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School Blog and News

Archives - September 2015

October, 2015: Coming Up at West Sound Academy

September 30, 2015
By Susan Trower

next October 6:

Come to the Technology Access Center Grand Opening and Community Open House on Tuesday, October 6.

The WSA community and the public are invited for a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Poulsbo mayor Becky Erickson, tech demonstrations, and tours of the TAC and the West Sound campus.  Light refreshments will be served.

Place: TAC, Ryan Hall, West Sound Academy

Time:  4:30 to 6:00 p.m. 

Technology Access Center

next October 7:

WSA Seniors and their parents are invited to College Q & A Night on Wednesday, October 7, hosted by Catherine Freeman, College Counselor, and Barrie Hillman, Head of School.

Come and get your questions answered on college applications, financial aid and anything related to this important step in the educational journey.

West Sound Academy parent Steve Bentley will be available  to answer questions specifically about the financial aid process - he has just recently completed it and has some lessons learned for parents new to the process.

Class of 2015 college pennants

Seniors and parents with specific questions are asked to email them ahead of time directly to Ms. Freeman at  - so that she can be sure to have all the answers!

Place: Conference Room, Baker Hall

Time:  6:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

next October 9:

Friday, October 9 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.  

britannica image quest teachers in hanoi french school ca1920

next October 12:

Classes will be on a "Wednesday Schedule"  on Monday, October 12.

8:20 to 10:00 - Period 4

10:05 to 11:45 - Period 5

11:45 to 12:15 - Lunch 

12:20 to 2:00 - Period 6

2:05 to 3:10 - Period 7 

Britannica ImageQuest Science Photo Library

next October 14:

All students in Grades 8 - 11 will take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) on Wednesday, October 14.

This is a program cosponsored 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 11th grade a chance to enter National Merit scholarship programs.  


There will be a 11:45 DISMISSAL on that day.

Jen Silvernale will take the 6th and 7th graders to do winterizing of the Raab Park Youth Garden in Poulsbo.

Seniors have NO SCHOOL on October 14, and may use it as a study day.

next October 16:

WSA's Social Committee is hosting the first Student Social Event of the year on Friday, October 16 - an all-school Halloween dance!

Place: The Commons

Time:  7:00 to 9:30 p.m.

Cost:  Regular admission at the door is $5.

Note:  Non-WSA students will need to bring a completed WSA Guest Permission Slip to school by October 16 in order to be admitted to the event.

Refreshments:   Beverages available for purchase...

PLUS:  a selection of free snacks and candy!

 Britannica ImageQuest - Scary Pumpkin

Dress:  Costumes, of course!  (No inappropriate or excessively gory costumes, please)

next October 19:

Monday, October 19 is Makeup Picture Day.  The photographers will be on campus at 9 a.m. Bring in your picture packages if you purchased the first round of pictures and would like new ones taken. If you missed the first picture day, you can bring an order form in with you and have your picture taken. 

Britannica ImageQuest - school boyBritannica ImageQuest - girl on first day of school

next October 19:

Seniors are required to submit their preliminary drafts for Extended Essays and Senior Projects on Monday, October 19.

Extended Essays:  Complete draft (2 printed copies and an emailed digital copy) due to Susan Trower by 3:00 p.m. 

Extended Essay

Senior Projects:  Complete draft (2 printed copies and an emailed digital copy) due to Barrie Hillman by 3:00 p.m.

next October 27:

End of 1st Quarter on Tuesday, October 27.

next October 28:

NO SCHOOL on Wednesday, October 28:  Parent Teacher Conferences.

next October 29:

NO SCHOOL on Thursday, October 29:  Parent Teacher Conferences.

next October 30:

NO SCHOOL on Friday, October 30:  Parent Teacher Conferences.

Posted in All School

Have Used Markers?  Color Cycle Them!

September 30, 2015
By Susan Trower

A recycling Color Cycle bin for 'dead' markers (AKA 'marker graveyard') has been set up in the Conference Room in Baker Hall. 

Have a marker that no longer works?  Bring it to the Color Cycle bin!  Any type of marker can be recycled:  highlighter, Sharpy, washable, fabric, dry-erase, etc.

Thanks go to Valerie Allen-Keane, WSA's Director of Residential Life, for setting this program up for us.  She will collect the markers when the bin is full and ship them off to Crayola for recycling.  The markers will be turned into diesel and other liquid fuels that don't need refinement.  A welcome green addition to the WSA campus!

marker recycling bin

18th Annual Auction

September 30, 2015
By Susan Trower

WSA's 18th Annual Auction
"Diamonds in the Rough"


 Saturday, November 21, 2015
5:30 p.m.
White Horse Golf Club in Kingston

britannica imagequest diamond 132 1242407-w

Help make West Sound Academy's successful college-preparatory programs possible by participating in our Annual Auction as a donor and attendee.  Embracing the tremendous growth our students achieve each year, the 2015 auction theme is "Diamonds in the Rough" celebrating the potential to shine that each student carries within. 

Five ways you can support the gems of West Sound Academy:


Live Auction

The Live Auction traditionally offers a select number of items for bid that are creative and often one-of-a-kind.  In the past these have included artwork, travel, entertainment, lodging, restaurants, electronics and outdoor adventures.  Lisa Gregg is the Chair of the Live Auction and can be reached at should you or someone you know have an idea for a donation.

Online and Silent Auction

New this fall is WSA's exciting teaser to the big night - the Online Auction!  Featuring wonderful gift items, artwork, services, gift certificates and just-in-time holiday shopping opportunities the online auction is an exciting way for more people to get involved.  Select specialty items will be held in reserve for the Silent Auction and will be available only on the night of the event.  Allyson Metters is the Chair of the Silent Auction.  You can contact her to request information or to make a donation at  

auction helpers november 22 2014


 Volunteerism is also a wonderful way to support the event.  Jennifer Dennis is our Event Chair, and she can help determine how your energy can best support the fun and festivities!  

Jennifer can be reached at

Business Partnerships

 Businesses sponsor our auction, gaining exposure among guests who appreciate good food, travel, and art.  WSA will promote sponsoring businesses by providing a prominent display of their donations as well as recognition on the night of the auction and in advance publicity.  We will encourage members of our community to shop locally and support those who support the greater community.  For more information please contact Elizabeth Butler at


Experience the spirit of West Sound Academy first hand by attending our auction event on November 21, 2015.  Held at the White Horse Golf Club, this celebration includes fine dining, opportunities for holiday shopping and best of all, inspiration from today's young people.  For more information, please contact Elizabeth Butler at

white horse golf club at night

Please plan to RSVP and to have items in the hands of the WSA Auction Committee by October 23, 2015.

Posted in Special Events

What's in a Block?

September 30, 2015
By Barrie Hilllman, Head of School

Blocks have many uses at school but what everyone is talking about at West Sound Academy this week is the new modified block schedule. For the past several years, students have had each class four days per week with one extended block period. After much research and analysis, it was decided that this year classes would be taught three days per week with two extended block periods.

The pedagogy behind this move was primarily to reduce transitions that students and faculty make each day as well as each night when addressing homework. Brain research conducted by Carol Dweck from Stanford University reveals that the time it takes for the brain to fully transition from one area of thinking to another (or in this case subject to subject) is roughly 15 minutes.

maddy s-t leanne-g bunson burner 2015

 It also requires a great deal of executive function to be able to make those same transitions from homework assignment to homework assignment.  Thus with fewer transitions, the brain is working more efficiently.

mark gsellman 03052015 julieta and stuart

Prior to the school year the faculty participated in professional development which included collaboratively reading several books on block teaching as well as meeting with colleagues from Annie Wright Schools who also utilize a block schedule. The developmental differences between middle and upper school students within the block schedule were also discussed.

After the first week, it seems reviews of the modified block schedule are favorable. Students are realizing they have more flexibility on how to arrange their homework time.  Teachers are finding their rhythms with the new pacing requirements of the classes and emphasizing organized plans. Building in more physical movement into the classroom without losing time for engaged learning is being done with subtle and creative methods.  However, everyone anticipates a shakedown period while both students and faculty get their bearings!

Ellie, Sparky, and Leanne working on an outdoor physics lessons

On Mondays students meet with their classes in Periods 1-6 and so this will naturally be a heavier homework due date. Parents can support students by helping them to utilize their time wisely over the course of the week rather than doing assignments the night before they are due. Tackling all or parts of homework on the night it is assigned can help alleviate late Sunday nights.

I am excited to hear more from students, parents and faculty over the course of the year about the effects of the modified block schedule!

Posted in Academics


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