Milestones & Momentum

Flag Football
Winter Performing Arts Showcase

A Year In Review

Dear WNS Community,

The 2022-23 school year was a year full of milestones and momentum. The year raced by, and our students evolved before our eyes into confident readers, film-makers, debaters, actors, mathematicians, historians, scientists, and changemakers. The starting line began with our community coming together to celebrate at our inaugural All-School Block Party. The momentum continued with the launch of our Grandparents’ Circle at the return of Grandparents & Special Friends Day, and with an incredible Book Fair that concluded with the launch of the Love of Reading Equity Fund. We enjoyed our second in-person Gala since the pandemic and it was bigger than ever. We took over the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood to celebrate as a community and raise important dollars for our school, including a successful Raise the Paddle which helped us achieve our goal of upgrading out bus fleet through the purchase of three propane-fueled buses! 

The school year culminated with wonderful community-building opportunities including Open House, the incredible spring musical, ‘You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown’, student capstone project exhibits, and the ECC Moving-Up Ceremony, to name a few. I can’t forget about the return of our Class of 2019 for the Alumni Gathering where we get to see first-hand how special and important a WNS education is in preparing students for success. These students are prepared not just to succeed in the future but rather to create the future. And lastly our 8th grade graduation, the Class of 2023! Beyond the seven masterful speeches we heard, there were 22 others in the class who also wrote wonderful speeches with passages that moved me as they shone a light on the pathway to happiness using the power of a growth mindset, the importance of YET, and, yes, the squiggly line. 

Not only did we prepare each student for their next milestone but we were able to support them with with tools they needed through a successful fundraising year, thanks to you. For the fourth consecutive year we raised over $1M in the Annual Fund from our entire community including faculty & staff, parents and caregivers, alumni, grandparents, and foundations and corporations. We’ve been gaining momentum in our quiet phase of the Four Pillars Legacy Endowment Fund with over $6M invested. Thank you to those families who have led the way, and I look forward to sharing how the rest of our community can get involved this fall.

The entire WNS community showed their unwavering dedication and deep love for our school last year. We are grateful to the many volunteers and generous gifts that enhanced the lives of our students every day. We were in it to win it, and we won!

Brad Zacuto

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Academic Achievements

7th Grade SPLASH Project Presentations at LMU
Kindergarten Publishing Party

Kindergarten Literary Milestones

Kindergarten made great strides this year in its already rich and challenging literacy program! Adding to our differentiated reading groups where we practice guided reading, we implemented a robust and sequential phonics program this year, incorporating research and science-based approaches. Fundations, our phonics program, is a fast paced and playful approach to phonics that includes finger tapping, large motor activities, and call-and-response activities. Children are explicitly taught to hear the sounds in spoken words and sound out unfamiliar words. This resulted in greater improvement overall in reading than in previous years.

Another exciting change is that we implemented Story Workshop, a play-based approach to writing that allows children to play out their stories with a variety of art and storytelling materials, both before and as they are writing, which is both fun and motivating for children. Children created individual and group stories written by them and made them into books to be read later at their very own publishing party. 

Making Waves in Middle School

Each year in Middle School, students work towards an interdisciplinary culminating project which is showcased to families near the end of the school year. These projects are rooted in social entrepreneurship, giving students the opportunity to brainstorm solutions to real-life issues facing our community.
SPLASH is a longtime culminating experience of the 7th grade year, and last year it evolved into the first part of a two-year Capstone Project experience. 7th graders learned about problems facing our city, investigated one deeply, conducted interviews with experts and stakeholders, and found leverage points that would allow them to make a difference for our community. Their project culminated with a showcase of SPLASH Tank pitch videos at LMU, where students presented their proposals to make our city a better place in front of their teachers, parents/caregivers, and community partners. As they move into the 8th grade, they will put their ideas from SPLASH into action during their 8th Grade SWIM (Solutionary Work in Motion) Project, documenting their work along the way.

The 2022-23 school year saw the launch of SWIM or Solutionary Work in Motion. This iteration of the 8th grade capstone project is all about taking action and making students’ work visible. The goal was to embody the spirit of our school’s mission statement: “to create a community of lifelong learners who… inspire the world with their curiosity, innovation, compassion, and stewardship.”

SWIM has four main aims:

  • Identify a problem in one of the three pathways – environment, health, or society – and identify where your leverage points are for taking action.
  • Connect with community members to better understand the problem in the real world.
  • Put solutionary work in motion in one of four ways: outreach, advocacy, event, or goods distribution.
  • Film the experience in documentary form.

To read more about the Middle School capstone projects and to view our class of 2023’s capstone videos, click here 

Lights! Camera!
Performing Arts @ WNS

The goal of the Performing Arts program is to inspire creativity and self-expression in all of our students. Every K-8 student participates in performing arts. K-4 students all attend Music class and showcase their learnings at the Winter Performing Arts Showcase and the K-4 Music Concert. Our 5-8 grade students takes Music and Theatre Arts with many opportunities to show off what they learn. Our Dance program has expanded to be included in the PE curriculum for 2nd and 3rd grades as well as an option in middle school, where students can either take regular PE or dance PE. We’ve also expanded our dance program in the early childhood division with Ace Plus classes being offered. 

Over the years our program has expanded to reach more students. Last year we hosted 13 performances! Highlights included the Kindergarten Family Tea, 2nd Grade Community Dance, Third Grade “Everyone Can Dance,” the 5-8 Instrumental Showcase, the Fifth Grade Cultural Fair, the 8th Grade Original Show and the Middle School Elective’s Pirate Show that they performed for the ECC in the sand box. We can’t forget the Winter Performing Arts Showcase where every K-8 student performs, bringing so much joy to our community. The highly anticipated Middle School Spring Musical blew everyone away this year as they took on You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, featuring 12 students in the musical and 12 who worked behind the scenes. To end the year we had the Last Day of School Talent Show that included 20 acts of Theatre, Singing, Instrumental Music, and Dance.
We were fortunate to have expanded the 6-8 Grade Choral Music program with the help of the Class of 2023’s 8th Grade Legacy Gift, The Beat Lives On. Together, the class raised about $12,000 to purchase bongos, congos, snare drums, brake drums, chimes, marimbas and more to create a percussion ensemble! The Choral Music Elective also competed in the Music in the Parks and placed second this year!

It’s such a delight watching students discover a new passion and engage in music, theatre, and dance programs this year, learning new skills, and being inspired to create. We hope to see you at a performance soon!

Go Jets!
WNS Athletics

WNS Athletics made strides again this year in our second full year back after the pandemic. Not only did we win championships and break records, we also built skills and connections between our student athletes and coaches. We were able to field a total of 19 teams with about 300 participants, many of whom played multiple sports.

From this incredible turn out, our Jets raised our first Varsity Championship banner for Girls Basketball in school history. Our Boys Soccer B team also won their championship for the second year in a row. On top of this, we had multiple records broken for track & field including the Boys Long Jump (19’ 1.00), the Girls High Jump (4’ 6.00), and the 6th Grade 4X1 Team (56.83). We also had two teams that placed second in their leagues, the Girls Softball team and the Flag Football B team.

Through participating in athletics our student athletes are shown that they can try and be whatever they want as long as they put the time and practice in. The goal is always to empower and uplift themselves and one another. They are also able to learn how to manage their time, build up their self confidence and create the ability to problem solve when on a team. The support we receive from our parents and alumni for athletics is always appreciated and incredibly valuable.

Auxiliary Achievements

robotics team at regional championships
Debate Team being celebrated at community gathering

Debate Team Heads to Nationals!

Last year, the WNS Debate Team completed its most successful season ever! The debate team consisted of three 6th graders, one 7th grader, and ten 8th graders who all competed in the Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP), which allows students to debate topics in teams of two or three people.

The team began preparing for the debate season in November, with an eye on competing at Harvard-Westlake’s MLK weekend tournament. After several strong performances during the day, the students sat in the school’s auditorium as awards were presented. A few of the students started to become slightly dejected as the top 20-10 teams received awards, then the top 10-5, which only made it that much better when the team of Liam, Fia, and Gideon were awarded fourth place as a team in their first tournament of the year!

This strong start acted as a springboard to the season. Over the course of the next two tournaments, the WNS debate team collectively received four top 20 team awards, two top 10 awards, two top 5 awards, and one first place finish! Several students also collected top ten individual speaker awards and Fia took home the coveted gavel at the Pacific Coast Debate League Championship, which is given to the best speaker in the entire tournament.
Based on the success the students achieved during the debate season, six students were invited to compete at the MSPDP National Championship hosted at Claremont McKenna College. Despite being the largest and toughest competition of the year, the 8th grade team of Leah, Fia, and Gideon finished in the top ten, successfully wrapping up their debate careers at WNS.

Coach Brannan and Coach Whiteman would like to thank the WNS debate team for all their hard work throughout the season and congratulate them on their success. And they can’t wait to run things back again next year!

Robotics Team Awarded Engineering Excellence!

2022-23 was a blockbuster year for WNS robotics teams. With a high level of interest, we had enough students to field four teams to compete in the First Lego League Challenge. The theme for 22-23 was Superpowered. In addition to spending long hours designing, building, and testing their robots, teams explored how energy is generated, stored, distributed, and consumed and then created innovation projects aimed at improving some element of these processes.
After fine tuning their robots at a practice tournament hosted by the Curtis School, they headed off to the first round qualifying tournament at Milken on November 13th. Three of our four teams scored well enough to qualify for regionals. Our 8th grade team The Sea Bears took 2nd place in the overall competition and one of our 6th grade teams won the Engineering Excellence Award.
One December 3rd, our three qualifying teams headed to La Canada for regionals. The competition was fierce but our 8th graders managed to win the Breakthrough Award and qualify as the top team advancing to the state championship–the first WNS robotics team to ever make it this far in the competition. Only two weeks later, Vishnu Simon, Isaac Rosenheck, Agustya Karadkar, and Lucas Bye–the four members of the Sea Bears–headed to Riverside for the state championship tournament. They worked incredibly hard and never gave up but were overpowered in the end by strong contenders from other schools. Still, they were very proud to have made it so far and went home with a wealth of new experiences and connections.

Community Connections

Future By Design Gala
Inaugural Block Party

The 2023 Gala & Auction

WNS’s Future By Design Gala was held at the Pacific Design Center in the heart of West Hollywood. The Pacific Design Center is known nationally and internationally as a global hub of  design, entertainment, and arts communities.

We were thrilled to host our largest fundraising event of the year, with over 500 guests, celebrating WNS for its deep commitment to creating the world’s future changemakers, innovators, creators and artists. Thanks to a glorious night of paddle-raising, mixing and mingling, we raised crucial funds for WNS. We can’t wait to celebrate and build community together at the next big event! 

Grandparents & Special Friends Day

One of our favorite events at WNS returned in person in the 2022-23 school year; Grandparents and Special Friends Day! The Early Childhood Center (ECC) welcomed their grandparents and special friends, beginning with a Morning Sing in the new amphitheater space. After coming together to sing and dance, the children invited their grownups to their classrooms where a range of activity stations were set up. They made bracelets, built towers, and snapped some souvenir Polaroid photos to take home. The students had a blast showing off their classrooms, introducing their teachers to their guests, and playing in the Wilds together. 

The next day it was our K-8 students’ time to shine! Our guests began the morning enjoying an outdoor Art Walk, admiring our students’ creativity.

Throughout the day, the visitors engaged in a variety of activities. Some painted, others sang songs, learned Spanish, or took part in a Design-Code-Make challenge. The day also included some time on our newly renovated yard playing games, running off some energy, and enjoying a snack together while mingling with friends and their guests. During the Community Gathering rotation, we were wowed by our second graders who put on a special performance, and our students’ guests learned about the great projects and upcoming performances we have planned here at WNS. 

This day also saw the launch of our Grandparents Circle, an important network that keeps us connected to these important figures in our students’ lives. By launching this, we are now able to make purposeful connections which deeply enrich our school community. We look forward to the expansion of this valuable program as it furthers the reach and scope of our school experience while providing additional layers of love and joy to our WNS extended family members.

These were such special days, and our students’ grandparents and special friends are an integral part of the WNS community. We are excited for the next time we get to welcome you back on our campus and show you what we’ve been working on here at WNS!


Alumni Gathering with the Class of 2019
Class of 2023 Graduation
Congratulations to the Class of 2023!

"John Lennon, one of the greatest musicians and songwriters of the 20th century, was asked the following question when he was in school, about the age you are now: “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Many of you have probably been asked this question as well. And Lennon wrote: “Happy.” The teacher wrote back, “apparently you didn’t understand the question,” to which Lennon replied, “apparently you don’t understand life.” ...

... Class of 2023, you all are so wise. If your belief and engagement in a Growth Mindset and the power of YET are in your heart and mind, you can’t be stopped. Our world needs your perspective, talents, wisdom and heart. So when you are asked what you want to be when you grow up, “HAPPY” is a perfectly terrific answer."

Class of 2019

  • Boston College
  • Boston University
  • Brown University
  • California State University, Monterey Bay
  • Colorado State University
  • Davidson College
  • Drexel University
  • Emory University
  • Fordham University
  • George Washington University
  • Gonzaga University
  • Haverford College
  • Indiana University
  • Jackson State University
  • Lafayette College
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • New York University
  • Oklahoma University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Redland University
  • San Jose State University
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • Spelman College
  • Tufts University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • University of Hawaii
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Vassar College
  • Villanova University
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Class of 2023

  • Brentwood School
  • Chadwick School
  • Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences
  • El Segundo High School
  • Geffen Academy at UCLA
  • Harvard Westlake School
  • Loyola High School
  • Maranatha High School
  • Marymount High School
  • Mira Costa High School
  • New Roads School
  • New West Charter School
  • Notre Dame High School
  • Pacifica Christian High School
  • Palisades Charter High School
  • Redondo Union High School
  • Saint Monica Preparatory
  • Santa Monica High School
  • St. John Bosco High School
  • The Archer School for Girls
  • The Grauer School
  • Torrey Pines High School
  • Vistamar School
  • Wildwood School
  • Windward School

Once a Jet, always a Jet!

Visit our Alumni webpage to stay up to date with our Jets' journeys!

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