WES Takes Home Top Honors in 2022 ‘Best of Bethesda’

Bethesda Magazine‘s annual Readers’ Poll honors the organizations that have served our community well. We are humbled to have earned recognition in four categories, and to have taken home top honors in two categories in the 2022 Best of Bethesda.

Readers’ Pick: Best Private School – Lower School
Readers’ Pick: Best Private School with a Religious Affiliation
A Top Vote Getter: Best Preschool/Day Care
A Top Vote Getter: Best Summer Camp

Bethesda Magazine Best of Bethesda 2022 - Best Private School & Preschool

Nonna’s Gnocchi

Growing up, I would spend every Christmas Eve with the Italian side of my family. We would get together for what is called The Feast of the Seven Fishes. This is an Italian-American tradition of having a large meal to celebrate this special holiday. The meal is meatless because in the Catholic tradition, many families abstain from eating meat on the eve of certain holy days. In our family, this would be our traditional Christmas Eve meal before attending midnight mass. The several hour-long dinner consisted of various fish dishes and a few pasta dishes. 

As a child, I wasn’t very keen on seafood, especially the boccala and smelts which seemed to be menu staples year in and year out. Knowing this, my Nonna would make me my favorite dish – potato gnocchi with marinara. Since I was always the first one to her house, she would wait until I arrived so she could make them in front of me. She would roll the dough and potato mixture into long logs then cut them every half-inch or so. My favorite part was watching her use her thumb to roll each piece into a perfect pillow-like shape. The gnocchi was always served with her homemade marinara and a generous sprinkling of pecorino romano. My mouth is watering as I write this 🙂

During the height of COVID, I decided to try my hand at Nonna’s amazing dish. While I have yet to replicate the exact texture of her gnocchi, I still love watching the process. However, instead of watching Nonna, I now watch as Sandy rolls out the dough mixture I made, and Ethan, Jace, and Trey take turns cutting and thumb-rolling each one. One thing that hasn’t changed is the warmth I feel each time I enjoy homemade gnocchi.

Nonna never wrote down her recipes, but THIS one will get you pretty close.


Danny Vogelman

Head of School

Hands-On Learning in Middle School Math

I was visiting the Middle School Commons this week, and the walls were lined with fairly sophisticated cartoon drawings. However, this work was not the product of art class, but rather geometry!

Our Middle School math teachers are masters at bringing math to life through incorporating hands-on learning techniques. The cartoon drawings were part of a unit on transformations: the students learned about how shapes can change size through moving in space, and then they applied this learning to cartoon images. 

Our teachers incorporate these types of hands-on learning in every math level. In Math 6, students choose their favorite recipe and apply mixed number and fraction multiplication to experiment with different quantities. 

In Pre-Algebra, students are learning about variables, constants, coefficients, like terms, distributive properties, products, polynomials, monomials, binomials, and trinomials. (I don’t think I have ever used all those words in one sentence before!) Next week they will be given a choice on how to represent their knowledge by creating math problems then presenting their work either as a graphic novel, puzzle or matching activity, quiz and answer key, or Jeopardy or other non-electronic game. 

In Algebra, students explore the line of best fit through choosing two types of data to correlate through linear modeling and value forecasting. In the past, students have tackled data points such as leg length vs. how high one can jump, age vs number of saves in hockey (ouch!), and one’s happiness index vs. their geographical distance from the equator. 

Also in Geometry, students determine a marathon route based on a given distance on a coordinate plane. They practice midpoint and distance formulas through calculating water stops, restroom placements, and first aid stations. 

In addition to making math fun, these techniques also help students understand the real-world applications of math and how important it is in everyday life and work. Way to go Middle School students – we are excited to see your future math endeavors!


Danny Vogelman

Head of School