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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.

Posted Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 

Casti music enthusiasts had a special treat Thursday when Respect Sextet paid campus a visit. Respect Sextet is a jazz ensemble from Brooklyn, New York that is currently touring the West Coast. While on campus they delighted students with a rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" with MUSE (the Middle School and Upper School instrumental ensemble), as well as performing other parts of their repertoire over the lunch hour. They also worked with 6th and 7th grade music classes on student compositions that will be performed at the Winter Concert on December 12th.

Posted Thursday, Nov 7, 2013 

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass visited Castilleja to share his love of poetry. Hass' visit exposed the girls to words as not only a tool for communication, but also a form of art. Students started the intellectual exploration with an all-school assembly, where Hass spoke about how the power of poetry lies in its ability to reveal emotional truths: it helps each reader not only access the feelings of others, but also connect to his or her own. He explored the concept that all great art is a balance of the tension between order and freedom, and how the English language's Norman French and Anglo-Saxon heritage creates unique rhymes and rhythms for poems.

Girls then had an opportunity to learn from his expertise in the AP Poetry class, where Hass gave the girls feedback on their poems and provided inspiration for future work. Hass rounded out his day on campus with a 6th grade Haiku-writing workshop, where he helped the girls craft their own unique works of art.

Posted Wednesday, Nov 6, 2013 

The Spanish Department celebrated the Mexican Day of the Dead with students first learning about the holiday and then making either the typical sugar skulls or creating altars commemorating someone who had passed and presenting their tribute to their classmates. From famous people, to ancestors, to loved ones (including pets!), students had a chance to honor those who have passed with the poignant joy and sense of celebration particular to this uniquely Mexican holiday.

Posted Monday, Nov 4, 2013 

With so many iPads floating around campus this year, the iPad stylus has become quite the popular accessory. And it turns out it's extremely easy to make your own! At Bourn Fridays last week, Academic Technology Support Specialist Rachel Tennant showed Casti students how to make an iPad stylus out of an old pen, some conductive foam, a bit of wire, and a healthy dose of DIY spirit.

Don't worry - if you missed the workshop, here are some simple instructions for how to make your own at home.

Posted Monday, Nov 4, 2013 

Casti kudos to Sophia Nesamoney '19, who just published her first book, The Other Side of Carroll. This 146-page tale of mystery and intrigue captivates readers and inspires fellow young writers. A quick synopsis from Amazon to pique your curiosity:

Oliver and Shirley Tark were about eight years old one summer, and the family had come back from seeing a movie. Their father sent Oliver out to get some bread. Shirley was playing outside with her jump rope, and the parents were discussing a dangerous topic they never talked about in front of the children. But then something happened, something that changed the course of all their lives. Something big, something that could never be fixed.

Book publisher Lulu promises, "Oliver and Shirley’s journey is a unique one. It captures the importance of family and it will surely take readers on a thrilling ride full of sadness, memories, adventure, and joy."

To purchase a copy of the book, head to Amazon or Lulu. Congratulations Sophia!

Posted Friday, Nov 1, 2013 

This week girls showed their Casti pride in Spirit Week! Each day had a different theme replete with hilarious costumes and fun activities.

Monday was "Best Uniform Day," where girls sported their finest Casti gear accessorized with a single "Uniform Violation." From neon green tights to silly hats, girls showed how they could gussy up their every-day outfit into something audacious.

"Decades Day" came to campus on Tuesday, with girls representing the finery of the 1920s through the 1990s. A good old-fashioned dance and karaoke party rocked the Circle over the lunch hour.

On Wednesday the girls celebrated the many musical genres which grace the radio, from classical, to country, to disco. Rockers from throughout the ages competed for bragging rights during a rousing dodgeball match over lunch.

Halloween transformed Castilleja into a ghoulish group of girls on Thursday, with creative costumes ranging from Victorian ladies in waiting to a matching ketchup and mustard set. During break the ASB hosted apple bobbing and a donut-eating competition, where girls had to deftly eat mini-donuts off a high string with classmates cheering them on. In the afternoon the sophomore class hosted an intricate haunted house for the whole school in the Administrative Building, spooking students and staff alike.

The girls rounded out the week with class colors on Friday, turning campus into a vibrant rainbow. From feather boas, to sparkle-infused hair, to delicate tutus, the girls went all out in showing school spirit. The culmination of festivities was the traditional tug-o-war match during lunch, leaving the sophomore class tired but victorious.

Check out the slideshow to get a glimpse of what you missed!

Posted Friday, Nov 1, 2013 

Students in 6th grade instrumental music are learning songs in major such as Frère Jacques and playing them in minor to learn about different music modes. The class listened to German Romantic composer Gustav Mahler's famous example of Frère Jacques in minor ("First Symphony," 3rd movement) and created their own ghoulish arrangement to perform for the delight of students and employees during break.

Posted Thursday, Oct 31, 2013 

Come see Bye Bye Birdie, this year's Middle School Musical! This hit production boasts a cast of 50 Middle School actors and 15 Upper School designers, choreographers, stage managers, and assistant directors. Travel back in time to the 1950s, and meet Conrad Birdie, the rock sensation who is about to be inducted into the Army; Conrad’s manager, Albert, and his loyal girlfriend, Rosie; Conrad’s biggest fan, Kim Macfee; and a legion of teen-aged female devotees. Will Conrad go into the army? Will Albert finally marry Rose? Will Harvey Johnson get a date to the prom? All of these questions will be answered on Friday at 7:30, and Saturday at 2:00 and 7:30. Buy your tickets here. Questions? Contact Kristin Walter.

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Student Life
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."

Posted 11/11/2014 03:38PM
On November 9 the sixth graders gathered in the Dining Room to write notes and prepare care packages for last year's seniors who are off at college or taking a gap year to pursue an interest. They enjoyed learning where all the members of the Class of 2014 are this year and telling them a little about their first year at Casti.
Posted 10/29/2014 04:31PM

Teachers connect with developers to hear about new and emerging technology tools. This month, the iPad Student Leads had a chance to connect with women developers and innovators - Christine Egy Rose and Patty Chang. Their company, Scoot and Doodle, raised $2.25 million in seed funding and the students had the opportunity to play with the (not-yet-released version) of their app, Scoodle Jam. iPad Student Leads explored with the app, which allows for whiteboard drawing and has easy-to-use manipulatives for topics like math and design thinking. The students offered feedback, giving student voice to the user design of the project. Students were able to ask questions of the developers and exchange feedback with each other. The iPad Student Leads are looking forward to more opportunities to connect with other women developers in the field and to exploring what the iPad has to offer the student experience!


Posted 12/08/2014 08:36AM

English Teacher Bill Smoot and his dog, Artemis, recently paid a visit to the Advanced Topics French class. The students had read Sartre’s play No Exit (Huis-Clos in French), and were eager to learn more about Sartre’s philosophy. The lecture facilitated conversation about the meaning of life and the importance of freedom in defining human beings. Mr. Smoot explained the reasoning behind Sartre’s perplexing belief that “man is not what he is and is what he is not.” Sartre argued that humans are separated from what they are (qualities such as name, age, and gender) by virtue of being conscious, having the freedom to choose, and temporalizing themselves. For example, one is not a student because she is conscious of being a student. In this way, humans are different from a school desk, which cannot think for itself nor choose how it perceives its innate qualities. Ultimately, the discussion gave insights into Sartre’s works while making everyone reflect on the way life should be lived. Madame Repellin and her students are grateful to Mr. Smoot for the fascinating and eye-opening conversation.

Posted 12/05/2014 08:48AM

At Castilleja, the entire Middle School -- as well as our Halford Young Women Leaders Program Little Sisters -- joined millions of other students around the world to participate in the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is an annual computer science event for K-12 students designed to demystify programming and generate interest in computer science. More than a dozen current or former programmers from our parent community stepped in to mentor the girls as they completed a variety of programming tutorials and computational thinking games. Upper School girls from the STEMx ACE Org and the introductory computer science course also lent a hand and cheered on their younger classmates. One girl commented, "It was SO fun! You got to interact with your peers while doing code." Another added, "It was really satisfying to complete different challenges and I enjoyed that. It feels really good to be stuck and then figure out your mistake."

Posted 12/01/2014 08:17AM

The 8th grade spent the second week of November in Virginia and Washington, DC, filming history projects in Williamsburg, visiting the archaeological site at Jamestown, and touring the nation's capitol. Highlights in DC included a dinner and discussion with environmental activists at the home of a student's grandparents, meeting with Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court, and hearing from Nancy Pelosi in the capital, where she took the class onto the floor of the United States House of Representatives. If you want to hear more about the experience, ask any member of the Class of 2019! You can also see more photos here.

Posted 11/20/2014 04:18PM

This week, Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Smith's 10th grade Individual & Society classes participated in a "Philosopher's Salon," in which students dressed up in a certain philosopher's traditional outfit, had tea and scones, and responded to questions about modern controversies. The philosophers (Confucius, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Mill) addressed issues ranging from gun control, to eminent domain, to representative democracy, and students responded according to how their philosopher would have answered the questions. Aditi S. '17 says, "It was rewarding to think logically about situations through different philosophers' points of view."

Posted 12/02/2014 08:00AM

Castilleja School's Center for Awareness, Compassion, and Engagement (ACE) was recently featured on NAIS's Inspiration Lab website as part of their "We Cultivate Leadership" series! ACE Center programming gives girls the skills to transition from witnessing the world around them to becoming active stakeholders, emerging change agents, and compassionate leaders. The school’s Social and Emotional Learning Program (SEL) provides them with the necessary scaffolding to take on these challenges. With raised awareness, compassion, and engagement, they more fully understand their own identity, develop empathy, and find purpose as part of a greater community.  

There’s no toolkit of solutions in any of these experiences, only awareness and engagement with the partner in an authentic project,” says ACE Center Director Stacey Kertsman. “We believe that’s the optimal way for our students to learn to navigate complex, ambiguous situations with empathy, understanding, and thoughtful and critical analysis—prerequisites to being effective and compassionate leaders.”

Check out the full story (and many others) here:



Posted 12/01/2014 08:17AM

The 8th grade spent the second week of November in Virginia and Washington, DC, filming history projects in Williamsburg, visiting the archaeological site at Jamestown, and touring the nation's capitol. Highlights in DC included a dinner and discussion with environmental activists at the home of a student's grandparents, meeting with Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court, and hearing from Nancy Pelosi in the capital, where she took the class onto the floor of the United States House of Representatives. If you want to hear more about the experience, ask any member of the Class of 2019! You can also see more photos here.

Posted 10/10/2014 04:00PM
The YouthMed division of the STEMx ACE Org hosted Dr. Amit Etkin of the Stanford University Neurosciences Institute this afternoon during EOP. Dr. Etkin shared his revolutionary work on tackling depression and other psychiatric and behavioral disorders using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive technique that can restore connections in the brain that have been damaged. The participants were fascinated by the scientific, ethical, and political questions such an innovation can bring about, and the future of the rapidly advancing behavioral science and psychiatry fields. 
On November 5, YouthMed will host a mammalian brain dissection to accompany the neuroscience talk that Dr. Etkin presented today. YouthMed will continue to host a series of physician and research lectures as well as accompanying dissections throughout the year. Stay on the lookout for upcoming opportunities!
Posted 10/02/2014 01:21PM
Four of the Castaruni club members who journeyed to Kenya this summer prepared an interactive project for the freshman C&C classes to share club activities and inform the nines about Castilleja's partnership with our sister school, Kisaruni. Using an entrepreneurship class that they did on the ground in Kenya, they taught the nines how to be global citizens and global historians. Using role play, they discussed similarities and differences between the two societies to better understand their specific cultures while also learning how to apply these concepts to the marketplace and entrepreneurial projects.
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