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Spring 2015 Newsletter
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A Message from the Executive Director

From Weight Loss Awareness Month (January) to National Frozen Foods Month (March), there is a month set aside to commemorate just about everything.  A favorite of mine is April when we celebrate National Volunteer Month.  One of the great joys of being associated with the Bishop Walker School is the privilege of working collaboratively with the many groups and individuals who generously support our mission throughout the year.  While those who roll up their sleeves on behalf of the Bishop Walker School are too numerous to mention individually, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge a few who are representative of the tremendous spirit of generosity embodied by so many in our community. 
 
  • This past December we were delighted to, once again, be a part of the annual Bishop John T. Walker Invitational basketball tournament organized by the St. Albans School Alumni Association. 
  • In January we were honored to be a beneficiary of the 60th anniversary Washington Winter Show/The Washington Antiques Show. 
  • It’s impossible to walk around our campus without seeing evidence of the tremendous investment of the Perennial Garden Club.
  • Dozens of men in our community give of their time and themselves to spend a monthly lunch hour with our students through our Lunch Buddies program.
  • Highly skilled and extremely dedicated volunteers have created two wonderful libraries for our students and very capably oversee their use.
A hearty thank you to all whose generous investments of time, talent and treasure enrich the lives of our students and fortify the foundation upon which our transformative learning community is built!
 
James Woody
Executive Director and President
A Letter from the Head of School

Late this fall I had the opportunity to spread the name of the Bishop Walker School to independent school educators from across the nation at two conferences.  I was pleasantly surprised and humbled by their excited and positive responses to the school and the work we do with our students. My presentations came at a time when our nation was reeling with the unrest surrounding the deaths of African American men Eric Garner and Michael Brown. For many, just learning about the existence of the Bishop Walker School gave my fellow colleagues some hope about what is possible for black boys, all children and their future.

Pat Luce, Director of Special Programs at Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School, and I presented at the Biennial Conference of the National Association of Episcopal Schools in Anaheim, California.  Our presentation, “Public and Private Partnership,” focused on the partnership our Episcopal schools share with two DC public schools and one charter school and how it has touched the lives of nearly 400 students across the city’s eight wards. Pat and I discussed how 5 schools serving very different populations in very different parts of the city had the common desires to reduce bullying and aggression among children and provide them with strong skills in social literacy. Together the partnership brought Roots of Empathy, an evidenced-based program which teaches children how to be more caring and empathetic to others, to Washington, D.C. We encouraged participants to brainstorm ways they can build partnerships with other organizations and schools in their communities based on common goals for a more equitable, just and compassionate society.

In early December, Courtney Martin, the Upper Primary School Director of BWS, and I presented at the NAIS’s People of Color Conference in‚ÄčIndianapolis, Indiana.  We presented “Where the Boys Are: One Independent School’s Commitment to Changing the Educational Trajectory of Black Boys” to a packed room of independent school educators wanting to learn more about best practices educating black males. In our presentation we drew parallels between the tenets of progressive education and research about the ways boys learn best. We also highlighted the ministry of Bishop Walker, academic and social components of our program, the quality of our teachers and partnership with our families.

The reception of both presentations was pleasing. As a result several schools and individuals have reached out to the Bishop Walker School in recent months to visit, continue the conversation and form partnerships which benefit both their students and ours.

Angela G. Garcia
Head of School
"New Beginnings" from the Upper Primary School Division Director

As Spring approaches, I can't help but to think of new beginnings. Here at the Upper Primary School campus, we are preparing for new beginnings that will take place soon. The addition of 6th grade brings about many changes for the faculty, students, and parents of the Bishop Walker School.  With the expansion into middle school, we are in the position to start thinking about the future of our students both in the middle school grades and beyond.
 
One of our main goals is to expose our students to all of the possibilities that await them. Recently, the Upper Primary students were invited to sing at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA. We toured the campus, had lunch and attended a Chapel service honoring Bishop John T. Walker. The experience was incredibly meaningful for our students. The boys were able to interact with students and faculty. They asked questions about the school, athletics, and high school in general. I realized then, that it won’t be long until our students will be venturing off to high school.

Before that happens, there are programs that we would like to put in place to make the transition as smooth as possible. We want our students and parents to be as prepared and informed as they possibly can. In January, Len Armstrong, Assistant Head of School at The Landon School, came to speak to parents about independent schools. We will have more of these sessions to make sure our parents are informed about all of the options available to them. While middle school is just the first of many transitions, I’m looking forward to the new beginnings this experience will bring.
 
Courtney Martin
Director of Upper Primary School

Enjoy this video of BWS students performing at Episcopal High School:


 
Black History Month Program

Bishop Walker School students performed at the annual Black History Month program at our Primary School campus on Friday, February 27, 2015. Families and friends gathered to witness unique presentations from each class, addressing the theme: “Struggle Through Protest.” Weaving together significant protests and advancements for civil rights throughout history, the students and their teachers created a powerful and moving program. Here are two clips from pieces by the Kindergarten and 2nd grade classes to give you a sense of this special event:

Part of 2nd Grade's Performance:


Part of Kindergarten's Performance: 


BWS Annual Dinner

On Thursday, March 5, many of our supporters braved the weather to attend our Annual Dinner at The Metropolitan Club of the City of Washington. It was a celebratory event full of inspiration and renewed commitment to supporting the mission of the Bishop Walker School. Guests viewed the debut of a promotional film created for BWS by Stone Soup Films. During the dinner, Olivia Henderson, the mother of a third grade student and President of the BWS Parent Association, spoke powerfully about the impact the school has on her son’s life now as well as his future. Our featured guest, The Rev. John Finley, the Founder and Head of Epiphany School in Boston, attributed the success of BWS to the fact that we care for the whole child, partake in the great tradition of independent schools and that our lack of reliance on government support frees us to create a unique learning environment that is buoyed by the support of thoughtful individuals across a wide spectrum of our community.  Finley urged all of us to continue sustaining the vital mission of the school. Despite the late winter snow storm, we had a successful event in celebration of all the school has accomplished in the past seven years and received positive affirmation of the school’s future as we continue to add a grade each year.

Enjoy photos of the event on our Facebook page by clicking here!
 
Mark Your Calendars!

Sunday, April 12, 2015 @ 4 pm
Absalom Jones Service at St. Andrew’s, College Park, 4512 College Avenue, College Park, MD 20740. A service celebrating African Americans’ gifts to the history of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America with an offering to benefit the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys (BWS). Bishop Mariann will preside over the service and Bishop Nathan Baxter will preach. A reception follows the service. Please join us at this special event. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
The Bishop Walker School goes on the road, and our first out-of-town friendraising event of 2015 will be in Los Angeles. Another reception is scheduled for Boston in May, and we will also be hosting a get together in New York, on a date to be determined. If you know of anyone in these areas who you think might be interested in learning more about the school, please let us know so we can invite them!
 
Saturday, April 18, 2015 @ 12 noon
Angela G. Garcia, the Head of the Bishop Walker School for Boys, will receive the 2015 Community Service Award for her years of dedicated service to DC’s youth from The Julia West Hamilton League, Inc. at a luncheon at 12:00noon in the Grand Ballroom of the J.W. Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC. The purpose of the League is to promote benevolent, cultural and educational interests in the community and further the promotion of civic ideas. Tickets for the luncheon can be purchased by contacting Cynthia Smith, the Vice President and Program Co-Chairperson at cd_smith@kslaw.com.

Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 9 am – 10 pm

Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse Book Fair
, 5015 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20008. A shopping event to benefit the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys. 20% of the proceeds from the day’s sales will be donated to BWS. Please mention BWS as you checkout for the school to receive credit for the purchase.
 

Saturday, April 25, 2015 from 10 am - 12 noon
Perennial Garden Club (PGC) invites BWS families, students, staff and friends to our spring clean-up day on Saturday, April 25 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm. Please join us and bring your gardening gloves and tools. We would appreciate your help with weeding and general maintenance of the school grounds. There is no need to RSVP.  Please come when you can and give us an hour of your time. Refreshments will be provided. Questions? Please email Brooke Morton with PGC at bbreck@breckdesign.com.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Suzanne Burrows in the Development Office at (202) 591-3074 or sburrows@bishopwalkerschool.org.
 
As a tuition-free independent school, we rely completely on philanthropic support. Your donations help us to provide a high quality education for boys in Southeast DC. To make a gift, please click here. To learn more about ways you can volunteer, please contact Jana Gowan in the Development Office at (202) 591-3073 or jgowan@bishopwalkerschool.org.
Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys | 3640 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE | Washington DC 20032