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Posted Friday, Aug 28, 2015 
Meet Julia Odelowo, our new Director of Alumnae Engagement. She's already been very busy meeting as many Alumnae and students as possible--maybe you saw her hosting a delicious breakfast reception up on the balcony during Tie Ceremony--Or maybe you've received an invitation in the mail for Reunion Weekend 2015 (September 25th and 26th.) Regardless, there may be a few things you don't yet know about our new champion of all things Casti-Alumna...





1. Julia is a fourth generation educator - her great grandmother taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Sonoma County.

2. Her first "real" job was making cotton candy at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in her hometown.
3. Her dog, Scout, is named for one of her favorite novels, To Kill A Mockingbird.

4. Julia spent a year working at a school in rural Tanzania.
5. She has visited 49/50 states...and looks forward to hosting Castilleja alumnae gatherings in several this year!  Stay tuned for dates and locations.
Posted Monday, Jun 8, 2015 

Sixty-two young women in white dresses filed into a large white tent in the middle of Castilleja School's central lawn. A small orchestra gently played "Pomp and Circumstance" as each member of the Class of 2015 entered clutching a bouquet of red roses. A stack of red diplomas awaited them on the stage. So began Castilleja School's 108th commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 6.

Friends and family listened as speakers reflected on the education and values Castilleja, an all-girls private school serving grades 6-12, imparted on the graduates.

"With the support of teachers who taught us not what to think but how to think we've learned to observe the world with a critical eye and to question the things that may seem obvious," class valedictorian Jolena Ma said. "The Class of 2015 has formed an incredible and unbreakable bond. An all-encompassing unity and sense of inclusivity."

Friendship was the theme of the day. Keynote speaker Dr. Pam Silver, who graduated from Castilleja in 1970 and is now a professor of biochemistry and systems biology at Harvard Medical School, reflected on what her high school experience meant.

"It was also about friends for life. I'm sure that all of you can point to at least one person that you will remain friends with forever," Silver said in a lighthearted, often humorous speech.

She encouraged the graduates to engage with science as college students. She brought along two examples of her work, a "bionic leaf" that looked more like a glass jar, and a large block of what she described as "cheese."

"It does not look like a leaf but this jar is capable of taking sunlight and like a leaf using it to split water and make hydrogen. The hydrogen is then used by organisms which we've engineered that live in the jar and can make fuel, drugs, or food. This is cheap and has potential for use anywhere in the world and even outer space," she said to impressed murmurs.

The "cheese" served more as a punchline. "One of my graduate students teamed up with a smell artist to make cheese from different parts of their body. So they made toenail cheese, armpit cheese, hair cheese, you get the idea. And they all smell distinct. I can still remember the lovely smell of Christina's big toe cheese."

Silver offered straightforward advice to the graduates.

"When you arrive at a college, everyone seems like a genius. But that's how you seem to them as well. Do not be intimidated, you are all geniuses in your own way. Take risks. I know everyone tells you that, but when I look back at my own success it's because of the risks I took and when I look at the disappointments it's because of the risks I didn't take," she said.

"Don't be too careerist, you won't enjoy yourselves too much and it's only college for heaven's sake. And don't follow the herd. As we often say the beauty of university life is that there really are no rules. You make the rules. And most of all, the world is your oyster. Go invent the future."

Graduates Megan Colford and Chloe Sales were selected by faculty for the Castilleja Award, which goes to the student or students who best exemplify the quality of the "Five Cs" (conscience, courtesy, character, courage and charity).

Colford described her classmates as fearless, though now they all face a new and terrifying challenge of taking full control of their lives.

"Our fearlessness does not just come from our classmates, but from our parents who always reminded us to get back up when we're down and to never ever give up," she said. "I don't view this award as a nod to my own personal achievements and abilities, but rather to the environment and family that we as a class created that has allowed all of us to thrive."

"(Castilleja is a place) where everyone is kind and caring and big-hearted," reflected Sales. "That is family. Familiar and warm. And this is what being at Castilleja feels like. It feels like coming home. What matters is that we remember each other. Though my classmates will disperse far and wide we'll remember our roots as we move on."

Head of Castilleja School Nanci Kaufmann, who was a member of the Class of 1974, recounted her reunion with some of her classmates when she turned 50, and urged the students to maintain their connections with their classmates.

"Friendships help us to live better lives. Today you graduate from Castilleja with so many gifts and all of them will matter in the future. But the greatest gift of all is the one I almost forgot to cherish for myself. So don't wait until your 50th birthday to reunite with your Castilleja connections. Grab hold of each other and don't let go," she said.

After the graduates filed out of the tent, with red roses and diplomas in hand, they gathered with family and friends.

"It's been amazing," said graduate Wings Yeung, who was surrounded by her family beaming with pride. "I think I've really learned how to work in a group and form a community, make friends and keep them."

Yeung is going to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she hopes to study electrical engineering and computer science.

Margaret Lane, Megan Colford's mother and a teacher at Castilleja, had the great privilege to witness her daughter and her classmates grow up.

"Teaching her class was a dream. They're one of the brightest and most motivated classes I've had," she said. "I've really seen them grow up. But I have to say that one of the things I've been so grateful for is that my fellow parents have been very supportive. As a group the parents of this class have been very respectful of the teachers and supportive and critical when they needed to be. It's been a really great group of people."

--By Joshua Alvarez, Palo Alto Weekly
Originally Published June 7, 2015

Posted Wednesday, Jun 3, 2015 

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon the Class of 2015 gathered at the Lockey Alumnae House for a lunch to celebrate their induction as Castilleja alumnae. Recognizing that graduation on Saturday isn't "goodbye," but rather the beginning of another phase of their relationship with the school, girls shared contact information and promised to keep in touch. Many members of the Class of 2014 returned to campus to welcome their friends to the alumnae community. In addition, four Castilleja employees were inducted as "honorary alums" to celebrate their decade of service to the school: Shannon De La Cruz (Office/Purchasing Manager), Shana Nistler (Spanish Faculty), Maggie Ely Pringle '71 (Alumnae Relations), and Jon Rockman (Science Faculty). Congratulations, everyone, and welcome to the alumnae community!

Posted Thursday, May 21, 2015 

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 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 13, 2015 

On Wednesday, March 11, Castilleja alumna Elizabeth Yin spoke to members of the Technovation Challenge teams. Elizabeth graduated from Castilleja in 2000, where she was an early advocate of and aficionada for technology: she participated in Gatorbotics, developed websites, and determined—with her Casti best friend—someday to develop their own company. She majored in Electrical Engineering in college, worked in the tech field in Japan, earned an MBA, worked for Google, and then reunited with Jennifer Hsieh '00 to found LaunchBit, which they just sold. While on campus Elizabeth advised the students on how to formulate a “pitch” that would elicit financial interest and support from investors, and she spoke candidly about some of the challenges she faced as a young woman in the male-dominated tech field.

Posted Monday, Dec 1, 2014 

In late November, Rachel Skokowski '11 was named as a 2015 Rhodes Scholar. As a student at Castilleja she epitomized our motto “Women Learning, Women Leading” and has continued her outstanding achievements in education and leadership since graduating.

Currently a senior at Princeton University majoring in French, she has a deep commitment to making the arts more relevant and accessible in the modern world. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa, she has a superb academic record across the humanities and a commitment to forge strong connections between art museums and local communities, especially to expose underprivileged children to museums and to the beauty of art. She has curated or interned at the Morgan Library and Museum, the Princeton Art Museum and for the Santa Fe Arts Commission, and is a Behrman Undergraduate Fellow. She is also a three-season varsity cross country and varsity track athlete. Her career aspirations are to push the boundaries of art curation. Rachel will do the European Enlightenment Programme within the M.Phil. in Modern Languages at Oxford.  

For more abotu Rachel visit:

We look forward to seeing the impact she will continue to have on the world!

Posted Friday, Aug 15, 2014 

Campus has been a hub of activity all summer with two sessions of summer campers coming to Castilleja each day for singing, playing, and swimming. Laughter emanated from around the Circle as girls enjoyed sunshine and a sense of camaraderie. Whether the girls were experimenting with arts and crafts, playing hide-and-seek, or staging a carwash by Good Court, their energy and enthusiasm was contagious. Several of the counselors were Casti alumnae or long-time campers who are now on staff, leading the cheerful songs, fun classes, and big smiles. To celebrate their final day, families were invited to watch skits, see artwork, and celebrate the fun and learning that went on all summer. See you next year!

Posted Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 

On Saturday, August 16, at 7:30pm Casti alumna Sophie Delphis '06 will sing Poulenc's La Voix Humaine in San Francisco (Old First Presbyterian Church, 1751 Sacramento Street). This forty-minute, one-act opera was composed by Francis Poulenc in 1958 for a soprano and orchestra; the theme centers around a jilted woman's last phone conversation with her former lover, and is not to be missed! Tickets are $25, sold only at the door.

Posted Monday, Jul 21, 2014 

On June 15, Sanah Imran '14, Katherine Hobbs '13, and eight other students presented to a group of parents, physicians, and CEOs about their experiences as the first class of Lefteroff Interns at the Fogarty Institute for Innovation. The presentation, title "Rules of the Road: Navigating the Fogarty Institute," highlighted eight key lessons the interns learned during their internship, such as "always bring a pen and paper" and "embrace ugly ducklings."

Each intern spent time working on group and individual projects with one or more of the start-ups in the Institute, heard from influential guest speakers and CEOs, and spent time learning with physicians from El Camino Hospital.

Katherine researched the demographics and regulatory environment in Indonesia for InPress and Prescient devices, and also edited content for Materna Medical's website. Sanah, only a week deep in her internship, has also helped design and edit Materna's website, and is planning to help build new devices for clinical trials.

The Fogarty Institute for Innovation promotes medical innovation by providing support to promising innovators and researchers as they transform their creative ideas into practical solutions to improve patient care. They offer mentorship at every step of the process, coordinating access to intellectual, physical, and financial resources to propel medical concepts from initiation to application. For more information, please visit their website.

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Posted 08/19/2016 03:00PM

The first week of school is next week! Here's some information about our first week's activities.

Day by Day 

Mon Aug 22-Wed Aug 24, Orientation and Startup Activities for all students

Thu Aug 25, Tie Ceremony, 8:00 - 8:15 am, Circle

Thu Aug 25, Grade-Level Parent Meetings, 8:20 - 8:50 am, following Tie Ceremony

Thu Aug 25, All Parent/Guardian Meeting, 8:55 - 9:55 am, following Grade-Level Parent Meetings, Chapel Theater

Thu Aug 25, Casti Gear and Spirit Wear Sale, 9:55 - 11:00 am, Admin bldg. lobby

Thu Aug 25, Seniors Drive the Circle, 10:05 am, following All Parent/Guardian Meeting, Circle

Fri Aug 26, Picture Day, 8:00 am - 3:30 pm, Upper Gym



OPENING DAY TIE CEREMONY Castilleja's traditional Tie Ceremony will take place on Thu Aug 258:00 - 8:15 am, on the Circle. At this ceremony, the faculty will pin red carnations on seniors, seniors will tie 9th graders' ties, and 8th graders will tie 6th graders' ties. You can identify the class of each student by the color of her tie as listed below. Questions? Contact Head of MS Anne Cameron or Head of US Jim Pickett.

  • 6th grade - yellow
  • 7th grade - pale blue
  • 8th grade - navy blue
  • 9th grade - green
  • 10th grade - orange
  • 11th grade - purple
  • 12th grade - RED!

GRADE-LEVEL PARENT MEETINGS Following the Tie Ceremony on Thu Aug 25, everyone is invited from 8:20 – 8:50 am to attend their grade-level parent meeting hosted by the Lead Parent Reps (LPRs) for their class. The LPRs will describe the upcoming year, class-level events, and volunteer opportunities. Questions? Contact CSA Resource Chairs Lauren Segal or Victoria Chiongbian here.

ALL PARENT/GUARDIAN MEETING Following the Grade-Level Parent Meetings on Thu Aug 25, Castilleja’s parent group, CSA (Castilleja School Association), will welcome new and returning parents and guardians to their first meeting from8:55 - 9:55 am in the Chapel Theater. Head of School Nanci Kauffman will introduce the leadership team and priorities for the upcoming year. You will also hear about CSA events and opportunities to get involved. Casti Gear will be available for sale after the meeting. All parents are members of the CSA -- join us! Questions? Contact CSA President Alison Abbo.

SENIORS DRIVE THE CIRCLE Following the All Parent/Guardian Meeting on Thu Aug 25, return to the Circle at 10:05 am to cheer for the senior class as they take their ceremonial drive around the Circle. Questions? Contact Head of MS Anne Cameron or Head of US Jim Pickett.

Posted 07/05/2016 03:00PM

June 30th marked a milestone for Castilleja School, as it is the day we submitted to the City of Palo Alto our application for a new Conditional Use Permit (CUP.) So that Castilleja can continue to deliver a vibrant and continually evolving 21st century program, we have asked the City for permission to grow enrollment in our Upper School over time. In addition, we have applied for permits to build an underground garage, and for entitlements to rebuild our classroom buildings. This is an exciting time for Castilleja, but there is a lot to accomplish before our community's vision can be realized.

Feeling inspired? Please consider writing to the Palo Alto City Council in support of Castilleja's plans. See for more information, including guidelines for letter writing.

Castilleja: Educating Tomorrow's Leaders from Castilleja School on Vimeo.

Posted 07/02/2016 03:00PM

Congratulations, Elijah Docter Thornburg '16, for publishing this article in the Palo Alto Online & Palo Alto Weekly about your experience as the first Castilleja student to graduate as a young man. We are so proud of you for beautifully articulating and sharing your story.

"I ultimately made what retrospectively was one of the best decisions of my life: to be openly transgender and to stay at Castilleja. Castilleja was — and always will be — my home. I felt welcomed and respected and loved for all of my time there and couldn't imagine giving that up. I knew that finishing my last two years of high school as the one boy at an all-girls' school would present its own set of challenges, but I thought it would be worth it. It absolutely was."

Read Elijah's article here.

Photo: "Castilleja School graduate Elijah Docter Thornburg gets high-fives from his fellow classmates after receiving his diploma on June 4." Photo by Veronica Weber.

Like Castilleja School on Facebook for more stories!

Posted 06/07/2016 04:48PM

Photo by Veronica Weber

Castilleja School celebrates students who lead

The Class of 2016 reflects on importance of friendship and gratitude

On Saturday afternoon, 67 girls clad in an array of white dresses strode across the circular lawn at Castilleja School arm-in-arm with their peers, each one holding a bouquet of red roses as they made their way to the stage.

Touching on themes of gratitude, education and leadership, Castilleja's 109th commencement began with a simple but telling statement from senior class Vice President Lea Sparkman, whose reading from Craig Silvey's novel "Jasper Jones" said what was palpably felt throughout the ceremony: "What I'm feeling, I think, is joy."

 After a choral performance of "America the Beautiful," valedictorian Claire Huang recounted the simple joys she experienced during her years at Castilleja like a friendly hello on her way to class or a joke between friends in the hallway after school, and how those small gestures made a big difference to her self-confidence. She explained that the best advice she received was not from a speech or classroom lecture, but was shown to her instead by the compassion and love of her peers.

"If there's one thing this class will be remembered for, it is our readiness to love ourselves and each other," she said. "Thank you for sharing your boundless generosity with me and everyone else on this campus and for showing me you don't need a big voice to have a huge heart."Photo by Veronica Weber

Other speakers talked about the importance of a Castilleja education, which keynote speaker and alumnae Laura Arrillaga Andreessen attributed to her success as a philanthropist, educator and social entrepreneur. Her schooling -- from its demands for excellence in academia, sports and service to its emphasis on camaraderie and friendship -- radically changed the way she approached life's most difficult and trying circumstances, giving her the foundation to be a leader in the world, she said.

"Education is the lighting of a fire, and at Castilleja we are ignited, we are stoked and we are illuminated," she said. "Castilleja educators light our fires, and they literally change the course of our lives."

Arrillaga Andreessen also imparted three "transformational gifts" to the graduating Class of 2016: competence creates confidence, hardship hones heroism and gratitude is everything.

Inciting laughter from students and the audience alike, she described the "two-year migraine" she suffered from her junior and senior years from the stress of school, and the constant diet of frozen yogurt, movie popcorn and broccoli that fueled her formative years at Castilleja, a battle greater in difficulty than any of her Stanford University degrees, she admitted.

Despite the difficulties of academic life, her education also gave her unique opportunities to learn from the world around her, to think critically and to gain entrepreneurial skills, all of which paved the way to her career today, Andreessen said.

"Learning how to multitask at a CEO level -- think academics, athletics, government, service -- before I had my driver's license, gave me the courage to have three full-time careers simultaneously," she said. "After succeeding at Castilleja, we can succeed anywhere and at anything because Castilleja gives us an invaluable gift: an acumen that creates unstoppable volition."

Castilleja Award winner Nicole Goodman, who was chosen by the school's faculty as a senior who best embodied the five Cs of Castilleja -- conscience, courtesy, character, courage and charity -- reflected on her gratitude for the opportunities and mentors that surround her and her classmates, dedicating her speech to the teachers who shaped the core of their learning experience.

"You have taught me the importance of learning driven by curiosity, and the value of understanding material for life rather than memorizing it for a test. You are my role models, my life coaches and my friends," she said.

In the final speech of the afternoon, Head of School Nanci Kauffman began with a reference to the Golden State Warriors, who are currently playing in the NBA finals, and asked the audience, "How can the Warriors' popularity and success become a source of wisdom to impart on our graduates?"

Kauffman went on to explain that in the complicated world, success is often defined by acquiring the "right combination" of leadership, risk taking, passion and teamwork. The Warriors have found that balance by equating strong leadership with shared leadership, a skill that the Class of 2016 also embraces, she said.

She praised graduates for their ability to shift leadership roles at a moment's notice and understanding "when to step up and when to step back."

After performing their last rendition of the Castilleja School Song, graduates filed out in pairs toward their family and friends for a reception hosted by the school, where each graduating senior had her own table adorned with pictures, graduation caps and presents."A true warrior does not allow fear to guide her choices, and neither should you," Kauffman said. "If you take nothing else from Castilleja, please take with you the confidence to take chances and to take your own shots."

Juliet O'Brien, who is attending the United States Naval Academy next year, said she is going to miss the all-girls aspect of Castilleja, in addition to the "really extraordinary" teacher-student relationships that the school fostered.

"To be able to have the all-girls experience in the back of my head as I go through college is something that will really help me in the classroom, like being more confident and courageous about sharing my voice and speaking out," O'Brien said.

Senior Laurel Nelson said that the closing remarks by Kauffman stood out for her, adding that the support she received from everyone on campus was unparalleled.

"Having the courage to go after what we want because we have the ability, not just through Castilleja, but through our own individual merits resonated most," said Nelson, who is attending University of California, Berkeley, in the fall.

Andreessen left graduates with the determination to constantly strive for greatness, but she also left them with an unusual request: "Today, as each of you begin to write the next chapter of your spectacular lives, my welcoming words to each of you glorious graduates is do not become the person you always dreamed of being."

"Become the person you never dreamed it was possible to be," she said, smiling with a knowing grin. 

by Avi Salem / Palo Alto Weekly
First and second photographs by Veronica Weber

For original posting by Palo Alto Weekly and more photographs by Veronica Weber, click the following link.

Posted 06/01/2016 08:00AM

All Middle Schoolers participated in Explo where the girls studied various aspects of the environment.  Each grade level made a unique connection to the theme based on what they had learned in their science classes this year: the sixth grade students explored the sources, effects, and solutions of climate change and pollution; the seventh grade students investigated aspects of environmental quality and the effects on various forms of life; and the eighth grade students, in their final year of Explo, delved into relationships between chemicals and waves and their effects on the environment.  This six-week process was completed during science class in groups.  During this time, they went on a field trip to collect data, participated in a service project, and spent time learning at Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge in mixed-grade groups. Back at school, they picked a topic of interest based upon what was observed, researched that topic, designed an experiment, ran multiple trials, analyzed results, and at the Celebration of Explo presented their results to the Castilleja community.  The purpose of Explo is to enable the students to have a collaborative learning opportunity as well as serve as an assessment of their growth within their scientific process skills. Teachers and parents alike marveled at the girls’ skills in scientific thinking!

Watch Explo Video Here!

Posted 05/31/2016 08:00AM



Hollywood Producer (and Casti Parent) BRAD LEWIS speaks to enraptured ninth graders, discussing how he got into Film and specifically Computer Animation...

As Brad stands in front of the Core Arts class, he details his experiences producing Antz for Dreamworks, Ratatouille for Pixar, and co-directing Cars 2 for Pixar.

Brad's presentation finishes with fantastic clips and a brand new trailer from his newest Warner Brothers' animated feature Storks -- coming this September!

Many thanks to Brad for getting Casti's ninth graders so excited about Film!



Posted 05/23/2016 08:43AM

As part of their American Political System class, sophomores have participated in a “mock congress” (“The Castilleja Congress”) focused on improving aspects of Castilleja. The House of Representatives was comprised of two class sections acting as two committees (“Environment and Facility” and “Student Life”), while the Senate, also two sections, acted as the upper house two committees (“Campus and Environment” and “Curricular and Extracurricular”). The House committees drafted and debated legislation. 

Students volunteered to play certain leadership roles, such House Speaker, Majority or Minority Leader, Majority or Minority Whip, or Sergeant at Arms. The mock legislative process occurred across six weeks, using two Extended Opportunitiy Periods for the formal House and Senate sessions in the Chapel Theater during which debate and voting occurred: members offered speeches, proposed amendments, and conferred with each other.

This year’s Congress (the “Fourth Castilleja Congress”) passed three bills: HB1 proposes that sex education be added to Wellness curriculum in the Upper School, HB4 suggests that snacks provided by our food service no longer be individual packaging as a way of reducing waste, and HB6 requests that water fountains in Rhodes Hall be upgraded to allow for water bottles to be filled.

After the bills passed Congress, the House and Senate leadership met with President Kauffman last Wednesday to present and discuss the legislation. In this meeting, President Kauffman immediately signed HB4 and HB6 and later signed HB1 after discussing the proposal with the Fitness and Wellness Department.

Although the Casti Congress is only a class activity, it not only introduces students to how Congress functions (using Roberts’ Rules of Order and other formal procedures), but also gives sophomores an opportunity to design and craft real reforms for their school. Ultimately, students both experience how Congress works and have a significant impact on their school in the process.

Posted 05/19/2016 08:00AM

Lelia Glass, a PhD candidate from the Linguistics Department at Stanford, visited Castilleja and delivered presentations about Linguistics to all four sections of freshman English.  Ms. Glass was incredibly passionate about her subject and engaged the entire ninth grade in several exercises about the structure and study of language. Students have just finished reading Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, so they gained greater insight into the authentic African American dialect present in the novel and were especially intrigued by her discussion of African American language systems. They were also curious about the ways different language systems are connected by their historical roots and "vestigial" qualities and were fascinated to learn from Ms. Glass that English and Hindi are closely related under the "Indo-European" language family! 

Posted 08/22/2016 02:00PM

This week, on and off campus, students are participating in grade-level orientations, retreats, athletics, and special break-out trainings of all sorts in preparation for the upcoming year.

On Monday, 7th and 10th grade left for their retreats and 8th graders had their opening and orientation. Ms. Kertsman and Ms. Clark led an active and reflective ACE Student Leadership Training (pictured) and 6th graders opened their year. 

Tuesday is 6th/8th grade Big and Little Sister orientation, Freshman orientation, and Junior Global Orientation begins with an Athletics meeting this evening. 

Opening Day isn't until Thursday morning, but by then Castilleja students will have already laid the foundation for a successful school year. Go Gators!

Posted 07/22/2016 05:00PM

My name is Rosie Crisman '16 , and I was the co-leader of Music for the Community (MFTC) ACE Org along with Kaitlin R. ‘18. Founded in 2009, Music for the Community blends community engagement with a love for music. We share this love of music with the Castilleja community and beyond through shopping mall performances, nursing home performances, bake sales (always a hit), school concerts, and off-campus teaching at East Palo Alto schools. Since 2014, MFTC has fundraised for Music in the Schools Foundation, which provides underserved East Palo Alto students with a fundamental music education. It costs only $75 to fund a child’s music classes for one year (remember this for later)!

This past school year, MFTC spearheaded a performance at Town and Country Village and kicked off the holiday season with an especially festive performance at Stanford Mall (complete with cheery sweaters and Santa hats). Our biggest event of the year was our Silent Auction benefitting Music in the Schools Foundation -- read on to learn more.

MFTC ran a successful online silent auction in 2012, and we decided to take that idea and run with it. To put an innovative twist on the 2016 installment, we invited Castilleja employees to contribute auction items. Those items were particularly popular, as well as items contributed by generous Castilleja students and Palo Alto business owners. We auctioned off beautiful artwork, jewelry, delicious savory and sweet treats, and even music lessons! We are proud to announce that we raised $1488.15 in our silent auction alone, and presented a $3,228.63 check to Music in the School’s Chair in late June. We feel honored to support a love for music in East Palo Alto, and all that the program does for its students. With our donation, we are able to fund one year of music classes for 43 students.

Thank you to the entire Castilleja community for your support, and a big thank you to all of the silent auction contributors and bidders -- we couldn’t have done it without you! MFTC wishes you a restful -- and musical -- remainder of your summer.

MFTC’s Website

Contact us: Rosie | Kaitlin

Castilleja School

Posted 05/25/2016 08:00AM
Senior Seminars kicked off on Wednesday May 18th with personal finance workshops. Educators from the educational nonprofit Next Generation Personal Finance and economics teacher Ms. Hammer taught seniors about college budget management, credit scores, and banking. In the afternoon, Stanford gynecologist Dr. Sophia Yen spoke to seniors about contraception and the state-by-state laws concerning reproductive health. The day concluded with a discussion on leadership and community by Ms. Kauffman.
On Thursday May 19th, seniors listened to a panel of recent Castilleja Alumni give advice to college-bound seniors. Seniors also attended a self-defense workshop led by Andre Salvage to learn how to physically defend themselves from assault. Lastly, seniors were able to choose between electives on voter registration, personal health and wellness, and car mechanics (changing a tire). In the afternoon, seniors walked to lunches hosted at Castilleja faculty's houses both to learn life skills such as sewing and to enjoy time with their beloved teachers. Afterwards, seniors returned to campus to talk to other Castilleja faculty members about their life experiences and advice for high school graduates.
Seniors Seminars concluded with a photo-decorating activity with music and TBT hashtags in the cafeteria.

Posted 05/12/2016 08:00AM

On Tuesday afternoon, the kindergarten students from Brentwood Academy in East Palo Alto joined their Castilleja 7th grade "big" buddies for an afternoon spent singing, dancing, playing field games, touring the Castilleja campus, and saying goodbye to each other for the year. Now in our 4th year of partnership work with Brentwood Academy, we are starting to feel like this work is very meaningful for our 7th graders and for the Kindergarten community alike.  We start the year by prompting the 7th graders with a question, "how do I partner within my community?" and through the year our 7th grade students grow so much as they discover what this means to each of them individually.  It is wonderful to watch this relationship flourish and, as many of the Castilleja community can attest to, it is such a joy to see 100 kindergarten faces and their teachers enjoying our campus as much as we do. 

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