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Posted Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 

The Northern California Green Schools Conference, hosted by Castilleja over the weekend, was a resounding success! The Castilleja Green Team worked with students from around the Bay Area to put together a day of workshops and speakers to unite students and community members interested in Green Business. With eleven different schools represented, eight speakers/workshop leaders, a food truck providing a locally sourced lunch, and a beautiful day in Palo Alto, the conference on April 5th unfolded into a day full of excitement, education, and inspiration.

Posted Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 

Georgi Shea's Dance Production Workshop Team recently had the opportunity for an international Skype session with the Mariposa Foundation in the Dominican Republic. Students had a chance to chat with the Executive Director and Founder Patricia Suriel, as well as a handful of the Mariposa girls. After learning about each others' lives and having an impromptu dance party, the DPW Team was very excited to announce to Patricia and the girls how much Arts with a Heart raised this year, and will be sending to the Mariposa Foundation -- an impressive $27,788.77! Congratulations ladies!

Posted Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 

Castilleja's Margarita Espinosa Library decided to add an innovative twist to the traditional book festival-- all the submissions were edible! Why? The Library sagely said, "Because we love to read, and love to eat, and believe we should celebrate the two together!"

Students and Casti community members were invited to submit entries for a friendly competition. The rules were simply that all creations had to be made out of edible components and be a tribute to a book, whether a scene from the book, an illustration of the book's concept, a pun on the title, a food a character would eat, or simply a food in the shape of a book.

At the festival participants "oohed" and "aahed" over more than eighty submissions, and voted to award prizes in fun categories such as "Most Original," "Most Appetizing," "Best Visual Presentation," "Punniest/Funniest," and "People's Choice." They also participated in literary bingo and other fun book-related games to celebrate their learning and reading. A good time was had by all. Check out the slideshow below to get a glimpse of participants' luscious literary submissions, and see the competition winners on the Library's website!

Posted Thursday, Apr 3, 2014 

This week Castilleja is hosting a group of six students and two teachers from Shanghai No. 3 Girls' School. The purpose of the trip is to inspire the students to pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and robotics, while also fostering an exchange of both knowledge and culture between the two schools.

In pursuit of China’s most recent Five-Year Plan, these educators are here to learn how we are promoting creativity and innovation in our classrooms. “Here in the Silicon Valley some are concerned about keeping pace with China’s educational system. And yet, China looks to the United States for guidance on how to provide a hands-on, problem-based education which will prepare their students for creativity and innovation,” says Head of School Nanci Kauffman.

This delegation was invited to spend a week in Palo Alto by Nanci when she learned on her most recent visit to China that the physics teachers at Shanghai No. 3 were struggling to engage girls in robotics. This weekend the delegation will be attending the Silicon Valley Regional FIRST Robotics Competition at San Jose State University to see Castilleja’s Robotics Team in action. In a challenge dubbed “Aerial Assist,” Castilleja will collaborate with peer schools to score goals through a “robotic alliance.” The delegation will also take a deep dive into the innovative culture of the Silicon Valley through visits to the Tech Museum and companies such as Facebook and Google.

Bourn Idea Lab Director and Robotics Faculty Advisor Angi Chau believes that this trip will leave the Shanghai visitors with an enduring sense of what it means to both think critically and act creatively: “When these girls get back to Shanghai, they will have a new lens through which to view their studies.”

The girls will be staying at the homes of Casti community members, and the teachers will be residing at the Lockey Alumnae House. Please be sure to say "hello" to them around campus and make them feel welcome!

Posted Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 

Today students spent their lunch hour grappling with the complex socio-political situation in the Ukraine. To help the girls gain perspective on the unrest, the ACE Center had a special guest: current Peace Corps volunteer and Casti alumna Katie Fitzgerald '07. While on campus Katie shared stores from her experiences teaching English in rural Ukraine and empowered students to examine the historical and cultural precursors to the current situation in Crimea.

Posted Thursday, Mar 13, 2014 

Castilleja is extremely proud of our Instructional Program Librarian, Tasha Bergson-Michelson, who was recently named a 2014 "Mover & Shaker" by Library Journal for her work with technology. From building two massive open online courses (MOOCs) for Google's search education hub, to collaborating with Castilleja colleagues to continue and broaden the school's research skills offering, her ability to leverage technology as a vehicle for teaching and learning has already benefited several hundred thousand(!) students. Click here to learn more about the award and her many achievements.

Posted Thursday, Mar 6, 2014 

On Wednesday Castilleja helped East Palo Alto's Brentwood Academy celebrate "Read Across America Day" by sending a group of eleven enthusiastic faculty and staff -- as well as students from one of Señora Richardson's classes -- to Brentwood's campus. Each reader selected a Dr. Seuss book, and joined kindergarten through fifth grade classes for a special storytime. Students also had an opportunity to ask readers questions, including everything from favorite food, to favorite color, to where they went to college. Valerie Ross, an English Teacher at Castilleja, said, "It was such an inspiring, beautiful experience, and I can't wait to do it again next year!"

Posted Tuesday, Mar 4, 2014 

This week the Margarita Espinosa Library is holding its annual book swap, where members of the Casti community have an opportunity to trade in books they have read for new ones they have not! All week people are welcome to visit the collection and browse, and the swap is sure to have something for everyone. Make sure to stop by and un-clutter your bookshelf so that you can re-clutter it again!

Posted Friday, Feb 28, 2014 

If you're planning to watch the Oscars this Sunday, keep your eyes open for Casti alum Tayo Amos '10. She was selected in a nationwide search for aspiring filmmakers, and she joins five other college students for Oscar week in LA-- culminating in the on-stage role of passing the gold statuettes to the celebrity presenters. The Stanford Alumni Magazine has all the details here.

Tayo's most recent project also made the news recently: Black Excellence, a series of short video interviews celebrating Black History Month. These daily posts highlight students in the black community at Stanford. Really impressive work!

Congratulations Tayo!

Posted Monday, Feb 24, 2014 

Rebecca Sherouse, Dave Lowell, and Jennifer Gaspar-Santos presented at The National Conference on Girls’ Education "On the Forefront: Advancing Girls Together" in Philadelphia this month.

The group demonstrated their innovative capstone projects that are the culmination of the Online School for Girls Certification Program. This Program was comprised of three parts: mentoring in cohorts, in-person conferences and workshops, and online coursework. Capstone projects were presented in both INSPIRE roundtable sessions and traditional workshop sessions that attracted independent school administrators, ed tech leaders, and educators from all over the United States.

Projects ranged from explorations in blended learning, to online professional development, to innovative ways to align assessment practices with a growth mindset philosophy. Additionally, Castilleja alumnae Sonia Jasuja '07, Arushi Goel '10, and Sharon Amann '69 joined the conference kickoff in an evening that celebrated both girls networking and MAKERS: Women Who Make America

Click here to learn more about the Online School for Girls Certification Program.

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Student Life
Posted 03/27/2015 04:28PM

This week Rivarly has taken campus by storm! The juniors and seniors have created a spectacular show of spirit and camaraderie. On Monday seniors showed their springtime joie de vivre by organizing a flashmob to celebrate the end of their uniform days. After busting out some dance moves -- and busting off their traditional garb -- they officially inaugurated their final quarter at Castilleja.

On Tuesday the juniors put on a "royal" display of class pride, decorating the campus with purple galore. There was even a throne for Head of School Nanci Kauffman and Head of Upper School Jim Pickett to celebrate their benevolent reign of the school. Check out the "Queen of Diamonds" playing card featuring Ms. Kauffman's portrait on her office window.

As if campus wasn't zooey enough, on Wednesday the seniors turned the Circle into a circus-- literally. With a theme of "Under the Big Red Top," the Class of 2015 kept the underclassmen "animals" at bay with the aid of faculty ringmasters, replete with three circus tents adorning the center of campus. The seniors even turned the second floor of the Arrillaga Family Campus Center into a miniature animal arena, including blow-up lions, zebras, monkeys, and giraffes.

Tonight is the renowned banquet hosted by the juniors to honor the seniors. This traditional end to Rivaly promises to be an event to remember, with the theme and decorations in the Dining Hall being disclosed only on a "need-to-know" basis in advance. Seniors are on pins and needles until the concept is revealed this evening!

Posted 03/26/2015 09:38AM

Come to the Edible Book Festival at the Espinosa Library next week! After school on Monday, March 30 (3:30-6:00pm), the whole Castilleja community is invited to drop by for literary games, treats, and the Edible Book Festival Competition. Everyone is invited to submit a creation made out of food and inspired by a book; everyone who comes to the event can vote on and then sample the delicious creations. See the library website for more information on the Festival and the We Won't Stop Club's book-inspired food drive. Don't delay -- RSVP to today!

Posted 03/25/2015 02:09PM

Last week Castilleja was honored to have the Real Vocal String Quartet (RVSQ) do a three-day residency at Castilleja. RVSQ’s surprisingly broad repertoire embraces the diverse influences of all four players, from classical, jazz, and rock, to songs and styles from West Africa, Brazil, and rural America. Yet while four distinct voices can be heard, in seven years of performing together the Quartet has achieved a true group sound.

While on campus the Bay Area quartet collaborated with students in arts classes on a wide variety of tunes and techniques. Students worked on improvisation and composition skills, and learned the key components of being a collaborative chamber musician.

One highlight included a workshop with the Upper School Choir on Regina Spektor's haunting tune Machine, which the group will sing at the upcoming Spring Concert. RVSQ also performed for all the 6th and 7th grade music classes, and worked on musical improv games with the students in smaller groups: the students had to create compositions on the spot, something RVSQ calls a "Now." This was so popular with the Middle Schoolers that they are continuing to create and perform their own "Nows" at the beginning of each class! As a grand finale, RVSQ treated Castilleja to a mini-concert Wednesday afternoon, which met with a standing ovation from students and adults alike.

Stay tuned (pun intended!) for details on the Spring Concert (May 21) and future opportunities to see students showcase what they learned from these master musicians!

Posted 03/24/2015 08:50AM

This weekend, fifteen Upper School students traveled to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland to take part in acting and design workshops as well as to see three incredible productions: Much Ado About Nothing, Pericles, and Guys and Dolls. Not only had some girls been in Ms. Walter's Middle School production of Guys and Dolls, but many had studied Much Ado About Nothing in Theatre with Mr. Mead! Imagine everyone's surprise to also discover that Guys and Dolls was directed by none other than Mary Zimmerman, a playwright and the director of Metamorphoses, which 9th graders study in Core Arts! Check out the image in the scrolling media banner -- the students are working on Friday morning with Oregon Shakespeare Festival actor David Thompson on language and poetry.

Posted 03/27/2015 10:18AM

7th grade dance students are continuing to study global dances! This week's stop on their tour around the world showcased India's unique set of tunes and techniques. Dancers enjoyed a lesson in the classic Indian Bharatanatyam dance style taught by one of their very own classmates, Ananya R. After an energetic demonstration and a hands-on workshop, students now have a new understanding and appreciation for the culture of India and for the skill required to execute this beautiful dance form.

Posted 03/26/2015 03:24PM

This week students in Xenia Hammer's math classes have been hard at work making models to help learning come to life.

In AP Calculus AB, girls are studying how to use integration to find the volume of solid objects. Volume can be approximated by looking at cross-sections of the solid object. To make the lesson more tangible, the girls combined integration with building 3D play-dough models of solids with cross-sections.

Meanwhile, in Ms. Hammer's Geometry Honors class, the girls are learning about the properties of 3D shapes. Students quickly progressed from studying simple cones and cubes to more complicated creations. To help the girls understand how different polygons can fit together in a larger whole, students whipped out scissors and paper to create tangible prototypes.  This daring duo decided to build 3D models of a compound polyhedron, composed of identical pyramids radiating outward from a central core. Well done, ladies!

Posted 03/24/2015 04:40PM

In honor of Women's History Month, Castilleja's 7th graders contributed to Wikipedia this week, editing articles on notable female authors who write the books our students love to read. Working with our librarians and 7th grade faculty to carry out careful, factual research, the students enhanced entries in Simple English Wikipedia. This lesson gave students the opportunity to develop a stake in a resource they use regularly, explore what it means to participate in an online intellectual community, and contribute female voices to a predominantly male crowdsourcing endeavor. The activity closed with a rousing debate about the value of Wikipedia to student researchers.

Posted 03/24/2015 08:50AM

This weekend, fifteen Upper School students traveled to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland to take part in acting and design workshops as well as to see three incredible productions: Much Ado About Nothing, Pericles, and Guys and Dolls. Not only had some girls been in Ms. Walter's Middle School production of Guys and Dolls, but many had studied Much Ado About Nothing in Theatre with Mr. Mead! Imagine everyone's surprise to also discover that Guys and Dolls was directed by none other than Mary Zimmerman, a playwright and the director of Metamorphoses, which 9th graders study in Core Arts! Check out the image in the scrolling media banner -- the students are working on Friday morning with Oregon Shakespeare Festival actor David Thompson on language and poetry.

Posted 03/23/2015 12:30PM

Under the leadership of 8th graders Dana A. and Sophia N., the Middle School Girls Learn International Club held a movie screening of “Half the Sky.” Half the Sky is a documentary about the challenges that girls face around the world, and how women in many countries are fighting valiantly to turn oppression into opportunity. The on-campus screening was held salon style, with time for discussion after powerful scenes. Donations were collected on behalf of Roshni Academy in India, one of Castilleja’s partner organizations. Roshni is hoping to raise enough money to buy a notebook for each incoming student, and the GLI Club is helping them reach their goals. Each attendee also had the chance to write a personal card to a Roshni student, forging bonds which transcend continents and circumstances. Well done, ladies!

Posted 03/17/2015 01:39PM

The Castilleja community welcomed twenty-two Italian students and their chaperones from February 27-March 8. They were here as part of an exchange that has continued for fourteen years. Last year, Castilleja students traveled to Fano, Italy for a week-long home stay; this year, the same students came here and were hosted by their Casti partners. As part of their stay, the Italian students shadowed at Castilleja two days and participated in a history presentation on World War II, enjoyed sitting on the Circle taking in the beautiful weather, and formed a large and noisy fan base for Casti softball games. They also spent a day sightseeing in San Francisco and another day in Monterey visiting the aquarium. The most memorable moments, however, were those spent with the Castilleja girls and their families. Some reflections from the families:

"I have loved having the Fano students here. Oddly, I think it's been even more exciting/beneficial to the younger siblings. Since they didn't go to Fano, everything is new and interesting and they lead lots of dinner-table discussions. Kid questions also remind me of things I would never ask." Heather, Mother of McKenna B. '16

"We loved having our Italian exchange student, Elena. She was delightful and it was fun comparing notes on the differences in our cultures such as what we think of as pizza: 'pineapple on pizza? It is good, but it is not pizza!' But, more important was our commonalities such as the high value of friendship, the camaraderie between the students, and the great excitement at visiting new places and meeting new people. Most of all, we were amazed at how easy it was to have our student here; she really became a part of our family." Najma, Mother of Sara B. '17

"It was so nice to see things through a new set of eyes -- the eyes of our Italian daughters and sons. There were new things for us to discover even in things we thought were familiar, such as the town of Santa Cruz and the university campus that we've known for nearly two decades. And it was just as much fun for me to explore Google's campus for the first time with the group." Raja, Father of Tara T. '16

"We are honored to have shared such a amazing experience with the students. We've made a connection that will last a lifetime. We now have two new members of our family." The Wilkerson Family

~Article written by Signora Richardson

Posted 03/12/2015 11:49AM

On Friday, March 6, Winnie Auma, from Village Enterprise, spoke to the African Studies class about her “journey” and her responsibilities as a business mentor, field coordinator, and country director in her native Uganda. The youngest of fifteen children, Winnie described the poverty that prevented her from attending school. As good luck would have it, her brother, a Catholic mission, and her “auntie” saw potential in Winnie and helped her to attend school, earn support from the Female Scholarship Initiative of the Carnegie Foundation, and graduate from Makerere University. This “passionate young woman with a dazzling smile and charismatic personality” went to work for Village Enterprise, a locally-based organization dedicated to “Creating sustainable businesses.  Transforming lives.” Students left class inspired and searching for ways to take action beyond the Circle.

Posted 02/23/2015 07:00AM

By Rosie C. '16

After lugging an electric piano across the Circle and stuffing it into the trunk of a car, Music for the Community members Yael, Kaitlin, Hannah, and Rosie arrived at Stanford Mall. We set up in the Center Pavilion at the doorstep of Tiffany’s and across from Macy’s – quite a lucky location! At this performance, we collected donations for the Music in the Schools Foundation, which provides music education for under-resourced children in East Palo Alto.

We joined forces with Woodside Priory’s music club, so we had two times the musicians and two times the repertoire. The program began with a violin duet, and shifted back and forth between modern and classical pieces (including Frozen, Bruno Mars, and violin/flute duets). It was extremely gratifying to see every and all kinds of faces in the audience: older couples, moms with their children, and girls dancing around until they excitedly ran up and put their donations in our open violin cases. Seeing their smiles made the performance all the more worthwhile.

Since we've been blessed with a great musical education both outside and inside of school, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to the community and share our love of music with others who are less fortunate. After a jam-packed hour of singing and playing, we raised $234 for Music in the Schools Foundation!

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