Annual Report 2021-2022
From the Board Chair
Dear Walden Community,
One of the most fulfilling parts of my family’s path has been being a member of the Walden community. Like many of you, the allure of something rare and special drew us here, but the reality of what we found exceeded even our highest wishes. In practice, day in and day out, Walden reveals itself to be a learning environment where strong academics are merely one part of the experience. Here, a dynamic, inclusive, forward-thinking, and passionate whole-child education is not an abstract ideal or just words on paper. It is what Walden embodies.
For more than 50 years, Walden has been innovating progressive education in the Los Angeles County community. In the Spring of 2022, the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) awarded accreditation to Walden for another seven years (the maximum allowed) and presented an in-depth school report that was, frankly, stunning in its praise for the work our school has done.
Hundreds of parents, thousands of students, and so many leaders and teachers have built the current success of Walden one brick at a time. They have cared passionately—and worked tirelessly—to make the school what it is today. As a Board, our mission is to ensure that the school’s mission will endure and improve over the next 100 years. While I personally never intended to serve on the Board (or do more than my required volunteer hours!), I felt called to do so out of deep gratitude for what my children gained during the most crucial years of their development.
As my oldest daughter matriculates to middle school, Chris, Fia, Giorgia, and myself are grateful that we can always come home to Walden … and I’m so very glad that your family can say the same. Under the leadership and guidance of Terra, the faculty, and the staff, the school has never been stronger. We can confidently look forward to a future that continues giving children an education like no other.
Your presence, participation, and support continues to make this all possible. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, THANK YOU!
Chair, Board of Trustees
Class of 2022: Stubby Squids
Walden families come in many forms and configurations. What they all have in common is this: they are essential to the fabric of our community and the success of Walden's mission. In this Annual Report, meet Mary Chou and her family, who have made powerful contributions to our community by making Walden one of their philanthropic and volunteering priorities and modeling for our students that we all have stewardship for the world in which we live.
Curriculum Spotlight: Imaginative Inquiry
At Walden, we develop children's social imaginations, the ability to imagine for a more vibrant, life-giving, and just world for our society. Through Imaginative Inquiry, we craft creative contexts for students to be active participants in the stories of our world, encouraging them to question the status quo and imagine more; to ask "what if?"
Throughout this year, students have been diving into in-depth studies of systems of our neighborhood, city, country, and world. Each project allows students to experience critical issues of a time and/or place, consider multiple points of view, develop empathy, and step in as expert problem-solvers exercising and expanding their imagination and creativity as well as their design thinking, building, and writing skills.
Lily Brogdon-Mitchell visited campus to catch up with Terra, Janet C.B., and Grace. A National Honor Society graduate of Mayfield Senior School, she is beginning her last semester at Berkeley and will graduate with a degree in Political Economy. During her visit, she credited Walden’s comprehensive writing education as a foundation for her success. “I still use the strategies from our Writer’s Workshop in college today.”
Jack Livingston stopped by to connect with his teachers and share news of his lead role as Maui in the Chandler production of Moana Jr. He graduated in June and is now attending LaSalle High School and looking forward to more theatre.
In fall of 2022, Mateo Rodriguez partnered with the 6th grade Flame Skimmers to gather feedback on a project that focuses on teaching students how to use computers responsibly. The program is called “Learning Laptops,” and it seeks to ensure that everyone knows how to keep their data secure, and their computers virus-free. Students tested the software on loaned computers and provided feedback.
Sophie Amundson graduated from George Mason University with a BFA with a minor in Forensics. She received the Outstanding Achievement Award in her major. This award is given to the graduating dance major who participated fully in every aspect of the program, pursued every opportunity for growth and development, and demonstrated professional commitment to the field.
Finley Hamilton was awarded a 7th grade academic award, voted on by faculty, for academic promise at Flintridge Prep's end-of-year awards banquet.
The Umfress Family welcomed a new addition to their family, Stella Rae Starring. Mom, Jenna, Uncle Harper, and Gramma Janel are in love!
Sophia Fuentes graduated from Arizona State University in December of 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Communication.
After helping to take photographs for the Class of 2022 Stubby Squid graduation, Sig Meyers spent the summer working on the Walden campus with Director of Operations, Nellie Yoshimura. Sig is a junior at La Salle High School and is president of the photography club.
Matthew McClain completed his time at Lehigh University in 2021 and published his first book, "Arduino for Artists," in 2021. His book was fully funded by contributions, and he recently used the surplus funds to partner with the Two-Bit Circus Foundation to support STEAM programs for underserved populations in Los Angeles.
Noah Rofagha is completing a Master’s in Public Policy at Georgetown University this Spring. He is currently interning at the White House.
Makala Thomas graduated from Oklahoma State University in May 2022 with a Bachelor’s degree in film and media.
Lotte Brush received the Founder’s Trophy at her 2022 Flintridge Prep graduation. Here is the descriptor: “Every school earns its reputation on the achievements and the character of its graduates. In recognition of this, Flintridge Preparatory School annually chooses from among the seniors one student who, in the opinion of the faculty, best represents the ideals of the institution. They are: academic skills and dedication, the ability to be a team member as well as a leader, and the willingness to contribute to the well-being of his or her fellow students and to the community.”