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Upper School

Learning to lead, listen, and "lean in" in India
Posted 01/07/2014 06:05PM

Today (day 4) we joined our Roshni friends for another bonding and educational experience. We started the day off with another one of Megan’s relaxing yoga routines and reflected on the day’s theme of leaning into discomfort. Afterwards we dived straight into activities. The first activity focused on teamwork and leadership/listening skills. In groups of 3-4 people, we solved puzzles requiring us to fold a sheet of paper in a specific manner. Two of the three members were to direct the last member on how to fold the paper. As we all shared our experiences with the larger group, we found that there were common challenges facing both the folders and directors. The folders found it difficult to take instruction from so many people and not fold without consent. The directors found it hard to agree on how to instruct the folder.

Our next activity focused on public speaking and we stayed in our table groups for it. Each girl was initially given 30 seconds to speak on a random topic without preparation. The teachers of each group evaluated the girls based on tone, persuasiveness, gestures, eye contact, posture, etc. After a few rounds of this, each group nominated one girl to advance to the final round. These girls would argue in front of everyone either pro or con for a given prompt. Everyone argued eloquently and proficiently even though three of the six were deemed “winners.”

Read more about the Investigators experiences in India

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Student Life
Posted 03/06/2018 08:00AM

Castilleja School Among Nation’s First Schools to Join New Campaign Led by Harvard’s Making Caring Common Project to Bridge Divides, Build Stronger Communities

Castilleja is among the nation’s first schools to join a new national campaign to mobilize middle and high schools to prepare young people to be constructive community members and citizens who create a better world. Led by Harvard’s Making Caring Common project, the Caring Schools #CommonGood campaign aims to motivate schools to take action to help mend our country’s fractures and strengthen democracy.

The campaign seeks to advance the following specific goals by working with schools nationwide:

  1. Deepen students’ care for others and their communities;
  2. Increase equity and access for all students in the college admissions process; and
  3. Reduce excessive achievement pressure in communities where it is detrimental to students.

These goals align with and build on Making Caring Common’s successful Turning the Tide initiative that has engaged more than 175 college admissions offices nationwide.

“Our country is at a crossroads,” said Dr. Richard Weissbourd, Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Faculty Director of the Making Caring Common project. “We need to mobilize the great strengths of Americans to prepare young people to build strong, inclusive communities and to protect democracy. This work has perhaps never been more important.”

To join the campaign, schools commit to taking substantial, meaningful action to advance one or more of the campaign’s goals and to engage in a self-assessment or evaluation process to measure the impact of their action(s). Schools that commit to, implement, and evaluate the impact of their efforts will earn a special designation from Making Caring Common.

More information about how schools, parents, and students can join the campaign can be found at commongoodcampaign.makingcaringcommon.org.

Posted 02/13/2018 10:00AM
Walk around campus on a January afternoon, and you will come across groups of Seniors tuning up their bikes, strumming guitars, building light sculptures, creating letterpress art, and getting to grips with budgeting.  Senior mini-courses are back for the second year! These no-homework, no-grade courses allow Seniors to explore new perspectives, build new skills and expertise, or dive deep into new topics under the guidance of fabulous Castilleja teachers and other experts. This January, students could choose between Bike Mechanics with Mr. Elgasseir, Guitar Basics with Mr. Thurston-Milgrom, Letter Press with Ms. Seroff, Making Lights Sing with Dr. Chau and Mr. Cummings, and Personal Finance with our friends at Next Gen Finance. Another session is planned for March.
Posted 02/12/2018 01:00PM

This past weekend, a cast and crew of 110 students came together for a performance benefiting Human Rights Watch in the 15th annual Arts with a Heart.

Bravo to our fabulous and hard-working cast and crew!

Arts with a Heart is a student-led dance production dedicated to creating awareness about an important social issue while fundraising for a related nonprofit organization.


For more pictures of this year's show, visit here.

Posted 01/29/2018 08:00AM

Castilleja's Mock Trial team, now in its third year, began the Santa Clara County Mock Trial Competition on January 23rd. The criminal case is a murder trial featuring a pretrial argument on the Fourth Amendment. The team had an impressive start in the opening rounds and the prosecution and defense will be back at it again next week. Junior co-captains Jacqueline H. and Madeline W. lead this young but mighty team of ninth and tenth graders along with their faculty advisors, Sue Kim and Jamie Sullivan. Outside attorney coaches are Michelle Melen '01 and Rachel Thomas. 


Academics
Posted 03/02/2018 01:00PM

Juniors Reese K. and Niav L. were awarded second place in the American Actuarial Foundation’s Modeling the Future Symposium in New York City on Monday.  This award came with a $15,000 prize ($7,500 each) that they will be able to use towards their college education!

The Modeling the Future competition asked students to write a paper that forecasts the impact of autonomous vehicles on the transportation industry, insurance industry, and society at large.  They were selected as finalists in December based on their original submission.  They received feedback from the judges, revised their paper and presented their findings to a panel of 12 judges representing actuaries from across the country. 

 

Posted 02/28/2018 05:00PM

"Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you Shakespeare?"

With one hand on the play, sophomores swore in with these words as Macbeth faced trial for his crimes.

In this vivid roleplaying activity for English II, each class divides up into prosecution and defense with students becoming lawyers and key characters who can provide testimony for or against Macbeth.

Judges Smith and Sherouse presided over the trials, with teachers, juniors, and seniors serving as jurors.

 

 

Posted 02/05/2018 09:45AM

Five Castilleja students have been named recipients of 2018 Scholastic Writing Awards. Congratulations to juniors Sophia N., Sophie N.-L., Alyssa S., Angie W., and senior Ella N! These students' award-winning essays, short stories, and pieces of investigative journalism were named among the best of the west in this annual writing competition. Sophie, Sophia, and Ella each had pieces honored as "Gold Key" winners, and these works will advance to national competition. 

Posted 01/30/2018 05:00PM
Today was the final day of a mini-course for seniors on basic bicycle maintenance, affectionately known going forward as the Casti Bike Kitchen
Our special guest today was Arthur Rodriguez of BikeTeacher.com. We diagnosed and fixed a number of problems with two different student bikes. The students also went through a checklist of safety issues with bikes. 
Posted 02/12/2018 01:00PM

This past weekend, a cast and crew of 110 students came together for a performance benefiting Human Rights Watch in the 15th annual Arts with a Heart.

Bravo to our fabulous and hard-working cast and crew!

Arts with a Heart is a student-led dance production dedicated to creating awareness about an important social issue while fundraising for a related nonprofit organization.


For more pictures of this year's show, visit here.

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.

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