Inspired experience based college preparatory education for creative and intellectually curious students
Early childhood through twelfth grade

Dory Bennett, Class of 2012, visited First Friday on October 5 to introduce parents to Food Forward, the non-profit organization where she now works. During Dory’s presentation we learned that Food Forward fights hunger and prevents food waste by harvesting fresh produce from backyard fruit trees and orchards and gathering donations from farmers markets and the downtown Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market. Food Forward sends volunteers to private properties, college campuses such as Occidental College and Cal State Northridge, as well as to places like Huntington Garden to harvest produce. The food harvested is donated to hunger relief agencies across eight Southern California counties; these agencies distribute produce to people struggling with food insecurity in our communities. Dory described an orange as the perfect food for someone who lives on the street. It can be stored, lasts a long time, and can be peeled and eaten without preparation. Dory pointed out that many fruit trees in our neighborhoods produce thousands of pounds of fruit, much of which goes unpicked.

Dory returned to Waverly, home of her social justice roots, to partner us with Food Forward. Plans are underway for her to present to several classes at Waverly, including the third/fourth grade class studying trees and the tenth-grade wellness classes. A plot at the farm, specifically for Food Forward, has been discussed. Dory encouraged families to contact her if they would like to volunteer or have trees available for harvest.

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What I love most about my role here at Waverly is having the opportunity to teach on all three campuses. Mornings with thoughtful ninth graders give way to afternoons with inquisitive elementary school students, and on Fridays after spending time with middle school students I have the chance to participate in All School Meeting. (And watch my daughter and her Pre-K classmates taking it all in!)

Right before last week’s All School Meeting, deeply troubled by the political news of the previous day, I carefully read the identity projects that the middle school students had created for Lisa’s English class. I smiled to myself as I read the myriad ways that our middle school students self-identify, though one word continued to catch my eye on multiple projects and resonate with me in a particularly heartening way. Right there next to “disorganized,” and “athlete” and “artist.” Feminist. Feminist. Feminist.

Shortly thereafter in the elementary school Community Room, (also moved by the troubling nature of current events) students, faculty, and parents sang “We Shall Overcome.” One by one, students began to rise, and soon the whole community was standing together in song. I watched my tiny daughter looking up to the older students and then rise to her feet,  joining arms with the friend standing next to her. Parents were holding back tears, students were channeling their voices as the music unified the Waverly community. This moment is important, it is impactful, it affects all of us, our song seemed to say. The feeling that morning was electric, a little bit of magic. Later, in the pick-up line, those of us who had been there could not stop remarking on how poignant and visceral it was to see the students, arm in arm, using their voices for change, surrounded by a community of loving adults. This is Waverly at its essence.

I am lucky. I get to see and hear so much. I see the way our youngest Waverly students learn and grow to be just young people, and how in their middle school years they are proud to identify as someone who seeks social justice and equality for all. I observe our high school students being active, eager participants in the formation of a better word, and I know that Waverly is responsible for this trajectory of optimism, pride and good will. We are all lucky that our children share in the monumental task of making the world a better place, and we are lucky that at Waverly they are empowered to exercise their right to this task in moments such as these.

–Caitlin Dube
Waverly wellness teacher, HS history teacher, HS yearbook advisor, Waverly parent

Reading as Social Justice

September 28, 2018

In the first weeks of school, I like to wander. Especially in the early weeks of classes, I am eager to learn about the students and the plans Waverly teachers have for them.  It is also exciting to see the individual arrangement of materials and the orientation of each classroom.  This year, I noticed a […]

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New Year Rituals

September 14, 2018

My new year always begins in September. I find I am more likely to set personal and professional goals at this time each year.  I enjoy rituals and find the school year is a good time to establish them. At the end of August, I make plans for healthier, more eco-friendly lunches, and announce to […]

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Unsung Heroes, Part One

September 6, 2018

Waverly’s summer break may feel long to students and parents, yet every day of it is very busy for those who remain. Tracey Fiss, Waverly’s Business and Facilities Manager since 2006, experiences long days during the summer overseeing an extensive list of renovation to the school. For Tracey and her crew, Carlos Aldaco and John […]

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Waverly Wonderful

May 31, 2018

 It has been a privilege this year to teach, among the 64 middle schoolers, a handful of eighth graders who were in Molly’s 3/4 class so many years ago when I subbed for her. She was on maternity leave for Aiben (who is now so tall and full of questions!), and I was taking on […]

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My Hair Speaks Louder Than I Can

May 16, 2018

I remember sitting in between my mothers knees, no longer holding back tears as she used a wide-toothed comb to untangle my hair. Bawling while simultaneously trying to pay attention to The Lion King because, an hour in and we were hardly a quarter of the way through. After each section she would take a […]

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Everyday Photos

June 2, 2016

After discovering impressionist painters when I was fourteen, I decided to become an artist. It didn’t take me long to realize, however, that I lacked any ability to create with my hand what I pictured in my mind. Soon after seeing an exhibit of photographs of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), my mother gave me […]

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Far Beyond Good Enough

May 3, 2016

About six years ago I went to a school fair in search of a middle school for our daughter. I ended up in a room with representatives from an independent Westside school. The first question a prospective parent asked was, “Where do your students go?”  The representative responded, “We have gotten students into Stanford, Harvard, […]

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Counting On

October 27, 2015

Last Wednesday, my son Charlie made a game winning touch down, passed to him by my other son Sam, at one of two middle school flag football games I missed in one week. Fortunately, there were Waverly parents there, parents who not only gave them rides, but cheered them on, and later told me all […]

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