Standing with the AAPI Community

This week our country witnessed a horrifying act of violence against people of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage. Unfortunately, violence and discrimination against the AAPI community has risen sharply in the past year. This week’s shooting reminds us that if we are to prevent such devastating consequences, we must instill in all Americans–and especially our children–a commitment to inclusivity, kindness, and respect. These values are essential to education at WES, and we support our students in not only learning about but also in living out these values.

We would like to provide a safe space for our older students to process the recent events and to share their feelings. Tomorrow, homeroom teachers in Grades 4-8 will let students know about an optional opportunity to join a conversation with Guidance Counselor Allison Klothe and DEI Director Courtney Clark during their lunchtime. 

In the meantime, if you are seeking resources to have these types of conversations at home, here are a couple of articles that may be helpful:

We as a school community will continue to stand against violence and hatred and stand with the AAPI community in this time.

Danny Vogelman

Head of School

Grade 5 Dragons Present Their Big Ideas

Every year, I have the privilege of serving on a panel for the annual WES Innovation Showcase, where Grade 5 students present an invention they have created that solves a problem. Think of it as the WES version of Shark Tank, but without the investors – yet. 

The Innovation Showcase is actually the culmination of years’ worth of our Dragons’ work in their Applied Concepts, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACIE) class in the STEM rotation. In this class, which is unique to WES, students learn about the science and engineering principles behind inventions and are challenged to create their own! For example, Grade 2 students develop biomimicry inventions, and Grade 4 students create innovations utilizing renewable energies. By Grade 5, our Dragons are ready for the next challenge: They must identify a problem and create a product to effectively solve the issue. Alongside the ideation, research, and testing stages, students sketch and build a prototype rendering. Then, our Dragons develop their marketing skills through naming and branding their product and creating a compelling advertisement to be viewed during the showcase. A panel of adults questions the students about their creation after their advertisement is aired.

The Innovation Showcase is usually held in the library, but it was virtual this year.  The students must sell their ideas in front of their peers and adults, which is great practice for when they present before their colleagues in their future careers. The panel provides a great deal of positive and supportive feedback to help build the students’ confidence. This comes easily to the panelists because we are very proud of our Dragons’ creativity and resourcefulness. Some of the students’ ideas would absolutely have a home in the contemporary marketplace. 

Here are this year’s inventions:

  • Bencil – a bendy pencil with a pencil sharpener attached
  • Bio-holder – an eco-friendly material to hold soda cans
  • Cooling Cone – a reusable ice cream cone that keeps your ice cream cold on a hot summer day
  • Door Secure – a door closer powered by magnets in the door and door frame
  • Handy Case – a phone case with a utility knife so you are always prepared
  • Personal Gymnastics Spotter – inflatable material that serves as a spotter
  • Peregrine Falcon Flask Protector – a water bottle cover to ensure your bottle doesn’t break if dropped
  • Salt-n-Scoop – a snow shovel and salting tool all in one!
  • Krazy Kernel – a corn de-cobber for the dinner table
  • StringSwitch – a contraption that shuts off the light from your bed
  • Happel Bag – a vest to store school and work supplies while keeping your hands free
  • Tube Talker – a mountable tube that amplifies your voice when talking between rooms
  • Magneto – an accident prevention system powered by magnets
  • Charge Cart – a shopping cart that charges your phone while you shop
  • Wonder Pencil – a pencil with various compartments to house different art supplies
  • SpaBox – portable hand massager to relieve hand cramps
  • Lil Spounter – a plant-watering system that utilizes nutrients from fish water
  • Button Sockz – socks that button between uses so they never get mismatched
  • Suction Coaster – a suctioning coaster to prevent knocking over a glass
  • Slip Plus 3000 – pumice-embedded bath mat that cleans your feet while you wash
  • Bongiorno Board – a hoverboard that floats with magnets
  • BrushAton – a toothbrush that stores refillable toothpaste for efficient brushing
  • Multi Leash – a leash the houses all the supplies a pet walker needs for multiple pets
  • Baggy Hook – a hooking bag to hold extra items easily on shopping carts and shelves
  • Water Plant Raft (W.R.P.) – a floating water raft for growing plants
  • Powder Pencil – a pencil that relieves your sweaty hands

We are so proud of the students’ thoughtfulness and hard work!

Danny Vogelman

Head of School