Fall 2016 Newsletter

Kicking Off Our 9th

School Year!

Knowing, Doing, and Being

What you KNOW is not as important as what you are able to DO, and what you are able to DO is not as important as who you ARE. In other words, knowledge is empty without action, and action is empty without meaning.

That, I believe, is what we at Bishop Walker School mean when we educators talk about knowings,doings, and beings. These three layers implicit in our curriculum are what nourish our conversations and underlay our pedagogical framework.
Knowledge, once reserved for those that had access to teachers and tomes, is now available to all with the mere tap of a finger. If I want to know something, someone has already researched data, statistically refined salient points, and offered metacognitive analysis on that topic - and myriad related others. Knowing, it seems, in and of itself, is not enough.

Learners no longer only memorize, copy, and work alone behind forearm screens that prevent others from seeing their work. Now, learners collaborate, often integrating interdisciplinary concepts and "thinking outside the (proverbial) box." They authentically experience what professionals in a particular field do with project-based learning. Teachers no longer give knowledge that students are to merely regurgitate; instead, they ask students to think for themselves and provide evidence to support a claim. They ask students to "do" by building, synthesizing, and constructing.

Most importantly, however, is the significance of the beings. Carefully composing the lessons that appear in a boy's book bag is a resounding chorus of teachers, each of whom wants the students in his or her care to be good global citizens, meaningful contributors to the intricate mosaic of our community fabric, and environmental stewards. They teach in front of a hidden curricular background that fosters character traits and qualities like pride, resilience, courage, andhonesty.

So, I thank you, BWS community, as we partner in the mission to nurture the whole child - mind, body, and spirit - as we prepare our next generation for a future they deserve.

Tawana Purnell - Head of School

Character Building Through Culture and History
unnamedWe’re living through a remarkable time in history. Amazing technological advances have made it possible for people across the globe to witness the same “breaking news” as it happens. Social media has allowed residents of remote hamlets and bustling cities to engage in meaningful dialogue with each other without leaving their local communities. Powerful social movements are being propelled by viral videos and previously unknown champions.
The potential to impact the world is more readily available to more of us now than ever before. While vast amounts of information and the tools to widely disseminate it are incredibly powerful resources, how we choose to wield that power is in large part determined by the core values that form the foundation of our belief system. At the Bishop Walker School, while we are committed to our students’ academic attainment, we are equally invested in the development of what Martin Luther King, Jr. described as “the content of their character”.
With the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, I am thrilled that our boys will have the opportunity, along with people from across the nation and from around the world, to view the rich history of America through the lenses of both the difficult past and four hundred years of African American contributions. While serving as a solemn reminder of a dark chapter in America’s past, that glorious cultural cathedral on the National Mall is a beacon of hope reminding us afresh of the power of resourcefulness, perseverance, reconciliation, and love – the same building blocks of character that we have the privilege of teaching and modeling at the Bishop Walker School every day.

James R. Woody - Executive Director and President

New Educational Initiatives at Washington View

The new school year is off and running, and I am so excited to serve as the new Upper Primary School Director. We have very simple goals for the upper school this year, and one of those goals is to build a robust, campus-wide literacy focus. We hope to have every student read 50 texts (books, graphic novels, poems, short stories, speeches, etc.) outside of the curriculum by the end of the school year. If you were to visit us, make sure you ask students, "Where are you on the road to 50?" This will be a living, vibrant part of our culture, and we ask that you may help us in that endeavor if you visit Washington View.

Our second goal for this school year is to build out the "T" and "E" in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). We are working diligently to create a “Maker's Space” for students so they can explore more hands-on learning opportunities. Many boys are tactile and kinesthetic learners, and our objective is to celebrate learning and intelligence in all of its forms in this Maker’s Space. We have identified physical space in our building, and we will soon solicit donations to garner materials and tools to make this a reality. I look forward to updating you on the progress of our boys throughout the year!

Desmond Williams - Director of Upper Primary School

Teaching the Word of Jesus Christ through Character Development

After the opening Chapel service of last year, a new parent approached me and asked if her son would learn the Lord’s Prayer during the course of the academic year. I responded, “Yes, but learning the Lord’s Prayer is only the beginning. I am mostly concerned about your son living the Lord’s Prayer.” She responded, “Oh, that’s interesting.”

Living the meaning encased in Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven invites us to examine our behavior and adjust it when it misaligns with the behavior expected of us by Jesus Christ. In an attempt to formalize a religio-spiritual infrastructure through which the boys might learn and practice Christian behavior, I have incorporated the Character Counts! program into Chapel services and Religion classes.

Character Counts! is a student development program that uses a framework providing a common language and expectations that helps students develop academic, social, and emotional skills as well as positive character traits. During this academic year, I will focus upon the character trait development aspect of the program infusing the 6 Pillars of CharacterTrustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship—into the learning environment of the school. Students will receive intentional guidance and motivation from teachers and administrators to learn the traits and apply them to their everyday life experiences.

As an Episcopal school, we must nurture the religious and spiritual development of our students. I believe that intentionally incorporating this improved character development program into my teaching not only lays a foundation for understanding the will of God on earth as it is in heaven as taught by Jesus Christ, but also lays a foundation for present and future academic and life success. I am excited about this venture and I invite you to join me in my excitement. Stay tuned!

Father Phillips - School Chaplain & Religion Teacher

First Grade Visits the New National Museum
of African American History and Culture

Mrs. Abana’s first grade class was fortunate enough to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture during its opening week! To help capture the boys’ attention, Mrs. Abana had each boy bring along a Field Trip Journal so they could draw their favorite moments and find a few items on a small scavenger hunt.

The boys absolutely loved the sports exhibits, because they were able to see the impact that some of their favorite African American athletes—like Michael Jordan or LeBron James—have had on American culture. The boys also enjoyed the exhibits on African American musicians. They were mesmerized by the instruments, outfits, and stage props related to Parliament Funkadelic and other prominent African American musicians. We hope to take more of our students to the new museum later in the school year!

Recent BWS Photos

First Day of School Chapel

Kindergarten Playing on the Playground

1st and 2nd Grade Outdoor Art Class

National Museum of African American History and Culture Field Trip


Upcoming Events
5:30 pm - Thursday, October 6
Washington National Cathedral
Reception to follow

Bishop Walker Invitational Basketball Tournament
Thursday, December 8, 2016
St. Alban’s School

Lessons & Carols
Friday, December, 16th
BWS Holy Communion Site

Washington Winter Show
January 12-15, 2017
Katzen Arts Center, American University

2017 Annual Dinner
Thursday, March 2, 2017
The Willard Hotel