Updated: Dec 14, 2021

December is full of Christmas cheer at WSG! WSG’s hallways are transformed with decorations, there is planning for our Christmas program, and you can hear Christmas carols in our hallway during classroom transitions. Christmas is also a beautiful reminder of our awesome responsibility to provide excellent and joyful learning opportunities for our girls. You may think to yourself, “Ms. Wetzel, what on Earth does Christmas have to do with WSG’s pedagogy?” I am here to tell you that Christmas has everything to do with our school’s pedagogy! Christmas is a celebration of the incarnation, when God became human. The incarnation shows us that God is present in our lives and in the world! At WSG, we embrace an incarnational view of the world. We believe that God’s love is present everywhere and in everyone! The incarnation informs how we approach school culture, discipline and academic learning. Our students are taught to acknowledge God’s presence in all people. Our teachers embrace an incarnational worldview when they use restorative practices in the classroom or develop lesson plans that cater to the unique needs of our students. Because Christ’s love is at work in everyone and everywhere, all learning at WSG from math to reading to science to religion helps to bring forth the fullness of Christ’s light in our students and our school. Christmas has everything to do with our pedagogy and is a perfect time to share with you how WSG came to formalize it.

In 2018, we began a collaborative process to define the WSG way of teaching and learning through the development of a pedagogy statement. It was important to define our pedagogy because we knew there was something special about how WSG engages students in the learning process. We wanted the statement to both capture the essence of our teaching practices and be aspirational. Remember all learning is a reflection of Christ’s presence in our school so it was important for us to celebrate our strengths and identify areas for continued growth.

We identified 9 essential traits of our teaching methods: faith-based, individualized, culturally responsive, experiential, inquiry based, flexible grouping, differentiated assessments, positive behavior systems and data-driven decision making. You can read the complete pedagogy statement as well as our recognize statements here:

Pedagogy Statement

Pedagogy Traits and Recognize Statements

Here is the timeline of our project:

We are incredibly proud of the work our staff engaged in throughout this adaptive process. At each step, we incorporated feedback from all of our staff and made adjustments until we arrived at a statement that truly captures what we believe about teaching and learning at WSG.

Merry Christmas!

November is Black Catholic History Month! All month long we are celebrating the vibrant history of the Black Catholic community during Morning Prayer and in Religion class.

DeMetria White is our Religion Teacher and Director of Campus Ministry, in her ninth year at WSG and her second in her current role. Ms. White’s journey into the faith was a deeply personal one: her late mother was baptized into the Catholic church as an adult, shortly before her death. Driven by a desire to stay spiritually connected with her mother, Ms. White sought out the opportunity to regularly attend Catholic mass with an aunt, one of few in her family who actively practiced religion. So began a deep and ever evolving relationship with God and the Catholic Church. As she grew older, she explored other Christian denominations by attending church with friends, but found her way back to the Catholic community when she enrolled at Trinity Washington University.

For Ms. White, being Catholic means having a personal relationship with God - and making sure to take the word of God into action. She sees each homily, each scripture reading, each prayer or examen as an opportunity to apply Catholic principles to her own life. The traditions of the Church and its theology are meant to continue beyond Mass and into our everyday lives, how we treat others, and how we decide to live morally and spiritually. This relationship grows stronger each time we engage with our spirituality, and each theological principle is infinitely relevant to our evolving human experience. And most importantly, we must celebrate ourselves as part of God’s creation, as she often tells her students, “you can still be a fun person, you can still have your free will, but you can do it in such a way that you are still amplifying and glorifying God... Those two things can coexist.”

This year, Ms. White began pursuit of her Master’s in Theology from Xavier University’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies. The experience has been an enriching one - being a student again is shaping how she teaches Religion at WSG. Informed by her experience as the only woman in her cohort, she has been thinking more intentionally about how to help our girls see themselves in the Bible and see the value that they have as members of the Church. And as an educator during an era of polarization, she focuses on ensuring students dive into the complexities of religious teachings to better understand the context. She explains, “We tend to weaponize the bible, pulling out pieces to prove our point and ignoring the verses before and after that might give more depth and nuance to our understanding.” She hopes her students will learn to take a more holistic approach to their faith practice throughout their lives.

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

Since joining the Washington School for Girls in 2015 as the Family Relations Coordinator, DeAnna McCall has made a significant impact on the lives of our parents and families through transparent communication that continues to foster long lasting relationships. Ms. McCall graduated from Howard University with her Masters in Social Work in 2008 and has since devoted 13 years to case management, intensive home based counseling, and parent support. Now serving as our Director of Recruitment & Family Relations, Ms. McCall's leadership is grounded in her passion to eradicate systems of inequity.

Ms. McCall’s steadfast and personable approach keeps WSG’s families at the center of our mission, ensuring that their voices are consistently and intentionally represented. It comes at no surprise that she has earned an acceptance into Seeding Disruption, a Washington, D.C. based fellowship for youth-facing professionals, who have a shared focus on the elimination of unjust systems. ¨I look forward to being a bridge for Racial Equity within the educational sector. The school is the one environment that has the convergence of multiple systems that impact the life of the student. To be aware of the challenges that persist within is one thing but to be that bridge to usher in equity is a goal that I intend to pursue,¨ says Ms. McCall.

Over a course of 13 months, Seeding Disruption brings together a diverse group of leaders who develop solutions for the communities they serve. The goal of Ms. McCall, and the members of the 26 person cohort is to further develop their skills and knowledge, while ‘catalyzing movement towards racial equity.’

Thank you Ms. McCall for your vital work and leadership. To learn more about Seeding Disruption, continue reading here.