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Three Branches

Earlier this week I stopped by 5th Grade while the students, in groups of three sitting in the classroom and hallway, were writing and practicing skits on the three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. Their prompt was to convince the other two branches of the government that their branch was best. Here's a snippet from their rehearsal session:

  • Legislative: We get to make laws....
  • Executive: And I can veto them....
  • Legislative: And with a 2/3's vote we can override your veto.....
  • Judicial: And we can rule your laws as unconstitutional and invalidate them....
  • Executive: And I am the one who nominates who gets to serve in your branch....
  • Legislative: And without our approval your nominee will never become a Supreme Court Justice.....

It went on like this for a few minutes as they captured the spirit and balance of the three branches as imagined by the authors of the Constitution in 1789...

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Letter of the Week: Start Curious. Stay Curious. Read On.

By now you all know Brentwood's motto: Start Curious. Stay Curious. Go Anywhere. Curiosity is something we believe in deeply. In this regard, it was great to delve into this month's Harvard Business Review, where the focus is on curiosity in the work environment. And while there is too much from the articles in terms of research and insights to cover in this one letter, there are a few points I want to highlight in the context of a Brentwood education, our roles as parents and educators, and why we have curiosity as the centerpiece of our motto...


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Welcome Back to Brentwood

Earlier this week, I read, with great interest, an article in the Wall Street Journal: The Exercise that Helps Mental Health Most, that made me even more excited for the start of school. Turns out that the types of exercise that make the biggest difference in terms of mental health are team sports and the exercises you do in groups. That is, the social-interpersonal aspect of how you exercise adds to the already significant benefits of exercise...

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Brentwood School Follow Up

On August 18 of last year, the Los Angeles Police Department informed Brentwood School that Upper School teacher, Dr. Aimee Palmitessa, had been arrested on suspicion of inappropriate relations with a student. We immediately placed Dr. Palmitessa on administrative leave and subsequently confirmed that she would not return to school.

We took these shocking and distressing allegations seriously, cooperating fully with investigators at the Los Angeles Police Department and the District Attorney's Office. We care deeply about our students and all aspects of their well-being, individually and collectively. To that end, we worked closely with faculty and counselors to support our students, offered families resources as they helped their children navigate their reactions to the news, made special accommodations for the family involved, and communicated updates to our entire school community.

In September, Brentwood School retained Julie Yanow to conduct an internal investigation, separate from the police investigation. The information gathered by Ms. Yanow was helpful to the school's decision making process and resulted in the school separating Dr. Palmitessa. It also led to enhanced communication of the school's clearly articulated policies about boundaries and behavior as well as additional faculty/staff training.

The criminal proceedings against Dr. Palmitessa are still ongoing. However, the family has now filed a civil suit against the School and we are in the process of evaluating it. The School's legal counsel will respond as appropriate. Despite the litigation, we sympathize with the student and family for the pain this situation has caused them. We remain committed to all of our students and to respecting their privacy. We ask that you do the same.

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It's Our Turn 2018: "Together we are..."

The 2018 It's Our Turn: Young Women's Conference is in the history books and what an amazing day it was! Thank you to all of our presenters, special guests, sponsors, and vendors, but most importantly to the over 1,000 students in attendance who brought incredible energy and excitement to our campus. Check out the opening choir/dance video, the sizzle reel, and photos from the event, and continue the conversation with us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram. Post your photos from the conference! #itsourturn2018

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SOLD OUT: 2018 It's Our Turn Young Women's Conference

The 2018 It's Our Turn Young Women's Conference at Brentwood School will take place this year on Saturday, January 27. The Planning Committee, made up of more students than ever (including 2 boys!), had their first full meeting this week to discuss the mission of the conference and the many ways in which students will contribute to making this year's event a success in the tradition of the three previous conferences. Learn more about the conference.

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