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Posts Tagged "IB"

Parents Walk the Learner's Journey on Curriculum Night

September 11, 2019
By Barrie Hillman

Barrie leads the parents on a Learner's Journey walk

On September 10, 2019, WSA staff and faculty welcomed parents to campus for Curriculum Night which provided an opportunity for parents to experience the Learner’s Journey. Connecting in-person to the school and other people in it is one of the best ways to help ensure the success of our students. We appreciate all that took time out of their busy schedules to join us.

Ben Owen talking to parents on Curriculum NightTo start the evening's program I was joined on stage by six members of the Board of Trustees, Faculty and Administration who have children who are members of the Class of 2020. Each of us shared a few inspiring examples of how WSA has impacted their students. Being valued as a student, having tremendous trust in the teachers, students coming to know themselves were some stories shared.

Everyone received a copy of an informative booklet, West Sound Academy's Curriculum Night. Inside, parents can find helpful information, including study tips, the staff directory, the development schedule, lunch menus, and ways they can engage with the school.

WSA logoPlease see this PowerPoint presentation to read the highlights of the evening. One slide includes the new school logo that we have officially unveiled, and this is the story behind it:

The faculty and staff at WSA curate a series of pinnacles that your children will climb and achieve. The mountain is symbolic of those milestones. The W is stylized to be handwritten reminiscent of children because that is what we focus on – the students. The W also resembles upraised arms that provide support and safety to the children as they make their climb to reach every pinnacle. The staff and faculty at WSA are fully committed to the success of each child, defining that success differently for each individual.

WSA will be launching our new website this October so get ready for a brand new online look. Parents were encouraged to link and share our site in their social media postings and like us on Facebook and Instagram. We also ask that parents post reviews on and Private School Review.

Parents were asked to walk the Learner's Journey during the event by quite literally walking our new trail. Posted along the way were descriptions of the pinnacles students in each grade will be working on, summarized in the Learner's Journey Map included in the handout. 

Learner's Journey signParents spent the rest of the evening following their students' schedules to have mini-classes with each teacher and their child's advisor. These short sessions offered an excellent chance to meet teachers and get a sense of the class culture.

All signs indicate it is going to be a great year!

Posted in Parent Community

May, 2019: Coming Up at West Sound Academy

May 01, 2019
By Susan Trower

Go hawks! May 1-3:


WSA Spirit Week continues!


Monday, April 29: Pajama Day & Hugs

Tuesday, April 30: Snazzy Day & High Fives

Wednesday, May 1: Snazzy Day & International Salutations

Thursday, May 2: Mustache Day & Compliments

Friday, May 3: Decades Day & Handwritten Notes

 May 3:


Middle School Game Night & BBQ - May 3, 2019WSA's Student Council presents: 

     Middle School                      Game Night and BBQ

Place:  The Commons
Time:   6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Burgers & Hot Dogs: will be served!
Tickets: $5 per person
Interested?  Get your ticket at the Front Desk!

 May 4:

Tower Garden, Hampton Court Flower Show, 2004 - Britannica ImageQuest

Upper School
Spring Formal

"Enchanted Garden"
Saturday, May 7
Indianola Clubhouse
7 to 9:30 p.m. - $15 per person
Students bringing guests who do not attend WSA must return a completed Guest Permission Slip (first signed by WSA Head of School and then signed by the guest's parent) to the WSA Front Office by Friday, May 3, 2019 in order for the guest to be admitted to the event.

Read more about WSA events in May!

Posted in All School

April, 2019: Coming Up at West Sound Academy

April 01, 2019
By Susan Trower

 IB Extended EssayApril 9-12:


Extended Essay Café for Juniors

Juniors who are planning to submit an Extended Essay (EE) to the International Baccalaureate Organization in their senior year will give a slide presentation on their research and writing plans to an audience of EE Supervisors and fellow EE writers.

Place: Conference Room

Dates and Times
   April 9, 2:05 - 3:10: Max M., Noah M., Chaidie P.
   April 10, 2:00 - 3:00: Lucius V., River G., Julie H., Grace C.R.S.
   April 11, 12:20 - 2:00: Emily B., Boaz A., Paige J., Phillip C., Jaime L.
   April 12, 12:20 - 2:00: Sam A., Elliott D.,Grace A.S., Dylan B.

2 PM Release for Collaborative Planning April 10:



for teacher collaborative planning

2:05 - 3:10 p.m. 
  • Optional study hall for grades 11-12
  • Homework café available for grades 6-10

 Earth Day 2019 - Protect Our SpeciesApril 22:


Monday, April 22, 2018, is Earth Day

WSA students and staff will leave campus at 1:30 p.m. and travel by advocacies to designated clean-up routes throughout Poulsbo.

Students will make their way from the start of their route to Poulsbo's Waterfront Park for pick up at the park at 3:10 p.m.

 Kitsap Great Give - April 23, 2019April 23:


One day only: a 24-hour online giving event!

WSA uses the Kitsap Great Give to raise funds for a specific item that supports the students of the school. In 2019, WSA is quite literally attempting to support the students by raising funds for some desperately needed communal space furniture. Learning happens all over our campus and the common areas have no seating for small group work, socializing or teacher consultations. In an age when too many of us our looking at screens instead of at each other's faces, this seating is especially critical to foster both planned and impromptu face to face engagement.

On April 23 go to:


Read more about WSA events in April!

What's That Green Stuff? Seniors Complete Their Independent Biology Experiments.

January 07, 2019
By Karen Mattick

Initial phytoplankton culture for a senior’s Biology project - Karen Mattick photoOf all the experiments running in the Life Science classroom during the seniors’ biology experiments, the bubbling beakers filled with something vividly green received the most attention. That green stuff is Nannochloropsis phytoplankton. The experiment investigated the effects of salinity on the photosynthesis rate of these microscopic plants. The student made use of a dissolved oxygen sensor from our growing collection of electronic sensors in order to measure changing photosynthesis rates.

This experiment is one example of the fifteen student-designed investigations created this year as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program’s Internal Assessments. Read more >>>

Posted in Academics

May, 2018: Coming Up at West Sound Academy

April 29, 2018
By Susan Trower

Frodel Hall on the West Sound Academy campus - Mark Gsellman photo May 1:


Information Session and Tour

       Tuesday, 7 to 9 p.m.


Information Sessions introduce our faculty and program to interested families. Visitors have a chance to learn about our academics and extracurricular activities, meet the Head of School and some of the faculty and students, and take a tour of the campus.

Anyone interested in joining us for this Information Session can email Lisa Gsellman at

Go hawks! May 1-4:


WSA Spirit Week continues!


Monday, April 30: Pajama Day - dress comfy!

Tuesday, May 1: Snazzy Day - wear something snazzy!

Wednesday, May 2: Pacific Northwest Day - plaid shirt, socks & sandals

Thursday: Spirit Day - wear sports team or WSA gear

Friday: Star Wars Day - come as your favorite Star Wars character

Read more about WSA events in May!

Posted in All School

April, 2018: Coming Up at West Sound Academy

April 02, 2018
By Susan Trower

 Britannica ImageQuest - Spring LeavesApril 2 - 6:

West Sound Academy is
                  April 2 - 6, 2018


 International Baccalaureate OrganizationApril 11:


IB Information Meeting for 9th Graders and Parents

      Barrie Hillman, Head of School
             Catherine Freeman,
              Director of Studies
                    give an overview of the
      International Baccalaureate
            for 9th Graders and their parents
                  in the Conference Room
  April 11, 6:30 p.m.

Read more about WSA events in April!

Posted in All School

2017 Graduates Told "Set Your Sights on a Vision and Make It Happen"

May 24, 2017
By Susan Trower

The class of 2017 in the staging room before graduation - Mark Gsellman photoWest Sound Academy faculty joined with friends and family of the Class of 2017 at the House of Awakened Culture in Suquamish on May 19 for the school's 16th annual commencement. Head of School Barrie Hillman reminded everyone that the purpose of the evening is to acknowledge the personal achievement of each of the graduates. They had been told to "Set your sights on a vision and make it happen."  She added, "Each one in this class created their own vision of their future and have worked hard to achieve the first of many big steps to bringing it to fruition."

Jim Kolb walking out at the end of his sixteenth West Sound Academy commencement - Mark Gsellman photoHillman added that it's important for graduates to recognize those who have guided them on their journey: the faculty and staff of West Sound. Hillman gave special note to one faculty member, Jim Kolb, Director of Finance and Operations, who is retiring at the end of the school year after serving in a variety of positions, teaching and administrative, since the school's founding in 1998.

Hillman encouraged those in the audience to write Kolb a note about the greatest lesson they've learned from him, then she showed off her own set of many, many notes of appreciation (taped together, accordion-style) for his years of service to West Sound's students, families, and faculty.

WSA band members strike their self-confidence poses during the audience participation part of Bridget Young's speech - Mark Gsellman photoMarisa Lanning, Chair of WSA's Board of Trustees, then introduced Bridget Young, the commencement speaker. Young, a Poulsbo realtor and Kitsap native, has also performed as a stand-up comedian at charity events. She kept the audience laughing while she told of her experiences, at times painful, in high school and college. She challenged the graduates to believe in themselves enough to keep trying until they succeed. She concluded her speech with a moment of audience participation: everyone in the room was asked to stand, put their hands on their hips, and strike a self-affirming pose.

WSA Music Ensemble performing 'Forever Young' with seniors Spencer Drewry, Leanne Gimber, Ryley Mercado, and Ben Silvernale - Mark Gsellman photoThat bit of practice in self-confidence came just in time, since the next part of the program was the "The Last Word".  Hillman introduced each of the graduates as they came to give their senior speeches - a West Sound tradition.  

The WSA Music Ensemble, directed by Paul Burback, performed "Forever Young" by Alphaville, assisted by four members of the senior class giving their last performance as West Sound musicians. Hillman and Lanning then came back to the podium for the highlight of the evening:  the presentation of diplomas.    

Hillman presented the graduates to the community, then led them in the moving of the tassel on their mortarboards from the right to the left.  These newest WSA alumni left the building to the tune of "Tongue Tied" by Group Love, followed by the faculty and guests. Out on the lawn facing the Sound the graduates lined up for the traditional celebration:  the tossing of the caps.  

Congratulations, Class of 2017!


Sisi Cao - Mark Gsellman photoSisi Cao is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Course Student. She is the daughter of Feilong Cao and Mingping Tang of Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.

Sisi will be attending the University of Washington.  

Spencer Drewry - Mark Gsellman photoSpencer Drewry is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. He is the son of David and Tiffany Drewry of Port Townsend.

Spencer will be attending California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Leanne Gimber - Mark Gsellman photoLeanne Gimber is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. She is the granddaughter of John and Lori Swendeman of Poulsbo.

Leanne will be attending Grand Canyon University. 

Annika Hald - Mark Gsellman photoAnnika Hald is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Course Student. She is the daughter of Dan and Renee Hald of Poulsbo.

Annika will be attending Central Washington University.  


Karsten Hald - Mark Gsellman photoKarsten Hald is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. He is the son of Dan and Renee Hald of Poulsbo.

Karsten will be attending the University of Washington.  


Wai Ching Kwok - Mark Gsellman photoWai Ching Kwok is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Course Student. She is the daughter of Sze Kong Kwok and Pui Yee Flora Yip of Hong Kong, China.

Wai Ching will be attending Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.  

Kaiwen Ma - Mark Gsellman photoKaiwen Ma is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Course Student. She is the daughter of Ming Ma and Hui Liu of Qingdao, Shandong, China.

Kaiwen will be attending Raffles Design Institute at the Raffles College of Higher Education in Singapore.

Ryley Mercado - Mark Gsellman photoRyley Mercado is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Course Student. He is the son of Denis Sieminski of Seattle and Andrea Mercado of Poulsbo.

Ryley will be attending the University of Northern Colorado.


Yucong Pan - Mark Gsellman photoYucong Pan is the daughter of Guanghui Pan and Meijun Sun of Qingdao, Shandong, China.

Yucong will be attending Kaplan Singapore.


Benjamin Silvernale - Mark Gsellman photoBenjamin Silvernale is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. He is the son of Chuck Silvernale of Poulsbo and Jennifer David, also of Poulsbo.

Benjamin will be attending the University of Washington.    


Madelyn Solly-Tanner - Mark Gsellman photoMadelyn Solly-Tanner is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. She is the daughter of Bruce Solly and Traci Tanner of Poulsbo.

Madelyn will be attending Washington State University.  


Espen Swanson - Mark Gsellman photoEspen Swanson is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. He is the son of Chris and Kara Swanson of Poulsbo.

Espen will be attending Reed College.   


Eleanor Uyyek - Mark Gsellman photoEleanor Uyyek is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. She is the daughter of Jeff and Kim Uyyek of Poulsbo.

Eleanor will be attending the University of British Columbia. 


Alexandra Welch - Mark Gsellman photoAlexandra Welch is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate. She is the daughter of Kiev and Amy Darrington of Poulsbo.

Alexandra will be attending the Evergreen State College.


See more of Mark Gsellman's photos in the '2017 Graduation' album in Image Galleries.

The Class of 2017 celebrating their graduation with the tossing of the caps - Mark Gsellman photo


Posted in Special Events

May, 2017: Coming Up at West Sound Academy

April 30, 2017
By Susan Trower

We Appreciate Our Teachers! - Britannica ImageQuest May 1-5:


West Sound Academy families will be letting teachers know how important they are in the lives of their students during:

Teacher Appreciation Week
May 1-5
WSA teachers will be receiving special treats and surprises all week!

TARDIS - Time and Relative Dimension in Space May 1:

IB Diploma Programme examinations
                  at WSA begin

            Monday, May 1, 2017

Examinations take place in the Conference Room in Baker Hall.  The Library will be set up as a special study area for seniors only.
Final examinations for non-IB seniors will also begin on May 1.

Kitsap Great Give - May 2, 2017  May 2:


                         One Day Only!

            A 24-hour online giving event


Proceeds will pay for paving of the WSA driveway up to Baker Hall.

Help meet the match! Three generous donors have already committed to matching the funds donated to WSA for the Kitsap Great Give driveway fundraiser up to $5,000 each. That means for every dollar donated, we will receive $3 more!

AND ... every dollar you donate will be proportionally matched by the event sponsors so that West Sound Academy will actually get more money than you give!

On May 2 go to:

 College pennants of WSA alumni hanging in Parke HallMay 8:


    Declaration Day
for the Class of 2017

         Passing of the Class Color

             Monday Meeting, 2:45 p.m., the Commons
Seniors will sign the pennant for the colllege they will be attending in the Fall, and will pass their class color on to the Class of 2022!

9th Graders River Gsellman, Alessandro Scott, and Emily Bradford performing at the 2017 Kitsap Youth Rally for Human Rights at Olympic College - Espen Swanson photo May 8, 10, and 11:


              West Fest!

       West Sound Academy Musicians
                        in Concert
                Paul Burback, Director
          Monday, May 8:  6th &7th Grade 
Wednesday, May 10: US Music Elective
Thursday, May 11:  9th Grade 
         All performances: the Commons, 6:30 p.m.

Frodel Hall on the West Sound Academy campus - Mark Gsellman photo May 9:


Information Session and Tour

       Tuesday, 7 to 9 p.m.


Information Sessions introduce our faculty and program to interested families. Visitors have a chance to learn about our academics and extracurricular activities, meet the Head of School and some of the faculty and students, and take a tour of the campus.

Anyone interested in joining us for this Information Session can email Lisa Gsellman at

Days for Girls International May 13:


Days for Girls (DFG) International helps girls around the world stay in school by providing sustainable feminine hygiene solutions and health education. The DFG hygiene kits are produced with the help of thousands of volunteers - including the ones in Poulsbo's own DFG chapter.

The Poulsbo DFG is hosting a community work party for anyone who is interested on Saturday, May 13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at West Sound Academy in the Commons. Parents and students are welcome to drop by anytime during the day to learn more and help out.

You don't need to sew in order to help; there are many non-sewing tasks also. If you do sew, however, please bring your sewing machine or serger and join in the fun. Feel free to bring friends! For more information contact Molly Masker at

 May 15:

Final Exams for Grades 6-11 begin Monday, May 15.

Final Exams for Grades 6-11, Spring 2017

 University professors in cap and gown - Britannica ImageQuestMay 19:

There is

                NO SCHOOL


on Friday, May 19 so that WSA teachers can prepare for Commencement


 WSA Class of 2016 - Mark Gsellman photoMay 19:

  West Sound Academy             
             16th Annual
Commencement Exercises
      for the Class of 2017

House of Awakened Culture
7235 NE Parkway
Suquamish7 p.m.

New York stenographers on vacation; July 14, 1926 - Britannica ImageQuest May 22:


                              There is

                NO SCHOOL


on Monday, May 22 so that WSA teachers can get ready for June Term


June Term 2017 May 23:


June Term


    begins on

         Tuesday, May 23


Meeting room table and chairs - Britannica ImageQuest May 24:

   West Sound Academy              
Board of Trustees meeting 

Wednesday, May 24
Conference Room
5:30 p.m.


 Memorial Day weekend in Washington, D.C.; May 30, 2010 - Britannica ImageQuestMay 29:


                              There is

                NO SCHOOL


         on Monday, May 29 in observance of

                 Memorial Day

Posted in All School

How does your book start? Playing literary games with the IB Spanish class

March 05, 2017
By Julieta Vitullo

Julieta Vitullo's IB Spanish class plays Ficcionario“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” The sentence opens Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, one of the best-regarded works of Western literature and by all accounts the single most acclaimed contemporary novel in the Spanish language. Like the first scene in a movie or the overture in a symphony, the beginning of a story has to be captivating enough for readers to want to keep spending time reading it. Those first words, images or ideas will set the tone for what will come.

There’s a game called “Fictionary” that builds on the importance of great first lines by turning readers into writers and giving them permission to have fun manipulating words. In this game, participants need to come up with a believable first sentence for a given novel based on a quick look at the book’s cover, and on some basic knowledge about the plot and the author. Participants write their sentences on a piece of paper and give the paper to the person who picked the book. Then that person has to read all the sentences out loud, including the real sentence from the book, which is slipped into the stash of sentences so that nobody can tell that piece of paper has the real sentence. Participants then get to vote: which one is the actual opening sentence? They collect points when they pick the true sentence but also —and this is where the enjoyment lies, no pun intended— when their fake sentences get picked.

Playing Ficcionario: Spencer Drewry, Ruby Gsellman, IB Spanish teacher Julieta Vitullo, Ben Browning, and Ryley MercadoI must admit that I’ve been waiting for years to play this game with my students. For as long as I’ve been teaching at West Sound I’ve been hoping for the time my Spanish learners would have enough skills to play this game. That means, enough skills to write sentences that are not just sophisticated but also sufficiently well constructed as to deceive others into thinking that they were written by a famous writer. The time finally came and on Friday March 3rd the IB seniors and juniors set themselves to the task of judging books by their covers and writing sentences as compelling as to cajole their peers—or at least good enough to make them laugh.

Books used for playing FiccionarioThis time also coincided with our reading of One Hundred Years of Solitude. No, students did not get to read the 500-page volume in full but they did read more than the first sentence. They spent several classes discussing the context of the novel, building the vocabulary needed to understand the action in the first few pages of the story of the Buendía family and familiarizing themselves with some of the characters. The reading was not without struggles but students got through it. After oral discussions and written exercises, they wrote a news story based on some of the fictional events narrated in those first few pages of the novel. We ended this unit introducing other works of Latin American fiction and expanding the imagination by playing Ficcionario.

Now if you care to play, here is a small selection of some of the opening sentences that students wrote. Do you dare guess which are real and which phony? *

(Click here to find the answers after you are done.)

1. El limonero real (The Royal Lemon Tree) by Juan José Saer – It is the last day of the year and a family living on the wild islands of the Paraná river deals with the absence of two of its members.

a) “El limonero mira furtivamente a través de la ventana a la cocina”. / “The lemon tree sneaks up on the kitchen through the window.”
b) “Amanece y ya está con los ojos abiertos”. / “The sun rises and his eyes are already open.”
c) “El limonero que está en el centro del campo es la mejor parte del verano”. / “The lemon tree that is on the center of the field is the best part of the summer.”

2. El lugar sin límites (Hell Has No Limits) by José Donoso – Life is not easy for Manuela, the drag queen who runs the brothel of a small town near Santiago de Chile.

a) “La Manuela despegó con dificultad sus ojos lagañosos”. / “Manuela pried open her crusty eyes.”
b) “Cuando tenía seis años Manuela oyó: ‘Algunos universos son más grandes que otros’”. / “When she was six, Manuela heard: some universes are bigger than others.’”
c) “Su obra era su casa y su pincel era el maquillaje que todas miraban con interés”. / “Her work was her home and her brush the makeup that they all regarded with interest.”

3. Las reputaciones (Reputations) by Juan Gabriel Vásquez - The life of a political cartoonist feared and revered by the most powerful people in Colombia changes after he receives an unexpected visit.

a) “Sentado frente al Parque Santander […] Mallarino tuvo de repente la certeza de haber visto a un caricaturista muerto”. / “Sitting across from the Santander Park […] Mallarino was suddenly certain that he had seen a dead cartoonist.”
b) “Las personas dicen que la política no es cómica: en realidad es la farsa más grande de la historia del ser humano”. / “People say that politics are not funny: in fact, they are the biggest farce in human history.”
c) “El se sentó en su oficina, con todo el poder del país en su mano”. / “He sat at his office with all the country’s power in his hand.”

* While most of the books we used have been translated, the translations I provide here are my own.

Tags: IB, spanish
Posted in Academics


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