Meet Our New Athletic Director: Leona Rexhepi

Meet Our New Athletic Director: Leona Rexhepi

by Melanie Ingler | Communications Coordinator

Leona joined WSP this fall as our Middle and High School Athletics Director. She has a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Pacific Union College and is currently completing graduate studies in Sports Management at the University of San Francisco. Before coaching basketball throughout the Bay Area, Leona has played basketball overseas and in college.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Leona recently to learn more about her:

Q: When did you first become interested in organized sports or athletics?
A: I have been told I always had a ball in my hands. At age eleven I joined my first basketball team and at age thirteen was playing at higher levels.

Q: What brought you to the Bay Area?
A: I transferred to a local college during the pandemic to complete my degree in Exercise Science.

Q: How did you decide to pursue that program for your degree?
A: As a lifelong athlete I have always been interested in the biomechanics of the body, athletics, injury prevention, fitness, and health.

Q: What brought you to WSP’s Athletics Program?
A: I have an interest in impacting the athletic field by focusing on being an Athletic Director for students and am excited to work with both our coaches and our athletes.

Q: How can WSP parents help support Athletics?
A: Parents at WSP can have a positive impact in athletics. Students need external motivation and families are the best ones to provide that for their child. Parents can support the athletic department by attending all games, modeling good behavior, and being encouraging. It makes sports more fun and meaningful when you have a positive support system. WSP Athletics appreciates all your help and dedication!

Q: What else would you like our community to know about you?
A: I am looking to grow our program! I’ve begun with adding a basketball tournament for our high school athletes for the first time. We are also adding activities for each of our athletic teams so they and their families can get to know each other and the coaches better. We have brought back the use of the TeamSnap app for our athletes’ families to stay connected and experience better communication sharing with the teams. We are planning improvements to the Athletics Program portion of the school website, and refreshing some of our uniforms. (author’s note: and this is just her first month!)

If you have any more questions for Leona, please do not hesitate to drop her a line via email.

Practice Tips for Music Students

Practice Tips for Music Students

by Leah Lader | Music Teacher

Welcome to the beginning of the school year, the perfect time to introduce, re-introduce, or solidify a practice routine with your musician at home!

  • Consistency is key: a consistent practice routine increases musical fluency and builds confidence. You will see greater progress with multiple practice times throughout the week, instead of an extra-long practice session only once per week. The amount of practice time depends on the age and musical level of the student.
  • Dedicate a location: for some, finding a spot in your home free from distractions works best. On the flip side, some students enjoy practicing with a family member sitting and listening! Figure out what works best for your musician.
  • Students should be well rested: Practicing first thing in the morning, after school, or before/after dinner can work quite well.
  • Actively participate during your student’s practice time by: listening to the music, showing appreciation and interest, asking questions, and allowing them to teach you how to play a song.
  • Play for others: Some students thrive on performing! Putting on a “show” in person or via phone (especially for relatives & neighbors) can be rewarding on both ends. Others prefer a quieter performance – consider accompanying your student on another instrument, such as piano, guitar, or recorder, or singing along with the music.
Anvils Go Mobile

Anvils Go Mobile

by Phil Dwyer| MS & HS Earth Arts Teacher

Setting up for high school blacksmithing classes, although still a hefty chore, is rolling along with a bit more ease this year as the anvil stands were upgraded this summer. A number of “stumps” were crafted at varying heights by laminating alternating layers of 2- by 6- inch fir lumber. Steel frames were fabricated using pieces of 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick hot-rolled mild-steel flat bars and square tubes that were cut with our new 4×7 horizontal bandsaw. (Thank you dear donor!) Step bits helped make “quick” work drilling numerous holes. Loops for holding tools and custom anvil anchor brackets were hand forged. Everything was welded up using 6013 electrodes with reverse DC polarity on a Lincoln AC/DC 225 Stick Welder. (Isn’t science in action grand?!) A removable handle converts each stump into a hand-truck enabling the anvils to “lightly” roll along while riding a fulcrum balanced on two heavy casters (thank you Archimedes). Efficient set-up and take-down of the smithy affords the young “apprentices”more time to forge artifacts from red hot iron in tandem with the crafting of their very selves. Thank you to everyone who helps make life transforming courses like this possible!

Waste of Time

Waste of Time

by Marina Budrys | HS Teacher

This year, the 12th Grade Economics Main Lesson became an Economics AND Environmental Studies Main Lesson. Seniors are ready to be challenged to think about problems and propose solutions from two distinct fields. The field trip to Shoreway Environmental Center (Public Recycling Center) in San Mateo was the perfect culminating experience for the class.

Inside the transfer facility, students saw the massive pile of waste destined for the landfill and the massive pile destined for industrial composting. It was both a reality check and a dose of hope. Because the content of the Main Lesson both addressed how markets function and the limitations of our earth’s systems, students were able to apply the theoretical concepts they learned to the waste management business.

Students came back inspired to improve the waste management system on the Mountain View Campus by redirecting waste destined for the landfill. Fueled with specific knowledge about proper recycling (did you know black plastics cannot be recycled?) and the SB 1383 Composting Law, expect to see some changes MV Campus.

Five Things You Can Do to Support Your Student to Successfully Navigate the School Year

Five Things You Can Do to Support Your Student to Successfully Navigate the School Year

by Ramona Budrys | Class Teacher

Perhaps you are wondering how to support your student to successfully navigate the school year. What best practices can contribute to the students’ well-being so that they are fully present to be able to learn? We have five practical suggestions for you!

  1. Timeliness – Timeliness is a social deed. Each student deserves the opportunity to transition from home to school. Each teacher designs the beginning of the day to make that transition. Please be on time.
  2. Sleep – As brain research catches up with what Waldorf teachers have known for 100 years, sleep is the time when the brain is synthesizing everything that occurs during the day. Do yourself a favor and get eight hours of sleep, and ensure your student gets eight to twelve hours of sleep depending on the age. The bonus – it helps with #1 and #3.
  3. Chores – Parents who consistently assign chores not only have a cleaner and healthier home, they are raising humans who can pay attention to what needs to be done and do it, a life lesson that serves them not only in school, but as they go out into the world as well.
  4. Media – We ask that you consciously consume media so you can guide your student up to age 18. They cannot navigate the overwhelmingly vast landscape of devices and platforms without loving adults filtering and focusing their experience.
  5. Direct Communication – Please get to know all of your student’s teachers. The best way to understand their particular experience is to speak with the specific teacher who was present at that moment. We promise not to believe everything we hear about home from your student, as long as you promise not to believe everything you hear about school. Come with a question for the adult in the room.