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Summer 2015 Newsletter
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A Message from the Executive Director

The Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) recently honored the Bishop Walker School for Boys with their 2015 School Award for Excellence in Educating Boys of Color. The Executive Director of COSEBOC, Ron Walker, explains the purpose of the School Award this way: "The School Awards winners provide inspiration and a roadmap for success for schools seeking transformation. We recognize the dedicated educators who show us the way." It is a tremendous accomplishment for a new school that has just completed its seventh year to be recognized as a role model for best practices educating young boys. This exciting affirmation of our work is a testament to the skill and dedication of our faculty and the commitment of our entire learning community.  While we are extremely grateful for the recognition, this acknowledgement is accompanied by the awareness that we are still in the early stages of our development and have much more to learn and do on behalf of the children who have been entrusted into our care. Thank you for helping us reach this important milestone along our journey.

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit the school and witness our unique approach firsthand, we would love to see you this fall.  Happy Summer!
A Message from the Head of School
Let the current lift your heart and send it soaring
Write the timeless message clear across the sky
So that all can read it and remember when we need it
That a dream conceived in truth can never die
Butterfly
 
Cause now that you're free and the world has come to see
Just how proud and beautiful you are
 
Fly
                                       Butterfly
                                      Yeah, yeah, yes
                                        Fly
 
                                                                                    Lyrics from “Black Butterfly”
                                                                                    By Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil
 
A few weeks ago, our students were buzzing with excitement because a number of butterflies had emerged from their cocoons. For the second year, the boys witnessed the life cycle of butterflies. Thanks to the Perennial Garden Club, the boys have seen plain, small eggs transform into exquisite, colorful insects. Over the course of several days class after class released these beautiful creatures into nature with hope and excitement.  The butterflies flew away from the love and care of our boys into the open world.
 
As I prepare to complete my tenure as the Head of School of Bishop Walker School, I think about how our work with children parallels the metamorphosis of the butterfly. We started humbly as a dream in which unlimited educational opportunities would be made available to boys living east of the Anacostia River. This major dream came into fruition in the basement of St. Philip’s Church with 13 little boys whose parents entrusted them into the care of a fledgling school. Slowly and steadily we have grown to 81 boys and a faculty of twenty-one. In a year or two, the upper primary and middle schools will take flight and move to THEARC. 
 
It has been my privilege to watch our fifth graders over the last six years morph from little boys learning the letters of the alphabet to young men who are now my height talk about the pre-algebraic math problems they are working on or where they want to go to high school.  I can only imagine the beautiful men they will become in a few years when they graduate from the Bishop Walker School and enter the world. Like the 40 or so butterflies that made their appearance this spring, each of our boys has his own unique beauty, which I believe others in the world will come to appreciate and admire.
 
It has been through our teachers’ gentle care and nurturing of boys’ minds and spirits this year that our boys have grown and flourished. From field trips to the Department of Justice, Hillwood Gardens and Williamsburg, our boys have discovered that they can bring peace, beauty and justice to society. Whether it is reading about the adventures of Harry Potter or designing a building museum, the boys have learned that wonder, creativity and possibility are all within their reach. Through worshiping at the National Cathedral or making sandwiches for the homeless, the boys have come to know they are one with God and have a responsibility to their fellow men and women.

Thank you for your support and encouragement of the Bishop Walker School and its teachers, students and families. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the School’s academic head.  May God continue to bless you and the Bishop Walker School community.
 
Warm regards,
 
Angela G. Garcia
Head of School
 BWS Film

We are proud to announce that we have our first promotional film. Stone Soup Films awarded a grant in 2014 for the pro bono creation of a short documentary film, and  the final product does a beautiful job of sharing the story of the Bishop Walker School. Please take a few moments to enjoy it!


Family and Friends Day

On Friday, May 15, our families and friends gathered at our Primary School and Upper Primary School to celebrate another successful school year with our students. At both campuses, students performed a musical concert and then invited guests into their classrooms to see what they’ve been learning. Adults and children participated in classroom activities from a poetry slam to science experiments with floating objects. This is a beautiful and inspiring annual tradition that brings our community together. Enjoy the photos and the video of our Upper Primary students performing “Sansaw akroma,” a Ghanaian folk song.
 


 
A HEARTFELT THANKS TO OUR VOLUNTEERS!

The Bishop Walker School is blessed to have the support of many dedicated volunteers who provide services that greatly benefit our students. At the end of another school year, we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight and thank a few special people who invest their time and energy into the lives of our students.
 
Library Volunteers: This year, BWS launched two lending libraries at the Primary School and the Upper Primary School. Countless volunteers sorted over 4,000 books, scanned the volumes into a lending software program, and organized them on theshelves. Then, Sharon Molster and friends from St. John’s Episcopal Church in McLean designed and decorated the library space at our Upper Primary School, transforming it into a warm and inviting environment. Sylvia Rortvedt and Catherine Marquardt serve as our volunteer librarians. They plan and implement the library program each Tuesday and Friday. Sylvia and Catherine help the students check out books, read them a story, and help the boys in the Upper Primary School learn how to navigate the nonfiction section and conduct research. They also launched a home library program by sending home a bag of books with each boy at the end of every month to help them create their own libraries.
 

Perennial Garden Club: The Perennial Garden Club (PGC) continued their faithful partnership with the school and generous support of our outdoor learning program. PGC supported professional development for the teachers at the Washington Youth Garden and field trips for our students, including the Youth Garden and Hillwood Museum and Estate. Club members served as Sprouts, who helped each class complete planting and gardening activities throughout the year. Also, the Perennial Garden Club organized two grounds clean up days in the fall and spring, which are a wonderful opportunity for volunteers, parents, staff and students to work together.  We are so grateful for the leadership of Brooke Breckenridge Morton, outgoing President of the PGC and a champion of the school.
 
Lunch Buddies: This year, our Lunch Buddies program continued to thrive with a total of 38 men who visited the school each month to have lunch, converse and build positive and meaningful relationships with students. One of our Lunch Buddies literally went above and beyond this year! BWS Lunch Buddy Oliver Ames will climb Denali, the highest mountain in North America to raise funds for the Bishop Walker School. Oliver raised an exciting $8,300, 135% over his initial goal of $6,168. We are incredibly moved by his generosity and inspired by his creativity.
 
All of our volunteers make a significant impact in the lives of our students. If you are interested in volunteering for one of these programs or for another area of interest, please contact jgowan@bishopwalkerschool.org.
 
SUPPORT OUR STUDENTS

We are just two weeks away from the end of our fiscal year on June 30, 2015. Every gift powerfully impacts the lives of our students and helps us reach our operating budget goal of $1.9 million. You can click here to make a donation now. Please contact Suzanne Burrows, Director of Development, at (202) 591-3074 orsburrows@bishopwalkerschool.org if you have any questions. 

 
Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys | 3640 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE | Washington DC 20032