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Posted Friday, Jun 5, 2015 8:42:00 AM

Frequency 49, of which Castilleja Instrumental Music Director Dr. Leslie Hart is a member, will be presenting a master class on Saturday, June 6th at 11am in the music room for MUSE members and the Castilleja community. They will also rehearse with MUSE and play alongside students at graduation. Frequency 49 is a San Francisco Bay Area-based wind and piano chamber ensemble dedicated to broadening awareness of compelling woodwind repertoire new and true through performances of the highest artistry. Featuring flexible instrumentation, the group explores the interdependent relationship between color and sound unique to this combination of instruments.

Posted Thursday, Jun 4, 2015 12:49:07 PM

On the 2015 National Spanish Exam, Castilleja students from 8th -12th grades earned a total of 11 gold, 16 silver, and 15 bronze medals, along with 33 honorable mentions. "Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious," said Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, National Director of the Exams, "because the exams are the largest of their kind in the United States" with over 154,000 students participating in 2015. ¡Buen trabajo!

Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2015 11:18:00 AM

Bourn Idea Lab Director Angi Chau wrote a guest blog post for EdSurge on the importance of maker education for girls. EdSurge touts itself as "an independent information resource and community for everyone involved in education technology," and features posts about everything from blended learning to digital tools for language acquisition. In Angi's post about the Bourn Idea Lab, she explores everything from why girls are less interested in STEM to how the Lab encourages STEM confidence with its all-girls maker environment. Read the post here!

Posted Tuesday, May 26, 2015 4:16:00 PM

Students were honored by a special visit from Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State under George W. Bush. With an illustrious career as a political scientist and diplomat -- including serving on the Council on Foreign Relations, in the National Security Council, and as a National Security Advisor and Provost of Stanford University -- she was also a trailblazer for African Americans and women in both diplomacy and leadership. While on campus Ms. Rice discussed her personal journey, from growing up in the segregated south to discovering her passion for politics. She also shared with students how grit, determination, and an open mind are key to success-- as well as to learning from failure.

Posted Thursday, May 21, 2015 10:58:00 AM

On Founder's Day alumna Pamela Hawley '87 came to campus for an inspiring keynote about her personal journey to the nonprofit sector and her current work as founder and CEO of UniversalGiving, a social entrepreneurship nonprofit organization whose vision is to "create a world where giving and volunteering is a natural part of everyday life."

Pamela's community service began at the age of 12, and has extended into the international realm. She has worked and volunteered in microfinance in remote villages of India, crisis relief for the El Salvador earthquake, digital divide training in the Killing Fields of Cambodia, and sustainable farming in the countryside of Guatemala.

While on campus she spoke about how her Castilleja education and transformative experiences abroad helped her find her passion for a life of service. She also gave listeners a window into her current work with UniversalGiving (an award-winning, web-based nonprofit allowing people to give and volunteer with the top-performing projects and volunteer opportunities across the world) and how her time around the Circle prepared her to thrive.

Wish you'd been at the talk? Watch the video recording here!

Posted Monday, May 18, 2015 10:51:22 AM

The Spring Concert is Thursday, May 21, at 7:30pm in the Chapel Theater. The concert will feature jazz, classical, show tunes, and pop tunes performed by the Middle School and Upper School music ensembles including Show Choir, Sound Sisters, MUSE, Jazz Combo, Flute Choir, and String Quartets. The concert is free and there will be refreshments and a raffle at intermission. The singers and musicians would love your support. See you there!

Posted Wednesday, May 13, 2015 1:31:00 PM

Congratulations to Senior Abby A., who was selected as a dance finalist out of over a hundred applicants for the Steve Silver Foundation and Beach Blanket Babylon's "Scholarship for the Arts." With a total of nine finalists in acting, dancing, and singing, Jo Schuman Silver (producer of Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon) said, "I am really impressed by the quality of the performances that we’ve received and the dedication of the students to their craft. We look forward to having the nine finalists perform in front of our panel of celebrity judges and their family and friends on June 1st. It is guaranteed to be a great night!" The grand prize? $10,000 toward the winner's college education. Good luck Abby-- Casti will be crossing its fingers for you!

Posted Thursday, May 7, 2015 10:56:00 AM

Castilleja's Artist in Residence, composer Motoko Honda, has spent several weeks collaborating with girls in music classes, refining her own music compositions in the gallery, and creating music for the recent student production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Aside from providing private composition lessons to students throughout her residency, Ms. Honda has been working especially closely with students in the Middle School music composition elective and the 9th grade core arts music class, giving feedback and providing tips for composing. She has also been creating a new piece of music for the Upper School Choir and helping to both rehearse and guide students through her piece. To celebrate her time on campus, she provided two inspiring concerts for the Upper Schoolers and Middle Schoolers earlier this week.


Posted Wednesday, May 6, 2015 2:39:26 PM

9th grader Caroline H. and her family are hosting a student from France for two weeks. Lucie is from the outskirts of Lille, in Northern France, and is visiting Caroline's family through an exchange called Friends of America Cultural Exchanges (FACES). Lucie is currently on spring break in France. In addition to shadowing Caroline's classes at Casti, she has also been attending the French V AP class, helping them make cultural comparisons between the United States and France. Welcome Lucie!



Posted Thursday, Apr 30, 2015 4:40:28 PM

Last week, the Dance Production Workshop Team and the Ada's Cafe ACE Org gathered on the Circle to celebrated the presentation of a check to Kathleen Hughes and Ada's Cafe for $22,580, the proceeds from February's Arts with a Heart performances. Castilleja students enjoyed working with Ada's Cafe and their amazing associates both on stage and in the community. Dance Production Workshop PR Manager Sam G. '17 says, "It is heartwarming to know that everyone who participated in Arts with a Heart 2015 contributed to helping a worthy cause. And, remember to always be kind!"

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Student Life
Posted 12/06/2017 03:33PM

There was another fun surprise this morning! Students and employees were treated to hot chocolate and muffins as they arrived on campus.

Posted 12/04/2017 01:15PM

Today at lunch, our Counseling and Student Wellness department had a special surprise for students! There were 3 therapy dogs here for students to pet and interact with.

Big thanks to Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA therapy dog program and volunteers, including our very own Ms. Courtney and her dog Lily.


Posted 12/01/2017 11:00AM

It's Pajama Day! From funky prints to unicorn onesies, Castilleja students are getting cozy in style!

Posted 11/30/2017 08:25AM

It was a little chilly this morning, but our campus was warmed by a fantastic "random act of kindness" as Castilleja's parent organization handed out Kind Bars to students, parents, and employees as they arrived on the Circle. It's a small token of gratitude for the everyday kindness of our community!


Posted 12/07/2017 10:00PM

Yesterday was a big day for the arts at Castilleja! Visual and Performing Arts were showcased in an all-school assembly during the day and our annual Winter Concert in the evening. Both Upper and Middle School student work from the last semester in 2D and 3D visual art and filmmaking were featured and there were engaging performances from theatre, dance, vocal music and instrumental music.

Preview photos below and download or order prints here.



Posted 12/07/2017 08:00AM

This week, Castilleja brought together 12 expert leaders in various STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art/design, and math) field professions in the annual C-STEAM forum for Upper School students.

Joining us for panel and small group discussions were scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs, and tech pioneers. Beyond their successful STEAM careers, each guest demonstrated impressive leadership in their chosen field and eagerly shared their experience and insight with Castilleja students. In particular, this years theme asked speakers to reflect upon and share their own experience with intersections and resilience.

Many thanks for our distinguished guests and another successful C-STEAM forum.

Posted 12/05/2017 08:00AM

Just before the Thanksgiving Break, Castilleja's two middle school LEGO robotics teams, the AquaDucks and the 5Seas, competed in the regional qualifying tournament at the East Palo Alto Boys and Girls’ Club. Both teams have been working hard all semester designing, programming, and testing their robot to compete in the HydroDynamics challenge. They also created projects to address a problem concerning human’s interaction with water. Both teams were highly successful—the AquaDucks won the robot game and the robot design awards, and the 5Seas were awarded special merit award for their project and were overall champions. The 5Seas are advancing to the Championship round next February and the Project Explo competition in March.

Posted 09/06/2017 02:00PM

This week, Mr. Mitchell’s Psychology students put on their physiologically-accurate thinking caps to respond to prompts that challenged them to link various behaviors with different parts of the human brain.

Mr. Mitchell shares of the lesson,"My psychology students are studying the brain and nervous system.  As a fun way to learn about the different parts of the brain and the various functions associated with these parts, I have students in teams play a game that asks them to diagnosis which part of the brain has been damaged in a given scenario.  In addition, each student colors and assembles a "Brain Hat," which they wear during the game.  The hat is both silly and instructive.  Rather than simply hear me give a lecture about the brain and take notes, this activity encourages students to be active participants and turns them into "neurosurgeons" for a day.  The game format creates a playful competitive atmosphere that motivates students to learn about the brain, apply their understanding, and have fun in the process.  It's fun for the teacher, too!"




Posted 01/16/2018 07:40PM

Today, our students were excited to welcome our 2018 Arrillaga Family Speaker, Mr. Bryan Stevenson, who spoke to us about his work as a lawyer challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

Among the many takeaways Mr. Stevenson shared with us today was a roadmap for how we can effect change: by getting proximate to the people and the issues we need to understand and want to address; by questioning the narratives we accept about poverty and justice, by being hopeful; and by doing uncomfortable and inconvenient things. In closing, he offered us the reminder that justice, not wealth, is the antithesis of poverty.


Posted 01/05/2018 10:00AM

"When I think about why I do the work I do, I actually think of my privilege first. All of my ability to affect any change, that’s what I use. Because no one in this room is privileged or disadvantaged; we have multiple identities that are intersecting—not equally, not identically, but humanly."

-Alison Park, founder of Blink Consulting, at this morning's Local Challenges; Local Solutions Panel


Our Local Challenges; Local Solutions Panel this morning was moderated by Head of School Nanci Kauffman. Joining us were:

Peter Fortenbaugh, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula. BGCP provides the low-income youth of East Palo Alto, eastern Menlo Park, and Redwood City with opportunities that enable them to achieve school success.

Alison Park, founder of Blink Consulting. Blink is an educational consultancy that is critically rethinking diversity. Since 2009, Blink has collaborated with over 90 schools, as well as various community-based, government, and for-profit organizations to help create communities where all children, youth, and adults can thrive.

Raymond Plaza is the Director of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at Santa Clara University. He works closely with many groups across campus to design strategies for the recruitment and retention of individuals from underrepresented groups.

Posted 01/04/2018 03:00PM

"What we know from data is that opportunity gaps are what drive achievement gaps.

There are kids who have access to elevators running at the speed of a bullet train versus kids that are on escalators moving very smoothly from floor to floor...and then there are some kids who are on stairwells with missing handrails and broken steps. And we are saying EVERYONE has to get to floor 16, or college graduation, at the same time. How could you possibly get there all at the same time if you're using drastically different modes of transportation? What we as researchers and educators and policymakers have been doing is comparing at what speed students get to that top floor, ignoring, often, the radical difference in modes of transportation to that top floor. "

- Dr. Prudence L. Carter, Dean and Professor of the University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Education


Our Thursday Global Week keynote speaker Dr. Carter's research agenda focuses on causes of and solutions to enduring social and cultural inequalities among social groups, especially in education and schooling. Specifically, she examines academic and mobility differences influenced by the dynamics of race, ethnicity, class, and gender in the U.S. and global society. Her expertise spans issues of youth identity and educational well-being; urban poverty, social and cultural inequality, and the sociocultural and organizational contexts of schools.

She is also an award-winning author, elected member of the National Academy of Education and the Sociological Research Association, Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and Board member and Program Committee chairperson for the William T. Grant Foundation.

Posted 01/04/2018 10:00AM

This morning, we have a number of special guests on campus speaking about Equity in Education from different lenses of expertise. Students had the opportunity to attend three sessions that they were interested in. 

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