.
Fall 2013 Newsletter
.
In this Issue:

Choral Evensong
One School, Two Locations
Life Pieces to Masterpieces
Roots of Empathy Comes to BWS
BWS Teachers and Learners - Ms. Yonnette Moore
Playground Blessing
Volunteer Spotlight - Richard Corley, BWS Lunch Buddy
Save the Date for the BWS Annual Dinner

Dear BWS Family,

It is inspiring to see how we've grown in the past five years. Your commitment to supporting this work of providing quality education to boys in Southeast DC continues to make a difference. We hope you enjoy reading about recent exciting events, new partnerships and extraordinary members of our community highlighted in this newsletter. We are blessed to have you as a member of the BWS family.

Warm Regards,                                                                                                                   

James R. Woody
Executive Director
 
Choral Evensong 


On Thursday, October 3, The Right Reverend Mariann Budde blessed the students, families, faculty and staff of the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys during our annual Founders Evensong at the Washington National Cathedral. BWS students processed, read the Scriptures and wrote and shared their own Prayers for the People. Their voices reminded us that as a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, we are here to serve our students and to help them reach their full potential as children of God. 


 

One School, Two Locations 
In 2008, BWS opened its doors to students for the first time in the basement of a church. Two years later, we opened our own doors as the renovation of the Holy Communion site for Junior Kindgergarten through 1st grade was finished. Now with JK-4th grades, we have become one school with two locations. Our JK, K, 1st and 2nd grade students continue to meet at Holy Communion, while our 3rd and 4th graders attend our campus at Washington View Apartments. We are excited to begin this partnership with Washington View Apartments, as we utilize their Educational Complex. There is space here to expand through 5th grade, while we plan and execute the Capital Campaign necessary for us to build our middle school on the grounds of THEARC.


Life Pieces to Masterpieces
We are excited to have launched a partnership with Life Pieces to Masterpieces. According to their mission, “Life Pieces To Masterpieces uses artistic expression to develop character, unlock potential, and prepareAfrican American boys and young men to transform their lives and community.” Life Pieces To Masterpieces (LPTM) works with African American boys in Wards 7 and 8 to provide mentorship and a life development curriculum to at-risk youth. Their unique approach using artistic expression and thoughtful decision-making has positively impacted boys in our community since 1996. Their students, or “apprentices” continue to work with the program and mentor younger apprentices. Their complementary mission and commitment to boys in this community make LPTM a perfect partner in our work. They come once a week to work with our students after school using mindful movement, meditation and artistic expression.
 

Roots of Empathy Comes to BWS
The Bishop Walker School is thrilled to be able to bring Roots of Empathy into our 2nd-4th grade classrooms and east of the Anacostia River. Last year, Roots of Empathy International accepted the application of a consortium of five schools in Washington, D.C. to initiate its Roots of Empathy program in their schools beginning this fall. These schools are the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys, the Beauvoir School, Horace Mann Elementary School, Maury Elementary School and Capital City Public Charter School.
 
Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children while raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. The program centers on a baby and his parents who visit a classroom every three weeks over the school year. A trained Roots of Empathy instructor works with the class to observe the baby's development and label the baby's feelings. Through this experiential learning children come to identify and reflect on their own feelings and those of others. The emotional literacy taught lays the foundation for more safe and caring classrooms. It is our hope that our students will be more competent in understanding their own feelings and the feelings of others, and will therefore be less likely to physically, psychologically and emotionally hurt each other through bullying and other cruelties.

BWS Teachers and Learners - Ms. Yonnette Moore
At BWS, teachers demonstrate the value of a lifelong love of learning for their students. Despite having fourteen years of classroom experience, Ms. Yonnette Moore, our 2nd grade teacher, continues to seek out opportunities to deepen her teaching practice. This summer, Ms. Moore travelled to Japan as one of an elite group of teachers selected for the Japan-U.S. Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program. Here is a brief interview with Ms. Moore about her experiences:

Where did you go in Japan? What did you do?
I spent 6 days in Tokyo and 6 days in Minamata City, Japan. I visited elementary, secondary, high schools and colleges in both Tokyo and Minamata City.

What did you learn?
I learned that although we are on different sides of the world, teachers share the same common goal and/or desire - success for every student.  I also learned that in Japan education is taken very seriously, and teachers are held in the highest esteem and are given the highest respect.
 
What did you share about BWS?
As the entire program is based on sustainable development, I was able to share those sustainable activities that Bishop Walker School is currently engaged in.  For example, our recycling program, our raised garden beds, and our new outdoor classroom.

What were some of your favorite sights?
I really enjoyed visiting the elementary school in Minamata City.  Furthermore, I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the Mayor and Superintendent of the Minamata Municipal Board of Education.  Finally, the most powerful experience was visiting the Minamata Disease Municipal Museum where we were able to hear firsthand the experience of a Minamata Disease survivor.

What was challenging about the trip?
My least favorite part of the trip was the experience of the food and the lack of awareness of cultures outside Japan displayed by some.
                                                          
Anything else you would like to share?
What I enjoyed most was the overwhelming kindness and welcome from my host family (pictured here) and the citizens of Minamata City. Also, the determination of the people of Minamata City to overcome the negative reputation that has been attached to it for so long was admirable. 

 
 
 

Playground Blessing
In a child-centered ceremony on Tuesday, October 15, 2013, the Junior Kindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st and 2ndgrades helped bless our recently renovated playground at the Holy Communion site. A generous contribution from the Ruth Willoughby Foundation (Bruce Whelihan, Trustee) made the renovation possible. The added wooden steps, stone path and plants are a beautiful solution to the long-term challenge posed by an eroding hill coming down from Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue. Four first and second grade students assisted our chaplain, Reverend Jarrett, along with Reverend Robin Dodge of St. David’s parish in blessing this beloved space. A highlight of the ceremony occurred as two students took palms dipped in holy water and ran through the playground to spread the blessing. At the end of the ceremony, the boys were free to play and experience the joy of being outdoors in a safe and thoughtfully designed area.
 

Volunteer Spotlight - Richard Corley, BWS Lunch Buddy
Read what one of our Lunch Buddies, Richard Corley, has to say about the opportunity to build relationships with BWS students:
 
“One thing I can say about mentoring is the strong feelings you get giving back and the sense of feeling that you are grateful for the many folks that took their time out in teaching you the right things.  To have the opportunity to volunteer at a school where young minds are being developed is a privilege.  Volunteering is one of the purest forms of service that one can give to the community and it builds a great spirit.  Working with young people is so important and often taken for granted by the general population.  There is so much out there in the world to explore.  I enjoy telling the children my experiences in hopes of making their journey the best it can be.  Knowing that life has its ups and downs, but you should never give up and hope for the best, always.  This is the message that I try to convey to them in the little time that I have to be in their lane.  Thank you for letting me be of service.”   
 
Lunch Buddies are men who visit a class once a month to eat lunch and share a personal hobby or interest with students. If you are interested in serving as a Lunch Buddy, please email our Volunteer Coordinator, Jana Gowan.


 


Save the Date for the BWS Annual Dinner

Our annual dinner will be on February 27, 2014 at The Metropolitan Club. We are excited to announce that Dr. Freeman A. Hrabrowski, III will be our featured guest. Dr. Hrabrowski is the President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. TIME magazine named him one of America’s 10 Best College Presidents in 2009, and one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2012.








 
To continue to provide a quality educational experience for boys in Southeast Washington DC, we need your support. To make a gift now, click here. Thank you for all that you do to impact the lives of our students!
Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys | 3640 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE | Washington DC 20032