All elementary students receive weekly instruction from specialists in art, physical education, and vocal and instrumental music. Students also enjoy weekly visits to the elementary school library, frequent trips to the farm, and regular wellness classes. Twice-weekly instruction in Spanish begins in 1st grade.
In art, students explore a wide variety of media and are introduced to a number of artists and genres.
Michelle teaches art for preschool through 6th grade. Michelle has a B.A. in art from San Francisco State University and an M.A. in art education from California State University, Los Angeles. A working artist and printmaker, Michelle always knew she wanted to teach art. To support her students, she says, “I try to meet children where they are and listen to their ideas and what they are interested in exploring and expressing.” Michelle has two daughters; her daughter Nadine is enrolled in the 11th grade at Waverly. (Email)
The Waverly organic farm, located within walking distance from the school, is a one-acre multi-purpose green space for students, teachers, and families. The farm provides weekly opportunities for learning, play, and collaboration for every class at the elementary school. Students participate in age-appropriate farm work including planting, weeding, composting, building, and taking care of the chickens.
Kevin is Waverly’s environmental studies and outdoor education teacher. Kevin graduated from Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design with a degree in fine arts and worked professionally as an artist for over 20 years. While illustrating 14 books for young readers and working as a designer on many children’s programs, Kevin began to find his passion for connecting with kids. A lifelong learner and self-proclaimed naturalist, Kevin has always had a deep appreciation for our environment and understanding our connection to it. With countless excursions into the field with students and dozens of overnight school camping trips over the years, Kevin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our program. After 13 years of teaching in the classroom, Kevin is thrilled to be working outside with students getting dirty, observing closely, looking deeply, reflecting, wondering, having fun, and continually growing. (Email)
Students are introduced to keyboard, guitar, ukulele, and percussion instruments. The emphasis is on children finding joy in creating music as they learn to play songs and sing.
Armaan is the elementary school music teacher. A multi-instrumentalist and a film and media composer, he graduated with a B.M. from Berklee College Of Music. With a strong passion for dissecting the emotions felt behind fundamental musical concepts, he strives to instill philosophies of reasoning, questioning, and exploration amidst his music theory and instrumental instruction. Proficient in an array of instruments including guitar, piano, bass, drums, and vocals, Armaan aims to convey the fulfilling nourishment of music as an integral element in a student’s daily life. (Email)
Children love to move their bodies, and the curriculum at Waverly allows for movement of various sorts throughout the day. Elementary school children enjoy time with our physical education specialist twice a week.
Jack teaches physical education to the preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Jack has a B.S. in Kinesiology Physical Education Teacher Education from the University of La Verne, and an M.S. in Kinesiology Curriculum and Instruction from Cal Poly Pomona. Jack enjoys teaching P.E. because it allows him to work with students of all ages and lets him see them grow and develop from year to year. He feels that P.E. is a great time to not only teach students about motor skills, but interpersonal skills as well. (Email)
Elementary students receive lessons in Spanish beginning in preschool. Students learn and become familiar with the language through music, dance, games, art projects, storybooks, and cultural activities. The curriculum is designed to integrate language skills into our everyday classroom, excite students about Spanish, and introduce skills that will provide the support and repetition children need to learn a language.
Liz teaches Spanish in preschool through 6th grade. Liz graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor’s in public health and from California State University, Los Angeles with a Master’s in Education. Liz most recently worked as a behavioral specialist at the Center for Behavioral, Educational, and Social Therapies. She was also a teaching assistant at East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy. (Email)
Our Human Development program (grades 3 – 12) is based on the Body Trust modality (body image, body diversity awareness, what it means to occupy and care for your body), the Our Whole Lives curriculum (knowledge, life principles, and skills necessary to express sexuality in life-affirming ways), and greatly influenced by social and racial justice, intersectional feminism, shame resilience theory, self-compassion, relational cultural theory, and mindfulness-based approaches. Our spaces are intentionally gender spectrum affirming. Names, pronouns, and expressions of identity can be fluid at all ages and stages and as such, we pay attention and check in often.
The three most important tenets of our trauma-informed Human Development program are Body, Identity, and Relationships, which separately and together affect everything we are and do as ever-developing humans. Sexual and gender identity, sexual health and reproduction, intimacy and consent, sensuality, and sexualization are woven throughout our discussions, as is the idea of values: our own and those of family, friends, and culture.
Sophie teaches human development to our upper elementary students. Sophie earned her Bachelor’s degree from UCLA and her Master’s in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University School of Law. She recently earned a second Master’s degree in School Counseling from USC. Prior to coming to Waverly, Sophie most recently served as the Dean of Students and Human Development Chair at Tree Academy as well as served as a dispute resolution consultant and learning specialist. (Email)
Jennifer is the learning specialist for kindergarten through 12th grade. Jennifer has a California Teaching Credential, a Master’s in teaching, and certification as an educational therapist. Led to a career in education by a lifelong fascination with the many different ways people think and learn, Jennifer is happiest when around children and teens and believes that most kids are naturally curious and seek challenges to stretch themselves. To support them, she explains,“Often, you just need to give them the time and space to follow their curiosity. For children who may find themselves facing tasks which are too challenging, what is often needed is support in building the skills to feel capable of meeting a challenge.” (Email)
Malcolm is the elementary school counselor. Malcolm earned his Bachelor’s degree from Pitzer College and a Master’s in Social Work from Smith College. Malcolm works with students, staff, and parents to provide mental health support, student mental health groups, and on-site professional development for teachers and staff. Malcolm was a school-based mental health therapist at Para Los Niños Charter School in Los Angeles and is a licensed clinical social worker. Malcolm is fluent in English and Spanish and brings a range of experiences to Waverly. (Email)