Latest Whole School news
Summer Term 2013
Last week was sport week at BSW. All the students in the school, from primary to secondary, competed for their own houses. All students in the school belong to a House. There are four houses in the school: Potomac, Chesapeake, Shenandoah and Patuxent. This is great because we are competing for a team and not for ourselves. It teaches us team work.
Spring Term 2013
Spirit Week donations
Last week pupils at BSW celebrated their school spirit. Pupils completed a whole school piece of community art work involving the hands of all of the pupils in the school. Older pupils worked with younger pupils to complete their contributions.
DT teacher, Gareth Hall, invited to join Board of Iowa State University's Industrial Design Department
Gareth Hall, Teacher of secondary-level Design Technology at the British School of Washington, has been recognized as a strong advocate for the power of design and so invited to join the Board of the newly established Industrial Design Department at Iowa State University. With many years of teaching experience, a belief in the value of good design thinking and a commitment to the subject further demonstrated in his volunteer work at the National Design Museum, Gareth has much to offer higher education and University students.
"Gareth, you are in the unique and unusual position of having been a teacher of Design at the secondary school level here in the US for many years. You know that students who learn good design thinking tend to use these skills across the board in their studies, often leading to stronger academic outcomes. Through your job at the British School of Washington and your volunteer work at the National Building Museum, you have seen the power of design learning in changing lives. Our students have much to learn from you. Therefore, you are a perfect candidate for the Board." Chair, Department of Industrial Design, Iowa State University
World Book Day
In celebration of World Book day on Thursday 7th March, pupils have been invovled in a range of activities based around books and literature.
Pupils have the opportunity to listen to 'bedtime' stories every evening, just click here to visit the BSW youtube channel and find the stories.
Where will you be caught reading?
World Book Day Bedtime Story introduction - Click here
To hear a bedtime story from Mrs Balch - Click here
Teen expert, Dr. Ron Clavier, spoke at the British School of Washington
“Let’s get something straight… You want to protect your kids and help them, but you don’t understand them. What goes on in their brains is beyond you…”
On January 31st, BSW welcomed Neuroscientist and Author of Teen Brain Teen Mind, Dr. Ron Clavier, for the first in an exciting program of expert speakers.
Dr. Clavier’s insightful and illuminating lecture, Understanding the Teenage Brain, demonstrated that an understanding of the teenage brain is the key to unlocking the mysteries of why teens think and act the way they do. His own deep understanding of human brain development allowed him to show how neurological changes in a young person’s developing brain underlie many behaviors and emotions.
Illustrating his ideas with examples and observations, he provided coping tips and strategies for young people and their families, easing tensions and improving communications to make the adolescent years healthier and more productive.
Dr. Clavier is skilled in making connections between science and society, and making scientific concepts easy to understand. An experienced and dynamic speaker, he is honest, funny and down-to-earth. His talks have been enjoyed by teenagers, parents and educators all over the world.
Dr. Clavier’s work is informed by a background in neuroscience, biochemical psychiatry and clinical psychology. From Montreal, he achieved his Doctorate in Experimental and Physiological Psychology before completing Postdoctoral training in Biochemical Psychiatry. He taught anatomy and psychology in medical schools before opening his own clinical psychology practice. He also consults in the corporate, law enforcement, community, health and education sectors, advising those who work with young people. Through his television series Adolescence: The Stormy Decade (2001-2007) and his writing, he helps teenagers, their families and those working with teens.
Autumn Term 2012
Year 7 IMYC - art installation
Throughout this half term, members of Year 7 have been working on an outdoor sculpture with University of Maryland student, Nicholas Patrick, who is studying landscape architecture. When we were first introduced to the idea as part of our IMYC (International Middle Years curriculum), none of us really knew what landscape architecture was. However, we quickly caught on when we took a trip to the University of Maryland and learned about Nicholas’ studies. While we were there, we got to see the models he and his classmates made of a park they are designing in DC.
KS2 Holiday Pantomime – Hansel and Gretel - November 2012
The lines are learnt, the stage is up, people have started arriving and everything is ready, the show is about to start. The excitement of the Key stage Two Pantomime Hansel and Gretel is still buzzing around the school. Everyone had a part in this amazing production whether a bird, a robber a tree, a dancer of one of the speaking parts. We all gave up our lesson time, lunchtimes and break times to perfect our part. The singing was lovely and the acting was fantastic, the storytellers told the story so clearly that everybody was able to understand and follow along. Annie and Caspar did a phenomenal job as the lead characters, Hansel and Gretel, ably assisted by Charlie (wicked stepmother), Caedmon (father), Belema (Spice) and Emily (Sugar). Our dance was very entertaining, all the props and the background were super glittery (I quite enjoyed making them). My favourite songs were the Dinner at the double and the tree’s song.
By Annie, Michaela and Frankie, Year 6
For more photographs of the show, check out the photo galleries page.
Rock Creek National Park volunteer luncheon - October 2012
On Saturday 27th October, Rock Creek National Park, held it’s annual volunteer appreciation luncheon and awards ceremony. BSW, represented by primary head boy Charlie L, was invited to attend to say thank you for their work primarily in the Dumbarton Oaks part of Rock Creek Park. In the past year, students at BSW have picked up trash, removed invasive species, marked storm drains for sewage water run-off and taken part in camera trapping activities. They have worked collaboratively with both the Rock Creek Park Conservancy and the Dumbarton Oaks conservancy. Altogether pupils have donated over 200 hours of time in the last year. Charlie was congratulated by the Rock Creek Park volunteer co-ordinator, Scott Einberger and the Deputy Superintendent, Cindy Cox.
Cycling for Sophia, charity fundraising, October 2012
Last Friday, British School of Washington was awash with orange. The whole BSW community came together to raise over $3600 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In memory of Sophia (the daughter of one of BSW's Learning Assistants), the BSW community dressed in orange, enjoyed a bake sale and the youngest pupils cycled for Sophia; bringing in bikes and scooters to ride whilst being cheered on by parents and members of
College Counsellor Breakfast
BSW hosted a breakfast for college counsellors from local schools to hear a joint presentation with representatives from King's College, London and
Reception Classes - outdoor learning
"The best kept classroom and the richest cupboard are roofed only by the sky."
Casey Trees/Potbelly Artist in Bloom Poster Contest
Following our community tree planting earlier in the year, several pupils entered the Casey Trees/Potbelly "Artists in Bloom" Poster competition. This poster competition was part of a larger partnership between Casey Trees and Potbelly Sandwich Works this fall. During the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Potbelly donated a portion of the proceeds of each Cherry Blossom Shake sold to Casey Trees and their School Community Tree Plantings across the city – overall almost 200 trees were planted on school campuses across the District and more than 400 students took part this spring. Following the planting, Potbelly received more than 200 submissions for posters from students at these schools – including the British School of Washington. Not only did a British School student take the top prize as determined by Potbelly, but our students took the TOP THREE PRIZES! Congratulations to all of your students! The prizes are as follows:
1st place - Serena (Year 3)
Serena wins lunch for her class courtesy of Potbelly Sandwich works and her art work will hang in their corporate offices in Bethesda. Congratulations to all of our entrants.
Summer Term 2012
Key Stage 2 Residential Trip - Shenandoah Camp
On Monday the 11th of June to Friday the 16th, Years 5 and 6 visited the Sheridan School Mountain Campus(known to BSW students at Shenandoah Camp) in the Shenandoah Mountains; where the children took part in team building activities and exhilarating adventure challenges. The children stayed for four nights in tents with a few of their classmates.
On the first day, Year 5 went on a hike to a mountain spring, where there was a natural water slide that they went down. According to the year 5’s, the water was very cold. “It’s really weird because you don’t know what’s going to happen since it’s so mossy, but in the end it’s really fun,” stated Year 5 Isabella, post going down the water slide.
On Tuesday, they continued on to the Zip Line. To actually get to the zip line platform, you had to walk across the postman’s walk, two wires suspended in the air, connected to the platform. Once on the platform children will be able to fly away on the 300m zip line. That night they had s’mores, sang songs and solved riddles.
The next morning, all of the children played an adventurous game called instincts for survival. It showed how animals survive in the wilderness using a game of tag. After that, they spent almost the rest of their day canoeing in the rapids of the Shenandoah River. When on the river, children took part in group activities with other boats and learned about the wildlife within the river.”It was fun and enjoyable something worth looking forward to” said Belema. They canoed 5 miles downstream and then returned to campus. That evening the children enjoyed Hobo Packets for dinner. Hobo Packets are a packet of tinfoil which consists of whatever you choose from the ingredients provided. Obviously, they thoroughly enjoyed them: “Delicious, heaven in a packet. I would have it every day,” said Ernesto.
The following day, the classes experienced the giant swing. The giant swing is three telephone poles in a triangle; children were hoisted up to the top point of the pole, and then pulled a cord themselves to set themselves off. Most of the students agree that the giant swing was the best activity they did at the camp.
Next the children participated in the water activities, the children rotated from different activities like a giant slip n’ slide and sponge dodge ball.”Amazing! I liked the giant slip n’ slide” quoted Gabe.
Later that evening the children from Years 5 and 6 participated in MC Idol. MC Idol consists of 7 groups of children creating a funny skit about protecting the environment when camping in the wilderness. Once the children had preformed, they were judged by camp councilors and teachers who dressed up as real American Idol judges.
On the final day, the classes tried to complete teambuilding activities such as trying to break out of special handcuffs and cracking a code to a safe.
After lunch, the primary head boy and head girl gave a speech to thank all the counselors for inviting them and helping them with all the activities. They also gave a special thanks to the chef for all the excellent food he had prepared for them. After that, the students walked down to their bus and said their final goodbyes and then departed from the campus.
“It was my first time so it was something new that I enjoyed very much,”- Emily
“It was the best camp ever. We all had lots of fun,”- Alara
“It was great. The giant swing was my favorite part,”- Oliver
“It was awesome. The food was amazing!”- Sam
By Charlie L and Charlie T, Year 5
Habitat for Humanity
“Country Roads, take me home
Last week all roads led to Franklin, West Virginia, where our Year 11 students participated in Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Program. The students worked
With a graduating class of 27, this was the largest cohort to date. The ceremony took place in the impressive setting of the Lansburgh Theatre in downtown DC, normally home to the elevated language of Shakespeare and so an appropriate setting for the British School of Washington’s graduation.
Elegant formality is probably the best way to describe the proceedings. The graduands processed through the audience to take their positions on the flower-attired stage to the accompaniment of music provided by a staff and pupil musical ensemble and after introductory remarks from the interim Head Ann McPhee brief verbal portraits of the first half of the graduands were painted by IB co-ordinator Mr. Scott Hussey. A musical interlude then brought us to verbal portraits of the remaining graduands, this time by their Form Tutor, Elen Haf-Wiliams. A second musical interlude then took us to the keynote speaker – Mr. Philip Barton, Deputy Head of Mission of the British Embassy. His elegantly succinct remarks provided much food for thought and thanks were given by a member of the graduating class.
Next Mr. Peter Harding presided over perhaps the most important part of the ceremony – the presentation of the graduation certificates and once this was complete and the all important tassel ritual was undertaken, graduands became graduates.
There were then brief and entertaining reminiscences from four very long-serving members of the graduating class – Nik and Neha Rajpal, Emily Foster (all of whom were pupils on the very first day of the school in 1998) and Azmi Simms who joined very shortly after the opening. Finally a parent, Mrs. Rahel Simms offered her thoughts about the school and her long-term association with and commitment to it.
The ceremony ended with the graduates processing out through the wildly applauding auditorium, bearing a floral gift for the appropriate nearest and dearest in their family.
After the obligatory hurling of caps into the air (with only one getting lodged on the light in the lobby) everyone moved next door to Sei restaurant where a graduation cake decorated with a photograph of the graduates was cut, a gift of an engraved paperweight from the school to all graduates was distributed and an evening of general levity and merriment brought the event to a highly enjoyable conclusion.
English Premier League Trophy
On Thursday 15 members of the school were invited to the British Embassy by the Ambassador to view the Barclay’s Premier League Football Trophy. After a chance to have their photos taken, they then played a kick about on the Ambassador’s lawn. For a full write up and many more photos visit :
Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee
On Tuesday 5th June, the British School of Washington celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. This celebrates that she has been on the throne for 60 years, only one other British queen has achieved this. Before the activity’s started, students at BSW were asked to bring in freshly cut flowers to school. Classes then created bouquets with the flowers and tied them up with red, white and blue ribbon and tissue paper. These flowers were delivered to a military retirement home later that day.
After a morning of bouquet wrapping, students excitedly went outside for a giant picnic. The area in front of the school was filled with picnic tables lined up and decorated with bunting. Following lunch, Philip Barton, the British Deputy Ambassador gave a speech and asked quiz questions. Shortly after that the head boy and girl of both the primary and secondary school cut a large cake with Mr. Barton.
Tables were set out with giant posters where we could write a special message to the queen and get temporary Union Jack tattoos. After the activities, some pupil traveled to the Knollwood Military Retirement Home to deliver flowers to the residents, who were all born before Queen Elizabeth II took the throne. Some of the residents helped the students to arrange the flowers into vases, which were displayed around the home. Those of us who went really enjoyed talking with the Military veterans and learning about their lives. We all really enjoyed celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and know we will remember the day for a long time.
Ella and Holden, Year 6 Birmingham
To view media images of the event, click on the following links
Photos taken by the British Embassy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukinusa/
The polar politics of twin siblings
American University's School of Communication students interview members of Year 13 to find out what's on the minds of the young men and women who are voting young in this year's presidential election.
Two sets of twins at the same school are preparing to graduate high school and vote for the first time.
By Nicki DeMarco and Sydney Kashiwagi
The British School of Washington is home to a diverse group of students and teachers. About half of the students are American, 25 percent are British and the remainder come from a variety of different countries. But perhaps even more unique is the Class of 2012’s prevalence of twins.
Two sets of twins are graduating this year, and in addition to making college plans, they are gearing up to vote. One pair of twins is on the same page, while the other pair—despite their shared genetics—is diverging down different political paths.
To view the interview, click here.
Spring Term 2012
BSW visits White House
On March 15, students from the British School of Washington attended the official White House Arrival Ceremony for British Prime Minister David Cameron.
BSW students can be seen at the 9:00 mark of the video.
More exciting photos from this exciting visit can be found by clicking on the photo gallery below:
Last Wednesday I visited the White House to be part of the official greeting for the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron. Although my brother and I woke up really early I was still very excited. After going through 3 lots of security we walked down to the South Lawn to be part of the ceremony. On the way there I spotted all sorts of interesting things, including the First family’s dog, Bo. Being this close to the white House was thrilling, but to think I might shake a world leader’s hand was awesome.
We watched old fashioned soldiers do forms and then heard the National Anthem’s of both countries. After that we got to see President Obama, Mrs. Obama, Mr Cameron and Mrs. Cameron appear on the stage. Before the speeches, the leaders walked around to inspect the troops, then came towards all of the school children. At this point I was totally thrilled, I waited for my turn for my hand to be shaken, first by Mr Obama. I was in awe. After that Mr Cameron came along and not only shook my hand but also asked me what country I was from, I replied “England, Sir.” I would have given him a full explanation but there was not enough time.
After the meet and greet each of the leaders gave a speech. The speeches were entertaining and contained several jokes, such as “we speak the same language….most of the time.” I was very impressed how Mr Cameron not only gave his speech, but also replied to the words Mr Obama had just spoken.
Charlie, Year 5 York