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Posted Wednesday, Apr 22, 2015 

Now debuting on the Castilleja stage: A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare! Senior Kathleen K.'s hilarious production of the Bard's well-loved pastoral comedy runs Friday, April 24, at 6pm; Saturday, April 25, at 6pm; and Sunday, April 26, at 2:00 pm in Good Court. Starring a host of talented Upper School students in a beautiful venue, the play will also feature original music composed by Castilleja's Artist-in-Residence Motoko Honda. All ages are more than welcome to romp in the forest. To purchase tickets, click here.

Posted Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015 

Last Friday after school employees enjoyed experimenting with Castilleja's brand new print studio! Our print studio has two working printing presses and an array of moveable type and "printers cuts," pictorial components that add to a design. A group of Middle School students in a Monday afternoon elective have been the first to use the machines. Keep an eye out on campus Wednesday for Shakespearean couplets set in type by Middle School students decorating campus for the bard's birthday!

Posted Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 

Art for the Earth: Art 8 Fashion and Print students designed, created, and installed a 27-foot-long, 7-foot-high installation art project publicizing San Mateo's Earth Week community day. Working as a coordinated team for two weeks, 16 artists considered sustainability in art and the link between material and message, and wrestled with the logistics of large scale sculptural and visual designs. In their piece, a mountain of trash transforms into a multitude of fluttering butterflies adorning the background wall and ascending toward the sky. Carefully designed leaf-edged lettering complements the sculpture.

The art installation is next to Walgreens at 191 East 3rd Avenue, San Mateo. It will be on display through Thursday, April 30.

Posted Friday, Apr 3, 2015 

Folks traveling on the Bryant Street bike route are in for a treat. The 6th graders spent FLEX period Wednesday celebrating National Poetry Month by decorating a brightly colored tree by the Bryant Street bike bollards with poems for the Palo Alto community to enjoy. After hanging poems on the lower branches, they posted a sign inviting passersby to take a poem to read now, or to scan a QR code to read one later. No time to head down to the bike bollards? Pause to enjoy the poems sprinkled on doors and windows around campus!

Posted Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015 
In recent years, Castilleja's Commencement speakers have included:
  • Carol Bogart -- Human Rights Activist
  • Carol Jenkins -- Television Newscaster
  • Mona Simpson -- Author
  • Emily White '96 -- Tech Executive and an Alum

This year, Castilleja is pleased to announce that once again it will host an alum -- this time from the world of science. Pam Silver '80 is one of the founders of the Systems Biology Lab at Harvard Medical School, and is the lab's first Director. She is building cell-based machines, designing novel therapeutics, and reengineering photosynthetic bacteria to produce hydrogen and other fuels. Among Pam's most recent innovations is an artificial extracellular matrix that could become a highly effective and safe tool for regenerating bone, muscle, and other tissues. Kriti L. '15 assisted with the research in Pam's lab this past summer.

We look forward to Pam's insights as an alum and as a scientist -- she is eager to share her wisdom with our graduating seniors!

Posted Friday, Mar 27, 2015 

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 Thursday, Mar 26, 2015 

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 Wednesday, Mar 25, 2015 

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 Friday, Mar 20, 2015 

Three cheers for Commuting Superstar #3: Vince Dailey, Assistant Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds. Vince rides his bike to school and manages traffic around our community! We don't know what we would do without him!

Posted Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 

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

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Student Life
Posted 01/12/2017 11:27AM
Tickets for the Middle School Musical are now on sale! Next weekend middle school performing arts is excited to present The Addams Family and there are three opportunities to attend:
Friday, Jan. 20 at 7:30
Saturday, Jan 21 at 7:30
Sunday, Jan 22 at 2:00
Tickets are $15 for students and $20 for adults.
Click here to purchase tickets!



Posted 12/16/2016 05:16PM

Winter Break begins today with school resuming 1/3. We wish everyone in our community a restful and fulfilling holiday! 

Enjoy this video of a Dance Production Workshop performance at this year's Winter Showcase.


Posted 12/13/2016 08:00AM

Castilleja musicians performed for a full Chapel Theater Thursday night at the 2016 Winter Concert. Middle School students and Upper School Students, Vocalists and Instrumentalists all came together to share traditional holiday songs and some new seasonal favorites (including a special rendition of Michael Jackson's Thriller!) Click here on on the photograph below for a selection of photos from the concert! The password for the gallery is gators


Posted 11/29/2016 12:00PM

Grandparents and Special Friends Day

Before leaving for Thanksgiving Break, the Castilleja Community welcomed grandparents and special friends to visit the school and attend classes with their students. The afternoon reception began with student speeches and performances from both Upper and Middle Schoolers. After greeting their grandfriends on the Circle, students brought them to their next class and were excited to share the Castilleja experience with their guest. Click the photograph or link below to access an album with pictures from the day!* 

*Individual shots of students with grandfriends will be available from Lifetouch at a later date

Posted 01/10/2017 03:26PM

Last Friday we had even more to celebrate after the end of a successful Global Week. For a very special edition of Maker Fridays, Head of Middle School Anne CameronHA had the honor of cutting the ribbon for our new Middle School Tinkering Nook.

The creation of this new maker space on campus was made possible by a generous donation by Carol and John Giannandrea. Ms. Cameron wielded the giant ceremonial scissors, but the creation of the Nook was the result of hard work and vision from many employees around the Circle.

Mike Cummings, the Bourn Lab's Resident Engineer, led the efforts to put the Nook together with major support from Dan Chapman and everyone in maintenance, Ken Ochi, and folks from our Tech department. HUGE thanks to this team, who worked tirelessly for the weeks before winter break to put everything in place. Special thanks are also due to Angi Chau, Josée BandHA, Anne CameronHA, and Diego Fonstad for their support and close involvement in the process.  Emily Clark will be the main after-school instructor for the Nook and has been hard at work on developing projects and activities. 

Q&A with Angi Chau, Director of Bourn Idea Lab

What is it?

The Middle School Tinkering Nook is sort of a "mini Bourn Lab" stationed in the middle school, so that middle school students have even easier access to tinkering opportunities.

What kind of equipment does it feature?

Right now, we have two 3D printers—different models from the ones in the Bourn Lab because we are always looking to learn new things! There will also be a large set of littleBits for lots of fun tinkering activities with electronics. We are hoping to find out from our middle school students what they want to do in the Nook, so they can help us figure out what to stock there!

When can I use the Nook?!

 This week, the Nook will be open on Tuesday after school (3:15pm-4:30pm) as another "soft opening" for the space. Then moving forwards, it will be open two days a week after school—either Tues/Thurs or Wed/Thurs. We will send an email to announce the days once they are confirmed. 

 Since it's in the middle school, teachers will also be able to more easily integrate tinkering and making into their classes so you might see the Nook open during the school day too! 

Maker Fridays will continue to be held in the main Bourn Lab on Fridays (and Ms. Clark will be there for that too!). But there may be special occasions when we decide to move Maker Fridays to the Nook, so look out for that!




Posted 12/14/2016 11:28AM

5th Annual C-STEAM Forum 

What do a violin maker, a heart transplant surgeon, and a NASA scientist have in common? They were all guest speakers at Castilleja's fifth annual C-STEAM Forum! On Wednesday, December 7, fifteen distinguished women—alumnae, parents, and friends of the school—shared their experiences in fields as diverse as entrepreneurship, medicine, product design, engineering, environmental science, applied arts and computer science with Upper School students. The program concluded with informal panel conversations. With the speakers sharing their personal and professional wisdom, students gained a close-up look at STEAM careers and heard empowering and inspiring stories.  

For more photos from the forum, click here. Gallery password: gators


Posted 12/12/2016 08:00AM
Sixth grade history students presented their Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia Poster Projects to each other in an academic conference setting. Students got "INTO" their topics by noting the part of the textbook that addressed their area of interest. They got "THROUGH" their topics by exploring them in more depth and demonstrating their ability to find and interpret information related to it in a book, a library database, a primary source, a piece of art, and a map. Finally, students went "BEYOND" their topics by connecting something they learned to their own lives, and to our times, by telling a personal story and finding a relevant current event. This involved not only researching, reading, putting what you learned in your own words, writing with clarity, and documenting sources, but also artful design of the poster layout and generous social and emotional skills during the presentations. 
Posted 12/02/2016 09:52AM

Seventh Grade Science Battles Lego Robots in the Bourn Lab

After studying about how DNA is a code of biological instructions, students programmed Lego Robots to compete in a challenge for survival in the Bourn Lab. This challenge also builds on their learning experiences related to the summer reading book, "Secret Coders" by Gene Yang. Pairs of 7th graders learned to code and direct a robot through several mini-challenges to learn various techniques, then wrote a final program for battle. The final day of this project groups dueled each other to put their programs to the test.


Posted 01/09/2017 08:00AM

Our Global Investigators will be back on Castilleja's campus Wednesday after a week-plus of learning and leading in India, China, and the Dominican Republic. Here are some photo highlights from their experiences.


Global Investigator Trips 2017/ Dominican Republic

A day of cooking and partnership building with The Mariposa DR Foundation.

Photo by Mark Tuschman

Exploring the Dominican Republic's natural beauty.
Global Investigator Trips 2017/ China
Leading a fun arts and crafts lesson with schoolchildren.
Snapshot from a day of learning about biofuels and enjoying a delicious meal cooked with biogas.
Global Investigator Trips 2017/ India

Meeting and getting to know our Roshni partners.
Exploring New Dehli
Posted 01/06/2017 06:10PM

Global Week 2017: Migration ended with a grand finale today. The morning began with an engaging discussion with Human Rights Watch deputy program director, Tom Porteous, and European Union Ambassador in Mexico, Andrew Standley. Throughout the late morning and early afternoon students completed and presented their various grade level projects. The whole community gathered in the afternoon to share their projects and join in inspired celebration with At the Table with Dr. King.

For more photos, visit our Facebook Page!

Posted 01/05/2017 12:05PM

"The toughest border is the one between our heads, our hearts, and our hands"- Rev. Deborah Lee at Castilleja's "Migration Beyond the Law" Global Week panel discussion.

This morning's panel was moderated by Cécile Shea and also included the voices of Victoria Tinoco, Mamy Najurama and RefugePoint's Sasha Chanoff.

Reverend Deborah Lee is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ who has worked at the intersection of faith and social justice for over 25 years. With his humanitarian organization RefugePoint, Sasha Chanoff finds lasting solutions for the world's most at risk refugees. Mamy Najurama works as a Behavioral Health Technician and escaped the Democratic Republic of Congo with her mother and six younger siblings with the help of Sasha Chanoff and Sheikha Ali. Victoria Tinoco is an Immigration Paralegal whose passion to help the undocumented community stems from her family's own journey. The panel was moderated by Cécile Shea, a former U.S. diplomat and current non-resident senior fellow in security and diplomacy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Posted 01/04/2017 11:05AM

What do tales of pirates and Quakers have to do with migration? During today's compelling Global Week keynote presentation, San Francisco State University Assistant Professor of History Sarah Crabtree explored nations, borders, and the construction of citizenship with Castilleja students. Her work examines the relationship between nationalism and citizenship during the American Revolution, focusing specifically on how people worked to maintain relationships across geopolitical borders.


Upcoming Events
    • Sunday - January 22, 2017 MS Musical Cast Strike Party 4:00 PM to 6:15 PMLoc: Dining Room
    • Friday - January 27, 2017 MS Event - Dance-A-Thon 7:00 PM to 9:30 PMAthletic Center, Loc: Upper Gym, Please park with care
    • Monday - January 30, 2017 US Spring Sports Begin All

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