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Spring 2019

CAN YOU HEAR THE LION ROAR? Spring 2019


    IN THIS ISSUE
        • Community News & Events

        • Division Highlights 

        • Student Kudos

        • Faculty Kudos

        • Diversity & Inclusion

        • 8th Grade, Washington D.C. Trip

        • International Trip, Thailand

        • Overnight Retreats

        • Gala 2019

        • Coaches Corner/Athletics

        • Spring Musical, Grease

        • Alumni Update

        • College Center News

 

LION PRIDE, COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER
After a brief hiatus, Westmark’s quarterly newsletter is back with a new name! LION ROAR will feature highlights from Westmark students, classrooms, community, faculty, alumni and more. Have some student news or a recent accomplishment you want us to share? Email marketing@westmarkschool.org.


   COMMUNITY NEWS & EVENTS
 

CLAUDIA KOOCHEK NAMED TO NCLD ADVISORY BOARD
2019 kicked off honoring Westmark’s Head of School, Ms. Claudia Koochek as she was named to the Professional Advisory Board (PAB) of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). Ms. Koochek is one among four renowned experts newly appointed to the PAB. As an integral part of the PAB, Ms. Koochek will help guide NCLD program activity and advise on educational needs, program opportunities, public policy development, and strategic planning.

The NCLD is widely known as one of the nation’s leading resources and advocates for the 1 in 5 children and adults with learning and attention issues.  NCLD’s Professional Advisory Board (PAB) includes leading educators, psychologists, researchers, physicians, and advocates.

Congratulation Ms. Koochek and thank you for your leadership!

IN THE COMMUNITY
As part of Westmark’s mission to provide the tools our students need to achieve success, we are committed to our leading role in the LD community. As such, we make it a priority to participate in conferences and events - both local and nationwide - that not only help our highly trained faculty & staff continue to hone their expertise through professional development opportunities, but also allow us to share our best practices and invite others to benefit from the Westmark difference. 

CHECK OUT SOME OF THE RECENT HAPPENINGS WHERE OUR TEAM HAD AN IMPACT

YOUNG CHILD EXPO

YOUNG CHILD EXPO
FEBRUARY 7: Director of Lower School, Marla Yukelson and Director of Admissions, Cindy Goodman met with other early childhood educators, professionals and parents at the Good Samaritan Hospital Conference Center in Los Angeles.
 

THE DYSLEXIA FOUNDATION (TDF) SPRING CONFERENCE

THE DYSLEXIA FOUNDATION (TDF)
FEBRUARY 15: Westmark was a proud sponsor of TDF's Spring Conference 'Understanding Executive Functions, Language, and Reading' held at UCLA's Luskin Center with our entire faculty attending. This full day of professional development provided the opportunity to learn more about executive function and the latest research and studies for understanding current practices for assessment and intervention. 
 

LANDMARK COLLEGE WINTER INSTITUTE

LANDMARK COLLEGE WINTER INSTITUTE
FEBRUARY 8-10: Westmark’s Head of School Claudia Koochek, along with College Counselor, Dr. Katharine Gibson, Upper School Teacher and Westmark’s Landmark College Dual Enrollment Program Moderator, Katie O’Connor, and Curriculum Coordinator Marissa DeSiena at Landmark College Winter Institute in San Francisco. College Counselor, Dr. Katharine Gibson presented: 'Helping College Students Monitor Mind Wandering During Independent Academics.'
 

IDALA LANGUAGE & LEARNING CONFERENCE

IDALA 8TH ANNUAL LANGUAGE & LEARNING CONFERENCE
MARCH 2: Westmark’s Literacy Instructional CoachTricia Valli presented ‘Supporting Neurodiverse Students in Math’’ while other Westmark attendees Head of School Claudia Koochek, Director of Admissions Cindy Goodman, Director of Lower School Marla Yukelson, Director of Marketing Lori Shackel, Reading and Assessment Coordinator and Literacy Instructional Coach,  Robyn Bridges, and faculty members Ellie Rafferty, Mary Vukadinovich, Steven McKay, Ari Karpel, and Feli Dominguez joined various sessions led by other LD experts.  
 

IDALA STUDY GROUP

IDALA STUDY GROUP
FEBRUARY 22:  Westmark hosted this study group of parents and educators and introduced neuroscientist and researcher Dr. Fumiko Hoeft via facetime to discuss  current research on the strategies dyslexics use.
 

NAIS ANNUAL CONFERENCE

NAIS
FEBRUARY 28 - MARCH 1: Westmark’s Head of School  Claudia Koochek, along with Steve Taylor (CFO), Marissa DeSiena (Curriculum Coordinator), Julie Porter (Middle School Director), Bob Cunningham (Understood), and Will Baker (The Dyslexia Foundation), shared their passion for education at the National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference: Reimagining Independent Schools in Long Beach, California.
 

33RD ANNUAL PRE-K CONFERENCE 

33RD ANNUAL  PRE-K CONFERENCE 
MARCH 1 - 2: Director of Admissions Cindy Goodman, Director of Lower School Marla Yukelson, and Director of Marketing Lori Shackel joined the nation’s top educational leaders and presenters in early childhood at this conference hosted by  Southern California Kindergarten Conferences, Inc. at the Pasadena Convention Center.
 

SCHOOL VISITS

SCHOOL VISITS
Westmark hosted visits with other independent schools Delaware Valley Friends School (Pennsylvania) and Sequoyah School (Pasadena, CA) for some great sharing of best practices in educating our distinct learners.
 

SPRING OPEN HOUSE: SHARING THE WESTMARK DIFFERENCE

Visiting families at Westmark's Spring Open House on Sunday, May 5  filled the Lund Auditorium and classrooms as they learned from our teachers, students, and parents about how our research-based teaching methodologies and individualized instruction can change lives.  For more information or to apply, contact Cindy Goodman, Director of Admissions, cgoodman@westmarkschool.org.

 

SUMMER S.M.A.R.T.S. BUILDS ACADEMIC SKILLS 


Westmark's summer academic program, Summer S.M.A.R.T.S. runs from July 1 - July 26 from 8:00 am - 12:30 pm each day, and is open to both Westmark and non-Westmark students. Summer S.M.A.R.T.S. specialized curriculum is customized for each student according to their needs and learning profile.  Our program helps students further strengthen and develop academic skills in core math, reading, and writing content areas, combined with strength-based electives.  For questions, contact Program Director Marissa DeSiena, mdesiena@westmarkschool.org.

REGISTER & SIGN UP


  LOWER SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS
 





LOWER SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS
Our Lower School students experienced their classroom lessons come to life as they discovered new talents and strengths, learned good citizenship, and exercised their imaginations!

From hands-on science projects to interactive classroom activities...from sports play on the field and court to new playground fun… from cultural field trip visits to exploring nature and caring for our environment...from entertaining guest speakers to practicing for performances...



 

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
5th Grade learned about Civil Rights and the importance of celebrating MLK Day; 2nd and 3rd Grade expressed their opinions through Persuasive Writing Essays; and the entire Lower School immersed themselves in reading on 'Read Across America Day' as they celebrated the great Dr. Seuss with reading activities, dressing up as a favorite book character and fun classroom contests. 2nd-5th Grade students celebrated 100 Days of School with calendar and counting activities and showed their creativity with their 100 item displays.

 

PERFORMANCES

PERFORMANCES
Lower School students treated their guests and filled the air with music during their Winter Sing-A-Long. 4th Grade brought the Gold Rush to life as they became  the heroes and the villains in the Villains in the Gold Fields  play.

SCIENCE

SCIENCE
4th Graders dissected owl pellets and learned about classifying bones while  5th Grade students studied forces in motion while reducing their carbon footprint by building race tracks using recycled materials. 

GUEST SPEAKERS

GUEST SPEAKERS
Dr. Gerald Rivers paid tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.  during his theatrical rendition of the famous "I Have a Dream." 

Book author Carter Higgins took notes from our Lower School students as they developed ideas for the ending to her new book!

PLAYGROUND FUN

PLAYGROUND FUN
All of the students are LOVING the addition of the new Gaga Pit and finding states, capitals and just taking a “walk across the country” on the new giant US map on our playground!

FIELD TRIPS

FIELD TRIPS
Santa Monica Aquarium: the entire Lower School explored tide pools, shells, crabs and learned about water pollution and how we can help to keep our waters clean.

Craft Museum and La Brea Tar Pits: 2nd and 3rd Graders viewed art exhibits and discovered the mysteries of the Ice Age;.

Ranchos Los Encinos State Historic Park: students learned about artifacts from the 1800’s and what rancho life was like.

LACMA: 5th Graders discovered how artists communicate ideas through art.

Library: 4th Graders practiced checking out books with their new library cards.

GUEST SPEAKER: CARTER HIGGINS, BOOK AUTHOR

'READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY'

SANTA MONICA AQUARIUM


  MIDDLE SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS
 


 


MIDDLE SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS
All Hands-On (Deck) in Middle School!  Hands-on learning in the Middle School helps our students experience the curriculum through exploration, collaboration, and discovery.  Here are some of the hands-on learning that our Middle School students have been having fun with!


SCIENCE & MATH

STEM PROJECTS

STEM PROJECTS
Building football catapults allows students to explore forces and simple machines; engineering marble rollercoasters teaches how to calculate speed and acceleration. Creating egg cars designed with Newton's Laws in mind implements principles of density. 

ROOM TRANSFORMATIONS

ROOM TRANSFORMATIONS
Students LOVE arriving to school to discover their science classroom has been completely transformed...is it Mario World...Harry Potter...an alien planet...or a human cell?!
 
On different days, Westmark’s Middle School scientists were treated when their teachers morphed their classrooms into engaging environments, immersing their students into worlds of cell parts, wizards in Hogwarts,  car engineers in Mario World, and spaceship designers on an alien planet.

PI DAY

PI DAY
Middle Schoolers learned the history of the fascinating number Pi and Pi calculations through a rotation of interactive activities...crafting, measuring, graphing city skylines, and of course, eating….pizza PI that is!

PI DAY

MEDIEVAL TIMES

WASHINGTON, D.C.

TRIPS AND EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

REAGAN MUSEUM, POMPEII EXHIBIT

REAGAN MUSEUM, POMPEII EXHIBIT
6th Graders traveled back in time to the devastation caused by the Mount Vesuvius eruption, encountering authentic  2,000-year-old objects preserved in ash. The artifacts included wall-sized frescoes, marble and bronze sculptures, jewelry, ancient Roman coins, and full body casts of the volcano’s victims. It was an awesome experience!

MEDIEVAL TIMES

MEDIEVAL TIMES
6th Grade students students travelled back in time to the Middle Ages! Professional horsemanship, swordplay, medieval games of skill, and an authentic jousting tournament between six brave knights of the realm painted a pretty good picture of what life was life in the 11th century!

WASHINGTON, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
A lucky group of  8th Grade students had the opportunity to make their history curriculum come alive by visiting some great American landmarks.  Not only did they learn a lot about this great country but they were able to make some great memories with their Westmark family.

BIG BEAR

BIG BEAR
The 8th Grade class bonded over this outdoor adventure while learning the values of leadership, teamwork, and communication. They learned to place trust in their classmates, got creative, took some risks, forged new friendships and had tons of fun!

UPPER SCHOOL PREVIEW FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL
Middle School families got a sneak peek preview to Westmark Upper School programs and offerings including Curriculum, Special Programs, Student Life, Athletics and College Counseling. 8th Graders got to experience an Upper School schedule as a rising 9th Grader with a bird’s-eye view of Upper School Student Life.  Upper School students enlightened their Middle School counterparts on the array of high school activities and options available both in and out of the classroom, from Electives & Clubs to Athletics and Performing Arts, and from Foreign Languages to Service and College Programs, these 8th Graders got the lowdown on life in the Westmark Upper School.
 


  UPPER SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS
 

 



UPPER SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS
Westmark’s Upper School continues to be a place of learning, creativity, and collaboration. Whether serving their communities, using their leadership skills to plan events or social programs, or showcasing their creative talents, Westmark high schoolers  certainly represent Westmark Lion Pride.


STUDENT COUNCIL
Upper School Student Council led the efforts of several school-wide and Upper School events.  

HOMECOMING DANCE

HOMECOMING DANCE
Student Council worked together preparing their theme, decorations, and food  to create a magical night and tranformingthe Lund Auditorium in to a WINTER WONDERLAND for Upper School students!

MAUD BOOTH

MAUD BOOTH
This Service Learning project dedicated to Seniors has become a beloved 12th Grade holiday tradition at Westmark. Senior students welcome preschool students from the inner city for a day of holiday fun. Seniors are paired up with a preschooler and partner with them for a morning of crafts, a pizza lunch, and gift-giving, fulfilling the preshcoolers’ holiday wish lists.  Both our Seniors and the preschoolers get to experience the joy and giving and receiving during this special time of year.

IN-N-0UT TRUCK

IN-N-0UT TRUCK
The entire school looks forward to In-N-Out day each year! Student Council brings the whole school together to enjoy some burgers...and sometimes even a spontaneous dance party!

COLOR GAMES

COLOR GAMES
Upper School grades compete against each other playing fun and silly games like balloon toss, musical chairs, hula hoop and relay races. This friendly competition for a pizza day or free dress day fosters community and friendships across the Upper School.

INTERNATIONAL TRIP, THAILAND

MAUD BOOTH

IN-N-OUT TRUCK

ARTS SHOWCASE

ARTS SHOWCASE
The Annual Upper School Arts Showcase celebrates our students’ exploration of fine arts during an evening of musical performances, photography, film, and studio art. We are so proud of our students for flexing their creative muscles and sharing their passions and talent!

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
Juniors and Seniors who joined this year’s international trip to Thailand got to explore new cultures through the local night markets and museums, cooked up authentic Thai cuisine during some hands-on cooking classes, witnessed the rigorous job of a Mahout (elephant caretaker), rode elephants into the river to bathe them, and perhaps most importantly, spent 3 nights and days immersed in service work at a local children’s home.

AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE (ASL)

AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE (ASL)
ASL students set their goals high this year, focusing on one word for the year as part of their 'Word Goal' project. The words each student selected represented a word that would define their efforts throughout the year. WATCH THE VIDEO they created as they ‘sign’ their word goal!

SPRING MUSICAL: GREASE

SPRING MUSICAL: GREASE
Westmark’s Performing Arts provide a platform for our students to learn, grow, discover and hone their strengths and talents. This year’s Spring Musical GREASE certainly did all that and was most definitely a community affair! The cast and crew delivered a spectacular show. From casting, choreography, and performances to set design, lighting, wardrobe, makeup, and concessions, students, alums, our maintenance crew, faculty, staff and parents contributed to make sure GREASE was a smashing success to sell out crowds. Our students’ talent, poise and confidence -- both in front of and behind the curtain -- was a treat to watch!
 

COACH'S CORNER / ATHLETICS
 

SPORTS ROUND-UP
It was a remarkable season for Westmark Athletics. Upper School student-athletes showed off their  their strengths on the court and on the field!

VARSITY BOYS' BASKETBALL

VARSITY BOYS' BASKETBALL
The Varsity Boys’ Basketball team, led by Omega league coach of the year Jelani Kelly, won the league title with a 12-1 record and finished with an 18-5 record overall.  The Lions knocked off perennial league power AGBU-Pasadena at home to claim the championship, as league MVP Brandon Owen (’20) -- with the help of 1st team All-Leaguers Jesse Strauss (’20) and James Norris (’19) -- defeated the Spartans 65-62. The key play in the game was a steal by 2nd team all-league player Cole McNeill (’20) who stripped and stole the ball from a Spartan player with three seconds remaining to clinch the win. The highly successful season ended on a heartbreaking note as Westmark dropped 63-62 in an overtime decision to Nordhoff, despite Jesse Strauss’s last second three pointer which sent the game into overtime. The loss of senior James Norris will be huge, but the future looks bright as the other four starters return along with two key reserves!
 

VARSITY CO-ED SOCCER

VARSITY CO-ED SOCCER
Westmark Varsity Co-ed Soccer had an amazing season after a sluggish start.  Led by Coach Jeffrey Jimenez, the Lions scored a seven-match winning streak that pulled them to within a game of the league title. The Lions’ biggest victory in that stretch was shocking league power Newbury Park Adventist 2-1 on their home field. The two teams later met again with the winner claiming the league title, but this time with a packed house at Westmark’s Montgomery Field. The Lions came up a bit short dropping a 2-1 decision. All year the Lions were led by 1st team all-leaguers Zach Faggen (’20) and Joseph Erickson (’20) and 2nd teamers Gabe Elias (’19), Zac Kantor (’19) and Alex Elias (’22). Westmark finished the season with a second-place finish in league with a 9-2 league record and finished the season by dropping a first round CIFSS playoff match to Windward. Although the team will lose four seniors - Gabe Elias, Geffen Goldstein, Zac Kantor and Bogie Rosenzsweig - the team looks forward to challenging for the league title next year with a solid core of returning starters.

MIDDLE SCHOOL BOYS' BASKETBALL

LOWER SCHOOL GIRLS' BASKETBALL

LOWER SCHOOL BOYS' BASKETBALL

MIDDLE SCHOOL ATHLETICS

MEANWHILE, IN THE MIDDLE SCHOOL...
Middle School Boys' Basketball battled throughout the season, working hard during practice and competing to the end in every game. Lead by Coaches Addison and Ryan, the boys showed vast improvement over the course of the season and ended up missing the playoffs by just one game. 8th Graders Jason Martin, Charlie Landsbaum, and Dante Greco were the cornerstones of the team. With five returners next year, Noah Hilton, Joe Trilling, Jamie Cook-Healy, Leo McGrail and Phin Oneil-Dunne,  the future looks bright for the young Lions.

LOWER SCHOOL ATHLETICS

LOWER SCHOOL LEARNED THE ROPES
Under the incredible leadership of Coach Jenna Lamica for the girls and Coach Chris Lamica for the boys, the Lower School basketball season was a tremendous success. It was a great introduction to team sports for many of the students as they learned the basics of basketball and what it takes to be part of a team. The turnout for the teams was remarkable as eight boys and 19 girls joined the teams.. Both players and coaches can’t wait for next season to begin. The seasons wrapped up with lunch time celebrations as the coaches honored each player.


  STUDENT / FACULTY KUDOS
 

KUDOS
A big Lion Roar and shout out to these students and faculty...

JARED BERNSTEIN, GRADE 11 CALLED TO GOVERNMENT SERVICE 

 
 

JARED BERNSTEIN, GRADE 11 CALLED TO GOVERNMENT SERVICE 
11th Grader Jared Bernstein has always had a fascination with American Presidents. After his family visited the Ronald Reagan Library a couple of years ago and Jared learned about the opportunities to become a docent there, the seed was planted.  His Mom encouraged him to pursue the opportunity, so Jared applied and quickly received a call back. His first experiences there as a volunteer Special Exhibit Attendant for the Genghis Khan exhibit allowed him to ‘get his feet wet’ over a 3-4 month span.  When the Genghis Khan exhibit closed, Jared met with the Reagan Education Committee for his student docent interview. Jared recalls that the meeting room itself was spectacular, huge, and very presidential. When asked by the head of the Education Committee why he wanted to become a docent, his response sealed the deal.  ‘Here’s how I see it...you’re making an investment in me. You’ll get a great return with me greeting your guests.’ Jared began his docent-in-training preparation in October 2018 working alongside a wonderful mentor, has completed 7 courses of comprehensive, rigorous, early morning classes, works 4-hour shifts every Saturday afternoon, and is known at the library for showing great respect and care for the 60 million documents that reside there under the care of the National Archives (not to mention Air Force One!)  After months of training, and 3 required books under his belt, Jared proudly graduated on Monday, March 11 during a special ceremony and celebration dinner. Jared will always value his experience at the Library as where he ‘began his life in government service’ and has confirmed his love of politics. Congratulations Jared and keep pursuing your dreams!

 

GABE GOFFIN, GRADE 7 'SHOWS HIS SHINE'

GABE GOFFIN, GRADE 7 'SHOWS HIS SHINE'
For 7th Grader Gabe Goffin, combining his passion for the environment and his entrepreneurial spirit comes naturally.  So when it was time to select a project for his Mitzvah project, his motto “Show Your Shine” -- in other words, ‘Be Yourself and Make a Difference’ -- was a perfect fit.  Having recently heard news reports of the environmental ban on plastic straws, he began researching alternatives and exploring ways he could sell a product using the proceeds to benefit an organization that would make a difference in people's lives.  He designed his “Show Your Shine” logo and placed it on packages of metal straws, which he then sold for a profit, with all proceeds donated back to Westmark School’s Tuition Assistance program, to benefit other students with learning disabilities who otherwise might not be able to attend.  Promoting his product and project via social media, Gabe quickly sold out, with backorders on hold while production caught up. Gabe presented Westmark’s Head of School, Ms. Koochek with a check for $1,550.00. Gabe’s initiative and drive to give back to make our world a better place is an inspiration.  We are so proud of you Gabe and grateful for your generosity.

ZACH KANTOR, GRADE 12 AWARDED VIGIL HONOR

ZACH KANTOR, GRADE 12 AWARDED VIGIL HONOR
12th Grader Zach Kantor, a member and Chapter Chief of his Eagle Scout’s Order of the Arrow Honors group, recently was recognized with the prestigious Vigil Honor. Vigil Honor is the highest honor that the Order of the Arrow can bestow upon its members for service to lodge, council, and Scouting. The Vigil Honor is awarded to an individual with an unusual awareness to the needs of others and for service to the lodge, council, and Scouting. During his time in the Order of the Arrow Chapter, Zach was elected and has held several  executive leadership positions, including Chapter Chief, Medicine Man (Usually known as Member at Large for a past President), Chapter Secretary, and Vice Chief of Activities. Way to show your Lion Pride with service to others Zach!

CYNTHIA HERSCH, ARTS CHAIR SELECTED FOR ELITE ART LEADERS PROGRAM

CYNTHIA HERSCH, ARTS CHAIR SELECTED FOR ELITE ART LEADERS PROGRAM
Arts Chair, Cynthia Hersch was one of 25 applicants selected nationally for the elite School for Art Leaders Program this past year and recently completed the Program through the National Art Education Association, the premier professional community for art educators. The selection process is very competitive, participation requires intensive training, and members are positioned to excel as leaders in education, the arts and advocacy. We look forward to Ms. Hersch‘s continued leadership in our Arts program at Westmark.

JARED BERNSTEIN, GRADE 11

GABE GOFFIN, GRADE 7

ZACK KANTOR, GRADE 12

CYNTHIA HERSCH, ARTS CHAIR


  DIVERSITY 
 

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
Westmark's Diversity & Inclusion leadership team work closely with our Advisory, Cross Curriculum Teaching and Learning Center (TLC), and SEL programs to integrate multicultural practices into our classrooms, and overall school culture. This year's work with both students and teachers is already making an impact, promoting awareness of identity and equity across grade levels and throughout our community!

POCC STUDENT DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

WESTMARK STUDENTS REPRESENT AT THE NAIS PEOPLE OF COLOR STUDENT DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
We are so proud of our six Upper School students who attended the recent 4-day People of Color Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Nashville, TN, meeting with 1,600 high school student leaders from across the globe. During the multiracial and multicultural gathering, students have the opportunity to develop cross-cultural communication skills, design effective strategies for social justice practice through dialogue and the arts, and learn the foundations of allyship and networking principles. Since their return, our students have lead assemblies and activities here on campus incorporating what they learned at the conference to educate fellow students and lead our Social Justice Elective class.  

FACULTY GET SCHOOLED IN FACING HISTORY

FACULTY GET SCHOOLED IN FACING HISTORY
During professional development trainings, Westmark teachers were trained using the ‘Facing History’ curriculum, providing the tools and strategies needed to help students become thoughtful, responsible citizens. Teachers learned best practices, strategies and approaches to foster empathy and reflection, improve students’ academic performance, and build safe and inclusive schools.

AFFINITY GROUPS AND CLUBS ON CAMPUS

AFFINITY GROUPS AND CLUBS ON CAMPUS
Westmark’s Diversity & Inclusion efforts have resulted in the development of many different affinity groups and clubs for both Middle and Upper School students. The groups and clubs in turn provide a safe and supportive space for students to explore social justice topics, discuss identity and learn perspective-taking while developing critical thinking and social-emotional skills. As students reflect on culture and current events, they learn how to make a difference through self-advocacy and allyship.

STUDENT AFFINITY GROUPS INCLUDE:
  • BSU (Black Student Union)
  • LGBTQ
  • Young Feminists
  • Culture Club

BIG LION, LITTLE LION

BIG LION, LITTLE LION
We are excited to introduce a new mentor opportunity for our students of color in Lower, Middle and Upper School.  Starting in May 2019, Big Lion, Little Lion - moderated by Ms. Tricia Valli and Ms. Rachel Addison - will pair Upper School students of color with Lower and/or Middle School students of color. Through arts, crafts and games, mentors will provide guidance and shared experiences in a safe environment to discuss issues related to identity and diversity.

MLK SPECIAL CELEBRATION

MLK SPECIAL CELEBRATION
Westmark students were treated to a very special presentation by three-time national gold medalist in dramatic interpretation, Gerald Rivers.  Mr. Rivers has been presenting the words and works of the late, great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for over 30 years.  The speeches and writings of Dr. King are poignant and timeless and the spirit Gerald embodies as the voice of Dr. King is transformational.  He has been invited to take part in national celebrations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit and Los Angeles. He has performed for schools, churches, businesses, festivals, and award ceremonies as well as the national chapters of NAACP, SCLC and the National Baptist Convention.

In preparation for his Westmark presentation, Mr. Rivers first interviewed Westmark faculty to get a sense of our culture and any ongoing social or cultural miscommunications. He began his visit with students from our Upper School Social Justice elective and Middle School Diversity Club, providing inspiration and guidance for their ongoing important work here on campus. Mr. Rivers, accompanied by a talented group of student peaceplayers/drummers, tailored his MLK speeches and discussion accordingly to meet the needs of our students.  It was an extraordinary experience for Westmark students and one they will certainly hold close to heart each year during MLK celebrations.

POCC STUDENT DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE IN NASHVILLE, TN

GERALD RIVERS, MLK SPECIAL CELEBRATION

CULTURE CLUB


  ALUMNI CORNER - WESTMARK CONNECT
 

ATTENTION ALUMS
Keep up to date and in the loop on upcoming reunions, alumni events and networking opportunities! Like us on social media and Register / download our Alumni App, Westmark Connect! For questions or more information, Contact Alumni Relations, Bria Verdugo-Uy at bverdugo-uy@westmarkschool.org.

ALUMNI NEWS & HIGHLIGHTS
Congratulations to the following alumni on their success! Well done Westmark Alums! We are full of LION PRIDE!

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT - SARAH TUBERMAN

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

Name: Sarah Tuberman

Graduation Year: 2007

Current Home: Lake Bluff, IL

Place of Birth: Tarzana, CA

Education: M.S. in Clinical Psychology

Occupation: Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student

Learning Difference: Disorder in Reading (dyslexia), Disorder in written expression (dysgraphia), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)-Combined Type.

Tell us a little bit about what you're doing now: I am currently in my last year of my clinical psychology doctorate program. I am living in Illinois, where I matched for my doctoral internship at a therapeutic day school for children on the autism spectrum and who have emotional disabilities. I am also planning my wedding from afar! I will be returning to Los Angeles after completion of my internship in July, at which time I will be moving in with my fiancé. 

What did you do right after you left Westmark? I attended Cal Lutheran University, where I majored in Psychology. 

What was your best day at Westmark? It was the day that I learned that I could learn how to learn and that I had the ability to succeed academically. This was probably a few months after the 9/11 attacks when I transitioned to Westmark.   

What are some lessons you learned at Westmark that have served you well in your life after Westmark? That my “learning disability” is more of a “difference” than a “disability”.

What would you tell a current student at Westmark today that you think would benefit him/her? Learn how to be your own advocate. If you decide to go to college, make sure that you set yourself up for success by getting accommodations if needed and taking an appropriate course load. 

What three things would you tell your younger self? Have some fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously. It is okay to be different.

ROBERT NATHANSON, '14

ROBERT NATHANSON, '14
Robert Nathanson ’14, for being invited to join the National Eye to Eye team in New York City as an Event Specialist Intern for their 2019 summer program.  Robert was an Eye to Eye Ambassador while at Westmark, mentoring younger students with LD. His passion for Eye to Eye and his eagerness to support the planning of the 2019 Young Leaders Organizing Institute created a lasting impression that was the key component to receiving this internship.

WILLIAM BREWINGTON, '15

WILLIAM BREWINGTON, '15
William Brewington ’15, for receiving his Provisional Medical Certificate from the FAA. While pursuing his dreams at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, William  completed a special Design/Build/Fly project that helped land him his certificate from the FAA enabling him to begin training for his commercial  pilot license. William has been working towards this goal for many years. Since his days at Westmark, William set his sights on this goal and through his hard work, resilience and follow through, he is already poised to find success. We are so proud of this wonderful accomplishment!

 

ARIANNA THOMOPOULOS, '07

ARIANNA THOMOPOULOS, '07
Arianna Thomopoulos ’07, a lifestyle blogger who loves creating her own content on her own terms. Arianna credits much of her success to her time spent at Westmark. Using the confidence, strengths and passions she discovered while at Westmark, today she is a well-known Lifestyle Blogger/Influencer obsessed with inspiring others to live a life they love and has found success with her well established brand: The Modern Day Girlfriend.  With nearly 50K Instagram followers, Ariana has carved a niche creating and delivering meaningful content to her audience while developing brand partnerships and personal connections. Ariana currently resides in San Diego, CA with her rescue pup Tater Tot and is recently engaged to be married. Check her out at www.themoderndaygirlfriend.com and follow her on Instagram @moderndaygf.

MICHAEL GORDON, '06

MICHAEL GORDON, '06
Michael Gordon ’06, a Director of Talent at Fullscreen Media, where he currently helps spearhead the talent acquisitions team and manages some of YouTube’s biggest clients, such as FaZe Clan including FaZe Tfue, WorldStarHipHop, Jacksfilms, DALLMYD and Ricegum, to name a few. Michael credits Westmark, WNN, and being given the opportunity to create content and use a camera at an early age, as huge contributors to his success.

IN MEMORIAM
In Memoriam Michael Ramljak ’95, who was taken from us way too soon. Michael was a kind, gentle soul who was always willing to help. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and fellow Westmark alums.

WESTMARK SCHOOL ALUMNI VISITING POLICY
We love when our alumni come to visit however due to a new block schedule and safety and security procedures, we are now requiring all alumni to call first to schedule your visit. This allows any faculty and staff to make arrangements as needed to accommodate any visitors. To schedule a visit please call 818-986-5045 and ask for Bria Verdugo-Uy or email Bria directly at bverdugo-uy@westmarkschool.org.


 COLLEGE CENTER NEWS
 

COLLEGE CENTER
The College Center has had a very busy year,  preparing our Upper School students for their post-secondary journeys!

10th and 11th Grade students are preparing for the transition to college.   Between Pre/ACT testing, researching and developing their college lists, drafting essays and personal statements, they managed to attend the National College Fair and had the opportunity to speak with college admissions reps from around the country. And for our Seniors, Springtime marks college acceptance time!  They have been busy attending accepted student days, considering housing options, and learning about the accommodations available at their colleges of choice. A few students are planning their GAP year adventures, and all of them are involved in transition workshops to help smooth the road to independence.

Central to our College Center’s approach, we want our students to enter college already knowing how to access the support that will help them thrive. Based on research identifying the success factors of college students with LD, each 12th Grade student is provided tools to be able to discuss their individual official diagnosis and to identify potential college or work accommodations. Recently, a special guest speaker - a graduate of Landmark College - shared her college story with both parents and students. She found success... by learning how she learns best. Like many students with LD, her path through college was not a straight one, but it was wonderful to see the students relate to her story.

WE'RE VERY PROUD OF OUR CLASS OF 2019 FOR THEIR ACCEPTANCES AT THE FOLLOWING SCHOOLS:

  • Agnes Scott College
  • American University
  • University of Arizona
  • Austin College
  • California College of the Arts (San Francisco)
  • California Lutheran University
  • Cal PolY, San Luis Obispo
  • California State University, Channel Islands
  • California State University, Chico
  • California State University, Long Beach
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • California State University, Northridge
  • UC Santa Cruz
  • University of Colorado at Boulder
  • University of Denver
  • DePaul University
  • Drexel University
  • Goucher College
  • Hofstra University
  • Humboldt State University
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Ithaca College
  • Lewis & Clark College
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Maryland Institute College of Art
  • Marymount California University
  • McDaniel College
  • McPherson College
  • Moorpark College
  • Mt. San Antonio College
  • New York University (Rory Meyers College of Nursing)
  • Nova Southeastern University
  • Oregon State University
  • Otis College of Art and Design
  • Portland State University
  • University of Puget Sound
  • University of San Francisco
  • Santa Monica College
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Seattle University
  • Sonoma State University
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • St. Edward's University
  • Stetson University
  • ​​​​​​The New School - Parsons School of Design
  • Westminster College
  • Wheaton College
  • Whittier College
  • Woodbury University
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute


  WESTMARK ANNUAL GALA & AUCTION 
 

WESTMARK ROCKS GALA 2019
This year's Westmark Parent Association Annual Gala, WESTMARK ROCKS 2019 was held on March 9 at the W Hotel in Hollywood. Thanks to all who attended, all who bid online, our ROCK STAR donors, our wonderful parent volunteers, our sponsors and  SOME SPECTACULAR ROCKING LIVE ENTERTAINMENT, the event was a huge success! Combined with some lively bidding, great party book events, and one of a kind Live Auction experiences, WESTMARK ROCKS was a record-breaking Gala. Funds raised will be earmarked to help support Westmark's financial aid, as well as and enhanced music program, upgraded science lab and equipment, and a new digital media studio.