3-2-1 Blastoff

One of our newest GWCS students immediately embraced the school value of Intellectual Curiosity by conducting a live rocket launch for the GWCS staff and student body. Mark had spent all summer constructing his four foot tall hammer and sickle red rocket. He is an expert at rocketry and was extremely enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge and experience with the school. The launch took place at Kings Park on a beautiful windy day. The initial launch only went five feet high but Mark quickly determined it was because the engine he had in place was too old. Mark opened a packet of new engines and enabled the setup again with fresh wadding paper, igniter, and plug. He attached the alligator clips with the battery as we all stood back for a countdown. 3-2-1 blastoff!  The launch was successful! The rocket flew high in the sky above forest tree level to all of our delight.  Special thanks to Mark for taking the time to share this out-of-sight experience with his teachers and classmates!

Julia Kohler, GWCS Science Teacher

GW Community School
3-2-1 Blast Off with Mark
December 6, 2017

Coyote Robotics Battle at the FTC Northern Virginia Qualifying Tournament

GWCS Robotics Team 3749 Bionic Penguins had a tough day with a robot that did not really do the job at the FTC Northern Virginia Qualifying Tournament on Saturday, December 2, 2017 in Haymarket, VA.  Team 965 started slow and was in last place out of 24 teams after losing their first two matches, but finished strong in 8th place.  They were asked to join the 4th seed in the elimination round but fell to the 1st seed (and eventual champion).  Team 965 was the recipient of the Rockwell Collins Innovation award.  The team's fine explanation of the Relic lifting mechanism, and the success they had in using it, impressed the judges.

Thanks to all who came out to support us.  We still had a fun time, including line dancing to YMCA during down-time!  Our next competition is January 6, 2018 in Newport News, VA.

Want to learn more about Coyote Robotics?  Contact:

Gary Lindner
GWCS Coyote Robotics Coach & Math Teacher

GW Community School - Coyote Robotics
FTC Northern Virginia Qualifying Tournament
December 2, 2017

It's the 7th Annual... Heritage Feast!


All of us at GWCS are truly thankful for our coyote parents, grandparents, students, siblings, teachers and alumni.  Everyone in our community plays an integral part in creating an upbeat,  safe and challenging environment in order for learning, exploration, and growth to take place every single day.  We lean on each other, we learn from each other, we "Smash" with each other, and today... we feast together!  

We are particularly thankful for the 75+ GWCS parents, grandparents, students, siblings, teachers and the 25+ alumni who attended our 7th Annual GWCS Heritage Feast!  Best Heritage Feast yet!  Why was it the best?  Because sooooo many people came, and ate, and visited, and hugged, and reminisced.  The hum of voices and the spark of laughter in the cafe was the perfect way to start our holiday break.    

An extra loud shout-out to all of the Coyote families who contributed the never-ending variety of delicious foods, desserts and drinks and for the parent volunteers who set up before and cleaned up after.

Click Here to read an earlier post about how the Annual GWCS Heritage Feast was started.

GW Community School
Annual Heritage Feast
November 21, 2017

GWCS Spirit Week and Homecoming 2017


We may be small, but we've got spirit and nothing shows our spirit better than lots of photos!


Students and teachers showed their school spirit all week simply by being awake enough each morning to look through their closets and choose an outfit according to each day's school spirit theme!


Boys Varsity Basketball Game...

GWCS vs. The Lab School:  The Coyotes took on the Dragons in their annual Homecoming game.  The lead changed hands several times but in the end, the Coyotes came up three points short.


Homecoming Dance...

Dancing in the Streets

Approximately 40 students and teachers danced and ate the night away to DJ Muntu's smashing club mix and energizing light show.

Special Thanks...

A round of applause for the following parent volunteers who spent hours setting up and decorating for the Homecoming Dance!  Our volunteers brought Ms. Warden's neon vision to life and electrified the students with an atmosphere of FUN!  

  • Linda Campbell
  • Kathy Mohs
  • Nancy Lawton Cronin
  • Jennifer Schulman
  • Barbara Katz
  • Kim Dwyer
  • Melissa Morgan
  • Julia O'Grady

Huge hug for Mr. Muntu - our DJ extraordinaire and part-time French teacher!  Muntu's music, energy and lights kept the party going all night long!

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GW Community School
School Spirit Week & Homecoming
November 13-17, 2017

Coyotes Contemplate Caterpillars, Chrysalis... Butterflies


Teacher:  Ms. Kohler

In our AP Environmental Science class students completed a primary consumer and producer lab where they nurtured larva into beautiful Painted Lady butterflies. Students kept their larva in aerated containers and provided them with mallow to nibble. Every day, for two weeks, student’s tracked (1) the weight of their enclosure/larva and habitat (larva, container, lid, food, cloth) and (2) length of their caterpillar, along with other qualitative notes. Students observed their caterpillars growing, but the weight of their enclosure would decrease each day. They learned this was due to respiration. The caterpillars were eating the mallow, breathing, and from the second law of thermodynamics, some energy was lost as heat from the enclosure being an open system.  Once the chrysalises were formed, they waited a few days to move them to the mesh butterfly habitat (shown below) for safe emersion. After the butterflies emerged they were moved to the beautiful clear tank that mimics their natural habitat. In this lab students also learned about energy pyramids, the food web, Gross Primary productivity, Net Primary productivity, and biomass. Fun hands on learning!  

GW Community School
AP Environmental Science Classes
Ms. Kohler, Teacher
November 10, 2017

The American Shakespeare Center Marathon

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GWCS’s 6th annual fall trip to Staunton, VA was a rip-roaring success! Students saw not one, not two, but four plays performed by the actors with the American Shakespeare Center at the stunning, and historically accurate, Blackfriars Playhouse. Three Shakespeare plays (The Fall of King Henry, Love’s Labour Lost, and Much Ado About Nothing) and one musical (Peter and the Starcatcher) were separated by shopping sprees in downtown Staunton, delicious meals from local restaurants, a tour of the Blackfriars Playhouse, an acting workshop with the students, and restful nights at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel.

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But wonderful as Staunton was for a backdrop, most impressive of all was the ASC’s remarkable marathon of plays. And as if masterpieces of theater performed virtuosically in an intimate setting was not enough, the actors also played acoustic covers of modern pop songs prior to each show and during intermissions.

In all, the weekend was rich, educational, and thoroughly entertaining for fifteen GWCS students and six teachers.  

GW Community School
Annual Shakespeare Trip to Staunton
November 3-5, 2017

Coyote Howl-O-Ween

Coyotes came out in full force to show their spirit on Halloween. Creative, crafty, and sometimes cryptic costumes were worn by students and teachers alike. As has been the case for many years now, Ms. Warden’s costume perplexed; but Kian, Nick, Delia and Olivia confounded us too with their witty and unique costumes. Mattie, Noah, and Zach were easily identified as a very true to life Daphne, Fred, and Shaggy; and Ethan and Evelyn were both very well turned out as the chef from Ratatouille and a minion. Too many great costumes to name!

A new tradition was set with our 68 minutes of fun schedule, and of course it wouldn’t be a Coyote Halloween without the always awkward and sometimes downright disturbing donut eating contest. Delia can now add Donut Eating Winner to her title of Lettuce Lord.

We regrouped the party after school and screened It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and Mr. Goldie’s favorite The Mothman Prophecies. Yup, one heck of a Howl-O-Ween.

GW Community School
Halloween Party
October 31, 2017



Yes, every fall at GWCS, the freshmen and sophomores get to go camping.  Yes, the seniors get to sleep in cabins on the writing retreat.  But nobody lives higher-on-the-hog than the juniors during the Gettysburg Trip.

Every fall, since 2009, the junior class heads north to Gettysburg.  It is not truly analogous to General Lee’s March on Gettysburg in 1863, but we mention it.  Of course we ride on highways through rolling hills and arrive in good condition and good spirits in less than three hours, and Lee’s troops arrived after a forty day March, but still, the similarities are undeniable.  


The Battle of Gettysburg is a seminal moment in the history of the Unite States.  Some argue that there might not even be a United States today had the outcome of this battle gone differently.  Many soldiers from many states arrived and participated in the three day battle.  From a safe distance (like the twenty-first century) it is a spectacle to behold.  From Culps Hill to the North to Little Round Top in the south, the Union and Confederate sides fought in the largest, bloodiest battle on North American soil.


Together we spend the first day visiting the Memorial Graveyard, where Abraham Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address.  Then we spend several hours investigating the battlefield museum followed by the awe-inspiring Cyclorama of the Battle of Gettysburg painted by Paul Phillipoteaux.  In the evening we usually gather together at a conference room of the luxury hotel (Motel 6) and watched the movie, “Gettysburg,” which lasts about four and a half hours (contrary to the kid’s assertions that the movie is longer than the battle).  With the basics covered, we are ready for day two.


Although the soldiers at the battle of Gettysburg fought on July 1-3 in hundred degree heat, we go out to the battlefield at dawn, with frost on the ground.  We start at McPherson’s Ridge, go to the Eternal Flame, walked along Seminary Ridge, Pickett’s Charge, The Wheat Field, Little Round Top, and more.  We stand where they stood.  We look out where they looked out, and we charged where they charged (albeit without guns, backpacks, heavy jackets, ammunition, and in the absence of hostile fire continuously raining-down on us) and wonder what it must have been like to have been there.


Morality?  Philosophy?  Loyalty?  Duty?  There are so many ways to consider a soldier’s life, and a soldier’s role in the grand scheme of things.  More than 50,000 men (and one woman) were killed, wounded, or captured during this battle.  The Tide of the war was turned in the favor of the union, once and for all.  As Lincoln so aptly said, “The world…can never forget what they did here,” the results of their efforts so permanently ingrained in the DNA of the country that stands today. 

~Richard Goldie

GW Community School
Junior Gettysburg Trip
October 21, 2017

Scrambling at Sportrock

It's raining out so the planned outdoor community service event is awash.  What to do?  After scrambling to explore a number of different options it was decided... indoor rock climbing!  Ms. Kohler and Senor Torres took five GWCS underclassman to Sportrock Climbing Center in Alexandria, VA for a morning of indoor active thrills!  Why Sportrock?  If we can't do something to improve our community we will do something to improve ourselves!  Indoor rock climbing allows us to move outside of our comfort zone in a safe and controlled environment and helps to build confidence, promote self esteem, and teach us that overcoming fear is a healthy part of life. 

Students and teachers challenged their bodies to go the limit. We practiced climbing techniques as instructed by the faculty on site on a variety of boulder rock designs. Marius and Elizabeth were natural climbers, who surely out shined the adults! We also embraced the gym that was on site. Emily showed off her jump-roping skills, while Justin and Charlie pumped some iron. Everybody had an awesome time, got a great workout and left feeling challenged and successful!

~Ms. Kohler & Senor Torres

GW Community School
Sportrock Climbing Center
October 11, 2017

Senior College Essay Writing Retreat

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The more things stay the same, the more they change; for the past 12 years, GWCS seniors and teachers have traveled to Lake Anna to clear their heads, disconnect from their devices, and write their college essays. But even though we're always in the same place, no two retreats are the same; the unique strengths and experiences that each student brings to the retreat, and the ways they support, encourage, and sometimes challenge each other make every essay writing retreat special. This year for the first time we stayed in brand new lodges that had just been constructed with magnificent views and large, luxurious common areas for hardworking writers to put their feet up on the furniture and get their thoughts down on paper. Highlights included a ghost story, Frisbee, the most delicious salad of all time and most importantly, thirteen fully finished, polished, brilliant essays. Special thanks to Carol Hearle for helping us out with the supplies!

~ Mr. Pereira

GW Community School Class of 2018
Lake Anna State Park
October 4-6, 2017

We Walked for a Cause Called BULLY PAWS!

On Saturday, September 30th, 40 GWCS students, teachers, parents, siblings and dogs gathered at Burke Lake Park for the 6th annual Bully Paws  5K Fundraiser.  Bully Paws is a non-profit organization that works with shelters in the MD/DC/VA area, placing pit bull type dogs in foster homes. There, they are cared for by dedicated volunteers until they are adopted.  Everything was perfect for this year's 5K - the sun was bright, the air was crisp and the dozens of dogs mingled peacefully demonstrating unconditional kindness, joy and curiosity.  They were an example to us all. 

Thanks to all the GWCS Coyotes who got up early on this Saturday morning to support a good cause.  

~ Mr. Connelly

Photos/You Tube Video by Gwen Jennifer

Erase the Trace - Accotink Creek Trail

We, here at GWCS, are so dedicated to the "leave no trace" ethic that we go out of our way to erase the trace left behind by other, less considerate, park users.  On Wednesday, September 27, 2017, we had our first community service clean-up event of the year! This is a ritual that will happen once a month or so in order to help preserve our local  forests. Eight students joined the fun and hard work to help clean the Accotink Creek Trail. All students received one hour of community service! Many hands make for light work and a better/cleaner tomorrow. 

Dr. Garon