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The Aviator

December 4, 2016

Kate Parker, History Teacher at AVS middle school,  grew up in New Jersey, just outside of New York City.   She went to boarding school in Connecticut and then college in New York, where she studied Art History and Women’s Studies. Kate has always been a student-athlete. She was tri-varsity captain, played field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse and, like a lot of kids we know, PE was her favorite subject in school. We caught up with Ms. Parker recently and posed a few questions.

 If you weren’t a teacher, what profession would you pursue?

Teaching is actually my second professional pursuit. I used to work within the corporate world of financial services. That said, I’ve always be fascinated by bugs! I’d love to be an entomologist.

What event or activity in the next 4 months are you looking forward to more than anything else?   

Well, I have to say the move to the Mission is pretty exciting. I feel lucky to be one of the first to step foot into this new AVS adventure. I trus...

February 20, 2016

The realms of art and engineering intersect in thought-provoking ways at Alta Vista.   Middle schoolers recently learned about artist Michael Rakowitz’s paraSITE project. Rakowitz creates temporary and transportable shelters for the homeless leveraging the outtake duct of a building’s heating and ventilation system. These functional pieces of art are also a form of social protest against the growing homeless problem in our cities.

In her Design for the Future class, teacher Katherine Stark challenged the middle school students to create an inflatable sculpture with nothing more than garbage bags, tape and a box fan. Working in small groups, students were then asked to look for practical application within our school. They created inflatable study hall rooms and a shade structure for their picnic tables that were both practical and attractive.   Students worked in classrooms, hallways taking over the top floor of the building; some moved their projects outdoors.

This creative gr...

October 30, 2015

Alex White joined the Alta Vista Middle School faculty this year. He hails from Bethesda MD, but also lived in Paris, France as a young child. He most recently taught at the Edmund Burke School in Washington, D.C. and he speaks 6 languages, including Elvish. We caught up with Alex recently to pose a few questions:

What is the most exciting thing you’ve learned from a student?


The class I taught on Quenya (Elvish) happened because three passionate students came to me and asked me to teach them. I ended up writing my own textbook and there are YouTube videos of my students performing skits in Elvish That class was an independent study where 13 students gave up lunch periods to learn a new language!

If you weren’t a teacher, what profession would you pursue?


I’d probably still work in IT, but at a non-profit whose mission I care about. I like working in school technology partially because I love working with kids, but partially because I like working in a community where people are passiona...

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