Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Raspberry Pi Sharing Competition

Westchester is currently hoping to raise funds for Raspberry Pi computers, for use with students during International Investigations Week in January.  Our cause has been selected for Pledgecent's Facebook sharing competition.

Below the picture section on our fundraising page, you will see different buttons that you can click to share your cause. In the Facebook button, you will see a number that will show you how many times your fundraising page has been shared. The goal for this 48 hour competition is to have the highest number next to your Facebook button.

See our Raspberry Pi Funding Effort 
Share it on Facebook to help us reach our goal.

From Wednesday (12/7) to Friday (12/9), the top 3 fundaising pages with the most Facebook shares will win extra money towards their fundraising page.
  • 1st place = $300 prize
  • 2nd place = $200 prize
  • 3rd place = $100 prize

Friday, September 23, 2016

WAIS Alumni in the media

Mariame Aana, WAIS Graduate of 2006, was recently featured in CultureMap's Top Texans under 30, a list comprised of only 26 individuals.
Supervising attorney, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
Driven to help immigrants live the life of their dreams, Mariame Aana oversees the St. Frances Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance’s pro bono program and coordinates the program’s outreach efforts. Proficient in French, Spanish, and Arabic, Aana also dabbles in Mandarin, and she has an MBA in addition to her law degree. She uses these skills and her passion for service to help DACA applicants, legal permanent residents seeking citizenship, and others make a life for themselves in the United States.
see the rest of the Top Texans under 30 >> 

Alyssa Nguyen, WAIS Graduate of  014, was recently featured on the University of Houston's Her Campus page.  She co-founded UH's Honors in Community Health organization.

“I helped with much of the foundation of the organization in the beginning, and I continue to help with internal development. The project that I helped lead last year was with the residents at New Hope Housing. This year, my project is with creative care. I will be working on projects that link health and well-being with creative approaches such as art and fitness.”

“These projects have included creating narratives with residents at New Hope Housing, gardening at local gardens such as the NuWaters Co-Op, and creating lead education models and a community voice toolbox that can be utilized by people across the nation. This semester we're also getting a Community Health Worker certification class for some of our students. Many of our students commit to 10 hours of service per week.”
read the rest of the article >>

These two particular graduates were featured in recent media, but many of our students are note worth in their continued hard work to make a difference in our community, or wherever they move to after completing their studies here. The class of 2017, graduating next May, will be the next group to take the next step toward making their mark in the word.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Second Annual WAIS Color Run

The second annual WAIS Color run was held September 9th, during school.  The money raised in the color run will help support our students in their many learning adventures this year at WAIS.  Fun Run, who we are partnering with for this event, will also make a contribution of 3 meals, to people in need within our region, for each class that is able to bring in ~$1.5 per lap per student.

See images from this year's Color Run >>
Photos taken and provided by IB DP student Santiago Moreno.
Photos can be purchased, and proceeds will also help fund student activities at Wais.

Education funding continues to be an issue in Texas. Education funding in Texas is about 30% lower than the US average. Not only this, but education funding in Texas per student is about 10% lower than it was six years ago.

To make matters more complicated, education funding within the state is also not equitable due to the states' recapture practice, commonly referred to as the "Robin Hood" plan. The issue occurs in how districts are categorized as 'wealthy' or not, based on estimated taxable land value, not the actual economics of the area or families they serve.

Spring Branch serves a student body with more than 50% economically disadvantaged. However, Spring Branch is, and for years has been, classified as a wealthy district and has to send back millions of funding each year. Within the next couple years, Spring Branch will have to forfeit about a third of its funding to the state. Houston ISD is also affected by this same policy, and will be sending back more than $150 million, despite about 80% of students being from low-income families.

To see images and more info from last year's color run, 

see last year's coverage of the event.

To learn more about education funding in Texas:

How is the district funded?
Article on SBISD financial health (from April 2014)
Judge rules Robin Hood unconstitutional- again (from August 2014)
- News on State Funding of Education (from May 2016)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

German Summer Trip Inspires High School Students

The Spring Branch School Zone published an article on students from WAIS and Stratford taking part in the German American Partnership Program this past summer.

A group of 19 students from Westchester Academy and Stratford High School boarded a plane in June for a four-week exchange adventure in Germany. They were accompanied by German teachers Stanley Stifflemire and Juergen Mueller of Westchester Academy as well as Stratford High School teacher Rachel Crain.
The June 7th trip marked the fifth annual student exchange between SBISD high schools and a partner school, called Gymnasium Ganderkesee, near Bremen. The program began in 2006 when five students from Westchester Academy (WAIS) and Stratford High spent three weeks in the northwestern German city of Ganderkesee.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Think Differently is the message at the SBISD Convocation

Today, all district faculty and staff converged at the Don Coleman Coliseum. Dr. Scott Muri's message was presented loud and clear for the whole district- to think differently, to focus on the learner's journey, and to be willing to take risks for greater educational rewards.

The convocation was divided into a variety of presentations and speakers, including by some of the very students our district serves. Volunteers included WAIS National Honor Society students. Speakers included two Cornerstone Alumni who'll start at WAIS later this month- twins Leila and Nilou Madanizadeh, and Coordinator of Personalization for the Connected Academics Division, Patricia Kassir, who's four children all participated in the IB DP at WAIS and graduated from or are currently attending Rice University.

Patricia Kassir, Coordinator for Personalization at the Connected Academics Division,
who immigrated to the US as a child and is now parent to four SBISD graduates, 
all four participated in the IB DP at WAIS and attend/graduated from Rice University.

WAIS Student, Eduardo Hernandez, works with SBISD staff in recording and running live video of the event.

WAIS NHS Volunteers, sporting their pink 2016 NHS shirts, 
designed by WAIS 2016 Alum and now UH Cougar, Miranda Miller.

Incoming WAIS students, Lelia and Nilou Madanizadeh, with recent KIPP Courage Alum Imani Davenport.

Of course, other groups, students, and presentations were at the convocation. An article on the event is on the SBISD School Zone, Think Differently: Learner's Journey launches at Convocation.

Monday, August 1, 2016

WAIS & SBISD Students @ Houston Prep

Fourth-year SBISD Houston Prep attendees photographed at UHD’s recently held Engineering Day are (left to right front) Nitzarindani Angeles, Northbrook High; Nazlee Khadjeheian, Stratford High; Melissa Vicente, Westchester Academy; and Emily Resendiz, Northbrook High. Standing (rear left to right) are Fahad Iqbal, Westchester Academy; Brissa Gaona, Northbrook High; and Alfredo Aguiluz, Spring Woods High.

SBISD students are eligible to apply for the Houston Prep program, a pre-college mathematics and science summer program Houston at University of Houston Downtown. Students who complete the four year program can earn college credit.

“The goal of the program is to prepare students for higher learning, whether it will be through further education at the University of Houston-Downtown or another university or college. I’m so grateful Spring Branch ISD continues to support our students and teachers who participate in the Houston Prep program, which blends so well with our T-2-4 goal,” Ms. Cureton said.

Nearly 30 of the 70+ SBISD students in the Houston Prep program are from WAIS.

Read the full article on the SBISD School Zone >>

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Graduation Ceremony 2016

Friends, families, students, staff, and faculty of Westchester Academy's Class of 2016, with Westchester Academy Alumni representatives and Spring Branch ISD administration and representatives gathered last night at the Don Coleman Coliseum for the ceremony.

Graduating senior, and co-salutitorian, Josh McCune began the introductions to the ceremony. Speakers also included co-salutitorian Daniel Villagomez, WAIS Director Jennifer Collier and Superintendent Scott Muri.

The commencement speech was written and given by Class of 2016 graduate and valedictorian, Termeh Ahi. The ceremony concluded with the Alma Mater, sung by the WAIS Advanced Choir, led by faculty member Lindsey Braden.

About 120 students, the entirety of WAIS's senior class, walked across the stage to accept their diplomas. Over 95% of these students begin their pursuit of a degree from a college or university in the fall. The remaining students are entering the military or are directly entering the workforce.

A live feed of the graduation ceremony aired for those not able to attend in person. Information to order video and photos from the event can be found on the SBISD Graduation 2015 webpage. If the link asks for a username and password, just hit cancel, press back, and try the link again.

Check out additional media below.

See more photos on the SBISD WAIS Graduation SmugMug Album.

See other content about the Class of 2016, and other students, on the WAIS Blog.

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