The Cambridge School of Weston

CSW: A Community of Thanks

During this time of year when we often pause to reflect on our lives, our families, friends and communities, CSW students took a few moments to share some things that they are thankful for in this video produced, filmed and edited by Kylie '18.  Enjoy!

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Topics: Community, High School, Thanksgiving

A Model of Student Participation in Governance & Dialogue

Early November: the season of elections and discussions about civic discourse and voter participation. At CSW these topics don't just come around once every four years, though--active student participation in school governance and a commitment to engaged, civic discourse are core values of our school community.

In fact, CSW is one of the only schools in the United States in which students are elected to serve as voting members of the Board of Trustees

CSW has a rich tradition of encouraging and equipping student voice in school governance and in all matters related to community life at the school.

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Topics: Board of Trustees, Student Government, Student Voice, Election, Politics

Student Post: Intersection & Overlap--Learning the CSW Way

This week, we welcome 12th grade student Sylvia M '17 as a guest writer. Sylvia has a range of interests that she has explored at CSW, including choreography and photography, and is also a Peer Mentor.

Can you imagine your Chemistry class in a printmaking studio? Or an English class studying sustainable agriculture? At CSW, courses often combine subjects and departments in ways you would have never imagined! 

Though our Integrated Studies classes do this work foundationally, it's common practice for CSW classes of one subject to cross over interdepartmentally for projects, discussions or collaborations. 

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Topics: Science, Integrated Studies, Visual Arts, Math, Chemistry, Interdisciplinary, Student writing

Guest Post: On Grandmas, Cell Phones, and Futuristic Brazil

Thank you to English teacher Samantha Simpson for this final post in her series on CSW Summer Reading. To learn more about this series and about Samantha, read her first post, Summer Reading: The CSW Way. If you missed her posts about Between the World and Me or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy be sure to check them out!

Delray Beach, FL, in 2016 does not glow like the city of Palmares Tres in Alaya Dawn Johnson’s The Summer Prince.

In Delray Beach there are delis that serve chopped liver and grilled cheese and few--if any--royal ballrooms where summer kings can dance like orixas. The matriarchs of Delray Beach are not as old as the ones who control June Costa’s world, but they share similar anxieties about new technology.

I thought that catching glimpses of the Olympic Games would remind me of the time I spent reading The Summer Prince. The swimmers, gymnasts, and runners didn’t return me to the text, though; it was a conversation with an 89-year-old Delray Beach resident that made me think about how Johnson depicts youth and innovation, tradition and power.

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Topics: Progressive Education, English, Reading, Literature, Summer Reading

Guest Post: The Tiny Reading Universe

We are pleased to share this guest post by CSW English teacher, Samantha Simpson. This is the third post in a series by Samantha in which she offers insight into the CSW Summer Reading project and takes a look at the specific book selections for this year. To learn more about this series and about Samantha, read her first post, Summer Reading: The CSW Way. If you missed her post about Between the World and Me, be sure to check it out!

Nineteen years ago, my reading community was comprised of exactly two people:

  1. The 16-year-old Sam Simpson who read lush, romantic epics like Gone with the Wind while clutching a notebook full of her original stories about warrior women living in jungles on distant planets.
  2. The 16-year-old Alison Alvarez who gobbled up James Clavell’s Shogun. For her senior picture, Alison wore a sleek gray dress suit; she crossed her legs and balanced a globe on her knee. The look she gives the camera suggests she was no one to be trifled with.

How were we even friends? I blame books and reading for our kinship. We two tore through the books we had to read for American Literature, and then we traded novels and comic books after our trig homework was done. In the spring of 1997, Alison lent me her copy of Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and assured me that it was funny.

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Topics: Progressive Education, Identity, Reading, Sci Fi, Literature, Self Discovery

Guest Post: The Timeliness and Timelessness of Ta-Nehisi Coates's "Between the World and Me"

We are pleased to share this guest post by CSW English teacher, Samantha Simpson. This is the second post in a series by Samantha in which she offers insight into the CSW Summer Reading project and takes a look at the specific book selections for this year. To learn more about this series and about Samantha, read her first post, Summer Reading: The CSW Way

Two months ago, three members of the CSW community recommended reading Ta-Nahisi Coates’s Between the World and Me for the summer reading project. In May, this expansive, meditative letter to his son was timely. Coates’s moving, unflinching prose addresses the dangers of existing in a black body, and any one of us could point to the truth of his words in the news and in our everyday lives.

That was in May.

These days I wish I could blow the dust off Coates’s text, open its cover, and wonder what the words marching across the page could possibly mean. I wish we could be so far on the other side of history that his discussion of “whiteness” and the destruction of black bodies is mystifying, a relic from a bygone era.


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Topics: Progressive Education, Identity, English, Social Justice, Equity, Reading, Nonfiction, Literature, Racism

Summer Reading: The CSW Way

Summer reading! Every school assigns it but does everyone love it--or even do it?

At CSW, all community members -- students, faculty and staff -- can nominate books for summer reading. The Summer Reading Committee collects these book nominations and plans a corresponding curriculum to continue the community-wide engagement and discussion about them throughout the year. Samantha Simpson, CSW English teacher, has been a leader in the project to make CSW summer reading even better, and she has generously offered to guest contribute to this blog. We will be featuring her posts as the summer wraps up and we get ready to welcome everyone back to CSW!

Q: What has CSW been reading this summer?

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Topics: Progressive Education, English, Reading, Literature

A Friendly Face From Day One...

The first day of school can be nerve-wracking, especially when you are coming to a new independent school community where you might not know anybody.

The Peer Mentor program, led by the Ninth Grade School Counselor and Health Educator, Devon Voake, works to quell those fears and create a welcoming, warm environment from the moment new students walk on campus.
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Topics: Peer Mentors, Orientation, Community, Leadership, First Day

Capstones: Beyond a Graduation Requirement

June -- a time for senior and graduations ... and graduation requirements!

At CSW, all seniors are required to propose, design, complete and present a student-driven project in any discipline or combination of disciplines. Working with two capstone advisors, students lead the charge on all parts of their project, from drafting the proposal to sharing their work in a presentation open to the whole CSW community. It's a great time of year, offering the oportunity to hear about all the incredible projects that CSW seniors have created!

The range of capstone projects and presentations varies year-to-year, with some projects having a legacy component (e.g., a visual arts installation that will remain on campus) while others exist only as long as the capstone presentation hour (e.g., a special performance or a research summary).

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Topics: Science, Progressive Education, Integrated Studies, Theatre, Visual Arts, Capstones, Graduation, Self Directed Learning

When Graduates Come Back to Teach!

In this season of graduations and reunions, CSW is proud to celebrate our alumni/ae!

Every year, current CSW students are joined by alumni/ae as guest teachers in their courses -- from dance to science to history or any subject in between. This year, CSW welcomed back several guest alumni teachers, including Adrian Hoffman ’12Daniel José Older '98, Dr. Seth Jacobs ’82 and Bracken Hendricks ’85.

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Topics: Science, Progressive Education, History, Alumni, Dance, Sustainability, Performing Arts

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