Joyful Learning

At Turning Point, we are proud of the joy our students express daily in their learning, creativity, accomplishments, and community. We had many opportunities to witness it this past week during the school-wide Festival of the Arts, the Middle School STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) Expo, and the Middle School Art Installation at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Outlook. These events were reinforced by the observations of the CAIS/WASC Visiting Team, who commented on the joy and pride our students take in our wonderful school.

This year’s Festival of the Arts allowed students to explore the diversity found in nature and cultures by studying flowers and flower-making traditions. Each grade level, from kindergarten through middle school, created flowers using approaches from a specific world culture. They then “cross-pollinated” their flowers with flowers from another culture (made by a different grade level) and then fabricated a collective work of art in the tradition of a specific contemporary artist, culminating in a multi-cultural piece. Students learned about botany, art history, various cultural traditions and materials, and hands-on making skills. These interdisciplinary, inter-grade level projects allowed students to express their ideas creatively while staying true to the materials, traditions, and artistic styles that were framing their projects. If you have not had the chance to visit the Lobby in Building 2 to witness these wonderful pieces, please do stop by.

Students flexed their interdisciplinary muscles again at our Middle School STEAM Expo. They identified open-ended problems or questions in categories such as scientific inquiry, reverse engineering, robotics, inventions, and environmental innovations. Students solved problems ranging from creating inexpensive and safe water filters, to designing binders that would better help to organize students’ work, to imagining an ideal planet to learning about astrophysics, to discovering whether music is a hindrance or a help during homework, to designing a way to make toast before you get out of bed. Projects were imaginative, thoroughly researched, and well-presented.

Students had yet another chance to demonstrate their creativity and ingenuity in a public exhibition at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Outlook this past weekend. The incredible view from the summit inspired one of our students to design signs in elegant calligraphy encouraging climbers ascending the steep stairs to persevere until they reached “Nirvana” at the top. Another exhibit featured the Native American Tongvas, who lived in the hills ten thousand years ago, while another encouraged visitors to save the black walnut trees that were almost extinct at this location. In the Visitor Center, you could view the marine layer in the distance through a rendering of 18th century Spanish ships, a striking sight. Students utilized creativity, research skills, and empathy in order to compose these exhibits that resonated with visitors to the Outlook.

Each of these projects enabled students to discover and to learn deeply about an unfamiliar subject and to teach others about these passion projects. As we move into our final trimester of the school year, I am so inspired by the visible and vibrant ways our students continue to revel in the joy of discovery; how they consistently expand their knowledge and develop expertise; and how they continue to express their ideas in new, innovative ways. I cannot wait to see what else they have in store for us during these final months of the year!


Dr. Laura Konigsberg
Head of School

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