2014 - 2015 Annual Report

Annual Highlights

Our theme this year, finding our own voice, supports our school’s commitment to ensure that each student feels known and supported while deeply engaging in academics, the arts, physical education, and ethical education. School founder, Isabelle Buckley, perfectly described this commitment as “self-expression through self-discipline.” We encourage Buckley students to dig deeply into all their endeavors: in the classroom, in the art room or studio, on the playing field, and beyond our campus. We want our students to be comfortable with both the joy and rigor that underpin a love of learning.

List of 5 items.

  • Finding our own voice…in the classroom

    At the beginning of the year, students started a new block schedule, which provides opportunities for deeper learning through longer class periods. Anticipating opportunities to introduce emerging and innovative learning approaches under the block schedule, we launched an innovation grant program over the summer to support faculty development and collaboration.

    The TI-Nspire/TI-Navigator technology was introduced for quick polls on digital math problems sent to students via their calculator. This approach allows for real-time informal or formal assessments to gauge student progress.

    Math Department Chair Joanne Ryan and teacher Juan de la Cruz researched and developed methodologies to utilize Camtasia lesson videos in a flipped classroom approach. Students' homework was to watch the videos and take video notes. During class time, students worked in pairs on problem sets (what used to be the traditional homework problems) while teachers help guide students to learning outcomes. Most students seem to enjoy this format, since their time at home is spent learning material, rather than applying what was taught to them in class. As a result, the homework load is lighter; the class time is more student-centered, collaborative and active; and teachers gain a better understanding of their students' strengths and weaknesses.

    English teacher Elizabeth Phillips developed a new Writing Fellows program and selected Upper School students to serve as fellows for the 2015 – 2016 school year. This new service learning and training opportunity, modeled on programs from Brown University and Barnard College, pair Upper School writing tutors, called fellows, with students in the seventh and ninth grades to help build younger students' writing skills. Writing fellows also will staff an expanded Buckley Writing Lab, which will be open to members of the entire Buckley community during lunch and after-school hours and for Middle School students during their Sunrise and FLEX periods. Writing Fellows Program will have a tremendous impact on the Buckley experience by integrating service and academics; creating meaningful connections between the youngest and most senior members of our student community; and building an academic culture that supports artistic expression through the written word.

    Science teacher Aidyl Gonzalez created an opportunity for students to perform original, independent research in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM). These projects, which can extend up to three years, help students develop the rich research literacy and lab skills.

    New study and life skills options, such as a silent reading time for seventh and eighth grade students to help promote good reading habits, and mindfulness practice, were introduced in Middle School.

    In Lower School, a new garden added a whole new dimension to the k-2 science program and gave our youngest students a variety of hands-on learning opportunities in science.

    A consultant from Singapore Math conducted training with Lower School faculty, continuing a focus on number sense, sprints, and place value.

    Eight teachers attended the weeklong Responsive Classroom training. The Responsive Classroom approach often includes physically rearranging learning spaces to fit where children are developmentally and also to be conducive to safe, challenging, and joyful learning. Some other Responsive Classroom practices, such as morning meetings to start the day or increased communication with parents, directly foster a sense of community.

    Mindfulness activities were introduced into the curriculum to help students learn how to achieve a sense of peace and balance during the school day and beyond.
  • Finding our own voice…through self-expression

    In the visual arts, 34 students in grades 7 through 12 won Scholastic Art Awards for 60 works of art in 13 categories, including Architecture, Ceramics & Glass, Comic Art, Design, Digital Art, Drawing and Illustration, Fashion, Film and Animation, Jewelry, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Art Portfolio.

    In the performing arts, a newly created Improv class was largely fueled by student interest. Eight students began our first ever improv class and interest has grown so much that 23 students enrolled for the 2015 – 2016 school year.

    New offerings in dance included a Middle School boys' only Hip-Hop class and an Upper School co-ed Hip-Hop class.

    Buckley performers distinguished themselves in the annual fall musical, in concerts, plays and other performances throughout the year including: Godspell, Letters to Lucerne, Lower School Winter Concerts, the Buckley Benefit Concert, and the annual spring dance concert titled “In Other Words…

    More than 30 Upper School students took part in the 4th annual Buckley World Dance Workshop, a one-day intensive workshop designed to expose students to a variety of dance styles from around the world. This year, the day included classes in Bollywood dance, Modern dance, Hip-Hop, Salsa, and Afro-fusion. The annual workshop, run by teachers Laura Bamford and Ralinda Watts, was held at the Los Angeles Ballet Academy in Reseda and provided students opportunities to interact with professional dancers, choreographers, and instructors.

    Buckley's International Thespian Society presented its first annual Campus Moonlight Theatre performances. The evening consisted of five 15-minute scenes with each scene presented several times at different locations around the campus.
  • Finding our own voice…with every move we make

    We began to individualize our approach to physical education (PE) this year. Physical education teacher and Coach Rob Wright developed a variety of classes—from weight lifting and kick boxing to Pilates and core training—especially for students. Greater variety and more one-to-one coaching were possible, and students could use free periods and time before or after school to complete their PE requirements.

    More than 70% of Upper School students competed in team athletics.

    More than 40% of Buckley’s athletes were scholar athletes.

    More than 90% of Middle School students played three sports during the year.

    Twelve of our sports teams in Middle and Upper School made it to playoffs.

    Eleven teams won league championships, including 7/8 varsity flag football, 7/8 varsity boys basketball, 7/8 boys soccer, and sixth grade girls volleyball.

    Seven Upper School students were named Liberty League MVPs.

    Buckley sent five athletes on to play at the college level: Sara Wilson (swimming at MIT), Austin Butler (basketball at Whitman College), Naomie Rosenberg (tennis at Stanford), Vincent Seidler (swimming at Villanova), and Leah Purvis (basketball at Miami University in Ohio).

    Four athletes were inducted in the Griffin Hall of Fame: Naomie Rosenberg (tennis), Austin Butler (basketball), Leah Purvis (basketball), and Vincent Seidler (swimming).
  • Finding our own voice…when we serve others

    There were many service opportunities across all three Buckley divisions, including multiple food, book, and shoe drives, trips to the PATH homeless shelter, and another outstanding Buckley Benefit Concert, which raised funds for the Special Olympics and Education Through Music – Los Angeles. A Buckley junior started Common Ground as a service project. The partnership brings Buckley students together with their peers from King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine. The students formed friendships, exchanged ideas, and helped each other with the college application process. This innovative partnership will continue next year.
  • Finding our own voice…the Class of 2015

    Seventy four graduates completed their Buckley education and set off to attend more than 42 colleges and universities. New programs supported seniors as they contemplated life beyond our campus. Buckley held its inaugural College Application and Essay Writing Workshop for seniors and initiated a College Knowledge series for Middle and Upper School families. College Knowledge events featured panels of college admissions professionals who could provide insights into college and career options for students interested in athletic recruitment, STEM/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), and the visual and performing arts.

    Members of the Class of 2015 were admitted to:

    All nine of the University of California’s campuses: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz.

    The following highly selective institutions, all with admittance rates of 25% or less: University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Chicago, Emory University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, Pitzer College, University of Southern California, Stanford University, Tufts University, and Washington University in St. Louis.