June Term


From May 22 through June 8 in 2018, all West Sound Academy students participate in June Term. June Term takes place after spring semester finals. Students study one or two intensive classes for three weeks. June Term provides a forum where students put the academic skills they have been building into practical application. The day is divided into a morning June Term class and an afternoon June Term class or an all-day June Term class. Students are graded and earn 0.25 - .5 elective credits for each of their June Term classes. Go to Image Galleries to see the album of 2018 June Term photos. 

Morning June Term Options

Human consciousness - Britannica ImageQuestBeing Human                                                                                    Eric Bright

Being Human is a multi-faceted and interdisciplinary exploration of the fundamental question “what does it mean to be human?” This class will examine how humans and non-humans are represented in film, television, art, literature, graphic novels, news and talks. Answering this question requires engaging in related issues which themselves are complex and difficult to untangle: Are humans animals or something different? Are humans rational or irrational? Do humans possess free-will or are they merely the product of deterministic forces? How have humans been shaped by technology? Is there even such a thing as a self? What is the role of the soul? If you enjoy discussing, writing, viewing and exploring ideas in philosophy, art, science, religion, and popular culture (film, television, music) with other curious students please join us for what promises to be a fun, thoughtful and enlightening class.

Paige out in the field with her watercolors in the Birdwatching June TermBirdwatching and Watercolor En Plein Aire                                Jen David

If you have ever found yourself awestruck watching a bird in flight or amazed by a birdsong, come join this June Term and become one of our ornithologist crew! Each day we will explore a new natural setting to view a variety of local bird life, explore how urban growth has depleted some bird species, but encouraged other bird species. Students will pack watercolor supplies and paint birds in action, observing behaviors and capturing them in their natural habitats. We will try to spot migrating groups in a variety of settings and discuss how and why these birds develop migratory patterns and how they accomplish this amazing feat. In addition, each student will receive a bird identification book to assist in identifying birds. Students are requested to bring their own binoculars daily, and if a smartphone is owned, to bring it along to utilize the Merlin Bird App we will install to help identify birdsong. As this is a class that will be conducted outside, be prepared to dress accordingly for the weather, and come with a love of bird life and a desire to paint these amazing creatures.

Contemporary Dance                                                                      Alayna Garvin

Contemporary Dance June Term 2017Modern, hip hop, k-pop, and lyrical dance types are all possible in this student-led exploration of contemporary dance. The class sessions will include a warm-up, choreography learning and movement practice. Students set goals for themselves, and create their vision of dance practice. They will interpret and choreograph movement to music by popular artists they choose. The culmination of this course is a dance performance in video and/or a live performance. In the words of Justin Timberlake, “I got this feeling inside my bones...Nothing I can see but you when you dance, dance, dance…”

Nicoletta striving up some stir-fried vegetables for a Let's Eat June Term feastLet's Eat!: Learning through Food                                                Eryn Morrigan

Do you like eating tasty food? Of course you do! Do you want to learn how to cook delicious food for you and your friends? Let's explore how science and culture together can create better, tastier, and more exciting food! In this June term, you'll be cooking and eating delicious recipes every single day. This class teaches important cooking skills for life, the neat-o science behind the food magic, and how we are united in our humanity through food and culture. We will explore different cultural traditions of food preparation including American, Central American, Tibetan, Japanese, French, Indian, Russian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, West African, and South American Andean. Some techniques we will learn include: pressure cooking, baking, pickling, steaming, grilling, marinating, frying, sautéing and dessert baking. Every day is a new culture and a new food!  Note: this class is not gluten-free, but does have ovo-lacto vegetarian options every day.

A row of brightly painted model rockets launch - Britannica ImageQuestModel Rockets                                                                                Spencer Tryba

Learn about the history of space flight, the anatomy of rockets, what make a rocket stable, and what it takes to put a payload into orbit. Practice designing and piloting rockets with Kerbal Space Program, a fun and realistic space simulator game. Bring what we learn into the real world by building and launching your own model rocket!

Stop-Motion Animation                                                                   Peter Bill

Still from the 1952 film, 'Neighbours' by Norman McLarenStop Motion Animation is one of the first animation techniques ever used. We'll look into the history of the form the first week- watching several stop motion animation classics, as well as developing story boards for a group project. Students will create a short film using Pixelation techniques. Students will take on different roles as actors, camera people, editors, sound, and art directors. We will create a short promo film for West Sound Academy, or tour of campus like this one. Pixelation is a fun animation technique that has been used by Academy Award winning directors such as Malcolm Gladwell. See his 1952 film, 'Neighbors.' If there is time, the last week students will develop their own projects, singly or in small groups. Peter Bill is a WSA parent who teaches film and animation at Olympic College.

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Afternoon June Term Options

Nora at work on a chicken dissection in the Art & Science June TermArt & Science                                                                                Karen Mattick

This June Term will combine art projects and science experiments in an exploration of how seeing the world and representing it artistically affects scientists’ understandings. Conversely, we also will consider how science, in turn, affects artists. We will practice scientific illustration, drawing the natural world. In addition, we will use materials from the natural world as tools to do art. Sometimes, we will do science experiments that also happen to create great imagery. We will consider how artists depict things we can’t directly see- black holes, dark matter, quarks- and how that shapes our perception and understanding.

Card Magic                                                                                    Ben Owen

Hand of 13 playing cards - Britannica ImageQuestIf you are willing to take the magician's oath, you can develop your skills as an amateur magician in this introductory course on card magic. The beginner will learn a variety of self-working card tricks that will astound spectators yet require no sleight of hand. The more experienced conjurer will learn how to combine breaks, controls, lifts, and forces to perform powerful illusions. We will analyze videos of master magicians at work and learn how they use science and skill to bewilder audiences. By the end of the course, you will be able to perform a custom routine that will amaze friends and family--but as a magician, you must never reveal your secrets!

Maker Playground                                                            Duncan Forbes & Barrie Hillman

2018 Maker Playground June Term class, with 'The Bunker' that they built in 'The Gully', WSA's new adventure playgroundThis June Term was inspired by the model of Adventure Playgrounds being built internationally to provide kids opportunities to engage in risky play and self-management without constant adult intervention. The students in this class will be tasked with designing and building a Maker Playground from the ground up where students will be able to engage in building and creating using hand tools in an outdoor designated space. The vision for WSA’s Maker Playground is to create an outdoor space where loose materials such as lumber, pipes, rope, crates, boat bumpers, pulleys, etc. can be available for students to build, create and experiment. The students will develop the guidelines for finding balance between safety & risk management and the need to let students explore without a lot of adult intervention. The students will develop a mission and purpose statement for the playground, help procure material donations, organize the space, develop safety protocols, plan for keeping the playground aesthetically pleasing, and train as “play workers” who can supervise open build sessions for younger students as potential summer CAS opportunities. An untouched forested portion of the school property has been designated as the Maker Playground location and the group may meet in advance of June Term to help prep the site and make some plans. Duncan Forbes is a WSA parent who offered Canoe Building in June Term 2017.

Escaping the puzzle room in Seattle with 4 minutes 13 seconds to spare!Puzzles and Patterns                                                                       Kim Uyyek

If you are a puzzle-solver (of all kinds - jigsaw, 3-D, word, etc.) and/or intrigued by patterns in our world, this June term is for you. We will be investigating patterns of all kinds - natural, mathematical, weather, quilting and speech to name a few. As for puzzles, there are many kinds of puzzles besides jigsaw and word puzzles. We'll play with ready-made puzzles and make our own. For a special treat, we will go to an escape/puzzle room in Seattle.

Star Trek                                                                                           Lionel Pummell

Star Trek (TV), 1966 - Britannica ImageQuestStar Trek has embedded itself in our daily lives and sparked the minds of scientists to go where no man has gone before.  In Star Trek 4 (1986) Scotty sold the formula for transparent aluminum, today Surmet makes ALON transparent aluminum armor. Communicators, transporters, tractor beams, Phasers, tricorders - all things of the far future in 1966 when Star Trek first aired - are now currently used or being developed.

And it’s not just the tech.  Set Phasers to stun, beam me up Scotty, live long and prosper are phrases that have become part of the American lexicon. Through discussion, writing, online exploration and viewing selected episodes we will see why Star Trek has endured the test of time. Students in the Star Trek June Term will warp speed ahead ... because Resistance is Futile. 

Writers Workshop                                                                          Jessica Outlaw

Students share their work after a writing exercise in the Writers Workshop June TermThis June Term creative minds will gather to discover themselves through writing. Students will explore countless writing genres and processes and become poets and authors in their own right. Class will be a mix of workshop (writing) and sharing (reading). We will work outdoors when weather permits and seek inspiration in nature. At the end of the course, students will share their favorite pieces at a writing celebration on campus. Writers will need a notebook and pen/pencil. Everything from this course should be written by hand mindfully in the same notebook.

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All Day June Term Classes

June Tunes                                                                                     Paul Burback

2018 June Tunes - the group photoJune Tunes is an all day music ensemble course with the goal of a live performance on June 7th. Students who are considering taking this class should have intermediate to advanced experience on at least one instrument. The class will work together as a group to deconstruct and reconstruct music along their own lines of inquiry. Students will be actively involved in choosing their song selections and organizing rehearsal time. This class will also focus on teaching students about the technical side of live sound and stage design. Space is limited and enrollment is prioritized by grade level, instrument experience, and the teamwork contributions made by the student in prior music elective classes.

Playworks!                                                                                     Gretchen Nordleaf-Nelson  

Middle School Playworks - 2018 June TermIn this June Term class we will use improvisation and theatre games to write the Middle School play! In the real world of theatre it is called “Devised Theatre.” Students will have the opportunity to work on and off the stage in this course.

What is Devising? Devising a piece of theatre can be a stimulating and exciting journey towards the development of a performance, which is a fusion of the unique talents and creativity of the group. It is not a direct journey, but one in which you will encounter well-trodden paths, blind alleys and sudden surprises.

Everyone’s ideas are considered and collaboration is the name of the game! If you like acting, directing, designing, singing, dancing or all of the aforementioned – this is the June Term course for you! In devising all students will be performers, act as crew and participate in making costumes, set pieces and props. Pre-approved upper school students may enroll in order to assist with tech and production as Stage Manager and or Student Director.


2018 June TREC in Paris, France

June TREC (Travel, Rethink, Explore, Connect) classes give students the opportunity to opt in for a June Term that involves a trip. This allows for greater flexibility on providing international travel or service trip opportunities. Trips are multi-age but some are specific only to middle school or upper school.  A student who chooses to do a June TREC class will make that choice in the first semester and will have an all-day June Term class centered on the trip experience until the group departs on the trip.  In 2018 there are three June TREC classes that students can choose to participate in instead of day classes. Students have a choice between day classes on campus or June TRECs. 

2018 June TRECs:
  • Historic Boston - Cancelled due to lack of enrollment
  • Spain and France - Faculty leader: Lara Herrington
  • Outdoor Adventures in Washington and Oregon - Cancelled due to lack of enrollment


Independent June Term


A student intending to propose an Independent June Term course of study can choose between half day or full day. The student must indicate their intention on the form below along with the independent June Term course proposal that is available on our website on the June Term page. All independent June Term course proposals must include a designated adult supervisor or mentor that is not a parent. Only domestic upper school students are eligible for an independent June Term unless otherwise arranged with the Head of School. Please submit an Independent June Term form even if you have already communicated verbally about your plan to the Head of School. The 2018 June Term Independent Proposal Form is due March 19, 2018.



Students are graded and earn 0.25 - .5 elective credits for each of their June Term and June TREC classes. Seniors may choose to participate in a June Term after graduation but they will not receive their diploma until after the term is complete.  A student who departs early must complete an approved Independent June Term program.

The Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland drops 60 meters over the cliffsJune TREC 2019


The international trip destination for 2019 is Iceland! Enjoy seven days of travel and adventure on this unique island nation which is rich in geology and scientific phenomena! Come to the informational meeting being held in the conference room at Baker Hall on Thursday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. You have a chance to win a glacier excursion extension trip just by attending the meeting if you join the trip. Signing up now means that you can pay over time in monthly increments. Parents can go too! And parents can also go even if their student does not want to!

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