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Posts Tagged "head-of-school"

October, 2019: Coming Up at West Sound Academy

September 30, 2019
By Susan Trower

 College pennants for the Class of 2019October 1:

WSA Parents and students in Grades 9-11 are invited to:

   College Information


This informational evening is open to any parents and/or 9th-11th grade students who are interested in learning more about the college search, finance and application process.

Barrie Hillman, WSA Head of School, and Catherine Freeman, Associate Head of School and WSA College Counselor, will be sharing guidance and advice on what steps should be taken for the college search, the process for applications, how and when to visit schools, what questions to ask schools, how to navigate the financial aid process and also how to make the decision of where to apply and where to enroll. Students are encouraged to attend because they are the ones who will be leading this process!

Photographer - Britannica ImageQuestOctober 8:


             Picture Retake Day!


The photographer will be on campus at 8:20 a.m.

This is for retake and absentee make-up student photos.


2:00 PM Early Release for Collaborative PlanningOctober 9 and 23



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

Teachers in Hanoi French School, ca. 1920 - Britannica ImageQuestOctober 11:

Friday, October 11 is Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS) In-Service Day, so there is NO SCHOOL.  
This is a day when NWAIS teachers participate in workshops, collaborative planning, and professional development. 

College Board - PSAT/NMSQTOctober 16:


All students in Grades 8 - 11 will take the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) on Wednesday, October 16.  This is a program co-sponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation. 

It's a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT. It also gives students in the 11th grade a chance to enter National Merit scholarship programs.  

  • There will be an 11:45 a.m. DISMISSAL on that day.
  • Students in Grades 6 and 7 will have a half-day field trip.
  • Seniors who have pre-registered with Mrs. Freeman have the option to take the SAT on October 16. Seniors who are not taking the SAT have NO SCHOOL and may use it as a study day.

Days for Girls International October 19:


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, October 19 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 Shirley Wilder at or find Days for Girls on Facebook.

WSA HawksOctober 21 - 25:


It's School Spirit Week!


Scary pumpkin - Britannica ImageQuestOctober 25:

WSA Student Council & Thespian Troupe #8175
present an:

   All-School Halloween Dance

Come for:
  • Dancing
  • Games
  • Festive snacks
  • Ghoulish fun!
Place: The Commons
Time:  7 to 9 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Dress:  Costumes, of course!  (No inappropriate or excessively gory costumes, please)
Cost:  $8 without food, $7 with one can, $6 with two, $5 with three or more.  Food collected will go to WSA Thespian Troupe's Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat food drive.

Note:  Non-WSA students will need to bring a completed WSA Guest Permission Form to school by October 25 in order to be admitted to the event.

Posted in All School

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

September, 2019: Coming Up at West Sound Academy

August 31, 2019
By Susan Trower

Labor Day September 2:



There is NO SCHOOL on Monday,
September 2, in observance of Labor Day.

 September 4:


Community and Auction Committee Meeting


Beyond infinity; concept drawing of a tear in spacetime; beyond the tear there is only darkness - Britannica ImageQuestGet ready to go to infinity and beyond! The very first Community and Auction Committee Meeting is set for Wednesday, September 4 at 6:30 p.m.

New volunteers are needed and welcome to come and learn about helping to plan our Annual Auction Gala using a space-inspired theme to celebrate the infinite possibilities that WSA students can achieve with their West Sound education. 

Digital camera - Britannica ImageQuestSeptember 6:


        Picture Day


will take place in the Commons on Friday, September 6 beginning at 8:40 a.m.

For information on ordering photos, see: Joy McCallister School Photography

 WSA art teacher Jen David with parents on Curriculum Night - Mark Gsellman photoSeptember 10:


 West Sound Academy parents are invited to come to campus for:

       Curriculum Night
              6:30 p.m.


Parents attend all of their child's classes, meet their teachers, and find out what they'll be studying this year!

 2 PM Early ReleaseSeptember 11 and 25:

West Sound Academy classes    

  dismiss at 2:00 p.m.

for teacher collaborative planning.
From 2:05 to 3:10 p.m.:
- Optional study hall for grades 11-12
 - Homework café available for grades 6-10

 WSA Math teacher Ben Owen helping students during Hour of CodeSeptember 13, 20, 27:

                    There is
                 NO SCHOOL
  • Friday, September  13
  • Friday, September 20
  • Friday, September 27
so that WSA faculty can participate in Parent-Teacher Conferences.

Boardroom - Britannica ImageQuestSeptember 25:

     There is a meeting of the

West Sound Academy              

   Board of Trustees 

Wednesday, September 25
Conference Room
5:30 p.m.
Posted in All School

New, new and more new!

August 19, 2019
By Barrie Hillman

West Sound Academy logoIt's a new school year and WSA is kicking it off with lots of new things! The most exciting change is our new logo, designed by our very own Front Desk Coordinator, Brandie Robbins.   The logo captures the essence of a student's experience as a student. The logo explained:

The mountain is a powerful metaphor for the many pinnacles that WSA teachers curate for students to approach and ascend, ultimately leading to their next journey after high school. The W is deliberately free-form to symbolize that children are the center of our focus but also reminiscent of two arms creating a safety net of sorts as students climb to their pinnacles. The faculty and staff hold out their arms in order to demonstrate support during the risk-taking that students must embrace in order to find greater achievement.

In tandem with a new logo will be the launch of a new website that shares information for the school in a clean and contemporary visual manner. Keep an eye out for the new "Hawk's Nest"  link on the website where parents and students will be able to easily find all the relevant day-to-day information needed in one easy to find place. The website should be launched in late  October in order to allow us time to learn the various processes involved in site management.

Last spring, WSA was able to raise money through the Kitsap Great Give to purchase new furniture for the entry areas of our buildings as well as a few pieces outside too. Each lobby has new seating or standing tables that allow for easy collaboration and socializing. Charging stations are also available in the classroom buildings and both Ryan and Parke now have printers accessible in the lobbies. Additionally, thanks to a grant from the Seattle Foundation, we also have stylish and comfy new "working" chairs in the library and for our in-house school counselor to use for meetings.

Down, Lily!  These new library chairs are only for people!Thanks to the hard work of Josh Pippinger and Mark Henry, father and grandfather of Ethan Henry-Pippinger, our unpaved driveway areas have gotten a new gravel and smooth grade. While the bulldozer was on site, a new "flat spot" was created just behind the PE shed for recess and outdoor play. Finally, Josh created a looped trail in the pastures above and below the soccer field to allow for even more outdoor adventures.

Joe was busy all summer making old things new again! He installed new vinyl flooring in Ryan 1 so sixth and seventh graders can more easily work on projects. He rearranged locker configurations and painted an accent wall in Karen's classroom. He re-painted the gallery and added new magnetic sheets to create easy options for hanging artwork. Joe also re-built the ga-ga pit with recycled fencing and a dash of creativity.

Making something new out of something old, Sam Abraham '20 and Noah Moosmiller '20 along with some extra help from parent, Jason Moosmiller, constructed a stage at the amphitheater from old materials once used for the Listen To Your Art stage as their CAS project. Another CAS project led by Julie Hillman '20 was to re-organize the prop closet used for WSA Theatre productions. With the help of Emily Bradford '20, these two seniors are also creating a digital catalog of the major costumes.

Gradelink Student Information SystemAs indicated in the Registration Meetings Barrie conducted this summer, the school year will be launched with a new School Information System called Gradelink, replacing RenWeb/FACTS which should allow for some added capability. We will have a new lunch ordering system through Google Forms. This will start as a weekly process until we get the hang of it and will then, hopefully, advance to monthly orders. Related to assessment, there is a new Parent-Teacher-Student Conference format as well, starting with goal-setting conferences in September.

We have a new teacher too! Please welcome Anna Solovyev. And, of course, we welcomed a new future WSA student this summer: Thomas Freeman, born to Associate Head of School, Catherine Freeman in July.

Despite all the new, what remains a constant at WSA is our commitment to our students to provide a school where they are known as individuals and experience meaningful learning opportunities and purposeful engagement with the world around them.

Posted in All School

2019 Commencement Speaker Shares Advice from Graduates

June 04, 2019
By Susan Trower

2019 Commencement Speaker Shares the Wise Advice He Received from the Graduates


The class of 2019 in the staging room before graduation - Mark Gsellman photoWest Sound Academy's Class of 2019 came to the House of Awakened Culture in Suquamish on May 24 for an evening of graduation and celebration - the school's 18th annual commencement. School faculty and staff and many family, friends, and fellow students came to share the evening with the graduates. Head of School Barrie Hillman reminded everyone that the purpose of commencement was to acknowledge the personal achievements of each of the graduates - these seventeen individual journeys coming together for this celebration.

The graduates come marching in - Mark Gsellman photoMargaret Johnson, Chair of West Sound Academy's Board of Trustees, then introduced John Boyd, the commencement speaker. Boyd is superintendent of Quincy School District in Quincy, Washington, and is in his twenty-seventh year as an educator, working in a variety of settings. A few weeks before commencement Boyd came to West Sound to meet with members of the Class of 2019 to get to know them, then asked each of them this question, "What advice do you have for me when giving this speech?”

Read more >>>

Posted in Academics

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!

February, 2019: Coming Up at West Sound Academy

January 28, 2019
By Susan Trower

West Sound Academy Hawks! February 7:


Knowledge Bowl Competition
  State Tournament Qualifier

Fort Worden, Port Townsend

KB team members: 

  • Arrive at school by 7:45 a.m.
  • Leave WSA: 8:00 a.m.
  • Return to WSA: by 3:45 p.m.
  • Bring a lunch and water bottle

Mud Pie 2018 February 8:

The staff of Mud Pie is proud to present their fourth annual arts night and poetry slam:

    Arts Poetica: Volume Five

  The Commons  
  6:30 p.m.
The evening is a sharing of artwork, poetry and music in an open-mic format. Students, parents and community members are encouraged to bring in written work to read--either original or a favorite poem!
Sit down at the Art Wall and create art right on the spot that evening! 
There is a $5 suggested donation per attendee.  Proceeds benefit Mud Pie 2019, WSA's award-winning arts and literary journal, now in its 21st year!

Read more

Posted in All School

Embracing Empathy

October 11, 2018
By Barrie Hillman

Embracing Empathy - Fall Gathering 2018During Fall Gathering, the idea of embracing empathy stood at the center of our work. Empathy was defined as the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions. As mammals that naturally gravitate toward living and working in packs, empathy has long been a core element to our ability to thrive. It is through empathy that we protect each other, share our bounty, nurture our young, respect and care for our elders and continually seek improvement and innovation.

Factfulness, by Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling RönnlundStudents and faculty learned and played together during the retreat, embracing empathy. We had a purposeful and mindful intent to keep reminding ourselves that people are inherently good and caring despite the endless stream of sound bites and media clips that sensationalize non-empathetic behavior.

One of the resources I used during the Fall Gathering came from the book, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund. This book came recommended to me by a parent and I found it to be an excellent reminder that based on data, humans can and have overcome so much and continually thrive and improve. The authors developed an amazing website as well that includes a visual time lapse of the growth and improvement of the human condition here: Gapminder. To me, this ability of the human race to overcome challenges and still continually improve can be attributed to empathy. And it is especially important to mindfully embrace empathy as we are faced with people who don't demonstrate very much of it. The exponential effect of paying empathy forward is a real thing...what good you put forth in the world can make a difference.

Posted in All School


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