open source software development. Participants complete “tasks” of their choice from 10 open source software projects (Apertium, BRL­CAD, Copyleft Games Group, Drupal, Haiku, KDE, RTEMS, Sahana Software Foundation, Sugar Labs, and Wikimedia Foundation).

Since open source development is much more than just computer programming, there are lots of different kinds of tasks to choose from, in categories such as coding (in multiple programming languages), documentation, user interface, quality assurance, research, and outreach. Students can earn t­-shirts and certificates for their work and 20 dedicated students, 2 chosen by each of the 10 software projects, will win a trip to Google in Mountain View next spring.

During the past 3 years of the contest over 1200 students from 71 countries have completed tasks, so make sure to join in the fun!

Posted Saturday, Nov 16, 2013 
Eighth-grade science is using their developing understanding of characteristic properties of matter to imagine innovations that support relief programs after natural disasters where there are often lots of people without the necessary means of survival like fresh water, shelter, heat, uncontaminated food, light, etc.

Students will be asked to use items that are considered to be waste/debris (plastic bottles, glass bottles, plastic bags, lumber, cardboard, etc.) and turn them into emergency preparedness items that will help with one specific issue that arises from tragedies.  They will then have to describe how the characteristic properties of the materials used to make these items make the design effective and will present prototypes at the end of the week. 

Several of these prototypes will be displayed in the ACE Center for all to view during the month of December.

If you have "household debris" to support this project,  please bring any items to Room 29 on Monday or Tuesday.  
Posted Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 

Castilleja hosted EdTech Goes Back to School, a brainstorming and networking summit for technology leaders in K-12 education, industry, and non-profits. Participants engaged in design thinking to address critical challenges facing technology in schools, such as differentiation, assessment, blended and online learning, professional development, data analysis, and student participation. Organizers Gabe Lucas and Jessie Arora, along with d.cipher consulting, sought to flip the model of outside education technology companies bringing solutions to schools when school employees often have a deeper understanding of their needs and how to address them, but lack the time and resources to be entrepreneurs. Attendees from across the state shared ideas, challenges, and paradigm shifts that they encounter using technology in education. The EdTech event plays a part of Castilleja’s growing efforts to support innovation in curriculum, services, and professional development through technology.


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Student Life
Posted 01/23/2015 09:00AM

The Winter Concert last Thursday was a resounding success. Student performers impressed the audience with a wide array of past and present pieces. The performance featured everything from traditional holiday music, to jazz and blues, to some pop tunes. Musicians hailed from the Middle School and Upper School music ensembles, the Upper School a cappella group The Sounds Sisters, and the world famous employee a cappella group Staff Inflection. Thank you to everyone who came out and saw the show-- the singers and musicians appreciated your support!

Posted 01/05/2015 09:10AM

The Junior Global Investigators are abroad! From France, to China, to India, to Guatemala, the girls are beginning to immerse themselves in the richness of the international experience. Here's what the Guatemala Global Investigators said about the beginning of their trip:

Exciting. Eye-opening. New. Rich. Beautiful. These were the words our fellow classmates used to describe their initial reactions to Guatemala.

The journey to our hotel on Lake Atitlán involved planes, bus, and even a boat ride across the lake. After a late-night flight and windy bus ride, we piled ourselves and our many suitcases into a little boat, catching the lovely breeze amidst the warm weather. Our beautiful hotel awaited us at the end of the lake, complete with papaya juice, warm beds, and a gorgeous view!

After settling we went into the lake town of San Juan. We met the youth at the  library and learned about the town’s history, and we enjoyed our first  Guatemalan meal, complete with beans, rice, and plenty of home-made  tortillas!

Today, we started off with a lovely breakfast and exposure to a parade in honor of Three King’s Day, where ambassadors from the local church travel from house to house bearing baby Jesus. Traditionally, he is kissed on the forehead by each resident, followed by a series of fireworks (which we have heard periodically throughout the city all day).

From the very beginning, Guate has been filled with vibrant sounds: festive music in the town square, roosters crowing in the morning, a trail of drums that followed baby Jesus about the village.

Fascinating for coffee-addicts and non-coffee-drinkers alike was our coffee tour. We learned that there are four different kinds of coffee plants, and even got to taste the coffee plant itself, which was surprisingly sweet! For the remainder of the afternoon, we prepared for skits about the environment to share with the community, and will later spend some time with the Guatemalan youth.

More on that later! Hasta Pronto!
Lea y Kiana

To read more about the Global Investigator Trips, click here.

Posted 12/03/2014 10:33AM

Embark Labs joined with Academic Tech in November to introduce young girls to coding. 6th Grade iPad Student Leads Lauren L. and Eliza G. facilitated this collaboration by assisting girls with the program Lightbot and supported the sold-out event. The event attracted girls ages 7-11 and many parents were delighted to see Casti students playing a role in helping younger girls explore coding. Embark Labs creator Jessie Arora was grateful for creating a learning experience where girls were engaging in peer-to-peer learning. In addition to supporting collaborative efforts like this event, Eliza and Lauren co-lead a group of 15 highly energized 6th iPad Student Leads. The student leads will also be creating an Apps Corner display window which will showcase student opinions of educational apps. The girls are not only facilitating collaborations, but also working on this space for students to share their voice in the iPad program. Great work leads!

Posted 11/12/2014 10:18AM

Congratulations to Lea S. '16, who traveled to Los Angeles to participate in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology and placed as a Regional Finalist! The weekend started on Friday, where competitors were given a tour of the campus by a Caltech "buddy" to whom each participant was assigned. That evening students presented their posters to the public, where the Caltech community as well as middle- and high-schoolers came to view the posters and ask questions about the projects. The weekend finished with the competitors making presentations and holding a question-and-answer session with around a dozen judges, as well as a celebratory dinner.

Lea says, "It was truly a special weekend. Most of all I enjoyed getting to know so many talented, smart, and interesting students from across the country. From hearing everyone else's projects in their presentations, to discussing a mutual love for English, to learning about new mathematical concepts, it will be a weekend I will never forget. It makes me want to continue to pursue science even more than before."

Academics
Posted 01/26/2015 09:57AM

On Thursday, January 22, Professor Jonathan Jansen made an encore Global Week presentation at Castilleja to Peggy McKee's African Studies class. With characteristic charisma, he engaged the students in a thoughtful, real-life exercise: which one of two applicants to admit to the Medical College of the University of the Free State in South Africa, of which he is the President? The two female candidates came from dramatically different backgrounds, one from a Black township and one from a middle-class Afrikaner family. The students wrestled, as had Professor Jansen, with the complex set of criteria and aspirations that each girl represented in post-Apartheid South Africa. The discussion touched upon issues of equity, opportunity, social justice, and social action, not restricted to South Africa alone. The class unanimously nominated Professor Jansen to be an Honorary Alum of Castilleja!

Posted 01/15/2015 01:57PM

7th graders in Evelyne Nicolaou's French class demonstrated their linguistic prowess by filming an end-of-unit fashion show. Using the green screen, students placed themselves on the "catwalk" using French vocabulary: nouns, gender, adjectives, and verbs, with a special focus on vocabulary from their clothing unit. As each girl strutted across the stage, her peers commented on her glamourous couture and accessories. To provide further guidance for fashion ingénues, they also designed fashion websites using Google sites as their end-of-unit projects. If you're ever in need of apparel advice, make sure to ask one of these students -- en français, bien sûr!

Posted 01/09/2015 09:22AM

While traveling on their Global Investigator Trips, juniors have been noting not only the differences between the United States and the different countries, but also the similarities. While visiting the Chinese village of Nanyaocun, both were brought into focus:

Today, we all woke up either because of the bitter cold or because of the crowing roosters and barking dogs. We all ate a hearty breakfast – many included eggs and fried dough. Breakfast was a great time to bond with our homestay family; we could talk about how we slept, our plans for the day, and how good the food was. After breakfast, we all met at Lily’s house (where the chaperones are staying) to debrief and to prepare for our trip to the local elementary school.

While we were walking to the elementary school, it started snowing! It surprised us because just an hour the earlier the skies were clear and blue. At the elementary school, we were welcomed by kids chanting, “Welcome! Welcome!” in Chinese. We were able to begin to bond with each other when we sang a repeat-after-me song in both Chinese and English. Some groups taught the kids some basic English (like colors, animals, actions, and weather), and others played games such as duck-duck goose. The kids liked to do charades – for example, when we taught them how to say “swim” in English, they all pretended to swim on the wood floor. They were a bit uncontrollable; many of them liked crawling on the floor, wrestling with their friends, pretending to shoot people, and banging their hands on the tables. We noticed that, in contrast to American kindergartens and the Shanghai schools, this school lacked resources and teaching staff. Although this was the case, both the kids and us were extremely enthusiastic and happy to be there. Overall, it was a very fun and humbling experience that we could share with the little kids.

We returned to our home stay families for a quick lunch where they welcomed us back with warm, fresh food (most of it is farmed in/near the village). After lunch, we all set out on a hike to Zhi Yun Si Temple. While we were walking, a cute German Shepard dog began to follow us and we named it Spencer (she ended up following us all the way to the temple). During the 2-hour hike, we enjoyed the picturesque scenery – tall, green mountains and a clear blue lake. The temple was breathtaking. It was built into the hillside and there was a perfect view from our path. Inside the temple, a ceremony was going on inside the Buddha Hall. Monks sat from most junior to most senior and they were playing a prayer song with many instruments such as drums, bells, and even some horns. We were all surprised when after the ceremony the young monks came into the courtyard we were sitting in and began to play soccer. The once foreign and different people became much more familiar and relatable to us. We then climbed the steps (there were tons) up the hillside to the part of the temple where the monks’ dorms were. We could see the entire valley and all the mountains in the entirety of LaShi Lake. On the drive back to the village, Spencer (the dog) tried to follow us – she was successful for a couple kilometers, but after a while, she sat down on the side of the road out and looked at us longingly (everyone was very sad).

Upon returning the village, everyone went back to their home stay families for a delicious dinner and some more time to bond with them. Many of us shared pictures of our own families with them and they shared their pictures with us; it allowed us to bond on a level extending beyond language. For those who don’t speak Chinese, and even for those who do, it was hard to communicate because their Mandarin is limited (most of them speak the NaXi language). Many even resorted to communication by charades and drawing pictures. Overall, it has been a wonderful and enlightening experience and we are all very excited for what tomorrow will bring.

To read more about the Global Investigator Trips in India, Guatemala, China, and France click here.

Posted 01/09/2015 08:51AM

After a week of very engaging and thought-provoking guests, the bar was high Thursday morning when students and employees walked into the Chapel Theater. As the President and CEO of Mega-Cities Project, which has worked to shorten the lag time between ideas and implementation in urban problem-solving since its founding in 1988, Janice Perlman’s knowledge and passion inspired everyone to engage with the topic of Mega-Cities as both learners and agents of change. A former President of Brazil praises Perlman’s narrative strengths: “She views the poor and their communities as bearers of skills and capacities. She looks beyond the apparent shortcomings to grasp the impalpable assets of individuals and communities.”

Students again spent a large portion of their day working on their grade-level projects. The 6th graders finished practicing and recorded their shadow puppet movies with the help of puppet expert Daniel Barash. The 7th graders visited Brentwood School, where they engaged with their buddies in the garden and in the classroom. In 8th grade, the students finished their art projects and presented them to each other, highlighting a memory or conversation that connected them to their elder buddy. Freshmen continued using the knowledge presented by Michael Moon to help them create interesting and engaging presentations for their year-long Vision and Voice interdisciplinary projects. Sophomores learned to use a new tool for creating visual images: Piktochart. Lastly, the senior class debriefed on their trip to San Francisco and took that knowledge to create concrete ways they can engage with their local community.

Posted 01/26/2015 09:57AM

On Thursday, January 22, Professor Jonathan Jansen made an encore Global Week presentation at Castilleja to Peggy McKee's African Studies class. With characteristic charisma, he engaged the students in a thoughtful, real-life exercise: which one of two applicants to admit to the Medical College of the University of the Free State in South Africa, of which he is the President? The two female candidates came from dramatically different backgrounds, one from a Black township and one from a middle-class Afrikaner family. The students wrestled, as had Professor Jansen, with the complex set of criteria and aspirations that each girl represented in post-Apartheid South Africa. The discussion touched upon issues of equity, opportunity, social justice, and social action, not restricted to South Africa alone. The class unanimously nominated Professor Jansen to be an Honorary Alum of Castilleja!

Posted 01/09/2015 02:54PM

On Thursday the 7th graders visited their kindergarten buddies at Brentwood Academy in East Palo Alto. While they were there they continued to create various-sized buildings using recycled materials like cracker and cereal boxes along with milk cartons. All of these buildings will go into a larger collection of buildings that will make up a cityscape. Kyli Arford, Sustainability and Middle School Community Action Coordinator, says, "This project brings the two age groups together while helping the kindergarteners to open up a dialogue with our 7th grade students about what kinds of buildings a city is made up of. Our students also tapped into their younger selves and ran around on the playground playing tag, hide and go seek, and building sand castles together."

Posted 01/09/2015 09:22AM

While traveling on their Global Investigator Trips, juniors have been noting not only the differences between the United States and the different countries, but also the similarities. While visiting the Chinese village of Nanyaocun, both were brought into focus:

Today, we all woke up either because of the bitter cold or because of the crowing roosters and barking dogs. We all ate a hearty breakfast – many included eggs and fried dough. Breakfast was a great time to bond with our homestay family; we could talk about how we slept, our plans for the day, and how good the food was. After breakfast, we all met at Lily’s house (where the chaperones are staying) to debrief and to prepare for our trip to the local elementary school.

While we were walking to the elementary school, it started snowing! It surprised us because just an hour the earlier the skies were clear and blue. At the elementary school, we were welcomed by kids chanting, “Welcome! Welcome!” in Chinese. We were able to begin to bond with each other when we sang a repeat-after-me song in both Chinese and English. Some groups taught the kids some basic English (like colors, animals, actions, and weather), and others played games such as duck-duck goose. The kids liked to do charades – for example, when we taught them how to say “swim” in English, they all pretended to swim on the wood floor. They were a bit uncontrollable; many of them liked crawling on the floor, wrestling with their friends, pretending to shoot people, and banging their hands on the tables. We noticed that, in contrast to American kindergartens and the Shanghai schools, this school lacked resources and teaching staff. Although this was the case, both the kids and us were extremely enthusiastic and happy to be there. Overall, it was a very fun and humbling experience that we could share with the little kids.

We returned to our home stay families for a quick lunch where they welcomed us back with warm, fresh food (most of it is farmed in/near the village). After lunch, we all set out on a hike to Zhi Yun Si Temple. While we were walking, a cute German Shepard dog began to follow us and we named it Spencer (she ended up following us all the way to the temple). During the 2-hour hike, we enjoyed the picturesque scenery – tall, green mountains and a clear blue lake. The temple was breathtaking. It was built into the hillside and there was a perfect view from our path. Inside the temple, a ceremony was going on inside the Buddha Hall. Monks sat from most junior to most senior and they were playing a prayer song with many instruments such as drums, bells, and even some horns. We were all surprised when after the ceremony the young monks came into the courtyard we were sitting in and began to play soccer. The once foreign and different people became much more familiar and relatable to us. We then climbed the steps (there were tons) up the hillside to the part of the temple where the monks’ dorms were. We could see the entire valley and all the mountains in the entirety of LaShi Lake. On the drive back to the village, Spencer (the dog) tried to follow us – she was successful for a couple kilometers, but after a while, she sat down on the side of the road out and looked at us longingly (everyone was very sad).

Upon returning the village, everyone went back to their home stay families for a delicious dinner and some more time to bond with them. Many of us shared pictures of our own families with them and they shared their pictures with us; it allowed us to bond on a level extending beyond language. For those who don’t speak Chinese, and even for those who do, it was hard to communicate because their Mandarin is limited (most of them speak the NaXi language). Many even resorted to communication by charades and drawing pictures. Overall, it has been a wonderful and enlightening experience and we are all very excited for what tomorrow will bring.

To read more about the Global Investigator Trips in India, Guatemala, China, and France click here.

Posted 01/09/2015 08:51AM

After a week of very engaging and thought-provoking guests, the bar was high Thursday morning when students and employees walked into the Chapel Theater. As the President and CEO of Mega-Cities Project, which has worked to shorten the lag time between ideas and implementation in urban problem-solving since its founding in 1988, Janice Perlman’s knowledge and passion inspired everyone to engage with the topic of Mega-Cities as both learners and agents of change. A former President of Brazil praises Perlman’s narrative strengths: “She views the poor and their communities as bearers of skills and capacities. She looks beyond the apparent shortcomings to grasp the impalpable assets of individuals and communities.”

Students again spent a large portion of their day working on their grade-level projects. The 6th graders finished practicing and recorded their shadow puppet movies with the help of puppet expert Daniel Barash. The 7th graders visited Brentwood School, where they engaged with their buddies in the garden and in the classroom. In 8th grade, the students finished their art projects and presented them to each other, highlighting a memory or conversation that connected them to their elder buddy. Freshmen continued using the knowledge presented by Michael Moon to help them create interesting and engaging presentations for their year-long Vision and Voice interdisciplinary projects. Sophomores learned to use a new tool for creating visual images: Piktochart. Lastly, the senior class debriefed on their trip to San Francisco and took that knowledge to create concrete ways they can engage with their local community.

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