WNS philanthropy report


I continue to be in awe of our incredible community and how we have all navigated this challenging school year with flexibility and determination. We did careful research, consulted with experts, made prudent decisions, followed protocols, and stepped up financially all for the benefit of our students and teachers.
Brad Zacuto
Head of School

The link to the Financial Report is password protected. Please check your email for the access code, or contact the Development Office at (

A Year In Review

We navigated a tough road during this one-of-a-kind 2020-21 school year. We have been on a pandemic odyssey of uncertainty, worrying about a new and deadly virus, creating and adapting to an online learning program, ensuring the safety and well being of our students and families, and coping with the abrupt disruption of so much in our school and personal lives that we had previously taken for granted.

While the school year began with some uncertainty, it ended on a high note! All of our students returned to on-campus learning through a very thoughtful and well-executed program. Over the last six weeks of the school year, we were able to hold dozens of special events with parents on campus; at least one for every parent and child across all three of our divisions. The exuberance and joy we witnessed in our students as we wrapped up the year was palpable.

Our students are not the strong, capable, resilient people that they are in spite of the pandemic; they are stronger because of it!

wns highlights

Speaker Series

Each year, WNS has the honor of hosting inspirational individuals to speak with members of our community as part of our annual speaker series. These events are so special to us, and we are so appreciative to all those who have taken part. 

This year, a highlight for us at WNS was the opportunity to welcome Dr. Bettina Love as one of our guest speakers. Dr. Love is an award-winning author and an Athletic Association Endowed Professor at the University of Georgia. Her writing, research, teaching, and educational advocacy work meet at the intersection of education reform, anti-racism, carceral studies, abolition, and Black joy.

Dr. Love is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics, including: Abolitionist Teaching, anti-racism, Hip Hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, Hip Hop feminism, art-based education to foster youth civic engagement, and issues of diversity and inclusion.

wns highlights

Return to Campus

The WNS first grade class presents…WNSville: Kid Universe! First graders held their grand opening in June as they invited their families and our faculty/staff to their storefronts to play games, learn about the environment, and more! Every year, WNSville comes to life in new ways as students become entrepreneurs, and we’re so happy this tradition could return this year in person. This year, Ms. Lyon and Ms. Botello showed first grade students how to build their storefronts for this annual cherished event. 

Another beloved WNS event returned to campus: the 5th Grade Cultural Fair. The Cultural Fair is a year-long cross-curricular project where students explore themselves by diving into their families’ histories and heritage and presenting personal and unique stories through art, photos, performance, and even a published cookbook containing authentic recipes from around the world! Families are invited to share in this multicultural exhibition that celebrates all that connects us, as well as the beauty of diversity that makes our community so dynamic. 

wns highlights


Each spring, WNS 7th graders complete the SPLASH (Solving Problems for Los Angeles’ Society and Health) Project, during which they learn in depth about a challenge facing our community and work creatively to propose ideas to make our city a better, healthier, and more just place to live. 

Throughout the 7th grade year, students prepare for SPLASH in many of their classes, learning about important issues facing Los Angeles in Social Studies, exploring connections between life science and policy in Science, developing skills in writing in English, and creating their final projects in Design-Code-Make classes.

Last year, topics selected by students ranged from teen mental health to homelessness to air pollution. Once they have narrowed their focus, students begin an in-depth research process where they strive to understand their topic from every possible angle.

 Once they have clearly defined the issue they would like to help solve, students work through the Design Thinking process to develop creative solutions, pushing themselves to continue iterating and refining their ideas in response to feedback from peers and teachers. 

They begin to create a prototype for their idea in the virtual space of Minecraft, which allows them the freedom to build their vision of a new Los Angeles, and show concretely the changes they want to make. A group that chose to focus on air pollution and determined that gasoline-powered cars drive air pollution in Southern California might build a prototype of a different transportation network; one that incorporates mass transit, safe bike lanes, and charging stations for electric vehicles. Finally, they put together brochures and presentations to explain their ideas and share with the community. 

Through SPLASH, WNS 7th graders start to look at the city around them with fresh eyes and become active citizens in advocating confidently for the change they want to see in the world.

Virtual Learning

Last summer, WNS hired a director of online learning to oversee the development of our online learning program. WNS believes online learning is an important component to education in the 21st century. Over the year, WNS purchased new audio and visual equipment to provide quality online, hybrid, and in-person learning. This included mics and speakers to amplify sound in the classroom, multiple cameras to capture the entire classroom at a distance, and Bluetooth equipment so teachers could move around the room and be seen and heard by students online. We also dedicated more than 40 hours to professional development for our teachers and staff specifically for online and hybrid learning. We invested in software and applications that allowed us to better communicate, collaborate, instruct, and document teaching and learning. The COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for appropriate technology integration in the classroom. This included the use of online resources to provide tailored differentiation and growth assessment (tools such as EPIC and IXL). We have learned so much through this pandemic and many of these lessons we will continue to use in the future of WNS. 

DEI Legacy Fund

The Class of 2021 has left its mark on WNS with the help of their 8th Grade Legacy Gift. The gift, the Class of 2021 Mural and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Fund is one of the most important legacy gifts this school has seen. There were three legs to this gift: the Legacy of Philanthropic Giving with the development of the DEI Fund, the Legacy of Enduring Education – providing critical DEI professional development for our faculty and staff, and the culmination of this work: the legacy of art in the form of a mural. The mural, designed by Allie Belisle, was created to commemorate the important work of DEI and Social Justice that this class has pioneered. It is a beautiful project that represents each individual student and their understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. The Class of 2021 has left a legacy that will service as inspiration to the WNS community now and in the future. 

Early Childhood Center (ECC)

At the Early Childhood Center, students and teachers had the good fortune to be playing and learning on campus safely for the entire 2020-21 school year. Young children learn from experiences such as block building, sensory play and social dramatic play rather than structured lessons, so being on campus and in our classrooms was invaluable for their development. The school’s investments in outdoor learning tents, our state-of-the-art air filtration system, and in renovating the campus to add an additional classroom and a nurse’s office to the ECC have made learning at school even more safe and fun. We are extremely thankful to have been able to give children, teachers and families the care and support they need in this difficult time. 

Virtual Book Fair

The beloved WNS Book Fair was reimagined and rebooted! This year, we celebrated our community’s love of reading by bringing one-of-a-kind experiences and world-class content right to your living room, for the whole family to enjoy! WNS was transported into a virtual world of live Q&As with award-winning authors, including Newberry Award Winner, Kwame Alexander, indie bookstore spotlights, big buddy read alouds, a “Why We Read” video series, a feature on Mr. Zacuto’s bookshelf, a middle school poetry slam, and an Alumni Publisher’s Panel that featured WNS’s very own alumni and industry professionals.  

The WNS Annual Gala

The 2021 virtual Gala was a huge success, and we have our community to thank for that. The community came together with Party Pack and Celebration Box purchases, our incredible sponsors, the auction donations and bidding, and the Raise The Paddle initiative. Together, we raised crucial dollars for Financial Assistance at WNS. 

It was a fantastic evening of laughter, dancing, magic, and surprises. Mr. Z. stole the show – literally! And then, our very own Mr. Karl Simpson (Middle School English Teacher & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair) brought the house down with his powerful poem, That Day. Thank you, Mr. Simpson.

CAIS Accreditation

WNS has been granted a full 7-year term for California Association of Independent School (CAIS) Accreditation. Thank you to all the parents, students, faculty, and staff who collaborated on our self-study and on-site visit. The visiting team was beyond impressed with everyone they met, the student engagement they witnessed in the classroom, the dedication and expertise of our faculty and staff, and the warmth of our school community. Based on their visit and after reviewing the materials, CAIS granted WNS the longest accreditation term offered. A fantastic testament to the strength of the WNS community!

Class of 2021 Matriculation

The Class of 2021 is off to the following high schools. Congratulations to the WNS Class of 2021!

Chadwick School, Crossroads School (7), El Segundo High School (2), Geffen Academy, Hamilton High School (Arts), Harvard-Westlake School, La Jolla Country Day, Loyola High School, New Roads School (3), Notre Dame Academy, Notre Dame High School, Pacifica Christian High School (4), Palisades High School, Portal School, Rolling Hills Preparatory School, Santa Monica High School, Sierra Canyon High School, St. Anthony High School, St. Bernards High School, Junipero Serra High School, St. John Bosco High School (4), Vistamar School (15), Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts, Windward School (4), Da Vinci Design, Laurel Springs High School, Highland Park High School, Redondo Union High School

Class of 2017 Matriculation

WNS Alumni of the Class of 2017 are off to their next adventure.  Take a look at where this class is attending next year. Congratulations, WNS Class of 2017!

Barnard College, Beloit College, Bennington College, Boston College, Chapman University, Claremont Kenna College, Columbia University (2), Community College, Cornell University, George Washington University, Indiana University, Kalamazoo College, Loyola Marymount University, New York University, Northeastern University, Pasadena City College, Purdue University, Santa Monica City College, Sarah Lawrence College, Skidmore College, Texas Christian University, The New School, University of Arizona, University of California, Berkeley (4), University of California, Davis (2), University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, San Diego (2), University of California, Santa Barbara (2), University of Michigan (2), University of Oregon, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of St. Andrews (2), University of Texas, Vassar College

Few words can express our gratitude to WNS for the state-of-the-art measures put into place to return our kids back to campus, while maintaining excellence in our academic program, and thoughtfully caring for our entire school community.

Amber Anderson – parent group president

The link to the Financial Report is password protected. Please check your email for the access code, or contact the Development Office at (

A Year In Pictures

a collection of memories from the 2020-21 school year